29 Jun 2013

Seeing Clearly

Having lost all of my vision in my left eye for months at a time on numerous occasions I do not take seeing clearly for granted. I started wearing glasses a year ago and noticed a couple of months ago that all was not well as I couldn't see squat.....yet again.

Lily was also squinting to see anything further than arms length all of a sudden so I made appointments for everyone to see their favourite eye man.

Rosie; to quote the DR., has dodged a bullet for another year. Her congenital birth defect has also affected her eyes so it is just a matter of time before the opaque film in her eyes makes glasses a necessity for her. He is really hoping she will make it to about 12 before this happens and perhaps it never will but he says don't hold your breath.

Lily; well if you have a read for a while you know she is as blind as a bat without glasses. Her vision has deteriorated again but not by an alarming rate. She is at an age where changes like this are normal and he isn't even the slightest bit concerned and expects it to level off a little now...gawd I hope so. Kidlet truly cannot see.

Me; something about my age was mentioned but  I am sure that was just a misunderstanding. Nothing was mentioned about mine levelling off? Must be the different end of the age spectrum. LOL.

So in the last 2 weeks I've  been handed 2 prescriptions for glasses. I chose my frames, nothing fancy and very reasonably priced and then we started with the lenses. All of a sudden I thought I was single handedly paying off the national debt. What the hell is with eye glass lenses people? Holy cow! It's not enough that I have to have glasses but I also have to have very dark sunglasses because my left pupil no longer moves very well or very fast and living here in Fl the sunlight just sears right into my brain causing a very sharp pain. So I got the pleasure of not one but 2 pairs of specs...yay me.

Moving along to yesterday. Lily is getting to big for kiddies frames so we moved to the next section. She chose her frames, a little pricey but in all fairness to her she has never even scratched her glasses let alone broken or lost a pair in 3 years.  I can only think of one occasion when she couldn't find them before school and she called me and they were in my bag, with me, at work. (ooppps) She was torn between to pairs but they were buy one get one 50% off so I told her to get both. She has to wear them ALL the time. It wasn't just the lenses but the whole dealio for that price. Of course her lenses also cost the same as it costs to feed a small country for a year because her vision sucks and her lenses are crazy but that folks is not her fault!

The doc suggested contacts for Lily but she has no interest at all yet. When she does we will attempt them. He thinks she is at an age where she can start wearing them. This kid loves her glasses though so I don't see it happening. She also pointed out to the doc that it would be a pain in the neck for swimming.....I don't know why she thinks it will be. Andie, you swim in yours don't you?

So now we are all seeing clearly and I can see very clearly why we won't be taking any extravagant vaca's this summer........

Sorry, that was just a little rant and normal programming will resume tomorrow.
This is the colour of one of Lily's choices.

27 Jun 2013

She said, WHAT?

Lily approached me earlier looking rather sheepish and coy. She was grinning from ear to ear and said that she needed to tell me something. Since I know that particular face, oh so well, I could hardly wait for her to impart her little gem.

"Mama, Rosie was so funny earlier, she said Daddy looks old but he is old but Mummy isn't old but she looks old. She has curly skin".

My gut reaction was to say, WTF? But of course I didn't. I said, Curly skin, what on earth is curly skin? which was a stupid thing to say to a child. Lily had asked her sister the same question just in case their definition of curly skin differed, it didn't.

WRINKLES Mama, your wrinkles. You have them here and she pointed to my eyes. Rosie also said you have a lot of nipples and they make you look old too.

Now before you choke on your tea and spit it all over your keyboard I don't have an affliction that has made me sprout nipples all willy nilly, Rosie calls moles and freckles, nipples.

This is how my children see me .............................

Look at that curly skin

Hmmm, lots of nipples but I don't see that many curls! Maybe tomorrow I'll try my straigtening iron on my face too.
Next time I see Lily with that coy little face I shall run for cover!

23 Jun 2013

As I thought

I thought that once Lily got wind that I had been behind the scenes at the Britto gallery she would be green with envy and I was right. She begged me to take her back down to Lincoln Road today so that she could see his new work that is on display. She said she didn't care if she didn't get "the tour" she just wanted to see his new style of painting.

I was fine with that. Lincoln Road is a lot of fun and the people watching there is bar none. Where else can you teach your kids about transgender, movie stars, pimped up geriatrics, body builders and young love all in one place?  We strolled around for a little while and then made our way to the gallery. Lily was in awe, as she always is. Anthony sadly wasn't working today and the crew that was in today lacked the sparkle that he had. As the girls were chatting about which pieces they have another man overheard them and came and chatted. I told them our story and he took them upstairs. It wasn't the grand tour that we received yesterday but they got to see the studio. They saw most of what I saw yesterday and Lily took in every single inch of it. She floated on air from piece to piece. They both loved the giant panda.

