September 29, 2011

Distracted


dis·tract·ed

    adjective /disˈtraktəd/ 

    1. Unable to concentrate because one's mind is preoccupied
      • - Charlotte seemed too distracted to give him much attention
      • - she ran her fingers through her hair in a distracted fashion
    2. Troubled or distraught
      • distracted with grief


I've been meaning to write this post for a while. I just haven't. I've been preoccupied. It's not the same like it is when I'm pregnant. No, nothing like that. It's more similar to the time after Evan passed away. My mind was certainly elsewhere for a long time back then. 

This time is different. I'm having difficulty staying present in just about every conversation I have. Or with any book I try to read. Or any lesson I teach. Or post I plan to write. Whether I'm at home, work, or church; it doesn't matter. If I'm with friends, family, or strangers; it makes no difference. It's a struggle for me to focus. Or for my mind to clear.


Despite this, I've still managed getting together a small birthday party for Jocelyn. It wasn't too difficult. Just dinner at a local Mongolian grill and ice cream at Baskin Robbins. That was yesterday. And today, I got a new crown, went to a few clothing stores and we did family photos before going to curriculum night at school. So I can push through it. It just takes a lot of effort. More than I'm used to giving. And I'm tired.

My mind reserves being in the present with just one person. It's Kira. I like to hold her, nurse her, change her diaper, sneak in snuggles and kisses and even get her to smile. She is truly a gift. 

September 26, 2011

The Light Comes On

Tymon: Check out this light bulb. I just pulled it out of the package and it looks like it's rusted.
Bridget: Mm Hmm. (cooking dinner)
Tymon: Do you think the Pilot can hold my weight?
Bridget: Huh? (still cooking)
T: You know, the front panel?
B: I'd prefer you not stand on the car. Does it have a roof rack you could stand on?

T: That's not going to work.
B: Why don't you get a stool?
T: It's a foot too short.
B: Why don't you get the ladder out of the basement?
T: (walks away)
T: (comes back pleased with himself) Hey, come here and check this out! 

I didn't realize until going out to the garage that all he was trying to do was change a light bulb.


His too-short stool solution? Stacking the step ladder on top of two stools and a stroller (hopefully with the wheels locked). He's creative, that's for sure.

September 24, 2011

Play by Play Angel Day

Angel Day 2011

4:45 am - wake up early to nurse Kira.
5:15 am - get dressed, rummage around my closet and find the $200 car key I lost last November!
6:00 am - on the road and praying for fluid speech during my presentation later that morning.
6:15 am - practice speaking out loud - "Classroom Activities: How to Fool Any Teen into Learning"
6:30 am - constructive self-critique
6:31 am - nausea sets in
7:45 am - arrive at conference and test my presentation on the big screen
10:05 am - fumble for a minute
10:06 am - show one of my favorites
video
10:07 am - squeal like the last guy in the commercial, find my confidence and proceed with an awesome interactive presentation (Kira behaved ideally)
10:53 am - cut our last activity short as I've only got 2 more minutes
11:45 am - lunch break or rather my chance to leave the conference early
11:45 - 12:05 pm - talked to a handful of teachers about various classroom activities
12:10 pm - discovered a parking ticket in my brother's highly recommended "free parking spot"
1:30 pm - taped my ticket to my brother's computer (he was still at the conference and hadn't yet discovered his)
2:15 pm - meeting at my office
3:57 pm - call from neighbor - our boys outside playing for a couple hours - the school ignored our note for childcare plans (ride a different bus after school)
4:00 pm - picked up one of our new driver's ed vehicles from the dealer
2012 Mustang - pending wrapping and dual controls
4:05 pm - Tymon came home early
5:45 pm - arrive home and feed Kira
6:30 pm - pick up Jocelyn from friend's house 
6:45 pm - hide and seek in cemetery and reading Evan's story with beautiful river view

7:45 pm - dinner at McDonald's
7:55 pm - "Hey Mom, at least your Big Mac doesn't have plastic in it!" -Graeden
7:56 pm - me trying to calm my stomach - haven't had a Big Mac since December 6, 2010
8:45 pm - arrive home, read scriptures, sing bedtime songs, Elliott tickled Kira's toes and she laughed for the first time. Two times. So cute.
9:30 pm - try to make blog post
9:45 pm - could only upload photos
10:00 pm - fell into bed and was fast asleep

Angel day was packed. Not on purpose or by design. It just happened. And grief takes a back seat. Waiting to come around some other day.

