life on the funny farm

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanks Giving

We have a book, called Thanks for Thanksgiving, that we take out every year at this time and read to the kids. They then write in the back of it what they're thankful for. A few examples from years past:
Thank you for lollipops. Thanks you for books.
Thank you for God and Santa and Jesus (does that make Santa like the Holy Spirit or something?)
From Bella one year: I am thankful for my life.

This year we have two new handwritings in the book, from James and Julie.
From James: Thanks for candy. Thanks for Mom. Thanks for turkey. Thanks for holideys. Thanks for new Family.
From Julie:
Thanks fore Holl (whole) family and love. Thanks for all hellp. I am soo hape (happy) I am in Amerikeh.

Yeah. I think that about says it all....

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Little Red Corvette

Sweeping my porch the other day I heard the rythmic clip-clop of an Amish horse on the move down our country road. I looked up in time to see the flashiest carriage horse I have ever seen these "Plain" people hitch to a buggy. He was a well-bred Standardbred of a brilliant chestnut red. His tail was a banner carried high above his back. His head was held regally in the air. His knees and hocks reached new heights as he trotted past. He was a breath-taking piece of horseflesh though the inhabitants of the carriage were doing their best to appear unimpressed behind the wheels of their Corvette.

I imagined the conversation that must take place in their household when the teenage son wants to take The Red out for a spin.

Son: Pa, can I take The Red out toight?

Pa: No, son. He's not for you.

Son: But Pa, pleeaaasssse. Just for tonight.

Pa: No. He's too much horse for you. You take the old Morgan.

Son: The Morgan?! I'd die of embarassment to be seen out with that old thing. Why can't I take The Red?

Ma: Eli, let Jacob take The Red. You know how he feels about that girl Sarah.


Pa: (with a twinkle in his eye as he looks at Ma) Weeeellllll. Maybe just for tonight. But if I hear from one of the Elders that you were speeding, you'll be washing and oiling harnesses for a solid month, do you hear me young man?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

So Much Goin' On ....

When I look at the date of my last entry, I find it hard to believe that it's been nearly a month since I've posted. There have been so many things that have kept me busy, including:
*new round of dentist appointments for all the kids, two at a time
*Bella's birthday
*James beginning therapy
*Rosie's confirmation
*chaperoning field trips
*a minor surgical procedure (don't worry -- nothing serious)
*school meetings regarding my youngest (can you say Problem Child?)
*redecorating Rosie's room including assembling not one but two nightmare pieces of Ikea furniture
*soccer games
*2 1/2 new horses (a mare, her 6 month old colt, and her foal in-utero)

Normally I would have been all over the one year anniversary of Fred and I leaving for Kazakhstan and meeting James and Julie. That's something in slower days I could write volumes on (aren't you glad you've been spared?). That has come and gone without so much as a nod to the event.

If you read and wondered about the above "James beginning therapy", allow me to elaborate. James has RAD.

(brief pause for the collective gasp of the adoption community)

Yes. James has Reactive Attachment Disorder, as well as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. We're doing this textbook style. We enjoyed a wonderful honeymoon period, followed by some hard-to-understand emotional moments, then moving on to out-and-out rebellion/disrespect, even some limited violent behaviors. Every adoptive parents' worst nightmare, right?

Well I'm glad to inform you that we are all alive and well and pulling through this. We have seen tremendous progress by James and so he continues to impress me in yet one more way. I am trying to resist the pull into a false sense of security since our ride has been bump-free for a couple weeks now, but I know in my heart as well as my head that this will be a long, slow process of two baby steps forward, interspersed with baby to giant steps backwards. That's OK. We're in this for the long haul.

I think they should have parents of all kinds, biological, adoptive, foster, take parenting vows, akin to the wedding vows of marriage. You know, for better or worse, in sickness and in health.

Since many adoptive parents prefer not to talk about RAD, but all of us are afraid of it, I'm going to put a side-bar in this blog to timeline what we're experiencing. I know everyone who deals with RAD will go through something very unique, but maybe this will help someone gain some perspective.

For anyone going through tough times with their kids, RAD or not, one small bit of corny advice before closing:
Don't let the bumps in the road knock you out of your car. Just buckle your seatbelt, watch the road signs, and don't be afraid to pull into the gas station to ask for directions.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Poetic Justice

Yesterday morning I was driving the kids to school. About a mile down the road, Rosie realized she had left an important homework assignment at home. Since I knew we still had plenty of time, I turned the car around and headed home so she could retrieve it. James was complaining all the while that now we were going to be late and how ridiculous it was of her to leave that at home. We asked him, hadn't he ever forgotten anything before? He adamantly relpied that no he had certainly not ever forgotton anything and remained huffy about the whole turning around business. About 15 minutes later we arrived at school and the kids all began gathering their things and unloading from the car, when what does James realize? He had forgotten his backpack! Boy, did he have egg on his face. But he was good-natured about it and took the much-justified ribbing in stride.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Goodbye Flurry ....

Last week I made a tough decision. The decision to put my old mare Flurry down.
Flurry was 30+ years old (best guess), blind in one eye, had a heart murmur, and had an old leg injury which bowed out her left front leg and hobbled her up pretty good. Still, she seemed comfortable enough and got around OK, and my Thoroughbred Jasper was just absolutely smitten with her, so I let her be.
However, last week she came up lame in one of her hind legs. When I picked around, I couldn't find anything obvious, so it seemed most likely just the strain of walking nearly three-legged finally got to be too much for the other legs. Poor old thing could barely hobble around. So I arranged with the vet to come out Monday. Today.

And he did. He came out this morning and we led Flurry into the back yard, at first keeping Jasper in the barn. However, this proved to be too distressing to both of them, so we let Jasper out into the field so they could see each other. She immediately settled down, though Jasper was pacing the fence-line, clearly worried about his wife.
The vet gave her a sedative to calm her a bit, and after a few minutes, put an IV into her neck, and injected the drugs. Within seconds she dropped sideways onto the ground, and breathed her last. Pretty peaceful end for her, and the right thing to do, but that didn't keep me from crying. As I told the vet, just because it's the right thing to do doesn't mean it's easy.

Who I feel most sorry for, though, is not Flurry, not myself, not even the kids. It's Jasper. Though we had only had Flurry for about two years, he just adored her. Once she dropped, he began whinnying and running up and down the fence-line. He couldn't understand why she wasn't getting up. As the vet knelt next to Flurry, checking reflexes and listening for a heartbeat, Jasper was beside himself.

