Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Nothing much happening today but thought I'd toss something out here.

Both boys are home sick today - the second sick day for both. We all got flu vaccines last Friday. Lil'Bro developed a low fever over the weekend and felt punky. I've assumed it's a mild reaction to the flu vaccine. And it was on top of his normal allergies. So it has kind of confused us. The combo of the runny/stuffy nose, general punky feeling and low fever sounds like flu. But I kind of think it's more like a low fever from the vaccine on top of sinus junk from allergies.

Pokemon Boy stayed home yesterday as one of his 3 hookie days I allow. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as he developed intestinal distress and a low fever in the early afternoon. Today, he's got a low fever still, but it's climbing. Other than that, he has no symptoms today. So I think his is vaccine reaction, too.

It's so hard to tell how cautious to be right now. The flu and other viruses that are running around the country are just knocking people off their feet. Everything from H1N1 to regular flu to those anonymous viruses. I think about every 4th person I'm connected to has some kind of illness in their house (or just did).

It's a nice couple of sick days. No puking. They're rather quiet because they're not 100%. Yesterday, we spent some of the day on the floor with a Hotwheels race track set up. We alternated between racing little cars and Bakugan balls. Pretty fun.

Today, Lil'Bro is drawing a comic and Pokemon Boy is working on a chapter story he's been writing (for fun) for a few days now. Lil'Bro is learning how to read/spell in school. So right now, I keep hearing him say, "How do you spell 'aaaaaah!' like you're falling?" Pokemon Boy is being very patient, assisting him with spelling for his comic book.

In other news, I'm hearing from the job I interviewed for that they're checking all my references and background. So I'm hoping that's a good sign. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high but I have to admit, they ARE up!

That's it for now.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Job Hunt

Since being laid off last January, I have luxuriously taken the summer off with my boys. But come this past August, I got down to the job hunt in earnest. I haven't talked about it much here because almost all potential employers Google every potential candidate. And while I've made things like Facebook and others private, this remains open for all the world to see. I have no doubt that most interviewers already knew I was a mom (they're not allowed to ask) and that I am divorced and that I'm a total wise ass and that I love to write run on sentences.

Yesterday, I had the best interview I've had yet. I met the potential hiring manager, two of the people under her, an IT director and the HR manager. All I can say at this point is, I love this company. And everyone I met was incredibly nice and really passionate about the company and its mission. Wow. Haven't heard that in a while!

I should have been terrified and wanting to throw up. I was absolutely calm and excited to go. I didn't break out in a horrid sweat. I didn't fumble my words. I didn't let loose with inappropriate subjects (or at least I think I didn't...). I have about 952 thousand people praying for me. So I knew the peace I had was from God.

I drove there yesterday saying, "Ok God, if this job is for me, please give me the right words and help me to present myself honestly and well. If this job is NOT for me, please just don't let me sound like an idiot!"

After the interviews, I was just stoked. I like this company even more, having met some of its people and seen its facilities. But as I got ready to leave, I told God, "Thank you for such a great interview time! This job seems so awesome and I really want it. But if this isn't the best job you have for me, I'm ok with that. Because this one rocks! So if you have something even better than this one? Yah, I'm ok with that!!!"

So we'll see what God has in store...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Baptism, Texas Style!

Today, Pokemon Boy was baptized. Man, it was SO cool on so many levels. The Ex flew in this weekend just for this baptism. My parents came. Big Sis and Tall Guy came. My neighbors that live behind us came. My little sis from Oklahoma would have been here with her whole family but they had a car break down.

Our little church had 8 people get baptized. We're small. So we don't have a baptismal in the church. So when we're ready to baptize, we pull out the horse trough. Awwww yah! That's how we roll: this is baptism Texas style!

Today was pretty amazing. The worship music was really good. The message today was really cool and very poignant. And then the baptism directly afterward. Even The Ex (a non-believer) said there was something...different. I can't remember his exact words but he said you could feel an electricity in the air. I was a giddy mom so I was feeling pretty awesome. I'm just totally stoked that God touched The Ex's heart today.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of Pokemon Boy getting baptized. [Some from The Ex. And I was wielding a point & shoot and my Blackberry Curve. So these are a mix of formats.]

Pokemon Boy was a bit dubious.

PB had to be talked into the water a bit.

Finally got him kneeling!

Pastors Kenny & Michelle get Pokemon Boy prepared.

Almost ready...

PB was nervous about being submerged.

PB is baptized!!


Pastor Kenny applauds while pastor Michelle gives him his towel.

My beautiful baptized boy!

