Thursday, December 22, 2011

Say What?

I took Joe and Anne to see the pediatrician for their annual check-up. This is their first Well Child Check with this doctor. Doc wanted to do a TB test on both kids. They were less than thrilled, but bravely held still for the nurse to administer the skin test.

Two days later we returned to the Doc's office to have the tests read. Joe and Anne both tested positive for TB. Hooray! The nurse was quite taken aback. I told her that their dad always tests positive too. The nurse started laughing then. "Lucky them!" she said. "They never have to get that yucky skin test again." I agreed. They are lucky kids! Hahaha!

Anyone who has ever tested positive knows that the next step is a chest x-ray. The x-ray shows if the individual really has TB or if they are a false-positive-reacting-type person.

So we head downstairs to the imaging lab. The gal at the front directs me to sign in on the "Walk-In" side. I ask her how long the wait is. She tells me about thirty minutes. I say alright, we'll go ahead and do this now. And I sign in. Then I have this odd conversation with her...

Gal: "You can sit down." (pause) "I call you right now."

Me: "You'll call me right now? Great!" (and I stand there smiling at her)

Gal: (looking at me weird) "You can go sit down. I call you right now."

Me: (still standing there) "Oh good. Here's my insurance card. Did you want my driver's license too?"

Gal: (slightly exasperated for reasons unknown to me) "No. You go sit down. I call you right now."

Me: "Wait. What? You want me to go sit down?"

Gal: "Yes." (smiling cause she thinks I understand what she is saying now) "You go sit down. I call you right now to get your information."

Me: "What? You'll call me right now. Well, I'm here. Here's my information." (and I try to give her my insurance card again)

Gal: (looking exasperated again) "No. Go sit down. I call you right now."

Me: (really feeling confused because why in the world am I going to sit down when she is calling me right now) "Why would I sit down? You said you are calling me right now."

Gal: "Yes. Right now I call you. Go sit down."

Me: (comprehension slowly dawning on me) "You keep telling me you'll call me 'right now'. 'Right now' means this very instant. Is that what you mean? That you are calling me 'right now'? Or do you mean something else? How long do you mean when you say 'right now'?

Gal: (looks like she is trying to be patient with me cause I obviously don't understand plain English) "Yes. Right now. Like five minutes I call you right now. Go sit down and I call you right now."

Me: (feeling really confused) "Oh. Okay, we'll just go sit down."

Gal: (sighs in relief that I have finally left her counter)

My Dear Friends, Can one of you please explain to me when the meaning of "Right Now" changed from "this very instant" to "In five minutes"?


Living in the town I live in, I should be used to the idiosyncrasies that exist. But I tell you, this "right now" one is brand new to me. :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Autumn Catch-Up, Part 3

Grammy and Grand (my mom and dad) came for Joe's baptism. We were all very happy to see them. At one point during the visit, Grammy made a comment about us coming to visit them and spend the night at their house. I didn't think anything of it...until Monday morning. Cakes had his backpack stuffed full of underwear, socks, pajamas, shirts, shorts, and shoes. He even packed his toothbrush! He had interpreted Grammy's comment as a personal invitation to spend the night with her. He was sure that she was coming to pick him up soon. I tried explaining to him that she was not coming to get him today. After thinking it over, he decided to carry the backpack with him so he would be ready when Grammy came.

Cakes checking the mail, Jim right behind 

Autumn-time in our town means the arrival of Hot Air Balloons! Our town has an annual balloon festival. The skies before and after are filled with hot air balloons getting ready for the festival. It is a beautiful sight to behold.

Lone hot air balloon 

I have been teaching preschool in my home for the past few months. My students were Cakes, Miss S, and two neighborhood boys--T & D. I threw a little party for them a few days before Halloween. Unfortunately, D was sick! His mom left a message saying he had been throwing up. I thought he had the flu. His mom told me later that he had been to his brother's Halloween party the night before and got a ton of candy which he promptly sat down and ate...ALL OF IT! That's why he was sick! Hahaha! Poor guy. What a terrible way to learn the valuable lesson of Moderation in All Things.