The vet left and I began the wait for the "knacker", the person you call when you need a large dead animal hauled away. A number I don't want, but unfortunately need to have in my rolodex.
I went inside for the wait because, as always, I have things that I need to do. Today is Bella's birthday, and I have gifts to wrap and banners to hang. As I busy myself inside, I can see and hear Jasper out in the pasture. He is screaming his agony as he runs to the fence and peers over at her lying there. His ears are forward, his nostrils flared. He stares at her, then screams, then in a panic gallops off to the opposite fence to look for her elsewhere, not wanting to believe, I guess, that that is really her lying there. But when he doesn't see her anywhere, he gallops back and repeats the whole process. As I consider what he is enduring, my teardrops fall onto the tissue paper of the gift I am wrapping.
As time passes, though, he is beginning to settle down a bit. His panicked gallops have become agitated trots. His head is carried lower than it was. Instead of running to the highest part of the pasture to survey all the fields, he is heading to the corner where the neighboring geldings are gathered, to receive their condolences.
I have just come back in from wrapping up with the lady responsible for hauling Flurry off. You want to think that the knacker is a hunch-backed toothless scruffy looking sort. But her name was Janet and she wore a monogrammed fleece and had a short blond bob. Nice woman. She commiserated with me and shared stories of animals she's lost. Some of the pain is already diminishing. For Jasper, as well. Though he is not quite back to absent-mindedly grazing, he is no longer galloping. No longer trotting. Simply walking back and forth, head held low, looking over the fence and then away again. No one can ever truly understand what an animal feels, thinks, knows. But to those who say animals don't have souls, or can't love, shame on them .....

Friday, October 9, 2009


The first week the kids were back at school was smooth as silk. No homework or projects. After school activities hadn't started yet. Life was calm. But now that they've been back for several weeks the ratrace is back in full swing, hence the infrequency of my posts of late.

Take yesterday for instance.

After spending most of the day at the school helping out at the bookfair, I quick ran a few errands before the kids got home. When the kids walked in the door, one of them told me the busdriver wanted to see me, so I ran out to the bus in my sockfeet. She informed me Daniel got in a fight on the bus. Again. I first apologize and then thank her profusely when she tells me she'll try to keep from having to write this up (maybe he can get out of another suspension????)
Then the homework help commenced. Helping two kids through homework because they don't understand the directions due to English fluency issues. Helping another with homework b/c she doesn't understand the directions period b/c of her learning disability. Making sure the others are all working on theirs as well b/c tomorrow is, after all, Friday, when everything is due and they've been procrastinating.
At the same time, I'm making tacos for dinner, so I'm chopping tomatoes and cooking beef while helping children sound out words and do subtraction.
I drive a dtr to her friend's house who, in turn, will drive her to soccer practice.
I make sure all the kids have stowed their homework in their backpacks. Eat dinner. Cleaning up after dinner I breathe a sigh of relief that the worst is behind us for the evening and everything got accomplished.
Then a child reports she needs a piece of posterboard for a project due tomorrow. I'm so on top of things. I happily tell her where she can find a piece from the recently replenished armada of poster board. My oldest then comes to me to say he needs me to bake cookies to bring into the fiesta they're having in Spanish class tomorrow. Next one of my dtrs comes to me to tell me she needs to bring in to school tomorrow: crackers and cheese, a tennis ball and a leash. Huh? Then another dtr tells me she needs clay to make something for her history class.
I vaguely recall seeing a tub of clay sitting on a pantry shelf (your guess is as good as mine as to why it's in the pantry).
The only cheese in our fridge is about as petrified as the clay we're trying to soften up. Instead of cheese and crackers, will pretzels do?
Luckily my son has gotten pretty handy in the kitchen so he's well under way with the cookies, though he seems to be eating the dough as fast as he's making it. How many do you need to bring in????
As the icing on the cake, James decides to be disrespectful again. When I explain to him what the consequence will be, he sulkily tells me "I don't care" like he always does and stomps up to his room. I know he will not speak to me now for a good two to three days.

But that was yesterday. Today is Friday, wahooooo!!!! No more homework. Though I will still have a teenager who is not talking to me, and a family to pack for as we head out tonight to a soccer tournament for the weekend. First game reporting time, by the way, 7:45 on Saturday morning. Oh well. At least I won't have to cook.
Or find anyone clay or cheese.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Starfish on the Beach

I saw this video link on a friend's blog, and I wanted to share it here.

I find myself at a loss of words when it comes to describing how I feel about the importance of adoption in our world. This video points out that there are 132 million orphans in this world. 132 million. I can think of nothing of greater importance than finding homes for these orphans.
It's important for our world.
It's important for each country to take care of its own children.
It's important for each child to grow up in a family. To feel wanted. To feel provided for. To feel loved.

I used to be very passionate about a lot of causes, and I still support several. But most of them have lost their lustre in my eyes. Whether I'm being asked to provide money so our school can provide an exciting speaker for an upcoming assembly, or to help buy supplies at a local animal shelter, or to save an historic building, it all seems to pale in comparison to the fact that there are children all over the world without homes. Not that the causes I mentioned (and so many more) are not worthwhile. They certainly are. But I just feel like if everyone did something to reduce the number of orphans in this world ...
I don't know, it just, to me, seems like the most important thing.

Everyone is familiar with the story of the thousands of starfish washed up on the beach and the little boy picking them up, one at a time, and throwing them back into the ocean. Someone pointed out to him that he can't possibly save them all, so why should he bother doing anything? And the little boy explained he could make a difference for the one he was returning to the sea at that moment.
There are millions of orphans without homes. Rather than tell yourself you can't help them all, see what you can do to help one .....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Snatch the pebble, Cricket ....

