Stick Figure Family

Stick Figure Family at

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

He's at it again

Got back from the doctor's office. Had some testing done. Big 18-year-old was supposed to have dinner all ready for us. When we arrived home, Younger Brother showed us the Spongebob popsicle he'd gotten from the ice cream man. Sorry... It'd have to wait - dinner was ready for us!

We sat down to eat the planned "Potato Bar." But, we were treated to raw potatoes... with the long, spindly roots sprouting out to the sides. Sigh. He microwaved them for a few minutes, however, and he DID wash them, I'll give him that. He claims that these potatoes were red and so he didn't know how to cook them.

Each time he cooks potatoes there's something new that he doesn't do. One time he didn't wash them and served them up a la dirt clods. Once he took them out of the microwave 30 minutes early - something we didn't discover this until guests were arriving. You see, he didn't want them to burn.

He's pulled this several times. Guess I'll have to make a cook book specifically for him. Yes! Titles will include: How to clean off the burner (and its surroundings) before setting it on high. How to boil water. How to add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to said water... He'll be the wisest guy out there! He'll be able to cook any colored potato in any microwave known in the United States!!! (Think he'd know you could cook them in the oven?)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Let's Go Ride a Horse!

Last week our boy got to visit the riding club with Partners and Pals and ride himself a pretty spotted appaloosa horse named "Dakota"

Look in the background - he's being courted by some lovely princesses!

He got to go around the ring three times! What fun!

K earned his Cowboy Hat! Then we got interviewed by the TV newsperson... our five (er...2) minutes of fame!

But, K's favorite thing to do that day:

He's a true hero.... as we all found out that day! (Apparently, K is by his friend's side at all times! He wheels him around every day and gets him to laugh!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Suspended for Two Weeks

Did you know that McDonald's suspends employees as a disciplinary measure? We just found out ourselves. Biggest boy had taken trash out the Front door (instead of back door) - oops. Yelled over the counter at a long-lost buddy - double oops. Two-week time out for him. Some day he'll get life - and work - all figured out. Until then... got any jobs that need completing? He's got some spare time on his hands.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Mom can't get away...

I've taken a medical leave of absence from work for a year or so. I didn't finish out the school year - I 'quit' 3 weeks early. I just haven't gotten over the chemo/radiation treatments. And I keep getting these cellulitis infections. So, since I'm all ready to relax, here's what I've been up to (with help from Max):

Cleaning out and rebuilding the pantry shelves.
Repairing our damaged dining and folding tables
Planting a garden
Getting the house ready for a graduation party for our middle boy
Getting invites out, taking care of graduation stuff for above-mentioned son
Finishing up my History 400 class for BYU
Reading a half-dozen books in my spare time...

Okay, since that's kept me busy, I mean "relaxed," biggest son has been acting out (up?) His belongings are sitting out on the porch right now. He volunteered for and may be shipped off for training to go to Iraq next week.....

Eldest is coming home for a week. I want to see her, but our 16-year-old is leaving that week and I wanted to be gone, too. I wanted to do genealogy in Utah. So, I've checked out our summer calendar. There aren't too many open days left. The Graduate is going to have eye surgery in Seattle in July. Hubby and babykins will be at Scout Camp last week in June... maybe I can sneak off then. Maybe.... Shhhh, don't tell anyone...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday is a Special Day...

March of Dimes Walk: Team Kamiakin - that's me in back in the white shirt
Our walking buddies

J & T just starting out. We walked the whole 6 miles!
I got up early today - couldn't sleep. Heather's cat had been missing all night. I'd gotten up every so often to go outside and call. No luck. I quickly made some signs on the computer - REWARD Lost Siamese cat..... - on my way out the door to tack them up all over the neighborhood, in walked kitty herself! Whew!

Next J and T went with me to Columbia park to walk in the March of Dimes 6 mile Walk. I hadn't intended to go the entire distance. But, we did it! It was so much fun that I want to walk/run some more :)

Next, we went to Richland so that I could do some genealogy research. I finished looking through the microfilms earlier than I thought, and J & T were thrilled to not have to wait around for me. We got home and they both got pretty for their prom dates. It's Mormon Prom tonight.

And I'm all alone! Woo hoo!!!!!!! Those two are gone, hubby and K are at a scout camporee (and haven't returned just yet) and S is gone with friends. It's just me me and me..... what fun!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Bunch of Sickos

So, Stephen has this broken collar bone. It's had two weeks to mend and last night he stood up too fast and blacked-out. Hit his shoulder again..... And Dad cracked his rib last Saturday. And Jacob's burst ear drum is leaking again (it quit for a week), and I'm running on fumes (Chemo has left me a bit exhausted.) What's a family to do?

