Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'm Saucy!

Yeah, I hear you. You're saying what is she talking about now???

THIS is what I'm talking about! Did you know there's a blog out there for us poor lonely bloggers desperately trying to seek the attention of others? Be sure to check out The Secret is in the Sauce. You leave a comment in their comment section every day and check out the blogs of the people who leave comments around you and they do likewise. You may notice comments that say "Visiting from SITS," that's what that means. I've found some new blogs to read this way. But they have other things too. Like a big give away on Tuesday!

One is Saucy Blogs of the week. They pick 5 blogs and post them prominently at the top. I commented last night early this morning and I was so focused on commenting and going to bed I never even realized I was Saucy! (Okay, you can't hear me but when I say Saucy I say it with a strange latin accent. Good thing you can't hear me.)

So those of you visiting from SITS, welcome to this place I call My Blog, otherwise known as There's Always Room for One More. Happy Reading!

NOTE: If you pulled this up off a blog roll, please, please read my previous post Today's Post Brought to You by the Letter R that I posted at 1:30 this morning-- yeah it took me that long! And also why I could be Commenter #11 on SITS.

Today's Post Brought to You by the Letter "R"

My new BFF Brandy at I'm Not Your Average Soccer Mom -- oh wait, Brandy did I tell you that we were BFF's now? Anyway, Brandy had a tag of sorts. She had to list 10 of her favorite things that started with the letter "L". I was quite impressed with her list. She made it look entirely too easy so when she asked if anyone else wanted to play I naively jumped up and down waving my arms yelling "Me! Pick me!" And she did and gave me the letter "R."

R seems like an easy letter. Its pretty common, right? But just try coming up with your favorite things that start with R. I received my assignment on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, so I put it off for a few days. I was so arrogant about my abilities to complete this task that I only gave it momentary thoughts as I cooked my turkey and ate until I had to let my pants out and then half passed out from the postprandial alkaline tide after my large feast. (Heads up, that was my moment of brilliance in this post so if your searching for another you might as well quit reading and wait for tomorrow's post.)

The first is Ridiculously easy. #1) is Ross and Ryan. (Do I get extra points for using the word Ridiculous?)

Two of my 3 favorite boys. Aren't they cute? I could have split them up and made them #1 and #2 but they seemed like a pair to me.

After this I was stumped. Trace showed up and helped me brain storm. Unfortunately he kept coming up with things I didn't like, let alone be my favorite things. But he was somewhat useful. He stated one that should have been totally obvious.

#2) Reading. Duh! Why didn't I think of that? It's so obvious, maybe too obvious. I love to read and wish I had more time to do it. But its to the determent of my family when I get too absorbed.
I haven't made my obsession with this series a secret. Enough said.

Trace's next suggestion left me somewhat Righteously offended but then I saw he spoke the truth.

#3) Rambling. I admit, with Relish, that I tend to Ramble at times. But if I didn't Ramble my posts would be much shorter and much more boring. Rambling's a good thing. If I keep telling myself that then I'll keep believing it.

So that was the end of Trace's usefulness. Great, I was only at #3. Was it too late to split up the boys? Hey, who needs Trace? Moving on to #4

#4) Ring. My wedding Ring which I now wear on my right hand. I love this Ring!

My fingers are kind of shiny because my hands were freakishly dry so I put lotion on, hence the shiny moisture laden skin.

Confession: This is not my original wedding Ring. My original Ring had tons of bagette diamonds. When it was cleaned at the jewelry store, it was shiny and beautiful, but 1 hour later it looked grimy. It drove me crazy. About 8 years after we were married Darrell decided to stop the whining make his wife happy and we spent about a year looking for the perfect Ring, my need for perfection, not his. Did I mention that I love this Ring? No, I didn't think so.

#5) wRiting. I freely Resign myself to the fact that writing does not really start with an R but it sounds like it does, right? You know the 3 "R's"-- Reading, 'Riting and 'Rithmatic? Not to worry, 'Rithmatic won't be # 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10.

Here I am hard at work at my laptop with my staRbucks cup in hand.

#6) Range, as in GAS Range. When I moved I left behind my beautiful semi professional gas Range. Now I cook on a glass top electric cook top. In my dream of dreams I would have one of these:

If I had one of these bad boys I would probably cook a LOT more. And it would be good, like Food Network, good. If only it came with a Sous Chef.

Which brings me to #7

#7) Restaurant. I love to eat out! I could eat out and eat out all the time. I'm not talking Golden Arches here, nor any other establishment that has a drive thru.

Wait, staRbucks has a drive thru! But I only get breakfast there. Okay, never mind. Olive Garden is one of my favorite places. Yeah, its a chain restaurant but it doesn't have a drive thru so it qualifies!

Unfortunately with all of my children, and my ever shrinking budget, eating in a Real Restaurant doesn't happen very often. Oh well.

With all that cooking and cleaning could it be any surprise that my next favorite thing is:

#8) 'Rita, as in maRgaRita.

I love Margaritas. I love the lime and the salt. I like them so much I could drink them without the tequila, which I did at times when I was pregnant.

Which now leads me to my next item:

#9) Riesling, my new favorite wine. And not just any Riesling, my favorite is by Relax.

Not only does it taste extraordinarily good, but it comes in a totally cool blue bottle AND it has a metal screw top, no messing with a cork with this bottle. It totally Reeks quality and class.

I'm looking like a total lush here. Time to redeem myself. On to the Big Finish.

Only, heRe's where I get stumped and want to go back and split up my babies. No, be strong, don't split up the kids. You can do this.

Okay, maybe I can't but my next item really is a favorite of mine.

#10) TyleR FloRence. So his name doesn't start with an R but he has an R in both of his names, so that has to account for something, right? I know, you're thinking "What is she talking about? Tyler Florence?"
Just look at him! Not only can this guy cook, but he looks hot while doing it. Hey, maybe he's the Sous Chef that comes with that Range in #6. Or maybe I could be his Sous Chef. Did it just get warm in here??? Its too bad he's married because apparently I'm not anymore. Hmmm....

