Hands and Toes

It started last Sunday when my parents were visiting. My mom called my name from the porch in a different tone of voice than usual. She asked S to show me her hands and S's skin was fallingoff her fingertips on her left hand. I mean, we're talking chunks. Thin layers, but huge (dime sized). We brought her in from playing in the water and dried her off to get a better look.

My first guess was that she touched some chemical in our house. But we are so careful about that and so that was a no.

I thought maybe she touched a magic eraser that I had left on the counter top, but it was still in the same place and if you know anything about 2 year olds - they are incapable of putting things back in the exact place...so that was a no.

Then I assumed that maybe it was from touching the bathroom floor at school. They have taught the kids to put their hands on the floor with their bottoms in the air so that they can be wiped after visiting the facilities. While I appreciate the gesture in ensuring that my kid is always wiped well, the fact that she tries to "assume the position" in public bathrooms with disgusting floors is MORE than I can bear. Must.tell.daycare.to.stop.that!!

By Tuesday both hands were peeling. Just on her fingertips.

Here are a few pics we took. Hard to see exactly, but see how the tips are red? They don't seem to hurt her much, if at all, but the skin falling off freaks her out. Poor girl.

Friday we went to the pediatrician to get her ears looked at since she was saying that they hurt, but the pediatrician didn't have any guesses except that she came in contact with something and we would probably never know what it was. She said lots of lotion and to keep an eye on it.

Last night it started on her toes. Just the tips of her toes but also in huge chunks.

This morning, her poor raw fingers have started a second peel on the already tender skin.

From my dear friends on Facebook, I've heard many suggestions. The one that makes the most sense is yet another bout of Hand, Foot and Mouth. If I can't get it under control by Tues, back to the ped we go.

Poor kid.

In other health related news....overall S has been doing very well. She's been back at daycare for a month now and we've only been to see the pediatrician twice. (Yes, this is a new record.) I have a much longer health post to share, but it will have to wait until early next week.

Oh, and I tentatively did get a job. (Once I pass the training phase) I will be working from home as an online adjunct instructor using my M.Ed. in Bilingual/Multicultural Education. This is fantastic news and I have another interview for another online adjunct position today in fact. So working both will provide enough of a cushion for us to be able to take a placement of our son as soon as our home study is complete. (Will post an update on that too).

So, if you are keeping track: (this is mostly for me)
I owe you a post about:
S's health
A new update on our current adoption situation
What we've done to our house (I didn't mention this because I wanted to take pictures first)

I'll get to them soon. Promise. Until then. Have a great day!


A Warm Day at the Park!

We went to the park today and although it was super hot, we still had fun. Well, honestly, S had fun. Me? I don't do heat well so I basically sweat the entire time, but S loves the park. So we went. This first picture makes S look like she's swearing in Italian. Too funny. The reality is that she saw a camera and though we wanted to take more pictures of her peeling fingers (will post about those tomorrow). But still a funny pose.
S went swinging.

I can't tell what she was thinking but I love this picture too. She's concentrating? Maybe?
Love her curls!!
This is her usual pondering expression.
I like her smile better and we are finally starting to get her smile more often.
She's usually happy but forgets to tell her face!
Posing AND smiling!
She drank almost half a liter of water!
After this trip we went to get ice cream.
Not good for my diet but definitely good for my soul.

We had a nice day. Did you?


I Was Trying to be Nice

I really was trying to be nice.

I went to Walmart this morning to pick up a memory card for my camera so I could ebay all of our junk stuff and then it happened.

The first cart I grabbed was old and worn out. The handle bar was a little rusty and it was missing that flap the kids sit on in the front of the basket, but since S wasn't with me - no problem!

You see, I felt a little sorry for that shopping cart. I bet nobody ever used it anymore because of its appearance - so I took it. I'm a sucker like that.

So I wandered the aisles, not really needing much and realized, not only did my cart look bad, it didn't steer well either. Like barely at all.

But I stuck with "Old Bessy" as I tried to maneuver her around the store.

It was starting to get seriously annoying.

So I went to the back of the store to get the memory card when I heard a noise and felt a warm trickle running down my leg. Old Bessy's legs wheels locked up and my cup of expensive wonderful still-almost-full coffee flew out of the top of the cart and all over me and the floor.

I mustered an apology to the salesclerk who had to clean up the mess in aisle 22, grabbed my stuff out of Old Bessy and I flipped her the bird bid her a fond farewell and raced out of the building.

That's what I get for feeling sorry for a shopping cart.


Back in the saddle again....

Not the teaching saddle. Not yet anyway.

Interview last week went well. But it was a no. (Or it would have been had they been thoughtful enough to call). No news is NOT good news in this case. It's bad news. :(

I have an interview tomorrow afternoon for a teaching position and then two interviews this week for online adjunct college positions. I won't tell you which one I want more because I really have decided that the right opportunity will present itself.

This week holds a lot of promise.

I am so thankful that I'm open to the possibilities and over the negative "woah is me" of last week.

