Welcome 2nd Grade!!

No more sleeping late for us! It's back to school time!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The things kids do...

Apparently, one learns how to give oneself a hickie during the first week of Catholic school kindergarten. Lovely, isn't it? I read about other kids learning addresses and phone numbers and other useful information. My kid? A frickin' hickie!Clearly, one of the other delinquent children in T's class has some older brothers and sisters.

Dot and I suspect that the knowledge spread like wildfire throughout the class, and then during quiet time, when T had her head down on the the desk with her mouth so temptingly close to her forearms, she couldn't resist. We're refusing, though, to call it a hickie within T's earshot. We're calling it a bruise. T has promised not to do it again. We'll see.

Guess Billy Joel had it all wrong in his song, clearly the girls are starting much earlier ;)

We're on duty

Well, we are over at my parents house relieving Icolene who wanted a well deserved day off. Arrived around 5 pm and will leave Sunday at 500 pm upon Icplene's return. The bed in the Florida room is working out well. There have been no problems in the week and a half that she's been home, so we are hopeful.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Where Do I begin?

...I guess the first thing I should say is that Taylor is fine. It is official, T has Recurrent Juvenile Parotitus (JRP) aka the faux mumps. This is a fairly innocuous disease that usually resolves itself by puberty. T's parotid gland (a saliva gland around the bottom of the ear on both sides) may swell a few times a year, accompanied with perhaps a mild fever and general feeling of malaise for a day or two. She'll get tylenol. This disease is very very rare, and is more prevalent in boys than girls.

You may recall that we went for an MRI recently, and were referred to a Pediatric ENT. Our appointment was Aug. 18, the day my mom came home from the nursing home. Also the day of kindergarten orientation and book buying. As I said, the day for the perfect storm. Oy, those words were prophetic.

During the ENT appt, I mentioned to the doc that the infectious disease dr who referred us to him, said it was most likely JRP. The ENT doc said he may be right, but to get a conclusive diagnosis, alot of other scary diseases had to be eliminated first, namely HIV.

The ENT doc said he didn't want to scare me, but he had to let me know that the odds of T being HIV positive were much higher than the odds of her having the rare JRP. Gulp. But she was tested negative in china, and also negative in the US at 11 months. Doc said that was too long ago, he's seen cases wherein children exposed during birth (which would be T's most likely exposure), don't test positive for years. Also, the HIV test is not 100%. A recurrent swollen Parotid gland is usually one of the first manifestations of HIV.

So, Dot and I have been living for the past 7 days with the very real possibility that my beautiful child was HIV positive. While that would in no way change our love for her, it would definitely have very negative affects on her future quality of life. I was very upset but holding it all together for the first few days. Then I made a crucial error...

I decided that if this is a possibility, I better start reading up on it to see what would be in store. While it is not an immeidate death sentence like it used to be in the 80's, there is NOTHING good about it, especially in children. Therefore, since this impromptu internet research, I was a basket case. I also started researching HIV and China. Nothing good learned there, either.

Luckily, the blood test results came in on Wednesday of this week. T is negative for HIV, Lupus, arthritis, Sjodren's disease, and a bunch of other stuff I didn't even understand. She is basically a healthy little girl. Its funny, but it wasn't until after the doc told me the good news on the phone that I truly lost it and couldn't stop crying, actually bawling obscenely for quite a while.

I picked t up from school, went home, and called a friend over. I then proceeded to get drunk on the most delicious and decadent concoctions of Baileys, Kalua, Vodka, milk. Yummy!

I'm also the happiest mom on the face of the earth. All in all at the end of the day, I must say that this experience, though harrowing and awful, has had a silver lining. I am now so much less stressed about my parents' situation. I really do have a much better outlook where they are concerned. I can now truly say that as long as my kid is healthy, I can deal with anything.

Everyone at work was very supportive, and a coworker brought in a delicious chocolate cheesecake today, in celebration of the negative results. So, there you have it. I have emerged from the 7 darkest, most dismal days of my life stronger and emotionally healthier. Who would have thought that?

