Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Day of 2007

Was not that exciting at our house. I remember thinking as a kid / teenager that I would always do something cool on New Year's eve.... I would make sure I booked the babysitter early... that we would have a party of something really exciting! (I was always babysitting and making $$$ when I was young!

Ironically after a day of starting to undecorate the multitude of Christmas trees & defrocking the outside (cause it was really warm here today 47-50 degrees). I am looking forward to an evening of watching Sponge Bob Square Pants with Adrian and Colin and Melea and Daddy and bringing in the New Year with one of the weirdest Nickelodeon creations that my children seem to love more than choclate (an I am actually beginning to appreciate Sponge Bob too) as we undecorate the big tree in front of a fire drinking ginger ale and sherbert coolers.

Maybe after 40 I am getting to old to party or I guess I really never had that much fun doing it, or maybe all those cool things really can't compare to an evening at home with my favorite children and the best daddy in the world and knowing that I am bringing in 2008 with the most important people in the world to me!

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year and that this one will bring all of us joy and excitement and pray that we will all be here to watch Sponge Bob next year too~! (Course I am hoping we can graduate to Monty Python soon!)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

the Big Mess!


Some days I love being a mom to all my children (hey that is my favorite soap opera too)! But I have to say that keeping up with all their toys is never one of my favorite activities.


Today after I had been working on catching up on laundry for a few hours and thinking about tackling matching socks..... Melea and Colin cam in from playing outside with Adrian to check on Miranda and Jordan. They were playing in the "baby" room.

This is a toy area... about an 7'x9' closet that I put / filled with all "baby safe / non choking toys and decorated the shelves with all the stuffed animals the kids have as well as all the old / out of batteries talking/singing/dancing Elmo's we have ..... and that is a lot! But is is fun and safe and Miranda and Jordan can crawl and play and do stuff and it is somewhat like a big playpen with a lot of toys....mostly out of reach... but there to be exchanged and moved and to encourage walking and fun!


Well to my chagrin after cleaning and picking up all three the toy room yesterday.... the baby room suddenly looked like there had been a 10.0 earthquake that hit it. I wanted to scream!!!!!!
Colin, Melea, Adrian and Daddy had been playing outside on the rainbow.... boy did they need to waste some energy running around (though apparently it was no where near enough) Eric had come in to go to the restroom and I had decided to change Miss Stinky pants..... so Jordan was alone in the toy room..... next thing I hear is lots of giggling and laughing and Elmo's talking & singing & making unbelievable sounds!
Melea decided to climb up and knock down all of the stuffed animals, then Colin helped her by dumping all the bins out.... (note the photo is from earlier this year when it was warm and the room was not completely decimated!) . In less than the time it took me to change Miranda's diaper, they came in saw that Jordan only had one toy and decided to "help him" pick another .....another from about a thousand! URGH!!!!!!!!!!!!
I guess I can at least say that the did wait till after our guests left...so they can still think I am an overly compulsive neat freak. But is is so infuriating because Eric and I had just cleaned it all up and gotten all the toys back into the correct bins and made sure all the pieces were there for each toy.

Each and every day I am utterly amazed at the amount of damage my six wonderful angelic children can inflict on our toy area in a matter of minutes. I am the queen of organization and I swear that half the sterilite containers produced are in my house..... but I just get so surprised at the simple joy that all my kids get from dumping those containers out!
All of them love it.... Adrian will dump her little dolls furniture everywhere!, Colin and the train parts, and Melea.... Melea just loves to dump it all, throw it all, just make a huge mess.
Today it was so deep with stuffed animals it took me a few minutes to realize which moving pile was Jordan and which was Colin!
I asked her... did she want to help clean it up or sit in the "thinking chair".... well she looked a the floor, looked at me... and hopped down from the bookshelf and kicked about a dozen animals out of her way and walked upstairs to the thinking chair! I don't think I will be asking her that question again!
Colin helped me pick up some of the items, before he decided to go outside and play again and I just sat on the floor and was reminded of a story Sister Virgina told us in 7th grade...about visiting a former student who had a messy house and how she knew all the children there were loved so much....cause mom didn't have time to keep cleaning up after them..... I am sure if she could see my toy room right now Sister would know I really love my children a lot today!
So maybe Melea is trying to tell me something..... what ever the case... I went upstairs after clearing the floor of the big animals and making a safe spot for Miranda and Jordan .
I think I learned a bigger lesson than her anyways. I am never asking that question again!
When I got upstairs. Melea smiled and had a big hug for me, then she asked for "toooooo puprles" and I gave her two Hershey's kisses and she came down and helped me for about three minutes before asking to go outside and play!
Maybe I am a horrible mom or may be a great mom.... not really sure, cause I gave her candy and then let her off the hook.... but she actually verbally asked to play outside and she never would have helped me put silly parts Elmo back in the right box and "anal retentivel" mommy has to have the blocks in the block box, and the roll-arounds in that box, and the pop onz in the barrel, etc, etc, etc ........

Saturday, December 29, 2007

What can $85 get you......

$17.50 for tickets to show,
$13.50 for popcorn and two sodas,
$40 for babysitter (worth every penny and thanks T for filling in!)
and $ 15.00 for drive thru steak and shake cause I was worried about Eliza's wheezing and wanted to get home!

But four hours alone with Eric PRICELESS! (well Johnny Depp was there for 122 minutes of it too)


Christmas break has been pretty much a huge bust! Thank heaven it is short compared to NEXT YEAR"S!!!!!!!! I am starting to plan now for 20 days of seven kids and dad!

I make all these great plans and something always comes up.... one of the children is invariably sick (glad that usually doesn't stop us), I get a horrendous head cold / sinus infection, the extra child wrangler for the holidays sick ....urgh.......e when I got plans to finish calendars, work on the subdivision website, put away all the new toys, and do laundry, return a few gifts and maybe shop for some new clothes for COLIN...he is finally a size 5/6!!!!!! and want to see a grown up movie!

Last night a friend of ours watched the children and Eric and I got to go out to see "Sweeney Todd".

I have been so enamoured with Johnny Depp since his 21 Jump Street Days that the thought of spending the evening with him and Eric was really exciting to this old stay at home mom and Sweeney is one of the plays I love to see and still have on my list of things I want to direct someday.

I am not sure why as a theater production Sweeney is not scary to me and I would take Adrian and Colin (Melea could not sit that long) but I think the others will be 21 before I let them see that movie. But I almost broke Eric's hand at one point and I am happy I was not on the clean up crew for that production!

But all the blood really grossed me out! Now why you would think I would be so delusional to think that a movie based on a musical based on a book about a barber who slits people's throats and a woman who chops up the bodies and serves them to Londeners would be a fun family event .... but Tim Burton brought out more gore and disgust in his grey and sepia tone London than even I thought possible. Eric said he thought there was more blood in Todd than in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (another film I don't ever want my children to see...)

Ironically Eric and I really enjoyed it and we both agreed that no one but Tim Burton could have directed it. I also felt that they did a great adaption on screen of that musical (and that is hard production to do well).

I also loved sitting in front of the people we did... they apparently had never seen the stage show and kept asking if that note was off key or do you think they meant for that WEIRD DISCORD. I guess they have never heard an actual Sondheim musical before... lol.... I find all his music really interesting and Sweeney has always been one of my absolute favorites and am really glad I am not trying to sing it!

