Friday, December 30, 2011

Tacky Advertising

 I have been caught off guard by some strange marketing ploys. 
Here is a few of the tackiest.

* "Hi, I am from the blog hop.  I hope you will join me back."*
Clearly, you have no interest in reading what I wrote.  While I commend your dedication to
marketing your own blog, it is still a little tacky to cut and paste this comment on several blogs.

*While the family mourns the death of the younger brother, Mom pulls out Hershey syrup to make the older brother feel better.*
This happened on an episode of General Hospital (do not judge me).  It was a really sad moment and they did a product placement for Hershey's in the middle of it.  They must have mentioned the brand name at least three times.  Double tacky!!

*"If she can't remember your name, remember ours."
This was on a billboard for an Alzheimer's treatment center in our area.
Triple tacky!!! 

And finally, I just received this postcard in the mail...
This is the front.
This is the back. 
It is from an insurance agency.  This is the kind of mailing they send out 2 days before Christmas and in the middle of Hanukkah.
Tackiest of all!

Tell me when a tacky one catches your eye!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I Forgot. One More From J.

 I hope that you all had a Merry Christmas.
We had a great one and the fun keeps going, so not much time to post today so here's a quick one from J, that I forgot to share.

Me: "J, I need you to pick up the _____."

J: "Why do you make me do EVERYTHING?...Even when we have all of these extra kids! (HUFF)"

(I promise we are trying to teach manners around here.)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Missing Mom

I am missing Mom.
I am sure that many of you know exactly how I feel.
Christmas was her perfect holiday and it
highlighted all of her strengths.
Tons of reasons to rationalize spoiling the grand kids.
Amazing sweets and home cookin'.
A houseful of decorations; old, new, tacky, and the homemade.
Family gathering around her dining table holding hands to pray before lunch.
Thoughtful surprises to make you feel special.
A firm believer and advocate for Santa.
Someone who loved, God.

Because of her, I dive into this holiday today too, in my own style.
My traditions now blend hers and ours.
I am preparing to make mac-n-cheese and mashed potatoes with way too much butter,
and listen to a little Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers Christmas music,
in honor of her.

I prayed for comfort on the that 1st Christmas without her and my prayer was answered.
I find comfort this Christmas in seeing parts of her
 spunky attitude and loving heart reflected in me, my husband, my Dad, my sister, my children,
and those who loved her.
Of course there is a little less gluttony spoiling, and a few less tasty treats but
the love in our family continues on.
We will celebrate together and have a ton of fun, as she would want.
I am sure that she too will celebrate His birth, in Heaven.
We love and miss you Mom.
JOY to the world.

Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas doesn't stress me out...

Christmas doesn't stress me out.
This bucket of around 3000 glow in the dark beads...
were spread from one end of the basement to the other! (26 feet)
We asked J why she did it and she replied, "We were lost in the woods and I made a trail so that we could find our way back."
 Let me tell you, we had a "trail of tears" as she cleaned up one little bead at a time!
Finally, H and I helped once we were sure she had learned her lesson.
It was too much for one rotten little 4 year old to clean up alone.
The funniest part was turning off the light and realizing that we had missed a few.
Good thing for glow in the dark beads!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Funnies: L's Take on Sports

Today was an exciting day for L and PT...their first Xavier University basketball game at Cintas Center.

Our kids watched the Xavier vs. University of Cincinnati game with us recently. Those of you from the Cincinnati area know that it is a game that is heated and unpredictable. Well this one ended in a huge fight...pushing, punching, mouthing off, and a kick. After they started doing replays and close-ups, we made the kids leave the room and later talked to them about sportsmanship.

Fast forward to today...PT asked if L had ever seen a basketball game in person and her response was, "No but I have seen a hockey game and they both fight.". Then she smirked.

Ironically, she went to a special "education day" at the Cyclones hockey game earlier this year with her class. Tons of kids filled the place and a huge brawl broke out I hear...great "education day.". The only thing more ironic would have been hockey players hosting a "dental health" day. I hope this isn't going to be a pattern with our sports teams.

Her quick wit makes it a little hard not to laugh.

Friday, December 16, 2011

What Happened to Our Sweet Baby...

What happened to our sweet baby girl, JJ?
Oh yeah, she turned two.

She has been overtaken by the uncontrollable need to say NO! and MINE!
She also has decided that she all the right in the world to assert herself, PHYSICALLY!
She told my husband the other day, "Bad choice Daddy! I don't like it!"
All the while, pumping her fist in the air like a protester or something.

All of these things are pretty common for kids her age.  However, however after having 5 of them trying this with me at one time or another, I am a little burned out on the defiant stage. 
This too shall pass, right?

She did catch me a little off guard on Monday.  I was working in the kitchen and JJ and CM were right up my rear as always.  I heard a thud...then a cry.  I looked over and CM was holding her forehead, and JJ had a strange look on her face and this in her tiny hand...

Yep, that's right. 
She whacked her sister in the head with a mini-frying pan for no apparent reason.
Poor CM!  JJ has quite a swing!
Please pray that we all survive this defiant stages of both JJ and CM!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

PJ and Pancake Party

I am way behind, but I wanted to post some pictures of JJ's 2nd birthday party.


Since we were holding the party on the morning of Black Friday for just a few of her friends,
we thought that the pj's were appropriate since some might be out shopping early.  
It also cut down on the time it took to get everyone dressed for a 10 am party at our house.

