Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lost & Found

Last week was a really intense week, no wonder things ended up getting lost. The one thing I lost and which cannot be easily replaced (for what I previously paid and can afford) is Linton's swim shirt or rash guard (with UV protection) which I'd found with much difficulty here and had bought using a coupon for 50% off. We last saw it at the park on Monday night when I helped him change into dry clothes. My mom bought a replacement today (here), but it's not as nice as the other one. We really need these shirts for our vacation in Brazil at the end of the year since we'll be spending lots of time in the water...

Here's the week in a nutshell: my sister-in-law and nephews had been visiting since the previous Friday and besides having to endure hanging out with four boys we went to a lake on Sunday (photo on right) and Sesame Place on Monday and Wednesday (Tuesday was needed as a break).

So I think that it was understandable that on Wednesday night, after a long day at the park with two young boys (3 and almost 5) plus their cousins and auntie (me), my sister-in-law didn't realize that she had left one of our bags (the bag was mine, but she was using it) behind in the parking lot when she drove off to pick us up (we got lost from them leaving the park again, the same as on Monday and only met them in the parking lot later). We only realized her mistake when we got home and began to unload the car. The worst part of it was not the little bit of cash we'd left in there or our driver's licenses (a big hassle, but replaceable), but the video camera and the camera with the photos (I'll share some of them later, the ones with Big Bird and Elmo are adorable ;-). We were really upset and could hardly sleep, so early the next morning SIL and I drove once more to the park, over an hour before its opening time (we just wished we'd managed to get there so early with four boys in the previous days!), to try to find it.On the way there I called security, which informed me that the bag had not been found! :-( We decided to go ask anyway and we proceeded to the customer service booth outside the entrance. The girl (it was really a young high school girl like every single person working at that park, save for some security guards) went and looked and said that the bag was not there. We then asked her to bring us the form for lost and found items (I'd already filled it on Wednesday reporting our lost shirt) and she left. We were there waiting and lamenting for the thousandth time the lost things and photos (my nephews' swim shirts would not be easily replaced either ;-) when we heard a voice behind us (to the side) saying: "Is it this one?"

We turned around and saw the girl who had opened a door to the side of the booths and there was our bag!! I was so happy I had to give her a hug while we thanked her. She said she'd looked at a different place. Phew! What a relief! We could hardly believe how lucky we were, given that we'd already given the bag up for lost and had lamented the oversight endlessly. We walked away giddily, taking photos, asking this girl to take a picture of us:What a relief! SIL even placed the bag in front of the park sign so we could record our great recovery:And now, to end the post "Elmo's World" style (imagine this in Elmo's annoying voice), I have a question for... you:
What have you lost and, perhaps, found (or not) that was a direct consequence of having so many things to worry about as a mother out and about with your kids?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Scratched & Bitten

I don't blog as much as I should about him because -- in the end -- I do blog very little about my "children" (and I do see him as my "child" and I'm weird in that I see my plants as my "babies" too :-). Perhaps I shouldn't even call myself a "mommy-blogger." I'm just a mother who happens to blog...

Anyway... longtime readers will know that I, ok, we have a cat and that I'm a big cat lover. I had to take Blues to get shots today (something that was, like, 3-4 years overdue, I'm ashamed to admit & I was breaking the law too, yikes) and something pretty unfortunate happened. I took him to a pet store because the reason why I hadn't gotten him vaccinated before was that we really couldn't/can't afford vet visits (he was a pampered guy in his first 3 years of life, going to the vet regularly and all, but then, again, he was my first "child" and we could afford it back then when we were both graduate student with only a tiny mortgage payment).

So, I went to the pet store and had to wait in line for over an hour. With various dogs and cats, but mainly dogs. Blues has never ever interacted with dogs, my friends, so he was very stressed out in his carrier. He hissed several times and began to get more worked up as we neared the vaccination table. So, no wonder he was absolutely freaked out when we tried to hold him to be vaccinated and then he scratched an bit me. The first time was ok, but the second was pretty serious. The veterinarian had me apply peroxide to the wounds, two of which promptly started to swell (two puncture wounds in my right arm where he bit). I got home and washed it well and applied an antibiotic spray. The problem is that now my arm is hurting quite a bit and it continues swollen. I went to a birthday party after the event and some people suggested that the bite probably hurt the muscle, which is swollen and achy. There 's no sign of infection (redness) and the wounds are fully closed. I'll call the doctor's office/nurse tomorrow just in case...

