Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Soccer Tournament in the Dark. What'll They Think of Next?

I'm cold. And I just finished eating a purple popcicle. I have no idea why I just ate one. I should have made a cup of tea or something. Being that I am cold. Anyhow, you want to know why I'm cold? It's because I just got home from a soccer tournament. That I didn't know was going to be in the dark. And it's cold out there in the dark. Well, let me back the truck up a bit here and explain. Several weeks ago Bubba's soccer coach called and asked if Bubba could play in a tournament. "Well, of course", we said. Bubba eats, drinks, and breathes soccer this time of year. We thought it would be good for him. We also understood that the first game would be in the afternoon and if they won, it would go on into the early evening. So, it was a bit of a surprise when the coach told us to be there at 4:30 this afternoon. OK, fine. I took him because our church was having a Harvest Event tonight and we decided that Hubby would take the three middle kids and I'd take Baby with me. She doesn't care about Harvest Events. She just likes to practice walking. So, I get him there at 4:30 and there's a million people there. I find some place to plop down my chair (unfortunately it was on a hill and Baby got to practice walking on a hill, which was pretty funny, actually) and wait. And wait. And wait. And then it starts getting dark. And they still haven't started the games. And they didn't turn the lights on. And then they started handing out glow sticks and putting glow sticks on the goals. And then we find out (maybe everyone else knew this, but I didn't and neither did Bubba) that they were going to play soccer in the dark. Each player got this glowing necklace thing and the goalie's necklace was flashing so everyone knew he was the goalie. And they played. It was an interesting concept, but not something we'd like to repeat. Poor Bubba, I don't think he'd let a ball get past him during the regular season, but poor kid.... he couldn't see anything and let the other team score on him three times. He was very frustrated. All the kids were frustrated because they couldn't see and they lost the first game. Baby was tired and cold (I hadn't brought her very warm clothes because I didn't think it was going to be that late) and I was getting cold myself. Finally, Hubby got back from the Harvest Event and I took all the kids home and put them to bed. Hubby and Bubba finally got home. Bubba's team won their second game, so he was in better spirits than when I left him. And I'm finally warming up.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Patch!

Well, I don't know of any better activity to do with 5 children, 3 of whom have horrible allergies right now, (and I still have horrible allergies and vertigo) than to take them on a dusty field trip to the Pumpkin Patch. But, that's what we did today. Our home school group had a field trip to the Pumpkin Patch. It's here in our town, and they do such a good job that school groups from miles around take their students there. We were talking to one of the staff members and she said they had about 1200 kids go through there today. Yes, just today. It's been open all month. Anyhow, they do a good job. They have a story time, take the kids on a short walk on a path (dusty path) over a swinging bridge (and me with my vertigo), through a little castle with a slide, then they do a hayride (I passed on that), we had a picnic lunch, went through the corn path and each kid got to take home a small pumpkin. The kids had a great time. My mom came with us to help with the babies and that was wonderful. I had to carry Baby because a stroller just wouldn't make it on the path or the swinging bridge. It was a beautiful day for the field trip, too. Sunny, but not too warm and the trees are just starting to turn color!

I just had to include this picture. One of the dumbest reasons I've heard for why you shouldn't home-school is, "But how are they going to learn to stand in line?". Well, I'm proving that reason wrong. Here is our home-school group.... standing in line. See, you don't have to go to school to learn how to line up!

The Tooth Fairy

You know, one of the problems I've had as a parent is how to deal with the whole Santa Claus/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy thing. On the one hand, they're the stuff of which childhood is made. I believed in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. It's fun and imaginative. You know, fairy dust and all that. But, it's one thing to read about it and imagine it and it's another thing for parents to lie to their children about it. Now, I know, most parents would say they aren't lying and it's not a deliberate attempt to deceive, but I just have a real problem with telling my children that Santa Claus is real when he isn't. And yes, I have watched "Miracle on 34th Street", but that still hasn't changed my mind. Now, to be honest (since that is what this post is about) Santa Claus hasn't really been an issue. My kids know he's not real. We want to keep the focus of Christmas on the birth of Jesus, so we haven't done Santa Claus. Although we do have the cartoons about him and all that. But the Tooth Fairy, now that's been hard. And I have to admit, we do the Tooth Fairy. And I am so pathetic.... listen to what happened this week. Duh-duh lost a tooth on Tuesday night. So, Wednesday he puts it under his pillow, but I didn't remember to be the Tooth Fairy until Thursday morning. He was still sleeping, but he's a pretty light sleeper and a pretty early riser, so I knew I'd get caught if I snuck in there. So, this is what I did. I wrote him a note. It said, "To: Jonathan. From: The Tooth Fairy. I'm sorry I didn't make it to your bed. I got lost. You may keep your tooth." And I left a quarter with the note. Isn't that horrible? He believed it. He thought it was actually from the Tooth Fairy. It was cute, he showed Daddy and Grandpa & Grandma. So, as you can see, I'm still torn. I don't want to deprive my kids of the "magic of childhood", but I hate making them think there really is a Tooth Fairy when there's not. I want them to trust me to be honest with them. Oh, what's a parent to do?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

And so it goes....

