Thursday, December 31, 2009

I Don't Work for General Mills, I Just Feel Like I Do.

My daughter gave me a new broom and long-handled dustpan for Christmas. A very practical gift, as my back objects to using a typical dustpan, and my daughter objects to being the dustpan holder. (I always hated that job when I was a kid, too!) Practical, because at any time, I may ...no...WILL be facing this.




As a general rule, I sweep the kitchen floor after the babies are in bed for the night and the dishes are done. So, this, folks...this combination of Corn Chex, Apple Jacks, Cheerios, bread crumbs, and who-knows-what-else...is one morning's worth of dirt. On my kitchen floor. That I crunch. Every time I take a step.

But it gets worse.






I have Cheerios in my Christmas tree! And under my piano. And in my couch cushions, furnace registers, laundry baskets, shoes...

Rabbits! They should have named them RABBITS!

And to top it all off...I went to Walmart this morning - with no list - to buy a new vacuum cleaner, because my old one died. The minute I walked in the house, I remembered what I had forgotten to buy at Walmart.

GAAAAAAAH!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Torturistic Ritual I Insist Must Happen Annually

If you think that it's easy to get 6 kids properly aligned with the stars at just the precise moment you need them to be, wearing semi-matching clothes, sporting semi-respectable hairstyles, and semi-smiling simultaneously...

Find another blog to read! One that's written by a Non-crazed Mother!

At ten bucks per person for a sitting fee, even the local Walmart studio would cost me a minimum $60, just to walk in the door. Tack on the price of the photos, all the extras they guilt me into purchasing, plus the ones that actually ARE adorable and I've just plunked down the equivalent of what's left in gold at Fort Knox. (Scratch that...the politicians spent it on their mistresses.) Regardless, large families and photography studios for a one-income-earner family in a bad economy just don't mix. Then, you add in the hilarity of trying to get a child with Angelman Syndrome to co-operate with his annoyed-at-having-to-dress-up siblings and keep his hands out of the baby's hair while being gripped around the neck by the three year old...

Just. Ain't. Happening.

So, to make up for all these issues, once a year, I tell the kids what color to pull out of the dresser drawer (or pick up from the floor, depending on the child in question). They groan. It's simultaneous! Why can't the smiles be like that?!? I make sure the camera batteries are charged - this project usually takes a while, and I'm not about to let a little thing like dead batteries cause me to have to start over! Tom dons his armor, and collects a significant amount of noisy toys and other paraphernalia that may prove useful in distracting and/or attracting attention, deflecting flying shoes, and removing embedded articles from walls, Christmas trees, and heads.

Following below, in no particular order, are the results of this group effort. Individual photos are in order, oldest to youngest.

I need a good stiff drink, thank you!






The best shot of the day...we'll take it.



Bucky, trying to convince everyone of a job well done. Emphasis on DONE. Tiffany, praticing mid-air River Dance moves.



Bucky, posing goofy, since we're NOT done, while Tiffany tries to clean Dylan's ears.



Dylan, whining because Preston is enforcing Mom's "Keep Dylan's socks out of this picture" request.



Bucky, catching Tiffany as she decides she can't stand the pressure and will be in her trailer! Preston is apparently considering growing a mustache for those thoughtful, yet fun-loving moments when one pauses to stroke the upper lip.



All children are in various stages of recovery, following Tiffany's foot connecting with Dylan's cranium. He only required 97 stitches and a sidestop at Sonic Happy Hour for 1/2 price slushies.




Preston, nearly 18



Bucky, 16.5



Gabe, 15



Savannah, 12.5



Dylan, nearly 4



Tiffany, 17 months



Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Know I'm Petty, But...

Could SOMEone please explain to me WHY Facebook status updates like "So-and-So is off to watch TV!!!!!" (buy groceries, cook dinner, flush the toilet - you get the point) get a bazillion exclamation points and 27,000 people "liking" it?!?

What is so stinkin' awesome about Sally Somebody going about her everyday activities? Do I know the only 3 people in the world who can come up with something interesting, hilarious, disturbing or challenging? Granted, I don't have 8,439 friends. My requirement for approving friend requests is that I actually know you, spend time with you, used to spend time with you and now don't due to life's circumstances, or attend some type of church/school/community activity with you. Maybe if I approved every person that ever lived, thought about living, or has still-living relatives, I could find someone with a life more interesting than the local real estate transfer log!

Worse - the people who "like" the boring activities! What?!? Can't you cook? Don't you shop? Never heard of coupon clipping? Darn it, people! Get lives! Read a book! Go skiing! Spend an afternoon on the Elderly Bench in Main Action Alley at Walmart! (Yes, there IS such a name. Gag.) Volunteer to wash windows at the local jail! Do SOMEthing, so you don't think your best friend from first grade is so dang great because she remembers how to blow her nose! (Unless she's had a stroke, in which case, great for her that she's recovered that important skill...it's ever so much better than using her sleeve, but do you REALLY believe that she had a stroke and forgot how to blow her nose but she is at Astounding Tutoring Farmer level in Farmville? You're so gullible!)

And what's with the church-sign mentality for status updates? ACK! If I want a Cotton-Candied Positive, Morally Uplifting, Spiritually Emotional, Biblically-Inaccurate, Intelligence-Devoid bit of Drivel, I'll drive by 94% of the churches in my county and pick my favorite. (Or listen to any number of popular televangelists, but we won't go there tonight - I don't want to lose my supper.)

