Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Funnies

Those of you that spend time with me, especially at work, know that I love silly puns and any play on words.  There are days when I dream of someday being on a marketing team that makes up slogans and catch phrases.  I have no shame.  I will reuse and abuse them, so let me take a moment to thank those of you who humor me enough to laugh, continue to be my friend, co-worker, or husband.

That having been said, we were all sitting at a restaurant on a Sunday after church.  "PT" cracked a joke and instantly got laughs.  Without delay, "L" looks at me with a mildly condescending glare and states, "Mom, "PT" is nothing like you....He is actually funny."  Needless to say, the laughter just got louder.  At my expense, of course.

In honor of "L's" wit, I wanted to also tell you the latest joke that she made up. 

What did the Lego Robot say when he landed on Earth??
Answer: I come in pieces.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sharing Saturday- Week 2

This has been a good week for us.  I have heard some great ideas from some of you about what you and your family do to give back.  We added Ohio Valley Voices to our daily prayers and "L's" friend who used to be a student there loved the idea.

I also took some time to sit down with the kids and we browsed some websites to generate ideas for future causes to support.  "PT" knew right away what charity he wanted to support this week. However, he graciously agreed to allow me to suggest that we support Aunt Tricia.  She is a mother of 3 kids, ages 3 and under (crazy too, obviously), works four days a week, and is training for a 10k as a SoulMate in support of Girls On The Run and blogs about it.  She even host a "Bows and Booze" party as a fundraiser.  GOTR is passionate about encouraging young girls to have positive emotional, social, mental, and physical development as they train to walk or run at a 3.1 mile event.

Now, you all know that I only run if I am being chased so I am not going to give that kind of support.  We are donating to her fundraising efforts and will cheer her on. We will also being praying for good physical and emotional health for Tricia, coaches, and girls participating.

I also encourage you to check GOTR and the SoleMate program for yourself.  If you would like to donate, check out the link to her blog, above.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mommy's Business Trip

The weather today stinks!!  Anybody else agree?  Instead of dwelling on it, I have to decided to focus on the bright side...tomorrow at this time I will be aboard a plane.  Destination...Ft. Lauderdale.  Forecast...82 degrees and mostly sunny.  Duration...3 days.  Is my family going too?...Not this time.  I am actually traveling with my BFF (Yes, I know that I sound like a 12 year old.  I don't care.) to visit her father who lives there.  She affectionately calls it "Ft. Liquordale."  She saw that I was stressed and thought that this could be fun for both of us. 

Sounds great doesn't it?  I am really excited but there seems to be a little self-doubt/guilt, which in motherhood, there is always more than enough to go around.  First, I know how much we miss my husband when he is gone for work.  I also know how hard it is to meet everyone's needs on a daily basis much less when the spouse is outta the house.  I haven't traveled by plane since we were the proud parents of only two children and the oldest was 3....she is now going on 9 years old.  I have only been away for one night at a time for continuing education classes or to be with a friend at her mother's funeral.  "H" and I haven't traveled together without the kids since "P" was 3 months old (He'll be 7 in April.) and that was a must for his job, at the time.  We missed the kids but had a blast.  "H" and I were planning to escape for a long weekend to NYC last spring to celebrate our 10 year anniversary.  So what stopped us?  Our sweet baby "JJ" arrived and we were more than happy to hold off for a while.   We haven't yet pursued it because we are hoping to adopt her first.  And frankly, finding care for 4 kids with lots of appointments and a dog is a little daunting.

I love being with my family and I enjoy this chaos of our own making.  My husband and children are all I've ever hoped for and I am blessed.  However, I must admit that, over the last few months, I have felt the weight of managing a household; raising 4 kids; participating in multiple weekly therapy and doctor appointments; missing my Mom; maintaining relationships; working part-time outside the home where I take care of other people; being a Girl Scout leader; meeting the demands of being a foster parent, as well as feeling the emotional strain that enduring the "process" while hoping for an adoption has overwhelmed me at times.  This is not intended to be a list of complaints just a statement of my reality.  The unfortunate truth at our house is that my mood positively or negatively impacts the overall mood of our household and I have been a little less positive lately.  Wow, that is power I never expected!  Now to use it for good not evil...that is the challenge.

