Wednesday, March 17, 2010

We've Moved!

Check out our new site at

M&M Kids! Stories of parenting, adoption, and life

Read the post below if you haven't already and it will explain everything.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Switching Things Up

I'm going to be switching blogs up a bit. First of all, Maya will be adopted soon so I'm going to combine her private blog (which I haven't been great at updating anyway) into one blog about both kids, adoption, and life in general. I'd like to write more specifically about Mateo's special needs but I want to keep pictures and names out of it to protect his privacy, especially as he gets older and I get more detailed. So I'm going to create a separate blog specifically about that. I won't make it private because I want to be a support for other parents going through the same things. But I'm not going to connect the two blogs so that new readers won't have access to his picture, name, and personal information. My current readers will know who he is and I invite you to read both blogs, but please do not write his real name in any comments. I'm going to move all my posts about his special needs over to the new blog and keep Confessions of a Real Mom light and fun, with plenty of photos of cute kids! Does this make sense?

As soon as I have the new blog set up, I will leave the site information in a comment on your personal blog. If you want me to do so, leave a comment on this post and be sure it connects to your blog or leave your email address. Thanks.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Best Of....Maya's Party!



It looked beautiful...

It tasted awesome!

And it came with a complimentary smash cake just for Maya

For my Connecticut peeps, you can check out the website where
I got the cake here.


My friend made this dress. Yes, made it. You can see more here.

As you can see, the party was a great success!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Just So You Know....

Talking badly about a people group (race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, country of origin, etc.) whether you are in front of them or not is not okay. Making stereotypical statements about a people group is also not okay. Saying negative things about a people group in front of the parents of a child in that people group is definitely not okay. And then exclaiming the child is "not really" a part of that people group is just plain idiotic. Just so you know.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Seven Pounds Baby!

I went for my first weigh-in at Weight Watchers tonight and guess how much I lost? Hint: it's in the blog title. That's right! Seven pounds!

If I could find a way to type out a victory dance, I totally would. Picture the Cabbage Patch meets the Running Man meets the Macarena. Oh, and I'm singing a song like "Oh yeah! Oh yeah! I did it! Oh yeah!"

Okay, so put that all together and picture me (minus 7 pounds of course) doing that right now. See? Don't you want to rejoice with me? Or at least laugh at me?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Yes, that is my son eating an entire Carvel ice cream cake that my husband brought home after surgery in order to get him to eat something.

It didn't work. He hasn't been eating well and has had tummy trouble since surgery one week ago. We've been to the doctor and will probably go again tomorrow if it doesn't get any better. Lots of drama, I'll update later when things settle down a bit.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Maya is ONE!!!

Well, she turned 1 almost a week ago but I was preoccupied with Mateo's surgery and recovery. And she's not adopted yet :( I was hoping by the first birthday but alas, DCF moves slow. Who would've guessed? But seriously, I just have to say, Maya's bio mom agreed to consent 9 months ago. Nine months! Does it really have to take this long?

Anyway, here are just some things I love about this one year old girl:

- she's just so dang cute!

- she loves her family

- she laughs whenever anybody else laughs

- she is good-natured

- but she is developing her own little personality

- which has turned a bit towards the dramatic

- like when she throws herself face down on the floor and buries her head in her hands when she's upset

- but overall she is easy-going

- she's very tough, I guess a necessity being Mateo's little sister

- she is social and friendly

- she is happy 93% of the time

- she is hilarious and makes us laugh all the time with her funny facial expressions

- she is so dang cute! (She also may be a bit spoiled because of this)

Since she's having a big party next weekend, we had a small celebration on her actual birthday. And she got one present from Dave and I, and one from Mateo. Here is the push-cart I got her. She LOVED it! And was so freakin' cute pushing it around the house.

The boys putting it together with the screw gun

Doesn't she look too tiny to be walking around like this? She's my little munchkin!

2010 Goes Down in History as the Worst Year Ever! (and it's only March)

First we had the MRSA incident. After that, Mateo started heading downhill with his moods. Then a very close friend of mine died last week unexpectedly. It's been very hard on me and my family. This weekend someone broke into our new house (where we are not living yet) and stole a bunch of my husband's tools that he's been collecting for years and our brand new washer/dryer. They did have the courtesy to take the laundry out of the washer before stealing it. Thankfully I don't have to replace the kids clothes too. But it sucks. We have a $2,000 deductible on our homeowner's insurance so we have to spend at least that much to get the stuff back. Not what we needed at all since our house renovations are far from done and if people didn't already know this, renovating a 1853 house costs money!

