Thursday, May 29, 2008

Swim Swim Swim

Kimmi has just discovered a rash on her arm. She is a bit freaked out by it, since none of us are sure what caused it. The bumps are quite large and are red and look very irritated. Lola and I volunteered to see where the hotel on-call doctor's office is located and what the cost is. We found the office, checked the prices, and reported back to Kim. We also did some brainstorming as to what it might be. After asking questions at the concierge desk we found that it may be the beach towels and the room towels that are causing the problem. They are washed separately from the bedsheets in a very concentrated amount of bleach and detergent. Kimmi is allergic to any garments washed with bleach, so that was the cause of her dilemma. We did accompany her to the hotel doctor to see what advice he could offer. The advice was free and he did say that several people have the same reaction to the towels there but the problem should clear up if she avoids the towels. Luckily I had brought a beach towel along so that became Kim's bath towel for the week.

The pool(s) at this resort are salt water pools and Lola didn't like them at first but when she realized she could swim without goggles and her eyes didn't get red and irritated, she was all for it! The main pool here is like a canal - - it meanders around most of the property and there are even rooms that have swim-up entrances!! HOW COOL IS THAT???!! Next time - - we want one of those rooms!!

There are three swim-up bars and they offer non-alcoholic versions of pina coladas, margaritas and strawberry / peach daquiris as well as the usual fare of alcoholic beverages. There are several restaurants, many of which are specialty such as Mexican, Italian, Fondue, etc., and these require advance reservations. The other two restaurants are buffet-style with no reservations required and we found these to be the best for our schedule. On a few nights one of the offered desserts was coconut ice cream as well as mango and tangerine sorbets. OOOOOOOOOOOH, YUMMY!! Kimmi, Lola and I loaded up on these one night like the Three Little Pigs!!

We checked out the beach area, and it's beautiful, but there are big rocks under the water and it is necessary to wear swim shoes in order not to get cut up by coral/rocks/seaweed. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of smooth sand in the water. We did go out a couple times, but it was actually more effort than it was worth so we hung out at the pool more often than the beach.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pool vs. Pool

Lola has discovered the game of pool. The Grill restaurant at the resort has two pool tables and she had never played before. After a couple days' practice, she is becoming quite the little pool shark! Here are some photos of her newly found sport.

In addition, we have been fortunate to find a room next to the Grill with three computers for internet access. We sit and wait for our turn and we then have 30 minutes to do what we need to do online. YAAAAYY!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


The previous trips I have made to Mexico or anywhere in the Caribbean have always been during January or February so going in May/June was going to be a new experience. The plan was for Kimmi, Lola and I to have a 'girls week out' and it was going to be extra fun since Kimmi had never before traveled outside the USA. Our flight was scheduled to leave on May 27 at 8:45am so I got Lola out of bed at 4am, we drove to get Kimmi at 4:45 and hopped on the airport-bound Marta train at 5:15. We were flying Continental (part of a package)to Houston, then changing planes to continue on to Cancun. All was fine - - we got boarding passes and made our way over to the departure gate. I did get a tube of toothpaste confiscated by the airport security people because they told me it was considered liquid...HUH? I guess I need to read those rules a bit more thoroughly. Then an announcement was made that volunteers were needed to give up their seats on the plane to take a later flight due to overbooking. We decided we were not going to volunteer, but a few minutes later they called our names and offered us a direct flight to Cancun on Delta, which would put us in Mexico at an earlier time than our original flight. We decided that was a good deal, and the attendant for Continental radioed the baggage handlers on the plane while we were standing there and asked them to pull our luggage and transfer it to the Delta flight, assuring us all the while that our luggage would be on the Delta flight with us. In addition to getting us to Cancun faster, they gave us each travel vouchers for a future flight on Continental worth up to $300.00. Wirh vouchers and new tickets in hand, we made our way to the Internationsl Terminal for the Delta flight.

The flight - - all ok and rather fun at the end because the plane made a maneuver much like the roller coaster at Six Flags. Both Lola and I thought it was hilarious (since we were laughing so much I didn't think to look over at Kim to see if her reaction was fun or fear) and we wanted to tell the pilot we enjoyed our flight on 'Six Flags Airlines'.