Actually I really liked it and who knew that Depp could carry a tune and I guess I am getting really old cause I want Alan Richman to play a hot good guy next time he is looking really good as he is getting older! (that or I need to get out of the house more) Sort of an evil Sean Connery thing starting there!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family! I want to take this moment to wish you the happiest of all holiday seasons and hope that you and your families are able to enjoy the inner peace and tranquility this holiday can bring!

Or in my case after I have put all my angels into bed and fallen in exhausted heap onto the couch to watch a new DVD...not Sponge Bob.... with Eric only to start snoring and have him cover me up and kiss me goodnight a few minutes later!



We actually had a great holiday and it all went as smoothly as a mom of six (soon to be seven) could wish for.... there were the crayons ground into the floor, the burnt / forgotten rolls, a broken jar of apple butter, a flooded bathroom (two times), trying to find a plunger!, a missing diaper...still looking for it & hope that is not why we needed the plunger, a sugar cookie explosion when Melea decided to put more sprinkles on them, lots of chocolate moustaches and beard from the hershies Kisses, and BELIEVE IT OR NOT..... some spilt milk!


Other than from me there really was not much crying here anyways....cause Santa was really good to all the children. NO COAL! For the Smith Household!

Colin, Melea and Adrian all got dolls that look like them. I thought this was a great idea....cause I got to make clothes and stuff for them and had a blast doing this for several months.... I made a whole lot.... till I realized that as they opened them not only do I have to keep track of all the "real" kids shoes now I got to keep track of all the "doll clothes & shoes" too!


Possibly not the brightest idea I have ever had..... Cause you all know how I occasionally can go overboard on the sewing thing! but they loved them ! Colin's highlight was putting his "Miguel's" glasses on and off and on and off! I can't get him to wear his own that often...but he is always putting on little Miguel's now! AMAZING! I wish remembering where Colin's are and putting them on him were so easy!



Melea also wanted to know if they made "boots" for her doll.... these are the term we give her braces (SMO's)...I told her no..... but I caught her trying to Miranda's on her doll later in the afternoon I asked why and she said "me's oo iggie" translation from Mia speak to plain English as "MINE TOO BIG.... stupid". Maybe Melea's new doll will keep her from dressing and undressing Miranda all the time. She sure loves her Miranda! I am very glad Miranda is so sturdy! And bends like most children with DS!


Miranda and Eliza got matching Inchworms.....I really can not wait to take these outside this spring! Miranda still can't touch the ground and toppled off them the three times she tried to make it work... but it was so much fun watching her and Eliza try them out!

Eliza took a rest in Colin 's new truck! she was really tired and I think she wanted a ride....though it was not long till Colin dumped her on the floor and we had a few tears!


Jordan just seemed to love crawling around in all the paper and just went in his best army crawl from one side of the room to the other...over any present and sibling in the way! He just was so excited and had so much fun that I think he might remember the amazement for a while any ways! I am not sure he really like any of his presents....he was more excited with trying to knock over the poinsettias and to eat the shiny paper! But at least his sisters had fun making him open the presents!


And this year in a marked surprise was the quickest we have ever opened presents....2 1/2 hours~! . Colin actually liked opening them, though he still had a pile left after Adrian had finished hers and helped everyone else...COLIN WANTED NO HELP THIS YEAR!!! He wanted to do it all by himself!

And only Miranda feel asleep in the middle of it!


So about 3 hours after we started all that was left was the clean up! It is amazing what little trash we really had left when Eric, Colin and myself put all the stuff in recycling (cardboard, paper) or into the reuse pile (gift boxes and bows, etc).

Thanks....a whole lot.....Grandpa Leahy, Grampy Leo & Grammy Marage, Grandma (Mama) and all our friends, birth families and friends who sent gifts and presents for the children. With all good intentions I have plans for thank you notes.... but that means crayons! Urgh...oh well there is always nore magic eraser!


Sometimes it really is so hard to remember the reason for the season.... the birth of a little baby and God's promise and all the hope that has brought to humanity..... but as I sit here and remembered that my little children are all napping and snuggled in their beds.


As I recall all the kisses and hugs me and daddy and grandma got today ..... till I think we were bruised....


I remember that I got a glimpse the joy in their eyes that I wish you all could get to see.


I realize how lucky Eric and I are each and every day with our large and wonderfully special family and how much we hope everyone could enjoy that same special feeling of warmth this holiday season!


Merry Christmas to all of our friends, family and we hope that it was a fun filled and glorious holiday for all of you too!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

School Christmas Parties and Holiday Puke!

Today was one of those wonderful days you might like to really forget. It started with bad planning on mom's part.

All of the kid's had dental appointments starting at 7:00 AM (I usually like this cause we can get to school with little missed time since it starts at 8:56), Colin & Melea each had holiday parties at school, and I promised to take Adrian to a special mommy / daughter lunch in between the two parties at her favorite Mexican restaurant.

Well dentist went great (we were only 2 minutes late getting all the kids there after driving the 39 mile trip to get to the office). Course I find out when we are leaving he will no longer be taking three of the six children's insurance and so he can keep seeing three of them... new problem I store in my head for later! Urgh got to solve that quicker.... Need to find someone who will take all of their insurances (3 or 4 different plans....see children with developmental delays and sometimes like to bite and kick! ) Now you can see why I just love the dentist.

But I have to say using those spin brushes is paying off.... we had a few major screams this time and no one got bitten (however no one needed x-rays), no cavities for the Smith family and Melea asked to go to the bathroom and #2 in the potty and cleaned (mostly) herself...so all in all the dentist was a big YEAH RAH! And we made it to school in time for the regular start of the day!

I got to take the other children home, get them breakfast, and get them set up with Kayla for watching them while I went back to school and started on the Holiday party junket. (Side note...Thursday I attended Adrian and Eliza's preschool party in the morning and Colin and Melea's resource room party in the afternoon). SO i am getting rather ill of the school party snack, graham cracker house bit.

Basically I still get really depressed when I go to the "regular" room activities. After 7 years of being a mom to a non -typical child... there is nothing that can slap you in the face as a room of 16 happy and excited children who are talking a mile a minute as the enter the room and then seeing someone trying to coax your child out from under the table. (Again just cause we don't like routine changes and parties and fun activities can bring out the worst in us!) And I am not delusional... I really do know what my children can and can not do... but today reality was almost as cold as the windchill.

Melea actually had a great time...she wasn't really sure why I had come... but she went with it... we got to make another grahm cracker house...she liked the tree though and loved eating the licorice and gum drops! She had a great time feeding me the skittles and of course I got to observe how she has all her teachers twisted around her little finger. She "forgets" that she can talk, or blow her own nose of to say please and thank you..... I am really surprised at the lack of participation she has compared to all the things she does for Eric and I at home.

Well Eric calls and tells me he has Adrian at our favorite Mexican restaurant..... I leave school and go there to meet him and Adrian for our special lunch. Adrian asks if Daddy can stay... who am I to say no and it really does sound like fun...so I say sure and I will be there in 3 minutes....

