Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weekends mean work!

Weekends are supposed to be fun, right?

I'm sure I will have one without so much work soon, but this weekend was focused around trying to cram all of my kitchen stuff back into the kitchen! Plus having to wash everything! My dishwasher thinks it deserves a break and I am sure my hands do. I am much too old to be dealing with dishwater hands now. I need Madge! Remember that old commercial where the lady went for the manicure and Madge told her she was soaking in Palmolive or whatever brand it was? OK, I do feel my age!

We took one break and ventured to the New Flower Market Farmers Market, which Grace and Annabel both felt like was a weird name for a grocery store. I agree.

They were roasting corn and raising money for the food bank, so Annabel had 2 ears and I had one. Grace doesn't eat corn. Right....

We bought our turkey and other ingredients so we can host the family Thanksgiving meal. Our very first attempt at it! I think I might trick everyone like I have done before, order the whole thing, put it in my dishes, and then take credit for the meal.

When we got home Mom came over to "help" with the kitchen. I realized later that she just got us all working and then went home.

Today after lunch Dad was asking Grace if he should buy Mom some piece of jewelry that was on the TV. She told him, no, she would just lose it. Oh that is cold!

Then Dad, not learning from his previous question, asked if he should get himself an Iphone. Grace quickly told him that he doesn't use his current one enough to warrant a new one.

Awww, the joys of grandchildren!

This afternoon we helped out a friend by partiicpating in a photo shoot for her company. There was no pay involved, but hopefully some great pictures of the girls. It was a glorious day and fun to be at the park and talk to some of the other moms. The photo shoot was easy as the photographer just wanted them to play.

After we came home I knew I had to tackle the huge piles of leaves in our backyard. I got a little punchy from it and worked out my Ode to my pecan tree. hope you think it is funny!

Ode to my pecan tree, subtitled, late Autumn mowing

Oh pecan tree, our state tree. The tree whose leaves do not appear until late spring. Your branches are long and tall, extending to the skies, arching into the perfect shape to provide a canopy.

Your branches soon become full and luscious, providing shelter and cooling from the hot Texas summers.

You provide a veil for squirrels to hide in so they can torment our dogs.

Ollie and Nina look and stare, eyes fixed at some unseen sight, sure they have seen some movement, but all they can see are your leaves fluttering in the wind as a squirrel rushes by.

You, pecan tree, allowed us to hang up a swing from one of your many strong branches. Wonderful memories remain forever since KK took great pictures of your branch supporting the weight of all who wanted to swing.

Your branches sometimes break and drop and I don't know if you are sad or thankful to shed your unneeded weight.

You who teased me last year with the beauty of small green pecans peaking through your leaves, but when Autumn came, they were gone.

Now you have succumbed to the pressure that Autumn places on all trees and plants and your lovely leaves have fallen to the ground. Piles and piles of cracked and brown leaves, no longer providing the cool or the shade, no longer needed or useful. Piles and piles, so high you would think you were hiding or protecting something on the ground.

Are you in cahoots with someone or something I do not know?

I must find out. I must start the mower one last time to rid the ground of the piles of damp leaves knowing that their beauty can not be regained.

The electric mower runs so quietly. No exhaust fumes. No damage to the ozone.

I begin to push across what once was your beauty, your crown in the sky.

I hear a loud noise and soon the ground is covered with cotton fluff.

Oh now I see what you were hiding. The octopus that Ollie brought to your feet as an offering for a squirrel. You hid it from him under your leaves. Sadly, Mr. Octopus ic now gone.

But I press on and hear a strange rattling. It sounds like popcorn under the mower.

I stop and look down, wondering what else you have hidden.

Here, there, everywhere are your bounty. It is not just your leaves you have dropped, but your fruit, my favorite nut, pecans. While some feel your fruit is not fancy enough to put into bags to enjoy on airplane flights and many from the north mispronounce your name, we in the south love our pecans and all the glorious treasures we can make from your single ingredient.

We love them in pies, we love them in salads, we love them in cookies, cakes, icing, rolls, we love them sugared, we love them spicy, we love them plain.

