Monday, December 9, 2013

Breakfast of champions

It’s no secret. My cooking skills are up there with New Orleans’ elevation level. I decided I needed some true and tried gourmet recipes. So, I started Pinterest stalking. If I stalked you, consider yourself a good cook. (Or a good pinner of yummy looking food).

I made a meal calendar. I listed ALL meals. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, desserts… I was going to go BIG! A food revoLUTION!! I was to start TODAY!

I saddled up this morning. I had the determination of a half-starved cheetah with a wounded elephant in my sights. I lured the children into the play room and, when I thought they were encompassed in their game of Conner and Brighton saving Brooklyn, a princess, stuck in the top of the tallest tower (or bunk bed), I tiptoed to the kitchen. I gathered my ingredients with zeal and turned on the stove eyes. I HAD this.

Before I could crack open the dang kitchen DRAWER, in TRAMPLES a HERD of children.

 “MOM is that EGGS?!” asked Brooklyn as she looked at the EGGS in my hand. I didn’t feel the need to answer her question. She obviously KNEW the answer. She can name practically all animals, tell you if it is a mammal, reptile, amphibian, insect, bird, arachnid, etc. and the climate in which they live. She KNOWS what an egg is. BUT, the question, apparently, bared repeating. Again. AND AGAIN.

“YES! These are eggs!”

“MOM! IS that BREAD!?”

I took a very DEEP breath, trying to focus on the task at hand.

“Attention little DARLINGS that I LOVE! Mommy is COOKING us breakfast. On the menu is French 
toast and eggs! NOW, I can’t focus if there is too much noise.”

Boeing thought that a fine invitation to ATTACH himself to my leg. Aggressively. I untangled him best I could, because I was covered in French toast batter; mostly raw egg sliding slimily through my fingers. But, no matter where I PUT Boeing, he CHARGED his way back to his perch on my leg. And NOT meekly. VERY OPINIONATEDLY. And Brighton and Co Co excitedly started dragging my bar stools across the TILE floor. (Nails on a chalk board ring a bell in the uttermost unnerved part of your brain)?

“WOE! WOE! NO moving the bar stools! Let’s put them back. No.. NO! We are NOT climbing on top of the counter. Get OUT of the sink! BRY! BOYS! Boeing, GET off my LEG! Brooklyn, stop crying! I didn’t mean to hurt your feeling by telling you I needed to focus. BOYS! STAAAAAAARRRRRRLIIIIIIINGGGG!!!”

Well. Starling didn’t come in a reasonable amount of time. (He never does). And so, immediately, the fact that I was standing there waving my battered hands at two boys laughing HYSTERICALLY, a bawling Brooklyn, and a baby wailing on my FOOT, became STARLING’S FAULT. For not foreseeing this moment and being on the phone with a client instead of helping me control the masses. (Eh- men are, at this moment, thinking that’s illogical & berserk reasoning. Women are saying, “EXACTLY!”).
I rinsed my hands, drug the boys to the table where I told them to STAY PUT, popped a bottle in Boeing’s mouth, tried to reason with a sniffling broken-hearted 4 year old DRAMA queen, and attempted to rescue the burning eggs and toast.

“I WANT EGGS!!!” Brighton started whining.

“Just a minute baby. Almost ready.”

Something happened. Who knows? Co Co looked at his cup. Brooklyn said she got the middle seat. Never can tell. But Brighton lost it.

“Mamamama I want EGGS….” How he correlated his dire situation to eggs missing from his life, I don’t know.

I dumped the toast on plates, threw eggs at them, put a vitamin, and a chunk of banana on their plates.

“HERE you GO!!” I said shrilly.

“MO-OM?! WHY did you put my EGGS touching my TOAST?! I just don’t LIKE when they TOUCH!”

“I wan-ned a BWOOO pork!”


I just stood there. I blinked about twenty five times. I breathed in. I breathed out. I held my breath. Then I made a volatile mistake. I parted my lips.



That obviously made everything better.  

But Starling DID show up, then. When breakfast was ready and all. Not that I let him eat.

“Will you PLEASE cut up their toast for them.” (It wasn’t a question).

Starling scarfed his breakfast and disappeared like shirts at a Mardi Gras parade. Brighton decided he was DONE, so he climbed down from his chair. “I WAN BRY’S!” And suddenly, as Co Co’s hands grabbed Bry’s plate, Brighton was suddenly NOT DONE. In fact, he was RAVISHED. And between the two of them they ate 3 MORE toasts. And just when I finished cooking and made MY plate, Brooklyn decided she wanted more toasts. So I gave her one of mine and had to make a decision. I decided I only wanted one toast and no eggs. I was too tired to eat by that point, anyway.

No sooner had I sat down at the table, a WAIL of horror sounded. I turned to see Co Co grabbing his stomach. He had one of the tiny little plastic chairs that Brighton and him carry around the house, for some ABSURB enjoyment of hauling and climbing, and he’d somehow tripped and the plastic leg had scraped his abdomen in a BIG way.

“Oh my GOSH!” I jumped up and wrapped him up in my arms, trying to get a look at the scrape without freaking Co Co out.

“WHAT happened?” Bry kept asking. “Did you get SHOT?!” Now where in the HECK did he learn about getting “shot”??

“I need BAND AIDE!!” Co Co actually didn’t need a band aide, but I got a ginormous one and stuck it on him just the same. That made everything better.

I got everyone calmed down and settled and FINALLY got to eat. I was GLAD I’d only had the ONE toast left to eat. Since it was COLD, soggy, and nasty.

Starling asked me to update our storage payments for the units we own. Co Co and Boeing were piled up in my bed watching me type on the computer. Brooklyn and Brighton were playing Barbies in Brookie’s room.
My friend came to buy my old camera and I went to greet her at the door. ONLY for her to call to my attention my new couch decorations.

Brighton was feverishly SCRUBBING a spot on the couch saying trancelike, “I gotta cwean dis up. I just weally have to cwean dis up.”