I get there in time to order my soda and glance at the menu.... we start the process of ordering... me - caldo de pollo and I start by asking Adrian what she wants and I hear those least favorite words.... "mom I feel...." she never did get the sick out...cause the next thing I know she is projectile vomiting across the table at me. She actually hit the people in the booth behind me!

She gets another one started ....Eric positions her head down... she fills her snow boots..... I grab her out of her boots and someones empty cup from the next table and run to the bathroom with her puking all the way. Now she is crying and our poor waitress is just standing there in shock and disbelief......

Well we take off her clothes and Eric brings me her coat and my slightly puke covered one to wrap her up in as well as my keys and purse... he gets the food to go and then buys the nice couple lunch and leaves a 50% tip (glad we eat there a lot and they already are used to the kids making a mess! .... though never this bad before)

Well I take Adrian home in the van (I have the old car) and get her situated and make her some chicken noodle soup and give her a lot of hugs and then it is off to Colin's party.

9 out of 10 days all I can ever see is all the things my children can do and the things I know they will do..... but after the puke and not getting to diffuse about the first party.... I just seem to see more happy and healthy children who are smiling and talking. The kids are really nice to Colin... but I just feel so out of place.

It is really funny, cause Colin sees this fear or apprehension or whatever in my eyes and then he runs over and with the biggest grin he can get he jumps into my arms and hugs and squeezes (which means he wants a one back). He is so happy I am there! He could care less about the 6 crafts they planed or the "snow ball fight" ... or even the food and candy, his mom is there and that is all that counts!

In that respect he has the same joy that most of his classmates are now enjoying. So I got put in charge of making snow globes and key chains with the children.... Colin of course had his other plans...he wanted me with him at each station... but we slowly worked that out and he really enjoyed the rest of the afternoon with me and his friends.

I brought the children home after helping Colin's teacher clean up from two different kindergarten holiday parties. COlin and Melea seemed like they really enjoyed the expereince.... but I think I can wait another whole year for another day like today (course valentine's parties will be here before I know it)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Happy St. Nick's Day!

St. Nick's was always the start of the holiday season at our home when I was growing up. My grandparents always decorated the Saturday after Christmas and were black Friday shoppers, but my dad waited to start stuff on the evening of the 5th when we all wrote our letters to St. Nick and left them in stockings hoping to get some candy!

We have been having do much fun decorating and getting ready for Christmas! We have actually got all thirteen trees up (I told Eric I needed to buy a new one....cause thirteen was an unlucky number and I know he rolled his eyes...but I think he might actually have been thinking about smacking me.... of course I try not to comment on his five computers but it is so hard).

I figure I will put up a few photos during the holiday season of the kids and the trees....here is Adrian in the Laundry room with my newest tree (last year tree and ornaments this year). I always wanted a white one with blue ornaments and it is in our mud / laundry room! Adrian and Eliza and I had the best time decorating it!


We have started cookies and fudge, made two gingerbread houses ...I love those prefab kits!!!!!!... except the kids all keep eating the candy off of them though. And we have eaten our advent calendar candy for the first five days (Thinking of you Grandma Shaw every time we open them). As well as having watched a lot of the Rankin and Bass Christmas specials..... I still love that heat miser and Cold Miser song the best....Melea is even doing the dances to it! She is so looking forward to making a snowman! she keeps talking about a "froooo sty" (it is with a long "Oh" sound ! I love the ABC FAMILY CHANNEL

We have visited Santa several times...and this year everyone has enjoyed it after a time! Actually our favorite Santa is always the one at Walmart. He has a ton of time and the photos are free! And even after I have paid the huge price at the mall.... this one always has time for all of us and the kids....he is great...and was great again last week with Adrian, and I can't wait to take all six of the children this year

But today is my actual favorite tradition....course it got a little warped last night.... first of all Adrian has been writing Santa lists for everyone....and She can write her own name.... but everything else she writes need translation. BUT SHE TOOK IT UPON HERSELF to write Santa Letters for all eight of us ,,,I am sure she was earning brownie points....and she has Colin and Melea helping do everything and keeps reminding them Santa is watching everything.....Oh if I could milk this for the whole year!

By the way! Adrian and Melea want cameras, and dolls, and clothes for them and Colin wants Elmo's and some cars and a lot of clothes and chocolate bars! (As well as about 100 other things that seem like they really belonged on Adrian's list. But she really did give a lot of thought to this....I have the new Harry Potter DVD on my list and a diamond (those deBeers & Kay commercials are so good even my four year old is deluded into thinking her dad should give me a diamond!.....They sure got there money's worth!! ) AND DAD NO DIAMONDS....I would rather have new windows!!!!!!!!!

But I forgot to buy or budget candy into the food budget for this week and with all the home improvements and my rules for when to use and not use a credit card (and CANDY IS NOT ONE OF THEM) so we got a lot of what we had in the house in our stockings.

We got the left over Pinata candy from Colin's birthday, and I bought some kisses on sale last week, a few nuts and some apples (I had them laying around in the kitchen) Eric and I got the oranges....cause no one really likes them but me...and they were a little squishy! I gave the girls some pony tail holders and the barrettes I had been making them and Colin got a rubber snake... which he promptly put into the Nativity scene with the others from his birthday party... he keeps telling me the snakes would be there too!
But the funny thing was it didn't matter to the kids!!!!!!! They had a blast opening and eating their candy downstairs as we waited for the bus this morning... so I sent them to school all loaded up on sugar and bouncing off the walls!

I realize that St. Nick's day is still really cool and I still like it and I think I will go eat my orange with my coffee. Have a great start to your holiday season!!!!!!!

Monday, December 3, 2007

This is the coolest!!

I love finding stuff like this in my Colin's bag!!!!!!!!!

I was so happy to see this!!! I wish I had found it Friday it would have made my whole weekend.... but because of the party and all that crazy business I didn't get through book bags till this morning (and Colin still managed to take his hat and gloves out and hide them after I had packed it......he hates them)

Usually I don't always find such cool stuff....mainly just lots of colored papers with announcements for school and an occasional paper that looks like Colin might have done some of the drawing himself....occasionally he is non cooperative and his aide helps him way too much! But this was a copy of his dry erase board!!!!!! He loves the dry erase boards!!!!!!!! Everyone should have a little set at home and a huge 4 X 8 sheet for the kids!!!!!!!! We get so much use from ours and we have had years of a circle squiggles with stick legs!!!!!!! This was just so exciting!!!!!

It probably doesn't look like something that exciting (BUT THIS IS AWESOME)

it has hair and legs and feet and ears and arms eyes and all that stuff this is such a huge leap developmentally. We have gone from just circles to bodies in less than a year!!!!!!!!

I told you all he had grown up so much..... but I love it when he surprises even me!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Birthday Party Fun!

Last night I stayed up really late making my son’s birthday cake for his party tomorrow! He is having a creepy crawly / snake party!!!! So it is a great big snake!!

Colin turned seven years old almost 14 days ago and he is finally getting a chance to have his big birthday bash!

I can say that birthdays are a big deal for everyone at our house. I was recently reminded that a lot of cultures do not even celebrate them and that maybe we should rethink our customs on this! HA HA it has me LOL because BIRTHDAYS WILL ALWAYS BE BIG HERE!!!

I know there is not one reason why they are important to me….. But they really are!!!

