Monday, November 21, 2011

Three Years Later

I went to a panel for parents of deaf and hard-of-hearing kids this week at Lafayette Elementary, which is the magnet school for DHH kids in San Diego Unified. It was a great panel. Several of the panelists were parents of deaf or HOH kids, and they talked about the process of getting their kids identified and served (boy, did THAT bring back memories!). Two of the panelists were deaf adults, and I especially enjoyed hearing about their experiences. One wears a cochlear implant and functions in both Deaf and hearing worlds (she was born hearing but caught meningitis and lost it). The other was a Deaf man who came from a hearing, bilingual family. He is now married to a Deaf woman, and their son was also born deaf. One thing that all of them shared was that they went through a grieving process when they found out their kids had hearing loss. I suppose that makes sense to me, although I don't remember ever feeling that. So I went back and read my blog posts. You know what? I never grieved.

I suppose that growing up with a cousin who is Deaf, and having spent my early life immersed in sign language both gave me more perspective than your average hearing person. But even the Deaf panelist talked about grieving his son's hearing loss. And really, we are quite fortunate because Caleb can hear, just not well. Then again, things didn't really turn out as predicted (we still aren't tearing up his IEP, and he definitely still has language delays). All in all, though, he's doing great. I couldn't ask for more than that!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Expanding Again

In a totally unrelated turn of events, we will be welcoming two new members into our household. José, 18, will be joining us tomorrow. And Bolt, the baby chinchilla born here in August, will be coming home this weekend. Never a dull moment!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I've been having a very hard time dealing with all the balancing that comes with being a working mom lately. I don't know why it's hitting me hard this year in particular. I really don't. But it is. And I'm not quite sure that there's anything anyone can do about it.

But here's the crazy part. You ready?

I want to adopt this little boy I met in Ecuador two years ago. I really do. His name is Carlos. I got to spend some time with him while I was down there. I took he and his friend Jose Luis on a little walk. A dog came running over to say hi, and they freaked out. FREAKED OUT. Because they had never seen a dog run up to them like that before. Their lives are so sheltered and small in the orphanage. They orphanage is doing a GREAT JOB of taking care of these kids, but it's still an orphanage.

Three weeks ago, a member of our team from 2009 put out a table with pictures of the kids who are currently at the orphanage. They need sponsors to help cover their costs. And on one of those cards was Carlos. It told a little of his story, and said that he is free to adopt but nobody has come forward. I put the card back, and picked Lesley to sponsor. But Carlos has been on my mind ever since. Two weeks ago, I mentioned this crazy plan to my family in the car. They were all for it. Of course, I think they thought I was kidding. Tonight, I told my mom. She said to pray on it.

I know it's crazy. We don't have any money to adopt another child. We could make room for him by getting bunk beds in Caleb's room. But again, that costs money. I'm already going crazy trying to keep all my ducks in a row. But like my mom said, we're already taking Caleb to Boy Scouts and gymnastics. What's one more? And although he's a year younger than Caleb, they'd probably be in the same grade.

I always thought we would have three kids. Is God really telling me that we should?

This is just crazy.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Following Directions

We made cupcakes for our Girl Scout troop today since we've had three birthdays since we last met. Caleb wanted to help. Nikki decided she could muster the energy to scoop the batter (she caught a cold and is very near death). The process went something like this:

Caleb: I want to put the papers in the pan.
Me: Okay, just do one pan and then we'll see how many more we need.
Caleb: Okay (finishes one pan). I'm done! I'm going to mail the letter.
Me: Okay. It goes in the TOP SLOT. Way above our mailbox.
Caleb: Okay!
(two minutes later)
Caleb: Mom! I forgot the key!
Me: You don't need the key. You're mailing the letter, not getting the mail.
Caleb: NO! I need the key!
(Nikki explains one more time.)
Caleb: I'm back!
Me: Did you mail the letter?
Caleb: Yep!
(Note to self: check mail slot for letter.)
Me: We need some more wrappers in the cupcake pan. Would you like to help?
Caleb: Yes! Here you go, Nikki. (Deposits a pile of cupcake wrappers next to Nikki.)
Nikki: Caleb, I need them IN the pan.
Caleb: Okay. (Deposits pile back into original container.)
(Nikki winds up completing this task.)

Caleb's IEP is coming up on September 30. They want to exit him from the resource program because he reads at the 2nd- or 3rd-grade level. We're very excited about his progress with reading, but he still has an auditory processing disorder and skips 15 when he counts to 20. And then there's that "following directions" thing...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

They're Baaack!