James and Daniel started Kung Fu lessons last week. They both love it and I think it's going to be a big help for James with the behavior/attitude problems we've had of late. Good physical outlet, discipline, respect, all rolled up in one tidy little package.
Of course, now he'll learn how to sneak up Ninja-style on his siblings more effectively. And he'll learn how to wield swords and spears.
Oh my. What have I done ....?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Loophole Master

I wrote earlier that we had figured out a primitive, yet tried-n-true sticker chart to help James modify his behavior to more closely resemble a boy who lives in a family than with a pack of wolves. Long-term he's working to earn his visit with his friend Madiyar. Short-term, he has to get a star six days out of seven to earn a trip to the drug store or dollar store so he can buy a little something for himself, such as a pack of gum or small toy.
Well the little so-n-so loopholed me the very first week out of the gate.
He had been doing great and had earned a star every day, Saturday through Thursday. Six stars out of seven. So Friday afternoon what does he do? He starts irritating all his siblings by teasing, mimicking, making faces, basically pushing every button he can find. All the kids are in an uproar and I told him to cut it out. His response? When are we going to the drugstore? I told him I couldn't take him out when he's acting like that. He got very indignant and pointed out he had earned his six stars, as agreed on, so I needed to take him to the store, as agreed on.
Damned if his logic wasn't sound.
I sat there stunned for a moment trying to figure out a rational response. All I could think to tell him was that I couldn't in good conscience take him out for his reward in the middle of him acting so poorly towards everyone. If he could pull it together and treat everyone respectfully, I would take him out for his reward the next morning.
Well, he shaped up and I did take him the next day and he looked over all the toys and ended up buying himself a pack of Starbursts. I tried to explain to him why the reward trip needed to be delayed and he seemed to get it. But I'm still shaking my head over how he managed to find that loophole. The kid's too smart for his own good.
And mine.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Figuring it out ....

After my last post I received many positive and supportive comments from concerned family and friends. Thank you.

I'd like to answer each of you personally, but time has been short lately, so maybe just a quick update right here in blogworld.

First, I was able to get the name of a good therapist who specializes in adoption issues and RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder). Not that I'm saying James has RAD, but neither am I saying I'm ready to rule that out at this time, either. So I'll touch base with her next week.

I have worked out a positive motivator for James so we can work on a behavior chart to try to shape some of the behaviors we need him to work toward. Many of you will remember that he had a good friend, Madiyar, that he knew from his orphanage that was adopted and brought home to Mass around the same time James came home to us. His Mom and I have decided to arrange a visit between the two boys and James is just thrilled at the prospect. Dee and I are both prepared that if the boys don't earn this trip, it will need to be cancelled so we can stay consistent with what what we're trying to accomplish. So we will work long-term towards that, with probably smaller, weekly rewards for proper behavior, like running him to the dollar store on the w/e to let him buy a candy bar with his allowance money.

I have also tried to put in writing for him a list of his rights (like a bed, meals, being a member of our family) vs his privileges (like a lock on his door, snacks/desserts, favors from Mom) and our expectations (treating people respectfully, obeying parents, doing assigned chores, etc). What has always seemed common-sensical and just a given may not seem so to James, who has not been a member of a family in a very long time. Shoot, even when he was part of a family it was pretty dysfunctional, so it's no wonder he's fumbling the ball a bit here.

Anyway, I feel that with love, consistency, and support we will be able to get the good family behavior/attitudes that we need. It's just a matter of time. And patience. And a good bottle of wine now and then.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Dark Times with James

I guess the honeymoon phase is officially over with James. Where in the beginning we had a sweet, helpful, affectionate boy, we now have a brooding, sulking, dirsespectful teenager. We've had squabbles with his brother over X-Box end in a punch thrown. We've had my requests/directives to him answered with ignoring silences or a flat out no. We've witnessed him meld with the couch for days when he feels like sulking.
This morning he ripped himself off the sofa like a Band-Aid off a scraped knee and started getting busy packing up a backpack. In it he had a water bottle, a fishing rod, and a few toys he had made over the past few months. Was he running away? I kept an eye on him as I went about my business, and sure enough, down the road he went after a spell. I gave him some time and then went after him in my car. I found him not far from home, up where the RR tracks cross over the road and a creek. I parked my car on the side of the road and walked up the embankment. There he was, squatted over a little fire ring he had made, feeding the small flames with twigs and pine needles. Over his fire he had a hobo sack of an an aluminum foil ball suspended by a coathanger and taped to the tracks with masking tape. I had to bite my cheeks to keep the grin down. He just looked like such a little pathetic vagabond, though he was only about a mile from home and had been gone all of 15 minutes. I told him he was not allowed to have a fire and he quickly put it out with his water bottle. I told him to come home and he took his backpack and got back on his bike without another word. I noticed he was wearing his helmet, so he wasn't such a rebel.

So Fred and I talked to him tonight and told him that he doesn't have to love us, and he doesn't even have to respect us, but he at least has to ACT like he he respects us. Told him we will always love him no matter what, and he will always be our son no matter what. He sat with head hung and barely said a word and all but ran back inside as soon as he was released. I told Fred all I need from the boy right now is for at least the facade of respect, following house rules, and for me to have a feeling of safety for all concerned. In an ideal world he would also love me, like me, and fall over backwards trying to be helpful.

I'm tempted to sweep all this under the rug and put on a happy face and say we're all living happily ever after. But I try hard to keep it real. To write about our downs as well as our ups. To shout out when I'm happy and proud but also air out when I'm feeling frustrated or at my wits' end.

I know that many boys his age will go through periods like this even if they are genetically linked to their parents and have lived with them since infancy. And that many adopted kids, especially older ones, will go through a phase whereby they test their parents, push all their buttons. They figure they will be abandoned once again sooner or later, so they do all they can to expose their parents' true colors.
If I push hard enough, I'll get them to tell me they hate me/send me back/hit me.
Well, James, I hate to disappoint, but that ain't gonna happen. No matter what you do, you will be loved. You will have food. You will have a bed to sleep in. I will never strike you.
So keep pushin, hon. And then realize that we are a family for keeps.

Guess who just came in and said sorry? Guess who just gave me the biggest hug ......

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Without a Hitch

So the kids have officially finished their first week of school, and it all went off without a hitch. For the most part the kids seemed to like their teachers and have some friends in their classes. They never once missed the bus or forgot a lunch, and both the morning routines and the bedtime routines went pretty smoothly. They now have a four day weekend stretched before them, promising beautiful weather to boot. In fact this afternoon we've all been outside for hours riding bikes, playing Frisbee, and drawing hopscotch boards in the driveway.

Next week, on the other hand, the back-to-school honeymoon will be over. Looking at my calendar, I see we have an orthodontist appt, 2 drs appts, 2 back-to-school nights, 2 soccer practices, CCD starting, and more.

