Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Talent Show: Day 5

Talent is as talent does:

Well, now, any of you who know my hubby also know he really has no talent to speak of. ;) Poor guy, I know. Since we couldn't think of anything good enough to compare to some of the previous entries, I just decided to post one of his recent attempts at "entertainment" where he is showing us one of the ways he makes music with his computer.

Like I said, not exactly dog ventriloquy, but it is something. (Wheeze!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Grandma's recipes are lethal

But, as they say..."Everything in moderation including moderation."

Perhaps I should warn people to take each tin slowly around curves. ;)

See you when the powdered sugar settles!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Talent show: Day 4

Ever since we started the talent show entries the dogs have been hounding me to get in on the action. You know how camera hungry small dogs can be. So while we round up Jamey's entry, we thought it would be a good time to put in a little Christmas number the T & T (dynomite) recently worked up. Of course, when it was my idea to finally film it they totally gave me the disinterested faces of teenagers. Whatever lickies.

So here they are without their Christmas hats or spirits (a contractual compromise):
Tiki and Tulip

Trust me, I've been this ridiculous for years. ;)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Another birthday already?

Yesterday our Dandy dude turned SEVEN! I can't believe it has been five years since I saw his tiny little sleeping face and immediately went squishy with love. He was our first foster child and a complete answer to prayer as we had been hoping to adopt but felt God was leading us toward fostering through the state.

Shortly after arriving in our care at not quite two, he needed two separate surgical procedures done to correct hearing and vision problems so he was placed on the extreme makeover circuit to get him caught up. It was an all consuming stressful but joyous time for all of us. Getting to know him and seeing him heal physically and mentally, were our main focus that first year before he became ours officially. We tried not to give in to our trepidation about his future as to whether he'd remain with us or go back to his father who gave us little hope of rehabilitation or parental competency. And instead tried to do all we could to further his future either way. Of course once we met him, we could never imagine life without him!

And now we're here. Still discovering, still healing and growing together as a family.

The learning curve continues. One of the things that we now understand more clearly is just how affected the bonding process is when a child has had a rough start in life. The brain actually forms differently in children who aren't cared for properly and they become practically hard wired with defensive mechanisms that keep them going in a state of self preservation, preventing them from feeling too deeply and therefore detaching themselves from true pain. It's an incredibly helpful AND hurtful dose of denial built right into the newly forming brain chemistry.

As an adopted person myself, I've not had any understanding of Attachment Disorder having gone home from the hospital and fully bonded with my "forever" family.

It was not until we planned on adopting a nearly three year old that attachment concerns even came to my attention. Even then to me it seemed pretty black and white. They get to know you and trust you, then you have attached. Check mark on steps 1,2,and 3. Nurture wins every time!

Of course this is not the case. And now I've even come to learn that some kids have it way worse than most people could ever imagine. This is called Reactive Attachment Disorder(RAD). Having a challenging child such as Dandy, I've tried to educate myself on this and many other possibilities that have come to mind when attempting to understand our own little complex guy.

As no two children are the same, we've found that our Dandy especially follows no previous pattern or rule book. He is wonderfully unique in the way that each fine human piece of art created by God is. But, he IS an abstract creation and a head scratcher to be sure.

He is diagnosed with Mixed Developmental Disorder, which we are told is sort of a blanket label to allow him to receive all the services available to him from which he might benefit. If they put him in the spectrum of Autism, then he would receive only specific help in that direction. And he's not entirely Autistic but more a mix of that,Oppositional Defiance, Cerebral Palsy, Microcephaly, Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, developmental delays,Failure to thrive, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Attachment Disorder, all in a colorful candy shell.

Yes, he has some challenges and therefore so do we. I'm of course not saying he's the most difficult child in the world. I've met and read about much more medically and emotionally challenged children. He is just such a mixture of issues, we never quite know what needs to be done to help him deal with things easier.

He hasn't been doing well with the school setting since he began kindergarten and though we even have him in a special school to handle this, he seems to be doing the same or even worse. He never integrates in with the other children and even disrupts the class so much with noise or destructive behavior, he has to be removed several times per day.

About a month ago he decided, by pitching huge fits and unbuckling his seatbelt, not to ride home in the transport vehicle. So I've had to pick him up myself which usually takes more than an hours worth of driving time at the same time Ratchet is getting out of school in our town each afternoon. This just doesn't work for us at all.

