Friday, December 28, 2007

Road Hazards and New Year's Resolutions

I'm all packed up and on my way out of Albuquerque traveling West on I-40. I've picked up Travis and Amber, and Izzy is resting peacefully on her bed in the back seat. When all of a sudden, a giant metal pointy thing lunges out from between the wheels of the utility van in front of me, and spins it's way toward my car. My quick goat thinking suddenly comes into play. Do I swerve into the wall to my left, lunge into the car on my right, slam on my brakes (and still probably run it over), or just hit the dang thing. I have precisely .23 seconds to decide, and I choose to take a chance and I just run it over. Hey, maybe it's a cardboard box somebody spray-painted silver? No such luck. My car lunges up and to the right as myself and the passengers of my car all hold on for dear life. WHAT IS THAT THING!? A few seconds go by, and the car resumes a peaceful drive. I thought for sure we'd at least flatten a tire or something. There's no exit for another mile and a half or so, so I slowly make my way to the right lane. Then suddenly, I lose power. My car is still running, the engine is revving, but I'm not going anywhere. I pull over to the side of the road and call a tow truck. I call Pete who is in California for a business trip, and he decides that whatever it was must have punctured my transmission at the very least.

My good friend Kyle (to whom I am forever indebted) picked us all up, the tow truck towed my car to the dealer, and I picked up a rental car the next morning and eventually made my way to Phoenix for a lovely Christmas (thank you Mommie Dearest). While driving passed the spot where I hit the unnamed object, we saw a beat up metal thing that we all first thought was the bottom of a shopping cart. After consideration, it was decided that it must have been a hand truck (like a dolly) that had foiled our original driving schedule. The car is being evaluated, and the insurance company is going to decide if it's a total loss or if they're going to fix it. I probably won't have a car for at least another week. : (

On another more pleasant note, I'm at home today thinking about the New Year. These are my New year's resolutions:

1. No more soda pop. It's full of sugar, and cola gives me the jitters and makes me feel like crap.

2. Remember to take a pre-natal vitamin every day, and to spit on my ovulation tester thingie. I've already been taking the pre-natals, but I forget to take them every now and then.

3. Get pregnant (woo-hoo!)

4. Have a yard sale and/or give away all the excessive "stuff" I have laying around the house and stored in the creepy space under my stairs. I have a lot of stuff I really don't need. maybe I'll have a "free stuff" party or something.

5. Pay off all our credit card bills. We don't have an insane amount of credit card debt, but it would be nice if it was down to zero.

6. Make the Dr. appointments I've been putting off. I have a funky cyst thingie on my arm that's been there for years and I keep saying I'm going to make the appointment to have it removed, but I never do. I'd also like to get some cosmetic dentistry done too, and I even have some money set aside to actually do it! Yippee!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I just got back from UNM Hospital where I had my IUD removed. Yay! All youladies out there lookig to not get pregnant, this is the bith control of choice. I'll spare the guys and not get into it on this blog, but if you're thinking about getting one you should send me a message. They are amazing. Ayhoo, no more birth control for me. It's baby-making time! Yipee!

Yesterday I fell asleep with my glasses on. I woke up in the morning and rolled over to mess with the alarm clock. I heard a small snap which I figured was nothing important, and when I rolled back over I noticed that my glasses had been unceremoniously split in two. I am pretty much blind, and I am wearing a pair of contacts that are supposed to be the throw-away kind and last only two weeks. I just keep washing them over and over again and wearing them. So, I broke down and made an appointment to get myeyes checked and get new glasses. I should have them tomorrow before I leave for Phoenix. I'm thinking about getting these ones...

Tomorrow I'm driving to Phoenix for Christmas. I can't wait to see everyone and eat fod and do the gift exchanging and such. See you all soon! And to those of you I don't see, have a Merry Chrismachannuquanzica!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ummm....yeah. Some Serious Updating.

So, I started this blog way back in April and didn't do anything with it since then. Well all that's officially changing as of now. I have posted quite a few blogs on my Myspace site, so for those of you who avoid Myspace like the plague, here are those blogs in chronological order! Now I don't have to re-write my update. Hooray for copy and paste!

And now the exciting conclusion to Laurie and Pete's Life, Episode 2: the Last Eight Months.

