Monday, October 27, 2008

Snow storm!

Just because I'm supposed to leave town today for Milwaukee. Wood and I are hoping the storm will pass in a few hours, delaying my departure but I'd still arrive in Milwaukee tonight. If not, I may not be able to leave until early, early am. The problem with traveling through the UP, is that there is no cell service between towns. And through the majority of the trip through the UP, cities/towns are few and far between. So, if you have car trouble, slide off the road, or hit one of the numerous deer, you are out of luck in calling for help, until someone passes by. Not exactly the kind of conditions G and I want to be traveling solo in.

I'm going to have to go dig out my pumpkins on the porch pretty soon. The girls are chomping at the bit to get snowpants on and get outside, especially A, who is a true northern girl.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

better today...

but G still has a significant cough. No improvements on the peak flow meter yet. It's rainy and cold, so we'll stick close to home today.

Since we were stuck around the house yesterday, I worked on G's halloween costume. She's going to be Jessie from Toy Story. We got a red foam hat from Dollar Tree, and I punched holes in the brim, and threaded white rope through it. She has a pink long sleeved shirt with buttons down the front - I tacked on Yellow felt at the top yoke and we glued on some sequins. I made yellow felt cuffs, with white felt fringe to take to the cuffs of the shirt.

I sewed some basic tubes out of some cheap white and black cow print fabric, sewing into the seams some white felt "fringe" at the bottom. Then I tacked the tubes on a pair of her plain blue jeans. Voila, perfect cowgirl chaps. I'm going to print out a picture of the bulls horn belt buckle and glue it to some cardboard, and it will be her belt buckle. The pants are absolutely perfect, and look so much better than the store bought costume.

I haven't brought out the sewing machine since we moved. I've forgotten how much I like to sew. I used to be the proud owner of Chumbas Diapers when G was a baby and spent my days (and nights) making AIO's and pocket diapers. My basement was FULL of hemp, fleece, velour and PUL. The business was my "baby" and it grew well beyond my capabilities to handle solo. The new owner (I sold the business) doesn't seem to be selling anything anymore, which is sad. The website is still just how I left it, just devoid of merchandise. The pics of what diapers are still posted were made by me. I designed the little Chumbas baby logo. The customer comments are from customers who bought from me. I have a good sewing machine and serger (which is still packed away) from when I owned the business. Wood bought me a BEAUTIFUL sewing table cabinet to hold both, back when we lived in the tiny little house downstate. It's my own little sewing center.

Here's a pic of G and mommy making diapers for a customer order. G was a little peanut then too - over 8 lbs at birth, only 15 lbs by age 1, just broke 20 lbs by her second birthday.

G in one of mommy's dipes. I made elmo a matching diaper too :)

G was the original Chumbas baby - see any resemblance? G was so healthy when she was a baby - she was rarely sick, and never ever had even an ear infection. I know correlation isn't causation, however, within months of beginning her immunizations just prior to A coming home, at age 3+ she began her chronic illnesses and respiratory issues.

I still have some cute PRR (Painting Red Rhino's) children's boutique fabric tucked away that I got through fabric co-ops when I ran the business. I should drag it out and make cute jumpers for the girls.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

ER trip....

Last night we had to take G to the ER with a bad asthma attack. She couldn't expell air from her lungs well unless she coughed it out, and we couldn't break the attack with it's non-stop coughing with our rescue inhaler.

She got a turbo charged breathing treatment, chest x-ray, high dose steriod (yuck, yuck, yuck) and antibiotic.

We have new scripts at home for prenisolone in tapering doses (cuz she got a mega dose in the ER), antibiotic, and robittusin with codeine.

She became practically manic within 10 minutes of the steriod. However, she was able to breath. Even then, she could only blow about 150 on the peak flow meter - not great at all.

We all got to bed around 4am.

The fear of her not being able to breath absolutely terrifies me.

Tuesday we have our appt in Milwaukee.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Birthdays and mothers.....

