Monday, December 15, 2008

When it rains, it pours...

One of the things that I love to think about is all of the great, funky medical bits I'm exposed to with my children. The latest is a diagnosis of torticollis with my daughter, Gwenn. Here is what a website has to say about torticollis:

What is torticollis?
Torticollis is a twisted and tilted neck. When your
child has torticollis, he cannot move his neck very much, and holds his head to
one side. His chin might point up a little bit. Torticollis can appear
temporarily and go away again, but it can also be present at birth
There are several different types of torticollis:

Temporary torticollis (selecting only the one that Miss G has...)
For most children, torticollis goes away after a day or two. All your child
may need is some rest, and perhaps a towel wrapped around his neck to keep him
still. This temporary problem sometimes happens when your child’s
are hot and swollen (inflamed) after he has had an ear infection or a
cold. Torticollis can also develop if your child hurts his head or neck
and the joints between the bones in the neck swell and become sore.

Gwenn is now sporting a very styling cervical collar, worn backwards because she is so little that even the small one from the office was too big for her. Lucky girl! I'll try to get a picture with the collar tonight!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mypods and Boomsticks

You know, I love the Simpsons. After the most recent episode, I love them even more. Not sure what my favorite part is except potentially about Steve investing all his money in Microsoft stock... Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Election season is over. My candidate was elected, and it's back to the daily grind of work, doctor appointments, school meetings, house keeping and other super exciting things like that . Not that I'm complaining. It's easier to focus on these things knowing that I'll have someone in the White House for the next 4 years that will hopefully work to make the last eight years worth slogging through.

I'm especially looking forward to seeing what happens with health care changes. Granted, not much can be done right now when we are incurring a billion dollars a day in costs for a war that we should never have been involved in, and when we are spending trillions to bail out banks and mortgage companies with failed policies. But - once we have dealt with some of the unfinished business (can I call it dirty laundry?) - I look forward to seeing what will happen.

As a parent of a child with moderate to significant needs, a chill goes down my back when I think about where I would be if it were not for the outstanding medical coverage my employer offers. I don't have co-payments for medical visits, medication or specialists. Those three ER trips a few weeks back? No co-payment. The visit by the on-call doctor at 3am last month? No charge. I am so thankful, and aware of it at this Thanksgiving time, of what a blessing I have in my employment and medical benefits. And for all of the parents who have children with similar or more impacted children with needs, I will pray for them this thanksgiving - and be truly thankful for what I have.

Gwenn is now two months in with the PEG feeding tube, and will go in for surgery to remove it next month and have a mic-key button placed in it's place. That should make all of us happier. However, she is on her fourth round of antibiotics, and frankly I'm hoping that this ongoing infection is gone prior to the surgery - I don't want it delayed.

We have also made progress with the doctors, although not what I would like. We met with Dr. H, a geneticist who is helping us try to solve the mystery of Gwenn. Agreeing that there are far too many things going on for it not to have a common cause, they are going to help us. Initially they will look into metabolic, genetic and chromosomal deficiencies in hopes of finding something. I continue to go through a fairly complete list of 800+ genetic and metabolic disorders one by one in hopes of finding something, probably obscure, that sounds like what we deal with - and could allow us to finally identify the little demon we fight.

Thankfully Gwenn's sisters are amazingly patient with her. As she has recently changed medication, that patience has been called on. Ella is amazing, and has really stepped up. Lucy plugs along with everything, although I have to work hard to ensure that she does not try to emulate those habits of Gwenn's which we are trying to neutralize. She is such a little parrot, that while it helps with speech and motor skills, the social skills may be slipping a bit.

I've found that I have been lacking for time recently, and I'm hoping that I will get some back to spend doing some much needed game playing, cuddling and reading with the girls over the weekend. I'll also be in touch with some friends who have been in my thoughts recently.

To Lorna - you are an amazing woman. You deal with so much more than I could ever imagine, and never run out of patience or a sense of humor. You are my "patient mom" role model. Many of my friends know Lorna, and dealing with a child with a terminal illness (without a timeline) is a stressful piece of work - and yet Lorna not only maximizes every day, she still understands that despite a frightening diagnosis that there is so much life to live, and that doctors are often wrong. Know that we here in Seattle are constantly praying for all of you, and that Gwenn tells me that she too "hates mito"...

