Friday, February 27, 2015

Taking Out The Trash

I have friends that have kids super close together.
I have friends that have kids that are within a few years of one another.
I have friends that have raised a set of bio kids only to turn around and begin all over again with a few precious adopted kiddos. (And to them I tip my hat, and offer caffeine.)

I would say I fall somewhere in the middle of that.....sorta....kinda....maybe....I don't know. 
Jason had just turned 5 when the twins were born.
Jordan is 12 months and 2 weeks younger than Jason so by my stellar math abilities he had just turned 4. So 4 boys in 5 years.

This was my life back then.

My ovaries are overachievers. 
And this was me back then:

No really. See

Fast forward one or two or 13 years and Jason is now 18 and about to graduate from high school.

Jordan is 17 (see that math I did there again?!) and a junior.

 And those squishy squishy baby boy twins are about to turn 13.

So 4 boys in 5 years but nonetheless a gap between twin town and the teens.

And then I adopted.

Now my youngest 5 kids are within a 22 month block of time.
5 kids within 2 years.
Which now looks like 11,11,11,12,12.

So I guess I fall somewhere in the middle.
Some of my kids are really close 6 minutes apart(Push em out, push em out, waaaaay out!).....some are 12 months apart.....some are 8 months apart.....some are 6 years apart from one another.

But nonetheless I have learned that coveted wisdom of doing things a bit different the "second time around". Though I haven't raised a set and are starting over, the difference in ages between the teenagers and the youngest 5 is enough of a span of time that I have gained some perspective and tweeked/revolutionized/realized I was screwing up their work ethic how I operate and what I expect of them. 

Case in point:
Jason and Jordan nary lifted a finger when they were young. 
I would get them off to school and with toddler twins behind me I would travel around the house picking up their dirty clothes, positioning hot wheel cars just so in the appropriate garage, lining up the tonka trucks under the window, straightening their rooms and making their beds.

Did you hear that?

Why did no one stop me?
Sister got no posse. 

Young moms, lemmetellya. Please don't make their beds. I am begging you.
These kids are capable of so much more than we give them credit for.

Because here's the rub,  those cute little kids with the firetruck pillow sham very quickly morph into teenagers that haven't a clue nor motivation to pick up a thing.
And since they will read this one day, I'll leave it at that. Wives, I apologize.

Now there is a new sheriff in town.  Wives, you are welcome.

You made a mess?
You'll clean it up.
You have dirty laundry?
You'll bring it down.
You walked into the house with baseball cleats on?
You'll sweep the dirt.
You peed all over the toilet seat?
I'll clean it up because you are a boy and don't seem to notice and by the time I notice I have to tee tee really badly and I'm hopping mercilessly up and down with my legs crossed realizing I don't have the time or bladder control to find which child lacks proper aim. Wives, sorry again.

These days there is a TON more accountability up in here.
And it's working.
They are learning responsibility, hard work, how to sweep/vacuum/dust/properly load the dishwasher. 

My latest mantra is "See a need, meet the need. This is what men do."
When a laundry basket of clean folded clothes is sitting at the bottom of the stairs you carry it upstairs! Without being asked! This is what men do!
When you see the sink is full, you load the dishwasher! Without being asked! This is what men do!
When you see a towel on the floor you pick it up! Without being asked! This is what men do!

And though yes it has taught them a lot in practical real life operations of a house with this many boys in it, it has also done something else for them....

They now take pride in meeting the need now before they are even asked.
Oooooo a heart change. 
This is what I'm after. 

Because eventually little things like carrying a load of laundry upstairs will morph into bigger areas of their life.... and that heart that bends to serve will bend toward the weak, toward the weary, toward the lost, toward their wives and that is what I want from them. A heart tuned toward service for Jesus and they will carry that load and meet needs that are way beyond a sink full of dishes.

