Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Blog

This blog is done! Please join me at my new one.

Monday, August 22, 2011

It Begins

The master said good-night to some very exhausted first-day-of-school kids. The last door at the end of the hall is K's.
The master: Good-night, son.
K: Good-night, Dad. Hey, Dad? Could I please keep my sideburns?
The master: K, you know your mother is going to throw a fit about those. I don't think there is a chance she is going to let you keep them.
K: (crestfallen) I know, but I found out the chicks dig sideburns.

Wondering exactly how did he "find out" this information? And planning on a trip to the barber TOMORROW!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

So THIS is Open Adoption

We've been texting, mailing and messaging photos,since the day we brought him home. We've even talked on the phone...and Monday, God willing, we will see her again. And she will hold Levi. And meet the other children. And I'm nervous. I find myself wondering if she will approve of him--of how we are taking care of him. And then I tell myself, how stupid that is. Because I know that he is where she wanted him to be and far over and above that fact: Levi is where HE wanted him to be. He was meant to be here in our family. But then I notice that his nails need a trim, and I think, "Oooh, I gotta get the clippers, can't let D see him with unkept nails..."
And then there are The Children. Their cute little mugs staring up from the pages of our Dear Birthmother Book might very well have been the deciding factor in her choice. But Monday she will meet the real show--coming to her live, loud, and in person--and probably in her lap. And I wonder what they might say..or ask. Should we coach them with a list of do's and dont's? Or will that make our meeting all the more stilted and forced? Will they meet her and automatically and effortlessly invite her into our circle as they do with church friends, neighbors, the Wallmart Check-Out Lady? Oh, I hope so. And why is it so easy for children to do that?
The last time we talked on the phone, I said, "I love you." It just popped out. I always say that to my family. But I didn't know; I didn't realize she would feel like family. I was surprised to hear myself say it, but I instantly realized it was true. I do love her. And if that sounds a you, well, I can relate.
I remember our very first homestudy interview for Marina's adoption. The social worker asked, "How did I anticipate feeling about the birth family and the birth mother in particular?" At first blush, I thought that was a stupid question. Ummm...duh, we are here for a Russian adoption. What birth family? The child will be in an orphanage, without family, abandoned. But of course I knew that wasn't a good, open-minded, adoption savvy response. So I distinctly remember telling her that I didn't anticipate any strong negative emotions (and having positive ones never crossed my mind) toward the child's biological relatives--perhaps, in their situation of extreme poverty, leaving the child in the orphanage was in every one's best interest. However, I indicated that I might feel differently if I knew my child had suffered at their hands. When she prompted, "Such as..?" I gave her a long list: "abuse, neglect, alcoholism, drug addiction..."
My babies by adoption have endured all of these evils and then some. And yet, I am not angry at their birthmothers. Sometimes I am angry--but it is at the darkness at work in the world. For them I feel only sadness, regret, pity, hope and yes, love.
And D? When I told her I loved her, she choked on a sob. What kind of a life does one live that hearing that sentiment overwhelms you? I cannot imagine.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fourth of July

I have become increasingly concerned over the last few years with the direction of our nation. I don't want to be an alarmist, but at times I grow fearful; what kind of country will my children inherit? Will it still be "land of the free, and the home of the brave?" Ironically, it was Abby who reminded me that, for all her faults, she is still the land flowing with milk and honey.
Two weeks ago the master brought home some used office water bottles and put them on the front porch. He's pack-rattish that way. Well, they sat out there until I got tired of looking like an episode of "Samford and Sons." I asked him to find a useful purpose for them, or put them in the dumpster. He brought one of them in and told the kids it would be our bank for Disney. Whatever we collected in the bank would be our spending cash for our trip. Well, we had some industrious workers after that announcement. They were under beds, digging in sofa cushions, cleaning out sock drawers and scavenging the laundry room shelves. After they had a good layer of coins in the bottom of the jug, Abby made a sign that read, "Disney World Fund" and put it in a prominent spot in the front hall (hoping to catch Papa and Mr. Kenny with full pockets and in generous moods).
Fast forward two days. Abby and I are huffing and puffing up the hallway, toting out a table for the daycare kids to use in their lemonade stand. We were trying to raise the final amount needed to dig a well in India. When all of a sudden Abby stops and says, "Momma. It just doesn't seem right that we have a Disney World Fund and there are children in India who don't have safe water to drink."
Thank you, Lord for these sweet children, who so often put things in perspective. Thank you, that you have chosen for me to be born and live in this nation of abundant wealth. Help me to remember when much is given, much is expected and to be always mindful that this is not my Homeland. I look forward to the day when all of Your children drink from the river that flows by Your throne.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day Two--Or the Grizwalds Tour Lousiana