These are a few I have thought of…. I am sure others could be posted…..

First one being
And celebrating them is a way we celebrate the person’s life …. While they are still here with us! I do not mean it is about gifts, but just getting people together to have fun and eat food and enjoy themselves and just make merry! So currently this happens at our house about six times a year!

Second being….
I wasn’t there for all of my children’s births… so subconsciously I have to make a big deal! OK there could be some validity to this…..but that doesn’t explain all of the parties!

Third being…..
I sort of feel it wasn’t a big deal to my family growing up….. so I want it to be and I am the grown up now! Ha Ha!

Fourth being…..
I am a white trash version of Martha Stewart that just makes great spinach dip (every party) and caterpillar & frog finger sandwiches (for Saturday’s creepy crawly & snack party), and awesome fruit arrangement (luau party)…. I really do enjoy this part

Fifth being…..
I really need to clean my house and move the furniture around three hours before everyone arrives and drive Eric insane!

Sixth being……
I get to make a really cool cake and have a lot of fun!!!!!!!!!









But whatever my reason…. I want my children to remember that we love each of them no matter how they came to be a part of our family! That for one day a year (course it does have to correspond with Grandma’s work schedule and Grandpy’s availability) but that we want celebrate their lives and their presence with us and how much our lives are better because of them being in it!!!!!!!!!!!....and maybe I get a chance to dress up like a princess too!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Tea & Doughnuts


I really do feel I have learned a whole lot more from being a parent that I ever did in college (sorry Dr. Watras!) or ever imparted all the years I was teaching!

There are so many neat and awesome things that I see my children do every day that it makes me wonder why we seem to grow up and have no where near the fun we did when we were kids. I always seem to be promising myself…that I won’t ruin their child hood by telling them that plaid skirts do not go well with our luau flowered turtle neck….. Of that shorts over your tights look a little weird….. Or we don’t eat dessert first ….or many others I have uttered since becoming a parent.

Basically I have learned that as adults we sure work hard so we can have the money to have fun…. Though I don’t think I really see a lot of people having it. Where along the way did our idea of what is fun become so vastly different from the children we were?

All of this became so apparent to me yesterday. I had a tea part with two of my little girls… basically because Adrian did not want Melea to play with some toy she had and Melea was sad so she and I and Eliza had a tea party with milk and doughnuts.

I just sat back and watched as Melea tried to teach Eliza to eat a doughnut. It was amazing… cause number one thing I realized that I ha never feed Eliza a doughnut since she had lived with us….. Boy we eat way to healthy some days! And number two was that I feel I have been eating doughnuts all wrong for the last 40 years.

Melea started eating the doughnut from the top down after licking all of the icing off! Then she slowly turned it over and ate the other side… till the rest just collapsed. Eliza kept trying….but basically her doughnut was just everywhere…. Melea and Eliza were giggling and having such a great time and after they were finished all they wanted to do with their chocolate covered faces was to kiss me!!!!!!!!!!!

At first I shuttered and wanted to run for the broom…. And the baby wipes…. Till I really looked at how beautiful Melea and Eliza were…. There smiling at me and wanting nothing more than a kiss from me…. I was afraid that I had suddenly turned in to a curmudgeon and then I just decided I NEED MORE CHOCLATE KISSES, and STRIPED TIGHTS AND POCK-A-DOT DRESSES WITH PINK SWEATERS, and little guys who giggle and bite my chin!

I promise to try to be more in the mood for chocolate kisses, wearing napkin hats, and to teach you about mud fights and to play in the sandbox more often … if you just promise to not let all us grown ups take away your joy and excitement and the wonderment of play in your eyes and in your life!

And never let us teach you how to eat a doughnut!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Circle of Thanks (sorry its late)

Sorry I am a week lat in posting this! But somehow… I do not know how it seems possible but every single thanksgiving week one of my wonderful and awesome children brings home the first stomach virus of the season!!!!!!

And yet again another thanksgiving has come and gone without my cooking being the actual cause of my children’s violent bouts with vomiting or diarrhea.

And incase anyone is mistaking this for jocularity it is more a thankful prayer of relief that last night and this morning I have now started seeing a return of normal POOP from all the kids!!!!!!!!!! Bad microbes be gone I say!!!!!!!!!!! And FYI stomach flu with six kids and five in diapers really sucks and don’t forget to add one whinny daddy! BUT THEY SEEM TO BE DONE WITH IT FOR THIS PARTICULAR DISEASE DUJOUR! and on to a head cold now!

Well this is what I wanted to write last week! For Thanksgiving!

My Circle of Thanks!

Thanksgiving is probably one of my favorite holidays!! It seems that almost every person I know here in USA celebrates it, there is some type of celebration similar (though maybe no cooked turkeys involved) in almost all countries and cultures.

It also starts the beginning of the Christmas holiday season and I get to “officially” decorate as soon as I have cleaned up the turkey pan (though the more trees I get the earlier I get to stat now!!!!!!!!!!... I collect anything Christmas!!!)

Another thing that always starts the holiday season is my annual attempt to get a family photo. Clothes have to be taken for each child to change into…cause Mom likes matching outfits, I have four beautiful princesses that want their hair perfect and a little guy who would love to roll in the mud and there is always the one child who manages to poop, throw up or somehow ruin their outfit just before we start the photo attempt. This could be an entire process could actually be and Emmy winner for a sitcom.

This year I had a plan!!!! I reserved 2 different dates (incase it really didn’t work the first time). It was at 6 pm on a Tuesday (deadest day at the mall and for the studio). However you would be amazed at with the number of people it takes to actually help in this process is utterly amazing! Besides the photographer, and the two extra people the studio schedules….and this year I got smarter……. I took two of our child helpers (or wranglers depending on your point of view) and a daddy to the attempt too!

But here is my favorite shot….

My children in a circle …look like the spokes on a wheel!!!!!!! Now if you could see what it took to get this shot you would be amazed…. Three people laying over two kids legs and another one just running around and flipping over which ever kid rolled over and putting them back into place…… the three stooges never made anything as funny as the scene when we were trying to get this photo!

But this photo got me thinking…………… about the number of lives that my children affect each day!! These people that I need to thank just keep spiraling out in concentric circles from the center of my world! Some help my kids a lot; many of these people will come and go from their lives over the course of the next year. Many have gone that were here last year at this time….. and then there are so many that have touched our lives briefly but had huge impacts on it! I can look at my little “circle” and see all of your influences! And I see how my six little children will have their lives touched by so many!

So today I want to thank my “Circle of Thanks”. It starts in the center with my husband and goes our in concentric rings from there, with my children and then our extended family and friends, our children’s birth families & their relatives, and all the people who help support us in our lives: the social workers, the teachers, the nurses, the doctors, our many therapists and lots and lots of wonderful caring people. I could not do it with out all of you and want to wish all of you the happiest of thanksgivings and a wonderful beginning to the holiday season!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Seventh Birthday My Dear Colin!!!

Today my son Colin turned seven! It is so amazing all of the things I have seen you learn and do over the last seven years! He does so many amazing things that I am constantly watching him change before my eyes!!!

I thought I would mention all of the changes I have seen this year!!!!!!!!!