Oh pecan tree, you have left us a beautiful memory to carry us through the winter. We will nibble on them slowly to make them last until your branches are full once more of your glorious leaves.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Barbie's Dream House!

I feel like a kid on Christmas morning!

I walk into my kitchen and just in awe of how wonderful it is! It is so bright and airy and uncluttered! It is just beautiful! I realized last night if any of the men in my life had ever offered me a great kitchen, I probably would have married them.

I feel like I did when I first got a Barbie Dream Home. The possibilities are endless!

There is only one problem.

It is so uncluttered because all the stuff that should be in there is in the dining room, living room, and sun porch! I just don't want to mess it up again! I wonder how long I can live with all the clutter in the rest of the house if just this room remains cleared out??

Yesterday morning I left Grace at school with huge tears rolling down her cheeks. What a bad mother! I was just sure if she got there and got started she would forget about her arms hurting from the shots and that the fever would go down after the Tylenol.

But of course it did not work that way.

My phone rang by 10:30. It was the nurse letting me know that Annabel was there with a temperature and feeling dizzy. Annabel?? Really? She told me she was OK. I told the nurse to get Grace too and I would come pick them up. Grace's temperature continued to be high all day and night, but Annabel's slowly came down late last night. Both are home today due to the rule of being 24 hours without a temperature. Besides it is rainy and nasty outside and I do not want a repeat of a few weeks ago. Annabel is very mad that I will not let her go to school.

The fact that Annabel would not let me know she was not feeling well is why I am reading a new book, "The Connected Child". When the social worker was here recently she brought up some interesting points about the survival instincts of these children covering up the trauma that has been inflicted when they are so young. She started me thinking about the eleven years pre-adoption for Annabel. Because her history is so sketchy, I really have no idea what all took place. And she does not like to talk about it. Grace will, but even in the first few chapters, I can see that Grace retreats rather than deal with conflicts.

Gladney has a treasure in Amy Curtis. She is so kind and gentle in broaching difficult subjects. She is willing to help any way she can.

I guess I have dallied enough and the "stuff" is not moving by itself back into the kitchen.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Last minute fashion needs

Rarely do we have a day without much going on. But some days just seem like a LOT going on.

Although I was fully prepared to give up my kitchen 3 weeks ago, it really was not at a point that we had to be out of it completely. They came and worked while we were gone. They went home, we came home, and life was pretty much normal. IF you consider having most of your kitchen items in your living room and dining room and everything being covered with dust and having funky odors from paint, sanding, sawing, new wood, etc.

I knew the time would finally come when they would tackle the floor. All of these old houses have hardwood floors under years of accumulations of the latest in floor coverings, but when the original floors were put it, I don't think anyone could have dreamed of how we would LOVE those hardwood floors.

We had talked about putting some other trendy floor covering in to tie the two areas together, but our contractor LOVES the personality of the old houses and convinced me that the hardwood floors, sanded down to the bare wood, stained, and then sealed would be the best.

Oh he was so right.

BUT that is a LONG process and even though I knew it was going to start, it was also the first time I did not haul out our microwave, paper cups, plates, etc, so all the things we have been needed are trapped in the kitchen. AND we cannot get to the washing machine or the dryer and Annabel's gym uniform is still being held captive in there.

The wood working guy called tonight and said they were finished with the desk and shelves. Something tells me that it is so much better than anything I visualized, but I will finally see it tomorrow. I can't wait to splash pictures of the finished product on my blog and heartily recommend the guys who have done all the work.

But where I started with this line of thought is where our day ended up.

Annabel had to be at school at 7:30 and we did much better leaving in plenty of time to actually allow her to walk into the classroom, rather than arrive breathless from the run. But since we still are without a kitchen, we drove through McDonalds one more time for breakfast. I didn't think my cholesterol could take another sausage/biscuit, so I opted for just coffee. For Annabel, she rarely tires of a food and will eat it until you think she might become that food. She is still fired up about a sausage/biscuit. Maybe tomorrow will be our last day of those for a while.

