Monday, October 25, 2010

Life in the Fast Lane

There are times in our lives when everything seems to be moving like a granny wagon on the autobahn. We find ourselves banging our heads against a wall somewhere thinking... how much longer?!! We can't seem to fill up the moments, even when we have plenty we should be doing, and everything feels like a time warp has set in and we're in an eternal time out for some unknown reason.

Then someone flips a switch and things start happening so quickly we can't catch our breath. We just get a hold onto one situation and BAM! it changes, then you think you're getting your bearings when SLAMO! Another ball is thrown into your juggling act. You start regretting all the bad things you said about all those "boring" days when nothing was happening at all. And then finally the smoke clears and the road opens up before you calm and uncluttered with trials.

It happens over and over again like that for me. I truly live in a "when it rains it pours" life. We found out last night that Juliet is not to be ours. But there's nothing we can do about it. You can't force something that is just not going to work out. We did everything we could but I guess God has other plans.

The only reason I'm writing this blog post is because so many of you sweet friends and family were so happy for us. I honestly thought we had waited long enough and that things were safe and laid out in a predictable way so that we could share our joy with you. Unfortunately, in these kinds of situations, there just is no telling what can happen up until the very last minute before the papers are signed and everything is official. Unfortunately we felt we had to explain the sweet little girl who was hanging out at our house and coming to church with us or we would have waited until that very concrete moment of sure knowledge before letting the world in on the drama.

We are sad, of course, but life marches on. I've never been a big fan of letting things that you can't change ruin the future, or even tomorrow. I already have three wonderful children who need me to be their mother and for that I'm more grateful than I can express.

Life is a roller coaster right? And sometimes we can't see the next big loop, but we still love the roller coaster. The over all ride is worth it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I really and truly never thought I'd say that I was happy to see summer go. It's my favorite season of the year. I love the hot weather, I love the beach, I love the wild jungle my yard turns into. I love gardening and slathering on sunscreen. I love having dark brown toes with shiny red nails. It's all just so - warm! And I'm generally cold. Ask my husband. He is my mobile heat unit.

But this summer, while it has been warm... scratch that. It's been hotter than blue hell, has been a bit of a disappointment. I have to admit that. The spring was heavenly, winter was very productive and cozy, but summer. Ugh. I guess my hopes were too high. Which brings me to two different trains of thought.

A) If you don't let your expectations get too high, you will never be disappointed.
B) If you don't aim for the moon and miss you can't really say that you've lived.

I think that the best of life is found in a steady balancing act somewhere in between the two. I'm not like Einstein (please hold all snarky comments). I can't take rejection and disappointment on top of each other in a never ending parade. I need a little success in there. I need a little boost! And while we had some rocky bits this summer, I'm glad we shot for the moon, even though we missed. Here are the juicy little tid bits that made me not give up on my favorite season altogether...

  • Watching my kids play at the beach, even in horrible weather.
  • Eating the five or so tomatoes I grew (out of about 15 plants) right off the bush and squishing the juice all over myself like a crazy monkey.
  • Spending my 9th anniversary with the love of my life at a table for over 45 min with no food and a lot of lame excuses from the restaurant. Laughing and talking about how different our life is now.
  • Mockingjay
  • My zinnias and lavender that knew I needed something beautiful to look at and smell
  • Rediscovering good friends I had taken for granted
  • The poor little sweaty chickens - don't worry girls, cool weathers on the way!
  • Doughnuts

I learned something very valuable this summer. It was worth sacrificing the majority of my favorite season for. Life's trials can be difficult, but they are, without a doubt, an opportunity and a blessing. Trials give us a chance to change ourselves, to grow, to overcome, to expand our depth of feeling and empathy. They give us a new outlook on life. They help us to not take so many things for granted. I'm grateful for my trials and the fact that they bring me closer to my family and to God.


I absolutely cannot end on a serious note like that. So what did the rabbi say to the priest? you tell me :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

An Unexpected Twist

So I won a blogging award. Yah, me. If you'll look back on my history of posts, you'll see why I find this so hilarious. But if you know the person who gave it to me and all of her sweetness, you'll understand why she passed it on to me. Here it is:

And now I have to follow the rules. (Sort of feeling like I'm in that junior high free underwear chain letter experience all over again.)

1. Thank who gave you the award and link to them
2. State what is is you look for in a blog
3. Give the award to 7 people whose blogs pertain most to you (be sure to let them know they won!)

