Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Most Excellent Politician

Well, let's just say KA realized within nanoseconds that he would be screwed out of having his own room and he would have to share a room with KU if KY moves back home. In keeping with his autistic"I'm looking out for number one" philosophy he says:
"I'm not sure KY moving back is a good idea"
"Why not, KA?"
"Well, I am very concerned about Sophia (KY's dog) She needs a stable environment and you know Dad will not allow her to live with us. Yep, this is a very bad idea for Sophia." And this conversation continues about why this is a bad idea for Sophia for the next five minutes in various forms. She likes her yard at her home, Bene and her fight in the house, Sophia likes peace and quiet and it would be too hard for her to get used to all the noise.

The Ultimate Indignity

So today I walk our "someday trainable" dog to the school to pick up the kids. Two other dogs on a leash come up and they all get into a fight. The other owner and I get our dogs collected. One minute later I am bending down petting my dog when the other owner's dog comes up and pees on me!!!! Seriously.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What is it with music these days?

So today I did something which, frankly, I have never done...I watched about an hour of the AMA awards on television. I really don't watch this sort of stuff because who wants to watch a bunch of drugged out freaky people give themselves awards when, frankly, they already have wayyyy too much time and energy given to them for mostly mediocrity. And watching really just confirmed my view that for the most part those "entertainers" were nothing but a bunch of sold out, sold up folks who are made in the image that the music industry tells us the public wants whether it is the truth or not. I can honestly say that after watching these folks I can tell you they are not what I want to watch, emulate or have my children aspire to. Most of them sing angry sounding songs that promote ugliness, hate and bad behavior. What is up with that? Don't people have enough if that in their lives? I mean really who wants to be brought down any lower? I just don't get it. Why emphasize the negative when these so called "role models" could be promoting the positive. I mean these singers have all the reason in the world to be singing the praises of love, helping others and adoration because that is the life they are living. So unless they are going to help our kids, encourage them and build their confidence I would really rather that they just go home and stop wasting everyone's time and money. If this is truly what the public wants then we should be giving these music lovers a lobotomy so that can truly enjoy the crap that is being promoted by the music industry.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A KA Kind of Day

We are at Borders and the kids are getting to pick a book. KA is unhappy because I insist that he choose something other than a Star Wars book. He says to his tutor, " I think this is one of Mom's plots to build my character!."

So KA is suppose to show us a test that he didn't do well on and he is trying to bargain with his teacher. He is getting annoyed at her and is probably getting very annoying. He looks at her and says, " I am a very generous boy and I am going to give you another chance to change your mind."

Today I was informed that KA was tested and tested above 98% in all areas and is therefore eligible for the Gifted Program. HMMMMMM.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Two in Twenty Four Hours...God Help Me!

If you are an adoptive parent esp one who is parenting a child of a different race then you know how many times you are broadsided by some stranger coming up to you with the expectation that they are allowed to ask any one of a million stupid questions right in front of your kids. It never ceases to amaze me the words that come out of a complete strangers mouth. Lately, I have not had to deal with this so imagine my surprise when in the course of 24 hours I had the following exchanges with some people I have never been formally introduced to and will most likely never meet again.

I have to admit that I was a little evil with the woman at the Mini Mart but gosh darn it I had just been in a video arcade with a bunch of screaming kids for two hours. THat is my excuse.

So yesterday the kids and I go into a Mini Mart and first thing out of the
cashiers mouth as she looks at Kellis " ahhhh she is so cute..."
(Okay I can feel it coming on. Let me see if I can read your mind and finish
the sentence for you sweetie)

"Are they your kids?"

(I knew it. If I only had a nickel. I always know when we start out with a she is so cute it will be followed by nosey questions. But today I was prepared.

"Yep they are all mine."

Funny look crosses her face.

"They don't look anything like you."

"Yeah I know."

"I think they look Asian"

"Naw, my ancestors are English and German"

"Their dad must be Asian then"

"Nope. Here is his picture. ( I pull out my husband's picture) See, He is German too. Oh, and here is a picture of my oldest daughter." (Who is as pale skinned as they come)

She stares at it, looks down at the kids and back at me. Confusion is written
all over her face.

"Yep, the doctors don't understand it either. They think it has something to do
with drinking too much of the water when we went to Asia. Bye now."

And then this afternoon it happened again.

I was in the Super Wal-Mart. Up walks this 50ish man.
(Oh crap... here is comes I think to myself trying to turn my body away but can't get turned fast enough.)

"I know you get this all the time"......

(NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Don't you F'ing say whatever is about to come out of your

"but are your kids adopted?"

(Hmmmm should I go with the No, why do you ask tactic?)

"Are they from the orient?"

(Oh God...not one of these I just can't take it today!)

"They were born in South Korea"

"Is that the communist country?"

"No, that would be North Korea"

"THe reason I ask is because I have adopted 8 of my own"

(Okay, maybe I can put my guard down a little)

"WE got them in all colors. We have two of our own and then we got a Mexican one, and a black one and this one here (pointing to a I would guess 16 yo) well we don't know what she is"

(Oh God help me and get me away from this idiot)

"And one we have now is 3 and her Mom is in prison and the man she named as the
father well his DNA didn't match so I think we are going to get her thank god.
She doesn't need to have a loser mother like that."

"Sounds like you have a lovely family. We have to keep shopping. It's nice
meeting you."

And just when I thought I was done I ran into him 2 more times and each time he
starts a conversation and once his daughter looks at me as I pass and says

"Do they all have the same mother?"

"Why, yes they do. It's me!"

I am NOT going out tomorrow....its comes in threes you know!

Friday, October 23, 2009

The New Buddha

Last night I walk into the kitchen and find KU sitting on a small blanket, legs folded with his hands open and on his legs with the Bible sitting in front of him. "What are you doing?," I ask. "I am finding my peace," is his reply. What the heck...where did that come from?

Friday, October 16, 2009

THe Genius

KA: Mom, Why did GOd make me autistic?
Me: I don't think God does things like that. Things just happen.
KA: I guess that is why God made me a genius in order to compensate.
Me: Honey, you aren't a genius.
KA: Okay, brillant. God made me brillant
Me: Yes you are honey. Yes you are.

That Was Close...The Dreaded Sex Talk

KU: Mom what do people do to like each other?
Me: Huh? What do you mean?
KU: What do people do who like each other?
Me: Well, when you like someone you look them in the eye and ask them questions about themselves.
KU: That is not what I mean
Me: I don't understand the question, KU.
KU: How do people who like each other have a baby?
Me: (Oh Holy cr**. How do I answer that? If I tell him the truth then I know he will draw an anatomically correct cartoon and show every kid on the playground tomorrow)
KU: So how do the blue and red wires come together in your body?
Me: Huh? (I must be getting dumber by the second because I have no clue how to answer this question! What does he know that I don't?)
KU: You know the red and blue wires in your body?
Me: Oh ( I knew he was an alien....he just blew his cover. Wait a minute...thinking back to the blood work that was drawn earlier in the week) Do you mean the arteries and veins in your body?
KU: Yeah. Those. How do they make a baby?
Me: Why do you ask?
KU: Well I like babies.
Me: First of all it takes a man and a woman who have to be over 25 and really, really like each other enough to get married (please, Father, forgive me because I have lied but its only because I didn't have time to prepare. I mean really THAT one really came out of left field. Now how to I reconcile this with adoption? Oh Geez man have I blown that one!)
KU: Never mind mom I know the rest, he says as he is leaving the room
Me: (Oh cr** what does that mean? Should I go find out? Naw....I'll let Dave tackle it when he gets home. Maybe by then KU will have forgotten this entire conversation....one can only hope!)

My husband comes home and says I handled the whole situation wrong. He said I should have told KU that you use a wirenut to wire the two wires together and that they then create electricity which creates a baby. Silly me!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Homework Time

Viewing KA's homework with him. One paper everything is wrong. I ask him what happened as he usually gets all his math correct. He looks at me and says "Did you help me with this one?"

Allie and Jenni are making arrays with coins. THere are 12 coins. Allie makes a 3x4 array and Jenni makes a 6x2 array. Explain why both students are correct.
KA: Mom, do you think you understand this or should I get KU (my younger brother) to check my work?

