Monday, September 29, 2008

The end of September

I can't believe we just had our last weekend in September but I'm so looking forward to October which is one of my favorite months of the year. I've already got a few Halloween decorations up and Kayla talks nonstop about Halloween, the fair, football games and all the things we have coming up this very busy month.

I got some much needed time to myself this weekend. Kayla spent the night with a friend Friday and stayed there most of the day Saturday. I actually got to go out on the town Friday night and had a nice dinner and saw Les Miserables--and it was fantastic. Saturday I did my major fall cleaning and changed out my wardrobe. Now I'm just waiting on the weather to change! Kayla and I went to a friend's house Saturday night for some homemade chili and hung out with a bunch of neat women. Then we headed to Harvestfest in the neighborhood near our house. They had a big fashion show on the main street Saturday night and showcased Korto's collection who is a finalist on Project Runway. It was a beautiful night to hang out on Kavanaugh and watch all the people and families.

We have another busy week and then head up the Hill this weekend praying for a Razorback miracle.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Where did the week go?!

I can't believe it's already Thursday. The weeks are starting to fly by now that we have settled into our routine. I went to the gym the last two nights for the second week in a row and I'm glad I started back because I'm going to need that extra energy. It seems like we stay constantly busy and there's always something to do, somewhere to go, something to buy. And it's just going to get worse as we head into fall and the holiday season. Most of our October weekends are already taken up with activities. At least I can say life is no longer boring or mundane!

I'm exhausted today because I was up most of the night with a sick dog...she ate too much of something she shouldn't have and threw up all over my sheets. Not a fun night...but I did get caught up on my reading and love Edgar Sawtelle. Now if only I can get caught up on my sleep.

Kayla's counselor called me yesterday informing me that she was in the wrong math class. The registrar made a mistake and put her in a ninth grade Algebra I class and she hadn't even taken Pre-Algebra. I thought that was a very advanced class for her but without having access to all her school records, I just had to trust that the school knew the right placement for her. Well, apparently they didn't. But I'm glad they caught it now rather than at the middle or end of the school year. I'm impressed that she was hanging in there with Algebra I when she's never had any algebra concepts before. Now, though, she doesn't have to worry about a 7th grade class going on her high school transcript...eeek.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I need another day of rest

I need a day of rest to recover from my weekend. We were going nonstop all weekend long. Kayla had a visit with the psychiatrist after school Friday. She is required to go to be in therapy. He was an odd man and his accent was hard to understand. I laughed out loud when he asked her if she heard voices in her head and Kayla said "Say what?" She was glad to hear she won't have to see him again.

Friday night, Kayla went to a Y-Teens dance at the YWCA. Y-Teens is a social and civic club at her school. She had a great time and said it was much better than the school dances. She said four boys asked for her number and she told them she didn't have a phone. I told her she could have given them the home number and she said "No way. Then you would answer the phone and that would be embarrasing."

Saturday morning we had our photos professionally taken. The Pulaski County Adoption Coalition is sponsoring a National Adoption Day event on November 15 and invited all new adoptive families from this year to have their photographs taken for a video they are going to show at the event. The photographer is also going to sell the photos taken at a discounted rate. I think we got some really good photos. They were taken outside at the Covered Bridge in Burns Park. I'm looking forward to seeing the proofs in a couple of weeks.

Saturday afternoon we watched the Hogs disintegrate. Can you call that football?

After the game, we went to the mall where I exchanged a sweater I bought the previous day for another one...the first clothes I've bought for myself since Kayla moved in. Then we went to Target and I bought some cheap Halloween decorations and Old Navy where I bought Kayla a few things for fall, which she desperately needs and needs more. After all that shopping, we headed to Outback for dinner. I had a gift card to use and we got to be waited on by my friend, Eme. We had a really good time at dinner. Afterwards, Kayla wanted Starbucks so I conned her into going to Barnes & Noble where she could get her Pumpkin Spice Frappucino and I could look at books. I purchased the next book in the Twilight series, New Moon, and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle after Oprah picked it for her book club and hearing her rave about it as the best book she's ever I'm a sucker for books about dogs.