Today is my birthday. I have waay more candles than shown on the cake here, but I didn't want to start a virtual fire! I'm - well, old enough to have a daughter who will be 22 in a few months.

It's now been 2 years since I've had any contact with my mother. Last year it didn't bother me so much - this year it really does. I've always had a difficult relationship with my mother - the ugly incident over A's adoption 2 years ago (yes, a FULL year after she had been home) is one of the worst, but by no means the only one.

As a mother, how do you simply "forget" about one of your children? Her last words to me were "well then I guess I only have three daughters now". I have 3 sisters. Does she acknowledge that today she gave birth to me? Wonder about her grandchildren? Or is it just another day in her life? There are some mothers who would do anything to be with or talk to their children, especially birth mothers of children who have been adopted. And then there are mothers who can simply throw their relationship with their children away, as if it were trivial and insignificant.

How will I explain it to A someday, who already has deep fears about loosing another mother? That I have a mother, who is living and well, who simply refuses to acknowledge or speak to her daughter? Will my assurances and actions that I will always love her, always be her mother, even when she is grown and on her own sound like empty promises?

I can empathize, at least at some level, about birthday reactions of adoptive children. Today seems like a day of huge loss, not of joy and celebration. I have so much, my beautiful family, loving husband, a mother-in-law who treats me like a daughter, a wonderful life. But what does it say about you when your own mother rejects you? No matter how much you have in life, how many people love and care for you, so much comes back to your relationship with your birth mother. It's not about how much I have, how grateful I am, how wonderful my currrent family is. It's a pain deep in the heart and soul. The gift here is that it gives me so much insight and greater clarity about how my daughter feels or may feel about this situation in her own life.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


We are now past peak fall colors - the trees are well on their way to bare. Today was downright cold - but beautiful. Sales at the store picked up today and yesterday - folks can only put off buying the cold weather gear for so long.

This begins the time of year that life becomes more than hectic. All of November and December I work every Sat and Sunday. If I'm lucky, I'll get a half to a whole day off during the week, but not always. Last year, I think I had one 19 day consecutive stretch at work. Workdays stretch to 10-12 hrs, with 15+ hrs on weekend days. This year might be particularly brutal - with the economy slowing, I don't have as much staff on hand, nor can I do much seasonal hiring this year.

This year should be particularly interesting with Wood working in the Propane business. Looks like it will be the busy season for BOTH of us, which isn't going to work well at all. I'm used to Wood picking up all the loose ends when I'm practically living at work. He left town this morning for some training downstate and won't be back until late tomorrow night. I can't believe I used to be a single mother - I depend on my better half so very much!

Due to the job, we can't travel anywhere around the holidays. And, we live near no family. It kills us not to be able to get together with Woods' family for the holidays - either thanksgiving or Christmas. My family, well, that's for another post.

I had to take Miss A to the dr's today - such an incredibly rare occurance. It is actually eerie how she just doesn't get sick. She's waking up once, if not more, in the middle of the night with bad nosebleeds. It's scary to wake up with a child standing next to your bed dripping blood - not crying, just standing there bleeding. None of my other three children EVER had a nosebleed unless they injured their nose. Asrat's had them fairly frequently since she's been about 2.5. But never every single day like this. The dr took blood to check platelets and look for clotting issues. Also to see if she is becoming anemic due to the frequent nosebleeds. Then, he might refer us to an ENT to have a thin, flexible scope put through her nose to see what's going on.

We saw big sister M over the weekend and her new house she rented with a roommate. Very, very cute. The girls loved seeing her cat, whose name is...oh, I forgot, but Miss A renamed her "Sparkle Seraphina". Yup, just your run of the mill name for a cat.....

M's hair is now purple. The girls were in awe and amazement. My coworkers are telling me to relax about it -she has no piercings, tattoos, or anything else permanent. I know, I know. But couldn't it be colored something a little more along the natural scale of things?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

it's time to go to Milwaukee again...