Plus, we are behind on all our work. We really need to move in soon so we can stop carrying two mortgages. No one has expressed interest in buying our current house. Maya's adoption isn't even close to happening yet, although her birthday/adoption party is this weekend. Speaking of Maya, she turned one last week. I have a post all ready about how fabulous she is! But I want to add a picture (from behind) and haven't had a chance yet. That will be next.

Anyway, the point is...2010 is officially the worst year ever! I'm hoping by June I'm not saying that anymore.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Surgery Update

Mateo did end up staying overnight. They took out the tonsils, the adenoids (again), and put in ear tubes. The ENT said it was good that we did all three. He really needed it. Surgery went well but after he wasn't breathing as well. Nothing to be alarmed about but his oxygen sats were low at first so they wanted to be sure to monitor him overnight. He is doing just fine today and coming home soon. Dave stayed overnight with him, since he's such a daddy's boy. He had a lot of trouble coming out of anesthesia, which we anticipated based on how he did last time. Since he's pretty much irritable on a daily basis, and normally has trouble going from sleeping to waking, it was no surprise that he had even more trouble after surgery, in a strange environment, with lots of tubes stuck to him. He was so combative, agitated, AND STRONG, that the nurses gave him a dose of Morphine. Fifteen minutes later, another dose. Twenty minutes later they called the anesthesiologist down, who gave him some Valium, "just to calm him down." Yes, thank you! As we were in a wrestling match with him for the last 45 minutes. After the Valium he still tried to take the IV out but was much slower at it so we could catch him. He recovered fine after that. But I have a big gouge taken out of my finger as a war wound.

Anyway, thanks for the thoughts and prayers. We are happy there was no excessive bleeding. He should be home today, eating ice cream and popsicles, and hopefully in a good mood.

Oh, and we had the same nurse in the inpatient unit as we did when we were there last month with Maya. And she recognized us! I had to explain that we don't intentionally put our children in the hospital 6 weeks apart, it's just a coincidence. We are a normal family...sort of.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Surgery Day

Today is Mateo's 4th surgery. He's having his tonsils out, ear tubes in, and adenoids checked. He had his adenoids out last year but they sometimes grow back. Sometimes these surgeries can cause complications for children with cleft lip/palate. So we have a bed held for us in case, but we're hoping we don't need to use it. I'd like to go home today. I'll update later about how it went. I'm guessing Mateo won't be very happy after surgery. We're also going to be messing with his medication doses but....he hasn't been stable anyway. I'm also guessing he's going to be pretty irritable and angry due to the heightened level of anxiety the whole event will cause him. He's so sensitive to everything, I'm gearing myself up for a rough couple of days.

I do have a medication update I'll post later.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

Weight Watchers

Well, I officially joined Weight Watchers. Now I guess I have to actually watch my weight. Hopefully as it goes down!

It should be no surprise to anyone that I gained...about....a million pounds! of weight in the last two years. Who knows what the reason is (ahem, kids!), but whatever the reason (kids!), it doesn't matter cause I can't get rid of them! So, I might as well just suck it up and deal with the stress in some other way besides downing an entire sleeve of Oreos. And since auditioning for Biggest Loser doesn't seem in the cards, Weight Watchers is the next best thing.

So here I my first meeting. Getting weighed by an overly sympathetic skinny woman with a clipboard. Ugh. I hate it. But I need it. Oh, why can't I be one of those people who can eat anything they want and never gain a pound! I hate them.

I mean, I've never been a size 2 or anything but I used to be pretty average. I've always been curvy, but healthy and muscular. Now I join the ranks of the thousands of point-counting, weekly weigh-in, crying at meetings, Weight Watcher people. It's ok. I can deal with it. I miss my body and my health too much to not give it a try. Wish me luck!