The bedbugs. They're back. Just in time for back-to-school. Grrrr...

So this time we've opted to do the foolproof, far-less-labor-intensive, way-more-expensive tenting option. Only guess what? When you tent for bed bugs, you have to leave your home for FOUR days instead of three. Awesome.

We found this out the day we were supposed to be welcoming Scott's cousin, Emily, into the household. Instead, she opted for the bedbug-free-but-not-so-close-to-SDSU Pages' house in Poway.

Here is a list of where you can find us this week:
  • Emily: Carol & Dave's house in Poway
  • Cindy, Scott, Nikki, Caleb: The Clements' house in Poway
  • Gloria: Carol & Dave's house in Poway
  • Lydia: Furry Friends Pet Resort (which has already called to tell us they can't brush her; she won't let them touch her)
  • Reeses the Rabbit: Clements' house
  • Chinchillas (3+baby): Clements' house
We are so grateful for both sets of parents' willingness to host two- and four-legged refugees from Santee. YAY!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Caleb had his swim assessment yesterday. The boy swims like a fish and was clearly bored with the tasks in the class. We were certain that he would be placed in the next level when the new session begins Monday. We were wrong.

An instructor other than the one working with the kids assesses the swimmers. When she came over to test the students, Caleb went first. He swam out to his teacher doing the backstroke, and then he was SUPPOSED to swim back freestyle. Unfortunately, he didn't get that message (because, you know, HE CAN'T HEAR WELL) and swam back underwater. Instead of making sure he understood the instructions and making him follow them, she failed him. Her feedback on the evaluation? "Don't go underwater."

Caleb can swim freestyle the entire length of the pool. He is bored in his class. He is with kids who are afraid of the water and for whom diving for a ring is a challenge. And now he is doomed to repeat it for TWO MORE WEEKS. I am so frustrated!! I DID tell the instructors that Caleb has a hearing loss, and that they needed to make eye contact with him while instructing. However, I don't think the high school students really get how to do that.

We told Caleb what happened, that he didn't hear the instructions. He said, "But I can't wear my hearing ears in the pool!" We emphasized the importance of making eye contact with the instructor and watching the other students. But really, if you already have a hearing loss, are surrounded by ambient noise, and your ears are half-submerged in the water, this is a legitimate problem.

I'll be away on a mission trip when his new sessions starts Tuesday, but Scott has assured me that he will ask for a re-test. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will honor his request.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Don't let the bed bugs bite!

No, seriously. Don't.

About a week ago, Scott came down with a rash on his arms and hands. It moved from day to day, but was consistently there. He's been under a great deal of stress at work, so we attributed it to that.

Then, last night, I crawled into my freshly laundered sheets with a new (and, as it turned out, very good) book. About two minutes into my read, I noticed a black bug crawling on my clean sheet. I thought it was a flea and, annoyed, crushed it, reminding myself that it was time to reapply the flea medicine on the animals. I continued reading and saw a second, then a third bug. And they were too soft to be fleas. Then I saw a larger, round, red bug crawling on the other side of me. And that was the end of my restful summer night.

We have bed bugs in our bed.

In the wee hours of the night, I made appointments for Stanley Steemer to come clean the carpets, Terminix to do a cryogenic treatment (if the heat doesn't get them, maybe the cold will?), and did extensive internet research which led us the the soon-to-be-purchased diatomaceous earth for sprinkling on the carpet. We spent the morning disassembling and removing the bed, laundering the just-laundered bedding, vacuuming, checking the kids' beds (they're fine, thank goodness!) and researching places to buy new beds. We'll be moving upstairs and sleeping on the aerobed until we figure something else out. And we'll be buying mattress encasements for the kids' beds. If you don't have them on yours, you should. All of this could have been prevented if we had had them.

So there you go. This summer is turning out to be very fun, and expensive.

Tonight, I hope to sleep tight and to NOT let the bed bugs bite.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I had a conversation last night with two dear friends who I love very much, in which they were trying to justify the hypothetical decision to leave my job. They both felt strongly that if my work is not being valued by the leadership, it would be in my best interest to leave for my own happiness. My counterargument? I love my kids, I love the community, I love my job, and regardless of the inadequacy of the "leadership", I would never abandon my kids or the community. I don't do the work for recognition, I do it for the kids, because I believe in them.

I explained to my friends that I am good at commitment. As the words were leaving my mouth, I recognized the truth in them. I am not good at many things, but I am good at commitment. And I have learned that commitment is not always fun or self-satisfying, but in the long run the commitment is ALWAYS worth it. There are many areas of my life in which this is true.

