July 28, 2012

And then... (a tale of how we all went down like rocks)

In this house, we really know how to do the post vacation let down with flair!  Let's have a little run down, shall we?

While in Mexico, Kamron decided to be a wild man and jump off of this:


We should know that we are too old for these kinds of shenanigans.  Between that and the bumpy airplane ride home, he ended up with a ruptured eardrum.

And then...

It was finally time for my big colonoscopy/endoscopy.  Just in case that in itself is not torturous enough, my doctor wanted me to do the tests on a three day clear liquid fast.  Three freaking days. People.  I was not fun to be around.  At all. At multiple points over the whole ordeal, I considered pulling the heads off the children just for sport.  There were lots of biopsies taken and now I just wait for the results.  I've also got a CT scheduled next week.  I'm beginning to think I have the most photographed guts ever!  Also, MoviPrep colonoscopy prep juice tastes like pee + ocean water + one drop of lemon juice.  Just sayin'.

Me coming out of anesthesia.  I don't care how old you are- toots are funny.  
Needless to say, I laughed a lot that day.

And then...

Sadie has been having similar tummy issues.  I'm no doctor, but I'm inclined to say that we have something hereditary going on here. So she got her guts and blood all checked out at the hospital this week as well.  Just FYI- they do not give a family discount.


And then...

Noah started running a fever and getting migraines.  He tends to do this seasonally, so we think that it is somehow allergy related.  So this week, in addition to all the rest of it, Noah was stapled to couch incapacitated with a high fever and a splitting headache.


And then... (is it getting freakishly comical yet?)

Our dog, Emma, sprained her "wrist" and couldn't walk.  And we ended up in the vet's office for a looooooooong time.  We were in there so long that the boys got bored and decided to lay on the floor and pretend to be dogs.  




And then...

Well, that's all.  But I think that's enough.  It's enough that on the one day that everyone felt decent enough to go to the pool, I may have experimented to see if this would fit in my travel mug.  The lid wouldn't go on, but I tried!  

I know, I know.  You're saying, "Meg!  Take your grown up juice box out of the package and just dump it in the cup!"  I couldn't find the scissors.  I just wasn't quite that desperate.    But by today, I may be!

In all seriousness, though, I think we are finally on the mend and can hopefully return to regularly scheduled programming soon!  I hope your week has been a little better than ours!  :-)

July 25, 2012

Xel-Ha!

While we were on vacation in Riviera Maya, Mexico, we were invited to be guests at Xel-ha Waterpark.  If you ask any of the Terry children what their favorite part of our whole trip was, they will hands down, all tell you it was our day spent at Xel-ha.



Xel-ha is not like any other place I've been on Earth.  It is touted as a natural waterpark and natural it is.  It's not your typical water park with giant slides and wave pools- it's a lagoon with untold beauty, wild animals, fish of all kinds, caves, and FUN!  When the makers of Xel-ha had a vision to keep the park as a natural habitat for the animals that call it home- they stuck to that vision.  All of the fish that are in the park, swim there on their own accord and swim in from the surrounding ocean (including stingrays and barracudas!)  The paths through the park are all natural and if there was a tree in the middle of the path- it stayed there and the path wove around it.  Walking into Xel-ha is like walking into an oasis.  It's a great tourist destination, without being overtaken by all the normal "touristy" things.

Our kids were in heaven the entire day.  There was so much to do!  First we jumped on a raft and floated through a mangrove forest. (Forgive my pictures!  They are from a disposable waterproof camera on an overcast day- hence why they look like scanned pics from 1985!)


  
After our awesome float through the mangrove forest, we came out into a giant open part of the lagoon where there was a cliff to jump off of.  I kid you not- this was Noah and Sadie's very favorite part of the entire park.  They now tell everyone that they come in contact with that they jumped off of a cliff in Mexico.  I was a little bit shocked when my five year old (who is nothing but skin and bones!) took a leap and went over that cliff!  They loved it so much, they did it again and again and again!

There goes Sadie...

That teeny tiny little blue dot in front of the rock is Noah jumping off the cliff!

