International Adoption Book

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Celebrating The Holidays

This last week or so has been fun/interesting.

First, C ended up with a Urinary Track Infection or a Bladder Infection. Her pediatrician never did let me know which one it was. Hopefully he'll give us an update when we go see him tomorrow afternoon. In the mean time, she's been on medicine, which has helped tremendously.

Then, C missed her school play. It wasn't such a bad thing because C had just had her Cochlear Implant Surgery the week before and had just gone back to school. She completely missed each and every practice, so she had no cllue that she missed it, anyway.

Just a couple of days later M had his performance. He's usually terrified of performing in front of people, but I promised him Baskin Robin's Ice Cream if he sang every song and sang it loud enough for me to hear. Well, as we all know, with a croud of kiddos singing in an auditorium it's nearly impossible to pick out an individual voice, and M made sure I was aware of this fact. But I told him that a mother is always able to "hear" her own child. That appeased him. But, he still negotiated what he got. His preference? Jamba Juice instead of Baskin Robins... And who am I to complain about that choice?!? ;)

The same day of M's performance, which turned out beautifully, my grandfather invited the entire family from our area to his house for a Christmas gathering. He proceeded to make an announcement... We thought the announcement was going to include his proposal to his current "companion" (his title for her not ours), but it was only to wish us all a Merry Christmas.

Today we topped off the Christmas celebrations with a trip into our little town. Santa Clause came for a visit, so we got our picture taken with him. After that, the big kids were able to help decorate a Gingerbread House and a Christmas Tree before heading off to make a gingerbread cookie (homemade by one of our town's long time residents). We spent about 45 minutes in town (including drive time, but we only live about 5 minutes away). It was a fun little trip.

The following pictures are from our wonderful and spirited week. Enjoy:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What Makes A Woman Love Her Man....

Manette -

Well, the year is coming to a close. It has been extremely eventful to say the least. Lets see, you and the kids moved down to California, I deployed to Iraq, you gave birth to MJ, C had surgury, and M completely blossemed with Mrs. J and his 1st grade class. Definitely a great year. Even though we have been apart, the time we were together was wonderful. Hopefully next year you won't be completely tired of me being around all the time. You are a fabulous mother and a fantastic wife. You are beautiful, smart, funny, and I could not have dreamed of a better partner in life. I love and miss you. I think of you all the time and know that you are raising our children with just the right combination of love and discipline. You are an excellent role model! I hope you have a very Merry Christmas sweetheart. See you in my dreams! Love always, Matthew J

I wanted to share what a wonderful husband I have. I think I was lucky and got the last true gentleman that God ever made. He is true, honest and a superb protector. He cherishes me and shows me just how much he loves me nearly every day. He loves our kids more than life itself and I couldn't have asked for a more loving father and husband. Just read what he sent to me today and you'll get a sliver of an idea of what my wonderful life with Matt is like! I hope that every other woman out there is as blessed as I am in her chosen mate.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Tree Decorating

Today we went to Nana and Papa's house to decorate Nana's Christmas Tree. This is MJ's 1st Christmas, and though Daddy is missing it, we will certainly share our special days as much as possible. So, here is our first Christmas post.

Enjoy the visual post...

C Had Surgery

Sorry about the delay in posting our recent activities, but (as you will see) it's been a bit hectic lately.

On December 3rd C was scheduled for surgery. Her ENT wanted to repair the Cochlear Implant that had slipped out of her right Cochlea and add a new device in her left ear. We chose this drastic route since C was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome Type I (which means that she will go blind. It's a progressive disease and her eyes are, at age 6, already functioning like a 40 year old's. She has limited periphreal vision and is most noticeable when she walks, especially at night, because she trips over everything, even the slight rise that is between the sidewalk and grass).

