Saturday, January 26, 2008


For those of you reading this that don't know our family well, profanity is not something that is tossed around lightly at our house. I will not go so far as to say that a curse word is never uttered, but they are very few and far between. The "F Bomb", as it is referred in our home, is considered especially vile. All of our children are well of this. However, as most of us know, children (especially those of the teen and pre-teen variety) like to test the limits and try things out from time to time. This morning started with an especially egregious attempt by one of our kids, so the following assignment was given in hopes of eliminating such ideas from said child's head in the future, and possibly even educating them a little...

Step 1: Look up the offending words in the dictionary, and copy down their definitions. If said definitions are filled with complicated words, look them up too, until you have a satisfactory understanding of the true meaning of what you said.

Step 2: Write about why saying such things is inappropriate, and in fact completely inapplicable.

So, here is the finished product. I have done my best to sensor the offensive words (to protect my readers), and have eliminated all names (to protect my children's privacy). I am only posting this in hopes that some other parent that comes upon this issue with a child in the future might find help in how to handle it. Plus, it is just a tad funny. 8^)

F@#%ing Moron


F@#% - 1 to copulate, 2 meaningless intensive

Intensive - tending to strengthen or increase; emphasis

Moron - feeble-minded person or mental defective who has a potential mental age between 8 and 12; a very stupid person

Why is it inappropriate and inapplicable?

A f@#%ing moron is essentially an extremely stupid person. ***** quite obviously does not fit this description. It is taken offensively by most, and rightfully so. When used in this manner, it has absolutely nothing to do with anything sexual, though that is it's more common definition. Calling someone a "f@#%ing moron" is insensitive, inappropriate and vile. In other words, it is 100% wrong no matter whom one is addressing.

It doesn't apply because ***** is a very intelligent person, and this has been proven in many ways. He has had special testing done, he gets good grades, and he knows quite a lot. So in the end, calling someone a "f@#%ing moron" is inappropriate, and it certainly doesn't apply to a person such as *****.

AAAAHHHhhhhh!!! The joys of parenting!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Answers

I figured it would be easier to just write a post in response to the comments on the previous one, so here it goes.

To my parents....I'm glad you enjoyed your granddaughter's shenanigans so much. Perhaps you would like to babysit her on a regular basis. Or better yet, you could purchase the finely decorated couch from us, and save it in case it does end up increasing in value. After all, Grace is quite gifted for a child of less than two and a half years. And Dad, if Justin has a future in critiquing art, he may need to come hang out with you on a regular basis as well.

Mom and Julie....NO!! You do not get to see a picture. I wrote the lengthy post as therapy so I would not harm my child. Just be grateful that you will see pictures of Grace in the future.

Heidi....If it had been poop, I very well may have taken you up on your adoption consideration. The thing is, the rate of return would be sadly less than we had to put out to bring her home. Something about being two, and having an obsession with poo (like ink pens aren't bad enough). I guess we'll have to keep her.

Christy....I have just one simple thing to say. Thank for feeling my pain.

Cheryl....While my Dad suggested calling ServiceMaster or Coit, those places charge a lot of money. That is not something that we have in abundance right now, so that left me with the home remedy type solutions. Your suggestion of Windex got my brain working again (I'm afraid it had stopped after the shock of seeing my couch), and I remembered back to a sharpie incident we had a few years ago. At the time, we discovered that rubbing alcohol will take permanent ink out of just about anything. I was feeling a bit concerned about putting that all over my dark brown cushions though. It's not like it was one little spot that could be strategically covered up by a throw blanket if the color bleached out. But then I remembered my favorite quick stain remover for those inevitable times that we're out somewhere and get something on our clothes.....BABY WIPES!!! They never take out the color, and almost always take out the stain. Well, with the help (elbow grease) of one of my other children that had earned a consequence, I discovered that baby wipes do, in fact, remove ink from a very large sofa. I guess Grace gets to stay for now. 8^)

2 Year Old For Sale...CHEAP

A little while ago, I had terrible stomach cramps come over me. While this is surely more information than you wanted to know, it was one of those situations that required an immediate trip to the bathroom. I quickly assessed the situation; Grace was sitting on the couch, quietly watching Dora the Explorer; and made a mad dash to my destination. I'll be the first to say that it was a longer than average bathroom trip for me. I'm usually an in and out kind of girl. I promise to fill you in on why I'm sharing this lovely moment with you by the end of this post.