September 21, 2011

Hand of God: Echo

Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us today? Most definitely.


I am reminded today of an ancient lesson the prophet Lehi taught his son Jacob; it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. Without the bitter we do not truly know the sweet. Kira is a living breathing example of such a physical phenomenon. We found out during her echocardiagram that her branch arteries are growing to meet the demands of her blood flow. Her cardiologist wants to see her again in six months...and if everything continues to progress as it is now, we won't need to come back for any more follow-up visits. We have been praying for several months that Kira will be able to run and play with her siblings. I am confident that one day she will.


A couple of months ago, at Kira's last echo, they took some blood to do genetic tests. They looked specifically at a couple of syndromes that have branch artery problems associated with them. We got the negative results for those today, too. Yay! 


Kira's still got other issues that we're looking into. I'm wondering if her body slowed it's normal growth pattern so it could concentrate on getting her arteries bigger. I'm not sure if we'll ever be able to answer that, but in case there are mal-absorption issues we are having her bowel movements tested. Testing fecal matter is a little gross. If you'd come over half an hour ago, you would have caught me scraping Kira's stool into a container to take to the lab tomorrow. 



I really liked that the procedure room at Children's had a movie for Jocelyn to watch. They also have crayons and coloring pages and little packages of graham crackers. Jocelyn was semi-decent for the 2.5 hours we were there. She did use the potty three times in the first 45 minutes. I'm trying not to be annoyed with that. At least she didn't have an accident. Though I'm not sure if she really went after the first time...she wouldn't allow me to come in after that. If I did, she screamed at me to get out. I'm sure this is just a small indication of what she'll be like as a teenager.

September 20, 2011

Hand of God: Heike

Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us today? Absolutely. Today it was through the the best midwife on the planet, Heike. It was time for my 6 week follow up visit...first delayed by a birth and then for an entire month while she was in the Dominican Republic getting married. We had a lot to talk about. Kira's birth. Kira's clavicle. Kira's brain bleed. CPS.

It took a moment for Heike to comprehend what I said about CPS investigating us. When my words clicked, her eyes grew wide and she dropped the f-bomb. Then immediately apologized. Her uncensored reactions endear her to me. 


Heike gave me some wild information. She told me that lots of babies have brain bleeds. That's the reason why they are given vitamin K at birth. I had no idea how common it is. She learned more about brain bleeding from an in depth conversation with a local neonatologist. Long story short. A baby she delivered at the birth center started seizing about 5 hours after birth. She took him to the hospital (a couple blocks away from the birth center). He had a brain bleed and the clot got to the part of the brain in charge of seizing.

Short story longer....in a study done by the University of North Carolina, 26% of babies born vaginally had brain bleeds. The bleeding doesn't seem to have any adverse affects on the baby and goes away on its own. But it does happen. All the time. I'm pretty sure Jen and Kristen at CPS don't know this. And I'm wondering if Dr. Feldman, knows about this, too. He didn't mention it to Jen. Only said the bleed may have happened as a result of Kira being dropped by a sibling. What I need to do tomorrow when I'm at Children's for Kira's follow-up echo is to talk to the radiologist and see if she can date the bleed beyond "likely older than one week". Maybe it's a birth injury.

September 19, 2011

Hand of God: Investigation

Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us today? Yes. We thank you for your prayers on our behalf. We have felt them

Tymon and I met with Jen, CPS social worker, and her supervisor, Kristin, today. I wasn't sure how well I should like Kristin. She seemed nice but could have been a wolf in sheep's clothing. However, she also told us that she had three boys and really seemed to understand what we were saying when we were describing the atmosphere in our home.

I believe we were able to effectively resolve the questions they had about Kira and Evan. And Tymon only kicked me once under table so I'd curb my speech.