I am having KA do an extra page of math. KA: My teacher will kill me if I do extra. Me: I don't think she will kill you. KA: Yes she will kill me. Me: KA, I will ask her tomorrow if she will kill you for doing extra work. KA: Mark my words she is going to kill me for it and it will be your fault.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Need To Start Thinking

I keep thinking that I need to start writing about some heavy duty subjects. You know...work the brain. Think a little. Ponder. Delve. But frankly, I am kind of enjoying this ride down the lazy river that I am on. It's kind of like being 17 years old again tubing down the river and drinking Boone's Farm. You know there are rapids up ahead but you wait until you see them to do something about it. Lately my life is just slowly moving and it is like I am being carried along.... no paddling required. I'm not looking to make any splashes or even get a little wet. I'm just kind of enjoying slowly floating along being taken to wherever I am suppose to see, hear whatever songs are being sung, tasting the fine things that life offers up. I wish I could say that I'm feeling this way because I have matured, I've been enlightened or some other such nonsense. The truth is that the doctor put me on two medications for my fibromyalgia which is working wonders and I feel wonderful. Now that is worth writing about!

Logical Choice

KA is po'd that Dave and Kylee went to a college football game without him.

KA: I don't even know why they go together. They only have a few things in common
1. THey are both strong 2. They both have the same cell phone 3. They both don't listen to you (thanks son!)
Now Dad and I have a lot in common so I am a better choice
1. We both like sports 2. We are really great builders 3. We like Star Wars 4. We like our dog Bene 5. You guys don't hide in the bedroom when I am around like you do when Kylee comes over 6. We both really like you more than anything 7. We both like to read 8. I'll eat a hamburger at the game and Kylee won't...there are 92 more but I can't think of them. So you see I am the logical choice. Next time Dad needs to go to the game with us.


So Carrie from ACES goes out to the school to see KA. He basically tells her "Pssttt, you know what I do...but you can't tell anyone. Sometimes I sneak over to the second grade playground to play with my brother even though I am not suppose to be over there. And I then sneak back right before the bell rings."

So he takes her over to said playground and talks and plays with her there. About 30 seconds before the bell rings he says, "PSSSTTT, we got to get out of here because the bell is going to ring. Lets go!" She said it was eerie how he knew that bell was going to ring.

Name, Rank and Serial Number ONLY Son

So I walk up to KU's teacher this morning and ask if he is still falling asleep in class as I adjusted his medication. No, she tells me but he did get dentention. Did he tell you?

Seems that when the kids came back in the classroom from lunch the kids told the teacher that Kullen was sticking his fingers up his nose (hasn't he learned by now NEVER to put anything up his nose?)
KU: Well the kids told me to do it.
Teacher: Kullen if the kids told you to play on the freeway would you?
KU: What is a freeway?
Teacher: Kullen if the kids told you to jump off a cliff would you?
KU: What is a clift?
Teacher: Okay. If the kids told you to play in the street would you?
KU: Probably not......Is this the kind of thing you get detention for?
Teacher (the possibility of detention never crossed my mind) Why, do you think you deserve dentention?
KU: Well I am not sure I deserve it but I did earn it.
Teacher: Well, okay, then. You have detention.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Conversations All Night Long

KA is getting frustrated because I am making him re-do a part of his homework
Ka: Are you trying to make me crack because I swear my shell is breaking! I telling you I am about to lose my temper....here it comes....ready or not...now I am going to explode!

God and Santa

Tonight we went out to Denny's for dinner. Here is the conversation:

KU: Does Santa die?

Me (thinking oh,crap how do I answer this. Okay a simple NO should suffice) NO

KU:I guess God knows if Santa dies it would make all the children sad.

KA: So does Santa believe in God?

Me: (Oh man not another one of these questions...go for the short but sweet answer) YES

KA: I think that is why God gives Santa the gift of eternal life because he believes!

Me: Where did you hear about eternal life?

KA: God told me

For about the past month KA has been bringing his foot up behind him and slapping it with his hand. Today I told him he needed to stop doing that.

Ka: Are you trying, in a really sly mom way, to tell me not to do that in public. That's what you really mean isn't it!
Me: Well, yes I am. When you do things like that they become habits that you do even when you aren't thinking about doing it. So if you do it at home you will probably do it in public because it has become a habit.
Ka: So you are telling me you don't want it to become a homelic problem. That's like a public problem except it happens at home.I'm pretty clever, aren't I mom!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Campfire Rules

Sunday night as we are singing around the campfire

KA: Dad could you please keep up with the song. Singing the right notes would be nice too!

Thursday, September 3, 2009



KA: Mom, why didn't you bring in the wagon. Is it because you are clumsy or just too old to remember anything? (said with utmost sincerity)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009



KA: Mom, what can I have for a snack?
Me: A cinnamon apple rice cake
KA: AWW I don't want one of those
Me: Sorry. That is what is available for snack
KA: What else can I have?
Me: No choices. Just a rice cake

He starts to leave the room and I hear him muttering under his breath "I'm going to have to teach THAT WOMAN about the daily special."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Autism 101 By KU

Often times we have our best conversations in the car so tonight while KU and I had a night out I decided to broach the subject of autism. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Hey, KU have you ever heard the word autism?

K: I'm not sure but I think so.

I pause wondering if I should go on

K: So what is it?

Me: Well, it is something that some people have. Sometimes a person with autism hears noises louder than other people. LIke they might hear the refrigerator sound very loud whereas most people can not really hear it. Or sometimes for someone with autism lights seem very bright. Sometimes people with autism find it hard to be touched or they are really ticklish. Do you want me to go on?

KU: Okay.

Me: Sometimes people who have autism find it hard to look other people in the eyes when they are talking to them and sometimes it is very hard for them to sit still. For some people with autism the tags in their shirts make them itchy. Sometimes it is hard for them to talk to other people. But people with autism are usually very smart and often they see things in ways that other people don't which makes them good artists or good with computers or good playing a musical instrument. Their brains just work a little differently than many people, but hey, everyone is different. Some people have brown hair, some people need a wheelchair to get around. Having autism is just like being a boy or being Korean or having blue or brown eyes. It is just a part of who a person is but not the whole person. Do you have any questions?

KU:" Mom, do you have autism cause if you do, I still love you just the way you are!"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


My sister is my only sibling. We were never particularly close as kids. I think illness separates you in that way. One child wishing she was healthy like the carefree one... while the healthy one wishes she was getting all the attention the sick one is receiving. Neither sib wins in a relationship like this.

When my sister was seven years old her pediatrician gave her too large of a dosage of medicine which killed her kidneys. She had seizures, fevers and lost most of her body weight. I still remember the time my parents snuck me in the hospital to see her and all I could see was a skeleton of skin and bones. I shook on the inside from fear, rattling every internal organ to the core. I wanted to shake on the outside but couldn't let my sister see the effect that she had on me. I was only eight but I knew that the fear I was feeling was just something I had to hide from everyone, especially myself. And so I did as if my life depended on it and I never looked back until many years later. By then it was too late. Our relationship would never be what it could have been. Lies/fear stunt its growth.

I also remember the shunt that stuck out of my sisters arm like a curving snake slithering into her arm and disappearing within the two holes that looked red, raw and perpetually oozy. It was her lifeline to a washing machine sized dialysis unit that kept her alive. Back then I gather that it was a somewhat hazardous process. In fact, I remember listening to my parents whisper about someone who had died while connected. I know I went and saw my sister once when she was undergoing treatment and once again I was shook to my core. When I was older I blamed my parents from not being honest about what was happening, from shielding me from all the unpleasantness which created an unpleasant scariness of its own. But now I wonder what they saw when they were looking at me looking at her. Perhaps they were doing me a favor after all.

Anyway, when my sister was eight my mother donated a kidney to my sister. To this day I still don't know if it was her left or her right. I just remember seeing her with stitches going from her front to her back and wondered if she would have been willing to be in all that pain for me for by then I felt so outside of the loop of what we call family. Guilt, fear and pain melded together to create a child who was there on the outside but was long gone on the inside. Always comparing and always coming up short. Funny thing the same thing was going on with my sister yet we really never knew until we were older how much this effected our lives. Time passed. My mother did too. Her gift still living within my sister for a total of 28 years. Then it was my turn to donate something I wanted to do in hopes of somehow evening out our lives and what had become of them. A hope of salvation and redemption for both of us. My husband wasn't so sure. My sister was having mental health issues at the time and he was afraid that she may decided to stop the drugs that would keep her alive. As it turned out a few years later she did just that. When I found out there was only one thing I could say "I gave you a gift and only you can decide what to do with that gift and whatever you decide I will support you." That one sentence spoken from the heart evened out the playing field in my sisters mind. The indebtedness to someone she felt so conflicted about disappeared and we slowly began to repair our relationship. Now ten years later her kidney is once again failing and there is no family to look towards for donation. She refuses to ask her children after spending years worrying about my health and the guilt she would feel if I were to get ill. She is adamant about keeping loved ones out of the process. And so we sit and wait...the clock slowly ticking... to see how long it will take before she needs to go back on dialysis...if she ever chooses to.

