life on the funny farm

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:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Recipe for Preserving Children

This is from my favorite "Mom" book, Mitten Strings for God by Katrina Kenison:

1 grass-grown field
several dogs and puppies (if available)
pebbles and sand
1/2 dozen children or more
1 brook

Into field, pour children and dogs, allowing to mix well.
Pour brook over pebbles until slightly frothy.
When children are nicely brown, cool in warm bath.
When dry, serve with milk and freshly baked gingerbread.

Essentials for Summer

With 2 1/2 days of school left, summer break is rapidly approaching. Time to stock up on a few summer essentials:

Mayonnaise Jars
To catch lightning bugs in. With holes poked in the lid and bits of twigs and grass inside.

For all the scraped knees from climbing trees, riding bikes, and playing kick-ball in the driveway.

A New Broom
To sweep up all the dirt tracked in the house dawn to dusk from their dirt-encrusted bare feet.

New Tupperware
I can kiss my old stuff goodbye. It will be pressed into service to catch bugs, make mudpies and hold cherries they've picked.

Lots of Ice Cream

To soothe the itchies from the Poison Ivy they were supposed to stay away from and the mosquito bites they got when they forgot to zip the screen on the tent.

Wire Coathangers
To bend just so to roast marshmallows and hot dogs.

Those Sparklers That You Light And Run Around With Till You're Blind Or Poke Someone's Eye Out
Because they're fun. And it's cool to write your name in the air with them.

Good Books, Lots of Art Stuff, Movies and Popcorn
For snuggly stuff to do on rainy days.

Watermelon and Roadside-Stand Corn on the Cob
Because it's summer.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pomp and Circumstance

Weds morning, Fred and I sat in folding chairs on the playground of our childrens' school, and watched with pride as Rosie's class (well, the whole 5th grade) performed their "moving up ceremony", marking the end of their elementary years. That's right, folks, in a few short months my first daughter will be entering middle school. A world of lockers and homework and bells to switch classes, and crushes. Hard to believe.

Then the next night we went to a nearby university to sit and watch as my oldest son's 8th grade class had their graduation ceremony. In gowns and everything. We were very proud to know that he made it, even with all his struggles throughout middle school (don't think we didn't check to see there was actually a paper inside the diploma case).


Got word last week that an article (essay?) of mine has been accepted for publication! It will appear in the September issue of Adoption Today. I figure this is not only good for me, as I've discovered I truly enjoy writing, but good for adoption if I can get some of my views out and be an advocate of sorts.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Week In The Life ....

Patrick to an appointment in the morning.
Daniel to appointment in the afternoon.
Picked strawberries with my 6 kids plus 1 friend. Took home way more than we needed.

Dropped Rosie off at the Ashland Nature Center in the morning for a two day, one night field trip.
Picked Bella and Julie up from school at 5pm after their all-day excursion into Philadelphia with the rest of the 4th graders.
Julie enthusiastically demonstrated (the whole car ride home) how her duck-quacker worked that she got from the Duck Ride Tour.

Arrived at Ashland to pick Rosie up, but she asked if she could go to her friend's house for a few hours, so I headed back home in time to get the kids off the bus.
Out again later to pick Rosie up from her friend's house.

Tried to get some yard work done but the weather wouldn't cooperate.
Kept kids apart as much as humanly possible. With only two weeks remaining till summer break, they're all fidgety and restless and jumping down each other's throats.
Took Daniel to a play at the school we're considering for him next year.

Mother-Dtr Book Club arrived for the end-of-year bash. The girls jumped in the pool while the Moms tried to keep out of the rain under the umbrella. Then we ate, talked about the book Twilight and watched the movie on the couch. Hard to believe this is the same group of girls that first started meeting as 2nd graders. From Junie B Jones to Twilight in three short years. Sigh .....
Patrick got all dressed up and headed out the door to his 8th grade semi-formal dinner dance.
He and his friends had made plans to go to the movies afterwards and he said he had rides there and back with parents. But at 2:15 in the morning he wasn't home yet. Only then did Fred and I realize we didn't know which Mom was driving, which theatre he was at, and that he didn't have a cell phone for us to call him. We wrung our hands and paced the floor and wondered whether we should start calling parents of friends but decided to wait a bit longer. He got dropped off around 2:45 with a smile on his face, his tie askew and carrying a bunch of balloons from the party. We are soooo not ready to be parents of teenagers.

Fred's annual surgical resident's party in the afternoon.
Got the worst of the weeds pulled and the pool spiffed up just in time for the guests to arrive.
Daniel's friend cut his knee pretty bad. Good thing there was a houseful of surgeons. Didn't end up needing stitches, though.
Julie puked bucketloads of food all over the pool patio. Got her cleaned up and taken care of, then began hosing down what remained of her lunch. Watermelon and tacos does NOT look pretty revisited.
Four of the kids' friends slept over.

Flipped a few dozen flapjacks to feed 10 kids for breakfast.
Played lifeguard most of the morning while all the houligans swam off their energy.
Hoped I could retain some of the sun's energy myself, to prepare myself for next week's round of appointments and chores and parties and fieldtrips and field days and .......

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Things Kids Shouldn't Know About ......

I was sorting strawberries with James and Julie a couple days ago, after picking a boatload of them at a local farm. As often happens, when their hands are busily engaged with work, their tongues move more freely. They shared with me some of the atrocities they've seen over the years at their orphanages. We adoptive parents like to think that, although not the same as a family and home, the orphange is not too bad a place for the kids. They keep them warm and safe and dry and fed. But when the love of a family is missing, terrible things can happen.

My kids told me of children slicing their arms with knives. Pushing needles into their bellies while being kept in "solitary confinement". Looking out the window to see a classmate swinging from a tree, rope around his neck and chair kicked out from under him, and having to run out with teachers and students to rescue him. They both knew of many kids who had hurt themselves, attempted suicide, or ended their lives violently. This is not a case of knowing someone who knew someone who tried it, this is being able to count the lost souls of kids you once knew.

With both hands and voice trembling, I assured my sweet kids that here they are safe and loved. I let them know that they could come to us with anything on their minds. Told them if they feel angry or sad we can talk with them and help them through their feelings.
At some point, when they have a little more English under their belts, I will take them to see a professional who can help them deal with the many things they've seen and experienced in their short lives. But for now, I hope lots of hugs and kisses and talking and snuggling will do the job of making them feel safe and secure and loved.


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