Monday, February 28, 2011

Wait. What?

Glancing through the middle school's "week at a glance" download, I saw all the usual reminders for fundraisers due, pretzel sale days in the lunchroom, and upcoming field trips.

But one item in particular caught my eye:

Tuesday March 1st
Self-Injury Awareness Day

What the...?

I honestly don't know what this means. The first image that comes to mind is an exam at the dermatoligist's office. You've perhaps heard the horror stories from a parent or maybe a red-headed friend prone to melanoma? One of those zero-dignity full-body scans where every inch of the naked body is mapped out and photographed by a younger and in much better shape health professonal; each pimple, mole and blemish catalogued for posterity?

Does our school offer a similar procedure for the students where their bodies are scanned for scrapes, bumps and bruises?

If so, why?

Or is it to make students aware that they could be injured?

If so, I ask again, why?

In my mind, a little injury is a good thing. I take dirty, scraped up knees as a sign that a kid is doing what he's supposed to do.

Show me soft hands and pale sun-protected skin and I'll show you a couch potato (my oldest. Perfect example).

Show me a kid with sunburned shoulders, a freckle explosion, a little road rash across his arms and shins, and a few Band-Aids on his knees, and I'll show you a kid who is outside climbing trees and wiping out his bike on the gravelly edge of the road.

That's what they're supposed to be doing, people.

One Mommy phrase that always made me cringe in the parks and backyards was "Be careful, honey...." (always with a kind of mid-western whiny undertone) while their kid was in the middle of climbing or riding something. What do they expect that phrase to do for their kid? I'll tell you what it'll do -- make them second-guess their every movement and become fearful that they might get hurt. And then they never learn to enjoy the freedom of exploring what their bodies can do. They have the cautious movements of a child in the shadow of an overprotective helicopter parent.

These are the kids who don't:
climb a tree
climb too high on the monkey bars
ride a bike anywhere but the driveway, and only then in a full suit of armor
play in the backyard without a complete spray down of sunblock
get within five feet of a frog, insect, or worm
touch anything at the petting zoo
bait their own hooks.

Our neighborhoods are becoming ghost-towns, people! Kids don't go outside to play anymore, or even to do good old-fashioned chores like weeding or raking. In fact, I think I'll see if I can schedule an assembly at school, or better yet talk to my congressman to see about passing legislation to get kids outside more to get dirty and cut up their knees and .....

.... oh wait. I just Googled self-injury awareness and it has nothing to do with kids injuring themselves while playing, but rather, it refers to the act of self-mutilation, like cutting, due to psychological disturbances.

And oh wait, don't some of my kids have some of the same emotional/psychological flags (because of their traumatic pasts) that I just read about?

Cancel that meeting with my congressman.

Where can I get me some crow?

OK, OK, I'm a bad parent that's not up to speed on all the dangers surrounding teens. So sue me. But first click the button to vote for me.Vote For Use @ Top Mommy Blogs

Sunday, February 27, 2011

From Free Bird to Freebies.

Had fun on an outing yesterday with a handful of my kids plus a friend. We went to a "family expo" where all kinds of kid/family venues had tables set out with pamphlets about their programs (summer camps, schools, museums and the like) and tons of junk give-aways.

By the end of the two hours they looked like they could use a sturdy pack animal to help haul their loot. Good, quality stuff like....

* 3 inch radios with batteries included
never mind that said batteries were oozing acid
* Frisbees
Sorry, "flying discs"
* pill dispensers
what exactly is the message, here?
* refrigerator magnets for Christian summer camps
* t-shirts
* dozens of pencils and pens and little candies
* pamphlets on sexting
practically forced into the hands of B the older and friend M. I didn't think they looked particularly trampy yesterday, but apparently the lady behind the table felt differently.

So of course, now I have 3 large bags full of junk in my house, but it was worth it b/c the kids had fun and
it was FREE.

Afterwards we went to Old Navy in the perpetual pursuit of the perfect skinny jeans. One scored, another struck out. But strike out's spirits were lifted on the way out when she hopped onto the manequin platform and posed, scaring the bejesus out of an employee. She really has the whole manequin thing down. I only wish there was a market for manequin doubles, but alas.....

We ran out to dinner afterwards, we five girls. I missed the exit for the restaurant I wanted, but was able to double back and park in the lot of a hotel next door.

Girls: Why are we parking at this hotel?
Me: Well, I missed the exit and can't get over to the restaurant parking lot. But that's OK, we've just got to hop on down this embankment and we're right there.
Rosie: What if we don't want to hop?
Me: Well, pick the gait of your choice. I'm going to skip.
Rosie: I'm going to gallop.
M: I will unicorn gallop.
Julie: I'll do what Mom is doing.
Bella: Huh....?

We made it to the restaurant, hopping, skipping, galloping, etc, despite the odd stares of those walking in the vicinity.

We walked in the door to a sizable crowd, but the wait time was only about 10 minutes, so we decided to wait it out.

"How many in your party?" the hostess asked.
"Five", I replied.
"And the name?" she inquired.
"Crazy", I said with a straight face.
"Crazy?" asked, she, incredulously.
"Yes, that's right."

So we sat, and we waited, and we were silly, till over the loudspeaker we heard,
"Crazy party of five. Now seating the crazy party of five."

And with great dignity we rose and followed, and took our seats.

When the food came, we dug in, and it was scrumptious. After a few minutes, Rosie said,
"I don't like when the waitress asks us, 'Did everything come out OK?' "
"Why does that bother you?"
"Because I feel like she's asking me about when I went to the bathroom."

I've gotta admit, the girl's got a point.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Free Bird

Rosie went to a dance last night.

The middle school Valentine's Dance.

It was a "semi-formal" affair, in which the girls wore pretty little dresses and little-bitty heels and the boys wore poorly arranged ties.

She had gone to a friend's house to get ready and get a ride there, and I was to pick them up when it was all over and deliver them safely home.

We waited, we parents, in the warmth of our cars. Reading books, checking messages, biding time. Soon enough, the doors opened, the light sliced through the darkness of the night, and a mass of young people spilled down the steps, a waterfall of children.

My eyes scanned the crowd, looking for my daughter.

And there she was.

When I saw her a few hours ago she was dressed in grey sweat pants, moccassins, and a soccer t-shirt. But in her giggling clot of girls, she floated forward in the stream, wearing the dress we had picked out. Silver with a hint of lavender, and an embroidery of glistening black flowers, it was lovely. She was lovely. And growing up so quickly. To say that the years between 3 and 13 passed in the blink of an eye is a weary cliche, but true nonetheless.

As they walked out into the breezy night air, their balloons tugged at the ribbons around their wrists like frolicking puppies. Rosie and friends were talking, laughing, teetering on their heels even while trying to pull off the look like they were born wearing them.

