Saturday, March 31, 2012

Time To Get Busy.

We live in a big house. Even for a family of 8, it's a big house.

The up-side to that is elbow room. I cannot stress how important this feature is in living with 5 teens and 1 preteen.

The downside is the sheer volume of stuff that a big house can accomodate.

If you have even one child, I want you to imagine for a minute how much stuff that child brings into your house in a year's time.

Think birthday party goodie bags. Think stocking stuffers. Think Christmas gifts and birthday gifts and little trinkets from classmates at Valentine's Day and little pressies from their Easter baskets and stuff they've bought with their allowance money like vacation souvenirs and stuff from the school book fairs and holiday shops and trips to the drug store and toy store and grocery store and little prizes from the teacher and the soccer coach and the gymnastics winter show participation medal or the mediocre attendance certificate and the little pretties he or she finds when out on a walk like that really cool rock or that stick shaped like the letter Y or that pretty flower or huge pinecone or tiny acorn and let's not forget about all the beautiful pictures that were drawn or painted or printed off the computer or ripped out of a coloring book or the creative PlayDoh creations or Lego constructs or .....

Yeah. All that.

For ONE child.

I get to multiply that by six.

I know. Whine whine whine. I'm the one who decided to have all these kids, so I need to just hush up.

Anyway, all that stuff mentioned above? It finds its way into every crack and crevice of our home. Till finally the day comes when I shout


and it's time to SORT.

So I have everyone fill a box (or ten) with stuff from their rooms and bring it down to the dining room where it sits and ferments for a couple weeks till I can muster the courage to go through it all.

So now I have bins and boxes scattered about the room with labels for Goodwill and the mission, and Planet Aid, and the attic, and huge lawn and leaf trash bags that are getting filled to bursting.

Think I'll finish before company comes for Easter next weekend?

Or should I just take the quicker route and throw a match in the room?

She's no help. No help at all.

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Farm Friday - Rat Training

Bella has a little dog named Cindy Lou. She is a Rat Terrier.

That means that she and her kind have been bred to, you guessed it, hunt rats.

Living on a farm, though I hate to say it, rats we've got a-plenty. Our barn is a Shangri-La for rats, with ample food, water, and cozy dark hiding spaces.

I don't like to use poison, b/c I'm afraid it will be found by someone or something it was not intended for. My cats are good for nothin'. So I figured we might as well get with the program and start using our rat terrier.

We started training her a couple weeks ago. Back then, "training her" consisted of carrying her to the barn, where she would quake and tremble and look ready to keel over of heart seizure at any moment until chores were done and we returned to the house.

But after a while, she started getting a bit bolder, and she soon started getting excited when I told her it was time to go to the barn. Now she just about dies when I say "barn" and races out there the second I open the door. She has discovered one of their hiding places in the rabbit pen, and as soon as I open the gate she runs in and starts sniffing and scratching and trying to get at 'em.

She's still a virgin -- hasn't caught her first rat yet, but she's gotten close. She's chased and nipped, but they've always gotten away from her.

Soon. Very soon.

I will keep you posted....

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Death. A Portrait in Melodrama.

My oldest is a junior in high school.

Right now he's in the process of going on college tours, attending college fairs, getting counselled on all things college from the school counsellor, and making one last desperate effort at pulling his GPA up out of the toilet where it has been residing since he started his freshman year.

And it's all very exciting, to be sure. Just as I looked forward to when he would take his first step, say his first word, so I anticipate this time in his life when he will move out on his own and become a fledgling adult.

But at the same time? I feel
and this is oh so embarrassing
like I'm facing his death.

Ohhhhhh, the melodrama. It's oozing out my ears and dripping from my fingertips.

But it's true, I tell you!

This child turned us into parents.

For the last 17 years he has been front and center in our lives day after ever-loving day. And now, soon,

he won't.

Does that sound weird to anyone but me?

He won't be in my house when I wake up every morning. He won't be there when I turn in for the night.

He won't be there.