Today, I finally took a couple hours to myself while Caleb was napping (!) and watched Eat, Pray, Love, which I read several years ago but had not yet watched. At the end of the movie, I was curious as to whether or not Liz continued the relationship with her male love interest at the end, so I started searching the Internet and found that she wrote this book. Notice the title. Yes, I ordered it.

But how does one explain to two people, one in their twenties and one in their early thirties, neither of whom is in a relationship or parenting, the rewards of commitment in ways that they will understand? I can understand why, from the outside, commitment might look like a lot of sacrifice for very little reward. I can understand why my life, my job, might not seem very rewarding. I can understand why they would not make my choices. Nor would I expect them to.

During the school year, I have no time to philosophize or ponder. But summer is coming. You have been warned.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Just as September brings beginnings, May and June bring endings. We went to Nikki's final drama showcase yesterday, Caleb's final open house today, will soon be attending his final Little League game, and of course the school year is screaming toward a close.

Tonight also marks the first night that we are a family of four since March 2009, when Devon came to stay with us. Right after he moved out, Emma moved in. But tonight Emma is on her way to go camping with her family and will be back Tuesday to take her belongings. And so another chapter in our lives closes.

I would have loved for Emma's departure from our home to be triumphant. I am a fan of fairytale endings. But everything in her life is rather undecided right now, some things because of choices she's made and some things that are beyond her control. But God has made it clear to all of us that this living situation is no longer working, and we need to honor that.

Neither of us would change our decision to include Emma in our family for the past 19 months. We have learned so much and grown as a family through this experience, and we will always love her. Hopefully, she will take something good away from her months with us. But it is time. Time for her to figure out what path she wants to take. Time for us to refocus on each other. Time for Nikki to have her high school experience.

But tonight, the house just feels empty.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Caleb is seven today! It's so hard to believe that he is already seven, but then again I have trouble remembering life without him.

I took the day off so I could make cupcakes and take them to his class. Then it occurred to me that Ronnie was off this week, so I texted her and she came, TOO! It was fun to surprise Boo. We are so, so blessed that she plays such a big role in his life. I think that it's hard for some people to understand how our relationship works so well, but I love that it does. AND I love that she and her family love Caleb so much.

Happy birthday, Boo! Thank you for bringing so much laughter and love into our lives.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Caleb was SO EXCITED to go to school today. He's been having a great time looking forward to his field trip tomorrow, and to his birthday next week. Life is just awesome for him right now. Except for baseball. While he is REALLY GOOD at it, and has a great time while he's there, every game is preceded by a nuclear meltdown. We can't figure it out, we can just plan on it. So when Caleb woke up, we had this conversation:

Caleb: Is it raining?
Me: Yes, it is.
Caleb: YES!!!! NO BASEBALL!!!

However, when I went to pick him up from childcare, I was greeted with a yellow card from his teacher for (of all things) WRITING ON THE SIDEWALK AND WALLS WITH CHALK. He was MORTIFIED and hung his head out to the car, then proceeded to sob all the way home. I tried to calm him down. I told him that the teachers don't want chalk on the sidewalk at school, but it's still okay at home. He wasn't buying it. He came in, packed his little rolling suitcase, and told me he was running away. Except he didn't actually go anywhere; he just sat on the stairs and put his head in his arms. Even worse, while he was doing this I was checking the status of his game and found out it was NOT CANCELED.

After about ten minutes of sobbing and crying and refusing to put on uniform items, then lamenting the non-uniform socks, and that he can't tie his shoes yet, we finally walked out the door with a snack to eat in the car.

Then we got to the game, and he was HAPPY and played really well! He got two kids out at second with some great catches, got a hit every time he was up to bat, scored several runs. And he LOVED every minute of it!

I am really beginning to think there's something to signs. Caleb is a textbook Gemini.

Monday, May 16, 2011

In other news...

Caleb's pediatrician just called (yes, at 8:00 at night). When he was there for his well-child visit, one of the CNAs gave him a color-blind test. Unfortunately, she had no idea what she was doing. The pediatrician reviewed the results she remembered after all the patients left, and according to her report the results indicate that Caleb is not only green color-blind, but COMPLETELY color-blind. Which makes learning your colors by age five seem pretty darn impressive, no?

That boy just amazes me.


Scott is out of town for five days. He rarely does this, and I don't think he's ever left me for that long during school days. The weekend was fine. But Scott is the morning person in this family, and I had concerns about what this was going to look like. My concerns were not unwarranted.

