Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

M & M Disease

I have a diagnosed condition called M&M Equality Disease. I can't just eat and enjoy my M&Ms. I have to sort and match them by color. Then I eat them in sets of twos and I must chew them with one on the left side and one on the right side of my mouth. A bit quirky I realize but I didn't know it was passed down via my genes the same way I passed along my rotten, eye-glass-needing eyeballs.

Ashlyn just got a little pile of M&Ms as her daily reward for wearing her eye patch. She matched up the oranges then held up the red one and said, "This guy doesn't have a match M&M."

And about the patching, she's actually doing very well. We started last week. She hates it of course and doesn't want to wear it but after three days she has given up fighting and is willing to wear the patch, even at school she leaves it on and I can trust it to still be on when I return to pick her up.

Friday, February 13, 2015

White Kids Everywhere!

Dec 31, 2014

First thing I noticed in the Istanbul, Turkey airport was all the white kids! I forget we stick out after just a few short weeks abroad. It's just who we are, so the absence of those who look like us doesn't register until I am transplanted back to a place where the hair color extends beyond black and the skin tones lighten.

Second was tha I felt like I was in a high end shopping mall, not an airport. There were shops and ambience. 

More Observations

Immigrantion/security check at Geneva had signs telling the wifi password for your phone in the waiting area. All other countries I can recall say absolutely NO PHONES.

Before we left for Switzerland the temp in the car read 15 deg C and I felt it was a bit cool.  When we landed and drove home I saw it was 11 C and thought how warm it was. My Utah blood most certainly came out while we were away and it only took two days before I noticed I could go out for a little bit without a coat on anymore at 0 C.

January 9, 2015

She Fought the Law and the Law Won. I Think.

Ashlyn had turned to crying to get what she wants. Loudly. Often. Always. I vaguely recall each of the kids had this phase. I just don't recall it being this aggravating or lasting this long. She cries when she wakes up. She cries when she gets dressed. She cries when she eats breakfast, gets dressed, brushes teeth, puts on shoes. And that's just in the first hour of the day. It goes on all day long but it can stop in an instant if someone catches her attention with something alluring. In short, it's fake and it's a test. How long does she have to scream and how loud does she have to be to get each and everything she wants.

Today after I picked her up from school she was happy and chatty and fun. Then we got home and I made lunch. She wanted it until she didn't want it. And she demanded a different sandwich and refused to eat the single slice of apple I put on her plate. And I refused to change my mind about being a short order cook for a spoiled princess. 

The options remained unchanged: eat the lunch on the table or we skip the lunch and head up for the regularly scheduled nap time. She laid down on the floor because that always helps emphasize the point that she is unhappy about the choices before her. After a long, loud time she finally consented that she wanted to just go upstairs to nap but she demanded that I carry her. Not with that attitude I won't. She'll kick me as soon as I pick her up and say rude things as I carry her. Nope.

So there she stayed. And now she is fast asleep on the marble floor by the kitchen door. No the dilemma: do I carry her up or leave her be? Don't want to wake the beast. She definitely fought the law today but did the law actually win?

Maddie Chat

Thanks for coming on a walk with me Maddie.
You're welcome. 
I don't get to spend alone time with you very often so it's special for me to do something fun with you. 
You're fun mom. 
What do you mean?
No, you're fun because you play games with us and help us do stuff. 
Thanks Madison. I thought I was boring to you guys.
Well, sometimes you're boring. 
When am I boring?
Well, like those clothes are really boring. (I was wearing plain blue jeans and a plain white polo shirt.)
But at least sometimes you coordinate so that's good.
What do I coordinate?
Like I coordinate play dates?
Well yeah but I mean sometimes you coordinate your clothes. And I like when you wear a necklace and ear rings too. 

All About Quickly

Around here my kids think they are fast. They proclaim they move at the speed of lightening. They don't understand why the most common phrases out of my mouth all have approximately the same meaning from dawn to dusk. They come in many forms. "Come on. Hurry up. You have to the count of three. Focus. Didn't I already ask you to do that? How many times did I ask you to do that? How long do you think it should take you to do this job? Let's go. Move it. Where are you? Now you are late. Because you ____ we don't have time to ____ now."

They all mean the same thing though: "Move faster."

Yesterday I had a bit of a revelation about where their heads might be coming from. Jacob was super proud to show me this cool lego creation and explain all about it in impressive detail. One particular feature however sticks out in my mommy brain far more than the others.

See the two spears stuck tightly into the back way behind the soldiers? Jacob felt that to give the soldiers best access to their weapons to use to defend their lives that they should be stored in this handy location.

