Monday, January 28, 2008

My Boys

Here are some pictures we took yesterday. I just thought they were cute. Don't feel obligated to write the "your kids are so cute and big" comments! I know it already!!

Here's a great shot of Luke's gray tooth. So sad!!

This is Caleb saying, "Mother, that is not funny and I will not smile."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Government Assistance

I hate government programs and I hate being a part of them! Let me explain...Ben and I had the option of choosing to pay for health insurance for our boys through the school as we did with ourselves. Since our boys have been healthy and have not needed any specialized help we decided to save a little money and go the medicaid way with them. I hate it! I hate the way I feel about myself when I'm asking for services, I hate the way I am (sometimes) treated, I hate the limited options I have in regards to doctors and dentists.

Luke needed to see the dentist for a cleaning and also because he bonked his front teeth last month and one is turning gray. I had received paper work in the mail informing me of 3 local dentists that participate with our particular program. Long story short...2 of the dentists no longer accept medicaid and the other one I have vowed not to go into because I have only heard terrible, scary stories from everyone. Not one even decent recommendation from anyone.

We saw one of the other two dentists only because I neglected to tell the receptionist when I made the appointment that we were medicaid and she didn't ask, so when we showed up today she lovingly (and I say that with the sappiest of sarcasm) let Luke be seen. Of course I was not spared the "you should have told me you were medicaid when you made the appointment" speech.

Not only did I have to endure the waiting room embarrassment of screwing up, Luke also had a cavity which makes any mom who is the sole brusher of her childs teeth feel guilt. Fortunately, Luke was the perfect patient - even behaving so bravely while gagging on the x-ray films jammed in his mouth.

The last time, and the only other time, I have experienced government health care was during my pregnancy with Luke. Some of you have heard the stories...even the question from the pediatrician about whether "the father is in the picture." I am working to swallow my pride and be grateful for the assistance,'s hard! I never thought I would look forward to the day when I am excited to pay my own bills!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Luke's 4th Birthday!

Happy Birthday to Luke! Happy Birthday to Luke! Happy Birthday dear Luke! Happy Birthday to Luke!

Luke hasn't exactly reached his 4th birthday (Jan 26th), but since we were able to be with all our family we figured it was a good time to celebrate. Grandma Rollins so graciously made a jello cake and filled a pinata for all the cousins. Thank you! Thank you! The cousins all took turns smacking the boat beginning with the youngest and when it was finally Cole's turn (he's 11) it was fun to see everyone back up and take their stance in preparation to run for the best candy. They knew that Cole would end the life of the pinata boat. And he did!

The only reason I've included this picture is so that those who haven't seen me in awhile can take notice of my hair. That is my true hair color. The secret is out -- I'm a brunette! I haven't colored it in about a year! Shocking, I know!

Ben's 29th year!

Ben turned 29 years old this past Dec 28th and we went snowmobiling! Ben's dad joined with a group of doctors to be able to rent snowmobiles at a great price at pretty much any time. Everyone who wanted a ride got one. Some even saw a moose!

Luke especially loved it. Notice the metallic green snowsuit...we decided not to bring all of the boys snow gear (except for their coats) because it takes up so much suitcase space and we figured that between all the Rollins cousins we would be able to scrounge up enough clothing for the times we spent sledding, snowmobiling, and making snowmen. Thanks to DI Luke was able to sport this awesome snowsuit several times!

I think Caleb would have enjoyed it better without the helmet.
Later in the evening we had cake (always ice cream cake for Ben) and presents. I think his favorite was his dad's credit card...he went shopping the next day!

I don't know...Grandpa Rollins is looking pretty devilish in the background there! Ready to punish any little fingers that may be trying to sneak a taste before the ill-sounding birthday song is complete! Thank you mom and dad Rollins for helping put on many birthday celebrations!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Habitat for Humanity

Before Christmas the Johnson school organized a trip to New Orleans to rebuild homes ruined by Hurricane Katrina. We figured we would never probably have this opportunity again so we took it. Ben so lovingly volunteered to fly our boys to UT (by himself) to stay with their grandparents and then fly on again to meet me in NO. I could write pages about this trip that included both negative and positive highlights, so here are a few bullet points and pictures...

  • 4 hour wait on airplane in Syracuse, NY at the gate, arriving in New Orleans at 2am
  • 5 days away from our children
  • learned how to use an electric table saw and "cope" moldings for corners
  • cold showers in nasty moldy showers at Camp Hope, now coined Camp Hopeless in our house
  • held a baby alligator on the fan boat ride through the bayous
  • met the man paid to run over "wee man" from Jackass the movie with his fan boat
  • enjoyed jazz music in the French Quarter
  • ate beignet's at Cafe du Monde, and alligator cheesecake, um...somewhere else...I forget
  • enjoyed one luxurious night at a hotel in the French Quarter after enduring 4 nights at Camp Hopeless

This is the day we worked at Camp Hope. Camp Hope is a middle school in the St Bernard Parish they have been fixing up to house volunteers and then eventually use as a full time school. We all slept in classrooms upstairs since the downstairs still needed a lot of work, like sheet rock, walls, etc. The upstairs wasn't much better, except that it had sheet rock on the walls and the locker room like moldy showers. We joked that when we were showering and heard someone drop their soap in a neighboring stall we all silently said a little prayer that they would be able to pick it up without touching the curtain or wall. Put it this way...when I got to the school at 2 in the morning and saw where I would be sleeping, showering, and changing after being at an airport or on a plane all day I stood in the hallway and cried. I was better the next day.

On our day off we took a fan boat ride. It was cold that day and with the wind it made it super cold, but we were all glad we did it. Also, the guide wasn't sure we'd see any gators because most had gone under water to hibernate, but we did. It was super fun!

Here are a few more pictures of us actually working. We learned new skills and screwed up a lot of things. I'm amazed that any Habitat homes actually become habitable. The rainbow neighborhood is the now famous Musicians Village. Ben liked the colors, but I'm not so sure!

Lastly, I'll include a few pictures of some of the destruction and rebuilding. In some areas they are now building the homes 10 feet in the air - very strange looking.

This is weird...along some of the roads in the most devastated areas there are still sea shells in the dirt!

I have tons more pictures, it was hard to choose. If you want to hear the extended version of our experience, give me a call. Over all it was very fun and if I had to do it over again I would. However, I would pay whatever money required to sleep and shower somewhere a tad bit nicer! Spoiled, I know!