We hopped off the plane and the first breath of air in Mexico was AMAZING!!! I remember the scent of the air like that when I lived in Florida - - it's a green, earthy, humid scent that immediately conjures up mental images of the jungle and rain forests. I so loved that smell when I used to travel out of Florida and then return back to the Tampa airport. Kimmi feels the same way since she was born in Florida and lived there for a number of years before moving on to various other parts of the United States. Lola's reaction - "YUCK, Mom! It stinks here!" I told her to always remember that smell - -that's the beauty of God's earth in the tropics...

The plan was to find our stuff in baggage claim, hop the shuttle bus and go to the resort to SWIM!!! However, the angel of lost luggage was with us all that day (funny, that sort of thing hasn't happened since December 2007 on our way home from Russia!) and after hanging out at the airport for two hours checking three incoming Delta flights from Atlanta and the Continental flight from Houston (just in case), we were forced to admit our luggage had been sent out on a whirlwind tour to places other than Mexico. We filed a lost luggage claim for each bag, then hopped the shuttle to our resort, the Sunset Princess in Playa del Carmen. We got checked in, found our room and decided to explore the property since the swimsuits were taking a world tour somewhere...

When we went back to the main lobby area to check out the shops and grab a bite to eat at the Grill, Lola asked if we could go up to the lobby to see if our luggage was there. We did, and it had just arrived by van from the airport (on what flight from where is still a mystery), so after much excited hopping around from Lola we decided to take a swim. Yes, I was excitedly hopping around too and couldn't wait to get in the pool!!

Monday, May 26, 2008


Lola's last day of school was Friday, May 23. She had an awards program that morning, so I took the day off work (by the way, my leave of absence begins as well!!) to attend her 'graduation'. It was a very enjoyable morning, and it was nice to see all her classmates live and in person. Lola's best friend Lavinia was there and told me her family had to work and couldn't make it to the program. I told her not to worry, as I would take lots of photos so they will think they were actually there!

Once the program was over, we went to Lola's classroom to check her out for the year and get her report card, and while we were waiting to get her things, one of her earrings came out and was lost... it is so hard to keep this child in earrings! And the sad thing is, she is very sensitive to metals other than gold and sterling (as I am), so it does get a little frustrating when she loses one. I'm so glad for stores like Kohl's and JC Penney who have fabulous sales on earrings and they are actually packaged in threes or fours for about $15.00.

Before we left the classroom after having checked her out, one of her classmates asked Lola to sign her yearbook. When Lola was done, the girl asked me to sign. I asked her if this was the first time she had ever asked a parent to sign and she said yes. I told her that was very cool and I was honored. On the way to the cafeteria Lola told me that girl was the girl that had been picking on her earlier in the school year (and strangely enough, this girl is now calling Lola to talk to her and wants to be friends. This will be interesting to follow as the summer progresses). We then had lunch. A bit later, Lavinia came to sit with us, and then a couple of Lavinia's friends from Brazil sat with us too.

Then we left and came home and jumped in our swimsuits and headed to the pool. After a couple hours there, we went home and on the way there saw some big bad thunderclouds coming over. We got into the garage just as the rain and lightning began. It was raining pretty heavily and we had planned a trip to the baseball game that evening to watch the Braves play (Lola loves baseball as much as I do - - when she was here in 2006 I took her to a game and she was hooked!!) After a couple hours, though, the rain cleared and we hopped on the train to go to Turner Field. The weather was fabulous for the rest of the evening. We stayed late after the game to see the fireworks. It was very fun!

Today we are packing to leave on a week's vacation to Cancun! My friend Kimmi is coming with us. Chris wanted to come, but had to work...but Chris will see that Scooter and Boo and the two fish (and Kimmi's fish) will be well taken care of while we are gone.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Gerbils & Monkeys

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lola came home a few days ago from school and said that one of her classmates called her a monkey, and yet another one said she looks like a gerbil.

She explained that she reciprocated by telling the monkey-calling classmate that she was not a monkey, and that HE was a monkey, and he took offense. Well, GEE, so did she! I guess the sensitive factor here is that the child who called her a monkey is African-American, and he was extremely offended by her lack of hesitation in calling him a monkey. The ironic thing here is that he thought nothing of calling her one. I guess no matter how you try to raise your children to consider everyone a potential friend, no matter what their differences are, it sometimes is not as successful as hoped. Lola is well aware that I respect all people for who they are, regardless of what color, religion, political affiliation (had to include that one in light of the recent presidential campaign shenanigans) or gender. All I can do is hope she will show that same respect to people she may encounter who are different from her.