At least the warm weather has come. It makes life just a little bit easier!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

No one's mom...

Who was it that said if we have prayers morning and night and do family home evening each and EVERY week our families would turn out all right? I don't know whether to believe it anymore. We read the scriptures daily and go to church each Sunday and Wednesday and whenever else we're needed. And as parents we go to the temple regularly..... And pray for these kidlets of ours...

So yesterday, Big Boy who is in the National Guard and FINALLY got a job 4 days ago - a good one, mind you - at Home Depot was showing off for his little high school-age friends and rolled another friend's four-wheeler.... and broke his collar bone. He's doing okay. Pretty sore. But I'm going to whine anyway:

There goes his great job (and being able to pay us back for school, car towing, lost car keys at $200 each....) there goes the quiet evenings... there goes his 3-week National Guard training in June... Hello Mom and Dad. Hello Chaos. "It's none of your business what I was doing." "I hurt." "I can't sleep." "I need some more blankets..." "I'm hungry."

I left him at the emergency room after I gave them all the insurance information, etc. He had four friends with him. He didn't "need me anymore." Okay. So I went home and worked on my homework.

I wonder what kind of person he and our others would be if he'd been raised in a different home. Yes, we chose this lot, but there are times when they're hollering, "You're not my real parents." "I hate you." "You only adopted us so you'd have someone to do all the work for you." "Call the police!" and pulling stunts like this latest one when I want to run and hide on some quiet, lonely beach (with tidepools) and pretend that I'm no one's mom.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ball, string, bead...

We have a son who is doing vision therapy. Every day. And he needs my help to accomplish this..... First of all, we swing a ball over his face (he's lying down for this.) Around and around, back and forth, front and back, cross-ways..... training his eyes to work together and track the bead that's attached to the ball. We follow this with having him track a styrofoam ball on a stick as I slowly do figure eights. Then there's some beads on a string. He has to stare at one bead and try to focus. It's quite involved and there are several other exercises involving red/green glasses. It's pretty difficult for him, even though we've been at it for over two months. After about 20 minutes, his eyes water with the effort and we have to give up for the day.

We did this about 8 years ago, too. I assumed that when he was finished back then, it was over with for good. But, apparently he needs a tune up. We first noticed this recent problem when he started driver's ed. After almost a year of practice, he wasn't being very successful. He followed cars too closely, couldn't decide when to turn left in traffic, etc. Finally, I remembered that he had told me something about his doing eye therapy if he wanted. I hadn't gone to that appointment due to chemo treatments. What I missed out on was that he was SUPPOSED to do the eye therapy. He clearly has no depth perception. Aha! So after I discussed this with one of the assistants at Pasco Vision Clinic, I finally understood what was going on.

We made an appointment and got the supplies to do the therapy at home. I told him that he needed to take the initiative and do the practicing on his own or fork over the $150 for the supplies plus the doctor's visit. Well, turns out he needs me to help, so I do. And after the first month, his eyes had improved some... but the doctor says it will be at least until June before the tune up is complete. I guess we love those we serve, so I'm really loving this guy! He's also doing Accutane - with the monthly doctor's visit for that... and will have his braces and orthodontist appointments until summer.

Up until a couple weeks ago, I was letting him drive anyway with my supervision, but after almost sideswiping a semi, I've forbidden him to drive until he graduates from high school and gets a clean bill of health from the eye doc. This is going to take a lot of work, though. And, now we have to reassemble the ball on the string. You see, the bead had popped off. I handed it to him and asked him to please put it back on. With some twisted sense of logic, he took the ball off the string.... he said something about the bead was on the back of the ball, so he had to take the string off the ball to get it back on.... I may love this guy, but I had to ask him to leave my presence before I killed him!!! Aaaaaaagh!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Do I look older? Grayer?

Our senior knocked about ten years off of my lifespan today. I insisted he drive to get some practice in. He's got a problem with depth perception and is doing vision therapy, but he did okay yesterday driving to Burbank..... He took a back road behind Safeways. There was a semi parked beside the curb. Surely he could see that! Surely he would pull around it. Surely?!

He skimmed along side of it and if I hadn't screamed and had him stop the car, we would have taken off our side view mirror! Good thing Kyle's arm wasn't hanging out the window - he'd be missing that limb if he had! Yet he insisted that he had seen the semi. Yeah, right. Seen it and almost drove right through it!