So, yesterday after I posted, we saw a billboard for touring the Tabasco plant on Avery Island. The master has always wanted to do that--he has a deep and abiding love for the pepper sauce. We made a spur of the moment decision to go. It was a pretty cool (or should I say, 'hot'?) tour, but it put us hours behind our gator farm schedule. THEN we hit a horrendous grid-lock in Grosse Tet, which road sign Ian unfortunately read as 'gross tit' and he and Ian pro eded to laugh about half-way to Baton Rouge. That's normally not a long drive, but yesterday, it took almost two hours. The gator farm website said they closed at 6:00, and we knew we were going to miss it. The master just about blew a gasket. Did you know he could do that? Doesn't happen very often, but it DOES happen. The hillarity of the back seats died down. It was one of those rare moments when children instinctively know to maintain silence for self preservation. Long story short, we made the last tour of the day--turned out they didn't follow the specified times--it's a Cajun thing. Wish we would have known that before the apoplexy. When we got to the hotel, they didn't have the suite we had reserved. They had rented the second bedroom and wanted us to pay the same amount for the one bedroom and living room. I don't think so. After much wrangling with the night desk clerk, we were finally settled into the handicap room. There were only two double beds, but additional floor space, so we were back to putting pallets on the floor.
We are driving by grace to Lake Charles. The master has his leg off and we are all griping about the smell. Hoping we do not miss the party.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Road Trip

Wow! Thought I'd never get the chance to post! Summer is very busy for us, but I'm free from the center for today. We are on our way to Hammond, LA for a surprise visit to the gator farm featured on the History channel's "Swamp People." The kids and the master are huge fans. We've been watching the first season on Netflix. They have no idea where we're headed.
Then tomorrow, we have my nephew's birthday party in Lake Charles.
And anyone who says the world is overpopulated has never driven between Alexandria and Lafayette. Except for the four lanes of traffic, there are no indications of civilization.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Letter to Agency Director

It is passed time for our monthly update to our agency, so I made myself sit down at the computer tonight. Thought to might appreciate a little Levi news, too.

Dear J__,

Levi James will be six weeks old on Friday. He is taking four ounces of formula at a feeding with three and a half to four hours between feedings. At night, we generally have two bottles, but every few nights he will only wake once (yay!). He can hold his head steady when picking it up off of our shoulders and for brief moments on his belly. He is going to be another laid-back, happy infant—we seem to be blessed with that kind. This is an especially admirable quality considering the other children just about go into hysterics if he cries for more than two seconds, “MAMA….Levi is crying! He is crying, Mama!!” (Do they think I can’t hear?) If he were a fussy baby, I would have to have them all sedated. He is enraptured with his paci and dozens of them litter the house and car. We haven’t had a binkie baby since K, so we must re-train ourselves to NEVER leave home without it.
Both his regular pediatrician and specialist say that he is perfect, and we couldn’t agree more. He is probably knocking on nine pounds now—that is my mom-to-seven/daycare director’s estimate—but we will get an official weight at his two month appointment........ We are so relieved and thankful.
We all love him like crazy.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Last Night with Seven