The whole day-to-day issues that young children face is all beginning to come back to me - - it’s almost as if I’m re-living my days in elementary school and how some children can be so clueless about hurting others’ feelings. I’m certain I was a guilty party at times back then, but sometimes it was necessary to have a defense mechanism more than anything else - - but thankfully as I grew I have been able to see the error of my ways.

In thinking about this further, there is much more out there now for children to deal with in the schools. Society, in this respect, has done more regressing that progressing…I had always said I would be scared to death to raise a child in this world the way it is now, and here I am, a little scared, but yet quite hopeful. Strange how that happened!

Anyway, one of her other classmates has made the determination that Lola looks like a gerbil. I told her in my opinion, gerbils are VERY cute, so she can decide how she wants to take that comment. I, personally, would consider it a compliment and leave it at that. She’s still trying to decide…

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Horse Show

Last Saturday was Lola's first horse show. She had been a bit nervous of this upcoming event, though her riding instructor and I assured her she would do just fine. She was so funny - - a few days before the show she said she was scared, but in the same breath she wanted to know if she could invite some of our friends to the show to watch her ride! So we invited Chris (my guy), Kimmi (my best bud here in Atlanta) and Lavinia (Lola's best friend).

The morning of the show we were there at the designated time of 9am to register, but as it turned out the registration did not actually begin until closer to 10am. Lola had three events to ride: walk/trot equitation, the obstacle course and pole-bending. She rode her favorite horse Apache for the first event and received a first place ribbon; for the second event we both had quite a nasty surprise to find out she was riding Cassie, a horse she had never been on in her life. So Cassie and Lola went for the obstacle course and after a lazy round of that and a half-hearted trot at the end from Cassie, Lola won a red ribbon for second place. For the third event they were again going to put Lola on Cassie (for pole-bending???EEEEK, the poor horse may have finished that event sometime next week!) but at the last moment they decided that Lola should get back on Apache. Honestly, maybe I'm crazy, but it looked to me that both Lola and Apache were happy as clams to be back together for Lola's last event! That horse literally flew around the poles and the trot was fabulous - - fast enough that Lola won first place in that event! So with two blue ribbons and a red, she was declared Reserve Champion for her age group that day!! She was ecstatic, and is determined to improve her riding even more!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Test Results

Lola's teacher called me yesterday to advise Lola didn't meet the cutoff score to pass the CRCT Math test. I received the paper with her score on it today. She missed passing by only 31 points! So, the good news is - - yes, she has a lot to catch up on, but it can be done. I am armed with scads of books geared toward the criteria for CRCT Grade 5 Math and I am confident she will build those skills enough to do a fairly good job on the re-take of the CRCT on June 26th. She is quite sure she would rather have me help her with the skills than the other option of going to summer school, and I feel the same. She's excited about the books we have (strangely enough)and if I keep a positive angle on this, she will follow my lead. If she has a thorough knowledge of the multiplication tables, we can use it to do any of the other math concepts in the fifth-grade curriculum. I'M READY!!!

This is completely changing the subject, but while on my way to work this morning I was contemplating a question:

If a pre-owned car of a specific make is sitting on the lot of a dealership (same make) for sale, does the responsibility lie with the dealership to research and correct/repair/replace any items on that car that may be subject to a manufacturer's recall (prior to the time the car was placed on the lot) before they sell the car off the lot? Hmmmmmm....

Of course, my reason for asking is because my dear little red convertible has been having some 'health' issues over the last two years and I'm tired of spending a few hundred dollars here and there for things that seem not to be conducive to normal wear and tear. To me an auto that has LED sensors has a built-in pain in the wallet. The reason for my opinion is that each time I have the silly thing diagnosed it turns out to be another item that needs fixed. I'm sooooo tired of this. I'll definitely be researching this more, and perhaps so with the manufacturer, at least to obtain a list of recalls for my specific model and year of auto. Should be interesting...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hooray for the Pool !!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hooray! The outdoor swimming pool is now open at the gym!!! Lola and I were so excited - - we went on both Saturday and Sunday. Lola had a little accident at the pool and cut her ankle on Sunday - - the wind was very strong that day and a metal sign that was propped up next to the outdoor Jacuzzi blew over at the very moment Lola walked by it - - and the sharp corner of it landed on her outer left ankle. The cut itself is about two inches long and about ½ inch wide, but not too deep, thankfully. One of the lifeguards got her sanitized and patched up and she was good to go for the rest of the day. I made her elevate her leg that evening because the cut was still bleeding a little. Yesterday she seemed to be sore, but walking, but this morning she said her ankle hurt and she was really sore. I’m guessing there will also be some bruising that will appear a little later, but right now the cut itself is looking pretty good. I will be monitoring to make sure she keeps off that leg this evening (I told her she can watch DVD’s all night tonight once her homework is done and after the social worker talks to her for the adoption 6-month follow-up, which is at 7pm tonight.