Ah well. It was nice while it lasted.

Monday, August 31, 2009


Comin' Atya Live .....

Thank you for joining us live at the farmhouse on this beautiful morning. I'm Earl E. Rizer ....

And I'm Dewey Riley Kaire ....

And we'll be covering the Annual First Day of School event for you all morning.

That's right Earl. This much anticipated event pits two formidable enemies against each other: Mommankidz vs The Bus. We've got a bird's eye view of the Mommankidz team, who should be appearing on the scene any moment now, as well as audio feed that will give us live updates on The Bus as things unfold.

Although Mommankidz has a pretty strong track record, there are those that wonder how they'll fare in this event. My sources tell me that instead of using the summer to train, they've been undisciplined in their sleep habits and have only worked together as a cohesive team on a handful of occassions all summer long.

That's right Earl. In contrast, The Bus is fully prepared. It's been washed, fueled, tuned-up, and had a strong performance in the Bus Rodeo over the summer.

This will be an interesting competition to say the least ....

And here they come now, onto the field. It's just Mom at the moment but she's giving a strong first impression as she appears to be showered and dressed.

She's heading straight to the coffee pot, no surprise there, and then over to the stove. She seems to be doing something .... Dewey, it looks like she's making breakfast.

Well, Earl, that's an impressive start as they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I don't think anyone was expecting that.

Maybe they have a stronger shot at this than we thought. Do you think ....

Hold that thought, Earl, I believe another player is arriving on the scene. Yes, it's #1, in the position of high school freshman. Will he be a help or a hindrance to this team, do you think, Earl?

Hard to say, Dewey, hard to say. He's walking over to Mom .... he gives her a hug!

Wow, great move. But let's see how he handles breakfast. He looks into the pot ....and he smiles! He helps himself to a bowl of the steaming oatmeal as the crowd goes wild. This is a very strong start for Team Mommankidz.

And here come #2 and #3, both in the position of middle schoolers. On their heels is player #5. Anything could happen now, and the crowd seems to be holding its collective breath.

Earl, they've ALL taken bowls of oatmeal and have sat down to eat! Is there no stopping this team?

Yes, things are looking incredibly good for this team, but let's not forget it is early in the game, and not all the players have joined us yet.

Well, but here comes #6, the youngest player on the team. These rookies can be a handful and it takes a strong coach to keep their energies in check. Let's watch what happens ....

Dewey, it looks like he's walking over to the pot .....he looks in..... and he makes a face. Now he's whining! Oh, this is bad news for Mom. They argue for a bit .... and now he is heading to the freezer for frozen waffles. Disaster averted for the moment.

Earl, I have to wonder where player #4 is. She seems to be the only one missing at this point.

Perhaps the alarm clock fairy didn't call on her this morning, Dewey. Let's see if Mom is aware of this. She's watching the other players eat breakfast.... she sips her coffee .....she sneaks a look at the clock and by golly there she goes, up the stairs like a jackrabbit. She's a pretty, er, seasoned member of this team, but she's got speed when she needs it.

And here she comes back down the stairs with a confused and sleepy looking player #4. Mom has a bowl of oatmeal in front of her before you can say "what's for breakfast".

Dewey, I've just gotten word that the Busdriver is in the Bus. I repeat, the Busdriver is IN the Bus. The engines are revved and the wheels are rolling.

This makes things interesting, Earl. Mommankidz has had a pretty smooth start to this competition, but there's a long way to go and anything could happen.

Back at the Farmhouse, the dishes are cleared and they're moving on to teeth and hair. Mom is directing her players left and right and there's lots of movement. Oooh, player #4 seems to have a knot in her hair. Mom rushes to the scene and applies tangle spray and goes to work getting the tangle out. The player winces. That's gotta hurt.

Earl, it looks like there's trouble in the bathroom. The players are fighting over who was at the sink first and whose toothpaste is whose for crying out loud.

Dewey, Mom's no newcomer to multitasking, but let's see how she handles this. It looks like she's got #4 by the hair and is sidestepping her over to where she has line of sight to the bathroom. She's still working on that tangle, and now she is calling out to the players in the bathroom.

Earl, it's times like these that I'm glad we can't actually hear what they're saying out on the field, because it doesn't look pretty, my friend.

Well, whatever it is, it seems to have had some effect. The players in the bathroom are brushing their teeth like nobody's business.

And the last of the tangle seems to have been conquered as well, Earl. Looks like this team is back on track.

Dewey, this just in from the feed on the opponent. The bus is IN town at this point and scooping up kids like a giant hungry python.

It's as if Mom has psychic powers because she seems to sense this too. She's kicking things into high gear and there's lots of action on that field right now, things are moving in a blur:
Sandwiches seem to have magically appeared and I see players shoving them into lunchboxes. I see others running to the pantry for snacks and some heading to the refrigerator for drinks. It's a miracle they don't trip over each other in this madness.
Players are now running every which way and it seems they are donning shoes. The rookie stands in the middle of the frey, one shoe in hand, the solitary still figure among a blur of arms and legs dashing about. He seems to be in trouble. I can only guess at this point that he can't find his other shoe, Earl.

This could spell defeat for Mommankidz, Dewey, because if he sets foot on that Bus in his barefeet, it's game over for Mommankidz.

And speaking of The Bus, I'm receiving word right now that it has left town and is headed for the Farmhouse. Looks like it's now or never for Mommankidz, Earl.

Player #5 has just spotted The Bus out of the window. She leans her head back and yells "Buuuuuussssssss" at the top of her lungs. Oh my God, now everyone on the team is running. The team mascot begins barking his fool head off. Everyone is grabbing backpacks and lunchboxes. Mom's on her hands and knees peering under the sofa and .... what's this? She HAS FOUND THE SHOE! She stands up, reaches her arm back and throws a Hail Mary across two rooms. THE ROOKIE CATCHES THE SHOE!

Oh my GOD, I think they're gonna make it. Mom races to the door and all the players file past her. Kisses and fond words are exchanged as they walk out the door and down the walk.

The bus pulls up to the house ... the doors open .... and all the players begin to step in! But what about the rookie?

Earl, he's hopping down the walk, still putting his shoe on even as he approaches The Bus. The last of his teammates has vanished from sight. Will he make it and secure victory for this team?