We expressed our concerns about the first "after-hours" social worker (Adrienne) who came to the door threatening to get a court order to remove Kira from our home if we didn't take her to the hospital that night. Kristin took some notes to forward on to that worker's supervisor. We also expressed the same concerns regarding the deputy that backed up Adrienne in taking Kira away from us as well as the ER doctor who told us if we didn't do the CT scan then CPS would take custody and do the test without our permission. And the third instance of us being threatened with taking away Kira was Jen.

Yeah, that was awkward. Complaining to Jen's supervisor about Jen when Jen was sitting right there was definitely awkward. And something I hope they talk about later.

We also expressed our concerns about Dr. Feldman and his accuracy in reporting. Thanks to my friend Heidi, I had both radiology reports for Kira's bone survey and MRI. Jen and Kristin had never seen them. I definitely let them make a copy of my reports. The first one says that the clavicle fracture could be a birth injury.

We went through Dr. Feldman's report and marked out ten instances where he either twisted words from the police report or straight up got things wrong in his summary of the events leading up to Evan's death. We expressed our concern that Dr. Feldman doesn't work with young infants often enough to know that it's his hospital's standard operating procedure to try non-sedated MRIs on babies under three months old. We also took the opportunity to educate Jen and Kristin on how common clavicle birth injuries are (up to 7% of all newborns), what a callus is and how bones grow back together. Yes, I even drew a diagram on the whiteboard for them.

The only thing we have left to do for the investigation is to submit a few character references from family and friends. And then we wait. They want to close investigations within 45 days of the start date (Aug. 27th) and are not planning on investigating us further. The allegations can be founded, unfounded or inconclusive. A new law (2008) allows records to be destroyed after six years if the allegations were unfounded or inconclusive (provided that no new investigations happen before the records are destroyed). It used to be that once you have a record, you always have a record even if you were falsely accused. I'm happy that Washington State law has changed. It's so wrong to keep records forever when findings were unfounded or inconclusive. Gives me the shivers to think about how much power the government has over our families.

10/7/11 Update
CPS Investigation Result: Unfounded

September 18, 2011

Muffin Success

Graeden tried his hand at muffins this morning. I must say they turned out fantastic. Way better than the last batch. I love how excited he gets to bake and how conscientious he was to measure each ingredient correctly.

 

In the morning, we will be meeting with our social worker. I pray that I'll be able to say what needs to be said and that I won't say things that won't help. I'm pretty sure ranting about Dr. Feldman fits into the not-productive speech category. And I should probably put a lid on my feelings. For them it's nothing personal.

September 16, 2011

Concerns

We've never thought to get the police report on Evan's death before now. We got the investigation report this week and were reminded of many details that have long since left our minds. When CPS found out that we had a child die, they got the reports and gave them to their child abuse guru, Dr. Feldman. In a 3 page report about Kira, only 9 lines actually discuss Kira. The other 108 lines are dedicated to Evan.

Unfortunately, because of some statements from Dr. Feldman, we are also ordering a copy of Evan's autopsy. I won't lie. It ticks me off that Dr. Feldman has read Evan's autopsy and I haven't. And it really ticks me off that he is suspecting that even though Evan didn't die of child abuse, he thinks Evan was abused. He wrote, "There is not enough from the sum of the findings for me to conclude that Evan had been a victim of any foul play causing his death. However, the findings and circumstances are peculiar enough to still be concerned." 

Dr. Feldman is concerned that we weren't grieving properly in the ER since one of the nurses wrote that down in the report. What she didn't write down and what Dr. Feldman doesn't know is that when she told us, "it's not looking good," she really meant "your son is dead". Yup, she was right. We weren't "properly grieving" because we didn't know our son had died. They were still working on him.

Dr. Feldman is concerned that Tymon and I reported that Evan was breathing when we found him and his lips were blue and his body was hot. He's concerned that we decided to drive to the hospital instead of calling for emergency help to come to us.  It makes me wonder if Dr. Feldman has ever woken up to an emergency situation and had to make choices for better or for worse on limited knowledge. 