The youngest 5 have stepped right on up to being more responsible for themselves, their things, and being aware and considerate of what needs to be done, the teens are still overcoming years of their mothers enabling behaviors. Wives, yeah....again....I hang my head.
But even still I can see the light beginning to shine through. When I used to go into their room every couple of days armed with bleach, trash bags, and pink feathered rubber gloves and clean their filth, they instead now chose to live in the filth temporarily BUT eventually acquiesce, stage a cu, realize their mommy isn't going to do it and clean it themselves.
It's brilliant.

Jordan(17) is responsible for taking out the trash.
Jordan has been great at this, he doesn't wait for me to nag encourage him, he sees the need and does it. Love.
Jordan also likes to eat.
Homeboy is 6'2 and muscles the size of Rhode Island.
Wait....Rhode Island is the smallest insulting....let me start over....
and muscles the size of Alaska. (Your welcome Jorge)
So not much will stand between him and dinner time.

My biggest in stature and littlest. But never never too big for the cart
So when said man-child arrives in the kitchen to see that the trash is full but also that dinner is on the table he is faced with quite the sticky widget.
To trash or not to trash.
To delay the eating, or to not delay the eating.

Because he is smart, he improvised.
Exhibit A:

New Trash Bag On The Floor

With notes that read, "Temporary Trash" arrows and then "Have a nice day".

Love that kid.
Wife, you are welcome.
I certainly don't get it all right but dude, I'm trying. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cuz I'm All About That Narcissism

Bout that narcissism, no treble.

A bit (read: quite filtered, appropriate for the internet update) about me.

I graduated.
I graduated from college.
At age 92.

I lactated my way through life during the years when most people are at college.
So after 18 years of staying home caring for tiny humans, I went back to school. 
Number of people in my family that have ever graduated before: 0.
Number of other 92 year olds that were in my cohort with me: 1.

This is Kathy. She was born in the 1800's like me!

We became fast friends when we looked around on the first day and realized that we were the only two people born back in the horse and buggy days. It felt good to have someone else in the class that didn't entirely know who the heck Rhianna was or what "Turn Up" means. To say we greatly exceeded the marginal age of the youngens around us was well....true. Nary had their loins seen a child emerge from them. Babies ya'll. They were babies.

So I done did get that educkation and I feels smart now.
It really helps me understand how to better vacuum the floors and do the laundry more effectively.
No it doesn't.
I'm back to being at home with the kids and being domesticated, which I love.
But at the same time, dare I say I am truly eager to use my brain to expand out of the household responsibilities.
It's hard.
The figuring out the balance is hard.

My undergrad degree is in social work and I will be starting the Masters of Social Work program...I'm assuming.....still waiting for admission decisions to be the summer which will be a quick 3 semester accelerated program; summer, fall, spring. So I will graduate with my MSW when Jordan graduates from high school next May.
After that I am going to REALLY good at cleaning the floors.
No I'm not.
So for now I am enjoying making the cookies after school, schlepping around in my yoga pants(that have never seen any actual yoga nor any other exercise) at the grocery store, cooking and cleaning up after all of these peoples and relishing the fact that there is no 20 page paper waiting for my attention.


*Thank you all for being so supportive of my return to all things social media. I've missed writing. I've missed connection. Ya'll are like one great big giant hug from dear friends and also from strangers that I've never met.....which sounds creepy but.....ya know....oddly isn't. Just wanted to say thank you. Props.*

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

As Paul Harvey Would Say...

And now the rest of the story.

It occured to me after a few FB messages wondering what Joshua's actual diagnosis was, that I totally forgot to add that part to my post. Whoopsie.

Man. Blogging at 72 years old reminds me that my memory is not what it used to be.

So without any more ado, Joshua's diagnois:


Glad we cleared that up.

They ran every test under the sun trying to determine what it was he had/has/TBD.
But nothing.
Hep C, no.
Other livery stuff that could manifest in these symptoms: no.
Other non-liver stuff that could manifest in these symptoms: no.
All viral panels: negative.
All bacteria related thingamajigs: nadda.
'Tis a mystery.

