Monday, November 30, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Many hours of screaming & morphine later, he has a spiral fracture in his left femur. He had surgery today and 2 rods were put in it. He's at Children's Hospital in Detroit. Hoping he will be released on Sunday but it depends on his pain & what Physical Therapy thinks - we are guessing he will be wheelchair-bound.
Dr. said not to put weight on it for 4 weeks and definitely no school for 2 weeks, maybe even through Christmas Break. Argh.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
"Thus begins the great American festival, known as Thanksgiving. It is alike a holy day, and a patriotic day. The genius of the American Founding is here demonstrated: Only in America could all citizens, of all religious persuasions, celebrate equally a day that is holy and patriotic. Only in a regime of religious liberty could members of different religions unite together as equal citizens. Such a thing would have been unimaginable, for example, in 17th or 18th century Europe. George Washington understood well the significance of this achievement. By enshrining it in a national holiday, Washington continues to remind us today of the source of all that we enjoy as American citizens."
Well said. Happy Thanksgiving.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Those days of selfishness are long gone, and I kind of miss them. I got an email from an online scrapbooking business this morning with their Black Friday deals, and that combined with the Coldwater Creek catalogs they keep sending me with "save $25 or $30" coupons is making me itch to get out there and turn this recession around all by myself. I used to pick up all the fun things that I generally denied myself throughout the year... things like that cute but wholly unnecessary shirt or skirt, books, movies, CDs, even knick-knacks. How could I help but spend when I saved so much money?!
When I had kids, it didn't stop. I have just as much fun buying clothes & toys for them as I did for myself. In fact, I don't mind buying clothes for Doug either - I just love shopping. Hard to believe, because I do it so rarely. I prefer to try things on at stores, and goodness knows you can't browse any store with 2 kids in the cart. So I miss those days of yore. When asked one of my "perfect day scenarios" I think being able to let loose at a mall with no guilt later would be close to the top.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
But I've noticed the Food Channel being on more and more. First it was a favorite, Alton Brown... then Ace of Cakes... then Iron Chef... then America's Test Kitchen. And believe me, gentle readers, when I say it is NOT me watching these. But I think Doug took a turn off the deep end when he started looking up recipes on the Test Kitchen website. Why am I still making dinner? This man daydreams about ways to cook pork & beef!
Monday, November 23, 2009
The first summer we had Roman home with us was beyond stressful. At first we thought it was because we were just new parents and maybe more unprepared than we thought. Then I began saying things to Doug like "he will not play by himself!" and "he can't stand it when I'm not holding him!" but Doug figured it was me being a helicopter parent. But as Roman grew older, there were just more things that struck us as odd. His excessive clinginess to Dad (explained away as "a phase"). His inability to sit anywhere, whether to play a board game or eat a meal at the table (explained away as "he's a boy"). Sleep difficulties; getting him to fall asleep, or sleep through the night. The list went on and on. We just knew in our gut that his issues were more pronounced than they would be in a "normal" kid.
When school started, his kindergarten teacher called us within the first month with her concerns. Very smart, keeping up with grade level and learning - but some serious hyperactivity issues. It's been a long year since that phone call started us on this road from family counselor to adoption therapist, but today we got the initial unofficial results of psychological testing for Roman by a psychiatrist. It has given us some amazing insight into how his mind works... how he perceives himself, families, & caregivers. An IQ test with many subtests shows he's at grade level or above in almost everything (testing into the 4th grade level in a couple cases).
And then, of course, the confirmations. At first blush, clinical diagnosis is ADHD with anxiety disorder, as well as the insecure attachment his therapist believed he had. He also is borderline on a couple other things that the final report will hopefully tease out once she compares & contrasts a lot of the data. It was an overwhelming meeting with lots of information that brought me to tears sometimes... while ADHD is a true wiring-of-the-brain thing, the anxiety and insecure attachment (along with his general perceptions) are all a product of his emotional & environmental deficits when he was in Russia.
Charlie, strangely enough, has made us recognize and accept this more easily. When we think of Roman's probable life in the baby home & hospital where he spent much of his time, and compare it to what Charlie has had, there's no question that Roman was neglected. In fact, even seeing how Charlie interacts with us versus how Roman interacted at the same age is very telling. It breaks our heart to think of what baby-Roman went through. But now that we have professionals assuring us we're not crazy, it's not just a boy thing, he won't grow out of it, and it's not normal, we're ready to be less irritated and much more understanding & supportive of Roman.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Dragon protecting its treasure - and a baby dragon that is right behind Charlie (you can see a little bit of red from its wings). Again, the dragon & most of the treasure made out of Legos.