For G's appt at Children's Hospital. We considered trying to push it back, but traveling in the winter (which is late Oct thru - late April) is really hard up and can be dangerous here due to the immense amount of snow. We are set up for Oct 28th and it will be just her and I again this time.

These appts are well worth it, but they end up costing us several hundred $$ in travel expenses and copays. G's prescription and dr's visit copays and deductables are so much better now that we have switched to Wood's insurance, but we still have quite a few medical bills from earlier in the year - both her and I. She's still coughing somewhat from her early September cold - not badly, but it HAS been 6 going on 7 weeks.

I hate traveling so far by myself. This time, though, I will make sure we have someplace to stay prior to leaving home! If we have time, maybe we can spend a few hours at the zoo, which is right near Children's hospital.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In Obama's Senate office, women make .83 to the dollar

I was really surprised about this one. I really thought it would have been the opposite.

"Barack Obama claims he's for equal pay for women, but women working in his Senate office earn an average of $9,000 less than men, while women in John McCain's Senate office earn an average of nearly $2,000 more than men. American women understand that real leadership is about what you do, not just what you say." -- McCain-Palin spokeswoman Crystal Benton

FACT CHECK: Records Show Women Working In Obama's Senate Office Were Paid Average Of $9,000 Less Than Men

According To Senate Records, Women Working In Obama's Senate Office Paid An Average Of $9,000 Less Than Men, As "Obama Pays Women Just 83 Cents For Every Dollar His Men Make." "Obama's commitment to federally mandated pay equity stretches from the Rockies to Wall Street and beyond. And yet it seems to have eluded his Senate office. Compensation figures for his legislative staff reveal that Obama pays women just 83 cents for every dollar his men make." (Deroy Murdock, Op-Ed, "Obama Only Talks Good Game On Gender Pay Equity," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 9/11/08)
Columnist Deroy Murdock: "In short, these statistics suggest that John McCain is more than fair with his female employees, while Barack Obama -- at the expense of the women who work for him -- quietly perpetuates the very same pay-equity divide that he loudly denounces. Of all people, the Democratic standard bearer should understand that equal pay begins at home." (Deroy Murdock, Op-Ed, "Obama Only Talks Good Game On Gender Pay Equity," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 9/11/08)
FACT CHECK: From October 2007 Through March 2008, Full Time Male Employees In The Senate Office Of Sen. Barack Obama Earned An Average Annual Salary Of $9,226.49 More Per Employee Than Full Time Female Employees:
The Average Annual Salary For Male Employees Employed In The Senate Office Of Sen. Barack Obama Was $54,379.16 compared to $45,152.57 for female employees. (Legistorm Website,, Accessed 9/1/08)

Of The Five Highest Paid Obama Staffers, Only One Is Female. (Legistorm Website,, Accessed 9/1/08)

Of The 20 Highest Paid Obama Staffers, Only 7 Are Female. (Legistorm Website,, Accessed 9/1/08)
FACT CHECK: From October 2007 Through March 2008, Full Time Male Employees In The Senate Office Of Sen. John McCain Earned An Average Annual Salary Of Nearly $1,942.21 Less Per Employee Than Full Time Female Employees:
The Average Annual Salary For Male Employees Employed In The Senate Office Of Sen. John McCain Was $53,936.15 compared to $55,878.36 for female employees. (Legistorm Website,, Accessed 9/1/08)

Of The Five Highest Paid McCain Staffers, Three Are Female. (Legistorm Website,, Accessed 9/1/08)

Of The 20 Highest Paid McCain Staffers, 13 Are Female. (Legistorm Website,, Accessed 9/1/08)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Car seats

A is almost 5 and G is 6. Both girls are in carseats. Full, 5pt harnessed carseats. Michigan just changed it's law over the summer that children must be in a carseat or booster until age 9 or 4'9" tall. So this is the first year that the school must have seats for all children on field trips.

