Monday, August 31, 2009

Where there is bad, there is always good...

Den*ise Amber L*ee
I've been completely glued to Court TV every single day this past week and the week to come. In SWFl, there was a beautiful, innocent mother of 2 that was taken out of her home and put through more hell on this earth than Satan himself could have offered up. Here's a short recap of history:

Den*ise Amber L*ee Denise was a 21-year-old, loving mother of two boys, Noah (2years) and Adam (6 months). She also was the beloved wife of Nathan, who worked three jobs so that Denise could stay home and raise their children. On the day Denise was abducted from the Lees' rented home in North Port, she had just put the boys down for naps. Somehow, the intruder gained entry and control of Denise, who most likely saved her children's lives by cooperating with this monster, locking a door that never latched properly and shutting the windows. Denise's father, Detective Rick G0ff, was able to call on all area state, county and municipal law-enforcement agencies to search for Denise and her captor immediately following her abduction. This was one of the most massive, cooperative search efforts that this area ever experienced. In the hours that ensued, Denise fought mightily for her life against a man much larger than she. In her battle, she was able to use the captor's cell phone to call 911, and act she thought would save her life. She was not the only one to call 911 that day regarding this crime. There were at least four other calls, one from her distraught husband and three from eyewitnesses. One witness gave the local sheriff's department an exact location of the crime happening in the car behind her. She stayed on the phone for more than nine minutes, identifying cross streets as she continued driving. Because of the chaos and a "shift change" in the call center during this time, the call did not result in a dispatch of officers in the area. In fact, as many as four patrol cars were within a mile of the car in which Denise was fighting for her life. The next few days were difficult ones. The assailant was arrested, and hundreds of law enforcement personnel and volunteers searched for Denise. On the morning of January 19, 2008, her body was found naked in a well-hidden grave, dead from a gunshot wound. Denise was cunning, and she left behind many clues. Most important was her 911 call, during which she duped her captor into believing that she was talking to him rather than a 911 operator. She pulled out some of her own hair and left it in the car so that investigators would have DNA evidence. She also hid a ring, a unique an d sentimental keepsake that her husband could easily identify. It is in memory of Denise and the tragedy that befell someone so undeserving that this Foundation is formed. Had 911 operators responded properly and quickly to these calls, Denise's life could have been saved.

The jury took 2 1/2 hours to come back with a guilty verdict on all charges and tomorrow morning begins the next penalty phase to decide life or death for this sonofab*&%# that didn't give a second thought to rather this young Mom lived or died. I will be watching courttv at 9:00 when the family is able to give there impact statements. I've always been able to see both sides of the death penalty debate, but I am very happy that this asshole lives in a state where he will most likely be handed the verdict of death by needle, though I believe he is getting off way to easy. You can read more about Den*ise Amber L*ee by googling her name.

Hell was meant for M*chael K*ing & I even think that's to good of a place for his soul.


On the Good Note of Life, I had to pass along to the world that my neighbor received confirmation that her daughter Jaylee passed the medical exam and they will be allowed to travel to bring her home! (Probably next week!) They have been knee deep in the ridiculous rules of the CDC and TB. If you haven't signed the petition, please do:

Jaylee could have been home 6 months sooner had this backwards rule been tweeked to fit the circumstances.

Our hearts are full of joy for their family who has waited exactly one year to bring her home since seeing her cute little mug. I can't wait to see her running around with all the kids in our cul -de-sac!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