Their chatter and laughter didn't skip a beat as they loaded into the car. M was wearing a curlie-que ribbon in her hair, torn from the basket Rosie won in a raffle. Another friend, H, was helping Rosie dissect the basket to inventory the take. She had won a plastic heart that radiated a strobe light, nearly inducing a seizure in me while I was driving. The off switch appeared to be defective. She won a red teddy bear outfitted as a devil. And candy. Lots and lots of candy. Because large quantities of sugar was just what these girls needed about now.

When the conversation paused a heartbeat, I began my littany of questions.....

Me: So how was it?
Girls: (Looking at each other)Ummm...alright? I guess?
Me: Well were a lot of your friends there?
Girls: No. It was like, all 8th graders.
Me: Was the dance in the cafeteria? Was it decorated?
Girls: Yeah. They had like, 2 banners that said Happy Valentine's Day and some balloons.
Me: Why Valentine's Day? Isn't it, like, 11 days past or something?
When I have a conversation with two or more teen girls, the word "like" somehow finds its way into my vocabulary without my awareness of it.
Girls: Yeah but it was like, rescheduled.
Me: Did you guys dance with anyone?
M: We danced with each other.
R: And I slow-danced with my balloon.
H: Only like one couple dance-danced.
Dance-danced? Oh, I get it. Like food-food.
R: And Mrs. H did the tango with herself and when she saw me she told me to tell Patrick to get his hair cut.
Small school.
Me: Who did the music, Mr H?
Girls: Yeah, like always.
Me: What kind of stuff did he play?
Girls: The usual. Pop stuff.
Me: Did he play Free Bird at the end?
Girls: What's Freebird?
At which point I nearly drove my car into a ditch.
Me: WHAT'S FREE BIRD?! It's only the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic played at the end of every middle school dance going back till the dawn of time!
Girls: Looking at each other.....
Me: You know, all the kids start yelling FREEEEEEEEBIIIIIIIIIIRD and the DJ acts like he's never gonna play it but you just keep yelling FFFFFRRRRREEEEEBBBBIIIIIRRRRDDDD until he finally, magically plays it and then all the girls group in clusters to slow-dance with each other and a few real couples make-out while shuffling their feet.
Free Bird.


They have no clue.

Then, to make matters worse, I start trying to sing it to them so they'll GET IT, but I glance in the mirror and realize Rosie is
going to die
and so I stop.

And I continue the drive home shocked into a state of stuporous silence.

But then we get home, and I see the girls waltz into the house, looking all grown up but acting like the young teens they are and I am all nostalgic.

Because I am still thinking of Free Bird, I sit down at my computer and look up the lyrics, because my memory has preserved them in a warped kind of way and I want to remember.

No. I want to re-collect.

And there it is......

If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be travelling on, now,
'Cause there's too many places I've got to see.
But, if I stayed here with you, girl,
Things just couldn't be the same.
'Cause I'm as free as a bird now,
And this bird you can not change.
Lord knows, I can't change.

Bye, bye, its been a sweet love.
Though this feeling I can't change.
But please don't take it badly,
'Cause Lord knows I'm to blame.
But, if I stayed here with you girl,
Things just couldn't be the same.
Cause I'm as free as a bird now,
And this bird you'll never change.
And this bird you can not change.
Lord knows, I can't change.
Lord help me, I can't change.

Only now I'm not seeing it as the teen once did. I'm not seeing it as a song I would belt out while knotting together with my best friends, arms all entangled.

I'm seeing it through a mother's eyes. And in the lyrics, my daughter, my beautiful, growing-up-too-fast daughter, is the bird about to fly.

And I know the next time I blink, she will be grown.

She will be flying.

And I cry ....

Sniff, for the button....sniff, sniff.....
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Friday, February 25, 2011

WooHoo, Happy Dance!

I asked and I have received.

I asked all my wonderful fans and admirers to get me into the top 25 and you have delivered. As of today I stand at #21, and I'm lovin' it.

I know. I really need to get a life but lately I have been a blog-ranking junkie and I need to get my fix every morning before the sun comes up or I won't be able to function and then my family would perish and I'd be thrown in jail.

And in spending so much more time on my blog, I am learning a few things, so this whole experience is not without its educationl merit.

Just the other day, in fact, I discovered on my blog dashboard a "stats" tab. I clicked right on over and found that I have viewers
(to say fans would be presumptuous)
all over the frickin' world.

Sorry I can't be more entertaining and use the real F word, but I have children who read this, after all, so I need to keep it G-rated. I'm such a wuss.

Anyways, here I thought I had a few dozen people who read my ramblings, only to find out I have thousands. Folks from the US, of course, but also from Malaysia, Australia, Ireland, Uzbekistan, the United Arab Emirate. A substantial following, it seems, in the Netherlands.
Sorry Netherlands readers, but you confuse me. Near as I can determine, it's called The Netherlands, but the country is Holland, and you are referred to as Dutch. Can someone please shed some light here or am I in the right ballpark?
Why on earth can't you keep things simple like us? We live in the USA, we're called Americans and we speak English. Sheesh.

So today I thought it appropriate if I sent out a thank you to all my readers and all my voters.

I would shout out "I love you guys!!!" but then you'd think me a beer drunk and it's only 10:42 in the morning, after all.

Anyway ......

To My Readers From________, I Say To You___________
(dammit, how do you underline when you're writing in a blog? More education needed, it would seem)

United States...................................Thanks
China.......................................... 谢谢

And to all my friends from
Hong Kong
United Arab Emirates
I don't know what to say because Babel Fish wouldn't translate to Cantonese, Vietnamese, Turkish, etc. Sorry. But I guess if you can read my blog you can read English, right? Unless you're just viewing for the stunning graphics? So thanks.

On a more individual note of thanks, I'd like to give a shout out to some friends and family that have been reading and voting.

To family members including, but not limited to:
Renee, Donna, Aunt Mary, sister Mary, Bonnie, Fred, Veronica, Aunt Pat, Daddy and Caggy, Crystal and Tim, Carey, Michelle, Gayle, Milly, Nadja:
A big ol' smooch from your cousin, sister, niece, daughter, sister-in-law, wife, Mom, host-Mom.

To friends (see above disclaimer):
Lori, Dee, Theresa, Terri, Kathy, Debbie, Melissa, Sarah, Kim, Lesa, Sue, Patty, Laura, Barb, Carrie:
A courteous thank you or a bear hug, depending on how long I've known you.

To folks I've never met/couldn't identify in a line-up:
My Large Family group: Love you guys. Always have, always will.
People working with Fred: Where do I include you guys? I've met some but by no means all. Anyway, thanks. And just for fun, someone put a "Kick Me" sign on his back, will ya'?
People working in Lori's office: Thank you for your support (read like the guy from the Bartles and Jaymes commercial). Give Lori a big ol' hug from me if you know her well enough (or would like to get to know her better) and tell her I miss her.

And don't forget people, vote every day! Let's see what this baby can do!

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Serving up Adoption Culture. Buffet Style.

Any adoptive parent worth their salt will tell you the importance of preserving the culture of the adoptive child's country of origin. In our case, that means preserving both the Kazakh and the Russian cultures, because while the kids lived in Kazakhstan, the Russian culture and language was predominant.