So, with me driving, we got to the bank okay. I'd spent all morning straightening out our papers and had to put them back in the safe deposit box. Then, on to Target....... Kyle wanted a toy. I let him and his brother look through the toy aisles while I did my shopping. I got back to them about 15-20 minutes later. Kyle still couldn't decide on a toy. I pleaded with him to find something quickly. I had low blood sugar. I ate a whole container of glucose tablets and he still couldn't make up his mind. After another five minutes, I asked brother to help Kyle out of the store.

That's when all hell broke loose. Kyle is 12. Granted, he's developmentally delayed. But, right there he had a rare meltdown. Screaming, flailing arms, hollering about the toy he was missing out on.... It rivaled ANYTHING a two-year-old could dish out! People came to see what the matter was. Brother finally manhandled him into the shopping cart so we could get out of there fast!

The check-out clerk asked if "we'd found everything alright?" "All but one of us did." She was a bit taken aback at Kyle's behavior. Everyone else was, too. Good thing I was in a fog with my low blood sugar - I just paid for the goods and left.

I ran out to the car and drove it up to the curb. Brother tossed him in the back seat - still screaming and fighting. Kyle disrobed and screamed all the way home. Forget about a seat belt, we were just glad to make it back without being pulled over by the police! Whew! (They say stress causes cancer. So, I may be back on chemo soon.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Deserted Island for Sale??

So, I haven't seen any deserted islands for sale in the paper. I'll have to research this some more..... I'm wanting to withdraw from the circus going on at my house!

Our oldest has gone off to live on her own - okay. We'll survive somehow without her help with Youngest who adores her to pieces. He now relies on me - of course, that's what moms are for - to entertain himself, discuss the finer points of the Star Wars and Transformer web sites he checks out, to help him "get going," and to clip his finger nails..... Yes, we miss you Oldest!

The other three have been taking turns getting tickets, experiencing soap opera dramatics and getting caught lying or stealing. What's up? They're all over sixteen! Haven't we taught them ANYTHING?? I've wondered several times if we'd let them roam the streets, skip school, experience no consequences for their actions if they would be behaving any differently than they are now.

Their consequences, of course, include me. I get to come up with all kinds of "chores" for them to pay off their fines. I get to oversee those chores. Coerce them to complete them. Listen to their rantings. Aaaaagh!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

He earned it!

Biggest Boy squished his new car a week and a half after bringing it home. So sad. There went his entire boot camp bonus. He got a job at Target during the holidays and tried to earn enough to have it fixed. But, that only paid for his insurance premiums and his cell phone. Months went by and he just couldn't afford to fix it up. He was so frustrated.

Years ago, I'd listened to a great speaker tell how to motivate a child. You simply make it worth his while. Hmmm..... The wheels upstairs started turning... we'd have him earn the parts to his car. And, what would make it "worth it" for us and still valuable to him? Completing his college classes.

Ahhhh. Go to school every day (church on Sunday) and earn points. Clean up after yourself and earn points. Do your chores completely without being reminded and earn points.....

And, with a few prompts, he began to earn points. Missed a few here and there, but basically earned enough points in two weeks to get a tire for his car. Yea! We were both happy. (I didn't realize that tires cost $150, but oh, well. Now he's got wheels!)

His car was driveable! He was a free man. Happy as could be. Well. For less than 24 hours, when he was pulled over for speeding. Clocked at nine miles over the speed limit. Well, now, I'd say he earned it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Miracles never cease!

This morning, just as the kids arrived to school, one of the Life Skills kids rocked back in the recliner and hit the fire alarm cover. That didn't set off the alarm, but when the teacher tried to put everything right, it did go off.... sending the entire school out on the field in freezing February weather!

That included us - we were in the cafeteria and hadn't yet fed our boys their breakfast. We heard on the security radio that the alarm was tripped by someone in our classroom, but we had to go out anyway. We carried the boys' gear out and fed them along the way. Bob was howling and unsteady on his feet from his medications; Stevie was cooperative for a change.

We met up with the teacher and a substitute shepherding the kids to their assigned area. Actually, two of our aides were out today and another one wasn't scheduled to arrive until second hour. Thankfully, Mikey hadn't arrived yet and Smiley didn't make it in at all. Getting his wheelchair out on the field might have made things awfully difficult for the teacher with the other eight kids in tow.

Mikey is autistic. Sounds - ordinary noises like the dishwasher, microwave beeps, ringing phones or static on the intercom - throw him for a loop. He bangs his head and screams because it hurts his sensitive ears. So, imagine what an unexpected fire alarm would do to him. We were justifiably worried when his care provider pulled up in the drop-off area. Luckily they waited in the car until it was over.