I recall thinking more than once while I was in there that it was strange that Grace had not come tearing down the hall after me, with the full expectation of being allowed to participate in the field trip. It even crossed my mind that it was downright weird that she had not at least come to the door and knocked while calling, "MaMa!" However, in my state of discomfort, I decided I was perfectly fine with the idea of my little angel sitting on the couch, watching Dora. Imagine my amazement when I returned to the family room, and actually found Grace doing exactly what I had envisioned. She was the picture of innocence. It was time for us to go pick up Justin, so I scooped her up, told her what a good girl she had been, and we headed out the door.

After we waited in an extra long line for Justin (it's raining cats and dogs here today, so all the usual walkers drove too), we were greeted by my happy boy. Grace is always thrilled to see her "Justee", and the two of them got right to the business of discussing what they would play when we got home. As we headed up the road, the clouds even started to blow over, revealing a lovely bit of blue sky. I hate to sound cliche, but since my stomach was also feeling better, it was definitely a smiles and rainbows kind of moment. So, we pulled into the garage and all headed inside from the car. As is his latest routine, Justin held the door for me like a little gentleman. Life is sweet.

As we got to the family room, I realized that Grace had a wet diaper. I sat down on the floor to change her, and asked Justin to get the things out of his backpack that I needed to see. He was very excited because he got his progress report today. So, as soon as I was finished with the diaper, he hurried over to show me the paper. He is doing super well in school and his teacher gushed quite a bit about how smart he is, and what a pleasure he is to have in class. Yippee! I gave him a big hug, told him I was proud of him, and asked him to take his jacket and backpack in his room. That's when it happened.

As Justin approached the couch to pick up his things, he asked, "What's that?"

"What?", I inquired quite nochalantly. After all, I had no reason to think anything was amiss.

"That!", he said, now with some force to his voice. He added an oustretched pointing finger for emphasis.

Now he had my attention. I turned to look where he was pointing, and for just a moment, could not form an answer.

"Look, Mom! It's there and there and there too!!"

"Yes it is, son.", I answered with far more self control than I felt.

"How did it happen?", now appearing to be enjoying the moment.

"Well, son, I would guess that Grace did it while I was in the bathroom earlier.", I said as I surveyed the ink drawn ALL OVER most of the cushions on my couch, and it's a BIG COUCH!!!! And I bet you'll never guess what came out of Justin's mouth next...

"Nice swirls, Gracie!"


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Stuck in My Head

Sometimes I get a song stuck in my head. It might be a catchy toon, or just the last thing I heard on the radio before I turned off the car. During the day, it is often the theme song from one of the many kids' shows on PBS, Noggin or Nick Jr. For the most part, I'm OK with any of the above options. That was, until today. Last night, I went to bed right after seeing the above commercial. I dreamed about it. I could think of nothing else as I took my shower this morning. It keeps invading my thoughts.

THIS IS NOT OK!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I Wish I Was a... man/woman/meteorologist. This week in our little So Cal burg, the weather report has changed almost hourly. We went from expecting rain Sunday and Wednesday, to expecting rain everyday through this next Monday (at least). The latest is that we had some rain last night and are expecting more Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday. What other job would allow a person to change their mind so often, or be plain wrong most of the time?! As much as we could use the rain in our drought laden area, is it too much to ask for a reliable forecast? This Mom of 5 would sure appreciate it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Oh My!

