Samuel Jerome and Richnightder

Samuel Jerome and Richnightder
Our boys in Haiti

Monday, March 28, 2011

Do these jammies make me look fat?

Jerome finished his bath last night, rubbed himself down with his coconut scented cream and then got dressed in his jammies.

Fascinating stuff, huh?

He wandered out to the family room with just his jammie pants on and asked, "Do these pajammies make me look fat?"  I don't know what to make of this other than he cracks me up.  And no, the jammie pants did not make him look fat, even though they are a plaid.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Jerome and his Cupcake

Jerome has a darling little friend from our homeschool group that he affectionately calls Cupcake.  She's a sweet little, itty-bitty girl with a perfect little smile, so the name Cupcake fits her to a tee.  Jerome has been chomping on the bit to have a playdate with her, so after many delays due to weather, Cupcake came for a nice long visit, along with her mom and little brother.

The house was full of noise and the echoes of stampeding feet.  The kids got all dressed in snow gear to head outside and go sledding down our massive snowdrifts in our 'barrow-a-bogan'......which is Laurie speak for a stripped down wheel barrow that the kids all cram into and after a good spraying of nonstick cooking spray sends them shooting down the hills.  Obviously the barrow-a-bogan got to be boring, so Richnigthder took it upon himself to saddle up Josh and take Cupcake for a little ride.

When the kids came inside and told us what fun they had had, I chastised Richnigthder for not wearing a helmet and putting one on Cupcake and for taking the horse out without permission on our icy, snowy ground.  Once everyone was back inside and the snow gear was scattered throughout the entry way, Cupcake's mom and I had a super fun time just doing what homeschool mom's do best......SOCIALIZE!  Of course we enjoyed our social time with a mango margarita and chips and salsa.  Over the extreme din of the kids noise we agreed this will be infintely more fun when the weather is warm and sunny and the kids can play outside while we sit on the lounge chairs with a drink in our hands.

For an orphanage kid, Jerome has no problem sharing and playing with and alongside friends.  At one point I heard him talking to Cupcake and he was tellling her not to squeeze the guinea pig too hard.  After listening to the damn guinea pig squeel for a while we went in to see what was happening and it was sweet to see Jerome being very patient and teaching Cupcake how to hold Cavy on her lap.  Eventually they went back downstairs and played a good long time in the classroom.  Cupcake was Jerome's teacher and she gave him lessons and drills in English and math.  Leave it to a little girl to take charge of the situation and come up with an educational play session.

It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to know that my little boys have integrated so well into our family, lifestyle, and that I have such great friends that see my kids as just that.  Geralyn's kids; not adopted, not orphans, not poor under-privileged kids, just my kids and part of an average, ordinary family.  It sure makes dealing with buttheads so much more tolerable, because as we all know, buttheads are everywhere.

Here's to you Natalie!  You are not alone although it sometimes may feel that way.  Surround yourself with strong, supportive friends and it helps ease the slings and arrows of life.  Remember, unique is interesting and ordinary is boring.  Your family, my family and gobs of my friends' families are unique...which in my book makes us uniquely us, which is fab.u.lous!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

11 more inches....and it's not what you think

Hard to believe we had another rip-roaring blizzard yesterday.  That makes 2 full-fledged blizzards in 11 days.  We had just under a foot of snow yesterday and it left some monstrous drifts everywhere.

It has become a nasty habit that Marc is in trial whenever there is a blizzard and is forced to stay in town in his office....alone, by himself, with a warm blanky, a full bathroom, kitchen and most importantly...solitude!  Lucky dog!  He made it home a little bit ago and is outside on the tractor beginning to move the massive snow drifts that have trapped us on this side of the road.  I hate the fact that without him at home, we are trapped. 

