Friday, September 28, 2007

Deer In Headlights

I've felt this way since my third child, my third boy was two years old. Slow language development led to testing and all sorts of programs that really didn't help. He got muscle massage even though the speech pathologists told me they thought his muscle tone was fine. Two states federally funded programs and none of the insurance we've had - there have been three different companies - have covered any sort of developmental testing or services, even if prescribed by a doctor. Now he is in kindergarten and we are getting tested next week, but I am frustrated, devastated and heart broken that I can't move quicker and get him what he needs. He has a hard time, okay IMPOSSIBLE time with letter recognition, associating sounds to letters or writing. He is left handed. He is shy and KNOWS he speaks with difficulty so he is not happy making sounds with me or anyone to figure out what something might say. His kindergarten teacher has completely angered me by her flippant discussion of him with me.I don't know what he needs, but I know he needs something! I have found this site and this has been the closest thing to being helpful. Argh!

Just needed to vent. Anyone else have any ideas? stories? There is nothing more hurtful than something wrong with your child. It kills a part of you.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Accolades to CRS

This is a picture taken at dinner the other night with my husband (tall white guy in the middle) and two officials from the Badan Rehabilitasi dan Rekonstrucksi (BRR) NAD-Nias in Aceh Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Hubby was honored for his "many contributions toward the reconstruction of Aceh and Nias."

Remember, three years ago on December 26, 2004 a 9.1 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami, with a wave reportedly 30 meters high brought incredible devastation to the Indonesian province of Nangroe Aceh Darussalem (Aceh) on the island of Sumatra. 800 km of coastline was affected. In some villages, 80 – 90% of the people lost their lives.


150,000 houses damaged or destroyed
More than 2100 schools severely damaged or destroyed (approximately 50% of the schools in the area)
3000 km of roads deemed impassable
120 arterial bridges destroyed
All major seaports destroyed or severely damaged
Eight hospitals and 114 health clinics damaged or destroyed
64,000 hectares of agricultural land and 15,000 hectares of aquaculture severely damaged or destroyed
175,000 people killed or missing
600,000 left homeless

A few pictures of the aftermath, thanks to BRR, the UN and various humanitarian organizations:

CRS, under hubby's guidance, has built approximately 800 houses in the past year, and that doesn't include all the other infrastructure that CRS has done, including reinforcing and generally 'cleaning up' the local Catholic Church that had bullet holes or broken glass in every window after thirty years of civil war and then an earthquake that cracked walls and did even more damage.

But, it's the houses that mean so much.

Here is a temporary house in the background and a new house in the foreground. So, most people have either lived in barracks or temporary shelter since the tsunami if they lost a house.

One of the ceremonies the boys and I attended with hubby and the rest of the CRS gang. The village got together in a community building and the local Imam opened the meeting with a prayer. We all sat on the floor. Women and children on one side; men on the other. The nice thing about many of the ceremonies CRS did was that many times a woman widow was the first recipient of the keys to a new house. That is touching in such a male dominated country; to see the village come together and understand that they need to take care of each other.

Here is one of the ribbon cutting ceremonies Rob attended. This is the first recipient of the houses in this particular village. She lost her husband in the tsunami. Afterwards, there is usually food and festivities. Hubby has almost gotten a taste for that banana tree soup!

It's been very rewarding to see people go from feeling like this picture: (thanks to UN for this picture, I don't personally know these people, this was taken right after the tsunami)

To this picture: These are girls we lived down the street from. It makes it all worth it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Random Thoughts for Monday

So you learn something new every day, eh?

Today while filling up the beast at the Costco gas station, I was chatting with the attendant and he told me what my problem is with that damn Suburban - when I fill it up at Costco filling stations I have to physically hold the gas lever up so it fills. If I put it on that perch thing so it self fills allowing me to hang out in the car for the half a day or so it takes to fill that huge tank, it inevetibly shuts off too early and I leave with only a half or 3/4 tank of gas. Grrr. The less stops I have to make to fill that bugger up, the better, what with screaming kids and no free time in my life.

The attendant told me that the fill rate for the Costco gas stations is very fast, so what is in fact happening is that the gas is splashing back and causing the pump to switch off. If I put it on the lowest self fill level, I'll probably be fine. And you know what? It worked! After five years of cussing that thing out, I know how to fill it! Yowza!

Two phrases I never thought I'd say to my children:

"Kyle, don't skitch your Grandmother!" Said to child wearing healeys as he grabs Grandma's arm to coast across the parking lot to breakfast.


"Jared, where is your girdle?" Yes, never thought I'd be asking my 10 year old boy where his girdle was. It's actually for football - you put hip and butts pads in it, which is really hilarious to me, because as I explained to him when he asked what I thought a girdle was, I told him it did the absolute opposite for girls when they wear them - we wear them to unpad our hips and butts.

Newest Fixation

Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Yes, stupid, I know, to actually try one, what with my addiction to Eggnog Lattes. Oh so yummy. I really stopped for the B because it was soooo cold outside that we didn't get to play at the school playground for long, and I needed gas, which takes half a day to fill the Suburban tank, so I thought, why not get her a dum dum sucker to pass the time? Which of course means going to a drive through coffee shop and then why not try the new Pumpkin Spice Latte? Then me and my Catholic girl guilt I tip the gal a whole dollar for the free sucker. But boy is B happy to have a sucker for breakfast!

More Evidence of Poor Parenting Skills

So I was doing my Kindergartner's VIP poster for school, which meant drumming up pictures of him to paste on the paper. I ran into these:

This was taken from the backseat of my friend's car - yes those are my kids on the 'bechek' which is a motorcycle with a side car that people in Indonesia use for taxis. I am safely ensconced in a big NGO vehicle, but no, my kids are hanging out without seatbelts, helmets or other protection as we head back from the pool, which was our 'PE' for homeschooling.

This is Muslim, the bechek driver. My friends Michelle and EB gave me his number so I could text him when I needed him. Much better than wandering down to the main street with kids, haggling over prices when I needed a ride somewhere. Amazing that I ever got him on time as I speak no Indonesian and he doesn't speak English. I used him to go to work meetings too, which was rather hilarious, but hopefully made my customers feel like my software company was giving them a good price if my company didn't believe I needed an actual vehicle to do business! Nothing like supporting the local economy, eh? Although I was never adventurous enough to take the local bus, like my other crazy 6 foot blonde friend EB was.

At Least Someone Is Getting Something Done Cuz It Ain't Me:

Hubby wrote that CRS is turning over 200 more houses today in two villages that were wrecked by the tsunami. That's such great news! Makes me feel not so bad about not getting my laundry done. When you get married, two become one, right Father Ken? So I can slack off today because my much better half is being so productive. Off to sip on that latte now,....