July 31, 2007
This morning at around 4:30ish I got a call from a CYFD social worker asking if I could take 3 kids...just for tonight. Right now I have a 9 year-old girl upstairs asleep, and two boys, 5 and 7, asleep on my couches. They couldn't find a place for the boys for tonight, so I voluteered my couches. Hopefully they can find a place for the both of them tomorrow, preferably in the same house. I hate to break up the sibling group, but I really am not prepared to take three kids. I'd take them, but my house is just too small and I'm pretty sure Pete would kill me. It's 5:58 now, and it's pretty much pointless to go to sleep. I couldn't if I tried anyways. I really need to go to the grocery store and get milk and bread and other essentials, but I'm waiting for Pete to wake up first.

The little girl is so sweet and good tempered. The boys are rowdy, but listen when I ask them to do something. It's getting their attention that's challenging! They were pretty excited about torturing my cat Gaucho, and think my big TV is the coolest thing ever. Of course, they're right.

I'm wondering what tomorrow will have in store for me. I have two boys over that I'm watching tomorrow on top of the three kids. I'm thinking a walk to the park is in order, and we're definitely going out for pizza tomorrow night. Gah! I mean tonight!

August 4, 2007
Well, after a harrowing day on Tuesday, the boys made it to their new foster homes, and the 9-year-old, Ciera, is still here to stay. We've spent the last week getting to know eachother, but most of all we've been shopping. She came to us with one raggedy outfit and the pj's she was wearing, so we had to get her some clothes and stuff. We also are taking her camping with us in two weeks, so we got her a spongebob squarepants sleeping bag. She is such an awesome kid, and is doing pretty well with the fact that she's not going home any time soon. She asked her social worker if she could stay at our house for 10 weeks, and her social worker said it'll probably be longer than that. Luckily, she was really excited about that. The only snag we've hit is she's really sad to be leaving her old school. It's clear on the other end of town, and I'd be looking at some serious gas money to drive her to and from school everyday. I signed her up for school two days ago at the school that's just down the street from our house. We went together to check out the school and scope the playground when we found out that her school mascot is the Unicorns! Needless to say, we both thought that was the coolest thing in the frickin' world.

August 6, 2007
Pete and I took her to an Albuquerque Isotopes baseball game last night and she got a ball from one of the players! Then she hung over the edge of the wall where the players come out and got some of them to sign her ball. She was pretty pumped. She also got to meet Orbit, the team mascot, and got his autograph. It was also lots of fun screaming at the opposing team, "EH, BATTA, BATTA, BATTA!"

August 11, 2007
Yesterday was the hearing to decide how long treatment will be for Ciera's parents before they have a shot at getting Ciera back. Well, Ciera's guardian ad litem called yesterday and informed us that she will be with us for at least a year. I'm really happy that we get to keep her around for so long so she can get caught up in school and have a normal life for a while. Hopefully her parents can shape up and be able to give her the awesome life that she deserves. She acts like she doesn't miss them, but i know she does. The supervised visits aren't the same as being with your parents at home for good (obviously).

When I told her yesterday how long she would be staying she was pretty shocked. She's been in foster care before, but never for so long. I told her that Pete and I are so happy that she'll be staying so long and we just love having her around. Then she got super-happy (goofy happy) and was fine. I talked to her about it again at bedtime and told her that if she ever has any questions that she can ask me anytime. I reiterated how happy we were that she was staying and let her know that it's OK to miss her parents in front of me and Pete, we won't get our feelings hurt. We know she loves her parents too.

I'm going to call her brother's foster mom today to see if we can set up a playdate at McDonald's or something this weekend. I guess her brother is missing his sister more than anyone. Poor kid.

September 5, 2007
As some of you know, I was a pledge to the Pharaoh's, a scooter club with a chapter in town. Now that I was almost done with my pledgedom, I decided that the club really wasn't for me. They were just too rigid as far as making club meetings and rides, and I didn't want to feel like a jerk that rarely showed up because I have other obligations. So, I respectfully declined, and will now just be going on occasional rides with them (with Ciera on back, of course!).

A few weekends ago we all went camping at Camp Scoot! We camped in the Jemez Mountains, which is an absolutely gorgeous place to camp. It kinda reminds me of the road up to Jerome, but with way more amazing views. Since none of us really wanted to do the big 130 mile ride to Los Alamos, Pete went on a shorter ride with the guys, and Ciera and I went hiking with our friend Casper. Casper knew a really sweet place to go hiking, so we took our friend Caroline's dog and went for an awesome hike. Along the way, Casper showed us where there were strawberries that grew in the summer, and we even found some wild raspberries that we picked and ate. They were delicious! Later, there was a raffle at back at the camp, and Pete, Ciera, and I all won pretty big. The best part was when Ciera won the prize "first person to hit the pinata" (yes...we made that prize up and rigged it so she would win). She was pretty excited about that. All in all, we had a blast at Camp Scoot.

