Sunday, April 30, 2006

Home study (almost) complete

Although the home study is not officially complete until the agency has our final draft of our profile, we are almost there!

The day started off pretty normal - I went to teach 2nd grade and kindergarten and then came home at 10:15. The skies were really foggy and I was a little concerned that our caseworker might not have been able to fly in, but then I remembered that God was in control and that everything would work out.

I was nervous when I got home, for some reason. I tidied up a very little bit and then practiced the piano to get my mind off of things.

This story is kinda anti-climactic, because the interview was mostly more of the same kinds of questions. We went over some neighborhood information (Hill Elementary, Murchison Middle, Anderson High), some more logistics about what "types" of children we felt we could successfully parent, how we felt about the adoption process through this agency and through open adoption, etc. Then we did the big tour of our newly-smoke-detectored home and finished up.

There was nothing else in particular we need to do to prepare our home. Well, of course there are things, like a place for the baby to sleep, be changed, etc., but nothing else that the state requries that we don't have.

So, it's done! We'll have to update the home visit if we are not selected in 6 months, but it looks like we're set to cruise for a little while.

What comes next, you ask?

You really want to know?

We go to Scotland! This is our final hurrah for awhile. We've been meaning to go for years, but never got around to it. Now that school is out next week and Randy has some vacation set aside we're going for it! I will finish up our profile to send to Buckner before we go, but I'll probably have them hold onto it for a coupla days so that we can be in the states on the slim chance we're one of those blessed families that gets assembled by God on the spur of the moment. So, we should be officially waiting as of June 5th. Hurray!

Now if I can just finish my master's project by Wednesday...

Friday, April 28, 2006

Home visit today!

Please pray that our lovely Adela will get here and back without a hitch.

We're also having a nephew today.

Our cup runneth over!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Passed my comps!

Prof said they looked great and everyone has signed "the paper."

I forgot I took the test until last night when somebody asked me how it went. Now I can say, "Great!"



Hello, terribly busy!

I can't even express how busy and tired I am. Every time I try it sounds lame. The three lights in my life are Jesus, my husband, and our home visit on Friday! You would think that that would stress me out, but really, every time I get stressed out over other things, I remember that as of Friday we will be one step closer to our baby. Now if I can just tidy up one room at a time...

Today is Tuesday, and thankfully my music students did not show up for lessons today so I had a minute to post. I've been wanting to for days. It's back to work, though.

I don't think I've ever been so tired in all my little life.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Yes, we're still adopting.

I haven't posted an adoption update in so long! We do have a lot going on right now, both finishing up school semesters, taking exams, saying goodbye to dear pets, visiting with family, etc., etc.

We're also expecting a nephew in two weeks. This will be our fourth nephew (always a bridesmaid... ;o) )

The almost last step of our homestudy/parent preparation process is coming up that same day - April 28th. Our casewroker and esteemed agency director will come to our humble home for our home visit. She'll check for some safety details, a fire evacuation plan, etc., and ask us a few more questions.

So here's what we'll do - mow the lawn and plant some plants, tidy up the house, de-Punkyfur the sofa. Here's what we won't do - freak out about that dust-bunny under the sofa or the lone coffee mug in the sink, or stock up the pantry with only kid-friendly, healthy, organic snacks. I mean, you've got to be who you are, right? I like a tidy home as much as the next guy, but I'm not exactly Heidi Homemaker.

My sink does shine, though, because after all I am a part-time Flybaby (and when I say part-time, I really mean it;

Happy Easter, everyone. I hope that they joy of Jesus Christ's resurrection is with you this weekend and always.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Can you hear Pomp and Circumstance in the background? Sound the trumpets - tomorrow I take my comprehensive exam for my newest master's degree in Music and Human Learning. My first degree, a BA in Sociology, was earned in 1992 from the above-pictured Pomona College. Eager, thoughtful, and reverent? Maybe. May be.

So, in preparation, I decided to pretent to blog instead of study. I hereby present to you, a brief synopsis of ideas from my newest degree (assuming I pass.)

One of my questions for thie four-hour exam will be about including children with disabilities into the general music classroom. Let me tell you - I'm all for it.

In order to include everyone in a comprehensive music education program, or in life in general, there are several quality of life principles that need to be in place.