Here is birthday photo last year:












What a Change 365 days can make: like most children we are taller.... smarter...... and a handful but we have made some major progress and I am so happy to report that his year we did the following:


He can now write our own name!!!! And we write it everywhere. This was not a gradual process…. He practiced ant school for the last four years…. But it seems that one day last October it just Clicked…. And he started writing on his own…. No longer needing to be forced to trace anything!!!!!!!! He also now knows that any word and every word has letters that go with it…. He is forever making me write the words on his doodle board!!!!!!!!!

He recognizes that he goes potty and even asks to go occasionally….. I am finally seem some hope at the end of a very long diaper period! We also are getting less and less afraid of the toilet! And public toilets no longer freak us out completely!!!!!!!!!

Colin understands there is something green or that you need to have mom exchange things to get a toy or food or something!!!!!!! Huge jump!!!!!!!!

He can do the MACARENA!!! Not sure if this is really an improvement, cause he does it at such in opportune moments…. Like when you want him to get on the bus or trying to get him in his car seat and it is raining! But this is thanks to Mrs C …his kindergarten teacher!!!!!!!!!!! And one persistent little sister which also loves to do……

Elmo is slowing moving away from being his best friend! (It is sort of Sad…because it is such a visual reminder to mom that he is growing up….but Eliza is picking up the Elmo collection where he left off! So I still get to here those wonderful singing Elmo’)

He can actually do some household chores, and does them really well! He can take out small to medium garbage bags; sweep the floor with the big broom; he helps load and unload the dishwasher; he gets out and sets the table, helps pass out food to siblings and wants to feed them to!!!!! This is so amazing to me that I always get reminded just how far he has come!!! Though he also keeps helping me do the dishes in the sink cause he loves to play in the water!!!! I have a few new water stains in the basement ceiling now!!!

He has become the world’s best big brother!!! He comforts his siblings when they cry, he has signs for all of them and uses them all the time, he “reads” to all of them with his leap pad and his other books (though I have no idea what he is saying). He tells (signs) NO when they are doing something bad... like throwing food or trying to climb on table and hugs them a lot and helps them play outside by pushing them on the swings!!


In fact for his birthday I always let the children pick something they want in the photo for a special one they design after the requisite number of shots mom wants....and this year HE WANTED JORDAN!!!!!!!!!!!!! He really does love his little brothers and sisters so very much!

He can cut his own food with a knife (not a sharp one) and always tells me what he wants to eat and drink….though we can not have egg burritos at every meal!

HE CAN and DOES SAY DADDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! On a regular basis and means it!!! Again the fact I don’t hear mommy is a little disheartening!!!! But I hear so many more attempts at so many words and sounds now that I am confident that by 21 I will have heard MOM so many times I will want to scream by then!!! AND HE CAN SIGN SO MUCH MORE THAN ME or what I know!!! When the speech ability does completely come in….. it will have so much vocabulary behind it that it will be amazing!

So I have watched my beautiful baby who was placed with us by an extraordinary young woman…. Grow into a wonderful young boy and I am anxiously awaiting the transformations we have yet to come!


Happy birthday my son and I love you more today than I ever thought I could!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

SOCKS!!!!!!!!!!

I have on dreaded activity in my house!!! LAUNDRY!!!! With six children you can understand why! I know we will really be "rich" when I can pay someone to come in and do the laundry and put it away!!!! That is my real dream!!!!


But being a somewhat realist I will be happy just thanking my dear husband! and telling him I am so grateful to for helping me create the most wonderful laundry room every!!! BUT even with that I still have one LARGE question, WHERE DO THE SOCKS GO?



I estimate we have over : 6 children x 14 days x 2 pairs each day (conservative estimate some days) x 2 socks per pair = 336 socks + an estimate of 48 pairs of tights + an estimate of 24 slipper socks, and footies/shoe. + all of daddy’s (probably 90 to himself…he has never met a sock to nasty to keep) and my 24 and 18 pairs of tights & hose. I do all of the following to save my sanity: I buy only white (course people always give me other ones!!!)



And Adrian and Melea want pretty ones so occasionally I buy some pink or lacey one….though I ALWAYS REGRET IT LATER!!!!, I try to keep it to a small medium and large sizes….. but it doesn’t matter…. They go into the washer…and get lost somewhere on the way out of the dryer. I am always hunting a sock or two each load.. I am sure part of it is my fault….

I really hate matching socks…so I usually end up throwing them into a basket and matching them as I need them. I think it is because they actually disappear in mass quantities….where they go is a great mystery to me and I know to most moms. I also know this is not just my problem.

I have early memories of my father complaining about this phenomenon too. Maybe that little gremlin followed us to our knew home. So after they disappear and I am left with a “pile” of unmatched socks. I am stuck buying replacements and then they don’t “quite match” or my other favorite is when one or two (of course they are never the same pair or size) sneak into the washer with the red load and turn PINK!!!

Colin always snickers at me when I hand him that “pink/ white pair to wear….he somehow seems to know that it is a really bad morning if I expect him to wear these…so he never complains (OK HE DOESN”T TALK YET….but he can make his point known if it bothered him)

We also have the “really cool pairs” or the ones Adrian likes where I match two different colored socks that are the same style…. Usually what is left after the mate got lost wherever socks go….. THESE ARE HER FAVORITE!!! She will choose or fight Melea for there really cool pairs and has even been know to take apart 2 matching pairs to make her “ pink / purple” or “lacey and no lace socks” sock pairs.

So I am doing laundry again today and I am fearing the time I have to match all those socks!!! My basket is overflowing with socks that need matching and the drawers are empty of pair (and Colin doesn't wear tights) so today I must venture into the laundry room and spend an hour or so trying to match those socks again! URGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Where I have been!

There have been several reasons I have not updated for a while! Most include working way to hard and being underappreciated on a huge project and having very little time due to that! But mainly I have been scared and neuorotic about my children again!

After looking at the cartoon Eric sent me on You Tube at the beginning of October…I decided to look at a few other things about Down syndrome. I was really surprised at some of the things I saw there…and more taken back by the things I read there. It has taken me a while to calm down… almost twenty five days.

Most of the videos, montages or other clips had at least one and sometimes up to 40 different horrible quotes/comments on them about people who share many things in common with my children.

Some of these comments were horrible…like “they should all be killed”…or “I know what I would do if I had one”. All of these comments that I read…yes I know I should have stopped reading…I shouldn’t let this bother me…sometimes I like living in my own little world where my children can be or do anything they want…the belief that everyone will be nice to them and treat them as an equal part of society…. But maybe I needed the real dose of how some people (I am actually hoping and praying it is a few) see all my precious little gifts!!!!

For the first hour …I just hugged the kids a lot….I talked to Eric later and asked him if we should home school them….Eric points out that would last an all of 3 days before I went insane myself……and that the internet just gives these opinionated people a place to “say” stuff that they can’t other places because of the anonymity.

Great…now I wonder what these guys/gals will say to my little ones in person!!!

….my statistical brain says if they even represent 1 percent of the children at our local high school that is a whole lot!!!..... OK this is not helping me in the least…..I just want to keep the kids home with me every minute now….course Eric is reminding me how much I love my coffee and my 4 ½ hours of mommy and Jordan time.