So why am I going...and why without them?  Simply, mommy needs her own business trip.  I need to refuel and recharge.  I need to regain a healthier perspective.  I need to enjoy some uninterrupted conversation with a friend of 17 years.  Also, I need to have a little fun.  After all, in the plane, don't they tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first before you try to help others? 

I have to thank my dear husband and friend for suggesting we do this.  My husband never hesitated when I asked if I should take her up on the offer. (Thanks honey.) He is very capable of running the show, so I don't have worries there, except that the kids won't want me back after a weekend with him.  I just don't know what to expect when I can pee alone with the door shut and not have to cut up meat for other people.  I don't have to be at one appointment or fill out one piece of paperwork.  Best of all, no winter coat! 

Well this blog has been therapy enough for me.  I feel the self-doubt fading.  I am now feeling pumped.  (Yes, I still say pumped.)  This is a great opportunity and I plan to make the most of it.  I know that I am going to miss my little stinkers and the hubby like crazy, of course.  They know that I love them no matter where I am. I just hope to return a little more refreshed and energized.  After all, they all deserve my best.  Ft. Liquordale- here we come!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Retail Rant and Raves: Useful Children's Books

One of the things that my kids have a lot of is books.  I remind my kids often of what a blessing that is.  It started when my sister gave us a large collection when we had our lovely "L."  Honestly, I think most of them were gifts or are from the Scholastic Book Fair at school.  I also see a few that have never been returned from Grandma or Papaw's house...oops.  We also get a few when perusing the clearance section of Half-Priced Books.

I think that it is a great idea to encourage guests at a baby shower to bring their favorite book to build the baby's library.  It could also be used as a gift basket for a 2nd or 3rd pregnancy.  The baby and the siblings can benefit well together.

I want my kids to love books, and I am sure that there are many more great ones out there than I will ever discover.  Actually, I wanted to take a minute to highlight a few that my kids enjoy but are actually useful too, so here we go!  I'd love to hear if your family has discovered some good ones too.

You're All My Favorites
by Sam McBratney
If you have multiple children, this is a must! It is a sweet story about three little bears who become concerned when they begin questioning which one of them is mom and dad's favorite.  For the record, the mom and dad are quite clever at reassuring their little ones. 

Have You Filled A Bucket Today?
by Carol McCloud
We refer to this book a lot at our house.  It presents a simple concept about being kind and caring (bucket filler) or unkind (bucket dipper).  It explains that "dipping" from someone's bucket also "dips" from your own bucket.  This is a book that we like to give to teachers as a classroom gift if they do not already have it.

Chad the Allergic Chipmunk and Allie the Allergic Elephant 
by Nicole Smith
Our son has a severe allergy to peanuts and treenuts.  These two books were given to us as a gift (Thanks Tricia!) before he started school.  The books explain food allergies with kid-friendly plot.  After all, how in the world do a chipmunk and elephant live without eating nuts, right?

Pocket Full of Kisses
by Audrey Penn
A big brother pleads for his mom to give his little brother back now that he has to share all of his toys and books with him.  His mother comforts him by giving him a kiss in the palm of his hand that he can bring to his cheek anytime he wants to.  The best part, the boys each get their very own.  

I have given out a few "kissing hands" in my day.  Especially if they were nervous about starting school or I was going to be away for some reason...usually to have another child that they'd have to share with.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

No Offense But...

Seriously?  "No offense but..." usually proceeds an offensive comment.  You know the comment that is too personal and never actually asked for.  It usually comes out of the mouth of someone who boosts about being brutally "honest" or "real."   Frankly, sometimes it is just "real" mean or "honestly" rude. 

Don't get me wrong, I value honesty.  It is necessary to have real relationships. I also know that I have stuck my foot in my mouth more than once and have wanted to go back and erase something rude that I have said.  However, generally I try to be nice and I think most people do too.  I don't think that it is over-rated.  I feel like it is worth the extra effort to find a way to give someone honest feedback with a little finesse. 