The next weekend, my mom came into town to meet Ciera, and to give me and Pete a little much needed R&R. Ciera got to call her Granny, and we got to go to the airport to pick her up (a first for Ciera). Ciera really, really wanted to get her a necklace from the gift shop, so we got her one with two little hearts on it. Granny wore it all weekend! We were both surprised when we got home and found out that Granny had gotten presents for us to! We both scored a bunch of pretty shirts that Granny had stashed in her luggage. Ciera wanted to take her someplace really special, so we decided to all go to Cliff's Amusement Park (which is kinda like a mini Six Flags). While we were there, Ciera though it would be no biggie to go on the CliffHanger, a freefall type of ride. When we got to the top, she totally freaked out. It was too late, though, and she survived the fall with only her pride broken a little. Our favorite ride was the water tube thingie that you ride down on a raft. It was pretty fun. Granny also treated Ciera to her first Cold Stone Creamery, which she thought was pretty cool. On Sunday, we all went to the Unitarian Universalist Church for Sunday Service. She has been wanting to go to church, but there was no way I was going to attend a Baptist Church regularly. It's just not going to happen. So, I took the advice of the "what religion are you" test my mom sent me, and we all packed up and went to church. It was a little corny, but the people we all really friendly, and Ciera really liked the kids' class. I suppose if I had to choose a church that this would be the one. There's no pressure and there's nobody trying to shove their dogma down your throat. Very chill and full of hippies. Good times. We took her brother along, and she got to spend some time with him, too. We all went to McDonald's afterward and met up with her brother's foster mom. The whole weekend was really fun, and after we dropped off Granny, Ciera wanted to know when she was coming to visit again!

This last weekend, Ciera was grounded for trying to throw away food and claim she ate it so she could have dessert (busted!). Her grounding ended on Sunday, and since her mom said it was ok earlier in the week, we went to the mall after church and got her ears pierced. She was pretty freaked out because she knew it would hurt, but she was a trooper and didn't cry (except for a little steaming up). Now all she wants to spend her allowance on is earrings!

October 14, 2007
Summer is great and all, and I love wearing flip-flops, but I'm ready for fall! I'm excited for Thanksgiving because that means a trip home and I as always love the food. Plus I miss bundling up with the ones I love and sipping cocoa whilst putting my freezing cold feet on Pete's belly for warmth.

Fall also means Halloween! We went costume shopping and I am going to be a butterfly because nobody (and i mean NO-BUH-DEE) has the Star Trek Lt. Uhura costume in stock. Pete is going to be a Star Trek Science officer, and Ciera is Batgirl. We're going to go trick-or-treating in Caroline's neighborhood because apparently they block off the whole dang neighborhood and the loot is superb. I'm so happy...I get to go trick-or-treating without looking like a retard because I have a kid now! Woohoo!

Speaking of Halloween, we went to the Pumpkin Patch yesterday. It was way nicer than I thought it would be. They had a lot of stuff to do besides just picking a pumpkin. We went through an ENORMOUS corn field maze, there were two jumpie thingies, there was an huge hay pyramid, a neat underground slide, a place to "dig for dinosaur bones", a race track with bicycle four-wheeler thingies, rubber duckie races (which Ciera won!), a petting zoo, hay rides, and last but not least...punkin chunkin! Unfortunately it was an air cannon and not a trebuchet, but it was still pretty cool. They also had pumpkin sling shots and a corn cob cannon that Ciera got to shoot as well. It was an all-around good time.

The Balloon Fiesta was this week, and we had a hot air balloon land in the field right behind our back yard one morning! Ciera went to the fiesta all day last Saturday, and we tried to go the the evening "Glowdeo" where they light up all the special shaped balloons at night, but the traffic was so congested that we sat in it for nearly two hours only to get there right when they were deflating the balloons. We went out for a treat instead. I was totally ticked off.