Before Kids

(on our honeymoon to Yosemite)

I don't even have an "after kids" picture to show you because I erase them all before anyone can see them. Hopefully, in a few months, I'll be able to show you some progress. I don't know about wearing no skimpy denim shorts anymore, but we'll see.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

To Homeschool or Not To Homeschool? That is the Question.

The word "homeschooling" was always synonymous with "crazy" in my mind. I never thought it was something that would enter our lives. I will admit I was always intrigued by the idea of homeschooling. Children having more free time, no homework, no tests, and a tailored education where the parents can dictate what's important (more music and art!). But I didn't think I would ever do it. Mostly because I didn't think I could stand being around my children that long.

But remember this post I wrote recently about our plan to begin homeschooling Mateo when we move?

While I think it's the right thing to do in our case, I still have doubts. Will I have enough time while working part time? Will I be able to teach him? Will he be able to learn from me? Will I get tired of coming up with creative and crafty ideas all the time? Will they not be socialized enough? Will he not learn the skills he needs to succeed in life? Will the state take him away if he doesn't pass some sort of homeschooling test? And the list goes on.

Most importantly, is he going to miss out on anything? That's my biggest fear. All those small experiences that only school can give you. I realize some are bad; bullying, cliques, homework, poor teachers, etc. But look at the photo below. This came home from school with Mateo last week.

(click on photo to make larger)

Is this what he's going to miss out on by not being in school? It doesn't change my mind, but it does make me wonder.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why is it Always About Daddy?

Maya has taken to calling me "daddy". I would be upset but she's so darn cute when she says it. I honestly think she thinks she's saying "mommy". She responds if someone asks "where's mommy?" But she still says "daddy" enthusiastically as she pats my face. She also calls my husband "daddy". Maybe she thinks everyone is called "daddy"? She also says "doggie". Hm...maybe I should be grateful she doesn't call me that.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Buying Happiness?

I need some opinions here. So Maya's big birthday party is coming up in a couple weeks. And since it's going to be a pretty big deal (at least in one three year olds eyes) and Maya will get lots of attention and presents, what is your opinion on giving Mateo a small present so he doesn't feel left out? Normally, I would say no way. This creates a spoiled child who feels entitled to a present at everyone's birthday. But now that it's my kid, and I'm going to have to keep telling him "no" to all the presents Maya gets, I think I might get him a little something to open while Maya is opening her presents. Maybe when he's older he can be expected to enjoy the process of his little sister opening her gifts, but he's only 3 years old. I think that's asking too much. So, what do you think? Present or no present at Maya's birthday party?

Speaking of consumerism....I'm going to be honest about something, a flaw I suppose, so don't slam me for this. I have a confession. I attempt to buy Mateo's happiness. Before you get all soap-boxy in my comments, let me explain. Number one: I grew up poor. My mom had to say "no" to a lot of things that I really wanted. I may be making up for that. I see Mateo begging for something at the store and the little me inside is begging too. Number two: I sometimes feel so bad that life is hard for Mateo that buying him that one toy to make him happy doesn't seem like such a big deal. Yes, I know the feeling is only temporary! And I know that it's superficial! And I know he should find his happiness in God, or himself, or his family, or whatever! But I feel so helpless sometimes because I don't know how to help him. I can't fix his hurts. I just want him to have some happy, joyful memories of his childhood. This is one thing I know how to do to bring a smile to his face. Is that so wrong? (If you answered "yes", don't tell me)

So, that is why we accumulate so much junk around here. But, on a positive note, after the cheap thrill of a new toy is over, I take it away and donate it. So, children out there somewhere are benefiting from my weakness.


Ha! Got you to read this didn't I? Okay, I'm not really writing about Twilight. I think I covered my obsession thoroughly in this post. But have you read her other book? The Host. I finished it a couple weeks ago and loved it! It's kind of like X-files meets Sybil meets Love Actually. I didn't know if anything Stephanie Meyers wrote would live up to Twilight, but it was different enough that I could like it too. And actually, I think it would make a great movie, which is good cause they are making into one. So...if you love Stephanie Meyers, and want a quick fun read, check out The Host.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Calling All Parents of Biracial Kids!

I need hair help!!!!