Here are the kids who weren't sick. They wore costumes, ate cupcakes, played, told spooky stories, and generally had a good time.

 Miss Nita: princess vampire, T: Tigger, Cakes: ninja, Jim waiting
patiently for his cupcake while his mom takes a picture

Rose, Anne, Joe, Prof. X, and Miss S are members of 4-H. This is my kids second year in and Prof. X and Miss S's first year. Members of 4-H are required to do so many hours of service each year in order to qualify for fair. This year we opted to do "Trick-or-Treat-So-Others-Can-Eat". I'm a certified 4-H leader (only took a year to get my paperwork finished.  Grrr.) so I organized the service project around my schedule and my home. It was great! So convenient. :) 

In addition to my kids, about eight other kids showed up. On the last Tuesday of October, we passed out flyers detailing the food drive. On the following Saturday, we went door to door collecting food. We ended up getting a few hundred pounds of dry and canned food donated. Rose and I took all the food the our town's community food bank. 

 4-H members, with Cakes & Miss Nita improperly using their pillowcases.

Part of the haul. The truck bed was filled by the time we were done.
Thanks to everyone in our neighborhood for donating so generously!!

And then it was Officially Halloween!! The kids were allowed to wear their costumes to school. They were so excited! Look at all that red. The kids did not plan that. Just a happy coincidence. 

Anne: Devil girl, Prof. X: Red Ninja, Rose: Red Riding Hood 

Poor Joe threw up the night before. He had to stay home and miss his class party. I thought he would be really bummed. That sicko didn't even mind! The thought of eating candy made him want to die!

Joe chilling out on the couch. Happy to watch cartoons and NOT eat candy. 

That night we had a party. On Sunday the kids and I hand delivered invites to the neighbors on our adjoining streets. We invited them to our house for hot dogs and chili. When we lived in Mesa, our neighborhoods used to have block parties. In the first neighborhood we lived in (remember--we lived in two different houses in Mesa. A small 3-bedroom then we upgraded to a small 4-bedroom.) one neighbor would have a hot dog roast on Halloween. Every one in the neighborhood was invited to come to his front yard and eat. Lots of neighbors stopped by to eat and visit. It was wonderful! In our second Mesa neighborhood our street had a block party once a year. We counted it as our neighborhood watch party. Since our house was in the middle of the street, our driveway became the home of the party for three years. It was wonderful!!! It was a chance for neighbors to get to know one another. I knew every neighbor on that street and they knew me. It makes a difference!! There is a certain bond that develops when neighbors know each other. They start to care for and watch out for each other. Lend helping hands and so on.

Hubby and I were hoping to cultivate a neighborhood bond on our new streets. We have lived here for three years and have yet to see some of the neighbors. Wanting to remedy the situation, we invited the neighbors for dinner Halloween night. We had hot dogs, buns, ketchup, mustard, relish, jalapenos, diced onions, chili with beans, potato salad, lemonade, and water bottles. Basically, we had a ton of yummy Halloween food!!

Joe wanted to see the neighbors. We donned his transformer costume and hung out in the front yard. I managed to get Jim's D.J. Lance costume on, but the boy hated it! Not that he has anything against D.J. Lance. Jim loves that guy! Jim's problem is with changing clothes in general. He does not like the transition from one outfit to the next. It is kind of funny and kind of annoying at the same time. By the end of the evening, Jim did not want to take the costume off. 

Jim and Joe waiting for neighbors to arrive.

Rose, Joe, Anne, neighbor M, Miss Nita, Cakes, & Hubby
waiting for the hot dogs to finish on the grill.

Cakes helping pull the cooler to the drinks table while Hubby grills hot dogs.

Hubby grilling up a ton of hot dogs.

Rose's dear friend Sarah and Prof. X

Miss Nita and Cakes chowing down

Neighbor M showing her empty basket

Neighbor boys coming to chow down.