November 4, 2007
Pete's parents came to visit a couple weeks ago, and while they were here we did lots of stuff. Pete and his dad went to the X-Prize in Alamogordo while his mom, Ciera, and I went to Boo Zoo and the play Bunnicula about a vampire bunny who sucks the vegetable juice from it's innocent vegetable victims. Good times. We also went to dinner theatre where Pete was thrown in jail, and we took a nice drive up to the top of the Sandias. Along the way we stopped in this place called Tinkertown. It was pretty cool. There were all these little models of neat stuff like a giant circus, a freak show, an old west town, and tons more. There were also a ton of weird penny arcade type contraptions that we played with along the way. It was really fun!

Halloween weekend was tons of fun, too. Ciera went as Batgirl, Pete was a Science Officer from Star Trek TOS, and I was a devil with a blue dress on. We went to Caroline's party and went trick-or-treating in her neighborhood. Holy frejoles it was awesome! It was just like in the movie E.T. when there are kids everywhere and everybody's house is all lit up with decorations and stuff. One house gave away brand new kids books, and another had a fortune teller. RAD. Ciera's haul included over 100 pieces of candy. She got to stuff herself silly on Halloween night, and gets two pieces per day until it's gone.

Last and most exciting, we went to the animal shelter this weekend and adopted a new dog! YAY! Don't get discouraged when I tell you she is a pit bull, because I have never met a sweeter more timid and good natured dog before. She didn't bark at all, she loved having her belly rubbed, and she has the prettiest light green eyes ever. She didn't jump up on us, and had no interest in chewing up the toys that were in the visit area at the pound. Pete wanted to name her Izzy (Isabella), and I wanted to name her Pickle. We agreed to name her Isabella Pickle Face! We get to pick her up on Monday after she is spayed (poor little pickle!). I'm excited to get started training her, and have an arsenal of knowledge at my fingertips with Cesar Milan....Dog Whisperer! The only things I'm really worried about are whether she's housebroken, will she get along with the cats, and will the parents of the kids I watch wig out because I have a pit bull. I already told two of them and they're cool with it, but I don't really know if Mikah's mom has an opinion either way. If so she can take her kid elsewhere. Nyah!

November 13, 2007
I got a call today from Ciera's social worker. There's a possibly that she'll be moved to a different foster home so that she and her brother can be together. I'm really upset, but she should be with her brother after all. I'd take him here, but the state mandates that he has to have his own bedroom. We just don't have the space for him. I'm totally sad to see her go (if she does). She was really looking forward to coming to Phoenix for Thanksgiving, so I'm going to try and work something out so she can stay with us until after Thanksgiving. Poor kid. She really likes it here, and I know she's going to be torn up when I tell her. There's a meeting on Friday to determine if it's going to happen and when. They already found a home that is willing to take the two of them, so I think it's just a matter of getting everyone together to make the arrangements. I asked about the earlier estimate that the kids would be home around Christmas, and she said no way. Ciera's parents still have a lot of work to do.

Before we knew anything about this, Pete and I had decided that after Ciera leaves (we thought she would just go home from here) we wouldn't have another foster kid for a while. We are planning on trying for a biological kid of our own in January and I don't want to put any more stress on my body than need be. If she leaves in the next couple weeks then chances are we will not be getting another for at least a year or two.

I'm freaking out because despite how annoyed I get with her sometimes, I really just adore Ciera and I don't want to see her hurt. She is really blossoming here, she loves her karate class, she has girlfriends in the neighborhood, and the two of us are best buddies. I knew I'd have to let her go eventually, but I didn't think that would be for a while. I hope that wherever she goes they continue taking her to karate and maybe let me babysit every once in a while! Pete is going to have his hands full these next few weeks, because I am a total basket case.

November 18, 2007
It was decided that Ciera will be moving in with new foster parents on the 30th of November. The only hitch is getting her enrolled in school and day care, but as soon as that is set it's a done deal. She doesn't know yet, and we won't tell her until Wednesday at the earliest, when we get the go-ahead from her social worker. At first I was SERIOUSLY upset, but the more I think about it, it's a good thing. I met her new foster parents and they are amazing. The mom is a kindergarten teacher and her husband is a Jr High School principal. They are both really, really sweet people, and I think Ciera will really enjoy living with her brother again. My feelers are a little sensitive at present, though, because my baby is leaving. She won't be completely gone, though. I'm still going to be doing respite care for her (weekend break-time for the new foster parents), and I'm talking with them about picking her up on karate nights and taking her to class. They are both pretty cool about it, and her social worker is encouraging us to still be in her life, so I don't feel like I'm pushing my way in. That's good.