Wasn't I trying to improve upon my reputation after #8 and 9?

Soooooo, if anyone wants to play this game let me know in the comments and I'll send you a letter.

Sorry, I've got to get back to Tyler.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

This morning while millions??? many people were up before the sun even thought about rising, drinking their supposedly better than Starbucks McDonald's coffee (as if!) I was snuggled warm and cozy in my bed sleeping like a baby. Well, being kicked by a baby anyway.

Julia has been gone all week in Nashville and since she and Jenna sleep together that meant Jenna ended up in my bed. That would be me, Emma and Jenna, the notorious spinner, in my bed. Let's just say the last few nights haven't been my most restful.

Enough whining all ready, back to the story!

I'm not a shopper. Darrell loved to shop with me because I'm a "get in and get out" kind of girl. Since I don't really find shopping enjoyable, with crowds especially, it goes without saying that Black Friday isn't my cup of tea. But 2 years ago the kids and I went to Kentucky to visit my brother Dave and his family for Thanksgiving and I was introduced to a completely unknown world.

My sister-in-law Kaye is always looking for the best deals. She'll spend hours looking on the internet and sale ads looking for the best price. Not me, I'd rather be reading blogs, but 2 years ago I really hadn't been introduced to the blog world and Kaye was doing all the research for me. I must have had my head buried in some really big sand pile because I was completely clueless about Black Friday. But I told Kaye I was in the market for a new video camera since my had broken just that summer. I was also looking for Guitar Hero for Trace. Kaye did some a lot of research and told me I could get both at Best Buy. The key was I had to be there and buy them before 8:00 a.m on Black Friday morning to get the best deal. The store opened at 6:00. After some careful thought, Kaye decided we needed to be there by 5:00. That's A.M. As in After Midnight. As in Absolute Madness. I just didn't know it yet.

We got up and left her house by 4:45. My mother was there too and went with us. Black Friday turned out to be one of the coldest days in a really long time in Louisville, Kentucky and its really, really cold just before the sun comes up. I discovered this as I waited outside for FOREVER waiting to get into the store. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Kaye had just recently had surgery on her foot and was on crutches. When we got to the store the parking lot was completely packed and it was going to be hard for Kaye to walk so somehow it was determined that my mother and Kaye would look for a parking space and hang out in the warm car while I waited in line. Yeah.

So I got dropped off at the front of the store and started following the single line to the back. When I got to the back the line serpentined around several times in the back parking lot and I was at the very end. Sound familiar? Kind of Harry Potterish??? Well, I wasn't last for long. Just a short while later a couple of guys showed up, along with various other people over the next hour.

I must make a confession. I tend to be an eavesdropper while standing in line bored out of my mind. I mean, really, what else am I going to do? Some people were pretty quiet, some people were having very mundane conversations, but the 2 guys behind me, they were a completely different story. It turned out that these 2 guys, who I would guess to be in their early to mid 20's, had been at a bar until it closed, went somewhere else and weren't quite ready to call it a night so they decided to head over to Best Buy and see what was going on. Basically they were drunk, but they were happy drunks and very entertaining.

{Public Service Announcement: I in no way condone nor encourage others to get drunk for my own personal amusement.}

Okay, that's of the way.

The Wii had just come out and was really hard to get because of the short supply. (Not much has changed in 2 years, huh?) So these 2 guys started yelling "We want a Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!"They even took turns running up and down the lines shouting it at the top of their lungs. They weren't so drunk that they didn't know they would lose their place in line if they ran together, although they were so entertaining I would have let them back in line just for my own amusement. As people started coming to stand in line behind us one of them pulled out his cell phone and pretended it was a tape recorder and he told them he was interviewing people for NPR. I have to say, it was pretty humorous and I giggled quite a bit. In between shivering that is. I would have even suffered through a cup of McDonald's coffee at that point. I was that cold.

A little after 6:00 the line slowly started to move. As we finally made it to the side of the building people were starting to come out of the store and get in their cars. My new friends were shouting at the people "Did you get a Wii???" Some people took them seriously and answered "No, they don't have any Wiis." Others looked at them like they were crazy and ignored them. And still others had no idea what a Wii even was. As we rounded the corner of the store and stood on the front sidewalk we got close to a police officer observing the crowd.

One of the guys volunteered to the policeman "We want a Wii!"

The officer did a double take and asked "Son, did you just say that you wanted some Weed?"

At this point, I was laughing so hard I was crying.

The guy put up his hands, shaking his head "No! No! We want a Wii. It's a game system."

The policeman looked him over with a dubious look "OK"

The guys were a bit more subdued after that. But they didn't have to be careful much longer, because we were soon through the magical doors and into The Promised Land. If I thought standing in line in the freezing cold for an hour and a half was bad, I hadn't seen anything yet.

It was absolute mass chaos. Items flying off the shelves, people practically running each other down. I got Trace's Guitar Hero but I couldn't get anywhere near the video cameras, let alone get a salesperson to get one out of the case for me. I decided it just wasn't worth the effort and went to find the check out line. After standing in another long line, although shorter than my previous one, I finally checked out. While waiting in the check out line I saw my new friends leaving the store empty handed.

"You decided not to get anything?" I asked them. (Yeah, I'll talk to anybody. Just ask my sister-in-law Janne' who laughed at the conversation I had with the guy at Starbucks at the drive thru speaker this past week.)

"No, they didn't have any Wiis. Besides, we just wanted to see the crazy people waiting to get in."

All righty then. Hope they weren't too disappointed. I know I wasn't.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tagged and Thankful

I was tagged by Tiffany at The Shaw Family with a tag called 4th Folder, 4th Photo. I'd seen this on a couple of other blogs lately and thought it was a unique idea. Part of the game is I now have to tag 3 other people. I tag Teresa at Continuing the Journey, Issy at Swimming on Dry Land , and Lorie at The Princess and The Lady Bug.

I had no idea what my fourth folder was let alone my fourth photo in that folder. I looked it up and found this.