Every time something new comes up we can't help but wonder if the experts know what their doing. Is our child in capable hands or are they putty in his? Why does he seem to confuse them on a daily basis? Aren't they trained in every possible situation? Should we let our instincts override the conflicting voices in our ears or trust the people who schooled specifically for these things? I'm not really sure.

I am sure that he is going to keep surprising us in good and bad ways. Just as we expect a certain behavior from him, he totally throws us an opposite. For instance, he potty trained in less than four days. He quit a major six year thumb sucking habit in two. He can't put his own socks on or take his shirt off by himself but can read an entire book to you if he so chooses. He is a wonder not to be underestimated.

What a wily little coyote we have in that kid! He is so adorable, creative, and focused one minute and so donkey stubborn, destructive, repetitive, and manipulative the next. He wants to please, but also has a strong voice inside him working to sabotage any good rapport he's formed with someone.

We have gained so much ground with him over the years though. SO much. (I repeat for myself). We definitely go backwards occasionally too, but are trying to keep the wheels pointed forward and the positives accentuated when he's having them.

I ache to keep him home from school at times when I'm most frustrated with his behavior there. He would never throw a chair or peel up a floor at my house and know he could get away with it. We do let him make his quirky noises more at home because he doesn't have to sit in a classroom without disturbing other children.

But, "they" keep telling me he needs to deal with this now. He needs to be able to be around people and interact with them properly. And he does. But he also needs the physical, speech, occupational therapies and psychiatric care he is receiving at this school. He just wouldn't get those things at home without us breaking the bank entirely.

So we are tightly squeezed between the rock and hard place doing what we are told is best for our child. I am claustrophobic in here, but with the help of medicine for Dandy(and ok, myself too ;), we are learning to deal with the anxiety and sometimes debilitating daily challenges that swoop in and try to steal our confidence and joy. It is an endurance thing not a quick fix.

Still we wonder what next year will bring. And the next. And the next. It is scary raising an oppositional child that doesn't respond much to consequence and has trouble forming bonds with people. I know many parents with kids like this struggle with thoughts of the future when it's hard enough to deal with life's pressures on a child without any challenges.

I pray daily that we will grow stronger as a family in dealing with difficult periods in our Dandy's life. And that God will give him a supernatural wisdom that keeps him safe and able to make good decisions as he grows into adulthood and goes out into a dangerous world on his own.

In the meantime, I must remind myself that though wedged, I'm not completely confined in this hard place. I can still glorify God from this position and that is really all that is required of me. No excuses Shan. Stop that worry and get to the GLORY! God loves these wounded children more than any of us can comprehend.

Thank you for letting me spill. I guess I slipped into essay mode there. :}

I don't mind at all if you skipped to the part where I say "HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRECIOUS BOY!!!" We love our gift!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Talent Show: Day 3

I have a wicked laugh.

As the show goes on, you may be increasingly afraid of what we here at Bergville refer to as talent. Well, if laughing is not a talent it surely must be a creative outlet of some sort, because I've been changing it up for years! And my laugh has never really been considered mainstream. It has gone everywhere from Bahahaha(like Arnold on Happy Days but long morphed into breathy and fake sounding) to a brief equestrian period in high school in which I whinnied like a reared up horse and earning the nickname "Wildfire" from a close friend.

To this day, my chortle has become a veritable cacophony of glottal fricatives that occasionally even surprise me with their uniqueness. (Odd sentences are also a talent of mine.)

This was one such occasion. You have to watch all the way to the end which means enduring one of Dandy's T-rex moments also caught on tape. :}

What made me laugh was that I had just stepped onto and flattened Jamey's collection of paper boats that he had been ever so carefully lighting and launching into the water as you see in the video.

All I could do was laugh my "I'm soooorrrrrryyyy" the way I do when I find myself in a sudden pickle. Please enjoy-and remember to leave the hearty laughter to trained professionals such as myself to avoid harm. ;)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Birthday boy considered "well into thirties" by 40 yr old wife

Today was a special day for a certain young man in our house.

He's finally lost his youthful curls

And now he's all grown up!

And super ninja tough!

But he's also pretty sweet

That's why he's wanted in several counties for just being so dang awesome!

Happy 37 dear husband!!

We love you much!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Talent Show: Day 2

He speaks Whale....

I especially like the note around second 52 if you have the higher reaches of your hearing. If you don't, your dog might perk up unexpectedly there and that would be fun to watch too. ;) This is one of his favorite things to do so I have several of these vids in my collection. Don't worry, I'll stop after sharing just the one....for now. Baha

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Talent show: Day 1

I've decided to do a video talent show since I've built up quite a repertoire in my files. My oldest, always eager to please, volunteered to go first. (Ok, he's at school, but he WOULD have no doubt volunteered had he been available.)