And that's me- flying to my doom ever so ungracefully!  I screamed like I was being murdered the whole way down.  It's a lot taller than it looks!

On down the river, were some super fun ziplines!


My husband (in the orange shorts) giving me some sort of rock and roll sign, I'm sure!  

You may wonder what Miles was doing while we were having all this fun...
He flaked out on the raft- in his flippers and all.  Gives new meaning to the term "waterbed".  

And, of course, there was some amazing snorkeling!
"




Truly, some of the best snorkeling in the world is in this part of Mexico.  As a mom, this is something that I really wanted my children to experience.  After all, you stick your head under the water and there is an entire other world down there!  But part of me also has anxiety about putting my children out in the open ocean.  They got to do some great snorkeling in the safety of the protected lagoon instead of being in the open ocean with currents- best of both worlds.  They LOVED it!

Another thing I really loved about the park is that it is all inclusive.  I know that most places in America charge an admission and then our kids nickel and dime us all day long.  Or we say "no" every ten steps because they want something that we won't buy them and we get severe Mommy guilt!  At Xel-ha all the food and drinks and activities are all included.  So you can have ice cream 20 times in a day if you want.  (Or Coronas if the kids are really getting under your skin!)  It makes it so nice to go somewhere that you can say yes to your kids all day long!  Miles was living proof of that with an ice cream cone in one hand, french fries in the other and nacho cheese all over his mouth.

Yum!  Isn't that what vacations are for!?

The other thing I loved, is that because everything at the park is natural (nothing mechanical) there are no age/height/weight limits for things.  It was great not having to console a little one who is two inches too short to do something and it meant that we could do all of the activities together!  It just makes for such a smooth day when every one can stay together and you don't have to split off with big kids/little kids.  

What's more fun that swinging on a rope over water?




We even got to swim into an underwater cave!  There are just so many beautiful things to see in the park and there are some beautiful trails that will take you high enough to see the jungle canopy.  Our kids didn't stop long enough to appreciate this, but we growns up sure did!


We enjoyed our day at Xel-ha so much.  I'd recommend it for anyone with children of any age.  If you are ever in the Cancun/ Riviera Maya part of Mexico, it is an absolute must do!  Our children are begging to go back there one day (and so are we!)

To check out more about Xel-ha, visit their website at www.xelha.com and to read more about their eco and sustainability projects- check out their great blog at http://xcaretexperiencias.com/blog-en/ .  


  








*Our family would like to give a HUGE thanks to Leo, Reina, and the rest of the Xel-ha team who treated us to such a wonderful day!

July 19, 2012

Skittle Water

My children are being relentlessly annoying today.

The afternoon went like this:

Kids:  Mom!  Can we have a lemonade stand?
Me: No.
Kids:  Mom!  Can we have a lemonade stand?
Me: NO!  It's a weekday.  Everyone is working so they can't come buy lemonade.

10 minutes later...
Kids: Mom!  Can we pleeeeeeeeeeease have a lemonade stand?
Me:  No.
Kids:  Buuuuuuuuut moooooooooooom.  We're so bored.  There's nothing to do here but have a lemonade stand.
Me:  We don't even have any lemonade!  NO LEMONADE STAND!

10 more minutes later...
Kids:  Mom.  If you will just let us have a lemonade stand we will stop bugging you.
Me:  I AM ABOUT TO BLOW!  DO NOT ASK ME AGAIN IF YOU CAN HAVE A LEMONADE STAND!
Kids:  But why?
Me:  Seriously?  I already told you.  No one will come and we don't have any lemonade.  And you need lemonade and people to have a lemonade stand.

10 more minutes later...
Kids:  Mom.  We went over to Bob's house (our grandneighbors) and they gave us all their lemonade.  And if you let us have a lemonade stand we'll donate half of the money to orphans.

Dammit!  Those little boogers outsmarted me and started speaking my love language all at the same time.  I kinda had no choice but to reward their ingenuity (I know, bad parenting, blah, blah, blah) and let them have a lemonade stand.  They promised me that they (along with the help of Sadie's BFF) would do the whole lemonade stand by themselves.  They would make the lemonade and they would set it up and take it all down all by themselves.