Maya's hair is still really dry and frizzy in the back. I think I need a leave-in conditioner. Her hair is not as kinky and tight as AA hair so I think a product meant for that type of hair will be too heavy. So I need something in between. Any suggestions?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Daddy's Boy

I was looking through my camera card and realized I have so many cute pictures I haven't done anything with. So my next few posts will be mostly pics. To start us off I have some favorites of Mateo and Dave. Mateo is such a daddy's boy. When Dave is around, all Mateo wants is to be with him. In fact, when Dave isn't around, all he wants is daddy. It's very cute (when it's not annoying). And since I grew up without a dad, I have always LOVED child and father photos. Especially baby girls and dads. But since I can't post of Maya yet, you'll just have to wait.

And this photo is one that Mateo took of Dave. Good huh? Future photographer maybe?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Won't You Be My Valentine?

We're a little late for a Valentines Day post, I know. But I liked the pictures of Mateo so I'm posting anyway. We had a really great V-day actually. My friends were here from Indy to help us do some projects around the new house. Check out my house blog later tonight for more details (wait till later though cause I haven't actually written the new post yet). I got the kids little Valentine bags of goodies. Unfortunately, they were both more interested in my husband's pipe insulation. Oh well. I tried to be a fun mom. Daddy gets all the glory again and he doesn't even have to try.

The coolest part was our double date!!! Man, I haven't been on a double date in...well...I don't even remember the last time. My mom watched the kids and Dave and I went out to a nice restaurant with the aforementioned friends from Indy. The food was great, the company so. Okay, kidding. It was a lot of fun. Here are some pictures of Mateo hamming it up as usual.

Notice the T-shirt. It's Pebbles and Bam-bam. Who misses The Flintstones? They just don't make kid shows like they used to. Yabba Dabba doo!!!

"Really mom, I need a haircut. This mop of hair just isn't doing it for me. Chicks may not be digging me much longer if you don't control this thing"

Hands full of Hershey Kisses

Happy Belated Commercialized Westernized Made-Up-Holiday-For-Your-Husband-To-Screw-Up-Again!!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


So, I saw this product on someone else's blog and just had to get it. They are little cards you can play games with, like memory. Anything that might work to help Mateo express his emotions that doesn't involve throwing things, calling names, spitting, or hitting, I am buying it! I just got them in the mail yesterday. They are adorable. And fun.

BUT...because I'm me. I just can't resist making fun of a few of them. So, here are some of my favorite "feeleez".

I'll-just-make-a-silly-face face

I-ate-too-many-gummy-worms-and-now-I'm-gonna-hurl face
('m-gonna-hurl face)

no-one-will-get-hurt face

Macaulay Culkin-esque-Home-Alone face

It-was-this-big!-I-swear! face

Loading-my-finger-gun-and-gonna-bust-a-cap-in-that-kid's-face face

I-gotta-pee-I-gotta-pee-I-gotta-pee-oops-too-late face

I-just-won-the-lottery-in-my-bathing-suit-and-I must-be-on-uppers-cause-I'm-smiling
even-though-I-have-no-fingers face

This is Mateo's favorite. Seriously, he's obsessed with it. He says it's a mad face. I'm thinking maybe more constipated but I guess these are objective. But maybe his obsession is indicative of the way he feels most of the time. I guess if I felt like I was constipated all the time I would be pretty mean and irritable too. Hmm...explains a lot doesn't it?

Anyway, see how fun these are? You can try it too. Just leave a comment with a caption for one of the photos and number them starting at the top. Then I'll post the best ones. Try it. It's fun!

My New Blog!

Here's our new blog about renovating the house we just bought. Check it out and follow our journey towards making this giant old house, our new home.

Renovating the Hayden House

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Conversations with J-momma and Hubby

This is sort of a continuation of my Odd Conversations posts I've been doing. Except this isn't odd, just an example of my husband's funny-ness. Is that a word? I think it's a word.

We just closed on our new house (yay!). Which, by the way, we're remodeling and I'm going to start another (yes another) blog about it. For any of you DIY-ers out there, you might want to tune in. Anyway, when we went to the house after closing and started planning out what was what, we noticed that some "brilliant" person put the washer/dryer hook ups in the room with the smallest door way. So, the washer and dryer don't fit through. Actually, the door way is probably half the size of a regular door way, so they're not even close to fitting through. So, here was our conversation about how to solve this problem

Me: Will they fit through the window?

