Samuel Jerome and Richnightder

Samuel Jerome and Richnightder
Our boys in Haiti

Monday, January 31, 2011

Hello Pan Am.........

Or in the modern times, " Hello American Airlines.  I want a one-way ticket anywhere."  I know in just 33 days or so, I will be flying out of this frozen, snow-covered tundra for the balmy, palm-tree lined streets of Orlando, but I'm contemplating just buying a one way ticket.  I don't know if it counts as running away if I just don't come home; it's merely refusing to return to my normally scheduled life.  The other 63 women who are going on this lifesaving retreat will be my lifeline and support to keep on swimming. 

I think there's been a little too much togetherness lately around the Laurie household.  The weather has contributed to our shut in status.  Our high temps have hovered in the 5 below zero range which means Jerome will not even go near the open door when the dogs go out to do their business.  He stands back and looks horrified.  Madison goes out to do her evening chores of feeding the horses and Richnigthhder tags along with Madi to water the horses.  He doesn't seem to mind the cold and is a real little trooper in doing the hard chore of carrying water buckets to their stalls in brutally cold weather.  Thomas is actually the only one that bundles up to go out and play.  That means that for a large portion of my waking hours, the kids are in the house, picking fights with each other just to stay entertained while I cower in the corner knitting a rope to hang myself with.

Yes, mama told me there would be DAYS like this, not MONTHS!  And yet, even after having written all the woes that are my daily life, I still find myself massively baby craving.  Oh dear God, someone slip me a roofie, because I AM losing my mind.   

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Is prostitution really a sin if you do it to pay for your kids dental work?

A couple weeks ago, the kids were asked by their Orthodontic's group to be models for their new business campaign.  Their pictures will appear in print, billboards, tv, and on the sides of buses.  Yesterday was their photo shoot and from my side of the room, it looked OH-SO-CUTE.  He shot them individually and then together, which was a little worrisome to me since they had to put their cheeks together without slugging the hell out of the other.

I'll get to see the pictures before they go to print, but for as beautiful and gorgeous as Madison is, Thomas has a natural presence in front of the camera.  His smile lights up the room and he can display any emotion with his face that is asked of him.  He just may have found an outlet for his extremly expressive personality.  Madison was asked to give a belly laugh for the camera and Thomas helped her out by playing Austin Powers and dancing.  He was hilarious!  Madison wore a purple tank top and a denim jacket in some pics and a salmon colored shirt in the others.  The colors were beautiful on her and her skin coloring is perfectly creamy and delicious.

Need I say that they both have GORGEOUS teeth.  Thomas is set to get his braces off next month on the 23rd and Madison still has a couple months.  Yesterday before the photo shoot,  both kids had check-ups at the orthodontist.  I was kicked in the belly when the ortho informed me that Madison has two impacted lower wisdom teeth that will need extraction sometime around 17 or 18.  WTF???  We put these expensive braces on the kid to make a gorgeous smile and then, BAM!  He tells me not to plan any expensive vacations in the future as she'll need expensive oral surgery.  Let me tell you, I am one lucky mama. 

Jerome will be heading to a pediatric dentist in Fargo because he is going to need some extensive dental work in the future.  Seems that the disease he was exposed to in utero by his birthmother caused him to have  permanent teeth with weak roots and horribly mishapened, pitted surfaces.  Oh, how lucky are we? 

We have great health insurance, but our dental sucks.  I just may have to become a prostitute to pay for my kids dental work.  Now, where can I find blind men willing to pay for services from this hottie?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Oh Orlando, I need you!

Today was a snotty day.  School actually went well.  Work was completed and everyone was happy to head to gym.  It was once we arrived at the gym that it all went in the crapper.

Thomas was shooting hoops waiting for class to start and Madison was pot-stirring as only she can do.  Thomas got tired of her so he threw the ball at her and it knicked her arm.  She chased him down, grabbed him by his skinny bird arms and swung him around and threw him into the dividing net/wall thingymabob.  As she stormed towards me I told her if she uttered one complaint, we were heading home.  I told her again as she got closer and then, BAM, she opened her mouth and out came the complaints. 

I stood up, called the boys to the bench and handed them each their coats and told them we were leaving because of Madison's behavior.  She walked out of the gym with tears in her eyes, LOUDLY proclaiming that I am the one with the problem and screaming how mean I am.  Mind you, this was all in a public forum and she embarassed the hell out of herself...and me. 