While I usually support cancer and alzheimer charities, I'm now adding pediatric HIV to the list. I know that the list of deserving charities is endless, but no one should have to live with that terrible disease.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


First day of school was a raging success! T chose to go with the ponytail w/headband option. She was very, very excited.

We were out of the house bright and early, and T kindly posed for the obligatory pictures.

Taylor's class is very big and bright. It also has more students in it than last year. 25 vs 16. Each student had an assigned seat, with their own pencil pouch filled with supplies...and labeled with their name. It was decorated with a "Monsters Go to School" theme, which I thought was very appropriate. T's school keeps the same students together in class, until about 2nd grade. Then, they start mixing them up with the other class. Therefore, T knew almost 1/2 the kids in her class. The added kids are new students.

When I picked her up from aftercare, she was appropriately filthy, so I knew she had a good time. I was trying to figure out what was different about the kids, and finally it dawned on my that all their uniforms were a bit too long and a tad too big. The Laura Ingalls look is particularly popular at the beginning of the year!

What makes me especially happy, is that the teachers report that she was a good girl. I'm hoping that lasts. T doesn't deal well with rejection, and I think she has the makings of a bit of a bunny burner (stalker). My friend Marie prefers the term "loyal friend".

T reported today that "the only reason I kept following the other Daniel, was that I wanted to play with him." Uh-oh. Apparently, he didn't want to necessarily play with her, and told her to stop following him. You may recall, this is the boy in the grade above T, with whom she professed undying love last year. Oy.

I'm just happy she didn't haul off and punch the kid. So, as I titled this post: Success!

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Big Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow is HUGE day....


I can't tell you how excited T is for Kindergarten to start. Her teacher's name is Mrs. Cabezas, who seems really nice. We have everything together and ready to go. T brings a blanket and small pillow to school. While they don't nap, they do have quiet time when the put their heads down on the desk for 20 - 30 minutes. They will do this until January, when the go cold-turkey and there will be no napping or quiet time at all.
I hope not to jinx anything, but things are going OK at 123 street. My mom's bed in the Fla room, so far, is working out well. Dot and I are praying that it continues. She goes to Houston tomorrow, so its just me here if things go to hell.
Meanwhile, I deal with stress as I always do...I go shopping. I have a small a/c pipe leak which needs to be sealed. While I have the handyman here, I'm going to have him install a new toilet and new sink. Also one of those nifty curved shower curtain rods that make it feel like there's tons more room in the bath.
Lastly, T has some big, big news to share. Her hair is finally long enough for her to wear a pony tail. In the past, she's been stuck with either pigtails or a top knot. She's been eyeing Dot's ponytail for years now, and finally has gotten there. Of course, she would have had a pony tail a year ago had she not taken scissors to her hair, but that's another story.

So, the excitement is building, and I'll make sure to get lots of photos of her first day of school. She insists on wearing a ponytail to school, and she's currently debating whether to wear a headband with it, or not headband.

Boy, I long for the days when my only problem was whether or not to wear a headband!

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

123 Update

Well, things are going OK at the parent's house. Of course, its just been over 24 hours. Dot spent the night last night, gave everybody tylenol pm, and had a quiet night. I was over this morning to take my dad to the doc. Rest of the day was w/o incident. My mom spent most in bed. My dad spent most on the couch. When I left he was in the bedroom dozing.

One thing I have noticed is that with my mom out in the Fla room, usually sleeping, my dad comments that she doesn't look so good. We keep emphasizing that just b/c she's home, she's not well. She's still a sick lady who just happens to be stable on her meds.

Yesterday when mom returned home in the afternoon, she was very confused. Didn't really remember her house or where she was. Kept wanting to go into the bedroom. Didn't forsee that, but should have, I guess. Now Dot and I are worrying that she'll insist on moving the bed back to the bedroom, and all hell will break loose again. So far, crisis averted.

