Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The Wedding

These pictures are from the wedding of my friend Chelsea. Tommy looked particularly handsome in his tux, and I was quite happy with how my hair turned out. Despite going on my dad's "biggest loser" program for a full week, I had trouble zipping the dress (even though I was measured for it). I probably shouldn't have gone to El Burrito Jr. the day before... oh well, these things happen.

Not entirely happy about being separated from Mum all day.


The hair...

The dress...

Mr. and Mrs. Cook!

Trying to keep up with a Marine who was very anxious to get back up the aisle...in heels and a mermaid dress!

The Father/Daughter Dance gets interrupted.

Sunday, 29 August 2010


Still catching up. I suppose the "happiest place on earth" needs no explanation:

First pair of ears!

Hanging out while waiting for Dumbo.

The Tarzan tree house. Tommy could spend hours turning this crank.

Not excited about posing for a picture.

Meeting Mickey

Meeting Mickey was a traumatic event. First he couldn't wait to see Mickey. Then, when he got up close, he was a bit scared. Then, when his turn was over, he had a meltdown because he hadn't gotten to hug Mickey.

Wait, are we at Disneyland or a UCLA game?

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Railroad Museum

I'm playing catch-up. Our last trip to California was so action packed that I didn't have time to share any of the pictures. First up, a trip to the railroad museum in Lomita.

The museum has some old trains that kids can climb up in and look at, as well as a number of railroad artifacts (less interesting to a toddler), and a couple little model trains that run if you put a nickel in a slot. It was a nice way to spend an hour or so, but not enough to merit a long stay. Tommy had the most fun running along the "tracks" and playing in the gravel, although he also really liked the big engine.

Just a cute picture with Aunt Emily

Friday, 27 August 2010

That's Funny!

Tommy has a new phrase that he persistently over-uses: "That's funny!" On a recent trip to the Arboretum, he ran past someone he didn't know and said hello, and then told me "that's funny!" Then, he ran past them again (after telling me he was going to say hello to them a second time) and when they beat him to it and said "hi" first, he ran away laughing and told me "That's funny!" Or, "Mum, Yellow Shirt." I agree that my shirt is indeed yellow. "That's funny!"(Repeat this type of thing all day long).

Whenever we pray Tommy prompts us to thank God for things he cares about. This typically includes his favorite foods, family, friends, activities, and occasionally books and/or their fictional characters. At bedtime one recent Tuesday night Tommy thanked God for "defense" and then stood up in bed to demonstrate. Tommy: "Defense. Daddy, DEFENSE!" Jeff: "Yes, thank you God for defense." At dinner the other night Tommy pulled out another new one. I thanked God for our food and the day and was about to finish when Tommy instructed me to thank God for "low-riders." That boy and his cars...

Most recently, one evening Tommy sat at the coffee table with his hotwheels and sang the ABC's like this: ABCDEF-CARS! HIJKLMNOP-CARS! QRSTUVWXYZ Now I know my CARS! CARS! CARS! next time won't you sing with me."

That's funny.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Quick Insurance Update

After three days of leaving messages I heard back from the hospital. Apparently, their side of the story is they did file the claims on time, and my med group incorrectly refused to pay. The have taken my med group to some kind of mediation and are hoping to get their money that way.

The good news: they have not billed us, and therefore, have not sent me to collections.

The bad news: they won't promise not to.

Of course, at the end of the conversation I tried to figure out what this dispute means to us, and I told the woman that I didn't care how much they fought with my insurance as long as I did not have to pay. She said we "shouldn't have to," but, when I asked if that meant we didn't have to worry about this, she couldn't guarantee anything. At least she took our new address so if they do try and bill us I will at least know right away. Cold comfort. Very cold comfort. But, it's off my plate, and my mind, for now.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

So Big!

It's been one year since Tommy's first Doctor appointment here in the US, and thus one year since I have had measurements for the little guy. I won't say accurate measurements, because the nurses have given me some bizarre numbers over the last year (one was over two inches off), and, if I recall Tommy was actually slightly shorter than what they wrote down for his first measurement.

So, one year ago Tommy was 30 inches (I swear it was only 29.5). Today he is 35 inches.

He used to weigh 22 pounds, and now he weighs 29 pounds. He has actually lost a little weight recently because he spends so much time running these days.

When he first came home he wore a 3-4 shoe, and now he is starting to outgrow his 7s and have to wear 8s.