If I was a good parent, I would expose my kids to all the cultural what-not without the use of a filter. But my parenting leaves much to be desired, and I choose instead to serve up their culture buffet style so I can pick and choose.

I'll take a heaping serving of the Russian language, please. This is the language all my adopted kids spoke for the first _____ (6, 10, or 13) years of their lives. How cool will it be if at least some fraction of them can remain bilingual.

The Russian Tongue



It is theorized that it was the Kazakhs that first domesticated the horse, so dish me up a serving of horse (ummm... I'd like to teach my kids about the importance of horses to Kazakhstan and vicey versey. I don't want to actually eat a serving of horse, which is often on the menu in Kaz.)

Kazakhstan Horses

A Kazakh sport, similar to Polo, wherein the object is to get a headless goat into the goal (while on horseback).
I'm gonna take a pass on this cultural richness as well.


Russian folklore about a man named Father Frost. Similar to ol' St. Nick.
I'll take some of this, please.

Father Frost

With a sprinkling of snow.


I'm feeling pretty full, so I'm gonna pass on having my children stand in the snow, in their underwear, and pour buckets of cold water over their heads in order to build their immunity.

Building Immunity

Alright, even though I said I was full when I got to immunity, I left a little room for dessert. I'll take a sampling of Yurts, Matreshka Dolls, and apples.

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[All images courtesy Google Images Clip Art]


Loved this strip of mist hovering over the fields this morning.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pocket Envy

I stopped at WaWa yesterday afternoon to make a couple quick pick-me-up purchases. I paid the nice lady and up till that point everything was easy-peasy-lemon-squeazy.

But then the hard part came. The cashier handed me back my change, consisting of a few singles and some coinage.

Those of you who fall under the classification of normal are asking, no doubt, why getting my change back would be qualified as "the hard part".

Well, I'll tell you why.

Here's what I had to do, in sequential order, before I could walk on out the door:

1) Take the change in my hand and slide my purchases, my purse, and myself over a few steps to the left, so as not to inconvenience the next customer.

2) Put the coins in the zippered coin compartment of my wallet and then begin facing my bills.
Facing my bills.
Yes. Because I'm an OCD wannabe, my money has to be all facing the same direction, right-side up and facing front.

3) Place the bills in the bill section of my wallet, smaller bills in front, larger bills in the back, and nothing out of order.

4) Situate the wallet into the designated compartment of my purse, with credit cards facing upward to make it easier for a pick-pocketer to steal my debit card.

By the time I accomplished all of the above, grabbed my purchases, and slung my purse over my shoulder, three guys had since checked out and walked out the door.

I was suddenly struck with pocket envy. These men were simply taking their change and shoving it in their pockets
on the fly!
Not one second was wasted arranging their change before they waltzed care-free away from the register.

This gave me pause. I could save so much time if I would just use pockets instead of my purse!

But I wasn't wearing any pockets. I was wearing my go-to Mom uniform of T-shirt, indoor-outdoor Ugg slippers, and yoga pants
Yes, those of you tittering behind your hands, I do a LOT of yoga. My favorite positions are downward-bending manure shoveler and outward-reaching egg cracker.

So, no pockets in my pants, what to do, what to do...?

I remember seeing an army vest that my youngest used to dress up in when he was going through his military phase. It was wall-to-wall pockets and clips and secret compartments.

But neither olive green nor camouflage do me any favors, color-wise, and really I would look like I was playing dress-up with my son.

I should design my own military vest for Moms. A Momitary vest.

This one here has compartments for everything, from cough drops and first-aid to lipgloss and eyeliner. But as practical as it looks, it also screams throw to the ground pat-down. That wouldn't do.

This next one has no practicality whatsoever. Why would someone even design such a thing? Because it looks cute? I've got no use for cute ....

Guess I'll have to keep searching. Or design my own. I've got my work cut out for me.
But just you wait. I'm going to start the hottest new trend. All the Moms will be wearing them. They will render both the purse and the diaper bag obsolete.

And we can still wear our yoga pants.

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Military vest:

Fashionable military vest:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Define .....Weird.

My kids are weird.

There. I've said it.

I don't have a dictionary in front of me and don't feel like looking up an on-line one, but I do have a thesaurus on my desk

That's right. I have a thesaurus. I'm a kinda-sorta writer. Uh, huh.

and the entries following the word weird are:

bizarre, strange, odd, fantastic, unearthly, otherworldly, alien, supernatural, mysterious, outlandish, nightmarish, surrealistic, Kafkaesque
peculiar, queer, grotesque, eerie, freaky
(my favorite)
uncanny, unusual.

I would say most of these words could be used to describe my brood of freaky outlandish children.

A few examples:
James: Jumping off the porch roof into a snow bank while yelling, "There goes Hollywood".
Bella: Eating her pizza with Nutella, or ketchup on an apple.
Patrick: "I'm Old Greeeeeeggggggg!".
Daniel: Naming his crossword puzzle Meat With Stick..
Julie: Yelling "Tractorrrrr!" when someone passes gas.
Rosie: Taking perfect care of her braces. I think she's messing with my head.
Fred: "Mind bringing me a soda? Thanks. Just get me my "special glass" sitting on the top right-hand corner of the coal stove, place two ice cubes in it, and then fill the glass 2/3 to 3/4 full, taking care to pour slowly. If it's no trouble...."
Me: 6 kids, 5 dogs, 3 cats, 2 frogs, 1 cockatiel, 2 bunnies, 3 horses, 6 goats....

Round here, we're used to it and mostly just laugh it off, or more often than not, their fantasticness doesn't even register, as it has become so commonplace.

It generally takes a visitor among us to awaken us to the bizarre ways of our offspring.

Take for example, the time about a year ago, give or take, when the little girl from across the street joined us for dinner.

She's a quiet girl, is "A", as I'll call her. The only child of a profoundly button-down family. Their lawn is mowed roughly twice a day and is adorned by four shrubs and one ornamental tree. They have a pocket-sized dog, well-groomed.
A herself is also well-groomed, shirts ironed and tucked in, hair neatly trimmed and pulled back in a fine-looking ponytail. Nice girl, A.

She and my girls, all roughly the same age, had struck up a semi-friendship, somewhat restrained and orderly.

One day, after playing outside for a bit, my kids were called into dinner. They asked if A could join us. I said
but of course!

In they all sauntered, washed their hands, and sat down to the dinner table.

A sat on the bench, and had to scoot first this way and then that, as more and more kids piled onto said bench. They finally all settled, shoulder-to-shoulder, famished and ready to chow down.

I believe burgers were on the menu that night. And the burgers started one of our not so atypical dinner conversations.

It went something like this.....