I took a moment to survey my living room. Cinnamon so carefully distributed in a lovely glaze over every piece of furniture I own. And carried on to the fireplace. And little mounds of cinnamon were perfectly centered on EACH of my 4 window seals. I walked to the kitchen. Every single counter had a gleeful little trail of Bry’s cinnamon parade. And in the middle of the kitchen was my giant, formerly full, vanilla extract busted in a cuzillion pieces.

Once I finished cleaning the kitchen. The living room. The CHILD. My extravagant resolve for cooking sunk down with the shards of broken glass at the bottom of my trash can.

We ate cereal for lunch. AND dinner. Tomorrow is a new day. It can’t exactly be WORSE.     

Sunday, November 17, 2013

the incident

I keep getting asked about Foster Care and what’s it like. Well, obviously I love it or I would have made up an excuse to quit. Like, “Sorry. I already have 3 kids under 4.” But I am a person that doesn’t feel like I’m doing my part until I’m stretched like a rubber band. And that’s what makes me happy. Knowing I’m being 100% utilized. Not to mention the exciting joys of children. From the tender little expressions of love, like Brooklyn bringing home her M&M’s and telling Co Co and Bry, “sit down, guys! I saved ALL the blue ones for YOU because I know that blue is your favorite color.” And the boys taking turns bringing Brookie gifts because she’s a princess. And my little men asking me to dance with them, sing with them, put make up on me, asking Brookie to paint their toenails blue. They are precious. I love to listen to them pray. Especially Bry. His prayers usually go like this.

“Heb’n’ly Pawder. Thankful dis da-ay. Dat Co Co tooked my mon-ter tru-yuck. Dat I told him no. Dat Co Co told me ‘ain’t’ and dats not ni-yice. Dat Daddy can’t just leeb me to go work. Dat mommy can’t just tell me I can’t sleep in da ni-yite ni-yite. Name Jesus Chri-yist, Amen!”

Brooklyn’s prayers are heart- felt and bring tears to my eyes almost every night. (Either tender tears or tears from holding in laughter).  “I’m just SOOOO thankful that daddy got back to land and that… no alligators got to bite on him… and that Co Co is living with us and that please, Heavenly Father, help
Bry and Co Co learn to share. It just really hurts my little feelings when they take Chark Chark and Pretty from me (her stuffed dogs). And PLEASE, please. Help Boeing to be soft. He is just too rough.”

And Co Co. “Heb Pawder. Tank day. Tank mommie. Tank Daddy. Tank Bwookwen, Tank Bry, tank Bo-ee. Be ni-yice. Otter mommie. AYE-MEN!”

 My little 9 month old baby, Co Co’s brother, got moved to live with his grandmother. I won’t pretend that it’s easy to see my babies go, but I pray often and do my part to ease my emotional burdens. I wrote down EVERYTHING I loved about MM (my 9 mo old). I described how he couldn’t sit up, couldn’t hold his own bottle, couldn’t clap, couldn’t talk, couldn’t roll over when he came to my house.  Then I described each of his milestones as they happened rapidly. I wrote down his likes and dislikes. His favorite sleeping position, his favorite foods, things that make him laugh, etc. Then I sent a copy of that and an 8x10 pic I took of MM to the grandma. And that gave me closure.

And the other question. HOW do you DEAL with SEEING the birth parents??

Well. This is my 3rd go round with foster care and my first time to meet a birth parent. I think there is good in all people and you have to do your part to bring out the good. (Otherwise you’ll be like the other foster mom I met that was going off about “all the little brats” and how she can’t believe her home is under investigation AGAIN while she’s doing the STATE of MS an ACT of KINDNESS. All the while adding Call of Duty to an 8 year old foster son’s Christmas list).

The first time I met Mom, I was anxious beyond belief. I assumed I would be hated and demonized. And I'm sure the Mom felt the same way. If my kids were taken from me, I’d lie, steal, cheat, rob, murder- ANYTHING to get MY BABIES back. So, in that mode of thinking, I decided she was treating me like a saint. And I told her as much. I told her I can’t even imagine being where she is, and while it isn’t much comfort, I wanted her to know I LOVE her children and they have been an absolute blessing to our family. I let her know quickly that I didn’t think I was all that and a bucket of chicken in the mommy department. I told her about my mediocre skills in the kitchen and some of the funny stories that go along with that. Then I gave her a hug and told her that we pray for her every night. (And not in a belittling way).

The next visit went TERRIFIC. I took Mom 8x10 pics of both her boys. (They look SOOoo handsome)! And she was so pleasant and grateful. She said, “You are so kind!” Which meant the world to me. I don’t much like being hated. And she played with her boys and loved on them. And we talked like old friends. And she asked Co Co if he liked living with “Mommy’s friend.” And she gave me a picture of her and Co Co that I put in his room. And she brought me stuff for the boys. She told me all her friends were asking if I was a total Bee. And she said, “I told them, ‘No! She is actually a normal person! Like someone I’d go have drinks with!” And despite the fact that I’ve never touched alcohol in my life, I was sincerely happy to hear her say that. It ranks up there with top compliments I’ve been given.

And the next time I go I’m giving her a CD of all the pics of taken of them. The candid funny ones. AND have I got a story to tell on CO CO!

So, the potty training has its ups and downs. I’ve basically told my boys, if the pee goes ANYWHERE other than the PANTS, it’s a GO!

WELL. Today at church I was yapping my gums, something “I” rarely do. (Lightening, do not zap me. It WAS a JOKE). Boeing is walking like a champ now, so he’s pretty much going to be the death of me. I’ll need to invest in a leash immediately. But I’d managed to get all four of my hooligans in the same vicinity. They each plastered themselves against a glass door and were watching the cars drive by. I, thankfully, was watching them out the corner of my eye while I RAILED on Starling and Aaron about their exaggerations of their little adventure in the Everglades. (Which they insist the story I heard was a MILD version; the mere CLIFT NOTES. –well MY adventure that “I” had while they were gone for 6 days has YET to be TOLD).