If this same set of symptoms come back again I have been told we could be looking at something autoimmune related and they will start driving down that road if it reappears.
Oh gracious please turn the car around, how I hope it's not that.
I don't know much, but what I do know of autoimmune diseases is that they are very difficult to diagnose, are even more difficult to treat, not typically curable and are life-long.

So far it's been a couple of months and nothing.

As for Joshua. He's back to Joshua.
Loves to create.
Loves to laugh.
Loves to leave his clothes/toys/shoes/trash/ all over the house.
Love that boy.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Head On Over

To No Hands But Ours

I shook the dust and massive cobwebs off of my writing and shared an experience I walked through a couple of months ago.

I hope you laugh.
I hope you find hope.
I hope you want to come over and have coffee with me.
I'll have a cup waiting for you......and some coffee-mate coconut coffee creamer because yes....just yes.

You can find the post right here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Going Private

Wading ever so slowly back into blogging again,
But going private.

Shoot me an email or leave a comment with your email address if you want an invite. 

Grace & Peace,
Your absent blogger.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

If You Take a Teen to the Doctor

If you take a teen to the doctor to rule out strep throat he will be taller than the choo-choo train table.
If he's taller than the choo-choo train table you will laugh and think to yourself its time to move your 6'2 son to Family Practice.

If you think you should move to Family Practice you will realize that he won't have great reading material like Andy has Asthma and bedwetting brochures to read anymore.

If he doesn't have Andy has Asthma and bedwetting brochures to read he will fill out his complaint form and notate that his last menstrual cycle was 2 weeks ago.

If he fills out his complaint form and notates that his last menstraul cycle was 2 weeks ago,
never mind.
The end.

Dear grown up Jordan, 
You make me laugh. You make me like laugh, laugh. I have more fun going places with you even in the most mundane tasks than is ever considered normal. I love your heart, your sense of humor, and the way that you are uniquely you. We may not color on the exam room paper with crayons from my purse while we wait anymore like we did when you were little, but talking about menstrual cycles and bed wetting is equally entertaining with you. Love you kid. Errrr man. Errr manchild.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Remember This?

You are going to have to click, click, click to really get a grasp of what has transpired through this story but I promise you it's worth it.

Do you remember this? 

And oh my goodness you HAVE to read this
(The Lord BLOWS ME AWAY so often.
The way this story was weaved together absolutely astounds me. Katie.....seriously?!)

And then this happened.

And then there was this incredible day. 

And today?


Standing in awe of the One that could have placed these boys anywhere on this Earth that they have ended up one hour away from us.

faithful God.

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 


Friday, November 22, 2013

Remember Last Week When I Went To China Unannounced?

And I didn't tell you?
Well.....actually I didn't tell ME either.

Yesterday I was minding my own business at school when I received a couple of text messages asking me if I had seen Lori & Stacey's blog.

Well pfft no, I've been in school all day.

I'm thinking at that point that they have written some beautiful heartfelt blog posts about their trip to China when Lori adopted Abby coming to a close.

Well ummmmm....that's not entirely what happened.
Read for yourself.
And simultaneously pee your pants. 
I know I did. 

So yeah.
I had a blast.
Rocking my pearls and a super cute new dress. 
I'm home now and surprisingly unaffected by jet lag.

Lori & Stacey seriously girls, thanks for the laugh.
I'm slightly but not really less bitter about not going with you now.
Love you both!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Little Post I Like to Call

Going to College with Teenagers. 

Seeing how I am nearly a senior citizen {she said sarcastically....
This experience of going to school wit them there youngens' has been ummm.....interesting.