He's concerned that Evan had some bruises on his head (no fractured skull or bleeding in the brain mind you - just bruising). He's concerned that Evan had some scratches on his face. I'm beginning to wonder if Dr. Feldman has been around children much. Or seen them climb. Or play. Evan had only been walking for 3 months. I wouldn't exactly describe him as 100% stable on his feet. But Dr. Feldman wouldn't know any of that because it's not in the report. And he hasn't taken the time to ask questions. Only accuse. 

Dr. Feldman isn't the only one, though. I've also got concerns. I'm concerned that he is so wrapped up in abuse, he suspects all injuries are done maliciously. I'm concerned that he has taken words in the police report and twisted them into doubts. I'm concerned he's done the same thing with the autopsy. I'm concerned that his pessimism has turned my life upside down the past few weeks. And it will continue to be so for weeks or months into the future. 

I'm concerned that Dr. Feldman doesn't understand that grief is cyclical. And Evan's Angel Day is coming up next Friday. Maybe Dr. Feldman would like to come and be with our family. He can come to dinner. Watch Evan's movies. Read Evan's photo books. Visit the cemetery. And watch us grieve. The hardest part about Dr. Feldman is feeling his condemning judgement when he's never even met us. 

Thanks for letting me vent a little. In real life, I have at least one rant a day. But no one wants to read that. So, lest I be just like Dr. Feldman, I will be making efforts to see the glass half full. There are many good things that can come from this experience. And one of them is feeling the tremendous love and support of our friends and family. Thank you. We truly appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers sent our way.


10/7/11 Update
CPS Investigation Result: Unfounded

September 15, 2011

Non-sedated Infant MRI

What would we do without social networks? Seriously. I love 'em.

One of the persistent demands of CPS has been to get Kira's brain imaged. We've politely declined a CT scan. Several times. About a week and a half ago, Dr. Feldman, the non-accidental trauma doctor, suggested that an MRI would work and there wouldn't be any radiation. But there would be sedation. Also not an option. What I needed was a non-sedation option for the MRI. It took 9 days for Children's hospital to not answer my questions before I turned to my social network.

A friend I've known for at least 20 years studied radiology a few years ago and is now working at Children's Hospital. I asked her if we could do a non-sedated MRI. She asked the guy that does them. Yup. Amazing. Going through the regular channels to get information was so frustrating. Call a friend and it's done right away. Thank you Heidi! 

For non-sedated infant MRIs, they do what's called a fast and feed. Basically, this morning I fed Kira at 6:30 am and then nothing until early afternoon. I fed her when we arrived so she'd be sleepy for the test. And she was sleepy, for the most part. But alert for some of it, too. And she behaved beautifully. I am happy she did so well, because I didn't have a plan B if it didn't work. I do not want to expose her to unnecessary risk. 


Heidi was also able to get me copies of the skeletal survey Kira did in August. I left the building feeling successful and happy we could do the test on my terms and get records to help us. In the survey report the doctor and her resident doctor both note that Kira's fracture could be a birth injury. I called Tymon right away. Combining that with my delivery record means that Kira probably broke her clavicle at birth. Yay!

I came home to find several messages on my phone.
1. The Children's social worker who was supposed to coordinate my question asking with various departments. Uh, yeah, you're a little late.
2. Then a neuro-radiologist. Yup. Late, too.
3. Then Dr. Feldman. Kira has some "sub-acute bleeding in her head" and that the healing on her collarbone "would indicate that it was not from the time of the newborn period." Insert expletive here.
4. And last, Jen (CPS social worker) wanted to discuss the MRI results.

How come everyone sees the results of the test before me? I would really like to work with those investigating Kira's injuries. It's just that every time I turn around we're being accused of abuse. And the communication happens all around us instead of with us. I feel like I'm fighting to gain access to the inner circle. Boo!


10/7/11 Update
CPS Investigation Result: Unfounded

Slow Growth

Today, like nearly every other day this week, has been full of new discoveries. I spent 2.5 hours at the pediatrician's office today for Graeden, Jocelyn and Kira's well-child check ups. It's a good thing I like their doctor.

Graeden was ecstatic about not getting any shots. It was fun to listen to him read the info sheet on all of the ones that Kira got. He expressed his gratitude that Kira didn't have all those diseases. Jocelyn was asked how high she could count. She began, "one, two, three," and was prompted with "what comes after three?" so she continued, "four, five, six, seven." "What comes after seven?" "Two." "Two? Two doesn't come after seven!" "No, I only two!" Ha ha ha. You're right Jocelyn. You're only two and counting to seven is certainly high enough.

