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