Sunday, December 27, 2009

Home For Christmas

For the first time in the 12 years Scott and I have known each other, neither of us got on a plane to go somewhere for Christmas. I also did not have to juggle a Christmas work schedule and both sets of our kids Grandparents were with us during the holiday. All of these things made Christmas awesome.Annie was so excited for Santa to come, she made individual baggies with carrots for ALL nine reindeer with their names on it.We also had lots of fun at our cousins' house (just a short car ride away).

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snowed In

We woke up yesterday to a true Minnesota snowfall. Problem is DC doesn't have the MN equipment so getting anywhere was challenging. Although Scott and I were laughing at the panic that had set in to the area with full wall to wall coverage on all the news stations and everything was canceled before the first flake flew.

Today things are bright and sunny, but there is a lot of talk of school being canceled tomorrow.
My sister had her annual Christmas party last night which turned into a neighborhood party with one guest from Springfield (me). Even with a power outage in the middle of it, it could not stop this gang who are used to the Christmas time treat at the English House.
I got an early Christmas present. It actually arrived the week after Thanksgiving when I got a call someone wanted to hire me. So I will start a new job January 4th. But the whole thing went like it usually does in our household. Let me set the scene for you.

I was cleaning out the vacuum cleaner about 7:30 at night when the phone rang.
"Sue Turner"
"This is Wayne Lynch from Northwest Cable News in Seattle."
Thinking: Great, Seattle. Wrong Washington what do you want? But instead I said..
"We are looking for a reporter in our DC bureau."
Rapidly going through the zillions of job applications I filled out in my head and not finding that particular job I said:
"Are you thinking of me for that job???"
"Uh, yes...that's why I'm calling you."
"Oh FANTASTIC! What can I do for you?"
"Well is this a good time? Are you eating dinner?"
"No we just finished."
"Oh, what did you have?"
"We had meatloaf."
"Meatloaf. I love meatloaf."
Getting friendlier all the time I said, "yes, we had meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peas." (It was a rare night for us.)
"Oh I love it."
"Yes, now about that job.."
Turns out my new boss Wayne got my tape from one of the news directors at a station here where he used to work. A small world, God has a plan, and yes I did send that person a thank you note after I was hired.
After a few phone interviews and an audition downtown at the capitol with the two people currently in the bureau I was hired. I will do mostly congressional stories for their stations which are in:
Dallas, TX; Houston, TX; Austin, TX; St. Louis, MO; Seattle, WA; Portland, OR; Tuscon, AZ; Phoenix, AZ; Norfolk, VA; Louisville, KY; New Orleans, LA; Boise, ID; Spokane, WA; San Antonio, TX; and Charlotte, NC.
The bureau has just moved to a new building with lots of other bureaus with a handful of people. During my audition it was fun watching the folks from the Great Britain news bureau cheer on their soccer team in the world cup qualifying rounds.
Getting everything set up to report from the capitol or even the congressional office buildings to all these stations in different time zones is no small miracle.
For me, I'm looking forward to a nice change of pace from standing outside in the cold getting frost bite and telling people not to go outside.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Dr. Will See You Now...

E-man went back to the eye doctor Tuesday and he thought E-man's eye looked great. It is healing and you can tell it is more open than before. This is good news since with the last surgery it was already back to its original state at this time.
The eye Dr. is a funny guy who seemed to take a liking to E-man. Maybe it was the fact E-man wanted to examine his eyes or that he kept telling Dr. Parelhoff his slanted drawer with the eye glasses was broken. It could be the fact that he arrived for his preop in his full soccer gear complete with cleats, shinguards, and mud. He constantly wanted to play with the equipment and Dr. Parelhoff and I had several conversations with E-man about the length of medical school.

We got a big kick out of the Dr. who sang Annie to Annie at one point. On surgery day he came into the toy waiting room, where 10 one-years-olds were squirming about waiting to get tubes in their ears, and checked E-man out before he went back to the operating room.
On this latest appointment, E-man put all his money in a bucket and brought it with him convinced he wanted to buy a toy in the pharmacy. There is a small section of toys there and he wouldn't even let us go into the Dr.'s office until he had scouted them out. I had another intention that we had to get this done and get home before Abegail came home from school. So I let E-man pick out his treat FIRST. He picked a bag of balloons. I knew where this was going. But sometimes accepting the fact you have lost control is comforting.