Recently, it has come to my attention that my sister may want to forego further medical intervention. For it has come up here and there that heading down that path which leads to a dangerous and confusing medical precipious might not be the one she will decide to take. My father and I were discussing the ramifications of this the other day. My father said that he would support her right to make this choice and would do whatever it took to make sure this choice remained open to her by zealots who might try and implement their religious ideals upon her. However, he said that as much as he would help make sure that these options remained open to her as his daughter it was very painful to think about her deciding that she did not want to walk the path along the dialysis line. And as he said it I replied, "Why because she hadn't suffered enough?"

Why is it, I wondered, that for most of us it appears that there is a certain amount of time that we feel someone must suffer before we can let them go? It's one thing if a freak accident of nature renders our loved one brain dead. For these types of situations most of us can let go saying with all sincerity "they didn't want to live that way. They didn't want to suffer." But let a person decide on their own that they want to opt out of life preserving treatment and for some reason it becomes more difficult to view it in that manner. Somehow when a person makes the decision to die by forgoing treatment it becomes in our minds something akin to suicide and we just can't tolerate that. Instead, we ask that they suffer. Suffer the pain and humility of treatments that render them helpless, hopeless and often in incredible pain. Then and only then do we see their suffering as worthy of death.

I am not sure where we Americans picked up the notion that suffering is admirable, enlightening or an event that provides an opportunity for one to discover a virtue that may have been hidden throughout ones life only to rise up at the end like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. Why is it so unpalatable to just say no to prolonging the inevitable? At what point does suffering cease to have any meaning? Is it when a person is so drugged up on morphine that they can no longer contemplate their fate or revisit the good and the bad they have caused and its implications? Or does suffering have any true meaning at all? Is it all for show or does it in fact provide the wisdom necessary to complete one's journey?


Conversation in the Car

I always love our conversations in the car where the truth appears swiftly whether I like it or not.

We are going to the boy's therapist and this conversation occurs

Me: I think I want to play with Dr. Sullivan today.
Karson: I don't think so mom. She only plays with people my size. You're too fat.
Me: Well thanks Karson but I think she would play with me
Karson: Mom, I go there to play but also to tell her about my life. LIke what I did in San Francisco. Stuff like that. If you want to play with someone you have to get your OWN therapist, not mine. Maybe you could talk to Amy. You like Amy and she likes you. You could both talk about your lives and play together too. I think she is a Candy Land type of girl.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Conversation Heard In My House Today

KU: Dad, what are these lumps below my dink
Dad: Those are called your testicles
KU: Can they explode if you squeeze them?
Dad: Well it can hurt, son. I don't recommend it.

5 minutes later said son walks into our room visably upset

KU: Dad, I am really freaked out now.
Dad: What about?
KU: (with tears in his eyes) Well I squeezed them really hard. I think they are going to pop. What happens when they pop? Do they explode and disappear? Will I die?
Dad: It's okay son. You won't die but it might really hurt later on. I think it would be a good thing to let them rest now and stop squeezing them.

5 minutes later KA can be heard asking KU

KA: What are you talking about?
KU: They are your tentacles. They are those hard things inside your dink. But don't squeeze your tentacles it can make you turn blue.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

When Momma's Unhappy

You know the old saying, "If Momma ain't happy then no one is happy" well that's an understatement if I have ever heard one!!!

Life with two autistic boys can be a bit of a challenge. Instead of one behavior issue there are often two running concurrently and in opposite directions. Sometimes it is enough to drive you to the brink of insanity. Fortunately, a hand always appears out of the mist to pull me back off the ledge because "someone" knows there isn't anyone else around to do the job I do. Mothering is often a thankless task and "SHE" knows it. Today was one of those thankless days. Dave knew it was "one of THOSE days" because when I arrived home at 7 p.m. with the kids I looked at him and said, "You have to take this child or I am going to commit a crime against humanity!!!." And with that I walked back out the door and went to indulge in a little retail therapy ALONE. One thing a mother of autistic children does NOT want to do is take them to the store with her. (Refer back to the mannequin incident involving a pulled up shirt and hands on the oh-so-perfect and perky breasts that some man having a wet dream must have designed.) This is only one reason I avoid stores at all costs when I have children in tow.

Another way I know its been a stressful day is when I am on a diet and I go ahead and buy a container of cookies. Call it tempting fate or Russian Roulette it doesn't matter when It's my favorite. Ummm, chocolate almond biscotti with it's s-o-o-t-h-i-n-g butter taste and the melt-in-your-mouth sweetness of the crushed almonds which cling to my tongue while the chocolate coating swirls around my mouth like a robust cognac. Unfortunately, all of this silky sweetness of serves to jump start my taste buds into action after a week of bland green food. Of course it is easy to justify said purchase. I usually do it by playing some form of the numbers game which goes something like this: "I will only have three cookies. Yep, just three. They only have 120 cal, 8 carbs which means I will eat salad for breakfast for the next week to compensate." Of course, before I even finish the thought and brush the crumbs from my lips the number of carbs and calories consumed have become so gargantuan that I can no longer do the math without a scientific calculator!

You also know it's a "Momma Ain't Happy Day" when you keep repeating back to yourself the simple reminder that you love your child and he cannot help himself no matter how much medication you or said child is on. Usually by employing this strategy I can convince myself that if I say it over and over again I will remember it and remain astonishingly calm the next time my child is on a mission to put me in the loony bin before his 8th birthday. Yet, if you are like me, repeating this mantra for the two thousandth time tends to put you in a trance. Tonight it happened in the store's dressing room and it wasn't until I arrived home that I realized the dress I purchased is in the most Gosh-awful shade of coral (who looks good in coral anyway?) and is three sizes too small. And because I will be leaving for a wedding tomorrow it means I must return the dress and take the kids into the store with me; thereby negating any therapy I might have gotten from the original excursion. Just the thought of taking said children to the store then gives me the shakes which ultimately leads to a third shot of vodka for the night. The result of being that I will most likely have a hangover the size of Texas tomorrow morning; once again proving the old adage that if Momma's unhappy...well you know the rest.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sometimes Life Just Sucks...Other Times It Doesn't

What is it about crashes? Why is that ones that will ultimately be expensive sound one way while those that involve a $3 cheap trinket from China sound another. It is like the cheap ones have no oomph whereas the valuable/expensive ones shatter with a delayed sense of time so you can hear each atom splitting apart from one another in slow motion; like a chemistry experiment gone horribly wrong.

Crashes also for some odd reason sound different from one another based on whether the crash was intentional or not. For instance, when I was just a wee child of about age two my mother was having a fancy dinner party and borrowed china from all her friends and relatives. Being the helpful little lady I was I decided to vacuum for my mother. Now I am sure that when my mother heard the vacuum going she looked at my father quizzically and then they both made a dash for the dining room. But it was too late. For as they raced down the stairs I somehow managed to wrap the hose around the dining room table and pull the entire thing over. Crash. I suspect that it wasn't one big crash but the tinkle of each dish bouncing off one another as they cracked and chipped and went their own separate ways. That's the way of the "I shouldn't have borrowed so much" crash. It not only splinters your dishes but it also splinters your mind into a thousand little pieces trying to figure out how you are going to tell all those wonderful folks who lent you all that beautiful dish ware that their prize pieces are now sitting in the trash can along with the onion dip and the sweet gerkins.

Unfortunately, the crash I heard last weekend was a deliberate one. It was a crash created in moment of anger like a scorching red branding iron that is doused in water; so steaming and hot; it hissed louder than 100 angry hornets. A crash that was the result of two weeks without pharmaceuticals in the bloodstream and two minutes after a child was sentenced to some time alone. NO greater injustice could have been handed down upon a seven year old. And after a minute in which the blood was boiling so rapidly that the temperature of the brain went so high that it no longer functioned as it was designed to, a pool ball was shot through the window, shattering it into a million pieces right along with my soul. It was loud, angry and each shard of glass was jagged, twisted and capable of inflicting severe injury and pain. Glass that hid out of sight, like a private eye with his hand on the shutter, just waiting to open and expose the skin of a stranger to the anguished other. A crash so unexpected that one is now left to wonder if it is just the beginning or truly an anomaly but either way nothing will be quite the same again.