To my friend S - who I will leave anonymous for now. You are a pillar of strength. You are a fantastic parent, and will continue to be a fantstic parent as a single parent. I'm here when you need me.

So many others to be thankful for - D&H, Sandy & Jim, Sundie, Sharon, Libby, Karin, my mom and so many more. While I don't get time to think about it while I'm running myself ragged, I really do have it so good. Thanks for all you all do for support...

That's it from me for tonight. Remember on the eve of Thanksgiving during these turbulent times, that we need to focus on what we do have and the many blessing that we do have. One of my favorite songs that the Hopeful Gospel Quartet sings is the song "Count Your Blessings" - which goes something like this:
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will suprise you what God has done....

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Obama Rocks the White House

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tell me it isn't so!!!!!!!

Simply the most brilliant piece of viral marketing for pass-on that I have seen in years. I have so few other words - but I'm trying to send to everyone right now... get the message??? If you don't have it from me - don't worry - you will soon....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Waaaassssssup? Change …

The new....

and the old....

Friday, October 24, 2008


You know, there are times when it just gets so busy, that you can't think about doing much of anything. That is definately where I've been the last few weeks.

As a note regarding business, before we go anywhere else, I want to thank Cheryl again for the gift of the post-it organizer that she gave to me almost six months ago. I think without that, I would not see my desk for all the notes and thoughts that would be piled on it. Instead I have the coolest organizer (I'll add a pic later) that is indespensible... Thanks!
So. First off, there have been many changes around the house. I had planned on more updates quite frankly, but the economy has me freaked out (well - I think that is just about all of us in the country) so I'm not doing so much. But, some long-awaited items are now dealt with.
Frst, here are the pictures of the baseboards that are now installed. I have to say - after four years without baseboards - they look even better than I had imagined. The new doors still rock, but the baseboards make me feel so good! Dorky huh?

This is just a small piece - they are in all over upstairs now - and hopefully next spring I can replace the other doors in the house, and the baseboards downstairs as well. I dream about that day. (God, but it's the truth... instead of dreaming of foreign men, I dream about men with or without beer bellies who fix up my house and do handyman work...)

I have found a great handyman who works with another that I had already used (actually neither have beer bellies, but I guess that is just a bonus). The other big piece that they did is almost as exciting. If you have ever been in my garage you will know that it was an electrical mess. There was one outlet for everything, and frankly I had doubted if it was legal wiring. Well, G (the secret handyman whose identify I won't reveal for fear of having too much business and never seeing him again) was able to add 5 lights, and 7 electical sockets in the garage. I tell you, it was pretty cool. I now have my own electrical tester unit - and have now discovered most outlets in the house are not wired correctly. Note to self to install the new fire detectors this weekend. If something goes wrong it will be from the crappy electric work I paid for when I moved in. Here is the garage:

In addition, this week the last of the big projects was done - a new side fence with gate to replace the moldy oldy that was falling apart. Mom - these pictures are for you. Doesn't it look nice?
This past week I travelled to CO on business, and was able to meet up with my newest neice, Hayden. She is pretty damn cute, I have to say. Now the next order of business is to get my brother to marry the mother sometime here in the future, after we get him a better job with a future and a decent paycheck... I'm still watching out for you, bro... Here are those pics of Miss Hayden Peterson:

I travelled to MN early this month for my 20th college reunion. Really. It was great - I felt OLD (stunning) - and while classmates were talking about getting their kids ready for college, I was able to find one or two other classmates who I could talk about potty training with.

A special thanks goes out to Karen L. for finally returning my copy of "The Mind Parasites" which I purchased on a trip to the Soviet Union my junior year. She agreed that it was a good book, but didn't want to be one of those people who don't return books. Thanks so much, and I've already started to read it again.

At the reunion we were able to watch the football game (we lost - not much has changed in 20 years), drink heavily with friends (no photo evidence), and visit with the kids of friends. Here are some pics from the weekend:

Before more updates on Gwenn, I thought this picture would be great. This is Libby's son - Jordan. Now mind you - Libby and I have plotted on how we could get these two kids together when they are old enough that parents want their kids to get together. Well, it is a conversation that really does not have to happen. Gwenn is to Jordan like a moth is to flame. Thankfully, this flame is gentle and patient with Gwenn. Once she had her Jordan memory sparked, she was drawn to him and we definately needed more time with all the kids together. Once yearly trips are far too short. Maybe next summer we'll go to MN for two weeks instead of WY. Maybe not...