Once back downstairs they both purchased something with their own money. From there we left and headed to the art gallery next door which is a shared space of many starving artists using umpteen different medias and quite fun.

By this time it was  eleventy billion degrees so the girls needed some ice cream.

Hot and happy girlies
Kilwins, our favourite ice cream
speaks for itself
 Lily took this and I actually don't hate it. Wrinkly old prune.
An absolutely great day spent with my kiddies whom I missed a lot, a very very lot.

22 Jun 2013

What do you get when....

What do you get when you have 3 crazy women and a bright orange pair of sandals?

Give up?

A tour of Romero Britto's private art gallery.

Uh huh, yes you do.

Months back Lori, Stress is the new Black, and Grace, Love Letters to China and I decided we would get our kids together today for a trip to the zoo. Fast forward a few months and oh deary me, my kids are away so instead of rescheduling the play date we made it a mama's play date. The 3 of us see each other very infrequently but when we do it is always super fun. I suggested that we meet up on Lincoln Rd and take it from there.

We had lunch at a fabulous little Tapas place and then trotted 15 steps into Brittos gallery as it was, excuse my French, hotter than balls, outside. There were many other places to go to cool off but we all love Brittos artwork so it was the perfect cool down spot.

Not 2 seconds after we walked in a very "flamboyant" and fabulous chap called Anthony came up to me and commented/drooled about my sandals, shirt and orange watch. He loved my outfit. We all introduced ourselves and he told us if we needed anything to let him know. Lori, Grace and I were having fun today so before long Anthony was back with us answering questions and just being kind. At one point Lori mentioned that she in fact had "that" exact piece in her home and with that magic doors were opened.

Anthony disappeared and came back seconds later and asked if we would care to see the private gallery upstairs. Off we trotted with Anthony up the stairs to what used to be Brittos studio until he moved recently to Wynwood. It is now his office and private studio. The place where he keeps his art and displays his personal artifacts. I love his art, I wish it wasn't quite as commercial as it has become but I love it for it's happy for it's cheerful, for it's fun and for many other reasons too. Seeing his new work with the glitter, the zigzaggy lines as opposed to his signature straight lines, his new black and white work blew my socks off. We hit Anthony with rapid fire questions and he answered every one. I mentioned Lily's love of Romero and how she has tried so hard to meet him and even entered art contests to try that way. He stopped and said, give me your contact information, we can arrange it, Romero loves kids. Oh my gosh, Lily will be thrilled, not in the oh wow a famous artist kind of way but in the oh wow I love your work and you are so talented, kind of way.

We were allowed to take photos...yes we were, in his offices, of his work. It was crazy, so we all snapped away but not too many. We had a fabulous time and then we went back downstairs with the ordinary peeps and some of us did some shopping, for dats, that's what we call dogs that are really cats!  I am waiting until I go back with Lily as apparently he will sign something for her so that will be when I do my shopping.

His personal gallery showing his photos. (even one with HRH Prince charles)
He never ever makes a fuss when he attends all these functions. New photos just appear and the staff say, You just met WHO?
Rosie is a pig in the Chinese zodiac.....I had to photograph this one
We all took photos of this. This is a new piece with glitter but you can't see the glitter, it is in the leaves.
And these...well they speak for themselves!

So much fun. Why don't I have a photo of the 3 of us? Too busy talking! We even arranged to get together again, with and without the girls. Talking of girls I get them all to myself tomorrow. I can't wait.

20 Jun 2013

down time

The girls are away this week so it is just me. It is very very strange and I am not used to it at all. Rosie woke up crying on Monday morning and the idea of being away from me for 6 days was more than she could bare but I made it sound so fabulous that even I believed it. My girlies check in frequently and Lily is bubbly for  the most part with an occasional grumble but Rosies little voice is very quiet on the phone. Silly little pickle, she really is a mama's girl.

I have filled my time with work and DIY projects around the house. I attempted one project that proved too big, involved electricity and required me calling for back up. No one was hurt and my house is still standing and not even charred. It is amazing to me how easy DIY really is and I swear I think I might need a career change. Darn I wish my sister lived here or I lived there because we would be an awesome team.

My friends are fabulous and I have seen alot of them too.

Anyhoo, I have a little hole in a wall that requires some plaster, long story so I need to get back to work.

