Saturday, January 31, 2009

What My Daughter Googles in Her Dreams

Savannah recently went to the pharmacy with me to retrieve Gabe's prescriptions. While we were waiting, she noticed the sign promoting the flu vaccine.

"OOOOoooo! For only $14.99, we'll inject you with toxins!"

Yesterday morning, she came downstairs laughing.

"Mom, I had this really stupid dream. I dreamed we were all at Teresa's house, and Mindy and some of the other foster moms were there. They had put up signs on all of Teresa's doors. They said, 'We support the flu shot'. I went around and put signs on the backs of all the doors. They said, 'I don't support the flu shot. Google it'."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Seatbelts Required

Our children have known for years that Mom and Dad will not be supplying a car for their 16th birthday. They've been told since early childhood that the age at which they're allowed to get their license depends on their behavior in the years prior to reaching driving age. Driving is considered a privilege, prior to adulthood, in our home. (Call us crazy, but if a teenager is slamming doors when they're angry at a sibling for borrowing a treasured article of clothing without permission, I highly doubt it's in the public's best interest to hand over the keys to the Mercedes to the petulant tyke. Ok, it's not a Mercedes, and the boys are past the tyke stage, but go with me on this one...) There's just much to be said about self-control.


The kids have also been aware that, as the parental units (the apparent popular way to refer to one's parents these days) see driving privileges as a prize to be earned, the prize-winner would be contributing the required funds to attain the aforementioned prize. Definition: Mom and Dad aren't paying for the permit, classes, license, car, gas, repairs or insurance. If we needed the boys to drive, rules might be different, but convenience is the only reason I see them needing to drive for me, and that just isn't a big enough need.

Anyone who knows the boys at all can attest to the differences in their personalities. Preston is like his Dad - he enjoys his alone time. Bucky is like his Mom - he needs social contact frequently. Preston's pretty good at saving money. Bucky can save money temporarily. Preston likes to weigh the pros and cons. Bucky likes to figure it out as he goes.

Preston sees no purpose in spending all the money to get his license now, when he doesn't need to drive and has no car. His theory is "Why should I spend money when my parents take me wherever I need to go?" - that theory is fine, for now, because he doesn't need to go very far. Of course, once he actually needs to get a job, that will change, but his theory is workable for the time being.

Bucky, on the other hand... not content to wait till he's 18 to get his license. The first step accomplished, he now holds his permit. Cost - $22.00

It will take him a while to save the money for classes. Last time I checked, the cost was over $300.00 and he's broke right now. He'll have plenty of time for practicing. With Dad.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Why DO All the Cows Have Udders in that Movie???

Having not come anywhere near mastering the art of ridding his body of waste products in a manner fit to be discussed in public, Little Mister D is none-the-less skillful in his defense of such problems.

Why, just this morning, as Mommy was changing his rather rankish behinder into something fresher, said Mommy oh-so-kindly stated "D, your butt smells like a barnyard."

D, not missing a beat - "I wike Barnwad. I git pig dare."

Yes, the speech has progressed nicely. Or not.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fast Forward One Year

Had you told me this time last year that I would be buying diapers and bottles and potty seats and pink newborn outfits and size 7 Spiderman shoes and cribs and infant car seats and sippy cups and doorknob safety covers and all the other supplies that come with two babies, I would have laughed and said, "Whatever".

Had you told me that these two babies would be siblings born to a drug addicted mother who loves her children very much, I would have raised my eyebrows and said "Yeah, right!"

Had you told me that, aside from a speech delay that is now resolved, the 2 year old would be advanced in all areas of development, I would have asked for a second opinion.

Had you told me that the newborn would show absolutely no signs of drug addiction, I would have requested every available test be performed.


Upstairs right now, sleeping safely in their beds, are two of the six most beautiful children ever born. They were not in our home this time last year. The mother who gave them life knows that she faces a very hard battle, and she hopes to overcome her addictions. Only time will tell if she is successful. She does not want her children spending that time without a permanent family to care for them. The father who created these children is rumored to feel the same way, but circumstances have not allowed that decision to be finalized yet.

During the past nine months, I have come to love these children just like I cherish the children I carried inside me for 9 months.


My little boy kissed everyone goodnight, took his Jo-Jo, his Chrissy Jo-Jo, his Big Blue, his Little Blue, and his Purple Monkey and walked upstairs with Daddy, where he prayed for happy dreams. Daddy tucked him under the covers, latched the gate so he won't escape downstairs to watch cartoons unsupervised, and left the room.

My baby girl snuggled into my arms with her bottle and her pink silky blankie and fell asleep as I rocked her. I carried her to her crib and covered her up with a blanket her brother Gabe gave her. She sighed, and I left the room.

