Monday, January 31, 2011

Widney Woman

This is a pic of me taking a self-portrait of myself.

No make up and a butterfly face-paint on my cheek.
That's my Kate Spade iPhone 4 case. Cute, right?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Mother's Instinct

I've shared before that Mini Me was a different and difficult baby. There was a great honeymoon period when she was first born. Soon, the honeymoon was over.

Mini Me would not let us hold her, comfort her. She was born at a low birth weight of 5 lbs 5 oz. To put her to sleep, we had to swaddle her tightly, lay her on her tummy, and walk away. We could not even pat her back. She did not want to be touched. Mini Me cried herself to sleep every night. If you left her alone, the crying only lasted for about 15-20 minutes. If you stayed in the room or touched her, the crying never stopped - it escalated and got worse.

Mini Me cried frequently. I remember wishing she would only cry for 2 hours each day. At first, we thought this baby was so challenging because Motor Mouth had been so laid back. We joked that we would have had to pinch Motor Mouth to get him to cry for 15 minutes a day. We thought we were just parenting a girl.

Her cry was out of this world. It was this high pitched piercing scream that went from 0 to 320 in less than 3 seconds. It was grating to say the least. 

Stomach problems, reflux, thrush that would not go away, constant crying, no holding, no touching, repeated ear infections, constant cough that sounded like whooping cough, nasal drip, and on and on. Mini Me loved having a pacifier in her mouth. But her palate was underdeveloped and she could not hold the pacifier in her mouth. And the crying. She cried for everything. You couldn't drive with her to the corner without Mini Me losing her pacifier and crying. Or spitting up all over her outfit.

J and I tried everything we could to comfort Mini Me and do the absolute best for her. But it took a major toll on us. Especially on me. Early on, I sought advice from the adoption agency director and the agency social worker. I needed tools and advice on how to deal with this most different child. 

When she was old enough to talk, Mini Me had speech delays. At my wits end, I took Mini Me to a naturopath. He checked her blood and said she had kidney problems but he couldn't tell if the kidneys had been the initial problem or if all the mess in her blood system had caused the kidney problems. He sure did know how to prescribe a lot of natural remedies for her.

Early on, I knew something was off. Finally I started looking up meth addicted babies and what their symptoms were. I read articles. One time, I even went stalker and looked up a woman was profiled in an article because she cares for meth addicted babies. When I called her home, she gave me great advice. It was comforting to talk to her. But I still didn't know for a fact that Mini Me had been born meth addicted. Until recently.
Late last year, Mini Me's birth mom, TT, admitted to me that she did meth and cocaine while she was pregnant with Mini Me. She says that she quit as soon as she realized she would be carrying Mini Me to term. After almost 5 years, I finally found out the truth. The truth that I had known in my heart. 

Never underestimate the power of a mother's intuition whether that mother be biological or otherwise. 

I want you to understand, we had a very detailed 25+ page medical history the 27 year old birth mom (and more info added later by her mom) provided to us. I mention her age so you realize this was not a 15year old teenager giving a medical history. At no time did the birth mom mention she might have done any drugs when she was pregnant with Mini Me.  

We love TT, Mini Me's birth mom. We get why she would not have told us about the drugs. But it would have been a whole lot easier going in to it to know this was a possible cause. We could have saved a lot of pain (primarily Mini Me's physical pain) had we known this important fact. We could have gotten Mini Me therapy and other help early on that would have helped her and helped us to care for her.

Having this knowledge earlier on would not have made us look at TT as anything less than our hero. TT did something difficult and courageous by making the choice to give Mini Me a life TT could not provide. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fashionista Friday

Mini Me is a little Fashionista.
She has the ability to repurpose fabrics into beautiful evening gowns.
Mini Me is 4 years old.

Throw blanket on top, Snuggie on bottom

Robe Front

Robe Back

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Swimming - Rock Star

Motor Mouth is making me a proud mama!

Motor Mouth has casually been taking swim lessons for 2 years.
Last fall, Motor Mouth was asked to be on the swim team.
I was shocked as he didn't seem that good.