Here goes:
1. Thank you Myrna! Please go read her blog. She's much more productive than I am.

2. Hmm.. what I look for in a blog? I look for a decent layout, not too much crap cluttering up my line of site, and juicy literary and visual tid bits to suck on. (This could be recipes or book reviews or tips on how to keep a 7 year old away from the light socket with the screwdriver.)

3. SEVEN? seven blogs? really? uh... ok. Reading and writing blogs, for me, is something I do when I have NOTHING else left on earth to do for the day (or a huge list of things I'm trying to ignore and I've done everything else I wanted to before them). It's fun, it's just not very high on my list of favorite fun things to do on earth. I do have a few blogs that I visit regularly, however. Here they are.. Not sure if I'll hit 7, but we'll try!

The DeMaria Quads - these are my adorable great nephews and now NEICES! (we just got another one! Congrats!) I read their blog because I never get to see them and because I am completely facinated and amazed at how my niece Amber and her sweet husband cope with 5 children under the age of two at their home. It makes my life seem like a piece of cake!

Heather in Kazakhstan - My friend's amazing adventures halfway around the world without red vines.

What did you said? my sister-in-law Wendy's site. Always a good laugh there right when I need it.

Eliza - because I always learn new words from her. And she's a kick butt runner!

The Hammonds - because Janeen is amazing and I miss her.

And Kate - whom I also miss, a lot.

Ok.. I know that's not seven, but I'm exhausted, my brain is feeling like cheese (ugh.. forgot to put the cheese sticks in the lunch for tomorrow!) and I desperately need sleep!

G'nite :)

Off to the Beaches!

It's that time of year! When it starts to get hot and sticky in Raleigh. When the kids start to whine uncontrollably. When my house begins to feel like a rat trap and I can't do anything outside without sweating to death. Including a 5am run. It's the running that really flips my trigger. I can run in sleet, snow, rain, hail and hurricanes, but 90 degree heat and 85% humidity? At 5:30 am? Forget it. It's time to hit the beach!

We've already tried a couple of beach trips this year. We had a quick trip to Myrtle with my brother's and their families. That was just a touch too cold and windy for my tastes. Then we hit Florida with Dan's family. Again.. the day we picked was just too windy. You can't really enjoy yourself with sand in your facial oriphi (is that a word??). And then Dan and I tried to sneak off to VA beach for a little weekend trip. Again, I was freezing to death in the friggin arctic wind that was blasting us. Plus there were about a million people there. Not fun.

So last week we packed up and headed out for one final attempt at a beach day before Evan goes to camp and the Fourth of July rush hits. I thought it might be just the way to frost my horrific cake of a week. I should have listened to the little voice in me saying.. just DON'T leave your house today.. better yet.. DON'T leave your bed!

I can't name names, and there are SO many fun details I'd love to expand upon, but really, I had better keep most to myself. Here are the highlights:

  • One late start (I hate leaving after 8:30am)
  • A poopy in the car on the way down.
  • Rice crispy treats packed for food FOR THE DAY for two of the children (not my fault!!)
  • Two kids with autism arguing the semantics of space exploration for at least an hour straight (again.. this is just on the way down)
  • A peepee in the car seat on the way down.
  • A MISSING car seat - I just can't even get into this one, probably ever.
  • One missing child in the bathroom at the beach, can we say panic??
  • One hour of glorious beach and swimming time with friends we dearly love followed by:
  • One massive lightening storm
  • Five crying, starving and whining kids
  • One really great friend with bread and ham to pacify two of above children (thank you!)
  • One run-away swimming into the ocean and claiming he won't get struck by lightening.
  • One van so close to being out of gas on the way home that I started to pray.
  • One lost shovel.
  • One very tired and cranky crew, home two hours early and no absolution for the week gained, whatsoever.
So that's it! I felt like it was possibly the worst day this year to date. But you know what? When I talked to my friend, who's kids tagged along with us, she said they had an amazing time and loved it all! That really made me stop and think hard about my attitude and the fact that I've forgotten lately to focus on the positive. It comes so easily to kids most of the time. They are so easily amused and entertained by the smallest of efforts on our part. I need to be more like that.

Here's to next week and our next attempt at the beach!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Poultry Pandemonium!

That's the link to the full story on our battle for legalizing hens as pets in Garner, NC. We had an insane night with the city council yesterday. It seems that we have some serious cases of alektorophobia in our town. I'm glad they never watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail. We may have an outright ban on rabbits if they had.