Dave: No.

Me: Could we take the washer and dryer apart then rebuild them in the room?

Dave: No.

Me: I know. How about we cut a hole in the wall, slide them through, then just stick the wall piece back in place and paint over it? You know, like they used to do in old cartoons with a saw on the floor?

Dave: What?

Me: Oh! We can have the manufacturer build the washer and dryer INTO the room!

Dave: Oh sure. And why don't we just have Harry Potter come over and cast a spell on them so they'll fit through the door!

Anyone have his number?

Monday, February 1, 2010

I See Your Naked Body!

This (meaning the blog post title) is what Mateo yelled all around the mall today. Which is funny to a three year old. A three year old who is very curious about bodies, nakedness, and potty language. Three year olds are also known for NOT stopping when you tell them to. If fact, this particular three year old tends to say inappropriate things longer and louder when you tell him not to. So, in combination, this can be quite embarrassing. And now everyone in the mall thinks my son would like to see their naked bodies.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Maya's hair has been getting longer...(yay!)....but also a little kinkier (is that a word?). And while kinky is cute, it's also a little dry, tangled, and frizzy. So I asked my brother's girlfriend (whose a hair dresser) if she has any products that work for Maya's type of hair. She brought me this.

It's awesome!

Now check out my girl's cutie curls. I love 'em!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Does it Ever End?

So Maya is out of the hospital and feeling much better....but now Mateo is sick with fever and a bad cough. Anytime Mateo gets sick it goes to his lungs. It's because of his asthma. So we started his sick plan with the nebulizer every few hours. I guess that's just how it goes. One gets better, the other gets sick. I'll bet right when Mateo is feeling better, Maya will catch whatever he has. Does it ever end?

Anyway, back to our hospital stay. I guess it wasn't too bad. But I have a few complaints. Maya was very scared and confused and cranky. She's 10 months so she understands something weird is going on, but doesn't understand what. She was also very overtired. The day we were admitted, I brought her to the pediatrician in the morning because I was concerned her leg wasn't really improving that much since starting the anti-biotics a week ago. I was worried about it forming an abscess, which would require surgery to fix. When the doctor saw her, he couldn't tell if there was an abscess but he suspected it. So he called the surgical clinic at our local children's hospital to get her seen that day. They said they could see us if we made it there before noon. It was 11:30 and it takes 40 minutes to get there. The pediatrician told me to try to get there in time but don't get a speeding ticket. So I rushed, baby in tow, on the phone getting the right papers from DCF to have her treated and arranging pick-up for Mateo at preschool. I told Dave to get his butt to the hospital because if they had to drain the leg, I would freak out.

So we saw the surgeon (at, like 1pm, not before noon mind you) and he said he wanted to open it up to drain it then have her admitted for anti-biotics through an IV. Thankfully Dave was there by then dealt with the draining part. He didn't put her under anesthesia for that. Just used a numbing cream and made a small incision. It drained very well but Maya wasn't happy. I don't think it hurt, I think she was just scared and didn't like being held down.

We got her into a room in impatient. It's a very nice hospital and very child friendly, but she was on quarantine because she technically had an infectious disease. So that meant she couldn't leave the room. She was also tethered to an IV post which was plugged into the wall so she had about a 3 foot radius around her crib to move. Try telling a 10 month old in the peak exploratory stage not to move around too much. It was very difficult for her. She wasn't actively sick. She had her normal energy and personality (maybe a little more cranky from her schedule being messed up) so she just wanted to play. I felt so bad for her to be stuck in the one room for 3 whole days. It was making me crazy and I had breaks. But she's a trooper and did a great job!

Because her schedule was off and she was in a scary unfamiliar environment, it was very hard to get her to sleep. But when we did, every single time, that was when the nurse just HAD to do something to her. Check her blood pressure, do a lab test, look at the leg, whatever. They HAD to do it every time she had just fallen asleep. I could have killed them! I asked them to come back in a hour, or half hour at least, but every time it was a very urgent matter that had to be done right that second. Really? Blood pressure? It was extremely annoying.