HE DOES! His shoe is on and he is ON The Bus, I repeat, he is ON The Bus! The crowd is on its feet and going wild! This is a HUGE upset for The Bus and an incredible victory for Team Mommankidz.

That's right Earl, they'll be talking about this one for some time. I guess Mom still has a few moves left in her after all ......

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

No Strayngers to Strays ....

Over the years we have crossed paths with many stray critters. Some we have kept as our own, others we have found loving homes for.

As of Sunday, a new little stray has entered our lives. A sweet tabby kitten we have named Malishka, which is Russian for baby girl.

That afternoon I was sitting on the deck in the late afternoon watching the kids in the pool when I heard a plaintive, repeated meowing coming from our driveway. When I looked down, I saw this pathetic little half-bald kitty looking up at me and crying pitifully. As soon as I opened the gate to walk down the steps toward her, she ran away. Luckily, she didn't run far and she stopped and let me pick her up. It was all I could do to keep from crying out when I saw the hundreds of fleas running all over her bare back and belly. I took her inside and gave her a bath with some itch-relief pet shampoo, then applied a vial of Frontline to her.
Despite being half-starved and half-mad from all the fleas, she was incredibly sweet and quite the purr-train. We gave her some food and water which she gobbled right up, and made a bed for her in a pet-carrier with a litter pan and a water dish.
Next morning, she still had some fleas, but there were hundreds of dead black dots in her bedding. A step in the right direction. I called the SPCA and reported that we had a found kitten staying with us, but it's now two days later and I haven't heard back from them.
I guess we have a new pet.
Well. Julie does. We've decided this can be her kitty, and she's beyond excited.
Julie went with me today to take her kitten to the vet. We've learned that Mali's about two months old, she has worms, but does not have feline leukemia or HIV. We also learned that she's very cute.

We already knew that.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Homeroom Postings and a Facelift

Yesterday I drove the younger kids over to our school b/c it was the much anticipated Homeroom Posting Day. Where we all get to crowd around two pillars of posted papers listing all the classes, complete with techers and students.

For the three I have in elementary school, we were pleased with two of the teachers, but one of them we've never heard of, so we can only cross our fingers and hope for the best. Unfortunately, none of the kids got their best friends in their classes, thought they all saw several names that they were pleased about. And no one will have any arch enemies to contend with in their classrooms.

My middle-schoolers will have to wait till first day of school to see who will be sharing classes with them, and my high-schooler will get a mailing next week to learn his schedule.

We also got a sneak-peek at the facelift our tired old school has undertaken. I believe the school building is somewhere between 75 and 100 years old. It looks it. But over the summer it finally got a much needed facelift to some of the interior. A new entrance, new tile floors, a complete make-over for the gym (which previously had carpet on its floors, of all things). We weren't allowed in the building, but we snuck past the yellow tape and peeked in the windows (shhh, don't tell). We're all very excited.

We finished up the visit for a trip out for milkshakes. Don't tell the kids I told you, but I think they're actually starting to get a bit excited .....

Friday, August 21, 2009

End in Sight

Well here I sit, with the first day of school a mere 10 days away.
There were times this summer I didn't know if I'd make it out alive.

I'm not usually this way. I've always felt bad for the women who talk to each other about how they can't wait for the kids to be back in school. But now I've turned into one of them, ack!

Don't get me wrong, I will miss my kids. But there were just too many factors at play this year to make it a fun-to-the-last-drop summer. A few:

*Teens and pre-teens brought together by circumstance (vs by choice) don't always play well together.

*According to my doctor, my hormones are having quite a party, and I wasn't invited.

*Our number of kids has increased by 50%. The chaos level has risen by 75%.

*I'm sure police work can be a very rewarding career. But being the chore police, laundry police, food police, TV/computer/X-Box police, whose-turn-is-it-dispute police is no picnic. And for all my efforts I haven't once been given a hero badge or the key to the city.

But it hasn't all been gloom and despair. In fact, the second half of the summer was actually rather enjoyable. Here are a few of the upsides:

*Julie is an awesome kitchen helper and when it's her turn for that chore, she can really lighten my load.

*James can mow grass like nobody's business. It's been great for Fred to have three big kids who can help with lawn maintenance this summer.

*Julie has learned how to swim.

*Seeing them all splash and play in the pool never fails to bring a smile to my face.

*James has such a sweet smile when he comes back from a bike ride all sweaty and out of breath.

*Screen-free hours on a rainy afternoon when the house is hushed and the kids are scattered about in twos and threes playing Monopoly or cards, cutting out pictures of Robert or David or Zac from teeny-bopper magazines, or curled up with a good book.

So yes, in a week and a half they will be back in school. And then there will be the morning rush to contend with, and homework and after-school activities and stricter bedtimes to adhere to.
But I will have about seven hours each day in which no one will yell my name. I will not have to tell anyone to Stop Doing That This Instant.
And it will be Good.

Monday, August 17, 2009

End of an Era

My baby boy did the unthinkable yesterday. He turned 10 yeas old.


I now have not one child in my life that's in the single digits. That's just not fair. It makes me feel so darned old.


ANyway, he seemed to have a fun time yesterday. He wanted to go out to Denny's with the family (our kids were born with a silver spatula in their mouths) so we went there for lunch. When we got home we opened gifts from the family and he loved everything:
Patrick gave him a book on pirates
James gave him a wooden gun that shoots rubberbands
Rosie had gotten him a handweight (for building those 10 year old biceps)
Bella chose a rainbow art pad
Julie bought him a wall applique of Halo 3 (from an x-box game for those of you who reside in caves)
and River (cousin visiting with us this week) got him a Nerf Gun the size of our garage.

His Dad and I got him a book and a Playmobil set of a Roman arena complete with gladiators and lions and chariots.

At least I still have one child that is not above wanting honest to God toys for his birthday and not just electronics.

So then he had a couple friends come over and they ran, swam, rode bikes, shot Nerf guns, and played video games. We then had pizza for dinner and moved on to singing Happy Birthday and blowing out candles.

He also got a VERY cool gift from his Aunt Mary. She wrote him a song and he got to watch her perform it on the computer. As he says, it was totally awesome.

I'm glad Daniel had a good birthday.

I'll be OK ... sniff, sniff......really I will......

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Woe is Me ....

