Monday, October 28, 2013

I Can't Believe That Actually Happened

Buckle up folks because what I am about to tell you could perhaps be the most profound, astonishing thing that I have shared on this blog thus far.

A few weeks ago the doorbell rang.
I opened the door and there stood before me my friend Jen and her husband.
Super nice people.
I like them. 
I had no idea they were going to be stopping by.

But here's where the story gets interesting....

The. house. was. clean.
Ya'll, it was like....clean-clean. 

Unannounced visitors and the HOUSE WAS ACTUALLY CLEAN?!?!?!

I was unaware that this phenomena actually existed.
Truly I say to you, it was like unicorns were prancing around in unison and the ceiling opened up to display a perfect double rainbow whilst cherubs serenaded us with Bach's 6th movement.

Now typically when visitors stop by unannounced it looks a lil sumpin like dis:

Que Scene:

It's 2 in the afternoon and I, for some reason, am still in my pajamas. Which happens like twice a year but darnit...THAT will be the day somebody stops by. There is jelly on my shirt from my Eggo waffle that morning, I have not yet brushed my teeth cuz ya know....still in my jammies and all
and don't get me started on the fact that I'm probably not wearing a brahhhh....never mind.....
Baseball bags and cleats and legos are strewn throughout the lower level, blankets are all over the floor, some small boys Star Wars underwear are laying on the stairs since I dropped it while carrying the laundry upstairs...ahem....
two days ago.
Dishes are overflowing out of the sink, down the hall and into the living room and there will be three TV's on at abhorrently loud volumes with varying professional sports on, none of which are actually being currently being watched.

Now that, is my reality.
Not my everyday reality mind you, but most assuredly it is my when people happen to stop by unannounced reality.

So you can only imagine how happy I was that this had actually happened that it took all I had to not parade them around the house so that they could fully take in it's glorious cleanliness.

I so badly wanted them to pee so that they could see the sparkling bathroom with the newly installed AirWick. Mmmm smells like Lilacs in here!
But I just couldn't bring myself to say, "Do you need to go potty? Cuz dude, you totally can!!"
I wanted to display the hall closet, the pantry, my sock drawer.
I wanted to open up the yogurt and string cheese drawer in the fridge and show her that I had finally throw away the year ago expired applesauce cups from when Jason broke his jaw. 

So much I wanted to do. But instead, I had to let them onto the back patio which....of course.....was an ever-loving disaster of shoes, recycling boxes & baseball gloves.

Guess you can't win them all.

Oh, and it's clean again today, so ya'll come on by.
See you soon and drink LOTS of water before you come over!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Day In Court.

A couple of weeks ago I volunteered to be a Guardian Ad Litem.
Love it.
Looooooovvvveee it.
technically I haven't started yet.....
I'm still in training....but oh how I love it. 
If you can find some time
and you have a heart for the well being of kiddos under the care of the state
the GAL program is calling your name.

Hear that? 
Ring, ring.
It's calling your name.  

I, of course, am not doing it for the children.
I'm doing it so that I can yell things like, "I object!"
{which apparently I do not get to do.}
"May I approach the bench Your Honor?"
{can't do that either}
"Did someone order the pizza?"
{definitely can't do this}
Just kidding.
It's totally for the kids and it's also great experience & training for my future self's social workiness.
One of my professor's on the first day of class said it was her job to make sure that we didn't suck as social workers.
Alrighty then. Guess that about sums it up.
So in my effort to not suck, I knew this training and program would help.

Anyhoo, part of my training is 4 hours of court watch where I observe dependency hearings, arraignments and trials of parent(s) whose children have been removed from their homes.

Heart still intact I headed downtown this morning to the court house to meet my Master GAL that I would be shadowing today.
Now me and my stay at home mom/college student self don't go downtown much.
So I was ever so surprised when I came to an intersection and saw that our city has these

Guides with unfortunate hats!
Bless his little heart hat.
Our city has guides all along downtown just waiting to direct people where they want to go.
Who knew.

Anyway, I arrived and attempted to parralel park my Suburban.