3 words

Eme began walking this full throttle this week. We even had to make a stop to the specialty shoe store to try to find a brand that fits her teeny tiny feet. Her heels are the size of my thumb and all the shoes I have for her just slide right off. We ended up with the only pair of shoes in the entire store that fit her, pink and white Stride R*tes. They were also the only pair that were 50% off, a deal to good to be true! Eme is using her feet to get herself into all sorts of trouble. She is 'naughty very much.'
Between the grabby hands, the always in motion feet and her fascination with everything, she just can't keep herself out of trouble. My child that could not even roll over, sit up or feed herself 3 months ago is running through the house, destroying all things in her path. She takes no mercy on anything. The week ahead will be very difficult on me and I am already looking forward to next Friday....
We completed one full week of school and it was a total success. Though I have a few
not-so-kind words for our Superintendent who apparently has the brain of fly and has decided that no homework will be graded to count for our middle school students. Kudos to the teachers that are still sticking around and doing their best to 'teach' our kids. It's so unbelievable. This rule affects G, but I have to say on day 2, he was doing his homework at the dining room table. For what reason....? I have no idea, but he is a motivated kid and in the brainiac classes and is working on a full scholarship to his school of choice, but not to many kids have that motivation and drive and I can say that if this rule is still in place next year when C rolls into middle school then it will add more struggle on us to make sure that he knows the work and will certainly not help in preparing him for high school.
In other news: I have been juicing for a full week and I love it. I've had some pretty tasty drinks and some others that I had to choke down. I certainly feel better and have more energy.
I'll try anything once and even if I hate it, I'll drink it up for the health benefits.
W & his starfish. He wanted me to take a photo before he let him go. These photos were taken off my iphone, which turned out better than I expected. Emerson sleeping in her starfish float in the gulf.
That's my girl!
When we got off the boat on Saturday, we walked past the cabana bar and saw this happy fella sitting there with her LV collar on sipping on either a water or gin & tonic. Eme was so excited to see a dogdog sitting at the bar.

Eme's favorite toy is her stroller and baby.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

another flip dump

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Yesterday was a big day around here with the first day of school!

August 24, 2009
G started his last year of middle school....holy shitakes. Let's just all stop and take a deap breathe, while I vomit. My boy will start high school next year....sigh.
G~8th grade

& C will begin middle school next year. Good lordy. I guess my my mind went into overdrive and skipped right through this year. This is C's last year of elementary school.
We are really hoping that C has a fabulous year. He seems to make the school year very stressful on everyone, but this year, he has been requested to be the 'safety patrol' for a little blind girl that he has adored for 2 years now and I hope that will help keep him grounded throughout the year.
C~5th grade
W was very excited about going to school, riding the bus and having real homework like his big brothers. I'm pretty sure that won't last long, but I'll enjoy it while I can.
C & W are going to the same school this year, which I love.
As if all that grown up news wasn't enough,
it was 3 months ago that Eme Grace was placed in my arms.

Time really does fly by when you are done with the waiting part of adoption.
I can't believe how different Emerson looks & how far she has come. She is pretty much walking everywhere, though she still falls down alot, she is talking more and added 2 words together just this morning for the first time, "Hi Dada" when Dada walked into the room.
She is a laid back kinda gal & still maintains the title of my 'good time girl.'
She loves her brothers, she is completely comfortable with her Daddy & she thinks Kita dog is the best friend to have, she also thinks Kita's food is tasty. She is Ms. Grabby Hands and does not sit still for long, she is a wiggle worm to the highest degree. She is exploring the world around her, to the point of driving me insane. She is always, I mean ALWAYS into something. She dances every time she hears music on, she loves to talk on her little toy cell phone and her new hobby is pushing 'baby' around in her stroller. I spend hours just staring at her and I'm
still unsure how we were chosen to be her parents, we really are the luckiest people around & there are no words for how much I love her.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Eme and her red shoes

If you'd like to waste 7 minutes & 23 seconds of your life, then you've come to the right spot. Emerson was having quite the time learning to walk in shoes. She's been barefoot since I brought her home, mainly because she just learned to walk and the other reason being that she has skinny feet & super tiny heels and we've yet to find shoes that fit her. It's like watching a dog walk in snow for the first time=0)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

3 words

We are ready! The lunches are packed, the clothes are picked out and doggonenabbit the alarm is set for 6:30. I will resume my regular schedule of gym time at 7:00, where 2 of my boys will catch their bus. My little guy is going to kindergarten!!! I have no idea how that happened, but it's now become apparent to me, that they do grow up way to fast. I'm looking forward to a little routine, but I'm not looking forward to homework & I'm not really sure how Emerson is going to fit into this routine....she likes to sleep till about 8:30.
I will also begin a new juicing diet tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it to see how I feel after a week or two. I've never done juices before, but the kitchen is completely overflowing with organic fruits and vegetables and I now have no choice but to make use of them now=0)
So here we go....we are off to a fresh new year!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Summer break is coming to an end & OOPS, forgot to mark the videos as public...*now you can view them*

Video one is of the boys playing with their sister. I had no clue they were Flipping her until I dumped the Flip. It's cute, but I noticed how nasty the garage door is and tomorrow I will be cleaning it, maybe.