My day started out very early on Thursday. I was up at 5:00am. Knowing I would be getting up early that morning I went to bed at a decent hour. But, I was wired and had a hard time sleeping. Plus, C didn't want to sleep that night, either, making my night more miserable. MJ didn't help, either, because he tossed and turned quite a bit. But, I got up and ate breakfast since I knew I wasn't going to get to eat until C went into surgery... What parent would eat in front of their child when that poor little thing couldn't eat. I showered, too, of course. I had packed a couple of bags the previous day. I remembered well what happened a couple of months ago when MJ went to the ER and we ended up being transported to a larger hospital where we stayed for 5 days with nothing to do and no clean clothes (disgusting). I wasn't about to get caught in that same position this time!

C got up around 5:30 and swiftly got herslef taken care of. She had had her shower the previous night and so only really needed to get dressed and have a touch of water. She was so hungry, though, since she had not had anything to eat for nearly 12 hours. Once she was done we were off!

It was excessively foggy that morning, so our drive time was extended to nearly 2 hours. Plus I had forgotten to get money and gas, so I needed to stop and do that before we really got on the road. Thankfully, I was following several other cars into the area, so it cut down on the fog issues.

We arrived at UC Davis at 7:45 that morning and were shown into the pre-surgery room by 8:30, where we waited and waited and waited some more. C's surgery was originally due to begin between 9:45 and 10:00am. At 10:30 the staff came in to tell us that it would be maybe another 30 minutes to an hour before they would begin as they were running late.

At 11:30 C was finally wheeled into the OR where they began the scheduled 4-1/2 hour surgery to repair the right implant and insert a new implant on her left side.

When C was wheeled into the OR I took the time to run to the caffeteria. I made a quick stop at the little coffee shop, first, where I ordered myself a super large regular coffee (which tasted as if someone had burned the beans before filtering it into the coffe pot and burning it again). With my caffiene jolt safely in my hands I drug all my and C belongings into the lobby waiting area and made a few phone calls and sent a few texts.

My stomach was doing summer saults by this time, so I nixed the idea of eating lunch and instead ate a Nutrigrain Bar before meandering back to the Children's Surgery Center waiting area where I enjoyed an hour of gossip with one of the nurses on reception desk duty.

At 3:30pm a nurse dressed in typical operating room attire sat next to me and delivered some interesting news. The first thing out of her mouth was, "Your daughter is fine and doing well." But, she followed that with, "It's taking longer than we had anticipated. It will be at least another hour to an hour and a half." Two and a half hours later, C was finally wheeled out of surgery and into the recovery room!!! Yes, the surgery took nearly 7 hours!

Because the Children's Surgery Center closes at 6:00pm C was wheeled into the main recovery area on the second floor. Usually family is not allowed into that area at until the patient is stable and awake. I was allowed to go into the recovery area and sit with C the entire time. The nurses used the excuse that I was her interpreter, which I was. I was the only one who could communicate with her. Plus, because they couldn't communicate with her they didn't want her too frightened.

When C woke up enough for the first time to communicate, the first thing she said was that she was hungry and thirsty. So, her nurse gave her some apple juice. She downed that like it was a sacred currative. She followed that with a scoop of Strawberry Ice Cream. Scooping the ice cream out with the plastic spoon was like trying to carve a pumpkin with a plastic knife. But, once C had the first bite she yanked the small bowl of ice cream out of the nurse's hand with such fervour that we (literally) did not see her reacting until she had already had the bowl in her hand and the spoon into her mouth (that's how hungry she was). We both lunged for the ice cream to keep C from eating too fast and making herself sick. I was able to get it away from her, but couldn't feed her fast enough. C was deserate for any type of nourishment. She finally slowed down enough about half way through the ice cream to be able to allow it to settle into her tummy before reaching for more. Once the ice cream was about 2/3rds empty C finally relented to the drowsiness and drifted back to sleep.