Justin just ran into the room to inform us that, "Tyler said the 'C' word!!"

Hesitantly, Will asked, "What is the 'C' word?"

Said with GREAT conviction, "Kill!"

Sunday, January 20, 2008

So Sad...

...the Chargers beat the spread, but alas, victory eluded them.

Here's to next season!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Crazy 8's

8 things I'm passionate about...

1. God!!!
2. My Husband
3. My Kids
4. My Extended Family
5. Adoption
6. Blogs!!!
7. Sleep
8. Scrapbooking (passionate but not consistent!)

8 things I want to do before I die...

1. Love my husband beyond his wildest dreams!
2. Give my kids the loving, self-esteem building, start they need.
3. Adopt an older child from Ethiopia.
4. Do everything I can to promote Ethiopian/African/HIV+ adoption.
5. Educate my peers about Africa, and the differences, between its' nations.
6. Get a College degree.
7. Finish scrapbooks for each of my kids.
8. Enjoy my husband's retirement with him.

8 things I say often...

1. "I love you!"
2. "Good morning."
3. "Good night."
4. "Get a good nights' sleep."
5. "Did you have a good sleep?" (Is there a trend here? We like it when our kids are sleeping!)
6. "Tell me the truth." (Said with the menacing Mom tone.)
7. "That is something I never thought I would have to say!"
8. "Have you lost your mind?!?!"

8 TV shows I’ve recently watched (this list would be SOOO different if the writer's weren't striking!!...

1. SpongeBob (Is there ever a time that this show isn't on?!?!)
2. Dora the Explorer (Anytime Grace gets to choose the show!)
3. American Idol
4. Anything by Ken Burns on PBS
5. Project Runway
6. Live with Regis and Kelly
7. The View (I can not get enough of Whoopi Goldberg!!)
8. Make Me a Super Model

8 songs I could listen to over and over (In no particular order)...

1. Black Flower - Salvador
2. I Can't Make You Love Me - Bonnie Raitt
3. I Can Only Imagine - MercyMe
4. Your Love is Extravagent - Casting Crowns
5. Beauty From Pain - SuperChick
6. It Was You - Trace Adkins
7. Wheel in the Sky - Journey (or pretty much anything else by Journey!!!)
8. God Bless the Child - Shania Twain

8 things that attract me to my best friends...

1. They’re real.
2. They’re fun.
3. They're honest.
4. They're creative.
5. They listen.
6. They're always "there", no matter what.
7. They make me want to be a better person.
8. They love me just the way I am though.

8 things I’ve learned this past year (or previously, with a strong reminder this year)...

1. Tomorrow is never a sure thing.
2. I love my husband more everyday. My marriage is a most precious gift from God.
3. We have our trying moments, but my kids are amazing.
4. My parents love me deeply, and show it in the most wonderful ways.
5. Cancer Sucks!!
6. I need to quit taking back the things I give to God.
7. I can't be an island, no matter how hard I try.
8. I have a lot left to learn.

8 people I think should do '8'...

1. Amanda
Cousin Julie
Julie G.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Another First

Justin lost his first tooth this afternoon. In fact, he was actually brave enough to ask me to pull it out for him. It only took a couple little tugs.

My "little" guy is sure growing up fast!!

Something New on the Horizon

It's been a little while since I talked adoption here. It's a subject that is never far from my thoughts, and has a permanent place in my heart. However, the business of running a home with 5 kids seems to take over a lot of the time. A little while back, I chose to scale back on my participation on the various adoption Yahoo groups. It was just taking too much of my time away from the kids that are right here in my house. As much as I care for all of the waiting children and families, my family deserves my all. With that said, I did not completely disengage. I still follow many blogs, receive digest messages from the AHOPE and SoCal Yahoo groups, and receive the Holt International newletter. I could never completely walk away.