Considering this was our first attempt at throwing a neighborhood block party, I think we did alright. Some neighbors were vary wary of us. Others could not quite believe that we weren't charging for the hot dogs. There are a few things that we will do differently next year. But overall, it was a good event! We met several neighbors and had a great time eating and visiting, which is exactly what we wanted! :)

Moving on from Halloween...

Cakes has been in that weird transition phase for about a year where he doesn't want naps, but still kind of needs them some days. It has been hectic at times. It has also been hilarious at times. Cakes will insist that he is not tired, but then I will find him conked out in the funkiest positions. One example is him snoozing at Joe's baptism. Here is another zany position. I'm including both shots to give the full effect. I sure love this little boy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Joe's Baptism!

Joe was baptized on a Saturday in October 2011. He is now an official member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

It was an exciting day. Many family members traveled for many hours to attend Joe's baptism and show their support. It was lovely seeing all of them. Here are a few pictures from the day.

Joe in his new suit, pre-baptism. Isn't he such a handsome and happy little boy?!

Joe with his parents (me & Hubby!)

Three Generations: Joe, Hubby & Papa

Joe sans jacket

Joe up-close

I tried to use this opportunity to take family photos. I figured it would be easy since my children would be dressed nicely and there would be extra adults around to take the picture and help ensure every kid was smiling and looking in the same direction. The family picture idea was a fail. We did manage to get 1 decent picture, but I don't want to use it because Cakes and Jim aren't facing the camera and Rose is in the middle of licking her lips.

Only decent shot of my darling family

I also tried taking individual head shots. Surely if only one person was involved I could get a picture with that person looking at the camera and smiling. Wrong. The kids either 1) would not hold still or 2) gave me weird half-smiles half-grimaces. On the bright side, I did get some good candid shots. Just nothing I could use for a Title Page in the kids' memory books.

Cakes flying around the front yard.

Jim being held in place by me.

Cakes chilling by Hubby's feet

Our Stake Primary Presidency was in charge of the baptism set-up, so we didn't have to leave our house until twenty-til. It was great not having to worry about showing up early to fill the font, set out chairs, play prelude music. Our only job was to Show Up! Hooray! 

There were four other kids being baptized. The cultural hall was pretty packed with all five children's family members. I have no idea why, but it appears that I did not take any pictures of Joe & Hubby in their pre-baptism whites. 

It was wonderful seeing my dear Joe baptized. I am so happy that he made the decision to accept Jesus and follow his commandment to be baptized. It was also thrilling to then see him confirmed a member of the Church and receive the Holy Ghost. Both ordinances were done by Joe's father (Hubby!).

About twenty minutes in to the baptism service, Cakes fell asleep. All that running around before the baptism and not holding still for pictures tuckered the little guy out. Best part of Cakes falling asleep: the odd position of his body! Check it out...

After the baptism, my parents took loads of pictures of the extended family that showed up. I'm hoping to get copies of those soon. The pictures I took afterwards were of my darling son.

Just looking at this picture is filling me with so many emotions! Astonishment that my son is old enough to be baptized. Nostalgia thinking of the sweet baby boy he was and how much he has grown. Pleasure in knowing that he has a strong testimony. Pride in his striving to always choose the right. Sadness that time seems to be slipping by so fast. And through it all I have an overwhelming love and admiration for this sweet, sweet boy!

I am thrilled that Heavenly Father sent this choice son to me. I am humbled that he would entrust me with the great responsibility of nurturing and guiding such a stalwart soul as Joe. I am so happy to be a part of his life!!!

Autumn Catch-Up, Part 2

Every October our licensing agency throws a party for their families. They don't call it a Halloween party because some foster families don't celebrate holidays. Instead they call it a Fall Party and encourage kids to dress up if they want. The highlight of this party for me is the quilts! A local quilting group donates small quilts to be given to foster families to use with their kids. This year they gave our big family two quilts. The one pictured in the background below and another one that is shades of green. 