My main concern is that Kira has not gained very much weight since birth. She looks healthy, but she's only 4 ounces above her birth weight. And she's 9 weeks old. She lost almost a pound in the first week of life...but that means she's only gained about a pound in 2 months. She nurses fine...though she likes to suck in air and we take special care to make sure she burps. She has plenty of wet and yellow dirty diapers, so I know she's getting nourishment. She is also a bit floppy. Her head control is better than it used to be...but not where it should be. And her hips are hyper mobile.

I'm wondering if her slow growth has affected the healing of her clavicle. I read Kira's delivery note in my birth records yesterday. I pushed out her head and then her "shoulders delivered with a short delay, patient [yours truly] unable to push, with posterior shoulder delivering first. Inspection of perineum revealed first degree mucous tear..." The scenario I've got playing in my mind now is that it's possible that Kira broke her clavicle at birth and the slow growth may affect her healing, which would also affect dating the injury.

Our pediatrician gave me a referral to consult with a geneticist. They're the scientists who put together all of the clues we have and come up with a fancy genetic disorder that will explain everything (ideally). But would this be a good thing? Sure, it may clear our names. But it would also mean that Kira may have a host of other medical problems plaguing her for the rest of her life.

We got Kira's skeletal survey images in the mail today.
Here she is screaming at the tech doing the x-rays. Kinda looks like Homer Simpson.

This is the one where she's trying to give a one finger salute but the plastic immobilization board trapped her hand before she finished.
And here is the infamous broken clavicle. Notice the white circular haze surrounding the break. It's called a callus, which may take up to a year to go away.

September 14, 2011

The Last Thing We Need: Escape Artist

After the email I got from our CPS social worker yesterday, I was horrified to get the following phone call from my dad.

Dad: Hi honey, I just wanted to talk to you before you get a call from someone else.
Me: Huh?
Dad: We were playing at the park behind the church across the street from our house and having a good time. There were some church kids playing out there, too. Then I looked around and couldn't see Jocelyn. I searched for her and she had disappeared.
Me: (groaning - anxiety rising)
Dad: I went out toward the street and a lady had come to search for me. Apparently, Jocelyn decided to cross the street and go back to Nana's. A car slammed on the brakes to keep from hitting her. She called the police. I talked to the officer. He wanted your information. I gave him your name and phone number.
Me: You've got to be kidding me.
Dad: I wish I was. He told me not to worry. He wasn't going to call CPS. Just wanted to talk with me.
Me: Maybe you should have told him, "That's a relief! CPS is already investigating my daughter for neglect. She doesn't need this, too."

I'm thankful that the driver was able to stop and Jocelyn is safe. She could have been seriously hurt or died darting in front of a car. There was a pit in my stomach as I told Tymon. We have enough problems without adding a police encounter. We were thinking that maybe we shouldn't have my dad taking the kids to the park anymore. Then Tymon found a runaway child post on his blog. I'd forgotten about our first escape artist. Apparently, we've had kids disappear on our watch and police encounters, too.

September 13, 2011

Digging Deeper

Jen, CPS - Social Worker III

Bridget, The allegation is “Negligent Treatment or Maltreatment” due to Kira having a broken clavicle with no explanation provided at the time of the intake.  Both you and Tymon are subjects on this intake. I wanted to let you know that I spoke to your children at school today and according to the RCW (#26.44.030) I need to notify you at the “earliest possible point in the investigation” which was when I returned to my office around 2:30 when I called you and left you a message.   I was hoping to speak to you on the phone or in person regarding the next issue. There has been a 72 hour intake received with regards to Evan Johns. The same protocol in reference to the above allegations will need to take place with this current allegation.  I would like to meet with you and your husband and talk about the intakes. With most referrals there are allegations and findings. This particular intake regarding Evan alleges “negligent treatment or maltreatment” with both you and Tymon as “subjects” in the referral. I hope we can meet with regard to these intakes in order to resolve these current allegations. Thank you.