Then there was the crash of this past weekend. I was not there to witness it nor hear it but I am told that it was the sound a bowling ball makes when it captures a perfect STRIKE. A thud so deep that it resonates throughout the alley. In this case it was one of our old oak trees that guard the driveway to the cabin between the rocks that will catch a tire and the propane tank that lights our fire. Seems that for whatever reason this old oak split itself down the middle; the left half falling into the road while the right half fell into another old oak who strains to cradle it within its own feeble branches without falling over itself as it carries double its usual load. And should the oak lose its fight both will most likely crash into the cabin splintering everything from the roof to the foundation and carrying with it the dreams of past and current caretakers all in one fell swoop. Crash, Bang. It's gone never to be revived again unless, of course, you carry a good low deductable on your insurance policy .

I have heard the question asked that if a tree falls in a forest and there is no one around to hear it, does it in fact make a sound? After this weekend I finally have the answer to this perplexing question and quite frankly; it all depends on if you have good insurance with some sort of policy that covers dangerous trees. Seems that my insurance will not pay to have the two trees that MAY crash on my cabin removed. They will, however, pay to rebuild the cabin should the trees decide to fall upon it. CRASH...and I wonder why my premiums are going up!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Lock

So we are looking at a house we are considering buying...looking all around...not paying our usual strict attention to what the kids are doing. All of a sudden one of the tattlers comes in to tell us "KU removed the lock from the front door." Seems he found a screwdriver and removed it. Should I do myself in now or let him do it for me?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Clubhouse

Remember your first clubhouse? The place where you hung the NO GIRLS or NO BOYS allowed sign. Where you told secrets to your friends, shared popcorn together and dreamed dreams that only the clubhouse gang could understand?

Well, me neither. But I would like to think that this is the type of clubhouse that Dave built for the kids. The type of clubhouse that will bring back memories when the kids are older, one that will give them peace when they are down, and a place that will stimulate their imaginations and allow them to explore the world at their own pace. It will be a place for learning, a house for negotiation and just old fashioned good times. Unfortunately, right now it appears to be the bank vault for the family's valuable possessions. Here's why...tonight Dave goes out to the clubhouse with KA and KE and in it he finds:

1. His expensive watch given to him by his company which is being worn by a rather large stuffed bear
2. A necklace of mine being worn by another imposter animal
3. Some sort of small appliance and numerous dishes which come to think about it I have been scratching my head for the past week thinking that I must be going crazy because it seems like cups were disappearing right and left.

And there is only one culprit who has done all of this....KU, KU... where are you? And how do I know this is all KU's doing? Because he is the only one who has nerves of steel which allow him to climb dressers to get the loot. He is the only one to whom the word NO has direct relevance to him and he is the only one who like the rat and the crow is attracted to shiny things and has no problem swooping down to relieve the unsuspecting owner of his possessions.

Someday, as I get a little older, I will be able to attribute the missing car keys and watches to the fact that I am slowly losing my marbles but for now there is only one name I need to call when something is missing....KU....KU.... and mysteriously each and every time he knows where the missing object is. I can only hope he is still around when I am 70.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Poop Story

I came across an old flash drive the other day and it contained this story from November 24, 2004. Sometimes we forget just how far we have come!

Well I am thrilled to report that KA finally pooped in the potty today. Just wish I had been more on top of things so to speak. It all started when KA was peeing on the potty when I noticed "the look."

"KA, do you have to poop?"

"Yes, Mommy."

"Great. Can you poop in the potty?"

"Yes, Mommy. Go away please."

Okay, upon reflection wanting some privacy when engaging in one's bodily functions is a normal and legitimate request. The BIG mistake was actually doing what a three year old asks.

So I come out to the family room, put a few books away, straighten a few pillows and there is it...that smell. What is that god awful smell, anyway? Turns out it is KU and he is in desperate need of a change. As I am changing him KA comes into the room. In the three minutes since we have parted I completely spaced the fact that when I last saw him he was on the potty doing "IT." Well, little Mr. KA comes up to me as I am intensely concentrating on wrestling KU's diaper on his contorting all-over-the-place little rump and places his sweet hands on my face. Too late...I recognize that particular putrid smell and, oh joy, my face feels somewhat damp. I look up and there is KA with poop all over his hands. Seems he tried to wipe using his hands and now it is all over my unsuspecting face!!! Being the totally cool nonchalant Mom that I am (in order not to lose it and scare her son into never going in the potty again until he is entering college) I stroll into the bathroom to remove the offending "finger paint." And as I walk, not run, I notice that it appears that KA has touched every wall between the bathroom and the family room, which, I guess, is a blessing or else even more would have ended up on me; which proves the point that you can always find good in the not so.

Anyway, since that time I have been cleaning every surface in the bathroom, the hallway, the family room and have rubbed my face raw just so that one of the twenty people visiting tomorrow doesn't find any surprises. Guess I won't repeat this story for them!

Monday, June 29, 2009

You Know Life Sucks When...From My Facebook

So, I just stumbled upon KU who had my toothbrush down his pants. Should I just end my life now or wait for him to do me in?

Alicia at 9:48pm June 29
HA!!!! Oh my. THAT was not the first thing I expected to read upon opening facebook this evening! Oh wow. The mental picture.
Well...I think I'd just be glad I caught him doing it...now, get a new toothbrush and lock it away somewhere safe!!

Barbara at 9:50pm June 29
I am laughing hysterically!!!!! (honest, sorry, I can't stop). Cheryl, you need to write a book about your life with Kullen and Karson.

Amy at 9:51pm June 29
Holy cow, Cheryl. I don't know what to say. Just try not to think about how many times he has done that.

Kindra at 10:10pm June 29
I'm dying to know what his explanation was...

Robin at 10:13pm June 29
Sorry, can't stop laughing here.

Erin at 10:25pm June 29
I'm with Robin. I'm also about to tell hubby and I'm pretty sure he's going to lose it :-)

Erin at 10:28pm June 29
In NJ, we are wondering how often he's done that BEFORE you brushed your teeth???? LOL LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kindra at 10:30pm June 29
I hope you use Listerine after you brush!

and on it went. I guess I will be counting toothbrushes instead of sheep tonight!!! UGH!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The H Word

KE: KU said the H word (said in that sing-song tattle tail way)

KA: What is the H word? Hideous?

Later that week KE runs to tattle again

KE: Mom, KU just said the H word!!!

Me: What is the H Word?

KE: I can't tell you

Me: Oh, go ahead

KE: The H word is SHUT UP

An Autograph By God

In the car with Ka today.

KA: I can hardly wait to get God's autograph.
ME: Where will you get that, honey?
KA: In Heaven
ME: So what do you think he/she would write?
KA: GOD, creator of all earth.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Being Hit By A Ton Of Bricks

Today it felt like I was hit by a ton of bricks, happy, wistful bricks, but bricks just the same. I felt crushed by the weight of all the "what could have beens" and the crushing sadness of suddenly missing someone who has been dead for almost 25 years. And not being prepared for the feelings that rushed over me and made me cry; the person who never lets the tears fall. This is what happens when the unexpected arrives so silently and without notice; a mixture of profound happiness and sadness and the wonder that both can exist one within the other.