I saw movement and turned as the church door opened and Bry and Conner ran out. I was on their heels. “What are you- OHH!” Co Co turns to face me with his weenie hanging out of his pants. He has caught the attention of EVERYONE in the foyer watching wide eyed for the next segment of “Wendi’s World; Season 1.”

“Put that thing AWAY!” I tell him as he simultaneously lets loose. RIGHT in the MIDDLE of the WALKWAY, under the OVERHANG!  ON the CONCRETE! RIGHT in the MIDDLE of our congregation trying to LEAVE. This kid starts peeing like a keg of water that just lost his cork. It may be that time was altered, given my awkward circumstance, but I SWEAR the kid peed for 11 minutes. And I’m just staring at Starling, who’s watching, mouth agape from inside. I’m flailing my arms at him like he can perform some sort of miracle and make Co Co stop peeing mid flow. Starling FINALLY, in his Starling Johnson time frame of SLOTH, reached us and said, “No! You can’t just-“ and I stopped him short because Co Co was SOOO excited that he just peed OUTSIDE and NOT in his underwear.

“Let’s try to pee in the grass next time, buddy. Good job, though!” and I shoved all the kids at Starling who was shaking his head mumbling, “Talk about desecrating the church…”

In my moment of confusion and utter humiliation, I filled up Boeing’s bottle with water and dumped it on top of the pee. So the desecration was, at least, diluted. OOOOOOHHHH the joys of CHILDREN!!   

Potty Training

I have been blog deprived for LONG ENOUGH. Seriously, when a girls gotta vent, a girl BETTER vent or next thing you know her husband will be missing an eyebrow. (Passive aggressiveness MAY run in my family). And maybe just plain aggressiveness.

 I have been showcasing my little 5 kids under 4 years old circus for a while. I play the clown that juggles. (If ONLY I had to JUST juggle FIRE). My juggling act usually consist of something vomit worthy. Like- at what point do little boys decide, “Ya know. Crappin my pants was fun and all… but I think I’ll move on to graffiti art with mom’s paints or hoarding cookies under my pillow.” Every time one of them, ages 3 and 2, has an “accident,” or a moment of quick decision that leaving the comfort of the outdoors to poo in a toilet is completely absurd, I make them pull down their OWN pair of pants. Make them wash their OWN poopy undies, and make them wash their OWN brown butts under the shower. They gag and/ or vomit EVERYTIME. (As do I). But stop doing it? Heck no. That would be completely ludicrous.

 HOWEVER, they go pee every five minutes to get a potty treat. Aka a choice piece of candy from Starling’s personal candy collection. (That he purchased the day after Halloween HALF price, which of course justified his buying an ENTIRE BUGGY of candy. Eh- at least if my husband MUST be addicted to something, it’s not crack cocaine). So. When I decided that the boys were a Kit Kat away from diabetes, I changed the potty treat rule. I even wrote it on the giant dry erase board in my kitchen. (The one I decided to purchase at Lowe’s on the windiest day in the history of MS, after discovering that dry erase paint is $75 dollars for a TEE-NINIE can. The giant board was $13. But it, of course, wouldn’t fit in my van because it was too long and too wide. SOOOOOOOO a nice man named Jose helped me GET the board TO my van, because the board flew away as soon I came out of Lowe’s. I, of course, was attached to the board and therefore experienced life as a tumble weed. And when I declined his request to let him FOLD it in half, Jose WAITED with my board and open van while I ran through Lowe’s begging for string. Of course when asked how MUCH I needed, I panicked and implored the little 20 year old to tie it for me. He told me to pull my van to the tie up station outside and he’d do it. THANKFULLY Jose, a frozen addition to the parking lot, at that point, was STILL guarding my board. And hadn’t stolen my van.  He drove the board on that rickety blue buggy contraption, ALL the way to the OTHER side of the parking lot, the wind blowing him to and fro, and I moved my van. Then Jose stayed while three brains attempted to plan a way to mount the flimsy board on top of my van so it wouldn’t take flight. Then Jose disappeared, but not before I thanked him repeatedly, told him he was an angel, the most blessed human I’ve encountered, and all but kissed his hand. Which may be why he left. That, or he actually went to Lowes to BUY something, not save Wendi: the great thinker. Then the other kid and I put our boy scout knot tying abilities to use. He wasn’t a boy scout and I’m a girl. So you can GUESS how that went. I did come up with a genius plan to let down my front windows, tie the board down with me INSIDE, then roll UP my windows to properly secure my loot for takeoff. I’ll have you know, I had to climb out the back of my van (since I was tied inside) when I got home, but honey- I MADE it home. And the board stayed put).

But where was I going with this? OH YES the changing of rules. So I wrote in BIG letters, for STARLING’s BENEFIT, since the boys can’t read, “REWARD SYSTEM: PEE PEE= toy from lock box; POO POO= potty treat.” (The lock box is another concoction of mine to make me feel good about my efforts as a maid and passively aggressively punish my children for being sloppy little turkey feet. When I notice the house is a wreck, with TOYS dropped around the house like confetti at New Years, I make an announcement. “TOY ALERT! TOY ALERT!” The kids have a small window of opportunity to put their toys where they belong. If they are trucking it, I let them have a long window. If they are playing with their toys, completely immune to my threat of losing every toy I see, I get my bags out and start loading up the toys to go in the “Lock Box.” It’s a pretty dramatic process. I make the toys scream in agony as I shove them into the bag and I announce EACH toy as it goes in. “BRY’S giant monster truck didn’t get put back on the shelf! ITS GOING INTO THE LOCK BOX!!!!” –manly gruffy voice-“NOOO not the LOCK BOX! WhY didn’t you SAVE ME BRY!!” Brooklyn cares. But none of her toys ever get locked because she’s basically a perfect child. Bry and Co Co sometimes help me fill the lock box bag. But now that they have almost NO toys to play with, I keep thinking they are going to understand they are getting PUNISHED for not CLEANING UP). Utter shock. My boys are having sugar withdrawals. “I don’t WANT LOCK BOX!!! I WANT POTTY TREAT!!!” Then put your poop in the toilet. It’s working. Pretty sure they both have hemorrhoids, but suddenly pooping in the toilet is a HUGE priority.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Husband Training

I’m not one to sit around and contemplate how Starling and I, as a couple, compare to other couples. It doesn’t take too much thought to recognize we are FAR from “normal.” But just how weird are we? I don’t know exactly. I’m so used to being me, it’s hard to find my actions abnormal. But yesterday, after the fact of course, I thought, “Yes. That was probably quite peculiar.”