Sorry, just one of my little rants!  By the way, I don't really like your hair.  No offense.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Behind the Scenes: Mustgo night

At our house, tonight is "mustgo" night.  What the heck is that?  Well it is like it sounds...everything in the fridge must go.  This night usually happens near trash day.  The kids and hubby know exactly what it means when I announce the menu as "mustgo night."  I know it is weird, but it seems more tolerable than calling it "the night before everything spoils."  I have been trying to waste less food, especially fresh fruits and veggies so this strategy has been helpful for us.  No one seems to mind because they have some choice in the matter and some very unusual combinations evolve.  And of course, I am happy to have a few 
clearer shelves in the fridge.  

What do you do to get your family to eat those left-overs?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Funnies

You really should meet my son, "PT."  His 1st grade teacher wrote on his progress note that, "He is a hoot and a holler.  He really does look at the world through a different lens."  Well, she wasn't kidding.  He loves to make people laugh.  So far, he is not a kid that is motivated to be like others or do what they are doing.  For example, during his first year of flag football we noticed that kids were running right past him and he'd barely move.  He casually explained, "I just don't like to run."  I had to tell him that it is in the rules that you have to run if you are going to play football.  He eventually deciding that he'd run...a little.

A few months ago, "H" and I were talking about weird and dangerous things that kids do in college.  I joked with him that I feared that "PT" might do something crazy so he was going to have to live in our basement and do online courses only.  In enters, "PT" and I say to him in a pitiful voice "PT, if I ever let you go to college will you call Mommy everyday? Please." The kid just paused for a moment, tilted his head to the side, showed his puppy dog eyes and replied, "Of course Mommy.  I'll call you... I'll call you butt!"

What?? The kid just totally pulled me in and burned me with his comeback, and I never saw it coming. "H," while poorly holding back his laughter, told "PT" that what he had said was inappropriate and rude, however, funny.  He apologized and we moved on.  I am sure that there will be more to come. I'll be sure to share.

 Here's a funny I found online today....

Men writing the rules

If Men Were to Rewrite "The Rules"

Rule # 1 Anything we said six or eight months ago is inadmissible in an argument. All comments become null and void after seven days.

Rule # 2 If we say something that can be interpreted in two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other way.

Rule # 3 It is in neither your best interest nor ours to make us take those stupid Cosmo quizzes together.

Rule # 4 You can either ask us to do something OR tell us how you want it done -- not both.

Rule # 5 Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials or time-outs.

Rule # 6 Christopher Columbus didn't need directions and neither do we.

Rule # 7 When we're turning the wheel and the car is nosing onto the ramp, you saying "This is our exit" is not necessary.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sharing Saturday- Week 1

Our oldest daughter, "L" loves learning big words and today our family talked about philanthropy.  The definition is...Love and benevolence toward the whole human family; universal good will; desire and readiness to do good for all mankind.  It led us to basis of what we believe.  God, wants us to give with a happy heart.  The scripture can explain it more clearly than I can...

Let's back up a minute.  What sparked the whole subject?  It was a blog that I came across today.  I browsed it and it set my mind racing.  This young guy is making a small donation to a charity every day for a year.  He also provides a way for others to donate with him.  And even sweeter, he is dedicating his experience to his mother. (I bet that his mother is proud.)

I found myself doing an internet search on micro-philanthropy and was inspired.  When you give a little to a lot of people, basically, you can make a big impact.  There are many groups and individuals talking about this and encouraging others to participate.  After all, we are not all wealthy or have foundations with our name on it.  We are just people that want to make an impact.  This is also not about if you are a Christian or not, just a member of the human race. 

It is very important to"H" and I that our children grow to be generous and compassionate.  We want them to be grateful and to know the joy that giving to others can bring.  Frankly, I believe that all parents want similar things for their kids.  Unfortunately, living in middle class suburbia can limit ones perspective at times.  So how the heck do you do that??  Let me know when you find the perfect answer, please.  All I know is that "H" and I  fall short of our own personal goals to give more of our time, talents, and resources to others. We get caught up in our own wants and needs for our family, in regards to our time and our money. We give to our church and some other causes, and do some volunteering, yet our children rarely are involved in the decision making.  We discuss donating and tithing with them and they know that it is important but they are mainly spectators.  