We just got home. Hubby and I took a quick 1 1/2 hour trip to attend a court hearing for the little girls. When you adopt through the foster care system, there are court hearings. This one was the big one - termination of parental rights. Hubby and I didn't have to go, but we did. We wanted to talk with the social worker, meet the judge, meet the girls' attorney, meet..... everyone else involved. There are an amazing amount of people involved. Anyhow, they (and I'm not exactly sure who "they" are because there really is an amazing amount of people involved) asked for a continuance. Apparently, all the "t's" weren't crossed and not all the "i's" were dotted and so the hearing couldn't go forward as scheduled. Well, they had the hearing, but rights weren't terminated. And as frustrating as that was (although we weren't really frustrated because we've been down this road before and when you're working with the System, these things are common and so you just don't get frustrated, it's a total waste of energy!) the more I thought about this whole "termination of parental rights thing" then more I'm glad that care needs to be taken. Terminating the rights of a parent is a huge deal. When Hubby and I were preparing to come, I was thinking about making a good impression on the judge so he'd see how wonderful a family we were and be assured that it was a good thing that the rights of the bio parents were terminated so the girls could be adopted by us, yadda, yadda, yadda. I think that's a pretty typical thought process. I'm not a bad person for thinking that way. However, as I thought more about that, I thought that I don't want the judge's decision to be swayed in any way by emotion. Even if it's the emotion of seeing children taken out of a bad situation and placed in a good one. And I'm not saying that this judge would be swayed. I don't even know him. But, where I erred in my thinking was that I hoped he would be swayed. And that's wrong. If it's one thing that we've learned in history is the importance of the Rule of Law. Judgements should be handed down based on nothing but the Rule of Law. It is in my best interest and the best interest of every parent in the United States that this judge make his ruling based on nothing but what the Law says about how fit a parent is and the parent/child bond. Anything beyond that infringes upon the rights of every parent and is a fearful thing. We cannot have judges that rule based upon their own value systems, their own emotions or their own ideas about "what is best for the child". And so, we went to this hearing. And we were glad that the letter of the law was followed in this case, because it benefits us all. And now we wait another 90 days. And so it goes....

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Madness....

I'm just not sure what to say about today. It seems like one of those days that is slipping beyond my control. Cee-cee has a bad cold. She was so phlegmy last night I was sure we'd be up all night with her, but I completely coated her chest with Vics Vapo-rub and put her to bed in our room and she actually slept all night. That stuff really seemed to help her cough. She's still not feeling 100% today, but she's doing a lot better than she was. And then there's this child. This is him doing his mental math exercises. He actually got them all correct from this position and they aren't easy problems. And he has to do them all in his head. But, right now he's in his room for throwing a ball at the dog. Many times. How many times has he been told not to? Countless. Why do we not tease, poke with sticks or throw balls at the dog? It makes her mean. And here is my house. I just stood in one place, turned and snapped pictures. It's a disaster. Laundry, general mess, school books.


And now the dog escaped from the backyard. Hmm, it never ends. So, I'm just sitting here, sipping a tall glass of raspberry lemonade and wondering.... what's going to happen next.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

He Will Be Your Worst Nightmare....

if you are on the opposite team and have the ball. The boys' teams played each other in soccer today. Grandma and I sat on Duh-duh's side and cheered for his team, and Grandpa and Hubby sat on Bubba's side and cheered for his team. Bubba's team won, but they were expected to win. They are undefeated in the league and physically are bigger and probably a little older than Duh-duh's team. But as the season has progressed, it has been so much fun watching Bubba play. The child is fearless. As goalie, he goes after the ball with all he's got. If he's not at goalie, he plays defense, but today he had the chance to play offense and he was a maniac! He'd zero in on whoever had the ball and just go after that kid, and that kid literally did not have a chance. Bubba'd get in the kid's way and just use his body to separate the kid from the ball. He wasn't unnecessarily aggressive or pushy or anything like that. He'd just get in there and kind of edge the kid away from the ball and take it from him. It was so much fun to watch. He'd do that time after time after time. Once, for a couple of seconds, he was actually engaging the entire opposing team. One of the dads standing next to me said, "Look at that kid. He's taking on the entire team!" He even scored a goal for the first time this season (as I said before, he usually plays either goalie or defender). So, it was pretty fun to watch and I was bursting with pride. Of course I felt bad about Duh-duh's team, but they did play hard and Duh-duh got in a few good kicks as defender. Next weekend Bubba is going to be playing in a soccer tournament, so that should be fun to see how he does!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fake it Till You Make It!

I'd never heard that saying before, but I was looking up some websites on attachment and bonding a while back and that's one of the pieces of advice that was given. It stuck with me and I've been mulling that over in my brain as I work at parenting my two new daughters. Cee-cee is the oldest child we've ever adopted. Bubba was 13 months when we got him, Duh-duh was 4 months and Missie Lou was a newborn. Babies are pretty easy to bond with. For one thing, they're cute and very dependent. If you meet their needs, they're all yours. Plus, they haven't had as much happen to them in their past life to affect the way they view their present. So, bonding with Baby has not taken long at all. She's quite attached to me and me to her. But, Cee-cee.... that's going to take a little longer. Now, I'm not naive enough to think that in a month and a half she's going to have crossed that attachment line and everything's going to be hunky dory! But, I do see and have identified the challenges that are there and will have to be overcome in her little life. They aren't horrible things. She's still pretty young, too. But, they are still there. And that's where the advice comes in, "Fake it till you make it!" What they mean is, "Love your child, even if you don't feel like you love your child. It'll come." Which I think ties in perfectly with the Love Chapter in the Bible - I Corinthians 13. "Love is patient, love is kind... it is not irritable or resentful.... love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, love never fails!" It's hard to love a child who says, "mom" all the time and wants me to look at her doing... whatever it is. Raising her hands up. "Love is patient... love is not irritable" It's hard to love a child sometimes who doesn't need you,( although that neediness is coming along). "Love is kind!" It's hard to build trust. "Love bears all things, believes all things!" And so, even though I don't feel connected with this child yet ( I do believe it will come, though it'll take a while) we have committed ourselves to her; to parent her and to love her, even though it doesn't come naturally right now.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I just find this stuff fascinating.... does anyone else find this fascinating?