It often forces me to think about what my life would be like without him...God forbid, as my Irish Catholic mother would add!  How would I do the things I just naturally assume he does?  While I'm not a shrinking violet and am up to a challenge, there are some things I just can't do.  One of those things is moving horse pen panels around.  Those are heavy and my short arms just can't grasp them.  I can't push the snow on the tractor as I can't seem to figure out how to manipulate the hydraulics and all those damn levers.  I can't dig down 4 feet into the draught ravaged ground to fix the water hydrant that the horse ran over.  I can't do lots of jobs that are purely sheer muscle jobs.    I know that if something happened to Marc, I would be forced to hire these things done.  Yes that costs money, but I would have no other option.  It bothers me that I wouldn't be able to do it all like he would be able to.  Let's face it, doing the laundry and grocery shopping are not exactly 'splitting-the-atom' kind of tasks.  Anyone can do those things.

Besides the weather and it's complicating factors in life, I wouldn't want to go thru this life without him.  Raising these kids alone would be torture.  I guess I could and would do it, but it is a lot more fun to do it with my best friend.  Everything in life is more fun with Marc.  When he's not here I feel like I'm missing something.  Recently, I was asked what changes I have experienced this past year, and in addition to the answer I said then, I would have to add that i fear losing my best friend.  It's just a thought that scares the hell out of me. 

Life is tenuous and hangs by a thread.  I met Marc on October 27, 1987 and things have only gotten better since then.  It makes me realize how quickly life is whizzing by and how much I stilll have to do in this life and how many things I want to do with Marc.  One of those things is watching all 4 of my kids graduate from college.  God willing, they'll get there without driving me into a raging alcoholic or the mental institution.  Sitting on a porch swing with Marc in our old age, remembering the good 'ol days is defintely a must have on my list of things to do in this life with him.  Hopefully we'll be able to sit there and laugh and recall all the dumb-ass things he's done.  Thankfully, I've never done anything stupid or dumbass!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wanna know why the orange was lonely? Because the banana split!

It probably has nothing to do with this post, but Thomas just told me this joke and I actually did find it humorous and thought it would make a catchy title.  However, I have had some totally banana ideas lately and thought I'd share them with you all.

I am fully aware that I had yet another birthday yesterday and while I realize the option to getting older isn't so hot, I know I am not a spring chicken.  Hell, I'm probably not even a spring hen, a spring lamb, or a spring puppy.  I think I'm probably more like a wise, sage bear who know when to get all worked up and when to just enjoy the spring-like weather.  Yes, age does have some benefits like life experiences that gives you that ability to make oh so wise statements and to accept inevitability without developing an ulcer.

For a little while now I've been massively baby craving.  Babies are great, sweet, delightful little creatures that makes everyone smile.  Yet I have these flashbacks to Madison and Thomas' baby days and am reminded of the endless nights spent with coliky babies, sick babies who can't even tell you what hurts, and not being able to leave home quickly without packing a diaper bag.  I feel safe saying that I  think my baby mama days are behind me, that doesn't preclude me from thinking of adopting an older child again.

I know, I know.  Lots of you are screaming and/or jumping out of windows now, but I really am rolling the idea around in my head.  If we did think of doing this again, it would probably be a girl this time, somewhere in the age range of 9-12 years.  I think our adoption advocate in Oregon summed it up best when she wrote me this, "Two girls, two boys and one Jerome," sounds good.  For those of you in the loop, Jerome is defintely in a group of his own!!

What in the hell am I thinking?  I see my thoughts in print and it scares me, and also gives me butterflies.  I suppose time will tell and we'll see where the wind and fate takes us as a family.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Things I never thought I'd have to tell my kid, but did

So it's old news that we had a monstrous blizzard last Friday.  By the grace of God, I arrived home safely but I high centered the car in the driveway in a bank of old, icy snow.  Saturday morning, Thomas and I headed out to dig the Denali out of it's icy, snowy tomb.

I brought the snow shovel, and the garden shovel to dig with, and alternately used the handle of the shovels to stab at the snow far underneath the car.  Thomas was a huge help even after my numerous warnings to please be extra careful and not hit the car with the shovels.  Thomas was working at the rear of the car and from my kneeling position on the driver's side of the car, I was suprised to see the ice chunks just flinging through the air as he frantically worked.  When I walked to the back, I was horrified to see that he was using an AXE....UNDERNEATH THE CAR....BY THE GAS TANK!!!  In my moment of terror, all I could get out was, "BOOM"!  Eventually I uttered the now infamous words, "Hey Tom, it's not a good idea to swing an axe under a car near the gas tank."