I don't even know why I'm blogging this... perhaps to commiserate a bit and get some sympathy because it's a normal human reaction to pain. The real problem looming in the background of my life right now is a bit too overwhelming and too hard and complicated to explain. Not fully unbloggable, but... well... almost so (the facts were, indeed, blogged here last week).

Last Friday the boys and I went to orientation at their new cyberschool and we enjoyed it. I'm starting a new blog about this, but I haven't posted much there (see my profile for link). Class starts tomorrow at Kelvin's old school, but cyberschool doesn't start until the 8th. As soon as the books come in we'll begin some work, though. I can't wait!

I guess that in the end I'm writing about this literal scratching and biting because I feel scratched and bitten inside too. And I hope all these wounds heal soon.

Edited to Add: I went to the doctor, got a tetanus shot and will have to take antibiotics for ten days. I'm going to take lots of yogurt and acidophilus supplement alongside that (because antibiotics also kills the good bacteria in the body)!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"We'll get you fixed up"

That's what the navy blue clad (male) nurse said to my dad and several other patients at the emergency room examining beds this afternoon. I had to take my dad to the ER because he had a terrible rash that was spreading around his neck, legs, arms, and even his scalp and, today, his foot!

We suspect it was poison ivy or oak because precisely one week ago he spent a few hours weeding a flower bed at our church (it looked terrible and since I was cleaning the church that week -- my only source of income lately, and only once a month :-( I asked him to help) and the rash started (small and not as itchy) on Sunday. I feel bad because I asked him to weed, but there was no way of knowing these 2 things: (1) that there was some poison plant there and (2) that he was allergic to it. I helped and the boys did too and none of us got rashes. I had no idea that only some people were allergic to poison ivy! I thought anyone would have a reaction, is that really so? (that's what the ER doctor told me).

In any case, I wanted to take my dad to a family doctor (or even to a dermatologist -- that's what one would do in Brazil, go straight to the specialist, no problem -- it's not like that here, but more on this in future posts) and not to the E.R. but none of the providers that I called would accepted his travel health insurance! I called the claims department at the health insurance and the lady said that the providers should be able to take it and that probably hospitals would. I only decided that this was the only way after one doctor's office receptionist told me to go to the E.R. and that they would accept the insurance. I called the hospital and the E.R. and, sure enough, they said they'd take it. Phew! I guess small practices cannot afford to deal with certain insurance companies...

I didn't want to go to the E.R. because I've heard horror stories of endless waiting, etc, although my two experiences were back in 2003 with one year old Kelvin (who was wheezing) and they weren't bad. This latest "adventure" was truly excellent! We were only there for around two hours and they were very nice and helpful. Better yet, they took his insurance information and didn't ask anything! I can't write more because I need to go get my dad his prescription medications right now (I think he'll have to pay for those in full :-( ).

Now, if only this country's healthcare system could get fixed up too!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Nightmare Mostly Over

For several days I lived through a thick, agonizing "nightmare" of a situation, but now it's mostly over and I can begin to breathe again.

I'm not going over the details because there are too many clearly unbloggable issues, but I almost had to give up my cherished (if also feared) plan of home/cyber schooling the boys this year because people wanted my husband to chair the school board. This would require that our sons go back to school there. I could not accept that, though... it was a sacrifice I wasn't willing to make. At all. K tried a compromise (having me volunteer several days a week so it wouldn't be too different from last year), but that suggestion was not accepted, so I our previous decision still stands.

I don't feel fully relieved yet, but hopefully things will get better -- not just for us, but for everyone -- after the intense, confusing past month. So, I won't be working at the margins again, I'll be at the center of my sons' lives, and hopefully, we'll have a great school year at home and not at school.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Time to Post Again...

I'm sorry if I've abandoned my blog for a little while. If you'd been wondering if there was something going on, well, there was/is. Don't worry, it has nothing to do with our family, we're all well, enjoying the grandparents' visit, trying to survive the super humid hot days and all. We still worry about my uncle who is very weak, but there's nothing we can do about his situation but pray...