Today at work we had a doctor talking about diabetes. He was fantastic and did a great job of actually addressing the topic in a way that everyone could understand. While I love having these programs, they are very taxing, with the fear that no one will show up, that the speaker won't show up, that the coffee won't be hot enough. By the time it is over, I feel spent!

When we went to the pediatrician for the girls' flu shots they mentioned that they had not had a physical. Hmmm, oh yea! Today was the appointment for their physical. I felt so sorry for them as they each had to get numerous shots, then a H1N1 nose spray/mist thing. I'm not sure who changed the immunization requirements for those entering 7th grade, but my girls are up to date and there will be no mad dashes this summer to take care of that! They both went to bed with sore arms though. Poor babies.

Last night Annabel handed me a piece of paper from her band teacher. It explained the winter concert, dates, times, locations, and then told in detail what they were required to wear. Now since school started Annabel has been after me to buy her a tuxedo shirt, bow tie, black pants, and shoes.

Believe it or not, none of that was mentioned as to what she needed to wear to the concert!

No, instead she needed a SOLID black dress, or black skirt and white blouse, with black shoes, and black socks or tights. The dress or skirt had to be plain black with no embellishments. I think we had plenty of things that are black, but none of them plain.

So after the doctor's office we ran to Wal mart. I had a few great neighbors offer me their daughter's clothes, but we still had to have the shoes, socks, or tights. Black socks would not be found in either girls' drawers, I knew that!

Thankfully they had just the exact dress she needed and it fit perfectly. Plus they had the black socks and black footless tights she likes, but NO SHOES! She seemed to need a half size and there were NONE in that store!

We ran to Payless and they had buy one get one half price. I wonder if that sell used to be buy one get one free. I would like that much better!

The problem with the cheaper shoes are the sizes are not very accurate and her size varied almost two whole sizes between the two stores, so it took lots of trying on to find just the right shoes, only they were boots! How could I pass up the bargain of getting something half off, so I sent Grace to find some boots too. Of course what she found was twice as much as Annabel's because they had the Jonas Brothers name attached. Why would the Jonas Brothers have their name on girl's footwear????

Anyway, Annabel had found a pair that she REALLY liked, not the black ones she had to have for school, but a fuzzy, warm pair for around the house and weekends. She is so cold natured, I was glad to buy her these boots. I think she was kind of stunned when she realized the haul she had with the dress, jacket, two pairs of boots, and the tights and socks. I wish I could let her know how special she is and I would do that more often if I could.

By now it is getting close to 7:00 and we have had no dinner and no homework. A quick trip to Panda Express provided us a meal and a quicker journey back home to complete homework.

Tonight, I am just tired!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No school today!

Last night I fell asleep with my cell phone with me as I was waiting on an answer to an email I had sent. Not my usual way to do things, but paid off this morning!

The phone rang right at 5:00 a.m. and it was a recording notifying us that the school was closed due to a water main break.

By then I had also gotten an email and forwarded it to Mom and Dad and work and went back to sleep.

Annabel came in at 6:30 panicking that I was not up. When told there was no school, she promptly went back to bed.

Then Grace got up and wondered why we were not up but soon as she knew she also went back to bed.

This is the first time I can remember school being closed due to something like a water main break! I kept expecting to wake up to find ice and snow on the ground.

It was really nice not having to drive so far for one day. It also gave the girls an extra day to catch up with homework.

Tomorrow we are back to our usual schedule leaving REALLY early to get Annabel to school by 7:30.

The first coat of varnish is on the kitchen floor tonight. At least 1, maybe 2 more coats and we will be back in our kitchen! Yea! I never thought I would miss it, but it is especially difficult even if you want a glass of water, much less to reach the washer and dryer. I didn't plan to well and even the microwave is in there!

Pretty soon though I will be able to post pictures of my new and very much improved kitchen. He even painted the hall for us today, which was not part of the contract. Nice to work with nice people.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cleaning is not good for your health!

When you have packed way too much stuff into a weekend, there is at least one thing I know you should not do on Sunday evening.

Go into your daughters' room and try to straighten up and rearrange furniture!