We returned to class to find two firemen and a security guard inside the room resetting the alarm. In order to do that, they made all kinds of racket including setting off the alarm again. And Mikey? He was calmly scanning the Sunday ads I had brought - apparently a favorite distraction for him... Miracles never cease! (Was it a coincidence that I had thought to pray for him that morning? "Please bless Mikey to be calm and help Bob and Stevie to have a good day." You just never know what to expect when you work in Life Skills. But, God knows and cares for his children - each and every one!)

In the meantime, I'm going to have words with those other aides... sick days shouldn't be allowed if the fire alarm is going to be tripped.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"Oh, my aching ....cholesterol?"

Had a chuckle today. Our teenage son just started taking Accutane. We're hoping that it will help his acne. The treatment lasts six months. If..... you agree to sign your life away!

We did. He and I signed our initials every couple of lines agreeing that we had been told about the side effects. The agreement went on for pages. We were told in every way possible that there might be side effects to Accutane. Some of these include depression. Dry skin. Dry lips. Sunburn. Aches & joint pain. But, of course, since he's a guy he won't have the obvious side effect of birth defects to an unborn child.

They will be checking his blood cholesterol levels each month, too. They can get quite high. Which isn't really a problem since it's such a short treatment regime. But, they will put you on cholesterol-lowering drugs in certain situations. Was all this clear? Did we understand? We were registered with the manufacturers and given a bright yellow card which allows us to get this prescription. Whew! I'm not sure if a military background check is as intense!

But, we were excited. And Bud agreed to go for it, too. The nurse shared with us her own personal experience with Accutane: first month her acne was worse, she had dry lips, aches & pain for which she took ibuprofen, and she even had the high cholesterol. He heard that part loud and clear. He was worried, but we talked about it and discussed his worries over the next few days while we waited for the prescription registration to be finished. We prayed. Dad gave him a father's blessing.

After two doses, he loved that his acne was going down. Yea! But there was this lingering concern brewing..... Sunday, he told us he wasn't well. Things weren't right with him. What was up? "This medicine is making me sick. My cholesterol is going up."

"Yes, your cholesterol might go up. But it's only for a short while and that's okay. It will go back to normal when you stop the medicine."

"But the nurse's went up to 330! Mine could be really high. I'm not feeling very well."

Good grief.

"People die from it."

Who says information is good? This twisted tidbit was plain toxic!

"Listen, Bud, you can't feel high cholesterol. I promise you. You would never know if your cholesterol was high or low and yours was way low when they checked it."


"Bud, cholesterol is fat in the bloodstream. It coats your blood vessels. After years and years - fifty years maybe - your vessels start closing off. You might have a heart attack, then you might die. Honest. You don't feel cholesterol. Really."

It took some doing, but we finally convinced him. Oh, his aching cholesterol.......

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round.....

My work at the high school includes taking daily transit bus rides with my one-on-one student. He's handicapped and non-verbal. Another aide takes her student out as well. He likes to clap. Last year there were three of us with students. The rides take about two hours and are often entertaining; depending on who's driving and who our fellow passengers are. (There are more of the latter since the price of gas went up to $4/gallon last summer.) We often see the Knitting Guy who has knitted us hats in our school's colors. There is the woman who is on the library route who wears a tall, bouffant hairdo and boisterous clothing. There are the immigrants who go to the training center and learn English and how to navigate through society. The cute little kids with parents in tow. And the old lady who openly expresses her dislike for our students.

Usually we get kind, patient drivers. It takes us a bit to get the students on and off as they aren't eager to change buses or return to the classroom. Mine also likes to howl when he's uncomfortable (a lot!) or stand up at inopportune times. We bring bribes with us to help out. The best ones are gummy bears and cheez-it crackers. But, we're not supposed to eat on the bus, so we keep these to a minimum and make sure we don't leave a mess. (Chocolate crackers are NOT a good idea!) Bus Driver Kimmie was so nice - she brought surprise treats for our boys at the end of one school year. Other drivers are grouchy, including one who, ironically, is the spitting image of Santa Claus. He inspects our transfers thoroughly to make sure they haven't expired. And some drivers wear shorts in the middle of winter and then keep the heat turned up so high that we start sweating! What's with that?

The other aide, Sherry, knows the routes inside and out. She remembers the arrival times, the bus numbers and basically keeps us on schedule. Though I've been doing this for almost three years and have got the basics down, I managed to get us on the wrong bus once when she was absent. After traveling around for our standard hour, we hopped on the 120West. Just as the driver was about to leave the transfer center, she announced that we were headed to West Richland. Oops! Wrong bus. We got off, but missed the 120East and had to wait a half hour for the next one.

