Monday, June 30, 2008

Missing Nikki

Nikki is off to her SECOND week of sleep-away camp. Last week, she was a confirmation camp all week with church. This week, she's at horse camp. She was only home for two days between. And I miss her.

That is all.

Friday, June 27, 2008

All Grown Up

When Nikki got back from church camp today, she walked in to find her little brother skating around the house in roller blades (HER roller blades, actually). He has also been accident-free for about 36 hours. She gave him a huge hug and told him to stop growing up.

If only it was that easy.

I have to admit it was a little sad packing up all the cloth diapering gear, rearranging the furniture since we no longer need a changing pad, etc. NOT because I enjoy diapering, but because this is the last baby I will ever have. And he's not a baby anymore.

I am so happy for him, and he is really proud of himself. But as a mom, I have to take a little time to grieve the passing of his babyhood.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mistaken Identity

A new development in the SSN fiasco. Today, Juan from the courthouse called to tell me that my forged document is now official. I thanked him for his time and told him I'd be down to pick it up next week, even though I now no longer need it.

This reminded me of a little detail from Monday. When the clerk changed all of Caleb's information (finally), she gave it to me to review before finalizing it. On the paperwork, it says that Caleb is "Hispanic" (and I promise not to go off on a tangent about this term).

Now, we are a very white family. I actually have enough Cherokee in me to qualify for something if my dad could find our reservation numbers, and Nikki too, but really, we are white. Caleb, however, is even WHITER than us! Not one of his birthparents' relatives was anything but Northern European. He gets sunburned through windows. He is LILY WHITE.

So when I noticed this little tidbit, I pointed it out to the clerk. She said there was nothing she could do about his ethnicity, that she had no authority to change it.

Hmmm... If the government says Caleb is Hispanic, and nobody has the authority to change it, does that mean he qualifies for scholarships??

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Potty Progress & Chaos

Since I know you were wondering, we are still moving forward with potty training. We were gone all day today, and Caleb did MOSTLY well. He did poop in his trainer at dinner tonight. He does REALLY well when he's not wearing anything. Undies are less great, but the trainer, I think, is an open invitation for disaster (although it's a GREAT product for overnight!). Tomorrow we'll be home all day, so things should be good (and naked).

At work, things are going crazy. Our principal is leaving. He has basically allowed our staff to run with things at the school, and as a result, we have done amazing things. The staff asked to be given the authority to choose our new principal in a private meeting with our school board member. She basically told us we would get what we would get. And we did. Even though our current dean is CLEARLY more qualified for the position. So now she's thinking of leaving. And our principal is leaving. And bad things are looming in the near future for our school. So now the staff is banding together to explore the idea of going charter. This could be a scary move for those of us who have a lot of seniority (like me-and my husband). But if we don't do it, we may lose our dean and the school itself (it would be re-absorbed into the larger school within a year, thus undoing all our hard work). We are praying hard about this. And meeting. Which is really cutting into the whole feeling of "summer vacation."

So there you have it! We're just sitting around the pool eating bon bons, because that's what teachers do over summer break. :P

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I think it is safe to say that Caleb is potty trained. Why? He woke up DRY this morning!!! He didn't have one accident yesterday. He just gets up and goes whenever he needs to, and even takes care of emptying his own potty chair. Last night, he looked up at me and said, "Uh oh, Mommy. Poo poo." Then he got up and ran to the bathroom. No accidents!!

There really is a lot to be said for waiting until they're ready. Even if it takes four years and a month. :)

I'm washing my last load of diapers right now. Anybody need some slightly stretched-out Happy Heiny's (size large)? ;)


Monday, June 23, 2008

An exercise in frustration...

Today was the most frustrating day I can remember in a VERY long time. What could be more frustrating than dealing with the health care system? Dealing with the GOVERNMENT.