You know, I love history. Not the way it was taught in school. That was soooooo boring. I think I might have mentioned that before. But history, taught the right way, or shall I say, studied the right way, is fascinating. One of the things I think is the most fascinating about history is the way things happen because other things have happened and if it all didn't line up just right then we wouldn't be where we are today. Let me explain. We are studying the Renaissance/Reformation right now in our little homeschool. We've read about Martin Luther and his 95 Theses, we've read about Christopher Columbus and other explorers, we've studied Botticelli and da Vinci and Michelangelo (this is one of his paintings)who were coincidentally all from.... anyone, anyone? Florence, Italy. And also had the advantages of the patronage of the..... anyone, anyone? That's right, the Medici Family. (Don't feel bad if you didn't know that. I didn't either until now.) We also just finished reading the biography of Johann Gutenberg, who invented the printing press. Now, I've heard that the printing press was the most important invention in the whole world. I never really knew why and had a hard time agreeing with this, until I started studying the Renaissance/Reformation time period and finally understood the truth of that idea. See, Johann Gutenberg finished his invention in 1456. Before that, books had to be laboriously copied out by hand. This took forever, and was expensive, ergo only the few and the rich could afford books. Also, we all know that knowledge is passed on through books, so when there's only a few books, there's little knowledge being passed around. Well, by the year 1500, over 9 million books had been printed throughout Europe. That's pretty amazing. You can see how knowledge and technology in the Renaissance exploded because of the increased availability. Now scientists and explorers in Italy would know what scientists and explorers in Spain were doing because the information could be more easily obtained. They didn't all have to start from the ground and build up with their acquisition of knowledge. They could start with the discoveries of others and build upon that. Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church in 1517. Because of the printing press, copies of this were distributed throughout Europe, fanning the flames of the Reformation. And what's more, the Bible was more easily attainable to the common folk, so they were able to read it for themselves, which was another driving force in the Reformation. And so, when you see how all these things kind of come together - art and science and the age of exploration and discovery, Martin Luther's new ideas and then you ignite it with Johann Gutenberg's new invention.... wow! Explosion. This is what I find fascinating about history.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Can I please be sick in peace?

There was a time, way back before I had a husband and five children where, when I got sick, I could just be sick. Now, I didn't get sick that often, really. But, when I did, I felt absolutely miserable. And so, I had the freedom to lay in bed quietly. Maybe get up, stagger out to the couch with a pillow and comforter and watch tv all day, occasionally getting up for some orange juice and maybe go to the bathroom. Well, those days are gone, my friend. See, fall is allergy season for most of us. It's dusty and something is blooming or something and I can have allergies all the way till the first frost, which generally happens some time in December. And with those allergies come sinus infections. I have never been able to fight a sinus infection on my own. I hate taking antibiotics because they wreak havoc with my system, but the last time I had a sinus infection I just kept getting weaker and weaker and it didn't go away until I finally went to the doctor, took the stinkin' antibiotics and just dealt with the fall-out. Anyhow, last night around 3:00am the baby woke me up, I turned over and the room started spinning out of control. Fortunately, I fell back asleep pretty quickly, but when I woke up again, same thing. Horrible vertigo. By morning I felt awful and told Hubby he'd need to stay home because there was no way I was getting up. In time, the rest of the house was awake and what do they do? Come see Mommy! And they don't just stand nicely by the bed. They climb in with me. And over me. And on me. I told the boys they had to get their seat work done so we didn't totally waste a school day, so they truck that stuff in and I'm checking spelling, going over Mental Math with Bubba, looking at copywork and trying not to turn my head because every time I turned my head I'd get dizzy. Eventually, they all left, but then I had to get up because it was time for Baby's nap. To be honest, I felt much better after I got up. I wasn't quite as dizzy. I did go to the doctor (I called my parents and my dad said he'd be my taxi) and she said I had a sinus infection. So, we dropped off the prescription and Hubby is on his way to pick it up. So, this is what it's like to be sick when you're a mother. No lounging on the couch dozing all day watching talk shows, game shows and soap operas. I'm just thankful I have a Hubby who can take off work, and that my parents are around and can take me to the doctor when I need it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fun Recipe

I mentioned in a previous post that I made a Rice Krispy Treat spin-off for dessert that I brought to a bbq over the weekend and a friend asked for the recipe. So, I thought I'd just post it. For what it's worth, I got the recipe from the latest issue of Taste of Home magazine.

Captain Crunch Bars
Ingredients
30 (or so, I use more) large marshmallows
3 T butter
1 T peanut butter
6 C Peanutbutter Captain Crunch
1 1/2 C M & Ms

Melt marshmallows, butter and peanutbutter in large sauce pan. When melted, add Peanutbutter Captain Crunch and M & Ms. Transfer to buttered 9"x13" pan. Press down in pan. Cut. Enjoy.

Easy peasy and delicious!

Ahhh, McDonald's!