9:00 pm: Finally get kids to bed. Set alarm for 4:50. Cringe.
10:00 pm: Get into bed, grade stories.
11:00 pm: Turn on news, fall asleep immediately.

5:50 am: Wake up. Notice it is very light outside. Look at time on clock. Look back at window. PANIC! Realize that it is useless to panic. Wake Caleb up, get his clothes out, prepare breakfast, make lunch, shower, get dressed, gather belongings.
6:30 am: Amaze myself by being ready to go only ten minutes late.

Tonight, I will not only SET my alarm, I will also TURN IT ON.

Scott, COME HOME!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How to Vaccinate Your Cat (A Community Service Announcement)

  1. Get cat carrier off of high garage shelf and dust it off; it's been a year since you used it.
  2. Notice that the cat has seen the "Box of Death" and has opted to retreat to the inner recesses of your daughter's box springs.
  3. Tempt said cat with tuna. Find that this is futile. Notice that you have five minutes to get to the vet.
  4. Call your husband, who comes in with a long pole. He thinks this will help until he realizes that the cat is INSIDE, and not UNDER, the bed.
  5. Have your husband shake the entire bed and scare the %&*# out of the cat. Wait, ready, by the bedroom door.
  6. Grab fleeing cat.
  7. Insert flailing cat hind-end-first into Box of Death. Ignore moans and wails while hauling the now-heavy Box to the car. You are now five minutes late for your appointment.
  8. Arrive at appointment ten minutes late. Apologize for your tardiness and the banshee-like noises coming from the Box of Death.
  9. Find yourself quickly deposited in the nearest available room so the banshee will stop scaring the other unsuspecting pets.
  10. Say hi to the doctor, who now has to extract the furry banshee from the Box of Death, the same one she barely fit in at home.
  11. Let the doctor take the banshee away for shots. Listen to her howling from the waiting room.
  12. Finish the entire appointment in ten minutes so that the banshee can be removed from the premises.
  13. Drive the banshee back home while she screams at you from the Box of Death. Apparently, cat profanity contains many vowels.
  14. Arrive home, open the Box of Death, and watch the banshee disappear. Appreciate the silence.
  15. Wait until your daughter arrives home to extract the cat from under YOUR bed (because hers is clearly no longer safe) and yell at you for mistreating her cat.
  16. Sigh and be grateful that it's over for another year.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Down and Out

I know how much you love to read about my sick kids, so here you go!

Caleb has been sick for A WEEK. A WEEK!! And not runny nose or a little droopy sick, but lying inert on the bed or the couch sick. FOR A WEEK! Scott took him to the doctor on Tuesday, where he fell asleep on the examination table and also tested positive for Influenza B. So we tried to get him to eat, kept a water bottle at his side, and kept him company while he slept 16 hours a day and lay on the couch for the other 8.

Still, I was certain he would be better by yesterday, when his class took a field trip to Balboa Park for a puppet show. We had been planning the trip for weeks and I took the day off work (which turned out to be rather redundant this week). Alas, there was no puppet show for Boo. Instead, there was yet another trip to the doctor, who was quite impressed by Caleb's lack of activity. He couldn't find any indications of possible infection other than a red throat, so after the rapid strep came back negative, he sent us home to wait it out yet again.

But today, while Caleb was lying inert on the couch watching his fiftieth movie this week (because I feel like he should be staring AT something while lying there?), I got a call from the pediatrician's office saying that they cultured his strep test and it came back positive! So he DOES have strep. Which explains a lot. Finally.

Of course, we had to go through several options before we came up with an antibiotic that hasn't given him hives yet, but now he has azythromycin and, I am praying, will be on the mend. In the meantime he is yet again running a fever of 102 and sobbing while his daddy gives him a bath. "I just want to go to bed!"

Even so, I am feeling pretty blessed that we are dealing with this in our intact home in our intact city in our intact country. We are saying prayers for Japan, punctuated by prayers for healing for Caleb. Nothing like a little dose of perspective to keep me honest.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Highs and Lows

High: Two new babies this week! A new generation of Clements (congrats Jason and Kirstie!) and Hank & Tomoko started their new family.
Low: Lost an alum from Class of '96. I don't know what happened to her. So sad. Rest in peace, Kim.
High: Junior is coming home today!
Low: Grades are due.
High: Fun Friday night out with the family.
Low: Marathon cleaning session tomorrow morning.
High: Maryland!
Low: Missing student in Spain, $4 gas, bloodshed in Libya, social status of my chosen career.
High: Blessed to have a job, a home, and people I love and who love me.