When I saw this photo I was surprised that this was "The One" and was somewhat overwhelmed with the emotion. This a photo of Emma and I in the van after our G&R last October. Jenna took this picture as we waited outside the orphanage while our facilitator went back in to get something. No special pictures of us in front the province office wall. Just a quick photo in the car. I was sitting there in disbelief that I actually had her in my arms and she was legally mine and praying a constant prayer that I would be able to bring her home. I was a woman living in fear but also living in hope.

I find it appropriate to post this on Thanksgiving Day. It was a miracle that I got this baby girl and a miracle that I was allowed to bring her home on November 9. But our Thanksgiving last year found my children and I separated again after our just recently ended 7 week separation. Emma and I were at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital and my other kids went to Kentucky to be with my brother Dave and his family. It was the day I watched the baby I had fought for for so long and hard, crash in front of my eyes and then be rushed to ICU where she was placed on a ventilator for the next 6 days. That was only one year ago. It seems like a lifetime.

I have found that our lives can profoundly change in a mere instant. Three years ago I was married and had four children. Now I am a widow. One year ago I was living in Tennessee and only had 5 children. Now I live in Kansas City and have 6 children.

I have lived through much hardship but the rewards are worth every bit of the pain. Does that mean that I want the hardship? No, but I have no say in the trails that God has handed me. I can only accept them and deal with them the best that I can. While part of me died when Darrell died the rest of me lived. Life is an incredible gift that shouldn't be squandered.

This Thanksgiving finds me very blessed. I have 6 beautiful. loving children who are the light of my life. I am a very thankful woman.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dance Off

I realize that I'm going to look like a total copy cat with this post. Kristin at A Family is Forever just posted the funniest video of her 2 girls dancing. Be sure to check it out because its absolutely hilarious! My 18 year old Ross even watched it and laughed. But I had planned a dance blog post too and decided to do it this morning-- pinky promise! So the post must go on!

This morning Jenna and Emma were shaking their Groove Thang and I told Jenna that tonight she and Emma could have a Dance Off, just like Miley Cyrus and her way-too-old for her BFF what's her name. She of course (well maybe not of course these days) didn't know anything about that but two words caught her attention: Dance and Video. She was in.

However, when tonight came Emma was a Crabby Patty to the extreme. Her dance off with Jenna didn't exactly go as planned.

With Emma's forfeit a new challenger arose. Someone who had decided to join the fracas.

Ryan's free style moves where kind of extreme but Jenna was determined by the judges (mom and Ross) to be the winner.

Was there no one of merit to challenge the Champion? Julia left for Nashville earlier this evening and she seemed the only person worthy of the challenge. Or was she?

As you can see the Dance Off was interrupted by Emma (also affectionately known as ChubbyChonga)so a winner was not determined.

Somethings are better left unknown, or in this case, perhaps best unseen.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Have you seen the missing half of these???

Socks of various sizes and shapes, were abouts last seen at a variety of different times. Some were last seen entering a washing machine while others were seen entering a laundry hamper and yet others were last seen on little feet. While not considered dangerous, they are considered elusive.

Where did these socks come from?

That would be my missing sock basket. Notice how full it is! Now I do confess that before I took this picture I put a whole bunch of socks in there and I ultimately matched some pairs. I kind of felt like I worked for the CCAA matching babies with families' dossiers. (For those of you not familiar with Chinese adoption, a department in China, the CCAA matches babies with waiting famlies)

I also made myself very happy. One more week without having to buy more socks. However I still have about 30-40 unmatched socks.

Seriously though, what's the deal with socks??? Is it just me/us? In September each child had about 12-15 pairs of socks. Now each child is lucky to have 6-8.

I literally carried the above assortment of socks in that basket from Tennessee this past May. Common sense tells me that if I haven't found its mate by now (after moving and unpacking all my worldly possessions) that I should probably just throw them away. But the Pollyanna in me keeps thinking they will turn up. But hey, look at them. Do I really want some of those socks to turn up? What possessed me someone to buy them anyway? That pink and blue argyle sock would be great at a sock hop, should any one of us be invited to one. If you look closely you can see a beige/brown and tan argyle sock buried under polka dots and stripes. Must have been my argyle phase, followed closely by the polka dot period.

But where, oh where, do all of these socks go? Other than the obvious after looking at the socks above (someone coveted our socks so much they just had to have them but managed to only get one sock) there are a number of theories.

1) One legged Aliens continually steal our socks because we have the coolest socks in the galaxy.

2) My laundry room has a black hole.
This theory is somewhat implausible only because my brother Kevin just pointed out to me this evening that time at a black hole becomes slower while time for those outside the black hole speeds up. (What can I say, he was a high school science teacher!) But then again, whenever I enter the laundry room to do the laundry time does seem to drag on. Okay, I retract the implausibility statement.

3) My children randomly throw away one sock to drive their mother to the brink of mental derangement.

4) They are behind the dryer.

Yeah, I know, the answer is obvious. Do you think if I get an alarm system I'll be able to keep those pesky aliens out?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sins of the Mother

This morning I was finally making my children breakfast and as I was cutting up apples and toasting bread (and making mochas) I was singing a song that was stuck in my head.

Lately Yo Gabba Gabba has only been on Noggin and we have the DVR set to automatically record it. The DVR records 30 minutes so it captures the aired pieces after YGG, one of which is a song called -- well, I don't know what it's called but they repeat the word "love" alot and say its everywhere. So I was singing it in a variety of different styles, one of which was opera. Here is Ryan's reaction:

Hey, everybody's a critic! Its almost as bad as when Ross didn't like me singing to him while rocking him in a rocking chair when he was a baby.

It didn't take long before Jenna joined in. Ryan, not one to be left out, decided that it was cool now and started his own version. Ryan has become our little parrot and has started repeating what we say. Jenna did this we we adopted her and within 6 months she was speaking better than some children born in the US.

Ryan already has some new favorite phrases one of which is "wha happy?" translation: What happened? In case you haven't figured it out, that phrase is asked quite a bit around here. Yeah, its no wonder he picked that one up.

So there were my children, holding hands and singing their love song together. It was a total Love Fest. Wait, I need a tissue to dab my eyes. Here's why:

Yes, my children are picking up some VERY bad singing habits.