What?! Interviewing my children without my knowledge? Hoping to do what? Find out that I say stupid things like, "clean your room or suffer a beat down"? Because I do say things like that. Much to my dismay. That kind of talk is now over. If you ask my kids if we beat them, they'll probably say yes. Because in their limited scope, they think a beat down is a spanking. Children don't understand the real definition when we don't use the proper terms. Our next step is to show our kids some photos of abused children. Then they will know how safe they are with us and that we've never given them anything close to beating.
 If the CPS worker stood at the kid's bus stop in the morning I'm sure she could bring a case against every one of those families based on the stories they tell of their kids. -Tymon Johns
And why open up a case for Evan? Three years after the fact? 

We live with fear. That CPS will flex the only power they have: taking away our children. "Intake" is what we called it at the RedCliff Ascent Wilderness Therapy program when a new teen would come into the program.  

I read Jen's email when Tymon, Kira and I were out last night. I was afraid to come home. Thinking that the police would be at my door. With a warrant. Ready to take my kids. To where ever they take kids. And we would wait up to 3 days before we could talk to a judge. My sister-in-law read the email for me. Did a Google search and found that that "intake" may mean they are opening a case. And not that they are necessarily coming for our kids. 


When we picked up the kids, I dried my tears and had my dad take a family photo...just in case it was my last one. No police were here, though. Our house was silent. And we're still together. Which makes me happy. The thought of my kids being taken from me is terrifying.


That means we'll get a second chance for a better photo. This was the best shot that was taken last night. Jett's eyes were closed (asleep) in most of them. Jocelyn was angry the entire time. I'd woken her up and found that she pooped her pants so she got a bath and wouldn't put any clean clothes on. Graeden kept putting toys in front of his face or Jocelyn's. Anyway, the bottom line is that we'll get a better family photo. Soon.


And after receiving and reading a copy of Evan's police investigation records today, I'm happy to say that even though it was originally classified as "suspicious circumstances" that the case was fully investigated and closed as a terrible accident. After talking to a lady at the police department, I'm relieved. 


The doctor at Children's who is telling me Kira needs to have XYZ tests because Evan's death was "suspicious" actually didn't even read the report. If he had, he'd know that it wasn't.


The drama escalates, accelerates and lulls. And we get the feeling our story is meant for more than just us.



10/7/11 Update
CPS Investigation Result: Unfounded

September 11, 2011

A Condensed Version: Investigation

Sadly, our lives have been turned a bit upside down the past couple of weeks. It all started when I took Kira to the doctor and we found out her collarbone was broken. The doctor reported us and now we have law enforcement and Child Protective Services in our lives. We aren't even totally sure of the allegations. They seem to be either abuse or negligence but every time we ask we don't get clear answers. And never anything in writing.

We have cooperated with the investigation almost fully. We were bullied into taking Kira to the ER to get a full skeletal survey done. That's a dozen x-rays from head to toe that looks for any old breaks or more current ones. It came back clean (except the collarbone), which wasn't surprising since we don't abuse our children. The real tragedy is being coerced to allow medical personnel to abuse my child. Let me tell you how heartbreaking it is to listen to my infant wail for 30 minutes while the x-ray technicians were holding her wiggly limbs still. I picked her up in the middle of the ordeal just to calm her. The quiet lasted only until I put her down. Then the heavy crying ensued. The technician actually pulled on Kira's arm (broken collarbone side) and forcefully straightened it to get the x-ray. Really? And I'm being investigated for abuse? Ridiculous!

Kira's feet in the bone survey.
I refused to allow them to do a CT scan. It is too risky and there is no benefit to Kira to have the test done. Radiation in CT scans is high. Way higher than x-rays. They can cause cancer. Especially in children. And most especially in infants whose cells multiply and divide so rapidly when they are so young.

We were given another option last week. We could have her get an MRI. But um, they sedate children for MRIs. Sedation poses several risks. Usually infants put off any surgeries until they are around 6 months old. Unless there's a life threatening reason to have it done immediately. When infants are sedated, they are under constant monitoring to make sure they are okay. And by okay, I mean they are monitoring breathing so it doesn't slow down so much that they die.