Eme is learning to walk! She walks like a drunken sailor right now and I just think it's the cutest thing ever.

Isn't she just so darn cute!?! I'm telling you, her cute factor is pretty tootin high in this house.

After our quick, but fun weekend trip away, we've been busy catching up on stuff around here. Nothing exciting, but stuff needs done. The boys go back to school on Monday and I can officially say that I'm ready for some routine around here. We've had a summer full of adjustments and the amount of chaos and commotion is starting to tip my level of sanity to a point that is scary. I believe it was fabulous timing that the boys have been home nonstop with their sister since her homecoming, but...all good things must come to an end. I now hear crazy things that people are doing in the world and my first thought immediately goes to the question, "how many kids did they raise?" I think there should be some sort of amnesty law passed for those that do crazy things that have raised 4 or more kids. I really do.

This summer has been a whirlwind for me. I can't say that I deserve any Mom of the year award, but I would accept the award for being good enough. For the most part, they all wear clean clothes, they eat regularly and they do eat a lot. I have discovered that pool baths are good enough, that sloppy joe's just might be considered nutritious if you use turkey meat and if we miss lunch, well...dinner will be rolling around soon enough. My house is messier than it has ever been and if I mop once a month, then that's also good enough.

Eme Grace has become secure enough in her attachment that I am now able to slip out of the house for a small amount of time and leave her with her Daddy. For me, I am opting to use that time to go to the gym in the morning and then again at night for a 5 mile run. I've gained a little extra fluff doing all this bonding and attachment stuff and I really need to get 'me' back. So all my extra time has been dedicated to working out and I've really had to let things go. That means less time on the computer, the phone, hanging out with my neighbors and playing with my digital software and creating fun photos. I'd really like to do Emerson's video, but time just doesn't allow for that now. My girl is on the go and is always into something. She doesn't sit still and she is fascinated with anything and everything that she can get her hands on. She is absolutely perfect and has made our family complete.

This week we've managed to sit at the government building with all the necessary documents to get Eme's passport and then sit at the social security office for 2 hours to get my girl her number. In 2 weeks we will begin the readoption process. I'm so sick of paperwork and just want it all over, but I really want to take care of this while all the paperwork is still fresh. Once it's all done, I know we'll be golden.

Life will hopefully return to a new normalcy when school starts, but until then...we will be going full speed ahead.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

3 words

Eme & I headed to the woods of Georgia this weekend to spend some good times with the girls.

I was really nervous to fly with Eme girl alone and though she did fabulous, I was thankful for the short flight!...another 30 minutes on that plane and the outcome might have been different.

When Mare and I were on our way back to the airport we were chatting about the future, like in 10 years when all our teenage girls are laying awake at night chatting about their crazy Mom's and talking about life. It's a fun connection for our girls and I look forward to all the times we are able to get together to make some memories. So in honor of that, here are my 3 words and some random photos of the weekend.

& even though we were missing a few gals....they weren't far from heart.

Some random photos of our weekend.
I love how Low-Low is so obedient to just sit there and keep smiling as the scene gets ugly with Eme....

Just monkey'ing around.
Cooking class...
Gumbo Girls!
Eme LOVED Big Daddy's Gumbo! She ate 2 full servings plus 2 servings the next day for lunch! Big Daddy does make the best gumbo ever!
Eme could NOT stay away from the dog dishes...AT ALL.
Eme's exploratory behavior was causing Low-Low great distress. Low-Low is a very well behaved, smart child who listens very well and seems to be very clear on the rules of proper behavior, unlike my uncivilized munchkin who is always in motion and grabbing at something all the time;0) She's a work in progress.
a relaxing float, except for Sophie who is all over the pool, she is quite the little fish!