Thus, in the course of a year he has grown 5.5 inches, 7 pounds, and 4 shoe sizes. According to the internet-the most reliable source of information ever- growth slows dramatically after a child turns one and will generally be at the rate of 2.5 inches a year, and most toddlers only gain 3 to 5 pounds in a year. Tommy has likely grown faster than that because of catch-up growth- this is something that often happens with kids who have been stunted by undernourishment after their bodies get the nutrients they need to grow (it will be impossible for him to regain all of the height he would have had had he always had enough food/no parasites, but his body will do the best it can).

Tommy is now in the 47th percentile for weight and the 31st for height. When we first came home Tommy was in the 15th percentile for weight and the 10th for height. He is still very small, but he is less small than he used to be!

The one nice thing about Tommy being small is that he still fits most of his 24 month rompers- I am a HUGE fan of the romper because they are so easy to carry around and I don't have to worry about matching his outfits when he wears them. Sadly, I have yet to see a romper in 2 or 3T...and I know that Tommy will probably be moving into 2T soon. After all, he is a growing boy.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

A Bit Off

Yesterday I found a letter from Blue Cross in the mail. I almost didn't open it, because I figured it was yet another privacy statement, but, decided that in my new zeal for a clean desk I should get it shredded right away. I was shocked to find a claim denial inside. A claim denial for my ob appointment just prior to giving birth and for my care at the hospital. Almost three thousand dollars worth of care. Care that I was insured for. Care ordered by my primary doctor. Care I paid premiums for.

So, I was irritated. To be clear, this was not a bill, simply an explanation that Blue Cross was refusing to pay the hospital for my care. Blue Cross was saying that I didn't owe either- that neither of us should be paying.

So, I called my medical group claims processor, and she explained that they have indeed denied the claim because the hospital did not submit the necessary claims paperwork according to whatever laws and rules govern medical insurance, and therefore Blue Cross owes them nothing and has no obligation whatsoever to pay. She said I had no obligation to pay either, and that the hospital had to write the care off as their mistake.

Fine. I don't care who pays or doesn't pay just as long as it isn't our responsibility. But, there was a catch. This is how the conversation proceeded:

Me: Ok, so I shouldn't worry about any of this?

Rep: Well, have they sent you a bill?

Me: No, but we have moved since then.

Rep: I would call. Sometimes they just send these things to collections and that can be hard to sort out. If they say they are planning on charging you just have them conference call me and I will tell them they can't.

Me: Fine. What's the number?

(In my head: Are you kidding me? Collections? And you are just going to tell them they can't? AWESOME.)

I called right away and have not heard back from the hospital billing department. I am a bit frustrated about this, because, although I doubt they will bill us, or send us to collections, or whatever, it seems a bit absurd that I should be dealing with this a full TWO years after it happened. Two years. After all this time I shouldn't be getting mail about the dispute between my insurance company and the hospital.

Furthermore, getting the mail has put me in a bit of a funk. It was just such a negative reminder of that time, and it has really been hanging over me. I don't know if it is just the unresolved issue (and the possibility, no matter how remote, of having to fight a collections agency), or that I just don't feel like remembering that pain. We had to do more calling than I would like about some paperwork errors and claims issues within a few months of Leah's birth, so doing those same tasks really dredges up memories of how paralyzing and painful that time was. After I left the message with the hospital yesterday I felt completely drained. Today Tommy and I went out a few times, and each time when I got back the first thing I did was check the message machine (which I usually don't care about), because my stomach is in knots over this. Not because I don't think it will work out, but because I don't want to even think about it.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Highlights From Garage Sale Season

Part One: Amy

Part Two: Jeff

Part Three: Tommy

(The Harley wasn't for sale - the owner was just super awesome and let Tommy sit on it!)

Saturday, 14 August 2010

We're Back...

Well, our trip to California was certainly eventful. As expected, my friend got married (the wedding was beautiful), I got to see baby Zach (adorable and so so tiny), and I got my doctorate (still unreal). Sadly, I have almost no pictures to share because I generally rely on my Mom's camera while we are home and I use the Flip. I left the Flip in my parents kitchen, and I forgot to transfer pics from my mom's camera...so I have almost nothing.