OK, I will admit it. I do have some low-brow tastes. I love Kraft American Cheese Slices. You know, the kind in the individually wrapped plastic wrappers. They are so good. And they make the best grilled cheese sandwiches. On white bread. None of this fancy shmancy artisan bread with gouda grilled cheese sandwiches for me. Give me the real stuff. And one summer I kind of got hooked on "Big Brother" on tv. Ugh! I can't believe I watched that trash, but I found it strangely intriguing. I almost got hooked this summer, but Hubby pulled me up out of the muck. Thanks honey! I think! Well, I also like McDonald's. I love their french fries. And it's a good place to meet friends for lunch when you have the kids with you. They can play and we can talk. That's what I did today for lunch. I met my friend C at McDonald's. We do that on occasion. It's nice to be able to visit and have somewhat of an uninterrupted conversation. Except when Bubba and Missie Lou crashed into each other and Missie Lou got a bloody nose. Oh yeah, and then Missie Lou knocked over her drink and ice and water were all over the floor. Oh, and then Cee-cee panicked in the play structure and I had to go coax her down. Oh, and I can't forget when Bubba needed to go potty and couldn't hold it and said that the door was locked to the Men's Room so I had to walk him into the Ladies Room and stay in there with him till he finished. Oh yeah, and then I kept having to look up every time Duh-duh made it to that cage way up above my head and yelled, "Mommy, Mommy, look where I am!" Oh, and I also had to feed Baby and keep her entertained since I wasn't going to let her crawl around all over that disgusting floor. (Did I happen to mention, though, that she took 3 steps yesterday? We're all very thrilled.) But other than that (which all happened in the hour we were there), we had a mostly uninterrupted conversation. It's so nice to be able to get out and talk to a friend! I needed that!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Multi-Tasking!

The life of a mom is a life of multi-tasking. There is no getting around that. Moms have to have the ability to answer a question, settle a dispute, bandage a knee and feed a baby all that the same time. And honestly, it feels weird when I'm not multi-tasking. Last Christmas I was out Christmas shopping, having left the kids with Grandma and Grandpa, and I remember walking down the mall and having the strangest feeling. I'd look really quick for my purse.... no, it was there on my arm. Was someone following me? No. Am I forgetting something? No. There's just no children following me around asking me questions and fighting with each other. When I'm not multi-tasking, it feels like something is definitely wrong. Anyhow, in my life, not only do I multi-task, I insist on my appliances having the ability to multi-task as well. I remember when we first got married and I did the ol' bridal registry thing. Oh, there were so many cool things - rice steamers, iced tea makers, ice cream mixer, a chopper for this and a chopper for that. And I signed up for every one. And I got a lot of them. But then, the fascination wears off and you realize that you really don't have the room to store all that stuff and it's just not very practical to have them. So, one by one they all got donated to Goodwill and now I require that if you're going to take up space in my kitchen, you must be able to do more than one task and do it well. For example, this here is my workhorse. It's an Analon saucepan. It's a rice steamer, and a soup pot, and an oatmeal cooker and a variety of other things as well. This piece has definitely earned its keep. And of course no kitchen is complete without a Pyrex pitcher. Forget the iced tea maker. I just steep tea bags in a cup of boiling water in this puppy, add it to cold water in a pitcher and I have iced tea. And that's only the tip of the iceburg with the functionality of a Pyrex pitcher.The latest entry to my kitchen has been the Pack & Play. It has to be in there to pen in a little crawler when I just cannot have her crawling around underfoot, attaching herself to my leg and generally getting in the way. This doesn't happen often but it is needed at times, like when I'm making dinner. But, I have discovered the multi-functionality of a Pack & Play. It doubles as a huge laundry basket. Isn't this great? I discovered it by accident. I couldn't find the real laundry basket and I needed a place to quick dump the load I had in my hands so I threw it in the Pack & Play. Wow! What a great place to put laundry. It's right in the middle of the kitchen floor, steps away from the laundry room. So, there you go. The Pack & Play has earned its keep. It can stay!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Too Many Things to Do!


This was too busy a weekend. I am completely wiped out. Let me tell you about it. Well, first we are not sleeping. Why not? The dog is quiet, mostly. Haven't had a hot flash in a while, but that baby.... that baby of ours. She's teething big time and she wakes up all the time crying. I stagger into the kitchen, make her a bottle, hand it to her and stagger back to bed. A couple hours later, she's crying again. It's been rough. I've started lacing her bottles with baby tylenol, so hopefully that'll help. So, we haven't been sleeping very well, and then for some reason we sleep late on Saturday and Bubba has an 8:00 soccer game, Missie Lou has a 10:00 soccer game, Duh-duh has a 12:20 and I needed to run to Fresno to get my allergy shots in between all that. So, I ran to Fresno first thing with the babies, Hubby did the first soccer game, I pull into the garage at 9:30, run to the bathroom, grab a water bottle and Missie Lou, hand Baby off to Hubby and take Missie Lou to her soccer game. Her team won - shut-out the other team. Missie Lou played goalie 2 quarters, had a couple of good saves. Then, I ran home ate some almonds and cheese for lunch and took Duh-duh to his soccer game. He played goalie 2 quarters as well, had a couple of good saves and his team shut-out the team they were playing. Incidentally, Bubba also plays goalie and his team shut-out the team they were playing. Three goalies and three shut-outs. Can you say, "One proud Mama?" So, after that was over, I had to make dessert for the family gathering we were going to that night. I decided to go easy and make a variation of Rice Krispy Treats, but with Captain Crunch Peanut Butter Cereal and M & Ms. And you add a little peanut butter in when you melt the marshmallows. Delicious. Then, it was off to the family gathering. My dad's sisters were in town from out of state. We had a very nice evening visiting with everyone and chasing the baby around. Then, church this morning, grocery shopping this afternoon and lesson planning this evening. Is it any wonder that I am exhausted? I guess I'll try to rest up this week from the weekend!

