Friday, January 28, 2005

Can you spell "prehensile"?

Good Morning, Vietnam!  (Surely I have some readers in Ho Chi Minh City ...?)  Another quiet morning here in la-la land, no appointments to go to or impulse shopping to do (well, it's still early).  Melanie and I had lunch with my Wednesday group on <surprise!> Wednesday, and a friend overheard me talking about one of the doctors at University.  She said, "Oh, he's the one who did my jaw surgery last year!"  Okay, okay, already!  I get the message!  It's meant to be!  No more lightning bolts are necessary.

My dear son Quentin won the spelling bee at Southlake last week!  It was quite an accident, seeing as he didn't even know it was being held, and a friend of his talked him into entering, just for the heck of it.  And Quentin sweeped (swept?) the whole thing!  Go figure.  Yesterday I had to have him at a school in South Charlotte by 4:00, for the Independent Schools spelling bee.  He was so nervous ... but did quite well with words like "cosmetic", "Inca", "siesta" and such.  But finally went down in flames with "prehensile".  (Pre-WHAT?)  We looked it up when we got home, and it means "able to grasp" or something like that.  Something to do with having opposable thumbs.  You know, like us and the apes.  Betchya he won't forget that word!  But he was 7th, not too shabby overall.  Other kids went out with "mountebank" and "osteocyte".  Sheesh.  The girl who won (who went to the school where it was being held .. hmmmm ..) got some incredibly easy words, like "liturgy".  Luck of the draw?  Poor girl from another Christian school misspelled "Protestant".  Thought that was pretty ironic!

In the middle of the competition I thought to myself, "I'd better turn off my cell phone ... here I sit in the sanctuary of a church school, and if my phone goes off with my ringtone, which is the theme from 'Sex and the City'...".  Lightning bolts, indeed!

Colin won the spelling bee at his middle school two years ago, and competed in the bee sponsored by the Charlotte Observer.  That was pretty cool ... 100+ kids from schools all over the county, and he came in third!  Missed the word "dicerous" which I can't find in any dictionary.  Last year he came in 2nd, losing on the word "speleologist". 

My poor stomach can't handle the stress of these spelling bees.  They are really intense.  One of the words yesterday was "antacid", and I thought "what I need right now".

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Galaxial Convergence Indeed

Yeah, yeah, it's early, and I need to get the kids up.  But the coffee hasn't quite reached my cerebral cortex, so here I sit, hunt & peck. 

Yesterday I took Christian to the dentist for some sealants (?) and was chatting with the dentist (whose brother is David's doctor ... talk about keeping it all in the family!  One of the other dentists is married to the other dentist's sister, and ... oh, forget it; it's too early in the morning!)  I casually asked him if he had heard about University Oral Surgery and he said, "Well, heck yeah!" (well, maybe not in those words).  "Dr. Tucker writes textbooks on oral surgery!"

Slam.  Dunk. 

Friday, January 21, 2005

Just some pictures

It's really Saturday the 22nd, by the time I got around to writing text.  We're hunkered down here, waiting for the rain and ice.  It shouldn't be too bad, but it sure as heck better not keep David from flying in from New Orleans!  Quentin is off taking the SAT, as a result of qualifying for Duke's talent identification program.  They let 7th graders take it, to see if they are prodigies or something!  I don't think I did that great on the thing when I was a junior in high school!  But it was enough to get me into college, and now I are smart!

Quentin got off the bus yeterday with the news that he had won the Southlake Spelling Bee!  Colin won the school-wide bee at his school when he was in the 7th grade ... must run in the family.  Funny thing was, Quentin didn't even know the bee was yesterday, and a friend talked him into doing it!  His winning word:  filibuster!  (Did I spell that right?)  Now he will go to a regional spelling bee against other private schools in the area, and if he wins that, he'll go to the Charlotte Observer bee, which is the precursor to the Scripps-Howard national bee.  (Well, I'm not holding my breath!)  Colin came in 3rd in the Observer bee two years ago ... it was a real nail biter! 

I was out to lunch yesterday with a friend, when I felt a tap on my arm.  It was Melanie's pediatrician, out for a much-needed relaxing lunch away from the clinic.  I took the opportunity to ask her about the University Oral Surgery folks, telling her about the trouble I was having with Dr. M.  She had heard about Dr. Spignoli (at University) and she said, "Go for it!"  Nice to have that vote of confidence!!  I'm a big believer in the stars & planets lining up a certain way and I think I feel a galaxial convergence coming on.

My friend gave me an awesome book to read, called "Turbulent Souls".  I can't put it down, it's fascinating ... about the son of a very Catholic family who turned out to have converted from Judaism.  The book traces the son's search for his Jewish relatives, who disowned his parents when they converted.  Okay, my book recommendation for the day. 