And don't you DARE tell me what you're cooking for dinner! I Do. Not. Care. that you're considered the greatest chef since Teflon came along...feed your family. Leave us out of the meal planning! We all know you eat......

Geez, people! Watch a movie, and write down a funny line you hear. Quote it as your status. Not only will it make you appear funnier than you are - it will make people wonder what drug you just ingested.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Quiet, Please

Our television is on way more than I'd like for it to be. Actually, I'd dearly love to toss it to the curb.

In trying to get Dylan to remember where the volume button is located, I taught him to start at the far right button and count over three. (That's the DOWN button, as the only time we need the UP button is when a train is going by the house.)

I just overheard him saying "One, two, three" and miraculously, Bob the Tomato is no longer bellerin' into my living room about Larry the Cucumber's poor choices.



Encouragement that not everything I've done lately is a screw up.




- Image from google

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Peach Cobbler

No clue where my sister found this recipe, but it's really good, and quick. I like fast and easy.

Layer into a 9x13 greased pan, in order:

Peaches - 1 large and 1 small can, with juice

Butter pecan cake mix (just the mix, not the extra ingredients)

1 stick of melted butter

Coconut - however much you like

Pecans or walnuts - however much you like

Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. (My oven is wishy-washy, so check it at 30.) ;-)


Toss a little flour at your nose so you look industrious.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Do Age and Gravity Mess With These, Too?

I believe the Bible. I believe it is 100% accurate. I believe it is God's word to us. I believe that humans misinterpret it. Often.

Some times, the way things come full circle just cracks me up.

As a setup, please note that I spent my primary school years in a church-run school that sometimes took Scriptures just a wee bit out of context, and when that didn't work, they'd just make stuff up. Well-intentioned, perhaps, but thank goodness I have a brain and can figure this stuff out now!

There were lots of rules, especially about how one was supposed to dress. (Well, let me clarify. Mostly, the rules were about how FEMALES were supposed to dress.) I'm OK with rules, to an extent. I understand that law and order are paramount. I can tolerate minor irritation for the greater good. My parents didn't particularly agree with all the regulations, but they felt the good outweighed the bad.

So -

Monday through Friday, I donned my dress with sleeves below the elbows and length three inches past mid-knee. I was too young for makeup, but that wouldn't have been allowed, anyway. I left my forbidden open-toed shoes in my closet, and tamed my uncut, brunette tresses with Aquanet. Allowed color, automobiles, and running water, we confused some people who thought we were Amish.

Occasionally, we'd ask for the Biblical source of these dress standards.

On why women shouldn't cut their hair - "A woman's hair is her glory" 1 Corinthians 11:15 (King James Version) But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

On why women shouldn't wear pants - "Women shouldn't wear men's clothing" Deuteronomy 22:5 (King James Version) The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

On why jewelry wasn't allowed - "Women don't need jewelry to be beautiful" 1 Timothy 2:9-10 (King James Version) In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

My arguments against this rationale fell on deaf ears.

"If a woman's hair is her glory, then why do you twist yours up in a knot on the top of your head so no one can see how long it is?"

"Back in Bible times, I thought men wore long robes."

"Why is a strand of fake pearls around my neck bad, but you can wear the same kind on a barrette on your knotted head?"

All of those verses, when read in context, are logical. When used to validate the edicts...eh...not so much.

Remember I mentioned that if a Bible verse justifying an ordinance couldn't be found, things were just made up? Here's where it turns comical.

One of the tidbits that was shared along the way was the reasoning (?!?) behind the necessity of sleeves covering elbows. Apparently, elbows make men think about breasts.

There are verses in the Bible about breasts. Lots about sexuality, both proper and improper. Men's thoughts are mentioned a few times. But no where do I recall reading about elbows. It could be mentioned in Song of Solomon, I suppose, since he mentions just about every other body part. As beautifully gifted as he was with poetry, I'm not sure he would include elbows and breasts in the same sentence.

Over the years, I've conducted research. I've plunked my elbows on the table and asked people "What do these look like?" The eye-rolling and chortling that follow the explanation grows funnier the more I age.

But about that full circle thing I opened this post with...

Actually, I thought the breast-elbow connection was complete hogwash. Until my three year old son confirmed it.

Headed to the shower recently, I was holding the clothing I intended to wear for the day, including a particular undergarment worn on the upper portion of the female anatomy. Nothing slips by Dylan, and even though it was partially covered by my jeans and t-shirt, his vision honed right in.

"Hey Mom, are you gonna wear that on your elbows?"

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Annual Stalking of Bambi

Today is Testosterone Day in Ohio. More conventional people may also designate it as Orange Day, but I'm not real conventional. When you can sense it just by opening a living room window, it's T-Day.

I'm referring, of course, to Opening Day for deer hunting season.

It's guaranteed that if I drive anywhere in the next week, I will see several deer hanging from trees, dripping on garage floors, and lolling over pickup tailgates. (Especially the bucks. You NEVER put your tailgate up when you get a buck!)

Life demanded that I make an errand run today. My route took me past a house that is apparently a hot spot for hunters. Two mega-duty trucks pulled out in front of me, thick black exhaust rolling from the jumbo pipes rising above the cabs. Two more trucks waited for me to pass, so they could join the cavalcade. The drivers and passengers were sporting the universally recognized neon orange. One by one, they all turned the same corner. I envisioned fourteen overgrown boys piling out of the monster machines, smacking each other on the back, popping the lids off their Michelobs and reliving the take-down of the 12-pointer swinging from the tree in the front yard.