Gwenn has now gained 16 pounds since May. As you can see from the pictures, it's nice not to have her with the ng-tube on her face any more. The PEG tube that is in has been tough - she has had a few infections, has granulation tissue growing (trust me, it's gross), and a sore tummy. Plus this week, her PEG tube sprung a leak. Believe it or not, but the GI doc is having me fix the tube hole with Gorilla Tape (the tape version of Gorilla Glue).
Gwenn has also started riding at a theraputic riding stable. The big one around town has a 3+ year wait, so we found one that isn't so crazy. So far, it's been fantastic.

Last, we are all getting ready for Halloween. Lucy's friends, Kira and Kate, had their 3rd birthday last weekend and it was a Halloween theme to get us in to the mood. Here are some pictures from that...

This is just a small sampling of what is going on. We are making great progress on the teen tour to China next summer, where the teens from FCC-NW will spend 17 days volunteering throughout three different cities in China. We have many families considering, and it sounds like it's going to be fantastic.
Lucy got her hair cut for the first time... not much, since I'm trying to grow out the bangs, but enough to even her out. Very grown up. Then had to have a LONG talk to make sure she would not try to do this on her own. Not sure if she got it. We'll see...

Well, that is about it for now. I'm sure there will be more. Keep bugging me.. I have to go and break up the pouting match that is going on right now, as the girls destroy my living room (it was clean about 20 minutes ago)... good night.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Korea aims to end foreign adoptions

Korea Aims to End Stigma of Adoption and Stop 'Exporting' Babies

SEOUL, South Korea - Daunted by the stigma surrounding adoption here, ChoJoong-bae and Kim In-soon delayed expanding their family for years. When they finally did six years ago, Mr. Cho chose to tell his elderly parentsthat the child was the result of an affair, rather than admit she was adopted.

"My parents later died believing that I'd had an affair," said Mr. Cho, 48,a civil engineer who has since adopted a second daughter.

Now, with South Korea becoming more accepting of adoptive families, Mr. Choand Ms. Kim feel they can be more open, with relatives and non-relatives alike. Ms. Kim, 49, attributed the change partly to the growth of other non-traditional families, like those headed by single parents or including foreign spouses.

"We feel attitudes have changed," she said.

Just how much, though, is the critical question as the South Korean government is pushing aggressively to increase adoptions by South Koreans and decrease what officials consider the shameful act of sending babies overseas for adoption. Since the 1950s, tens of thousands of South Korean children have been adopted by foreigners, mostly Americans, because of South Koreans' traditional emphasis on family bloodlines and reluctance to adopt. But last year, for the first time, more babies here were adopted by SouthKoreans than foreigners, as the government announced recently with great fanfare: 1,388 local adoptions compared with 1,264 foreign ones. What is more, South Korea - which still is one of the top countries from which Americans adopt - has set a goal of eliminating foreign adoptions altogether by 2012.

"South Korea is the world's 12th largest economy and is now almost an advanced country, so we would like to rid ourselves of the international stigma or disgrace of being a baby-exporting country," Kim Dong-won, who oversees adoptions at the Ministry of Health, said in an interview. "It's embarrassing."

To bolster domestic adoptions, the government last year began offering $90 monthly allowances per child for those who adopt children up to 12 years old, as well as more generous health benefits for the children. Even greater health benefits are now given to adopted disabled children.

The government also made it easier for South Koreans to adopt. Single people can now qualify, as well as older ones. Until last year, prospective adoptive parents could be no more than 50 years older than the child; now the age gap has been increased to 60 years. In addition, the government has made foreign adoptions more difficult by imposing a five-month waiting period before children can even be considered for overseas adoption. It also increased payments to foster parents to try to keep children inside South Korea longer and increase their chances of being adopted domestically.The government's goal has received much media attention and popular support here. But adoption agencies and some adoptive parents and experts say the government's new policies are concerned less with the children's welfare than with saving face. Increasing the age gap and allowing singles to adopt have lowered the standards for domestic adoptions in a way that could be detrimental to the children, they say, even as the government has created unnecessary obstacles to foreign ones.