C slept for another hour and then woke up again. This time she was more awake and I was able to ask her important questions about how she was feeling. Shortly thereafter they decided to release C. So, she sat up and began getting dressed. The next thing we know is she's vomitting. It wasn't much, but it was enough to spew out the Tylenol with Codiene that they had just given her. Suddenly, not 5 minutes later, C spewed out a large quantity of the fluids she had taken in during her recovery. But, she had to go potty, which was great since she hadn't urinated since 11:00 that morning and her pull-up was still dry. The staff still felt she could be released to go home for the remainder of her recovery, so they wheeled C out to the parking garage where they let her go. She and I took the elevator to the second floor and proceeded to get into the car. The moment I turned the van on C vomitted again! Thank goodness for the puke bucket they gave us because it would have been really nasty (and Mom would have had so much to clean up between me and C... Because I certainly would have puked right along side her if I had had to clean it up).

While we were waiting for C's Tylenol with codiene to arrive, I had searched for my validated parking ticket. It was GONE!!! I couldn't find it anywhere. I had to claim a "lost tickes" and ended up haivng to pay the full day's price, which considering where we were wasn't bad at all... It cost me $12 to leave the parking garage and, since they only take cash, I was glad I had stopped at the ATM that morning.

The rest of the journey home was a breaze. C fell asleep before we even hit the freeway and the night was clear. Matt kept texting me, and because California has a law against being on the phone and driving (which I totally agree with) I kept having to pull over. He finally called me to see how C was doing as I pulled into the driveway. Go figure!

We slept at my parents' house just to be on the safe side and woke up feeling pretty good. C had woken up several times from the pain, but was otherwise fine. No more vomitting! And I slept with MJ, as usual, but it was a smaller bed and he kept rolling inot me, so I didn't sleep very soundly. I talked to Matt more thoroughly that morning before heading off to breakfast at the local diner followed by a jaunt into town for pain medication for C. We arrived home in plenty of time to pick M up from school. Afterwards, C, MJ and C's new doll (from Aunt K-B) all took a much needed nap.

The next morning, C was up and moving as if nothing had happened to her. I've had to fight to keep her from wrestling with Papa and dancing in the kitchen. She has had only Tylenol (without codiene) for pain medication and has done a wonderful job in keeping her hands off her ears!!!

Enjoy the progressive pictures of the past few days!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Belated Happy Thanksgiving

I don't know what it is about holidays and M, but every single year he has to be seriously sick on/around at least ONE holiday.... This year he was seriously sick the day after Thanksgiving, thank goodness. Hopefully he won't be sick on Christmas (like he was the year before last and then again two years before that). I ended up taking him to the emergency room on Friday night because he was running a 104 degree fever. That, accomanied with a cough and vomitting, for me a touch concerned that it might be the Swine Flu (the H1N1 virus). Turns out the poor kid had caught Broncchitis. Turns out that Broncchitis is highly contagious in the first 24 to 48 hours! DAMN!!! Because MJ isn't yet 3 months old and C is getting ready for surgery on Thursday!!! Just what we need... A house full of sick people!!! Ugh!!!

Anyway, yes, you read that right... C is getting ready for yet another surgery. She had an appointment with the head of the ENT department at UC Davis Children's Medical Center and we discussed the idea of giving her an additional implant and fixing the right side (it has slipped out of place so much that only 8 out of 16 electrodes are functioning). Unfortunately, on Friday I received a letter from Tricare stating that they did not receive enough information from the physician to actually approve the request. So, it will take up to 10 working days to get the information. Needless to say, I don't have to money to be able to pay for her to have the surgery on my own, so we might have to reschedule the surgery for a later date; this is especially true if she catches what M has!

As a further update, I just wanted to BRAG about my two big kids!!! M and C were both given two awards on Friday, November 20th (M's award assembly was at 8:00am and C's was at 9:00am... Yes, Mom and I rushed like mad-women to make it to both assemblies... And, as mothers around teh world do, we were able to manage them both).