They got to it.

They set it up all by themselves.

They made their own signage (obviously):


And they made their own lemonade courtesy of the neighbor:


I asked them about the reddish-orangish liquid and they told me that it was strawberry lemonade.  They said they found it in our basement.  Red flags started going up all over the place.  They finally confessed that they found a package of sour Skittles and they dissolved them in water.  They assured me that it tasted just like strawberry lemonade.  I hated to break it to them, but it tasted like Skittle water.

And lo and behold- after I told them that no one would come to their lemonade stand, they had a crowd of kids and people in cars stopping to have some lemonade.  This did not bode well for my mom credibility.  Wasn't I the one who said no one would come?  Grrrr.

 
They sold $13 worth of lemonade and nearly all of the Skittle water.  By the time they took half for charity and split the rest of the money, they each made $1.62.  They think they are rich.  They think they are the kings of lemonade stands.  They think they have the right to look at me and say, "I told you so."  I hate it when that happens!

But the real kicker came later...

I loaded all the kids in the van to take Sadie's friend home and saw this in the driveway:


Why yes, that is a plug-in foot spa.  And why yes, they plugged it in and used water out of the hose to make the Skittle water.  They thought that plugging it in and "boiling" the Skittle water was way easier that putting it in a pitcher and stirring it.

So consider this my public apology to all who came to my kid's lemonade stand and drank the strawberry lemonade- AKA dirty foot Skittle water.  Please don't sue.  Or if you sue, just sue me for the children.  Today, you can have them!

July 18, 2012

He's With Me

There are so many things that I never considered before we became a transracial family.  I never thought that when I'd call the black barber for an appointment that I'd be turned away because of my obvious white country hick voice (only to have to explain to the man on the other end of the line that my son isn't white).  I never thought that I'd learn how to do things like cornrows and spend a mini fortune on hair and skin products.  I never thought I'd say, "Yes, he's black, but he does like to swim and no, he's not a good dancer" to people who want my child to fit into a racial stereotype.

But more than anything, I never thought that I'd constantly have to prove to the general public that, despite the fact that our skin doesn't match, I'm still this child's mother.  Dozens of times this little scene has played out:

Miles is a few steps ahead of the grocery cart that I'm pushing through the aisles.  A well meaning person looks at him, looks around and assumes that he's lost.  They always bend down to him and say, "Oh sweetie. Where's your mommy?  Are you lost?"  From 5 feet away, I always say, "I'm right here.  He's with me."  People look confused and then embarrassed and then always say something like, "Oh, he's just precious" to try to redeem themselves.  I don't blame them.  After all, before our family was multicultural, I'm sure I might have made the same mistakes.

However, that's as far as it's ever gone.  Until about a month ago.

Several weeks ago we went to a museum in the deep south USA.  We were shuffled through the museum kind of in a line (not one of those museums where you just roam at your leisure)  The same people were in front of us and the same people were behind us for most of the tour.  We finally got to a room where you could do your own thing.  There was some tactile stuff for the kids.  Sadie was working a puzzle of the Titanic.  Noah and Miles were walking up these ramps that depicted the angle of the Titanic at different stages of sinking.  Kamron and I were both roaming between all of the kids and knew exactly where they all were- after all, it wasn't a big room and there weren't a ton of people in it.  All of a sudden, the woman who had been behind us in the line on the tour came up to me and said, "The little boy that's with you... they took him!"  WHAT!?  I looked right over to the ramp where Miles had been 15 seconds earlier and he was gone. I panicked.

The staff at the museum assumed he was lost since there were no black adults in the room and instead of saying, "Is anyone with this little boy?" they just picked him up and took him.  I yelled something at Kamron alerting him as to what happened and took off running toward the entrance to the museum.  Ahead I saw a worker who had a walkie talkie and told her to radio someone and tell them bring my son back.  A million things flashed through my head.  I wondered if they'd make me somehow prove that Miles was my son.  I wondered if Miles would be terrified.  I kept hearing a voice in my brain saying, "Megan, you really should carry around your adoption decree everywhere you go" battled with another voice saying, "Megan, you really shouldn't HAVE to carry something around like that- he's YOUR son!"

