Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ben's Circular Logic??

Me: Ben, where did you put the key?

Ben: I don't have they key.

Me: Ben, I need the key.

Ben: I don't have the key.

Me: Benjamin. I NEED that key. Where did you put it?

Ben: I don't have it.

Me: Of course you don't. Where is it?

Ben: What?

Me: Ben!

Ben: What?

Me: The key!!!

Ben: I don't have the key.

Me: Ben, go downstairs and get the key.

Ben leaves. Comes back.

Ben: I had to go pee.

Me: Where is the key?

Ben: Huh?

Me: Ben, I'm getting tired of this. What did you do with the key?

Ben: I didn't do anything with the key.

Me: Ben.

Ben: Wait... What?

Me: Ben.

Ben: I don't have the key.

Me: Ben.

Ben: I wasn't playing with the key.

Me: Ben.

Ben: It wasn't me.

Me: Ben.

Ben: Huh?

Me: The key. Now.

Ben: Uh...

Me: NOW.

Ben leaves. Comes back.

Me: The key?

Ben: Huh?


Ben: I don't have it.


Ben: Oh, the key?

Me: The key.

Ben: The gold key?

Me: BEN!!!

Ben: Oh, that. It's on the sink.

Me: Will you PLEASE go get it and bring it to me?

Ben leaves. Comes back.

Ben: This key?

Holds up missing key.

Me: Thank you. Please don't take things that don't belong to you.

Ben: Huh?

Me: The key, Ben. You shouldn't take things that don't belong to you.

Ben: Oh. Um...I don't have the key.

Me: *sigh* Good night, Ben.

Ben: Night, Mom.

I turn to leave.

Ben: Mom?

Me: Yes, Ben?

Ben: If you don't need that key, can I have it?

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Retreating to the Bathroom

I opened the bathroom door. They heard the door. FOUR of the NINE raced to see who could reach me first.

"Mom! Mom!" they shouted as they ran. A sudden cacophany of questions flew at me.

"Mom, can I have an apple?" (Take ten if it will make you hush!)

"Mom, where's my other shoe?" (I have no idea. In the alternate reality you just returned from?)

"Mom, the dog needs to potty." (Sorry...the bathroom is taken....oh wait....she said the dog....)

"Mom, please can I let dog out potty?" (This last is from Mary, who has a pretty good command of the English language even though she's only been in the country for a year and a half.)

Andrew (our little Russian Stink Bomb--what he calls farts) isn't quite as adept with the English language as his sister. You could tell he really had nothing to say....just ran with the crowd so he wouldn't miss anything, I guess. LOL.

Anyway, in amongst all the questions that immediately flowed from their lips (to which I actually replied, "You have a father. He is capable of answering questions. Go ask him!), Andrew obviously realized he needed to have SOMETHING to say to justify his presence at the bathroom door. So he held up his Hot Wheels car and said, "Mom? Ambulance?"

"Yes, ambulance would be very nice right now. It could give me a ride."

I don't think he understood the irony.
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Monday, September 14, 2009



We make them every day. What kind of cereal to eat for breakfast. What brand of toilet paper to buy.

Most choices are insignificant ones that really don't have that much impact on you. I mean...come on....what is going to happen if you buy 2% milk instead of skim or whole?

But some choices matter.

Some choices have an immediate and life-changing impact on you and those around you. And sometimes the right choice isn't clear.

First, we look at what logic dictates. "Well, that's crazy! I'd never do that!" may be heard from well-meaning friends and family. And they're right. I guess that's where the heart weighs in on those choices. Some of the choices we make ARE crazy. But sometimes those crazy choices are still RIGHT. I KNOW that.

It was crazy for us to leave our jobs and move to Illinois. It was crazy for us to adopt three kids at once. Then we were REALLY crazy for adopting three more. All of those crazy decisions have led us to where we are now: a fun, insane, aggravating, scary, awesome, and hopeful place.

Soon we will be acting on a decision that we have already made. I guarantee that there will be MANY people who think we are crazy for what we are doing. They might be right. However, at least it's OUR kind of crazy. We're moving to the country to raise chickens, goats, vegetables, and most of all children.

And now we are faced with yet another decision. Without going into specifics, I can say that this decision is a life-changing decision for us and others.

How do you make decisions like that?

How do you deal with the fact that the lives of others will be affected by your choice?

Do you make the choice that pleases others? Or do you make the choice that your heart screams for? And once that choice is made, how do you reconcile that in your daily existence?

For me, things get really complicated when one choice impacts another. It weighs heavily on my heart that a previous choice essentially limits the choices I have now.

What it boils down to is this: I don't regret the first decision. I think it was the right one. However, I'm human. I don't like the fact that I'm not exactly free to make my own decision now.

