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what? no blizzard?

Monday, March 30, 2009

The wind is still howling and you can barely see across the street. I'd call that a blizzard.

We're in the middle of our fourth snowstorm in the last 10 days.
I say snowstorm and not blizzard because the winds are not a sustained 35 mph...just 30. Like it makes THAT much of a difference. The wind is still howling and you can barely see across the street. I'd call that a blizzard.
But you know what? As weird as it sounds, I can honestly say I'm starting to get used to these storms.
I know. Weird.
I think its because I've resigned myself to the fact that its going to be cold here in Grab-Your-Lasso for awhile...and I'm comforted by the fact that on weekends we can head down the mountain to where its warmer. As long as its not snowing.

That's not so bad...really.
Besides...this summer will be AWESOME!
It doesn't get much above 85 here, couple that with the low humidity and I say its PERFECT summer weather. So perfect, no one around here has central air or even window air conditioners.
Aaaah...
So, while you my bloggy friends, will be melting in the summer heat and humidity, I will be sitting under a tree, reading a book and not even breaking a sweat! :)
I'll put up with a few more winter storms for that! Besides, they're kind of pretty...when you're not out standing on your front porch taking video for all our low-lander bloggy friends! )
Enjoy! And send me warm thoughts...and maybe some hot chocolate. ;>)



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sunflower seeds

Its been a long winter for these sunflower state transplants, so we've decided to do something to push the seasonal envelope a bit.

R egardless of what the calendar says, winter still has a firm hold on Grab-Your-Lasso.
Every once in awhile the weather teases us with a 50 degree day, getting our hopes up that spring is on the way and we can start to think about packing the winter coats away an
d pulling out the shorts.
Then we wake the next day to another another next-to-no-snow blizzard and dashed hopes yet again.
Its been a long winter for these sunflower state transplants, so we've decided to do something to push the seasonal envelope a bit.
When Shad and the kids went back to Kansas a few weeks ago and saw my tulips starting to come up, they decided to bring a little bit of spring back with them. Before they left, they went to Wally World and picked up a peat packet and an envelope of Sunflower Seeds - the Kansas state flower.
Cool, huh?!
Yesterday, Shad and the three younger kids, because Alek is too cool for this exercise, planted some of the seeds and set them in the window to start germinating.

We're excited to have brought some of 'home' with us to Wyoming.
I just hope they make it.
Wyoming is a dry state after all...and Kansas, well, it isn't.



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sorry about that!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I didn't realize that when I signed up for a certain ad service that they were putting ads in my feeds.
Being a little slow on the uptake, I didn't realize it until I went to look at my own Sunflower Seed feeds.
YUCK! I didn't realize it was doing that to you. I've since cancelled the services. And I promise you...it won't happen again!

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truth in advertising...and other stuff I've messed up

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I got frustrated...and I yelled. And she got more frustrated and she cried harder, which just made me angrier.

Twenty-four hours after my post on Sage Brush Diaries, talking about how God slapped me upside the head with my impatience, I can tell you that I am still a work in progress.
I messed up today.
Royally.
I don't understand why some days are worse than others. I wonder if it may have something alot to do with hormones - if you know what I mean. At least that's what I'm blaming it on.
But its not an excuse.
Sigh.
It all started with Anya.
Anya, my wonderful, easy-going, eager-to-please, saint of a daughter.
For some reason she is the one that sets me off the quickest.
Why is that?
Anyway...
We were sitting down to do homework after school (recurring theme, ya think?!) and she shut down on me. Completely.
When Anya gets frustrated with homework, she shuts down, starts to cry and is absolutely non-productive for a good-long time.
Usually, I'll send her to bed to cry it out. What point is there in telling her not to cry? It only makes it worse. So I make her sit in there until she gets control of herself and can come out with a happy face.
Today I didn't do that. I made it worse.
I got frustrated right along with her.
There is something I learned about Anya a long time ago.
WE. ARE. EXACTLY. ALIKE.
We are both overly emotional...and easily set off. Except when she gets frustrated she cries...when I get frustrated, I yell.
Yea. Great, I know.
So I got frustrated...and I yelled. And she got more frustrated and she cried harder, which just made me angrier.
Pretty, huh?
I told her she was sitting at that kitchen table until she figured it out. If it meant she missed supper, so-be-it. If it meant she missed her nightly episode of Hannah Montana, better still. She was sitting at that table until she could figure it out.
It didn't work.
I refused to give her the answer...I tried explaining the homework a million times, but in both of our frustrations, we couldn't communicate any better than Maddie and I could a year ago.
She wasn't listening to me.
And I certainly wasn't being patience with her.
Finally, after an hour and a half (YES! AN HOUR AND A HALF!) I finally told her to start writing the sentence with Sally. That's all I gave her...the first word.
Thirty-seconds later she was done.
I don't know which was worse. The fact that she sat there for an hour and a half crying, or the fact that once she had one word she finished it so quickly.
OOOOH I was hopping mad! She could have finished it that quickly 75 minutes ago!
I sent her to her room and sat down on the couch to cool off.
It didn't work.
It took another 30 minutes for me to get to the point where I could actually TALK to her instead of yelling.
Finally, we sat down and had a nice, long chat.
I explained what made me so frustrated. I told her I was wrong. I explained that she needed to control herself in a better way as well.
And then I asked for her to forgive me.
My beautiful, sweet, kind-hearted, gentle-spirited daughter generously did.
I'm thankful for several things.
First, that I'm not a mean yeller. I just yell. I am VERY conscious of what I'm saying...I just wish I could take a lot of the emotion out of it. It still doesn't do her (or anyone else) any good.
I'm so thankful for forgiveness.
That my daughter offers hers.
And that my Heavenly Father does too.
And I'm thankful that tomorrow is another day. I plan on getting plenty of rest tonight, taking some St. John's Wart (to see if it helps) and if absolutely necessary...
leaving the tomorrow's homework until Shad gets home! ;>)

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truth in advertising...and other stuff I've messed up

I got frustrated...and I yelled. And she got more frustrated and she cried harder, which just made me angrier.