Hope you had a great week!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


A fellow mom and I were discussing today our new role: taxi driver.

Because really, once I leave school, that's all I do. For example, today. Before school I dropped off Caleb and Emma. After school, I went and picked up a scholarship app from Emma, went home to find the letter of rec. she didn't include, wrote another one, drove to the post office to mail said scholarship app, drove and picked up Nikki, and drove home. And this was a reasonably quiet night because I didn't have to go pick up Emma and, mercifully, Scott took Caleb to baseball practice. Of course, the reason it was quiet was that I was leading a Girl Scout meeting (lest you think I was cleaning my house or grading papers or doing laundry, which I was not).

I told Krystal (the other mom) that somebody should have warned us when we were thinking about having babies that someday, our entire lives would revolve around getting each child to where they belong at various times of the day.

Perhaps all of this would be less aggravating if gas weren't $5 a gallon. But perhaps not.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Crash and Burn

Here's a little parenting tip: If your child's school nurse calls you and tells you that your child fell while running and is probably too sore to make it through the day, believe her.

Pictures to come.

The Parks name may have died, but the genes live on...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


One girlie without a fever.
One girlie on antibiotics.
Two girlies on the mend.

One trip to school to make emergency lesson preparations.
One trip to Escondido to see the doctor.
One trip to the grocery store.
Four happy people eating potato cheese soup for dinner.
(Not five-Caleb hates potatoes.)

One alum quoting Maya Angelou on his status.
One alum quoting Edgar Allen Poe on her status.
One happy teacher.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Uh oh.

I was looking at an article about ADHD today, because Caleb's teacher hinted that she thought that he might have it at the beginning of the year (I'm sure she has changed her mind; he has none of the symptoms). Anyway, as I read Inattentional ADHD (formerly known as ADD), I became concerned. Read this list:

Signs of inattention:
  • Has a hard time paying close attention to details
  • Makes careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities
  • Daydreams, has trouble focusing her attention
  • Has difficulty listening to what's being said to her
  • Is easily distracted from tasks and play
  • Doesn't follow through on obeying instructions and fails to finish schoolwork or chores (but not out of rebellion or failure to understand)
  • Forgets things
  • Has trouble organizing tasks and other activities
  • Loses important things or items needed for tasks and activities, such as toys, school assignments, pencils, books
  • Avoids or strongly dislikes tasks (such as homework or games) that require sustained mental effort

If you know me, you're probably concerned, too. THAT'S ME!!!!! :/

Monday, February 7, 2011

Why I Love My Job

Or "Why I Often Bang My Head Against the Wall"

Student: Hey. Can you tell me which Best Buy scholarship we're supposed to do?
Me: Um, the Best Buy one?
Student: We can do any of them?
Me: There's more than one?
Student: So we do all of them?
Me: [Exercising great restraint by not using ANY of the smart-alecky comments I'd like to.] Sure.
Student: Do we have to?
Me: You don't HAVE to do anything, but this IS an assignment for AVID.
Student: To do all of them or just pick one?
Me: [banging ensues]

And just in case you think it actually WAS confusing, Google Best Buy Scholarship and you'll get this.

Friday, February 4, 2011

It's been a REALLY LONG TIME since I've blogged. And I don't know that I'm quite up to blogging now. So here goes nothing.

The first part of January was FUN! Molly, our Australian friend, arrived on the 10th. We had a great time playing tourist with her. We even went skiing for the first time in YEARS! We loved it and it was her favorite thing we did while she was here. It was even worth the ridiculous Visa bill after she left. (OUCH!) It's a good thing we won't have another Australian student for a year!

The second part of January was SICK! Bad sick, not good sick. First Scott got sick. Then I got sick. Then Scott got a rash all over his body, so I couldn't be sick anymore. Then he woke up with swollen hands so we went to the ER. While we were there I broke out in a rash. We finally figured out we had parvovirus (AKA fifth disease) and Scott's turned into viral meningitis. He missed three days of school and I missed one DURING FINALS WEEK. We were both on the mend when Caleb broke out in a rash on Tuesday. Now Nikki has a fever. I'm really glad Emma has been gone so much. Hopefully, she'll dodge the bullet!

So now it is February. We started a new semester, which means right now I have NO ESSAYS TO GRADE! Nikki should be better by next weekend. Yep, things are looking up! Happy New Year!