I set out this morning with a list of tasks:
• Enroll Nikki in the local school district (I know, I'll explain later)
• Renew my credential/add English credential
• FAX Caleb's IEP to his speech teacher at Children's
• Return my defective tent (bad zipper)
• Change Caleb's legal name for his social security number (I know it's been 3 years, let's not judge here)
• Meeting at 12:30 for work

WELL enrolling Nikki was problem free, even though I couldn't find her current immunization card (or Caleb's-hmmm). And that was the end of my problem-free day.

I went to the Social Security Administration with all my documents (I had called ahead to see what I needed) and proceeded to sit for over an hour listening to drunk people swear and watching other people beating their children. When I was finally called, the girl took about fifteen minutes to decide she couldn't help me. I was sent back to my seat to wait for someone who COULD help me. At this point, I was already very late for my meeting, so I texted a couple teachers but, alas, no response. Then I was called again. This lady stared at my paperwork and went through manuals for about fifteen minutes before she told me I had the wrong paperwork. I had the adoption APPLICATION but I needed the adoption ORDER. She also wanted a document with Caleb's birth name AND his adoptive name, even though I had BOTH BIRTH CERTIFICATES showing his names. She gave me three numbers to try so that I could get the ORDER and a pass to go to the front of the line. So, after two hours, I went away empty-handed.

Annoyed but willing to move on, I went to the meeting location and did not find my colleagues' cars in the parking lot. Since there was no parking, I went down the hill to school, where I hoped to catch up with them and FAX Caleb's IEP. The office was locked, but I found our principal hiding out and got in. I opened the folder to FAX the document, but alas-no IEP. All the paperwork that came WITH the IEP was there, but not the IEP. I FAXed what I had and left, at which point I got a call saying I had missed the meeting. Of course.

Oh well, off to the Education Center to renew my credential. No parking. I parked illegally, and found person to help me with my credential. I had E-mailed him previously to find out what I would need to complete ALL of my steps (renew, add, register my MA for my raise). But, of course, he failed to mention that I would need a SECOND CASHIER'S CHECK for $55. I only had one. Great. Now I have to go back to the SS A AND the Ed Center.

At this point, I figured why not sign up for more frustration? So I headed for Juvenile Court to obtain Caleb's Adoption ORDER. Things seemed to be going well, I paid the $16 for the order, the clerk got me a certified copy, but then I read it and noticed that this did not have Caleb's birth name EITHER. PROBLEM. The clerk told me I needed to fill out a form to amend the adoption so it would show both names. GREAT! Except the form required the signatures of BOTH PARENTS and guess what? I'M JUST ONE! I told the very nice clerk that I would just take it out to the car and have my husband sign it, went into the hallway and forged his signature, used the restroom, and went back and turned the form in. I'm sure he knew I was lying, but to his credit, he took the form.

I started to head home at this point. I hadn't eaten all day and I was a little on edge after all the frustration. But as I drove into our suburb, I had a burst of inspiration and decided to go back to the SSA. And guess what? THIS TIME IT WORKED! YEAH!!! Now my dad doesn't have to yell at me about changing Caleb's name the next time I do taxes!! :)

Then I returned my defective tent. Then I came home to my wonderful son, who has not had ONE ACCIDENT and just pooped in the potty again!

So in the end, I still have to find the kids' immunization records (???) and Caleb's IEP (??????) and add my English credential. But all of those are jobs for another day. Right now, I need some chocolate.


Good things come to those who wait!

Today is Potty Boot Camp Round II.

It's much warmer than the last time we tried this, so Caleb has nothing on from the waist down. He's acting like he's done this his whole life.

He's had no accidents since 8:00 am, he pooped in the toilet without anyone's knowledge or help, and he's peed in his potty three times.

I don't want to get overexcited here, but this seems to be going really well...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Photo Follow-Up #2

I know you've been dying to see pictures of my graduation. Not so much? Well, too bad...

Here's me after getting my fake degree (it was just a letter).

This is my friend Angela who was one of my strongest advocates throughout the program.