M was awarded student of the month for 1st grade. He was selected as the most improved student for his improvement in his handwriting! Plus, he was given a medal for the Alpha Society!!! This is given for getting good grades. It's tantamount to getting on the Principal's List!!! They do this because they don't have Honor Roll for kids under 5th grade... What a little genious!!! We're all so very proud of M!!! Plus... To make things even more amazing about M, I was told during his Parent/Teacher conference (on Tuesday, Novemmer 10th at 12:30) that M was doing great in his math. In fact, Mrs. J said that had M slowed down on his work and actually followed directions he would have scored even higher. Generally, he's bored with his math work and is just speeding along in it and not paying attention to the particulars. She wants him to show his work and he's able to do it in his head, so he's not showing his work. And, even more impressive is the fact that he's doing so outstandingly in his reading that she said he'll soon be reading at a 2nd grade level!!! OH MY GOSH!!! Can you say... IMPRESSED?!?

C was also given an award for student of the month. She was elected most courteous in her class. She received a similar award last year... She's so kind to others and it consistently shows. We're so pleased that she's got such a marvelous personality... And it shows in her fellow classmates and teachers. C was also given an award (though they have to hand out the documents in December because they didn't arrive in time) for 100% homework completion!!! YEAH!!! Now that's worth recognizing... She works hard to complete her homework.

Needless to say, I'm super thrilled with both of our big kids!!! It's Fantastic!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What Love means to a 4-8 year old.....

Slow down for three minutes to read this. It is so worth it.. Touching words from the mouth of babes. A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, 'What does love mean?'

The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined See what you think:

'When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore.
So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love...'

Rebecca- age 8

'When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.'

Billy - age 4

'Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.'

Karl - age 5

'Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.'

Chrissy - age 6

'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired..'

Terri - age 4

'Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.'

Danny - age 7

'Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more.
My Mommy and Daddy are like that.. They look gross when they kiss'

Emily - age 8

'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.'

Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)

'If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,'

Nikka - age 6 (we need a few million more Nikka's on this planet)

'Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.'

Noelle - age 7

'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.'

Tommy - age 6

'During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.

He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore.'

Cindy - age 8

'My mommy loves me more than anybody You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night..'

Clare - age 6

'Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.'

Elaine-age 5

'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.'

Chris - age 7

'Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.'

Mary Ann - age 4

'I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.'

Lauren - age 4

'When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.' (what an image)

Karen - age 7

'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross.'

Mark - age 6

'You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.'

Jessica - age 8

And the final one

The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.

Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.

When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said,

'Nothing, I just helped him cry'

When there is nothing left but God, that is when you find out that God is all you need. Take 60 seconds and give this a shot! All you do is simply say the following small prayer for the person who sent you this.

Heavenly Father, please bless all my friends in whatever it is that You know they may be needing this day! And may their life be full of Your peace, prosperity and power as he/she seeks to have a closer relationship with You. Amen.

Then send it on to five other people. Within hours you caused a multitude of people to pray for other people. Then sit back and watch the power of God work in your life.

(Upon reading this, I asked my son what he thought love means and this was his answer: "Love is kissing and hugging. Love is my family")

The Old Man

The Old Man...

As I came out of the supermarket that sunny day, pushing my cart of groceries towards my car, I saw an old man with the hood of his car up and a lady sitting inside the car, with the door open.

The old man was looking at the engine. I put my groceries away in my car and continued to watch the old gentleman from about 25 feet away.

I saw a young man in his early twenties with a grocery bag in his arm, walking towards the old man. The old gentleman saw him coming too, and took a few steps towards him. I saw the old gentleman point to his open hood and say something.

The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand new Cadillac Escalade and then turn back to the old man and I heard him yell at the old gentleman saying, 'You shouldn't even be allowed to drive a car at your age.' And then with a wave of his hand, he got in his car and peeled rubber out of the parking lot.

I saw the old gentleman pull out his handkerchief and mop his brow as he went back to his car and again looked at the engine. He then went to his wife and spoke with her and appeared to tell her it would be okay. I had seen enough and I approached the old man. He saw me coming and stood straight and as I got near him I said, 'Looks like you're having a problem.'