James: Burgers? Ewww. Is meat. Is disgusting.
Patrick: Why is it disgusting?
Me: James, that's rude to say your dinner is disgusting.
James: Sorry. Tank you for dinner. But meat. Meat is disgusting. Is animal.
Patrick: Yeah, but you like chicken and chickens are animals.
James: I know but meat is red. Red is blood. I can't eat this.
Everyone talking at once: Yeah but we've GOT to eat! Besides, other animals eat us if they have the chance, like tigers and sharks. So we eat them. It's FAIR!
James: I don't care. Is disgusting.
Someone: People are animals. We could eat each other. Who would I eat...?
Me: Whom would you eat. Use proper grammer.
Daniel: I wouldn't eat Dad, that would be gross. No offense, Dad.
Dad: None taken.
Patrick: Same with Mom.
Me: Oh, thank the Lord.
Someone: What about Y?
Someone else: Nah. Too stringy.
Rosie: How 'bout Bella? She would taste good!
Everyone: Yeah, Bella! She would be the best one to eat.
Daniel: Or how 'bout Sophie? (referring to our Boston Terrier/Beagle mix)
Everyone: Yeah, Sophie! She would be delicious! Let's eat her for dinner! No not dinner -- dessert. She would taste like cupcakes....

At about this point in time, I caught a glance of A. She sat squished between our evil spawn, looking about as wide-eyed and petrified as a bunny in a bush with a fox on its trail. She had the burger halfway to her mouth, jaw frozen in an open position, at one point preparing to take a bite of her dinner, but now likely primed to scream in holy terror. I think in her mind she was weighing her options:
1) Make a break for it by leaping onto the dinner table with a manic martial arts screech and scrambling out of there with dishes flying.
2) Freezing in place, hoping against all odds to blend in, and then slowly creeping the hell out of our house when people dispersed.

She chose the latter. I don't think anyone heard a peep out of her. Though even if she had said something, it's doubtful anyone would have noticed, what with the cacophonous
there's that thesaurus at work again
conversation taking place about who would eat who(sorry, whom).

Dinner over, she slipped silently from our house and back across the street.

I still see her once in awhile, peering from behind a curtain towards our house. Or riding her bike up and down her driveway while casting leery glances our direction. Or peeking out from behind a just-pruned shrub, eyeballing the bikes thrown down haphazardly in the driveway, the scattered sidewalk chalk, the assortment of basketballs and kickballs and scooters. She counts the children. She listens closely, analytically to the screams, no doubt trying to discern: screams of fun? Or
screams of terror?

I'm sure she must be wondering what
or who
is on the menu.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Creeper Alert

OK, regardless of what I may have said in my Valentine's Day post about crushing on JB

aka Justin Bieber
aka The Biebs


it is patently untrue.

The reason I feel strongly about pointing this out is because of some recent Facebook activity on my profile.

See, I have two newly-minted teen girls that are itching and jonesing to get their very own Facebook accounts by the end of this school year. For now, they have to be content with learning the ropes on mine. They have to prove their salt by showing they know the basic rules.

Basic rules including, but not limited to:

*Limiting communication to those people they know face-to-face.
yeah, but I know so-n-so and they know so-n-so, so it's like the same thing.
No dice.

*Not being a stalker of the nth degree by posting on everyone's wall allllllll the time, whether they are biffels or barely-know-you acquaintences.
yeah, but she's so-n-so's BFF, so I'm sure they must like when I post on their wall every third second of the day.
Uhhhh, no.

*If they have to ask me if they know someone then it's safe to assume they don't.
(Pointing to the name of my step-cousin's wife living 1/2 way across the country): I know her, right? So I can chat with her?

Anyway, these two teeny-boppers have recently discovered on FB that there are fan pages for JB, and the other crush, David Archuleta (little-known American Idol runner-up several seasons ago). I gave them the thumbs-up for visiting these sites and they have been ogling and drooling to their hearts' content.

But then it came to my attention that they were also posting comments.

Under MY profile!

So the lovely and talented Justin and David now have comments like,

Justin, I think you're hot
David, I'm your biggest fan
I had a dream last night that we got married

All with my name and picture next to the lusting commentary.

I can only imagine these boys, both of them still in their teen years, reading through their comments and seeing the picture of a 40-something hag next to them.


So I implore you all, any of you that have visited my FB page and seen my lusty comments to JB or David, to understand that it is
sending these love notes.

Do you understand the possible ramifications here?

There could be scandal.
There could be investigations.
There could be the revokation of my school clearances allowing me to chaperone field trips, help out at the book fair, and volunteer on Field Day in 95 degree weather when they're all running and screaming like banshees and they all stink to high heavens and they're sick of school and they're counting the minutes till summer vacation.


Hold that thought. I've got to go post a few things on FB.

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Quirky Minds Think Alike

Picked up my youngest son's friend today. They hadn't gotten together in a dog's age, and on the drive home, I couldn't help but recall how made for each other these two are.

Some of the words/phrases I heard bouncing around in the back seat....

more helium and hydrogen on Venus
DNA extraction
clone the pilot
dinosaurs in acid
I'll choke you
don't break my neck
rock vs stapler?
the smoothest pencil in the world

Now, I'll admit the context and significance of most of these word bytes were lost on me.
I'm assuming it all made sense to them.

Future careers? The possibilities are endless. Some that jump to mind are:
video game designers (b/c we soooo need more video games in our world)
sanitation engineers
pencil manufacturers
producers of fights pitting inanimate object agains each other

Taking bets.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Crumbs in My Silverware Drawer

Periodically, I have to empty out the plastic tray that organizes my silverware and clean the thing.

Lest you think that I am a freaky neat-freak with a spotless house, let me assure you by tilting my head back and laughing loud and long:


I'm not talking about shiny-ing it all up. I'm talking about dumping actual crumbs out of it and then wiping it all down.


And I can't help but wonder, how do they get in there?

The silverware is lifted, all gleaming and shiny, from the dishwasher, and put directly into the silverware drawer.

It is not first thrown outside.
It is not placed in a bag of grit and gravel and shaken about like chicken in a Shake-n-Bake baggie.
It is not placed in the bottom of the bird cage or in the cat's litter box.

Do the crumbs come from the hands of my children, who are the ones emptying the dishwasher?

Though my Mom-Grooming-Oversight-Skills are not what they once were, I'd like to think that my children are not so dirty that stuff literally
drops off their hands.

Guess I'll just file it under the category of one of life's mysteries, along with the more cliched ones like why you can put 14 socks in the washer and only 11 come out of the dryer.
Or like how there can be seemingly dozens of plates and cups sitting about and yet when you ask people (meaning the kids) to pick their stuff up, all you get it, "It's not mine" shouted out in unison.

But as I look about my house, I realize there are crumbs in all the nooks and crannies of my home, not just in the silverware drawer.

I don't mean the 'particle of dried up food' crumb (though they are represented in large numbers as well).
I mean tangible remnants of life with six kids in a big house with a Mom too frazzled to manage things.

A few of the crumbs visible to me right now.....