Off to drive the slick streets to pick up Quentin.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Gypsy Rose Melanie?

David is out of town this week.  He is in Louisiana looking at trees (for work), and then will head to New Orleans on Friday.  He is getting ready for Mardi Gras ... he and his buddies are putting their "throws" together (the beads and toys and junk they throw off the parade floats) and moving them to the float barn (a warehouse where they park the floats until parade day.

Oh ... yes, David is a member of the Krewe of Thoth, one of the parades that rolls on the Sunday before Mardi Gras day, which falls on Feb. 8 this year.  He grew up in New Orleans (actually lived in Kenner) and it has always been a dream of his to ride in a parade.  When a buddy asked him a few years ago if he'd be interested in joining the club, he jumped at the chance.  I don't always go every year, but am planning to go this year, leaving the two older boys at home (with a sitter) since they shouldn't miss school.  So we are setting off on the 3rd with the the three younger ones.

The other morning it was something like 13 degrees and I didn't have the heart to make Quentin, Christian and Lisa walk to the bus stop.  Since David is gone, I had to wake Melanie up to go with us ... about 2 hours earlier than when she normally gets up.  So, of course nap time was moved up too ... which means that around 7:30 she was melting down and exhausted.  So .. I put her to bed early.  When I went in to check on her at 10 before I went to bed, she was standing up in the crib, TOTALLY NAKED!!!  No diaper, no pajamas ... just nekkid as a jay bird.  Wonder how long she had been in there playing -- she hadn't made a peep in all that time.  Sheesh.  I got her dressed, and laid her down, but worried all night that she was in there having a striptease again.  (She didn't).  What a hoot.

I had a nice chat with the surgery scheduler from University Oral Surgery the other day, and have an appointment to meet with them on Feb. 2.  They have their "cleft team" meeting on February 18, but I wanted meet them to see if there was "chemistry" between us, and to see if I felt more confident with them than Dr. M.  I'm wondering what will be involved in the insurance process if we stop with Dr. M in mid-stream and go with the University guys.  Oh well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.  I'm going to go in with a completely open mind.


Monday, January 17, 2005

Monday Musings

Okay, if your curiosity has been peaked about my political leanings, I have created another AOL journal where I can write about such things.  This journal is all about Melanie, after all, and politics doesn't belong here.  The link is listed on the left ... but for the record, the address is:

I have just about pulled my last hair out over Dr. Matthews.  I got a phone call from his office administrator on Friday saying that their office is still under construction, and he doesn't have any insurance contracts in place.  I can't believe that he didn't have all this stuff underway before he left the other practice.  The lady on Friday said that he wouldn't be taking any new appointments until the middle of February!!!  Astonished isn't a strong enough word .. I feel that we have been dropped in mid-treatment.  Melanie has this metal bracket in her mouth and has no speech (to speak of, no pun intended!) and I have a slight sense of URGENCY to get her surgery done!  I hate having things up in the air .. I always need to have ducks lined up, or I start to panic.  Probably a symptom of my borderline personality!  I guess I have lived most of my life up in the air, and now I need my feet on the ground to feel secure. 

I find myself yelling at the kids a lot, and feeling out of control.  I feel like I can't find my "rhythm" ... and I know it's (1) still adjusting to having five children, and (2) my "ticked-off-ness" at Dr. M.  So ...

At the recommendation of another cleft parent, I went online to find out about another cleft team in Winston-Salem.  W-S is about 1-1/2 hours from here, but it takes me an hour to get to Dr. M's office (the old one, anyway), so what's another 30 minutes, I thought?  HOWEVER, in my searching I came across another cleft team HERE IN CHARLOTTE!  In the University area, to boot, which is practically around the corner, and I see they are opening a Lake Norman office this spring!  And I thought Dr. M. was "it".  I am anxiously waiting for office hours so I can give them a call!  The best thing is most of the doctors appear to have graduated from LSU School of Medicine!!  A sign?  Coincidence?  (we are big LSU fans, David having goneto grad school there, and me being from Baton Rouge and my mom works at the LSU graduate school) .. (David laughed and said "is that a good thing?"  Ha ha).  For some reason I already feel optimistic ... report on the call to follow (assuming they aren't closed for the holiday).