I point out to Eric the information in the article I was sent by a friend about the attack on a developmentally disabled man in NYC by two young men with a toilet snake. I then panic again!!!!

Basically I really wish that I didn’t have to hear all the stuff like this!!! and I am sure that Grandma wishes I didn't either!!!

I never want bad things to happen to any of my children, but the thought of some of these children and young adults’ comments and what was done to that young man….SCARE THE HELL OUT OF ME!!!!

I do not understand most types of violence….and I taught in a prison for a long time….so I have worked with many different types of offenders….but I DO NOT GET THIS.

So I mope around for a week or so and realize that I am probably putting my kids in to much danger writing about them and such! I mope some more~! A LOT MORE~! I keep putting things off.... I write a bunch... but I just keep it in files and I mope some more!!!!

We keep doing all our family stuff & Eric and I go to parent teacher conferences. Not one of my favorite activities ...trying to arrange child care and a time for four conferences that Daddy and I can attend.

Oh how I long for the day when someone says “Ms. Smith your child is exceptional and so well behaved and a joy to have in my class”. This really didn’t happen this year…though we are getting closer. We actually discussed a lot of how Melea & Colin were not fitting in really well at the beginning of year in their regular room and finally after 12 weeks they were seeing some progress in their Kindergarten Placement….but for a while their teacher was really concerned. I appreciate her observations and I really want her to realize I want them in this placement...no matter what most of the time! BUT IT SCARES ME for probably much different reasons that it might for her.

Later after I left I realized the integration was not really about my children and their benefit to the exposure to the “typical” ones or how they did in that class….but maybe it was more for the “typical” children to learn and remember later in life….

That there had been a little guy named Colin once that they all fought to hold hands with, or be his partner or field trip buddy or were excited he came to their party…. Or a beutiful young girl named Melea who had the most awesome hair and loved to hug everyone.

Maybe this integration/ mainstreaming/ or whatever the “politically correct term” is for the “typicals” not my little angels!!!

They are NOT the ones who need to learn acceptance. Never have Colin or Melea ever turned up their nose at someone based on skin color or how they look or what they can do! These little angels take everyone for who they are TODAY not yesterday.... but are willing to open their arms and hearts to them no matter what has happened previously.

I realize why I take my children everywhere with us….why I am planning on getting them all passports when Eliza’s new birth certificate ever shows up. Because you can’t really promote awareness if you hide! People need to see that my kids and all other children with disabilities can & do anything that “typical” children do. It might be slower or look different BUT they can do whatever they want!

So I will keep blogging to promote awareness. I hope you all see the similarities and all the “normal” things we do. I will work on not panicking and try to be a lot more calm about the things that scare me about my children’s future…..and I really hope I can convince comedians and TV hosts/journalist to quit insulting all of the “retarded people” out there by comparing certain world leaders to the retarded…because believe me…. my children are not that stupid!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Poop Happens!!!!!!!!!!!!

I must say that having six children with five still in diapers / pull ups I feel I can say that POOP HAPPENS!

Actually it happens quite a bit in our household, usually about two times a day for each child! That is a lot of POOP!

Yesterday I swear within one fifteen minute period each one of my children filled their pants or the potty…depending on the individual child. It was that horrid smelling, you would have thought I feed them fish sticks, grainy green pooh! I usually refer to this as dark matter (one of them makes it on a regular basis in little balls no much larger than bunny poop) and it can clear a room in a matter of milliseconds!

So to cheer me up….Eric pointed out the following link on You Tube! In a “cheer me up” email!

Lil' Pooey Poo: I will run from you!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1Y4j_QQoZU

I actually really enjoyed getting this in my email from him! It is hard to believe that such a funny cartoon could brighten my day….but I really felt like running away from all the diapers and the stinky bottoms yesterday.

Also another funny was Eric trying to convince me that since Adrian is potty trained and Melea is part way there …my “poop” filled days will likely be getting fewer and less hazardous…course he probably doesn’t get to wipe as many bottoms as me either.

This brings me to the next logical step…..toilet paper. This happened last week. I sent Eric for toilet paper the other day in Wal-Mart and he came back with the “triple rolls”. I really looked puzzled. He knew they were the brand we buy…but I never by anything but the “little” rolls. He said so proudly “Look these will save us 59 cents than our usual other one”. ….Usually that would be a great thing….and I was really excited he was thinking …but I know now that he doesn’t take the kids to the bathroom enough.

The rule of thumb for toilet paper use in our house seems to be: one roll per week for the adults in the house and 6 rolls for the children. No you would not think that so bad unless you realize that only Adrian uses the potty consistently.

In fact Adrian uses enough paper to measure 3 times her height for each potty trip! If she pooey’s it is almost double that! All I could see was how stuffed up Adrian was going to make our toilets…the added cost of toilet Drano…and possible the plumber…plus the need to get the septic pumped more often!

How many mornings have I awoken to find an entire new roll on the floor….I even have a special spot I put this paper in and just use it for myself…..because I would like to say I am environmentally conscious…but I AM JUST A CHEAPSCAPE!

I often wonder why children are so enthralled by unrolling toilet paper, I marvel that they love to make flowers or other things with it (that was my specialty as a child…it drove my grandma crazy too) … I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Adrian likes it too. I should not complain too much because I even been known to get excited because of all the fine motor control and physical stamina it has taken for Miranda to stand an unroll a whole roll of it…..

But still the thought of a wasted triple roll just made me grimace….cause I new it would just make a bigger mess…but at least I could get given one whole dozen of Adrian’s toilet paper flowers instead of the usual two or three…and they will make me smile the next time I am changing all those diapers and wiping the stinky bottoms!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Two steps forward and one step back…maybe

When you are a parent of a child with special needs and have formal school IEP’s your child’s academic ups and downs can seem to be governed many times on how other people do their jobs. This is such a feeling of powerless on our part as parents. No matter how great of a mood the kids are in before they leave our house it is possible for one little change to bring down a whole day for Colin.

Colin is very flexible with me and Eric. He seems to be able to change and go with flow almost all of the time when we are with him. I know that is related to the amount of trust he has with us…and how we have always here for him for 24 hours a day for almost seven years. It takes him a long time to build up and trust others.

But when simple things change in his normal routine…example an extra day off or a substitute teacher ….it really can cause a small problem to escalate really quickly into a "bad" day for him and all involved.

To fill you all in. All of my chromosomally enhanced children have more than just one “teacher”. They have bus drivers, bus aides, classroom aides, nurses, social workers, diagnostic specialists, audiologists, counselors, Adaptive PE people, and lots of therapists (music, speech/language, PT and OT). There are also all of the normal auxiliary school personnel…the librarians, the lunch people, the maintenance staff, the secretarial/support staff. They also have a classroom teacher(s) and a resource room teacher. This also doesn’t take into account all of the other people who assist my children outside of the school setting: doctors, respite workers, more social workers, child care providers, relatives and dmh workers…..

This is a lot of people for me to remember….let alone all of my children. Funny thing is Colin does remember them all!!! It may take a few weeks each fall....but he learns signs for them and recognizes their faces ...especially at Wal-Mart.


These people usually do wonderful jobs for my children (and all others in their care), but they are just human and they have their good and bad days too.