We have decided to shine a brighter light on giving at our house.  We decided that organizing a daily donation seemed to be a little too overwhelming and unmanagable for us. However, starting today, we are also going to give a small donation to a cause that one of our kids picks, every Saturday.  We can then talk and pray about them all week.  We will generate ideas together and each child can research charities and make his/her own choice.  We will call it "Sharing Saturday."  

The kids (minus one sleeping baby) seemed really excited and when I asked them why we were doing this, they said...
           "J" - "It means LOVE!"
           "PT"- "To show other people that God loves them no matter what."
           "L"- "God loves us and other people and we should show other people that God loves them too."

This is just a small step but we hope that it will not only lead our pocketbooks, but our hearts and minds to other people needing assistance.  Hopefully, we will become more emotionally and physically involved in service this year too as a family.  

This week, our donation is going to Ohio Valley Voices.  They are a school and their fundamental belief is that deaf children can learn to speak.  "L" suggested this one because her friend in Girl Scouts, who was helped by the people at Ohio Valley Voices as a young child, was disappointed when the troop voted to donate a portion of our Girl Scout cookie proceeds to another deserving cause. "L" thought that she'd "like to make it up to her."  (P.S. I love that kid.)  If you want to know more about O.V.V. just click above on their underlined name and it should take you to the website. 

So why am I babbling on like this??  First of all, I am excited and long-winded.  I think that it will be fun and good for us to actually chisel out time to discuss the charities we choose.  I know that a few dollars isn't much but I believe that it will have a positive impact us and on the recipients of our donations.  Even more importantly, I wanted to share the idea with others so that maybe, if you choose to do something like this too, the impact will continue to grow. Wouldn't that be great!  If you and yours already do something like this or even something completely different, or even plan to, please share it with us.  You never know who you might absolutely love your idea too.

Who's in??
Acts 20:35
...that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Friday, February 18, 2011

"O.S." also known as...

 "O.S." is the abbreviation that my husband and I have given to the term “old shit,” or otherwise known as “old stuff” if small ears are listening.  This term has been used in our relationship for quite a long time. It is used to firmly remind each other that when arguing that we can not keep drudging up past transgressions that have already been resolved into our current discussion.   

We have a rule that you can bring up a relevant past event only ONCE in a future argument…then it officially becomes “O.S.” and must be taken out of your argument arsenal.   With four small kids around, we rarely have the time to finish complete sentences, much less beat a topic to death.  We have to get to the point and resolve it quickly.  We have found that when someone throws out the “O.S. card,” it adds quite a bit of levity to the situation and helps keep us on track.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Behind the Scenes: Lost and Found

Clean up.  Clean up.  Everybody do your share.

Behind the scenes we all have little tips and quirks that make our houses run.  This time, I have decided to share a few about straightening up (a.k.a. "hiding crap") at our house.  My goal is to get everyone to kick in so that the kids learn to take care of their things and I don't get so overwhelmed by the mess that only 6 people and a dog can make.  I'd also love some feedback from you how you handle it at your house.

My newest favorite...the "Lost and Found."

This is most useful when we are in a hurry and when I see little things all over the main floor of our house.   The "Lost and Found" works just like it sounds.  I use the tray on our ottoman or an empty laundry basket and just put all of the "lost" items in the basket and notify the family that the items have been "found" and need to be put away, in order to prevent them being lost forever (I really haven't had to go this far.).  As you can see, even the lovely husband is not exempt from my madness.  Those are his tools and duct tape in there.

Now the basement (a.k.a. the toy dungeon) is a different story.  Since "out of sight is out of mind" rings true in regards to the basement, sometimes clean up down there takes more time yet occurs less often.  The good 'ole clean up songs don't work well anymore for my kids.  Basically, it works best if I give them each a zone or a specific type of toy to clean up so that they aren't in each others faces, which leads to trouble.   After a generous amount of time (usually twice as long as it should take 3 able-bodied children to complete), I give them a 5 minute warning.  At the end of that time, they hear me rustling a Kroger bag and they scatter like frenzied mice to grab anything left out.  What is left on the floor goes in the bag and goes away for a while.  One time, I actually found a bag of confiscated toys out in the garage and realized that my strategy was a little overly successful.   I am not terribly proud of the panic-inducing Kroger bag strategy but it works when necessary. 