After, I think it has now been four weeks, of our kitchen under construction, we hope to be in the last week. This week will include staining the floor. With that comes the need to bar the kitchen from all traffic, which includes the dogs usual way out.

There are two back doors on our house. There are actually 6 doors out of this house, which seems like a LOT, but it was a duplex at one time. That is still a lot of doors. Unfortunately only two go into the backyard and if we try to take the dogs out the front, well, I don't want to have a repeat of other ventures which include Annabel and I running for blocks trying to catch Ollie.

But to "visually" close off some of the doors, I have put furniture in front of them. Plus it made me feel safer having it blocked since it was in the girls' room.

Now we needed out of it.

That entailed moving Grace's bed and ALL the stuff she keeps around it and on top of it and beside it and under it. Plus the need for a lot of just cleaning and I think we found two more loads of laundry of clothes hidden in their beds.

But we got it done and hopefully the week and the inconvenience will soon be a memory. I HOPE!!!

This afternoon I had organized a vegetable gardening class in association with our new community garden. We had it at the Bishop Arts District right in the middle of a new festival called Cliff Fest.

I think our speaker was thrown off a little when he realized he was speaking in a hair salon. But it worked out beautifully and we all learned something new.

It was a brilliant day to be out enjoying all the very positive changes to our neighborhood, but I had to leave the girls doing homework! So I tried to hurry home, after stopping at only 2/3 of the booths. At least I got them some of their favorites for dinner from Chan Tai and from Zen Sushi! (I had a ham sandwich. Something just isn't right about that!)

This weekend they have been feeding a friend's fish in his koi pond. They absolutely LOVE taking care of those fish and wish they could have more time to get them trained. I think if anyone could, they could!

Saturday was the International Festival Day at their school. I know I have said it before, but I LOVE the ethnic diversity at this school. This festival was celebrating all ethnicities with booths, entertainment, and food from all the different countries.

I had volunteered to make a Chinese dessert and on Friday night faced a very dusty and dirty kitchen due to the sanding of the texturing on the walls. Mom called and asked if I wanted to use her kitchen and jumped at the chance. It was an interesting recipe that required sweet glutinous flour and red bean paste. It was used at the Chinese table and the people running the exhibit was very kind telling me it was delicious. The other woman made a dessert that looked like rosebuds. It was beautiful. It too was filled with red bean paste. My girls LOVED them. I FORCED Annabel to try a small piece of my cake. There were no comments from her about it!

Saturday afternoon was so beautiful, it was impossible to make the girls work on their homework. It has been a challenge to catch up from their absences due to their illnesses and of course more homework and tests just keep stacking up! We took a breather and visited with our neighbors and loved seeing their new baby.

We ended Saturday with our traditional multi generational event of going to Costco! Plus we had to make a side trip to try to find me some new pants. I've finally lost enough weight that my pants keep sliding down! Now that is a fun time. Having your parents and your daughters wait while you try on clothes!

Tomorrow Annabel has to start a remedial math class to try to catch up. Math no longer is just numbers, it now includes a lot of word problems. These are pretty difficult if you can't read the words.

I am thankful they are providing this extra class, but it starts at 7:30. That means we have to leave by 6:45!! Goodness! I guess it is past my bedtime then!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Like mother, like daughter

When I was growing up, Mom would load up her big old white Pontiac and take a bunch of us to school each day. Not elementary, since it was at the end of the street, but these memories are from when I was in junior high and Lisa was in high school.

At that time, we probably did not venture out of a 5 mile radius from the house very often. There was no need to as everything we needed was close by. We could walk to Skillerns for all our drug store needs and on to A & P for groceries. We could even buy new clothes at a dress shop called Yantis and at one point there was a shoe store on Davis also.

Gas in those days was $.29 or maybe $.30 a gallon, so a dollar's worth bought you a lot of gas! Plus if you weren't going very far, you didn't need much, right?

But I can remember more than one morning as we cruised in the big old white Pontiac and getting to the gas station on the corner by W.E. Greiner Junior High and Mom having to coast the car up to the gas tank as we had run out of gas! $1 and we were on the road again.

I tell this story to set the stage for our morning.