Blog posts will be few and far between for a few more days but I'll be back at it once my kidlets are home I am sure. Photos of holes in the wall and wires sticking out of junction boxes are only interesting to a few people.


16 Jun 2013

The gold standard

When it comes to Fathers mine set the bar really high. I am so incredibly fortunate to have the Father that I have. There is just one little problem with him and that is he set the standard of Fatherhood so very very high that few will ever live up to it.

Growing up I knew who was the boss and we never fought, really we didn't. If he as much as looked at me with "the Look" I knew I was in trouble and that was all it took. He taught respect from day one. In recent years we have had a couple of arguments and both have left a deep impression.

If any of us, my entire family that is, needed anything, all they had to do was ask and he was there. If it needed to be mended, he could did it, solved, he'd do that too. Sometimes things were taken care of David Minney style and you knew about that for sure. He worked hard, very very hard he still does but he is retired yet don't ever expect to see him sitting down, he doesn't.

His family is paramount, every single one of us. He enjoys nothing more than having us all there with him and all of us is many. "We" are a blended family so "we" are a crowd. The man can party like a rock star and does. He has told me many times that he doesn't know he did wrong with me that made me such a light weight. When it comes to partying I am the black sheep of the family.

I learnt a lot from him and I strive to be like him. It isn't hard his genes are strong, all of us take a lot from his side of the family but it would have been nice if the stubborn streak had skipped a generation.

When Lily came home she wanted nothing to do with any men with the expection of her father and that was hit or miss for a while. When I took her to England to meet my family I warned everyone that she wouldn't go to men. She took one look at the grandpa and ran to him with open arms! (smart kid) She called him "my daddy too". From that moment on a bond was forged.

Happy Fathers Day Daddy. I love you.

This photo just makes me laugh. Only my Father wears a tie when on holiday. My sister and I look thrilled to be there and my brother is AWOL
And people ask me where I get my OCD from...maybe they should ask the man that hoovers his garden!

14 Jun 2013


When Lily first became a big sister she was five and a half and absolutely loved to wear clothes that matched her sisters. Now of course she wouldn't be caught dead wearing anything remotely close to what Ro wears. Mind you they have polar opposite tastes in clothes so that might have a little something to do with it.

Months back we were in Justice, I can't imagine why as I am not a fan and nor is Lily, when we spotted an outfit geared towards swimmers. Lily thought it was awful but Rosie loved it. She couldn't have the outfit only the top as the shorts were huge on her.

Last week Lily received that outfit for her birthday from one of her close friends on the swim team and oh guess what? It's the best outfit ever! Oh yes it is and she wears it as often as it is clean to swimming which is almost everyday as when we come it is wet and gets thrown straight in the machine. Rosie, who has been wearing her shirt on and off for months to swimming, has been told she can't wear it as the older girls are wearing theirs so she can't.
Ummm, sorry Rosie but I only just got wind of this one and the gig is up and you can wear it.

This was tonight. the 2 amigos...and the sister. 
The back of the shirts say, just add water.

Why didn't Lily like them? Because the lime green letters on the front are aparkly. Who knew Rosie would be a trend setter when it came to fashion, certainly not I.

10 Jun 2013

All big and graduated

When I met my, sister from another mister, Jakie, her kids were little. They were younger than mine and yet somehow her oldest graduated from High School last week. This makes my mouth hang open. Carolina is heading off to college, say what?

I wouldn't have missed her graduation for anything. I am extremely proud of her. She is the kind of kid that if the subject doesn't rank high, in her priorities, she will leave all the work until the 11th hour and then burn the midnight oil, pull an all nighter, race like a lunatic to get to school to turn the paper in by it's deadline, barely making it and magically get an A. It's just how she rolls. It makes her mother nuts, it makes her sister nuts and it makes me nuts but it works for her. She is a really good kid who just marches to her own beat. She is also extremely talented as a singer, dancer and performer and will excel in college and into her future on the stage. Hah, she takes drama to a whole new level.

Only teenagers look this good at 7.30 am. Caro and Lucy
Pomp and circumstance
the graduate and her mama and (not so little) little sis 
Yours truly with  Caro and Edder
Lunchipoo with with her daddy who flew in from Brazil, Grandma, (both were there) and the rest of the gang
Who both make the same face when asked to pose.
Congratulations Caro....show Emerson how Drama is meant to be done.