I thought Sunday would be a day of rest, but no. Sunday we got up early and went to church and took our friend Angelia with us. Afterwards, we had lunch at Chili's. Then I had to do the dreaded weekly grocery shopping, then one of my friends came over. By this time, it was 4:30. I then proceeded to almost burn down the house. I boiled some eggs and then promptly left the house to go run an errand with Kayla--she wanted stuff to play in the backyard with so we headed to the dollar store--and I completely forgot about the eggs. We came home to a smoky kitchen and exploded eggs--not a pretty sight or smell. I then headed to a meeting and Kayla did homework outside on the bench. Came home, fixed supper, finished laundry, and finally finished reading the paper about 9:00 last night. Needless to say I need another day to my weekend so I can rest....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Facebook is the new high school reunion

So I've begrudgingly had a Facebook page for the past year in an effort to keep up with all these teenagers in my life, but in the past couple of weeks I've had a full-blown high school reunion on Facebook. I've reconnected with over 50 people from my high school class and yesterday I had lunch with one of my very best friends from high school who I have not seen in over 15 years. And the amazing thing is she has lived in this city since graduating college and we have never once run into each other. It was so neat to catch up with her and hear about her life since high school. It was also weird to try to reconcile in my head those 17-year-olds of yesterday to the mature, responsible, family women we are today. It really makes you wonder where did all the years go? It's been over 17 years since I graduated high school. 17 years!!! On the one hand, it seems like just yesterday and on the other it seems like eons ago. A lot of life has been lived since then. And I think of all those teenage dreams of what I was going to do with my life....not many of them panned out...the best-selling novelist, the English teacher, the wife...I did become the world traveler and the mother and maybe there's time still to complete the other dreams. Yet I wouldn't trade the life I have today for any other. I had to go through everything I went through to get where I am today. But wow it is so crazy to see all these 17 year olds become mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, career men and women, world travelers, city dwellers and live in a 35-year-old body. It's really put a spin on my perception of things.

Let's dance

Kayla has dance two nights a week. She takes a modern class Tuesday nights and a combination class for two hours on Wednesday nights. In the combination class, she has one hour of ballet and thirty minutes each of tap and jazz. She loves her modern and jazz classes which are taught by this young guy who was a semi-finalist on So You Think You Can Dance? and who played a dancing Barack Obama in a play at the Rep. She said her ballet teacher is mean...i.e., she won't let them talk during class, they must wear proper attire and have their hair in buns with no hair sticking out, and they can't let go of the barre for any reason. Kayla said she let go once for a few seconds and the teacher immediately lifted her back on the bar. I think it is great for teaching discipline. Every girl should take a ballet class just for the life lessons it teaches you.

Last night I arrived after my meeting to pick Kayla up and there were ten minutes left in her jazz class. She was really hamming it up and was clearly one of the best in her class. I was watching her through the window and one of the other dance teachers sitting nearby said "Look at that blonde. She needs to be in my hip hop class. I would love to have her in there." I told Kayla what the teacher said and Kayla said "Did you tell her she's mine?"

She's mine...Yes, she is.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


And yes, I'm late to this party too. I've at long last succumbed to the Twilight craze. Kayla finally relinquished her copy of the book this weekend and I had the whole thing read in a few hours. It's an easy read and will satisfy your inner teenage girl. I'm curious to see how Edward is portrayed in the movie. It comes out 11/21/08 as Kayla frequently reminds me. And so now I guess I have to go get the next book in the series, then the next book, and the next I now a Twilight mom?

The funniest thing I've seen in a long time...

So I'm a few days late to the party, but this video of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler portraying Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton in the premiere of Saturday Night Live last Saturday had me laughing out loud. Tina Fey is so much like Sarah Palin, it's scary. If you haven't seen this, you must watch it or watch it again for a good laugh.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Making a commitment to myself

I am going to the gym today...I am going to the gym today...I am going to the gym today. I have to keep telling myself this so I will actually go. It was a year ago that I finally summoned up all the strength and determination I had to sign up for a gym membership. I begrudgingly went and then surprised myself by falling in love with it. No matter how tired I was before I went, I left each workout with that magical "high"...pumped up and energized. It did wonders for my depression that rears its ugly head every once in a while. I was at the gym 4-5 times a week. Then Kayla moved in and there was no longer any time to myself...However, now we are in a routine with her dance classes which meet two nights a week and I realized that is precious me time. I have one hour and two hours to myself each Tuesday and Wednesday night and the gym is right down the street from her dance studio. So I have no more excuses. I will go to the gym today.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Freaky Friday

My 11-year-old dog and love of my life, Reba, had to get her teeth cleaned yesterday. The vet didn't sedate her because of her age but Reba ended up losing a bunch of teeth in the process. Apparently, she has been in a lot of pain and no one knew. Hopefully, she will feel better now. Hopefully, she is still able to eat...