K heads flies to Illinois tomorrow. He will be farming with family for the better part of the summer. Ever since the master's and two other Illinois families left for Texas over 25 years ago, the southern transplants have been sending their children back to farm in the summer. We decided to start a second generation on this tradition.
With K too old for the daycare this year, it just made sense for him to spend time in the fields--forming relationships with his extended family--as opposed to being cooped up as a couch potato in the house. Of course, we are going to miss him sorely. He is our go-to man. I'm sure we don't fully realize how much.
Cara will be devestated. She and K are TIGHT. From the day we brought her home from Corpus Christi, K has made it his personal goal to see to her every whim and fancy. He has spoiled that child. You know, if she has a nightmare, she doesn't cry out for me. She doesn't cry out for Daddy. She calls for Bubba. And Bubba comes running every time. Yesterday, I heard Abby trying to warn her, "You, little girl, are in for a rude awakening. You are going to have to learn to do things for yourself. 'Cause I'm not going to do them for you. Your not gonna boss me around like you do K. No sireee, Bob..."

Saturday, April 30, 2011

This is How We Roll

Planned on having a nice quiet Saturday at home (figured we had a little boredom coming our way)
Enter five nephews and nieces to stay for a few days (their house flooded last night and my sister and brother-in-law needed the kids out from under foot while they cleaned up)
Decide to refinish two dressers and steam clean carpets.
Enter sister-in-law and her two daughters with steam cleaner for the daycare carpets. Exit sister-in-law and children. Exit K (to clean carpets)
Enter mother-in-law.
Enter six of the church family that helped us get ready for the homestudy and five of their children.
32 hamburgers later--
Enter 7 close family friends we haven't seen in forever with a gift for the baby.
Exit multitude at intervals.
It is now 9:00 pm. Our Saturday is gone.
Boring? No.
Quite? Absolutely NOT.
Nice? You betcha.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

This Little Piggie...

Gets to stay home. The agency staff didn't take him with them, so I assume that means we passed. After 48 exhausting hours, we had our homestudy this morning. I was truly humbled at the number of friends and family who came and worked HARD to get this house up to snuff. We were even able to finish re-model on Cara and Levi's bedrooms, which is incredible. They are going to be really cute when we get all the furniture and decor items in, I'll have to post some pics of the final product. Right now, he's mostly hanging out in his bassinet when he isn't being cradled in our arms--and that is most of the time.
It is only now beginning to sink in that we had a baby. Over the weekend. We had a baby. This is crazy. And I guess I will be closing this blog and opening a new one. We are eight hearts no longer.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Good Friday

Friday morning we woke up late and rolled into our traditional holiday celebrations: enormous breakfast followed by egg dying. I add just put the water on to boil for the dye baths when the master noticed he had a missed call from D and the agency director. Within a space of an hour we went from having a baby early next week to having a baby on Saturday, to having a baby that day. We divied the kids among my sisters and my folks, threw our bags (which were packed for two days of lounging at the family lakehouse) in Daddy's pickup, and flew to Houston. Levi James was born en route. We got a call about an our out that he was here and both baby and D were doing fine. Then T (agency staff person texted me a picture.) We got to see him almost immediately. He's thirty four weeks but just as pink and chubby as you could expect from a full-term baby. Afterwards, we met with D. She looked exactly like I pictured her in my mind. Is that odd or what? She's very pretty and sweet. She talks as though she will be open to contact, at least pictures and updates, so we are excited about that.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Ride Rolls On

Let me off I'm going to be sick! It had already been a crazy day at work, when the master called to tell me something I
Did not want to hear. D--while waiting for our book to arrive--had begun to ask for a choice. In other words, she wanted to look at more than just our profile. The director felt lead to send out an e-mail to the seven families they have "sitting on go" to see if anyone was open to the situation. Then they would be able to tell her honestly that they had contacted all their families and we were it.
Well, they were surprised to receive a response from one couple; they were open.
The interesting thing about this news was that just this morning, I had been thinking about all those couples who wait with empty arms for years because they will not consider opening their hearts to children like my Cara and Marina. I'm not being judgmental--I can only imagine that they might make a different choice if they knew my girls. If I could show them. If they took the chance. In that moment, I felt such a profound sadness for those nameless, faceless couples.
So now I was in turmoil. I wanted to be happy for this couple who were willing to bring this baby home. But now I was so selfishly disappointed. I needed some time to crawl away and cry but the day's demands at the daycare made that impossible. I kept thinking three more hours until I can cry...two and a half hours until I can cry...
I called myself nine kinds of stupid for posting about the adoption. I dreaded telling the children. I even felt mild irritation for our beloved agency--was't one of the first words out of my mouth, "Do you have a family open to this?" This had to be the worst result of assuming I'd ever! Then less than two hours later we got a second call--D CHOSE us! I never thought she would choose us. Never. Turns out she grew up an only child. She said it was lonely, she wants her sonto have brothers and sisters.
Brothers and sisters? Done. ;0)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Nine Hearts?