I told Motor Mouth that the goal would be to have fun and to learn to swim even better but not to expect to win until next year. 

I had faith in Motor Mouth but it would be presumptuous to think he would beat kids who had been hard core training for as long as he had been learning to swim. 

This fall, Motor Mouth learned:
the butterfly
the backstroke
how to breathe while swimming
how to start off a board
how to dive
how to do a somersault turn
how to play water polo
and more

Motor Mouth has become my little rock star!
He went from losing his races so badly, he thought he had won to beating kids by almost a pool length!

Each week, he gets faster and better. Last week, Motor Mouth came home with one 1st Place ribbon, one 2nd Place ribbon, and two 3rd Place ribbons. And, Motor Mouth has qualified for 3/4 levels of the city championships.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Works for Me Wednesday - Winter Carnival

What Works for Me this Wednesday is the Indoor Winter Carnival I hosted at the school where I work.

Part of my role as the marketing & recruiting associate is to host events that will bring our school families and the general public into our building. A great way to get our name into the community through fliers, postcard mailers, web advertising and signs is to have a fun, family event with no strings attached. Come have fun at our school and we will not ask you for your name or even offer a facility tour. 

I lost sleep last week while hoping and praying (begging really) 
to get enough volunteers and at least 200 people attending. We had over 260! 

The Gathering Place (large multi-purpose room)
massive inflatable, free balloons, bracelet making,
activity table, carnival game, seating for parents

Look at the size of that caterpillar inflatable!

The Great Room (gym)
2 inflatables, 3 carnival games, traversing wall
face-painting, temporary tattoos, concessions

3-in-1 Combo Inflatable

Homemade Fishing Game
Kids fished for a Beanie Baby
Judging from the continuous lines, it was a hit!

 Traversing Wall

Even I had my face painted!

This photo sums it all up:
balloons, face-painting, temporary tattoos, bracelet making, 
Beanie Babies won from the fishing game,
shoeless feet to run from inflatable to inflatable, 
popcorn, pizza, rice krispie treats in her tummy,
and a great big smile on her face!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Big Boy Pull

Motor Mouth pulled out his latest tooth all by himself on Monday, January 17. 

Video is here...

Motor Mouth got $10 for it because that is what the Tooth Fairy had in her wallet. Mini Me said, "Remember, Motor Mouth, Mommy said she would give you $10?!"

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Maxxed Out!

Sorry, I can't upload any pictures to my blog because I hit my max 1 gig of storage!

Fear not. I bought more storage and we should be good to go soon.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Biggest Event of My Year

I do marketing and recruiting for a private school. I'm also the events person. In the past I have worked on picnics for 40 - 100 and for 2,000, banquets for anywhere from 200 - 800, weddings, graduations, receptions, you name it.

But all of that success aside, I am freaking out right now. 
I have an indoor winter carnival set to go in 13 hours. I pray to God people show up! My primary goal is for everyone to have a wonderful experience - the volunteers, the kids, the parents. Everyone. But for them to have a great time, they all need to show up. In droves.

Knowing Me, Knowing You - Jan '11

knowing me, knowing you - january 2011

This is the monthly questionnaire hosted by The Fairy Blogmother.

1. Okay so you have $5 million to spend in five days and you can't spend it on yourself or your family. What do you spend it on?
That is easy. I would give $1 million to Motor Mouth's school, $1 million to our former adoption agency, $100K to the church J just stopped working for, $100K to a new church in our neighborhood, split another $50K between a about 5 organizations I have either volunteered for or been involved with in the past. The remaining $2.5 million would be used to start a non-profit agency that helps women facing crisis pregnancies.

2. What's your favorite type of food?
Trinidadian food is a mix of Spanish, Asian, South Asian. So, by picking Trinidadian food, I get a mix!

3. What is the best concert you've ever attended?
Trans Siberian Orchestra. Hands down. Beats anything and everything ever. 

4. What sports do you like?
Basketball. Volleyball. Tennis. Running. Curling. I've done them all except for curling.

5. Who is your favorite cartoon character of all time?
Mickey Mouse. I love him.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Year's Eve 2010

On New Year's Eve we spent the evening at the Trump Hotel. 
It was divine.
J's parents had the kids in our condo for the night.
We watched the ball drop in New York.
I was asleep by 11:15 pm. 
J was asleep before that.