Ratchet is in sixth grade and writes better than many a college freshman! He worked this little piece up for a quick homework assignment. I was astonished at the content in what seemed like busy work for him. I made him read it to me again for the camera since he had included character voices and everything. :) His literary talents are emerging!
(If you are seeing this on facebook, you'll probably have to click on the link that takes you to my blog to watch any videos.)
I'll be back shortly with the next entry!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ugly Shan

When I saw this ad for Ugly Betty on my google page Friday I thought I'd seen that picture somewhere before. Sure enough there it was in my photos. I guess I've got one Halloween costume idea in the making.....

Get the braces back on, darken up the hair a bit, and I'll be Betty's ugly older sister in no time. Baha

(Sorry to dwarf you Betty dear. I tried to find a bigger pic of you in this pose but failed.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Love Out Loud-numero deux

The Love Out Loud show was such a fun experience! Friday night tons of people came and got totally rock-us and silly with us. I was so concerned I would freeze up on my keyboard solos, like the one scarring time in high school when asked to accompany our football king and queen's coronation ceremony (Barry Manilow's 'Mandy' has NEVER been so unrecognizable since- I pa-romise you!). I just couldn't entirely relax and enjoy myself until I knew my hands wouldn't betray me.

On Saturday night (since there was obviously no turning back) I decided I was just going to have fun no matter what happened. What happened was the arrival of an entirely different audience! One where in between the contained claps and the next song, you could hear yourself swallow. Gulp. But, not blaming this country/folksie crowd for not easily adapting to techno, we motored on through and had more fun than ever. If I can get a snippet of something presentable(no not the facebook vids) I'll find it for you and post it.

Meanwhile, please enjoy the muppet-esqe video made especially for the opening song played each night. Jamey made a video for all 11 songs we performed, but this one we all got in on. I,unbeknownst to me at the time, literally was in almost every shot-which was not my desire considering I hadn't a stitch of makeup on. J had to photoshop bricks over my head for most of the song.
(That would have been a strange q and a had someone asked what he spent his Sunday night doing. "Oh, just bricking out my wifes giant head all evening. You?")

Jamey is a wealth of creativity and talent, and I enjoyed practicing along to all the subtleties of his music. How his brain comes up with it all and how he executes each instrument in his songs, I have no idea! I had fun being a part of it this time though.
Here are some more snaps from the event:

Trish and her fabulous purses

Fool For Now from Saturday night(So beautiful!)

Rick's handmade journals and Dean peering over

Freedom and Nancy(the hosts)with an artist whose name escapes me-oops.

Herva donning masks just because we go all the way for our fans. ;)

If you wish to hear the hubby's latest songs and some of the ones we sang for L.O.L., you can find him here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Object betrayal

I was traumatized by my medical supplies last night and I wanted to share it with my lovely readers today as it reminded me of recent incident that happened to another thumb I'm fond of.

Warning: This post contains some material that may be too graphic for some.
Please read with caution or avoid all together. :}

Were you too busy looking at his sweet face to see this?

On a recent trip to OKC to visit my parents, Monkey Fingers McGraw(a.k.a. Dandy) got himself into a little scuffle with a stapler.

My mom, Dandy, and I had just popped in for the briefest visit to her office for troubleshooting (or something I can't now recall), before heading off to do our favorite form of geocaching-shopping!

Instead, as you can see, Dandy immediately fired a staple into his finger and then began screaming one continuos shrill note that lasted without breath until I airlifted him out of the office and into the car. (Need your workday spiced up? Call on us.)

Now, I've stapled my thumb before as a child, perhaps you have too. Normally, this type of wound is quickly taken care of when you pluck the thing out, daub it off, and get a band-aid topped with a kiss for your troubles. Because this was a stapler that is used to dealing with insurance claims, that thing fired with the tenacity of a tail gunner and went straight into my baby's little thumb bone and it was not coming out!

So with an ER visit, an x-ray,one hemostat, and a trip to the pharmacy for antibiotics, our "brief troubleshooting" errand had a lot more trouble and shooting in it than we'd bargained for.

Now, back to me.

I wear an insulin pump that uses infusion sets that have to be changed every three to four days. The ones I use have an inserting device that is extremely spring loaded and tends to "insert" the plastic tube coated needle with a lot of force. (Still with me?)
I've hired this male model to show you what they look like. We'll call him Mylan.