The sins of the mother...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Adventure at Twilight

So after my last post I have decided to accept that my life is an open book blog and everything is fair game. That being said, I want it to be known that I don't have to make this stuff up. Its all real. I seem to attract the unusual. Its just me. Or maybe it's the situations that I put myself in. Take last night for example.

I've made it pretty clear that I love the Twilight book series and I really, really wanted to see the movie. The problem is that I didn't know anyone else who wanted to see it too. I hate to go to movies alone but I was prepared to do just that. I wanted to see this movie within 24 hours of its release. I contemplated going on Friday afternoon while the babies napped and let Trace watch them after his class.

When I went online to see the show times and prepurchase my tickets I noticed that the theater was showing Twilight at 12:01. Hmmm.... I've done the midnight thing before with the last Harry Potter book. All I needed was my partner in crime. My biggest problem was that this was NOT his kind of movie. But lucky for me I had 2 things going for me:

1) Trace thinks unusual field trips like this are "interesting"
and 2) It was after midnight and he didn't want his mommy out alone that late.

He good naturedly agreed, Ross committed to sleeping on the second floor while I was gone and I bought the tickets the day before. It was all falling into place.

Last night was dubbed the Coldest Night of the Year on the 10:00 news and not knowing if we would be doing any waiting outside I dressed appropriately. But we showed up and got right in. In fact, as we handed out tickets to the theater employee at 11:35 p.m. she told us all the theaters were open and we could sit in any one we chose. We decided to go to the theater our tickets were for: Theater 2.

We went in and it was packed. Half the first row was elderly women, and I mean ELDERLY women. One woman had to be at least 80 years old! Maybe she knew Edward (the central vampire character) from her youth, who knows, but I was a bit surprised. Trace, of course, noticed the multitude of teenage girls who were already screaming. There really weren't any seats open so we decided to go to the theater next to it. Theater 1

Theater 1 was surprisingly empty. That should have been our first clue. (This is called foreshadowing.) But it was a much smaller theater and the doors were closed while the others were open. There was woman and about a 7 year old boy and that was it. We watched pre previews and talked the entire time wondering why no one else was coming in. Right before the official previews began two 20 something guys walked in. This was weird.

A (bad) picture of Trace and I waiting for our movie to start. Yes this is what I look like when I applied my makeup at 7:30 am and it is now 11:55 pm with no touch ups.

The previews started and they were all kid movies and then what appeared to be the feature movie started.

"Is this a Disney movie?" Trace asked as the Disney intro is shown.

"No. This is weird."

Next thing we know an animated movie is showing about a little white dog and a girl who's father is kidnapped.

"Uh, I don't think this is it."

"No kidding??? Go check and see what's going on." I told Trace. He was closest to the aisle.

He disappeared and then reappeared at the steps waving for me to come out. Turns out that out of 20 theaters in the entire place we picked the one and only one that was showing Bolt. Who in their right mind would see a cartoon at midnight?

I was ticked. If I missed even one millisecond of this movie....

Trace led us to the theater across the hallway and we found 2 seats at the very edge against the wall. Lucky for me the movie hadn't started yet but the screaming had.

The movie started and the next 2 hours were spent with Trace smirking and asking me if this or that was in the book. There was lots of clapping and cheering at parts MUCH to Trace's amusement. When the credits started rolling Trace asked "Can we go now?" I dressed for the cold and we made our way out of the theater. Right in front of us were a couple of teenage girls talking and one was saying "I want to see it again tomorrow when I can focus."

Trace and I turned to each other and laughed. Heaven only knows why she couldn't focus the first time.

As we walked to the car Trace announced "I wish I had stayed in the dog movie."

"Yeah, but it was a great adventure."

And that it was.

I'm withholding my "review" of this movie until others have seen it. I'm eager to hear their reactions.

Oh, and I think Trace will be posting as a guest poster about our experience. Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Merrily, Merrily, Merrily...My Life is But a Blog

I think maybe I blog too much. Or I think that maybe I view my life in terms of my blog. Something happens and I, and now those around me, ask "Is this blog worthy?" or "Will you put this in your blog... please???"

Julia had a chorus concert on Tuesday night. It was all the sixth grade middle school chorus and sixth grade middle school band. Now keep in mind that ALL of the sixth grade must either be in chorus, band or the very small orchestra and you can imagine how many students there were.

Many students(Parents+Siblings+Grandparents)= Many, many people

(Who said math wasn't my strong suit??? And story problems too!)

We arrived later than the preordained 6:45 for a 7:00 concert time (which never, never happens by the way -- the starting on time, not the us being late) and because of our lateness the gym bleachers were completely full.

Trace lucked out had class so he missed the concert but for everyone else in the house attendance was mandatory, much to Ross' chagrin. So there we are standing next to the bleachers, me carrying Emma, Ross carrying Ryan and Jenna jumping around like a Mexican Jumping Bean. Add a case of claustrophobia for Ross, lightly stir with a swirling crowd and you get a cranky teenager. But chairs were pulled out of closets and we were soon seated to the side of the bleachers, Ryan on Ross' lap and me holding both Emma and Jenna on my lap.

The concert begins, the babies are being quiet and Ross becomes quite aggravated when he realizes that the band and chorus are toggling back and forth AND they start out demonstrating the breathing techniques. I had a program in my hand and Ross asked "How many songs do they perform?"

I looked at the program and tried to be evasive. "Several."

"How many is several?"

"More than you want to know."

But it seemed to go quickly, when band starts learning their instruments they are playing one line songs! I remember well from Trace's trombone days and my flute lessons. We happened to be sitting right in front of the band and towards the end of the concert Emma started waving her arms around when they played and stopping when they stopped. It didn't Ross and I long to figure out that Emma was watching the band director and mimicking him.

And of course I had to have video of that!

Emma was on my lap so I handed the camera to Ross who got several short videos of Emma in action-- and she was a very excited band director! I also got several short videos of Julia's chorus and mercifully, the concert was over.

