Samuel Jerome and Richnightder

Samuel Jerome and Richnightder
Our boys in Haiti

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gobble, Gobble

Today is traditionally a day when we American's pause and reflect for a moment on the things for which we are thankful.

I am very thankful that our new computer is up and running and we were able to save all the info from the broken laptop. The computer is our link to the outside world and to news of Haiti, and updates on our boys and progress out of legal departments.

I am thankful that we are all in good health, have a lovely home, our animals, family, friends and I am always thankful for the ability to get out of bed everyday and think of what good things may suprise me.

Madison suprised me last evening while we were in the kitchen busily cooking and baking. She has told me now for sometime that she plans of attending Harvard for undergrad and then going to vet school. Last evening she told me that she loves me being her teacher because I care enough to stay home and teach them. That made my whole year. So many times I feel like the worst person for yelling at the kids, and dreading a difficult school day, but hearing her say that, completely renewed my sense of determination to continue homeschooling.

We must fly to the neighbor's house now to partake of their dystfunctional family. It is so nice to see other families interact on a less than stellar level of civility. Best part of it is that since they are not our family, we can just get up and leave, come home, put on our jammies and talk about them and their oddities!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I told you that would happen

Thomas officially has the crud that has plagued the rest of us. He has terrible congestion, a sore throat, chest cold, productive cough and a fever. I am on the mend, but Marc and Thomas are feeling pretty yucky.

Last night I let Thomas use our almost brand new laptop to surf cars and trucks while he was lying on the couch. He carried it in to show us something and as the words were being exhaled from my mouth, "Be careful and carry it with both hands" he stumbled and dropped the laptop. It's screen is now a miserable mess of broken whatever it is material. All I know is that the computer is no longer among the living.

Today Marc took it to Best Buy and the Geek Squad is trying to retrieve all the info from our hard drive and install it into the new computer that we had to buy. We bought another Gateway as we really liked the one that just became garbage. So keep your fingers crossed that we can get back onto a real computer by late tonight or tomorrow evening. Right now I am using Madi's little notebook computer and I hate it. It is so darn dinky and her keys are sticky with food and God knows what else!!

But the Mother of the year award goes to me for what Thomas heard me say last evening after the computer incident. I was trying to tell Thomas that money doesn't grow on trees and since we are having to incur the cost of buying a new computer, even though it was an accident, maybe we should cut back on the amount of gifts that we planned on getting him. He told me that was ok, as Santa would still get him stuff. I thought he had left the room, but was merely out of my sight behind the countertop island in the kitchen when I told Marc, "Well maybe we should just complete his night and tell him there really is no Santa." I felt SO bad when he came around the counter, looked at me with those deep, dark, tear-stained eyes and said, "What? There's no Santa. Oh, great. What next, no tooth Fairy." So back off ladies, Mom of the Year goes to me for bursting the kids bubble after he berated himself for accidentally breaking the computer. And life plugs along up here on the Northern Plains, where everyday, little boys have accidents, and their Mom's damage their psyche's by obliterating the fantasy of eternal happiness and good will, also known as Santa.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Any news is good news

Having fun with my little pirates in June

Earlier this week I posted on our adoptive family forum of C4C families some information that I had gleaned from Vera's blog, regarding a new step in MOI. Well, Kathi, co-founder of Chances4Children replied to my post and explained that our creche has already been supplying the extra documents needed so we are not affected. But what I really liked reading in her post was about my boys.

Kathi wrote that she happend to be in Haiti when my boys had to go to MOI for their birthparent interviews and that the interviews went "Very well." She also said that both boys looked so cute in their dress-up clothes waiting to head into town. My anniversary is in 2 days and she is so unaware that her few words totally and completely made my day, week and anniversary so wonderful.