This brings me to the point of this post. A few months ago I learned that Holt International was working on establishing an adoption program in Ethiopia. I was thrilled! You see, Holt was our first contact with international adoption. We went to church with two different families that were in the process of adopting from China through Holt. While we knew we were definitely called to adopt from somewhere in Africa, there was not a placing agency in our state. That left us with the task of finding an agency to do our pre and post-placement work for our adoption. With a few kind words from our friends, Holt was more than happy to take on the job. And what a job they did!

The main California office, in Sacramento, was extremely efficient. Our social worker was an absolute dream. Our first meeting was two days post sinus surgery for me. He was not the least bit put off by my swollen nose, slightly black eyes or somewhat drugged speech. He was always extremely professional, but personable as well. He kept a very flexible schedule, and even drove an hour south when we moved and needed to ammend our homestudy. Our post-placement work went just as smooth. I could not give Holt a better recommendation. What a great convenience they will provide to California families that want to adopt from Ethiopia. To my knowledge, there is no other placing agency in our state. It would surely be nice thing to be able to complete the entire adoption process with one agency.

Please understand, this does not change our opinion of AAI in any way. Our process to bring Grace home, through them, could not have been smoother. The staff is kind, professional and attentive. The children at Layla House are extremely well cared for. Due to their long presence in Ethiopia, they have connections that most other agencies do not. When the the time comes for us to adopt again in the future, you can bet that AAI will be on the top of our list. Merrily Ripley and company will always be up high on my list of people that I am grateful to have had dealings with. They are the cream of the crop!

Anyway, for those of you that made it this far into my post and have an interest, the following is a little blurb from the monthly Holt newsletter....

Ethiopia Adoption Opens
Officially registered as an adoption agency with the Ethiopian government since early January, Holt International is now accepting applications from families ready to begin the adoption process from this African nation. Families are needed for both boys and girls of varying ages. Holt's program is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital city, with humanitarian aid projects focused on serving the southern region of Ethiopia.

To learn more about Holt, and its' history, please click here. It is a fascinating story, and without their founders' work, International Adoption might not have been possible for the rest of us.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


So, Justin is "Star of the Week" in his Kindergarten class. The first day he brought in a cut-out version of himself (whole body). We made his eyes appropriately hazel, and his lips sufficiently pink-orange-peach-red-brown. His body double had a lovely pair of manly khakis, and a handsome forest green shirt. Of course, the shirt was covered from top to bottom with stickers. They represented all the things that he is interested in. He wore matching clothes to school on Monday, but never took his jacket off, so his teacher and classmates never knew.

Today, Justin took a framed picture that he keeps on the shelf by his bed. It is a sweet drawing of a baby folding his hands in prayer, along with some bigger hands wrapped around the them. It says, "May the Lord bless you..." It was given to him by Grandma Carroll and Grandpa John right after his birth. He was in the hospital, sick as can be, and they were 1000 miles away. It was to remind us all that they were praying for him, and that we should continue to do so.

When Justin came home from school today, I asked him how his class liked his picture. He said they liked it. He explained why it was special to him, and that led to a class discussion about who prays at their house; more specifically, who prays at meal time at home. It turns out, some do, some don't. The fact that they even had this discussion in a public school is rather impressive. Justin had just one thought on the matter...."I don't see why everyone doesn't pray before meals. It's not that hard, after all!!!"

Sunday, January 13, 2008

It Wasn't Supposed to Happen...

.....BUT IT DID!!!!

The Colts were supposed to win by at least 9, but the Chargers took this one 28 - 24.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Will's New Passion

If any of you out there happen to be sports fans (mostly football and baseball), Will has been writing a blog for a while now. He usually writes about the Chargers and the Padres, but their opponents get their share of coverage too. With the playoffs in full swing, he's been burning up the keyboard. I'm afraid I've created a monster! Feel free to stop by and show him (and the Chargers) some love, or go over and have it out with him. He'll be happy either way; as long as it's sports talk. 8^) There's even new a link over there on my sidebar. Happy Blogging!