These men may or may not have surprised their wives with a bouquet of roses in the past fifteen years or spent a dime on a family movie night. Vacations to Disney or the Grand Canyon may be a foreign concept. But! By golly, they've had this week of vacation approved at work since the first of January. Every year. Without fail.

When I was in high school, all of my male classmates who hunted were allowed to take a free day on Opening Day. The notion of allowing the females the liberty to enjoy a day for shopping wouldn't have been entertained. Sure, the men were hunting and providing for the family. But we all know that's not why men pull on their boots and Carhartts and perch precariously in homemade tree stands in subzero weather waiting for the elusive stag to have an unfortunate meeting with the wrong end of a shotgun. The fact that the family gets a little deer jerky and enjoys a steaming pot of venison stew is a side benefit.

Several months ago, Tom brought home an eight point buck head that one of his friends at work had parted with. The friend was cleaning out the Man Cave. I'm not, by far, the best decorator in the world, but our house is not a log cabin or in the country. I wasn't thrilled with this monstrosity hanging on my wall. I appreciate benevolence, but...

Tiffany was even unsure what to think about it.




We recently came to an agreement, with the help of an acquaintance. This guy had reason to step on our front porch while the Thing languished in the bad weather, and upon noticing, he declared an immediate need for it. He desired to own it to the extent that he offered us his own deer, should he get one this year. When we didn't respond to his offer quickly enough, he increased it to include a really nice Pack-n-Play for Tiffany.

The Pack-n-Play is lovely girly colors and suits Tiffany perfectly. We're waiting for the call that will fill our freezer. And somewhere, there's an eight point buck hanging on a cabin wall, with a bunch of strong, tough Davy Crocketts beating their chests and telling fish...I mean...deer stories.

Granny, Help! My Bread is Terrible!

Typically, junk mail causes me to sigh, roll my eyes, head straight for the closest trash receptacle, maybe even get a blood pressure check...it rarely makes me smile.
There's one catalog, however, that always makes me chuckle.




My Granny was a junk-mail queen. Among her garage sale plastic flowers, Conway Twitty 8-tracks and homemade yarn kittens, we could always find items she purchased from Fingerhut. Trinkets, dust collectors, most of it junk. All Granny. She bought a lot of flowered hand towels, probably from Fingerhut. She cut them in half, crocheted across the top, attached a button so the towel could be looped over a drawer handle, and gave them away as gifts.




Granny was little more than a feather. Barely five feet tall, she probably weighed a hundred pounds on a good day. She struggled with heart disease and several other health concerns, so she didn't have a lot of good days in her last years. She may have been small, but she was anything but weak. She raised nine children. She worked in a diner on Broad Street in St. Louis, Missouri. When she felt well, she was always on the go.

When I was about ten years old, my mother took my younger sister and I, my aunt and her boys, and Granny to a local park. The kids were all playing on the swings and slide. Mom and Aunt Joyce decided to enjoy a trip down the slide as well. Not to be outdone, Granny nimbly climbed the steps and began the trek down the shiny metal. Apparently, Granny had, over the years, forgotten how to gracefully bring yourself to a halt at the bottom of the slide. KERPLUNK!! Into the dust Granny landed, directly on her tailbone, legs out straight in front of her. I can still see the look of complete shock on her face. As soon as her daughters were sure she wasn't badly injured, they did what all good children do when their seventy year old mother falls off a slide...they burst into raucous laughter.

Around this same time, I recall sitting in Doc's Place, an ice cream shop, in Homer, Michigan where I grew up. Granny was relaying to my mother a story that my aunt had shared with her. I do not have a clue what the story was about, but I can remember that it involved how gravity affects a woman's upper body parts. My grandmother, being the proper lady she sometimes was, didn't want to mention this issue in front of my sister and I, but she wanted to make the point to my mother. Sitting at the table across from me, grinning and eating her ice cream, she kept drawing her hand down her chest. "You know, how they...you know...fall...down". I'm not quite sure why she thought that I wouldn't know to what she was referring!

Granny made The. Best. Dinner. Rolls. Ever. THE BEST. Try as we might, no one in the family has ever been able to duplicate the taste of Granny's bread. Countless times, we asked her to write down her recipe. "Oh, you just throw a little of this and a little of that in and stir it all up."

So you can probably sense my frustration when my bread machine malfunctions on Thanksgiving Day and I get this! (Great for having Communion with the family, though!)



Granny has been gone for 21 years. She would love my children. They would love her fuzzy TV with rabbit ears, her crocheted slippers, her bread.




Granny, I miss you.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Those City Slickers Miss Out On All The Good Stuff!

The following incident was published in our local newspaper, and with the exception of * is verbatim.

*names and addresses changed to protect the innocent?*

"At 1:27 p.m. Saturday, Lady A, 83, 123 Letter Avenue, stopped at 234 Edgetown Road, in front of Unit 121, to let a passenger into her vehicle. Lady A's vehicle lurched forward, striking the garage door. A vehicle in the garage owned by Lady B, 234 Edgetown Road, was pushed forward. Lady A then attempted to back out of the garage rapidly. In doing so, her vehicle sped across the street and a yard, striking the house at Unit 172. She then pulled forward back across the yard, crossing the street in a 292-foot half-circle and coming to a stop in front of unit 109. Both vehicles sustained non-functional damage. Lady A was cited for failure to control."

