Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Day!

Yesterday was the first day of school.

How much they've grown, even over the summer!


These are the five older kids, starting 11th, 10th, 8th, 7th, and 7th. Daniel starts this morning, so I will have his picture up later today, or maybe tomorrow.

All joking aside, I WILL miss my kids. I do so love the little creatures.



















































































































Bye kids, have a nice day!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Storm Sunday

Earthquake on Tuesday, hurricane on Sunday.

This is not my thing, all these natural disasters.

I've always said I live in one of the best areas of the whole flippin' country. No earthquakes, wildfires, mudslides, only the occasional diminutive tornado. Blizzards here and there but nothing compared to what they get out west or further north.

And yet here I sit, finally reconciled to our earlier 5.9 and fully prepared for Irene.

My Friday to-do list included:

feed store for chicken feed, cat litter, dog food and rabbit feed,
gas station,
Dunkin Donuts for 2# of coffee (this Mama runs on Dunkin),
grocery store to stock up on TP, enough groceries to make casseroles to last into early 2012, and several varieties of chocolate,
liquor store because, well, liquor store.

Once the pantry was full, I got the kids busy with securing things outdoors. Bella and I consolidated the bikes and skateboards and scooters and junk in the kids' garage while most of the other kids started hauling all the pool patio furniture over to pile up inside.

While we were working at ground level, two of the big boys were climbing all over the barn roof nailing down loose tin panels so the wind wouldn't catch them and turn them into rusty red kites.

We filled all the feeders and locked everything up tight.

Then Saturday we made chocolate chip cookies. We worked on finishing up all the remaining summer assignments and we checked in with the storm coverage roughly every three and a half minutes.

We got all excited when we saw our first casualty of Irene: a split tree. Said tree was dead already, but still, it was exciting to see such a big limb on the ground. Sadly, it used to be our tire swing tree branch.














But by bedtime things started to get a little dicier. We heard from Fred's brother who lives near the Jersey shore that a tree crashed through his kitchen window. With that, Fred and I declared three rooms unsafe to sleep in b/c of their proximity to a few rather large trees. Our two big boys slept downstairs and the other four kids slept in the room with us. As we snuggled into bed we watched more of the storm coverage, which at this point included several confirmed tornados in nearby areas. I wondered if I should move the whole family downstairs to sleep in the basement, but decided against it. I lay under my covers and listened to the wind howling, the rain pelting against the house, and I felt both cozy and terrified at the same time.

Of course, as a parent, it is your job to infuse your voice with an almost condescending calm as you soothe the fears of your youngsters, and I think it was this forced calm in my voice that finally let me drift off to sleep.

I awoke a few times during the night, listened, and fell back asleep.

Come morning, I still heard the wind tearing through the trees, but saw on the news that the storm had moved on and was breaking up. Out my windows, I saw no evidence of severe damage. Our roof looks intact, no broken windows, and believe it or not we even still have power. I'll still need to do a more thorough inspection of things outside, and check on the barn critters (though I saw the three horses nonchalantly grazing this morning even while getting pelted with rain), but it looks like we made it through pretty much unscathed.

So goodnight, Irene, and move along with you now, girl.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Farm Friday

We have a new....

refrigerator?
sofa?
vacuum?
car?

No. You know better.

We have a new pet.

A kitten.

Yes, I am a "whorder" badly in need of a 12 step program but I will thank you to keep your judgements to yourself.

You will judge me less harshly, I pray, when I tell you she was a little orphan kitty in the dairy barn at the farm where we get our milk.

And here's how it all went down. Because I am mentally retarded.

While waiting in the milking parlor for Katie to fill my milk jug, I looked through the window to the barn and noticed movement. It was her little boy, playing with something on the floor.

I went into the barn and saw him playing with three little kitty cats, cute as could be. Two calicos and a tuxedo.































A smart woman would have quickly closed the door and made like she saw nothing.

But I am not a smart woman.

So what do I do?

I call my girls over to come see.

I call my girls over to come see.

Like I said. Mentally retarded.

So Rosie comes over and like, dissolves into a puddle right there in a milking stall.