The throne room of the castle. The "stained glass" is all transparent colored Legos.
An interactive game where Roman could select what type of Lego wall he'd put around his castle for defense, then wind up the catapult and let it "fly" at the screen. His castle wall withstood the bombardment! That's why he's so happy.
Not to leave out the "apprentice builders" as they called them, there was a slide, along with soft foam Mega Legos, for the 4-and-younger crowd. Charlie loved the slide.
Best of all, as members this was all FREE. Did I mention I love The Henry Ford?
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Every week is kind of crazy around here, at least the Monday-Friday parts. This week was particularly difficult, as Doug or I had something every evening to be absent from home, and we both had to take time off work so Roman's psych. testing could be completed. So when the boys are finally in bed and Doug and I get some quiet time, we are actually spending it with each other instead of with the computer screen.
So anyway, what I was going to blog about yesterday: the state of our house. Kitchen not bad, dining room has some "stuff" on top of the buffet but it won't take long to clean. But then, there's Charlie's room. When the weather change this Fall I dutifully switched over Charlie's clothes. But because he had 3 different sizes in there, and some that I will pull out again next summer, I put the clothes in 3 different piles on the floor. And they're still there. It's probably been 4-5 weeks. I would have put them away faster, sure, except the boxes where I need to put the clothes are hard to get to, because our laundry room/storage area has exploded.
So my big plan this coming weekend is to reorganize the laundry area, the storage area, and declutter Charlie's room. If I have time, I will go through my closet sweater shelf because I have a pile of probably 8 t-shirts from my school & I wear 2 of them. Saturday night we plan on doing the bulk of Roman's Christmas shopping and perhaps some of Charlie's as Ro is going to a "lock-in" at church (but only staying until 9pm). So we need room in storage to put the gifts!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
We started doing the project this week. Many of the kids have gone in the usual direction, Core Democratic Values and all. Some are going off entirely in a different direction, focusing on, say, the war in the Middle East or parts of the Constitution. I had a student, though, who is focusing on Sept. 11 and then the war in the Middle East and why we are fighting there. I don't know if it was a combination of the music she used, or what, but she wasn't even done and I had to wipe away tears. She was so excited about this project that she worked on it for 4 hours at home. It's moments like that, when she's so proud of her work that she can't wait to show me, and I have a genuine moving moment, that I just LOVE teaching.
Well, that and when a student dropped his pants in class yesterday, and the other one who keeps talking about how his mom makes him take Benefiber but it's not working. Yeah. Middle school is awesome.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
As it should be. I'm not sure we can wish people "happy" Veterans' Day, but we can certainly thank them for our freedoms.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
It's because it's end of the marking period, and I'm also going away on a personal holiday this weekend. So I want to get everything done, have all my copies made, samples available, new class lists for my electives printed out, papers graded, grades caught up.... oh yeah, and attend a meeting on Wednesday evening at school, Roman's conference on Thursday, pack for my scrapbooking weekend....
My goal: to do all of the above, and drive west on Friday with a clear mind - and clear desktop, both computer AND wood.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Charlie - he's a different story. He's quite pleased to play with Roman's things. In fact, he loves to put helmets on and off the Lego guys. We figure we're just going to wrap a bunch of Roman's old toys that are in storage and give them to him - he won't know any better! There are some cool things I think he'd like, but it's hard when he hasn't shown an obsession like Roman did at this age (for Thomas trains). Plus I don't take him to the store like I did Roman.
The other problem - I do all my "shopping" online now, and many things I know about (Playmobil) have the best selections there. Or, it's a rare cool idea that only this one catalog or two has. So we'll be making our lists out over the next couple weeks!
Saturday, November 07, 2009
My cousin had the good idea to have all the kids send balloons up in the air to let Grandma know we were thinking of her. The kids liked that. Then, my aunt pulled out a box of Fannie May (Grandma's favorite) and we all had a piece in memory of her. Mmm, milk chocolate buttercreams.