I always knew Barney Fife was precise, but...292-foot half-circle???!?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Who Messed Up My Peanut Butter?




Seriously, am I the only one in the house that can successful remove peanut butter from the jar, without it looking like this? What are they using, a pitchfork?!?







Around here, it's typically referred to as "B-Bot" - one of the first words Dylan learned to say when he came to live with us. Spoonful upon spoonful, he never gets tired of it. (Thank goodness! It sure makes MY life easier!)




When I was little, I told my Dad if Heaven doesn't have PBJ's, I don't wanna go. While I've since grown up in my spiritual thinking a wee bit, I'm still hoping I get to lick grape jam off the spoon when I'm looking at my reflection in the gold streets. ;-)

Monday, November 2, 2009

OCC 2009

It's that time of year again.

My (probably) favorite children's mission project to support is Operation Christmas Child. Find the drop-off location nearest you on their website.

I hope that I can someday go on a delivery trip and see this amazing program firsthand.

Grab your empty shoe boxes, fill 'em up with good stuff, and bless a child this holiday season.

And Merry Christmas to ya'll, early.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Cake, or Next Time Someone Else Can Drive

Last week, we had Dylan and Tiffany's adoption party celebration. After 16 months of waiting to adopt them, 2 months of party planning, (well, really more than that, because I've been planning to plan a party for a very long time!) and a few hours of decorating and cooking, we pulled it off.

Other than knowing we'd get to introduce our new children to some friends we hadn't seen for quite some time, the biggest thing I was excited about was their cake.

When Dylan first came to live with us, he brought one change of clothes, a couple of diapers, and a couple of small trinkets that the police officers involved in the case had given to him. That was all.

When he got to our home, he attached to a small, stuffed Jo-Jo, from Disney's Jo-Jo's Circus very quickly. Jo-Jo went everywhere Dylan went. He played with her so much that her nose wore off, so then he kept her under his pillow all the time so her "broken nose" wouldn't lose more stuffing.

In planning the party, I decided to go with a circus theme, for two reasons:

1. It describes our family perfectly!!

2. I wanted to have a huge Jo-Jo cake made by a local cake artist. (I don't use the term artist lightly...she really does do great work!)

Sunday morning, we skipped church (Shhh!) and spent the morning finishing up for the party, which was beginning at 2 PM. I left the party spot, retrieved the cake, and headed back to the party spot.

The cake was gorgeous. Perfect. Jessica did a WONDERFUL job.

(Photo courtesy of a very smart cake maker named Jessica, since I didn't get one with it looking like this!)

This trip, half-way across our small town, should take approximately 1.3 minutes, although we do have a double train track, so it sometimes takes longer. There were no trains during this trip. And apparently, I was trying to shorten the time to 1.1 minutes, because my foot slipped off the brake pedal. This, of course, caused me to hit the brakes again, a little too hard...

Yeah, you know what happens next...

I heard it going, reached back to catch it, as it was sliding off my van seats (which had been laid down for this particular excursion)...

Yeah..




Yeah....



Tom managed to salvage Jo-Jo's face, at least. Everybody said "Oh, don't worry about it. The cake tastes fine."

In the great big grand scheme of life, the fact that this cake hit the floor doesn't matter one iota...

Still...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

To All Rude People, In Regards to My Daughter's Size

Dear people:

This is mother. Normally, I'm friendly, but today I'm a little irritated with ya'll.

My daughter, while she does have her moments, is generally not a rude person. She would most likely not walk up to you and say things like:

"You're fat."

"You're short."

"You need to eat less."

Because, while those things may all be quite true, she isn't mean. (Unless she's on drugs. Then all bets are off. Mean, or humorous. You decide.

She probably also wouldn't say things like:

"You have on 2 shirts."

"Your clothes match."

"Your hair looks funny."

...or any number of other simple observations...

Because, for one thing, she figures you have a mirror, and you can see these things for yourself, if you bother to use that mirror.

So let me give you some advice.

Shut up!

It's not necessary for you to point out that she's tall, slim, and fashionably dressed.

Oh, and also...

Quit asking me if I feed her.

Or I'm going to punch you.

Sincerely,
Mom

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

Madness

Could we just make it a rule that all the stupid people in Washington have to go live at Guantanamo Bay?

Seriously. Our country is trillions of dollars in debt, and they're worried about THIS???

Oh good grief!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More Things That Shouldn't Be

Something just doesn't seem quite right here...





At a place where I can fill up my tank...




and get the van washed...




I can also use my food stamps. (Well, if I had food stamps, that is...)

Yeah, plenty of great healthy food at this place!! (I'm warning ya...do NOT get me started on making me pay for my neighbor's pop and potato chips! It won't be pretty, and at the very least, the innocent clerk at the grocery store should get the striped shirt for free if she has to play referee!)

But first, I'd like to suggest a consultation with a marketing professional, or maybe hiring someone slightly skilled in creating coherent signage.

Am I getting the special of the day, a good car wash? (Why would I want a bad one?)
Is gas only $2.00? Is that per gallon or per tank?
Are the cigarettes the deal, or are we playing some kind of 3-pack card game?
Is there a qualification process for the free lighter?