Broken Silly Band
Scrap of paper from airplane-making
Tiny plastic bottle of bubbles from a birthday party goodie-bag
Stretched out fuschia ponytail
Broken crayon too small to be of further use
Jack of clubs
A wilted pink carnation

I guess if I, gun-to-my-head HAD to put a positive spin on things, I could say that these crumbs are reminders of who my kids are....

They are into semi-adorable pre-teen fads
They can spend time doing creative stuff when they're not glued to a screen
They enjoy birthday parties as much as the next young person and can still be captivated by the magic of bubbles
They fix each other's hair in braids and ponytails and cute little up-do's
They still like to color
They can entertain themselves with a good old-fashioned deck of cards
They gave and received Valentine's carnations at school from friends and crushes

So I've managed to put a positive spin on the Stuff Crumbs, but for the crumbs in my silverware drawer?

I've got nothin'.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Category: Adoption Blog

This blog is first and foremost an Adoption Blog.
But it seems I haven't written a scrap about adoption-related stuff in some time.
It's all farm-stuff or Amish-stuff or these-kids-are-driving-me-insane stuff.

In a way, that's a good thing.
A really good thing.


Because that means that adoption "issues" have taken a back seat to large family issues. They are not the squeaky wheel they once used to be. They're still there, to be sure, but in a lame analogy, they have gone from an hysterically screaming three year old throwing himself to the floor in the middle of the toy store, to a mannerly seven year old in the check-out line asking if he could please have a candy bar.

There's stuff there I still have to deal with, but those dealings are easier to manage and with less fallout than used to accompany them.

These days? I feel something akin to Sane.

I had actually been musing over the fact that I am long overdue (like my books at the library) for writing a full-blown adoption dissection post.

But it's Saturday morning and there are seven kids here and I should probably go feed them.

So for today at least, I will take the path of least resistance (and more Saturday morning breakfast yumminess) by cutting and pasting. I looked back a year and found this post I wrote last February.

To me, it speaks volumes about progress made......

RAD: It's the "New" Pregnancy

I've decided that dealing with an RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) child is a lot like a pregnancy. When you're going through it, all you can focus on is the negative.
Oh, once in awhile you have those "becoming one with your baby" moments when you get the kicks and wiggles and such. But for the most part, it's swollen ankles, achy backs, peeing 4,000 times a day, and stretch marks popping up in new places every day. And the actual labor/delivery? Please, I don't even want to go there.

But of course, once your little peanut is born all is forgotten. You certainly don't hold a grudge against your baby, not when they're newborn, not when they're a teenager. Seems all the wonderful parts about being a Mommy simply sweep away all the horrific parts of being pregnant and delivering a 9 pound baby through an opening that is normally the diameter of a pencil.
But then you get pregnant again and it all comes flooding back and you think to yourself, "am I a cotton-pickin' lunatic?!"

And so it is with an adopted child with Reactive Attachment Disorder. We have so many wonderful moments. Times at night when he's lying on the sofa with his head on my lap and I'm patting his face and smoothing his hair. He closes his eyes and looks like a puppy getting a belly rub. If he ever had a loving mother's caress, I'm sure it has faded to a distant memory by now, and so he just soaks it up.

Or times he helps out because he wants to help out, or asks for a story while we're out driving somewhere. I need to hold onto those thoughts with all the fortitude I can muster, b/c when things get bad I feel miserable.

Like last night. He was mad at me because I wouldn't allow him to use my computer b/c of some disrespectful and obnoxious behavior. So in retaliation for me taking the mouse and hiding it away somewhere, he took my keys. Yes, my car keys, and he hid them and wouldn't give them back till this morning. He thought it was tit for tat, though I explained to him that though I hadn't taken anything of his, he had taken something of mine.

Times like those, all you want to do is throttle, but all you can do is try to have the patience of all the saints in Heaven. I have long since learned that threats and loss of privilege don't work with this kid, which goes against all my experience. Time and space and not getting drawn in are the only things that seem to eventually bring us right again.

But it ain't easy. I'm used to having the upper hand. I don't very much care for the lower hand.

I'll take stretch marks over this anyday.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Coffee Clatch

I have coffee with friends on Friday mornings. It's the highlight of my week, quite frankly. To talk with adults, as adults, when day in-day out you're surrounded by parasitic humans with a poopload of demands on you is a treat worth savoring.

But we haven't always enjoyed this companionship liberated from our children. In fact, when we first met, it was through our local MOMS Club. We all wore similar shell-shocked expressions as we shuffled through the meeting room of the church, one whining toddler clinging to our legs, one screaming infant slung across a hip, our boobs swollen and sore, bags under our sleepless eyes, but yet with a Barbie smile plastered across our faces that said to the world, "Holy crap, I'm really enjoying this!"

Truth be told, our conversations today still fall under the same categories they did so many years ago, but the subtext has changed.....

2011 (Sipping coffee) Hey Sara, how's it goin'? Oh my God, I love your new bag...
2000 (Wiping up juice)....diaper bag. Where'd you get it?
2000 Oh, thanks, you like it? I got it at Babies-R-Us.....
2011 ....TJ Max. It's kinda small but it holds what I need. Look, it's got
this cool little compartment that holds my i-pod.....
2000 .....poopy diapers. And I love the size. It was the biggest one there.

2000 Hey Theresa, will you be coming over for Story and Craft on Thurs morning...
2011 and cheese on Fri night? NOOOO, leave the kids at home, have you lost your friggin' mind....
2000 planner? Don't you remember? Third Thurs of every month is Story and Craft. Second Thurs is Gymboree and fourth Thursday is Toddler Time at the library.

2000 Hey guys, I was just at a Creative Play demonstration and I bought the most fantastic thing for Johnny. It's designed for babies 6 - 9 mths of age and it enhances their depth perception, tracking, and gross motor coordination. I know I spent too much but I'm sure it will be worth every penny....
2011 .... of his allowance goes to video games. I used to moderate what he played more, but honestly? If he's quiet? I almost don't care if he rots his brain.

2000 Thanks for asking, it was a big hit. She just loved the princess party. I made each of the guests a princess skirt from pink tulle and they made wands and tiaras for the craft and the cake was a huge castle. They loved the pony rides, too. It's not every day a little girl turns three, right?
2011 So he's asking if it can be a boy-girl party and they wanna hang out in the basement so they can "play video games", haha. I swear he thinks I just crawled out from under a rock or something.

2000 Guess what, his tooth finally came in! We were all just so excited when...
2011 I felt around in my mouth and can finally feel all my teeth again. I'm so glad I sprung for that implant. I hated having a hole where my tooth should've been.

2011 Sue, on your shoulder. You've got some omelette...
2000 ....vomit on your shirt.

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Ill-conceived Notion

As I was making the appointment with the vet's office, I thought to myself,
This is an ill-conceived notion.

A few of my critters were due for their annual shots
OK, 2 mths past due, but who's counting?
so I was figuring who to take. Since my vet gives a discount to any client deranged enough to bring in more than two animals at a time, I thought it prudent to take advantage of the savings. Also, more animals at once means fewer trips all together.