Tomorrow morning,

My baby girl will giggle at me, show me her dimples, and reach to pinch my face when I pick her up from the bed. My little boy will stand at the gate calling "Mommy. I get up now. I waked up. I get Jo-Jo." until I come and release him from his confinement.

I will kiss them, because that's what Mommies do.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cream and Sugar?

It's not much of a secret that I have an addiction to coffee. To make it easier to justify, I like to call it a healthy love affair rather than an addiction.

(It just wouldn't be healthy or proper for me to stalk this man.)

I didn't always drink my breakfast, but as I apparently am required to be awake to sufficiently care for my family, I caved to genetics* and began consuming the energizing beverage several years ago.

*My mother always had a napkin with a coffee cup ring on it sitting on her sewing machine table. My sisters and I would come home from school and there would be 3 matching dresses hanging on the sewing room door that had not been there when we left at 7:30 that morning. The dashboard of my father's pickup was littered with Styrofoam cups. I can almost smell the faint scent of McDonald's coffee that permeated the cab of his work truck. He convinced me when I was a kid that his vehicle just automatically turned into the drive-thru every day on his way home from a paint job.

Tom and I had a coffee maker that sat, unused except for company, for a few years after our wedding. Then along came the babies, and after the arrival of Savannah, Mr. Coffee became a permanent fixture on the counter top.

Tom worked 3rd shift the first twelve years of our marriage, so naturally he drank a lot of the sludge. He needed it to stay awake, and it really does smell good - I'll blame him for a portion of my problem. We both love to wake up to the smell of fresh coffee. He, more than I.* My addiction used to be more pronounced in the winter, so I kept a "winter" (12 cup) coffee maker, and a "summer" (4 cup) coffee maker available. Preston and Bucky occasionally like to partake of a cup with us, so we just use the big one all the time now. (I also now drink just as much coffee in warmer weather as I do in cooler weather, but who's counting??!?)

*For a short period of time, Tom decided we should have a Bed-n-Breakfast bedroom. His version was simple - take

the summer coffee maker

upstairs and keep a supply of ground coffee, filters, and a gallon of water under the bed. The preparations would all be in place before he went to sleep at night. In the morning, his alarm would go off, and without a word being said, he'd roll over. I'd hear him hit the snooze with his hand and start the coffee pot with his foot. In a few seconds, I'd hear "pssssssssss...." as the water began trickling into the carafe. This went on for several days, until one morning, listening to the chain of events take place in the darkness that is 5:00AM, I could contain my mirth no longer and simply burst into laughter. Shortly after that, he quit making coffee upstairs, and our bedroom returned to it's previous place in our domicile as Just the Room in Which We Sleep. I have no idea why.

I used to just drink the plain stuff, and while I still like a simple cup of coffee every now and then, my disease has progressed to the point that I now require special treatment. Where once I used to be able to survive on this,

now I use this.

Where once I used to speak daily with Mr. Coffee, my husband knew that Mr. Coffee could no longer fulfill the requirements I have for kitchen appliances, so he enabled me with this.

And you almost ALWAYS find something like this in my fridge.

Every once in a while, usually on a blustery winter evening when I happen to have time to read a good book, I might stray off the beaten path and shake things up a bit with some of this.

But lest you think I've drifted so far over the edge of sanity there's no hope for my return, be assured that I find useful ways to recycle various coffee-related articles. For instance, the larger containers of the plain-jane coffee make excellent storage devices for baby bottles.

Aware of the need to become more "green", another efficient use that I've discovered for run-of-the-mill coffee buckets is composting. Keep one of these suckers sitting by your kitchen sink, and toss in your leftover scraps from making juice, scrambled eggs and ....are you ready for this??....COFFEE!! Voila! Instant mush for your garden!

Now on the off chance that you think I'm not treating my body in a healthy manner, let me just say that I drink all this in an effort to retain my brain power. Granted, it would help if I could actually FIND my brain to begin with, but if I am ever successful at that endeavor, at least I'll be geared up for making sure I don't wind up suffering with dementia when I'm 80. And I've got proof!!!

So! Back off, all you naysayers! I'll be just fine.

where did I set my cup down?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Blizzards Aren't Just at Dairy Queen

What I'm dreaming about...longing for...wishing Tom and I were living...

What I'm actually living...


Ah, but I'm learning... working on my attitude, remember?

It's beautiful. But I sure would like to work on my attitude while lying on a beach looking at pictures of snow.


It's been a very long two weeks. Thank you to everyone who prayed, called and sent care packages.

After experiencing 2 massive strokes, followed by more surgery, Tammy passed away last Friday evening.

Due to the hazardous weather conditions in our area over the past week, her funeral was slightly delayed. We will have her funeral and burial this coming Friday.

While we are sad that Tammy is no longer with us, we know she's in Heaven today - and I'm bettin' it's a whole lot warmer up there!