Twenty-four hours after that last post, talking about how God slapped me upside the head with my impatience, I can tell you that I am still a work in progress.
I messed up today.
Royally.
I don't understand why some days are worse than others. I wonder if it may have something alot to do with hormones - if you know what I mean. At least that's what I'm blaming it on.
But its not an excuse.
Sigh.
It all started with Anya.
Anya, my wonderful, easy-going, eager-to-please, saint of a daughter.
For some reason she is the one that sets me off the quickest.
Why is that?
Anyway...
We were sitting down to do homework after school (recurring theme, ya think?!) and she shut down on me. Completely.
When Anya gets frustrated with homework, she shuts down, starts to cry and is absolutely non-productive for a good-long time.
Usually, I'll send her to bed to cry it out. What point is there in telling her not to cry? It only makes it worse. So I make her sit in there until she gets control of herself and can come out with a happy face.
Today I didn't do that. I made it worse.
I got frustrated right along with her.
There is something I learned about Anya a long time ago.
WE. ARE. EXACTLY. ALIKE.
We are both overly emotional...and easily set off. Except when she gets frustrated she cries...when I get frustrated, I yell.
Yea. Great, I know.
So I got frustrated...and I yelled. And she got more frustrated and she cried harder, which just made me angrier.
Pretty, huh?
I told her she was sitting at that kitchen table until she figured it out. If it meant she missed supper, so-be-it. If it meant she missed her nightly episode of Hannah Montana, better still. She was sitting at that table until she could figure it out.
It didn't work.
I refused to give her the answer...I tried explaining the homework a million times, but in heat of our frustration, we couldn't communicate any better than Maddie and I could a year ago.
She wasn't listening to me.
And I certainly wasn't being patience with her.
After an hour and a half (YES! AN HOUR AND A HALF!) I finally told her to start writing the sentence with Sally. That's all I gave her...the first word.
Thirty-seconds later she was done.
I don't know which was worse. The fact that she sat there for an hour and a half crying, or that once she had one word she finished it so quickly.
OOOOH I was hopping mad! She could have finished it that quickly 75 minutes ago!
I sent her to her room and sat down on the couch to cool off.
It didn't work.
It was another 30 minutes before I got to the point where I could actually TALK to her without yelling.
Finally, we sat down and had a nice, long chat.
I explained what made me so frustrated. I told her I was wrong. I explained that she needed to control herself in a better way as well.
And then I asked for her to forgive me.
My beautiful, sweet, kind-hearted, gentle-spirited daughter generously did.
I'm thankful for several things.
First, that I'm not a mean yeller. I just yell. I am VERY conscious of what I'm saying...I make a point of never saying bad about my children as individuals. I just wish I could take a lot of the emotion out of it. It still doesn't do her (or anyone else) any good.

I'm so thankful for forgiveness.
That my daughter offers hers.
And that my Heavenly Father does too.
And I'm thankful that tomorrow is another day. I plan on getting plenty of rest tonight, taking some St. John's Wart (to see if it helps) and if absolutely necessary...
leaving tomorrow's homework until Shad gets home! ;>)

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the price of peace

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How could I teach them to love the LORD and hope that they'll WANT to go to church every Sunday, if every experience they remember from their childhood is a nagging, yelling, angry episode?

Why are Sundays mornings always like this?
Last Sunday I argued with the kids from the time they woke up, all the way through breakfast, getting them dressed, brushing their teeth, combing their hair and walking out the door.
Actually, we argued in the van and up until the point where we opened the doors of church.
Thank goodness we stopped there!
Yea. Godly attitude, I know.
'But God,' I argued with the Almighty (like you have a CHANCE of EVER winning one of those!) 'I'm supposed to raise them to be responsible adults. I'm supposed to teach them to go to church every Sunday no matter what...and with the right attitude.'
'Uhhhh-hmmmm....,' He seemed to say.
Aaaaaahhhh...that's it, right there, isn't it? How could I teach them to love the LORD and hope that they'll WANT to go to church every Sunday, if every experience they remember from their childhood is a nagging, yelling, angry mom?
As if He hadn't pricked my conscious enough about it, God had Pastor smack me upside the head with this set of verses...

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. - Ephesians 4:1-3

Peace.
Hmmmm...that was certainly lacking, wasn't it?
And who's fault was it?
Mine.
Its not that I don't have a responsibility to bring my children to church, place in them in a position to learn about God and teach them about the attitude we need to approach it with...
But I also need to teach them about humility, gentleness and patience. Lessons I sure wasn't teaching by example.
When he mentioned the point about patience Shad nudged me in the ribs.
Alright, already! I get it. I don't have any patience. Its not like you're telling me anything new.
But indeed He was.
God is not only looking for patience. He's looking for long-suffering. ..the kind of patience mentioned in I Corinthians 13:4

"Love is patient, love is kind...."

The word patient here is a Greek word derived from Makrothumos which means 'not to lose heart; to be long-suffering, slow to anger, slow to punish. The same word used in Ephesians 4.
While Ephesians 4 is directed at Christians and how we deal with each other. I think the same can be applied to me as a mom.
I have a tendency to get irritated and angered easily and I can't always pinpoint why. Taking a deeper look I realize it mostly caused by my desire for perfection.
On Sunday mornings I would love to have perfect looking children, arriving in a perfect looking vehicle, with the perfect countenance upon our faces ready to come face to face with God.
Instead my need for perfection just leaves me frustrated when kids aren't doing much more than messing around on Sundays and coming to me ready for church in a dirty pair of jeans and crumpled up shirt from the bottom of their closet!
The truth is, God's not worried about how they look.
What concerns Him is my attitude. He has chosen me to be Christ's representative on earth...a representative to the world...but more importantly, an 'ambassador' to these four precious children.
In Ephesians, Paul is challenging me to live a life worthy of what God has called me to do...the awesome privilege of being called a child of God...and mom to four of his most beautiful creations.
And that job description needs to include being humble, gentle patient, understanding and peaceful.
My kids are watching me. The question is can they see Christ in me?
No one is ever going to be perfect here on earth...least of all me. But the Father's patience with me is long-suffering...never-ending. Don't I owe my kids that same kind of patience?
I'm not saying I need to back off and become buddies with my kids. My job is still to parent. They will have all kinds of friends in their lives, but they will only have one set of parents.
Well, two, if you count their birth parents, but what I'm saying is, I don't have to fight them tooth and nail.

Do I really need to nag Nick about slipping on his shoes instead of tying them? Is it really worth the battle to try and convince Anya that her summer dress isn't appropriate for the dead of winter...especially when natural consequences will teach her soon enough? What about rushing the kids around so that they can eat breakfast? If they don't eat, they starve until lunch, I bet they won't do it twice.
And isn't it more important that we get to church in the right frame of mind so we can ALL be spiritually fed?
I imagine the Father thinks so.
So here's what He's taught me this week. I need to remember...

  • Perfection exists only in God. We need to love him and each other, not the visions we have for perfection here on earth.
  • Anger doesn't bring about the righteous life God desires.
  • Paul says 'make every effort' because its going to take some work.
  • Rather than dwelling on my children's weaknesses, I need to pray for them.
  • Relationship building is one of Holy Spirit's jobs. He leads, but we have to be willing to follow and to do our part. To do that, I need to focus on God, not myself.

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call me a slacker, but...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Call me uneducated in all things educational, but I think my kids deserve a break.