Why me?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

blizzards, road closures, and rotten children.

We had a doozy of a blizzard yesterday.  Let me say that again.  A D.O.O.Z.Y!  It was probably the worst blizzard we've had in our 7 years of living in North Dakota.  While the weatherman predicted a strong Alberta Clipper system to move through our area, they had only predicted strong winds and minor snow accumulations.  WRONG! 

It started with some light freezing rain, then quickly switched over to all snow.  We probably only had 2-3 inches of snow, but with the near hurricane force winds, it created chaos over almost the entire state.  I could see the weather was deteriorating rapidly so I headed into town to get some basics and while the drive into town was a little slower than normal, it was still do-able.  I was headed home by 1PM and it was getting nasty with a capital N.  Highway 83 was ice covered and the wind was blowing so hard it actually pushed me around on the ice.  By the time I reached the turn off to head East towards our house, the road was invisible.  The next 8 miles of a perfectly straight road took me in excess of 40 minutes.  It was a complete white-out and I had to stop numerous times since I simply could not see where the road was in front of me.  Thomas put his window down and would look out and advise me as to how close I was to the edge of the road.  It was inch-by-inch progress when I could move forward.  When I finally pulled into our driveway, I felt my muscles relax and my heart return from it's temporary position in my throat. 

Marc got stuck in town and slept in his office.  All highways and major roads were closed to/from and surrounding Bismarck so in town he stayed which was much better than the 700 people the National Guard had to rescue from stuck vehicles around town.  With Marc out of the loop, Madison, Adam and I headed out to feel the horses.  I figured since visibility was so bad I would drive to the barn, but as you might guess, I got the Denali high-centered half way between our house and the barn.

I've heard old-timer's tell stories of blizzards so bad you can't see your hand in front of your face and I now know that to be reality and not fiction.  When we began walking back to the house, I feared losing the kids in the blinding snow so I used a lead line from the horses and had Adam hold it right behind me and Madison at the end.  I instructed them to NOT let go for any reason.  The walk is only about 500 feet, but it was a really difficult and truth be told....I was scared.  Obviously we made it inside, but I went to bed realizing that in the morning I would have to dig out the Denali and wait to see when Marc would make it home.

Thomas and I spent 2 hours digging the damn car out and we continue to wait for the highways to open up so Marc can head North.  Even if he can make it North, I have no idea if he'll be able to head East the 8 miles needed to get to our turn off.  Our little road in front of our house is impassable and will probably be that way for several days as they work on the main roads.  I hope like hell Marc makes it home quickly because I am concerned I just might cannabalize my children.  Yes, cabin fever is that don't judge me!

On a good note, Marc made it to the accountant yesterday to file our taxes.  He called to tell me that we are getting a HUGE...did you hear me....HUGE chunk of change back from the feds.  Of course the kids already have some plans for the unexpected windfall, mostly Madison who now has her sights firmly set on that new dressage saddle that carried a price tag of $6000.00.  And I would like to soak in the sun, say, in the South of France.  But before that can happen, we need to get rid of this damn snow and get the friggin' roads opened up!  At least I'm not a Storm Home for stranded kids on buses.  Our pastor had a full house last night of stranded kids who the buses couldn't even attempt to get home.  Storm homes...who ever heard of such a thing.  Crazy North Dakota living!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Orlando 2011 is in the record books

I met some amazing women this past weekend.  I had only met 3 of the 68 women in real life before this event and yet somehow, amazingly 68 strangers came together and not only got along, but laughed, cried, shared, and truly enjoyed each other's company. 

I'll share more later, but I have chaos occuring right now with the kids, dogs, and horses all running amok.

Besides, I need time to process it all and let the thoughts and emotions sink in.  Now, if only I could get them to relocate next years weekend in fun North Dakota instead of Orlando???  I hated the flight into Orlando since I had to sit next to a couple and their 18 month old son who happened to keep wiping his runny nose on my arm.  Let's have it somewhere where kids are just naturally not around...say the barren remote-ness of North Dakota!