Thanks for the good time girls!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

dumping the Flip

While cleaning up all my cameras and trying to get my photos and videos all organized and backed up, I have found myself staring at the photos from our trip to China with nothing but gooey eyes. I stayed up till 1:00 AM just looking back at our referral weekend photos and remembering all the feelings of excitement and the whirlwind of activities that transpired. I found myself on the blog, reading all 200 & some comments on referral day and the tears just started flowing. I never really read any of those comments because at that time, we went from referral bliss to partying like rock stars with Colleen here visiting to full fledge paper work to packing to organizing my boys life while away to boarding a plane and so goes the story. There was really never a moment to pause and read all the lovely messages left. I think my heart leaped out of my chest and I wanted to say thank you.
I miss China. There I said it. I really enjoyed our entire trip there and I fell in love with the kindness of the people and the rich heritage of our girls homeland. There is something so simple and yet so detailed about life in China that I deeply admire. Could I go back? In a heartbeat.
So here are a few videos of Emerson...
*the first one was from China, taken at the White Swan hotel

*in GZ at the wet market

*first morning home

*Kita dog getting to know her new sister

*first morning giggles (ignore me, I was still in PJ's reading)

*learning to crawl (with Colleen as her audience=0)

*doing the scoot

* a daily dance with Daddy

*learning to walk

Sunday, August 9, 2009

3 words

My girl sticks to me like glue. She does everything with me and when I put her down, she stands to hold me. She is starting to venture away and explore her world, but she always comes right back to me. She is Mama's girl.

We are Mom's, friends and neighbors. We celebrate most everything together and my life would not be the same without my girlfriends. Some of us are rejoicing in the greatest professional accomplishments of our career and others are struggling in the lowest of times. Some of us are caring for elderly parents in a way that consumes your every being and others are working more than their fair share in life. Some of us are hoping for a better tomorrow, while others don't think tomorrow could get any better than today. While we are all at a different place in life, we always come together for the good times and we offer support in the bad times. It is the friendships of life that adds all the spice and I know I couldn't live without them.

This has been a week where the rules of the CDC have so dramatically affected the Scruggs family that they had to leave their daughter in China while they returned home without her due to the new rules for TB. The rules that were written for adults should be rewritten for our adopted children coming home to America. This will continue to devastate many families if the rules are not changed.
I'm hoping everyone that reads this will sign the petition:
& while all this continues to unfold, Jaylee's family has been fighting the CDC and their ridiculous rules of TB since last August when she was referred to them. Her test results for the sputum culture will be 42 days old, as required, this week. This family needs good news. If the results are positive, Jaylee will most likely never find a home. This sick little girl is a product of her institutionalized environment, but she should be home, with the only family that has been fighting for her for a year now.
We are praying Jaylee home this week.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

17 months old, 2 months home, 2 months into summer break.....sigh....

(the cute shirt was a gift from her)

*My girl is 17 months old and she is cruising through babyhood and lining herself up pretty fast to be a toddler. She says hi, Kita, doggy, up, thank you, Dada, up, and she mimics sounds, such as her brothers names. She knows who Mommy is by pointing to me, she knows who Daddy is by pointing to him, she knows who Eme is by pointing to herself, but yet she only really says Dada for us all. She is standing on her own and has taken her first step towards me. She gets from point A to point B in a flash. She is Ms. Grabby hands and everything in her reach is fair game. She squawk's like a parrot, still. We ignore the behavior and she will then sign what she wants. She is a snack queen and we always travel with her crackers in her snack cup at all times. She is gaining weight, strength and the ability to be separated from me for a short amount of time. Emotionally, my girl is opening her heart for Daddy all the way and completely adores her brothers. We've stuck with the "Nancy Thomas" way and though it was hard, we are proud that we stuck with it and followed the advice of an expert, especially in the first weeks home when things were very rough on her emotionally.

In other news:

*I enrolled little boy W in kindergarten today. 3 down....1 to go. I can't believe that he is going into kindergarten already. Where does the time go?