I sent Nick off to school today without reading a single book over his spring break.
GASP!
Call me callous, but the only thing I'm feeling guilty about right now is that the teacher is going to keep him in from recess today.
I am SO SICK of the school district sticking their nose into our family time.
So incredibly tired of them thinking they have the right to make my son or daughter do things when it is their time off.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm all FOR reading. I LOVE to read. I can spend whole weekends curled up with a book and think nothing of making my husband do all the cooking and cleaning (as if I could get away with that!)
I love nothing more than sitting down on the couch with a little one next to me and reading to them...or listening to them decipher the letters.
And I really do support the teachers in their efforts to educate my kids - more than most I believe. (At least that's what I've been told)
BUT I WILL NOT give in to the school district's demands of making them read when they're supposed to be on vacation!!!
Isn't it bad enough that we spend around two hours every day doing homework? About an hour for the papers...and another hour for reading. EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. AFTER they just spent six hours stuck in a classroom doing THE. VERY. SAME. THING!
Call me uneducated in all things educational, but I think my kids deserve a break.
What happened to the days when kids were able to spend their afternoons (gasp) PLAYING after school because they had just spend six hours learning?
What happened to weekends where the toughest thing a kid had to do was figure out which game to play with their neighbor friends?
What happened to letting kids BE kids?
Good grief.
Thankfully, only one teacher will think I'm a total slacker today (because you know I'm all worked up about what these teachers think). Anya woke up early and being the hard-working, over-achiever she is, she read NINE books in one hour.
Crazy kid.
So she's going to get to play outside today.
But poor Nick will be sitting in for recess this morning.
Good thing for him, we're under a blizzard warning.* ;>)

*YES, they're still in school! Although truth be told right now the only thing blowing around are a couple of flakes. The 25 inches we were supposed to get hasn't showed up yet.


**ETA - Okay, now its snowing. Sideways. I'll post video later. Geez. What happened to spring?!


***ETA AGAIN - Well, the 25 inches didn't show up. In fact I don't think we got one! The good news is it will melt quickly, once it warms up. The bad news is we went through all of that for nothing. I mean, I went out and bought a TON of groceries getting prepared for this thing. Oh well...I guess at least I don't have to go back to the grocery store til next month! :)

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day trip

Saturday, March 21, 2009

We've decided since we live SO close to SO many vacation destinations, we're going to take advantage of it.

What an awesome day!

Shad, the kids and I all took off for Estes Park, CO today and we had a BLAST. Its been a long time since we've taken a day just to spend together. Actually I think its been since our vacation last May, so we've decided now that we're living SO close to SO many vacation destinations, we're going to take advantage of it.
We're hoping to take day trips, or maybe weekend trips about once a month, if not more often this summer. We won't be able to afford a full vacation, but with two and three days here and there I think we'll be just fine.
Today, it was Estes Park.
I'm hoping next time we can tackle the Cave of the Winds.
I took waaaaaay too many pictures, but what can I say? My kids are adorable...and the scenery was just too beautiful to resist. ;)
Enjoy! (cllick on the box if you want bigger pictures)



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vacation, what vacation?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Shad and the kids walked in the door and 10 minutes later my beautifully clean house was a trash pit!

They're baaaaaaaack!
Shad and the kids arrived late yesterday afternoon after a long day of driving.
And after a long day of cleaning
(because I had to put off for as long as I could, ya know) my house was stunning. It was, perhaps, the cleanest its been in the 10 years we've had kids.
There were no dishes in the sink...
The laundry baskets were empty...
The bathroom floor was freshly mopped...
The living room was dusted and vacuumed...
The trash cans were empty....
And a hazelnut candle was burning in the kitchen.
Aaaaaahhhh...sounds Utopian, no?
I thought so. Too bad I didn't get to enjoy it!
Shad and the kids walked in the door and 10 minutes later my beautifully clean house was a trash pit!
TEN MINUTES!
By the time they were done I had a sink full of dishes...
Full dirty clothes hampers...
Someone had overflowed the toilet and it had run all over the floor...
All the trash from the van was dumped it in my kitchen can...
And someone had the nerve to walk across my freshly vacuumed floor in their muddy sneakers!
AUGH!
You would be proud of me. I didn't blow a gasket.
I walked out the door.
I don't think I said a word as I grabbed my keys, walked out to the the mom-mobile, which had just finished that 700 mile trek, and headed for Wally World. I spent the better part of an hour buying the fixings for a dinner, blowing off steam and window-shopping.
By the time I got home everyone had settled in for the night.
I fixed a quick dinner and sent everyone to bed.
There is one great thing about having the kids home, besides the whole 'I missed em' thing.
They're old enough to do housework.
Guess what they're doing this morning?
They're vacuuming, doing laundry, taking out the trash and mopping the floors.
'But, Mom,' Alek tried arguing. 'We're on vacation.'
'Vacation,' I asked. 'What vacation?'

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progress report

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

She believed that dog would kill her. THAT is how strong it was.

Its been awhile since I last gave you a Maddie progress report. Over the last three months she's been growing, changing and learning. So much so, at times its hard to remember the little girl we brought home 13 months ago.
Here's what she's been up to...

'It naaaa wor-ing'

Maddie has been doing a really good job lately of telling me when her hearing aid has stopped working. It may not sound like much, but its huge for us. It means if we forget to do our daily hearing aid battery test, the world won't come to an end.
She'll tell us if she can't hear.
It also means she's paying more attention to the world around her. Not only the sights, but the sounds. According to her speech and language teacher this is huge...
Gigantic...
ENORMOUS! ;)
Stephanie has been working really hard with Maddie to teach her how to discriminate sound. Essentially, how to hear.
For most of us this comes naturally, but for a child who hasn't been ABLE to hear her entire life, this is a skill that had to be taught...and it looks like she's catching on.
Anytime there is a new sound she calls our attention to it and asks us what it is.
Her 'sound vocabulary' - the sounds she recognizes - is exploding.
Which is awesome.
It means she has the ability to listen as well as look for cars before she crosses the street...she'll be able to tell when someone is walking up behind her...and most importantly it means she's able to hear the different parts of speech that so far have been alluding her.

Speak Up

Maddie is making huge progress on her speech.

HUGE.
From the time we brought her home, its been incredibly difficult to understand what Maddie is saying. At first I thought it was because of the language difference...and most likely it was.
But I'm learning its more than just that.
The 'hard of hearing' label doesn't just mean Maddie can't hear at the same volume level as the rest of us...it also means she can't hear certain consonants. For each decibel of sound she can't hear, Maddie also loses the ability to discriminate consonants.
S, Ts, Hs, Ls, Zs, etc.
Before she came home, before she became 'aided', she couldn't hear them.
At all.
Now that she's aided...and she's really starting to LISTEN, she's starting to recognize those sounds - which means she's able to copy them - which means she is starting to use them. Which means her speech is getting clearer.

Awesome stuff! :)

Growing up

Inside - I think Maddie is starting to catch up on her maturity.
Experts say you should expect one month of emotional delay for every three to four months a child is in an orphanage.
If that's true (which I believe it is - its held true for all four of our kids) then when we brought Maddie home from the orphanage at four years of age, she would have been the emotional equivalent of a two-and-a-half year old. Now she's five years old...and emotionally I would say around a four-year-old.
YEA!
She's gained about six months in a year.
A pretty good rate if you ask me!
Don't get me wrong, there are days when I have to ask her how old she is (as a reminder)...but by-and-large she's doing MUCH better.

