Friday, September 17, 2010


I've been searching every week or so for a white dresser for Jaiden. She inherited her room with hodge podge furniture and her dresser is a plastic stackable bin. Poor thing.

I laughed so hard when I clicked on this one. I just had to share. Check it out. Maybe make them an offer they can't refuse.

.......5 DOLLARS....... KIDS Dresser.......

I especially love how only one drawer is missing...

Monday, September 13, 2010

I choose to laugh

Our lives in the spring and fall revolve around soccer. It's kinda like being married to a farmer who's out plowing in the fields during harvest and seed time. I'm sure farmer's wives don't see their husbands much during "farm" time. I don't know. I just made that up. I've never even been to a farm.

But I do often refer to myself a soccer widow. I often refer to myself in the third person, but that's yet another story. Anyway, we are making the 30+ minute trip to the north side 4 days a week for 8 different practices, games all day on Saturday and a 3 hour trip to Kansas City every Sunday.

Tonight, we were basically stuck on the north side all evening; between dropping Jack off at soccer and taking Josh back for a soccer game, we had some time to spare and a hunger in our bellies. So we went to a hole in the wall Chinese food buffet. Luckily we were the ONLY people there.

Imagine my surprise when I looked over to see Jameson basically laying on the buffet. Instead of WALKING around to the other side to get what she wanted, she crawled underneath the glass awning meant to prevent people from contaminating the food, just so that she could reach those delicious little fried balls with sugar on them; you know the ones I'm talking about.

We all just burst out laughing. Because at this point, what else can you do? I could get all crazy and ballistic about it. I could give a lecture about public health policy and how many violations she just made. I could get down and beat myself up about failing as a mother. AGAIN.

Instead, I just laughed like a hysterical crazy person who needs to be committed.


I'm in love. I'm in love. And I don't care who knows it...

I should be writing a paper about the cytokine mediated inflammatory response in relation to the extracorporeal circulation of the cardiopulmonary bypass machine...

But instead I'm falling in love with photoshop.




Friday, September 10, 2010

Japanese Fall Festival

I love the way the fall sun looks in the afternoon. The colors are so vivid and bright.
The Japanese Fall Festival is a fall traditional for our family.

LOVE this. Check out Justine's face. It cracks me up. Such a little geisha.

Jack and Jaiden look so much alike, it's almost impossible to know who is who. My little twins.

These two... you can definitely tell apart. Josh makes a great geisha girl, don't you think? He was almost too cool to get up there. Geez. That happened fast. He's come a long way in a few years, hasn't he?

Jack tried his hand at chop sticks. He was really good at it.

And Jaiden was a pro at catching fish by hand. She starting helping other people catch their fish too.

Jordan just loved being with her family during her last few weeks at home.

The Karate Kid Geisha Girl... he could kick you or make you tea.

The girls enjoyed their free face paint...

And I enjoyed the fact that they were happy with the free cheek paintings and didn't insist on the full face expensive ones.

We even had a little Ethiopian reunion with Ari the Great!

How shocking!

The kids had a great time on the stepping stones. The water was so green and beautiful. Jeff was quick to point out that it was because of "more green dye" that they add to the water. We almost fell in the water when we thought he was saying "Morgan died." (Morgan is our dog. And we found it weird Jeff would choose to tell us of his demise at a family outing...) Thank God, Morgan is alive and ruining my back yard as we speak.

I made everyone stay until after dusk because I wanted to see the torches lit throughout the garden.

It was beautiful.... even with the mosquitoes!

We fed the fish in the dark. When one of the fish jumped and made a splash, Jameson screamed and jumped in my lap. You would have thought JAWS was alive and well at the Japanese Gardens.

There's something so mesmerizing about the torches. All my little fire bugs had to play with the flames.

I don't know why... I just love cat tails. Is that what these are called?

Justine determined this was the best day of her life. She got a fish. And a face painting. It was even better than the beach. Really? (Insert questioning sarcastic mom voice here...) Really? It was pretty good, but maybe just shy of the beach.

I feel better now...

Jeff and I declared today as a homework free day. We packed up the kids and went to the Japanese Fall Festival instead. Granted, we were eaten alive by mosquitos, but we had a great time.

It was so nice to not be fighting with Jameson about homework or *everything* else for that matter. It was so nice to just be laughing and enjoying each other.

I emailed Jameson's counselor and teacher this morning. If you think I verbally vomited on you guys this morning, then I projectile vomited all over them.

When I wrongly said Jameson was being evaluated for special ed, the counselor corrected me by saying she was "being considered for a special ed evaluation...." Well exxxxxcuse me.


What else does the kid need to do to get a special ed eval? So she's being considered for an eval. Whatever the #$%& that means. So they have 30 days to decide whether the child who can barely read and is dyslexic will even qualify for an eval. Whatever.