E-man opened the bag and began to blow a balloon up. He couldn't tie it himself and when he asked me to tie it, I said absolutely not.
"Please Mommy. I will just hold it. I won't bounce it or throw it....please mommy, please mommy...MOMMY, Mommy, mommy, MOMMMY, MOMMMY, MOMMY"

By the time we got in the exam room Annie and E-man were engaged in a full Volleyball tournament with multiple balloons. I patted myself on the back for keeping them away from the eye examination equipment.
Dr. Parelhoff walked in pretending to be stunned. Knowing Dr. Parelhoff I started laughing. He quickly regained control of his patient and the exam proceeded.
"Are you putting ointment on his eye?"
"No he won't let us," I replied.
"Who's in charge here?" He said. "Is the fox hen running the den?"
"Totally," I said. "You've seen us three times, you are just figuring that out now?"
He gave E-man a lecture about having nice skin which of course now E-man is all about.
Amazingly, Dr. Parelhoff wants us to come back and see him again.
We walked out to schedule our next appointment and realized E-man left his glasses in the exam room.
I go back to get them and waiting for Dr. Parelhoff is a lovely looking mother with a three year old daughter sitting on her lap like a china doll. I do believe there was a halo circling both of their heads.
"Dr. Parelhoff is going to love you guys," I said.Last night we all went downtown and went inside the National Botanical Gardens where they have a train set up and its all decorated for Christmas. Of all the times I've done sightseeing in DC I've never gone inside the gardens. It's well worth the trip.The girls have substituted Gymnastics for Ballet this fall. They have two weeks left. They've loved it, but it is a hard sport. Parents aren't even allowed in the gym cause its too dangerous. Oh that's comforting and more importantly cramped my picture taken ability which had to be done from this outside window.

Sorting out Kid Code:

E-man: Mommy, do you have that lion that gets food out of your mouth?
Mommy thinking: It's finally happened, I've gone crazy and no one thought to seek medical treatment. I regrouped and said:
"The lion that gets food out of your mouth???"
E-man makes a motion: "yea, the liooonnnnnnnnne that gets food out of your mouth."
Mommy: Oh you mean dental floss?
E-man: Is it the string?
Mommy: Yes
E-man: Yea.
Mommy: Sure thing, coming right up.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Awesome All Stars

Abegail had her All Star tournament this weekend. They played a total of 7 games. The above picture is after their first game, a 2-1 win.
Then they saw the mascot of the Freedom team
This is early Saturday A.M. as the tournament is just beginning. They had a total of 12 players, only ten got in the picture along with their three awesome coaches. From left to right is Laura's brother Alex & main coaches Laura & Stanley who have a daughter on the team.
There were a total of four games on Saturday and they made it to all three games on Sunday since they made it to the championship game! That means a lot of time to kill between games.
With lots of snacks for all!
Everyone is still holding up well before the second game on Sunday
They won the second game in a shoot-out which meant they made it to the final game
Mom had her traditional moments when she ran down her battery trying to keep E-man out of the mud, watching DVD's in the van. But luckily the soccer Dad next to us jumped us and had us back in business in no time.
Overall they came in second! With 5 wins, 1 tie, and a loss of 1-0 in the last game. They were awesome!
The first and second place teams of the tournament.
The real winners!
When we knew Abegail's team was going to the Championships, I called Scott at work and asked if there was any way he could make it to the game. He came through for us which made Abegail extremely happy! It was the first game he got to see her play since we moved.
Abegail had an awesome tournament, she scored three goals and got a well deserved trophy. She is amazing to watch and I am so proud to be her Mom. It's so fun to see how fast she is on the field, watching her play is one of my new favorite things to do! Unfortunately now the season is over and I have to wait until next spring to see her play.
Quotes from Annie:
Abegail: Do you want another sister?
Annie: No, I like my Abby sissy.
Abegail: Yea, but do you wish you could have another sister too?
Annie: Only if she was a black sister.