And I can't seem to wrap my head around these conflicting emotions:

Glad for him to be moving on to the next phase of his life (nice and normal)
Devastated that he won't be part of the everyday fabric of my life (completely Psycho crazy of me).

So. How do you think I will handle it when we actually drop him off at his dorm next year? Will I....

a) Give him a civil kiss on the cheek and turn and walk to the car as if all is perfectly normal?

or b) Fling myself at his knees and wail and cry like a banshee, demanding that he explain to me how he can DO this to his mother?????

Lord help that boy....

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Charcoal sketch by Daniel

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Adoption Tuesday - Attachment


A difficult thing to understand.

A difficult thing to instill when its roots weren't grown in infancy.

To those not in the know, when a child has needs, and those needs are met by his caregiver, attachment takes place.

For example: Baby is hungry (need). Baby expresses that need by crying. Caregiver meets that need by feeding the baby, even if it's 2 in the morning. Attachment occurs.

But when those needs are not met, over and over and over again, attachment issues are likely to ensue.

Not surprisingly, about a tenth of adopted children will be diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and will have difficulty attaching to their adoptive parents. In fact, going beyond this, without treatment, the RAD child may have difficulty forming love-based relationships throughout his or her life.

Since I have a son with RAD, I'd like to explore this issue a bit further from time to time on this blog.

Mind if I start things off with a sappy metaphor?

The Attachment Tree...

OK, so the attachment tree.

Here's the way I see it:

The parent is the tree that the child turns to for its needs.
The leaves are emotions, and they change as the weather and the seasons change: sometimes happy, sometimes sad, or angry, or frustrated. Regardless of the leaves, though, the tree remains stable, and firmly rooted to the ground. Children with RAD have difficulty with this concept, and will mistake the parent's current emotion for his underlying feelings towards him. In other words, if the parent is angry, the child feels that the parent does not love him.

Now, remember when I mentioned those roots of attachment? Those roots are the underlying love that the parent feels for the child, and they are vital. Without the roots, the tree can't stand.

With luck, even when the tree is gone (ie, the parent has passed on), the roots still remain under ground. Not visible, but present nonetheless as the child continues to feel the love of the parent.

Unfortunately, it generally takes a good long while for the RAD child to be aware that the tree is indeed rooted to the ground. He tries to knock it down, push it over. He waits for the wind to blow it away, as so many other caregivers have gone from his life. Slowly, after many many many attempts to push the tree away, the child becomes aware that the roots hold it in place, and give permanency to its structure.

And he begins to take comfort from the tree. From time to time, since he cannot see the roots, he begins to doubt this permanency, and attempts again to knock the tree down, or to run from its embrace. He may strike it, curse it, but if the tree is strong, it will stand. Over time, the child's doubts in what he cannot see will diminish, and he will strike out against it less, and fold into it for comfort more.

(Tune in next week for more in this series)

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Mirth Monday

1) Mop kitchen
2) Prune roses
3) Take out trash

1) Wet on linoleum
2) Dig up flower bed
3) Rifle garbage

Dogs are busy, too....

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Social - Elfie

Next one down on my siggy line...

Wife of Fred for 23 years
Mom of:
Patrick (17)
James (17)
Rosie (14)
Julie (13)
Daniel (12)
My children around the world:
Milly in Taiwan
Eun Hae in South Korea
Felice in Hong Kong
Nadya in Germany
Obrin in New York
And our critters Blue, Sunny, Cindy-Lou, Annabelle, Fiona, and Sophie; Mamfy, Mali, Milky and Punkin; Nick; Frog 1; Charlie and Dizzy; Minnie and Alice; Elfie, Frex, Crope, Tibbett 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 Elfie.

Elfie was one of the four goats we got when we bought our little goat herd from the rescue group. The only doe among the group, she came with a bit of a bonus: she was pregnant. A few months later, she produced gorgeous ebony and ivory twin kids.

We (meaning I) named her Elphaba, because I had just finished reading the book Wicked, and decided to go with a whole name theme. I had Elphaba, Frex, Crope and Tibbett.