So, there's been quite a bit of turmoil lately involving church. And since church is such a big part of our lives we end up getting very wrapped up in all of that unwelcome turmoil. I don't usually blog these things, but this time I'll just mention it quickly. In a nutshell, our young (and inexperienced) pastor just got laid off after short 16 months on the job. We were shell-shocked and outraged, especially because of the politics and the people who were against him and behind the end of his employment. It's complicated, so that's all I'm going to say about that...

He and his wife are good friends of ours and our kids love(d) to play with their kids (a boy and girl, ages 6 and almost 5 -- like Linton). Anyhow, last weekend we had a farewell party for them at our house and that was a lot of work but also very nice. They go back to Canada in two days (he grew up here in the States, but his wife is from Québec)... And there's a lot more that I'm not going to blog because it probably does not interest you in the least and it's also a bit too personal... issues that get complicated because I'm a grandaughter and daughter (oh, and daughter & sister-in-law) of pastors and church organization and politics issues are just tiring and BLAH for me...

So, I'm finally posting to see if I can get back into the swing of things here in blogland. It's so interesting to me how comfortable I feel writing and sharing here instead of doing so at facebook! There I just kind of hide a bit. I comment on friends' posts, but hardly ever write on my own wall. I feel super exposed there... just too many people in my contact list from all "sides" of my life. So, yeah... that's some of what's been going on in our lives.

Next week we'll be busy with the kids. My SIL is coming from Maryland and on Monday and Tuesday (or Wed. if there's a rain day) we're going to Sesame Place with the boys. The first and (thankfully) last time because my boys don't even care for Sesame Street that much anymore! Well, just enough to get them excited about the park. The younger cousins (almost 5 and 3) will probably enjoy more. It'll be fun, but super exhausting for the two mamas, I'm sure. But WAAY better than taking them by myself anywhere.

The mama thing that I dread the most (and which I've done countless times in the past 7 years) is taking them to playgrounds by myself. Is there anything more B.O.R.I.N.G in a mother's life? I doubt it. Two weeks ago when we were in MD, the one time we went to the playground (SIL and I) was so productive! We talked about a zillion things, planned our trip to Brazil, got K to buy his plane ticket (to go with BIL's family), etc.

Mothers of the world, unite! (hahaha) Yeah, that's why I blog. To overcome the loneliness and the boredom that come with motherhood.

Dear internet, will you promise you'll help me not to lose my mind in this upcoming cyber-schooling year? I'm truly afraid of losing my mind. Perhaps I should start a new blog "My year of cyber schooling"-- blah, what a boring title! But, really, maybe I should. That would keep that theme from taking over this blog (as if ANY single theme can take up this blog -- our lives are just too lively and crazy for that? Or at least have been up to now).

OK, gotta go. Thanks for listening. The two of you who are still out there checking my pathetic blog out ;-).
(27 minutes, that's how long it took to write the post, and why it's not so well written)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Sometimes Being a Mother Makes Things So Much Harder...

I was really moved by this today:

Edited to add: In my browser (Mozilla Firefox) I get the right video, but perhaps you don't so if you don't get the story of the return of the two American journalists from North Korea, here's the direct link, I hope that works. Thanks, Anjali!

I'm so glad that they're back home! I cannot imagine the pain of being kept forcefully away from one's family, and especially one's young child, for five long months! I cried along Euna Lee as she was reunited with her daughter.

My greatest nightmare in life is the unthinkable idea that I might be taken away from my sons and that they'd have to grow up without me. I cannot think too much about this because I just get overcome with despair and fear.

The day that we drove home from the hospital with our first born was a magical day, but it was also a surprisingly scary one. I never imagined how scary the world would feel like after I had this fragile, precious human being to care for. Yes, becoming a parent does change everything, doesn't it?

Blogging for Bliss

This post is a shout out to my friend Zee whose beautiful blog Pixie Blossoms is featured in a lovely brand new book by Tara Frey, Blogging for Bliss. Congratulations, Zee, it's great to see you included in the book, and thanks for mentioning me in your post. I'm glad that I was able to meet you through blogging and I hope that someday we get to meet in person so our sons (who are exactly the same ages!!) can play together while we talk to our heart's content.

Oh, and last but not least, Zee has gorgeous things for sale in her Etsy shop! I'm the happy owner of a tote bag and will purchase more in the future! ;-)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Brazil, Here We Go!