I talked to her yesterday in a roundabout way (she knows another foster kid who recently moved to be with his sister). She said that her brother told her that he wants to move in with Ciera. I asked her what she thinks about his idea, and she though it was a pretty good one. I let her know that it meant moving to a new foster home, and he seemed ok with it. So, I'm really happy that she's had an icebreaker before we drop the news on her. It won't come as a complete and udder shock (like it did for me!).

The good news is that I finagled getting her to stay an extra week so she could spend Thanksgiving with us! The original plan was to move her this Friday, but I talked to Alex's foster mom and Ciera's social worker and they both agreed with me that we should wait until after the holiday. She's so looking forward to going to Phoenix! It's going to be a fun last weekend with her.

I'm going to miss her like crazy, and would like to send her off with a proper farewell. So, I (of course) need to throw her a going-away party both at home and at school. Thursday the 29th is her at-home party. We're going to rent a jumpy castle for the back yard, and we'll have a BBQ and cake. Anybody who is in the ABQ area and feels like swinging by to bid adieu to Ciera should do it! The party is going to be from 3:00pm until 7:30ish on Thursday. There is no gift requirement, but if you should really feel like getting her a present I'm giving her a jewelry box. You could get her some jewelry (9 year-old appropriate, please). Another thing that would be lovely is if you brought some pictures of yourself for her to put in her album. And if you feel like getting her something silly that she loves, she really wants the Kidsbop CD that has the Umbrella song on it, she loves doing arts and crafts stuff, and she could always use pretty hair bows. Oh, and she loves the movie Spirited Away and the new Transformers movie. Once again, don't get her a present unless you really feel like it. She already has enough crap as it is!

November 29, 2007
I sent a nasty e-mail to Ciera's social worker laying out the reasons why I think leaving tomorrow is lame, and she actually agreed! So, Ciera will be leaving next Saturday rather than tomorrow. Apparently she finally hashed out all the details of the move, and I should be able to tell Ciera in the next day or two. A weight will be lifted. Ciera totally knows that there's some shenanigans going on behind her back. It sucks keeping it from her, but it's been for good reason. You know how annoyed I am with the situation, imagine how stressed she would be.

Anyhoo, this means that her going away party will be next Friday, the 7th. Mark yer calendars for a BBQ and bouncy castle thingie.

And thanks for the good vibes you all sent our way. They worked!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Let's get our blog on!

Just thought it would be appropriate to start a blog for those who choose to avoid Myspace at all costs and therefore don't really keep on touch. I can't blame you. Myspace is the Devil.

For those of you who are completely unaware of what we have been up to, the two of us moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico last June. We finished out degree at NAU, and now Pete is almost finished with his first year of his Master's Degree in Business Administration. One year to go...woohoo! As soon as Pete is done with school we are going to start having babies, which will be SO AWESOME! By the way, I am totally jealous of you, Erica. Ella is such a gorgeous, happy, and well behaved baby (at least she fooled me into believing that at Christmas).

In the meantime, the two of us have been taking classes and turning in paperwork to get licensed as foster parents. read correctly. Since we can't really afford for me to quit work until Pete is done with school, we decided that it would be really awesome to welcome an older child into our home who needs a place to stay until their parents can get back on their feet again (or get the rehabilitation that they need to be good parents). The deeper we get into these classes, the more we are realizing what a big deal this is, and how much this is going to totally change the way we are living our lives, more so than if we just had a biological baby of our own. I'm gung-ho, and while Pete was pretty antsy at first I think he's coming around more and more each day. We are both pretty anxious to see how the foster parenting experience is going to change our lives. We are still planning on having kids of our own too, just not for at least another year. Wish us luck!

Hmmm, what else? I bought a pink scooter, a vintage style two-stroke, and am pledging with the Pharaoh's- a local scooter club. We go to rallies all over the country, and we're planning one of our own this summer. We also do a third Sunday ride each month where we ride in a big pack to bowling or on scavenger hunts and whatnot. It's different each month. Pete is thinking about getting a vintage Lambretta (and I REALLY want him to) but he's not going to pledge to become an official member of the Pharaoh's. He's content to just ride along as a non-member. If you know anyone selling a Lambretta, let us know.