A few observations for you:

  • They sometimes wear their pajama pants to class. Wait, what?  When did this become ok?
  • They sometimes wear shirts that aren't fully shirts. It's at this point that I have to restrain myself from walking up to these young ladies, pulling up their tops and knitting them a quick afghan while I simultaneously explain the virtue of modesty. This is hard for me. a so not joking way....this is so hard for me. They are such sweet girls for the most part but they just have not been taught to protect what should be protected.....
  • Two of them were amazed yesterday that I had a FaceBook account. Hahahahaha still makes me laugh.Wait till they find out I don't ride a horse and buggy to class, that'll really freak em out.
  • When someone sneezes in class about 28 of them will all say "Bless You." This intrigues me. At first I thought maybe they were all being hazed for some fraternity but now I realize it's just kinda what they do.
  • They are on their phones all the live long day.
  • They are on their laptops all the live long long day.
  • They think I'm cool. Holla.
  • One of them complimented my shoes the other day, asked to try them on and then said (I'm so NOT kidding), "So cute! You have fat feet just like me!" Ummmm.....thanks? 
  • They eat almost as much as I do. I love this about them.
  • They always have some new scented Bath & Body Works lotion with them, and they share. I love this about them.
  • They remind me what it is was like yesterday when I was 19 {cough cough} and how passionate you can be about what you think you believe.
  • When they are sick and come to class looking like they need their mommies it is ALL I can do to not rush over and pat their back, brush the hair out of their face and run home to make a crock pot of chicken soup. I do that for my own kids? Note to self: Find out how to make chicken soup out of a can crockpot. 

And that's the what what on going to college with teenagers. At which point I come home to teenagers. Perhaps I should be majoring in ya know that a thing?

Social worker in training Sonia.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

That Day That Baby Pictures Appeared in My Inbox.

Do you love it when Chinese characters appear in your inbox?
I do.
I so totally do. 

Bestill my heart.
It's baby Jacob

and toddler Joey.

Anybody have a minute to turn his pants right side out and not backwards? Anybody?

These and the other 8 pictures that came with them today are my new favorite screen savers.
If only I'd known them then...
if only.

I can't tell you how weird it is to look at baby pictures of your own children that you didn't know.
It's weird.
Like weird weird.
Like can't quite wrap your mind around it type weird.
Like hello, some kind Chinese man that I don't know is holding my baby in a toy store.  
Number of times a kind random Chinese man-stranger held my biological children in a toy store: 0.

The amount of time I spend thinking about how our worlds would collide years after these pictures were taken baffles me even still.
It begs me to wonder what I was doing around this time.
What was I doing that day?
The twins would have been around 18 months,
Jason and Jordan would have been 4 & 5,
we were living in the vast frozen wasteland of North Dakota at Grand Forks AFB and I was probably snowed in and alone.
The idea that there were two babies in China that would 7 years later be calling me mom would have not been even a thought in my sleep deprived little head.

It's craziness.
Pure craziness.
{But ridiculously cute nonetheless.} 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Remember That Time We Went To MineCon?

Dear Justin & Jack,

This weekend I took you to MineCon.

It was just us & 7,948 of our closest friends.
Last year it was in Paris and we were all set to go but tragically at the last moment I realized that I still have to feed you
and clothe you
and shelter you for a few more years so I cancelled our non-existent plane reservations and our imaginary hotel reservations for that place overlooking the River Seine.
I priorities are whack.
This year it was in Orlando.
That I can do. 
I know when you are 30 and you are reading this you will want to know just what on earth was so great about this weekend and what the heck a MineCon is, and I'll respond with are you freaking kidding me?! Do you know how excited you were?!! And then I'll admit that I no longer remember what a MineCon is either.
So let's just save ourselves that conversation in the future and allow me to document it for all of us.

We checked in to both the convention and the hotel,
got some dinner

And then the next morning we were there 2 hours ahead of time to stand in the longest line in the history of lines for the opening ceremonies wherein you two looked like this:

And I looked like this:
Because let's just be honest....
I don't know what a MineCraft is nor do I play one on TV.

Hahaha best shirt ever
 We hit the exhibition hall where in you tried out loads of new products, sat in on a few panels wherein you learned all sorts of MineCrafty tricks,

got some freebies, checked out some new technology, and posed with a variety of square things that have something to do with the game.