But most of the nurses were very nice and caring people. There was one who was maybe not so nice but maybe she was just having a bad day. But I'm thankful we're out of there, as was Maya. She was so happy to be untethered to the wall. When I brought her out of the room she had the biggest smile on her face. And she was just as happy to be outside in the fresh air. And she's right back to normal now, crawling around, learning some words and signs, pulling to stand, and she'll be walking any week now.

Thanks for all your prayers, thoughts, and concerns. I was worried there for a while but we're okay now. I just hope we don't have to do it again any time soon. Oh wait! Scratch that. I already know we have to do it again soon. Mateo is going in for surgery in a few weeks. Crap! He's getting his tonsils out, ear tubes in, and possibly adenoids out again. Because of his cleft it makes things more complicated and he may need to stay overnight. We stayed over with his last surgery. It was easier in some ways because he could leave the room but harder in some ways because he could leave the room. You know what I mean right? Anyway, I should probably attend to my son now who is screaming in the other room.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

We're Home

Quick update so no one worries. We're home from the hospital. We got home last night. I'll write a post later about our crazy hospital stay. Does anyone else really hate hospitals?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Please Pray for Maya

Please pray or send positive vibes, or whatever it is you do, for Maya. We're in the hospital because Maya's MRSA infection got worse. It isn't life threatening but she does need anti-biotics through an IV. We don't know how long we'll be here yet but at least over night, possibly a few days or more. I really really don't want to stay the weekend. So please pray if you can. Thank you. I'll update when we make it home.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Maya's first birthday is coming up very quickly. So here are some of my early plans for the party. We did a big adoption/birthday party for Mateo so I feel it's only fair to do one for Maya. As you can see, we're going with a ladybug theme (or lovebug as I like to call it).

The Decorations:

The Outfit:

Come on...say it with me adorable is this?

The Cake:
Something like this but probably without the giant ladybug on top. Professional cakes are expensive! But I don't want to have to make one.

The Favors:

These cookies might be green and pink instead to match everything else. I'll put them in a bag with a ribbon and our guests can take them home. I think I can handle making these.

And last, but not least....

most importantly....

The shoes!:

See? Told you I had some cute stuff!

Oh, by the way....just wait till you see her adoption video!

Monday, January 11, 2010


Yikes! The dreaded MRSA infection. Yes, Maya had (or has I guess) MRSA. I know it makes everyone shudder, but she's going to be just fine. At least that's what the doctor assured me. Actually, she's doing much much better already. I have no idea how or where she got it from. It started out last week as a little pimple on the back of her thigh. We applied neosporin for a couple days then, all of the sudden, it ballooned and got really red and hot. This was on Thursday. I picked her up from daycare and she felt really warm and feverish, even though she was acting okay. That night she was very tired and clearly didn't feel well, and she was running a fever of about 101.4. Not too bad, but combined with the leg inflammation, I was a little concerned. The next morning she was throwing up, her leg was really bad, she could barely move it and was in a lot of pain. She still had a fever despite all the tylenol and ibuprofen. That's when I freaked out.

Thank God Dave is so good in a crisis. He stayed calm and we called the doctor to see if we could get in right away. We considered the ER but figured we would get in quicker at our own pediatrician. I was in tears as Maya screamed in pain while we changed her diaper and attempted to hold her without putting pressure on her leg. Mateo was so upset by all of this. He would beat up Dave every time Maya cried because he thought he was hurting her. It was kind of cute although a little annoying. He's very protective.

I knew I couldn't handle being at the doctor so Dave took her. The pediatrician took a culture and gave us two anti-biotics with clear instructions. He wasn't sure which one would work or if it would work. He said that if she couldn't keep the anti-biotics down we had to admit her to the hospital. Also if her fever got worse or if we saw any streaking towards the lymph nodes. We kept a close eye but luckily, none of those things happened and she kept the anti-biotics down. She was very sick all day Friday and most of Saturday. Poor baby couldn't sit down, we had to hold her carefully all day. My arm is still sore.

By Saturday night she was much more comfortable. This is gross but the spot on her leg drained some during the day. That helped her feel better. Her fever was down and she was more herself. She still had a lot of swelling and redness in her leg but it seemed like the medicine was working.