Thank you Mylan for that tiny thumbnails worth of ab you've given us. Next time bring no less than an 8x10 if you want consideration! VERY disappointing sir!

Anyway, I had my spot picked out and was pinching up some skin for the needle that goes in at an angle almost parallel to the surface skin.(Notice Mylan's other hand was well out of frame). I fired it in and got a pain in my thumb that felt like the wide plastic coated needle had poked me and rammed right into my nail on the other side of my thumb! That's because it did.

I said "OUCH!" which sometimes I say anyway, but this time I kind of yelled it indignantly. Then I looked down to find that not only had I failed to get my port inserted properly, I had managed to shoot the two inch needle into my stomach, out through another place and then into my thumb all at the same time!

It totally bruised my thumb and my feelings as well when I realized I'd been shish-kabob-bed by my own "user friendly" device.

After daubing my wounds and inserting a new site, I laid down to go to sleep and could feel that my face was still frowning. I have been known to feel sorry for myself when I get fed up with the ins and outs of stupid Diabetes(like the time when I looked down with a syringe in my mouth and stuck myself in the boob). But, this was a different feeling, like a betrayal of trust between me and an inanimate object. That's strange.

I know that actually it was just a simple case of user error like Dandy's stapler incident (and, yes, my accidental boob injection). And, in the end I found myself saying the same thing he said while holding up his freshly stapled thumb.

"Ohhh, I shouldn't have done that!"

No, you really shouldn't have.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Love Out Loud 2009

Calling all bloglookers(cheeky monkeys, YOU)!!! :D

This weekend (Sept. 25th and 26th) we will be in Fayetteville helping promote the Love Out Loud Art and Music show our Friend Freedom Rodriguez puts on to raise money for his missions work in Africa.

The descriptive from the Love out Loud 2009 facebook page sums it up like this:

"Love Out Loud is an annual fund-raiser promoting the use of creative gifts and talents in cross-cultural ministry.

This event is inspired by exploring the question of the purpose of creativity. We may not all be artistic, yet the truth is we are all creative in various ways — through our vocations, hobbies, our everyday lives are filled with creativity. This creativity is ingrained in our human nature. Yet where does it come from? The Bible says that we are created in "His [God's] image" and we are the "workmanship [craftmanship or poem] of God". What does this mean in our daily lives? Is creativity solely meant for self-expression? Or should we actively pursue to glorify God in our creativity? This and many more questions are being asked. What's your conclusion? Maybe your still seeking. Well, Love Out Loud is the place you can explore these questions and possibly find the answer. Join us and feel the love."
If you are in the area, we hope you stop in to this creative extravaganza. There will be many hand made and painted items for sale, wonderful music by our friends Tab and David from Fool For Now, and I will be there both nights giving my contribution by playing some keyboard and doing backup vocals for the ever talented Herva.

Now, seriously, are you gonna wanna miss out on that last bit? I'm in a band for Pete's sake!! (Can we just guffaw together for a moment? )

Ok, now, back to business.

Here's the video Jamey and Freedom put together for those of you who haven't seen it:

Vintage Fellowship
FREE ADMISSION - Art and gift items for sale, and donations made to OM-ARTSLINK will be accepted.

Friday, September 25, 2009
7:00pm - 10:00pm
Vintage Fellowship
3416 N. College Ave
Fayetteville, AR

Live it. Love it. And then, buy the t-shirt(they're really cool)!!

Love Out Loud from herva on Vimeo.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Homework for the long weekend

"You've got big dreams? You want fame? Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying ... in sweat! "

Test on Tuesday people!!! ...2,3,4...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Jamey and our middle schooler Ratchet have been plotting, planning, and preparing (for nearly a year now) the movie they've wanted to make with all the cousins. We needed to get the filming in before school(and puberty and such) so we decided to have a two day movie making extravaganza!
Here are a few behind the scenes looks into the making of FUZION WARRIORS.

In this first scene, "Little Chef" has cooked up some scary looking alien grub and the warrior clan will be filmed giving their various reactions to the strange new cuisine.
Naturally, Jamey will be adding all kinds of computerized awesomeness to transform my chaotic kitchen into pure movie magic. (Why can't we do this everyday?!)

Here's another sneak preview from the next day's filming. The scene about to be shot is in the Fuzion Warrior's hangout where they really get down to business, or just really get down depending on the danger level present.

Now, don't YOU feel safer knowing the Fuzion Warriors are on the scene?
I know I do. And I'll be sure to be at the premiere when this baby opens.