I'm sure those of you who follow me on facebook are dying to get the scoop on today's announcement: the master and I are adopting again. We haven't been holding out on ya'll. We didn't even have an inkling ourselves two weeks ago. This is how it all went down:
Do you remember when I said,
Due to the nature and circumstances of Cara's adoption we can never rule out a call from our agency--should they get a client or infant in a similar situation--but since they have only had two cases in 25+ years and hundreds of adoptions, it is not likely. If they did, it would definitely be a God thing. Would I jump up and run should we ever get that call? You all know me better than to doubt it.

Weeelllll.....that's kinda what happenend. Except,they didn't call us. We called them. Two weekend ago, on our trip down to Houston, I called in when we hit Lufkin to let them know that we were coming so we would be sure of catching them in the office. I noticed Denise sounded sort of stunned which struck me as odd because we go by almost every time we are in the city. Then, as we were getting off the phone, she said that we were, "just the people they needed to talk to." When we got there we discovered that 20 minutes before I phoned, they got a call from a birthmother that matches the profile of both Marina and Cara's birthmothers. I'm thinking, "Oh, they are going to want us to talk with the adoptive couple about our experience. That must be what 'just the people we needed to talk to' meant." It took a while for it to dawn on me that they did not have any families interested in adopting this child. They were actually asking us if we wanted to adopt the baby. We couldn't stay long and they really didn't have much information themselves at that point, so we left with a, "Yes! We are open to this situation should it develop." Cara had her appointment and we enjoyed the rest of the mini vacation. Came home, told a few folks there was a slight chance we might be adopting again. Heard nothing that week. Wasn't until Friday of the next week that we found out that D, the birthmother's, situation had taken a turn for the worse (and it wasn't an ideal situation to start out with)--and while I grieve that she is having to go through this, it made her commit totally to her adoption plan. They hadn't talked about families with her,but we needed to go ahead and get our references together. After Friday, I was feeling like this thing might actually happen; we told a few more people. Then yesterday, an excited, almost anxious Dennise called to tell us that 1) D has been hospitalized with hypertension. 2)The baby may come early. 3)They told her about us, and she didn't freak out that we have six other kids. 4)We needed all our paperwork and a birthmother book NOW.
We've been running ever since. Homestudy visit is scheduled for next Thursday AGGGGGH!!! After pulling an all-nighter, we fed-exed the book with a stack of documents today, found out Danee is expecting a boy, and told the whole cyberworld we are adopting again.
Hang on tight, it is going to be a wild ride.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Time for a Change

Since temperatures are supposed to top out at 90* tomorrow, I think it is time I took down the snow day pictures, don't you?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Weekend Doings