I got some of the ideas from Pinterest and Family Fun online.  
Did I ever tell you that I love the internet when planning a party?

 I used foam sticker letters on toothpicks to decorate the rainbow pan"cake" and the muffins.
(Her name is not really Amy, but you get the idea.)
 The letter "Q" in the foam stickers looks just like a balloon, fyi.
 A topping bar for the pancakes.
 Fresh fruit made me feel better about serving Fruit Loops as an appetizer.
Sausage, pancakes, and smoothies...easy peasy.

As favors, each family got a bag of powdered donuts with a note reading,
"I donut know how to thank you for coming to my party."

With 5 kids, I am bound to run out of creative ideas...wanna share yours?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Darn You, "The Christmas Shoes"

L was home sick yesterday...strep throat, our favorite! 
While waiting in the car, the song "Christmas Shoes" came on.  Have you heard it?  If not, check it out.
Well, then she wanted to know what it is about.  You know the is dying and her young son takes what little money he has to buy his mom some "Christmas Shoes" in case she goes to "see Jesus tonight."  He, of course doesn't have enough money and a man helps him pay for them.

Sweet, very sweet, but oh so sad.

L cried right there on the spot and I got choked up just explaining it to her!  Oh but that wasn't the end of it.  At dinner, L got teary-eyed and said she was just thinking of the song about the Christmas shoes.  Then PT asked what it is about...we explain it...he tears up without even hearing the song.  A few hours later, H goes up to check on the kids in bed and PT in crying.  He said he was thinking about that song again.
I just adore their sweet hearts.

H, needless to say, was not happy with my "stupid song" after that.

Darn you, "The Christmas Shoes!"  Darn you!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Today's Tidbits

7:30am: All three of the oldest kids attack snuggle with me in our soft chair while we watch cartoons. PT and Josie find great delight in finding ways to shock me by putting their cold feet on my skin.

7:45am: While still giggling about torturing me with her cold feet, Josie picks up my cell phone and rubs it on her behind...and laughs! "That's disgusting!" I reply. "I know!!" she says through her cackles!  (At least her clothes were on.)

8am: PT came downstairs wearing a tank top and shorts and saw no reason why I wouldn't let him wear it on a very cold morning. "But Mom, the sun is shining.". "What is I put a shirt under it and put on some swishy pants."  Whatever.

8:05am: Leah comes down wearing a pink silk kimono. "Mom can I were my kimono today?". She was surprised that I wouldn't think it was a great idea to wear a kimono to the eye doctor!

10:45am:  I survived the three eye appointments with L, J, and to help L pick out new frames.  We sit down for a minute to figure out some insurance issues and my concentration is broken when CM places both of  her slightly sweating socks and shoes on the man's desk.  "Here Mommy." she states with a smile.  A couple sipping on Starbucks, without kids tried their best to hide their giggles.

2pm:  Getting ready for Girls' Night Out to see the newest Twilight movie... I decide that for the first time in about 5-6 months, I will actually straighten and style my hair.  As I leave, my husband compliments me and I realize that I just did my hair for a bunch of women and not for a date with my main squeeze.  This is the same husband who told me AFTER church last weekend, that it looked like I had "been through a wind tunnel."  I am sure that he enjoyed seeing it a little tamed.  It may have given him hope.

5:00pm:  I find myself wondering "Who would take a young child to see this movie or read this book?", as I witnessed quite a love scene and later a graphic/violent birth scene that made me question if going to an Italian restaurant for dinner was a great idea. (Still had a great time.)

7pm: Enough time waiting for our table that I didn't care about the movie when I had a great dinner and great chat at Bravo with a few interesting ladies. 

9pm: Home in time to tuck three into bed...later followed by yelling at three to "GO TO SLEEP AND DON'T EVEN  THINK ABOUT WAKING UP THE LITTLE ONES UP!"

10:15pm:  Me, the hubby, DVR, and a cold one.  Day complete!

Hope that you are having a great weekend too!

Friday, November 18, 2011

CM's Made Me Grin Today

Today we were waiting for J's dance class to end, and needless to say, 
the natives were getting a little restless.
Including me.
I was all of out of energy for redirecting the little ones.
CM came over and grabbed my new purse (from a 31 party)
 and ran off...
I have to admit, I was about to get steamed.
I heard her say so proudly, "I want to show them my family."
She then picked out which one was her, all with a great big smile on her face.
We are HER family.
I love these moments when she claims us as hers.
Sometimes she says,  this is "your car" or "your house" and
J is quick to remind her that it is OUR house and OUR car now :)
Today was progress.
Oh, and she's picking up really quickly.
As we drove home, she told me to "Go Mommy!" when
I stopped the car to get the mail.
I replied, "Please don't be bossy."
She smiled and said, "Oh you are the bossy, right?"
Smart girl!

Monday, November 14, 2011

I Must Tell the Tooth...

I love PT's new toothless grin.
My confession is that I LOVE pulling teeth.
It's gross, I know.
I believe one of the benefits of all of these kids is getting to pull more teeth :)
They say that admitting that you have a problem is the first step,
and I must tell the "tooth."  (Ha Ha)

Yesterday, my in-laws joined us for lunch and football.
Out of nowhere I said, "PT come here and let me see how wiggly that tooth is."
He reluctantly complied.
I didn't pull, but rather I pushed it forward...hard.
He squealed as his tooth literally popped out of his mouth...
flew up into the air...
and came down into the sleeve of my sweater.
I was shocked and thrilled that it came out!
PT was happy...and mad... and worried that we'd lost the tooth,
which we quickly found.
H and his parents were horrified.
Sorry for interrupting your Sunday football, people.

Now PT waits for the tooth fairy to arrive.
That's big cash for a little guy.

Just curious, what does the tooth fairy bring at your house.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Morning With J

J is a much happier kid lately as she and CM work out the kinks in their new sibling relationship.
She is back to her silly self, mostly.

This morning she made me smile over and over.
First of all, I bought a new cereal in the organic/health section  (Gasp!!) at Kroger
called "Mallow Oats" by Mom's Best Naturals.
It is a healthier version Lucky Charms without crazy colors.
To be honest, 2 for $3.00 is why I got it.

Anyways, I looked over at J this morning to see her enjoying her cereal in this way.
She looked over at me, as she lined up the plethora of marshmallows and smiled,
"Wow, I'm gonna need a bigger napkin Mom."
She wasn't kidding!
Then she said, "This one is a sticky situation!"
FYI, she did eat the rest of the cereal with milk when she finished this project.

After breakfast she wanted to read a book to me that she made at preschool
yesterday while in the writing center.

I have written what she said for each page below.
 "This is a picture so that people know this book is about Jesus."
 "This is when Jesus told his friends he is going to die soon."
(Notice Jesus smiling but not his friend.)
"Then he got dead.  And then he got alive.  Then his mom, dad, sister, brother, and friends were happy."

As we finish up the book, this sweet girl lets out a big burp.
With a big grin on her face she said, "How does an adult burp come out of such a little body."
Insert giggles here.

Keep in mind, all of these things happened before 8am.
She gave the day a great start.  Let's see what the rest brings.
I am wishing you each a little silliness of your own.
Have a good one.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Funnies: PT is a Funny Guy

Today you are getting my Sunday Funnies on Monday...
PT style.
Just today, he has cracked me up a couple of times without even trying.

This morning when he was looking up sports scores before school, he just randomly looked
over at me and said, "You'd make a great ninja Mom because you are so short they'd barely see you."
All I could reply was, "Thanks."
After all, my son probably thinks ninjas are pretty cool...therefore I must be too, right?

Then tonight, we dropped off L at practice and he and I were going to spend some time together, a mini-date, before his doctor's appointment.  As we headed for the car, he clenched up a bit and said,
"Uh oh, my hot dog is gonna explode!"
  Then he looked up at me with a sheepish and anxious look on his face. 
It took me a second, and then I realized why he was concerned.  He had to pee...bad and he had to give a urine sample to the doctor in about 45 minutes.
He quickly talked himself down, "I can wait.  I can wait."
By the way, no he couldn't.
We headed to the doctor's early and all is well.
Also, who the heck says their "hot dog is gonna explode."
He didn't learn this one from us, I promise.

Later as I drove home with my two oldest in the car, a song came on by Taylor Swift (who is a family favorite) called, "Never Grow Up."
Take a listen.
I made them listen to it twice.
I love those rotten kids, and I not anxious for them to fully "grow up," however being
financially independent someday is still desirable.

                                           (Video source: YouTube)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Red Makes Everything Better

As you know by now, I have had my hands full lately.
You can read about it here.

I just wanted to take a moment to tell you about
a special surprise I got a few weeks ago, in the midst of a very chaotic morning.

The doorbell rang, which I barely heard over the roar of the crowd.
I had to beat children away with a stick (not really) to get to the door.
I opened it and there was no one.
Just a pretty bag hanging on the door.
This is what I found.

Then I found these beauties...
(Sorry the photography is pitiful but I must type quickly before the children attack awake again.)

Awhile ago, I went shopping at T.J.Maxx with my BFF a while ago and feel in love with these shoes
...mostly because they are red.
I love red.
I didn't buy them of course.  I didn't really need them.  After all, red shoes are not a necessity.
Well, T was listening and went back and got them and saved them for one of my "rainy days."

I opened them up, smiled, and teared up.
I now wear them all of the time!
Isn't that sweet of her??

I am very thankful to T for the thoughtful gift and ongoing support!

I am so thankful that we have been seen a lot of progress this week and everyone seems happier.

I am thankful to both of our families, especially Grandma, who has helped our family every step of the way.

I am thankful to friends who have checked in by phone to see how our case is progressing, offered to help with the kids,baked cookies, surprised us with a gift card for dinner, prayed for our kids,
 make me laugh and just plan support us.

I am thankful to my husband who shares this blessed and busy life with me.

I am thankful to God, for so many blessings, especially the privilege of being a mom to my many!

So when I click my heels in these shoes, I can remind myself that "There's no place like home."

Happy November where being thankful gets a little more attention.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Things I learned at the gym...that I wish I hadn't

 Mama needs some stress relief...
that is legal, ethical, and not chemically related.

I have been going to the gym with more frequency.
To be fair, it should still be categorized as occasionally.

I wrote about the gym in an earlier post, here.
Anyways, I have learned a few more things I wish I hadn't.
 I thought I'd share a few.
Feel free to share yours as well.

Some people think it is a stellar idea to sit as close to the vent that blows out the yummy eucalyptus sauna steam as possible...and hack and cough, and hack and cough.  While I am sorry you are sick, get the heck out of the sauna before all of us women who are trying to relax get sick too.

On a similar, and disgusting note (yet unrelated), I decided to try quickly showering at the gym because trying to go home and do it with the kids around proves to be quite difficult, you see.  Wow, this also includes a few minutes when it is quiet, right? Nope!  There is a lady who thinks that spitting up flem balls in her shower stall.  Not once, but several times I heard that awful sound.  I took a moment and thanked Heavens that I had my trusty flip-flops on.  Seriously, this gym is really nice I promise.  Some people are just gross.

Lastly, I found that I feel like a 25 year old in the Dance Jam class.  Occasionally, we do the "tootsie roll" or bust a move to an oldie, from like from way back in the 90's.  I am in my element.  Then it happens...the woman in front of me moves and I see myself in the mirror!!! "I AM NOT 25 ANYMORE!  WHY ARE THINGS STILL MOVING AND SHAKING A BIT EVEN AFTER I HAVE STOPPED?!  WHY, OH WHY??"  The good thing is that the lady gets right in front of me again, which is normally rude, but in my case it saves a tiny bit of self esteem and I just keep on shaking my grove-thang.  

Hopefully I can make a better routine of going and being more healthy and less stressed.  I'd love to try yoga again and I am sure that there would be a hilarious post after that one.  Anyone want to join me?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thank you God for SWEAT!

This morning we were saying prayers together before school. It was actually a really nice moment when PT blurts out, "Thank God for sweat!". The girls and I spun our heads around with a mutual, "Huh??"

He smiled and replied, "S is for shelter. W for water. E for energy. A for air and T for time to grow."

He told us that he had learned it in science class.

I found it very funny, very sweet, and very clever. I am sure God did too.

Whoever said that science and religion couldn't co-exist??

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Am Still Alive...For Now

I totally fell off the blogging wagon, my friends.
It is true.
Have no fear, the kids haven't killed me.
I am still alive...for now.

I feel like maybe I wasn't sure what to say, or how to say it. Being a foster parent means that I can't share many details and I just didn't know how to chat about life without them. And frankly, I have a lot less time.

I have to admit that I have been quite overwhelmed during the transition of CM into our home. I struggle to keep 4 kids in 4 different schools and their bus schedules and homework straight, as well as making it to therapy and doctor appointments on time. I have also been learning the ropes at a new job, trying to reduce the catastrophic impact that 5 kids can have on a house, the pantry, and the laundry, as well as trying to do more meal planning. (By the way, I have nothing planned for tonight's dinner.) And most importantly, I have been trying my best to answer hard questions and to protect little hearts.  I ache to give them each more undivided attention.

There have been episodes of regression, anger, sleep routine disturbances, defiant and attention seeking behaviors, sadness, and a tad of chaos...from any given member of this family at any given time. My dear hubby is the only sane one at times. No seriously, there has also been a special birthday party and many sweet moments, where hugs, kisses, and giggles are plentiful.  I am getting better at doing black hair and also love being called "Mommy" to each of them.

I am certain that God knows what he is doing. However, sometimes I feel like I don't. Sometimes after everyone is in bed, I fret about what I did or didn't do right with one or more of them, especially since behaviors are more consistently directed at me vs. my husband (which drives me crazy, of course). Honestly, I have prayed more in the last few weeks more than I ever have.  I have read other posts from adoptive moms and I find comfort knowing that we are not the first family, or I am not the first Mom to get a little "shook up" while everyone shifts and adapts to each other.   I also find comfort in my close friends and family who have prayed for and supported us along this journey. (I love you all!)  And my husband, I just can't say enough about his ability to love, accept, and calm me.  He is so strong and steady, and exactly the partner I needed in my life. 

I am in awe and inspired, by other foster/adoptive/large families who are much further along in their journey of learning to embrace the chaos, redefining their priorities, and ultimately giving their worries over to God.
I find myself praying something like this..."Dear God, I am tired and frustrated.  I am so sorry for the times when I am too quick to anger or frustration.  Forgive me.  I really don't even know exactly what I need to pray for.  You do.  You know what each of these children needs.  Help me to say the right things.  Please God, help us to give them each what they need. Please heal and protect CM's little heart. We can't do it without you."

It is silly (not to mention impossible) but I want to fast forward past the transition, the disruption, the shifting. 
I just need a little peek at how His plan will play out.
I want CM to feel so embedded and loved in this family.
I want each of us to have trouble remembering what it was like before we were a family of 7.
Before we were complete.

Life is so busy and a bit messy right now, but it could be so much harder.
It is getting better everyday.
We are blessed and this new family is an answered prayer.
I know that.
I love these kids and our life.

...I just need a good nap :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sunday Funnies: Play set Pandemonium

Imagine sitting at your kitchen table chatting with your case worker.
After all, today is your monthly safety audit.
 Your older 3 kids are in the backyard playing with the neighbors, in your view.
You gaze out the kitchen window to see your most responsible child (L, age 9)
using the climbing rope as a pulley.
She and her friend, have pulled the fish rocker toy up from the ground
and is now suspended at the top level of the play set.

Looks strange.  Absolutely.
As you try to process what they are doing, you see your 4 year old
stepping out from the top level in order to sit on the rocker that is only being
held up by a 50 pound, 9 year old girl holding a rope.
Everything is in sloooow moootion.

You nearly fall off the bench in attempts to get to them in time.
No luck.
J crashes to the ground before you can get to the door.
She sheepishly walks to the house.
Not an injury to note.  Thank God!!

Then she proclaims, "L told me to!"
L instantly replies, "It was the neighbor's idea."
You then proceed to raise your voice and banish your children to their rooms while
you complete the rest of the stinkin' "safety audit."

You then casually made your way back to your hubby and the case worker,
smile, and say something like, "Let's not write that one down."

Yes my friends, this is a sad but true story.
Yet another crazy day at our house.

Sharing Saturday: ALS Association

A friend and collegue lost her father to ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, a few years ago.
This past weekend was the ALS Walk and we made a donation in support of 
their efforts to fund research for a cure.

Check out their website here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Family Rules: Response to June and Bear

Yesterday, June and Bear wrote about her family rules.  You should really check it out here.
The rules are great and the pictures of her kids are even better.

She asked what family rules other people have.
I haven't made a specific list but I found the wall art below at Walmart or Big Lots
for $10 and I love it.  It hangs in the new kitchen.
I only wish that it also said, "Love God" and that the part where it says
"Listen to your parents" was in bold, underlined, or covered in glitter or something.

Thanks June and Bear for the fun post.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sunday Funnies: I found ... in the laundry!

Everybody loves laundry.
My friend Tricia writes about it here.
As I folded laundry this is what appeared...

Yes, my friends, that is ham.  L, my now 9 year old, took some with her to eat on her way to the bus.  Well, I guess she didn't finish it...put it in her pocket...the jeans went in the hamper...into the washing machine...and into the dryer. 

I pulled it out with the "clean" load and couldn't help but laugh.  Ham, seriously??

L looked at me and her shock was followed by a sweet grin as she sheepishly said "Uh, sorry."

Never a dull moment around here.

Sharing Saturday: L's choice

This past weekend, my lovely L turned 9!
I can barely believe it.  First of all, I have to say that I love this age (mostly).
I took L and two of her friends to the movies to celebrate.
It was so much fun.  They can carry their own snacks and go to the bathroom without help. Amen!
L thinks my jokes are bad, but she hasn't completely disowned me for them yet.
I can have a great conversation with her and she keeps me on my toes.
She is so smart, beautiful, very sensitive, and can be very helpful.
I love it when I get to spend time with her alone.

It almost makes me forgive her for the 30 hours of un-medicated labor resulting in a c-section,
but I am not bitter :)

Back on topic...This week for Sharing Saturday, L was able to take money to school to buy a book at the Scholastic Book Fair to donate to her classroom.  She loved being in charge of this. 

Happy Birthday our dear L!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Foster Mama Drama: What I Have Learned, so far.

I know that I am skipping my Saturday and Sunday post. 
I'll get to them, sometime, maybe?
I have decided to live on the wild side and post our of order.

We are all adjusting to our new family of 7.  Wow, that sounds weird!  
There is progress every single day. 

I have taken them all to church without the hubby (who was absent for very good reasons) twice now, and have learned how we all can make it home alive. 

I have learned how to line up 5 plates on the new kitchen island, and feed them all in what seems
like cafeteria style.  

I have found a way to get all 5 kids bathed in a short period of time without running out of hot water...honestly, there may have been a little bit of yelling involved. 

I have learned that my husband needs to take the lead with CM sometimes because she responds so well to him, and I have to be okay with that. 

I have learned that when 3 little ones (ages 22 months, almost 3yrs., and 4yrs.) are thrust into a transition requiring shared parents and siblings, time, space, toys, and attention...there will be frequent bickering, behavioral backlash at times (this includes my own behavior), and a lot of time and attention
spent monitoring, correcting, and modeling.  

I have learned (once again) that consistency when handling behaviors is soooooo important. 

I have also learned that maintaining consistent consequences and reacting calmly  is absolutely exhausting!

I have learned that these children are filled with love and patience for me and their new sibling(s).

J said the other day (despite their bickering that day), "Mom, I am so glad that I don't have to miss CM anymore."  

And just today, CM became really sad as we took J to the bus for preschool.  She said, "Mommy, I am going to miss J." and she ran to hug her.  J's response was, "Do you need me to give you a kissing hand?" (If you don't know the book, you kiss the palm of the person's hand so that they can take their "kissing hand" wherever they go and know how much they are loved.)  J kissed CM's little hand and placed it on her cheek and they hugged...I melted. 

I have learned that I have to rely on and trust, God.

I have learned, over and over, we are so blessed to have family and friends to love all of our children no matter how they came to be in our lives.  

I have learned that my husband is a saint.

Mostly, I have learned that I still have a lot to learn.

What have you learned from your kids lately?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What the Heck Wednesday!

The following is a shirt for a 2 year old...that my daughter will NEVER wear.
I can't stand this kind of stuff.
What the heck??

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Funnies: Kroger-style Mother of the Year Award

H took the two oldest to the Reds game leaving me with the the 3 little ones.
(Side note: a young man at work heard me talking about our plans and said, "I hope my wife never says something like, "He'll have just 2 or 3 of the kids and I'll take the rest.)

Sorry, back on topic.  I took them to McDonald's because that's what good moms feed their kids.
The had a great time and slowly made it through their Happy Meals...and ice cream.
Four thousand napkins later, we were finished and headed off to Kroger to get a few things and rent a Barbie movie from the Redbox.  (I'm a big spender you see.)

JJ was buckled in the cart. CM was seated in the back of the cart (because she wasn't staying with me otherwise) requiring exhaustive reminders that she may not stand up, dance around, or try to climb out.  J headed right for the U-scan lane because she wanted to help me with our 3 items...string cheese, shredded cheese, and a 6 pack of Michelob Ultra.  Just from the looks of the shopping cart, I already looked like a Mother of the Year candidate. 

I held the cart with one hand very close to me and punched in my shopper card number with my other hand.  I say a woman quickly approaching out of the corner of my eye, but why?

As I turned around, I saw CM straddling the edge of the cart.  Just dangling there and proud of herself.
J grabbed the cheese and was trying to scan it with no idea how.
And best of all, JJ had reached behind her, grabbed an ice cold brewsky and had the bottle
all the way in her mouth!!

You see, I am sure that the woman wasn't judging my parenting skills, healthy food and drink choices, or the fact that my smallest was sucking on a beer bottle, right??

She just knew that I was the Mother of the Year and wanted my autograph, right?
I thanked her for her help.  
Then I...
Totally resisted the overwhelming urge to snap a picture of the chaotic moment.
Snatched the bottle out of JJ's mouth and hands and noticed that both she and I had big grins on our faces.  Scooped CM up into my arms.
Helped J scan an item so that she's be quiet about it and tried to catch her with my one free hand as she walked off  saying, "I am going to go get in line at the Redbox."  
And most importantly, I scanned the room to see if anyone was taking a picture or calling the authorities.

FYI, that stinkin' Barbie movie wasn't worth it.
At least I got a Sunday Funny out of it.

Hope that you all have a blessed week.

Sharing Saturday: ASMT

This is a really tough weekend for H's college friends.  I spoke about them here
Their triplets were born at 25 weeks.  The girls continue to work really hard and have been
making great strides yet still experiencing set backs at times.  
Their son, unfortunately, lived only 10 days yet left a huge impact.

These first time parents have been warriors for their children every step of the way.
This weekend is their son's memorial services.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations be made to some of their favorite causes.  

This week, in honor of them, we will be donating to the
Autism Society of Middle Tennessee.

Please consider joining me in praying for the Brown family and all who love them.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Foster Mama Drama: A New Beginning

Today is a big day for us.

The paperwork is signed and we are now officially CM's foster family.
No more "pre-placement" visits.
This is now her home.

Don't misunderstand, adoption is at least 6 months away for her but today is a big step in the right direction.
I feel a little strange.  Like something is stirring.

Nervous about the future and the tough questions she may have.
Excited to kiss her little face, tell her we love her, and bring her home.
Sad for her and her current family for this separation is difficult.
Thankful for this healthy child, this opportunity, and for the biological connection she and JJ share.
Overwhelmed with paperwork while transferring records, changing doctors and making appointments. 
Worried about nurturing each precious individual in a large family.
Anxious to have my husband home from a business trip to share this with him.
Happy to have a mini-van filled to the brim with beautiful faces.

I feel Loved.
I feel so very blessed.
I am thankful to God.

Please consider praying with me for CM, her current family, and for our family 
as we grow and bond and adjust.

This is our new beginning.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

3 Musketeers

And by 3 Musketeers, I really mean 3 girls with only 2.5 years between oldest and youngest, who spend  most of their time hugging, kissing...and bickering!

The chaos actually improves when L and PT get back from school because the kids seem to spread out a little more.  Plus the oldest two, give out some extra hugs that are always appreciated by
their ever adoring little sisters.  I actually think that they are hanging at the door waiting to see L walk
home from the bus.

Gotta love 'em.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Funnies: Poo on the Playset

 I came across this Facebook post that I wrote on this date in 2009...

"So tonight we are having a nice night at a friends house when we notice that J is on the top level of the playset, shorts and shoes off, holding her pull-up which is full of poo. We couldn't reach her to get her down without making a mess so I actually climbed up there and changed her diaper there!What a proud moment!"

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

Ten years ago, today, I was walking into a preschool classroom as an occupational therapist.  I had only been married for over a year, we had no children,  and no pressing plans for them quite yet.  The first plane hit, and my heart was sad. My mind, naive.  Accidental, I'm sure.

  The second plane hit, towers collapsed, then the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania, and my heart was fearful, my naivety exposed. This was no accident.

My husband, who was an Air Force officer, couldn't be reached at the base.  My mind raced, and my heart continued to sadden for those experiencing such trauma, such chaos, such fear. 

I prayed.

Finally, we reach each other and he says, "I don't know much and I can't talk, but I am okay.  I will talk to you when I can."  Thank you, God.  I called my parents to tell them I loved them.

The rest of the details are foggy, but I remember some wider impact clearly.  I saw my husband's character more clearly than ever.  He was prepared to be deployed if he were needed in that capacity.  This was his duty.  He packed a change of clothes and took them to work each day in case he needed to stay or the base was in a "lock-down".  We waited to see what this meant for us, while watching the coverage of what emotional war the families, leaders, survivors, and responders were thrust into.

I began to want or need a child.  
I remember us beginning to talk about moving up our timeline on starting a family.
Not quite yet, but it was on the table.  I am sure that "plans" for a lot of people were changed that day.

Those of you who know us, know that my husband was not deployed and 
three months later we started our family. 

Today, ten years and 5 kids later, we all got dressed for church.  L said that she wanted to wear red, white, and blue.  So in good, Maria von Trapp style, I dressed our kids alike in patriotic colors (not from curtains I assure you).  PT said, "Why are we wearing red, white, and blue today.  It's not Labor day?"

We discussed that although today marks a day of tragedy and terror in our country, we will continue to be proud.  We are proud of first responders and military and their families.  We are proud of those who sacrificed their lives in the field in Pennsylvania, New York, and at the Pentagon.  We are proud of the everyday people that helped and carried one another to safety.  We are proud of all who survived or lost loved ones, yet found a way to keep on going.  We are proud that on that day of darkness and all the days following, so many people shone a light of hope and heroism for all the world to see.

So we pray today for those who have been affected and will remain affected every single day by the tragedies of 9/11 and the wars that followed. 
We also pray that noticed and unnoticed hope and heroism continues to thrive.

What do you remember?

Sharing Saturday: FDNY Foundation

In honor of all of those who lost or risked their life 10 years ago on September 11, 2001
in New York, the Pentagon, or in Pennsylvania,
we will be donating to the FDNY Foundation

This non-profit organization promotes fire safety in New York City. 
Whether you know, love, or are a first responder in our home town or elsewhere, 
know that we are so blessed to have you protecting us everyday.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Tic Tacs Saved Me!

Anybody else love these little things??
Orange is my favorite.
I bet that you never knew that these 2 calorie treats could save a mother 
from insanity while shopping, did ya??
It is true my friends.

I took the three little ones to run errands beginning at Walmart and ending at a children's consignment shop.
The first leg of the trip wasn't too bad because the cart was large and could hold a few
little ones if behavior indicated the need.

On the way out, I bought a pack of Tic Tacs, not yet knowing their power.
Those girls stuck to my side (pretty much) while we shopped at the consignment shop.
It was as if they feared being too far away from the Tic Tacs.
Don't get me wrong, I didn't hand out many of them but the girls clearly loved them.
They kept sucking on them until they turned white...pure fascination.
Some of you might call this bribery.  To you my dear, kiss my grits.
I call it positive reinforcement.
I call it the amazing power granted to "She Who Holds the Tic Tac box."
And now you know one of my secrets.

My friend checked to see if Costco sold them in luck.
I will still be on the lookout.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

10 Feet on the Beach

L captioned this one, "10 Feet on the Beach."

I love this picture...and the fact that no one was fighting!

What would you name this picture?

Monday, September 5, 2011

I heart Justin Beiber...and this is why.

When I went to pick up CM for our first week long stay, she was exhausted and tearful.  
My heart and the hearts of her foster family were hurting for her too.

She hugged me and I carried her to the car, buckled her in, and off we went.  
It was just she and I in the car and she was grumpy and silent.  After all, she had just woken up.

I tried to talk and joke around...she wouldn't crack a smile.
So, I pulled out the BIG GUNS.

"Never Say Never", by Justin Beiber, on the CD.

I sang loudly along and did some ridiculous moves...all while driving safely, I assure you.

Then it happened...I heard her little voice singing along too.
Not to mention, she even "raised the roof" with her tiny arms.
(Yes, I still "raise the roof" when I have the right audience.)
I put it on repeat and we sang along.

Then I heard her say, "Mommy, I not sad anymore."

I heart you, Justin Beiber...and this is why.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Funnies- Count to 15

We had dinner with H's family last night and it reminded me of the time I horrified my brother in law (I shall call him the BIL) with my mad parenting skills.  This is how it went...

Poor J hurt herself in one way or the other.  Now I assure you, it was not a life threatening event, nor was a band-aid necessary.   However, it brought her to tears and she clearly wanted me to heal her instantly.  
As we all know, boo-boos just take time to stop hurting but when you are 
3 years old (this was a few months ago, you see) you want the pain gone NOW.

So I thought quickly and confidently declared, "Oh that hurts, I know.  I am sorry.   
Just count to 15 and it should be better."

With a sniffles and all,she began, "1, 2, 3, 4......12, 13, 14, 16,.....23, 24, 25...and onto about 30." 

The BIL looked at me to see if I was going to throw her a lifeline regarding the missing number 15, 
which was clearly her goal.  And did I??


I simply said, "Try again honey."

She began again, "1, 2, 3,.....14, 16,17..."

While she never did reach 15, which I clearly knew that she would skip, her boo-boo stopped hurting and she was distracted as time healed her wound.

We ended it all with a hug and a kiss and off she went to play.
I looked over at the BIL with a mischevious smirk.
The look he gave me...was it shock, disgust, or amazement??
I do not know.

All I do know is that there will be time work on her counting deficits. 
Until then, desperate times...desperate measures.  

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sharing Saturday: Whiz Kids

This week, we will be supporting Whiz Kids Tutoring and Mentoring program by
taking juice boxes and snacks. We will also take time to pray for the students and the tutors involved in the program, along with our church that has made this a family mission focus for September.
Read more about Whiz Kids on their blog.

The way that they describe themselves on their blogs is this way...

"Whiz Kids is a literacy-based, one-to-one tutoring and mentoring program of City Gospel Mission, serving at-risk youth and hurting and homeless adults in Greater Cincinnati since 1924. A strategic partnership between City Gospel Mission and OneCity, Whiz Kids has 50 tutoring sites in partnership with 60 public elementary schools, serving more than 1,100 youth."

Friday, September 2, 2011

Are You Kidding Me? : Vacation style

As our vacation was coming to an end, we decided to spend another morning in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  This time, we were going to hike 1.3 miles up to Laurel Falls. We'd be done by lunch and would relax by the pool later that day.
No problem, right??

Are you kidding me?  This is how it really played out...
(It is long, sorry.)

JJ is safely in the baby backpack, on H's back of course.  We have the diaper bag with waters and the Epi-pens, gym shoes on, and a camera.  What more could we need.

We made it about 1/3 of the way up path and the older kids climbed a rock for a photo moment.  I got a great picture.  They then decided to climb a few feet higher because that would be even better right?  No it was not!  PT's foot rested on a tree and it disturbed a beehive.  Bees swarmed L and PT.  They began schreeching at insane decibels as they slide down the rock to me.  They were trashing about as they continued to be stung.  The added danger of falling off the mountain path during this trashing was enough to send us all into a panic.  We quickly moved down the mountain a few yards to assess the damage and try to keep all 6 of us safely on the path.

Are you kidding me?

Poor L kept sobbing and yelling, "I can still hear it buzzing."  I began swatting at her hair to find one attached to her neck and one entangled in her thick hair.  There was also a large stinger sticking out of her ear too.  She had been stung 3 times :(

"Give me a credit card." I bark at poor H who is carrying JJ on his back and trying to calm poor PT.
(Just so you know, if you are stung by a bee you use a credit card to sweep the stinger out.  Pinching or tweezing will release more of the venom into the skin.)
"I am trying, honey." he responded.  I know he was resisting the urge to tell me off for barking at him, which would have been justified.  I couldn't help it, I was like mama bear and manners were not considered necessary at the moment.  (Sorry honey.)

Meanwhile, a couple without kids in their late 20's or early 30's, proceeded to run past us, avoiding eye contact, as they headed down the mountain.  Not so much as a, "Do you need us to get a ranger?" or "Do you need help?"  We weren't even around the bees anymore at this time.

JERKS! Are you kidding me?

Then onto assess PT.  This guy was stung 6 times and was beside himself.  I just kept thinking, where is our epinephrine, just in case.  As far as we knew, they were not allergic to bee stings but who knows how the body will react to multiple stings. 

Long story shorter, I gave them each a dose of Benadryl for the itching and swelling.  A nice woman appeared from further down the mountain with Neosporin spray.  She must have went down a bit to get it and climbed back up to us.  SWEETIE!

H and I made a decision to make it up that cotton-pickin' mountain.  We didn't want this to be the only memory they had of this hike and of being outdoors.  Keep in mind, we are basically faking it with the kids.  H and I are not outdoorsy to begin with, but we want the kids to value it...and this is what happens.  Oh well, we must continue on!!

We made it to the falls while continuously, encouraging and comforting the kids.  This also included holding onto the older ones, especially PT who would jump back dangerously near the edge of the mountain path anytime he saw, or though he saw something flying by or if he saw a big rock. 
 "AHHH! IT'S A BEE!!" he'd cry out.

Once we made it, PT's Benadryl kicked in and he was in a semi-zombie state.  He even sat in my lap as I held him.  I jokingly told H that we needed to try Benadryl more often just so I could get the snuggles I need and deserve.  We splashed and played in the cool water.  This is why we came.
By the time we made it back down the mountain (and avoiding falls off the mountain), I was feeling a little cocky.  "Wanna go ahead and drive to the top elevation?  It is only a 1/2 mile walk up from where we park." I say to H.  After all, our vacation was almost over.  H agreed.  We gave the kids a small snack and planned for a late lunch.

We drove for miles up the mountain, all the while, completely distracted by the unbelievable scenery.  Seriously people, you have got to check it out sometime if you are in the Gatlinburg area. Then we hear, "Bing."  Yep, that was the gas light turning on in the car.  We still had 6 more miles to go before reaching our destination.  Are you kidding me?

 H's face was priceless.  It said, "Oh crap!"  He looked at me and said, "We've got to turn around and get out of the park to find a gas station." 
With quiet disappointment and worry, we made our way back down the mountain.

All of a sudden, J woke up and began crying and yelling about having to go to the bathroom.  "We are not stopping this car right now.  You need to hold it." H replies.  She keeps going in her someone-woke-a-bear kind of way.  In desperation, I throw a dum-dum at her just to distract her.  The other kids start whining because I only have one.  "I don't want her to poop her pant guys.  You can wait!" I add.

Are you kidding me?

In the middle of all of this, traffic slows, a cyclist gets in the way of progress, AND we hear JJ throw up.  L, who is next to her, is completely disgusted and we are unable to do much about it at the moment.  Now I just plain feel like I am being "punked" or something.

Are you kidding me?

We pray.

We made it to the bottom of the mountain...made it out of the the nearest gas station.  H filled the car up with the most gas we have ever needed.  We were on fumed, seriously.  J, L, and I make it to the lovely gas station restroom just in time for J to have the largest poop that any 4 year old should safely have.  I wiped JJ off a bit.  We ran through a drive-thru and took our trans-fats home to our cabin.

We finally laugh.

We made it.  Not how we planned.  We never did make it back up to the top.  We compromised and drove to the outlook spot for the 2nd highest elevation (Newfoundland Gap) the next day. We took a few pictures and headed home. 

J put it best when she said, "I was outside all day yesterday, and I am NOT doing that again."

I guess that was her way of saying, "Are you kidding me?"

Bee picture: from
Great Smoky Mountains picture:
Laurel Falls