Anyway, the good news is that even though they aren't ready to embrace backyard hens as acceptable pets for the masses, they have decided to allow us to keep our little therapy brood for Evan's sake. This is beyond fabulous news because really, they are the best pets we have found for him since we had to get rid of our dog. Yes, I'm one of those people. I got rid of a dog. Save it, the lady who placed him in his new home already gave me the biggest guilt trip of my life. I was crying so hard when she left that the salt from my tears was stinging the blisters on my neck. I tried to show her the blisters and scars all over my body that my sweet little terrier has inadvertently given me after a little lick lick went systemic and I broke out all over, but she was having none of that. I was a dog-giver-upper and there was no going back. At least Reba went to a good home where they automatically changed her name to princess or something equally fluffy.

That said, we love our chickens. Have I told you lately how much we love our chickens? And we are so thrilled that we don't have to find them new homes. They have the greatest personalities! Each one is different and I doubt anyone could come up with better, more appropriate names for them than Lydia has (Goldie, Silvergirl, Little Fast Runner, Little Rock Daisy Joe, Toasty, Cadburry and Rhymer). The smallest ones are the sassiest and always in charge. Our easter egger is completely, certifiably insane. Although since she started laying a couple of weeks ago (GREEN EGGS!! YES!!) she's mellowed considerably. I sort of miss her wild eyed antics, but it's better to be able to cuddle her and eat her eggs with ham soaked in food coloring than to laugh at her psychotic races around the run.

Other than the girls being legal now, (when I say girls I'm lovingly referring to my chickens, not my daughters. My daughters have always been legal, thank you very much!) things are plodding along as well as can be expected! Lydia begged me that I not make cupcakes for her school birthday party. I was devistated by this. How rare is it to find a school that actually allows parents to bake for parties and isn't scared of the state of my home and kitchen, but rather overlooks those possibilities of cats on counters and mold in dishes (I have none of these BTW) and just enjoys the fact that I enjoy baking?! Anyway. We made a crash stop at Lowe's foods and picked up a two for one pink grease topped sugar lump special (gag.. i hate commercial lard baced icing! ugh.. give me REAL butter please!) Lydia was thrilled and that is all that matters. She also had her actual friend party at Chick-Fil-A. Let me tell you! That was heaven in a basket. They did everything, the kids ran wild, it was completely affordable (way cheaper than I've ever done a party at our house before) and we were all filled up on lemonade and chicken and went home happy. By the way.. CFA also lets you bring in your own homemade cake if you want to. Gotta know who your friends are!

Evan is doing really well in home school. He still struggles with some of the usual ASD stuff, but he's not miserable all the time and that was the main goal. The chickens and a more flexible schedule along with A TON of sensory input through the day has really made a huge difference for him. He's been very interested in April Fools day and the idea of playing jokes on people to make them laugh. So for my birthday, he got up early and set up presents and then decided to make the whole house beautiful with a nice white covering of snow from the salt shaker. I walked down to the family room in bare feet and had to freeze in my tracks. I love long walks the beach, but this was very different. Salt through the entire main level of my house was not something I was enjoying between my toes. I put on a happy face, however, (I'm not giving up my slot as mother of the year that easily!!) and calmly explained to him that we should do April Fool's jokes on April first, Maggie's birthday, not Mommy's birthday. He said.. "oh. Ok. But are you sure it was really funny?" This is his favorite way to start every sentence these days: Are you sure we can go to Disney World today for school? Are you surethere are generators under the ocean? Are you sure that I have to wear underwear? on and on and on! Are you sure that Maggie HAS to be in our family?

Speaking of Maggie. She's completely sassy faced, two years old and full of it. I say: Hey Maggie will you please get the forks for dinner? She says: No Mommy. I'm too busy. You get them! To which I am, for once, speechless. But once I recover all I can follow something like that with is: Time out Maggie. Which is followed by weeping and wailing the likes of which you've never seen. But she has this squishy baby face still and the sweetest smile and she loves to hold my hand and show me everything new and fabulous in her world. She melts my heart then slaps me wide awake over and over again every day.

What great blessings we have! Great kids, great family, great friends and we get to keep our great chickens! Ahh... Bliss :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Life's Ripple Effect

Update: It seems that the death has been ruled an accident this morning. We don't know any details, but regardless, my thoughts are still the same on the matter.

This weekend Dan and I came upon one of those moments when it feels like your life has just completely stopped.