$25 bottle of water.
'Bling' is done in Swavorski crystals.

The next morning, we didn't do brunch at Trump because it was $95/pp (normally less but this brunch included champagne). Don't get me wrong. I've eaten some very expensive meals. I just couldn't justify $190 on eggs and toast for 2 people.

We ate at a restaurant downtown across from the Double Tree hotel.
We ran across the street to pick up a tin of Double Tree cookies!

Then we got in a cab at the Double Tree to take us to the Trump.
The cookies were divine.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Works for Me Wednesday - Magic

At work, I have a great big desk. Sometimes, Motor Mouth draws or does homework on the other side of my desk. On Friday, he drew a picture like normal.

But this time, the permanent markers went through the paper and onto the desk!

I didn't know what to do! 
I tried a few products we had handy but nothing worked.

Normally, this is not a good thing. It was compounded by an office move. I have been sharing and office with the development associate. But she is moving to the man cave and I will be in this big office all by myself. Sigh. Deeply. I'm moving to her desk and my desk is going to be used by other people. 

Of all the times to have permanent marker on my desk!!!
At my wits end, I asked the development associate what I should use to get it out. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser she suggested.

It worked!

Magic Erasers are MAGIC.

This was not the first time I ever used a Magic Eraser but never occurred to me to use the eraser on a shiny wood desk. It did not hurt the finish at all. It was cleaned perfectly. I am in LOVE with Mr. Clean!!!

I need to mention that whomever makes Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (S.C. Johnson maybe?) did not pay me for this post. I am just that thrilled it worked for me. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Christmas Weekend!

I've started several blog posts but didn't finish them. Here is one from the weekend of December 4th/5th....

Moo Moo, our annual houseguest from the North Pole, has returned with is usual adorable sweetness mixed with madness.

It wouldn't be Christmas season if J wasn't working on a set. This time around, he designed a set for Willow Creek Chicago and Soul City Church. And in his spare time, he designed the jacket cover for Park Community Church's new Christmas album and did a Christmas logo for Daystar School. At least three churches used his past set designs. Interestingly enough, J no longer works for a church.

Friday morning, the kids had chocolate milk (from Moo Moo). In the evening we had our weekly Family Friday Night and watched 'A Christmas Carol' with Jim Carrey.

Saturday, Motor Mouth had a swim meet. J had an early set load in. I was alone with the kids. It was the first snowfall of the season. I neglected to purchase snow boots for my children in the fall so I dressed them with rain boots. So trailer trash, I know.

We have garage parking at home. The ramps are heated so the snow doesn't ice or build. But it wasn't working on Saturday morning and the 'Snow Fairies' hired by the condo association had not yet arrived. After many attempts to get out, I had to go up to our condo to get the shovel and my gloves. I felt like mother bear digging out so my baby bear could go to his swim meet.

I forgot to pack a towel for the swim meet. Let that sink in.

After the swim meet, we went snow boot shopping. Better late than never!

Sunday, the kids and I made Christmas cards. I really let the kids make their own design choices and write their own words. Mini Me asked me to dot the letters so she could trace them. It was her idea. What a smart girl I have! Every card was unique. I wish I had taken a photo of them.

Aside from the madness, it was a really great weekend. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

An Anniversary - January 17

On January 17, 2008, J was laid off from his job doing media arts for a church in Tulsa. This was the church Jason grew up in. The security officer that escorted J out of the building had been J's Sunday school teacher as a kid.  The pastor who told him he was being laid off was the father of one of J's best friends as a teenager. It felt personal.

For about a year, it was obvious that church's attendance was declining rapidly. I told J that he needed to look for another job and to leave. I said, "The church is declining. They are going to get rid of the fluff first. You are the fluff." Even though I wanted J to leave and had predicted the lay off, it was still a hard blow. I cried harder that day than I had ever cried before. That day was the beginning of an extremely difficult and painful time in our lives. It was one of my darkest periods ever.