At 2pm the memorial began in Kalamazoo. A lot of residents from the Village came, and our family took up 6 rows, it was crazy. Nice to see my Grandma's brother and his side of the family, it had been a little over a year. It wasn't as much of a memorial as a "Celebration of Life" with a family picture slideshow, big band songs, the works. A nice children's story was said comparing going to heaven with becoming a dragonfly. Both Jessica & I spoke. I did finally get my good cry in at the end & apparently really upset Charlie as well. After visiting with people there, we went to my cousin's where we had Olive Garden (Grandma's favorite) and just spent time as a family. Exhausted the kids, they actually slept on the ride home.
So the hard day is over, and now it's just the return to living life without Grandma to get used to. See you in heaven, Gus.
Friday, November 06, 2009
This morning was the first of many appointments with Roman to start testing him emotionally, cognitively, behaviorally... whatever you can think of. We want to find out how his brain works and how he perceives & interprets things, so we can best work with him. It's emotionally frustrating to have a child who doesn't respond "normally" to discipline or situations, who needs so much more from us than we originally thought. Some things we realize we did wrong from the beginning - well, not wrong, because we had the best of intentions - but we didn't respond to Roman's needs as well as we should have. But we're doing our best now.
With trying to figure out appointment times for Roman, and taking off work, and not dealing with grief much yet, I think Saturday I'm going to be a basket case. We've talked with Roman about all the grief he's going to see and how it's totally okay. I hope to demonstrate for Roman how someone can celebrate & grieve at the same time; how death is an acceptable part of life and nothing to be afraid of. Whew, got a lot to do this weekend!
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Making friends? Being respectful? Able to work with others? Follows directions? Those were the questions I found most important. So tonight, as I worked my second night of conferences as teacher, I found myself much more comfortable talking about the kids' academically and personally. How they work in groups, their relationship with me, how they relate to the other students in class. Just one more way my own kids have improved every part of my life.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
I think it's because I know my addictive personality. I actually have great self-control because if I let go for a minute, I'd eat powdered donuts all the time, go to the casino every weekend, smoke, drink more, & essentially be a glutton. I do the same thing with technology. I can't just get on Facebook. I have to update myself at least once a day, more if I could access it. I don't have a cell phone that can get on the Internet because I would be on it ALL DAY. Twitter? I stay away because the need to subscribe to all my interests, and sit & read the updates, would pretty much take up all my time.
So I worry for myself & the technological future. Will ours be the only house without a special food-making machine because I won't want to learn how to run it? Will I completely miss the next generation of music-listening devices because I still haven't graduated from iPod Shuffle? And yet, I still basically use a chalkboard in the classroom. But that's another post...
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
me: "You know, Roman, some countries can't vote at all. They don't get to choose who is in charge of their country."
me: "So if someone bad was in charge, the people would never get rid of them. The bad guy would be in control of everything."
Roman: You know what? America should go to all those places.
me: "What places?"
Roman: Where they can't vote.
"What would we do?"
If there's a good guy in charge, we leave them alone. If there's a bad guy in charge, we'll shoot them.
"Why can't we just capture him and put him in jail?"
Because they might try to escape.
Now, that's some Republican foreign policy for you!
Monday, November 02, 2009
Roman was Anakin Skywalker (from the Clone Wars) and Charlie was a dragon/dinosaur, whatever people wanted to call him. I hated being "that mom" but oh yes, he did wear his coat over his costume. Thank goodness he'll never remember. Roman ended up putting his coat on under his costume. A little bulky, but I suppose Anakin could have worn some body armor!
Sunday, November 01, 2009
It means I will post every day for the month of November. If I have nothing to say, I'll post my picture of the day. Which I'm failing miserably at the last couple weeks.
Today is All Saints' Day. Means nothing to me because I'm Protestant, but interestingly, my Oma died today. I certainly wouldn't equate her with the saints, but she certainly had influence on our lives. Her memorial will be next weekend, and I'm sure my mind will have something beautiful to say about her in an upcoming post. Today, though, my mind just isn't there. Went over to K-zoo Friday night as she was in bad shape; spent about 3 hours there Saturday; and today, fortunately or not, was with her to witness her last few hours. I left about 1.5 hours before she passed, but her daughters were all there. That is a wonderful gift.
So anyway, that's all I've got to say today. Not a great way to start the month, but no doubt will lead to some interesting reflections this week.