Well, really mid-week through weekend doings. We decided to cut out of here late Wednesday night and stopped in Lufkin (which is about half-way to Houston) and spent the night, then Thursday morning we headed on in and stopped by Cara's agency. We like to take her in whenever we are in town for appointments--which are about every three months. We love that she will grow up knowing the ladies that helped her join our family. After her appointment at Children's, we went to Hermann park and played for a couple hours.
Then, we got a suite at a downtown hotel. Did you know it is cheaper to rent a suite than two regular rooms? We didn't. But we will definitely be doing that from now on. Our suite had two bedrooms, a kitchen and a sleeper sofa. Very nice. Friday was zoo day. We had a close encounter with a orangutan. The habitat appeared to be empty, but K spotted him (her?) asleep next to the glass, and while we were looking down on him, he woke up and sat close to the glass for about ten minutes or so just studying us as we studied him. The thing was huge!!! I guess I've never seen one that close up before, because its size really surprised me.
Saturday morning was Marina's birthday party. We did an Americ*n Girls tea party, and boy, did it bring little girls out of the woodwork! All my nieces were here from both sides of the family plus a half dozen of Rina's classmates. We may do more doll themed parties in the future! We had a table for the dolls and miniature tea sets. The girls came in party dresses and we had "fancy" snacks and tea, which they drank out of real china. The girls decorated straw hats for their dolls with ribbon and rosettes and folded paper fans and took them home as party favors. Fun, fun party.
Did orientation for a new worker Saturday afternoon. Daddy and the master grilled out Saturday night and then we let the kids (my six + my sister's five) stay up late watching T*ngled. Somehow we missed seeing this in the theatres. Liked it.

Because none of the gentlemen of the family were invited to participate in Saturday's estrogen bonanza, we also had a bar-b-que lunch after church this morning. I decided at the last minute to have at the church; I didn't want anyone to see my house. So, of course--because, really, when you don't want family seeing the condition of your home, things have gotten WAY out of hand--after Sunday naps, I had a "Lord, I'm not gonna live like this no more" moment and scoured the kitchen. Evening church and choir practice then an offer from a friend in the church to take us all out for pizza. Get home and the master sees the kitchen for the first time since my cleaning rampage, and says, "Woah, what happened in this kitchen?!" and Randy (four years old) says with all seriousness, "I don't know....I think Grandma must have come over." How sad is that?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Almost convinced

The master has been talking up his new IPhone 4. The "amazing" stuff it will do and all the cool apps. I've never been into cell phones. I didn't even get one until my parents offered to add me to their family plan a little over a year ago. Since then, I've been more than content to use my mom's hand-me-down, bare basics phone--that I am notorious for forgeting to turn on or leaving behind. But sitting here in a hotel room in Houston,checking my blogs and putting up a post using a device only slightly larger than a deck of cards, I am definitely sensing a greater attraction to the cell phone world.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Simple Woman's Day Book

FOR TODAY...March 23, 2011

Outside my window...some wonderful spring weather.

I am thinking...about the many changes/improvements that need to be made to the center before summer. We hit a new, all-time record of kids in care over spring break--52. We're only licesed for 58.

I am thankful for...healthy children. Randy passed his four year old check-up today (yes, I realize we are running almost a year behind) with flying colors.

I am wearing... scrubs. I'm always wearing scrubs.

I am remembering...spring 1998

I am Houston next week for Cara's appointment, which we may decide to turn into a little mini-vacation--seeing as how the kids were stuck at the daycare for the entire spring break.

I am currently reading...Royal Marriages, and The Gifted Preschool Classroom.

I am hoping...that the master's new boss/best friend sold many, many hearing aids today. Did I tell you that the master is in the hearing aid business now?

On my mind...the season's many activities

Noticing grey hairs are becoming quite numerous

Pondering these words... "When a child disobeys, he is in sin. When parents continually reinforce that disobedience [by failing to correct the child's waywardness], they are in sin." -Gary Ezzo

From the kitchen...not a whole heck of a lot.

Around the house...Girls arguing about bath. Ian measuring a pencil. A couple of doors opening and shutting. One lazy dachshund.

From my picture journal:

Girls with new pet bunny (which they promise, promise, promise to take care of) Oreo.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

He Brought Home the Bacon

Not only did he bring it home, but he fried it up right after church. Home-grown, not-exactly-certified organic bacon. We put the first hog up ourselves as chops, ribs, loin, and tons of ground pork, and Daddy got a good bit for sausage, but I was sorely dissipointed that for all his pig-farming ways, the master did not have the knowledge or the means to prepare ham and bacon. So, we sent some of our last little piggie (over 400 pounds) to a smokehouse for curing. Real bacon is nothing like what we buy in the grocery store. It is meat--hardly any fat at all--rather tasty. Kids are saying, "Dad, I don't like it, I love it!"