Honestly, I don't know what my decision would have been. I know what I WANT to do. But I really don't know what I would have CHOSEN. And I suppose I never will.

It just really hit home that for our family every decision after this point will be impacted by another decision that we made. Every. Single. One.

For someone who has experienced several years of having no control, that thought is very scary to me.

I am plagued with doubts and questions.

What if I mess up?

What if I let everyone down?

What if I let myself down?

What if I regret the decision that I made?

What if I regret giving away my right to actually make a choice?

I teach my kids that life is all about the choices we make. We ARE the sum total of our choices.

What would my choice say about the current situation? I don't know. I gave up the right to make this particular choice. And I'm sorry, but it sucks. (Like I said, I'm human.). I didn't foresee having the opportunity to make this particular choice. It hurts to not be free to make it. I'm not angry. I'm not bitter. I'm just aware of what could have been.

Don't get me wrong: I understand. But even though I understand, it still sucks. I'm not sure, but I don't think this is the choice I would make if it were truly my decision.

I'm sure I'll get over it with time. That's what I do. I accept what is thrown my way....usually with a smile. To be honest, I'm having a hard time finding the smile right now. However, as I tell my kids, "You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit!" I'm trying very hard to follow my own advice.

Regret is an unwelcome bedfellow. I don't want to live with more. I have far too much of it taking up space in my brain as I try to sleep at night as it is.

Unfortunately, I see many more sleepless nights in my near future. Logic dictates one thing. My heart cries for another. How do I choose?

The stinging reality is that in this instance, I don't. Maybe that's a blessing in disguise.


Either way, I'll get what I get, and I won't throw a fit. Although I may need to retreat into the shadows to lick my wounds a while. Thanks for being patient with me as I wait for the wounds to heal.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Why You Should NEVER Buy a Brown Toilet Seat

Okay ladies....I'm sure all of you with boys (or maybe even husbands) at home know how disgusting it is to sit on a toilet seat that has we say christened.

I've always thought that there is nothing quite so icky (yes, I said icky) as sitting down and feeling the wetness. Ugh. It's just nasty. That's why we teach our boys to lift the seat. That's why we encourage them to aim true.

With five members of the male persuasion in my home, I've learned to check the seat for those tell-tale little droplets. It's second nature. I see them. I clean them. My behind sits on a dry seat.

Well, today, I went into the bathroom to powder my nose. (Work with me people. This is a public blog. Let's just say that's what I was doing.)

I looked down at my pretty wooden toilet seat. The white ones always look so plain. My behind prefers to sit on oak, thank you very much. I checked for droplets, saw none, and happily sat down.

There was an unmistakable squishy feeling as my nether regions came into contact with the oak seat.

Acting on instinct, I jumped up very quickly, turned, and looked at the seat. I didn't see anything. I thought maybe it was my imagination. So I did the only reasonable thing I could do. I sat down again.

Yes. Again.

And it squished. Again.

This time, I stood up, leaned down to get a better look, and that is when the smell hit me.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the brown oak seat was not quite uniform in appearance. There seemed to be a slight discoloration at the back of the seat. Frightened of what I would discover, I got some toilet paper and wiped it across the spot.

It came off. Well, some of it came off. Quite a bit was still firmly attached to the seat. Except now, it was smeared across the back.

Fighting the urge to gag, I tossed the toilet paper into the toilet.

Then it dawned on me. I sat in that. Twice.

I have never in my life reached for a washcloth, lathered it up, and scrubbed any part of my body so quickly or so thoroughly in my life.

The moral of the story?

NEVER buy a brown toilet seat.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Fluochian Maneuver

I'm a big fan of the placebo effect.

For example, Kim used to have horrible nightmares. She would cry and scream and just be absolutely terrified. She started fighting sleep because she was afraid of what she would dream.

One night, in sheer desperation around 3:00 AM, I grabbed a bottle of Tums near my dresser, got one out, and gave it to her. I told her I had found some new "Nightmare Pills" and that they would help her sleep without nightmares. (Yes, I lied. Sort of. Calcium actually does help you sleep more soundly. Tums has calcium in them. It's a stretch, but it was enough to sooth my guilt.)

She took the "Nightmare Pill" gratefully, chewed it up, and went to sleep, thoroughly believing in the power of the new medicine. When it became clear that this was helpful, I spoke to the doctor about it to make sure it was safe (It was!) and I bought a gigantic bottle of Tums at Sam's Club. We used this method for several years before I bought a bottle that had new flavors that she didn't like. She weaned herself off of them because of the yucky flavor.