Seriously though, with a kid this cute, how could I not be thankful?


Will Work for a Decent Salary or Not...

**** UPDATE****

I got a call at 5pm tonight asking me to come in for an interview in the morning. Great, great school. Good fit, but not sure what to do....


So I’m still on the quest for a teaching job. Did I mention that the first day is next Monday? Meet the teacher is, um…tomorrow!! So far I can’t even seem to get a nibble, but I decided that however it works out – it WILL be okay. Positive thinking helps, right?

Cons of Teaching:

1. Long commute (all jobs are far 35 min-hour each way).

2. Less time with S and M (noticed I separated them for those of you who think S&M is funny!).

3. Pure exhaustion from returning to the classroom after two years off.

4. Weekend/nights spent lesson planning/grading etc.

5. Have to wait until May or June to adopt (if baby is available).

Pros of Teaching:

1. Save money since I would have my own health insurance.

2. More money means less debt (no debt actually).

3. More money means Starbucks(I know silly, but I love their coffee but can’t bring myself to buy it when I’m not contributing financially).

4. Feeling like I’m being productive and good at what I do.

5. Putting my too many years of education to use.

6. Oh, and the kiddos….I miss the kiddos. Although I am a bit worried that this came last on my list.

Now if I don’t get a Teaching job:

1. We can spend more time with M’s family in Germany at Christmas. (Almost a month instead of 10 days!)

2. We can take a placement of a baby sooner(like winter/early spring-ish)

3. I can finally start my own company of curriculum materials. I already have a website up and running, but need to organize my content to sell to homeschoollers/other teachers.

4. I can focus on grant writing to fund #2 on this list.

5. I can continue to focus on my health and weight (down 27 pounds already)

6. Play dates mid-week with my daughter. *

7. I can substitute teach at local schools and make some money, set my own schedule, and be able to stay home with S if her health declines or if she just needs more rest.(I let her stay home a day last week to just sleep!)

8. I’ve applied for some adjunct teaching positions for several universities (mostly online) so that income will help with adoption expenses.

9. I would still be able to do contract curriculum work on space/microgravity science.

10. Continue to sell items on ebay/amazon to help with adoption expenses. (already raised our application fee by selling stuff we just didn’t use! And still have so much to sell).

* S really needs to be in preschool. She has blossomed so much since starting preschool and is so happy. I meanridiculously happy at school. Our wonderful preschool does not have a part-time program for 2 year olds. So until I decide what I am doing – she’s going to stay in full-time. If I don’t end up getting an out-of-the-house-job, then we’ll move her to another school and she’ll go three days a week. Did I mention she’s learning Arabic, Chinese, and Spanish at school? It’s an amazing place. Oh, and she is using the potty there now!! (Now if I could get her to potty at home…oh well.)

So as you can see, I’m really in a good spot. If it happens, financially, it makes everything easier, but many things more difficult. If it doesn’t happen, financially, it makes everything harder, but many things much easier.

I’ll leave you with a picture of my gorgeous girl from a recent trip to the store. Have a great Wednesday!


Zone of Uncertainty

We live in hurricane territory. Five years ago we got hit by two big storms in a row (none of which impacted us really, but that's another story...) and now there are two storms headed this general directions. Forecasters here call the gray shaded area of where the storm might hit, the “zone of uncertainty”.
This "zone of uncertainty" is where I am living right now. Both physically and mentally.

Let me explain.

In March, while S was in the hospital, I had to decide what to do about my teaching job. At the time, there was NO way that I could go back to the classroom. She was too sick and at the time I had a job working at the community college. So I gave up my teaching position with the very Christian statement of “someone needs this job more than I do.” I meant it then, but it is hard to mean it now. I guess I still mean it, because it IS true, but hard to swallow at the same time.

So no teaching job.

I also decided to take a year off working on my doctoral program. Due to reorganization of my program, there was no way that I could finish on my time frame – so I'm working on finding an angle to finish.

So no teaching job and no school.

We discussed moving to a different state, but that fell through because of jobs, budget cutbacks and the realization that it would complicate the upcoming adoption. So here we stay.

So no teaching job, no school, no move, oh and then I was fired let go from my other position.

So no teaching job, no school, no move, no work. I was going to be home with S.

Don't get me wrong, we had a great summer. I loved the time with my girl and we needed to sort out her health stuff.

But...since it was discovered that S is really okay (although we don't have any concrete answers still - another post coming soon) and honestly needs to be with other kids (our amazing daycare doesn't do part-time for 2 year olds) we put S back in preschool. She is the happiest I have ever seen her and we've managed to make it 3 weeks with no major kiddy germs! :) Go S!

So no teaching job, no school, no move, no work, no S!

I do have tons of work to do. We've completely reorganized the house and there is a ton of work still to do. The usual house/wife/mom duties keep me busy and I'm writing grants for the adoption (which could be a full time job) and writing curriculum for some homeschoolers, all while still hunting for a job.