And goes,
canwehaveonecanwehaveonecanwehaveonecanwehaveonecanwehaveonecanwehaveonecanwehaveone

And I'm like, NO, are you crazy child?

And she's like,
canwehaveonecanwehaveonecanwehaveonecanwehaveonecanwehaveonecanwehaveonecanwehaveone

And all over again, I say
.....no.....

And then she starts going,
pleaseprettypleaseIpromiseI'llhelptakecareofherpleaseprettypleaseIpromiseI'llhelptakecareofherpleaseprettypleaseIpromiseI'llhelptakecareofherpleaseprettypleaseIpromiseI'llhelptakecareofher

And then real firm like, I say
Call your father.

So then she's


















And then

















And the next thing I know we're driving home with our two gallons of milk and our kitty.


















Her name is Milky, btw.

Wordless Wednesday Becomes - For Today - Weird Wednesday

Yesterday morning James told me in a frightened-but-trying-to-sound-brave voice that he came downstairs late at night to find that the Wii was on. Also the TV. And that he woke in the middle of the night to a banging sound on the wall of the house. And the puppy was barking.

I explained to him in a very everything's-alright-nothing-to-see-here voice that I was sure one of the kids (namely Daniel) probably came downstairs that night and played a few games/watched a little TV.
(but I was thinking to myself no way in tarnation he would have turned lights off when he was done)

He seemed satisfied, but asked what about the puppy barking?

Oh, she barks all the time over her own shadow.

And the banging on the wall?

Oh that's nothing to worry about, I sez. I hear that banging noise outside my bedroom wall nearly every night. Sounds like someone's throwing a baseball against the house.

Oh OK, sez he. But what is it?

Ummmmmm. I don't really know. But I hear it like all the time, so.....

And I shrug like it ain't nothin but a thang. But to myself I'm wondering
Uhh, yeah. What is that banging noise? It's not pipes. It's not boards creaking. What the ????

Then I get on the computer for a bit and when it boots up to my home page or screen saver or wallpaper or whatever the heck it's called, I pause for a moment to look at the picture of me with a couple of my kids that I just put up recently. Awww, sweet.



















But what's that mark by Julie's head? I wipe at the screen, but it's not a smudge on my laptop. Is that, is that one of those orbs?

Hmmmmm.....


My morning moves along and then around 2:00 I get in the car with two of the girls to run to the store. A few seconds down the road, I get a call from Patrick. Says the whole house was just shaking violently for about 10 or 15 seconds and stuff was rattling and a couple pictures fell over.

That's it. I am turning around in the next driveway and heading home. We will pack up some underwear and some clothes. Toothbrushes. That magazine I just started. Plus that Wawa gift card I recently found. And I'd better grab the kids' school schedules. And some snacks, too.

There's a driveway. Lemme just....

Mom, Mom! All my friends are saying on FB we just had an earthquake! How cool!

OK, cancel, the turnaround.
Cancel the packing.
Not an evil house.

Just an earthquake.

In Pennsyl-freakin'-vania.....

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Social - Fred

If you'll recall from last weekend, I'm now doing a Sunday meet-n-greet.

Next one down on my siggy line...

Anne,
Wife of Fred for 23 years
Mom of:
Patrick (16)
James (16)
Bella (13)
Rosie (13)
Julie (13)
Daniel (11)
My children around the world:
Milly in Taiwan
Felice in Hong Kong
Eun Hae in South Korea
Nadya in Germany
Obrin in New York
And our critters Annabelle, Fiona, Sunny, Sophie, Cindy-Lou and Blue; Mamfy, Mali and Punkin; Nick; Frog 1 and Horny Toad; Charlie and Dizzy; Minnie and Alice; Elfie, Frex, Crope, Tibbit and Ozzy; Genevieve, Pippin and Finnegan; and a dozen or so chooks.

I'd like to ask God why He allows
hunger, poverty, and injustice
in the world,but I'd be afraid
He'd ask me the same thing ...



Is Fred.



And there he is. The one with the red hair.














Ain't he handsome?

Problem is, besides being handsome, Fred is the strong, silent, private type. As in, he doesn't much care for me broadcasting all his likes and dislikes and quirks and what-not out to my hundreds of thousands of fans.

Did you just snicker? I heard you snicker.