I have been told on at least 3 occasions by 3 different people that if we didn't do exactly what they wanted then they would take Kira away from us. What kind of a child protective system do we have here? Ripping a healthy infant from her family? Readily employing coercive tactics in the strongest way possible? Guilty until proven innocent? And I've allowed them into my home. To investigate and gather evidence against me. For them to twist my words. I've never cared so much about the rights of the accused until now. I never thought I'd need to know them. Tales of Soviet-era interrogations were just that: stories of another place and another time. But now they are coming to life. Right at my dining room table.

Have any of you had dealings with CPS? Any advice is appreciated.


10/7/11 Update
CPS Investigation Result: Unfounded

September 10, 2011

The Circus Tradition

Sometimes, I think we aren't the cool family with lots of traditions. Then I remember that we are actually super cool and go to the circus just about every year. And buy licorice ropes. And let the kids eat them. Even though they are doing the no sweets challenge again in 2011 (only eating treats on holidays and family birthdays).

Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus 2011

Of all the possible traditions to choose from, part of me wonders why we chose this one. Maybe because it's fun. The kids love the animals, clowns and motorcycle cage and especially eating licorice. I like going on opening night and only paying half price for the tickets. There's also another reason that floats in and out of my subconscious. We went to the circus with Evan. Just a couple of weeks before he died. And somehow moving forward in life and doing the same activities now we did with him then makes me happy. And the memories cement in my heart and mind. The little details of life with him are slipping. I find myself grasping to remember. And I think that's why we have traditions. To help us remember.

Evan and Tymon - Circus 2008
New to the circus this year: Baby Kira and Uncle Brett, Aunt Katie and Cousin Jackson (who was too involved with the show to look at the camera). We sat in two rows with 4 seats in each. I couldn't sit in our balcony front row. I was too nervous that someone would bump me and I'd drop Kira. So Tymon sat there with our boys while we with wee ones were a bit higher. Phew!

September 5, 2011

Labor Day and the State Fair

It was nice to spend the day with Tymon. Usually in the summer I'm the one doing activities with the kids while he's at work. We started out at the car races, watched the lumberjack show while eating lunch, rode the roller coaster and tilt-a-whirl, visited booths and animals, ate elephant ears, saw more animals, and ended the day watching women and girls do barrel races with their horses.


This little girl is three. She was the youngest barrel racing competitor. I think she was born riding. I can't imagine Jocelyn doing that. We're still working on being gentle. Not so much on whipping an animal to make him perform.

September 4, 2011

Kira's Blessing Day

Little Kira Jade,
Blessed with the power of discernment,
 The ability to uplift and inspire,
Patience,
Love,
And an ability to bring peace to a room.
Others will want to follow and be like her.


Bring peace to a room. I like that. Kira has such a peaceful spirit about her. It calms me as I hold her. More so than any other child of mine. I just like to sit with her and savor each moment. She's already 8 weeks old. It just doesn't seem like so much time has passed since her birth. But it has. I must engrave this season into my memory. My little Kira Jade. All too soon she'll crawl right out of it.

September 3, 2011

Non-Open Door Policy

This morning, I discovered that our basement door was open all night.  My boys and I discussed  the fact that animals could just walk right into the house. Then Elliott says, "but a giraffe couldn't have come in," and Jett chimed in, "or a cheetah."

My boys are brilliant! Ha ha. Our first summer here, I found the basement door open a couple of times. I think the scurrying in our walls and droppings in the basement were from a friendly mouse who just waltzed right in. I think he ate the little green pellets I left for him and walked out our open door, though. I found a dead mouse in the flower bed not long after that and haven't seen any evidence of his residence again.

So wouldn't you know it, this afternoon the boys left the front door open (not a surprise) and in flew a bird. Poor guy. He flew into the window a couple of times not understanding why he couldn't get out. Jett thought we should get a ladder out. We waited a bit, but the bird just stayed by the window looking sad. So, Tymon did get out the ladder, picked him up and carried him outside. Each one of the kids got to pet him before Tymon set him free. Yay! We're glad he's okay.


To our friends, our door is always open. To wild-life, I like the concept of a non-open door policy.
 
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