We have been following our dear friends' struggle as their tiny daughter fights for her life at Duke hospital. ( For two months it's been completely touch and go. We're never sure what the next day will bring for her or them. She's just two months old and has already overcome amazing odds. It's inspiring to see how badly she wants to live and to see all the people who love their family coming together to pray and fast for her.

On Saturday night our other dear friends' son decided his life was not worth living for and shot himself.

These two precious children, both so dear and so loved by so many. One fighting for this life and one giving it up completely. It makes you stop and think.... have I told the ones I love just how much I love them? Have I lived my life to the fullest and in the best way I know how? Have I made sure that my children know that this life is full of hardships but that all along the way there are beauties and evidences that we have a loving Father in heaven who is mindful of us and knows us each individually? and that each of us has a lasting impact on all of those we come into contact with? That our very existence changes those around us for good or ill?

I think the most ironic part of all of this is that even though we hadn't seen Chase in two years and he probably doesn't remember us very well, we both wept for him last night, and for his family. We felt the loss and grief and pain that comes when this kind of loss - any child who feels alone enough in the world to take their own life and has no idea of the many many people who remember them, and know and loved him. There are so many people fasting and praying and coming together for his family now, I wish he could have seen that when he was alive.

Fight on little Ella, and rest in peace sweet Chase. The rest of us, let's not take any moment of this life for granted. And never forget that the choices you make, both small and large, spread like a ripple through the people around you, touching the lives of those you may not even realize. Make them good choices. Spread love and hope. And please keep these families in your prayers.

Friday, January 8, 2010

No Resolve At All

So I'm a terrible blogger. Wait.. scratch that. I'm a sporadic, hit or miss, acutely ADD blogger. The Fall was splendid, the winter is dragging it's feet. The holidays were blissful and while there were some funny bits and pieces here and there, there was nothing as dramatic as emergency runs to the ER with ghost snakes to write about. It was all quite boring in a very WONDERFUL way. We all need some boredom in our lives now and then eh?

I guess I could tell you about all the battles we had with our 1st grader over the importance of homework (a struggle my heart was definitely not in, I'm not sure I can remember doing more than a few nights worth of homework in all my years in school.) Or we could chit chat about how I had set my mind and made a firm decision NOT to make fudge this year, thus avoiding the 500 calorie per square inch siren that hales from my kitchen each year. That lasted until the exact point I saw ginormous bags of chocolate chips on sale at Costco. Five pans later I've gone up a few pounds. Eh hem.

There was also that one point where I decided that come hell or high water we would have lights on our house this year. I had cleared out Target's Christmas sale last January and got a steal of a deal on all the coolest LED lights that the big box has to offer. They were amazing. They were big and bright rainbow colors (no plain white twinkly themes for my pad!) and looked exactly like the lights we had on my tree when I was a kid, only SPARKLY!! Yah.. I was getting those puppies up there. Of course I waited until a hurricane was coming through. No lie here. You know the calm before the storm they always talk about. Well it looked like great light hanging weather to me. So I got out my HUGE pole and plastic gutter clips and stretched all the lights out. It was at least 20 degrees or less outside. Well, maybe not quite that cold, the grass was still soaking wet from the last deluge of rain and hail. (Don't let the bright green grass fool you, it's FREEZING here. It's some sort of alien breed that never turns brown unless you absolutely bake it for two weeks at 100 degrees) And I proceeded to clip and clop my way along the house.

The first half is always easy. The little pole reaches easily to the gutter in front of my dining room and living room and I don't need it at all at the front porch, just a chair. But then we hit the split. Yes, I live in one of those glamorous 60's split level creations. It's actually quite pretty compared to some of it's contemporaries and it's a palace next to most track homes you see squashed like cockroaches on tiny plots of land, but that upper roof is a monster to hang lights on.

The year before I used the small lights. They were light weight and while it was tough on the arms, I got them up pretty quickly. Well, my giant super sparkle earth friendly LED lights were like trying to hoist an elephant onto the roof. I tried and tried to get them up there from the ground but the clips wouldn't hold, the wind was picking up, it was sprinkling rain and my back and neck were starting to kill me. Plus, at one point, while hefting the 20 foot pole with 50lb lights stuck to the end of it, I looked beyond the roof line to the dark and dangerous sky above. Hmmm, I thought, this sort of reminds me of a cartoon. One where the silly person on the ground gets struck by lightening and the whole house lights up in it's glorious Christmas wonder while their skeleton is exposed. Then an anvil falls on their head.