Last night Annabel asked several times if we could get to school early so she could go to a special tutoring with her math teacher. Of course, we can surely do that!

But when the alarm went off some of the motivation was gone. Especially when Grace comes in to tell me her throat is really sore, hinting that she does not feel like going to school.

I was determined to get Annabel to school as she really needed the help on the math project and I pushed us all out the door early. Extra early!

As we leave, Dad always comes out to tell us bye. He announced they were going shopping at Kohl's, Coldwater Creek, and Costco. I ramble off a quick list of all I need at Costco as I remembered I had two $10 off coupons for Kohls. I ran back in and actually found them AND my credit for them to use at Kohl's.

As soon as I started the car, a bright light on the dash caught my attention.

Oh no, I meant to buy gas when I went to Tom Thumb last night, but did not go to Tom Thumb, since one of my prescriptions was out of refills, and now I don't have any gas.

I keep this information to myself, as it has a tendency to panic Annabel.

Usually if we leave right after 7:00 we don't have much traffic. Today of course was the exception and each time we sat waiting on others to move, I stared at the gas gauge, willing it to show more gas rather than a dwindling amount. That just didn't work.

As we got within a mile of the school, the needle on the gauge made a giant dive and I could just see us running out in front of the school. Their school doesn't have a gas station on the corner like ours did though.

At the last minute I take a QUICK detour and promise Annabel that it won't add but a few minutes and then we are assured that we will make it if I buy just a little gas. More than a dollar's worth, but not much more.

As soon as I took the detour traffic came to a standstill.


I had seen from the distance some motorcycle officers with flashing lights but I thought they were pulling someone over. Instead they were stopping all of us for something that I never got to see.

From the backseat you could hear fidgeting, but Annabel never said a word. I turned off the radio so I would make sure and hear if the car died while we sat there for 10 minutes, waiting for the unknown traffic incident.

Right at the time that I knew the last bit of fumes were being sucked through the carbeurator, the traffic began to move and I knew if I needed, I could roll into the gas station.

Thankfully it was not necessary and gas was purchased and since I had gas, I felt I could speed us on to school! With the emphasis on the word speed.

This afternoon Annabel told me in a very polite way that I could buy a bunch of gas at Tom Thumb so we did not have to do that again. That is exactly what I did tonight.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November 11

As of tomorrow, my little sister, Jana, whom I write about often, will have been gone for three years.

Time goes so quickly and I am so grateful for the healing that it has brought.

But I knew I needed to do something to remember her and hopefully impact others' lives through my memories of her.

Jana died due to a heart condition that no one knew she had. We don't know if she had any symptoms. She never mentioned any problems. She is a strong, hard working, fearless, loving, caring, charitable person who was taken so quickly that nothing could help.

To help remember her and to remind you of your risk of heart disease, I am asking everyone to wear red in her memory tomorrow.

It's especially funny to wear red, not just because of the Go Red for Women campaign, but because she had bright red hair and that fits so well too.

Homework and Social Worker Visits!

Tonight Annabel and I spent the evening trying to make sense of the concepts of speed and velocity. She has a science test on Thursday and did not do too well last time, so we are trying to really work on it this time. But these concepts are pretty vague anyway. I did not know you could not comment on velocity unless you include direction. So you can say the speed of something was 100 m.p.h. but you cannot say the velocity was 100 m.p.h. You would have to say the velocity was 100 m.p.h. south.

Ok, might have gotten it all wrong after all of that!

Her homework for World History was to write a paragraph first as a European explorer when you first saw a native American. Then as a Native American when you first saw a European explorer. I'm pretty sure she never studied any early American history in China and it is a little hard to catch up!

Maybe this is like the person who supposedly picked up a calf the day it was born and kept picking it up every day and got stronger and stronger. Only for me I will get mentally stronger and stronger.

No, I don't think so!

Tomorrow is our one year follow up with the social worker from the adoption agency. Our one year anniversary was actually in July, but they give you time to get settled in before they check up on you.