Happy 13th Birthday

Tyler made it to 13 today. In case you're keeping track, he's the second one at our house to reach that milestone in the last 8 weeks. We're doing our best to stay sane around here!! 8^)

My Heart


8 years ago this week, my heart was dealt a most devastating blow. I was crushed; physically broken; emotionally overwrought. Life could never be the same. The only reason to get out of bed each day was to care for my 3 and 5 year old kids, and I couldn't always do a very good job of that. The thought of even trying to look to the future seemed impossible. I trudged through the days, retold the story, waited for each new piece of information to come in. Nothing filled the hole. Half of myself had been ripped away, and I could feel every last raw edge where the connection had been. I didn't know it was possible to feel so hollow.

As the months started to pass, and lots of friends and family encouraged me, I started to take little peeks out of my emotional hole. I cried through every service, but I went to church. I went to a grief support group. I tried my best to make it through all the "special" days. Sometimes I did great, but sometimes not. I spent a lot of time sitting under a tree, talking to a headstone. I asked God for just a tiny glimpse so I would know heaven was REALLY there. I KNEW it, but what I would have given for just a smidge of proof on those extra lonely days.

Eventually, a Thursday could pass without me remembering that it was the cursed day. I started to see a glimmer of light here and there. I took some interest in taking care of me, as well as the kids. I started going to some church activities. I went to Colorado for a month to bask in the loving care of my family. I had the opportunity to reconnect with some old friends and make some new ones. I even went to the gym everyday. Finally, I got a hint that life was actually going to move on. The hollow spot was still there, but it was a little smaller, and I was learning to live with it.

Late in the summer, right before the kids would head off to school, I got up the guts to take them camping with our church family. I was afraid of taking it on by myself, but I knew my friends would be all around to support me. We stayed in a forested area, just across the road from the beach. When night came upon us, and the kids were tucked safely into bed, I had the strongest urge to go take a walk along the water. I could hear the waves crashing, and I needed to go soak up some of that power. I quickly found someone to peek in on the kids from time to time, but struggled to find anyone to head over to the sand with me. They all had their families there, or were involved in other activities. I knew I needed to be respectful of the "buddy" rule that had been put in place by our pastor for safety reasons, so I resigned myself to try again the next night.

Much to my surprise, a few minutes later you asked me if I still wanted to go for that walk. I did, and we went, but the journey out of the campground and across the road was a little awkward. I knew your name, and a little of your history; but only because it was infamous like mine. What did it mean that you wanted to walk with me? As we walked across the beach toward the water, we fell into a rhythm of conversation. We talked for hours as we watched the neon waves and more shooting stars than I had seen in my lifetime before. What was happening? I didn't know, but I knew I wanted you to hold my hand so bad. I was afraid though, and could only bring myself to mention that my hands were cold. Apparently, you were scared too, because you couldn't bring yourself to reach out your hand either. Regardless, the foundation was set. We hit the beach again the next night, and haven't stopped talking since.

I'm not quite sure how we made it through those next few months. There was no time for sleep because there were too many subjects to cover. We poured our hearts, souls and minds out for the other to examine, analyze and love. We had a bond in our brokenness, and little by little, helped each other figure out how to pick up the pieces and love again. It was the most wonderful, and most terrifying time of my life. With each new revelation you could have left, but you stayed, and so did I. There is nothing that I will ever be more grateful for.

I finally came to the time when that ever important "one year" mark was going to pass. They weren't easy days, but they were made so much more palatable by your presence. As silly as it might sound to some, that date was important. I had survived. A full circle around the sun had passed, and I was living, breathing, and even flourishing. That had been an impossible notion a year before. There was one more thing that I hadn't accounted for though. You were now very much a part of what surviving and living again looked like for me. I HAD to be with you. So in spite of the the fact that my need ruined your original plan to propose, you welcomed me with open arms. I am so thrilled that you came up with a new plan though, and asked me to be your wife 7 years ago today.