And I knew my yellow Lab had another ear infection. See, I'm kind of like an animal expert, so when she tilts her head back and scratches it slowly with her hind foot, then examines the foot, sniffs it, and licks the bacteria-laden puss from her claws, I just made that leap in my brain. I'm smart that way.

It's sorta like when a hillbilly picks some festering bit of squirrel from between his teeth, studies it, then eats it.

So I decided two dogs and two cats would be a nice, balanced mix. Wisely, I determined that putting both cats in one carrier would free up one hand, making things more efficient. They would be comfortable, I was sure, as it was quite roomy.

By roomy, I mean it was roughly the size of a one-car garage.

As it had a handle, I considered it a "carrier", but much like a hanky in a breast pocket, it was all for show.
This was meant to be set in place in one's home and remain there. If the house were to be sold, this "carrier" would be sold along with it, much like a refrigerator or an oven.

With the cats comfortably lounging in their respective corners, I hoisted it up and proceeded to get it downstairs to the car. Besides the mass and the bulky dimensions of the carrier itself, I hadn't thought that I would also be hauling the combined 25 lbs of the cats themselves. My back and neck muscles were bulging, I started to break out in a cold sweat, and I was muttering obscenities under my breath, but get it downstairs I did.

Next I brought the dogs down. Sunny (the Lab) was wiggling all over, excited at the prospect of
going somewhere
doing something.

She leaped before the door was fully open.
You know how when Wile E Coyote runs headlong into a cliff painted deceptively like a tunnel, and his body accordians up and he plays music? I can attest that this happens in real life.

When her body straightened out, and with the door in its fully upright position, she jumped into the back of the car. By the time I leveraged the carrier into place beside her, I had to spend a few minutes picking up the crayons, coloring books, headphones and socks that had been dislodged from the car due to Sunny's perpetual state of wiggle-iness.

We got to the vet's in short order and I proceeded to unload without incident. Getting them into the office was another matter.

First Sunny wedged herself into the doorway just as I was edging the carrier through.
She is not known for her intellect.

They were jammed, but I unstuck them and tried again. This time I told the dogs to stay as I tried to put the carrier through first. But Cindy Lou, the little Rat Terrier, darted under the carrier and around my ankles a couple times, winding me up like a top, then sprinting back the way she came, sending me spinning.
Unfortunately the act of unwinding herself only served to wind Sunny up.

I put the carrier on the ground and proceeded to intricately step over and under leashes, much like Tom Cruise avoiding lasers in a spy movie.

Untangled, I left the carrier where it was and got the dogs in the door, then dragged the portable shed through the doorway inch by inch.

We had made it.

Into the foyer.

We then had to repeat the whole process to get through the next door and into the office proper.

Only once I opened said door, the antiseptic smell of Vet's Office washed over the dogs and they knew where they were. This was no longer an adventurous outing, but an excursion through the gates of Hell.

They both put their full body weights into pulling back against their leashes. This while I was pushing the carrier through the doorway with about 1/2 inch to spare on either side, like I was moving a dresser into a bedroom. I pushed it into the office as far as my arms would reach, then stepped back and flung the dogs in with one mighty, adrenaline-surge of strength.

I recovered my breath for a few moments in the waiting room, slumped in a chair, my hair plastered to my face, my clothes enshroudeded in dog hair. The dogs were trembling in the corner. The cats, nonplussed, gazed out at me from the confines of their mini mansion.

The time came to weigh the dogs and Sunny lumbered onto the scale. I know I heard it creak. For a split second her motion stopped and her weight registered.
101 pounds.

My mind's eye offered up several snapshots:
Sunny parked under the table, catching each food particle before it hit the floor.
Sunny beating the other dogs to the dishes placed on the floor to pre-rinse before going in the dishwasher.
Sunny trying to wedge her massive body inside the dishwasher to get any nuances of food left behind from the pre-rinse.
She was all about the food.

Next it was Cindy Lou's turn.
"Go ahead and put her on the scale", instructed the tech.
"She is on the scale", I replied.
She weighed all of 8 pounds.

We got them all in the exam room and the the vet did his thing and all went well. Except Cindy, having never been to the vet's before, was nervous. Standing on the exam table, facing the vet, she saw his hand reach out to her and she wanted away. With her little tail being pressed up against my arm, she had nowhere to go. So she started backing her hindquarters up my body till her back legs were on my shoulder and she was doing a full handstand, completely vertically, upside-down.

Yes. I have normal animals.

The exam over, with thorough examinations and multiple vaccinations for each of them and two new drugs for Sunny's ears, I headed to the desk to check out.
There was much clicking of the keyboard.
There were many papers printed.
There were consultations in hushed whispers.

I was presented with the bill.

$401 dollars.

My God in heaven.

This was 1/2 a month's worth of groceries.
This was a pair of shoes and a pack of socks for each member of the family. And throw in some underwear.
This was a couple month's worth of school lunches.
This was a trip to WalMart when I only planned on getting some Tide and Ziplock Bags but ended up buying everything that I saw that I thought we needed at the time including that cute little throw-rug that would look just right by the front door.

There was only one thing for it.
Sell the children for scientific experimentation.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

History of a Driver

3 years old
Learned to ride a trike. Clean driver's record.

4 years old
Bike with training wheels. Hard to operate on gravel drive. Tires would spin in place, gravel shooting about, resulting in road rage.

5 years old
2-wheeler. Fair share of spills and scraped knees. Often plowed headlong into shrubbery.

6 years old
Power Wheels. Had it going 0 to 2.5 in a heartbeat. It was either pedal to the metal or standstill; no middle-ground cruising speed. Couldn't drive a straight line to save his life. By the time he outgrew it, the pathetic vehicle was gravely in need of body work.

8 years old
Golf cart. Now you're talkin'. He would drive down the lane with the wind in his face (he had demolished the windshield early on) screaming in sheer delight. He careened about, landing the cart in ditches, stuck in the low-hanging branches of trees, into mud puddles that could swallow a cow. Neighbor gave him a restraining order, banning him from operating it anywhere near his property.

14 years old
No longer interested in outdoor pursuits, he became more.... inwardly focused. When his gaze was fixated on a screen, the world around him dropped away. Result? Looking up from a hand-held screen from the passenger's seat, he would ask (a 1/2 mile from home), "Where are we and how long till we get home?"
Orientation skills? Nill.
Awareness of surroundings? Absent.

16 years old
In their infinite wisdom, the employees of the great commonwealth of PA issued him a driver's permit yesterday, which states that he is now qualified to operate a 2000 pound hunk of steel and glass.
On the roads.
Around other people.

The boy who can't remember to hand in his chem labs will now have to steer, maintain speed, brake smoothly, and know the difference between a red light, a blinker, and a 4-way stop. He will need to know that hydroplaning is not landing a small seaplane on a lake, the braking distance on dry roads vs wet, and who has right-of-way in a traffic circle.
All while breathing.

The folks at DMV may have said he is ready.