Today I found an old box with cards in it. Cards congratulating me on Ross' birth 25 years ago. Cards from dear freinds who I miss terribly and friends who have melted away like a snowflake on a warm winter's night. Friends who were mine and friends of my mothers who gave her a grand Baby Shower for me. And tucked within all this happiness and loving memories I found a card that threw me in a tizzy but one I will treasure forever. The card said For You Daughter, On Your First Mother's Day and in it was my mothers instantly recognizable writing...the writing of a teacher whose cursive was book perfect with just the right tilt and curl to her s. She wrote:

"Hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day. Now you know what it's all about and how much love a mother feels for her child. That feeling never leaves. I love you now and I always have and always will. Love, Mom"

Sometimes gifts both happy and sad arrive at unexpected but totally meaingful times. Some say it is pure coincidence some attribute it to divine intervention. But all I know is that it arrived at the perfect time...when Ross was leaving for his own home and when Kylee took the last box to her new home to start her life as an adult. The beauty of words is the meaning they convey and whether they are two years old or twenty-five years later love speaks a language that never grows old and has the power to touch a heart years later. All of which begs the question...what have you written to your loved ones today?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Here Is One Heck Of An Adoption Story

Without debating the whole "family should prevail at all costs" notion along with debating the "at what age is it too old to adopt" concept I have to say that this story is so sad and disturbing on so many levels. For instance, why is our government not helping this family? Frankly there is no excuse for it. These children have a right to medical services and their great-grandparents should not have to go broke providing them! I don't care if they were born in Canada or not. They are in this country legally and should be covered in one way or another. Shame on our government. And shame on people for not helping these great-grandparents. If everyone would just send a buck!
Here is the story!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

National Day of Prayer... I Mean Hypocrisy

Today I went out with a girlfriend for coffee. She was very concerned and upset that President Obama did not attend the big church service for the National Day of Prayer. Frankly, I don't understand why she was so upset. The Bush administration attended all of these and yet was allowing torture and expelling its virtues which is against the law AND certainly not something that Jesus espoused. I mean why does it matter if someone attends an event that for all intensive purposes is used "to see and be seen" esp if you are going to go against the teachings of the one you are suppose to be praying with/to? Standing there saying "the right words" means nothing if you are not going to follow them. Further, National Prayer Day is deemed an event that is suppose to be exclusively for Christians and those of other faiths are not allowed.This according to its organizers. It seems to me that a man who is suppose to be representing ALL of the people sends the wrong message if he attends such a service.Finally, event organizers stipulated that the White House representative who would attend the event MUST be pro-life and against abortion rights. Interesting that so many on the right neglected to mention these facts when reporting this "story" on the airways.

Frankly, I just don't get why "this issue" is so important to some. For people to besmirch President Obama for not attending is just so ludicrous. Some folks act as if Obama is somehow showing he is not moral because he did not attend this event. I wish that they would realize that attending an event does not make you moral nor does it ensure that you even have a relationship with the Lord. One only has to look at Mr. Bush to find a prime example of that.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Post on CNN website

I am the mother of two seven yo boys with autism. They are not biologically related nor are they twins but they do share several commonalities. Both were vaccinated at birth, both experienced materal stress in-utero , both were born in South Korea, both have a huge number of food/airborn allergies, both suffered terrible stress having three caretakers and being removed from two of them the first 6-10 months of their lives and both have my husband and myself as adoptive parents. My bio children do not have autism so I am assuming the last shared commonality is probably not the "cause" of their autism.

What I am getting at is that I have no idea what has contributed to or "caused" my children's autism. But we should all wish to find out if it is one cause, or a combination of issues because we ALL pay for autism's effects on our children and society. Families pay dearly and school systems do too. Medical care is out of reach for many families so the kids that do the best often have the parents who can afford to do whatever it takes to "recover" their children. But with all the burdens on families and society they are in fact small compared to the price our children with autism have to pay for their entire lives. With so many reports of autism developing almost immediately after vaccination it makes sense to research what the effects of all these combinations of vaccines are and it also makes sense to look at alternative vaccine schedules in an effort to decrease the numbers of children that are not developing neurotypically. It also makes sense to do testing on families like mine, on families where their "appears" to be a genetic component and to listen to and learn from families who believe that their children were harmed from vaccines on an accelerated schedule.

Autism kills. It kills the spirit, it kills via seizures, depression, not understanding cause and effect, etc. It is an unwanted intruder in our lives and like any intruder we should use common sense to do what we can to keep our children healthy, safe and autism away.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Even More Pics From Ethiopia

Ethiopia was certainly not what I expected. One of my favorite pics that I took was of this 15 yo old autistic girl and her very devoted Muslim brother. The family invited me into their mud and stick house and welcomed me with open arms. The family lives in a room the size of a small closet with a three level bunkbed and room for one chair. In a land were autism is so misunderstood that you are often considered possessed, it is very difficult for families of autistic children. This brother loves his sister very much despite the hardship that autism brings to the family. The Autism Center helped this family by helping the mother set up her own store so she can try and provide for her family.

More pics from Africa

More Ethiopia Pics

I find Ethiopia so diverse and facinating. It is like no place I have ever been before. I feel honored to have met so many wonderful people and seen so many incredible sites. The women I traveled with were awesome...all here for different reasons and all just good people. The kids I met have hearts as open as any I have seen esp. considering all that some have been through.

I pLan on posting more about Ehtiopia but for now...pics

It was very difficult to use the internet in Ethiopia so I was unable to do a lot of blogging. I am exhausted after getting home from Korea so it will be a few days before I post about Africa. In the meantime enjoy these pics!

Catch up Korea - Last Days

Well we had a pretty awesome time in Korea. Karson, Mr. "I NEVER want to go to Korea" is already planning the trip back when he is 11. It is too cute.

The day started with a visit by Kellis' foster mother who came laden down with gifts for our family. kellis warmed to her for about 2 minutes and then would not have a thing to do with her. UGHHHHH. She was being such a brat and it was embarrasing! Her foster mom, Mrs. Hong, remembers Kellis so well because out of the 100+ babies she has fostered she has only had 5 girls!!! She is very proud of her son who is a doctor and was concerned that when Kellis Came home Kylee might have been jealous as she had been the only girl...we reassured her that it was not the case!

Tuesday found us back in Itaewon going to Lee's Framing to pick out pictures. Kellis picked a flower/butterfly one, Kullen a soldier, and Karson a dragon. I found a copy of a very famous painting, and a round zodiac picture that I found interesting. Kylee picked a floral and a tiger. beautiful works for about $15 each. We also had a traditional Korean meal for dinner in the Hongik University area. No one spoke English so it was interesting trying to get a vegetarian meal for Kylee. Meanwhile, Dave went back to the antique store and bought the wooden men's hat box. It is beautiful and will be a real treasure for ou family.

From there we left the kids at home and Dave and I went out to the major
Oriental Medicine Market, Kyungdong Market. It was absolutely incredible. The
smells were so pungent and interesting. Spicy florals filled the air along with
dark earthy primal odors. Huge fungi stamped (maybe burned into the fungi) with
the word Korea on them. Willow bark, 8 inch centipedes that are eaten for back
pain or so we were told but when we discussed this with Mr. Shin he cracked up
so I am no longer sure about that. We went into a traditional pharmacy where the
wall is lined with drawers full of herbs, parts, barks, roots, flowers,etc. It
was amazing. I mean I have NEVER seen or smelled anything like it. Every shop
had a model of the human body with the the nerve pathways and (I can't think of
the word nor spell it...chacras). Huge racks of deer antlers would make a
Colorado hunter salivate for hours. I mean these were big racks. This is the
first time I have been there and it won't be the last.

Right across the street was a traditional market called Gwang-Sung. Vendors
each specializing in one thing: garlic, greens, fish, chickens, onions, etc.
Dried fish shops with jellyfish, squid, manta rays. Chickens being chopped right
there on big blocks of wood. Making douek (spelled inclorrectly) is harder than
it might seem so is grinding chilis into red chili powder. Didn't see a solitary
Caucasian for miles around. What was even more amazing is that the sidewalk
vendors would cover their stands with tarp/bungee cords and go home for the
night. Nothing is stolen....it is incredible.

Thoughts of the day:

In the USa they have yet to invent jeans that are as small as some of the ones
being worn here. Is there such a thing as a minus 000 size?

It is a little unnerving seeing the emergency gas mask cases. Even more
unnerving is the fact that there are like 40 masks in a locked cabinet. I mean
there are 100 people in a subway car times 30 of them...seems a little gracious
considering the typical human reaction to being gassed.

How do you decide what to specialize in? I mean I would love being around garlic
all day but is there a market for it esp. when there are 10 other people in
nearby stalls selling it too?

What are those green centipedes REALLY used for?

Wednesday we woke up to pouring rain so we pretty much stayed at Eastern until late afternoon when we decided to visit the Korea National Museum. It was gorgeous. Opened in 2005 it is composed of gleaming cream colored marble on a radius curve. Beautiful colletions for the Palolethic age with tools and pottery galore, golden crowns, etc. The second floor had full scale traditional house and many galleries of paintings including the Buddhist Collection, calligraphy, beautiful wooden furniture and large tapestries. There was a 10 story high pagoda that was spectacular. It was really amazing.

We left the museum and went to Korea House for the dance performance. Kullen fell asleep but Karson and Kellis loved the dancing. The women drummers were intense and amazing. Karson loved the mask dance while Kellis enjoyed the fan dance. The singer who is known as a "national treasure" well she sounded like a screech owl...could have done without her.

We then took our last subway ride and ended back at the guesthouse at around 9 p.m.