And it was as I watched half the city stop what they were doing and laugh hysterically at my many many many attempts....that I gave up, parked in the parking garage, walked into the courthouse and went straight to the bathroom to brush my hair
{Good hair is essential to being a GAL.....said no one ever. The truth is, I had to go potty but there's no way that I'm going to write that I had to go potty on my blog, so I went to "fix my hair".}
Disregard that last part.

And that's when I saw this sign
And that's when I realized I am blogging again so I have to whip out my camera to document such things.
Check it.

Seriously folks?

So I arrived at 8:40 for a 9:00am hearing that didn't actually end up happening until 12.
Lesson 1 of court....things rarely if ever run on time.
But it was actually a good thing for me anyway,
probably not for all of humanity that was outside the doors waiting their turn,
but a good thing for me.
I was able to see so many cases and I'm still picking my jaw up off the floor.
I think I was meant to be a lawyer.
Or a child protective investigator.
Or a judge.
Or a baliff.
Or a deputy.
Or the lady that types really reeellllly fast. 
I dunno.
But something.
I found the entire process astonishing and so, so, soooo far removed from my everyday reality.
{ Just WOW.}

I saw a guy get arrested.
Did you know that if you show up to court for a dependency hearing and you have a warrant for your arrest that you will be....ya know...arrested? And your poor sweet mama sitting next to me will have to hold your belt and your nice shirt, and your wallet as they put handcuffs on you, and she'll promise to get your truck home.

I heard so many things that broke my heart again and again and again.
Foster parents.
You guys are rock stars.
Without you, well, I don't know. I hate to think of what.
Keep on keepin on friends, you are making such a difference. 

What you quickly realize is that so much of the icky stuff that goes on....we will just refer to this as icky stuff cuz I'm just not gonna get in to all of systemic and incredibly wide spread. Lack of education, poverty, generational abuse, unemployment, all seems to collide and each seems interdependent to the other.
I knew this of course.
In my head I knew this.
In my textbooks I knew this.
In my realm of common sense I knew this.
But to see it?
To really see it being played out in front of you case after case after case?
Well, that's a whole different story.

So that was my day in court.
I have no other photos to share.
I thought about pulling out my camera, but I knew that would be frowned upon and me trying to explain to the Judge that I have this blog and all....well, didn't sound promising.
I did think about asking her if she wanted to take some selfies with me but I can't bare to spend another night behind bars and I knew that's where I'd end up.
So ya know....I chose to sit quietly.
Another few training sessions and I'll be flying solo in this.
Excitement level high, heart a bit more broken, but nonetheless resolved that though I am only one I can still do something.

But the better news?
You can too!
Go here.

Oh, and remember, You can't handle the truth!
Sorry....can't help myself.
Oh, and I've NEVER spent a night behind bars.
That was totally a joke yo.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Coffee Anyone?


I'm sitting here in a {gasp} quiet house

Ya know...
because all the smoke alarms going off at 5:48am is just a great way to start your day.

Coffee anyone?

And by the I the only mother that in her half-awake state of delerium when awoken by said smoke alarms spends the first two minutes of the alarming walking briskly around to all the bedrooms shouting, "It's ok! It's ok!" in my most slightly panicked yet trying to be comforting mom voice? For some reason the thought of all the kids being freaked out by the alarms in the middle of the night seems to instinctively worry me more than if something were ya know.....actually ON FIRE.

Just curious.

I think I need to adjust my intuitive emergency reactions.

I'm off to class, and with this start to the day I am certain to be asleep midway through Research & Statistics.
Someone wake me when I have flunked out of my program.

Friday, October 18, 2013

But Enough of That

Let's move on to happier topics
Like blood
and heart transplants
and needles.


It's midterm week round my neck of the woods so after I conquered a test today in about 10 minutes flat,
take that social work exam
I kicka yo butta.
You are dead to me.

I noticed the blood truck outside the College of Health.
I'm in.

I won't ever forget that month in the PICU watching bag after bag of blood and platlets stream into Joshua.
I'm so thankful for that.
I'm so thankful for them
whoever they are
wherever they may be.
Whatever number of people that sat in some big blue bus somewhere and thus enabled him to have life.
Never will I see a Blood Mobile and look at it the same way.