Am I the only one around here that thinks this is a little wacked?!?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Why You Should Choose Your TV Shows Carefully

We absolutely LOVE the Carol Burnett show. There was a 48 hour marathon on a few years ago, and we recorded a large portion of it. We've watched it over and over. Yeah, there's some scenes that are most assuredly NOT child-friendly...that's what they put a fast-forward button on the remote.

Savannah can do a pretty darn good Carol impression, and it cracks us up every time. In one of the episodes, Carol and Harvey Korman are sitting in a diner, and he has just been released from prison. Carol is portraying some loud-mouthed, gum-cracking floosie girlfriend and Harvey is nervous about attracting attention to himself. Seated at a table behind them is a biker guy. Carol raises her voice and sarcastically drawls something about "motahcycles and moooorons, moooorons and motahcycles". When Savannah repeats this, she gets the voice inflections PERFECTLY and we simply double over laughing.

Tonight, Tom and I were out walking with Tiffany and Dylan. The kids were happily riding in their little trailer while we strolled through our small town. Well, actually Dylan kept asking to go home, and I have no clue what was up with THAT, but we just kept telling him to shush it or we'd walk all night. The one police officer on duty passed us no fewer than 3 times. He waved each time, I think. See, they do like us!

Almost done with our walk, after a good hour of exercise, Tiffany was torturing Dylan with hair pulls, so Tom helped Dylan out of the trailer and he walked the remainder of the way home. Our house is on the same street as one of the two bars in town. This bar just so happens to be the tavern where bikers routinely hang out...LOTS of bikers. As we rounded the corner and the bar came into view, Dylan noticed a lone motorcycle parked outside the door of the fine drinking establishment. What didn't phase him was that there were three men standing within ten feet of the door.

"Motowcycwes and mowons...mowons and motowcyces...Dat what Sissy say!!!"


...........



We were not within earshot of these guys, but they're probably wondering why I was attempting to contain my grin when we walked by and said "Hi". My voice was only slightly squeaky.

Did I mention I was headed to Stuffmart to buy Zips, per Dylan's request a few days ago??? (Apparently when I tell him to "zip it" he thinks that's a possibility.)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Real Thing

If Reality TV, and specifically Contest-Type Reality TV, has it's way with America, soon there will be no free time to leave the 63-inch HD set and go to the bathroom. The recent season premieres of several popular shows proves my point. "Tune in to watch the 3-night season premiere of Dancing With The Stars!"

Wow! 3 nights to view the return of a show, followed by the mind-numbing, butt-widening 2-3 nights weekly of the same show, for the next several months.

It's entirely possible, especially with the magic of DVR, to watch reality TV 24 hours a day, on any possible topic your mind could conjure. I'm pretty sure I know some people who are testing that theory, give or take a few side-trips to McDonalds and StuffMart!

We started watching American Idol during the CLAY SHOULD HAVE WON 2nd season. Due to moves and various other activities, we missed episodes and, some years, entire seasons, but still managed to mostly stay in the loop through relatives and entertainment news. We saw Daughtry get booted when he shouldn't have. Tom accurately predicted during auditions that Taylor Hicks would land the top spot. For the life of me, I couldn't tell you the current Idol.

A friend told us about Dancing With The Stars, so we tuned in to that midway through the 2nd season. Waaaay cool, Savannah and I both loved it. It didn't take long, though, for me to start pondering the whole concept of DWTS. Yes, it's a competition, albeit with a cheesy trophy for the winner. Yes, it's fun. Yes, it's beautiful. But many of the other things that it is go directly against who I am as a Christian wife and mother.

If it's true that people are influenced by what they see on TV, (we are - bought anything you've seen advertised on TV lately?) then it stands to reason that might include negative influence. Call me crazy, but it doesn't seem logical to teach my daughter to be ladylike, and then let her watch Cheryl and Drew grind all over each other to "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy". It doesn't make much sense to talk to my boys about respecting women, when the TV set is showing Edyta and Karina's attempts to recover from their costume malfunction.

While a once-in-a-while viewing most likely won't corrupt the kids' minds, a steady diet of skimpy clothing and often overtly sexual dance acts does not reinforce our values, and does nothing to honor God. So, where do I draw the line? What is ok to watch, what is questionable and why, what is a possible learning experience, and what is definitely off limits? It isn't just my kids that need the limits, either. I, like my children, am vulnerable to letting something ungodly impact my life, and therefore affect my relationships. Can I continually watch DWTS, where the women are all put together, have gorgeous bodies, and can turn a man on with their dancing, and not compare myself to that? Probably not. In my head, I KNOW my value is not based on how I look, but society tells me otherwise, and I sometimes fall for that lie.

I do not attempt to shelter my children from all situations that could be construed as negative influence. Children need opportunities to make choices, right or wrong, when consequences are small, to help prepare them for making (hopefully) right decisions when the stakes are higher. I don't tell my children "we shouldn't do THAT" without giving them explanations WHY we shouldn't do whatever it is we're discussing.

I don't think dancing is evil. (If you know how I was raised, you'll find that comical.) Actually, one of my secret (until now!) fantasies has, for years, been for Tom and I to take ballroom dancing lessons. It is beautiful, and extremely sexy. If I could convince him to accompany me, I would put myself through the pain and torture. Not to be on display for other people, but simply for us.