Last night I felt miserably sorry for myself. I had gotten some negative feedback about my kids and that's a sensitive spot for me. Whenever I hear anything negative about my life's work I make a supreme effort to square my shoulders, raise my chin a notch and open my ears to listen without being defensive. Listen in order to take in what they have to say, weigh it for merit, and implement any action that might be needed to improve the situation.

Because I know (Lord, do I know) that they are not perfect and they are a continual work in progress for me. Shaping and molding is hard work. I am forever turning over in my mind how I can tweak the system in order to get the best "output". Output in this case being strong, healthy, straight A students who help little old ladies cross the street and rescue kittens from trees as soon as they finish all their household chores with a "happy to be of service" smile on their angelic faces.

Overall, I feel pretty proud of my crew, though they are by no means a "finished product" and there is much work to be done to nip certain problems in the bud. But on most days I feel good about myself and my kids. Last night was different. Coming from two places (both near and dear) I felt shadow was being noticed instead of light. Only my kids' faults were in evidence, none of the good qualities. And even more in question than my childrens' character was my way of doing things. Everything about how these kids are raised is my domain: what they eat, how much time they spend playing video games or watching TV, how clean their teeth are, how many household responsibilities they have and how well they do them, how active they are, the list goes on. If they're falling short, that means I am falling short because their life training is my job.
So yeah, I try to remain neutral so that I can take in feedback and make it work for me, but I'm not always so good at the neutral thing. I get emotional where my kids, and my sense of self-esteem, self-worth, whatever, is concerned. What I have to keep foremost in my mind is, how do I feel I'm doing? How do I feel about how my kids are turning out? If I know I'm doing a good job (I do), then I have to contnue to take in the feedback and use it for what it's worth, but not let other people's opinions oversahdow my own.

Is there a Zen-yoga-meditation master in the house?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Penguin Envy

They say a mother penguin can pick out her chick from among thousands of others that look identical to hers. I've always been somewhat envious of this ability. I don't seem to have it.

If I take my kids to a place where there are bazillions of kids running around, like a park, a McDonald's playland, the beach, I just about need a neckbrace to prevent whiplash. Everytime I hear a kid shout "Mom" I impulsively turn to see who it was that called. Then, because I'm stupid, the very same kid could call again 5 seconds later and I whip my neck around again.

I should tell my doctor he can dispense with the knee-jerk reflex test for me and instead have his nurse get behind me and yell "Mom" a few times. The Mom-neck-spin reflex.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Whatever happened to a notebook and a pencil....?

I just got the supply lists for back to school stuff. Oy. I don't know if all schools do this b/c of lack of funding or if it's a charter school thing, but I could sooner afford to feed a small country than buy all the stuff that's required. And my poor kids usually look like they could use a sturdy llama or burro when they set off to school the first day with plastic bags in each hand and their backpacks stuffed to bursting.

When I counted up the items required (not counting the "suggested classroom donations"), I got more than 180 items for 5 of them (Patrick's list is not out yet). In addition, I'm to send $25 each for James and Rosie as a donation for "classroom and project supplies".
These lists include the expected items, such as pencils, composition books, notebooks, binders, rulers. But also items such as ziplock bags, tissues, hand sanitizer, Clorox cleaning wipes.

Although I recycle items from previous years and I scout out the sales and do my shopping where the stuff is cheap, I've still spent hundreds of dollars and I'm not even done. And this is not including clothes, of course. I'll tell you what, after seeing these lists, I'm tempted to homeschool my kids in order to save some money.


Monday, July 27, 2009

The Wedding: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good
6 well-behaved kids sitting front row during a Catholic wedding.

How the girls were calling their newly married Aunt Michelle "Mrs. Cinderella".

The beautiful ceremony, bridal party and reception.

Award-winning performance of "Natural Woman" sung by my sister Mary at the reception.

Julie dancing the night away on the dance floor. Again.

Being able to get one more wearing of the wedding clothes even though sashes needed to be pinned on.

James and Julie meeting many new family members for the first time.

The warm welcoming into the family for them.

The positive, supportive comments about adoption from almost everyone.

Scattered family reunited.

The rite of passage of a long road-trip for the kids.

The Bad
My legs and feet after wearing high heels when I've been accustomed to flip-flops and bare feet.

"When're we gonna be there/how much longer/he touched me/I'm hungry" on a loop for 12 hours.

James getting his feelings hurt and feeling sad for most of the reception.

The Ugly
Sigh. One person's ugly comments about adoption/adopted children.

The Beach: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good
The ice cream man ringing his bell at the top of the dunes
Popsicle juice dripping down sandy chins
Miniature golf
The views from the top of the lighthouse
James and Julie learning the art of boogie boarding
Sand sculptures, including castles, dolphins, mermaids, seaturtles ....
Warm sand, sound of the surf, cool breeze
James and Julie seeing an ocean for the first time in their lives

The Bad
Sand on the floors
Sand in the sheets
Sand in our ears
Jellyfish legs after climbing the 200+ steps of the lighthouse

The Ugly
Pretty blue crab legs collected by Bella on the jetty not smellin' so pretty the next day

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Runnin' the Race

So Tues I was at the hospital all day for Bella's surgery.

Then Thurs Daniel had an appt in Wilmington in the morning. Got home, gave everyone lunch, then loaded everyone into the car by 1 (except Rosie, who is still on vacation with her best friend in Cape May) to drive 3 hours to my sister Veronica's house in NJ. The big boys will be staying there till Sunday to get some good solid Aunt Ronnie and Uncle Jamie time in like they do every summer (she takes them all a couple at a time). We were hoping that she could watch our little Sophie while we're away on vacation, so we brought her along too for a trial run. But Ron and Jamie have a new puppy now, 6 month old Shepherd mix Casey, who is just all abut play. Sophie was having none of it.
So after a time, we said our goodbyes to the boys and drove an hour or so south to drop Sophie off at our friends house, who had also offered to watch her. Funny, seems we have a multitude of offers from people who want to keep Sophie for us, as well as our dog Blue. Wonder why we don't get any offers for people to keep our rotten yellow Lab Sunny? Hmmmm ......
Anyway, we finally got home at about 10pm after a long day of driving and visiting. The house seemed strangely quiet with just 3 kids at home.

Friday Fred and I took the kids to lunch at TGIFridays and then to the movies to see Harry Potter. Strangely, not one person turned to stare at us as we walked in the door with our 3 kids. And all this time I thought people were staring at us b/c we are so darned attractive.