"The government is hung up on numbers and on South Korea's image," said Lee Mira, who oversees domestic adoptions at Social Welfare Society, a private, nonprofit organization that is the second largest adoption agency in South Korea. "When North Korea taunts South Korea by saying we're selling Korean babies to foreigners, it hurts the pride of South Korea."

Since 1958, when South Korea began keeping track of adoptions, 230,635 children have been adopted. About 30 percent were adopted by South Koreans, while 70 percent found homes overseas. Two-thirds of all foreign adoptees ended up in the United States.

While orphans made up a majority of adopted children in the two decades following the Korean War, children born to unwed mothers have accounted for the largest numbers since then.

South Koreans who did adopt tended to hide their children's origins from the children and others.

In recent years, adoption agencies have conducted campaigns - some featuring movie and TV stars - urging adoptive parents to tell people about how their families were formed in the hopes that more openness would lead to less prejudice. The government's efforts got a boost when some celebrities adopted and went public with the news.

Still, many adoptive parents choose not to share how their families were formed, according to adoption agencies, with some engaging in elaborate ruses to pass off the children as their biological sons or daughters. A middle-aged couple now living in a suburb of Seoul learned long ago that the husband was sterile. But he was reluctant to consider adopting, unwilling to accept his condition and afraid of the lingering prejudice against adopted children. In a Confucian society that still values bloodlines, where many people keep detailed records of their ancestors, he was worried that adopted children might face difficulties in their careers or with marriage prospects.

So when the couple decided to adopt three years ago, they chose to fake a pregnancy, as many adoptive parents here do. The couple moved, and the husband, now 43 and a real estate agent, switched jobs.

The wife, an employee at a telecommunications company, began wearing maternity clothes over a special pillow, made by a company recommended by the couple's adoption agency.

All was going well until a colleague the woman had confided in spilled the secret to a supervisor.

"I was so hurt and embarrassed by that experience," she said. "I would like to adopt a second child, if only to go through the experience in a proper manner this time."

Given the bias against adoptions, some couples who are initially open become more guarded as their children grow older.

Yoo Hae-yon, 48, has told relatives and neighbors that his two sons, now 4 years old and 18 months, were adopted. But he has since become worried that the boys will suffer in a society where television shows typically portray adopted children negatively, as schemers who end up damaging families. "My sons haven't been teased yet, but that will be a possibility in elementary school," Mr. Yoo said. "So once they start school, we won't disclose their adoptions. And in junior high school or later on, we'll let them decide."

Holt International, a private American adoption agency that has long been South Korea's leading agency, welcomed the government's new financial incentives for families but said that trying to curb foreign adoptions would risk hurting the children least likely to be adopted by South Koreans: older ones; the disabled, who still face severe discrimination; and boys, who, once preferred by South Koreans, are now considered by many to be less devoted to their parents than daughters.

"The changes could end up postponing the adoption process of those children," said Lee Jin-hee, who oversees domestic adoptions at Holt here. And Huh Nam-soon, dean of the social welfare department at Hallym University outside Seoul, said changing the standards for domestic adoptions could cause serious problems in the future.

"How many of those adopted children will end up in orphanages because of broken adoptions?" she said.

Ms. Huh, who has researched the history of South Korean children adopted by Americans, said that, in general, they had found good homes in the United States, even though some struggled with their identities.

Mr. Kim, the Health Ministry official, acknowledged that the history ofAmerican adoption had been largely positive. But he said that the government believed that South Korean children would be happier if adopted by South Koreans and that it would stick to its goal of phasing out foreign adoptions in four years.

Agencies and adoptive parents said the goal was unrealistic, if only because very few disabled children had been adopted here. Last year, only 40 disabled children were adopted domestically, while 500 went abroad.

"We wouldn't feel confident adopting a disabled child since we even felt overwhelmed adopting a healthy one," said Kim Chang-shik, 37, who, with his wife, Yoon Yeo-rim, 38, adopted a daughter four years ago, after the birth of their biological son. "I don't know whether it's because I'm Korean, but I'm grateful that foreigners are willing to adopt children who can't find homes here."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

China eases restrictions on illegally adopted children

A new policy guideline eases the law on most illegally adopted children in China.