Over the past 2 years, changes in our family lifestyle and budgeting issues have forced us to be out of the house during Primetime Television on many nights. What I've discovered - well, it hasn't been so much of a discovery as it has been a confirmation - is that we're just plain not missing all that much.

So while I appreciate the offer, ABC, I'm going to have to pass on this "Television Event of the Season". Your reality is just So. Not. Mine.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

These Things Ought Not To Be

Going through my boys' psychology book with them...it reads "Psychology is more than just lying on a therapist's couch discussing why you hate your mother." They bust up laughing.

One child thought he would escape Logic homework by declaring that it was too confusing. Maybe by class completion, his excuse repertoire will have expanded.

Perusing the shelves at Barnes and Noble yesterday, I noticed that the MENSA crossword puzzles were in the same section as the Rubik's Cube, which included a How-to-Solve DVD.

That's how my week is going. How's yours? ;-)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What Will $568 Get You?

In America, five hundred bucks will pay for a couple of annual trips to the vet for your dog, complete with vaccinations, heart worm pills, and flea medicine. If you're lucky.

In America, five hundred bucks will cover two nights and a tasty dinner on a romantic getaway trip in gorgeous Hocking Hills, Ohio.

In America, five hundred bucks will let you walk out of a chain-store with a pretty decent television set during Black Friday sales.

In America, five hundred bucks will buy you a really cute handbag. The matching cell phone cover and wallet will run you another couple hundred each.

In India...

Five hundred bucks will buy a surgical procedure so that a gorgeous little boy named Justin can walk.


Can you help? Do you know someone who can?

Sarah has links in her sidebar with information on donating (resources, funds or services) to her ministry. Prayer is always especially appreciated!

Thank you! ;-)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hallmark, Please Take Notice or You're Fired!

My Circle of Friends includes many families who have adopted, or plan to adopt, one or more children. This is a BIG DEAL. Promise!!

So when I went looking for an Adoption card at my local Stuffmart the other day, I was more than a little perturbed that not ONE card celebrating one of the most momentous occasions in family life was available.

I found plenty of the general run of the mill cards...
Birthdays, anniversaries, marriage, baby showers, engagement announcements...

There were other celebrated events represented...
Bar Mitzvahs (obviously being mailed out of our county - our Jewish population isn't huge here)
New homes (yeah, THOSE cards are flying right off the shelves these days!)
Moving away (Think my neighbors would get the hint, if I sent one to them?)
Moving back (Apparently some people LIKE their in-laws)
New job (Ha! Unemployment rate in our county is the state's highest, at 17.5%)

You can also find some great cards for your pets to send to each other, your friend's mother's brother's uncle who treated you like one of the family, coming out of the closet, and having your gall bladder xrayed prior to surgery to remove your heart of stone, and apparently these occasions are all MORE IMPORTANT THAN ADOPTION! More power to ya! I just want a dang adoption celebration card. Guess I'll make my own! It'll be prettier, anyway.

We didn't know it, but my sister and two of my nieces were waiting outside the courtroom when we finalized our adoptions last week. When we exited the door, there they were with balloons and stuffed animals for Dylan and Tiffany, and Hershey's Bars for the rest of us. Had my younger sister been closer than 1200 miles, she would have been there, too. They both had pictures of my kids on their Facebook pages within hours. Now THAT's what I'm talking about! It's a big deal!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Introducing...

Thanks for waiting so patiently! Without further ado...here are our babies!







Growing up, I had a List of Names I Plan to Name My Children. The list was rather long, and I fully intended to utilize every name on it. When I married Tom, his list wasn't quite as long as mine, but he didn't run away screaming when I mentioned it. We didn't have a specific number of children in mind, but we both knew we wanted several. The only name he talked about using was Preston. Try as he might to convince me it was in honor of the trucking company, he eventually had to confess to hearing it in the movie Tucker: The Man and His Dreams.

When I was about 11, I watched an episode of Little House on the Prairie that featured a teenage boy named Dylan. I loved the name, and it immediately went on my List. I planned to combine it with Michael, as my closest cousin bore that name. (Even though he was 5 years younger than me, we shared a special bond that probably had much to do with him ALMOST getting away with cutting my stringy, long hair when I was about 10 or so. My brother, unfortunately, saw Michael sneak the scissors into the room, and put an immediate stop to it. Darn it all, but that's neither here nor there for purposes of this story.)

Tom had no problem with the name Michael, but he wasn't so crazy about Dylan. It reminded him of the singer Bob Dylan. Not being aware of anything more than the fact that there IS a singer named Bob Dylan, I wasn't qualified to determine if one of our children should be saddled with the same name, so I left that choice to him. Each time I was pregnant, however, I would ask again if we could name our baby boy Dylan Michael. The answer was always "No".

So the children arrived. (For proof, see the sidebar ---->)

Preston Thomas - naturally, Daddy's namesake. Fine. I like it.

Emmanuel Lucas - compromised, because Daddy wanted Clayton, and I didn't care for it all that much, so we sat down together with a baby name book. Emmanuel is only Emmanuel when he's in trouble, however, as he prefers Bucky, his nickname from birth.

Gabriel Timothy - again, compromised, because I had agreed to Clayton this time, but still didn't really care for it. Daddy acquiesced when Mommy had to endure 48 hours of labor and an emergency C-section. Timothy is a family name on both sides. Gabriel is a Biblical angel, Gabe has Angelman Syndrome...yes, I do look for the small connections.