He smiled sheepishly and quietly nodded his head. I looked under the hood myself and knew that whatever the problem was, it was beyond me. Looking around I saw a gas station up the road and told the old man that I would be right back. I drove to the station and went inside and saw three attendants working on cars. I approached one of them and related the problem the old man had with his car and offered to pay them if they could follow me back down and help him.

The old man had pushed the heavy car under the shade of a tree and appeared to be comforting his wife. When he saw us, he straightened up and thanked me for my help. As the mechanics diagnosed the problem (overheated engine) I spoke with the old gentleman.

When I shook hands with him earlier, he had noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented about it, telling me that he had been a Marine too. I nodded and asked the usual question, 'What outfit did you serve with?'

He had mentioned that he served with the first Marine Division at Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal. He had hit all the big ones and retired from the Corps after the war was over. As we talked we heard the car engine come on and saw the mechanics lower the hood. They came over to us as the old man reached for his wallet, but was stopped by me and I told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card.

He still reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed had his name and address on it and I stuck it in my pocket. We all shook hands all around again and I said my goodbye's to his wife... I then told the two mechanics that I would follow them back up to the station. Once at the station I told them that they had interrupted their own jobs to come along with me and help the old man. I said I wanted to pay for the help, but they refused to charge me.

One of them pulled out a card from his pocket looking exactly like the card the old man had given to me. Both of the men told me then, that they were Marine Corps Reserves. Once again we shook hands all around and as I was leaving, one of them told me I should look at the card the old man had given to me. I said I would and drove off.

For some reason I had gone about two blocks when I pulled over and took the card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long time. The name of the old gentleman was on the card in golden leaf and under his name 'Congressional Medal of Honor Society.'

I sat there motionless looking at the card and reading it over and over.

I looked up from the card and smiled to no one but myself and marveled that on this day, four Marines had all come together, because one of us needed help. He was an old man all right, but it felt good to have stood next to greatness and courage and an honor to have been in his presence.

Remember, OLD men like him gave you FREEDOM for America. Thanks to those who served and those who supported them.

America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the Mall. If you don't stand behind our troops, PLEASE feel free to stand in front of them! Remember, Freedom isn't "Free" -- thousands have paid the price so you can enjoy what you have today!




This prayer is so powerful. Pass this prayer to 12 people including me.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Prayer Wheel For Our Military Men and Women

Yet another precious storyline about our troops. They are loved and appreciated by me and my family so very much. This is one way to express my sincerest gratitude for their service.

And, to bring home how accurate this is, let me tell you what happened while we were at the PX (Post Exchange) at Fort Lewis last year: We were out shopping one afternoon at our PX. As we were walking into the store we passed a young man who had lost the lower half of his left leg. I can still see how young this soldier was. The cost of war hit me like a ton of bricks at that moment. We often see on the news the price our men and women pay, but rarely do we see it in person and on someone so young. But what made things even more horrendous was the fact that my usually loving son, M, pointed at him and laughed. Tears instantly streamed down my cheeks as I angrily turned M towards me as I hissed with pure fury, "That man is a soldier and he lost his leg protecting us! DON'T YOU EVER LAUGH AT A SOLDIER AGAIN!" I attempted to calm down, though anger still seethed from my poors, as I explained that Daddy would be going to war soon and that he could come home missing an arm or a leg just like that soldier did and that we need to respect and thank those very special soldiers who have literally sacrificed so much of themselves. M was instantly contrite and immediately began crying as he looked with sympathy over his shoulder whispering a simple, but precious, apology. M nor I will ever forget that moment. In fact, any time he sees a young man with an injury he asks if he, too, got hurt in war. I'm glad he remembers how much these precious men and women mean to our family, though I can't help but cry at the loss of so many young men and women... They gave their lives willingly for mine and I will never forget them!

1/2 boy 1/2 man

If you read this, you WILL forward it on. You just won't be able to stop yourself.

The average age of the military man is 19 years. He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father's, but he has never collected unemployment either.

He's a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away. He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing and a 155mm howitzer.

He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk. He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must. He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional.