A Rare Picture

Emmanuel had his eye surgery on Friday and the anesthesia knocked him out for several hours. He is doing pretty well but he has a very sore and swollen eye. We are hoping for the best. Having been through this before, he was a true champ waking up from surgery and was one of the best behaved boys there!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Hair Thing

When we were in the process of adopting everyone wanted to talk to us/me about black hair. Black hair is very different from white hair. It doesn't grow fast at all, it is coarse, and for Abegail hard to comb out.
But black people worship their hair. To them it is their crown. In Liberia people didn't have food, water, or plumbing but they had perfect hair. Many women spent their days braiding and rebraiding hair. When we looked at the schedule at the AFAA house there was almost as much time allowed for hair braiding as there was for school.
I didn't get it. I don't care about hair. I don't care about my own hair. To me fixing a head of hair came in one word: PONYTAIL.
I did get the black hair products, it's important to keep the scalp moisturized, and keeping the hair in tight braids will help it grow.
Black women would still come up to me and give me advice and tips on Abegail's hair.
But what I didn't realize was we got off easy in Minnesota. On the East Coast there are more black people, more black moms, and they do not approve of how I am taking care of or rather not taking care of Abegail's hair.
I was at a soccer practice talking with a mom of one of Abegail's teammates and a woman came up to me and told me we needed a deep soak of pink lotion on Abegail's head. "You can buy it anywhere." After she left, the mom said, "what was that all about?" I said, "Oh I don't do Abegail's hair right, I get about one woman a month desperately trying to educate me about Abegail's hair." She said, "Wow if someone came up to me and told me how to do Liza's hair I'd be irate." "Yea, its the hair thing. I just listen and move on."
But this week it happened: I was having one of those weeks where even with my curve my grades as a mom were not that good. Abegail usually comes home with our neighbor but our neighbor was sick that day so I went to find her at school since it was rainy and cold.
She missed me or I missed her and I found her walking up the hill in front of our house as I was coming back home.
She stopped me. "Mom there's a woman who wants to talk to you. She's black."
"I can handle it," I said.
So I go up to the woman. She had followed Abegail home to find me.
She starts off, "Are you her mom?"
"Is she adopted?"
I glanced at my skin and said, "Yes."
Then she started, "Well you know black hair is hard. I know of a great shop at 395 and Little River Turnpike and I want to take you there. You can get all the things you need. Lotion which will smooth out her hair, they even have a salon in the back. When would you like to go? What does tomorrow look like for you?"
"Uhhhhhhh.....I am volunteering at two Grace Art classes tomorrow at school."
"I'll come help you," she says. "Then after school we'll go to the salon."
Thinking of about a thousand things I thought were more important than the hair salon I stuttered, "Uh, ok."
Then I asked, "Did you bring Abegail home?"
"Oh no," she says. "I didn't want to overstep my bounds since I didn't know you."
Now I don't know if I have a vitamin deficiency, if I haven't breathed in enough East Coast air, or I have just used up all of my rational brain cells. But I found myself confused at that statement. Then it occurred to me, I bet this woman is chairman of the bus driver appreciation committee.
So yesterday after school I followed her to the shop. And she took us back to the salon. Four women from Sierra Leone, which is directly north of Liberia, all perched over heads braiding and tugging at hair.
Miss Tara introduced us and the women who were all over Abegail.
"Oh...ABAA--GAIL..." In the accent E-man had when he first came home. "You come you pretty girl, what style would you like?"
Abegail looked through a book and picked one.
I called Scott, "We'll be home Tuesday, possible Wednesday."
has had some hairstyles that have taken longer than some of the marathons I have run. This is not because I'm a fast runner.
But Miss Marie started on Abegail's hair. Meanwhile other women looked like they were running a marathon. They should have chiropractors and water stations at black hair shops. Necks are turned in ways they should not go.
An older woman comes in unsure what to do with her hair. She goes to buy some extensions or half a wig (not the official name) and comes back and waits and waits and waits. Finally she says, "I'll come back tomorrow." But Tutu says, "no, stay, we are almost finished."
These women are on African time, the woman waiting is not. 45 minutes later she still was not in their chair and I could feel her anxious energy. It did not bother the women doing hair one bit. They all chatted about their babies and their fros and to me they would say, "I hope you go to my country."
An hour and a half after the woman had been anxious to get started she was finally in the chair. I asked her what her name was, "Mrs. Green." Oh, I said feeling very much at home and friendly with all my new black friends, "what is your first name?" It's MRS. OK then.
Turns out Mrs. Green didn't like the 1/2 wig she had bought and when we left she was still deciding what to buy and how to style her hair.
Two hours into Abegail's marathon I decided to try on wigs. I could use a new hairdo even if I don't care.
"Uh Miss, you need a wig cap to wear those."
"Oh and I suppose they are for black people too??"
Finally after three hours, Abegail has a beautiful new hairdo. She has been looking in the mirror so long they had to windex it half way through.
If we can just get her out of the bathroom now.
OK Miss Tara you were right, Abegail's hair looks better, thanks for looking after 'your people.'