I am so glad this social worker is so understanding. I told her the house/kitchen was under construction and we might not have a place to sit. She answered that we could just sit outside and talk if the weather is nice. It is supposed to be gorgeous outside tomorrow, but not inside. The man doing the work is in the process of closing on a house that was a foreclosure and has become distracted with that, so our house is a wreck. If I can find where I downloaded the pictures I will show you what I mean.

At least this time there was NO way I could clean up. The other visits by social workers I have driven myself to exhaustion making sure everything was in its place and there was no sign of dust! Woo Hoo! It is horrible in here right now!

So here are the photos to prove it! Thankfully I am no longer nervous about these meetings either. That helps a LOT!




Sunday, November 8, 2009

Click on these words to see our picture!

Hopefully you can click on this link.

http://trendmag2.trendoffset.com/publication/?i=24712&p=27

www.advocatemag.com Oak Cliff Magazine - The Next (Door) Generation

We were interviewed several months ago for a local magazine. A lot of the details are wrong and they failed to mention my brother and two nieces also in the neighborhood. I have to see if I can get the picture to post though because it was prety good of all of us!

www.advocatemag.com Oak Cliff Magazine - The Next (Door) Generation

My solo visit to the Chinese market

Tonight I was driving home from Richardson, drinking the last bits of a cup of coffee from the Exxon Service Station I had bought almost three hours before, and filled with a flood of memories and thoughts.

My last stop for the evening was at Jeng Chi Restaurant, a restaurant I discovered while reading a woman's blog about eating out every night for a year, and then commenting on how they handled it with kids. She had specifically mentioned this as her favorite Chinese restaurant. I think I would like to try eating out every night, sometimes, at least!

The girls had LOVED this place when we tried it and I tried to entice them to go with me to the Chinese market by promising dumplings from there as a final stop. They both told me they did not feel like going. That has me worried and had stayed on my mind the whole time I was gone.

But I was hoping that some "home cooking" or "comfort foods" would make them feel better and stopped there for an order of chicken dumplings and pork with napa cabbage dumplings, along with chicken noodle soup and two sesame balls for dessert.

If you have never had Chinese dumplings, they are not like what Mom makes for chicken and dumplings.

This is what they look like and you dip them in a sauce to eat. They are pretty tasty and can be steamed or boiled, but the girls like the steamed ones the best.

A quick note, this is how I talk too, isn't it? I get sidetracked, but want to explain as I go so it makes more sense!

While I sat there waiting on our order to be ready, the door would open with a gust of wind from the west. It looked like rain all day and the sky betrayed the warm temperatures outside. This wind made you think that you would freeze when you went outside, but thankfully it was quite pleasant.

Going to this area was so difficult a couple of years ago because I had made my maiden voyages to those markets with Jana and the girls trying to find anything that would help Grace feel at home. We ate several times at a different restaurant and I wonder if that is why I have chosen a different one for us to go to now.

I am thankful for the healing that soon to be three years has brought, as I can almost say her name now even when talking to myself. Not sure if I can as easily out loud though.

My mission at the Chinese market was to find sweet rice flour and a can of red bean paste to make a cake with!

This Saturday is the International Festival at the girls' school, one of the many reasons I love this school.

They were needing volunteers to make desserts from different countries and I have been wanting to learn to make more Chinese dishes, so I volunteered to make a Chinese dessert. Only when I googled "Chinese dessert", most resources said there was no such thing! That left me with a problem until I asked our good friends, Bob and Tina, if they knew a recipe I could use. Tina promptly had Bob send me her favorite New Year's Cake recipe which called for sweet rice flour and a can of red bean paste. Believe it or not, they did not have either at our local grocery store!



Since I have never made it, I'm not sure, but think it might look like this.

I bought double of everything in case I make a big mistake!

When we were in China adopting Annabel, she wanted us to order a cake one night with our dinner. I LOVE cake and thought that sounded great. When it arrived, it looked more like rolls with butter and chives, almost biscuity. I thoroughly enjoyed them but it was not what Annabel expected. Still not sure what she wanted. Maybe my cake will be just right!

Knowing I was headed to the Chinese market, I took time to read most of my Martin Yan cookbook that the sweet catering guys at work had autographed for me, since I missed his appearance at our hospital!