When we got home I told Julia about Emma and she wanted to watch the video of Emma on my camera. I was too tired Tuesday night to upload the pictures and videos and write a blog post so I put it off until last night. But before I uploaded the pictures and videos I planned to delete the ones that didn't turn out. I started going through my pictures and there were no videos of Emma directing the band. At first I thought that Ross hadn't actually filmed it and I was beginning to become very aggravated at him. But then I realized that Julia had actually watched the videos of Emma and commented on how cute she was.

She erased the videos. She was now on The List. You know the list I speak of, the one that includes people that you would like to thrash within an inch of their life. Thankfully for Julia, she was temporarily predisposed. A life was saved. And luckily for her I don't stay mad long. Life saved twice.

But when I realized that my wonderful videos were deleted I was very vocal about my displeasure while I sat at my computer.

Ross walked up and said "Did you already write a blog post about it and now you can't use it?"

"No, I haven't written anything yet but I had something planned..."

"And now you don't have anything to write about?"

"That's not the point!"

And then I realized that my life is but a blog. I need to get a life. But wait, my blog is my life. Hey wait, was this an episode on The Twilight Zone?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One of Many Reasons I Have Lost my Mind

Dinner time tonight. It explains so much...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Movie Ticket Winner is...

Comment #3 is Jenna at Spirographs and Flying Fish . Congratulations! Jenna says she is a poor college student and will take her boyfriend for a fun night out. Jenna, I don't have your email address so if you could email me at with your address I will get your tickets in the mail.

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2008-11-17 00:06:25 UTC

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Building an Atom

While scientists in Europe are busy trying to break apart an atom, at our house we are trying to build an atom.

How exactly do you build an atom? And more importantly, why?

The why is easy enough. Julia's 6th grade science teacher told her students to create an atom by this past Friday. The assignment was given on Monday. Monday night I asked Julia what atom she was attempting to recreate and what was she going to recreate it with? The guidelines stated that the atom must be 3 dimensional and it must be edible. We discussed the fact that electrons are actually smaller than protons and neutrons and that this needed to be represented in the creation.

So now to the how:

We decided not to procrastinate did her project on Wednesday night because I was going to be gone on Thursday night and I wouldn't be able to help. And honestly, Mom likes to help with school projects as much as the kids like to do them. Okay, so maybe I'm a bit controlling with projects.

When Trace was in 7th grade and we lived in Tulsa,Oklahoma, he had to do a photo essay on a nearby city. We drove to the city and we stopped to take some photos all the while I was saying "Make sure you get this" and "be sure that you don't get that."

Finally Trace stopped, looked at me and started laughing. "Mom this isn't your project; its mine. I'm a big boy. I can do this."

Was I that obvious?

I won't even bring up Ross' Alamo diorama project which had Ross and I up until 11:00 the night before hot gluing moss to twigs to make trees that I insisted had to look real enough. Or the time Trace made the solar system for the science fair and I wanted to make the planets' sizes and distances proportional to real life. Did I mention he was in 2nd grade?

Yeah. All righty then. But I'm changing my ways.

The atom project was Julia's so I let her come up with the list of items we would use for the elements for the atom Fluorine. Of course if she thought of one I didn't think would work I made sure to let her know. The final list included Gummy Bears for the protons, marshmallows for the neutrons and partially crushed Reese cereal for electrons. The elements would be held together by toothpicks.
The Gummy bears were hard to get the toothpicks through so Julia needed help with that. That was the kiss of death right there. Once I get my hands on something the child can kiss it goodbye.

Oh, but look, she's actually touching a marshmallow, so I have proof that she did something. She We finished with the nucleus, which I made sure was stablized with plenty of toothpicks to make it sturdier since it still had to hold up the electrons.

As we were placing the 9 electons around the nucleus I lamented that it couldn't be truly 3 dimensional since we couldn't put an electron on the bottom.

"If only we had some type of stand to hang it from then we could put electons on all the sides."

Julia started laughing. "I told Mrs. Hodge today that you were an over achiever."


"Yeah, I told her that you wouldn't let me make all the elements the same size and that the electrons had to be smaller. You're totally an over achiever."

How was I to answer that?

"Well, I still wish we had a stand, we could hang it with fishing line..."

Julia with the finished project. I hope we get an A.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Movie Ticket Giveaway!

In anticipation of the premiere of the Twilight movie next week I am giving away 2 free movie tickets!
Two tickets to AMC theaters! The back of the coupons say they are also good at Loews theatres, Cineplex Odeon theatres, Magic Johnson theatres and Star theatres excluding Canadian theatres (sorry Canadians!) They are valid for special engagements and they are good 7 days a week.

So, what do you have to do to win these tickets? Its so easy-- leave me comment and tell me how you plan to use them. Will you go on a date night? Will you take your kids instead? Will you have a Girls Night Out? What movie do you want to see? You don't have to see Twilight-- I don't care what you see. Just let me live vicariously through you 'cause we will all know that the movie experience is a bit difficult for me right now!

I'll take comments until Sunday night 6:00 pm CST. That way I can get the tickets in the mail in time for you to use them next weekend. Oh, and if you're a previous winner of a giveaway, you're welcome to enter too!

Good luck!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Night at the Theatre

On Sunday night I took the kids to Madagascar 2. When I say all the kids I mean all the kids age 11 and younger.

You would think after my last all kid movie adventure to Beverly Hills Chihuahua I would have re-thought the plan. That adventure had Emma and I walking up and down the steps. We were quickly joined by Ryan and Jenna. Good thing the steps were carpeted. However as I sat there on those steps I wished I had a can of Lysol with me. Trust me, don't let your mind wander there...

But call me a cockeyed optimist because for some reason I thought our Madagascar experience would be different.

I would be wrong.

I don't understand it. I strap those two in a car seat in the van and turn on Alvin and the Chipmunks. because I keep forgetting to bring a new movie out, and they are glued, absolutely glued to the itty bitty screen. See?

They've seen that movie countless times. But take them to the theater? Its a whole new ball game. Or movie premiere, as the case may be.