I've come up with several "cures" like this throughout the years. One of the most useful ones was "Splinter-Proof Lotion." CJ, who has Sensory Integration Disorder, will often feel like he has splinters in his hands. He would often become obsessed with trying to dig a non-existent splinter out of his hand while sitting in school. This also would happen to him at night when we were all trying to go to sleep. I lost count of how many times he woke me up to ask me to get a splinter out of his hand. I never could see any.

I finally decided his hands were just too dry. However, I knew CJ would never believe that, so I got some lotion (a new kind he hadn't used before) and told him I found "Splinter-Proof Lotion" for him. I helped to rub it on his hands (because Mommies give out medicine, you know.....) and sent him to bed. It worked like a charm! We finally got some sleep!

When I attended his next IEP meeting at school and discovered that the "splinters" were still bothering him at school, I bought some super extra heavy duty "Splinter Proof Lotion" and gave it to his resource teacher to keep in her room. We explained to CJ that this new lotion was good for an entire week. He would go to her room on Monday morning, get a "dose" of the lotion, and he was pretty much splinter-free until the following Monday morning.

This brings me back to our current placebo cure: The Fluochian Maneuver!

You know how sometimes kids tend to eat a little bit too much and then will complain that their tummy aches a bit? Well, several of our kids do this at every meal. They seem to do this even when they don't eat too much. It's a weird phenomenon. Last week, Zach ate a bit too much. Then followed it up with dessert.

He had heard about his buddy, Brandon, performing the Heimlich Maneuver on his brother when he was choking on a piece of candy. Zach decided this would help him. He asked me to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on him. I explained to him that the Heimlich Maneuver was for when someone was choking...not for when they were a bit of a gluttonous pig. He sighed and said that he wished there was some sort of maneuver for that.

Almost instantly, I said, "Oh, you mean the Fluochian Maneuver!"

Mike looked at me from the other end of the table. He had that look on his face, with one eyebrow slightly raised, that said, "What the heck is she doing now??"

Zach said, "Yeah. Do you know that one?"

Ha! Do I know that one? "You bet I do," was my response.

I motioned for him to come stand next to my chair. He did. I turned him around and wrapped my arms around his stomach. I decided it needed to seem official, so I started poking around a bit on his stomach and explained to him that I had to find his fluochian before I did the maneuver. I located the bottom of his right ribcage, went down about two inches from there, and gave a little smoosh. Not too hard. After all, I didn't want to rupture his fluochian. I made sure it was hard enough so that he could feel it, though.

He turned around, looked at me with amazement, and said, "Wow. That worked."

Wow is right.

Suddenly, Gabby needed a Fluochian Maneuver performed. So did Ben. And Kim.

By the end of the meal, the Fluchian Maneuver was well-known by everyone. I reminded the children that only people trained in the Fluochian Maneuver could perform it safely. Otherwise, they could rupture their fluochian. Zach said, "Would you have to get a donor one, then?"

I said, "Well, either that or get hooked up to a fluochinalysis machine for the rest of your life." I could tell from his expression that he did not want to do that.

Dinner ended. Everyone's fluochians had survived without being ruptured. Mike and I just looked at each other from across the table and chuckled. This part of parenting is kinda fun. Hey...we have to get our laughs where we can....

Jump ahead to dinner at the Chinese restaurant the other day. With friends.

This time it was Ben who ate too much. He got up from the table where he was, came over to ours (Yes...our family is too large to sit at one table.) and said, "Mom...I need the Fluochian Maneuver." (Can I say how impressed I am that he actually remembered the made-up nonsensical word?)

My friend, Lisa, glanced at me with a confused look. I can only imagine that she was thinking something like, "What the heck is a Fluochian Maneuver?!"

I decided that the easiest thing to do would be to demonstrate on Ben and explain later. So, in the middle of the Chinese restaurant, I fluochianated him.

"Thanks Mom!" He happily went back to his seat.

After a quick, quiet explanation to Lisa, Zach needed to be fluochianated too. Then, believe it or not, Lisa's kids asked to be fluochianated. I performed about five or six Fluochian Maneuvers that day in the Chinese restaurant. (It's okay. They like us there.)

Part of me thinks it probably would have been a better idea to just tell my kids to stop eating so much, but that wouldn't have been nearly as much fun. And what would that blog have looked like?

"My kids ate too much. I told them to stop." Yeah...not so funny, is it? With my life, sometimes I have to create the laughs.

Fluochian Maneuver, anyone?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Coming Out of the Pit

My first husband was abusive.

After we split, life became very difficult. He stalked me. He would somehow get into my house when I was gone and steal pictures of our son off of my walls. Sometimes, I would be sitting at the dinner table with my son, and he would call and say, "How is that spaghetti you're eating?" It was really scary....especially since my blinds were CLOSED. He would say, "That's a nice pink shirt you have that new?"