Weird square things to me.
Very cool relevant things to you.

That night we hit Island of Adventure at Universal Studios.
The MineCrafty people were kind enough to rent out the entire park so it was just us and those few thousand friends of ours, we had a blast, were able to walk right onto any ride and stayed up waaaayyy past our bedtime.

It's at this point in our weekend that I'd like to pause and tell you a little story.
Here goes:

When you go on the water rides at Universal at 9:45 at night you will get wet.
When you get wet at 9:45 at night you will get cold.
When you get cold you will realize that you don't have a jacket.
When you realize you don't have a jacket you will remember that your mother told you to bring one.
When you realize that you in fact did not bring one you will remember that she is a smart, smart woman and you should spend more time listening to her wisdom. 
When you don't have a jacket you will look at your mother with your teeth chattering and sad, pathetic eyes with dripping wet hair.
When you look at your mother with your teeth chattering and sad pathetic eyes and dripping wet hair, her motherly instincts will kick in and she will offer up her cute lil' green pea coat and her purple scarf.
When she offers you her cute lil' green pea coat and purple scarf you will wear them with honor cuz you are just that cold.
When you are just that cold you won't care that you are wandering around Universal wearing your mother's clothes and you will always remember how awesome she is.
The end.

Mark Ruffalo was there that night and he was at the Con' with his kids.
Hold on....did you hear me?

Who in his day job plays the Hulk.
But I love him more for his role in this:

I'm ashamed to admit.....
I looked for him again after I caught a glimpse.....
Not in a stalker psychotic type of way but in a.....
never mind.
It was totally in a stalker psychotic type way.

I thought about getting in line to go on the Hulk RollerCoaster because surely he would be there! It's his coaster afterall!!!

but then I realized that I am not...ya know..... a crazy person that would actually ride that thing. And even if I did, and I saw him on the ride, it would be kind of hard to appreciate the moment whilst I was preoccupied with fearing for my life, screaming with abject fear, and simultaneously peeing my pants and throwing up on account of the aforementioned fear.

Hello, I know I'm covered in pee and vomit and I'm shaking like a leaf but could I have a picture with you? 

Yeah. No. Just no.
Besides, that scenario would completely ruin this scenario that I have in my head of the two of us walking together just. like. this.

So in the end this is the closest I got to him.

We had a moment together.
So, so sad.

At one point we were walking onto the SpiderMan ride when I happened to glance behind me and saw a guy that I vaguely remember seeing at opening ceremonies. 
To which I nudged the twins and literally(like a total idiot) said,
"Hey guys, isn't that bald guy somebody?"
They turned around, saw him, and proceeded to flip-the-heck-out with excitement.
Bald guy turned out to be Notch, the inventor of MineCraft.

Who apparently was lactating. Hate it when that happens.

We also met Sky that night

Who they know of...but don't interact with. He apparently has a potty mouth. Tsk-tsk.

Then we ran into Jeb
who I'm told is the founder? owner? creator? I dunno....of Mojang....which is the parent company of MineCraft? I dunno. Clueless mom, that's me. 

The next day at the convention you two met two other guys

No idea what his name was....something Bajancanadian?

Yeah...sorry dude....totally don't remember your name

And then it happened.
My truest most pure demonstration of love for the two of you.

of the Convention Center for 4 hours to save your place in line whilst you hung out in the exhibition hall

Coffee anyone? A book? My dignity?
 so that you could meet this guy

Who ironically enough an hour before this picture was taken got mobbed in the bathroom and had to lock himself in a stall and call security to come and get him out. 
Hahahahahaha still makes me laugh. 
Poor dude. Poor millionaire dude.

And that, my sweet 11 year old twins, was our weekend at MineCon.
If you need me for the next couple of weeks I'll be in bed eating chocolate and watching my Mark on TV.
And if you are reading this when you are 30, call me and we can relive our weekend.

Love you both.