The whole trip is a bit of a blur, because we were so darn busy. A bit too busy. I hardly saw anyone, we didn't get to the beach, and I barely had time to squeeze in a trip to In-n-out and then my burger was all wrong (with no time to ask them to fix it). It wasn't exactly a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad trip (shout out to Alexander), because of the aforementioned exciting events, but it was not relaxing. Poor Tommy, who is usually so easy-going, was a basket-case by the end of the week because he missed me. I felt awful. But, enough griping, we made it back safely and I am almost all unpacked.

I enjoy having a bit of "free" time now that every waking moment isn't being consumed by my dissertation (as was the case for the last month or so). Unfortunately, I find myself facing a large mountain of things I put off because I was so focused on the dissertation. I am currently excavating my desk, organizing some things, trying to sort out adoption paperwork, running long overdue errands, attempting to do the regular cooking, cleaning, gardening, and of course, chasing after a highly energetic two year old. I think I could handle it fairly easily if it weren't 95 degrees out.

If only it were a dry heat...

Friday, 13 August 2010

Defensive Stance

While we were home, Tommy played basketball with some "big kids" and he came home from this experience with some incorrect form, so Uncle Kevin intervened and attempted to teach him how to correctly defend.

He carefully explained to Tommy that he should squat, not too low, and have one hand up for blocking a pass and one hand low for snagging the ball.

Tommy took the term "defensive stance" a bit too seriously- check out how he carefully defends himself...

That hand is for snagging the basketball Tommy, not...

One more funny story, that I suspect was also Uncle Kevin inspired, although he claims not:

I was getting ready for something or other, and Tommy was in the room next to me playing. I heard him let out a very large, loud, and long toot. I listened carefully to hear if he excused himself. Instead I hear, in a low, soft whisper, "Awesome."

Friday, 6 August 2010

Is there (another) doctor in the house?

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


Note: this post was written late last week, so the timing is a bit off. For example, the dissertation will be filed THIS Friday, not next.

I know the blog has been rather quiet for the past week. Things have been more than a bit insane. I haven't had time to sleep, much less blog.

This last week I spent every waking minute proofing my dissertation- I went through all of my footnotes, did my bibliography, and have been scrambling to get everything set up for filing (i.e. turning it in). That date is set for next Friday. I am more than a little nervous about it. I still have a bit more to do. It needs another proofing for the text, captions on some of the images, and acknowledgments. Then I have to print it out on ridiculously expensive paper, do a bunch of paperwork, and run around campus for an afternoon. I'm tired just thinking about that. But then it will be DONE.

During my minuscule amount of down-time I packed for a trip to California. This is going to be a big one, but, a pretty crazy one. The purpose of this trip is a wedding that I am so thrilled to be participating in. I have known the bride since we were silly high school freshman, and it has been a pleasure to grow up and grow old with her. We have both improved since then (although I probably needed more improving than she did). She's the kind of woman who has never had a problem getting a boyfriend, but who wisely waited for one of high caliber before she tied the knot. I distinctly remember telling Jeff the first time I met the groom that I was sure he was the one. The fit was so right. He is a man who loves God, who loves her, and who clearly compliments her personality. Weddings are always nice, but they are especially sweet when you have complete confidence in the commitment being made by the bride and groom. And, I should add, that this wedding has been planned with an incredible attention to detail. My dress showed up in my room at home labeled with my name and the wedding "monogram." So cute. Hopefully it fits...

Did I mention that one of my oldest and dearest friends is ready-to-pop pregnant? I was hoping and hoping that she wouldn't give birth early last week and that I would have a chance to see her before the big event, and I did. She looks amazing, and even well rested (for now), and her little boy will be born within a week, which means I will get to meet him fresh from the oven! I am beyond thrilled.

So, in the course of twelve days I will see two dear friends make huge life transitions, I will be making a fairly big one myself, and I think we are going to Disneyland. The only thing that is a bit sad about this trip is that with all of that going on I won't have time to make the rounds and see everyone. So, if I don't call know that it isn't because I don't love you, it's because I'm getting my dress altered, or attending a bridesmaids luncheon, visiting a brand spanking new baby, or running around UCLA. I may even be spending a little quality time with Tommy...providing I can wrest him away from his Jjajja (unlikely). But don't worry, Kevin and Colleen are getting married in a month, which means that when I leave I will barely have time to unpack and readjusted to the humidity and 90 plus degree heat before it's time to get back on a plane again. And so, the whirlwind continues...