The legal rights of these children are currently not guaranteed such as permanent residence of a city, schooling and inheritance.

The guideline was jointly issued by five ministries on Sept 5, but made public on Monday.

It allows people to register their illegally adopted children without fear of punishment.

Ji Gang, director of the China Center of Adoption Affairs, said the number of illegal adoptions has been increasing rapidly in recent years.

"In less developed areas, the number of unregistered adoptions can be two or three times more than registered ones," he said.

"In big cities where people have a better knowledge of the law, the number of unregistered adoptions is fewer."

Shanghai, for example, between 1992 and 2000, had more than 7,000 registered adoptions and about 4,000 unregistered ones.

Ji said China has more than 20,000 registered adoptions every year.

To adopt a child legally in China, a person must be more than 30 years old, healthy, childless and with a good and steady income.

Those seeking registration under the new guideline will be exempt from these requirements except in the case where a single male parent is not more than 40 years older than the girl he has adopted.

If this is not the case, the man will be persuaded to surrender the child to a children's welfare institute.

The guideline also requires anyone who finds abandoned babies to hand them over to police in the first instance.

If the police fail to find their biological parents, the children will be handed over to local children's welfare institutions.

If people who find such babies meet the necessary requirements and want to adopt them, they will be given first priority.

"It means you can not take an abandoned baby home and then apply for adoption. They must be handed over to the authorities first," Ji said.

He said the guideline will help in the fight against trafficking of infants and children.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


So, it's been a busy, crazy week.

Gwenn is doing better. She got a PEG tube put in that will last for 12 weeks until a mic-key can be put in. She came home with an infection, so we are working hard to ensure that she takes her antibiotics, gets her rest, and takes care of herself. She is back at school for half days, and I hope by Thursday she will be able to go full days. She continues to remain way too busy, with time each week for Speech, feeding therapy, riding therapy, and plain old therapy - as well as OT monthly. Eeek.

Ella and I had a great date night last week. We need to continue it, since we did not get everything done that we wanted to - but we had a great night. She is now sporting some new, styling outfits for school - and I have to order more from MiniBoden for her as well. She is loving 1st grade and is already complaining that she won't get homework until November. She is too cute...

Lucy is Lucy, and has again given herself a major head injury. I was upstairs working when I heard that familar, hollow "thunk" of a breaking mellon. I was half way down the stairs before the screaming started. Apparently, she fell while dancing/jumping around, and hit her head on a handle on the TV cabinet. It gave her quite the goose egg, and bruising around her eyes. I watched her and no concussion, thankfully, but I'm seriously considering just letting her wear a helmet until she has completely grown into her head. She is so much better, and does look like a toddler instead of a bobblehead, but it's tough.

Kristin is doing great, and is integrating into the home. Gwenn tells me she loves her, although she is still missing Viivi something fierce. Kristin will re-take her drivers test this week, which is good since I need to insure her so she can start driving at will...

And me, I'm just tired and ready for a week long sleep. I think Rip Van Winkle had it figured out, and a long sleep needs to be in my future...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mitochondrial Awareness Week

The week of September 21-27 is the Mitochondrial Awareness Week. Mito is a disease that strikes thousands of families, but so few people know about it. I was completely unaware of it, until the 8 year old daughter of a close friend was diagnosed with it just over 6 months ago. It is a devastating disease that robs those who have it of energy. Please watch the videos, and learn more about mito by visiting


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Who needs morphine - we have a Gameboy....

Surgery went well yesterday, although the doctors needed to put a mic-key g-tube in, instead of a BARD button as we had hoped. That means for the next 12 weeks there will be a long tube coming out of the tummy, and then it will be replaced with the mic-key button. On the other hand, we won't have to worry about it getting pulled out or any gymnastics mishaps. The first few hours were pretty rough, and while morphine did help, the Gameboy offered just as much comfort and distraction.

If all continues to go well, we'll be home later today and back to school by Monday. Pray for a speedy recovery, no infections and continued willingness to let people look at, and poke at, her tummy...

Back to School

We finally have had our first day of school on Monday. Gwenn is starting 4th grade, Ella starting 1st grade, and Lucy had her first day of big girl Preschool. The first day went well for everyone, including Lucy who was a very brave girl and didn't cry, when so many other 3 year olds were sobbing!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Medical Updates...