And Out - Not only has Maddie lost a tooth this month - she's gone through a HUGE growth spurt! I am convinced she skipped a size in clothes while I wasn't looking.
The last I checked she was wearing 4T jeans...now she's in size 5 kids. She skipped right over the size 4s. And its the same brand of jeans, so I'm pretty sure I'm accurate here.
She's also jumped in shirt sizes.

I'm thinking shoes are next. Thank goodness summer is coming. I can have her go barefoot if necessary! :)

The three Rs

Maddie has also made a lot of academic progress over the last few months.
When I last updated (in December), Maddie was starting to learn to spell and sign her name. Today I'm happy to report she can not only spell it and sign it...she can WRITE it.
AND...
She's not only learning the alphabet...she's SIGNING the letters.
In fact she recognizes the sign BEFORE she recognizes the written letters.
Awesome stuff! :)
Let me tell you...this sign language stuff is great. Maddie isn't using it exclusively for communication, but she will often use it to clarify her what she's trying to say.
And I've learned enough that I can now tell Maddie to 'stop it, sit down and be quiet' from across the room.
NOT ONLY THAT...
I can tell the three older kids the same thing...and they understand me!
A skill worth its weight in GOLD I tell ya! :)

Animal Attraction

We're still having some issues in the animal loving department.
Maddie has finally grown to not only accept but actually like our pets. Our cat and dog are pretty docile...neither one gets too wound up or spiteful towards the kids. And Maddie has gotten to the point where she'll walk up to them to pet them. She even sits down and lets them sit by her.
So I've gotten a bit complacent. I should have known better.
On Sunday, Maddie and I went to visit my parents and my brother and his family. Len has a dog, Muffin, who is an absolute cutie.

Unfortunately, Maddie doesn't agree.
As soon as Maddie saw her, she let out a blood-curdling scream, climbed up my body into my arms and scampered over my shoulder onto the back of the couch, where she stood holding onto my shoulders, keeping me between the two of them, all the while crying...
Hysterically.
Its more than a fear of animals.
Its a panic.
An absolute terror.
Stronger than any fear I have seen.
She believed that dog would kill her. THAT is how strong it was.
And there's not much I can do to help her, other than what we've already done. Try to expose her to animals as much as possible and help her work through it.
Now you watch...she will be the child to follow in Shad's footsteps and be a vet! :)

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decisions, decisions...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Yep. We're a couple of wild and crazy girls!

Ihad a choice to make yesterday.
Shad planned on taking a few days off to head back to Kansas to check on the house. It bugs him to leave it sitting there while we wait for it to sell, so he wanted to make sure everything is alright.
He asked if I wanted to go.
Hmmm...let's see, drive 11 hours one way so I can spend my days chasing after four completely bored children, drive 30 minutes each way for each meal to hunt down fast food, sit on the floor to eat, watch movies on my laptop and sleep on a hard floor...
Oooooorrrrr....
I could spend three days in Grab-Your-Lasso without a husband and three older children...
No cooking, no laundry, no griping, no arguing.
Hmmmmmmmm...
Tough choice.
I don't know. Let me think about it.
Shad and the kids left without me. ;>)
You would think with the hubby and big kids gone, Maddie and I would be having all kinds of adventures.
Well, you'd be wrong.
The most excitement we've had in the last 24 hours is our little trip to Bath & Body Works this morning. And that's alright by me. Isn't that what Spring Break is all about? Rest and relaxation?
Besides...we got alot done on our errand. We picked out three new scents of hand soap for the master bath (its my one and only indulgence and it was 3 for $10...not too bad).
Irresistable Apple, Rainkissed leaves and Sea Island Cotton.
I wish there was smell-o-websites, ladies, because that Sea Island Cotton stuff is yuuuuummmy.
BTW - I think B&B has a new fan. Maddie walked in the store and I'm not kidding you...she oooohhhhed.
Loudly.
Because everything Maddie does is done loudly.
Then she started checking out the displays, occasionally calling to me, 'Mommeeeeeee, me wanna mell...'
Then she'd give feedback.
A wrinkled nose and I knew she couldn't stand it.
A smile and a raised eyebrows and I knew we had a contender.
But if she said, 'Ooooohhh, Mommy. I liiiiiiiike it.' then I had no choice but to put it in the cart. (And sneak it back out later.)
That's how we got Rainkissed Leaves. I forgot to take it back out of bag. Darn.
Maddie was completely in girly-girl heaven. She's asked me no less than 10 times since this morning if she can smell the new soaps. I'm going to have to watch this child. She LOVES good smelling things and subscribes to the motto 'the more the better.'
After our B&B experience, we promptly came home, ate lunch - which consisted of Ham and Swiss Lunchables...then she went down for a nap...and I settled on the couch for some blog reading.
We have equally big plans later.
Its dinner and a movie for these party animals.
You know...homemade quesadillas and watching Enchanted while sitting in the family room munching on buttered popcorn.
I'm hoping the Madster falls asleep early so I can dive into a new book I picked up at Walmart - Prairie Hills. A Christian romance novel.
Yep. We're a couple of wild and crazy girls!
Anybody have ideas for tomorrow's agenda?

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100,000 and counting...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

You followed us as we took those tentative first steps to find our little girl, bring her home and start our new lives together as a six-pack.

Sunflower Seeds reached a milestone late last night.
More than 100,000 readers have now been a part of Maddie's story.
Thank you.
Each and every one of you has become such an important part of this journey. Its amazing to me how many of you have followed us from the very beginning when we didn't even know which country to start looking in.

You followed us as we took those tentative first steps to find our little girl, bring her home and start our new lives together as a six-pack.

Two years later our daughter is not only surviving...she's thriving.

All of the encouragement, advice and laughs we've had together have meant so much to our entire family.
I want to send a special shout out to my 100,000 visitor - someone from Wellesley Hills, Mass., visited Sunflower Seeds just after 10 last night and forced my counter to start using six digits.
Thank you!
I didn't even know I had a reader from Wellesley Hills.
Don't worry...we're not finished yet. We're just getting started.
Hmmm...two years for the first 100,000...I wonder how many it will take to get the next 100 grand?

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the teacher jackpot

Friday, March 13, 2009

I don't think there has been a boy in the history of education that has had the amazing string of 'luck' in the quality of teachers he gets.