Now a shout out to everyone in the adoption world. Do the kids have an interview also at MOI along with when the birthparents appear?? Regardless, I am so happy to know that my sweet boys are getting closer to coming home; and then the chaos starts..........which I can't wait for!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

A flippin' miracle in Montana

I am draggin my self off of my self-imposed sick bed, to announce to the world that Nate and Kristi and their little boy, Kobe Loudince are officially out of the black hole of IBESR!!!!!!!! They have spent a leisurely almost 10 months hanging out in the first of the Haitian legal departments responsible for processing our adoptions.

I know how they feel today, and I bet they will have a wonderful, wonderful weekend envisioning the day little Lou man comes home. Celebrate and enjoy yourselves..........the best is yet to come.

Now I am really mad

I hate being sick, and I am still sick. I haven't slept in two nights and I am not a very pleasant person to be around right now. I haven't taught school since Monday and the kids are really in need of a routine. I look so horrible with puffy eyes, red nose, and breathing through my mouth, that I can't even look at myself in the mirror. I also have missed my last two hair appointments, and now am scrambling trying to get in before Thanksgiving.

My roots are growing out so much that I look like a cheap, old, two-toned car. You know, one color on top and one on the bottom. YUCK!! Right now, getting in to Tammy and having my hair cut and colored before Thanksgiving is worth any amount of money. I just may have to bribe her with a nice bottle of wine while she does my hair. Just for the record, I have come to realize that I get the BEST haircuts when the stylist is drinking wine. Go figure.

The house is in an even worse state of disarray. Yesterday afternoon, Madi and Thomas were screaming at each other because of the way Thomas was sitting on the couch. I don't know why, but Thomas likes to sit on the couch upside down and watch tv. It reminds me of the old tv show, Mork and Mindy. Mork (Robin Williams) was an alien and he always sat on his head. I know Thomas has never seen a re-run of this show, so I just have to think it is something weird he discovered on his own. Anyhow, the kids are crabby, the house is gross, I look like hell, and we still get the pleasure of putting up the Christmas lights this weekend. That always involves a nasty argument and in some sick, perverse way, I look forward to it.

Oh, and our 18th wedding anniversary is on Nov. 24. Marc and I were supposed to go out on a date this weekend, but not with the way I look right now, and my hideous hair. Maybe he can pick up some Carino's to go and we'll eat it in long as the kids are at Jan's house overnight!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Everything has gone to hell because I have a cold

Madison was kind enough to share her cold/flu with me. She is still sick with it, but when she first came down with it, she spent 3 days lying on the couch with kleenex, cough drops and the remote. Now she has seen fit to share her plague with me and I am still up moving around.

The kids had basketball yesterday, ice skating today and Madi has another activity tonight for two hours. I still have to feed the animals, oh, and try to do homeschooling. Since my voice has left me, I did not do school yesterday and today isn't looking so great either for school. My puppies barked all night long, so much so that it even annoyed Pebbles and Chowders. Pebbles had gas all night which is never good since she sleeps under our bed. The green fog apparantly seeps upward thru mattress and bedding until it wakes us from a sound sleep. Chowder woke us up to go outside and vomit and I continued to lie there coughing and choking on the phlegm. Marc was a good sport last night, and got up to feed the puppies, change piddle pads and take Chowder out. Pebbles barfed sometime around 4AM and as we lept from the bed to try and drag her to our bathroom and onto an easy-to-clean floor, she barfed right in the doorway to our bathroom. So I grabbed the nearest thing to scoop the barf up with and it was unfortunately Marc's pants. OOPS!!

The whole point to my story is that, when my normal routine is off, suchas having a cold and not doing school, the whole house, including animals all falls to hell. My house is a disgusting germ infested abode that needs a serious scrubbing. I now have to scrub floors, bathrooms, kitchen, doorknobs, lightswitches, remote, kitchen drawer pulls, etc. I hate seeing stuff lying around and for a couple days now, I have just walked over or around it. But it is seriously causing me distress. I ventured downstairs and was horrified to see that the kids had left the bar area a total wreck. That sink is full of empty pop cans, and bowls from having contraband ice cream. They moved ALL the furniture around to make a blanket tent and I swear it is bigger than Marc's first apartment. They rearranged the bar fridge and pushed my diet coke to the back which really pissed me off. I know, illogical, but I do feel crappy and when I feel crappy, the kids go WILD.