I hope to return to my regularly scheduled personality disorder programming soon.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Pray for Tammy

Tom's sister Tammy is in Cleveland Clinic Foundation Cardiac Intensive Care. (A very brief history: She's had heart problems since childhood, and had undergone open heart surgery as a teenager, and again about 4-5 years ago. She has recently been having additional health problems, and the doctors were planning to operate again later this month.) Yesterday she had to be taken to CCF for emergency surgery where they found infection around her heart. She is currently on full life support. She had to have further surgery today to remove blood clots, which will continue to be an issue as long as she remains on the heart machine. The doctors are saying they want to keep her on the support for 10 days at least, when they will decide if they should give her an artificial heart. They are saying she will need a heart transplant in the future, but have not yet placed her name on the waiting list. She is at times responding to requests to open her eyes.

We appreciate your prayers for Tammy and her husband Chris, and for her doctors.

Do I Have To?

This time last year, I waxed philosophical (Sorry, Phil - I know that was painful!) and blabbed about a few things I wanted to accomplish in 2008.

How did I fare? Well...

1. Plant a garden with more than tomatoes and zucchini. Not intentional, but sometimes you have to take what you get! - ROFL!! I found out later this was probably a pumpkin...???? Maybe??

2. Start and FINISH making our bedroom look like a bedroom, and not a catch-all. Somewhere I have pictures, but I can't find them. It's still a bit of a catch-all, but at least the walls look nice! We did get a remodeled bathroom, though! It has so much more room for Gabe to move around! And my washer and dryer are upstairs now! Wow!!

3. Help raise significant funds for Gabe's school to build a new
facility. Must have team cooperation - I don't know who the team is. Maybe next year?

4. Have a ton of fun celebrating Preston's 16th birthday. Yes, we did!!

5. Find a new(er) van that has 2 doors on the driver's side!! (long teenage legs...) Nothing yet...gotta be soon, though! We can no longer go anywhere as a family without driving 2 vehicles...

6. Help Ron Paul win big. We did our best! Funny how he was ignored in the media until the Bailouts became Top News...then he was all over television. He's doing lots of good things, though! Pay attention to what he says - he's a very smart man.

7. Help Savannah improve her sewing skills. She's working on it.

8. Spend a long weekend away with Tom. (Florida???) It wasn't Florida, but Tom did plan a surprise weekend away for us in May, right down to the sitters! We fought off the vicious raccoons while camping at Pokagon. No kids, no cooking...My husband is wonderful!

9. Locate some indoor skateparks for Bucky. Still looking...any ideas?

10. Adopt a child. (We're approved, licensed, and ready, ya know!) April 9th - got Mister D; July 16th - got his sister Baby T; November 17th - biological mother voluntarily surrendered parental rights; December - biological father extradited back to Ohio for court hearings; WE WAIT...

11. Finish paying off Bucky's braces, the bike, and various small bills. Progess made.

12. While we're at it, paying off the house would be a HUGE answer to prayer. I dream big! Still dreamin'...

13. Follow God in dealing with a particular family situation and find peace. Hard to know how to handle - so many people affected in so many ways...

14. Be a Godly influence to my children's friends. I'm sure hoping it's a godly influence! Recently one of Bucky's friends told him that he thinks Tom and I smoke pot because "No one can be that happy ALL the time!" ROFL!!!!

15. Send Christmas cards! Does buying them last year, losing them, and finding them again count for ANYthing?

16. Have family pictures taken! As evidenced by the photos on this blog, we have not experienced any professional photo shoots this year!

So what's on the agenda for 2009?

I'm thinking about it.

At the top of my list is improving my attitude. I have such a hard time reading the book of James, because I really hate being slapped in the face. If I didn't have so many people getting in my way and annoying me, I wouldn't need to bite my tongue now, would I???!?? Hard as I've tried to convince myself, being separate doesn't mean I can go on extended vacation. Drat! Guess that rules out living in solitude in the Fiji Islands.

I have no more room on my list - this is gonna take a lot of work!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Snowman Party of Five, Please

Savannah has lots of friends, but the ones she's the closest to are Ivy and Emily, twin sisters that she met when she attended St. Patrick School, and The Other Savannah, whom she met when she attended the local now-defunct (for her age group) homeschool co-op. Last year she wanted to start a tradition of having a Fancy Christmas Party for her friends, and the inaugrual theme was Pink, Black and Girly.
This year, the tradition continued with Blue, Silver and Glitzy Snowmen. She also invited her cousin Cami, who no longer lives in the area but was visiting for the holidays.

We collect related items through out the weeks prior to the party, and inevitably we forget what we have stored away, so sometimes we double up on decorations. Savannah loves to decorate, so this is a really fun experience for her. Our family Christmas tree color this year was strictly gold, so we had to completely redecorate the tree for the party. It turned out beautiful.