Alek is incredibly blessed.
I mean it. I don't think there has been a boy in the history of education that has had the amazing string of 'luck' in the quality of teachers he gets.
There is only one teacher I can think of during all of Alek's academic career I haven't been over the moon for...and she was okay. Just not stellar like the rest.
There was Mrs. K in preschool. She did a great job of pulling these precious little gems out of their shell and into the world of learning.
In first grade there was Mrs. McKittrick who loved these children, with a deep, abiding love. Four years after Alek left her classroom she would still come up to him in the hall at church (yes, she attended the same church we did...both first grade teachers did, which was an awesome blessing) to see how he was doing and to give him a quick hug. Even though he didn't want hugs from Mom in public anymore...he never refused Mrs. McKittrick. He adored her.
Last year it was Mrs. Turpin. Despite being confined to a wheelchair after a horrific accident two years ago, this teacher's desire to return to the classroom and see 'her kids' succeed was inspiring. She worked hard to make sure Alek had everything he needed in place to do the best possible job he could. No matter what it took.
This year Alek did it again. He landed Mr. Johnson.
Mr. Johnson already has one thing going for him in Alek's book - he's a man. And THAT's cool. He's young, he's energetic, he's loves kids...he's perfect for my Q-ball.
He ended up with mostly boys in his class...which could have been a recipe for disaster, but Mr. Johnson has turned it into a positive, ending up with a class that is not only gets along well, but is excelling academically and socially.
These are some awesome kids.
We've had a pretty good relationship with Mr. Johnson.
You never know what kind of response you're going to get from teachers when you start talking about IEPs and other special education needs. I've heard of teachers who think they know everything about what it takes to educate your child and will fight you tooth and nail on implementing the things in their IEP that are designed to help your child.
And I've heard of other teachers who don't think IEPs are necessary - all the child needs is 'them' to reach their full potential. So they ignore the IEP whenever possible.
I've always braced myself for the I've watched so many other parents deal with...but we've been blessed with teachers all along the way who have gone out of their way to help our kids.
Mr. Johnson has taken it to the next level.
You may remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned that Alek no longer has an IEP. The federal government doesn't recognized Central Auditory Processing (CAP) as a learning disability worthy of an IEP...and since he doesn't have speech or language issues anymore, and since he has developed some coping mechanisms to help him get around his CAP (like memorizing everything) the state doesn't think he needs services that an IEP would provide.
Thankfully he's going to a Title I school where his former speech teacher can pull him out for those services anyway...but that's another story.
Back to Mr. Johnson...
So Mr. Johnson has done an excellent job of listening to our concerns, keeping an eye on Alek and making adjustments as necessary.
Even so, I was a little surprised the other day to get an email from Mr. J. He said he was just writing to give me an update on how Alek was doing. (I've received a few of these over the course of the year - and I've never requested a single one! :)

Tami,
I wanted to give you a quick update on how Alek is doing (he gives me an update on some tests he's taken recently)...
I don't think auditory processing played a huge part in his tests. I have noticed that Alek has some days where he seems to be checked out or focusing on something else.
(auditory processing) This doesn't happen every day but it happens more often the closer we get to a break. He sometimes is not thorough when it comes to to taking tests or daily work, but he is improving...

The length of the test could be a contributor as well. I have been monitoring Alek during tests and have given him options to take a break or go out into the hall if he feels distracted. He hasn't wanted to use this option. It might be beneficial if I force him to take a break so he is better able to focus.
Taking his time and looking over his answers is the best option for Alek to be more successful on longer tests or assignments in general.
I try to encourage him to do this, but there needs to be more of a want on his part.

Overall, I would say Alek can work on being thorough and checking over his answers to make sure he has given his best answer.
Alek is a big part of the dynamic of the class. I have truly enjoyed having him in class and the students have as well.

Mr. J.



I love how this guy keeps an eye out for Alek when he's struggling and comes up with ways to try to help him succeed! I sent a note back telling him to force Alek to take that break...anything it takes to help him focus...and I would have a sit down with Alek about taking his time on those tests.
Boy, I wish Alek could take this guy with him to sixth grade!

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i'd like to thank the academy...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I just love awards.
I see them around the blogosphere and have to admit...I get just a touch envious. Its such a nice touch to people's blogs. A little colorful image that says, 'Hey, I did a great job! :)
I started seeing the following awards a few months ago and kept wishing someone would nominate me! :)
Well, guess what?! April over at Doin' the Working Mom Thing nominated me for the Lemonade award! Isn't she the sweetest? (Ha! Pun fully intended.) And Stephanie over at From Huskies to Husbands tapped me with the Friends Award. I feel so honored!!! :)
And now I get to pass it on.

THE LEMONADE AWARD


Here are the rules...


  1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
  2. Nominate at least 10 blogs that show attitude and/or gratitude.
  3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
  4. Let them know they have received this award by commenting on a post.
  5. Nominate your favorites and link to this blog.
Hmmmm....now let me think. Who will I pass this on to?
Alright...I've made my choices, but PLEASE if I didn't include you, don't get offended. There are a million great blogs out there - believe me, I read most of them! And I can only list TEN! (One of these days I need to come up with an award for every last one of you! :)

1. American Girls in Moscow - What can I say? I LOVE this blog. Tamara (who has a really cool name, BTW) writes about her life as an ex-pat mom in Moscow. Real life - Marshrutkas, babushkas, migraines and all. You really should check her out.

2. Mixed Nuts - One of my newest bloggy friends, Katie, is the mom of four great boys and is waiting to find out what baby #5 will be. I'm voting for a girl! :) She is funny, witty and oh so very real!

3. Looking for George - Who else could get in trouble while wearing a lei at Wal-Mart while shopping for salad dressing and raisins...or create an American Culture night because her kids don't know what a Twinkie is? Elaine makes me laugh so hard I cry. This woman should write a book, I'm tellin' ya! I first found her a couple of years ago before she brought home her youngest son, Quinn (awesome name, by the way!) Since then our lives have been strangely intertwined. We have brought home young children, moved our families half-way across the country and found the transition difficult. All the while, Elaine has kept her sense of humor...and her blog readers have been treated to some incredible posts. Looking for George is a must read!

4. The VaChina Monologues - If anyone has turned lemons into lemonade its PIPO. This amazing physician and prolific blog writer waited three years to bring her daughter home from China. During the process she's gone through everything, but she never gave up. She is just getting ready to return from this amazing trip with her daughter. You all need to go by and say hi!

5. The Beet Goes On - I just found the Expatresse through American Girls in Moscow a couple of months ago, and it was love at first sight. I have a feeling its a one sided relationship though. Now that I think about it I don't think I've ever commented on her blog. I need to rectify that. Despite my anonymity, I've enjoyed reading all about her adventures living in Russia's capital. The good...and the bad.

6. One Mother's Day - Annie has had a rough year. Really rough. But through it all she has kept her blog honest and insightful with a touch of humor. I'm a new reader of Annie's but have quickly become a devotee.

7. Slava Bogu! - MamaPoRuski is in Ukraine right now bringing home her daughter. It hasn't been an easy ride, but its been an honest one. MamaPoRuski shows the real sides of adoption, warts an all. And somehow she still manages to keep her wits and humor about her. She's one bloggin' mama I really look up to.