One of these principles is that of "culturally normative music experiences and participation in socially valued roles" (Jellison, 2000). Huh? Well, listening public (reading public?), this is so important. Imagine your life, surrounded most of the time by people exactly like you, and not being able to socialize or experience life with anyone different from yourself. Your little world is so secluded that you are only exposed to people who are just like you. (This might sound like heaven to a limited few, but to me it sounds miserable.) Not only that, but say you and this group of peers never got to do anything NEAT, and that nobody expected anything of you, because "they" thought you were so different from the rest of the world that you had little to offer. Forget instruments, those aren't for you, you only need to know how to do certain things.

Now imagine one day "they" let you emerge from your little society enclave (learned term that at Pomona), and all you know how to do are the things that your small group has been doing. Now you can't be in a band, because you didn't get to play any instruments. You can't go to a concert because you don't know what kind of music you like. You can't buy a CD because you don't know how to get to the store or look online at You can't discuss music with others over coffee or a beer, because you haven't learned about music. You can't sing the National Anthem at a ballgame or on the 4th of July, because you never learned it.

In 1975 a law called The Education Act for All Handicapped Children was passed, which required students with disabilities to be placed in the "least restrictive environment." This law was changed in 1990 to The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The law provides funding to public and private schools in order to include children with disabilities in this more inclusive environment. Unfortunately, from what I've seen, schools do not have the resources for this to happen. I see very few children with disabilities in my classroom (student teacher).

This brings me to another quality of life principle of importance in the education of people with disabilities - that of collaboration and support systems. In the school district where I am teaching, we are fortunate to have wonderful paraprofessionals or "aides" to support the children who are mainstreamed into inclusive classrooms. When appropriate, those paraprofessionals (or "paras") are faded out so that the student might come to the classroom without an aide the next semester or year. These professionals provide support for their assigned students as needed. This might be giving deep pressure to a child with some sensory integration issues, or it might be helping that student decide that she needs a break or a time-out. Also, a more natural support for a student with disabilities might be another student without a disability who helps the student get to class (for a visual impairment). A music therpist (that's me!) might also collaborate with the student or his teacher, consulting with either about ways to better incorporate the particular student in the classroom, or to provide some individual or group therapy for the student with disabilities in order to work on some of the skills that will Transfer to the general music classroom.

Participation, self-determination, age-appropriate acitivies, and social interaction are four other principles that can improve the musical lives of children with disabilities.

This guy has the right idea. Suddenly, I don't feel worried about not having 4 hours of stuff to write about. Time to crash. Goodnight, thanks for "listening."

Chocolate bunnies!

I love being a piano teacher. Every holiday brings me chocolate, baby! Actually, every Thursday brings me chocolate. I go in, grab some chocolate, teach a lesson, grab some more chocolate, finish up, get paid, get tipped in chocolate. It is a miracle that I do not weigh 200 pounds after 6 months of Chocolate Thursday, but I don't. Forty pounds to go!

My mommy loves Randy more than me

Hey! MY mom. Get off the phone. OK, so this is a tech question, and I am definitely not qualified, but HARUMPH!

"Oooh, my name is Randy and I am so smart, I can answer all of your technical questions - ooh, ooh!"


Monday, April 10, 2006

Starting to breathe again

Oh, grief. This time I am so sad that I can't even speak. Wait - that's laryngitis. I wish I could relay a profound message about how God has struck me speechless to teach me a spiritual lesson, but I don't think the two are connected. My sweet cat died, and I have laryngitis.

Euthanasia - what a loaded word. When I think about doing this to people, I can't imagine being able to do it. I understand it, but I couldn't do it. But a pet, they can't tell you what they want. Maybe their soul does cry out for relief, maybe not. Does an animal have a soul? (I know, Nat, it must.) I just don't know.

I do know that as far as euthanasia goes, ours was a beautiful experience. So very sad, but also comforting.