I don’t know how other wives discipline/train/punish their husbands, or if they even do. Surely they do. How else do they get their way? But, as with every aspect of my life, I am a WEE bit unconventional. I choose to rule by fear. JUST with my husband. I have a list of Do’s and Don’ts a mile long. And Starling knows them quite well. I need only utter 3 little words to get him hoppin’ like a grasshopper. My magical phrase? “THAT’s A BOOGER.”

This will undoubtedly make you think less of me, but AGAIN, I don’t so much CARE. It works. (And I’m not bandaging a toe that ain’t broken).

Yesterday Starling decided he would purchase a vehicle to flip at 7 pm. (We’d just purchased one the day before).   I meekly and encouragingly rolled my eyes. I didn’t ASK for the specs on the vehicle, mainly because I couldn’t care LESS. BUT, as always, he feels the need to CONVINCE me to WANT to do something he’s going to do rather I like it or not. And I said as much.

“This looks like a good flip!” He said. And all I heard after that was, “New BLA, replaced BLA, something about BLA.” And my concrete expression of, “I.Don’t.Care.” only increased his desire to make this deal appealing. Which, I don’t know why. I’m not going to drive it. If it were for me I’d be all up in the business of getting informed. But, even then, all I need to know is, can it fit my ARMY of children? Does it RUN? Okay. And if one MUST get into specifics, what color is it?

But, none the less, he got carried away and then read further down on the listing to find the catch. (There is ALWAYS a catch). “Oh it overheats at umm… 80 mph.” I yawned. “Good thing you never HAVE to drive 80.”

Starling said, “Okay. Maybe it says 70mph.”

WELL. As in many households, exaggerating, lying, stretching the truth, withholding information, etc is STRICTLY forbidden. For Starling. And, everyone knows, at least everyone that had to learn about Pavlov and his salivating dog every year in Psychology, that consistent reinforcement of a particular cause and effect paired with a completely unrelated correlating factor, will undoubtedly create an associated effect TO the unrelated factor. PHEW! That’s a mouthful and probably makes about as much sense to you as psychology as a WHOLE to me. In BASIC terms, every time Starling does anything on my To Do or Do NOT list, I say the word “Booger” which strikes utter fear in him, because that word ALWAYS comes prior to me jumping on his back and sticking my finger in his mouth.

Now, Starling FIRMLY believes I am trying to stick an actual booger in his mouth. THAT’s the kind of wife I am. (Probably not a good thing). And he PROBABLY thinks that because I tell him that’s what I am doing. (Which is quite hypocritical. I’m lying to him to train him into submission because he had to truth check something I wasn’t even paying attention to or caring about. But, again… I stick with what works).

So, after Starling corrected himself, my eyebrows lifted (the first inclination that I was actually HEARING anything that he was saying). He immediately stood up. When I asked in my loving voice, “Did YOU just LIE to me?” He got into the running position. When I calmly, but resolutely stated, “That’s a Booger.” He took off through the living room, through our master bedroom, out the sliding glass doors, across the driveway, past our barn, onto our frontage lot where cars were passing by on Oak Grove Road.

 Where was I? On his heels.  He may be “faster” than me, but NOONE is more determined than I am to be consistent with my discipline. (AND I’m not wasting all my breath cackling with laughter like HIM).

Meanwhile, a shirtless, giggling Brooklyn with a pink tutu comes barreling around the corner. (She was mid wardrobe change for the 14th time that day when she heard the commotion). She was followed by a bouncing Brighton in nothing but his big boy monster truck undies. (Clothing is optional at my house, so usually no one gets dressed. Besides Brooklyn, of course, that makes it a personal goal to wear her everything in her closet EVERY day).

“I LOVE playing TAG as a happy family!” Brooklyn yelled as she chased after me, chasing after Starling. Brighton, having NO clue what the point of the game was, ran in circles, fell down, laughed hysterically, and ran again. (I can ONLY imagine what passing cars thought. One of Starling’s clients called and said he was going to stop by but it looked like we had a LOT of PEOPLE at our house. And didn’t mention that he thought most must have escaped from the loony bin).  

I hid behind a giant bush-tree and TOLD Eric, who never misses a spectator sport, to SHH, but he told Starling to run. (He’ll get what’s coming to him. Don’t you even worry about that). Eventually, I wore Starling down enough for him to stop and look around for me. That’s when I pounced on his back. He COULD just keep his mouth closed to keep my finger from penetrating his lips, or AT LEAST his teeth, but Starling gets so tickled he can’t keep his mouth closed, which makes it quite simple to get a finger jab in there, which I did, which made him all but wheeze with laughter, all the while sputtering like a drowned cat and gagging. Granted there was nothing ON my finger, but his BELIEF that there was, was enough.     

 And to top off the weird factor, how many couples find joy in photo texting each other from across the room just to see who can make the other one laugh harder? I always win. But that’s because I’m more creative. (And because Starling laughs about anything even remotely humorous or NOT humorous). When Starling was taking too long negotiating on the phone I sent him a video of me giving him “the look” followed by a picture of me pointing to my nose. I knew he got it when he burst out laughing. Ahhh… It’s important to laugh around here. For sanity’s sake.