On a more peaceful note, sometimes we just do a 10 minute clean up together as a family.  You can always come back and do another 10 minutes again later.  Also, my friend Jean taught me to say, "Everyone see if you can pick up 10 things. Go."  No matter what I do, I have to make sure that task is broken down or they get overwhelmed and don't want to start at all.  The kids and I are proud of ourselves when everything is in its place...for 5 whole minutes before it starts all over again. 

How do you manage clean-up at your house?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

25 Weird Things About Me

This is modified from a chain-post from Facebook a while ago.  For some reason, I don't mind you knowing what a weirdo I am.

1) I was the "Captain Kidney" mascot for the Kidney Foundation, in my college’s Homecoming parade where I was on the dance team.
2) I wore “Forest-Gump-like” braces on my legs for a few years due to orthopedic problems when I was a toddler and was put into dance class to help as well.
3) I was preparing to declare myself as a theology major the same day I found out that I was accepted into the Occupational therapy dept.
4) I love to play card and board games...especially Sequence.
5) My sister is 11yrs older than me.
6) I am allergic to everything outside that is green and grows and most animals such as cows and snakes (so the childhood allergist found out).
7) I used to cry and get nauseous...even get sick due to fear of my first grade class, teacher, and having my lunch stolen.
8) I walked head long into a no parking sign when talking to a friend on a major street on the West side.
9) I am forgetful at times, so 25 things are difficult.
10) I have been on 2 cruises yet I was too young to even have a margarita on board. I'd love to go again and take Howie.
11) I have been to Hawaii and loved it.
12) I like being near the ocean but not necessarily in it....the sea life scares me to death!
13) I can put my whole fist in my mouth....gross, I know.
14) I took a meditation class in college and spent a lot of time napping instead.
15) My maiden name replaced my middle name when I got married.
16) Both of my parents were only 5'3", my sister is 4'11"ish, and I am 5'1". I also have quite a few short friends too.
17) I love volunteer work and wish that I was more involved in it now.
18) I do not have good sense of direction.
19) I told my Mom that “H” was Mr. Right-now vs. Mr. Right....I was sooo wrong. He's the love of my life.
20) My 4 children are my greatest source of hope, vulnerability, love, laughter, entertainment...and don't forget stress.
21) We have wanted to be adoptive parents for 8 years.
22) I have fantastic friends that I love to spend time with- phone, email, or in person. Thank you girls!! You are so supportive.
23) We planned on having only 2 kids.
24) Our kids' first and middle names are derived from family names.
25) I considered the military when I was looking at colleges and scholarships. I would not have been good in the military. Instead, I married a military man.

Don't make me think that I'm the only weird one.  What wouldn't we know about you?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Black Hair for the White Mom

Thanks to a good friend and his cousin, I got to try my hand at sectioning "JJ's" hair, trying new products, and trying a two-strand twist.  I really enjoy her hair in its natural state but I have been told that her hair may grow more quickly and strongly if in little ponytails or twists...who knew?  All I know is that if I left my hair in a pony-tail for too long, it would begin to break off.  From the beginning, I have been very open about asking other people about the differences in doing Caucasian hair vs. African American hair.  Frankly, it is my job to care for all of my kids and if I don't know how to do something then it is my responsibility to find out.  So here begins my learning adventure and here's a big thank you to good friends who keep giving me tips and guidance. I am just going to keep practicing and playing with her hair.  I'll get the hang of it.

Check out my before and after pictures below.  I welcome advice and tips. (FYI- I can't photograph her beautiful face for privacy reasons but have taken some photos of her hair only. Believe me, she's a knock out.) 

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Valentines

These are the hands of the my sweet Valentines.  I am blessed. 
Happy Valentine's Day to you and your sweeties. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Why Church?

Well I planned to write this post after church this morning but here I am at home because one of the kids has a fever, so here we go. 

Those of you who knew me as a child and now as an adult know that I enjoy going to church.  Now don't get me wrong, I am frequently tempted to sleep in or just stay in my pajamas all day, due to the often hectic weeks we have.  At times we miss church due to illness, events,or travel.  Also, I am sure that we could be more involved in the congregation yet, for now, it is a part of our regular routine on Sundays. 