I am a selfish parent….I want my children to learn…I am proud when they are doing good…..and I feel bad when they are not. So last week I got a wonderful hand written note from the terrific para professional who has helped my son all of last year and this year. She is transferring to a new school….. I really wanted to be happy for her…I knew how much she wanted to be closer to her home…but I just can’t!!!

I am a horrible selfish person and I burst into tears as I read her note!!! Then I just wanted to scream!!!!

Colin is finally seeming to be back into the swing of things for the first time this school year. I really want him to keep going the way he has been for the last week. He has been “talking” and interacting with his regular classroom peers…his participation level is getting closer to what it was when we ended school in late May. He basically is finally getting used to school again…almost 8 weeks into the year.

My son really seems to loves Mrs. C, and occasionally he worked well for her…though I am sure he will love the new lady too! Colin is usually easy to deal with ....but you have a very small window to prove yourself....if you fail or treat him like he can't do something...he seems to shut you out.


So now my son gets to learn a new sign / name for this new para professional. I have heard she is young and energetic…just the kind of person Colin likes to wrap around his finger. I know soon he will likely be smiling and winking and saying his “buggiedillydiddly dee” for her too.

Then I remember that he doesn’t like change and this will take some time. I just don’t like wasted or lost time….I feel like he is going to get further behind again. Then the rationale former teacher in me kicks in….I think OK, we will give it some time….. then I realize that I DON’T LIKE CHANGE EITHER!!! Just when I think we are all settling into a routine…. something upsets the apple cart.

I then realize that the neurotic crazy mom is here to stay…. I feel helpless cause he will likely suffer academically again… More flash cards or extra signing practice just won’t work. I can’t fix this problem…. I wish I could …but everyone has their own lives…I do realize in my head that no one’s life but Eric’s and mine revolve around my children (though I wish they did)….selfish mom…you bet I am!

I realize all of these “extra” people who interact daily with my son have different career goals, families and desires and they will be moving in and out of his life all the time. This is going to be one of those lessons Colin & his mom will have to get used to together!


We will miss you & the little pig so much Mrs. C ...or as Colin signs her name as "CHEST" & "KNEE" !!!! Good luck!


Know that for about 14 months you were one of the reasons my little guy smiled every day! If you have a bad day try to remember Colin's infectious giggle... it always makes my day brighter, and again thanks so much for being such an important part of my son's life.

Lots of Wiggling, Snuggling...and Santa!

Eliza and I had a fun night…. She really is a great snuggler now! It was also good that I did let her have that extra special time yesterday…cause this wonderful late fall heat we are having here brought on some bad wheezing! The Albuterol makes her so “jumpy” and panicked. That it is almost impossible for her to sleep.

We snuggled a lot and read a few books, then she fell asleep and I could watch TV. I am really happy she at doesn’t watch TV (especially like Adrian does)….Eliza just seems to ignore it…so I could still see Bill Maher and a few “grown up” TiVo ‘ed shows!

Today we are playing outside and having fun on a wonderful and awesome hot fall day …feels so much more like summer… All the kids were outside playing in the sand box or the swings or their castles. It really is amazing how much they can really entertain themselves.

However thanks to our “Lowe’s” shopping experience yesterday and seeing al the Christmas items and trees up in Lawn and Garden. It was actually a lot of fun and Melea yelled “DER is Santa!!!! At the top of her lungs every time she could see him!!! It sort of made me want to hide…but at the same time was really funny.

Since we got back yesterday Melea and Adrian have been busy pouring over the “catalogs” and making lists of the toys they want this Christmas. Adrian is trying to be nice ….or maybe it is devious…who knows for sure…but she keeps putting things like Barbie stuff or doll beds on Colin’s list “cause she thinks he wants them” I personally think Colin would rather have the matchbox cars and garage set…but lets just say Colin will be much happier that I am the one helping Santa get the toys and not Adrian.

I do hope we all tone down our Christmas “wants” this year…but since Adrian and Melea are much more susceptible to advertising…I am expecting a pretty large list …possible a notebook.

I made a promise to Eric that I would not buy or put up a Christmas ornament or decoration till November 1st, but I have already started looking too. This is one of the hardest things I promise every year too! I am as bad as my kids and probably the reason they put the stuff out so early…

Actually I already made the lists that I want the children to receive…and I started shopping for them. I always try to finish before November for all things except warm clothes (they always have great sales in December). I know I pay more for the stuff…but knowing it is done and wrapped and we can have fun is awful priceless to me!!! That and shopping around Christmas time makes me really not want to be a very nice person!!!

So thank you to Lowe’s, Garden Ridge and Wal-Mart, for bringing the 2007 holiday season off to a resounding start….just who was supposed to remind me to buy our pumpkins this week!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Eliza's "Gotch Ya Day" Anniversarry!

It is amazing to see how fast time really does fly. I am beginning to be convinced that Grandma Shaw was right…it does move faster as you get older.

Today is the one year anniversary of Eliza “physically joining” our family! It is utterly amazing to think that it has already been a year! It has been such a great one for all of us!

Eliza has brought such a joy and heartfelt enthusiasm to our whole family that after those first few days it was hard to believe that she hadn’t been here with us forever!!! Eliza’s progress has been utterly amazing and a testament to what having a permanent family can do for any child! She fiercely loves her siblings, and they love her back. She interacts and is beginning to play with then not alongside them. She is starting to acknowledge that other people exist besides her and me or Eric. But most of all I have seen her get a toy for Jordan and lay down on the floor so they are able to look each other in the eyes and then she kisses him. All of these things seemed so out of her reach one year ago when she arrived on that southwest flight from Houston!!

This transformation into a bright, beautiful little girl from a little scared and passive toddler has been utterly amazing to watch and I actually credit most of it to Colin, Melea and Adrian. They seemed to know to be patient with her when she got here….they seemed to know just how to push her to accomplish a goal , and they themselves have so accepted her as their sibling that it is impossible to believe she has not been with us her whole life….

Eliza learned how to use a sippy cup, a straw, to feed herself with fork & spoon, perfect her finger feeding, to eat all kinds of solid foods (gold fish being her favorite); to ask for most of her needs, to begin communicating through sign language, to approximate (say) about 15-20 words, to shut gates, open drawers, set the table…(though this is with every dish available)….help unload the dishwasher, sweep the floor, and put on and take off her own clothes. You no longer sleep in a crib, you try to help me make your bed and you love picking out clothes.

Physically she can climb stairs, walk everywhere she wants to go. Eliza now loves to take a bath, we have started swimming lessons, she loves to sing and do hand games …though still not keen on hand over hand… she loves to get dirty and play outside, We have conquered so many sensory issues that she can walk on almost any surface now and is no longer afraid of grass, water, baths, mulch, sand, towels, tile, or wood! Eliza can now do things with or without her shoes and is really making choices about what she wants to do!

She loves to climb up both the little slides (toddler ones) and the large ones in our yard, she can swing on all of the ones here. I am not sure which one really is her favorite, though it might be a toss up between the spinning tire and the regular sling swing. Most of the time I think it is the fact she can get on and off them by herself that she likes best. No more dependence on Mommy!
The funniest site to watch is when Eliza takes a running jump and lands in the sling swing, then she sticks her arms out to the side appears like she is flying. Then all of the other children will do the same thing and I feel I am the proud parent of four super heroes~! Who can do anything!!!! I realize there is nothing stopping her!!!! She is our little girl and their sister and

While I sit here typing …. I am watching her “smack” Melea for taking her shovel in the sand box. I probably should scream or something…but one year ago than little Eliza would have let her take it and just screamed ( maybe) but today she got up and took it back and said “mine” and “no”.