In between our squeamish fun, I got peed on, puked on, and chomped on. I’m trying to wean Boeing (but not VERY hard. My doctor told me to wean him because I weighed 108 on her scale this week and the last time I was there I weighed 124. Never mind that the last time she saw me was 6 weeks after I had my baby. She said Boeing is draining all my nutrients and yata yata. And Starling says she’s right because I look like a noodle with a head. And the Lasik doctor said I have to be DONE nursing to get my eyes done AND wait a year to get pregnant. And I feel like I’m backed into a corner on getting this dude weaned and I can’t seem to remember how I weaned my last two). Anyway- I’m trying to wean Boeing, potty train Brighton, all the while taking antibiotics for my throat. I hope the antibiotics ward off the inevitable mastitis that is sure to arise. Most of the day, I just want to scream. So intermixing “tag with our happy family” is nice. I need to sleep a month to recuperate, but that’s beside the point.    

Monday, August 19, 2013


So, I have started waking up consistently. Which, is the goal. To be on a schedule. Unfortunately, I consistently wake up at 3:30 in the morning. Now, you might think it’s because I sleep in “the sardine can” with a husband and three kids that scurry around the bed, completely asleep, like a pile of ants when you mistakably step in one of THEIR beds. And perhaps that is a ginormous contributor, though even when Starling was gone for 4 days and my parents took two of the kids for a slumber party, WHO was WIDE awake and bushy tailed at 3:30 in the morning? Yeah. Me.

I am always completely confused at what actions should be taken when I’m quite capable of mental and physical function that early in the morning. Thus far, I’ve attempted sleep. “Go to sleep. STOP thinking! YOUR STILL THINKING! Fine, then. Think of your alarm going off. That’s always worked to get you to sleep when you had to go to school and work.” Is it better to just get up for the day? Be a productive member of my family? Crank up the vacuum and hock some clutter? I mean, as long as I closed my bedroom door, my WHOLE family would be clueless. Except, of course, Eric, our 22 year old roomie sleeping in Bry’s room. But, I kind of find joy in scaring/annoying/sabotaging him, so that shouldn’t be a factor in my decision making.

OR, is it better to force feed sleep? And stare aimlessly at my ceiling fan and wish I had a doughnut to eat. I just don’t know. When my alarm goes off at 7, I will undoubtedly be the most EXHAUSTED human on planet Earth, staggering through a thick fog of mental incompetence, dizzy as a drunkard on Mardi Gras, and incapable of productivity until at least 10 a.m. (Though that mattereth NOT in the SLIGHTEST, because my children do not WAIT for my ABILITY to function. If left alone with a CORPSE, they would demand it RISE and make them CHOCOLATE MILK). And, if the corpse EVER wanted to be DEAD in PEACE; it would RISE and fulfill the little gremlins’ wishes.

As my choice has lead me to neither sleep NOR productivity… I am BLOGGING. (Though, I can’t be all that certain of the sense I’ll be making at such an outrageous hour). But. That’s never stopped me before.

I promised Eric he would make my blog, though he did beg and plead that he wouldn’t since his dear ole’ uncle reads it. HOWEVER, since I DID promise… I can’t break it.

I MAY have mentioned my enjoyment of treacherous trickery. WELL. Poor ERIC.

We buy 3 gallons of white milk and one gallon of chocolate milk. Every. Week. I already know it would be cheaper to buy a cow, but I barely have time to pump my own self, let alone milk a cow. A goat… maybe. But, I still haven’t tasted goat milk. Anyway- I’m getting completely off the point of this rambling story.

There is another milk jug in my fridge that looks com-PLETELY different, as it holds DIFFERENT milk. Eric was telling me how he poured milk from the “unique” milk jug into his cereal, and it looked different than normal; more watery. But, he ate it anyway.

I then shared with him WHY there is a jug of milk so DIFFERENT than the others in the fridge. “Total protein shake,” I told him. “Pure gold.” He turned solid white. And suddenly felt very ill. And then I told him all the new nicknames I could call him. He looked like he might faint.

“WHY didn’t anyone TELL me you keep BREASTMILK in your FRIDGE??!!” I shrugged. “You didn’t ask.”

“WHY is it not LABELED!?!” He questioned.

“Ugh… it looks COMPLETELY different than all the other jugs in the ENTIRE fridge. That’s all the labeling we need.”

“I’m going to die,” he concluded.

And Starling came home shortly after and I grabbed the milk jug and said, “Starling. Look what Eric drank.”

Without missing a BEAT, Starling eyes widened in shock and he started cackling. Eric, his ghostly pale face taking on a tinge of green, yelled, “I DIDn’t KNOW! You should LABEL or WARN someone about keeping breast milk in a MILK JUG!”
Starling and I couldn't resist. We simultaneously broke out in boisterous singing, "My milk shake brings all the boys to the yard!" complete with dance.

Just so everyone is CLEAR; I do NOT keep breast milk in a jug in my fridge. My parents dropped off the quarter-full skim milk on their way to their cruise. Didn’t want it spoiling and going to waste. Ah… thanks to Eric, it did neither.           

Because I became CERTAIN Eric was going to make good on his “I’m going to DIE.”- I told him I was just lying. But, because I was still laughing and Starling went along with the scandal so seamlessly, Eric is still concerned about the matter. AND, I may have said, “Would it make you FEEL better, if I told you I was LYING?” And alluded to the fact, I was just TELLING him it was a lie… to save his feelings. (I have an addiction to torturing people for my own entertainment. I know it’s not right. I should seek some kind of help. But it is just so FUN)!

I hope I never run for office or have to be in some sort of trial. That last little tid bit, taken out of context could be quite damning! “I have an addiction to torturing people for my own entertainment. I know it’s not right. I should seek some kind of help. But it is just so FUN!” Ohhhh, I should really be asleep right now.