Elfie is my sweetest goatie. If I'm in the barn or in the field, she's right there beside me, trying to eat my shirt. If I have some banana peels or pizza crusts to throw out to the goats from the deck, all I have to do is yell her name, and she comes running over as fast as her short little legs can take her, with the rest of the herd in close pursuit.

She had a bad case of mastitis once, and I had to treat her with hot compresses and udder massages.

We're very close, she and I.

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(No, I will not massage your udder if you vote for me.)
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Saturday, March 24, 2012


Had to take the girls shopping yesterday. They needed shorts since spring seems to have sprung two months early 'round here.

So, because I'm cheap, I took 'em to Plato's Closet, for "brand name, gently used clothing".

And the whole thing went something like this:

They're too short.
Straps aren't wide enough.
Too high.
No rips.
Too tight.
Too short.
Too short.
Too short.

Anybody wanna trade girls for boys?

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Farm Friday - Would You Rather...?

My farrier was here a couple days ago.

And as he was trying to heft my mare's dinner-plate-sized hoof onto his lap,

I asked him:

"Would you rather work with a draft horse or a mini?"

"Hmmm, that's a good question", he said. "The minis are so little that it breaks your back to bend over so much, and they're so quick. But with the drafts, you get a 19 hand, 2500 lb draft, if they don't wanna lift their foot, there's not much you can do about it."

And that got me to thinkin'. It's kind of like being a Mom to little ones vs being a Mom to teens.

The littles are so quick, and you're exhausted running after them from sun-up to sun-down (and beyond), changing diapers, wiping mouths and noses and behinds, listening to whining and crying, dealing and cajoling with them to put on their socks, clean up their toys, eat their lunch, take thier nap.

The teens, on the other hand. You may not have so much of the running around doing every little thing for them, but if your 6 foot tall, 200 lb son doesn't want to do his chores, there's not a whole lot you can do about it.

For me? I choose the drafts. Even though teens are not without their challenges, they're pretty cool.I enjoy talking with them, I love that they are more independent (no more packing school lunches for this Mama), and I revel in each of their new milestones (I have one looking at colleges now).

So how about the rest of you? Any of you that have survived raising your little ones through their teen years or beyond, what say you? Which is harder? Inquiring minds want to know.....

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

I Am My Mother. And....

We've all done it.

"Don't run with scissors!"
And you clap your hand over your mouth the instant the words are out.

You have become your mother.

I knew it had happened to me when I told one of my kids to be sure they were wearing clean underwear in case they got hit by a truck.

What the...?

Upon further reflection, however, I've come to realize I have become not just my mother, but many women.

Remember watching the movie Sybil when you were a kid? How Sally Field had a couple dozen "personalities" living inside her, each coming out when he or she was most needed? Well, same thing here. Not to disrespect those suffering the affliction of Multiple Personality Disorder. I'm just sayin', many hands make light work of this parenting game.

Most of the personalitites I channel are Moms from TV or the movies. Some are not even Moms, but I still need them. I pull them out of my neurological wallet and channel them as the situation mandates.

I've compiled a list of those women, and I share it with you here....

1) Martha Stewart
I call on Martha anytime one of my kids has a school project due in 12 hours. With her composed assistance I am able to procure styrofoam balls, hot glue, and sequins from me arse, and help them to craft a Nobel-worthy creation.

2) Carol Brady
There's nothing about her I really need. I'll admit it: I'm jealous. She is a stay-at-home Mom of six (check) with a handsome, professional husband and a lovely home (check) with full-time domestic help (no check). I want an Alice! If I had an Alice I could float through the house with perfect make-up, nails and dress, while Alice took care of the cooking and cleaning so I could tend to Marsha's broken nose or try to discern if Greg is telling the truth about those cigarettes in his pocket.
My right arm for an Alice. My firstborn for an Alice. Seriously. Someone get me an Alice.

3) Gloria Pritchett (from Modern Family)
I wah uh kih-er bah-ee.
Sorry, I was eating a Ring Ding. Lemme try again:
I want a killer body.