Monday, March 14, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY...March 14, 2011
Outside my window... breezy, exceptionally clear night.
I am thinking...What a marvelous difference that one little hour makes. I actually have a tiny smidgen of energy at the end of the day. Oh, blessed sunlight! You will be hearing more from me in the weeks ahead--or at least until baseball season hits full swing.
I am thankful for... that the first day of spring break at S*nnyside was not the nightmare I dreaded, but turned out....sunny.
I am wearing... Thomas the Tank scrubs
I am dog Sheba. These spring nights remind me of sitting on the front porch swing after school and petting her shaggy, black-rusty coat. Sweet puppy. (Also struck by the memory that there was a point in my life when I had the time to sit on a porch swing.)
I am begin again on painting the house.
I am currently reading...Royal Marriages, The Gifted Preschool Classroom, and Shadows Bride.
I am nail down several upcoming events in my life, Sunday school fellowships, birthday parties, CIA functions...
On my mind...the suffering Japanese
Noticing that...I feel more connected to myself when I write (journal, blog) regularly.
Pondering these words... "The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God."
From the kitchen...After all that cooking I did over the weekend, we ate out tonight. So, what is up with that? But Monday nights at Carino's are more of a family tradition than anything else. Monday is half-price family platters. We can eat cheaper there on Mondays than we can at McDonald's.
Around the house...relative order and truly filthy floors. Clean laundry thanks to my beautiful, blessed mother-in-law.
From my picture journal:

Who could resist those eyes?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

He's Still Working Miracles

In two short weeks we will celebrate her seventh birthday. Born two months premature to a heroin-addicted, alcoholic terminally ill prostitute in a country still desperately trying to recover from a fifty year reign of Darkness. Labeled with pages of dire diagnosis for her mental and physical development. Taken to a cold, sterile orphanage of 125 other abandoned children in a city of 69 such institutions. Placed in a group of 24 infants and two caregivers--who held her as little as possible for fear of a disease she did not carry. Her head became mis-shapen from laying in the same position in her crib, elongated on the sides, protruding forehead. Waiting--alone, yet, not alone--for over a year.
This same child reads above her grade level.
She, whose greatest dilemma in life is deciding which of her dolls she is going to play with.
This same child made a perfect score on her mid-term math test.
Last week, the pediatrician, declared this same child, "as healthy, beautiful, and strong a child" as he had ever seen.
This same child cannot walk around in Wall-Mart without drawing stares of admiration and compliments on her beauty.
This same child looked at me yesterday with tears in her eyes and shock in her tone and said, "Momma! Do you know what Sadie said on the bus? Momma! She said no one in her family prays!"

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:33-36

Saturday, March 12, 2011

In the Kitchen

Spent most of today in the grocery store and kitchen. I tried my hand, once again, at cooking-for-a-month. We have to do something. With the master and I both not getting home until six-ish after working twelve to fourteen hour days, we've been eating out two or three times a week. It is killing our budget (Dave would be ashamed of us) and after a certain point, it isn't even pleasurable. I've started to crave my own cooking.
I didn't quite make a month's worth of meals, though. I've yet to see that whole, "cook for a day, eat for a month," gimmick work out, but I do have meals for a week, plus ingredients on hand and plan to see us through March and into April. We'll have Rachel Raye's Pasta Pesto tomorrow, pinto beans and rice for Monday, Tuesday pork chops and Catalina, Wednesday dinner is at church, Thursday pelmini, and Friday hamburgers.
I'm also hoping to teach K and Abby some simple meals that they can be responsible for coming home from school and preparing for the family, but that too, requires an initial time investment, that I'm not exactly sure when I can work in, especially now that baseball season is upon us. Abby knows how to make homemade pizza and last week, I taught her how to make meatballs, and she is eager to try her hand at more, but whenever I bring up my brilliant plan to K, he keeps saying "I don't know how to cook." With a tone rather reminiscent of my father when he would say, "I don't know how to program the VCR." Suggestions on how I can inspire him to culinary greatness--or at least willingness?