Friday, September 18, 2009


Remember how I told you I was training my body guards? Here's Lil'Bro in his kung fu outfit. Could you DIE?!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tourette's: To Tell or Not To Tell

A new blogger friend over at Tea & Tourette's just asked me a really good question. I thought I'd answer it here in case any other Tourette's family would find it useful.

The Question:
"Do you / your son / his teacher tell the kids in his class about his TS? My daughter's teacher has suggested we do but I am reluctant until we get advice about everything as we know nothing! We live in a small country town so there are support groups, etc. Any advice for us starting on our journey please?"

My Answer (and I'm never short winded):
This is a tough one. I can tell you what we've done so far and why. I certainly won't tell you that my approach is The Way. It's working for us right now. But you might find a different approach is better for your family.

One suggestion I have is to rent or buy the HBO documentary I Have Tourette's But Tourette's Doesn't Have Me. You can see more about it here. If you Google it, you'll find lots of places to purchase and probably watch a lot of it (I saw YouTube in my Google results but didn't go check it out). I would watch this first before deciding whether to share it with your daughter. I showed it to my son when he was about 7. I wasn't going to show him as I was concerned that some of the more severe cases might make him think that this must be how it will be for him. But he found it on our DVR and asked to view it. So I watched it with him. I think it helped him see that he's not alone and that Tourette's can look so different from kid to kid.

The reason I'm suggesting you watch it is, there is a kid in the documentary that has TS. But during the documentary, you'd never know it. He mentions that he's on meds. But he also chose to share Tourette's with his class. He presented it to his class and allowed them to ask questions. I thought it was a very bold move. I also imagine it fostered a lot of tolerance through information.

Now, what I decided to do with my son is different. Pokemon Boy's TS has been very mild in terms of physical tics. His tics are generally rare enough and small enough that no one really notices them. His anxiety and social issues are the bigger factor to me. But so far, he has blended into normal elementary school life (now in 4th grade) normally. There are some kids who label him "kind of weird" or "different". But he has friends and is pretty well liked and respected in his classes.

I inform all of his teachers and care givers (like summer camp care). I explain the severity (or lack there of) and what they might encounter. I actually don't even like doing this much. Because I feel it can label him and give his teachers expectations. I was tempted to just send him without informing anyone to see if they even notice. I've seen other kids his age that have similar social or emotional issues and they're not diagnosed with TS. But, to be fair to his school, I always inform them.

I have always asked that his teachers keep this information confidential - meaning from the other students. Pokemon Boy is a typical 9 yr old and hates being singled out in any way he finds embarrassing. Since his TS is so mild, I have kept to this course of action. In the back of my mind, I have always thought that, if his TS escalates enough where it begins to affect his socialization, I would encourage him to present his diagnosis to his class like the child in the documentary did.

Now, having said all of this, I don't know if I'm making the right decision. As he gets older, I will most likely present the idea to him of sharing his diagnosis with his friends and classmates. Some of his classmates just think of him as Pokemon Boy. He's silly, very smart and LOVES Pokemon. But I heard one little girl just today refer to him as "one of them." She had been talking about Pokemon Boy and another little boy that goes to their school. I don't know his diagnosis but I do know that he has some kind of emotional issues that affect his social signals and ability to control his actions. Children don't need to know an official diagnosis to know that something is different about someone. Pokemon Boy and this other little boy both have times when they blow their tops. They get upset over some things that don't bother most other kids. And they also let things slide that other kids might go ballistic over. Most kids will have tantrums now and then. But when kids with emotional disorders blow their stack, it's often a bit different. And other kids tune into that difference.

So there is a part of me that thinks, in a perfect world, if Pokemon Boy was able to work up a presentation that was informative and honest, his classmates would all understand him better and be more patient, more accepting. But I also know that there are a few kids that will use this information as a weapon. Any time they feel like pushing his buttons, that's what they'd go for.

Like I said, I don't know that I have taken the perfect stance for us. But it feels right for us at this moment. I take my cues mostly from my son. If he was excited about sharing, I'd be working with his teacher and counselor to have him present to his class and maybe other classes. It's a subject I will probably bring up with him now that I've thought about it and actually put my answer out here in writing. If he decides to take a different path, I will definitely write about it here.

Oktic, my email is in my full profile. If you ever want to ask me anything offline, email me. I'll share just about anything. If you want to ask here, I'll answer here, too. I hope this has helped.

I know you're in another part of the world but the TSA-USA.org website is very useful [I read through almost the whole site within the first 2 weeks of his diagnosis!]. Pokemon Boy enjoyed reading their online news letter written by kids with TS for kids with TS. It's called That Darn Tic. I think it helped him realize he wasn't alone and there were other normal kids out there just like him. Take a look and see if it's something you could share with your daughter.