On this occasion I was prepared with food and drinks. The theater we go to here lets you BYOF&D-- bring your own food and drink. I had a backpack full of drinks, microwave popcorn and fruit snacks. That entertained Emma for about 20 minutes. After that she started getting off my lap and walking to the aisle and disappearing down the stairs. I'd let her wander a few stairs and then bring her back. After about 3-4 times of that she was not too happy and let us all know about it. I decided a trip to the bathroom was next on the agenda.

After I went to the bathroom and Emma played with the running water in the sink, we headed back to the theater. The second I sat down she made sure everyone in the room knew she didn't approve of this plan. Operation Post Washroom was no go. Onto Plan B: Wander the Hallway.

We were lucky enough to be in a theater that had long aisles on both sides. We held hands and walked all the way down one side of the theater, behind and around the other side and then back again. Then she walked up and down the lower stairs. She was staying close and I turned to watch something on the screen and the next thing I knew she had toddled off right in front of the screen.

The theater has stadium seating and had a large amount floor space in front of the front row. Emma was making her way across and by the time I noticed she was about 1/3 of the way across. Now what was I going to do?

I crawled to the edge and whispered loudly "Emma! Emma! Come here! Come back to Momma!"

But Emma was completely ignoring me and making her way across. I had no other option. I had to go too.

Its a really, really good thing I had my Starbucks Gold card, you know the one that's black and is so slimming? Yeah, that one. It was good because I then proceeded to crawl across the front floor space of the theater. Can you imagine what my booty would have looked like without it? Half the theater screaming in terror:

"OH! What is that horrible monstrosity?"

To which my children could have proudly, or not so proudly, replied. "Oh, that's just my mom's big booty."

{Yes, butt is a naughty word in our house. Mommy is making good word choices.}

So crawling all the way across, with my new, slimmer Starbucks Gold booty, I'm whispering quite loudly "Emma! Emma!" but Emma who was having too much fun to listen to me, finished her walk across the entire front of the screen (without falling down! Go Emma!) and had already started down a row towards some poor family's popcorn bucket on the floor. Thank goodness the family had a sense of humor and was laughing at us. That, or my show was better than Madagascar at that moment. I'm not above seeing the humor of my booty making its way across the bottom of Madagascar 2.

I drug Emma away and tried to wander aisles again but that had lost its luster since discovering there was food in them there aisles!

Thank goodness the movie was almost over. I finally coerced her to walk around until the movie ended.

The good news is that between the crawling and the walking I decided I didn't need to take my quarter mile run. The bad news is I have no idea when Emma will see the inside of a movie theater again. On the other hand, that's actually good news for me!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Doctors and Origami

Yesterday morning I took Ryan and Emma to the International Adoption Clinic at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. Ryan was there because of his melamine exposure. Emma was there because I think she's still developmentally behind.

Since we were at a hospital they had both babies wear bracelets. Obviously Emma was a bit hungry. Ryan loves this vest that I got him and refused to take it off.

The doctor was wonderful and seemed very knowledgeable. We discussed how to test Ryan for melamine exposure both agreeing that there is no determined best way right now. For now we went with testing his urine and blood and moving on to ultrasound if something shows up. He told me that if something new turns up for testing recommendation they will notify me to bring him back. Otherwise, he looks great. And of course we wait for the results of the blood and urine.

An interesting note, for the first time I got someone to tell me if he has a uvula or not. He won't open his mouth wide enough for me to ever see. Dr. Swanson says that he does not have a uvula but it looks like he DID have one and its been surgically cut! Now I have more research to do...

Emma was up next. I told Dr. Swanson that Emma has always been behind and has a pretty extensive medical history already--RSV and on a ventilator, heart murmur, asthma like conditions, eczema and most recently 4 incidents of staph on her face. I told him that I am not an over reactive mother. If anything, I'm under reactive. But she just seems off. In the end he agreed with me, mostly on her verbal skills. His biggest concern was autism but we both agreed that it was unlikely. She makes eye contact and responds to social cues. But at 16 months she only says one word, Momma. She'll mimic sounds but doesn't use any other words. So she now has a referral to a Developmental Behaviorist. She may not have any issues, and I really hope she doesn't, but if its something I can address now then I want to get on it.

But all that poking and prodding is quite exhausting...

So they had to take a little rest on the floor. Now see if I was an over reactive mother I would have been flipping out that my children were lying on the floor instead of taking their picture.

Ryan had to have multiple tubes of blood drawn so down to the outpatient lab we went. I could hardly believe my eyes when the tech stuck the needle in his arm and he just watched in fascination as the blood went down the tube into the big tubes. I can assure you that if Ross had been there getting his blood drawn he would have been pitching a fit before he even got in the room.

I told you all last night that I had a headache so I wasn't the most attentive mother last night. Throw in the fact that I've been harder on the girls about picking up their shoes, coats, toys and school work and you get this:

Jenna made this last night. She called it her origami. She wrote every one's name on their own triangle. What's so amazing is that she sounded out and wrote every one's name all on her own. Ryan was RIN, Ross is ROS, Emma is EMM and Trace is TRES. This is a child who couldn't remember all her letters at the beginning of the school year despite hours and hours of letter flash cards over the last year. She's come quite away in a few months. But while that on its own was remarkable I'm pointing out what she did to the names. Trace, Ryan and Emma's names are circled because they are "nice." Ross' name is "X" because he's mean. Julia and Jenna have an FYI because they are the only ones who have DS Nintendos. (???) And then there's Mom:

Mom has something that looks like 2 lollipops. I asked her what this meant and it means that I'm kind of mean.

"What?" I asked incredulously "Why am I kind of mean?"

"Because you've been making me do things, like work. That makes you kind of mean."

Just wait until she gets a job!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Boogie Baby

I'm going to cop out tonight and post a video of Emma dancing. I've made multiple attempts to get a better one but this will have to do tonight. I've had a headache all day and its just getting worse. I'm not prone to headaches and its wiping me out.As soon as I'm done here I'm going to bed-- and its only 10:00! It's too bad because I had multiple thing to post about and couldn't decide what to use. Tomorrow night, pinky promise. I'd even try for tomorrow afternoon but I've got an eye doctor appointment for Ryan tomorrow morning right after I drop off a couple of feces specimens at the Children's Hospital lab. (I was actually grateful this afternoon that I couldn't smell!) And an eye doctor appointment for Trace in the afternoon.