I have no intention on giving a sermon about what I believe or why I believe it. Nor do I plan to tell you what you should do or believe.  There are much more skilled and wise people for that.  All I know is that I go to church for a number of reasons, both spiritual and practical.  First of all, I am a Christian and I feel like I want and need to know more to support my faith and enjoy celebrating the many blessings in my life.  Second of all, I like to have my kids exposed to, God, not just from me because, frankly, they rarely think I know what I am talking about. But on a more practical note, while my children are learning and having fun, I am able to sit with my husband and recharge and refocus on bettering myself and our life together. Also, we like that our church has lots of opportunities for community service and kids programs.  We only wish that we took better advantage of some of the opportunities available.  Thinking back, it actually was our church bulletin, 8 years ago, that got us talking about and pursuing adoption, therefore, leading us to our littlest blessing, "JJ." 

First hand, I have experienced my faith helping me through some tough times in my life.  I know that it works for me and I want it to work for my family.  I do not go to church because I feel like I am better than others when I do.  I do not go because I think that attendance at church, alone, is the way to Heaven.  I do not go because I worry what the other people in my life or at my church are thinking of me.  I simply am a very flawed person and I need all the help that I can get! 

We live in a world where millions of dollars are spent every year on very reputable counseling and self-help books and seminars with different ways to improve the individual.  This is my self-help and has been for many others throughout history.  It is tried and true.  Basically, most people have goals that they want to achieve, want to be good people and to make a positive impact, want to love and be loved, and like me, make a lot of mistakes.  I know that it will come as a surprise (ha ha) but I am not perfect.  I love a crude joke, can be quick to anger with the ones I love most, and can be self-centered... just to state a few of my flaws.  I find it helpful to be around others that are seeking some of the same things.  Some people do better out in nature or at home in meditation to get closer to understanding, God.  I say, to each his own. 

People criticize Christians because they have observed behaviors contrary to the teachings.  I get it.  We all are hypocrites at times.  I just want to try to improve and to be more thankful.  After all, church isn't for the perfect it is for the sinner.  So the next time you see me doing or hear me saying something that is contrary to my beliefs, like yelling at the kids to "HURRY UP! I MEAN IT!!  WE ARE LATE FOR CHURCH!!" Please forgive me.  I am a work in progress.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mother of the Year

This is the first installment of what I will call the "Mother of the Year" moments.  This is where I will remind myself, my friends, and someday with my kids of the less than stellar moments I have had as a parent.  The situations when I have embarrassed myself or my kids, done something I never thought I would do, or frankly, when my kids have embarrassed me to the point that I turn to strangers and claim to only be their babysitter.  I often try to laugh it off, hold back expletives, grin at the people around me and say, "Mother of the Year right here." You know those moments and I want you to share yours too as they come up!

I have decided to kick this one off with a recent story when my lovely 3 year old, "J" let her competitive side rear its ugly head.  In order to paint the picture fully, you must know that "J" has the fairest of skin and bleach blond hair and can look terribly sweet and times.  During the winter months, you will find her, along with her sisters and I, sitting in the stands for 2-4 hours cheering our 6 year old, "PT", onto victory at various wrestling tournaments.  The girls get bored so I usually pack stuff to do and tons of snacks.  As a rule, I make them stop what they are doing when "PT" is wrestling so that they can cheer him on.  Well, "J" did just that a few weeks ago.  I was not paying a lot of attention to her yet I could see her pumping her little arms in the air and could hear her repeat a simple chant.  I bent down to hear her more clearly and was horrified at what I heard in her loudest preschool sized voice..."CHOKE HIM!  CHOKE HIM!"

I quickly looked around at all of the parents around me that were from other schools to see if they heard too.  If so, I knew right where the exit was.  I stopped her, corrected her, and gave her ideas of what was OK to chant. She just looked at me like, "What? I'm cheering like you told me to."  By the way, he won and no parents attacked me with their cow-bell.

Let it be known, we do not cheer like that nor do we choke our kids at home so I don't want to hear any of you saying, "Where'd she learn that?"  I am telling you that this kid is gifted in the way of surprising us with her words and actions.  The only thing we can think of is that a few weeks earlier "PT" was choked in a match and it really upset him and he lost that match.  She had to have known that it wasn't a good thing and she just didn't seem to care.  She just wanted him to win. 