Here We Go Again
E-man is going to have another eye surgery next Friday. The doctor here says he's not surprised the first one didn't work because his muscle is so damaged. This time they are going to try and attach the eye lid muscle to the forehead muscle with string (obviously not the medical term). I told them to have extra popsicles on hand.

Quotes from Annie on Veterans Day:

Annie: Daddy, today is a special day
Daddy: Yes, it is. What day is it?
Annie: I forgot.
(guess they cover that part in first grade)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Meet Alice: Our Newest Member of the Family

Mommy's minivan mobile, was not doing so well. He made loud noises when you turned him on, he did not like going up hills, his brakes grinded to the floor, the Minnesota winters showed its wear and tear so much that you could actually see the outside through the rust. When E-man or I kicked it, metal came crashing to the ground. Plus it smelled like old soccer cleats.
Last Thursday Scott went on the search for a new minivan that would be fitting for a soccer mom. He found one and appropriately after soccer practice all five us headed to the dealership.
He let me drive it there but as we got to the dealership he informed me, "I don't think you are allowed to drive it yet so you'll have to take it on a pretend test drive." OK Scott, you might have told me that before I turned all the stations to country music. But this is minor in the whole process. Close your eyes and imagine Emmanuel in a car show room.
"Mommy, look at that truck, look at the jeep, look at that car, you see those tires?"
The manager is trying to make it quick, "we have a deal?"
But Emmanuel will not let this deal be done, "Mommy ask him how much the pick-up truck is?" It was bright, shiny red, a beautiful pick-up truck if I don't say so myself.
The manager is trying to tell us how great Alice is how much she will retain her value even with 67-thousand miles....but...MOMMY, ASK THE MAN HOW MUCH THE PICK-UP TRUCK IS??
Excuse me, I bring E-man over to the pick-up. "E-man, it's $45,528." E-man tells me he has six dollars. "Do I have enough?" he asks. "Uh, almost I say, you just need $45,522 more dollars. "Is that a lot?" he asks. "Yes and then you'll have to save up for taxes, title, and licensing fees. You do have insurance right?" E-man wants to climb in the truck, maybe if the salesman sees how good he looks in it... just keep playing soccer and some day you can buy the red pick-up truck.
We continue to negotiate with the manager. I say, "will you give us something for our van?" He says, "how many miles are on it?" I said, "167,000." "Does the air conditioner work?" "Yes." That's all he asked. He says, "Cosco closes in eight minutes so we have a deal but I'm taking a gamble on your van."
"Uh, yes you are," I say.
Then comes the finance part. It takes a long time these days and wherever we go we are not quiet. A sales lady walks by and I say, "I bet you know what car we're buying, a convertible!" She looks at me sadly, "or a minivan," I say.The finance guy takes twice as long because Emmanuel is asking if he can drive the guy's computer. We were in there so long we finally decided to take a picture. What an endearing (translation: obnoxious) family we must be.
Finally we are able to leave with Alice. Abegail has named Alice, after her mom. She says then her mom will be with us wherever we go. I told her so will Daddy's grandmother. That was her name too.
Alice has such a sweet disposition. She plays movies and the kids don't talk when we go places. Her doors close with a push of the button. And when you step on her brakes she stops.
As we are leaving the sweet sales guy goes to turn on my van. The gas light and check engine light had come on as I pulled into the dealership. There were leftover granola bars and Halloween candy around it not to mention dirt from most of the soccer fields in Fairfax County. I yelled out, "I'm sorry." He started laughing, "that's OK, just enjoy that new van. Oh we will!" C'mon Alice, take us home.
Quotes from Annie:
A: Mommy, how old is Alice?
M: She is four, she was born in 2005
A: Hi car, I'm five.
Hear No Evil See No Evil:
We are having a banner year when it comes to the hearing and seeing screenings at school:
Annie can't see, Abegail can't hear, and E-man can't see or hear. Unfortunately none of the kids are mute.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bobbing for Apples, The Pirates Wife, and More