Savannah Renee - a name on my List from early on, chosen after seeing the previews of the movie Savannah Smiles, which I never even watched until after she was born. Renee is my niece and my high school best friends' middle name. And obviously, Dylan wouldn't have been a good choice for a female.

Then the babies stopped. Having 4 children in 5 years tends to make one rethink their List, and the worsening post partum depression with each pregnancy played a major role in our decision to save some of the cool names for other people.

If you've been around here for very long, you know that we didn't stop wanting more children just because we made the final decision to not birth more. You know that we now have 2 more children, placed here courtesy of the Ohio Foster Care System. You also know that we received adoption approval for those 2 children a few months ago.

Today, I can introduce you to the newest members of our family.



At 9 AM this morning, our two babies legally became our children.



After a 16 month, 19 day waiting period, the adoption is final and they share our last name.



Our babies are biological siblings. Our little boy came to us on April 9, 2008. His birth mother was pregnant at the time. On July 7, she gave birth to a little girl, who came to live with us at 9 days of age.

We changed their last name only. Our daughter's name is Tiffany Navayah.

...and our little boy's name?

Dylan Michael.



Is my God good, or what?!?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Updated Homeschool Rules for 2009

I am a home school mom. So when ya'll do that "I'llbesogladwhenschoolstartsthesekidsaredrivingmenuts!!$#%^!!" thing, please stand your distance, because I just might pick up the nearest very large stick and whack you with it! The start of the school year means something totally different for me. To ensure that I maintain my sanity...wait, what am I saying, here?!? OK, OK, to try and appear a tadbit sane so I can fool...oh, forget it, that won't work either...
Let's try this again... For the benefit of my children, my brain, and my house, the following rules apply during normal school hours, which I believe are Monday through Friday prior to 3 PM...

1. I probably won't answer the phone, but you can leave a message and I'll call you back when I have a moment. Long discussions on dancing celebrities and political fallout won't be happening, though.

2. We have voicemail, not an answering machine. So don't yell into the phone, thinking you can annoy us enough that we'll quit ignoring you. We ARE ignoring you, but I'll never hear your complaints because I press "3" when I hear yelling on voicemail.

3. Cell phones owned and/or operated by children living at this address will not be turned on, and will most likely be in the possession of the teacher.

4. Drop-in visitors will be shot at first sight. So if your laundry detergent can't remove neon pink paint, don't step on our front porch.

5. I just might actually NOT answer the door if you attempt to break Rule #4. (We've got good aim - watch the upstairs windows.)

6. Our school day does not look like what you remember from 5th grade. If you drive by and see one of the kids playing in the street, just Smile and wave, Boys. Smile and wave. (well, if they're on a skateboard...if it's one of the babies, please...at least stop and direct them to the sidewalk. Do not call the social workers, though...they're the ones who put the babies here to begin with...they think they're cute, but they don't want them back.)

7. Field trips may include a trip to Stuffmart for diapers and coffee creamer. Don't question it. Just go with the flow, and appreciate a family that teaches their children the Fine Art of Shopping, Economics, and People Watching all at one time.

8. If you REALLY want to help out, come over and take the babies for a morning. Visit Story Hour at the library. They like playgrounds, indoors or out. They like french fries, too.

9. Sometimes the kids get to escape for lunch with friends. Usually on Friday, IF they've cooperated with the teacher during the week. So encourage them to cooperate, or they may starve to death. From lack of spending time with friends, I'm sure.

10. School work includes learning how the REAL world lives, which equates to a JOB. If you see the kids hauling a mower down the street, it ain't for entertainment.

11.Combining teenage students with infants has been a challenge this past year. It's a constantly re-assessed and rearranged work-in-progress. I may chuck it all and head for the hills by October. Please don't look for me. I'm enjoying my blissful ignorance, and the coffee supply is endless.

The school administrator will take complaints. He's big, bald and sees in black and white. Good luck.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with...whatever you want to call this. We're here to serve.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Playin' Around...

Why is it that when you buy your girl something like this...



...she'd rather play with something like this...



And when you buy your boy something like what the girl likes to play with, he'd rather do things like this...



...and this...




Cardboard boxes and tin foil...that's what they're gettin' for Christmas this year!

Monday, July 6, 2009

I Bet Mayberry Didn't Have This Kind of Citizen

This is another one of those "What makes people tick?" posts. The kind in which I make a slight attempt to figure someone out in writing, then admit defeat and just go with laughing at how foolish they are, and feeling bad about how sad they must feel inside.

We've lived in this house for a little over 5 years. We've had the same neighbors since we arrived at this address. The family to the east of us is very nice. One kid. Both parents work full time. Typical American people. The people to the west of us...

Mid 50's, OTR truck-driver man, chain smoker, beer can ever present, filthy mouth...wife generally never comes out of the house except for a post office run...hopefully NOT typical American people!

They. Hate. Us.

(For the record, we have NEVER had issues with our neighbors. Never. None. We've had quiet neighbors, loud neighbors, druggy neighbors, churchy neighbors...we've invited, and been invited, to neighborly dinners...We're fun people.)

What we AREN'T...is politically correct, or particularly particular about our yard, our vehicles, or our children's outdoor toys. We also aren't prone to letting other people dictate how we live, or how we take care of our yard, our vehicles, or our children's outdoor toys. This has landed us on the fecal roster with our neighbors due west. Not caring that we're in this present predicament has only made it worse.