I realized the other night that we have now been married to each other longer than either of us had been married before. I even mentioned it to you at the time. The things I didn't say were these. I figured out on the day we got married when this time would come. Somewhere deep in my heart, I figured this time would, somehow, make you more completely mine. I have never been jealous of the past, but more likely, afraid of the future. Could we, possibly, pass the threshold that we hadn't before. Now I know, without a doubt, the answer is YES. I still feel afraid sometimes, and I still have to give you up to God everyday until you come home safely to me in the afternoon; but my heart sings with the love, growth and uplifting you have given me in the last 7+ years. I am truly a better woman for having had the opportunity to be your wife. Thanks for asking.


PS As is typical, the details of things don't always turn out exactly the way we'd hoped. I searched for the perfect song to go with this letter, and almost found it. The only trouble is, it is called "Better Man", and is sung by a guy named James Morrison. Oh yeah, and Blogger wouldn't let me embed it in this post, so you'll need to click on that little box at the top of my sidebar over there on the right. So, if you could do me the teeny, tiny favor of overlooking those details, this song is dedicated to you for all the things you do to make me better.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New Year (School Semester)

All of my kids (not Grace) are back to school; Tyler at school with Will. It was a nightmare getting him registered, but he had a great first day. Now we'll pray for some awakening and responsibility on his part. Dad will be right over his shoulder, regardless. Kayla has a little 8th Grade-itis. She isn't quite sure if she wants to push for the straight A's that she has had throughout the rest of Middle School. Fortunately, she wants to qualify for CJSF (California Junior Scholarship Federation). It is the only award that can be included, from the Middle School level, on college applications. That should pull her through. Daniel is doing so well with his new IEP in place. Seeing his lighter mood and happy demeanor makes all the hard work worthwhile. There is such a great Resource staff at our school. Justin tells me he is the "Orange Paw King". That is because their school mascot is the Lion, and in Kindergarten, he can earn an orange paw for good behavior and a brown paw for bad behavior. He has earned nothing but orange paws all year. Yippee!!!! This all makes this Mom's heart light and happy! 8^)

BTW, Grace spent the day getting into everything, and writing on my couch with a ball point pen. GRRRrrrr!!!

Monday, January 07, 2008

I Might Need an Intervention!!

71%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Public Service Announcement

This morning, while Justin was eating breakfast and Will and I were lost in our own little cyber worlds, Grace passed by Justin's seat. All of a sudden, he announced, "Stink Bomb! Stink Bomb on Gracie!!!" I think I better go change a diaper. Ewww!

Will's Karaoke Personality

Your Karaoke Theme Song is "Livin' On a Prayer"

You believe the best things in life are mostly forgotten, and you're definitely more than a little nostalgic .
You're likely to still like the same foods, fashions, and music as you did when you were a teenager.

You have a knack for knowing what elements of pop culture people have missed, without them even realizing it.
It's great to remember the past, but don't forget that not everyone is as stuck in it as you are.

You might also sing: "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and "Cherry Pie."

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Round 1....Down!

They won!! They actually won!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Go Chargers! Go Chargers!! Go Chargers!!! Go Chargers!!!!

Our Team in the Playoffs

I can hardly believe I care this much, but I am seriously rooting for the San Diego Chargers in today's playoff game. There was a day that I was a SERIOUS Denver Broncos fan. I lived there from age 5 to age 15. Considering I still had family there, it seemed only right that I would maintain my allegiances. However, I married a man that had a LONG (from its' earliest days) history of being a San Diego Chargers fan. His WHOLE family (even those in Oregon) are Charger fans. Considering his passion, I had to make the switch. Our kids have been taught to yell, "Go Chargers!!!" from their earliest days, and we are all properly outfitted for the games whenever possible. So I ask you all, in spite of your local allegiances, to join us in our quest. Watch the game later today, and root for our Chargers.