So without further ado, Emma dancing to Julia's cell phone's ring tone I want it all from High School Musical 3. (Do you think there were enough possessive nouns in that sentence?)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Power of Gold

You know the economy is bad when a company goes to any lengths to bring back one of their favorite customers.

I have been trying to stay away from one of my most favorite places, Starbucks- the awesomest place on earth, (according to one it's drive through employees.) And I had been doing so well. I went SIX days without going! SIX DAYS!!!! I don't think I even went that long in China. And although the cute little metal steamer tube to my espresso machine is still firmly wedged into one of the tiny holes of my garbage disposal, I've been using it to make my own no fat, no whip mochas at home.

Now I will freely confess that I had Starbucks 3 days in a row last week. I broke my fast the first day because it was Field Trip Tuesday with my sister-in-law Janne'. Janne' likes Starbucks almost as much as I do so what kind of sister-in-law would I be if I denied her her Viente Chai Latte? And the other two days? I ran away from home to find a place to write and what came to mind? My dear friend, Starbucks. Two days I sat in Starbucks two and a half hours both times and I only got one drink each day. But on that second day the heavens parted and the angels sang and I was introduced to:

The Starbucks Gold Card.

As you can see this is a really cool looking card. I mean, I just had to have one for those floating gold stars alone. And the slick black card-- black goes with everything, especially my wardrobe in the winter not to mention that black is slimming. Between my quarter mile jogs and that black Starbucks Gold card I'll look like a super model. I better not turn sideways or you might not be able to see me.

That card had to be mine. And for a mere $25 it was. Now I can hear what you're thinking-- she paid $25 to get a black card with gold stars? But wait! Not only did I get a super cool card that makes me feel so very special, but I got a free drink! Right then and there! And I get one on my birthday too. But even better, I get 10% off all my drinks. That alone makes it all worth it. The only problem is now I want to use it. I want to get my 10% off to pay for my card. See where this is going? The Queen of Rationalization is working her magic.

But I was a good girl and I didn't use it on Friday which made it even more justifiable to whip it out today. I don't want my little Black Beauty to think I've forgotten her. As I pulled up to the drive through window I got my wallet and pulled out The Card and sang "Ahhhh...."

Julia was with me and asked in an amused tone "Are you going to do that every time you pull that card out?"

I just might.

The author was not compensated by Starbucks to promote this special offer, although as much publicity as she has given them over the last few months she should get free no fat, no whip mochas for life, or be in a commercial, or something.

Friday, November 7, 2008

My Book Blog

As I write my book certain songs and memories are being brought to the surface. One of the many reasons for my book blog, Denise's Book, is so that I can share these details as I write. I have been updating it every few days. Although I have referenced writing the book, and probably will again in the future, I'll try to not get into too many details about the book here on this blog. So if you are curious be sure to check it out every few days or so. Also, don't forget there's a button at the top of the blog that will take you directly there.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Silent Treatment

Lately Jenna has been like a cranky bear who just woke up from hibernation in the mornings. It seems to be getting worse and worse. This morning was no exception.

We try to leave for school around 9:00, our goal time, but its actually usually by 9:10. This morning I woke Jenna up at 8:25 while I went to pick out her clothes. I've never met a 5 year old who was so opinionated about her clothes like Jenna, but she approved my choice this morning. I told her to get dressed while I bathed Emma, who had woke up covered in formula from the bottle I gave her at 6:00 trying to get her to sleep longer. Jenna was already whiny and cranky but when she heard that Emma was getting a bath she wanted to take a bath too. I told her that we didn't have time, Emma's bath was going to be incredibly short, and that she needed to get dressed ASAP. Jenna followed me into the bathroom with her clothes and proceed to be upset and roll around on the floor. She wanted a bath. She wanted me to dress her. Ryan was looking at her. Finally I told her very calmly that I had had enough and if she was going to continue being so whiny then she could go back to her room and do it there.

She looked at me, put her hand on her hip and announced, "I'm not going to talk to you for a year!"

I was getting Emma out of the bath tub and was feeling the stress of trying to have all children dressed and feed by 9:00. I was leaving the babies with Trace while I went to write and I knew they had to be "complete" before I left. It was already 8:45. Part of me wanted to snap a response to Jenna but I stopped and said very calmly. "That's too bad. I'll miss you talking to me."

I got the babies dressed and took them downstairs and started to get their breakfast. Jenna, who had finished dressing, followed us down. I was trying to ask her questions about what she wanted for breakfast but she remained silent.

"Oh, I forgot, you're not talking to me for a year. That's a really long time." I commented to her silence.

In the meantime I was talking to Emma and Ryan about breakfast and other things. Without thinking I asked Jenna something and to my surprise she answered.

"Oh!" I exclaimed, "You talked to me!" I thought it was an oversight on her part.

"Yeah," she answered. "It wasn't any fun not talking to you."

Same here, sister friend, same here.

("Sister friend" is a story for another day)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chariots of Fire

So I've been a little absent the last couple of days. Sorry about that. I've really started writing my book and I've found that its not a switch that I can just shut off for the day. I'm currently writing about "the day"-- the day my world turned upside down. The day of Darrell's plane crash. I kept a journal during that time. Reading my journal brings it all back but writing it, dialogue and all it makes me feel like I'm there again. So I write and I become immersed in the panic and the fear that I felt then and then I have to shake it off and live in the real world. I feel like I'm living in two worlds right now. I have heard that some writers go into seclusion when they write. Now I know why. However I don't have that luxury.

A few months after Darrell died, I began to work out for a variety of reasons. But one of the many benefits was that if I was having a rough day or feeling down, a work out made me feel better. Yesterday I decided that might be the antidote to this as well. Before I worked out at the YMCA. This time I decided to run. I had run in the past, distant past, although my more recent workouts a year ago included some running on a treadmill. I didn't expect to just take off and run a half marathon. I get winded running up the stairs. I decided to take it slow, really slow, and work my way up. And today was the day.