"So when they are driving along and they get surprise attached then the two guys just quickly pull over their car, climb down to the ground and run around the back and grab the spears."

Did you see if? Did you catch the quickly? He believes they will be able to be fast and effective in battle still. I'm pretty sure they will be dead by the time they get to the spears. It's all in perspective and now I have just a little better picture of what my six year old thinks counts as "quickly". Now we go about the work of finding a middle ground defining "quickly" at our house. 

Can't Sleep In

Our house is the biggest in the compound but it isn't really big. All four bedrooms open to one landing. The landing has a bit of a balcony overlooking downstairs and the entire house is marble floors and cement walls. That all translates to a very LOUD space - if someone wakes up you can hear them.

This morning was like many weekend mornings. Ashlyn is in her bed and starts yelling. This happens anywhere between 5:30 am and 6:30 am.  She isn't really trying to be a pest, that's just what happens when you are two years old and you're done sleeping. She yells as loud as she can from her room, "Is it time to get up?" When no one answers - because we are all asleep - she yells again. And again and again. She yells until someone answers. If you say "no" then she yells and hollars her disapproval until you change your mind about your answer. If you concur that it is in deed time to wake up then she happily gets up and talks as loud as humanly possible to everyone upstairs, planning who will do what for breakfast - who gets out the bowls and the spoons, the cereal and the milk.

Today was the best one yet. The typical wake up yelling insued and once Madison took pity on her to answer her high decibel babbling Ashlyn got excited and pronounced it was time to wake up dad. I guarantee he was no longer sleeping by this point but she came into our room at a full volume jabber with Maddie Mae. Then she flipped a switch in her little head realizing it was time to be quiet when you are waking someone up. She whispered as quietly as she could, "Dad, the sun is awake. It's cereal time." It was a curtious try at least to gently wake him but the deed had already been done.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

How to File Medical Insurance Claims from Over Seas

Brian was working on finances and medical insurance claims came up because of some of the obscure deposits I hadn't accounted for yet. "How does this match to that?" was the general question...so I told him how I file our medical claims these last four years.
  1. First you review all your medical receipts and add your own hand written notes about what things were for and why you saw a doctor and try your best to make their illegible chicken scratches on the junkie receipt understandable. Sometimes you have to write the ENTIRE receipt in besides the final cost and the name of the clinic because that's all they bothered to put on the paper. Oh yeah, and make sure it's all in English please.
  2. Then you scan everything into the computer.
  3. Email the receipt, a claim form and a bank deposit slip to your claim address and be grateful you no longer have to make photocopies of everything to use snail mail.
  4. Congrats! You just filed the claim. But....it's still in a foreign currency.
  5. Now the company will input your claim into their magic computers. They line item everything.
  6. They convert to USD and DON"T show what it used to be in foreign currency - you must do that yourself for every single item.
  7. Then they pay some parts of the claim straight away and deny others and ask for still more information on on others.
  8. Next they process three different claims for three different people in the family. They choose to pay some of those line items for each individual - but not all.
  9. The company then issues an explanation of benefits and mail it to us.
  10. Three to six weeks later we receive the paper form in the mail telling me what was paid and what I need to respond with more information - within 30 days of course. So I'm already late.
  11. While you were waiting for the explanation of benefits to see which things you must fight they issue a check for three random, unrelated medical expenses within those claims. You know, like child #1 cavity filling but not the doctor consultation, #3 child doctor consultation but not burning off the wart and #4 child pediatric MMR immunization but not chicken pox because it goes by a different name in your country of residence so they missed that they should have covered it in full.
  12. The check is magically sent to your US bank and deposited. Thank the Lord again they don't send you paper checks overseas to wait 2-6 weeks to arrive and 2-4 weeks to go back to the USA for deposit.
  13. Now you see on your bank statement a wild number of smallish deposits. You realize that not a single one of those checks has any information about what was paid for with those funds. Now the REAL fun begins.
  14. Take each line itemed expense and try to match it to your original receipts in a foreign currency. It pays to be good at currency conversion in your head.
  15. Realize you'll never figure it out anyway.
  16. Go eat a cookie or two before your driver comes to pick you up to go pick up the kids from school.
And that folks is why I just gave up trying to get it figured perfectly. It's impossible. As long as they approved the expense, I just say a prayer the money ends up in my bank account. Rotten way to do it but it's where I'm at these days with insurance. And for the record, my sweet husband did not tell me I needed to change and do better. I think he is happy to hear I try at all.
Mostly I just thank the Lord we still have insurance!