On a positive note, for Eric’s sake, our cabinet man should be returning to put on our countertops and drawer guides tomorrow. I MAY, if some catastrophe stays put and doesn’t decide to infringe on my celebratory dance, no longer have paint splattered BLUE countertops! Not that they aren’t beautifully delightful. They have nothing on the matching wallpaper that will soon be travertined. By soon I mean when Starling HAS a minute. And apparently his minutes are a little wrapped up in making money. And every time I TUG him away from work to slave over a house project… well, it takes a crap load of money to remodel a house. And we’ll never be DONE remodeling houses since Starling and I seem to be ADDICTED to projects and gluttons for punishments. And, of course, taking our marriage on roller coaster rides and dangling it off cliffs to see how strong we truly are. He better watch out. He’s going to be spoon feeding me in a crazy house before it’s all over. Wiping drool from my chin. Washing my straight jacket for me.

But, until then, we’ll find ways to amuse ourselves at the expense of our children and the ones we borrow.  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Outting

OH the JOYS of motherhood! I wish I could blog AS my life where happening instead of trying to remember how I managed to survive another day.

Today, I mostly tried to keep my darlings OUT of the house so Starling could tile the kitchen. So Brighton and Teagan, the 3 year old I babysit, played outside while Brooklyn had her violin lessons. Boeing also played outside which is why I will be pulling pine straw out of his fat rolls for the duration of his childhood.

Even in the solid shade, it was 3.6 million degrees. I felt like a polar bear being roasted like a marshmallow. I might as well have been wearing a fur coat with mittens, for I was BAKING. And entertaining children for a mere thirty minute lesson shouldn’t be that difficult, right? Heck, I think I only went inside a house to sleep when I was that age. We wouldn’t even go inside to pee. Of course, I stayed with my grandma who didn’t believe in air conditioning and had a wood stove that she kept burning up until June when she’d give it two months off and resume heat stroking her grandkids by the end of August. So, perhaps outside was more bearable than being indoors for me. But, that’s beside the point. My cousins and I built forts, made mud pies and ate them (though my grandma had chickens running around so I try not to think about what was in that mud), played house, etc. I don’t remember ever thinking… “I’m outside. Therefore I am bored.”

Boeing immediately set to cramming as much pine straw into his mouth as his little hands could muster, getting frustrated that both handfuls weren’t fitting so well. Brighton saw a cat. Enough said. Poor cat. Teagan started crying that she wanted to go inside. I called them over to teach them a really cool game. (Your welcome, Cat). Throw the pine cone at the pine tree. I demonstrated. Oh what joy! Bry thought it was more fun to throw the pine cones at the cat, and when it ran away, at my van. Teagan threw a pinecone at the tree, missed, and started crying that she couldn’t hit it. OKAY. Next game. Who can find the longest stick? Bry did. Unfortunately, he found it up IN a tree, still connected. This is because it was a LIMB. But he proceeded to try to LIFT the PINETRESS to DUMP out the tree limb. For obvious reasons, he was unsuccessful. Teagan found a stick. It broke. She cried.

At some point, I mentally gave up and thought Brooklyn emerging from her lesson was a mirage. But, thankfully, she was, actually finished and we loaded back up and stopped at the library. Finally, a nice relaxing sit while the kids play with the giant choo-choo- train set. Oh. Except today was some book reading activity thing. We got there after it had just finished. But no one left. It looked like a stork went postal and threw all the criers into one pile. Talk about weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. D-DANG. Brighton laid claim on a train and spent the rest of the time trying to defend it, Brooklyn attempted coloring, but little hands kept grabbing her paper, the crayons, etc. Teagan found some stuffed animals and was content until a baby decided he needed them.  ALL of them. And Boeing was in Heaven. He found a discarded train, climbed INTO the metal bookshelf, and beat the living heck out of the shelf. I had to, of course, remove him, since the people on the street could hear him banging, which royally pissed him off, and he made it his mission to return to his sweet spot for the rest of our stay. So, before the thought of sneaking away and hiding in a bathroom stall for an hour became too tempting, I loaded them up AGAIN and we went to McDonalds.

The entire way there, I am saying, “You are doing a good thing getting them out of the house. They are having fun. Or should be. And Starling is getting to tile. It would be worse trying to keep them out of the kitchen. This isn’t so bad. You got this.”

We drove up. “WOO HOO!! OLD MCDONALD’s! Just like OLD MCDONALD HAS A FARM!” screams Brooklyn. Yes. Exactly like that. We unloaded. People were staring at me like OctoMom just showed her face. I herded the kids into the play area like cattle and asked them to STAY in there while I ordered food. Did they stay? What do you think? And molasses moves faster in a snow storm than so called FAST FOOD. And I MADE my kids drink water. Worst mom EVER to graze planet earth. Because water is not a DRINK. Three lovely tantrums over that, BUT they drank water.

They did, indeed, enjoy themselves at McDonalds. And besides collected enough germs to fill up a five gallon bucket, I have no qualms about taking them back.

It was almost three and I couldn’t take them anywhere else. I took them home. Starling wasn’t done, but I figured movie time in the living room… they would all crash. I mean, I was a walking zombie. I was half heat-stroking, half sleep walking. And I didn’t run around ANY. I sat there. Just spectating the crazy. Did they fall asleep? What do you think? So I did some learning games with them to keep them occupied and OFF the tile. That worked. For a minute. Then they wanted a snack. So I gave them ice cream. Where they happy? What do you think? Brooklyn had a conniption because she couldn’t sit at the kitchen table even though I explained to her 600 times that we couldn’t walk on the tile, Brighton was whining, “I don’t like di-is! Its too BI-IG!” And Teagan didn’t like the color of her bowl. It wasn’t pink. I smiled and walked away and eventually they decided to eat their ice cream.
They were much happier after that and we ended the day on a happy note. Until of course I mentioned the words BED and BATH.  But I won. And I'm NOT leaving my house tomorrow.

Friday, July 26, 2013


I am not emotionally capable of blogging about this, but I feel like I have to put it out there, at least in part. Because our foster son is almost nineteen, I will respect his privacy and not blog my usual TOO much information.

We got to know and love our foster son for many months and will be forever grateful that God saw fit for us to be a family. I knew the day would come when he would make his next step in life, and that day has come. He has many goals and aspirations, and he has started on his path to success. He is courageous and strong and taking the necessary steps to further his independence, his spiritual maturity, and enter the world as an adult.