So I just had to rant and rave that I hate having a cold and I hate having a trashed out house. On the up side though, Marc did bring me home a dozen roses yesterday because he knew I had a rough day. Now if he really felt like getting me something to cheer me up, he should have gotten me the matching necklace to my earrings at Tiffany and Co. HINT HINT

Monday, November 17, 2008

Yelling must be a cultural thing

I am totally swipping this idea from another gals blog,, but since I have no shame, I am going to continue the discussion she brought up. Her comment was that most mothers admit to yelling/hollering at their kids especially preschool aged children. I am not super proud to admit that I yell at my kids, but I am only human.

Let me back up a little here on this great topic of why I admit to yelling at my kids. First I would like to state for the record that I do not randomly yell at my kids just because I am bored, but it is usually precipitated by my child/children doing something utterly stupid and dangerous...or publicly embarassing that will cause me to yell at them later in private. My mother was Irish and my Father was of German heritage. These two cultures are diametrically opposed in areas of verbosity. My mom was always very verbal and never lacked for a reason to talk or to yell at us kids. Until very recently in my adult life, I believed that yelling was a normal occurence in the Irish culture. All our cousins had mother's that yelled and our houses were naturally loud. My father was very quiet and only spoke when it served a specific purpose. Yelling was an unnecessary noise that served little purpose. We always knew my dad was mad because he just very quietly and deliberatly left the room. You were forced to stand there in your own silence and inevitable shame.

Most of the cousins were Irish and the other side was Italian. I just grew up in a house where yelling was a normal, daily occurrence. Now don't get me wrong. The yelling was not always in anger, heck most of the time, it was just how thoughts and emotions were expressed. I never knew it was unusual or something in which to be alarmed. But the first time Marc ever met my Aunt Joan's family and her kids, he ended up with heartburn, a headache and a twitch in his eye, all before desert. The dinner table was surrounded by at least 20 family members, to include the two Irish mothers and the two German fathers. Chaos normally ensued, but Marc had never been to a family get-together where everyone talks at the same time, kids are whinning, and the grown-ups are loudly talking and laughing....even with people at the other end of the table. Seriously, Marc got dizzy trying to keep up with all the different conversations. This was just normal life. Loud discussions, interspersed with an occasional shout from a frustrated mother.

It wasn't until I first had dinner at Marc's parent's house that I realized how different our families were. His family had a large gathering of relatives around the table and yet, no one spoke until another conversation had ended. There were no raucous discussions, no mothers yelling at their kids to sit down and eat, and no good belly laughs. His family was very reserved and composed. Now this is where I got a headache and a twitch in my eye. To me this type of family dinner was straight up WEIRD. How can anyone show love to someone else if they aren't being loud and shouting?? I still to this day, just can't believe that anyone in his family is having fun at these dinners if it is deathly quiet. For God's sake it is like eating dinner with professional mourners!!

So very long story short, I totally get the hollering at the kids thing and not thinking it is necessarily detrimental to their future mental health. My mom never yelled demeaning things at us and I don't do that when I yell either, but I do occasionally blurt out a "What the hell did you do that for?" I like to labor under the delusion that my sisters and I are some where on the spectrum of normalcy despite our mother yelling at us. So in defence of hollering at our 'young'ns, I think the two that I have raised since the moment of their birth are somewhat normal and well-adjusted. How ironic that on our first adoption homestudy 11 years ago, one of the questions asked was what one trait of your parents' child-rearing style would you be most likely to reject...........................and I wrote....................yelling!!! HAHAHAHAHA Life has a funny way of biting you in the butt. Even though my mom and my aunt Joan are now gone, they still live on in me everyday when I open my mouth and yell at my kids, "If you don't come inside and eat now,I am eating the rest of your Halloween Candy." Jokes on them. I finished it off last weekend!!

