So Julie is just beginning to learn to swim sans "swimmies". I was sitting poolside, reading a book while watching the kids. Only Julie, James and Rosie remained at the pool, the others had gone in already. All of a sudden I realized Julie had swum into the deep end and she was struggling to keep her head above water. She was less than a foot from the wall but couldn't seem to reach it. I jumped up and ran around the pool to help her. But before I got there, James had dived in and crossed the pool in about a second. He got her head above water and pulled her to the swim-out bench where she could sit and catch her breath. She was scared but we both sat by her and eased her fears for a bit, and then gently encouraged her to get back in at the shallow end for a few minutes before getting out. Now we're all in for the night. Julie is showered and dry and all cozy in her pajamas. Big brother has gone off to play video games and has likely forgotten all about his moment of heroism. I don't think Julie or myself will be forgetting anytime soon ....
Got a call the other night from a rep promoting some package deals at a hotel chain. Always looking for a good deal, I decided to listen to her pitch. So she got all my information and told me they were offering special promotions in Orlando. That's great, I told her, b/c we were thinking we might try to get down to Disney next year. The gist of our conversation follows:
Rep: Disney? So do you have kids? Me: Yes, we do.
Rep: How many? Me: 6.
Rep: 6. Oh................ Rep: 6? Me: Yes, 6.
Rep: Would you be taking all of them? Me: Uhhhh ....well, yes.
Rep: All 6? Me: Yes, all 6.
Rep: I'm afraid we don't have any rooms that can accomodate that many people. Me: Yes, I know, we generally get 2 adjoining rooms when we stay at a hotel.
Rep: Well we do have a beautiful 2 room suite with a kitchenette that sleeps 10 Me: That sounds wonderful, can you tell me more about that?
Rep: Well we can only put 5 people in there. Me: I thought you said it sleeps 10.
Rep: Well yes, but because of fire codes we can only allow 5. Me: ...............
Rep: You're sure you would be taking ALL the kids? Me: Which ones would you suggest I leave behind?
Rep: Tense, polite laughter. Rep: We also have some lovely rooms available in Las Vegas. Maybe just you and your husband would be interested in hearing about that? Me: Well, it sounds like a nice idea but I don't think we'd be able to take advantage of an offer like that.
Rep: Why not? Me: 6 kids (think Abbott and Costello, First Base)
Rep: ........Uh......well I'm sorry we won't be able to help you at this time, but if you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to call us at 1-800-large-families-confuse-us.
Julie had her "friend's" birthday party last night. I took Jewels and 4 of her brothers and sisters to one of those Habitrail-for-kids kinda places. 3 of the 4 friends she invited from school were able to come, and she was a pig in mud tearing around with everyone. Daniel dressed like a Ninja (of course he did) and there was much sneaking and chasing and running amok. They had a break for pizza and birthday cake and sugar-water (OK, it was fruit punch and lemonade, same thing) and then got right back into the frey. By the time the party was over they were all soaked with sweat, out of breath, and their eyes were zig-zagging about like they were watching a ping-pong match. Then I got to load six of these crazed little people into my car and take them home where they continued to run around like escaped mental patients. But it was worth it. Julie had a birthday party. Probably the first one ever. She had a cake with pink roses on it and "Happy Birthday Julie" sprawled across it and a passle of munchkins shouting Happy Birthday to You Cha-Cha-Cha. She got to open presents which included jewelry, Barbies, Hula-Hoops, and kickballs.
Julie just now stumbled over to me for a hug, having just crawled out of bed. Her hair is a mess and her face is all sleepy and her arms and face are covered in pink heart ink-stamps. Looks like she and I will both need some time to recover from last night .....
In this culture of cyber facelessness, we have grown to feel comfortable in sharing life details that past generations had kept private. Seems the most insignificant nonsense is now glorified and freely shared with the world.
Just this morning I offered a man a cup of coffee. He looked up at me with a pleased-as-punch expression and said, "I don't drink coffee", clearly expecting a response from me in which I pulled up a chair and asked him to tell me more. It seemed he found himself to be quite the interesting character being so far out of mainstream and all.
I have had a Complete Stranger tell me that while her husband's sperm count was low, his motility was off the charts. A pregnant woman in a check-out line once divulged to me that she had discharged her mucous plug that morning and that her cervix was beginning to dilate. I don't know why people feel the need to drop these pearls of privacy. I know that My Face or Spacebook (do I have that right?) encourages its members to share 25 things about themselves with the world at large. My question is Why? I like to think of myself as a compassionate person, but my God in Heaven, who cares?
And before you say it, I know I sound like a hypocrite, b/c here I am writing a blog about the mindless goings-on of my family. Although I mostly tend to write about life-stuff that amuses me or what we're up to so I can keep friends and family in the loop, I'll be the first to admit I've bought into this sense of "triviality grandiosity". But I'll tell you what, why don't we all just try to simplify our conversations a bit and answer yes or no where applicable. If I want to know if you'd like ice in your drink, I don't need to know about the sensitivity of your teeth, a simple no will suffice. If I offer you some trail mix, I can honestly go my whole life without knowing the effect of seeds and nuts on the irritable tissues of your bowels. And for God's sake, if I politely inquire about your pregnancy, please do not feel the need to share with me the details of your vagina. There's something to be said for good old-fashioned personal boundaries.