Friday, March 4, 2011

What A Week

Thank God it's Friday. A common enough phrase, but how deeply, sincerely I mean it tonight. It's actually been a rough two weeks. Should have blogged all through it is too long of a story to retell. You couldn't hang with me for the duration of the narrative, I'm sure. And since ya'll are my friends, I wouldn't ask you to.
How is it that the longer I go without posting, the less I have to write about?
So here is to a better week--a much better week ahead of me--one in which I will blog every day, and you will only read pleasant, funny, or inspiring anecdotes from my life.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Twisted Minds

Upon Ian's return from a visit with his cousins...

Abby: Hey, Ian, you missed it! We had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner.
Ian: Awww, man! You're lucky. We had field peas and bacon, some meat Aunt Dinah fried on the stove...and rolls.
Abby (shaking her head): Too bad for you!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday Nine

1. Tell us about a time that you had way too much Jose Cuervo.

Can't tell you about a time that's never happened. But me and my sister did love the song "Jose Cuervo" around the ages of four and five. We could sing every word, and we put on a little concert one Sunday after church...when were having dinner...with company...much to my mother's embarrassment--so I guess you could say we had too much "Jose Cuervo."

2. Do you agree with the following statement: "The older you get, the faster time goes by."?
Yes! Emphatically, yes!!

3. What do you usually do during your "down time?"
Down time? What's that?

4. When it comes to the opposite sex, do you feel you have a grasp on 'em - or do they continue to just surprise you?

I feel I have a grasp on 'em. At least on one. And that's all I need.

5. What is your home town famous for?

Oh, my, you are going to know I'm backwoods when I tell you what we are "famous" (and I use that term very loosely) for: we have a polka-dotted house. That's it. That's our claim to fame. Impressed?

6. How many romantic relationships have you had?

I only had one other serious boyfriend before the master. So, two?

7. What's the best concert that you've ever been to?

Oh, gosh, I'm just not a music officianado.

8. Which famous person would you like to meet? Why?
Sarah Palin. Based on what I've seen, I think I could really relate to her. I mean, I think we could be friends.

9. Has a newspaper or television reporter ever interviewed you? If so, what were the circumstances and what did you think when you read or saw what you said?

We were interviewed several times by the newspaper when we were adopting Marina. For the most part the articles were good, and I know of at least one other family that was inspired to adopt from Russia after following our story, so I'm glad we did them, but I do cringe a little when I read the spin the newspaper lady put on some of the things we said--and a couple of quotes that I swear we never said. Our local funeral home sent us nice, laminated copies that are in Marina's lifebook, and some day, I will have to sit down and do some explaining.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Found this post on Wife of the Rockstars blog. It spoke to me. I wish I could put this on a fly bill and pass them out at church, send them to teachers in the handy "news from home" envelope, and frame some as lasting reminders for our extended family. I would make it required reading for company--complete with quiz following. Perhaps have some printed in track size for nosey strangers in the grocery store, library, or salon. My additions and alterations in pink

My child has RAD. Reactive Attachment Disordered that is.
And to you she is the most adorable, affectionate, loving child you have ever met. SHe melts you with every smile. He warms your heart with his engaging disposition. I would have to say, "wraps you around her finger with her shy, soft-spoken words, and long-lashed beautiful blue eyes that seem to entreat you, 'love me.'"
In your Sunday school class she is the most well behaved student you have.
In your classroom she always listens and obeys and looks for ways to be helpful.
When you come to our home to visit, she will grab your hand and show you around. SHe will hug you and make you feel like you are the most welcome guest we have ever had. SHe may even convince you that you have some sort of special bond with her.
It is hard for me to tell you that you are not special at all. In fact she does this with everyone. SHe does this with the creepy guy at the mall. SHe does this with the checkout lady at the food store. In fact he does this with just about everyone she meets. Marina does not do this UNLESS the stranger has something tangible that she wants. Then it is like a kiddie version of fatal attraction. Do you realize how vulnerable that makes her? Can you imagine how terrified I am as a mother, wondering how this behaviour will manifest itself at sixteen? And Marina's RAD is extremely MILD.
Except for me.
When I tell you what our life is like you look at me like I am crazy. Oh, yes, how well I remember from Marina's toddler days. You wonder how on earth such a sweet child could do or be all of the things I have said. You start questioning our parenting. You begin wondering if it is really us that has the issues.You just see this cute little child.
You aren't here when she tantrums and screams. You aren't here when she refuses to eat. You aren't here when she eats until she is ill. Thanking God we are passed this. You aren't here for the constant chatter. You aren't here when she stays awake all hours of the night. You aren't here when she triangulates us. Or when she does every possible annoying thing she can think of to each of her siblings. Or steals and hoards their prize possessions. You aren't here when she won't share her toys or when she goes crazy because one of her little siblings took something away. Or when she takes her baby sister's training pants or her brother's GI Joe party favor bag--things she couldn't possibly want or need--simply because they had them and she didn't.
You don't see how she can't make eye contact. Or how she fidgets when I come close to her. Or how he gags himself in time out. For us this sentence should read, "Or how she throws herself on the floor like someone having an epileptic seizure when she is disciplined." You just don't see it.
Yes, she is an adorable child.
But, she also has RAD. We don't love her any less. We just have to parent her very different.