Miss Nita, the princess vampire 

Prof. X as a red ninja, Joe as a Cub Scout (he had a scout meeting right after the party)
Anne as a devil, Miss S trying to get out of the shot, Rose as little red riding hood

Miss S  as a party girl, Cakes as a white ninja

I just have to record two little notes about Miss S. 

1) She completely dislikes having her picture taken. As soon as she sees a camera pointed in her direction, she will turn her head or walk away. I have lots of pictures of the back of her head and her rump as a result. This picture is another example. As her foster Mom, I am required to keep a memory book together for her. Do you think if I filled it with all the shots I have of her backside she might finally give in and let me take a shot of her face???

2) Her costume is a dress she wore to her friend's quinceanera. I insisted she have sleeves on the dress. It is a standard in our home (and in the LDS church) that sleeves be worn. It didn't even occur to me to talk about the skirt length. Haha! She had told me that she only liked to wear long dresses, so I thought we were alright with that dress standard and didn't give her the lecture on modest dress length.  Turns out we have different ideas about what constitutes a "long" dress.

Jim loved this game which involves throwing balls to knock things down. He played
for about fifteen minutes straight...until some other kids showed up and wanted a turn.
The little boy pitched a fit! He did not want to give up his turn. 

Cakes manning the water spout. I have no idea what the purpose of this water spout 
(which only sprays downward) is or who thought it was a good idea to put it in the middle 
of a sandy playground, but Cakes (and every other child who comes across it) use it 
in a kind of King-of-the-Mountain way, spraying anyone who dares come close!

Hubby watching Jim knock things down.

In the midst of the October fun, my dear friend moved away. Something about wanting to live in a place that had "four seasons". Pssh! Who needs four seasons? They obviously don't realize that four seasons means snow, sleet, ice, and hail. Yuck. The dear woman was actually looking forward to all that cold. Poor woman, she has obviously lost her mind. ;)

Joe and Cakes adored her children. And my friend was Cakes preschool teacher last year. Cakes loves her! He will do anything she says. Because of her, Cakes began saying "Excuse Me" after his huge, on-purpose burps. 

The night before they moved, we went over to say goodbye and take a few pictures. 

Joe saying goodbye to his buddy.

Cakes playing with the E girls one more time.

The very next day, Joe was baptized!!!  But I think that warrants its very own post. :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Autumn Catch-Up, Part 1

Autumn is drawing to a close and I am feeling motivated to catch-up this blog.  So be prepared for picture overload in:






Blast Off!!!

 Prof. X guarding the tubes

Hubby has wanted to do a "float down" on the Colorado River since we moved to town in 2008. We go to the river frequently to play and swim, but never just float down. It took a bit of work for Hubby to convince me that all ten members of our family should participate. 

A gal from Hubby's office loaned us a bunch of tubes. We went the last Friday of September, leaving as soon as Hubby got home from work. 

Joe, Miss Nita, Prof. X, Anne (love that pose!) & Cakes 

Long story short: It is a dumb idea to start a float down at 6:30 pm with kids who are afraid of the dark. Factor in that water gets colder as it gets darker and that river-bank-trees look super-spooky in the moonlight and was not the best idea. :(  

But look how happy we were to start. Haha!

 Missionaries scarfing lunch

We signed up to feed the missionaries on the Saturday of General Conference. They asked if they could come for lunch instead. We said sure. We decided to make fancy sandwiches. Saturday morning the missionaries called, asking if they could bring another pair with them. We said sure. They called back a few minutes later, could they bring another pair? Sure! we said. We ended up with eight missionaries for lunch. It was hilarious! I jokingly told them they were lucky we are used to feeding so many people. The Sisters gave us this note of apology.  Hilarious!!!

Autumn brought new bikes for a few family members. Since I broke my tailbone twice in the last few years, I had decided not to ride a bike again. I gave my fantastic bike to Rose as soon as she was tall enough to ride it. She was thrilled to get that bike. She has been eyeing it since she was six! I have been happily walking since. 

Hubby decided a year ago that I needed to get over it and start riding again. I told him the desire to not ride a bike ever again was not out of fear. This was not a "fall off the horse and get right back on" situation. It was a physical thing. My tailbone did not like me riding a bike. 