8 Jun 2013

birthday fun

Lily celebrated her birthday today with her friends Sidney and Paula. They arrived shortly after lunch and wasted no time getting their craft on.
Sidney Lily and Paula
Once the skies had cleared they got to do what they really came to do and that was head to the pool. I laughed out loud when 4 girls from the swim team got into the pool and started doing laps and drills. Crazy kids. At one point they cleared out the shallow end as they were racing and doing fly and it scared all the littles. After laughing my head off I suggested they do something else. They finally just started being kids and stopped being manic team swimmers.
Huey, Duey and Luey
Finally being silly 
I laughed when I realised Lily and Rosie had goggles on
Swim friends
funny girls
they had a plan
and this was it.

Rosie promised her sister she would stay out of her hair and she did. I was really proud of her cos she was bursting to play with them.
The pool made everyone starving so we came home and Lily's choice for dinner was Chinese food so while they all showered and got cleaned up I ordered take out and it arrived in perfect time. They ate and wasted no time getting back to business and this time the business was dyeing their hair with Cool Aid. ~ yes I got the parents permission before dyeing the lovely blonde hair of their girls bright red. Lily actually learnt about it from Sidney.

painting on the cool aid. Supposedly blue shows up better on dark hair... not true
drying the dye
While they waited for the dye to take they ate cake and attacked each other with party poppers
Lily went first

Red tips which will wash out over the next couple of days especially since they swim all the time. Lily's hair isn't showing any colour at all but I think when she is in sunlight it will. She is disappointed...me not so much but I wanted her to do this and see what it was like. 
Now...now it is 11.30 and they are watching T.V. and making friendship bracelets. There is no end in sight. I put Rosie to bed a short while ago.
I call them un-sleepovers for a reason. I don't expect them to sleep. They have at least a billion other crafts to do before the night is over.

Paula had tried the Cool Aid dye before too but it didn't work at all. I researched it online and found the best way to do is to add conditioner to the mix  and paint it on the hair and then wrap it in foil and dry it. I rinsed it out until the water ran clear.

7 Jun 2013


Each passing year, as she gets older, Lily's opinions regarding her adoption change and her thoughts become much deeper. It doesn't surprise me that around the time of her birthday we always end up talking about her birth mother because I know we are both thinking of her. I am just glad that she comes to me with those thoughts.

I think of her birth mother and wonder the circumstances surrounding Lily's birth, I wonder if ....well I wonder many many things. Like most of us in this community I hope that in some way, somehow, she knows that Lily has the life that she wanted for her but knew she could never offer. I would love for her to know how loved she is, how amazing she is, how funny, smart and courageous. She must get the courageous part from her because to offer your child to another Mother is the most courageous act there is.

I hope that when Lily thinks of her it isn't only pain and longing that touches her heart. Two days ago we were talking and Lily told me that she is thankful that she was adopted because she knows what her life would be like if she still lived in China. She also said something that stopped me dead in my tracks: Mummy, if I was 11 and still in the orphanage and I was told I was being adopted it would bother me to go to an inter-racial family. It would be so hard.

 Really? Why? She explained that everything she had ever known would be gone and at 11 it would be so hard to take on a new culture. She also said that she hated it when kids in her class teased her for being in a mixed family when she was in 1st and 2nd grade. I knew about the teasing, we addressed it. I think it is amazing to see things from her viewpoint. I now get to see, 3 years later, just how difficult it was to go through  the teasing even though it was never very intense and only involved a couple of kids. Certain kids always stuck up for her. But it hurt and she would hate to come into that at this age not even speaking the language. She said she would hate to stay in an orphanage and never have a family but to move to a different country would be horrible.

Her little mind never stops. I know it is at peace but the Mother in me needs to know she is fine. I want to do everything I can for her. Now with the DNA testing we can get one step closer to knowing her past. She is so excited about it but also very wary so we are choosing to wait. I will do what I have always done and that is follow her lead. When and if she is ready then we will move forward.

I will never know be able to fully comprehend what goes through her mind. I will never stop her from feeling. This is all part of who she is. I can only show her how to live the life that someone else gave her.

6 Jun 2013

Happy Birthday Lilipop

I have an eleven year old daughter. It seems rather silly to me that she is eleven since it was precisely 5 minutes ago that an official in China handed me a 14 month old baby. She insists that it is true.

Sadly I was called into work this morning but I lined everything up last night so that her day would start with a little fanfare.

Good Morning birthday Girl
We knew things would be a little rushed this morning so we all agreed that she would wait until she got home from school to open her gifts with exception of her big present, a new bike. She got that on Sunday as she had to be with me so that I knew what size to get. hah, it's the same size as mine. She really really wanted a bike with gears and so she chose a monster bike with 18 gears. No photos due to the weather...I'll get to that part.