This morning we went to get it checked at the pediatrican again. I was a little worried because it's still very red and hot. She's been throwing up formula but keeping down the pedialite. The swelling in her leg is still pretty big, but getting smaller. I thought the doctor would have to drain it but he didn't. He said the culture came back as MRSA, but one of the anti-biotics she's been taking usually works for that. He's satisfied with her progress and thinks she'll be fine. We're watching for an abscess, which could happen, but the doctor thinks most likely it won't.

Maya should be healed within a few more days. And hopefully she'll start keeping down her formula too. But she's acting more herself today. She's crawling around and playing. She's starting to stand up again and can sit more comfortably. I'm happy this infection didn't go the other way, with her in the hospital and an IV and risk for more infection. We were lucky we caught it in enough time to keep her home.

Thanks for the thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Staph Infection

Maya has a staph infection. It was really bad but it's getting better. I'm taking a short hiatus until she's all the way better. I'll be back soon.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


What is Unschooling:

Unschooling is a type of homeschooling but without the curriculum and formal teaching schedule. It's very radical but I think it will work for our family. I'll explain why below. So what is Unschooling? It's completely child-led, parent-guided, and focused on what the child is interested in. It's all day, everyday, life-long learning adventures in the community, at home, and outside in nature. It involves running around outside, exploring nature, observing bugs, cooking meals, playing computer games, taking interesting classes in the community, jumping on trampolines, spending entire days at the beach, and learning as we live and explore. The philosophy is based on the fact that children are naturally curious about the world and want to learn. And that by following their interests and their lead, we, as a family, will learn far more than in school where it's forced and unnatural.

It's different from traditional homeschooling because there's no curriculum, no worksheets, no scheduled "school" time, and no tests. It's life. It's making the most of every moment, every interest, every curiosity, and learning more about the world together as a family. We've done some of this type of teaching and noticed Mateo responds really really well to it. Here's why.

***We're using the unschooling method of educating our children, not parenting. Most unschoolers extend this style into their parenting allowing their child to go to bed when they want and eat when and what they want as well. They believe children know what's best for themselves and parents don't. This is where I draw the line. Mateo needs to go to bed at a reasonable time if nothing more than for my sanity :)

Why we're doing it:

Basically, it comes down to the fact that I think I can teach my kids better than an over-worked, under-paid teacher of 20 other students can. I'm not anti-school and I probably wouldn't do this if I had any other child than I do. Actually, I've never been a fan of homeschooling. My experience of homeschooling has always been religious fanatics that are scared their children will be infiltrated by demons in the public school system. Their children are socially stunted because they've only ever been around other people like them, while the real world isn't like that, and kids need to know how to socialize with lots of types of people. So it's almost laughable that I would ever even consider homeschooling. Actually, even saying the word makes me throw up a little in my mouth. So I never in a million years thought I would actually homeschool my kids. But, since having Mateo in our lives, every single aspect of parenting, kids, and life has been challenged and redefined. So it really should be no surprise to me that my educational choices would be unconventional too. It goes right along with the rest of my parenting!

The idea started when I began thinking about future-Mateo. Future Mateo in school. School as an institution, public, private, good town, bad town, is about sitting relatively still for hours at a time at a desk with at least 15 other kids in the classroom listening to the teacher or doing worksheets. I just can not foresee Mateo being able to learn that way. I was barely able to learn that way and I don't have nearly as many learning problems as Mateo does. I know we're still a couple years off. And I don't know how kindergarten works nowadays, but I do know my son. A year and a half ago I knew there was something "off" in his brain chemistry. And I was right. Now I know that he will not succeed in a traditional school setting. He may survive, he may get by, but will he learn? Or will he slip through the cracks? Or maybe he'll be so disruptive he won't be able to stay in regular school. And there's no way I'll agree to send him to a therapeutic school. I've worked in two of them and I know there's a time and a place for this type of setting, but not for my kid! And I'll just leave it at that.

So, knowing Mateo as I do, and knowing that he's spent his whole time with us developing at HIS own pace, not able to be force-fed knowledge or skills at any time, has helped solidify my decision. Walking, talking, potty training (still waiting for that one!) has all been in his own timing. Actually, when we've tried to teach him something against his will, or pushed a skill when he wasn't ready, he bucked the system and resisted more! And his timeline does not match up with most kids in the school system. And you know what? I'm finally okay with that. If I pull him out of school, it doesn't really matter if he knows his colors right now or not. Maybe one day we'll pick up a prism at the science store and he'll be interested enough to learn about colors. Maybe not. Maybe he doesn't really care about colors for the next two years. Doesn't matter. He'll learn them eventually, and it won't be forced so it will probably happen faster and he'll retain the information longer. At least that's the theory.