I, on the other hand, am not.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fortified with Iron


If I take my ... clean ... (insert air quotes here) cake pans and wipe them with a paper towel, and the paper towel turns kind of rusty-orangey-brown, do I....

a) throw the pans out and get new ones?
2) bake more so that my kids get the iron their growing bodies need?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day. It's All About the Romance.

5:15 Awakened by shrill beeping. Stupid alarm clock. I was having a wonderful dream about my new crush Justin Bieber. I saw the movie last night with my girls and I know I could be his Grandma (OK, maybe a slightly younger friend of his Grandma's), so hang me, but he is so stinkin' cute. Any female, no matter the age, would be rendered helpless when he flips his hair like that in 3D slo-mo. Anyway, who am I supposed to crush on that's in my age group. Barry Manilow?

Showered and dressed and headed downstairs. Hung up birthday banner. Started coffee and set out the morning meds. Made breakfast for the masses. Arranged on the breakfast table seven adorable Valentine's bags filled with cards, trinkets and sweets.

Love must be in the air 'cuz there was a minimum of Morning Bickers today.
Moment of Rejoicing #1

7:00 Got five kids on bus. Woke sixth child up. Hubs came downstairs and I told him Good-Morning-Happy-Valentine's-Day-Happy-Birthday. Happy Valentine's Day to you, too, said he, and he plodded on off to work.
Did I imagine it or did his hair do a little flip as he walked out the door?

8:30 Drove 6th child to school and then headed up the road to do my Monday Morning Grocery Shopping. I am nothing if not a woman of consistency and routine, romance be damned. Managed to fill my cart for under $200 for the first time in like a month.
Moment of Rejoicing #2

12:00 Groceries put away. Baked BD cake for hubs. Began taking down the remaining Christmas decorations.
I know. Dec 25th - Feb 14th. I can do the math. Hush now. I will be judged by a higher authority than man.

3:00 All kids home from school, and I ran out the door with 2 or 3 of them to do last minute (seriously, last minute) birthday shopping for their Dad.
As we were wrapping the gifts, he walked in the door. We all wished him Happy-Birthday-Happy-Valentine's-Day and hugs and kisses were dispensed all around. He had a treat for me. Gourmet chocolate-covered strawberries.
Moment of Rejoicing #4

5:00 I demanded of hubs that he stop vascillating and decide what he wanted to do for dinner. He finally proclaimed that he wished not to go out, but rather to have a quiet night in, and order take-out samiches. So my labor-worn fingers dialed the buttons on the phone and ordered dinner. Then I hopped in the car with a kid or two (and I think a small dog) and off we jetted to pick up dinner. No romantic candle-lit dinner, but then again, no cooking either.
Moment of Rejoicing #5

6:30 Dinner consumed, hubs opened presents, with much ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the little gifts the kids and I picked out for him. Wrappings discarded, folks scattered about the house, watching TV, destroying aliens, reading, texting. House quiet and cozy.
OK, maybe it's no pop-star lifestyle. But to me it was
Moment of Rejoicing #6

And I'll take it .....

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Number Crunching

6: Number of kids that call me Mom (or Mommy or Old Hag)

7 or 8: Number of kids that call me Second Mommy (ie those that know where they can get away with stuff 'cuz I'm too frazzled to notice what's going on under my own roof)

18 - 20: Number of times per day I'm asked 'What's for dinner?"

18 - 20: How often I'm tempted (per day) to inquire about setting up a McDonald's franchise in my own kitchen.

200+: How many gallons of milk we drink in a year

2000+: How many eggs we consume in a year

15 - 20,000: About how many diapers I've changed

20 - 30,000: About how many 'why' questions I've had to creatively and spontaneously answer

Untold hundreds: BooBoos I've kissed and made better

4 - 500: Number of miles I drive per week to take kids to school, pick up sick kids from school, drive to soccer games, the store, the library, appointments, CCD, play rehearsals,......

96: Dollar value of gas my Beulah drinks in less than a week, sucking it like a milkshake through a straw

7: Average number of socks found on the floor on a daily basis

30: Roughly the number of times per day that I have to tell one of my children to let it go-separate-go to your room-say sorry-no name calling-hands off......

50 - 100: Roughly the number of times per day that I have to tell one of my kids to feed the dogs-brush your teeth-take a shower-empty the dishwasher-take out the trash-clear your place at the table-pick up your socks-comb your hair-do your homework-no more screens-elbows off the table-chew with your mouth closed-finish your dinner-no soda-no dessert-turn off the light-flush the toilet-wash your hands-take out the puppy-clean up the puppy mess-whose bracelet is this-whose nail polish is this-whose socks are these-who left these markers out-who was using my computer desk and left a bowl of ice cream on it-whose tape-whose flashcards-whose magazine-whose book-whose turn is it to take Annabelle out-who left the sofa blankets and pillows all over the floor-who left the TV on all night-don't you understand that if you don't do your homework and turn it in you won't get good grades and won't get into a decent college and you won't get a job you like that pays good and then you won't find anyone to love and you'll be just scraping by all your life and die miserable and alone...


Why does anyone love me?

Friday, February 11, 2011


You probably all know by now that I'm a self-confessed Amish stalker. Saw a scene last week that I thought was blog-worthy.....

Went down the road to buy eggs from Sarah, one of my Amish neighbors. But as I pulled into her driveway, she was walking out to her buggy, purse in hand, ready for a trip to the grocery store. She was out of eggs anyway, so I got back in the car to head home, thinking,
"Poor thing. I can just hop in my car and I'm ready to roll. She's still gotta go in the barn, harness up the horse, and hitch him to the buggy before she can start motorin'."

But just then, her husband walked out of the barn, leading by the reins their carriage horse, all harnessed up. He walked him over to the buggy, turned him around, backed him into place and starting hitching him up.

I suppose that is the Amish equivalent of my husband warming up the car for me.....

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Spittin' Mad

That's right I got spittin' mad over the weekend.

Mad at the love of my life. The man I've been together with through thick and thin (OK, more thick than thin) for nearly 28 years.

Seems every now and again we don't see eye to eye on stuff, and between the two of us, we've got a lot of stuff. When he refused to see my point of view with the crystal clarity I required, I had to choose between:

a) sitting down to a mature discussion over our opposing viewpoints
b) throwin' down in fisticuffs
c) breaking out in a farsical musical number, ala Glee

Since none of the above options really spoke to me, I chose instead to storm out of the house, work gloves in hand, and go directly to the barn without passing Go or collecting 200 dollars.

After mucking out and feeding/watering, I moved headlong into demolition mode.

If you'll recall, I shall soon be in receipt of about a dozen chicks, and I've gotta get that henhouse in order. I've got a place in mind ready for renovation, and a standing agreement with my neighbor Henry to build it for me, but you know those lazy, shiftless Amish. Can't count on 'em for nothin'.