We had something come up today with Marina that we've worked and worked and worked with her over. I thought we were passed it, but apparently I was wrong. It is looking like we will simply have to remove the choice--as we did with her wardrobe--from her. Undoubtedly, our life will run more smoothly as a result. Because she will not be put in the position to make the wrong choice over and over and over again. But at what cost? Each time we do this, I feel an enormous sense of defeat.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Header

Sorry my header is a bit wamper-jawed. I couldn't find an icy background at cutest blog on the block, so this will have to do. The Christmas themed one had to go.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Would You?

Over the holidays, at parties, funerals and church fellowships, the master and I ran in to several older people who were widowed and re-married later in life. Some we've known long enough to have known their first spouse, and others we've only known the "new." We both noticed that most of these couples seem less like married folks and more like polite, good friends. It got me thinking. Would I remarry if John went home before me? I mean, before me and after the kids were grown? I don't think it would even be a question if they weren't. Not too many folks standing in line to wed a poor widow woman with six kids. He, he, he....
I don't think I would. I realize my opinion might be different at 50 or 60, but right now at 32, I can't see myself making that commitment again. Getting to know someone--on that level--again? Their likes and dislikes, their funny quirks, who their teacher was in the first grade? It just doesn't appeal to me. Having to share your time with his side of the family (I'm assuming he would also have been married before with children); people who might seriously resent you? I don't think so. I'm sure many people re-marry from loneliness, but I find it difficult to fathom loneliness with six children--even grown--and who knows how many grandchildren, nephews, nieces, church and growing day-care family (children I've helped to raise). The idea of actually being the sole member of a household doesn't fill me with dread--it sounds...nice.
So, would you or wouldn't you? And am I really weird to be thinking about this?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Birthday Boys

Today is K's 1 birthday. His last before the teens. Though I feel as though I've been cheated out of this final year of "childhood"--he has chest hair for pete's sake! *snif, snif* We celebrated at a local Mexican restaurant with all the family. Love dishes to wash, and I didn't have to clean my house. Which is really good considering the last few days around this place.

Thursday the master started running fever on his return trip from Houston. Friday and Saturday passed with no improvement, and finally on Saturday evening he admitted defeat and called a friend to preach for him. When I got home from church, his fever was back up to 102, with Tylenol, and his breathing was so painful, he brought up going to the hospital to me. I knew the man was for real and truly sick. A few hours later, we left the hospital with several prescriptions and a diagnosis of pneumonia. That was day before yesterday, his birthday. Blech. What a lousy way to spend it. So, tonight was kind of a do-over for him, too. Being sick for a few days and missing Sunday, he let his facial hair go. He shaved it off in stages after we got home from the party. First with Elvis sideburns, then the above pictured fuu-manchoo (spelling?), to a simple mustache, and finally a kissable, clean-shaven hubby.
**Just realized after posting that I typed '1' birthday instead of '12th.' Am I in denial, or what?