8. Always Wanted Four - A doctor by day, a mom of four cute as button kids at night, Rachel's got it all, including an awesome sense of humor and incredible insight. Her patient stories will leave you in stitches (Oh, I'm so punny tonight!) and her kid stories will have you saying 'Awwww.' You've got to stop by and say Hi!

9. From Russia, With Love - Kate is an expat living in St. Petersburg, Russia and after two VERY long years, is THIIIIIIIIS close to bring home her d2b (daughter(s) to be). Despite what you may think, living in Russia hasn't made Kate's adoption experience any smoother...in fact its been the opposite. But she hasn't given up...and she's just a couple of months away from meeting her daughter for the very first time. I'm SO excited! She was such a great source of encouragement during our trying times in Ukraine. I can't wait for her to experience the joys of parenthood for herself! :)

10. Gold to Refine - Diana is a wife, mother and blogger who is a wonderful resource for all adoptive parents. She and her husband, Blaine, brought their sons home from Ukraine almost two years ago. Together with their daughter, they have experienced the joys and trials of an international adoption and wouldn't change a thing. Diana has been such a comfort and encourager during these early days with Maddie.


THE FRIENDS AWARD



"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to those bloggers who must choose at least five more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

1. Mrs. Broccoli Guy - Christina, what can I say? She's been with me from almost the beginning. This woman has a way of writing that makes me laugh - out loud...when I'm not crying. I LOVE her! She is another blogger who has shared my life's track over the last few months. Moving, house not selling, finding the adjustment a little difficult. Thankfully, I don't have her propensity for finding the most horrendous neighbors...but even then she'll have you in stitches...I PROMISE!



2.
Landrum Family Adventures - Leslie literally has been with me from the beginning. She was the first blog I found...and commented on. I read her blog as she languished waiting for her appointment to bring her daughter, Kristina home. I celebrated with her as she finally got the date, traveled and was reunited with her girl! And I've rejoiced with her and her family in their decision to return to Ukraine to go through the process again. I just hope someday I'm able to meet up with her and have the hot chocolate we've been talking about for the last two years! :)



3.
Eight Hearts - Jessie has been on a blogging hiatus lately..and I've missed her horribly! She's in the middle of moving her family into an old church building - to LIVE! How COOL is that?! I'm anxiously waiting for her to get her DSL hooked back up so we can reconnect. She has been a wonderful inspiration and support through some of life's toughest moments. She always has a word of encouragement...or insight. And I really need that.

4. Loved Already - I first met Melissa on her blog...then met her in real life at the JFK airport. We were both on our second trips to Ukraine to bring home our kids. Melissa and her husband were getting three boys...we were going back for Maddie's court date. We spent the better part of the afternoon chatting at the Burger King and I've considered her a friend ever since.

5. Our Adoption Journey - Courtney is another PAP I first met online and later in real life. She and her husband, Mark, started their Ukrainian adoption journey way before we did, but we ended up with our SDA appointments one day apart. Shad and I met Mark and Courtney for dinner the night before at a small authentic Ukrainian restaurant somewhere in the heart of Kiev (I would NEVER in a million years be able to find it again! :) and we clicked. They were the first ones to lay eyes on Maddie and graciously passed her on to us and let us adopt her three weeks later! :) Now they're getting ready to go back to Ukraine to bring home two adorable little girls. I can't wait to follow their journey again.

I hope you'll stop by each and every one of these blogs.
They are a must read. Every. Single. Day!
And for those of you not listed, don't worry. I'll catch you next time.

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wordless wednesday

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Okay...so I'm not being totally wordless here. Let me just say, she wasn't as traumatized as she looks here. Maddie was actually quite pleased with herself and even more thrilled at the prospect of the candy her daddy promised her if she would let him pull it!
It took a little doing to get her to hand over the tooth so we could put it under her pillow that night (she couldn't get the concept), but the dollar the tooth fairy left more than made up for not getting to keep her tooth.
Now she wants daddy to pull more (although there aren't any more ready) so she can get more 'mummy'. ;>)

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tuesday tidbits

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I have learned if left to my own devices I can, indeed, eat a whole bag of Sun Chips Harvest Cheddar chips.

I

'm sorry its been so quiet around here lately. That big, huge, monstrous, over-sized freelance job took up way more of my time than I wanted it to. But its finally over.
Well, okay. Sorta.

I'm still getting stories in that I need to clean up, but for the most part I'm done.
Hallelujah!
Actually, it wasn't so bad - way better than when I worked there. It was just a little time consuming.

I'd rather be reading blogs than proof-reading stuff any day! :)
Okay. I guess I should catch you up on what's been going on around here in the last few days. Hmmm....where to start?
Let's begin with some kid news...


Toothless Grins - Guess who lost a tooth? Yep...the Madster. I'm not too happy about it. It means my littlest little is growing up...and I'm not prepared. Not in the least. I think its time to go back to Russia/Ukraine and bring home another one so I have at least a few more years before I get old. What do you say? Anyone want to ante up on the adoption costs?

Final Four - Nick and Alek are finally done with basketball. Can I get a 'Hallelujah'?! It was one season, that while it didn't last long, sure felt like forever. Could it have been the twice a week games and practices? I think so.

On the rebound - My dad had surgery this week, which was another reason for my blogging absence. He's fine...recovering at home now. The surgery was a pretty big one. Several years ago he was in a serious car accident which left him in the hospital for six weeks. One of his injuries was a broken right femur. The bone has been giving him trouble ever since.
Last Thursday he had surgery to remove the rod that had been placed in his leg during the initial surgery. They're hoping this will get rid of his chronic pain. Please keep him in your prayers. He's got another long recovery ahead.

In other news...
Here are some things I learned this week...