A parting shot to contemplate. My mom passed away on October, 17, 2007. Last Friday I received in the mail..............her stimulus check!! I don't know how stimulated it will make her in the great beyond!! Just what every deceased person needs is $ that makes everything right!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

cheap laughs

Does anyone else enjoy people watching?? Sometimes I have to suppress my laughter when I am at the store, mall, airport or any public place at the things people will do and wear by choice.

I would like to know what would cause someone to be so desperate for groceries, that they venture to Super Walmart in their pajamas in the middle of the day?? Not that anyone should go grocery shopping in their PJ's regardless of the hour of the day. What would cause my MIL and FIL to travel from Oregon to North Dakota with their passports......tied around their necks?? Why do some women at Walmart wear gross, old, dirt slippers to the store?? Why do some "big-boned" gals insist on wearing tight pants and shirts that show every fat roll on their body??

And this is another curious thought. Does Walmart really sell such high-end perfume that it has to be behind a locked glass door? Are the women driving in from the farms with their blue eye-shadowed daughter's just dying to get ahold of some 'designer' knock-off Elizabeth Taylor White Diamond's perfume?? What could be of such value that Walmart must lock it up?

And one of of my personal pet peeves.......I understand people traveling on a red-eye flight with children in their jammies or comfy clothes, but why do adults insist on wearing what I wouldn't be caught going to the garbage can in?? And on that same line of thought......why bring your own pillow, tucked under your arm, in plain view with a dingy, dirty pillowcase!! YUCK

With the Christmas shopping season now upon us, I am sure that I will have more than enough freaks to view at our local shopping establishments. But I do admit my personal favorite place to people watch remains the airport. I love to watch families fighting, screaming children, and the general sense of anger that everyone seems to carry along as well as their luggage.

The last time Marc and I went to Haiti, we played a fun game while waiting in line at all the airports we had to pass thru. It was packed as usual and people are standing too close to me for comfort, you know, personal space!! Marc was right behind me and as we stood in the lines that snake around and around, so that people are to your left and right, Marc blurts out, "So, what did you tell your husband??" Heads snapped around and I immediately got on board with this fun, new game. I replied, "I told him the same thing you told your wife." I loved the dirty way it made me feel and people couldn't stop looking at us. Now that was fun. Next time we do it, we are going to make sure that we have all 4 of our black kids with us. Now there's something to gossip about.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happier thoughts

Wow, yesterday's post was a downer!! Although it was all true, the reality of it was still super depressing. I have not spoken to the neighbors today to see how they are feeling since the death of their horse, but I would imagine they are still pretty sad.

In light of my black, gloomy, post of yesterday, I thought I would post some cute pics of Madison and Thomas just having fun with the horses. No horse show stress or wardrobe dilemmas; just fun times with kids and horses at home. Sometime though, I will have to post pictures of Madison and Thomas collecting their awards at AQHA shows. Madi always acts like it is no big deal and Thomas is just the opposite. He wants everyone to take notice of his accomplishments.

But today is to honor the treasured relationship between people and horses. Our oldest horse, Josh, is a handsome, regal 21 year old Arabian. He still knows he is hot stuff, but he takes care of my kids. He is a four-legged babysitter and although he is aging, you can still see the majestic and proud Arab that he was and still embodies. Our Arab mare, Lucki, is a wonderful example of hot-blooded, raring to go, show off horse. She has a sweet heart, but a will of iron and I trust her implicitly with Madison only. She loves Madi and when they had a nasty spill two summers ago, Lucki waited beside Madi until she got up and took ahold of the reins.