So tomorrow I'll be offline most of the day as we go through Upper GI testing prior to the g-tube (a BARD button) surgery next Wednesday. Hopefully she will get the barium drink that tastes like soda instead of the one that is like milk of magnesia (which she won't drink). Cross your fingers, and I'll post more soon...

My daughter deserves more than an occasional education

Yup - that is me in the far left, sitting next to Melodie and me trying not to look at the photographer... The meeting was long, but remarkably controlled. Thank goodness we are not Seattle school district.
Thanks to the Seattle Times for the great photo that went along with the article on the strike and meeting...

My comments at the meeting last night:

My name is Lara Peterson, and I'm the parent of a preschooler, a 1st grader and a 3rd grader at Spiritridge Elementary.

Thank you to the many speakers who have focused the attention on the issues with the Curriculum Web. My concerns continue to focus on the web, but are specific to being the parent of a special education student. With the massive cuts in special education that already occured last spring we have already hit a point where my child will only be educated 4 days a week - since that is all the budget that is allowed for our school. On the 5th day of each week my daughter will be babysat by a teacher all day.

Since my daughter is not at grade level in any subject, her only opportunity to continue to learn outside of the resource room is a sympathetic teacher who understands her potential and adjusts the curriculum to meet her needs. However, if changes are not made any teacher who adjusts curriculum to meet my daughters needs could be reprimanded or fired. That is not okay. I realize that the school districts lanaguage has been updated to allow for "occasional" deviation from the standardized curriculum. My response to you is:

My daughter deserves more than an occasional education.

My daughter deserves and is due daily teaching and education, that meets her needs and allows her to learn and participate in the school.

Thank you for steps made to date, but it's not enough. You need to continue your discussions with the union in order to meet the needs of ALL Bellevue School District students, not just those in the middle for whom the curriculum was created. And if you think this applies to only IEP students, this also would be the case if you have a 504 student, ELL/ESL student, or even a gifted and talented student.

I want to encourage this school board to continue negotiations with the union and the mediator, in order to bring this strike to a resolution. As a single parent, this extended summer holiday is NOT idea - but I believe that we need to continue to discuss this until we have a resolution that everyone can live with. I would rather deal with this now than have it simmer for another 2-3 years. And yes, I prefer a three year contract so we don't have to deal with this for a while.
Let's do the right thing and keep great teachers here in Bellevue, and ensure that ALL students are taught. I truly believe that my child will be more impacted by NOT having changes made to the curriculum than there will be by this strike continuing. Thank you very much.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Usually at this time of the year, I have spoken about the first day of school and posted some very cute pictures of the girls on the front steps, leaving for their new year of education. Doubtless, that day will come - but with the teachers strike in Bellevue, that day is delayed for now.

There were some big issues to be dealt with - pay and benefits as usual for teachers, but the big one was around something called "Web Based Curriculum" - also known as a mandated disaster. Basically, every lesson is planned out and online. The lesson plan would have had to be followed exactly as laid out, with no deviation. Which sounds great until you get into a classroom with ESL students. Or special ed students. Or gifted students. And you need to customize the curriculum so that everyone can learn, not just those in the middle who it was created for. Long story short, a teacher could have been fired for adjusting the curriculum to teach Gwenn.

Thankfully, it sounds like the school district has caved a bit on it, and will now allow teachers to use their best judgement. But, they are still dickering over salary and benefits. It sounds like the district offered close to what the teachers offered, but they are now saying that they will fire up to 34 positions to make up for the increases. Ugh.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Medical Updates...

We finally had our GI visit with the doctor at Children's yesterday, and now have the date set for Gwenn to get her g-tube. It will probably not be a mic-key, but rather a newer type called a bard peg, that supposedly is easier on her, stays in well, is still surgically sewn into place (for her gymnastics) - and can be in place for the year or more they say we'll need it.

Next week we'll have her upper GI testing done, and then the week after will be the surgery. We'll be at Children's for only two days if all goes well, and they will also do the 24 hour PH probe while we are there - measuring her reflux, etc. The big negative is that we will delay two weeks of feeding therapy, but in the long run this is the right thing to do.

I'm guessing the week of the surgery will be her first week back at school, but we'll just have to live with it.