That was also the day that our friend, Starr, left the same church. She put in her resignation the same day J was laid off. They told her to leave by the end of that day and she was out! A week later, we met Starr and her family at The Cheesecake Factory to celebrate.

What we did not know at The Cheesecake Factory that day was how wonderful our lives would be and how January 17, 2008 would be one of the very best days because of the possibilities it opened. We love living in Chicago and it has been the most amazing 3 years for us. Starr is currently working for a large, healthy, progressive church in Tulsa and happier than I've ever known her to be.

Happy 3rd Anniversary J & Starr!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Matter of Respect

This whole deal with the shootings in Arizona has stirred up a bunch of political foolishness. Truly, I wish the country could run without politics. But the alternative to a democracy is unthinkable. 

President Obama is our president. Regardless of what our political affiliations, Barack Obama is our president. The office of President of the United States of America demands respect. End of story. 

President = Respect

The worst thing a country can do is to become divided and verbally tear down the leader. If you don't like who won, make sure you vote next time and go a step further - volunteer to campaign for your chosen party. Make a difference. When was the last time you made a political contribution? Yet another way to make a difference.

If your candidate doesn't win, buck it up and get behind the winner. It's what you would expect of someone who voted for the other guy.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


There is a new reality show that follows families in financial crisis and how they make changes to save money and get out of debt. Not sure the name or what network. I've never seen the show but on a preview the dad set a timer on the shower to turn off after 5 minutes.

5 minutes!!! 5 minutes for a shower???

It seemed impossible. So I took the challenge.
I set my iPhone timer for 5 minutes. 

For two weeks I tried to keep my shower to under 5 minutes. Not easy! I have found that I can do the basics in 6 minutes but not my hair. If I do my hair, I need at least 13 minutes. 

I believe 5 minutes is doable if you turn on the shower, get wet, turn it off, lather up, turn it on, rinse off. But there is all that time spent getting the water just right twice. Not sure it could really work. 

The challenge has been a good thing, actually. I use the time as a means of managing our morning. If I get in and out of the shower in a timely manner, our morning goes better and everyone gets where they are going on time with less stress and yelling, "Hurry up!!!"

Friday, January 14, 2011

Finished for Friday - Earflap Hat / Peruvian Hat

I really wanted a hat with earflaps that looked cute but without a pom pom on top. After searching for crochet patterns, I just couldn't find what I wanted. I finally found this pattern and was thrilled! It was exactly what I wanted. 

Ron Weasley Animal Crackers Hat

But when I followed the Ron Weasley Animal Crackers Hat pattern, I made the hat too big and it did not turn out well. Not well at all. It's not the pattern, it's me.

So I went to my old faithful - my very own original Husband Hat Pattern

I used a bulky weight wool blend and an H hook.
I added a different color a couple times for a couple rows to mix it up a bit. Then I added the earflaps and from the first pattern I tried (see above). 

And this is what I ended up with...

I kinda like it. I call it my Wife Hat

And, I made a scarf to go with it.

I used this simple pattern and added a few rows of the lighter color so it matches the Wife Hat. 

Have you finished anything this week? 
If so, play along at Lit and Laundry's site.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


It's that time of year when people post their resolutions for the new year. 

I am not going to do it. 
I resolve to do nothing different.
It is better for my self esteem to remain in the muck that is my life. 
Why set my self up for failure? 


If I say I'm going to lose 30 pounds, I only end up gaining 15.
If I say I'm going to work out 5 days a week, I end up sleeping in 5 days.
I could go on but you get the point.

Now, if I say I'm NOT going to change a thing, 
the only way to go from there is up!

Monday, January 10, 2011

I'm a Little Teapot!

I collect tea pots. I have many different shapes and sizes and colors. All unique. We have a new tradition where J gives me a teapot for Christmas.

Christmas 2009

Christmas 2010

This is my favorite teapot.
It is not what I would have picked for me but it is perfection.
My MIL gave it to me. It was once Grandma Barbara's. 
This teapot looks like Grandma Barbara.
I will cherish Grandma Barbara's teapot forever.