Our Quarter horses have very different personalities than do our Arabs. They are more willing to please and not as tempermental, but still take care of us. My horse Tommy is a world class reiner that came to us from a breeder in Texas. I had a bad riding accident as a child and it took me well into my adult years to go back to riding. When I found Tommy at a show in Oregon, I fell in love. Little did I know that Marc and our friend and trainer, Terri, brokered the deal and bought him for me. He has restored my confidence in myself and taught me to trust the horse again. Now Madison rides him in the Quarter Horse and Reining shows and is kicking some serious ass against the much older kids. Marc's mare, Hondo just produced a beautiful filly that we hope will become a world class reiner in 3-4 years. Our mini's are just are pets that the kids goof around on and have a lot of fun. I love all my horses and their personalities are as unique and different as people.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Too much realism

My four little mini Shetland ponies
Yesterday I spent 6 or more hours with my neighbor Jan over at the other neighbors house helping them deal with one of their injured horses. Seems that one of their horses fell on the ice and snow and either fractured its pelvis or severely damaged the supporting ligaments in the hip socket. Either way, the horse couldn't get up and we had to roll the horse frequently and try to keep it warm with blankets as the windchill was just about zero.

The vet came out last evening and thought it would be worth it to give the horse a day to see if it could get it's legs under her and stand on her own. She did manage to get up twice, but it became abundantly clear that there was something very wrong and her rear legs were not functioning as they should. But about two hours ago the horse fell with its legs in the froggy position. Definetly not a viable position for a horse. Three of us managed to lift her back end and tuck a leg under her so that we could roll her onto her side. After getting her more comfortable, we could see her hip was out of socket and it appears as if she broke the left side of her pelvis. She was grinding her teeth and grunting in pain. It was a horrible, horrible sight. No vet could get out here within several hours, so it was up to the neighbor to have to put the horse down and out of agony by shooting her.

I have never had to witness this before. I have had dogs humanely put down at the vets with medication that stops the heart, but I have never had to hear the sound of the moment of death. Yes, it was the right thing to do and the most humane, but it was brutally real. We have 9 horses and this is my worst nightmare. I pray that I will never have to do this with one of our horses because it would be like shooting a member of your family that you love. To watch an animal suffer is a miserable thing in which to bear witness. They are incapable of expressing in words what hurts, but their eyes express plenty of emotion.

I am very grateful to our good neighbors who we all must count on for help in times of trouble. Friends are family that we meet along the way and I am sure glad that I have such good friends who just happen to be my neighbors.

Since today just happend to be Veteran's Day, Marc had the pleasure of being home to help out with all this realism. Yes, animals are an intergal part of our lives, and I would not want change our lifestyle and not have animals, but having to make these decisions are just plain awful.

Now, to my good friend Tifanni, try to top that day!! I call her Lucy and I am Ethel for all the escapades we have faced and the unfortunate luck that seems to happen around us. I am now enjoying another Corona and hoping that tomorrow can just be a normal day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Yummy idea for Christmas gifts for people you like a lot

Since moving to North Dakota, we have met some of the most sincere and kindest people around. A lot of our friends have come thru contacts in the horse world, particularly the American Quarter Horse Association.

One such couple are Mark and Sonja Stromswold. They live a little north of us, near the Canadian border in a small town named Mohall. Nice, nice, people, but Sonja has a super sweet side to her.....namely her ability to bake FABULOUS treats. She has quite a reputation in these parts for her baking skills and ability to produce outstanding delicacies. So I am planning on ordering a lot of treats from Sonja's online site to send to family and friends for Christmas.

Check out her website at . I promise you will not be disappointed and after you have tried some of her Scandinavian specialties, you will always want more!! These treats are truly a hidden treasure from North Dakota.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

odds and ends

Carlos and Gucci

Carlos and Gucci escaping from the snowcave

Pebbles and Chowder

Madi as a pirate wench

I was looking thru some out-take photos that April and Beth just took on their last trip to the creche. I actually think they are just as good as the photos that we got as our monthly update pictures. I loved some of Jerome acting silly and Richnightder, looking the part of big brother, eye-rolling at his antics.

I am also posting some pictures of yesterday's blizzard and the fun things the kids did with all the snow. Marc helped them dig snow caves and even added built-in seats in the caves. They really were neat caves and the cool thing about them is that they really do protect you from the weather and they are ultra quiet inside. Marc and I met up in one of the caves when we had told the kids we were going to the barn to feed the horses. Actually thought we would have a moment to make-out, but Thomas burst in on us with a loud "Gross." Geez, with all the snow clothes on, it's not like we could actually "DO" something.