So we will celebrate you gotcha day tonight. I will remember who you were, what you do now and make big dreams for your future my little Eliza. Tonight….I will hold you tight and sleep on the sofa with you to remember how scared you were that first night and how I watched you sleep all night long….just you and me and a long night of snuggling to make sure we both get a chance to celebrate our “GOTCHA DAY”!

Mortality & Peace of Mind!!!

I always wonder what makes me feel more mortal. Is it my children, my lawyer, my age…which past 40 this year, or our insurance agent?

Having children, specifically special needs children, and specifically the number that we have make planning for the possibility of our (Eric’s and mine) deaths really scary. And even more of a necessity! Since I am one of those panicky people who make up things to worry about it is actually a wonder that I have been able to sleep on those few occasions when Adrian, et al will let me. By the way the Met Desk specialists are really good at this type of planning! It is amazing what parents of special needs children have to do for their kids to help guarantee their futures.

Well today my husband and I took the time to finally get the big albatross around both our necks removed! The last step in this process, to sign the new life insurance policies is done!!! We are both now officially worth more dead than alive! (Basically if they are always thinking the person who has a 50K benefit is the killer on Law & Order….I guess we will be both the prime suspects if something happens to the other!)

We have recently updated our special needs trust, since finalizing Eliza’s adoption and realizing we wanted to make sure we were covered in case we decided to adopt any other children (you never know when we might get a phone call or email). Started a new bank account, got a new EIN, got the new checks I wrote a new “How to care for the Smith Family Children Booklet”…OK really a large binder with letters of intent, and instructions and information and all that jazz, putting copies of IEP’s and goals, and all our important peoples names, and who doctors & specialist are, who you actually need to talk to at different places to get things accomplished the first time, and all the items I keep in my head regarding the kids schedules and daily routines, our bills and all that!

So today was the day we got to do the last step….we signed the papers, upped all the insurances…wrote some checks….do I feel prepared…or better…. Happy….NO!! I am a person who hates situations I can’t control, and the eventuality of “death” is a huge thing.

I am still amazed that it can and does come so unexpectedly. I see examples every single day on the news. It is really amazing how one event can change so many lives in an instant. I remember thinking so vividly one February morning when I was driving to school for a play rehearsal and passed a funeral outside a small catholic church. I thought of the temperature…it was frigid, and what an awful day it was to depart the earth…and what a crappy day for the people to have to attend this with the snow, and the dark gloom and all. Little did I know that my mother had already passed away that very morning and we would be attending one just like this…. outside in the snow and ice, cold, and the winter gloom for her in a few days. I learned every so vividly that death comes all too quickly and vividly and usually unexpectedly to so many.

So with today what I do feel though is relieved!!! IT IS DONE!!!!…I can say that I have made sure our family is protected on paper for now and that if all goes as planned all of my children will benefit from all this work someday…..I just want it to be much much much later that sooner!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Whole Enchilada!!!!!!

Tuesday evening Eric came home early and surprised me by suggesting we go out for dinner. (ok…I really think he just didn’t want the chicken I was going to cook for dinner or he would get for lunch on Wednesday)…but lets just say that I jumped at the chance …it was more like….you get in the car.

This dinner was so much better than our last one where we took all the children. Basically we decided that we would go to the Mexican restaurant if we could eat on the patio…I really hoped the sky would open up and pour on our trip over there cause I really wanted Outback or the new restaurant…but Adrian and Colin were squealing Mexican…….Actually I love our local restaurant so much…but I just want something different occasionally!

I told the children we would drive by and we could only eat there if the tables were out… well we pulled in…Eric was going to fib a little and take us to the new steak place… but Adrian started screaming “I can see the tables…they are out….the tables are out”. Colin is so excited making the consistent noise he does for Mexican and signing food and eat and Mexico!!!(I have to find out the sign for burrito!) So we are stuck!!! Oh well! And it is so economical for us to eat there with our Entertainment coupon anyways!

Eric stops the van in front…all kids (Colin thru Miranda) unload. Adrian goes and gets our table, and then returns to help Melea with Eliza and the three of them walk to the table. Colin volunteers to help carry Miranda…but I talk him into the diaper bag instead. Eric is in charge of Jordan and the van.

I get the tables set and all the children actually sit….we only get one high chair (for Jordan) and everyone else is in a regular chair. Only major issue is figuring out how to get every in a seat next to “daddy” or “mommy”. Thank heaven Colin is not as determined that he needs to sit next to one of us as the other ones are (or need too).

One of our favorite waitresses is there…Miss Hannah!!! She takes the drink order…water for all accept Adrian who kept her shoes on so she picks soda! Then we order our dinners: Colin got his usual…burrito and taco; We tried something new for Melea…tostada. (she didn’t like it); Adrian got nuggets and beans & tortillas to make burritos (which she hates it I call them burritos but will make her own with the beans. go figure); Eliza got her usual taco salad…cause she can feed herself it with a spoon (she still doesn’t like touching “funny” feeling food; and for Miranda we were going to try an enchilada!

This is the first time I have ordered an enchilada for Miranda…she has eaten parts of them off my plate…but usually after she has finished her beans and quesadilla (her favorite). I was really hoping that she and Melea liked the new choices…I knew we would now soon!

Well Hannah turned in our order…brought the drinks…which mad Melea sad…cause she wanted milk. She then actually asked for milk (with her mouth) which made me have to order it for her. Her dad almost got her to sign thank you to Miss Hannah…but she started the hide you face/be shy thing... but she did actually ask for it... Melea gets so shy when we go out.

Well the meals came…the kids (especially Adrian) love the way Hannah, Ashley, Louis and the other waiters carry all the plates to there respective tables….the kids are always imitating them at home …they keep proving the law of gravity every time they do this…but it is so entertaining so I just let them keep try it.

Hannah set all of the plates down in front of the children. While Melea was expressing her displeasure in her tostada (pretty loudly) I am trying to get Miranda, Eliza and Jordan’s food ready for them…in the blink of an eye…Miranda decides I am not waiting for you mom! So while Melea didn’t like the food experimentation, Miranda says MEXICAN MEXICAN!!!!

Miranda loved her meal! All of it!!!... She fed herself (As you can see). I really felt bad and I know that Hannah was happy cause we were eating on the patio and she could hose it off… I think the enchilada was gone in less than five seconds. Miranda was so proud of feeding herself, proud of eating this…. She is beaming and just so happy that she had fed herself. I just wish she would have put a little less on herself. She even managed to get beans inside her sure step orthotics...I was so impressed or scared

After we ordered Melea her “regular”….and everyone finished there food…I cleaned of Miranda, put her in a new t-shirt (always carry a few in the car for fun evening like this) and then daddy brought the van up and we all walked to the car, helping mom carry stuff, holding Eliza’s hand and just being happy!

So last night…I may have eaten taquitos and flan…but as a parenting moment “I got the whole enchilada”