Friday, October 14, 2011

More of an Art than a Science!

I love to bake bread. No matter how busy I get, I try to find time to bake a batch of zwiebach from time to time. But, the thing about bread baking is.... it takes practice. You can't just take out a recipe one day and make it and expect it to turn out perfect. Now, you may get lucky and it may turn out perfect. But there's no guarantee because making good bread consistently takes practice. And even if you have lots of practice, that still doesn't mean that every batch is going to turn out great. Today my bread didn't turn out so great. I think the dough was too soft. I didn't put enough flour in it. That doesn't mean it tastes bad. It just looks kind of funny. Anyhow, this is how I make zwiebach. First, I mix 2 cups flour, 2 Tbs. sugar, 1 Tbs. yeast and 2 cups warm milk in a bowl. I mix it really good in my Kitchenaid, then put a clean tea towel over it and let it rise for 20 minutes. When that's done, I mix in 1/2 C oil, 2 tsp. salt and more flour. Being careful not to spill flour on the head of the baby that's attached to my leg. Oops, got a little on her. Sorry, Baby! See, that's when it gets tricky. I try to do most of the mixing with my Kitchenaid, but when you're baking bread you can't just say, "add X amount of flour" and that's it. You have to know what good dough feels like and add the flour accordingly. And I'm afraid I can't describe what it feels like. You just have to "know"! So, that's why you really have to knead the dough by hand because no matter how good a Kitchenaid you have, it can't feel the dough for you. And looking at this picture, it even looks too soft. Oh well! Next time!
Then, you let it rise again for about 45 minutes, oil up your hands really good and pinch. You pinch a big ball, then dip your finger in a cup of warm water, flatten the ball slightly with the watered finger, pinch a slightly smaller ball, put the ball on top of the first one and then stick your finger down the middle of both to keep the top on the bottom. The water also helps glue it on. You can see the little divits on the top of the buns. That's from my little finger. I knew that my dough was too soft when I started pinching. I needed to oil my hands a lot because the dough was so sticky.
Then, you set your oven for 350 degrees....
and cook for 18 minutes until they are golden brown and yummy smelling.
After they cool slightly, pull the top off the bottom and spread both pieces generously with butter and homemade strawberry jam. There are no words to describe..... Seriously!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October

Don't you hate it when you have major upheavals in your life that cause you to lose time? I feel like I'm finally coming back to life after all the hub-bub surrounding the arrival of the girls and I've lost September. Where did September go? I like September and I've missed it completely. At least I've got some of October to enjoy. The weather is beautiful out and this is what my winter garden is doing. Doesn't my lettuce look great. It's just growing and growing. My snow peas are coming along, too. You can see them there amidst the canteloupe coming up all over the place. I think I might have mentioned before that our compost bin is not hot enough to kill the seeds, so we have canteloupes and cherry tomatoes coming up all over the place.

My poor basil has gone completely to seed. I'm just letting it go. I'll plant some more later. I wanted to plant some parsley before it gets too late, but I'm not sure if that's going to get done.

Oh, and here's our dog. We decided not to get rid of her afterall. Did I tell you we were considering it? She was barking and barking and barking all night and between her, the baby and my hot flashes I was getting no sleep. That, and the fact that she was chewing up sprinkler heads, digging deep holes in my fern garden and jumping all over everyone whenever they went outside, just about sealed her fate. But then, all the sudden, it's as if she somehow knew her end was near.... she started to behave herself. She really doesn't bark at night now, and Hubby fixed the gate so she can't get into the fern garden. We got her some rawhide to chew so the sprinklers are safe and things are looking up for her now.
And so, it's mid-October. I heard an owl hooting the other night and actually had a few minutes to go outside and look for it (I found it) and enjoy the evening. My tunnel vision is diminishing and I can look around now, and see autumn and appreciate it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Few Words About Adoption....