It was horrible. And so very frightening. I also worried about my son, and I feared that somehow he would take him from me.

For years, when he would call on the phone, I would hear his voice and my hands would turn ice cold. I would shake all over. Sometimes, I would curl up into a fetal position and just sob.

But God is good.

One day when he called me, I started falling into the same pattern of fear and oppression. Then, it was like God just gave me a boldness that was truly from Him. I spoke with power and fear....and said, "I am no longer under bondage to you. God has set me free from that prison, and I come against you in the name of Jesus."

For the first time since I'd known him, he was speechless. God took the wind right out of his sails.

It took me FIVE YEARS to climb out of the pit enough to be able to be that bold....that SURE of the grace of say those things to him.

There were times that he tried to intimidate me after that, but MY reactions were never what they had been before. God had set me free from that overwhelming sense of fear and oppression.

Today, I am married to a wonderful man. I have six more children (adopted) and although life is hard sometimes, I am so utterly blessed.

That doesn't mean I never feel fear.

That doesn't mean I don't ever get stressed or depressed.

It DOES mean that I have come out of THAT pit I once was in. I sometimes start to slide into another pit, but God has been faithful to send people my way when I need a helping hand to climb out.

The ironic thing is that quite often, we are the ones who are digging these pits.

We MUST stop digging these pits for ourselves. It only adds insult to injury to realize that WE are the ones responsible for digging these terrible dank, dark pits that we find ourselves in. Our decisions--our choices--are ultimately what bring us to the brink of the pit.

After all, the view is amazing from the edge, isn't it? Who can resist peering into the depths below? However, just like curiosity killed that unfortunate cat, all it takes is one slip--one misstep--and over the edge we go. As we are sliding down the slope, we realize too late that we got too close to the edge.

Stuck in the mire and muck, with the top so far away, we ask ourselves, "Why did I get so close? Why did I tempt fate? Why did I stray from the path that I knew was safe?"

It's simple. We did it because we are human.

We are fallible. We make mistakes. Big ones. Sometimes, the mistakes seem so HUGE that we can't see a possible way out. However, as I heard so many times growing up, God can make a way out of no way.

And you know what? He created us, so He knows how screwed up we are! It's a good thing He loves us enough to stand at the edge of that pit and reach down for us.

That's one of the wonderful things about God: We can't slip so far into that pit that He can't reach us anymore. We might not be able to see the top. We might not be able to climb that slippery slope. But God...our All-Knowing, All-Powerful Father...the King of Kings...the I Am...the Light in the darkness...His reach is infinite. He knows no bounds.

When we can't reach the top, He CAN reach the bottom. I believe that one day YOU will be able to look back at this time in your life and declare that you have climbed--or been lifted--out of this pit.

You will be able to testify to someone else to give them encouragement.

You will be able to boost them during their climb.

Hang in there. Trust in God. He is there....even when you doubt it. His presence will become evident with time. Not our time, but His.

More than once, I thought about suicide because I thought it was the only way to be free from the the pit I was in. However, I couldn't leave my son with my ex-husband as his only parent. I am so thankful that I didn't give up.

To come from that dark, forboding place to where I am now.... Well, it's like going from the longest, darkest, and coldest winter night to a beautiful, sunshine-filled warm spring day with blooming flowers and singing birds.

Remember that sorrow may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. You may be in the middle of your night right now....but morning will come. The sun will shine.

And along with that sun, joy will arrive also.

As odd as it sounds, I think I am writing this to myself as much as I am writing it to you. I have been feeling down lately....and a bit sorry for myself. I needed a reminder of where I came from so that I can open my eyes to see the blessings around me.

Wishing you all comforting peace.

You are not alone.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm Here Because She Got Drunk

As I have mentioned previously, dinner conversation at our house is interesting, to say the least. Tonight's conversation was no exception.

Kim: A mom had octuplets today.

CJ: What's that?

Kim: Eight babies.

Zach: All at once?!

Gabby: Wow! They must've done it a long time! Like eight hours!

At this point, I heard a little alarm going off in my head telling me to take control of the conversation. Unfortunately, my mouth was full of food, and before I could swallow.....

Ben: Did what for eight hours?

CJ: Sex.

Gabby: Yuck!

Zach: Well, that is where babies come from.

CJ: Not me.

By this time, I had swallowed my food, so I tried to step in. Mike's alarm system was apparently not functioning at all.

Me: Well, yes, CJ....even you. All of you are here because your birth parents had sex.

CJ: Nope, not me. I'm here because she got drunk!