Today was a really intense day of writing but it was very productive and I was happy with the outcome. But I found myself only half here. I needed to run.

At dinner I announced to the kids my intention run within the next hour. This was met with shock and amusement. I started humming the Chariots of Fire music and moving my arms in a circular, pretending to run in slow motion. Ryan found this very entertaining and joined in. Ross was making jokes about my advanced age. Julia was upset that it was beginning to rain and I was still going to run. Emma was busy taking her straw out of her juice box and Jenna wanted to make sure Julia didn't eat her chicken nuggets. Pretty typical dinner at our house.

After dinner (while the kids cleaned up!) I went upstairs and dug out my old workout clothes. Amazingly enough they still fit. Of course, Spandex/Lycra does stretch but I'm sure even its elasticity has a limit. I got my shoes on and opened the front door. It was pouring rain. I don't mind getting wet but I'm not crazy. So I sat around and waited awhile. Checked again. Still pouring rain. This wasn't going well. I was starting to feel antsy. Pretty soon the rain let up and Ross said "If you're really going to run I think that's about as good as its going to get. You better go now." I think I heard some snickering under his breath.

"How long are you going to be gone Mom?" Ross asked as I headed to the door.

"I don't know, not that long, why?"

"I just wanted to know how long I should wait before we need to go out and look for you." More snickering.

"Very funny." I sneered at him and then I turned more serious and half whispered "If I'm not back in 20 minutes..."

"Yeah, yeah, get out of here." He laughed shutting the door on me.

It was all me, alone in the dark and a light rain, ready to star in my own private Nike commercial. I hope Nike doesn't mind that my shoes are New Balance. I started to jog. The Chariots of Fire music was playing in my head. I jogged to the street corner, across the street to down the sidewalk. Now what was my path? I decided to jog around the horseshoe street behind my house and see how it went.

I had run about 200 feet when my right shin began to ache, left knee felt a twinge and my lungs were beginning to complain. The scripture The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak instantly came to mind. I know Jesus was referring to temptation but I found a whole new interpretation.

I pushed myself another 50 feet and then allowed myself to walk as I crossed the street to the horseshoe lane. After about 25 feet I made myself jog again. In my mind I could see myself as an agile runner but I'm sure the reality must have looked more ridiculous. This was not lost on me.

I pushed myself to run jog to the stop sign and then stopped because a car was coming. A brief moment of terror hit me. What if the driver knew me? But I realized that was unlikely. I was in the dark, in the rain, in running clothes and my hair pulled back into a short pony tail. I felt like a superhero's alter ego. I ran like one too.

I ran the short rest of the way home reflecting on my "run:"

I estimated that I had run about a quarter of a mile and I was worn out.
I realized its harder to run when rain drops are hitting you in the eyes.
On the other hand, the rain drops keep you from getting too hot.
That my body ain't what it used to be-- yeah, no kidding!
That I have an overactive imagination.
That I felt better.

But my spandex built in bra is killing me.

Monday, November 3, 2008

And the winner is:

There were 23 comments. Random Number Generator

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2008-11-04 03:11:02 UTC

Comment #16 is Beverly from Motherhood and Other Ramblings. Beverly said in her comment she was too broke to go to Starbucks so it looks like a deserving person won!

I have to tell you that I had a REALLY hard time NOT commenting in the comment section today! If you regularly read the comments then you know I like to make comments too so it was hard to restrain myself! But I thought I could address some things now.

Obviously my Starbucks addiction (yes I would call it an addiction) is known far and wide so it came as quite a surprise to many of you that 1) I could bear to part with a gift certificate to one of my favorite places and 2) that I hadn't been to Starbucks in 5 days. I haven't been to Starbucks on purpose and its taking great will power. I'm trying really hard to save money and staying away from Starbucks is an obvious way to do that. And I could part with the gift certificate because like I have said before, I just really like to give things away. My favorite part of Christmas is giving gifts, not getting them. Its kind of the same thing.

There were 2 Denises that commented in the comments today and neither one was me as was suggested in jest. Pinky promise. :>) I wasn't having remorse about parting with My Precious (the gift certificate) and trying to reduce the chances of losing it. I wish I had thought of it... maybe next time, but I should probably change my name so its not so obvious!

Dear, dear Teresa. I am SOOOO sorry that you didn't win again-- notice I didn't say lose. Your always a winner in my book!

Issy, I can't believe you've never been to Starbucks. I might be back in Nashville this month, perhaps I'll have to meet you there and introduce you to my dear friend.

And finally, this wasn't commented on but some of you might be wondering-- what's with the giveaways? Where do they come from? The $25 restaurant gift certificates from October were from my own household budget. I was trying to provide an incentive to find out what you all liked about my blog. I'm not above bribery. But starting with this giveaway and future giveaways the money is coming from those ads that you see on the right. At the top are ads from the BlogHer Network and a little further down are Google AdSense ads. Those ads don't generate much money but what they do I am recycling back into the blog with giveaways as my way of saying Thank You! Now if you want bigger, better and more giveaways you might click on an ad that interests you and I'll get paid even more money.

And stayed tuned for another giveaway in another week or two. Its to celebrate the release of the movie Twilight on November 21. And its a very appropriate giveaway! I'm so excited!

Starbucks Gift Card Giveaway!

I have in my possession a $10 gift card to Starbucks. I'm in a very generous mood and to celebrate the fact that I haven't been to Starbucks in 5 days (but who's counting?) I have decided to pass it along to one of my readers.

This is a one day only giveaway. To be entered you only have to leave a comment. Say anything you want. Just say hi, it really doesn't matter I just need your comment to let me know that you would like to be entered.

I will take comments until 9:00 CST. I will then have a winner picked by the random number generator. I will announce the winner tonight and get your gift card in the mail tomorrow.

Good luck!

Anonymous commenter #3, could you please email me your name in case you win-- that way I'll know who you are!