She went off to school with her cake, the one that Publix messed up and wrote Happy Birthday Summer, on and a new bounce in her step, being 11 does that apparently!

It was finally time to pick her up and really let her day begin. She was so happy. School ended today for the year so she is done for the whole summer. Both girls are delirious. Me too. Rosie couldn't wait to get Lily home and give her her gifts.I am not sure who was more excited.

I'm sure it isn't normal to tenderly and gingerly remove each piece of tape but that is how she does it. She also very carefully opens all her cards. I was on the sidelines shouting rip 'em but she wouldn't.

Thank you Nanny and Grandpa. The sock monkeys are from Ro.
She received this book from a client of mine and is thrilled with it. It is a pop up book that has a stage and and characters.

Birthday or no birthday, swimming was waiting. I checked the weather report because for most of the day we had been under a tornado watch and 3 tornadoes had touched down about 90 miles away. The pool was closed but the website said all swimmers must report. WTF? We reported only to be told to go home. Again, WTF? Some of the kids had been dropped off. I helped the coach call some parents as he had dropped his phone in the pool, LOL and when we were done I took the remaining kids to my car and we had an impromptu gathering complete with birthday cookies right there in the rainy old car park. The kids thought it was the best thing ever. In the end I drove them all back to my house and had birthday play date. win win.
Why talk when you can text?
The littles wondering if it will ever stop raining
fun...well they think so
Cookies on the dash with the rain in the background

After everyone left and Rosie went to bed Lily stayed up with me to watch the Heat game. She is celebrating her birthday with friends from swimming on Saturday but it looks like it will be a movie day and not a pool party...stupid Tropical Storm Andrea. Seriously it is only the 6 th day of Hurricane season and we are already getting hammered. Lily has had her Gotcha day celebrations marred by hurricanes 3 times and one of those was in China! I think she needs to have a talk to the weather Gods because she may need to make amends.

4 Jun 2013

I should at least get to vote on this

This is a pretty big week in our house.

One kidlet is spending her last couple of days EVAH as a kindergartner and the other is is about to leave elementary school for good.

The house is starting to buzz as the girls realise that summer and the great expanse of nothing filled days lie ahead.

Lily also has the added excitement of turning eleven  (hah and you thought I couldn't bring myself to say it) on Thursday. She is having a sleepover on Saturday with some friends from swimming. Guess what they want to do? Yes, you are correct, they want to go to the pool. After that it's anyones guess, there has been chatter about dyeing their hair with cool aid, eating vast amounts of Chinese food, making bracelets, if I get a loom for my birthday, mummy, and a variety of other things. If the weather is crummy, which it could well be we are all going to the movies. She is so very excited.

All in all there are some massive milestones and somehow I didn't get to vote on any of them. How can I have an almost eleven year old? How can I have a child old enough to leave kindy for good? And what is up with Lily heading off to middle school? Tonight at swimming the mums of the 2 friends who will be sleeping over sat and talked and frankly we are all in shock. Sometimes I think it would be easier to be a dad, they seem to be oblivious.

Where the heck is my chocolate? I need a double helping right now.

2 Jun 2013

Not during Hurricane season

You would think that after living here for so long I would know better than to start a DIY project in the summer because it is our rainy season. I didn't give it a second thought when I decided it was time to revamp the DVD cupboard. Everything went swimmingly for one hour and then it rained and it hasn't stopped since.

I have had an unruly stack of DVD's and CD's in the middle of the living room for way too long. I have had a cupboard with no doors on it for way to long and so today was going to be the day come hell or high water. I had an unexpected work call this morning but after that it was, "game on".

I'm done. It did rain and I cursed like a sailor and dragged everything inside but no sooner had I done that it stopped again so I cursed like a sailor and dragged everything back out again.

I have a new love. Rustoleum, primer and paint in a satin finish, I just wish it didn't smell so bloody awful. I could never be a junky the smell of things just make me gag. I was outside in the wide open and it still got to me...stinky stuff that. But, it is so freakishly easy and dries so fast. I am not a patient person and I really hate waiting for paint to dry and when I stain furniture waiting about kills me so this is my new go to tool. Whatevertookmesolong.

It isn't 100% dry but it is all put back together and just waiting to be loaded up again.

I have never known anything have so many screws in the hinges, EVER
hmm, the hardware looks crooked so i just checked and it isn't. I must have been when I took the photo. Blame it on the bloody fumes.
Now I just have to load it up and find something different to put on top of it. Buddha won't show anymore cos he is black. maybe I can call him camo-buddha.

 Next job...paint the living room. Hmm, I wonder if I can do that it in a day. Oh hell yes!


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