We finally bought our tickets to go to Brazil in December. YAY!! I can't wait...

Because two of the tickets are award travel, the boys and I will "have" to stay 40 days there so I could get a slightly cheaper airfare (still very expensive) -- I'm not complaining at all! K is worried about the cyber schooling, but I think we'll be fine. We'll just have to take all the books with us :-( and make sure we log in every single day and do the work.

The best part is that K is joining us for 20 days (he's traveling with his brother's family, through Mexico -- a great deal)! There'll be a wedding in January (K's oldest cousin on his mother's side), and, before that, several days at two different hot water parks with brother-n-law, SIL & nephews (1st park) and K's family and extended family (2nd park/resort)!! I just hope it's not too hot (it'll be summer) to enjoy the hot water springs...

I don't know yet where we'll be at Xmas, probably in Paraná with my mom's extended family. Oooh, I love to plan trips. But I DREAD having to pack and the crazy busyness of the days right before the trip. I feel sick just thinking about it... Maybe I can plan ahead this time (I know I'll always leave things for the last minute, though, it's hopeless... :-( ). I shouldn't let my aprehension about the packing and getting ready to travel dampen my enthusiasm, right?

Going to warm and sunny Brazil in the middle of winter?

Summing up the Summer

These flowers kind of sum up my summer -- they're beautiful, but they don't last long enough :-). The heat wave from last week subsided a bit and the deliciously cooler nights are already making me sad and frantic -- I don't want the summer to end!!

In any case, the title doesn't much anything to do with what I intend to write here. I just want write two things:

1) Say thank you to Articulate Dad and Aliki for writing incisive comments on my previous post. I needed to hear that, my friends, I have to stop whining and start showing the real satisfaction that I derive from my choices (haven't I said over and over again how much I love spending time with my boys?). And I have to remind myself that I don't have to "use" the PhD for anything, that I learned so much already, that I remain passionate for the things I learned and that, perhaps, in due time, I'll be able to find a way to share those things and that passion with the world.

2) I LOVE the new feed blog list. It saves me a lot of time and it's quite efficient because I don't go clicking aimlessly at blogs anymore just to find the same old posts there. I can quickly read new posts and comment (if I want to). I should have done that a long time ago!

I thought I had a third thing, but I forgot! So I'll come back later for it, OK?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

I Finally Gave In...

... And added a blogroll with a feed reader so I don't have to waste time clicking around the links in my old blogroll.

Hopefully this new development won't make me spend even more time reading blogs! :-)

We're back home after spending 3 days in Maryland. My uncle is recovering, but not doing too well -- his heart rate varies wildly and he needs a pacemaker ASAP (doctors say that they will insert one within a month) -- so he remains in the ICU. :-( Keep those prayers coming, please!

After taking almost a month to watch the Persepolis DVD (I liked the books better than the movie, as usual ;-) I decided to use the instant playback feature of Netflix and see another film, this time La Vie En Rose, about Edith Piaf's life. Too bad my BIL's wireless router is misbehaving and I watched the film in like 5 or 6 installments, 2 last night, 4 this morning. In the end, I kinda liked watching a film fragmentarily like that! This was a sad & beautiful film and Marillon Cotillard definitely earned her Academy Award. I hope K & I find a way to watch the AA winner from this year, which we've had from Netflix for about two weeks :-(.

OK, boring old post, boring old blog. I continue on, just because of myself 'cause this is a useless blog, it's a bit lesse useless than the PhD, that's all. I still have a handful of readers, but other than that, it's not taking me anywhere (I mean, no ad money, just a couple hundred bucks, no illusions of being a writer, much less an academic). Not that I'm making REAL effort for any of these things to happen, right?

Sorry, I'm not going through a good phase right now at all. I need to find more things to make me feel useful and valued -- other than being a good mama & wife (No, I'm NOT a good "housewife/homemaker," in case you're wondering, that much I alreay know). This is not going to happen any time soon, though... right now I need to continue the mama thing because I believe that it's best for my sons. It's tiring, tough, and crushing at times. That's why I cannot quit blogging, it is my lifeline. And that's why I blog so little about my sons here, they're already too central in my life and I need to focus on me a little bit too (or a lot, I guess ;-).

All rightie, that's enough for now.