We will, of course, not be more than a phone call away, but it is still a HUGE change for our family and for him. I hope that all those who have met him, befriended him, worked with him, etc will keep him in your prayers. He deserves the very best out of life and has made an amazing effort to better his self and others as he dwelled in our home. I know that wherever he goes, he will be a force for good. His optimism is contagious and his heart knows no bounds. I pray that he will always cherish his memories with us as we cherish our memories with him.

Foster care is truly a remarkable thing. So much good can come from taking a chance, a step of faith… making room for one more in one’s heart. Our entire family has grown leaps and bounds in a few short months. And hopefully, our foster son will continue in his “Jesus Journey,” as he refers to his new path in every prayer, and we will continue to open our hearts and be faithful to the promptings of the Spirit.

Monday, June 24, 2013

To Teach

If I wait for life to slow down to blog, I guess I’ll be blogging via HAUNTING because I’ll be DEAD. And so, since I FINALLY got my kids to bed (well- Boeing and Brooklyn)- Brighton is still driving his car up the wall like the Energizer Bunny- I’m just going to forfeit MORE sleep and have myself a little blog therapy.

Brooklyn turned four on May 14th. That means she should start Kindergarten in one year. All my friends are putting their kids in pre-school this year to prepare them for Kindergarten. So, because I have decided to home-school, I am horrified that my child will be the un-educated kid that can’t read and write and still picks her boogers in public at 16. Naturally. (Which is ridiculous because Brooklyn could write her name at two, and by now can, not only, write her entire alphabet but can spell words and read short stories. And she’s terrified of boogers touching her perfectly OCD fingers and asks ME to get the boogers from her nose). It’s a dumb notion, since most home-schooled children are equal or, in a lot of cases, better educated. But non-the-less I am a worrier, panick-er that has to keep proving myself to MYSELF. As a teacher. As a person with PATIENCE.

Because Brooklyn is GUNG-HO about reading and writing, I’m not AS terrified about teaching her those subjects. Math is one of my favorite subjects, so I’m not too worried about that either. I’ll tell you what scares me. Science and History. (Because I can count on ONE finger how many times I have EVER looked up ANYTHING to do with EITHER subject without being FORCED by some looming assignment)… and the one finger is World War ll that I looked up today. So YEAH.

I decided that in order to TEACH my children these wretched subjects, I need to LOVE them. So starting about two weeks ago, I started watching movies that took place during that era to get my feet wet. Starling and I mixed some classics in there too, which have nothing to do with the time period, per se, but the people still have the same accents and wear the nifty outfits. (And we’ve been talking in British accents ever since… our kids think we are SOOOO cool. Especially our 18 year old). Then I moved into movies that depict parts of history. Luckily, Starling embarked on this journey of education with me so he could console me after I had a nervous breakdown after watching that “Boy in the Striped Pajamas” or whatever it’s called movie about the Holocaust. (I’m fairly certain that I used to be capable of watching disturbing movies in a sane manner at some point in my life, but that dissolved after having children). I find that I have a zero tolerance for anything distressing such as news in general. I can so much as PASS by the tv when Starling is watching the news and either HEAR a clip or SEE an image depicting human emotions in general, and I’m an emotional wreck for the next three days. Especially when it comes to children. I just see every kid in terms of MY children. And Starling certainly doesn’t help. I’m breathing normally watching something and Starling says, “Aww… there’s little Bry” and I’m done. I’m a blubbering mess trying to comprehend how people can still be functioning when something’s happened to their little “Bry.” And suddenly the red drink Brighton poured all over his brand-new carpet seems less worthy of the death penalty.    

 NOW we are watching documentaries. I think that’s a good order to learn things. Enjoyable fiction, historical fiction, documentaries, research. I guess it’s the opposite method of normal school where I always had to research something I had zero interest in learning, then take tests on it, then, after we were DONE learning about it, maybe watch a movie. Maybe. BUT- I’m not really into NORMAL- especially if it doesn’t work for me.

Since our 18 year old didn’t know what the Holocaust WAS, he gets the joy of watching documentaries, too! Which take 3 times as long as it should because I have to pause it periodically and put my two cents in about how it relates to our government today or ask Starling questions on how in the HECK we plan to hide from crazy people with all of our children.  (That was mainly when watching the Diary of Anne Frank. Two families plus another dude stayed cooped up in complete silence 8 hours a day so as not to raise suspicion). I can’t get Brighton to shut up during a prayer. We have a good hiding place under our house, says Starling. Yeah. Except it’s not sound proof.

So anyway- basically I am traumatized. And I want a bunker stuffed full of freeze-dried food, water, medicine, and GUNS. And I want it built underground, and stuffed YESTERDAY.

And I have a hard time knowing how MUCH to teach. I was sitting there explaining the Holocaust to Brooklyn and the thought occurred to me, when she asked, “Why did they be mean to all those people?” that she is four and maybe four isn’t the age to learn about genocide. But, there are four year old lessons to be learned amongst all the “above her head” lessons, so we focused on those. And Brighton, bless him, just stands there mimicking everything Brooklyn says. “That wasn’t very nice,” she says shaking her head.

“Not nice,” says Brighton shaking his head while trying to contort his face in the disapproving stare Brooklyn has.

And, not to be ignored, Boeing comments, “AHHHH!!!” So we all seem to be on the same page. The Holocaust was “not nice.”

MOVING ALONG…  Brighton is going to be WAY different in the teaching department. I am ALWAYS finding him on my computer attempting to play STAR FALL, which is a really great website that teaches letters. Brighton has his favorite letters. He asks for “DAT ONE!” pointing to the H because it shows a “heli-top-ter,” the A “ali-day-der,” etc.  Starling and I have different takes on Brighton carrying my keyboard around the house. Starling says, “He’s going to be a computer programmer.” I say, “He’s going to destroy my computer!” And I’m fairly certain, like with most things, I am RIGHT. He’s also going to destroy my nerves. He’s proven himself to be exceptionally blessed in THAT department.