She is gladly counting down the last days of school - - there are only eight more after today - - but she seems happy to be looking forward to middle school in the fall. I still have not heard any results regarding the CRCT Math test yet….she knows we both have some mathematics challenges ahead of us this summer.

Lola is also supposed to get a free Six Flags over Georgia pass for doing a reading project at school back in March, and she is so excited - - apparently these tickets were supposed to be distributed yesterday, but I didn’t see one in the communications envelope I get from her teachers every week. I’m checking on this to see if perhaps it was delayed.

Yesterday Lola came home from school and showed me a certificate called the Dolphin Achievement Award she earned for her improvement in academics. Pretty impressive. It made her feel quite proud of herself, too!

My cold / flu / whatever is slowly getting better. I’m still quite congested, but at least I can sleep through the night now. I won’t be running any marathons yet (ha ha ha) but I did go down the waterslides at the pool on Sunday without coughing myself silly from the strain on my lungs! I’m so happy because I love the waterslides. I think I’m the only female adult who goes on the waterslide with her child! Hey, I’m just a 12-year-old stuck in a 40-something-year-old body!!

I got the cutest Mother’s Day card from Lola!! Kimmi actually went to the store and picked it out but had Lola sign her name and present it to me on Sunday evening. It is now sitting in full display on our fireplace mantel!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Whoa, There!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Just when I feel like I am impervious to any small thing that might keep me from going full speed ahead, I’m thrown for a loop and derailed…I think it’s just God’s way of saying - - hold on there, girl - - where are you going in such a hurry???

The flu.
Oh, yeah….I didn’t see it coming. I guess I’m living proof that the flu shot doesn’t cover all the little viruses running around out there. And the last time I had the flu was in February 2001 and I got the double whammy back then - - fever and achy muscle flu for one week, and the I’m-not-sure-what-end-to-put-on-the-toilet-first flu the next week.

This year’s flu bug was quite strange, with no advance warning. It started with immediate lung congestion, then a runny nose, then a sore throat, then the achy muscles and chills & fever of about 101, then an upset stomach and living in the bathroom for 10 hours, then a migraine headache. Oooooh, when all was said and done the whole process took about six days. I woke up this morning and felt like one of the human race again. I was so thankful, because I hated to stay home from work for two days.

Lola fared much better. She had the congestion first, but later only got a runny nose and the upset tummy for one day. She was out of school for one day. I’m convinced that her immune system is ultra-strong from having lived among many other children for so long.

I bounced out of bed this morning with a smile on my face (my mom calls me Pollyanna. I told her Lola is Pollyanna, Jr.) and glad to be feeling normal again! Lola is counting the days until school is out. As of today I believe she has only 13 more days. We still have not received the results of the CRCT exam….she told me yesterday she wants me to be her teacher for the summer rather than her attending summer school. I told her if I did tutor her I was not going to let her off easy - - she would still need to know and understand what is required of her to pass the CRCT. Yes, she has to take the silly thing at the end of June if we learn she has not passed the one most recently taken. Unfortunately, this test day may be on her birthday - -June 27. She said, “Oh, Mama, I no want Happy Birthday Lola today you have test!!” Neither do I. As Lola would say, “YUK!!!!”

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Meeting Lola's Teachers

I met with three of Lola’s teachers and a rep from the Scholastic Committee on Tuesday of this week. I was happy to finally meet everyone in person. The teachers had nothing but good things to say about Lola- - she participates in class, is very cheerful and willing to do her part, and is gaining more self-esteem in English. They pretty much told me that it was a requirement by the state of Georgia to meet with me to discuss the game plan for her future, as is done with all parents of new ESL students. We all pretty much agreed the requirement to administer CRCT’s to ESL students is pretty radical, but we all are aware the teachers’ hands are tied due to compliance. I asked them for what state office I should run to help them and the foreign-born students to get this law changed. The decision as to whether or not she will attend summer school is still up in the air. I guess as soon as the CRCT results are out we’ll hear that news. Either way, I can tutor her myself, or she can attend summer school…….All in all, I had a wonderful time speaking to these ladies and since the law in this state cannot be changed we have to do what needs to be done to help Lola.