She always puts several small items in gift bags for each girl, and each girl also brings a small, inexpensive gift for the others. Dollar Tree plays an important role in the planning!

Daddy found the Snowmen Photo Holders at Kohl's, and they worked perfectly as Name Holders.

This year, she threw Nana a loop a week before the party by asking her to sew 5 matching tops for the attendees to wear. Nana pulled it off, but not without a lot of muttering and threatening and general all-around misery due to Savannah's choice of fabric.

Thanks, Nana!

Mom's role on party night is to keep the soda glasses filled and the pizza rolls warm. Last year, we served yummy chicken and rice. Since our theme was Snowmen this year, we thought we'd go with Hot Chocolate, Chicken Soup and Pizza Rolls - things you'd eat after coming in from a hard day of snowball fights, snowforts and snowangels. Besides, Mama just plain didn't feel up to cooking again!

And apparently to clean up the silly string, which cousin Cami and her lovely mother Meredith brought along. It took a while to air out the fumes, but the girls had a ton of fun.

Until Savannah developed a fever of 102! She convelecsed on the couch trying to stay awake to watch Prince Caspian, but she missed a large portion of it.

She's already pondering next year's theme!

Under the Tree This Year...

Christmas this year was a day late at our house, because Daddy had to work on Thursday. So... while everybody else in the county was out trying to find deals on wrapping paper for next year's gifts, exchanging ugly sweaters for things less-Dr.Huxtable, and attempting to keep their cars out of the ditches?? Well, this family, oblivious to the icy weather conditions, was more than happy to stay at home.

I always like to take a picture of the tree looking neat and orderly...

as it never takes long for this...

to devolve into this! Gabe has just as much fun ripping up paper and boxes as he does trying out his new toys.

No matter how old he gets, if it has wings or rotors, he'll find it amusing.

No matter how old he gets, if it shoots, he'll find it amusing.

Bucky and Savannah's wish list was easy to accomodate in the clothing department. Hint: NEVER pay full price for Aeropostle clothing, just like you shouldn't EVER pay full price for things at Hobby Lobby. Aero had sales the week before Christmas - everything in the store was 50-70% off. Now, in my opinion, the sale prices are about what the clothing is worth, for the most part. Anyone who would pay $24.50 for a cami tank top is just nuts! But $6.00 - that, I'll do. Apparently, that's the opinion of most parents, because when Tom and I braved the mall crowd on the Saturday before Christmas (I shudder just recalling it!), you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting people with arms full of hoodies and jeans in the Aeropostle store. I knew what I wanted when we got there, so I grabbed a few things and had Tom get in the checkout line - I continued shopping, comparing prices, etc. By the time I was ready to go, Tom was at the cash register. Team Shopping - now that's a good deal.

Bucky gets ticked at me when I talk about how much I paid for something. But hey, when ya find a bargain, you want everybody to know. At least I do! This was, by far, the absolute BEST deal I got this season. Originally $49.50, I picked up this adorable Aero sweater, while shopping with our friend Jordan, for $1.99!!! Again, anyone who would pay that much is certifiable! Watch the clearance racks, people!!!

My sister is a Monk addict. (If you've never seen Monk on the USA network, watch him. He's hilarious!!!) She got Savannah hooked on Monk a couple years ago, and so we got her a season of the shows this year. She liked it even more than she did her... register, which she'd been asking for. It had fake money, though - SIGH!

I think the rest of Preston's body is in the next gift.

We found a Tic-Tac-Toe Thomas the Tank Engine game for Little Mister D. He carries the tin around all over the house.

Gifts from the Corny Department included Season One of Alf...

Followed closely by Season One of Chuck Norris in Walker, Texas Ranger...

and Chuck Norris in three different movies...Somewhere in the mess was a Chuck Norris poster...having a bunch of boys in your house just doesn't leave room for a ton of femininity, but boy can we all offer a great imitation of the Roundhouse Kick!

And if that doesn't do the trick, the foam sword will do just fine, thank you!

My husband did great shopping this year! New stainless steel pots and pans, and I was SO excited to find out that the steamer pan from my old Pampered Chef pans will fit in my new pans!!

My very favorite...My Cuisinart Coffee Grinder Brewer!!!! It's working well, and will play a huge part on this blog for a long time!!

Baby T was content to chew the wrapping paper. We tried to offer her several kinds, for a balanced diet.

Mister D was so happy with his kitchen set that I couldn't get him to look at anything else!! Good thing we saved it for last!

After spending the afternoon cooking the traditional Ham/REAL! mashed potatoes/corn casserole/sweet potato casserole/WAY too many pies and buckeyes for dessert meal, we passed out watching movies.

Every year, we say "Let's go on vacation next year instead of buying all these presents." So far we haven't done that - maybe next year...Unless of course, our Christmas present next year is Adoption. That's what I REALLY REALLY want...