My dad has been in the hospital the last couple of days for another procedure for his heart. It didn't go as planned but I think they got taken care of what they needed to get taken care of...hopefully. As for dad, he is not happy about having to be confined to a hospital room for days on end.

My brother who lives in Houston is nowhere to be found. He's not answering phone calls, emails or text messages. So we hope he is out of the country on business and not being drowned by Hurricane Ike.

I had to wait in line 30 minutes! for gas this morning as the radio kept issuing reports of $5.00 gas sightings all over the region. I got a full tank of gas for $3.49 and I pray to God I don't have to pay $5.00 for it next time. Insane!

The news said there will for sure be power outages in Little Rock this weekend as well as major rain and strong winds from Ike...we just went through this a week ago and I'm not looking forward to the soggy, windy weekend.

Open House

Kayla and I went to her Open House at her school last night. It was interesting. We all met in the auditorium and then followed their schedule around to all of her classes where we listened to the teachers talk about what they were doing in the classroom that year and their expectations for 10 minutes and then the bell rang and we moved on to the next class. The kids went with us to all the classes and the teachers didn't give you any extra time to talk to them but they did give us their email addresses and phone numbers. I've also got the secret code now to go look at Kayla's test grades and homework scores every day...I'm sure she's not happy about that! I can understand why she has a hard time following her English teacher because I did too. Kayla said she told us (the parents) way more than she ever tells the kids about what she is doing. Her Algebra teacher is very young but is supposed to be really good which I hope she is because Kayla has her work cut out for her in that class. Her science teacher is a National Award Winner and said this school is by far the best in the city. She had about 20 animals in her classroom including a tarantula, and our hermit crab, which Kayla gave to her after realizing she had no interest in one. I think he's much happier now in his huge glass cage than he was on the bottom shelf of her bookshelf in a tiny cage. She's taking Planet Earth as her elective. It's a science course where they focus on new technology like web searches, Google, MapQuest, wikipedia. She's also going to teach them how to read maps and do GPS. She said she wants to teach the kids how to do the latest technological advances because that is the way the world is going and they will need to know this stuff (I agree). She also throws some global warming and other earth topics in there. I really liked her social studies teacher who said they are focusing on World History and will have a big project they will be working on for National History Day in January. Her other classes were Health and Keyboarding, which seemed to be fairly easy as long as you show up. I also got to meet some of her other friends and their parents. There's a girl who is new at the school also this year and has her locker next to Kayla's and her mom said that Kayla helped her get into her locker the first week of school. After we went to all the classes, they had a reception in the library where they had a massive book fair. I don't remember having a book fair like that when I was in school--they had everything. All of that took over two hours and we were starving. It was 8:30 before we drove through Chick-Fil-A for our homecooked meal ;).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I will never forget

Seven years ago today, I woke to a glorious September day full of sunshine and promise. I had just moved to Washington D.C. and was starting my second week at my new job, which I loved so far. Everything was falling into place-I had a great apartment with fabulous roommates, I had a new friend who moved from Boston to D.C. the same day I did, and this great job. I was ready and excited to start my new life in our nation's capital.

I got off the Metro and walked in that beautiful September sunshine to my office in downtown D.C., two blocks from the White House. I hadn't been there long when my friend from Senator Kennedy's office e-mailed me and said a plane just hit the World Trade Center. As I was trying to get on CNN's website and find out more information, I heard a blood-curdling scream from down the hall and then "OMG, the Pentagon has been hit." We rushed to a window and could see the flames and smoke from this massive building which was three miles away from where we were. After that, the TVs got turned on, the radios got turned on, the rumors started ("the State Department's being bombed," "the Metro's being bombed"). Nobody knew what was going on. All I can remember is the radio and TV announcers saying over and over "We are under attack. America is under attack." And all I could think is the city I am in right now is under attack. What do I do? I kept trying to call family members and friends but no phone calls were going through because everyone was trying to call someone. It wasn't too much later when someone ran down the hall screaming "Get out now...get out of downtown...a plane is headed for the White House." As soon as we heard that, we grabbed our stuff and rushed outside. There I was standing on K street and it was pandemonium. Cars were in a gridlock with everyone honking their horns, people were screaming and crying on the street. I came to work on the Metro and I didn't know how else to get back to Maryland but on the Metro which everyone was convinced was going to be bombed next. But not knowing what else to do, me and two of my co-workers hopped on the Red Line and held hands the whole way home. It was eerily silent on that train ride home...I think everyone was in shock or praying. I did make it to my apartment in Silver Spring in one piece that day. Unfortunately, not everyone did.