How it will work:

Well, I suppose we'll find that out as we go. Even though preschool is really all about playing, it's not super-structured like grade school, and he seems to have fun, I'm going to start when we move in April. Mostly because we need a trial time and doing it during preschool seems pretty low-risk. In our new house, we'll have a big room devoted just for playing and learning. I'm already plotting out what I want the room to be like, and what materials I want to have available. I think what we'll do is provide the materials for learning and exploring and encourage him when he's ready to do it. And we'll learn and grow together being keyed-in to his interests. For instance; trains. He is really into trains right now (what 3 year old little boy isn't?) So, here are all the things we can do having to do with trains. We can visit a train, read about trains, play with trains, take apart a toy electric train, ride a train, visit the train museum, walk along train tracks, pretend to be a conductor, write a story about trains, build a model train, study a map of where trains travel, and watch movies about trains. We'll be learning about schedules and time, about ticket pricing and money, about types of trains, how trains run, mechanics, engineering, geography, computer skills, and practicing reading and writing. If he's tired of trains before we finish, no big deal, we can learn the same skills in a variety of ways.

Now don't worry. I'm not going into this blindly. I've looked up the statistics on success rate of homeschoolers and unschoolers in college and work life, and for the most part they are either similar to public schooled kids or more successful. I still have to work part-time, so some of our learning will happen on the weekends, which will be awesome because Dave can be involved and teach him things that I can't. Mateo has learned how to screw and unscrew, hammer a nail, and he already knows the difference between a screw, a bolt, a nut, and a bit. We didn't even teach him that! So he doesn't know his colors, BUT he knows how change the batteries in all his toys.

I truly believe unschooling will work for our family. I can adapt to Mateo's needs at the time; whether he needs a sensory break, calming time reading a book, an mid-day nap, or some physical activity outside. I can give him what school can't. I think. We'll find out and I'll keep you posted as I go. If you have any suggestions or comments, feel free as always!

Mateo screwing the bottom for our lazy-susan into our cabinet

Things to Look Forward to in 2010

Number one: Hello? Moving! We are squeezed in our shoe-box so tightly I just can't wait for all the extra space. I can't wait until I can tell Mateo when he's super hyper to get his push car and do laps through the house to burn off some energy. I think we're just all on top of each other here and we get so aggravated about it. We probably won't move until April because we bought a fixer-upper. We have lots of renovations before we can live there. BUT I CAN NOT WAIT TO MOVE TO OUR NEW HOUSE!!! Do you get the point?

Second, adopting our little one! We already know she's ours but it would be nice for it to be legal. We have TPR (termination of parental rights) and we're just waiting for the social worker to do the paper work, get it approved by DCF, then get a date in court. I'm crossing my fingers for it to happen before her 1st birthday, which is March 3rd, but....I'm prepared if it doesn't work out.

Either way, I'm also looking forward to Maya's 1st birthday, in a bittersweet way. I'm happy she's with us to reach this first milestone. We missed Mateo's first birthday. But I'm sad to lose the baby-ness. Most likely, we won't adopt any more kids. We may foster here and there, but we're not planning on any more babies. So she's it. And I'm planning a big celebration, birthday combined with adoption. I'll share the details on another post because I'm picking out some really cute stuff!

Another thing I'm looking forward to is something that will take it's own post to explain. We've decided to try a new technique of schooling for Mateo in place of traditional preschool. It's called "unschooling" (with some modifications). And I'll explain more in my next post, that I can hopefully write out later today because i know people will be curious.

For now, here's to 2010! May it bring joy and blessings to you and your families!

I leave you with some pictures from our New Years Eve Party with some friends and family.

Dave playing my brother's video games, which he never gets to do.

Nana playing with Maya.

Maya and her best buddy Tanner (my friend's baby). Notice how she is stealing his toy.

Matching Elmo slippers. Mateo thought this was just the coolest thing. For five minutes. Unfortunately, they don't stay on either of their feet very well.