So I started it myself. Tore out about 200 sq ft of old cobwebby chicken wire, removed boards, relocated untold numbers of gutter pipes, vinyl siding sheets, lumber and plenty of what-not up into the rafters of the barn. Transferred piles of old bricks into the workshop, scraped layers of muck and goo and old feed bags from the floors.

I was out there for days with nothing but a bottle of water (later turned toilet).

OK, OK, so it was really only a few hours. And so what if James came out to help me, doing the bulk of the sawing and hammering and ripping and other physical-type manly stuff? It felt like days and that's what really matters.

When we quit for the afternoon we had accomplished a heck of a lot. Or as us country folk say, a bushel and a peck. Way more than I would have if he had not joined my act of lunacy already in progres.

What's more, my head was a tad cooler when I finally re-entered the house. I took a shower, burned my clothes, and changed into some cozy jams, ready for a quiet evening of watching 3 million dollar commercials, interspersed with brief segments of football.

But now, looking back, I can see the error of my ways. All that anger, all that frenzied chaos in the barn.

Next time I feel mad at the hubs, I will pause. I will breathe.

I will take a couple minutes to draft an orderly to-do list and gather the neccessary tools, that I may magnify my productivity by 50% instead of the paltry 20% I achieved over the weekend.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

You Like Me. You Really Kinda Like Me!

Thanks for the support, folks. I am no longer in danger of slipping silently into a coma. You have lifted my spirits. You have lifted my outlook on life.

You have lifted my standings in the Top Mommy Blogs ranking list.

Yesterday I was ranked #986. Today I stand proud at #156. And #4 on the adoption blogs list. I can hold my head high once again now that all the things that truly matter in life have come to pass.

My family has not eaten in two days and not a sock has been picked up off the floor owing to my feverish pursuit of getting a better ranking. But get it I did and now life can resume.

Truth be told, I owe it all to my friend Lori, who sweet-talked her network of friends and supporters on her own blog to vote for me. I think she pulled an Oprah and promised them each a car or something. She has the #1 adoption blog spot and is pretty much Queen of the Universe. In fact, if you truly want some good reading, you should check out her blog (I know, I know, I don't even know how to do a link right)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Where am I and How Did I Get Here?

In an out-of-body experience the other day, I looked down on myself in my kitchen, being yelled at by an abnoxious 15 year old with long dirty blond hair (emphasis on the dirty).
Seems he was upset with me for making him go to school (on a school day mind you) because our home district buses were cancelled.

So I looked down upon myself (and it's not the most flattering angle, truth be told) and asked myself how I came to be in such a position. My child was back sassin' me; telling me my decision to send him off to school was retarded.

Wasn't this the same child for whom I endured 23 hours of labor, which included suffering through traditional labor, use of forceps, a Hoover applied south of the border, and ultimately being surgically flayed open to bring him screaming into the world?

Wasn't this the child I nursed through multiple ear infections and viruses, night terrors, appendicitis? Rocked and paced and cried for hours on end when he was a colicky infant? Stood in steaming bathrooms in the middle of the night to help ease the croup?

I was quite certain that this was the same boy whose bottom I wiped and diapers I changed so frequently that the act invaded my dreams. The child from whom I tolerated snot, pee, poop, vomit and strained pees in my hair, on my clothes, in my mouth and up my nose.

The boy I taught to read, ride a bike, use the potty and tie his shoes. The one I learned side-by-side with to find out all there was to know about dinosaurs, "constuction appointment", castles and bugs.

Looking back upon all I sacrificed - all the madness of being a Mommy - I found it unfathomable that any halfway grown child of mine should do any less than bow in supplication when I entered the room. How then, was I witnessing the scene before me? Had I truly let my children chisel away at me bit by painful bit to the point where there is nothing left but a shriveled up shadow of a human to be yelled at when their wish was not granted?

I wanted to scream and pull my hair out, but since this was an out-of-body experience, such was not possible.

So instead, zhwoop, I re-entered my body, grew a 1/2" taller (still puny compared to his 6' stature) and lay into him about respect and loss of privileges and blahblahblah. He quieted down about it, but still held a grudge for awhile. As did I. You'd better remember that I rule over everything you hold near and dear, son, and will not hesitate to take it all away in a snap.

Don't mess with this Mama.

Oh woe is me....

So a couple of friends of mine put this "vote for me!!!!" button on their blogs. It's supposed to show you how many friends and admirers you have in Blog World. Because I'm the kinda gal that always answered yes to my Mom when she asked if-my-friends-jumped-off-a-bridge-would-you-do-it-too, I immediately added the same button to my blog.

I knew, of course, in my heart of hearts, that I was setting myself up for a depression-inducing disappointment. After all, these friends of mine network. They are employed. The type of employment that actually gives them a paycheck (not like when I loftily answer that yes, I work, I work taking care of my family).

The one friend made it into the top, like 15 or something in what seemed like a matter of hours. When the second friend joined (she, not so high in the networking thing as Friend 1), I was impressed to see that she was actually in like the top 100 the very next day.

So when I threw my hat into the ring, I didn't expect much, as my networking pretty much extends to about 4 gals I have coffee with every now and then, a few far-flung relations, and a few old high school and/or childhood friends on FB. Beyond that, I'm only networked with my four-legged fans, and their internet is too sketchy for them to be able to reliably vote for me.

Still, I thought, there are like 11 or 1200 blogs on this ranking list. I can count on more than one hand the number of people that follow my blog and it's pretty well established. I wouldn't have too bad a showing. So I optimistically checked the site today, my first day, to see my standing. Would I be in the top 600? The top 500? Do I hear 400?

OK, try 986. That's right. Bottom of the barrel.

Oh the wailing, the hanging of the head, the pulling of the hair when I realized I had no friends. No admirers. Not one follower with a functional index finger to push a button.

And now I have an awful decision to make. Do I:
1) remove said button from my blog and pretend the whole thing never happened?
2) actually campaign aggressively by begging for votes from my few dozen friends on FB?
3) get a life?

What if I campaign, but in spite of my efforts still lie lifeless at the bottom of the ranking list? Will my grief and despair throw me into a coma? What would that do to my family? Who would make them chocolate chip pancakes on snow days? Who would slip them $10 when they head to the mall with friends? Who would pick up their dirty socks (yes, embarrassingly enough, I do this from time to time. Don't judge me.)?

I must persevere.

Vote for me. If not for me, then for the children.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Et tu, snowman?

Even our snowman is getting sick of all the snow and ice.

What the ....?

Dad: (peering down at a small quantity of brown something-or-other on the floor by the kitchen door) What is that?
Bella: (squatting down and looking real close) I don't know.
Dad: Is it poop?
Bella: (zooming in real close. Picks it up, smells it, puts it back down) Yep. It's poop. (Walks away)

Only in my family.

PS: To clarify, it was a piece of muck from the barn that I tracked in earlier without realizing. Poop definitely high on the list of ingredients, but it makes me feel slightly better to qualify it in this way.

PPS: Yes, Bella did wash her hands.
Yes, it did get cleaned up.

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