Sunday, December 19, 2010

Keep the Sabbath Day Holy.

In church today we had a lesson on keeping the sabbath day holy. It was a nice reminder for me. It is one of the ten commandments, and I walked out of the building with a renewed commitment to try and better observe this special day of the week. Here is what I see upon my exit:

How am I doing in my run for mother of the year?

Please note the hobo gloves he wore all day after he stole them from Grandma Pat.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Particular Tree Has a Visitor!

What is this guy doing in my tree? Doesn't he know he is NOT welcome.

Tiny's Two Day Program!

I love this kid. He was putting on quite the show for everyone. I was/am so proud.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Two of These Things Do Not Look Like the Others...

I have a very "particular" Christmas tree. In years past, I would allow the kids to put their homemade ornaments on the back side of the tree, but they are now old enough and have caught on. I came home to this the other day:

Mrs. Kathy, please note my especially particular ornament added to the tree tonight. Can you see it? Christmas trees do not photograph well unless you use a Hubble type lens. In fact, I'm a little embarrassed by the way it looks on camera.

Kinder Christmas Program!

The other night we attended Maverick's Christmas program. What I thought was so funny is that each child was allowed to choose their own part to play in the nativity. My child chose to be the lamb. Is that strange? No king/wise man, no star, no Joseph...lamb. His grandmother and my grandmother will be proud when they hear his choice.

Pictured with a very "wise" friend, Braden

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kindness Makes A Difference!

Fuddle Tattoo (and muscle arm trick)

Ice Skating (one RV student was doing spins-amazing for first try)

On Saturday, Katie and I had the opportunity to attend Kindness Makes A Difference Day. I am the liaison for Rancho Viejo, so I had eight students attend. I asked four different teachers to select two students they felt were in need of kindness. This year was different for me than last year because they weren't "MY" students. It was still a wonderful, humbling experience, but I only cried once instead of eighty times.

K.I.D.S. is a local non-profit that brings kindness to children around the Yuma area. They are also the people behind the cuddle kits received by children in the pediatric unit at the hospital. (live link not working)

My students and probably around 160 others had their faces painted, hair done, ice skated, snacked, chose a gift for a loved one, wrapped the gift, walked through The Christmas Village (each building had an activity) and met with Fuddle (mascot) for a photo. The cherry on top was Santa arriving with hundreds of gifts for these awesome kids.

A couple of my students are saving their wrapped gifts from Santa for Christmas because these will most likely be the only gifts they receive.

I wish I could have taken the entire Rancho Viejo population. They all deserve an experience like I had Saturday. I bet I benefited more than the students.

As I professed last year, "Kindness truly does make a difference."

Katie Kat!

My sister, Katie, was down for the weekend. I am always excited for her visits, but I always feel bad because it seems so busy when she comes. There was never a dull moment, I'm afraid. She can't call four days at my house a "vacation." I bet she drives home with a renewed appreciation for her life...and birth control! Just kidding, Sister.

Electric Light Parade!

Due to the time Bob had put into The Christmas Village, the light parade float took a back burner. Of course, the day before the parade he and Chris got serious about our entry. We did not win this year, but we feel good about our efforts. Time was very limited.

Bob already has a plan for next year. Watch out, Yuma!

Ice Skating In Yuma!

We took the kids to ice skate on media night at The Christmas Village. Mallory loved it. I think she would have gone all night. Maverick enjoyed it and didn't want to leave, but they were shutting the place down.

Special thanks to Carla for helping them get fitted with skates!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lights With The Lemmon Family!

Each year my kids go to look at lights with Tom and Patty and some of the other cousins. This year I even went along to help with crowd control in the bed of Bob's truck. We went after to Jason and Zulema's for some hot cocoa and muffins.

I'm hoping we were just out looking too early in the month because no one really had lights up. Good thing my kids go every year with their Auntie Joan.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Humblings.

I have the honor of working with the migrant students (52 last count) at Rancho Viejo this year. I do a pull out program three times a week with 4th, 5th, and 6th grades.

As I explain to my students, "Migrant means your mom or dad might move with the lettuce." (just in case you didn't know)

We work on reading, writing, and English skills. Today, my lesson was based on the word "tradition." We discussed different traditions families all over the world have. I left off Christmas. We spoke of Easter, birthdays, 4th of July, etc.

When I felt ready, I pulled out the book "The Night Before Christmas" and shared with my small group two specific traditions in my home during the holidays. I always give my kids new pajamas on Christmas Eve, and I always buy a new Christmas book and read it to them before they go to sleep (also on Christmas Eve).

I told my students I was going to share one of my books with them, and I began to read. I would take breaks here and there to go over vocabulary they might be unfamiliar with and allow the students time to share anything personal.

At one point in the story I paused and one of my 4th graders said, "Santa doesn't come to Arizona though."

I went on to learn that he has had visits from Santa in the past, but since he's been in Yuma Santa has not been by.

My heart dropped. I felt terrible guilt for sharing my traditions and excitement about the holiday season while this boy and so many others (especially at Rancho) will go without.

It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays. I appreciate Rancho for keeping me in check. I love my job. I love the staff I work with. Each one gives more than the average. We have an amazing group of kids on campus, and I walk away feeling good about what I've done each day. What a blessing!

Today was a reality check and a reminder to not only remember the true spirit of Christmas but to pass it on to children.

I would love any experiences you have had giving charity/service during the holidays. I have big plans for our family this year.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mother Of The Year!

One day I may write a book, and I already have a title in mind. If I get around to a second book it will be entitled "Mother of the Year" and blow your mind.

I had a mother of the year moment yesterday.

Strider was born with PPHN and tested positive for Strep B, so he was seriously ill. We were flown to Tucson on his second day in this life, and for the next two months our lives were hell (sorry Ms. Martin). During this hellish tour we were also told Strider had a hole in his heart, but it was something we could worry about later. It felt like they were saying, "Let's just see if this kid even lives through this ordeal first."

When he was around 18 months I was notified that the Tucson docs were in Yuma and wanted to see him for his heart. I took him in, and he was out of control. He would not sit still long enough to even listen to the heart much less do any further testing. I was told to come back when he was three.

Last week, I received a letter in the mail notifying me of Strider's heart appointment. The doctor walks in the exam room and listens to his heart. He tells me a murmur is still present and further testing should be done to determine the seriousness, but the test runs between $4-5,000.00. He must have been told I do not have insurance and tells me to give them a call when I get some medical coverage. He proceeds to tell me just as long as it's in the next two to three years, so if surgery is necessary it can be done before the child is seven years of age.

I told him I probably won't have insurance in the future, and here is his response, "Well, I wouldn't go mortgaging the house or anything, just give us a call when you get insurance."

Here is what I wish I could have said:
It's a good thing because I already mortgaged my house in order to pay some other medical bills, sir!!!

Do you realize you are looking at a million dollar baby? Good thing we had insurance back then, but 20% of a million is still a lot!!!

So, you are telling me that that sixteen year old girl in the waiting room with two children will have her son taken care of on the government's dime, but my children who are lucky enough to have two parents who work hard for a living, pay taxes, and try to do the best they can will not be able to provide the medical attention their children deserve?

Of course, it's me we are talking about I said nothing. I just held my son tight and walked out...ashamed, embarrassed, and hopeless.