Question: How are birthdays celebrated at Julie's orphanage?
Yesterday was Miss Julie's birthday; she turned 11 years old. She was basking in delight from break of dawn through nightfall, just glowing and grinning and full of herself all the livelong day.
Truth be told, it wasn't much of a birthday, but she didn't seem to notice. She got soaking dripping wet at Rosie's soccer game, but then got to warm up at Mickey D's with a chicken nugget happy meal that had a Kidz Bop CD as the prize. She had to sit in the car for nearly 2 hours in order to take Rosie's friend to our pre-arranged drop-off spot and then back to our house, but she enjoyed giggling with the girls in the backseat and watching a movie on the DVD player. She got to eat the dinner of her choice, which was spaghetti. Even though Mom hadn't pulled it together to make it a complete meal with salad and Italian bread, she didn't seem to mind. She got to open presents from her family, and she loved every last blessed thing her brothers and sisters had bought with their own money: A jumbo pencil Happy Birthday sunglasses Goo A rubber ball A pretty blue baseball cap A self-inflating whoopie cushion (will advances in technology never cease?) A jewelry kit Some hair barrettes.
Her Dad and I got her a Nintendo DS and a couple games to go with it and she was just tickled pink. She kept running back and forth to both of us to give us one bear hug after another. She played with it most of the night until we finally cracked the whip about lights out.
After presents we had cake and ice cream, and she looked so full of herself sitting in front of her white frosted cake with little pink hearts and her name spelled out in candles. A bit over-excited, she didn't understand to wait till the birthday song was over before blowing out the candles, and I don't know if she made a wish. I'm kinda guessing her wishes have come true. I know mine have.
While everyone was eating their chocolate cake, I asked Julie to tell us what she usually did for her birthdays in Kazakhstan. She said they have crackers and candy and drink. And if I understood her correctly, they have one of those Barbie heads where you fix the hair and do the make-up, and that is brought out for the girls to play with on special events like birthdays. The sense I got was, even though today was far from perfect, this was the best birthday of this sweet young girl's life.
James and Julie got to meet their Paw-Paw and Granny Caggy from KY, who came up on Weds night and left this morning. They were very excited to meet two more family members and warmed up to them immediately. I have to say that's one area of "firsts" that delights me most for these kids-- meeting new family memebers. In the last week they've met two grandparents, two aunts, an uncle and a cousin. And there's more to come in the next few months. From going most of their lives with no family, to joining a family with parents and siblings, to meeting all the extended family members, it's all new to them and they seem to be basking in the love!
Like Mr. Rogers used to say (paraphrased), Won't - you be - my Followers?
A Little History
Quite frankly, I don't know what I was thinking at the time. We went from 3 kids by birth to "oh, let's adopt a 4th" without a whole lot of deliberation.
While adopting said 4th (in Kazakhstan), we met a young man of 8 yrs by the name of Borya. Thought he was a pretty nice kid and years later found out we could adopt him too. Only thing was, he came as a 2-in-1 package with his younger sister Ylia. What the hay, said we, and rushed headlong into the adoption process. Again. To adopt two kids that were 10 and 13 at the time.
Started a blog to keep track of where my head was in this adoption game. When Borya and Ylia arrived home, we were suddenly the proud parents of six kids, ages 9, 10, 11, 11, 13 and 13.
That was back in 2009, but I still blog. I figure what doesn't make us laugh makes us cry, and I'd rather be laughing.
Also? We live on a farm(ish) with a few dozen critters. You're just as likely to read a post about the farming side of things as you are the parenting side. Thought you might want to know in case you have allergies or something.
As for the structure of this blog, I pretty much post on a daily basis, and I tend to be all over the place in what I write about, so if it's nice, neat and compartmentalized you're looking for, be off with you now, you won't find it here.
I do have some structure, though, I'm not a total bohemian. I roll like this:
Mon: Mirth Monday. A little somethin' to make you chuckle.
Tues: Sometimes Adoption Tuesday, sometimes A Tip For Tuesday, sometimes random thoughts.
Weds: Wordless Wednesday. Usually a photo or some artwork from myself or one of my oh-so-talented children.
Thurs: all random, all the time.
Fri: Farm Friday. Speaks for itself.
Sat, Sun: More random musings.
Feel free to explore and don't be shy -- drop me a line to say hello, and be sure to add yourself as a follower. Feeds my ego in a big way. I'm very insecure.
Cast of Characters
Meet the fambly:
Our Family in 2009
I'm on Top Mommy Blogs!
An award? For ME?
The Lazy Mom Award for Most Popular Lazy Mom Tip of 2011 is.....