Meanwhile, advil pm is my new best friend. I've had 3 nights of rest despite the stress. Dot is spending the night there again tonight. Ico the aid has been nervous to be there alone. I've counselled her to spend most of her time there upstairs, so that my dad doesn't get used to her being around.

So, we're taking it all one day at a time. Que sera, sera.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Stressful Week in Store

This week is shaping up to be a stressful one. Besides the usual stuff at work, T's camp ended and she's back at her old daycare with all her old buddies. She's thrilled. Mom, however, forgot the rules, and sent the wrong stuff. That gang at her school could care less what one packs as a lunch. At the daycare not so much. They insist on only healthy snacks. No cookies, nothing chocolate, no chips/fritos/doritos or the like, no juices with sugar like capri sun, the list goes on. ...it outlaws almost everything in my house.

I may send cereal as a snack in a baggie tomorrow, and hope it passes the test. Of course, the cereals are fruity pebbles or trix, so I bet I get yelled at again.

Wednesday is shaping up to be the day for the perfect storm. I have to buy T's books in the morning, pick up T from the daycare early for an 11:30 dr appt, my mom comes home from the nursing home at 4:00, and I have to be back at T's school at 7 ( i think) for kindergarten orientation. Which brings me to the biggest source of stress...my mom coming home.

She will be fine. The question is my dad. I'm starting to worry that its not going to work out after a few conversations this weekend. Each one was like I was telling him for the first time what is wrong with my mom. When I mentioned the nurse that will be coming home with her...the same one that we've employed since the end of march...his response is "What nurse?" "Who's she?". Oy.

Thursday I'm taking him to the doctor to see if his meds need adjusting. He's been complaining of dry eyes, which is a side effect of diabetes. Unregulated diabetes can effect one's retinas and make you go blind if not addressed. Dry eyes is often a precursor to that. His refusal to take his meds has also, I believe, contributed to his dimentia. I was reading online that people with unregulated diabetes have a higher probability for developing dimensia than those who take their meds. So, so frustrating.

If I could just get him cooperating, life would be so good. I've been praying that having the aid in the house again will work , b/c I can't keep going over there everyday at lunch to give him his meds and buy him lunch. I've been hanging on these last weeks, with the knowledge that its not forever. If we have to yank my mom out of the house, I really am not sure what I'm going to do about him. It probably won't be anything pretty.

So, that's it for now. Any good thoughts or prayers you can send our way, will be especially appreciated this week.

Monday, August 9, 2010

This and That

Well, first off, a Taylor-tragedy has occurred. I pick T up from school and she was quite the despondent little girl. Drama queen Taylor is EXCELLENT at doing despondent. I quickly learned the reason why...

T lost her 4th tooth today at camp, and horror of horrors....has LOST the tooth. T blames Valentina, whom she claims pushed her and made her drop her tooth. Apparently all the camp king's horses and camp king's men couldn't find Taylor's tooth again. Oy, the lamenting I was treated to, about how the tooth fairy would never come now that the tooth was lost.

T, who CLEARLY knows how to play her mom, finally stopped her belly aching when I offered to take her to the book store and pick out something, in lieu of the tooth fairy. She's now happy at home with her book, that has vinyl stickers that one sticks on to various princess scenes.

This is T's last week of camp. Next week, she goes back to her old daycare for a week, and then school starts again.

Meanwhile, we spent Sunday at my parents house, re-organizing it. We're preparing to bring my mom home from the nursing home. She's fairly stable on her medications, and wants nothing more than to be in her own home. It all depends on my dad cooperating.

We've lost the battle with mobility. My mom will never walk, nor stand by her self again. She's incapable of it, and no amount of physical therapy will help. All she wants to do is be in bed. While we will force her to get up for a few hours each day, the other time she'll spend in bed. So, we've moved her bed out of the bedroom and into the florida room. That way, she'll be around other people and action. Plus, she'll be able to look outside. Can't do that in her bedroom, as the windows are so high up.