I admittedly got in late in the game. I didn't decide that maybe I should try to go back into the classroom until end of July and the first day back for teachers was today. I've applied to 17 schools and got one interview. It's just so competitive out there right now due to budget cuts - there are hundreds of applications for each position.

I'm not really being as negative as I sound, but I will admit I am discouraged. I feel like I missed an important memo. Or maybe not.

It will work out, exactly as it is supposed to. I know that. But patience is NOT one of my virtues.

But for now, I am still living in the zone of uncertainty.


Random Thoughts

1. This morning I discovered a church sign in my area that said they were having an illusionist. Made me laugh.

2. I think S brought home a cold from daycare. Fun times.

3. After much discussion about hot coffee with S this morning, she threw her doll at me, hitting my coffee cup, and spilled hot coffee all over me. GREAT way to start the day. :)

4. S amazes me with her German speaking. She said, "Mama color?" and then "Papa malen?" She switches between the two so fluidly. She amazes me. (Oh and to you German speakers, malen is paint - but close enough. She also calls crayons markers...one thing at a time.)

More soon promise and big changes ahead....


Birthdays, Shirley Temple, Cars, Guns and Family

So I am currently upstate visiting my dad (came up with my brother) for his 60th birthday!!!
We've had a lovely visit. We went through some old pictures of my family. Here is a picture of my grandmother at 7 when she was in a movie with Shirley Temple. She won some dance contest at 5 and was discovered and had a 3 year contract at 7 in Hollywood. Cool.
Here is my great grandfather Milton.
Here is a picture of my grandfather (bottom L) and his siblings. The pic was taken in 1927.
We hung out with my Step-mom Margaret's family. Here I am shooting a gun (which I've only done once before). I did pretty good and hit the general area of the target on both shots. I only took 2 shots and hit on both. Impressive, eh?
We went for a ride in my Dad's replica of 1898 Ford. This was Henry Ford's first car. It's called a quadricycle and was fun to take for a spin.

Its been a weekend full of reminising, inappropriate jokes, and good restful sleep (without having to keep an ear out for the baby...)

Happy 60th Birthday Pops! I love you!!!
We'll have to do it again. Soon.
Not the turning 60 thing, but the visit.
Love you.


If Money Only Grew On Trees

As I have mentioned before, we had some issues with our adoption agency that we used for S. I'll get into that at some point, (maybe) but we had decided to use them again. Yes, there are other agencies, but we KNOW what the issues are now and have been through the process once. We know what to expect.

But then...we got word that they wanted more money upfront. This was bad news...

Let me explain.

When you begin the adoption process, you pay a fee to apply to the agency (usually between $300-$500). The next step is your home study and these can range from $1300-$1500 plus additional fees for criminal history clearances and physicals.

Because finances were tight, I planned on writing some grants from various agencies (mostly faith-based) to assist in the funding. In order to apply for the grants, we have to have a completed homestudy. So to get to the point that we could apply for grants, we planned on spending around $2000.

But then....

Our agency changed their pricing structure. They wanted us to pay the application fee, homestudy fee, AND the adoptive parent coordinator fee. So all told, they wanted essentially $3,500 up front. Um...yeah. NO.

To complicate matters, they raised their other fees as well, making the second adoption about $5,000 more than S's adoption. And hers was so expensive!! (Mind you – I would have paid a million dollars for our precious girl, but at some point adoption costs get out of hand!) Once again, slightly irritated with the women who get knocked up for free, but I'm getting off topic. :)

More to come....


The Baby in the Box

Ultimately, when our future child asks us why we decided to adopt them at the time we did, I will be able to tell about this little girl. This little girl was abandoned in a town nearby. She was left in a box by the side of the road. She was exposed to the Florida heat and had ant bites all over by the time she was found. But she was alive and needed a safe, loving home. It was then that I realized that my heart was ready for another baby. And not to sound all stalkerish, but I did email the Police Dept. in the area where she was found to see if we could adopt her. But I digress...

This event led to lengthy discussions between M and I about timing, work situations and such. And finances. Stupid finances! Oh how I wish we could just get knocked up for free like everyone else, but I can't (Which ultimately I realized I still haven't completely come to terms with). So finances are a BIG deal. I've been home with S just about all of her life and haven't been contributing much to the family finances. That's a problem, because although we are just fine – there is not much left to put toward adopting a second child.

We had brought up this topic six months or so ago, but then S got sick, I was in school, and went back to work and life was insane for a while. So we tabled it for a while.

And then there was the girl in the box.

To be continued...


Child Labor Laws Don't Apply

S is such a great helper. At two she can already:
Dust (seriously with a swiffer duster)
Sweep (though not successfully. It IS a hard skill. I'm still trying to master it at 32!)
Flush toilets on demand (usually without anything in them like toys, etc.)
Cook dinner
Bake a cake with Daddy
And steam clean the rugs.
She's so amazing! Now if we could just master not spilling cereal on the floor, dumping milk on the carpet, shredding rolls of toilet paper into tiny pieces, and wiping her grubby hands on my walls - we'd be in business.

Maybe next year? :)