Today I will pack up for our vacation, as we leave early in the morning. Here is a partial list of what needs to get packed/accomplished before we can leave:

oil change for my car
put trash out
extra food and water to all critters
DVDs (lots of 'em)
roadtrip Bingo boards
bedsheets and pillows
bathing suits
water shoes
about 5 gallons of sunblock
beach towels
bath towels
casual clothes
wedding clothes (for my sister Michelle's wedding in KY next Sat)
rainy day board games and craft activities

If I manage to accomplish all of the above (and more) we will set out tomorrow morning and pick Rosie up in south Jersey on our way to the shore. Once we get checked in at the rental house, we will pick up the boys, who are about about 1/2 hour to the north, so we can all be reunited once again.
Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we'll be able to enjoy the beach for a few days before setting off on Fri morning for our drive to KY.
Our plan from there is to go to the wedding on Sat (the kids will be able to meet another wave of relatives they have not yet met), and then head home Sun morning.

Guess I'd best get off the computer and git bizzy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Fun and Surgery Tears

On the Rosie front, she's having a funtastic time with Lucy in Cape May. She calls us each night and runs through her day with us and Lucy's parents have been sending photos. Sometimes you just gotta love modern technology.

Bella, on the other hand, did not have such a fun day yesterday, as she had to go under the knife again for ear tubes. But she did fine, and left the hospital less than two hours after surgery. When she got home she immediately resumed her favorite pasttimes of watching TV and searching for David Archuletta pictures on the computer.
While we were still in the hospital and she woke from the anesthesia she was kinda tearful b/c her throat and ears and head hurt. So I brought out the big guns: a big-eyed stuffed animal leopard she had seen in the gift shop. When she saw it she began to cry and hug me and said "Thank you so much, Mom, how did you know I wanted it?"
Moms just know .....

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shore Will Miss My Girl

Dropped Rosie off last night at her best friend's house. Today their family is going to the beach for a week and they've invited Rosie to join them. She is gonna have a blast! Two best friends, 11 and 12, for a week of sun and surf.

Actually, Rosie's getting TWO weeks at the beach in a row, as when Lucy's family comes home next Sunday, we leave for OUR beach destination. So we'll swoop in and scoop Rosie up and take her with us to LBI. Rosie tans more than anyone else in our family on a normal day, so after two weeks at the beach, people will think we've adopted a biracial child.

Friday, July 10, 2009

6 Month Post-Placement

Back when we adopted Bella many years ago, the post-placement report requirements were different than they are today. They were done at 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, two years and three years. Today they no longer require reports until the child has been home a year, but they are then needed every year after that till the child is 18.
So although no one is knocking down my door for the 6 month report, I thought I'd give an unofficial one anyway since the kids have been home with us 6 months as of yesterday, July 9th.

In a nutshell, they're doing fanatstic.

They have both celebrated birthdays with us: James turned 14 in March and Julie turned 11 in May.

James enjoys taking long rides on his bike and producing breath-takingly beautiful artwork and projects of one kind or another. He loves swimming and horsing around with Patrick. He takes great delight in "ninja-ing" his family members, and he and Patrick have a running contest to see who is more Ninja. James likes middle school and brought home straight A's. He was also voted most artistic 7th grade boy by his classmates.

Julie loves to play school or kitchen with Bella, paint her nails with Rosie, go swimming, and sew. We're currently working on making some pajamas for her and she always has some little embroidery project in the works. She loves, loves, loves going to family weddings and dancing the night away all dolled up. Probably her favorite pasttime, though, is to cuddle up in my lap and just snuggle and love.

Though they were both a bit fearful of the dogs when they came home, they absolutely love them now. They also enjoy holding the bunnies or our guinea pig. James loves to watch the frogs go cricket-hunting when we feed them, and Julie adores our fat-cat Mamfy. James has a great time fishing in our pond or skating on it in winter time. Julie is not as much of a nature-child as her brother, but likes to go for walks to the creek or play outside in the driveway with chalks or her bike.

Their mastery of the English language has been nothing short of amazing. They can both read, write and speak English with impressive fluency. Here Julie has an edge over James, though whether that has more to do with her younger age, or being a girl, or just having an innate talent for languages I guess we'll never know. Though she still gets her pronouns mixed up and has more vocabulary to learn, she's pretty much understood by all who talk with her. James still struggles with sentence structure, so sometimes his point is lost as we try to rearrange his words and figure things out. But he'll get there. They still speak Russian with each other, which we've strongly encouraged so they don't lose their native tongue.

Six months down, a lifetime to go.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

As Bob Dylan once said,

The times they are a-changin'.
And so is this old body.
All signs are pointing to it. Guess I'm going through "the change". Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for aging gracefully and all that poetic nonsense, but do I have to suffer my change and its accompanying emotional rollercoaster ride at the same time that my three daughters are starting to go through some emotional changes of their own? While my two older sons are by turns either strapping young men or wailing preschoolers? At the same time that school turned them loose on me for the entire 10 months (sorry, weeks) of summer break? It's not fair, I tell you, not FAIR (stomping feet)!
Two days in a row now I've cried real tears over paltry stuff the kids have done or said that would barely get an eye-rolling response from me on a normal day.
The kids ask me if I'm OK and I honestly don't know how to answer. Physically? Yeah, right as rain. Mentally/emotionally? I feel like a 14 year old whose crush has just called her fat. I feel like I just watched all the sad parts of Bambi, Dumbo and Old Yeller. I feel like I've been looking forward all week to eating my favorite Ben and Jerry's only to see the empty carton on the kitchen counter and chocolate smeared all over the face of my nine year old.
I need a vacation. What's that? I have a week at the beach coming up? Oh good, just the relaxation I need. I get to pack everything the eight of us could possibly need for a week. I get to figure out what to do with all our animals. I get to count six heads in the surf all day like a mental patient. I get to make sandwiches, sweep sand, go grocery shopping, do laundry, cook dinners, schlepp everyone out to touristy things, and listen to complaints about sandy sheets. All this while feeling alternately hot, bloated, crampy, and like I could cry over someone asking me the time.
Can't wait .....

Sunday, July 5, 2009

"Thank you for America, Mom ...."