Finally, I saw Miles and a big man walk around the corner.  Miles saw me and started yelling, "MOMMY!" and ran toward me.  I picked him up and walked away.  It was no time to educate people that you just don't take a child away without first asking if he belongs to anyone.  It wasn't a time to give a speech about how families can all look different.  It was just a time to reassure my child.  For the rest of the time in the museum, Miles had a death grip on me and Kamron.  He wanted to be carried and didn't want his feet to touch the floor.  He went mute for the rest of the day.  These kinds of things scare the daylights out of our kids who've been hurt and abandoned before.

Miles woke up the next day and seemed to not remember it at all and was back to being his normal chatty, wild self.  But for me, it was a wake up call.  When we got our ID cards from the state saying that we were foster parents, I put it in my wallet instantly.  Even though we wish to live in a world where people recognize that families can have two moms or two dads or be all different colors and abilities- the fact is that to most people, this is still a foreign concept and we need to figure out how we'll deal with these situations should they arise and how we'll "prove" our parentage if it's ever called into question.

I'm curious... has this ever happened to you?  How did you deal with it?  Do you carry around your adoption decree/ foster parent ID/ judges orders, etc.?

July 16, 2012

Vacation! (Part 1)

Oh my goodness!  We are back from what can only be described as the best family vacation ever.  I know that I say that every time we go on a trip, but I really do mean it! (With the exception of the first vacation we took when Miles got home- that one was AWFUL!)  I know that I also say every time how grateful I am that my husband's company gives him the opportunity to earn these trips- and I truly mean that, too!  Without those travel incentives, we wouldn't be able to go to most of the incredible places that we get to travel to.

We spent last week at the Grand Velas Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico.  It was the trip that almost didn't happen since Miles' passport didn't arrive until 36 hours before we boarded the plane.  If you've never fought with immigration and the passport office for months on end, I'll just tell you that it's not fun!  It was a two month ordeal that required us getting two attorneys involved, but by golly, we finally got our little man a passport.  It says that he's only 2 years old (instead of 4) but it got him in and out of the country just fine, so what's a difference of half a lifetime?

We've been in a really busy season of life lately.  Our house is on the market (and all that that entails), we got our final approval from the state and our home is now officially open for fostering (even though we've yet to get a call) and strep throat and sleepless nights for the kids have been rampant.  So we were desperately looking forward to some down time in Mexico. I just can't even describe how wonderful it was. (I even went the whole week unplugged except for checking email twice and it was amazingly freeing to not be connected.  And surprisingly, I didn't die from technology withdrawals.)  The kids were on their best behavior, we traveled with lots of friends from my husband's company so there were lots of people to play with, and the weather was gorgeous!  Mostly, we did a lot of laying around by the pool sipping cocktails for the grown ups and Shirley Temples for the littles.  We ate our weight in guacamole and gelato.   We stayed out late at the karaoke bar every night and slept in and had breakfast on the balcony in the mornings.  The older these kiddos get, the more awesome they are at traveling.  They were absolutely made for vacations- and we love sharing in these life experiences together.  I find that there are few things that can connect a family together and get everyone back on the same page than a great family vacation.

Here's a little glimpse into our week...

The fam all posey-posey on the beach

Chillin' at the pool...







      
The view from our room

Cereal and waffles taste so much better when they are delivered to your room and you get to eat it on the balcony. 




Chips in bed?  Why not?  It's vacation.

Kamron took a day trip to visit the ruins at Chichen Itza.  How cute is he?

The Terry children rocked some karaoke.  Sadie and Noah did Katy Perry's Firework and Kamron and Miles did a very spirited rendition of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand".  Miles can't sing his ABC's or a single nursery rhyme, but he has the entire current top 40 and the Beatles catalog down pat.


And somehow this is how karaoke ended.  All that singing must have been taxing.

The beach was amazing!






Stay tuned for part two!
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