And here I am with my wonderful family, who sacrificed so much so I could enjoy this day. Also with them, alum Jackie (Valedictorian 2007), who got up at 7:00 on a Sunday morning to be there.

I'm so blessed. :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Crash & Burn

It's time for the annual post-school-year crash-and-burn. I have tried THREE TIMES to read the same two pages of Invisible Man (Ellison, not Wells) to no avail. I keep falling asleep.

Tomorrow, I have to learn how to tent camp with Girl Scouts. There's got to be SOMETHING they'll teach me that I don't already know. For example, I had to take a "pre-course" before the training, and I didn't know I was supposed to strain the food out of the gray water used for washing dishes before tossing it. So now I'm feeling guilty about the little bits of food that went out with the water in San Clemente. Oh well. I hope the skunk that visited our camp site at 3:00 am and tried to eat our trash found the food bits.

In other news, Caleb had his speech eval through Children's yesterday. He has a "moderate to severe" speech delay. Apparently, there will be no hearing aids until his next audiogram, which is scheduled for late July. They've put him on the waiting list in case of cancellation. In the meantime, we're supposed to teach him to use pronouns. She wants him to say "I" instead of referring to himself in the third person, and she wants him to learn the pronoun "she" (he currently only uses "he" regardless of the person's gender). I really feel like this would be easier if he could UNDERSTAND WHAT WE'RE SAYING, but we'll give it our best shot.

Oh, and the pump went out on our washer today, but my AWESOME HUSBAND fixed it for only $65 (price of a new pump).

I'm falling asleep again. Gotta go...

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Camping was a BLAST! We had a GREAT time and can't wait to do it again. The food was really yummy, too (Thanks, Susan!).

And now, I'm crashing. I actually started on the beach yesterday. The backs of my legs are burned as a result of me falling asleep. I slept all night last night, took a nap today, and I'm ready to head back to bed.

There's news, lots of news. But that will have to wait for another day. For now, there is only SLEEP!

Monday, June 16, 2008

A camping we will go...

Yeah!! We graduated our seniors today. SO FUN. I'll post pictures later. Why not now, you may be wondering? Because we are getting ready to go CAMPING!

We haven't camped since Caleb. And probably not for several years before that, either. But tomorrow, we will TURN IN OUR KEYS AND HEAD FOR THE BEACH!! Unfortunately, it's just for one night (they're booked up through summer!), but I think it will be great fun, especially since we'll have great company. :)

WOOHOO! School's out for the summer!!!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


For some reason, all of my students (regardless of first language or ethnicity) say "mines" instead of "mine." I've had my current students for THREE YEARS, and our conversations still go something like this:

Me: Turn in your English spirals.
Student: Where's mines?
Me: Mines are things that you put in the ground, and when you step on them, you blow up.
Student: blink, blink
Me: sigh

Many of them now remember to say "mine," but some still don't get it. I would say I have conversations that go this way at least three days a week.

So imagine my surprise when MY OWN SON began to follow this speech pattern. Yes, it's true, MY SON says "mines." The shocking discovery happened something like this:

Nikki: Caleb, may I please have the next turn?
Caleb: NO! It MINES!
Me: Caleb, it's mine not mines.
Caleb: NO!!!! IT MINES!!!!!!! (hysterical meltdown ensues)

Now we know that we have to tell him, "Caleb, SAY mine." (Strangely, my usual line about mines being things you put in the ground has no effect on him.) And Nikki has taken to responding by saying "boom."

I'm sure the author of Eats, Shoots, & Leaves sympathizes with me. I'm thinking everyone else thinks I'm crazy.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Things I'm Excited About

  • Three more days of school!
  • I get to see my cousins this weekend.
  • I'm having bunco at my house tomorrow and I don't care that it's a mess.
  • We're going camping at the beach next week.
  • We bought a new tent for camping and I LOVE it!
  • We're going to the Del Mar Fair next week.
  • I'm almost done with grading essays for three whole months.
  • We're going to Lake Tahoe this summer for a WHOLE WEEK.
  • VBS is just a month away.
  • Three more days of school!!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A light at the end of the tunnel...