Korea has been incredible to our kids and for our family. We can hardly wait to go back and enjoy seeing more of the country. Next time our plan is to go to Mokpo and Busan. I think it has been a real healing adventure for Karson and instilled some pride about being Korean into our boys.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day Five in Korea

Okay the subway ride to Lotte World was worth every penny. Kept everyone entertained for the 16 stops it took to get there. 12oo won for adults ( exchange is 1:1300) 600 won for children. It is interesting to see the women outside of the office buildings mopping the entrance to them. I wonder how much they get paid to do this?

Lotte World is Heaven for little ones. So much to see and do. Ride the rides until you fall off the carosol horse was the motto of the day. The reason it is h*** for parents well it is a combination of a cheap Las Vegas Cesears Palace and Disneyland on a drunken rampage..you get tired so much quicker than the kids and it is terribly embarrassing when you read the ride sign that says you have to have a waist size less than 38 inches and you are needing a tape measure to see if your FAT waist will be able to be accomodated. I mean come on here folks, in America that is often below standard size. I know in Korea the average waist has got to be 15 inches but geez lets get a little more friendly to many of us of European descent.

The reason Lotte World is heavenly for parents is that it costs a fraction of the cost of Disney. About $100 admittance fee for 6 of us. Then there is the food. Cheap, cheap, Cheap so we ate, ate, ate making it probable that we would not fit in the rides (see above) A few of the interesting edibles I saw and tried today:
Peanut Butter Roasted Squid, Kim Chee Chocolate, Pajeon wrapped Hot dogs which cost about $1.80 compared with the $7 hotdog at Disney. Spicey rice cakes. It was Kullen's birthday today (yes he was able to see and enjoy it) so he chose Pizza Hut for dinner. Amoung the delicacies on the salad bar Squid Salad, Grapefruit infused with who knows what, fruit loops (yes...on a salad bar!) and once again the pumpkin obsession showed up in the form of pumpkin potato salad minus the potatoes.

I have to confess that seeing a blond Snow White was pretty hysterical along with the wicked witch cackling in Korean. I actually filmed that one. Some of the funny signs I saw there (you have to love the Korean language when someone translates it to English)

You will get wet a little during the ride but you can feel at rest cause it is clean water

Not allowed to medical sensitivity

No allowed to pregnant

Do not reach your hands, feets or items out

No drunken ride

I also love the masquarade flag of nations in which the flag for the USA had a joker symbol with the words BIG HEAD...who wrote that and which subliminal message is the correct one?

So we rode and rode, went bowling, bought pottery from a traditional potter at the Lotte World Folk Museum ...which.... needs more that just a passing mention. It really is a wonderful place to introduce yourself to Korean culture? Did you know that the design of the roof tiles reflect a specific period in Korea's history. Dragons for one period, flowers for another.They had full scales models of houses during different dynastys. Huge models of the palaces along with the ENTIRE royal court and subjects. Also had the traditional Chinese Medicine including the deer antler and shark fins. I made Dave fork over some money for the kids dressed in traditional clothes taken by a crabby young man. 30,000 won for that but hey...we are in Korea!

Stopped by Lotte World on the way home. I am in love with that food market except for the price of fruit. 13,000 won for 4 tangelos. But oh the smells of different kinds of kim chee some of which could probably be used to power cars, the fish, all the I don't know what the heck it is but the textures look so incredibly good that you want to run your hands all over everything. I tell you, I could live in that place...forever.

So if you are accosted on the subway no one will help or at least the people tonight would not. I guess they figured a loud big woman like myself should be able to handle anything but frankly I did not know if I would be doing anything improper by slugging a much older man in a suit and tie who grabbed me by the leg about 1/4 inch below my crotch and dug his fingers into me while yelling at me to sit down next to him. I said as loud as I could "stop it" while people are watching this happen. Again, this time a little louder "STOP IT, Let GO"...nothing. Then extremely loud while he is hurting the heck out of me "I SAID STOP IT YOU ARE HURTING ME!!!" About this time I seriously considered whacking him with my pottery when he suddenly stood up and drunkingly crashed into the door and went to another car. I truly believe this was a rare incident because we have met nothing but very nice helpful people whiel riding and have never had a bit of trouble before.

So that is the end of our day. I am bruised, beaten up and have whiplash from several of the rides. Should you go to Lotte World go to the water show called Oddessey...nice, quiet and peaceful. I sure wish I knew how to post pics from here. I have taken...I kid you not 829. My card holds about 1100.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Day Four in Korea in which Cheryl Gets Gray Hair

Well today has been interesting and exhausting. Did I tell you that Eastern down in the lobby has a bathroom with those incredible luxury toilets. You know the ones that have the heated seat, that rinse you off after you are done doing your business and then dry you with warm air? Needless to say I like that bathroom but Dave gets impatient when (in his words) "You decide you must pamper your butt." Excuse me if this is too graphic... and yes I agree it is a thought that can elicit night terrors but I do think it is kind of unique to these parts.

We started by taking the subway to get to the Seoul City Tour bus. First thing that happens is I can't find Kullen. My heart drops. Look around. Panic. Look around somemore. Now if you have ever been on the Seoul subway you know it is a madhouse, full of people, fun to ride but insane at the same time. Easy to loose a child esp one like my son. Then just as I feel I will lose it I hear a voice "surprise, here I am Mom" and out he pops from the telephone booth 2 ft away!!! Man if this kid survives until his next birthday (which I might add is tomorrow) he will be lucky. Thirty gray hairs later and we get on the Green Line and off we go.

The Seoul City Bus Tour is great. Fairly cheap and you can get on and off the bus at your leisure. We started by getting off at Gyeongbokgung Palace and were disappointed to see the guards of Changing of the Guards fame on the other side of the street. Bummer. Little did we know that we did make it and saw part of the ceremony. The kids loved it esp Kullen who loved the nice shiny gleaming swords and anything else that could be considered weapon-like. They were also having right in front of the palace a "Look like a Korean in Traditional dress" morning. No sizes for kids but Dave got dressed and the boys put on the hats while Kellis whined. I got some nice pics. Back over to the guards. Pics with the guards. Kullen decides to run over to the BIG Korean Drum and whack it...I get yelled at...then they decide to put up the sign that says NO NOT TOUCH THE DRUM....did I say something about Kullen making it to his next birthday???????????????????????

Well, all I can say is that when you are 6,7, 4 once you have seen one palace you don't need to be bothered looking at another. Scratch palace hopping off the list. Maybe next time we come we will see a second one. So we leave and as we are leaving here come the guards again in a prosession. THe kids loved watching a listening to it all.

Back on the bus. Go past the War Memorial of Korea...decide to go there on Wednesday when it rains. Go past the National Museum of Korea...another Wednesday adventure. Head to Itaewon. Look for Mike's print shop which we find is now named Lee's. It is closed. Bummer. Found an incredible antique store with a traditional hat box for them men's traditional tall hat. Considering this but how the heck to do you get it home? Stop for quiznois subs. The kids have never had one due to their previous to this trip gluten free diet. They devore them. How much forbidden food can these kids put away? See a hysterical sign there that says Smoking Time Am7-Am10 and PM 8-Closing time. Oh, specially priced combos are not available on the weekends...could we pretend it is MOnday then? They then go to Cold Stone Creamery (another previously forbidden delight) while I go to Joy Jewelry and order 5 necklaces in Hangul of my kids names which they will deliver to our hotel before we leave. YIPPEEE.

Then we headed over to Namsangol Traditional Korea Village. Last time I came there were two other people there but today it was packed. The vendors were nearby hawking their yummy corn cakes, chestnut cakes, pine nut pink coated treats and numerous other things that looked interesting or gross depending if you are 48 or 7. What was special about today at the Village was that all the traditional games of Korea were being featured. There was the bow and arrow shoot...did I say something about Kullen making it to his next birthday????....the traditional see saw which I might add is much harder than one would think but something that Kullen excelled at. The best part was watching two ladies in the 60's who were able to do it and here the thawp, thawp, thawp as they landed in perfect synchrony.They were amazing. They also had a game in which you cast arrows into a jar (don't know the name but did take a pic of the directions on how to play), the traditional rope swing, Yut with Horse, and a spinning top game in which you use a whip to get it going and keep it going, etc. It was great to see families with young kids as well as the much older generations playing these games and enjoying themselves. The laughter was infectious and hearing old and young laughing together was just music to my ears.

Suppose to go to Korea House for the performance today but one of my children was acting up and exhausted us to the nth degree...I don't think I have to name names here if you know what I mean.