"... even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will...." Ephesians 1:4-5.
I want to say a few words about adoption. For one thing, it's become forefront in our lives again. We've got the babies and will be going through the process again with all its twists and turns and mounds and mounds of paperwork. Also, because on the homeschooling forum I'm part of, there was a thread about the dumb things people say to people who have adopted children. And all this just got me to think. But, I wanted to start out with that Scripture, because I believe that God is the Author of the family and since He adopted us into His family, I think His hearty stamp of approval must be on adoptions in our temporal families. I also believe that all things must begin with God, so I wanted to start this post with that verse. Now, we know what God thinks of adoption, but our society seems to have a love/hate relationship with adoptions. On the one hand, most people say they believe it is a good thing. Children without homes, families who are willing to give them a home and love and all that stuff; it's a good thing, right? However, one thing I've found to be interesting, is that although society claims that adoption is a good thing, the things that come out of people's mouths when they aren't paying attention show what they really feel about adoption and it seems to be quite different.
First there's the labeling---- "Real parent" as opposed to "adoptive parent". That's all over the place, starting on the playground. Uh, people, I am the real parent. I'm the one who dries the tears, makes lunch, wipes bottoms and puts on band-aids. That makes me about as real as they come. People label children also. "Mr. and Mrs. Jones with their 2 children and 1 adopted child." Using that kind of terminology creates two classes of children - the biological children and then the slightly lower class of child - the adopted child. When Steve Jobs died, much was made about the fact that he was adopted. They labeled his parents as his "adoptive" parents. The media made sure they got that in there. His "adoptive parents". As if somehow, that made them not quite a family, because they were his adoptive parents.
Then there's the inane questions ---- "Where did your kids come from?" "Are they siblings?" And all sorts of other personal questions. I get this from strangers. Like it's any of their business. And I never know exactly what to say to that.
And then there's the insensitive remarks ---- "How could a person give up their child? That's just terrible!" Well, not so terrible if you're going to be a single mom with few resources and don't really feel like you're even able to be a mom at this point in your life. It's actually a very mature and loving thing to do; thinking of the child's life and potential for happiness before one's own. Oh, and there's the classic.... "I knew an adopted kid and he ___________" You fill in the blanks... he was a rebel, he lit the school on fire, he chopped off his parents' arms. Everyone, it seems, knows an adopted child who was an awful kid, but can't seem to remember all the non-adopted kids who are also little monsters. In my opinion, if you're gonna be rotten, you're gonna be rotten. Doesn't matter if you're adopted or not. I know this post kind of sounds like a rant, and maybe it is a little. I do get frustrated by the things people say and do that undermine and sully the beauty of adoption. It hurts me that my beautiful children may think that their family is less than legitimate because we are not biologically related. I hate it when strangers say rude things to me about my kids and I don't know what to say back. (Mostly because I just don't want to be rude back, even though they are rude for asking) Most days I don't even think about the fact that my kids are adopted. I don't even see the different shades of color in their skin that is different than mine. They're just my kids and I love them. But then, things happen, my defenses go up and I get hurt and angry and protective. I guess when that happens, I'll just have to remind myself of the Ephesians passage and know that God's view of adoption is really the only one that matters.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oh, What a Morning!

I need a drink! A stiff drink! Preferably with a lot of caffeine and half-and-half. Ahhh, my coffee-maker, my friend!
I have had quite the morning. I had to take the girls to the doctor. One thing about foster care is.... they have about fifty million bits of paperwork and requirements and doctors appointments and this, that and the other that has to be filled out and done. It's enough to drive a person insane. So, I had to take the girls in to the doctor today. Don't ask me why. I really don't know. Just paperwork. I hate going to the doctor. I always have to sit and wait and wait and wait. It's not so bad if it's just myself. Then I can bring a book. But with kids, especially small kids, it's a nightmare. We waited in the waiting room. And then in the little room. I brought Cee-cee some crackers to eat while we were waiting, but then she had to get weighed. She didn't understand that she had to leave her crackers in the room but she would be able to finish them later. She screamed. She also hated having her clothes off. Now, I can hardly blame her, but still... she screamed. Finally, the doctor said she could put her clothes on and her shoes and she calmed down a little. And then the doctor was talking to me. Now.... I just can't stand this doctor. I'm sorry. I've had her before and try to avoid her, but she's who I got this time and .... She's like the Queen of Paranoia ("Well, you know you've got a hang-nail. You really should get that taken care of because it could get infected and then we'd have to take your arm off!"). She's giving me this list of all the horrible things that happen to drug-exposed babies and then she goes on and on about , "Blah-blah-blah Early Intervention, blah-blah-blah Services...." and I'm thinking, "Lady, just shut up! While there may be a place for all that if it's really needed, what really benefits a child is a safe and loving home. A place where there is peace and laughter and parents who take an interest and talk to their children. Let's try that first. Let's not jump the gun!" So, I just did what I always do when people are yammering on and I don't feel like arguing with them, I just smiled and said, "Uh huh! OK! Thank-you!" I'm just not a confrontational person. (So, now you know my secret. If I'm ever talking with you and smile and say, "Uh huh! OK! Thank-you!", you will know that I completely disagree with you, but I don't feel like arguing.) So, we got that over with and then I had to fill out these questionaires (try doing that with two tired and grouchy little girls hanging on you) and then came the shots. Oh mercy. Poor Baby got 3 shots and a TB test. She screamed. I hate shots. I never look. Kids always look. I don't know why they do that. Then Cee-cee got a TB test. At least she stopped crying when she got some princess stickers. Then we could leave. Two and a half hours later. Yes, I was there that long. It's no wonder I have a head-ache. But, when I got home I saw these. Don't they look good? While the babies and I were at the doctor, my parents had taken the older kids grape picking. Yummy! These grapes are tremendous. I love autumn grapes!
So, now, I'm going to sip my coffee, take some deep breaths and try to relax a little. The babies are both sleeping and the older kids are watching tv (yes, we did get school done this morning) and I'm getting a little peace.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sisters....Sisters....

"Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters. Never had to have a chaperone, no sir! I'm there to keep my eye on her. Caring, sharing every little thing that we are wearing; when a certain gentleman arrived from Rome, she wore the dress.... and I stayed home!"
Don't you just love that song from the Irving Berlin film "White Christmas"? Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen captured the hearts of Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye with that song. I love that movie. But, this post isn't about that movie. Good heavens, it's not even Halloween yet. Can't be talking about Christmas. We're talking about sisters. And the fact that I never had one. I have one brother. We've had a complicated relationship over the years, but it's doing pretty good now that we're adults, so no complaints there. But, I wish I had a sister. I used to fantasize when I was a child that I had a sister. Or two. Or three. Or even four. I mean, why stop at one. It's my daydream, afterall. But, I never got a sister, so when we adopted Missie-Lou, we knew she would need a sister. We waited for four years for that call to come to pick up Baby Sister. It was a long wait and we sometimes wondered if maybe God was saying, "NO!" and we just couldn't hear Him. But, we knew that probably wasn't it. So, we kept waiting. Until we almost couldn't wait anymore. And then, they came. A double blessing. Two sisters. And this is real life, not my childhood daydreams. It's been a little over a month now and as you can see in the picture, the sisters are being sisters. Yes, Middle Sister Cee-cee is pushing Big Sister Missie Lou on the Big Wheel, but they were taking turns. And Cee-cee has also been introduced to the joys of the daily Otter Pop (although she doesn't get one daily, just once in a while), and she doesn't even mind green. Everyone else minds green, which is why that's all that's left in the box right now. I was talking to a friend of mine from church last night about what life will be like in this house when the three sisters turn teen-age. We were joking about how one bathroom for all five kids just isn't going to cut it, as well as transportation issues and other things. But, as I thought a bit into the future, I kind of got excited thinking about how my daughters will be able to sit around and yak with each other about all the things sisters talk about with each other. I know, there will be lots of fights, but it makes me feel good, and a little excited to think about The Sisters!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

This, That and the Other!


It's another one of those days. I don't have enough on my mind for a whole post. I do feel like I'm getting my brain back in shape, though, after the coming of the babies. The first couple of weeks we had them I just couldn't, for the life of me, think straight. It was awful. But, now things are getting a little better. I was able to pound out a three-Sunday unit for Children's Church yesterday. I just got inspired. It's Reformation Month this month. October 31 is the anniversary of when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenburg Church and, in essence, started the Protestant Reformation. I got this wonderful book called, "Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World" by Paul Maier, which is what I based this little unit study on.
** ** ** **
We finally have more than one fall birthday in this family. Last week we celebrated Baby's birthday on Thursday and Hubby's birthday yesterday. We don't do big parties at our house. Sorry, no bounce houses, no pony rides. We have the grandparents over and I make a birthday cake. It's not even a very exciting cake. I use my star-shaped cake pan and try not to do to horrible a job decorating it. That was last night. We had a very nice evening.
** ** ** **
Hmm, what else do I have to report? Nothing really. I'm sorry! Hopefully, tomorrow I'll have something better to say!

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Girl!

Monday Missie Lou and I had a "Girls' Afternoon Out!" Actually, it was totally unplanned and spontaeous. Hubby had the day off and I needed to get my allergy shots. I'd planned on going right after lunch while the babies were sleeping and just going up and coming back. Well, that kind of morphed into a "I really need to get to Costco" type of thing as well. So, we're talking about this over lunch and Missie Lou asks if she could come. I said I'd love for her to come, so that's how it all began. I have to tell you I really enjoy hanging out with my kid. She's a lot of fun. She's pretty goofy sometimes... but overall, she's just got a fun little personality and she loves to shop. So, first we go get my shots. I have to stay there for half an hour after to make sure I don't go into anaphylactic shock or anything. So, we sat there and watched Paula Deen on tv make this chocolate cake that looked to die for and discussed the outfits the celebrities were wearing in "People Magazine". Missie Lou had a comment for each one, too! After that we headed for Target. I got a new pair of pants and a new top and she got some new jeans and a skirt from the clearance rack. I love the clearance rack at Target. That skirt cost $1.78 and she loves it! Then we headed for Costco and the samples. We live for Costco samples. I'd promised her I'd get us each a soda on our way out of Costco, but after seeing the bill I'd rung up, and recovering from the subsequent heart attack, I totally forgot till I got in the car. So, I went through the KFC drive-through and got us each a soda to drink while I got gas. Oh, and of course I had to get the 3 cookies/$1 they had advertised in the drive-through window. Not exactly low-carb, but we were on a special trip. That was it for that trip, but what a wonderful "Girls' Afternoon Out" we had. (Incidentally, she's standing right her as I'm typing it begging for a sip of my coffee. Of course she likes it. It's sweet with lots of 1/2 & 1/2. I told her she could have a sip. "Can I have the rest?" "No!" "Why not?" "It's my coffee!" She scowls jokingly! Yep, that's my girl!)

A Birthday that Builds Character

Birthdays! It is a day dedicated to the celebration of one's entrance into the world. It's a special day and really shouldn't have to be shared. Each one of us has one, and only one birthday, so life has been very fair in divvying up birthdays. No one person has any more than another. So, this is why I have no problem in honoring the birthday person only on their birthday and not thinking that everyone else in the family needs a present or to share in the honor. Yes, it is difficult for some small children. Their innate selfishness causes them to want what others have and they are so young they forget their own birthdays are coming or have recently passed. However, I don't think that this is a reason to give them a gift as well. Last night Cee-cee was quite upset and sat on my lap and cried because she didn't get a present. Well, I felt bad for her, but it also occurred to me that her tears were momentary and the struggle she was going through, even at two years of age, was helping to build her character. I need to remember that. As a mother, I want to stop all my children's tears. I know that I have a problem with that and it's hard because sometimes the tears and the struggles we go through are character building and are necessary. When I try to alleviate all pain and completely smooth the way for my children, I am actually being counter-productive. How are they going to learn to be unselfish? How are they going to learn to rejoice when others rejoice? The virtues we need to learn to become fine and godly people generally come with pain as we say "no" to ourselves and "yes" to others. So, even though it hurts me to see my children cry, I'm trying to remind myself of the lessons and character that is being built in their little lives as we teach them to be unselfish and caring toward others.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

One year clean!