Mom standing in the rain with no umbrella

E-man was Batman, I could not get a picture of him standing still. Abegail was Gabriel from High School Musical, and Annie was Thumbelina. My Mom and Dad came down for the occasion and suprised everyone with costumes. They went as pirates. It's the first time I've ever seen my Mom without her real hair. No one knew who she was. People kept saying to her "we haven't met before. " No worries all is back to normal today. Trick or Treating was exceptional. With every house, parts of costumes landed in my paws. E-man made new friends and allowed himself inside most houses. I hate to always rag on him, but I do have to laugh at some of the things he does, call it poor coping skills.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Abegail's Soccer Banquet

Abegail had her soccer banquet last night. Her last game is tomorrow. I have grown to love her team and their families. There is even a family on her team who are originally from Minnesota. The girls are adorable and the families supportive and wonderful. We are sad to see it end. Thankfully Abegail will be with her awesome coaches for three more weeks because SHE MADE THE ALL STAR TEAM!

E-man made a Halloween box for us to pass out candy. Obviously since he can fit in it, its a bit big but "Mommy I made holes so you can see out of it."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You'll Be Missed

Despite the pending federal charges, I must say the balloon boy's Dad has got me thinking. Wouldn't it be great if I could just send E-man up in a helium balloon when he had a big mad? I have actually been day dreaming about it since it happened. It would be at least a six hour break depending on how far he traveled. I probably wouldn't even mind the helicopters buzzing above or the ransacking of my house as authorities searched for my poor six year old boy that took off in a balloon.

E-man too is fascinated with the story. From the day it happened we came home and he said, "did the boy fall out of the balloon?" I said, "no he wasn't in the balloon." E-man asked, "where was he?" "He was in a box in the attic," I said. "So he didn't get to go up in the balloon?" E-man asks. "No," I said. E-man was absolutely awestruck thinking about the possibility.

Today we went to the grocery store and E-man would not leave the balloon aisle. He was there so long the manager finally came over and tried to give him a cookie. E-man did not want a cookie, he wanted a helium balloon. So she let him pick out what balloon he wanted in exchange for the promise that he would listen to me until he was 18 years old. E-man appropriately picked the balloon with the right travel logo, "you'll be missed." Annie also got a balloon. (Abegail was at school) About 18 seconds later the manager caught E-man under the shopping cart with his balloon and I was pleading with him to get out. The manager then reiterated, "I thought you made me a promise, you must listen to mom until you are 18. " I really think its so cute how people try to help, if it was just a balloon that would make the world right for E-man, but I play along, people try to be so nice.

So we got home and E-man had me take pictures of him and his balloon. I told him, if he let it go it would be gone. Inevitably, he let it go about 18 minutes after we got home. This entire time we had not talked about balloon boy, but when the balloon took off E-man yelled, "it's going to be on TV!" To which I responded, "it's not going to be on TV, and we don't need a reality show. Everywhere we go, you make us a living reality show." At which point he tried to steal Annie's balloon and promise that RIGHT NOW I would go get him another one.

I was going to send this picture out as my Christmas card saying something to the effect of "Peace, Joy, Love...blah blah blah ...and the magic of grading on a curve. When my sister came up with a better caption. She said this is the VISA commercial:
"Three clearly annoyed children."

Quotes From E-man:
E: Mommy, do you have grandparents?
M: Yes, but they all died.
E: They all died? Where are they?
M: They are in heaven.
E: What are they doing there?
M: They are playing bridge.
E: What's bridge?
M: It's a card game grandparents used to play. They liked to play cards just like you.