So in honor of Rini's Big Going To Seattle Day
I grabbed myself a bottle of juice and some crackers and put my feet up for awhile.

Fight Rini fight!

Your done?
Can't you take more?
These chairs are comfy!
And you feed me!!

Love sweet Rini!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Big Family Musings

Feeling a bit discouraged today.

Feeling a bit judged today.

Feeling a bit mis-understood today.

Feeling like a lot of people just don't get how big families operate.


We had a bit of an "incident" the other day where one of our been-here-nearly-3 years-now kiddos was calling his friends a loser when he was playing outside.

Not ok.
That much I know.

But the response from a mother that overheard him and how she chose to handle it......
has left me incredibly frustrated.
And appalled.
Let's just say it was a rough afternoon.

But overall here's what I think,
And admittedly I think I oftentimes internally bring this presumption upon myself
but I also think it's based in quite a bit of reality....

I think a lot of people look at big families and think that they can't possibly have it all together.

It's a bit like being viewed as the old lady who lived in shoe and she had so many kids she didn't know what to do. 
That there simply must. be. chaos. 
That there just isn't anyway possible that all of those kids are getting their needs met.
That no wonder one of her kids says things like "loser".
She has so many they are all probably half way to juve' by now.  
Never mind this child spent years of having nothing but hate poured into his little spirit.
Never mind the healing that is continuing to happen in his heart.
Never mind that it's been less than three years and if the only thing we are still hearing every now and then is "loser"....
then we are doing pretty darn good.

But that mantra of:
Your kid screwed up = You have too many kids and can't handle them all. 
Makes. Me. Sad.
And I think it's unfair. 

That train of thought seems to go hand in hand with the all to familiar, "I don't know how you do it, I've only got (insert number of children here) and it's crazy!"

And I get that.
Hear me on this.
I. Totally. Get. That.
I completely know what you mean. 
I get that we each have our version of something we don't think we can do.

I, for example....cannot, cannot, CANNOT do math.
Kristi....seriously. How on earth are we friends?
I don't know how math teachers do it.
I could never handle that.
I could never teach that.
Never, never, no, not going to happen, it does not come naturally to me.
It is so not my gifting.

But seven kids?
That I actually can do.
It's my bend, I thrive on this type of fun, loud, fast paced, structured, organized, sports gear a plenty craziness.

Math = Heck to the NO.
Big family dynamics = Heck Yeah!

But I feel like
(and again, my own thoughts/perception.....)
when my kids don't have it all together,
that it is automatically attributed to the fact that there are so many of them.

I partly {probably} bring that on myself since for some reason I am quite sensitive to it,
but it is partly because it gets insinuated to me every now and then and each time I hear it, it sticks.
"I know you are busy but....."
"He's not bringing in his homework, I know you are busy but....."
"He called his friend a name, I know you are busy and have a lot going on....could he be attention seeking?" 
For some reason that "I know you are busy but" translates in my brain to:
"You have much more than you can handle so let me assume I know everything and here's how your child is suffering...."
Fair or not, that is what I hear.

But since this is my blog and I can cry point out things if I want to,
Here's a view of what's actually going on in our house:

When my son doesn't have a lunch, trust me it's not because I forgot to make it.
I haven't ever, in nearly 17 years of parenting, sent a child to school without providing for his lunch whether by making it or giving him lunch money.
I loathe handling lunch meat in the mornings, but I do it. Because I like, love them and stuff and blah blah yadda yadda.
But when he "forgets" his lunch it's because he's been told and reminded that it's his responsibility to grab it off the counter 800 times.  And about the 10th time that you show up to school to drop off the lunchbox that he forgot, you realize that chasing after him is teaching him
So today when he showed up with no lunch? He's learning that actions have consequences. And surprise-surprise, he will probably remember tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that.

When my son doesn't have his planner signed I assure you it's not because I am too busy to sign it.
It's because he chose to play around during reading time in the evening instead of reading as he is supposed to.
And I won't sign that he read when he didn't actually....ya know...READ.

So let me let you in on the bigger picture.
Overall what I am trying to get across to them is this:
Actions = consequences.
Good consequences.
Bad consequences.
Whichever it may be I am trying, trying, trrryyyyinnnngg to instill a sense of responsibility
(however trivial the task may be)
into these boys, because trust me,
I am not trying to raise a 40 year old man that still sleeps on my couch.  

I am trying to raise young gentlemen that honor the Lord in all that they do.
Young men of character and responsibility.
Young men that will one day grow up to become husbands and fathers and leaders in their homes
and all of that training and teaching and preparing for that role,
trust me
starts with things like the lunchbox. 

And if I am unwilling to let them fall every now and then and learn in that fall, then where are they going to learn it?
Who is going to teach it?
For the love.
Please explain this to me. 
Some of my kids teachers get this.
Oh how I love them.
Some people in our community get this.
Oh how I love them too. 
But by and large the perception remains.

Now granted, I truly don't have it all together.
Is this thing on?
Because I just wanted to make that very apparent. 
I don't think any of us do.
We are imperfect people doing the very best that we can do.
Jack, for example, went to school today wearing his much older brothers shorts.
But it's not because we live in chaos with no clean laundry, it's because he changed into his cross country uniform yesterday and left his shorts at school and I cannot, for the life of me, figure out where his other pair is.(My guess? Shoved in his locker after changing into that same CC uniform last week)
Ahhhhh 6th them.

We were also late walking out the door today,
not late to school because I have built in a full 20 minute cushion of when we can leave and still be on time, (did you know that big families by and large are actually very organized? Gasp!)
but just left 5 minutes later than we usually do.
But that is not at all because there are 7 kids that live here.
It's because one, not-to-be-named-teen
(Hey Jordan, when you are grown and you read this, it was you buddy. Love ya, your sleepiness in the morning is driving me craaaaaazy)
is my one out of the 7 that likes to sleep late and he was hard to wake up today.
I would hazard a guess that families with 1 child that likes to sleep in probably has that same problem every now and then. 

My point being, none of our imperfections, none of the places we falter and fall are due to the size of our family.
It's just because we are a family.
And in a family no matter the size you are going to end up wearing your brothers shorts to school one day, and you are going to forget your homework sometimes, and you are going to leave your football cleats on the bus accidentally. And that's ok, but please let's not attribute every behavior to the angst of a large family, it's just family. 

the challenges are much the same.  

My name is Sonia.

And I have 7 boys.
Don't judge us by our size,
judge us by the content of our character.
Character that was built out of moments like forgotten lunch boxes, and unsigned planners.

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Coffee Shop Story

My school day on Tuesdays is 9 hours long. 
9 hours. 
Hello, I've been a stay at home mom for nearly 17 years.....I'm
still adjusting.

Though I love it, looooooove it
I have found that it necessitates varying amounts of caffeine to sustain my energy that long.
You can laugh at me.
I'm a wimp.
This I know.
Hat's off to ya working momma's.  
I do not understand how you do it.
Props to you. Big, giant massive props. 

So on Tuesdays I kinda have developed a system.
I drop the kids off at school
and I hit the Bux' to get a venti somethin somethin
and off I go until I return home sometime around 6pm.

Last Tuesday it was raining.
And I, in my
I will use any excuse to get out of my yoga pants because I've been at SAHM for 17 years,
was wearing a sundress with flip flops to class.
Mind you, it was about 85 degrees, but rain or shine, I love me some sundresses.

Funny thing about rain:
Quite sometime ago a brilliant man invented this:

Which comes in handy with aforementioned water propelling from the sky.

So I got out my magical

and went inside.

Now to get inside I had to/have to every week, drive around all of the insane traffic and park in the parking lot that is always nearly empty and is about 25 steps from the front door of the Bux'.
I stepped out of Nimitz size vehicle that I drive
popped open my

and me and my sundress clip clopped inside.
I Inhaled the smell of freshly brewed goodness.
Paid them $367 for my cuppa coffee(thanks for the Thank You For Going To China With Me Gift Card Lori!)
and I'm out. 

There were approximately 800 people in the drive through and in the surrounding area trying to jockey for position that rainy day...and every other day.
Men in business suits driving fancy cars.
Women in professional dress driving fancy cars.
Construction workers driving utility trucks.
All manner of human life was there with me as they are most every Tuesday morning when I arrive.
And every Tuesday it's the same scene.
Chaos on the outside....
me and three other people on the inside.

