Friday, April 29, 2005


Nightmare at the DMV ... Colin (who was out of school today for a teachers' workday) and I headed up to Mooresville to apply for his learner's permit.  When we got there, there were bazillions of people waiting; we drew lucky number 118 and 119 (I also needed to have my license renewed .. thank goodness, my old picture looks like something from The Creature from the Black Lagoon).  After only waiting 1 hour and 15 minutes, we went back.  Colin scored a 23 out of 25 on the written test (road test not necessary, since he took drivers' ed) and is now the proud holder of his permit.  He and dad just left to pick up Quentin at play practice.

I did not fare so well.  My parents did me the ultimate injustice by giving me a first name that I never used (Margaret).  Over the years I've gone by several name combinations:  Elizabeth Dixon, Liz Dixon, M. Elizabeth Dixon, Elizabeth Branch, Liz Branch but never Margaret in any shape or form.  Unfortunately the government knows me as Margaret Elizabeth Branch (the Dixon having been eliminated legally when I married David), my passport being in that name, and of course, all of the girls' adoption papers since they had to match my passport.  My social security card is under Elizabeth D. Branch.  Now the DMV has linked its database with the Social Security Administration, so all the names had to match.  I didn't have any type of ID which reflected my maiden name ... my old license said Margaret Elizabeth Branch but I signed it Elizabeth D. Branch.  No one cared before .. but now ... so I left emptyhanded, told to return by 4:30 with a copy of my birth certificate or marriage certificate.  Now, this would not have been a problem except for the fact that the DMV is a 20-25 minute drive away.  But I made it ... lucky for us we had dozens of certified copies of the marriage certificate for the adoption.  I burned up about a zillion gallons of that high priced gasoline.  Maybe by one-handedly increasing the demand for gas in this county, I can drive the price down.  Or is that up?  I dunno, I flunked economics.

Dit dit da dit dit da dit dit .... WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR THIS NEWS BULLETIN:... Colin Branch breaks the world record for shortest time between obtaining learner's permit and having his first WRECK.  Yikes ... On the way to pick up Quentin,  traffic slowed, and abruptly came to a stop, Colin learns allabout rear ending someone.  <sigh>  He feels really bad, but we're not worried about it.  The police officer didn't ticket him or anything, and the other guy was pretty nice about it .. his car wasn't too badly dented.  WHEW what a day.  Let's hope tomorrow is dull and monotonous!!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Volume Discount from the Tooth Fairy?

Last night Christian and Lisa BOTH lost a tooth, and even stranger, it was the same tooth for both!  So the tooth fairy was running ragged last night.  She brought them both a Susan Anthony dollar and a Sacajawea dollar. 

Christian had a baseball game last night, and I think I have dust-induced pneumonia this morning.  We were sitting on the sidelines watching the dust floating in the air, knowing that it was coating our lungs.  And it was WINDY.  So when the boys ran around the bases (which, of course, it being a baseball game, was often) we would be slammed with huge clouds of dust.  And not only that, it was COLD.  Strange combination, you usually associate dust with heat.  So this morning I am coughing like a 2 pack-a-day smoker.  Hack hack.

Was casually chatting with a mom from the opposing team and discovered that her husband and David both went to the same high school in New Orleans (Bonnabel).  Miss Anne (David's mom) taught there, and this guy was in her class!  Small, small world.

Tuesday morning we had "girl group" here.  Three other moms and I have sort of a "cooperative" going on, where we each take a turn keeping the four girls.  We had a blast, baking cookies and playing "beauty shop".  Well, I brushed and fixed the three other little girls' long blonde hair while Melanie, who is still a little hair-challenged, watched.  We danced with the Boobah (a strange creature invented by the same demented minds of the folks who invented Teletubbies ... say no more! ... There was some serious wacky-weed smoking among those people!) and played with Hot Wheels. 

Sunday David and I celebrated our 18th anniversary with a fantastic dinner at the Prickly Pear (The Prickly Pear - Modern Mexican Cuisine) up in Mooresville (do these links work?  We'll see...)  Can't believe how far we've come.  After only dating for three months, we were engaged, and married 8 months after that.  Well, ya know, when it's right it's right.  Why wait?  I know there were some skeptics among our peeps, but we showed them, didn't we?

Today is the first day in a long time that we haven't had to jump up and go somewhere, so I'm being a bum.  Being a bum is good for your heart (or something, I'm sure).  TTFN

Friday, April 22, 2005

Long Time No See

I know, I know ... left everyone hanging.  No news is good news.  Nothing to report.  Melanie continues to challenge my parenting skills with her "twoness".  I did buy a "naughty chair" to start using for her defiance and throwing things.  We'll see.  (I've been watching the Supernanny!)  Speech therapy is going well ... it's so hard to have things go so slowly; right now we're just exercising her muscles with blowing bubbles and whistles.  Jamie (her therapist) has sent us home with a flute to blow on, and instructions to use an electric toothbrush to get her used to different sensations in her mouth.  A lot of therapy is eating applesauce and stick crackers, bitten off from the side of her mouth, to get her tongue to move to the side.  All very interesting!