The teacher thinks this is as easy as parents dropping off boosters and then the parent drivers putting them in their car for a field trip. G does not weigh 40 pounds, and therefore doesn't weigh enough to safely use a booster. Even if she did, She fits well in her 5-pt carseat (Britax Regent in one car - goes to 85 pounds and Britax Marathon in the other - goes to 65 lbs) and this is what I prefer.

It literally takes me 15-20 minutes to correctly install the seat in our cars. And I've done it many, many times and am familiar with the installation. There are cars that it just doesn't fit into. It has to be tethered or it can't be used. We had to install a tether anchor in one of cars because it didn't have one. When we rent a car to travel, I have to read the owner's manual for the vehicle to ensure I'm installing it correctly for that vehicle. I've read the owner's manual for the carseat several times, as the seat belts different for different child weights, car configurations, etc.

While I'm sure boosters are simpler, I'm sure it's just as important to be aware of how to install each variety correctly and to understand how the seatbelts in each car operate (i.e. do they have to be put into a "locked" position? etc.) I personally have never used a booster, and have no idea of how they install, if the seat belt has to be locked, etc.

How in the world does the school expect to get the kids and their boosters/carseats safely installed in a few minutes prior to a field trip? G's carseat either can't be installed or be installed safely in several different types of vehicles.

They just aren't thinking this through. Am I really the only parent that cares about these things?

Friday, October 10, 2008

school rant...

G can read at probably a third or 4th grade level at this point. Yet she comes home with spelling words that are way too easy for her. Last week was "pin, tin, bin, pit, sit, kit, fin, sin, bin, two". When I practice them with her at night, she just rattles them off without even thinking. She gets 100% on her spelling tests. Now she is coming home with little books that then entire class brings home to "practice". Here's a few sentences of that this week's book: "The dog got a hat. it was a tin pot. Did the tin pot fit the dog? No it did not. The pig got a hat. It was a pot top." G is reading "Charlie and the Chocolate factory" and reads the newspaper.....

I talked to the teacher shortly after the beginning of the school year. That week, she sent G home with a really neat book. Now we are back to the early readers.

School = many children, one mold. Each child is funneled though the same place, at the same pace, regardless of their needs. G is getting tremendously bored. We give her more appropriate and harder "homework" to do at home ourselves. But that's just making her lose even more interest in her classwork as she moves further and further ahead.

I don't want to have to keep bringing this up with the teacher. I certainly don't want to sound like one of "those" parents who believes that everything their child does is gifted. But G could easily be doing the work in 1 or 2 grades higher. From all signs thus far, it will not come as easily to A, and she will be the student who needs to start 1st grade at the level the teacher is teaching to. So how do I fix this for G?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

C is for patakiller....

Almost three years home, A still has some speech issues. She picked up english at a phenonmenol rate, but sentence structure and pronunciation have been more slowly aquired. Sound reversals, as in patakiller = catapiller are not uncommon.

We've had her speech evaluated twice in the past, and she scored within normal limits for her age both times. Definite issues were noted, but it was still considered relatively "normal" for her age. Now that she is 5, I'm thinking we should probably have her tested again. I don't notice these tendencies as much with her peers. Also, in Pre-k, they have been working on letter sounds. She doesn't seem to be able to recognize the sounds letters make, even very simple ones, which is also compounded by her pronunciation - she doesn't associate, for example, catapiller beginning with a C, or even K sound, because she pronounces it with a "p".

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Do you have a mother?

Over the past few days, the girls have been getting to know and playing with the kids across the street. The mother of the family works with me. We used one of their 7th grade twins to babysit for us once for a few hours in a pinch. They have a younger son, age 8. The 8 year old boy has been coming over and asking to play with the girls. They've been all playing outside together - in their backyard, our backyard or throwing a ball out front. The 7th grade girl and sometimes her twin brother, have been playing with the kids too. Funny, they've not played together all summer, and now that it's getting cold, they have become friends.

My co-worker came in today and told me about the following conversation that A had with her daughter yesterday:

A: "Do you have a mother?"
friend: "yes, of course. Everyone has a mother."
A: "No, not everyone. Sometimes moms get lost."