Anyway. I decided to bag the pole and like any sane mother of three who really doesn't want to go back in the house and face the kids or leave a half strung house for the neighbors to complain about, I climbed up on the roof. Brilliant, I know.

Some of you may not realize that I am not only pretty clumsy, but I'm also deathly afraid of falling. Heights are not a problem, but knowing my own clumsiness, if I'm up high and it's not a secure location with harnesses, railings or plate glass, I'm definitely going to pass out and fall to my death. So you can see by this turn of events that I was beyond determined to ignore my kids. Er... I mean .. string up those lights!

The profound idiocy of this choice wouldn't strike me until I was latched to the roof like a barnacle on my side, one shoe having already met it's death in the bushes 30 feet below. I was terrified to the point of muttering daily affirmations to myself but also pretty proud of the fact that without the shoe I'd figured out how to hold one end of the string of lights in my death grip back where it was safe and then hook the cord onto the plastic clips with my toes, where it was NOT safe. The wind was howling, it was raining, my neighbors were having a party and I just hoped and prayed that they wouldn't see me and call the police (Mad woman on the roof in a hurricane! We think she's going to jump!) I was inching along praying and promising in between swearing and slapping myself in the forehead mentally when my husband pulls up and comes to a stop in front of our house. He leans out his car window and in a very jolly voice booms "What are you doing!!? HAHA!" he then precedes to drive into the carport and go in the house. Thanks honey.

Well I finally get everything secured, it's looking really good. I scramble my way back to solid ground and thank the Lord for saving me from myself again. I'm soaked through and through, I'm freezing and I'm exhausted. The kids have completely ransacked the house and it's past dinner time, but I strung the lights and they look BEAUTIFUL! (from the roof..)

I run back out the to the front yard to see my handy work and rescue my lost shoe and to my horror and dismay, at some point between me fastening the last light all snug and flush with the gutter and dragging myself back inside to check the damage there, something had come loose and all the lights were sagging and hanging in strange swags here and there and bopping in the wind. Which had picked up considerably now.

The good of this? We made every other house in the neighborhood look like paid professionals had spent hours perfecting their displays. Plus the constant tapping on the roof line and scratching on the windows of the loose lights helped our kids get over their fear of strangers trying to get into their rooms at night. I'd open the sash to show them it was just mommy's awesome Christmas lights saying goodnight. Bad news is that now if some creepy crawly does come scratching on their windows they will smile and think of Christmas.

At least I lived to tell about it!

And now we are in the new year. A new decade even! But I'm so worn out from my "vacation" (which really was wonderful.. I swear) that I have no desire to set any new year's goals. None. No resolve, no resolution, no reservations. Nothing. I'm feeling pretty good to be sitting here looking 2010 head on.

The problem is that it's a tradition and we have so very few traditions in our sad Western flavor of culture that I hate to let one pass without some sort of acknowledgment. So out of a spirit of ... something.. I don't know.. I decided I'm going to enter some writing contests (like this one: Kidlit Contest )and to resolve to wear more make up this year. This was also my excuse for buying the cute sparkly eye make up kit that was on sale at Target. But that is neither here nor there. I have no babies in diapers, I should be wearing make up, right? But along with that goes the old "take more showers" resolution. Gross, I know, but as a busy mom, sometimes I'd just rather sleep than be clean. End of story. But you can't successfully apply glittery creme eye shadow if your skin is so greasy you could serve it up with biscuits.

This idea was also fueled by a very interesting dinner party I found myself at with a friend. We two are in our early 30's and the rest of the ladies are in their late 60's +. The older lovelies were remarking on the fact that they see women in the grocery store all the time in their pajamas (I mentally raised my hand and said.. that would be me!)with no make up and dirty hair. How could they go out in public like that? To my great relief, my dear friend of like generation actually raised her hand at that point and said.. That would be me! I had to laugh and nod in agreement. Sometimes I'd rather sleep than shower and I'd rather not EVER go to the grocery store, but I have to buy food at some point and I've already caught my prince charming and my little darlings all have colds and are constantly wiping boogers on me, so why get all gussied up just for milk and bananas? Still, I felt like I was betraying all those women I looked up to as a girl. Wonder Woman, Samantha on Bewitched, Lucile Ball, and even my mom and Grandma. Has anyone ever seen Linda Carter without mascara on.. ever???

So that's it. I'm going to try to not be a complete slob this year. I'm going to shower at least every other day and apply make up in the car at every stop light I get the chance to. So far so good. I think Wonder Woman would be proud :)