How can she act in such an immature manner?  How is she capable of being so utterly perfect one moment and the next nothing but a self-centered, vidictive girl?  She is capable of such great and wonderful thoughts, deeds and actions that when this 'thing' comes out, I am hurt.  Intellectually I know she is a 13 year old girl, but her words and actions still wound.

I expect this kind of unpredictable behavior from my one son that struggles, but from her, it's just painful.  How can my beautiful, smart, engaging, sweetheart spew such nastiness?  At this rate, I'll take the boys and their antics 10x's over.  Ms. Happy Pants...AKA, Gladys is out in the barn shoveling frozen horse crap now in a last ditch effort to dig herself out of the crap hole she has gotten herself into.  Hmmm, funny how that has a Karma-like twist to it, eh?

Now onto the exciting, E.X.C.I.T.I.N.G news.  Kristi is going to Orlando!!!!!!!!  Yep, Kristi from  is heading to Orlando too.  Kristi and I have known each other since, well, before we even met.  See, I met one of her sons before she did and had the privilege of giving him some treasured gifts from his momma and daddy.  We finally met in person on Father's Day in Miami in 2008 and traveled to Haiti together to visit our kids at the creche.  I last saw Kristi in Kalispell in October and it was so neat to see all of our kids and the Watkins kids together in one place, healthy, happy and safe.  I can't wait to introduce Kristi to Sarah from and Angela who happens to live here in town with me, but I NEVER get to see.  Her blog is .

Girls, get your party hats out and if you happen to have a big purple jug with your name on it for LARGE beverages....bring it!  42 days and counting!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ever Wonder Why??????

I've always questioned why they ask for a phone number when you fill out a shipping form for FedEx?  Well today I got that answer.

About 45 minutes ago, the phone rang from a cell phone number we didn't recognize.  Guess who it was?  It was the friendly FedEx delivery man calling.  Was he calling for directions? No.  Was he calling to see if someone was home to sign for the package?  No.  He was calling because he was stuck in a snow drift down the road from our house and wanted us to come dig him out and pull his truck out of the ditch. 

It would appear that when you are stuck in a snowdrift/ditch in North Dakota, you don't call your company, AAA, or a tow truck, you call the person you are delivering to.  I guess if you want your damn package, you'll show up with a shovel and tow chain!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The faces of our future

Yesterday Marc and I were asked to be guest speakers at the Youth Correctional Center, otherwise known as juvenile jail.  We were asked to speak about our family, it's ethnic diversity and the culture of adoption.  The population of the youth center is hovering around 70 kids ages 11-20 which includes both boys and girls.

The education director is our friend and she too is an adoptive mom.  She wanted to speak to the fact that families are formed in different ways and no two families look alike.  We sat down for an hour before our appointed lecture time and compared notes and made a rough game plan of shared speaking.  I also wanted to address some of the issues we have dealt with in our various adoptions which includes  one of our kids having been prenatally exposed to substances, one of our kids having been born with Syphyllis and the issue we prepared for but did not have to deal with, RAD.

As the kids began to file into the room, I saw a wide array of behaviors and attitudes.  I saw some kids that looked very young and very scared.  I saw some kids that I thought for sure wouldn't blink an eye to put a knife in my back.  There were a few black kids, a large group of native american kids and quite a few white kids.  Something happened to me that has not happened before......I got nervous thinking about what I was going to say.  I never get nervous in a public speaking forum and yet, I felt my stomach flip-flop and my head get woozy.   I panicked thinking about the things I was going to say and felt a fear that what I might say in regards to substance abuse during pregnancy and RAD would touch some of those kids on a VERY personal level.  I knew some had been prenatally exposed to chemicals and it contributed to their placement in YCC and I knew a vast majority of them exhibit profound RADish behavior.  I looked into their eyes and choked.  I gasped for air silently and realized that these kids were going to hear my words and see their own stories woven into our experiences.

I began by telling our beautiful, loving experience of Madison's adoption beginning with being matched with Angela and loving her as much as Madison.  I also addressed the reality that for as joyous as Marc and I were, we also knew it involved loss and sorrow for the birthmom, and in the case of Richnightder and Jerome, themselves too.  Adoption is a double-edged sword; indescribable joy and indescribable sorrow.  We discussed our other adoption stories and shared some things we had never done before.  This is where my fear, panic, lump-in-the-throat moment came in.