Weight for G is now at 59 pounds!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama Rocks

Tonight was one of those moments when I sat in awe and listened to the man who I pray will be the next president of the United States. While I call myself a democrat, I've voted both sides of th aisle for the right person. The time is now to stand and make a difference, because we cannot afford to continue down the road that the current president has taken us. While I try not to talk too much politics here, I wanted to keep this speech as a reminder of tonight.

OBAMA: Thank you so much. Thank you very much. Thank you, everybody.

To -- to Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin, and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation, with profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for presidency of the United States.

Let me -- let me express -- let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest, a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

To President Clinton, to President Bill Clinton, who made last night the case for change as only he can make it... to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service... ... and to the next vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you.

I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next first lady, Michelle Obama... ... and to Malia and Sasha, I love you so much, and I am so proud of you.

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story, of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that's always set this country apart, that through hard work and sacrifice each of us can pursue our individual dreams, but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams, as well. That's why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women -- students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors -- found the courage to keep it alive.

We meet at one of those defining moments, a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit cards, bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this. This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

We're a better country than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment that he's worked on for 20 years and watch as it's shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty... that sits... ... that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

Tonight, tonight, I say to the people of America, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land: Enough. This moment... This moment, this moment, this election is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third.

And we are here -- we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight. On November 4th, on November 4th, we must stand up and say: Eight is enough.

Now, now, let me -- let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and our respect. And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need. But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time.

Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but, really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than 90 percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I am not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change.

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives -- on health care, and education, and the economy -- Senator McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made great progress under this president. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong.

And when one of his chief advisers, the man who wrote his economic plan, was talking about the anxieties that Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a mental recession and that we've become, and I quote, "a nation of whiners."

A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third, or fourth, or fifth tour of duty.

These are not whiners. They work hard, and they give back, and they keep going without complaint. These are the Americans I know.

Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans; I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5 million a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies, but not one penny of tax relief to more than 100 million Americans?

How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

It's not because John McCain doesn't care; it's because John McCain doesn't get it.

For over two decades -- for over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy: Give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else.

In Washington, they call this the "Ownership Society," but what it really means is that you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck, you're on your own. No health care? The market will fix it. You're on your own. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, even if you don't have boots. You are on your own.

Well, it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America. And that's why I'm running for president of the United States.

You see, you see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country. We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage, whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president... ... when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of go down $2,000, like it has under George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off and look after a sick kid without losing her job, an economy that honors the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great, a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because, in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the G.I. Bill.

In the face of that young student, who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree, who once turned to food stamps, but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

When I -- when I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business or making her way in the world, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman.

She's the one who taught me about hard work. She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight and that tonight is her night, as well.

Now, I don't know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine.

These are my heroes; theirs are the stories that shaped my life. And it is on behalf of them that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as president of the United States.

What -- what is that American promise? It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have obligations to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, to look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours -- ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves: protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools, and new roads, and science, and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.

That's the promise of America, the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation, the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper.

That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now.

So -- so let me -- let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president.

Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it. You know, unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I'll eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow. I will -- listen now -- I will cut taxes -- cut taxes -- for 95 percent of all working families, because, in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class.
And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

We will do this. Washington -- Washington has been talking about our oil addiction for the last 30 years. And, by the way, John McCain has been there for 26 of them. And in that time, he has said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil than we had on the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution, not even close. As president, as president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars.

And I'll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy -- wind power, and solar power , and the next generation of biofuels -- an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans. Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy.

You know, Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don't have that chance. I'll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries, and give them more support. And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability.

And we will keep our promise to every young American: If you commit to serving your community or our country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

Now -- now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care -- if you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don't, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves.

And -- and as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their job and caring for a sick child or an ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses, and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have the exact same opportunities as your sons.
Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime: by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow.

But I will also go through the federal budget line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less, because we cannot meet 21st-century challenges with a 20th-century bureaucracy.

And, Democrats, Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our intellectual and moral strength.

Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient.

Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can't replace parents, that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework, that fathers must take more responsibility to provide love and guidance to their children.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility, that's the essence of America's promise. And just as we keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America's promise abroad.

If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament and judgment to serve as the next commander-in-chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.