We are not your average American family. We have 6 kids. We are foster parents. We drive vehicles more than a decade old. Our kids aren't involved in 37 sports. Mom and Dad are in charge. We're home more than we're gone. (Well, not Dad - Dad works a lot to keep food on the table.) We also inhale and exhale several times throughout the day. And there's the problem.

These neighbors seem to think that the local police department has nothing better to do than listen to them complain about us. They have filed some of the most ridiculous, albeit hilarious, complaints.

*Gabe's home health aide blocks the sidewalk with her car.
A: The car was a Geo Metro - TINY
B: No one's using the sidewalk at 5 in the morning, anyway, even if she DID block it.

*They found pears in their yard that our kids threw.
A: I watched squirrels carrying pears from our trees all over the neighborhood.
B: Our kids were throwing APPLES at bats to watch them swoop down. They weren't anywhere near the neighbors yard.

*They went to village offices to request we be required to obtain a building permit for Preston to slap 5 boards up between the shed and a tree and call it a fort.

*Tom stands outside while she's mowing, staring at her, to make sure she doesn't come over on our property.
A: She rarely mows. He does it. (Probably to get away from her screeching.)
B: Tom has way better things to do in life than deny people the privilege of mowing our yard.
C: Tom's good, but he doesn't have telepathic powers strong enough to keep a riding lawn mower carrying a chubby middle-aged woman from veering onto our lawn.

*We, particularly our children, harass her so much she doesn't even come outside anymore because we drive her crazy. Our children smile and wave at her. They look at her through the (our!) windows.
A: She doesn't come outside anyway. She's very reclusive.
B: Naughty kids, you, smiling at the grouchy lady!

*We park our vehicles in our driveway, which isn't a driveway, and they can't see to back out of theirs.
A: Hrm...gravel, dirt, tire tracks...looks like a driveway to me.
B: Police officer checked the backing situation by pulling the cruiser into their driveway and checking sight line. HE had no problems, and documented that.

The list could go on, but I should save some web space for other people. Otherwise I'd be accused of being selfish.

Speaking of being accused...we've been told:

*We're stupid
*We're poor
*We're bringing down the whole neighborhood
*We should help the boys fill out McDonalds and Wendys applications because that's their future. (Because we home school) (This irritated the police chief, who was happy to point out that, on average, home schooled students do better than publicly-schooled children in a variety of ways. As my sister said, "It's good to have Barney Fife on your side.")
*It's nice to have money, so they can use their dryer instead of hang clothes outside.

These people are just plain mean. I've never met anyone like them. I can't comprehend how people can act this way, because I'm just not a nasty person. I'll admit to having grouchy days, especially when there's no coffee around, but I'm not a mean-spirited person. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, but this couple just begs for the snark to come out of me! Have they ALWAYS been this way? Why in the world would they get married if they're both so nasty? They just prove that Misery Loves Company. How sad!

We have had several people suggest that we apply to Extreme Home Makeover for a home redo. (Not that our house is crumbling, but we could for SURE use a better layout for Gabe, and it's an old home that needs a lot of repair. More rooms for foster kids would be great, too.) BUT!! Who wants to be chained to these neighbors forever??!? No, when EHM decides to do a complete relocation, maybe THEN we'll apply! My request would be - move us just outside city limits, in a NON-extravagant home that doesn't require outrageous taxes, and turn this place into a Village Park.

If these neighbors think 6 kids are bad, let them deal with the whole town playing basketball in their back yard!

Friday, June 26, 2009

P. Allen Smith I am NOT

I bought these flowers less than 3 weeks ago. They were beautiful! And only $12! I hung them on my porch. Thank goodness I took pictures of them! Because..........



...obviously, my green thumb is sorely lacking something necessary to keeping plants alive!




Can you over water petunias? Is that really even an issue, when I don't remember to water them everyday, AND there's a hole in the bottom of the pot to drain extra water?

On the upside, though, my vegetable garden looks pretty good, so I'm not a complete failure...so far!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

See Bucky See Chicago

See Bucky.

See Bucky when he's in Chicago for his 16th birthday and has a splitting headache.





See Bucky when he's trying to find his bus from the top of Sears Tower.





See Bucky when he's standing outside Briar Street Theatre with his dad after watching Blue Man Group.





See Bucky try to stay warm on the Tall Ship Windy, while Bucky's mom grins at him.




See Bucky eat.




See Bucky's Mom and Dad not even trying to keep straight faces while standing next to a very strange-looking man who DID keep a straight face for TWO SOLID HOURS without SAYING A WORD...(Bucky's mom could never perform in this theatre!)






See Bucky's very, very small self staring up into the Bean at Millennium Park.




See Bucky not be able to stop the smile when his mom is trying to force one on him.





See Bucky stand, quite casually, in Union Station, one of the most beautiful buildings in Chicago.



See Bucky with some unintentional cool special effects.




See Bucky laughing at the waiter in Ed Debevic's, where the insults flow faster and wilder than the drinks.




See Bucky possibly auditioning for BMG in the future.






See Bucky and his parents at Millennium Park.




See Bucky enjoying the view of the river and Navy Pier from his hotel room.




See Bucky eat.



See Bucky after eating.



See Bucky make crazy faces at his mom.



See Bucky eat. Again and again and again.



Chicago made us come home. They had no food left. But we had fun.

The End.