Martin Yan has a list of items that must be in your cupboard at all times to prepare Chinese food.



I tried to pick up several of them but really needed Annabel to read the labels for me. I hope I bought the right things. I want to try his recipes, but not sure what the girls will like and hate to go to that much trouble if it just ends up being dinner for the dogs!

There is also a bakery attached to the grocery store and I had my orders to buy a couple of the rolls with the dried pork on top. Grace also wanted one with the cream filling.




Driving home in the dark, with my McDonalds sack for my dinner, orders of Chinese delicacies, and my ingredients needed to open a Chinese kitchen seemed somewhat surreal. I am always hesitant on using that word as it is SO overused by the media, but I think my life has changed so much that when it is quiet I have a chance to take stock. Also last night I dreamed about the two men I dated for most of my adult life and had them on my mind.

It is so ironic that if I had been planning my life and things had worked the way I wanted them to, I have a feeling I would be miserable. This life is so much better than anything I could have planned. Glad God knows better than I do!

This has been a very busy weekend with another work day on the community garden yesterday to start. I loved the work and felt the exercise was something beneficial, rather than just walking on a treadmill. Shoveling wheelbarrows full of soil gets your heart beat up for sure! Only one wheelbarrow full took me down with it and I ended up flat on my back with the wheelbarrow full of dirt spilling to the wrong side! Makes for a very sore rest of the weekend.

Today I took some stew to a family with a new baby and left our lunch cooking while I was gone. I guess you just can't fry chicken if you are not watching it the whole time as the stuff burns pretty easily! Thankfully there was plenty and the dogs had a great dinner tonight. I am not worried about their carcinogenic intake.

Tomorrow the girls have to go back to school as they have missed a full week of school. They finally were fever free on Saturday but still have a terrible sounding cough. Hopefully the workers will be back to do the last week of work on our kitchen. I took some pictures and as soon as I find the cord to connect the camera to the computer I will attach them as well.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

God answers prayers!

Even though my last post was just a few hours ago, I felt this was worth the time and energy to write about!

I told Mom today that all I wanted was a hole in one wall. I did not want electricians, 2 kinds of sanders, plumbers, etc. All I wanted was a HOLE! One that I could see through to the front door from the kitchen.

Thankfully I hired someone who could see more possibilities and completely reconfiguring the space so I will have a fantastic kitchen. It is going to be better than if I had added a spa! This is all just for me.

But the electricians finally finished last night around 8:30 and this afternoon the other guys left shortly after 5:00 and I could come in and take a look at all they have accomplished.

The smell from sanding the floor was strong, but the layer of dust on everything was even stronger, so I got busy wiping everything down or sweeping and cleaning.

I decided I had to wash the girls' sheets and insist on a bath so they could rest better, so I uncovered the stuff on their beds until I found the sheets. The loads consisted of all sorts of random clothing items and a few cup towels too!

When I went back to Mom and Dad's to fix their supper, I heard a noise that I have not heard in three days!

Annabel was laughing and talking!

I cannot tell you how very relieved I am on hearing this wondrous sound!

She has literally laid around or slept for the last 48-72 hours.

I tried to explain to the doctor that I knew she was sick because she was so quiet. That, I have learned, if just a mother's intuition and diagnosing and is not readily recognized by the medical society.

BUT she seems to have turned the corner and feels well enough to tease and laugh.

Thank you for your prayers. God listens and answers them.

She is still mad that I won't let her go to school tomorrow since she still has a temperature of 100+!

Sickies!

Sunday night I heard Grace coughing off and on all night. She seemed to be following her usual progression for a sinus infection. When the alarm went off I told them we would sleep a little longer and see how they felt then.

By 6:15 Annabel came in with her uniform on and was ready for school.

I'm not sure why I touched her forehead, but she was burning up with fever.

I sent her back to bed and came with tylenol and thermometers to see what we were facing.

Annabel's fever was over 100 and Grace's was right under.

I put everyone back to bed and planned to get up to let the workers in by 8:30. When the door bell rang, the dogs jumped into action to protect us. I tried to grab them and run out, only I slipped and crashed right on top of poor Ollie. He yelped and got out of my way.

Plans were to start sanding the floors on Monday. Yuck!

Thankfully that got delayed but trying to take care of two sick kids without a kitchen is very hard. We moved over to Mom and Dad's when it became unbearable and everyone was hungry.

This has been our routine for the last three days!

Yesterday I did take the dogs to the groomer to get them out from under foot. That helped!

Then I have had to make several trips to banks covering all my bad checks that I did not know I had.

On Tuesday we went to the doctor and just as I expected, Grace had a sinus infection, so she got antibiotics.

Annabel, on the other hand, has a viral infection, so she gets nothing, except tylenol to help her feel better. I am so frustrated that they would not give her the tamiflu as she had all the symptoms, but the test showed she did not have flu. Her fever has not gone below 100 except while we were in the doctor's office! She continues to be dizzy and coughing, but even a call today to the doctor and I am still told that it has to run its course.

Grace's cough rattles the windows and she is just miserable, but I know it will be cured, fairly quickly. Thankfully!

Dad's younger brother was scheduled to have stents put in his heart on Monday. When they went in to look, they found blockages that require bypass instead. So yesterday he was to have a quintuple bypass. When the doctor finally showed up at 5:00 p.m., my uncle refused the surgery! It is now scheduled for Thursday morning.

Mom has been on a variety of antibiotics since the summer and the most recent had terrible side effects. She has been unable to keep any food on her stomach and has grown very weak. This has not stopped her from trying to tend to my girls though!

In the meantime, I have been reading our next book club selection, "Say You're One of them". This is also Oprah's selection for November and I can see why.

No matter what we are going through this week, it cannot remotely compare to the stories in this book. They are stories by children, in different parts of Africa. They are first hand accounts of how children are impacted by genocide, poverty, children being sold into slavery, etc. Even our worst day is better than their best.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The day after

Tonight felt like we were packing up to move!

Everything that was sitting around in the kitchen, on the walls, counters, or the table all had to be packed up and moved out in anticipation of the work on the floor this week.

It already has that fine layer of dust that you get from sanding sheet rock, so it all feels pretty gritty.

To have a place to move it, the girls had to pack up all their homework off the dining room table, which took a LONG time. I love this school, but was warned early that the amount of homework is tremendous and that was not an understatement.

But the girls got it cleared off, Grace tried to use the dust mop to get some of the dust off the floor, and Annabel started moving things onto the table.

In the middle of all of this, I was trying to make dinner, fixing washing clothes, and loading the dish washer.

For the first time in a while, I had SOME sense though.

I really meant to put beef stew in the crock pot and start a pan of pinto beans, to make for some easy dinners this week. By the time I turned to get the flour to put on the meat, Annabel had moved my canister. I took that as a sign to take it easier this week and settle for easier meals, like eating out, or bring something in!

We don't have any light in the dining room and most of the plugs in the kitchen don't work, so you can't heat something up in the microwave, and if you do, you have to sit in the dark in the dining room, or try to find a seat in the living room, where we no longer have the TV hooked up.

The time change has really thrown us off and once it started getting dark, I wanted everyone to go to bed, until I was reminded it was only 6:30. I guess that is too early, but felt like I need to!

Last week I told the girls that it would be even darker leaving for school after the time change, so I was quite surprised when I was woken up by the sun bright and early this mornig. It was glorious to see though after all the many days of rain and cloudy days.

After a lot of work, the Austin crew finally managed to get packed up and leave fairly early.

That left Annabel with a VERY sad feeling and she cried through most of church until she fell asleep. I also knwo she is exhausted as they stayed up too late and get up too early while their cousins are here.

Annabel "lost" her gym uniform again, but was sure it was in her grandparents' house. They looked everywhere and Mom kept telling her it had to be in our house.

She finally found it on Grace's bed but forgot to tell Mom and Dad they could quit looking. Not sure how it ended up there, but they were in the process of folding clothes and did not want to interrupt too much.

Hopefully all the homework is done, all the uniforms are clean, and vitamins are taken. I think an early evening sounds great. Let's see if they agree!