For -- for while -- while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats that we face.

When John McCain said we could just muddle through in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights.

You know, John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the gates of Hell, but he won't even follow him to the cave where he lives.

And today, today, as my call for a timeframe to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has $79 billion in surplus while we are wallowing in deficit, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That's not the judgment we need;
that won't keep America safe. We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

You don't defeat -- you don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances.

If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice, but that is not the change that America needs.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe.

The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans, Democrats and Republicans, have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As commander-in-chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly and finish the fight against Al Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts, but I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression.

I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation, poverty and genocide, climate change and disease.

And I will restore our moral standing so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

These -- these are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes, because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and each other's patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.

The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together, and bled together, and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a red America or a blue America; they have served the United States of America.

So I've got news for you, John McCain: We all put our country first.

America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices. And Democrats, as well as Republicans, will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past, for part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose, and that's what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country.

The -- the reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.

I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in a hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.

You know, passions may fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers.

But this, too, is part of America's promise, the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer, and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values.

And that's to be expected, because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters.

If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things.

And you know what? It's worked before, because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping and settle for what you already know.

I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the naysayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me; it's about you.

It's about you.

For 18 long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said, "Enough," to the politics of the past. You understand that, in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same, old politics with the same, old players and expect a different result.

You have shown what history teaches us, that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington.

Change happens -- change happens because the American people demand it, because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

America, this is one of those moments.

I believe that, as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming, because I've seen it, because I've lived it. Because I've seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work.

I've seen it in Washington, where we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans, and keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists.

And I've seen it in this campaign, in the young people who voted for the first time and the young at heart, those who got involved again after a very long time; in the Republicans who never thought they'd pick up a Democratic ballot, but did.

I've seen it -- I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day, even though they can't afford it, than see their friends lose their jobs; in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb; in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

You know, this country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit, that American promise, that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night and a promise that you make to yours, a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west, a promise that led workers to picket lines and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that, 45 years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln's Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there could've heard many things. They could've heard words of anger and discord. They could've been told to succumb to the fear and frustrations of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead -- people of every creed and color, from every walk of life -- is that, in America, our destiny is inextricably linked, that together our dreams can be one.

"We cannot walk alone," the preacher cried. "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."

America, we cannot turn back... not with so much work to be done; not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for; not with an economy to fix, and cities to rebuild, and farms to save; not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend.

America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone.

At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise, that American promise, and in the words of scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Time to think

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Did I fail to mention...

In Gwenn's grief of losing Viivi, Gwenn resorted to the scissors as an outlet for her sadness. Which resulted in mama having to fix the cut - fixing the non-existant bangs, and removing approximately 6" in length from the bottom to even everything out. All said, I think I may have missed a calling... but for now will stick with marketing. On the positive side of things, you can sure see her eyes now. :-)

We are now working to identify more constructive ways of dealing with being sad.

Monday, August 25, 2008

They say it's my birthday...

I had many birthday greetings today, mostly through Facebook. It's a pretty cool piece of technology that will remind you about birthdays that you might otherwise forget! Thanks to everyone who sent birthday greetings!

I was more impressed with my birthday greeting from MSN, who doesn't have a full track of my bday - or so I thought. So, the only place they have my bday is in my personal info, but they certainly knew I was coming - and had a great greeting for me...

Thanks for a great day...


Well, they are certainly getting big. Lily and Daisy are now 8 months old, and are in their "gangly" phase, where they are all legs and tummies. Lily is the sprawled out beauty on the left... usually she is the delicate one of the two, but today everything was hanging out. Daisy, who is the usual ruffian, was daintily sleeping in the princess kitty bed. They have stopped pouncing on me at 3am, and they have stopped walking up and down the piano keys at 2am. They have not yet stopped trying to sleep on my face each night, and they are still getting tossed to the side when they do. But they are definately not the petite little girls they were just a short while ago, but turning into lovely kitties...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lucy's First Birthday

Lucy has had her first birthday. Well, to be clear, not her first birthday, but her first time having a birthday celebration! Lucy is officially three years old today, and we had a great (sort of) time. As you can see, she wasn't into the cake or singing to start with - but she eventually warmed up once she realized that the cake was for her to eat...