I worked that day, and shared my afternoon "plans" with my middle school students. Granted, I only told them because they wouldn't listen to me and I was losing my voice, etc., and in an attempt to get them to STOP talking I told them I was on my way home to put my cat to sleep. Mean? Maybe. Human? Yep. So, one of my students said to me, in a way that only a self-centered middle school student can (that's their job, right?), "At least your cat wasn't hit by a car in the middle of the street like mine was, and...(blah, blah, blah, nice timing, kiddo)" I wasn't upset, it made me laugh, actually, I mean, life does go on, and middle schoolers will still be as inappropriate as they can sometimes be. A few of the other students were appropriately horrified at this comment.

In any case, I survived middle school once again, and came home a little early to say goodbye to my sweet angel Meeko. To make a long story short, our vet came to the house and we talked for 15 minutes or so about Meeko and Punky and what good cats they are. She pet Meeko in her little Meeko chair and shared our thoughts with us about what a trooper she was. The conversation just came to a natural lull and we took care of the paperwork as she explained what would happen with sedation, etc., what we could expect to see, etc.

Our little sweetheart let us say our tearful goodbyes, purring softly the whole time. She took the sedative like a champ and we watched her drift off to kitty dreamland. Fortunately Dr. Burnside was able to find her vein, and when we were ready, talked us through the actual euthanasia part. After a minute or two she softly said, "Her heart has stopped." Meeko never was one for too much affection, so I spent the time petting her body and playing with her little feet with which she used to tap us on the leg through the slats on our dining room chairs saying, "Mew" like a kitten. She went into the carrier and out the door...

I know that in time our memories of her will be her playing outside, tapping us on the leg, chasing the laser pointer, playing in the couch cushions as a kitten, cleaning Punky, scratching me when I tried to pick her up (I'll always have a scar to remember her by...). But for now my strongest memory is seeing her little body going into the cat carrier. It's terribly disturbing.

Listen to this -- our vet left a list of pet bereavement sources, a picture frame with a beautiful kitty poem, and a book called "For Every Cat An Angel." Today we received a card from her. I challenge that many people receive this kind of precious treatment from their vet. Now I feel bad for calling her the Grim Reaper when she first knocked on our door. (Ouch).

So I walk around, breathe (no talking, though), love my Punky-cat, and try to remember healthy Meeko when I can. There are a lot of things to look forward to, and no use re-living those last moments over and over again.

Thanks for listening, and being a Meeko lover (or at least an Amy lover).

God bless you and your pets.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Yummy sweet potatos

Does potato have an e on the end?

Also, where is my voice? Not in my vocal folds, that's for sure.

Chop one large sweet potato into chunks
Put chunks in a plastic bag with some olive oil and spices (I used salt, pepper, thyme, seasoning salt, and cajun seasonings), and shake it up, man.
Bake in a 400 degree oven until tender/browned. I like mine a little crispy.

Brought to you as a diversion from "Life without Meeko."

We are doing OK, as is Punky. He is a real people cat.

Going to Mozart's for coffee and dessert now. Gelato was last night.

I like to eat my way through sorrow. I do not have a problem with that.

Friday, April 07, 2006

She's gone

I'm not up to making a huge statement, but did want to post some pictures of our precious kitty Meeko. She died today at 4:25ish. The home visit was wonderful, and we got to really take our time with her. She did great, and everything went smoothly. We are going to try to go to dinner and a stupid movie to get our mind off of it. A temporary fix is good enough for now.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Repost - tribute to Meeko

I will post some more pictures, but I wanted to repost these until then. Our sweet Meeko will be euthanized (ouch) this Friday. We have a mobile vet coming over to help us. Look at her nice website (

The feline oncologist's report today is not good. Meeko has a fibrosarcoma, likely vaccine related. We don't have much of a prognosis since it's a pretty unpredictable cancer, but we'll just take it day by day. I've been taking pictures like a madwoman. Here are a few cute ones. That's her picture on the bowl. Can you tell?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

April fools!

Randy and I, that is. We agreed to babysit 3 kids tonight, ages 3.5, 1.5, and 5 months.


We don't know nothin' 'bout babysitting no babies! It has been 3 years since the last time I sat on babies, and it was this eldest child when he was 2-4 months old. Bless his little heart, he cried practically the whole time, and when Dad came home and I handed M over I then cried.

APRIL FOOLS! C (1.5) is sick and Dad's going to stay home.

I guess I'll have to teach Randy how to change a diaper another day!