So what can I tell you about my beloved?



cricket, cricket....



Not much. Sigh.

But I can cheat. I can tell you what I like.....


I like
...
A man who is tall and broad and strong.
A man who understands hard work and working hard because he has been there and done that.
A man who is not afraid of changing out a toilet or chopping firewood or running the tractor to plow our driveway in sub-zero windchills after a full day's work.
A man who is probably the smartest person I have ever met with an IQ somewhere out there in the stratosphere.
A man with a very ecclectic taste in music and books and movies and food.
A man who seems more at home and at ease with the salt-of-the-earth folk of his childhood than in the well-to-do circles of his career colleagues.
A man who is an old softie when it comes right down to it, who has supported me in taking in all manner of critters to rescue or foster or bring into our family.
A man who has supported me in the pursuit of all my children, no matter how they came to us, no matter whether they were staying with us a week, or a school year, or a lifetime.
A man who has taught our children what it is to work hard, to appreciate the good things in life, to apply yourself, and to always help those in need.



But don't tell him I told you any of that.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sunday Social

I think it's high time we have us a little Sunday social meet-n-greet.
With 40+ critters and eight 2-legged types in our family, I could make nearly an entire year's worth of posts introducing a person or a critter each week.

And that's just what Imma gonna do.

My siggy line on my e-mails reads something like this:

Anne,
Wife of Fred for 23 years
Mom of:
Patrick (16)
James (16)
Bella (13)
Rosie (13)
Julie (13)
Daniel (11)
My children around the world:
Milly in Taiwan
Felice in Hong Kong
Eun Hae in South Korea
Nadya in Germany
Obrin in New York
And our critters Annabelle, Fiona, Sunny, Sophie, Cindy-Lou and Blue; Mamfy, Mali and Punkin; Nick; Frog 1 and Horny Toad; Charlie and Dizzy; Minnie and Alice; Elfie, Frex, Crope, Tibbit and Ozzy; Genevieve, Pippin and Finnegan; and a dozen or so chooks.

I'd like to ask God why He allows
hunger, poverty, and injustice
in the world,but I'd be afraid
He'd ask me the same thing ...


So starting today, I will go through the list one at a time. The interesting thing will be seeing whether the list can make it through a whole year without any changes.

Unlikely.




First on the list? That would be me. Anne.




















That's me in the most recent picture of me that I could tolerate.


A few (OK, a lot of) bullet points about me:

* I am 46 years old. Yes, I just said that out loud. Well. Kinda.
* I was born in Louisiana. Still have some family down south. I didn't live there long, but I miss it and still consider myself southern.
* Grew up mostly in NJ, but spent a little time in FL and KY.
* Parents divorced when I was eight and from then on my Mom raised myself, my two younger sisters and one older brother at a series of rental houses at the Jersey shore. Kind of like how I still consider myself "southern", I also consider myself a "local" when I take the kids to the beach, though I haven't lived there in many, many (many) moons.
* In high school I was in the color guard (flags) of our band and loved it. Yes, I am a geek. I worked an exciting assortment of jobs throughout my teen years, including chamber maid, waitress, rental cleaner, babysitter, taco-assembler supreme at a little joint called "Taco Island", cashier at a movie theatre, and salesperson at an MAB paint store.
* Though we had had classes together since 7th grade, I didn't start dating Fred till we started working at the theatre together our senior year.
* Went to college in NJ and got my bachelor's degree (magna cum laude, yay me!) in Occupational Therapy.
* Got married.
* Worked as an OT for about nine years.
* Had my first baby when I was 30.
* My big brother Donald passed away from brain cancer. I miss him. I grieve that only one of my children ever got to meet him.
* Quit work and popped out two more kids.
* Adopted our first child.
* Started hosting exchange students.
* Moved to a bigger house out in the country.
* Accumulated more than my fair share of animals.
* Adopted two more children.
* Started writing. Kinda like it. Published a few things.

And here we are. All of the above could have been abbreviated into I am a 40-something Mom to six kids both by birth and by adoption that has been married a long long time and who has untold numbers of animals and enjoys reading, writing, artwork and critter-caretaking and is considered by most to be insane.

Why is that such a difficult thing for me?

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