Four more days with kids. Five more of work. Then, FREEDOM!!!

Three reasons to teach: June, July, August.

It's never been more true than this year.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Do as I say...

Scott and I are not "partiers." Scott has a few beers a week, usually after dinner or with friends. I have a margarita every three months or so. Years of parenthood have taught us that nothing is worth having to keep up with the kids when we're not feeling quite up to par.

But last night, two of our dearest alumni married each other. And when the bride insisted that I do a shot with her when I got there, I obliged. It was a little rougher than I remembered in my college days, but I got through it. Then there was another. Then the champagne for the toast. Then a really yummy mango cooler. Then the coup de grace: one for the road. So by the time we left at 11:00, I was pretty, well, hammered. But hey, the alumni are all legal, Nikki had stayed at a friend's house (no witness), and Scott was driving, so I figured it was fine. That was where I made the mistake.

One of our alumni showed up well into the evening with her younger brother. Who attends our particular small school. And who is applying to become a Peer Helper. Yes, that's right, the ones who make healthy life choices. While Scott knows this student, I had never been introduced to him. Great first impression. His sister swears he didn't notice, THANK GOODNESS.

Then, on the way home, I get a text message from a CURRENT Peer Helper. He wanted to know if we were having fun at the wedding. Now, none of my students knew I was going to a wedding yesterday, so I pumped him for information and found out there were students from ANOTHER small school on our campus that knew who we were and told him we were there. Ugh.

Peer Helpers make healthy life choices, but their advisor gets wasted at weddings. :P

Scott says I'm overreacting; there's nothing wrong with cutting loose when you're legal and have a designated driver. I suppose, but how embarrassing. AND there's the after-effect; my stomach's not feeling so great this morning.

Oh well, at least I had a great time. Next time, I'll have to check the guest list before agreeing to do shots with the bride.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


We have a new favorite Calebism

without the help of anyone else: I do it myselps.

Other favorites with translation:
Gross Outs (Girl Scouts)
Pooter (computer)
and our favorite, Dr. Dapenis (Dr. Martinez)

At this age, Nikki used to add an extra "s" at the beginning of many words, resulting in:
sajraffe (giraffe)
sacraft (craft)
smarshmallow (marshmallow)

I love four. :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Exhaustion and Ibuprofin

Scott just walked in as I published the last post to get some Motrin.

Scott: That's the difference between being a teenager and being 39. I had a great time playing football in the pool, but instead of falling asleep peacefully like the kids, I need to take Motrin first.

Yep, we're getting old. :P


My kids are snoozing soundly in their beds tonight! Our students came over for their end-of-the-year party, and we had nearly thirty kids in the pool for over four hours. Mine refused to get out the entire time, so they were quite ready for bed tonight.

Everyone had a great time. Several of the kids thought they wouldn't swim because either they didn't know how or because they thought it would be too cold (like yesterday and the day before). However, it was BEAUTIFUL here and everyone wound up in the pool, many in their street clothes! It was fun watching the boys tackle each other and the girls play nicely with the beach ball in the shallow end (it's funny how it's still the same in high school). The kids were so gracious and had so much fun. It was great. :)

But now, I too am exhausted. My bed is calling me. Buenas noches!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

No rest for the weary...

Driving home from school this afternoon:

Me: Caleb, how about you and I take a nap when we get home?
Caleb: No nap. George.
Me: How about you watch Curious George and I take a nap.
Caleb: NO NAP! It not night-night time!

Ah, well. You can't blame a girl for trying.

Monday, June 2, 2008


I feel like my life is starting over again. I went to dinner tonight with two friends I haven't spent time with FOREVER. Caleb started gymnastics today. I'm catching up on my grading and reading a new book. And in two more weeks, I get a WHOLE SUMMER to have fun!!

When my mom finished her MSN, she was a little depressed afterward.

I, on the other hand, am just SO GRATEFUL to be getting my life back!