That was a proud moment for us as parents.  However, "H" and I find our selves laughing about it quite a bit when no one is around.  That kid is a hoot and we are in trouble in the future!  Has your kid embarrassed you recently or is it just me??

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Toddlers and Tiaras- Seriously??

Seriously, this show was what brought me out of blogging retirement. To be fair, I have only seen a few partial episodes of this show and it totally fascinated and horrified me. I observed parents, who lived very modestly, drop $5,000 or more on costumes, tanning, nails, dental veneers, elaborate hair pieces/extensions, and pageant coaching. Keep in mind; most of these kids are under the age of 4! I saw some of the little girls stomping their feet, bossing their parents around, and even being bribed to smile. What is so beautiful about that?? What kind of talent or personality competition is that??

As a foster parent, I can be written up if I am observed to have my laundry detergent or kitchen cleaner left out on the counter vs. in a locked cabinet. I have to take hours of training before becoming a foster parent and have to maintain continuing education hours as well. Don’t get me wrong, I am not arguing with the efforts to protect our vulnerable youth, however, I found it strangely insulting that biological parents all over the country can put FAKE hair, eyelashes, and teeth on their toddler, coach them on flirting with the judges, cover them in hair spray and tanning chemicals, and coat their little faces with make-up and proudly boast that their daughter is in the pageant circuit without any child services investigation!

Please tell me that I am not the only one that thinks that a “beauty pageant” for toddlers should include pig-tails, cute pajama category, and Sunday dresses. Otherwise, isn’t just a costume contest??

Where the Heck Have I Been?

It has been over a year since my last post!! That is pitiful, but I honestly can tell you that a lot has kept me busy. We were so excited to bring our newest addition, “JJ”, home from the hospital just in time for Christmas in 2009, as a foster child. Our deepest prayer and desire is to adopt her and be her family FOREVER. I often say, “She doesn’t belong to us but we belong together.”

My calendar is filled with the kids’ bus stop drop off and pick up times and various appointments with case workers, supervised visitation, pediatricians, allergists, neurologists, occupational therapy, physical therapy, early intervention, W.I.C., preschool, playdates, and ballet, of course. Then at night or on weekends, there is dinner, homework, girl scouts, cub scouts, wrestling, teacher conferences, church activities, family outings, blah, blah, blah. As a foster parent, I also have paperwork to complete each month and 40 hours of continuing education to complete every 2 years. Professionally, I continue to work outside the home one day per week and one weekend day per month, and don’t even know how many hours of continuing education I still need by June to keep my license. On top of all of that, I can’t stand to have the house messy!

I have to admit that the last three years since my Mom’s death, and this past year in particular, have been the most physically exhausting and emotionally demanding, yet blessed years of my life. I love being a parent to these four uniquely cool kids. Yeah, my days are packed but I have a great man to share this chaotic life with. Our “zone defense” parenting skills are being challenged and are improving everyday. Don’t get me wrong. It is not all rainbows and sunshine and at times I contribute to the chaos. More than once, “H” has walked in from work and I have had my head on the counter with tears in my eyes and “J” saying, “Can someone get the crying baby?” He just walks in and asks what needs to be done…and does it. He actually consoled me one day by saying, “Would it help if you went back to work more?” Funny thing is, that he was being nice because my day at work is often times easier and requires less multi-tasking than my days at home.

So what am I doing writing this blog? Honestly, I am probably avoiding doing something more mundane like cleaning toilets or hanging up laundry. But seriously, I enjoy writing and it feels like I am talking to an adult for a few minutes and anyone who knows me knows that I like to talk. (Sorry!) I actually got a kick out of re-reading my old posts. It is like the journal I never kept.

So where have I been? I have been living and surviving a very wonderful year. I am starting to be more hopeful that an adoption will occur in 2011 and I am settling in to the vision of these 4 kids completing our family. I have been smiling, playing, laughing, crying, worrying, and obsessing at times. All the while, I have been trying not to let day to day tasks swallow me up. I love talking to my friends on the phone, checking Facebook more than I should, indulging in some mindless T.V. on DVR, and spending time with friends or my husband whenever possible. Maybe I will continue to write a little too. I hope that you all are having a blessed year as well.