This movie is not yet rated.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Vegas sized post

Most of what happened in Vegas is very clearly going to stay there because I have waited way too long to make it any kind of pertinent news to my poor neglected readers. As many of you know, I've never really had an elephant sized memory, so if it weren't for photos, much of our trip would have no doubt sloughed out with the altitude change in the airplane. Fortunately for us(that's what your feeling right?) I was armed with my camera and will now present my findings in a series of pics and videos.

We had just one full day to get an eye full of Vegas because the other two days were eaten up with travel and plane delays. We got there late Tuesday and I quickly got my fix of gambling done with one major losing session. That's five dollars I'm just never going to get back-sniff.

Here is where I retreated after losing my lunch money in those stupid blood sucking slot machines. Marble floors and free upgrades are very consoling. The bidet, not so much.

The next day when we finally got up and out we spied these things:

fountains and casinos....

Lady Liberty and an inner city roller coaster...

Idols of all kinds..

Food for a very hungry JC...

olives for me Me ME!
Chocolate fountains...
mosaics a-plenty(for Katie)...

Chihuly glass for Dean...

escalators for Trisha...

night life for the rest of you(to keep the post length down-you understand.)

and one well celebrated birthday girl!
Thank you Sweetheart for such an exciting adventure!
And Happy 13th Anniversary to us today!!! I feel like the big winner here whether Vegas agrees or not!! :D XoxOXo

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dandy in the Kitchen

Dandy always tells me he wants to be a chef when he grows up so we read this and tried the recipe at the end for some griddle cake funsies. I'll not be attempting Julia Child's classic first book anytime soon as much as I enjoyed the movie about her.

I'm working on my Vegas post...still (and trying to make shorter blog posts as well) so I'll see you soon!

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Muzac moment

Sometimes the paparazzi tell little fibs to get the shots they want. It doesn't always work on Uncle Sean though. I think he's aware of my methods. ;)

My Vegas posts are still on the way....You know I'm easily distracted by the dance.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

When FORTY sneaks up on you with loud clicky heals

I was born in the sixties. Barely, but I like how that sounds to the ears of the young. Yes, in just one short day I am expected to turn forty. I've been fitted for my new glasses and will no doubt be the envy of all those below me when I strut these babies out amongst the people .

Why not wear it loud and proud all over your face, eh? Word.

When you turn forty, you slow down a hair and sometimes need more than a day or two to celebrate. I've just gone ahead and claimed the whole week for this metamorphosis to fit in all the naps and such that will no doubt be needed as I gain my mid-life zero.
Here's what some special girls and I did Friday to celebrate.
First we stuffed ourselves with Mexican food.

Then went to Jenna's house-o-fun, which was royally decked out for the party! The players left to right: Jenna, Sara, Becky, Trish,Lori, Moi, Arlynda

Then this happened....after the photo, I carefully side stepped off and went in and changed into proper swimwear like the forty year old I have become.

Here's where I was trying to coordinate the girls into a synchronized swimming spectacular. That never really panned out olympic style.

Somewhere in this post I was planning to list all of the wise and observant things I have learned up to this point in my life journey. But, not tending to be a deep or deeply organized person by nature, I haven't really succeeded at jotting down my most poignant (if fleeting) realizations that have hit me thus far.

I did manage to dive through a and wedge myself into a small ring at Jenna's pool. It only took this young and agile thing a few short minutes (and some huge thigh-flops) to wriggle myself free from the floatation device. It occurs to me now though that there could possibly be a metaphor of my life summed up in this very picture.

Don't see it? Let me help you. Though at times I appear to be floating mindlessly around in the carefree security of my youth, there are unseen struggles both in my actual mid-section as well as the mid-section of my days on earth. I push and pull to get loose from the things that bind me, all the while trying to contain my ridiculous juxtaposition between laughter and tears that swell and groan between the deep and shallow. I am wizened- but only halfway. There's a lot left of this vessel yet to navigate.

It's like English lit class all over again. If you can't find the meaning-just make it up! There, now back to the festivities....

Play some 80's friend montage music in your head to look at these next few.

Yes, friends are friends forever, and I got the most thoughtful gifts from these dearies. Here is a picture the talented Trisha painted of me to remember my glamorous side. Can you even believe her? :D

I shall remember this party as long as my memory actually holds out!! Thank you girls I LOVE YOU!!

And now I must move on to phase two of this bang up birthday party. JAMEY'S TAKING ME TO LAS VEGAS TODAY!!! Who knew I was this special?????

Stay tuned as I celebrate my official birthday in the city lights! I could get used to this.