  • I have learned if left to my own devices I can, indeed, eat a whole bag of Sun Chips Harvest Cheddar chips. Just so ya know.
  • Chicago got the wrong moniker. The 'Windy City' has nothing on Grab-Your-Lasso. I don't think the wind ever stops. Thankfully, the awesome mountain view kind of makes up for it.
  • I have a theory. I think at higher elevations snow melts at a much lower temperature. Today on my way to pick up Maddie from preschool my in-car thermometer said 18 degrees...but snow was melting EVERYWHERE. I'm not too interested in testing my theory, however. Not because I don't like science - I actually do like a good experiment. No, it has more to do with my comfort. There is No. Way. I'm going to spend any real amount of time outdoors in 18 degree weather. The snow may be melting...but I'm not.
  • I have recently discovered a 'memo' button on my Palm phone. Its opened up a whole new world for me. No longer do I have an excuse for not blogging about the things I think about during my four trips per day to the other side of town to pick the kids up from school. No excuse whatsoever. I'm using the little contraption to record my brilliant ideas. Of course when I listen to them later, they're not so brilliant...but that's a other blog.
  • Spring will never come. Not to Grab-Your-Lasso. Last night as I was watching Alek's last basketball game, I was talking to another parent. I made the mistake of asking when spring usually arrives around here. She snickered a bit and then said, 'well, it sorta comes in late April, but if you put flowers out then, they'll get snowed on. Its best to wait until June.
    JUNE?!
    Are. You. Kidding. Me?!
    Alright everyone...say it with me - 'Shad, let's move back to Kansas.'
  • Given the opportunity, the mom-mobile doesn't do too bad a job of plowing through one-foot high snow drifts. I know this because it snowed again last night. And of course, the plows didn't plow. With the 50 mph winds that kicked up this afternoon, all of that snow was piled up at the end of our driveway and about every 15 feet on my drive to pick up the kids. I say the mom-mobile and I have a future in snow plowing. Think I could make it a career?
  • Maddie is growing. Not the gradual kind like she's been doing for the last year. Nope. The child has jumped a size in both shirts and jeans in the last week - I swear. Shhhh....don't tell Anya, but despite a three year age difference, Maddie is only one size behind her in jeans and two sizes back in shirts.
    The thing is, she isn't really gaining much weight. She's still as tiny around the waist as they come. I have to get her the slim jeans with the adjustable waist bands and cinch them all the way up, just so they stay on her. Oh, to be that thin! She definitely doesn't take after me.
  • Shad is going back to Kansas in a couple of weeks to bring back our alpaca. I guess that means he has made up his mind that we really are sticking it out here. Oh, you didn't realize we owned an alpaca? Yep. She's a lovely animal (can you hear the sarcasm?) named Arana...except everyone calls her Ariana. I have yet to meet her - even though we've had her about a year. She's been boarding at one of Shad's former clients. Now, we get to have her at Shad's clinic...just a few blocks away. I guess that means I'd better start brushing up on my alpaca grooming techniques. Like I have any.
  • Since we won't be leaving Grab-Your-Lasso we are house hunting again. Well, not quite yet, but we will be. Our contract on this house expires in June and since we a) don't have any hopes of finding a buyer for our Kansas house and b) I haven't found a job - we're going to need to move this summer. Fun. Stuff. My only hope is that we can find a nice brand-new duplex to rent. I'm not crazy about duplex living...especially with four kids...however, there are a TON of brand new duplex's (is that a word?) being built nearby and I would love nothing better than anything brand new. I'll keep you updated on the search.

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she can hear! (anya...not maddie)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Imagine how much pain she must have been in, dealing with all of those ear infections in the first two years of her life that went undiagnosed.

I took Anya to the school district's audiologist this morning...again. Only this time I finally came away with the answer I was hoping to hear.
There's no hearing loss whatsoever.
I felt like telling him, 'I told you so.'
But I didn't
Instead, I said...YAYYYYY!!!!
Except not that loud. ;>)
Turns out Anya probably had some fluid in her ear back in October (hmmm...sound familiar?), and then she had the ear infection last month when they retested.
So yesterday they tested her, yet again.
This time she came out crystal clear.
Convinced something had been done incorrectly, the audiologist called and requested Anya come in first thing this morning so we could figure out what was going on. (Cuz, you know the mother knows absolutely nothing...never mind that she's been to enough hearing screenings, she could run the darn machine herself!)
So I took her in.
He poked and he prodded.
He stuck things in her ears and pulled them out again.
He had her repeat nonsense words...
Then he had her repeat words that made sense.
He played tones...and she raised her hand.
And when he was all done...
Drum roll please...
She was fine.
Actually, better than fine.
'Perfect' is the word he used.
He was dumbfounded - I was vindicated.
This is now officially the fourth year in a row Anya has failed an in-school hearing screening. The fourth year she's been to an audiologist...and the fourth year in a row that her hearing, in the end, has been proved to be absolutely normal.
This time it just took a little convincing.
So now they believe me that Anya has frequent bouts with fluid in the ear, which may or may not result in ear infections...and that there is usually no way for me to tell when she has an ear infection because there are absolutely no symptoms (no fevers, no pulling at the ears, no nasal discharge) until she wakes up in the middle of the night screaming...and by that time it is a raging infection that usually takes two rounds of antibiotic to cure.
One of Anya's 'leftover' issues is her incredibly high pain threshold.
I can only imagine why.
When we adopted Anya the orphanage doctor explained Anya got colds ALOT...just about every month. "She is ALWAYS sick," she said.
It wasn't until we got her home we realized any time Anya got a runny nose, it ALWAYS indicated an ear infection. (She doesn't get the runny noses anymore.)
So...imagine how much pain she must have been in, dealing with all of those ear infections in the first two years of her life that went undiagnosed. During her first visit with the pediatrician (in which we discovered she had an ear infection) the doctor told us the scarring on her ear drums are severe.
But miraculously her hearing has remained perfect.
I imagine this won't be the last time Anya will have to go to a sound-proof booth to have her hearing tested. The district's audiologist recommended screening her every two or three months through the school year to keep an eye on things. Which is fine. It will help us keep on eye on whether there's fluid building up again...and keep her hearing, because when she does have fluid in her ear, the loss is pretty significant.
But hopefully, this will be the last time Shad and I will have to 'prove' we're not totally incompetent as parents. We know what's going on with Anya's hearing...and we're on top of it.
Really.

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nature vs nurture - enough already

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Anya is full of amazing and wonderful characteristics...but she didn't get any of them from me.

Its been four months since the infamous family unit assignments incident...and I wish I could say it was all behind me.
But its not.
More than 120 days after it all began, we're still dealing with the fallout.
Anya's latest assignment involves talking about her characteristics. The teacher describes it this way...

For the next quilt square, 'Characteristics of Me,' we are asking you to discuss with your child some of his/her characteristics that she has that are similar to characteristics of other family members or relatives. These might be physical characteristics such as eye color, height, etc. These might also be personality traits, talents or abilities such as sense of humor, love of music, stubbornness, love of sports, or patience.