He can march until he is told to stop, or stop until he is told to march. He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity. He is self-sufficient.

He has two sets of fatigues: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry. He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never
to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals,mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts.

If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food. He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.

He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands. He can save your life - or take it, because that is his job.
He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay, and still find ironic humor in it all.

He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime. He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed.

He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to 'square-away ' those around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.

Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom. Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years.

He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding. Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.

And now we even have women over there in danger, doing their part in this tradition of going to War when our nation calls us to do so.

As you go to bed tonight, remember this shot... A short lull, a little shade and a picture of loved ones in their helmets.

Prayer wheel for our military... please don't break it Please send this on after a short prayer.

Prayer Wheel

'Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen.'

When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our ground troops in Afghanistan , sailors on ships, and airmen in the air, and for those in Iraq, Afghanistan and all foreign countries.

Of all the gifts you could give a US Soldier, Sailor, Coastguardsman, Marine, or Airman, prayer is the very best one. I can't break this one, sorry. Pass it on to everyone and pray.

Daddy's Poem

My father-in-law sent this to me, which really means a lot since we really haven't spoken (except for a few emails here and there) in the last 3 years. I cried through much of it and desperately wanted to share this with the world... What better way to do it than through my blog for all to see!?! And could there be a better time than the week of Memorial Day when Americans honor and remember those who served our country and helped to defend all the freedoms we cherrish!?!

My love and respect goes out to each and every person who has served our great nation in this selfless way as well as to their families who must live their lives seperated from their loved ones and who are left with the knowledge that an immeasurable loss as described below is always a strong possibility.

Daddy's Poem

Her hair was up in a pony tail,
Her favorite dress tied with a bow.
Today was Daddy's Day at school,
And she couldn't wait to go..
But her mommy tried to tell her,
That she probably should stay home...
Why the kids might not understand,
If she went to school alone.

But she was not afraid;
She knew just what to say.
What to tell her classmates
Of why he wasn't there today.

But still her mother worried,
For her to face this day alone.
And that was why once again,
She tried to keep her daughter home...

But the little girl went to school
Eager to tell them all.
About a dad she never sees
A dad who never calls.

There were daddies along the back wall,
For everyone to meet.
Children squirming impatiently,
Anxious in their seats

One by one the teacher called
A student from the class.
To introduce their daddy,
As seconds slowly passed.

At last the teacher called her name,
Every child turned to stare.
Each of them was searching,
A man who wasn't there.

'Where's her daddy at?'
She heard a boy call out.
'She probably doesn't have one,'
Another student dared to shout.

And from somewhere near the back,
She heard a daddy say,
'Looks like another deadbeat dad,
Too busy to waste his day.'

The words did not offend her,
As she smiled up at her Mom.
And looked back at her teacher,
Who told her to go on.

And with hands behind her back,
Slowly she began to speak.
And out from the mouth of a child,
Came words incredibly unique.

'My Daddy couldn't be here,
Because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could be,
Since this is such a special day.

And though you cannot meet him,
I wanted you to know.
All about my daddy,
And how much he loves me so.

He loved to tell me stories
He taught me to ride my bike.
He surprised me with pink roses,
And taught me to fly a kite.

We used to share fudge sundaes,
And ice cream in a cone.
And though you cannot see him.
I'm not standing here alone.

'Cause my daddy's always with me,
Even though we are apart
I know because he told me,
He'll forever be in my heart'

With that, her little hand reached up,
And lay across her chest.
Feeling her own heartbeat,
Beneath her favorite dress.

And from somewhere in the crowd of dads,
Her mother stood in tears...
Proudly watching her daughter,
Who was wise beyond her years.

For she stood up for the love
Of a man not in her life.
Doing what was best for her,
Doing what was right.

And when she dropped her hand back down,
Staring straight into the crowd.
She finished with a voice so soft,
But its message clear and loud.

'I love my daddy very much,
he's my shining star.
And if he could, he'd be here,
But heaven's just too far.