But the teacher was awesome. We worked out a plan for her to send Jameson's spelling words home on Fridays instead of Mondays so we can work on a plan set up by the vision therapist (I'll get to that on another post). She said she was totally able to modify what she's doing in the classroom and that we would come up with a solution that would work for Jameson.

I feel so much better knowing that at least the teacher is on board. She even said she knew this was so tough for all of us and that it would be OK.

Now, this being said, does not excuse Jameson from the lying, hiding, fighting and overall BADNESS she has been displaying to us (well to me...), but hopefully when she feels less stress at school and during the post school homework period (I prefer to call it "torture with mom" time), her behavior will also improve.

It had better.

Or I will freak.




Verbal Vomit

Our transition to public school has gone... well... swimmingly, for most everyone.

Justine is bored to death. Her spelling words are words she did in kindergarten. Her teacher jokingly refers to her as her "college student." She likes school for the most part.

Jaiden is the social butterfly we knew she would be. I haven't seen her do any homework at home, and she insists she's doing it all at school, but I guess time will tell whether that's true or not.

Jack is thriving. He was the one I was a little worried about, but he is a reading fool and seems to be learning to organize and get his assignments turned in. He's going to play the xylophone in the band.

Josh is doing OK. He seems to be getting the hang of it. He doesn't ask for help very often and usually thinks he knows everything anyway, so once again, time will tell.

And that leaves Jameson.

Jameson is being evaluated for special education. She is so far behind and so clueless about what they are doing in 5th grade. This is impossible. Evidently it takes 30 days for them to evaluate for special ed. I took in all her test results (the ones that showed her at the low end of 2nd grade) the second week of school because I knew she would need an IEP (individualized education plan) and possibly a 504 (for medical needs). I tried to get all of those this summer (and even at the end of last school year when we knew she was going to public school), but no one seemed interested then.

It started as little things. She keeps losing her glasses. She leaves her stuff all over the house. She almost misses the bus (while looking for her glasses that she has no idea where she put). Forgets her homework. Hides her homework. Lies about her homework. Fights with me about how to do her homework. She fights with me about wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts to school although she won't take her jacket off and complains about being cold. She just can't seem to get it together. But we keep on trying. Jordan has been great about helping her with her homework. But Jordan's going to be gone soon.

Things seemed to come to a pivotal turn last night while Jameson and I were on a 5 hour homework run. Every time she would tell me she was done, I would find more work. I think she had hid it for several days because I seriously doubt they assigned 3 pages in math and 3 other pages in English. The piano teacher was here and complaining that no one had practiced their piano. Jameson was fighting with me about why it was my fault she hasn't practiced piano. The doorbell kept ringing with neighborhood kids wanting to play. The phone was ringing. 4 kids needed help RIGHT now. Justine started crying and sobs, "You never have time to listen to me read because you're always helping her..." I felt like the room began spinning out of control as I looked at what my life has become.

I typed up a quick letter to the special ed department to let them know we would no longer be doing 5 hour marathon nights of homework, and that they need to get special ed figured out RIGHT now. I requested an after school tutor. We have to do something because we cannot do this. This is not working. Everyone else is suffering. I am suffering. This is ridiculous. I emailed the piano teacher that we are quitting for now. I am done. This is why I couldn't homeschool anymore because all my time was going towards her. And now, the same thing is happening. I guess if the school can't get an after school tutor, I will just pay for one because I cannot do this anymore.

How's that for a verbal vomit of my life? Not very pretty, is it?


Thursday, September 09, 2010

That one day we all got tattoos...

Before our famous vacation in Florida (perhaps I mean infamous?), we searched and brainstormed for a unique tattoo in Amharic that would mean something to all of us.
We went round and round before deciding on this one...

ፍቅር አሸነፈ

Love Wins

In Amharic, it is pronounced Fikre Ashanafa. Or Fingers Astronauta if you are Amharic impaired.

I used to wonder, seriously wonder, whether love does win. Does love conquer all? I've come to the conclusion that without love, the rest of it doesn't matter anyway. Love does win.

All 4 of us got the same tattoo. Immature? Probably. Trashy? Most likely. A sign of our undying love for one another and a tribute to how we all met... Definitely!

Enjoy the photo essay of our trip to Alan's Cool Ink Tattoo Shop in Destin. Sandy the lesbian did a great job on our tattoos. She was a little cold at first, but once we told her what the tattoo meant and how we all met, she warmed up nicely. And don't let anyone tell you it doesn't hurt, it really does.

But now, when I look down at my arm, I'm reminded that Love conquers. Love Wins. This journey we're on matters, and we are all tied together through our love for one another.

And I'm reminded that fingers astronauta.