Thoughts: Never have I been in a country in which its traditional clothing has such bright colors along with the guards uniforms. Dyed purple and pink ears on a dog with matching toenails...now that is almost sinful. How do you teach kids to try much less eat dried squid? Is there any bribe that is big enough for that? I wonder how many people get run over here per year? I have yet to see any drivers flip someone the bird. It appears there is no road rage here...now that would be an interesting research project. How many gray hairs can one little boy give one momma in a day...no research project necessary for that one...43!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Most Amazing Day - Korea day 3

Today we spent the early morning walking around. We found a little pocket park where the kids played and the old ladies of the neighborhood exercised. It was so much fun to watch everyone. Stopped for a Dunkin Donut which is NOTHING like the DD in the states.

At 11:30 a.m. Karson's Foster Father picked us up. Holt also sent a volunteer translator named Yulie who is 25 and in college majoring in English. She was fabulous. Foster parents live over the Han River, and in a suburb about 20 minutes outside of Seoul. It was absolutely beautiful there. Small mountains with agriculture. We went to their house which was absolutely gorgeous and immiculate. There we met Halmoni (Foster Fathers mother) She just grabbed little Mr. 'I have sensory issues" and hugged him with her whole heart while he held on for dear life. It was precious. FF has an amazing museum quality rock collection which he showed the kids. They also have a traditional Korean dog (called something like a Puszan) which the kids loved. The paintings in their house were amazing. Then the gift giving began in earnest. Shoes for Karson and shirts for all the kids. A beautiful piece of pottery, necklaces for Kellis, and a very special raised Tiger/Dragon plaque from 2002 to the FF which he gave to Karson and a baseball from a famous Korean ball player.All we brought was a cake..losers that we are.

When we went outside to go to the restaurant I commented about an incredible old house next door so the FF took us there. It was a traditional house built in stages the oldest being 300 years old. We were introduced to the owners who showed us around. The original well was there and we were told members of the Chosun (? I know I am not spelling it correctly) dynasty had lived there. It was amazing. Meanwhile, because there was not a lot of room in the car for all ten of us, Karson's foster mother grabbed his hand and started walking with him to the restaurant...and he went willingly. I guess he sensed the love that she has for him because this child who is often anxious was at peace. They held hands the entire way under her umbrella. I almost cried it was so sweet. Stopped off at a horse farm in the area and they were thrilled to know that Karson rides.

We soon arrived at a very traditional Korean restaurant. Sit on the floor, cook in front of you type. On the menu was duck which actually tasted like ham. Incredibly good. Of course the floor was heated and it was so warm and cozy eating with such wonderful people. Lots of traditional Korean side dishes too, duck soup, fresh fruit and cherry juice for dessert. It was so funny to watch Karson (the picky eater) while his foster mom FED him. I have to give him lots of credit because he tasted everything that she put into his mouth. Oh the pictures I took!

From there we loaded up into the car and drove to Bucheon stadium where the cherry and azalea blossoms were in full bloom. FF bought everyone ice cream and we hiked up the mountain. It was full of families picnicing and just enjoying the day. Why is it no matter where you go you can always find food on a stick? In this case it was corn on the cob on a stick...too funny to see people hiking in the hills eating corn on a stick. There were also the corn cakes and those crispy brown/yellow bugs. We asked Yulie if she ate them and she was horrified. LOL! That younger generation. Anyway, the area was absolutely beautiful with all the blossoms. Incredible really. After hiking down the mountain we went into the museums in the stadium complex. Karson's FF had to show us the rock museum. It was beautiful. I can't describe how incredible it was. Who would have thought rocks could be displayed in such an amazing way? From there they took us to (I don't know the name) a place that teaches children traditional crafts and has master craftsmen. We saw the most amazing kites in the kite room. Hundreds of them. Dragons, butterflies, square ones with intense paintings. THe Hanbok making room, the painting room, and finally the woodcarving room. We met the master woodcarver who is a friend of the FF and makes his display bases for his rocks. He gave all the kids wooden key chains that he carved. They are a real keepsake. You can have these master artisans make you whatever you want and they will ship them to you after the work is complete.

After all of this it was back to the foster parents house where they served that lowly cake I talked about along with fresh fruit. I have to tell you that this family was so good to our kids. FM instisted on carrying Kellis on her back and she is in her upper fifties. They were the most gracious people on the planet and kept telling us that they were so pleased that we brought Karson back to Korea to see them. The FF and mother just kept touching Karson and loving him...it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about them and their interactions with him.

Tomorrow we will take the City Tour via the bus, go to Korea House. The kids are really at a fun age to be doing this and it has been an incredible opportunity for them. Karson's FF is 65 and you know if we had waited until Karson was a teenager there is a good chance that he might not be around. As it is Karson will have wonderful memories of people who loved him the first 6 months of his life. We are so grateful!

Korea Day 2

Well today we went down to meet Kullen and Kellis foster moms. Kellis did not
show up but called saying her mother in law was in the hospital so we
rescheduled for Tuesday.

Kullen's FM remembered that it was his birthday and brought him the most
beautiful cake I have ever seen. She brought a little gift for all the kids. She
is so nice and sweet. She is still fostering and brought along the little boy.
He was adorable. He is with Eastern and born 7/12/09 ( I think) with the same
name as Karsons. Dong Hyun (not sure if it is spelled the same) Saw all the
foster mothers in the hall with their little ones. THey are just too cute.
Kori from the Holt BB last night with her new daughter. She is just a
sweetie.Anne is such a little doll and I loved watching her eat Cheerios.

This afternoon we went to Holt to visit Karson's foster parents. Well we had
heard the Holt had moved across the street and the exit sign on the subway had
changed from 8 to 7. Needless to say we got lost. Finally found the place and it
was where the foster moms bring their babies for checkups and where parents meet
their children. We were in the wrong place. Now post adoption is in the guest
house building and the original building is going to be torn down. Went to the
Paris Bakery to have lunch and then headed over to the guest house.

Anyway, foster parents were held up so we went down
to play with the babies at the reception center. There were few babies
there.Foster Parents (both of them) arrived with their daughter and
granddaughter. They were so wonderful to Karson. He was itchy and his foster
mother talked about how difficult he was to take care of due to his skin
problems as a baby but that he was sweet and good. The appa is such a wonderful
man. I remember when we met Karson that he cried when leaving him. It is so
obvious that they loved and cared for him. The SW told them about his autism
and they were wonderful with him. Anyway, they invited us over for lunch
tomorrow at their house so we are going sans interpreter...should be

Monday, April 6, 2009

March 31, 2009 Ethiopia

Woke up to no electricity at the hotel this morning and when we returned it was more of the same. Tonight the place is being run via generator.It is kind of funny. Well, I knew this trip was meant to be a discovery of self/things/etc.

You know what I discovered? I discovered that I belong home with my family. That I miss them terribly and that I really don't need to go around the world for adventure and doing things that are helpful to others when I have all that at home and all that to do at home.

Today I went to the house for children with disabilities. There are at least 4 kids with autism there. The kids are taken care of well enough but it was a very eye opening experience. The kids with autism had no structure and were basically allowed to do what they wanted. There was no WAIT training, no gentle hands, no nothing. This really worries me as these kids will become dangerous as they get older if they do not get the structure that they need to survive in this world without hurting themselves and others. What will happen to them? I had one of the boys sit on my lap and worked with him to not bag, hit, bite, etc. With a lot of sensory stimulation he was able to quiet down. All these kids need so much more sensory work. And it is no ones fault they are doing the best they know how. I am going to do a training on Friday and will try to set up a schedule for these kids, do some neuro type work, etc. Hopefully, It will help in some small way.

Another thing I was appalled about today was the lack of racial awareness that some parents have about what it means to their family to bring a child of color into their family. I am really upset that the agencies do not do more to make damn sure that these families understand that their children will experience racism and so will their families. Parents need a very through education about how racism will impact their children's lives. If nothing else the agencies OWE it to their kids to make sure parents understand the special obligations that they have to their kids when they adopt a child who is a different race than they are.

This afternoon Hannah and I ate with the women of the house. We had injera which is made of teft and a tomtatoe/bean like mixture with potatoes/carrots. You eat it with your hands. It is very good. Tonight, however, Hannah is puking her guts out. Not sure if it was the food or something else. Please say a little prayer that I do not spend the night before the porcline god.

Tomorrow we take all the special needs kids to the Hilton pool. I am a little concerned. I will also interview the head of CHSFS Ethiopia. I will say that the trip has been going well. Joey has been doing a fabulous job of organizing everything and keeping spirits bright. Life is good and we are a very lucky people in our part of the world.

