Tuesday, October 30, 2007

8 Months Old Already

Happy, strong-willed, mobile, curious, wiggly, toothless, and very, very loved.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Election Without Consent

I don't remember running for office, yet I was elected anyway. Somehow, I have become the Mayor of Whineytown, and it is not an position I relish.

I suppose I should thank my consituents, without whom Whineytown would not exist. They are dedicated, beyond belief, to their society, so much so that their fearless leader cannot talk on the phone, visit the bathroom, or read her email without their near constant input.

Today's townhall meeting was held in the bathroom while I took my shower. I had hoped for a "closed door" meeting featuring just the chief executive, but Whineytown's citizens would not stand for this in their community. So commenced the "revolving door" meeting, one I would not recommend to other townships.

It began with poor, downtrodden citizen Lindsey, who was stuck in the dreaded time warp in between her visit to the pumpkin patch and her trip to the bowling alley. She whined and cried that she couldn't watch TV during the 40 minute stretch and WHAT WAS SHE GOING TO DO WITH HERSELF?! Further her commitment to being a good citizen of Whineytown, obviously.

Lindsey was not gone a full minute when in came outraged citizen Sam. Why, he wanted to know, did Lindsey get to go the the pumpkin patch when he didn't? It would be difficult for me to accurately represent his level of indignation at this injustice, so I won't even try. But suffice it to say that, even when reminded that he got to go to Universal Studios last week and she didn't, his commitment to the Whineytown name was so strong that he could not be deterred in the slightest.

Sam was passed on his way out the door by sobbing citizen Julia. Her complaint was that I had dared not inform her that I was going to be taking a shower. She reminded me strongly that she ALWAYS wants to know when I take a shower in case she wants to join me. WHY, WHY didn't I tell her?!

The irony of my response was lost on her: "Because I wanted to shower alone."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Drive-Time Amusements

Today I saw a sticker on the back of a car, the kind you have custom made at the kiosk in the mall.

It read "Truely Blessed".

All I could think was that, apparently, these people have all the blessings in the world, with one glaring exception: they aren't blessed with the ability to spell.

I laughed pretty hard at that one. It's nice I can crack myself up.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Joey is gone this week, on an educational road trip to New Mexico with my mom. As much as I miss him, it is also a nice break from the routine of homeschooling for me. I fantasized all last week about the things I would accomplish around the house while the other kids were at school...closets would be cleaned out, seasonal clothes would get sized and rotated, aromatic fall foods would bubble away on the stove each afternoon.

None of this is happening.

I forgot, when planning this week, that this is the time of year when all of my volunteer projects come to a head at the same moment. I have four different events or activities that all need my attention this week in a major way. This happened at this same time last year as well, but apparently I blocked it out. I am good with selective amnesia that way (obviously, or I wouldn't have so many kids!).

At any rate, I spent all day yesterday entering information for our school directory and all day today sewing chair covers for our school's fall luncheon. Last night I was taking care of treasurer duties at the school and tonight I was working on the church's capital campaign. I must admit, I love it all.

So, as usual, this week I will be a little behind in the laundry and a little panicked about what's for dinner. I thought I might actually have it in me to be the perfect homemaker for this brief moment in time, but I suppose it's all for the best. After all, the family would be in shock if this happened, and I would hate to put them through that.

I'm only thinking of them. Really!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I Should Have Known Better

Murphy does not take vacations.

I know this for a fact, because I spent the entire day rolling around and moaning from my own case of the stomach flu while five of my children vomited unceasingly around me. All over the freshly cleaned carpets, when they could not make it to the bathroom in time.

Just as I was consoling myself with the fact that, at least, the carnage was confined to the upstairs and that the downstairs still looked fine, the dog, too, came down with it and threw up in the dining room. I didn't know dogs could even GET the flu.

Like I said yesterday, Murphy's Law is generally as reliable than the Law of Gravity. Silly me for thinking there could be an exception.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Murphy Must Be on Vacation

I say this because Murphy's Law, which I generally find to be as reliable as the Law of Gravity, failed us today.

And this is a good thing.