How could I share the anger I feel at one of my kids' birthmom for her selfish choice of having used substances during her pregnancy that makes my kids life hard.  Not just hard for him, but hard for us as his parents, hard for his siblings and hard for anyone that loves him.  I know how hard he works to overcome his inabilities, how hard he works to hide his differences and how hard he works to blend with his peers.  I see his struggles to grasp simple social cues, his struggles to get simple math memorization.  And I despise his birthmom for burdening him with these avoidable issues.  It was those words I tip-toed around yesterday, but to tell those kids how hard my kids life is with his prenatal exposures I damn near cried because I was looking at a sea of eyes that reflected prenatal exposures and the burdens they carried that contributed to their incarceration.

After our 'talk' several young girls came up to us to talk.  One girl who's face told the story even before she told me how her mom drank when she was pregnant and how she's stupid now.  I wanted to take her home, but my logical thinking kicked in and realized she would bring a whole boat load of problems caused by years of neglect and self-defeating behaviors.  I told her I thought if she was as beautiful inside as she was on the outside, she could use her golden heart and heal the wounds and reach for the stars.  Another girl told me she was being adopted and that her little brother was already adopted.  All I could say to her was to not wreck the opportunity with behaviors motivated by fear.  Pure and simple, these girls looked scared.

One kid in the audience seemed to really listen to us and thanked us for sharing our stories.  He also stated during Q and A time that he wished they all had parents like us.  In a way I wished they did too.  Not that were perfect by a LOOOOOOOOONNNNNGGGGGGG shot, but we do give a damn about our kids and will die trying to give them the best we can.  I left there wondering what these kids futures will be.  How different would their futures be if they had been born into families that created safe, secure, nurturing evironments for them?

Yesterday was a tough day for me.  I have resolved to try to volunteer at the YCC.  I don't kid myself to think that I alone can make a differnce, but I want one or two of the YCC kids to know I care.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Rack 'em and Stack 'em

Although we have lived in North Dakota for 7 years, we are still learning about life here in the time warped space of the open tundra.  Everyday we learn something new about how life functions here which still seems freakishly odd compared to how we have lived in other regions.

Within in the past week, Marc, the kids and I have helped prepare, serve and clean up for 3 funerals held at our church.  The first funeral was for a dear neighbor of ours who passed away after 10 long years of health issues.  He left behind a lovely, lovely wife, grown children and many grand kids.  While I was downstairs in the church kitchen cooking, his funeral was being held upstairs.  I could hear the service and what I heard I thought was a mistake.  After Pastor Paul commended his body to God, he ended the service by adding that his burial will take place when the snow melts, hopefully sometime this spring.  Yeah right, I thought.

When Pastor Paul made his way to the kitchen to get some of the food several others and I had labored over, I asked him about the "Spring burial" comment.  He did confirm that with the frozen ground and abundance of snow, people who die in the winter won't get buried until the ground thaws and the snow melts.  So of course that begs the question...."Where do the dead stiffs get kept until a spring burial?" 

Pastor Paul, knowing that I am still new to North Dakota ways, told me that they are just kept in the ditches which are full of snow.  When my mouth fell open, he told me that in all honesty, the dead are kept in cold storage units behind the mortuary.  Basically the dead get stacked and stored until the snow turns to mud and the burials can proceed.  Usually Spring for us occurs sometime around late April.  I think it is torturous to the families of dearly departed to have to revisit the sorrow a second time, months after the funeral.  I guess the option for those who choose burial over cremation is to keep your loved one in cold storage at home, say , perhaps in the tool shed!

Honestly, can that be any worse than knowing your loved one is racked and stacked with a bunch of strangers in the shed behind the mortuary?  BLECH, this is not one of the charms of living in North Dakota.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A simply addressed envelope

I opened the mailbox at the end of our driveway today and got a very, very pleasant suprise.  No, not the Visa bill or Nordstrom bill, but a very simply addressed envelope to: Marc and Geralyn Laurie, Baldwin, North Dakota.
That's it.  Nothing more.  I opened it quickly when I saw the return address was to a gal I last saw 8 years ago in Oregon.  Sunny used to cut my hair...and did a rockin' smokin' hot job of it for me all the time... and i also got to know her outside the salon as our kids were the same age and went to the same preschool.  All I can say right now is that it was a great way to start off a new year by remember long lost friends.

Where else, but in rural North Dakota can a letter find you with just a name and town!  Yet one more small, teensy-tiny good thing about living in a part of the world stuck in a "Leave it to Beaver" time warp!