4) Minnie (from The Help)
With a can of Crsico in hand, Minnie could rule the world. She could fry up a chicken, get a tangle out of someone's hair, and quiet that squeaky hinge.

5) Roseanne Connor
I sometimes need Roseanne's tell-it-like-it-is mouth, with no PC filter. Problem is, she usually shows up late and I end up telling someone off in my head on the drive home. We need to work on coordinating our timing.

6) Nurse Ratched (from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest)
OK, not a Mom, but nevertheless. I want her cool, quiet, composure while all hell is breaking loose around her.
"Mr. Cheswick, sit down. I will answer your question when you are calm. Are you calm now, Mr. Cheswick?"

7) Shirley Partridge
I need her when it's time to get all the kids someplace. Now, the psychadelic bus helps, to be sure, but anyone who can get five kids out the door and to a gig on time has got my vote for having it all together. Plus, she can solve any of the kid's problems by singing a song. Nice, as abilities go.

8) Morticia Addams
Let's face it, she looks fabulous in black, and she runs her family smoothly, all while keeping just enough of a kooky edge about the place. Non-conformity rules!

9) Ree Drummond. Aka The Pioneer Woman. Aka PW.
Who wouldn't want a healthy dose of Ree in her mental make-up? She's the effortless homeschooling mother of four little ranch-hands and the adorable wife to one gorgeous hunk of cowboy. She writes, she cooks, she makes it all look easy. When she comes out in me, she makes me chocolate sheet cake and iced coffee in a mason jar and I love her.

Oh dear. What is this? I only have nine women on my list and that's just all lopsided and uneven and yucky. Someone please! Suggest a 10th for me. I must have 10 women in my multiple personalities file. Otherwise my OCD will throw a tantrum.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

What happens to big 12 year old cousin when he attempts to play wiffle ball with little two year old cousin?


Click to vote. Or I'll get my nephew after you.
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Adoption Tuesday

As we speak, one of my very good friends is in the final stretch of her "paper pregnancy".

She is delivering.

She is delivering a little girl from being parentless.

She is delivering her child from the feeling that she is not wanted in a family.

Her "pregnancy" lasted 11 months and it involved mountains of paperwork and phone calls and sleepless nights and anguish.

Her "labor pains" began a few days ago when she and her family boarded a plane bound for China.

At the peak of the delivery, a pain that could not be eased by any medication: she had to bear witness to the suffering of another's pain, as the time came for her daughter's caretaker to let go.

But now her daughter has been bathed and swaddled, and is wrapped in her mother's embrace.

An embrace that will carry this girl through her lifetime.

Congratulations, Lori and Dart.
Happy Family Day, little Butterfly.....

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Sunday Social - Tibbett

Good lord, I don't even know what day of the week it is. This post was meant for yesterday.

Please forgive....

Next one down on my siggy line...

Wife of Fred for 23 years
Mom of:
Patrick (17)
James (17)
Rosie (14)
Julie (13)
Daniel (12)
My children around the world:
Milly in Taiwan
Eun Hae in South Korea
Felice in Hong Kong
Nadya in Germany
Obrin in New York
And our critters Blue, Sunny, Cindy-Lou, Annabelle, Fiona, and Sophie; Mamfy, Mali, Milky and Punkin; Nick; Frog 1; Charlie and Dizzy; Minnie and Alice; Elfie, Frex, Crope, Tibbett 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 Tibbett.

Tibbett is the Head Honcho of our little goat herd.

About five years ago, we took in four Pygmy-cross goats from a rescue group. They came from an old lady who had a few dozen goats, none of whom were fixed or vaccinated or anything. The rescue group was able to talk the woman into giving up a good number of them, and they got 'em all fixed and up to date on shots. Of the ones I took, there were three wethers (castrated males) and a doe.

Tibbett is the smallest of the bunch, but definitely the alpha. He has an impressive rack (of horns) and a handsome beard.

It wasn't easy earning his trust, and took a long while before he would let me pet him. But once he did? I learned he knew a cool little trick. If I scratch him in just the right place on his shoulder, he tilts his head back and gets this faraway look in his eyes. When I stop? He looks square at me and lifts his front leg like a dog playing shake.