March 30, 2009 Ethiopia

Today I spent the day at the autism center. They have multiple classrooms where they teach speech, do sensory play, learn to sit quietly, etc. Mostly I worked on press releases and re-doing some Joy Center informational media info. Wasn't exactly what I had in mind but it needed to be done. I saw horrid pictures of children whose hands and feet were bound because they were hurting themselves and witch doctors told the parents they were possessed. It was pretty unbelievable and sad. They were thrilled with the items that were brought esp the autism awareness braclets as they are having a big festival. Zemi was also grateful for the CARRS tests thanks to the Autism Center at Fresno State and the thinsg I brought from Exceptional Parents in Fresno.

Went back to Layla House and almost immediately headed out to Big and |Little A Hope. This is an orphanage for children with AIDS. They are given the AIDS cocktail and most of the kids appear to be doing okay except for one little guy with a distended stomach who was 4 and looked to be about 2. However, the facilities themselves were depressing a full of needs. New cribs, stimulating toys, more clothes, etc really appear to be needed. The kids at Big A Hope were doing homework when we were there. They were so proud to show what they were learning.

Saw alot of women carrying water containers down to a local well. Also saw the local butcher with his goats in front of a store, one of them down to just feel and entrails if you get what I mean. Lots of interesting sights. Men carrying bundles on their heads and construction done with wooden scaffolding. The women here are just beautiful. It is funny there is a sort of pit barbacue place out front and I hear country music coming from it.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

More Pics

March 29, 2009

The Grrek coastline was incredible. Soft blue waters, snow capped mountains. Stark contrast to Africa which was eerie. |You see the blue see and all of a sudden a stark desert. Miles and miles of nothing...sand dunes shaped in swirls and whorls of nothingness. Incredible. Flew over Luxor Egypt (hi Nissim!) Sudan...do not take pictures out of the window, mosques everywhere, large artiliary sitting on the airport grounds. UN planes. Nervous stewardesses. Of course, I did take pictures.
The Nile snakes along the countryside, dipping and disappearing here and then. It is vast but with nothing around it.
Ethiopia. The people are colorful and wonderful. The babies and kids at the orpahange are gorgeous. Lots to do. Hands to hold, noses to wipe, games to play. I washed laundry with the women. \back breaking work. The kept asking me...do you want to stop. NO. I don't know how they do it. Went to the autism center. It is incredible. Zemi has done alot. Better than some places in the states. Ethiopia has surprised me. It seems to be less impoverished than Tijuana.

Back From Ethiopia

I tried to blog from Ethiopia but was unable to. Hope to post my impressions before we leave for Korea on Tuesday. Meanwhile here are some pictures. Too tired to write.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Leaving Tomorrow

Hard to believe it is almost time to go to Ethiopia. As usual, I am terrified to fly and have my usual GOODBYE TO THE WORLD SPEECH. Here goes...

Okay, if my plane goes down, promise me you will write to my kids and tell them
how much I loved them. And Dave too. He has been a wonderful husband with the
patience of a SAINT. I want on my tombstone "LEAVE THE LIGHT ON SO I CAN SEE
WHERE THE DARK IS" I will trust that you guys will make sure that it happens.

To Ross:
You were always my favorite because you were my first born. I made a lot of mistakes with you but am grateful you love me anyway. Obviously, you have turned out okay...just look what a wonderful dad you are to Kaelyn. She is lucky that you are her father and will be rewarded for that throughout her life. You have really made me proud and I am really impressed with the man you are becoming. My wish for you is that your patience with others increases...obviously mine never did but one can still hope that you didn't get the entire gene. I carry my love for you forever no matter where we are.I Love You.

To Kylee:
You were always my favorite because you were my first born daughter. You were exactly what we had dreamed of when we dreamed of you. I made a lot of mistakes with you and hope you are wise enough not to repeat the worst of them. I know that when you find your direction you will make the most of it because you know how to take what you are given and then multimply it. I admire your courage and was so proud of you when you tested your wings and went to Brazil. Don't settle. Be grateful and happy for what you have. My wish for you is that you love wisely and kindly even tho you didn't always see that in me. Take after your dad and find a man like your and you will live a wonderful life. Please share the GOOD stories of me with the little kids and let them know that they were loved. You will always bring a smile to my face when I think of you. I Love You.

To Karson:
You were always my favorite because you were my second son and I wanted so much to meet you in Korea. Believe it or not I knew I loved you the moment I saw you and it made me so sad to see the "deer in the headlights" look you had for the first months home. I wish that I could have taken your scared confusion away so that you could learn to trust us sooner. You have greatness in you. You are smart, you are kind and you are a good friend and son. Stay strong in your life. Autism isn't who you are it is just a part of you. I expect great things from you and know that you will succeed in life no matter what. I hope you know that I love you "All the way to Pluto" now and forever. You will always be in my heart. I Love You.

To Kullen:
You were always my favorite because you were my third son and challenged me from the day you came home. I have to admit I fell in head and heels in love with you the minute I saw your picture on a website. I thought "That boy is my boy and he belings in this family." I am so thankful that I got my hearts desire in you. I wish for you that you use that incredible brain of yours and learn to keep your hands by your sides...it will make your life easier. You will be great at whatever you choose to do...I suspect it will be some sort of engineering. You see so many things in the world and in people that most people don't. It is a gift so always acknowledge that gift and be thankful for it. You will always be with me. I Love You.

To Kellis:
What can I say except you were always my favorite because you are my baby girl. Bringing you home was like bringing a ray of sunshine into our lives. You have such a way of shining joy all around you. May you always keep your light shining on others to remind them of all that is perfect in this world. I expect that you are going to be an artsy woman...a dancer, poet, writer...all wonderful things to be. Maybe a brain surgeon but whatever you choose to be I know you will do it with gusto and your whole heart. May you be wise in regards to boys and choose a man who is wonderful like your dad....you will never go wrong if you remember that advice. You are always in my heart. I Love You.

To Dave:
You know when I try and write about you the words escape me! How can one even try to convey how lucky and blessed I feel that I have had these wonderful years with you. You have always been an inspiration to me, my best friend and the type of person I would love to be when I grow up. The peace that resides in the center of your soul is so comforting and welcomes others to rest with you. It is an amazing characteristic you have...one most people do not have but wish that they did. You have given me a life that so many only dream about. The material things, trips have been wonderful but what a mean is the kind of life that has a base of stability because one knows that she is loved deeply and completely desite my faults. Thank you for giving me the best of you all of these years (21 today!) I could not have asked for more in this life. You will always be with me. I Love You.

Finally, your mission should you choose to accept it is to find a wife for Dave (he would need one) She MUST know the Toll House Cookie Recipe by heart! Dave is an incredible man and any woman who fell in love with him would be blessed 1000 fold.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Two Tales of the Traveling Pants

So I have been asking what to wear in Ethiopia and several people have told me (I thought) to bring parachute pants. This evening I started the great search for said pants and was snickered at, not once, but twice at two different stores.When I told the young thing in the clothing department what I was after, she looked at me and rolled her eyes and said, and I quote: "parachute pants were popular in the 80's along with Mike Hammer (insert snicker) I think if you want some of those you will have to go to a retro store."

Second sales girl says to me, " EWWWWW. That would be the fashion mistake of the 20th century...you can't be serious...har, har, har (trumpting like an elephant)

So I am left to ponder whether it is impossible to buy parachute pants except in MO or if this is a "Let's See What A Dork Cheryl Is" kind of practical joke which sounds like something the Bimbo from MO would do to get back at me for some unknown reason!


The next day I find I am mistaken. It is cargo pants I am SUPPOSE to be after. But here is the catch... cargo pants on Fat chics are no laughing matter. I learned this today as I tried on clothes for the trip to Ethiopia at the store. The trouble with cargo pants is they carry/hold EVERYTHING but your own fat. I mean, come on folks, there are no zippers to zip all the fat in place! These things are not meant to be decent pieces of clothing. They are a form of torture for you and anyone who has to look at you while you are wearing them! The worse thing is that I am buying them to leave in Africa when I return home. But, of course, there is one little problem... I will be the only FAT person on the entire continent!The only consulation I have is that if a seamstress gets hold of these she will be able to make two or three pairs of pants out of them. Nothing like cargo pants to depress the hell out of you!

BTW, if God was a fashion designer he surely created cargo pants as a tribute to Mr. Blackwell. And no I won't put up a photo...that would just be cruel to humanity.