Other than that, not much else is going on!  Quentin is 13 today!!  Of the three boys, his birth was the easiest so I look back on this day with a lot of good memories.  I remember waking up at 3 a.m. knowing that something was going on ... so what did I do?  A load of laundry!  Yep, labor does strange things to women.  Another memory I have is of them wheeling me down the hall to the delivery room, and passing my doctor sitting on a stool, and he was eating a pack of crackers and drinking a coke!  Oh well, gotta grab it when you can!  I was the first in the room to notice that the baby was a boy, and I was the one who shouted, "It's a Boy!"   Happy Birthday, my sweet Quentin!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Bring Out the Goldfish!

Dr. Matthews today gave Melanie the okay to resume her former eating habits.  He says all looks good, and will see her again in three months.  After that, six months.  In the meantime, he'll follow her speech therapy.  We did discuss the possibility of another surgery in a years' time to lengthen her palate, if her speech remains "nasal".  He does not like "pharyngeal flap" surgery, which is a barbaric sounding procedure in which part of the palate is sewn to the back of the throat (just reading about it gives me the willies!) since it tends to cause sleep apnea.  (Guess so!)  At any rate, I'm excited that now we can start with the "real" speech therapy, and I'm hopeful that we'll see some progress pretty quickly.  He said he probably wouldn't worry about the more cosmetic surgeries until she is in 1st or 2nd grade.  He said typically kindergarteners don't tease each other about differences.  At any rate, he said, with her personality if someone made fun of her, she'd probably just push them down!  Boy does he have her pegged!  She is full of beans.  I have no worries about her standing up for herself.

We celebrated this afternoon with a bowl of Chex Mix! 

I have been flat worn out the last couple of weeks.  Melanie has been so TWO it's not funny.  Throwing herself on the floor, screaming, throwing things.  But when it's all said and done, and she's fresh from her bath, smelling like soap and with damp hair, her footie pajamas on, and a little sleepy, I could just eat her up.  Yah, I am too old to have a two year old, my knees and muscles tell me that on a daily basis.  But ya know what, I wouldn't trade this for a million bucks.  When I think that I will be 60 by the time she graduates from high school ... well, I just don't think about that too often!

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Hearing Loss

Melanie had her hearing tested yesterday (delayed due to her ear infections 2 weeks ago).  We sat in a sound-proof booth and listened to various sounds, and she was rewarded for hearing them and reacting to them with a dancing duck in a box.  Interesting!  She has moderate hearing loss in both ears, due to fluid behind her ears.  Apparently there is a muscle that goes from the eustachian tubes to the palate, which may have been "traumatized" by her surgery, resulting in an accumulation of the fluid.  We are on a one-week course of antibiotics to see if that takes care of it; otherwise, we may be looking at tubes.  Colin had them and they worked wonders; I'm not really concerned.

Time to make the donuts ...

Monday, April 4, 2005

More boring vacation pictures!

Quick note about the 3-M Post-It Note car (pictures in yesterday's post) ... David's brother Don works for 3-M in St. Paul, MN.  He is the director of marketing for Post-It Notes.  For the first time this year, 3-M is sponsoring a NASCAR car, driven by Greg Biffell.  In Atlanta last week, Don was at the race, and was able to sign his name on the finish line, and get Greg Biffell to autograph a model of the car and a hat for Christian, who is our resident NASCAR fan (and a fan of anything else that has wheels for that matter).  Christian was over the moon to get the package from Uncle Don ...

Sunday, April 3, 2005

West and Welaxation

Hello ... dusting the cobwebs off the site ... we are back from a week at the Outer Banks of NC.  It was COLD.  Cold and windy, with a little warm thrown in now & then.  And did I say foggy?  You could literally see it rolling in from the sea, covering the dunes until you couldn't see the breakers.  We had a perfectly lovely, relaxing, lazy-bum time.  Our house was perfect ... beds and TV's for everyone ... plus a hot tub, which was great since the pool was icy and out of the question. 

We took the ferry to Ocracoke Island (why can't anyone pronounce it??) which is quite bohemian, climbed to the top of the Hatteras Lighthouse (yes, even me, scared to death of heights), ate seafood, seafood, seafood.  We flew kites on the beach, napped on the beach (bundled up) and hung out on our deck in the hammock swing.  Boudreaux the dog came with us, and has proved himself a great traveler.  He and I got slammed by a rogue wave on a walk one day ... wish I'd had my video camera.  He looked quite bemused!  David's brother Bill and crew were there for a couple of days, in Nag's Head, so we got some family time, too.  We even visited Jockey's Ridge and the Wright Brothers museum (although it was about to close when we got there).  It was tough to see the world news during the week ... Terri Shiavo died while we were there, and of course the Pope.  Sad times. 

Now it's back to the rat race ... and it will be a shotgun start this week with several doctor appointments for several of the kids.  Now I will bore you with pictures from our vacation!  I think one day was shot on Colin's camera, so will post more later.