Well, we celebrated out 14th anniversary this year and Hubby bought me a bike. He justified it by the fact that I was finally able to sit through our whole church meeting without my tailbone dying. He said that proved my rump was healed. :P~~ to him!  Haha! It is a very pretty bike though and it begged me to ride it and you can't tell a bike that is begging you to ride it that you will not, in fact, be riding it because that will make your pretty new bike cry. True story. The bike cried until I rode it. And it turns out Hubby was right. My tailbone is doing better. Of course, the padded seat helped quite a bit.

Hubby took us to the park for a family bike ride at the conclusion of General Conference. 

Miss S, Miss Nita, and Me! 

Anne has grown several inches over the last year and a half. Her old bike was a few sizes to small for her. She was thrilled to pick out her a new bike. She chose a beach cruiser. FUN!

Anne cruising around on her new bike

Joe's bike was too small too! It is crazy how much my kids have been growing lately. They have all experienced amazing growth spurts this year.

Joe posing on his new bike 

After riding bikes, we played! 

Jim enjoying the swings. He insisted on sitting in this giant swing. He was quite offended when Hubby placed him in a baby swing. Goofy kid. :) 

Cakes and Joe posing on top of a giant rock 

Jim trying to fly a plane 

Prof. X, Miss Nita, & Anne trying to see who barfs first 

Our ward had a kickball-picnic party in early October. One of the ward buildings in town has a softball field, so we headed down there for an evening of fun. There were several families who came to participate. 

Anne climbing an outfield tree 

Running for the ball 

The very next day, Joe turned EIGHT!!! How exciting! Since we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this meant two things for the dear boy...Baptism & Cub Scouts.  Hooray!

Joe-It's Great to be Eight! 

Close up of my darling boy 

On your birthday you get to pick your favorite foods for breakfast, dinner, and dessert. These were Joe's requests:

Breakfast = French toast, sausage, milk
Dinner = Green chili chicken enchiladas, salad, refried beans
Dessert = Cheesecake and sherbert

The dessert choice was hilarious. Joe is expanding his horizons and trying new things. Instead of choosing his favorite dessert, he chose cheesecake and sherbert because he had never had them before! He told me he wanted to start out this year trying new things. That's fine by me. I l-o-v-e cheesecake!

Joe's birthday dessert 

The following Wednesday, Joe started Cub Scouts. Now, anyone who knows me well knows that I adore the Cub Scout program. It is one of my favorite places to serve, if not THE favorite.  I am so excited that my little guy gets to participate in this great program. 

I couldn't decide which picture of my boy in his uniform I liked better, so I put them both in. Mother's prerogative. ;)

Joe in his spiffy uniform   

This picture makes me happy and sad at the same time!
Happy because look how adorable my boy is.
Sad because look how big he has gotten! My little boy is growing up so fast!!!

And as you may have noticed, Joe got braces. Anne got some too. That's right people...I have two kids in braces at the same time. 

Joe started out with spacers to make room for an RPI. Rose had one when she was about his age, but that orthodontist called it "an appliance".

Joe's Spacey Smile

An inside peak at his spacers

The orthodontist only kept the RPI in for a few weeks. Then he put braces on my boy. He is using the Damon System which uses wires and braces to stretch and reform the mouth in a more natural way. I watched a video on the process. It is quite amazing! I'm sure glad that my kids won't have to go through an orthodontic ordeal like their Dad did. For a look at Joe in his braces, see the above Cub Scout pictures.

The orthodontist started Anne out with braces. He's using the Damon System with her too. Poor Anne's teeth are trying to grow in sideways (facing her tongue) instead of straight down. The orthodontist started with braces on the upper teeth only. He is going to add lower braces in a couple of weeks.

Head shot of Anne's braces

 Close-up of Anne's braces
See how her teeth are turning in? Our lovely orthodontist is going to fix that.

Look for Autumn Catch-Up, Part 2 in the near future. :)