My student was NOT happy. He won't sit and wait and it was extremely cold and windy. We walked back and forth around the empty center. We shivered. The other aide saw us near a Dial-A-Ride bus that pulled up and figured we were going to get to sit inside that bus for a while. When she and her student came over, I knocked on the bus door. The driver opened for us and we chatted. Jokingly, we asked if he was for hire and told him of our plight. When no offer was forthcoming, I point-blank asked if we could sit on his bus until ours came in 20 minutes. I had to beg - "pleeeeeeeeease!" He finally relented and the four of us jumped aboard. Stevie liked the seat belts. We all loved the warmth and conversation. The next east-bound bus arrived on schedule and we thanked the driver for "saving us" and headed back to school. We were late, of course, (and the teacher couldn't believe we were dense enough to make that kind of mistake!)

That wasn't our only memorable trip, however. We usually go to such destinations as Pasco's Farmer's Market, Viera's Bakery, the Library, Target, the Mall (to put quarters into the candy machines!), McDonald's or Pizza Hut. Anything to get the students out and "gain status" in the community. Once we were returning from visiting another high school and the police pulled us over. The driver was instructed not to open the doors or allow anyone off. While two officers stood outside the exits, another entered and walked down the aisle. He stopped beside a young, ordinary-looking fellow and asked him to get off. The bus was required to wait while he was searched and handcuffed. Whew! We surmised that since he'd gotten on at Freddies, he may have shoplifted something. You just never know who might be sitting beside you. Right Stevie? Stevie? He's fallen asleep, so I guess we'll just ride to West Richland and back. No transfers - just lots of scenery.

Friday, January 9, 2009


We've been inundated with snow the past 3 weeks. It's unusual for our town whose name translates from Native American to "green grassy place" - the wintering grounds for those early inhabitants.

We get snow here maybe once a year. Even if it's just a handful of flakes. Sometimes it's even white for Christmas. And it gets cold in January and February, but nothing like when we lived in Colorado or Utah. In the nine years we lived in Colorado, we usually had snow in September and occasionally on into May and once June. When we moved up here, our boy prayed for snow all winter. He was mostly disappointed. No snowmen. No snow forts... Finally, on his February birthday, 1993, it snowed. And snowed. And snowed. We got over two feet of snow that time. Our 4-year-old was so thrilled that God had answered his prayers!

But, the catch was... all that snow belonged to him... the four-year-old. He was outraged that people were out "using" the snow in their own front yards. Certainly it was all his and it had arrived exclusively for his own use!

Moving to the Pacific Northwest from the Rockies had its other quirks. They don't have snow plows in great abundance like they did in Boulder. I think that for years there was only one for the entire area. And, they have "two-hour delays" and "snow days" at school whenever a few flakes fall. On one occasion, it actually snowed about 1/2", but the green grass was still showing through. I drove our kindergartner to school only to discover the parking lot was empty. We turned around and went home. We called the neighbors. Ah.... the infamous school closure. We were supposed to have been listening to the radio that morning to find out about such things. Granted, the roads had been slick, but still... we had quite a few laughs over that.

Speaking of Colorado. We lived there on a corner lot with lots of sidewalk to shovel. The prevailing thought was that the walks all had to be cleared within a certain number of hours after a snowfall or you, as homeowner, would be liable for any injuries received in front of your home. We were as diligent as could be and always got out early to shovel the entire corner. And just like clockwork, the snow plows would come around afterwards and use our cleared walk as a guide to plow our street - and pile all the snow high over our once-cleared walks. Every time. We could never outsmart them.

At least we were able to get out - after tunneling through the snow wall they would leave behind. Because we lived on a "major" thoroughfare and it would get cleared. The back streets weren't as lucky. But, in one little town north of us, the residents all contributed their time and plowed the neighborhoods after each snowfall. That way the residential areas all got plowed. What community spirit!

On the other hand, in Denver one year when Frederico Pena was mayor, there was a huge dumping of snow. It paralyzed the entire metro area for days. The mayor had a brilliant solution: have the trash trucks roll up and down the streets to pack the snow down. Everyone thought he was nuts. But, wouldn't you know, when Clinton was elected president, he appointed this guy Secretary of Transportation. I've often wondered what other "innovative" ideas he shared with that Democratic cabinet.

And with that, I'm just going to sleep in.. because the schools are running on a two-hour delay for the 5th day in a row. Go snow!