So, say a prayer that this will work. I keep telling my dad that just b/c she's coming home, doesn't mean she's magically better. She's still a sick lady with lots of medical problems. If this stint at home doesn't work, our only alternative will be to bite the bullet and place her in a nursing home long-term.

So, that's it for now. Hopefully I can get a picture of T in all of her snaggle toothed wonder, for your viewing pleasure.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Spanish Rose

Taylor Cheerleading

Scroll down to turn off the blog music! Click the big round button...

T Dancing Ballet

Don't forget to scroll down to the bottom of the blog and turn off the music, to get the full effect of the show!

The Show

Good lord, this show was so cute I couldn't stand it! It all started out with the modeling. Here as some of the little models here, posing for a quick shot before the show got going.
T was having a ball hamming it up. I'm trying to upload video of the cheerleading and dance portions. If I do say so myself, T EXCELLED at the dancing. She's never had formal dance classes, so everything she's learned came from camp. She's really good at the ballet, but really knocked 'em dead with her Flamenco dancing.

Out of a room full of little hispanic girls who were wearing authentic or near-authentic flamenco costumes, La China-Gringa...decked out in her gymboree cotton summer skirt... was named "The Spanish Rose". She was voted the best Flamenco dancer in the camp! Dot and I nearly fell out of our chairs hyperventilating at this!

A little old Cuban man in heavily accented, broken English, congradulated us and said that T's dancing was "as delicious as paella". Wow. Can't get a better comment than that!

So, if I can ever upload the movies, which take FOREVER, I'll be posting T in all her glory!

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Friday, August 6, 2010


...and stand by for some really big breaking blog news!

Don't have time to go into detail, but suffice it to say that tonight is T's End of year show at camp. There will be four segments: modeling, dance, cheerleading, and flamenco.

It also involves costume changes for each segment.

Oh, the cuteness! I can't stand it!

Hopefully I can get some cute shots.

Show starts at 7:00 p.m.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Kicking it up in the Keys

well, the day didn't start so well. We drove down to Pennekamp and where highly disappointed. There is no beach there. Nice park for snorkeling, but we weren't there for that. We were there for beach which didn't exist. There is only a fake beach area like a lagoon, but it was creepy and really crowded. While there, I realized that I was actually thinking of Bahia Honda, when I was remembering a gorgeous beach. Bahia Honda's beach was voted one of the country's top 10 in 1992. I was there in 1997 and it was lovely. Pristine white sand, really large beach. Gorgeous...even by this life-long Floridian's (i.e. beach snob's) standards.

Unfortunately, alot has happened since 1997. Namely, hurricane Wilma. Came through and eroded 2/3 of the beach. In some places, the entire beach was gone. VERY disappointing. What's worse, what beach that was left was covered in seaweed, as you can see from this picture. I figure that's a function of state of fla. budget cuts. Luckily, we had fun anyway. The water was nice and warm and crystal clear. It was shallow really far out and with no Atlantic waves/undertow, so T could splash around.

Took her a while to get acclimated. She didn't like "that dirty beach" or "that sandy floor". She didn't understand why the bottom wasn't concrete like the pool. So, Dot and I sat in our chairs, with rain umbrellas to hide from the sun, similar to those old sci-fi vampire movies. T played in the sand. Then we were out of there.

Drove back north and went to an all you can eat seafood buffet that was yummy.

The other big news of the trip: T lost her 3rd tooth while crossing the 7-mile bridge. Dot played tooth fairy and upped the ante on me. Crazy woman left a whole 5 bucks. T added it to her stash, and we were off to Target for her to buy something. She chose aqua sand. Google it. I can't explain it. Other than to say its a big mess and alot harder than the commercial implies. Typical.

So, that was our big day. Felt like I was on vacation.

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A marvelous plan was made in the stars,
to create a miracle across the ocean so far....
Then entwine and weave all the hopes and labor,
it would take to bring us this joy called "Taylor"....
Now three lives are blessed and somewhere in the stars,
the planners are smiling, as we all are.

Taylor's Gal Pals

How Long We've Been a Family: