Monday, March 30, 2015

Third verse, Same as the Second.

Just finished crying my eyes out in the bathroom stall in the airport for a ridiculously prolonged period of time. So I'd say far......trip not going very well.

I cried through my entire pack of tissues that I had in my backpack for going potty in China. And then I realized all the toilet paper that was right there next to me. Yeah. Awesome.

Y'all im sad.

I'm like super sad.

I get it together and then some mother with a boy will walk by and I start all over again.

Much, much snot.

Happier updates coming soon.
Here's hoping.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Second Verse, Same As The First.

T-minus 48 hours till takeoff.
And just like last time
I am currently alternating between vomiting at the thought of leaving these kids
and vomiting at the thought of leaving these kids.

So yeah.
Super productive.

I did finally pack.
And charged my camera.
And tried to remember what all I take to China.
Sigh. Vomit. Sigh.

I will say that when I get anxious....I clean.
So that worked quite well.
I mopped today ya'll.
I scrubbed the toilets because somehow knowing my kids will have clean toilets to pee in makes the leaving a little bit easier.

I went to the grocery store for milk and walked out with $342 worth of groceries to tide them over for the first week that I am gone.
I bought them an Easter ham.
A ham.
A freaking ham.
Sorry piggy. Hungry boys and understand right?

I bought all their favorite munchies that they love in their lunchbox.
Because again....somehow that makes the leaving easier.
Tomorrow I'm taking the Suburban to get cleaned and vacuumed.
I don't know why.
I think knowing their dirty little baseball cleats can rest on clean floor mats makes the leaving a little bit easier.
Clearly I have issues. 
All of their uniforms for next week are lovingly folded and organized in their slots.
Because somehow....this makes the leaving easier.
And I ironed their underwear
because somewhow, this makes the leaving.....ok no I didn't.
I'm not that far gone.

Tomorrow I'm declaring it The Day of Mom. 
I'm taking the teens out to lunch.
The twins out for Yogurtology.
And the Asian sensations and I are going to make gigantic ice cream sundaes and watch their favorite movie....Chronicles of Narnia.
I'm soaking them in.
Every breath.
Every smell.
Because man am I gonna miss them when I'm gone.

And in case you tire of hearing me bemoan leaving my children for 17 days you should know that I do tend to be ok once I get's the days leading up to it that are the hardest for me. 
So once I am in China and begin posting all the zaniness that is occurring over there without mentioning the kids you'll be all like, "Wow. Didn't she have kids she missed? Whatever happened to that? Does she karaoke with Chinese people when she is sad? Does she climb the Great Wall when she misses them?" And all be all like, "Well yes. Yes I do." It's gonna be epic.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I'm Not Sure She Understood.

A wittle story for you:

I never never drank coffee
until I had newborn twins
and then....
you's gots to do what's you's gots to do.
Only one out so far.....I'm already tired.
What is this coffee you speak of? I. Need. Some.
Over the years as my addiction compulsion increased I have tried many a variety of creamer.
Loralie Gilmore ain't got nothing on me. 
Many a flava flav.
Many a brand.
And it wasn't until this delicious creation was sent down from Heaven itself that I have been hooked on this one and only this one.

It's been years now.
And this is my friend.
It greets me every morning.
It says hello and welcomes me with it's aloha coconuty aroma and it's all manner of things that are bad for you but I can't bring myself to care because it's so yummy.

And so it was that I ran to the grocery store the other day.
I was out of coffee creamer.

Did you catch that?

Problem is....I approached the dairy case.....
and they were out of my coffee creamer too.

Did you catch that?

So I sat down on the floor
right there in the middle of the dairy aisle
and with tears streaming down my face I drank copious amounts of whipping cream and began to sing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot to make myself feel better.

No I didn't.
I'm not that far gone yet. 
But what I did do was push my nose against the glass and peered straight through the milk into the back storage room desperately seeking any box that had the words "Coffee mate" and "Coconut Creme" on it.
It didn't take long for an employee to notice the apparent tragic look of desperation on my face and offer assistance.
I hugged her and explained that I needed my creamer.
Like camels need water.
Like people need oxygen.
I. Need. My. Creamer.

And so it was that I begged her to go into the storage room and seek liked she'd never seeked before to find me some.
Certainly there was a box in there somewhere.
This is America people.
We sell 872 varieties of cereal and 491 varieties of toilet paper.
There simply

because she clearly doesn't know me
what she did was to begin to offer me other flavors that were right in front of me.
"Well maa'm have you tried the vanilla bean?"
It's quite good.
"Or the carmel macciato is very popular."

And as she continued pointing out other flavors
I simply looked at her and blinked.
I had no words to offer this lunacy that she was suggesting. 
Vanilla almond?
French Vanilla?
Blink. Blink.
It was at about the fifth suggested flavor that she realized that I was alternating between silently blinking at her and pressing my body ever further and further into the dairy case itself to look into the back room that she realized the true enormity of the situation at hand.
Middway through her suggestion that I try new girl scout thin mint flavor she abruptly stopped, regained the use of her faculties and dashed into the back.
I watched her searched.
I kindly pointed through the case in what general direction I thought I had seen the word "Coffee" on a box.
And eventually
she found it.
And she brought one bottle out for me.
And music played
and glitter rained down from the celing.
And I hugged her and promised her my first born.

Today however,
today is a day.
P-Dub posted this yesterday. 
Butter in your coffee.
We are definitely living in the end times. 

Just so we are clear....some things that I love:
  1. Jesus. 
  2. Butter. 
  3. Cheese.
I'm so trying this.

I'll update later today with how it went.
Butter. Coffee. I can't wait!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Who Can Save Your Life Apparently?

This girl.

I tried on lab coats today.
In the lab coaty/scrubby store. 
Hahahahahaha still makes me laugh.....
I picked this one.
Is this how they are supposed to look?
I have no idea and clearly should have been paying more attention rather than compulsively worrying that I was going to have to wear the hose.
(Which I am  NOT, btw.......let us rejoice)

I had way more fun than the normal people that were in the store with me I am pretty sure.
I'm ready for the blood, guts and gore that apparently comes from fulfilling an order for home health care.
I've been googling varying diseases so that I can pretend to know how to treat people.
I've been watching You Tube videos on how to stitch a wound
and deliver a baby
and transplant an organ
and take out your tonsils
and perform a vasec......never mind. I didn't watch that one. 
and turns out I was right about that whole "don't remove the knife" thing.
Man. I'm so much more of a doctor than I gave myself credit for.

So here ye, here ye, sick people of the world.
Come to me.
I can totally pretend to treat you.

And lest you are new here and not realize I speak in jest first,
I can't save anybody.....just so ya know. 
Please do not see me in the halls and say, "ooooo woman in the white coat! Please, place my intestines back inside my body cavity where they belong!"
Cuz I will probably vomit and run the other way screaming.
So glad we cleared that up. 
and second
only Jesus can save you.

If you don't know Him.
You should.
Because whether you believe or not,
one day you will meet Him too.
EVERY knee will bow.
And hey, if nothing else remember that if I'm wrong....I've lost nothing.
If you are wrong, you've lost everything. 

For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God ~ Romans 3:23

Want to know more?
Go here. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Two Years Ago....

A little more than two years ago today I had hopped on a flight to JFK and waited for Lori to arrive....
I strolled around the airport and said hi to a bunch of people who didn't say hi back and I changed my name to Merl....which you can read about right here. 
I drank way overpriced coffee.
I approprached strangers with the offer of free airfare if they would go in my 'stead.
I tried in vain to fake a stomach bug so Lori would send me home sympathetically with a pat on the head.
I begged the CEO of Carnival to boat me over there instead.
It didn't work. 
Nothing worked.

I couldn't find a way.
No. Way. At. All. 
So I got on the plane with her....
and she only had to drag me a few times.
I'm such a grown up.

It ended up being one of the most incredible trips and exactly two years ago today I stood in that Civil Affairs office and watched family after family be transformed.....which you can also read about right here.
Orphans found families.
Families found treasured sons and daughters.
It. Was. Something. Else. 

And bonus, we ended up meeting an incredible group of ladies.
They had me at chimichanga. 

And I met a couple of guys who gave me the cold shoulder.

Big time.
They wouldn't let me play with them.

On the way home I stayed in DC for a couple of days and got to meet my sweet precious brand new niece....who is now much taller now and walks and talks and all that toddler goodness. I can't tell you how much I love this little girl.

And then one year later I returned to China.....a little bit flat.

This time we are going for the 3-D version again.
We leave in under two weeks.
I have packed nothing.
I have thought about what to pack not at all.
I work all next week...which will be super helpful in my need to pack and prepare. 
I've started saying to the children that mommy leaves in under two weeks whilst practicing not crying at the thought of it at the same time.
I'm so far failing miserably at this. 

Going on an adoption trip with friends is incredible, I love it.
Like I love, love it.
Like I want to pass it a note in study hall and tell it how much I love it.
Like if your name is Lori and you want me to go with you I'm so there.
But leaving my 7 behind......hard.
Really, really hard.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Just So Ya Know

Orientation is finished.....Amen and amen.
I know the mission statement
and the vision statement
and the fire drill protocol
and the actual fire protocol
and infectious diseases protocol
and Ebola protocol
and the safety protocol
and the protocol protocol.

And thank you for everyone that gave me their favorite recipes as I start this whole working for a living thing.
Today one of the boys had a pop tart and bag of chips for dinner before his baseball game so I'd say it's going pretty well.


No it's not.
I left the house this morning at 6:30am
and arrived back home at 8:35pm.
Work-to two baseball games at two different fields-to home.....
I reckon it's gonna take some time to get my feet underneath me and figure this out.
So in the meantime.....a poptart won't kill him right?

Please tell me he will be ok.

Working moms.
You.Are.Awesome. and I want to be like you when I grow up.

Stay at home moms.
You. Are. Awesome. And I want to be like you when I grow up.
I think I'm having an identity crisis.

That is all.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Dilemna. Big, big GIANT dilemna.

Orientation for the new job starts tomorrow. I have to leave this house at 6:30am to be there on time.
(Not everyday thankgoodness, just tomorrow)
6:30AM, 8 boys and no mom.
Ummmm yeah.

So 8 lunch boxes are ready to roll on the counter.
Shoes are by the door.
Everyone has their uniform and belt in their uniform slots.
Most have clean socks to wear.
All have clean underwear.
I think.
Maybe not.
I dunno.
And I am trying to decide what to wear.
After 18 years in yoga pants and two day old tshirts with varying food stains on them I have to get dressed like a grown up.
A. Grown. Up.

I had a bit of a run at this during my internship but this is more long term.
Thankfully my FB peoples answered my burning question about the appropriateness of panty hose back then.
Was that ever a debate.
Fun times, F.U.N. times.
I love my people.
(Pantyhose are officially out case ya didn't hear)

My "uniform" each day is professional dress with a lab coat, or scrubs.
Help me Rhonda.
Here is my problem.
To me a lab coat says, "I can save your life! I have actual skills to save your life!" 
Scrubs say to me, "I can save your life! I have actual skills to save your life and I wear these scrubs because as I am in the process of saving your life I may or may not end up with blood and/or other various fluids on me and I don't want to ruin my Ralph Lauren button up." 

I ain't gots no skillz that require neither a coat nor scrubs.
I. Am. A. Social. Worker. 
So here's what I can do:

As you are dying I can be of great encouragement.
As you are bleeding, I can fetch the assistance of those (in scrubs!) who can make it stop.
If you are sad, I can help.
If you are mad, I can de-escalate the situation.
If you can't find the bathroom I can show you.
If you need home health care, or some equipment for your home, I can help.
Need to go to an assisted living facility or rehab? Dude. I'm your girl.
If you are homeless and are leaving the hospital with no place to go...Call. Me.

But here's the thing...
None of this
I say none of this
requires a lab coat or scrubs.
I can SO social work the heck out of any situation in a sundress, a cardigan and ballet flats.
Like. A. Boss.

But alas...
Because I am a rule follower....
Professional dress and a lab coat it is.
I may or may not purchase a stethoscope as an accessorizing necklace and run around yelling things like, "Scalpel!" and "Stat!" and "Doughnuts people! I can't keep saving lives without more doughnuts!"
It's gonna be epic.

So here I go.
Off to rifle through clothes and pick an outfit for tomorrow.
if you see me, please don't ask me to save your life.
I'll hold your hand as you go see Jesus,
but ummm......that knife that is sticking out of your chest?
No idea.
I think I saw on TV that I'm not supposed to yank it out....but I can't be sure.
So yeah....other than that.....nothin.
Catcha on the flip side. 
(and if I'm the only one not wearing panty hose.....I so know who you are.....) 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Birth Parent Searching......

I have a few questions......
not looking for a debate but simply answers
that I have been wondering. 
  1. Why is this so hush hush in the Chinese adoptive community? Understanding the potential legal ramifications for these birth families and handling the information with extreme care is one thing......having to say the words "birth parent search" under your breath whilst saying the secret code word, turning around 3 times and spitting over your shoulder in order to even discuss the topic seems to be another.....
  2. Apart from blasting your child's birth parents names irresponsibly across social media (should you be successful) why is there such a shroud of secrecy that befalls this topic?
  3. For those in the "No. I'm not going to search and don't plan on it." camp can I ask why? 
  4. For those in the "Yep. Doing it now, or planning on doing it at some point" camp can I ask why? 
That's all. 
Just curious.
Thank you for any feedback.
More on this from my view later.

Sunday, March 8, 2015


Graduate School.

First choice.


New job.
Grad School.
7 boys.
1 Chinese foreign exchange student.
Baseball season. 
Trip to China. 
I got this.
No I don't.
Jesus take the wheel. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Just. The. Essentials.

This will be my 3rd trip to China in 4 years.

1 four years ago.

1 two years ago.

1 now years ago.

Now years ago.
I kid. I kid.