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Passports and Citizenship

Yesterday we received Melanie's US Passport in the mail.  She is official!  Of course the very impressive looking Certificate of Citizenship that we got in November was probably the first official sign of her new citizenship, but there's something about that Navy blue little book with the gold eagle on the front that sends shivers of pride down my spine.  I wrote about this last spring, when I was at INS getting fingerprinted; how many people in the world would give up so much for that little book.  In spite of my leftward-leaning politics, and my feelings about the current administration (don't talk about politics with friends!!) I am proud to be an American, and I feel humbled that our daughters now have that status!

(**note ... they didn't send a Certificate of Citizenship to Lisa, this is a new thing.  Back when we adopted her, you had to apply for one.  But the passport accomplishes that for her).

Today I will trek down to Charlotte yet again, to visit the social security office.  First to apply for a card for Melanie and then to change Lisa's status.  You see, when we adopted Lisa, we were under a time crunch to get her a SS card, because of registration requirements at the time in Kazakhstan.  That was the first thing I did, waiting to apply for her US passport until later.  However, the SS Administration and the INS were not on the same page .. in spite of the Child Citizenship Act, which stated that all foreign-adopted children automatically became US citizens when they landed on US soil, the SS Administration folks hadn't gotten that memo.  To them, Lisa was still a resident alien.  So without that US passport to prove her citizenship, she is still, according to SS, an alien.  I now have her passport, and have been meaning to take it down to SS to have her status changed on their books.  Have been meaning to for ... three years?  No time like the present, and will kill the proverbial two birds with one stone.  I know, I am the poster child for procrastination.  But ya know, it really hasn't mattered to Lisa, unless she had applied for a job or something.  I'm kinda of the school of thought that child labor isn't a good thing.

I know that Bill Clinton was reviled by a lot of people (ya think?) but one of the great things he did (among others) was to sign into law that Child Citizenship Act.  By making a foreign adopted childan automatic US citizen, he eliminated reams and reams of paperwork that adoptive parents used to have to negotiate through ...

No word from the surgeon yet.  I'm kinda flustered ... want to get the ball rolling.  I'm a little concerned that Melanie can't speak, and want to get her into speech ASAP after the surgery.  Yesterday morning, though, we put her bunny in the crib and covered her up, and I said, "Night night" and Melanie said, clear as day, "Ni ni!"  Pretty exciting!!

She continues to be a happy, sparkly kid!  Last Sunday we came to pick her up from Sunday School and she was jumping up and down all over the room, shrieking, she was so happy to see us.  (Better than when we drop her off: she melts to the floor for a crying jag).  But I think she's getting used to it ... we haven't been called out of the service again since it happened a few weeks ago.

Colin turned 15 last week.  He is taller than I am.  A very sweet boy, but babysitting does not seem to be his "thing".  I left Melanie with him for an hour last week, and came home to BLACK sharpie pen all over her, the hardwood floor, the stairs carpet, and the bannister.  What is with her and markers???  Magic Eraser got it off the house, but it took a little more elbow grease to get it off of her.  I think Colin does this on purpose, so I won't ask him to babysit any more!  (I love you Colin!!  No hard feelings!)

Signing off for now ...

Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Need some makeup tips?

This is what happens when a curious 2 year old finds some markers that her older brother and sister left where she could reach them!  I suppose she has seen me and others putting on our lipstick, and was trying to be glamourous too!  Luckily it was washable marker!

Our winter vacation is drawing to an end.  Well, poor Colin had to go back to school yesterday (it was extremely painful to set that alarm at 5 a.m. again!) but the other three don't go back until tomorrow.  Lazy days of lounging in our pajamas until noon are soon to be history, for now.  I have a long list of things I needed to get done, but for some reason, they have stayed undone.  I'm sure when I have to bolt out of bed to get everyone off to school I will get some new energy, right?  Right?

It has been incredibly warm here in Charlotte ... today it will be 70 for crying out loud!!  January?  Of course the last two years the month started out very tepid, but then we had some pretty serious snow and/or ice storms toward the end of the month.  Do I sense a pattern here?  This year I'm ready with the gloves and snow suits!

I have to mention here my disbelief and grief about the tsumanis that hit Southern Asia.  I consider that part of the world my pseudo home, since I lived in Japan, the Philippines and Singapore growing up.  I have walked on beaches in the P.I. that look very similar to those we see on the news.  I have been to those poor fishing villages and seen the poverty in which the people live.  I can't fathom the massive destruction and loss of life ... the hopelessness that they must be feeling.  I can only hope that the sight of a US Navy helicopter bringing food and water, or simply plucking survivors from the entrance to hell has brought some sense of optimism about the future for these people.  They have all been in my thoughts and prayers over the last week or so.  And the people who were vacationing in Phuket or Phi Phi Island and other places ... thousands of them are supposedly dead.  My heart breaks ... our little problems seem pretty pale and insignificant right now.