Today I went to the dermatologist. I love my dermatologist. Have I mentioned that before? I'm sure I have. She's so sweet. I'm guessing she's close to my age. Maybe a little older. Perhaps a little younger? I don't know. I'm bad at guessing ages. Anyhow, she's so nice and I feel like I'd just love to have a cup of coffee with her sometime and hang out. So, I went to see her today. It's been a little over a year that I had the melanoma removed from my leg. Remember this picture? (It's a little scary looking, so you may want to skim over it really quick)


Here's your last chance.


OK, here's the picture of my leg after they removed the melanoma.
It's pretty gross, isn't it? She had to take all the skin out around the lesion because yes, it was indeed a cancer. Kind of scary. But, here's the scar now.
Not much there. I told you my dermatologist was good. Anyhow, it was an adventurous appointment. Not that she found anything. The last couple times she'd biopsied things, but they always come back benign. Today she didn't even find anything curious looking. What made the appointment an adventure was that I had the two babies with me. Everything was going fine at first. I gave Cee-cee a bag of crackers to eat while I was being examined, and she was eating them, but then she dropped two and bent over with her mouth open to pick them up and stuff them in. I'm standing there in nothing but one of those lovely hospital gowns and I grab them from her hand (True, I am not a germophobe, but I do have some standards, and I will not let my children eat food from doctor's office floor. From our floor yes, but nowhere else!)(For what it's worth, I did grab nicely and tell her that the food was yucky and she had lots more crackers in her bag, yada yada yada) and then she starts crying because she thinks I won't let her finish her crackers. While this is going on, Baby is crying because she hasn't had her nap and it's a couple hours past and she's out of crackers, too. But, my wonderful doctor just stands there and smiles, along with her assistant and says, "That's ok. We're moms, too! We know what this is like." So, I just determine to ignore Cee-cee because the exam doesn't take that long and what am I going to do standing there with no clothes on? I give Baby a few more little cracker thingies, but then the whole bottle dumps over on the floor. Anyhow, it's complete bedlam and we still continue the exam, Dr. S asking me if I've noticed anything new and me saying, "No, I don't think so." Finally, it's over. I convince Cee-cee that she can indeed finish her crackers, so she finally stops crying (there's cracker paste in her hair, by-the-way) and finishes her snack. I'm able to give Baby a few more crackers, I get dressed, clean up my mess and we all walk out of the room calmly and composed. It was just a zoo! But, the good news is, no suspicious moles on this body! Next check-up in 6 months!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Raised Beds


Yippee! I got the winter garden in! We decided to do raised beds this year. Actually it wasn't really a planned thing, it just happened. The big box was on the side of the house this summer and was home to failed canteloupe, almost failed watermelon (Hubby dug up one of the watermelon plants, planted it in another pot and moved it to where it would get more sun. We coddled it, watered it, loved it and took care of it and it produced one, smallish, mediocre tasting watermelon), and almost failed pumpkins (We got 2 pumpkins off that vine. The pumpkins that I planted withered up and died. We think it's because I planted it in a black plastic pot and cooked them. I was giving them enough water.)
Anyhow, in order to provide my garden with some protection from soccer balls and dogs, we thought we'd put some lettuce in that bed. Then, one night Hubby came home and said there were these hinged wooden boxes (without bottoms) at work in the trash heap and should he bring them home? "Why yes," I said, "that would be perfect for more raised beds!" So, that's what the other two are. We also put chicken wire over the tops of the boxes to keep Sparky out. She'd love to get her little paws in that nice soft dirt. I don't think so, baby! I have lettuce and onions in the first box and I'm planting them staggered. So, I planted a couple rows last week and will plant another couple rows next week. It'll just keep them fresh. I also planted some leeks and celery and spinach and carrots. I wanted to plant fennel, but I couldn't find fennel seeds at the nursery when I went there last Friday. Can you believe that? I'll keep looking, but my window of opportunity for planting is starting to narrow. Can you see those little tiny green things? Those are little lettuces coming up. I am so proud. They are so sweet. Some winters I don't ever have to buy lettuce. It's so wonderful to be able to just go out and pick yourself a salad. And lettuce is so easy to grow. Just plant and harvest.
Here's where I planted my peas. These trellises are the greatest thing since sliced bread, in my opinion. I use them for cucumbers in the summer and peas in the winter/spring. They are awesome. I've got Snow Peas on the west trells and Sugar Snap Peas on the east trellis. I love Snow Peas in stir fry and Hubby likes Sugar Snap peas blanched and he just eats them by the handful. They're pretty good in salads, too!
See that? I thought that might be a pea plant sprouted, but I don't think it is. I'm not sure what it is. It's not a weed, though. Well, yes, it's a weed because in my book, a weed is any plant that is growing where you do not want it to be. But, Hubby, when he was roto-tilling, tilled in the compost and since our compost doesn't get hot enough to sterilize, we get all sorts of weird things popping up!
Winter gardening is a great hobby. Around here, you rarely even have to keep it watered. Well, you do at first, but once it starts raining, there's really no upkeep. And you get all that tasty produce all winter long! It's a good thing!