*The ladies in the office were kind enough to spill the beans on who C's teacher would be and low and behold.....I'm satisfied. Every year I have to fight for that child and this year, the clouds parted and they managed to take care of my boy all on their own without me having to fight it out for him. Of course, she threw in the disclaimer that 'it could always change' better not.
*C's fabulous teacher that he had last year left the elementary school and moved to the middle school that he will be at NEXT year. Could we get lucky enough to get her twice for the same child that really needs a teacher like that???? God I hope so.

*There are 2 teacher options that I'm hoping W gets next year, though the other ones might be marvelous, I've just been told by EVERYONE who I should want for W.

*G has informed me that I don't need to worry about him. It's a good thing. =0)
*The W*i Act*ve is the bomb, though it's causing some serious damage to my bad knees. It's a nice reminder as to why I quit running on pavement and why I just can't do ljump lunges....though I am pushing through and dealing with swollen painful knees for now.

*Did you all go sign that petition? If not, read below and sign.
*I FINALLY opened the email up from my agency that they sent the week we returned from China. I wish I hadn't opened it. It's full of MORE paperwork, lots and lots of paperwork. Good lordy, I'm so sick of paperwork. BC*BS has been completely incompetent in getting our daughter added to our insurance, I just don't want to deal with more paperwork.
*I called and left a message with US Citizenship to find out where her green card is....? I don't understand everything I need, but I don't want to trade her Chinese passport in for an American one. It's just one link from her past to present that I don't want to turn in.

*Speaking of agency's. My small China only agency has been nothing short of A+. They were exactly what I had been promised and lived up to the reputation that they have earned. I'm so glad that we switched to them, even after paying the fees with another LARGE agency. They came highly recommended and I would highly recommend them to anyone. ANYONE.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Please Help by signing the Petition

This is the face of a little girl that has been denied access to America by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the new TB protocols.
These protocols also apply to children adopted abroad by U.S. citizens.
My neighbors received the referral of this precious child 11 months ago and gave her the name Jaylee. Everything that Jaylee has had to go through is nothing less than bullshit.
Jaylee had pneumonia at age 1 1/2, and they suspected TB due to the x-ray. So she went on 6 months of TB meds that ended mid Dec. In Feb & March she had another set of x-rays as part of the Visa process where they still concluded that TB was probable, though she has NEVER tested positive for TB. So they induced coughing to gather a sputum sample to which she could not do because she's only 2! So they hospitalized her after 3 months of arguing if this was even needed. They hospitalized her in order to do a gatric lavage to gather the sample over 3 days for a smear and culture that has to sit there for 42 days. 42 MORE DAYS OF WAITING. By the end of next week, they will have the results of that test. The smear came back negative for TB, which is a good sign but it will mean nothing if her culture doesn't come back negative as well. If it is positive, Jaylee will stay in the Philippians Orphanage and this family will not be able to bring her home.
Even though she was given the 6 months of medicine, the CDC will not accept that because it was not witnessed because she is in a Social Welfare System.
Meanwhile, this family continues to wait, hope & pray.
We are asking you to please go here:
and sign this petition calling on the CDC to eliminate the new TB protocols for children adopted abroad by U.S. citizens on the grounds that they are unnecessary for this population.

& if you'd like to read about this happening to another family right now in China who has officially adopted their daughter and will have to place her back in an orphanage and return to the US without her so they can go through the bullshit process above, you can read their story here:
My daughter was given a TB shot when she was a in the orphanage, if tested, she would have tested positive for TB as well. In fact, she will always test positive even if we opted to give her the 6 months of medicine. This protocol is totally unfair to the lives of children and families trying to bring their children home.
Please sign your name to this petition.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

3 Words

I am so excited that PugMama is bringing back the 3 word Sunday edition. Our family really looked forward to it and it was fun to look back at all the past photos and videos and know the stage our family was in at that time.
Our week was all about Eme Grace.

& since I couldn't decide....PM, you decide.

my island girl

We have spent the week with just our girl and have loved every second of it. She's been fun, witty and her laughter seems more alive. She has found a new friend in Daddy and she is meshing well into our life. She is everything to us and I am in awe of this tiny little girl and that she is now apart of our lives. She seems to love the island life as much as her Mama!
That's my girl, sitting on my island....can you believe it?
It's a picture that I envisioned for so long & really doubted it would ever come true.
She is a dream come true.