It's amazing to me that I can remember almost every detail of that morning in crystal clarity. It's almost as if time stood still for a while. I remember feeling fear like I never have before and it was very different from any fear I've ever felt. Knowing that what happens is out of your control, that external forces are invading the city you live in, sleep in, felt secure in and you don't know what they are going to do or what they are capable of, and that you honestly don't know if you are going to live through this day or not. It's a fear I hope I never have to live through again, I hope none of us do. We take for granted our security in this country and our freedom. Seven years later, 9/11 seems almost a distant memory. However, on 9/11/01 our country's security was violated and our sense of freedom was threatened...and it may very well happen again. This is why we must never forget.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Another busy weekend

Kayla met the therapist for the first time Friday afternoon and I think she liked her enough. She liked the idea that she wouldn't have to sit in an office and "talk about her feelings." The therapist instead is going to take her out and do their nails, play games, etc. and perhaps talk about stuff in the process. Friday night, Kayla and I went to eat mexican food and see a cheesy chick flick. Saturday, the grandparents came and we went to lunch and shopping before leaving for the Razorback game. It was an exciting game and beautiful weather. Sunday, Kayla slept all morning and then we went to a picnic fundraiser where she got to see Anna throw a pie in my face for $125!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Kayla and Sarah Palin

Kayla came in last night as I was watching Sarah Palin's speech and said "EVERYONE now wants McCain and her to win because her life is like The Secret Life of the American Teenager." For those that don't have a tween or teen in the house, The Secret Life... is the new hit show for that age group on ABC Family about a 15-year-old pregnant girl. It is disturbing to me that middle schoolers now think it is "cool" to be 17 and pregnant like Bristol Palin and Jamie Lynn Spears. While I applaud them for keeping their babies, all the media attention is glorifying teenage pregnancy and making it seem normal and cool to very impressionable young girls. But then Kayla went on to say, "Not me...I don't want her or McCain." So maybe there is hope for her.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Beginning therapy

I met with a therapist this morning who is going to meet with Kayla one-on-one and both of us for some family counseling. I've been on DHS's backs for two months to get this going and finally got an appointment. I think that every kid going through such a major life change and transition needs therapy and especially one that's 12 years old. 12 years brings a multitude of issues to work out. I really like the therapist. She's young and energetic and has a lot of experience working with foster kids and adoptive kids and families and she's also starting TheraPlay training, which is THE attachment therapy designed to help kids with attachment problems. While I don't think Kayla has major attachment problems, I think she will benefit from therapy in dealing with her grief and loss issues and strengthening our attachment so that we can weather the teen years ahead together...and in one piece.

Gustav got me out of work

I would never want to see a hurricane...a tropical depression is bad enough. We have flooding, trees down, power lines down, schools closed, businesses closed. My work is closed today due to the power being out...Kayla's school was that means a free day to do whatever I want! which is sleep and read and sit in peace and quiet. I'm so excited! A rainy day reading in doesn't get any better than that.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day=Lazy Day

We had a great weekend, which I wish I could extend because I was getting some much needed rest. I arrived at my parents' house with a horrific sinus infection but was able to get into a walk-in clinic the next morning and get a steroid shot and some antibiotics so I was all pumped up by the time the football game started. It was Kayla's first Razorback game and she had a grand time. Me, not so much, because we barely pulled the game out and I went through a whole thing of kleenex while sitting there suffering with the Hogs. My niece Carley spent the night with Kayla the whole weekend and they had a blast hanging out with each other and entertaining each other while I caught up on some much needed rest. Sunday was a blessed day of rest. I didn't do anything I didn't want to do and caught up on some sleep and book reading. My parents had a cookout Sunday night and my three-year-old niece Isabella spent the night with the "big girls." Kayla had a great time and didn't want it to end...I didn't either. It was nice to get away from daily responsibilities for a while and just rest and be with family.

Now we are back to the daily grind and Kayla starts her first dance class today and has another tomorrow so we will have a couple of late nights. And Gustav is here with wind and rain for the next three days so I will miss my much-needed sunshine this week.