Also added a picture of Madison on Halloween dressed as a sassy pirate wench. She is growing up way too fast!! I also added some pics of my cute little puppies and of Pebbles, our Rottweiler and Chowder our Chow Chow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like winter

You know the weather is bad in your area, when the anchorman from The Weather Channel shows up to do live reports.

It started to rain very hard last evening and quickly turned to freezing rain. Then oddly, it began to lightning and thunder. At the same time, it began to sleet and then turned to snow. It is now a raging blizzard outside with 50mph winds and almost zero visibility. Marc is slowly making his way home on the backroads as the highways are glazed over and they are getting close to closing the major roads.

All this snow makes me want to slip away to something tropical and blessed by warm ocean breezes. I also picture in my fantasy, a very handsome, dark-skinned cabana boy and an endless supply of Long Island Iced Teas. Ideally, my island fantasy will not require me to take anti-malarial medicine; those are nasty tasting and have unpleasant side-effects. 'Nuf said!

Fantasies are wonderful things. I often picture myself escaping from my children and not leaving a forwarding address. But then reality bites me back into conciousness and I realize that I am soon to be the mother to 4, count 'em 4 kids. in the hell did that happen?? I had better find a reliable escape mechanism before the new boys are home or I will be a real loon.
The above picture is of Marc and the neighbor clearing our driveway. What a beautiful North Dakota Autumn day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Obviously I am thrilled that barack Obama has been voted as our President Elect. I saw the eyes of the American people last night, yearning with hope and triumph. This is a moment of infamy!

I did not vote for Obama because he was black. I voted for him because I saw the desire to bring hope to our country. Hope to the people who have seen their dreams and their hopes for their children slowly ebb away from reality. I do believe that Obama can and will inspire all Americans to do what they can for our country. I do believe that he will have daunting challenges, successes and failures and I do believe he will lead our country to a new-found standing of importance and respect on a global scale.

As the mother of four black children, I am overwhelmed with joy and hope that my children will now be able to say that although they have studied segregation, they have also witnessed the culmination of perserverance and determination to overcome injustice. Yes, racism still exists, sometimes subtly and sometimes quietly, but perhaps those clutching to their ingrained fallacies, will now begins to see things thru different eyes. I believe the best days of America are still ahead of us. That responsibility does not lie soley with Obama, but with the millions of Americans who must take responsibility for our destiny. Millions have voted and now our future is in our hands and Obama's respectful vision of America; one of hope, success, independence, and unlimited possibilities.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I'm bored and getting sad. I have heard our unusually warm fall is about to end next week. That means a return to parkas, hat, gloves, etc. I even heard the weatherman say the 'S' word...snow!! Marc put up some snow fencing today to keep it from piling up in between the barns. UGH I am not ready for winter yet.

The feeling of being in MOI has not worn off yet. It is a nice feeling to think that we are getting close to the end, relatively speaking. I know once it gets back to the USCIS offices, Marc will have a little 'pull' as he has lots of contacts. He has also spent a great deal of time at the Senators' offices and our Representatives office making contacts that will help when it gets to the embassy. Not like it is hard to do as he works right across the hall from their offices. Marc told me they have had some nice talks in the men's room. Right now, I don't real care where the schmooze happens as long as it helps get our kids file to the top of the pile in PaP. But bearing in mind that I have the luck of the Irish, we may just spend a few years in USCIS. Who really knows if anything will help, all you can do is try.

With the coming of winter weather knocking on our imminent door, I thought I would post a picture of Marc and me with our friends from last winter's cruise. We had an outstanding time and it was wonderful to be together, sans kids. Gee, maybe I should start planning another trip soon. Our 18th wedding anniversary is Nov. 24th. Yes, Marc married me when I was only 10!!!!! ;)