First 4th of July celebration for James and Julie yesterday. They had a blast, literally. We kept it simple, just staying home for cookout and DIY fireworks in the driveway. All the kids got to light a few things and ooh and ahh over all the sparkles and bangs. Julie was by turns scared silly and totally amazed. She kept telling me, "Thank you, Mom, for America".
Rosie made a BD cake and we all sang and blew out the candles.

Happy Birthday America!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

End of another busy week.

You'll forgive me if I've been out of touch for the last week. We had friends visiting with us; they arrived Sun eve and left for home (NJ) yesterday afternoon, which was Friday. The kids all had a blast and they swam, ate, gamed, and played their hearts out for 6 days solid. But it was a houseful. Most days we had 13 here, but there were nights I was cooking for 15 or more depending on what strays we picked up for an afternoon or evening or overnight. Can you say paper plates?

A couple times we loaded everyone into two cars and headed to the movies to see a matinee of Transformers, or to the creek to have a picnic lunch and splash around in the water and throw sticks for our yellow Lab Sunny. My friend Mary and I were even evil enough to pawn all the kids onto her dh for an afternoon as she and I treated ourselves to a chick-flick and cried our eyes out to My Sister's Keeper.

So it was a lot of fun, but also a lot of work making sure the kids picked up their cups and plates and cans and trash. Extra effort being the laundry police to ensure wet bathing suits and towels got hung out to dry instead of sitting balled up in a corner. Being the Fairness Officer so everyone got their turn at whatever they were waiting to play with. Throw into the mix that Julie developed some kind of infection inside her eyelid and Daniel got something worked inside of his pinky toe to create a nasty infection of his own, and an older dog that seemed to have lost touch with his bowel control and it all made for an interesting and busy week.

Fred laughed at me last night. Tucked into bed for the night after a long day I sighed, "It was a fun week but it's kinda nice just having the 8 of us under this roof tonight".
Guess he thought saying "just the 8 of us" was a bit of an oxymoron.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Too Much Goin' On

I haven't really posted about happenings here on the funny farm in a couple weeks as I've barely gotten to my computer in that time. I last wrote about Rosie's "moving up ceremony" from elementary to middle school, and Patrick's 8th grade graduation ceremony.
In a nutshell, here's what's gone on since then:

James spent the day at Hershey Park on a field trip (ha) and had a blast. He went on rollercoasters and in wave pools and had the time of his life.
Rosie had her moving up ceremony.

I spent the day at the school pitching tents and filling water guns for the 4th grade Civil War encampment. I swear, the teachers come up with very inventive ways to get out of actually "teaching" during the last week or two of school.
Took a couple kids to dentist appts.
Patrick's graduation ceremony.

Fred had back surgery to relieve some nerve compression that was making minor things like walking and standing (and sitting and lying down) a bit difficult. He did great and walked out of the hospital about 7 hours after he was wheeled into the OR.
The 4 youngers had a field trip to see a play of Willy Wonka. You know how important it is that kids these days learn about magical chocolate factories. Vital to their education.

Another dentist appt for another kid. If it was up to me I'd just pull all their teeth and be done with this nonsense.

Attended party at school. I got off easy and only had to bring in water bottles. The teacher knows me and must have had mercy. Of course, I was one of about two Moms that forgot to bring a camera.

Last day of school! I think they were there all of about three hours. Spent the morning putting up decorations for the pool party we were having for Patrick and his 8th grade buddies and Rosie and her 5th grade BFFs. Once the kids got home I had them help me fill over 200 water balloons and inflate and hang helium balloons. They all got stoned from the helium tank, so I'm still anticipating authorities knocking down my door anytime now.
It rained. Of course. But the kids didn't seem to mind. They were soaked anyways from the water balloon fight, the pool, the water gun wars. There was pizza and soda and cake. And lots of mess. And lots of water all over the house. But before we knew it the whole thing was over.

More dentist appts.
Took Daniel to NJ to pick up his ring bearer tux for his cousin's wedding. Went to the rehearsal but Daniel started feeling sick and we drove home, skipping the rehearsal dinner.

Back to NJ again for Tim and Crystal's wedding. Daniel did great and the wedding was a blast. We all had so much fun dancing the "Y-M-C-A" and the Twist and Paradise by the Dashboard Lights. Well, Fred didn't twist so much, being only a week out of surgery, but he enjoyed the company of his family anyway. When the DJ announced the wedding party entering the room, Daniel strutted in like a runway model. Funny, I never saw that as a career option for him, but who knows ....? We got home after 1am and crashed into bed, exhausted.

Father's Day. The kids all had sweet, funny cards for their Daddy. We gave him one of those digital photo frames for him to keep in his office, so I'm sure he'll have fun loading some pictures and video clips onto that. At least this photo frame is easier to update since I keep adding more kids to the family! We went to Fred's favorite restaurant for dinner and we all shouted Happy Father's Day to him, which turned a few heads. Well, pretty much the whole place turned around. I think he was a bit embarassed. Ooops.

Bella and Julie started summer school. They go M - Th mornings till about the end of July. They seem to be enjoying it so far, which definitely makes things easier for them. And me.
Another dentist appt. Does anyone know where I can get kid-sized dentures?

Seems all I'm doing these days is playing the part of evil monstrous referee. With the addition of two more kids to the mix and everyone of them being teen, pre-teen or tween, it's been non-stop bickering, which is not our norm. It's driving me insane and turning me into someone I don't like very much. I'm constantly separating, removing privileges, adding chores, sending kids to their rooms, giving early bedtimes. It's no fun. Methinks this is going to be a loooong summer. Course, we're only one week out of school, so maybe we just need a few more days to adjust. Right? Please?

But there are nice moments, too. Yesterday Daniel packed up a backpack full of first aid supplies and water bottles and asked Julie if she'd like to take a walk with him. They walked down to the RR tracks and the creek, and when they got back they sat on the porch swing in the fading light and talked for awhile.
And there was the time Rosie and her best friend Lucy packed up a picnic basket of lunch and snacks and rode their bikes out to the creek and had a summer-best-friends-picnic-by-the-creek moment.

So if we can just get the squabbling under control, I think we have the fixins for a magical summery summer. I just need to brush up on my managerial skills and dust off my referee shirt and roll my sleeves up.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Who's Yer Daddy?

Daddy of the Year Award goes to .....


Though he would deny, deny, deny that he should even be in the running, to me and my kids he is the obvious choice. Here are a few of his qualifications:


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