Anya is full of amazing and wonderful characteristics. Her patience with her little sister, her love of animals, the gentleness and compassion she shows toward anyone who is hurt or sick.
But she didn't get any of them from me.
This is the latest in a long string of these assignments covering Anya's birth story, origins of her name, a memory story interview, where my family comes from or has lived...and OF COURSE...the baby picture.
Sigh.
Thankfully, Anya has been an incredible sport through this whole thing. She has embraced this assignment...taking a great deal of pleasure and pride in telling her story.
But to be honest, it's been a struggle for me.
Not because I feel like her story is inferior or we don't want to share it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

No...I think its has more to do with the spotlight its shining on the time in her life before she was a part of our family.
This particular assignment emphasized the things she doesn't have in common with her father and me.
The characteristics she hasn't inherited from us.
Sure, she has blond hair just like her great-grandma...but she didn't GET it from her.
No one on either side of our family has her amazing blue eyes.
She just happens to like olives like her grandparents.
The origins of her quiet, whispery voice, are a mystery because the rest of us are LOUD.
She may have developed her father's sense of humor...but the original seed didn't come from him.
I guess what it all comes down to is that this assignment is dredging up all kinds of insecurities I have tried so hard to leave behind.
Anya is my daughter, no one can tell me any differently...but this assignment tries awful hard. Instead of concentrating on all of the great things she has done in the last few years, how far she has come and the things we enjoy doing now, together...it takes us back in time.
And I don't like that.
At all.
I'm trying really hard to concentrate on the nurture part of Anya's equation and doing everything I can to make this a great, thought-provoking and positive assignment for her....but what I really want is for this darn thing to be OVER!
----------------------------------
Edited to add:
I did it again! I didn't make something clear in my post. Of course we are handling the assignment positively. All of the feelings discussed in the article are my THOUGHTS. They are not things I would ever convey to Anya. She is my daughter. I would never do anything to make her feel insecure about that in any way. There are many things she does share with the rest of us....her faith, her love of animals, the blond hair just like her great-grandma, the blue eyes just like her brothers, the way she can whistle, just like her daddy.The post was about MY feelings...the way this assignment is making ME feel. I am working incredibly hard to make all of this positive for Anya...its just been incredibly hard on ME. No one can ever tell me she's not my daughter...its just that through my glasses of insecurity this assignment seems to be trying to do that.

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snowed under

Figuratively, of course.
Its actually been absolutely GORGEOUS here the last few days. Temps in the upper 60s...not a cloud in the sky. The only thing that ruins it is the incipid Wyoming wind...but what else is new? I'll take this kind of day, anytime. Especially knowing the cold, wind and snow WILL be back...its just a matter of time.
Anyway...
I'm snowed under with work right now, which is why its been so quiet around here.
I have a BIG deadline today...I'm not sure I'm going to get everything turned in on time, but I'll give it my best shot.
While I'm gone I want you to promise me you'll be good...no parties...no TPing the neighbors...and absolutely NO watching this video.
You may end up shooting your latte through your nose.
And THAT wouldn't be good.




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how I spent my rockin' friday night - stream of consciousness

Monday, March 2, 2009

You have to keep it pitch-black to roller-skate you know, otherwise you lose the whole green strobe and multi-colored Christmas lights attached to the drop ceiling affect.

I am stuck in tweeny bopper purgatory.
Imaging me sitting in a roller skating snack bar booth with a black leather coat that I can't take off because the door is open and the freezing Wyoming night air is pouring in. I've got a cell phone I can't use because the DJ has decided to torture anyone over the age of 30 who comes in here with ear-splitting rap music. And then there's my book I can't read because its too dark. You have to keep it pitch-black to roller-skate you know, otherwise you lose the whole green strobe and multi-colored Christmas lights attached to the drop ceiling affect.
Its a good thing there's no light, because in my rush to get here, I forgot to put on makeup!
How long do I have to stay here?
Three hours?!!!
Let's make it two and call it good.
I'm enduring this experience because Alek asked if he could go roller skating with his friends, and being the awesome mom I am, I said 'sure' before I had a chance to think.
It seemed harmless enough - Friday night roller skating with a bunch of 5th graders. No problem.
Now I realize he was was plotting his revenge for making him clean his room. And I'm starting to wish I had never made that foolish request.
And just what made me listen to my inside mommy voice who said, 'You'd better stick around?'
Yep. I'm the uncool late 30s mom who is scrunched over her PDA in the orange plastic booth from the 70s, punching up a post for her blog while her son rolls around the oval floor, all the while grabbing the railing because we never take him skating and occasionally taking out a couple of tweens who can't seem to let go of each other's hand.
I'm the only uncool late 30s mom in sight.
In fact I think I am the only adult in here.
No, I'm wrong...a couple of 20-somethings just rolled by. Actually, she may be 16...I don't think that counts.
Awwww, man! Six kids just crammed into the other end of this booth. They're all laughing hysterically over something one of them has on their cell phone.
Tell me I was never this obnoxious.
Please!
Here's a question for you. How much rap can you listen to before your head explodes?
Quick somebody takes notes...we may find out tonight.
Call me deaf, but I don't remember our music being this loud.
Okay. That last sentence officially put me in the 'old' column.
Geesh.
Alek, do you see what you're doing to me? You're making me old!
The six kids still haven't moved...and they keep inching closer and closer to me. I think they're trying to push me out 'their' booth.
Sorry pip-squeeks. I'm staying put. I was here first.
Real mature, I know. I don't care.
Oh wait! Some real adults showed up...and they're going to skate! Man, they're brave. They're taking their lives into their own hands. I just saw a kid roller skating and texting at the same time! There was no way he was paying any attention to where he was going. But, to be honest, I am a tad jealous of his multi-tasking abilities. I'd just love to be able to drive and eat chocolate at the same time.
How long have I been here? Only 15 minutes?!!!!
ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME?!
It feels like hoooooouuuuuuurs.
Okay these tweens are driving me nuts. Go away already.
Let me just say...Alek is never coming here by himself.
Ever.
And at this point I'm not sure he's ever coming back here period. I know I'm not coming making a repeat performance. There's a sheriff's officer in the corner and I think I smell alcohol.
What happened to the days when kids just went to the skating rink to scout for guys, gossip about their friends and the strongest thing we drank was a Mountain Dew...without the ice?
Alek just came by for a grab n go. He tore a piece off his Laffy Taffy and ran.
Well, skated.
'Bump, thump, bump...'
The rap music is seriously testing my ability to endure. Its no wonder the military uses this stuff in interrogations...play 30 minutes of it into a concrete room the size of a small bathroom and I'd crack too.
Heck, maybe 10 minutes.
My feet are numb. Would someone close the door already? Everyone who wants to come here, is here. The rest can turn a doorknob. Honest.
And if they can't, they have no business rollerskating!
I wonder if they have an 80s retro night?
Can you imagine a bunch of 30-somethings skating to 'Ice, Ice Baby?'
HA!
Wait! Was that a 90's song?
Alek just whizzed by...he's getting faster. Please pray he doesn't break an arm. Have I mentioned we don't have decent insurance?
Yea. I thought so.
Three boys just walked by in pants I wouldn't think about buying, let along letting my kids walk out of the house in.
Hey! I may as well act as old as I'm sounding.
Ahhhh..finally, its race time! At least they turned the lights on so I can see to text.
The DJ is announcing the races but it eerily familiar. Kind of like Charlie Brown's teacher. 'Bwa wa aaaa waa waaaaaaa waaaaaa aaaaa...' which translated means, 'hey kids, get your tails off the floor with those shoes. Only skates, dufas.'
You could not pay me enough to work here.
I'm desperate...but not that desperate.
Seriously.
At this point, I'm just hoping I still have some hearing left tomorrow...or else the signs we're teaching Maddie will really start coming in handy!

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