You see he is a soldier
And died just this past year
When a roadside bomb hit his convoy
And taught brave men to fear.

But sometimes when I close my eyes,
it's like he never went away...'
And then she closed her eyes,
And saw him there that day.

And to her mother's amazement,
She witnessed with surprise.
A room full of daddies and children,
All starting to close their eyes.

Who knows what they saw before them,
Who knows what they felt inside.
Perhaps for merely a second,
They saw him at her side.

'I know you're with me Daddy,'
To the silence she called out.

And a child was blessed, if only for a moment,
And given the gift of believing,
That heaven is never too far.

Proud U.S. Army Veteran!

Friday, November 6, 2009

I Am So Frustrated...

C has been on another of her "not sleeping" kicks. She seems to go through cycles of sleeplessness... Or rather, she seems to go through cycles of sleeping. Most of the time she has sleepless nights. I can't get a grip on her cycles. I can't help but wonder if her sleeplessness comes in conjunction with a huge change or not. It seems like it does much of the time but then I wonder why these cycles last so long.

Here's my dilemma: Because she is deaf when C is awake at night she doesn't know how loud she is, so she laughs and talks out loud and plays with her toys as if nobody else in the house was sleeping. She could care less; or so it seems. And nothing I do about it helps. Literally.

Here are some of the things I've tried: Putting her into timeout when she's playing; making her go to bed early the next night; taking away the toys she was playing with. I have even tried the opposite (but only if she doesn't play with her toys and is quiet for the other people in the house): Allowing her to stay awake as long as she wants; allowing her to read books when she's awake. I know there is more but these are the things I've done most... None of which has encouraged her to sleep (or, more importantly, lay peacefully in bed when she can't sleep so the rest of the household doesn't get disturbed all night).

So, if anyone has any other ideas or tricks up their sleeves, I'm more than open to ideas! I will make one request, though... No medications. C has been on the timed release Melatonin quite a lot. It doesn't work for her. And I just can't see putting a 6 year old on a sleeping pill when she functions fairly well with what little sleep she does get. It's the rest of us who have a problem with her sleeping habits. And, if we could put her at one end of the house and us at the other it would be fine because then her restlessness wouldn't be so counterproductive for the rest of us.

In addition to C's sleeping probelms, I'm noticing more and more homework issues. She's beginning to "cheat" on doing her home work. I, quite literally, have to watch her like a hawk so that she doesn't skip sentences or pages for her reading assignments. And she just blots down numbers for her subtraction work. I can't figure out if her issue is a sudden feeling of insecurity due to having a new baby brother or if she's confused or if she's just being lazy so she can go play... She's so dang smart, but seriously, she's taking the route that makes less work for her when she's not being monitored. So, it seems I'm just going to have to stand right on top of her in order to get her to do her homework properly. Anyone have any ideas here, too?

To top things off, in the past couple of months C has begun ignoring my directions. If I tell her to do something she has begun just blowing me off. Oh, she doesn't do it all the time (not like M), but come on... She's changing. It suddenly hit me (as I was typing this ) that it's almost like she's starting to go through puberty! Hmmm... I wonder?!?

God how I love this girl, but she is driving me bonkers!!! ;) UGH!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween... Trick Or Treat

We enjoyed ourselves Saturday night. M dressed as a Ninja Warrior with these scary claws; C went as a Gypsy. She looked great and actually won the Most Creative award at M's school carnival on Friday night; MJ was a red Chili Pepper and was very adorable. We bought M's and MJ's cosutmes at Costumes Express. They were timely and not too pricey for the outfits I bought. They were very pricey on many of their outfits, which is why C had to make her own outfit. She had chosen a Gypsy from the magazine but it was more than $60. So, I put some of my clothes on her, bought a couple of scarves that had been on sale for $3 each and some oversized gold jewelry from Walmart. I added some make-up and she looked GREAT! M actually looked pretty awesome, too. Being Japanese-Korean he looked the part of a Ninja, as the picture above shows.