But don't tell him I told you.

Like I said. Head Honcho.

No need to scratch or shake. Just click (this button).

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

My Life.

Watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest again the other night. For about the kazillionth time, give or take.

And it occured to me that one of the scenes could just as well have been filmed at my house. With my family.

You could take the word 'cigarettes' out and substitute 'ice cream'. Or 'good spot on the sofa'. Or 'phone'.

Yes. That's my life in the nuthouse.

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Saturday, March 17, 2012


My blog Bringing Borya Home was my lifeline for a while.

It kept me sane when I was going through one snag or frustration after another during the adoption process.

It let me meet so many incredible people as I connected with folks going through the same thing, or people cheering me on, or sympathizing, or advising me, or letting me cry on their virtual shoulder.

It gave me a creative outlet when I discovered I enjoyed writing.

It fed my ego to see my stats rise, to learn I had readers all over the world.

And now, I'm letting it go.

I'll still post there from time to time, if I'm writing about an adoption topic.

But now this is my new home.

And as I see BBH slipping in the ranks, as I watch the views-per-day start to take a nose dive, I can't help but think of Tom Hanks letting his Wilson go.....

Of course, I have something Tom didn't. Perhaps Wilson is no longer sitting on my raft, but I do have my good chum Spalding sitting at the helm with me.
Nudge, nudge, Spalding is this here blog Life on the Funny Farm.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Farm Friday - Happy Birthday!

A shout out to my little chickadees.
They turn one year old this weekend!

And guess what.

Not ONE loss.

Not to illness. Not to predators. Not to escape. Not to my own stupidity.

Remember these little guys? This was their first day home with us.

And now?

Look at my beauties.

Don't ya' just love 'em?


You know what I always say when I post about my chicks: cluck-cluck, click-click.
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Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Star is Born

My daughter Rosie is in her school play. They're doing Zombie Prom. I saw it last night and it was fabulous! Great music,funny, clever; just all-in-all a rolicking good time.

Her two aunts came out to see it, too, so you could say there was Hollywood representation (from her Aunt Mary).

Great job, kids.
I see BIG things in store for you all, big things!

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Thanks to all my new followers! Glad to have you all here!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Guest Post

My son has been asking me to look into this Kony character and post something about it on my blog.

I finally got around to pulling up the video clip yesterday. When I saw that it was 20-some minutes long, I had a conversation with myself. It went like this:

Me: You need to watch it. It's important.
Me: Whine, whine, whine. I don't have time. I've got 6 kids and a passle of critters to take care of and whine, whine, whine.
Me: Knock it off and suck it up. You say you care about kids. MAKE time.
Me: What are you gonna give me if I watch it?
Me: You get to respect yourself in the morning. Just hush up and watch it already.

And so I watched it. And wow. The folks spearheading this movement are incredible and are really going to stop this guy.

I asked my baby (OK, so he's 12 years old, he's still my baby) to write a little intro for it.

Take it away, Daniel.....

Hi, my name is Daniel. I was in school, and my peers started to move to the area designated, 'The Media Room'. I followed, and my friend Pheobe started a video titled, 'Kony 2012'. I started watching while everyone around me cried, and I was deeply moved by this half hour,saddening, viral video. I ask everyone who is reading this (with money to spare) to donate to the cause of ridding the world of Joseph Kony!

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Mirth Monday - Joan Rivers

Don't tell your kids you had an easy birth or they won't respect you. For years I used to wake up my daughter and say, 'Melissa you ripped me to shreds. Now go back to sleep.'

I don't excercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor.

A man can sleep around, no questions asked, but if a woman makes nineteen or twenty mistakes she's a tramp.

I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.

I have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them.

I blame my mother for my poor sex life. All she told me was 'the man goes on top and the woman underneath.' For three years my husband and I slept in bunk beds.

I told my mother-in-law that my house was her house, and she said, 'Get the hell off my property.'

Ha, ha! Click, click!
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Quotes courtesy: brainy quotes
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