I also got a lot of books from well meaning relatives. I tried to read each one at first but it overwhelmed and depressed me. Sometimes, the more I read, the more fear that grew in my head. What I did with Pokemon Boy was I just left the kid-level books around. I didn't force them on him. I left them with our other books and one day, I walked in to find him reading them. Sometimes he'd talk about it with me. Sometimes he wouldn't. I would ask about it if I saw him reading it. But I always took my cues from him - whether he wanted to talk about it or not.

Some books he has read:
Hi, I'm Adam
Adam and The Magic Marble
There are way more but those are two I know he read all the way through on his own.

Also, Pokemon Boy is a hugely generous and loving kid. If your daughter would find it useful to write him letters or emails, let me know and we can exchange info. I think he'd really like that. I imagine he'd answer almost any question she might have. And he'd be honest. If he didn't know, he'd say so.

Let me know how I can help.

- Tourette's Mom

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

My Body Guards

I'm so stoked. Both of my boys are going to try some sports. They've each found one that interests them and they're both different. Lil'Bro will be doing kung fu. Pokemon Boy will try his hand at fencing. I am SO excited about this.

What's the big deal? Well, honestly, it's probably bigger for me than for them.

As a single working mom (well, hopefully I'll be working soon), I have not known where I would find the time to handle the ferrying of my boys to and from sports. I have watched my friends and neighbors taking their kids to soccer, basket ball, football, you name it. I never see these friends any more. And these are two-parent homes. They both work. Then they're up at the crack of dawn on weekends to get to a game. Or they're gone as soon as they get home from work to get to a game. The kids are thriving because of it. So go them! But it's a big sacrifice. The two kids are in different ages so often the family has to divide and conquer. So they don't get family time. They don't get friend/social time. And honestly, some of them seem pretty stressed out. No mom/dad time - alone or together. No date nights. No Chick Nites. Granted, this is just the view from my eyes. But it doesn't look easy even with two parents.

Then there's the money. I watch the fees for uniforms and what have you. It adds up.

So I've sat here thinking, well, my kids will have to find other things to excel in. Pokemon Boy has never shown an interest in sports. He seemed interested in tennis one summer but couldn't stay focused on the lessons. They didn't interest him enough. Lil'Bro shows a natural aptitude for soccer. But I certainly can't get him to the games.

Both boys are currently in an after school program at Lil'Bro's former day care center. This day care offers kung fu lessons to it's preschool kids. It's there on site and no ferrying involved. It's a little more than I can afford. But it's cheaper than if I went to a martial arts school. So when they began to offer it to the after school age kids, Lil'Bro said he wanted to do it. So I'm going to find the money. I've paid for this month and his first lesson is tomorrow.

I had hoped Pokemon Boy would take it, too. I know he tends to miss the meanness that is tossed his direction right now. But as he gets older, I just wish he'd be able to defend himself. Sounds crazy. But honestly, I think every kid should know how to fend off any attack. But Pokemon Boy didn't want to. When he's not engaged, he won't focus. And he'll just waste time and money.

A couple of days ago, we were watching a Disney show, iCarly. It's one of the boys' favorites. I find myself laughing at it more often than not and watch it with them. [I also have a big crush on Carly's older brother, Spencer.] In this particular episode, Spencer goes to a fencing club. When they showed the fencing (obviously stunt doubles), Pokemon Boy said, "Is that a real thing?" I explained how fencing is very real and even an Olympic sport. He was glued to it. He asked me all sorts of questions about do you get hurt, can it kill you, is it fun, etc. So we did some Googling online and found that our town has a fencing club that will start with kids as young as SIX.

Today, I paid for Lil'Bro's first month of kung fu and then signed Pokemon Boy up for a 6 week course in fencing! The fencing won't start until October. But still! I can't wait!

So basically, I'm training a very specialized couple of body guards. You mess with me and you can pick your punishment: fist or blade?

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Puke Patrol

This morning is church morning. I got up to the alarm after playing snooze tag. I brushed my teeth, washed my face, fixed my hair, got dressed. I came downstairs to find my two adorable boys already up and playing their Nintendo DSs.

Lil'Bro said his tummy didn't feel good. "Up high or down low?" ask I. If it's down low, it usually just means he needs to sit on the potty for a while. He points up to his neck and chest. "You're probably just hungry." I took the risk and got him some milk. After a few sips, he said, "Oh, it feels better now."

I kept getting ready for church. Then he walks into the bathroom and stoically throws up. Ah good times.