What.The. Heck.

I'm not anti drive-through.
Oh I get it.
My car has been through so many drive-throughs that everytime it sees one it automatically steers straight toward it.
Sometimes it's waaayy faster.
Sometimes it's much easier.
Moms with little kids, HOLLA!
So. Been. There. 
The drive through is for you!!
Go! Go get your drive through on!
No way you need to get two tiny tots out of their carseats and wrangle them in a coffee shop.
DRIVE. THROUGH. Sister girl! You deserve your own lane!

But the rest of us?
Without tiny kids in our cars?
Here's my question:

What the heck are we doing? 

I've been going through this Tuesday morning coffee routine for a few months now and each time it's the same scene and it was the day of the rain, sundress and flip flops that was really the catalyst for me to take in the whole picture as I walked across the parking lot.
And I saw them.
And I watched them.
And I studied them.
And I observed them dressed for work, flipping through their phones while not moving in the line.
And here's what I realized:
I'm a girl.
I'm a girl in a sundress and flip flops and I can use my magical

Why can you not, dear man, get out of your Lexus and walk inside?
Why are you, dear single lady, getting irritated at the other 798 people around you when you could very well

I think I have figured out where this started and the answer is:
Right across the street from my house.
My kids go to school roughly four blocks from where we live.
It's lovely.
But here's the thing....
when it rains....
Say wha???
The first time it happened when we first moved in I had to contain my laughter as I watched a few raindrops glide gently down from the sky.
And now...honestly....I just find it ridiculous.
Thunder? Yep. I'm going to pick them up.
Lightning? Oh heck yes, I'm going over there.
But rain?


Literally WATER??
Was there a news story I missed?
Child perishes from walking four blocks home in the rain. Water droplet entered his eye. Hair got wet. More on the 10 News @ 9.
So as I walk my sons home in the deadly rain each time I can't help but wonder where and when they are supposed to learn to be MEN.
Ya know, men that can still change a tire in the RAIN.
Men that will hand their umbrella over to a lady without one cuz they are MEN.

But, ahem.....back to my story:
I just wonder if when every. single. week. I park and walk inside and come out with my coffee whilst each of them have only moved about 8 inches in the line if it too started with them not being allowed to walk home in the rain?

I'm just curious.
I'm curious if we all even think about it anymore.
I guess it only occurs to me to park and walk because I am just not that patient to wait in a line that barely moves,
so maybe they are just smarter than me...
and more patient. 

I dunno.
But as for me and my house,
we will walk in our sundress and flip flops. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Bout the Only Thing That Would Bring Me Back To Blogging.

I know.
I know.
I knooooooowwww.

It's been forever.
I'm so sorry.

I could get into the why and the what and the how come and the....
but nah,
not gonna do that.

So instead I'll choose to just sit here and act like we talk everyday.
Like friends you can see after years apart and it's like no time at all has gone by.
That'll be us, deal? 

So I have something groundbreaking to tell you.
Oh yeah, it's H.U.G.E.

I went here today.

That's what I wanted to tell you.
That's all.

I went.
I saw.
I conquered a sandwich.

I then drove home whilst eating aforementioned sandwhich.
I thought I'd just take a bite and finish the rest at home.
How naive. 
One delicious bite turned into two.
Two turned into 3. 
Which turned into 46.
Which eventually turned into me driving down the highway at 65mph eating my hoagie with mayonaise and honey mustard dripping off of my hands and all down my shirt whilst steering with my knees.
Man that was delicious.
A police officer noticed my erratic knee driving behavior, began to pull me over, but then noticed the Wawa wrapper, and smiled knowingly whilst he let me continue to eatdrive with a wave of his hand.
Which didn't actually happen but I'm sure had there been a policeman that ^ is exactly what would have happened. Because it's like a code. A Wawa code if you will.

So that's it.
That's what I wanted to share today.
I. Went. To. Wawa's.

Tomorrow, my coffee shop story.
For now I am going to work on the mustard stain on my shirt. And my pants.
my socks.
So worth it. 

Till then,