My packing looked like this on the first trip....
Yes. I brought actual fishing poles for the bathtub to China.
Don't be a hater.

My packing looked like this on the second trip.....

Hewo cutey wittle bitty suitcase

It's funny when you aren't bringing any of your own children with you.
You can get by with packing only underwear and coffee creamer.
Speaking of
Speaking of the coffee that is.....
Not the underwear.....
Those are supposed to be unmentionables.....shoot....which I just mentioned....argh.

Anyway, epically importantly is that after the first trip I figured out this. 
Which I'll be doing again.
Cuz when you find what do it....because it works.....pfft duh.

It'll be a trip full of planes, trains, questionably safe automobiles, coffee and clean underwear.
Can't. Wait.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

It's off to Asia I go.


There's still no train that travels there.
There's still no boat that will agree to take me there.
But alas,
I go.

My sweet pretend sister Lori has asked me to accompany her to China to adopt her precious Rebekah.
Her husband Doug was going to go but Rachel is still waiting on that elusive new heart.....and somehow the prospect of Rachel enduring a heart transplant whilst both her parents were on the other side of the world sounded oddly misguided. 
So I'm coming off the bench and we are calling in a substituion.

I apparently only ever go to China with people named Lori.
And oddly it's nearly exactly two years ago that I was there with other sweet Lori. 

and Lori
in China

Somebody needs to have the consular's number handy.
Just sayin. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


I'm having a hankering for some good, authentic Chinese food.

Anybody have any recommendations?


I have to go to China for that?


Monday, March 2, 2015

Hired. Hungry. Hired & Hungry.

Looks like that freshly inked social work degree is going to get some use afterall!

I've had my eye on a PRN social work job at a local hospital for a couple of weeks,
and last week, they called
I interviewed.
They offered me the job that day!
What what?!!

It's not full time(which I want)
it's flexible(which I need)
it's within mom radius from the kids school(Child vomiting? Mommy on the way!)
and it's going to allow me to get my intern hours done for my MSW program(which is essential)
check, check, check, check!

I am supah excited.

I was more excited until I remembered that I still need to cook for these fools everyday. This realization ratchets up the difficulty level a few notches when I am not home all day.....especially since it's baseball season.
There is a finite window of time wherein I have to get them home from school, fed, clothed in baseballiness and then we head out to the fields wherein we usually don't get home until so laaaaate.

I typically serve dinner at around 3:45.
No really.
This changed my life about 6 years ago when I figured this out.
Prior to the change the kids were coming in the door from school famished and proceeded to eat every snack that resided within the confines of this house.
A couple of hours later dinner would be ready and gasp! No one would be hungry.
Yeah....that doesn't so much work for me.
So it occured to me that if I roll back dinner time to shortly after they get home they will instead fill up on dinner, not snacks.
It works.
It's a beautiful thing.
Dinner at 3:30/3:45, on to whatever sports are occurring that evening, then a snack or dessert if I had made it that day after the game/practice/whatever event here.
They snack very little now and eat dinner a very lot. (Man that college degree was good for my grammar)

So I need you.
I need your recipies.
You know how we all have our go-to recipies?
Help me Rhonda, I need more.
I'll share mine you share yours?
I already have my standards like chicken pot pie, chili, tacos, spaghetti that I can throw together.....
And I know I can get lost of the abyss that is pinterest recipes but I want to hear from my real life peoples, what do you make that's fast that you love?  Favorite crock pot recipes? Working moms what do you do?

Here is one of the kids(and all their teen friends) favorites.
I make this and somehow 5 more teenage boys will show up at the dinner table.
It is quite possibly the most unhealthy thing you can ever eat.
But it's quick.
A crowd pleaser
And it's made of things I usually have on hand. 
And when 6'2 friends of your teenage boys come up to you after basketball games asking if they can come over next time you make it you know you're on to something.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) package Doritos, crushed
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken (I grab a rotisserie chicken and shred it)
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) can corn, drained
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided (I use sharp cheddar)
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup 
  • 8 ounces sour cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Spread crushed chips out into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  3. Stir chicken, 1 cup Mexican cheese blend, Rotel, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, and sour cream together in a bowl. Pour chicken mixture over crushed chips into the baking dish.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Spread remaining 1 cup cheese over the casserole and bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 5 minutes more.

*I do not put the crushed chips on the bottom as the recipe instructs. I found that they burn before the rest of the casserole is hot. So I bake everything else and then crush the chips onto the top, cook an additional 4-5 minutes to crisp the chips and serve over rice. * 

Go ahead. 
Try it. 
You and your expanding waistline yet oh so satisfied taste buds can thank me later. 
It's off the chain yo.

Ok your turn, 
bring it on sisters.