Because, by some miracle, our pre-scheduled, semi-annual carpet cleaning coincided nearly exactly with the end of poor Tony's 36-hour, 103 degree fever vomit-fest.

Now, how often does something that wonderful happen? Thanks, Murphy. Wherever you are.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Lab Rats

Our family is participating in a research study at UCLA. Today Joey and I spent 7 hours taking all sorts of tests in an effort to help researchers identify a genetic component to ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

We did all sorts of things, ranging from simple IQ tests to blood tests to brain wave mapping. We did mental math, we spelled, we made shapes with blocks. We stared at a dot on a computer screen with an electrode cap on our heads. We answered lots of questions about our learning styles and showed off our right-brain vs. left-brain dominance through the exercises that were administered. Surprisingly, we both had a lot of fun!

Joey was diagnosed with ADHD two years ago, by UCLA, after extensive testing to see why he was struggling in school. As his teacher, I strongly suspect that he is also dyslexic, although he has not been specifically tested for this. Joey is a very smart, creative boy, and it kills me to see how difficult academics are for him and how much he dislikes schoolwork of any kind. I am sure that I could do a better job of teaching him if only I knew what techniques might be more effective for his style of learning. It was with this in mind that I contacted UCLA again this month to see if they could help me, as I did not think to have them give me a formal diagnosis with all the paperwork to go with it the last time we were there.

Happily, I learned that UCLA was currently conducting a family genetic research study that would provide me with the comprehensive diagnosis and evaluation I need in order to request special help from Joey's virtual school. Although homeschooled, Joey is technically a public school student and therefore entitled to modified curriculum, testing assistance, and other resources that may help me to reach him better. I just have to have an official diagnosis to receive these services, so off we went to get one.

The researchers are focusing on several genetic markers they have identified in children with ADHD. They believe that this is a genetic disorder and are interested to see how it runs in families. Our family, with so many children, is a dream come true for them in terms of "studyability". Lindsey, Sam and Jay will go next week and do the same things Joey and I did today. At the end we will receive a report on how we all did and where we are on various evaluative spectrums. Fascinating stuff, this is.

I, for one, did not believe ADHD was a real disorder until I had a child that clearly had it. Like so many other people, I believed that ADHD was the result of bad or lazy parenting or largely created by drug companies to sell more pills. Now that I know better, I am happy to be part of research that not only validates this as a real condition, but that will lay the groundwork for acceptable educational alternatives for children who cannot succeed with traditional curriculum. Children with ADHD are generally very bright and often have special gifts to compensate for their difficulty in traditional education. The researchers I worked with today celebrate and support the child with ADHD rather than attempt to stifle or routinely medicate him, and I love that.

As much as I enjoyed today, I now have a new respect for research subjects. The whole thing was exhausting and mind-numbing! Rest assured that this rat is happy to be out of the maze and back in her cage for the night.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bridging the Gap

And what a gap it is. But not for long, thanks to the miracle of modern orthodontics.

Congratulations, Lindsey, on your new braces! We are glad we can help put things in line for you. But always remember: it is not straight teeth that make you beautiful. Your smile is already gorgeous, because it reflects the light that is inside of you.

Shine on, girl!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Big Boy Beds and Brotherly Love

It's official...Tony is a big boy, as evidenced by his transition from crib to bed.

This is a trying milestone for this mom, who likes the crib to double as "toddler jail" as needed. Nevertheless, it is an exciting time for all of us, as we get used to having Tony on the loose and delight with him in his new situation.

(Yes, yes, I know there are some outlets I need to cover. I'm on it.)

At any rate, part of the adventure of having a toddler free to climb out of bed whenever he chooses is the unexpected joy you experience when you see how he chooses to use that freedom.

Tonight Tony wanted to sleep with his big brother Sam, and nothing or no one was going to stop him. Certainly not those pesky crib bars (good riddance!). Not even Sam, who was less than thrilled, but reluctantly agreed to host him as long as I promised to move him as soon as he fell asleep, which I did.

My favorite part is the sippy cup he brought along and unceremoniously dumped at the top of Sam's bed. Toddler litter. Cute, in't it?