My church friends are on notice and already bailing me out. My awesome friend MissSW is picking up all the church food. I called C.Beth and asked her to be the overseer of food service which she agreed to do even though she's lined up for nursery today. And I called my pastor's wife, the lovely Michelle, so she can cover me singing.

My parents and BigSis had planned a nice after church lunch for today. So it will be without the boys and me. BigSis will watch the boys in the afternoon so I can go teach my first Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class.

And my Lil'Bro - he is so brave. I have to tell you, I don't know any grownups that can puke so calmly, let alone a 5 yr old. He just walked in, lifted the toilet seat and "blyeah". Then he just stands there waiting for the next one. No crying, no whining. None of the noises I make that let the whole world know how awful this is and can't you see I'm SUFFERING?! Even when he was dry heaving. Just calmly heaves. It was astounding to watch. Or maybe I'm just twisted. But I really was amazed as I rubbed his very hot little heaving back.

Pokemon Boy is completely puke-a-phobic. So he has very discreetly taken his DS and gone up to play in his room. He's trying to make it look very nonchalant. But I know A) he hates listening to someone puking and B) he doesn't want to catch whatever it is.

MissSW just picked up all the church food. Lil'Bro is asking for milk and telling me he's very thirsty and hungry. Poor kid. We won't even try ice chips or water for 30 minutes. But he's a brave little guy. He'll make it. And in the mean time, I will refrain from licking doorknobs and stair railings.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

A Picture of Sam Dad

Here is a picture I scanned the other day. I was looking at this picture and got to thinking of all my different parents. Thus yesterday's post. So here's a picture to go along with yesterday's post.

I'm assuming this is my dad some time in the 1940s.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Collect All 66! Trade With Your Friends!

One of the interesting things about being in a blended family and being adopted & knowing your birth families is that you often have to qualify which parent you are talking about. This is why:

Father Types:
  • Sam Dad is Sam Estes, my adoptive father. He's the first father I ever knew. He is, in my head and heart, my "real" dad. He died in 1977 just before I turned 12. To my kids, he is a collection of photos and they refer to him as Grandpa Sam or Grandpa Estes.
  • Dad is Hal Jones, my step dad. But I just call him "dad". He became my step-father back in 1978. I think I subjected him to many years of just "Hal" before I finally felt he earned the title of "dad". And earn it, he did! To my kids, he is Grandpa Jones.
  • Dean, my birth-father. My birth-mom found him for me back in 1986. He went through a period of signing cards as "Uncle Daddy" but it always felt weird to me. "Dad" is a very special term to me. I don't just toss it about. And as much as I loved Dean, he was not "dad". But he was very special to me and I've missed him a lot since his death in 2002. To my kids, he was GranDean.
  • Bruce, my birth-step-dad. Ha! Bruce is married to my birth-mom. We jokingly came up with his title a long time ago. But normally I just call him Bruce. But to my kids, he is Grandpa Bruce.
Mother Types:
  • Mom is Rose Jones, my adoptive mom. She's been in my life as long as I have formed memories. She and I are very closely bonded due to all the early hospitalizations as an infant and our constant communication. To my kids, she's Grandma Jones.
  • April, my birth-mom. Although I don't have a solid memory of it, she held me for an hour (I think) before she had to relinquish me. I grew up obsessed with finding my "real mom". She found me in 1985, 2 days after my 20th birthday. She is "April" to me but is much more special than just some random woman. We have a very special bond and I'm pretty much her darker-colored clone. To my kids, she's Grandma April (sometimes "Grape").
As a kid, I grew up with 5 grandparents as Sam had a step-dad. That step-dad was my main paternal "Grandpa". Sam's real dad was much more peripheral to us.

Once I gained a step-family, I gained 3 more grandparents. And the cool thing about them was, they treated me like their grand kid. I remark on that because I've seen step relatives in the world that can't bring themselves to make that kind of commitment to anyone outside their family.

When my birth-mom found me, both of her parents were alive. So I gained two more grandparents and from then on, I was one of their grand kids. Again, I find that pretty special. They were never uncomfortable with me. They never introduced me as "our recently found bastard grand daughter" or anything. Hahahaha. Oh sorry. Perhaps only I find that funny.

So Pokemon Boy and Lil'Bro have scads of grandparents, one living great grandparent (although when Pokemon Boy was born, he had 3 living great grandparents), innumerable aunts & uncles and a virtual cornucopia of cousins. They've also met more than a hand full of their 2nd cousins on both my and their dad's side of the family. It's nutty. And awesome. And it never ceases to amaze me: the amount of love and support that God has put into our lives.

I don't take it for granted. Well, not often, I hope. Knowing how blended families and adoption reunions can go, I see my huge extended family as the miracle it is.

Pretty cool. Thank you, God.