On Saturday night, we went into town (we live in the country and must drive into town to Trick or Treat). We met my sister and her family (her hubby, their three kids and her sister-in-law) in town and had a fun time together.

This year was quite hillarious because every few minutes there would be sudden shouts of, "Hi M_____!" coming from so many different kids (mostly girls) from all the different grades... Not just from his classmates! It happened so often that my sister and brother(-in-law) began teasing him by yelling "HI M_____", too!!! It was so funny and was made even funnier because Matthew didn't seem to realize what was going on, though towards the end of the night his "hi" was sounding tired.

C walked with R (my sister's sister-in-law) the entire time while M buzzed between everyone; but when we came upon a scary house he refused to go up to the door so he waited with the three adults (minus R who took C to the doors); he insisted on staying with me. Sadly it didn't dawn on me to get pictures of MJ at a few of the homes in order to capture his first trick or treating until Sunday morning... Hmm... A bit too late!!!

The kids and I ended up leaving at 8:00 while my sister's gang stayed the course. We had started at about 6:45, so they got a good hour and some change of trick or treating... Way more than enough for me!!! I was pooped and even M had begun asking when we would be done. So, we left WELL before they did. The three kids and I walked all the way back from down town to the fire house where we parked our cars (the distance sounds like a lot, but we live in a town with 750 people in it, so the walk was only about a mile and a half); it took us 25 minutes. There were people around until we got to LaFayette Street where we had to walk (in the dark) alone up a BIG HILL. I was a little nervous, but we made it just fine with no encounters of any kind (I was more nervous about wild critters than of strangers). My brother (-in-law) offered to walk back with us, but I said no. I should have asked him to get the van and pick us up at a friend's house. THAT would have been smart since I had to push the stroller up that long hill with the two big kids holding onto the sides. They weren't very helpful, either... I was pulling them, too. Needless to say, my legs were killing me and I was out of breath by the time we got to the top.

By the time we got home it was well after 8:30. And, since they had dinner excessively early, they were hungry. So I allowed them to get a peanut butter sandwich (they opted not to have jelly, which was probably a good thing for so late at night). Their normal bed time is 8:00, so after all that walking and the late hour M and C were worn out. Needless to say, by the time they crawled into bed just after 9:00pm they were out cold!!!

But, we had a blast... Okay, everyone but me had a blast since I'm not one for going out trick or treating. I prefer to stay at home to pass out candy... Next year it's all on you, Daddy!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ed Freeman

This in an email I recieved and I thought it was worth being posted here in memory of him and men like him, present, past and future. They are true HEROS!!! Below the email is a short paragraph about Ed Freeman, per Wikipedia.

You're a 19 year old kid. You're critically wounded and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley. November 11, 1965; LZ X-ray; Vietnam. Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8-1 and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in.
You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns and you know you're not getting out. Your family is 1/2 way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you'll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.Then - over the machine gun noise - you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter.
You look up to see an unarmed Huey. But ... it doesn't seem real because no Medi-Vac markings are on it. Ed Freeman is coming for you. He's not Medi-Vac so it's not his job, but he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire anyway. Even after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come. He's coming anyway. And he drops it in and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 2 or 3 of you on board. Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire to the doctors and nurses. And, he kept coming back!! 13 more times!! He took about 30 of you and your buddies out who would never have gotten out.

Medal of Honor Recipient, Ed Freeman, died last Wednesday at the age of 80, in Boise, Idaho. May God Rest His Soul.

Medal of Honor Winner
Ed Freeman

From Wikipedia on this date:
"Ed W. "Too Tall" Freeman (November 20, 1927 - August 20, 2008) was a United States Army helicopter pilot who received the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Battle of Ia Drang during the Vietnam War. During the battle, he flew through gunfire numerous times, bringing supplies to a trapped American battalion and flying dozens of wounded soldiers to safety. Freeman was a wingman for Major Bruce Crandall who also received the Medal of Honor for the same missions."