But he does pleasantly surprise us with his memory. Today, in an attempt to get a Sunday nap, Starling turned on his glorious elevator music. (Starling thinks it’s relaxing. You know what relaxes me? SILENCE. No wonder I’m a high strung basket case). Does it RELAX our children and lull them to sleep? NO. Absolutely not. On the contra, Brighton jumps up, practically taking out my face with his enthusiastic big head. He shouts, “Cars! Car song!” The music was nothing but instrumental, no CARS in it. I kept telling Bry this, but he was more determined than EVER to have me KNOW he recognized the song. “Es MACK! Car song!!” And Starling said, “Oh… yeah this is the song they play in CARS when MACK says, ‘pretty music….’” Only Brighton would remember that. AND then he was wide awake wanting to play a perfectly annoying song OVER and OVER and OVER again. (Which defeats the purpose of putting on a CD and going to sleep). Thank goodness for the repeat button.

Despite having to listen to that song, it was a nice break from the short video clips on our phones. WHY do I talk when I video? Because I haven’t the power to hold my tongue. EVER. Speaking of hiding and being caught, I’d be hiding and some intruder would say, “Looks like they aren’t here. They sure have a lot of crap.” And I’d have to pipe up, “Well, now, the four wheeler stuff is my husband’s. I’ve been trying to get him to move it all into the barn for ages, but does he listen to me?  NO!! But take note that all of MY stuff is nicely organized and tidy!” Thus are the videos I try to sneak of the kids. AND then, when Brighton plays them OVER. And OVER. AAAAND OVER. I get the blessed joy of hearing my voice. “Did Daddy leave you? Daddy tried to fish without Bry. That’s not nice to leave your baby, Daddy.” AND since everyone else in the house ALSO has the pleasure of hearing that video 20 plus times, they now quote the videos to me every time I try to speak. It’s super.

Brooklyn has come out of her room six times now to tell me she’s either had a bad dream, heard a funny noise that didn’t make her laugh, or found a wishing star that she made a wish on but can’t tell me because she’s not supposed to tell it. And won’t go back to bed until I tuck her in. AGAIN. So let me do that since its 1:30 in the morning.   



Sunday, June 2, 2013

I sort of feel like a towel that got stuck in the spinny thing inside the wash machine. (One of my towels totally just did that. It’s all wrapped up, stuck, stretched out, and so twisted I don’t suppose even an iron would make it straight again). AND while I took the time and MUCH effort YANKING it free and unwinding it, I said, “YOU, towel, are just a SYMBOL of my LIFE!” (Yes, I talk to towels. I also talk to dishes when they refuse to get clean, hair dryers that suck my hair up when I’ve got my head turned upside down, and I beat appliances that go on the fritz. I am a woman of many issues).

I’ve been reprimanded by many friends (and random people at Wal Mart that I don’t think I know) that I’ve slacked on blogging. Well. It’s because I’ve turned into a soggy, twisted towel!

The week before my children blossomed into the ages 4 and 2 (which took place in one weekend), I decided I was the luckiest person in the world. Brooklyn and Brighton were hugging all over each other, sharing toys, delightfully taking turns, helping one another… Boeing was taking naps quite regularly and perfectly pleasant in his awake hours. AJ and Starling were working sun up until sun down, and I was in a peaceful state. I looked around at my very unfinished house and thought, “What progress we have made! We started with no toilet, no shower, no carpet, no stove, and WA-LA! We are definitely on our way.”

We had birthdays, which were sporadic , but FUN and successful,  AND then that next week started. Brooklyn had dance Monday and AJ had basketball, I coached soccer Tuesday for Brooklyn’s team and AJ had institute, Violin practice Wednesday, Volleyball Thursday, Friday I decorated for my cousin’s wedding reception, Saturday we had Brooklyn’s dance recital  AND my cousin’s wedding reception, and Sunday I got called to be in the Primary Presidency at church. WOWSERS!! But all was well because that week ENDED.

ACCEPT, apparently terrible two’s and Tattle-Tale four’s, do NOT END. EVER. NEVER EVER. Hence me turning into a nervous wreck and acquiring this little twitch that starts in my left eye every time I hear Brooklyn’s voice say the WORD. (A word, mind you, that we spend an entire YEAR coaxing out of our little baby’s mouth, pleading and practicing day in and day out. Just say it! And when they do- FIREWORKS of glory! OH so PROUD! But then they turn 4. And suddenly you want to wash their mouths out with soap and brainwash the word from their little minds. That word is… “MMMMMMMMMMOOOOOOOMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!”)

 Ugh. I know that one day I will like that word again, perhaps even love it. But right now? I HATE. THAT. WORD. With all the passion I have left from cleaning up explosive piles of poop out of baby swings that didn’t even MAKE their mark INSIDE the diaper, (probably, because Daddy put the diaper’s edge in Boeing’s butt-crack instead of its proper position to CATCH the poop), pulling Brighton out of the driver’s seat of the van where he continues to find my keys and crank and/or turn all the lights on and run the battery down,  pick up dirty socks thrown at the BASE of the laundry basket, clean out wash machines where someone got the bright idea to wash rugs, so on and so forth.

You would think I’d have no passion left… but amazingly, when I think I’m all out of juice, ah-hah boiling annoyance at Brooklyn’s constant, continual, only intermediated with four minute time-outs and Brighton’s 2 hour nap time, yelling, “MOOOOO-OOOM!!! You know what?! Brighton JUST-“  And if she could just mix it up a bit! But no. It’s always the same shocking news. “Brighton just took that from me!” “Brighton just hit me with that!” Today she got creative. “Brighton just opened the box and found me!” Pay no mind that she asked him to play Hide and Seek with her.

And Brighton has, in total honesty, become a terd. (Cutest little adorably terd on Earth, but a stinker non-the less). The more Brooklyn rants and raves and tattles, the more energized he becomes and the faster he tries to torment her before I plop him in time-out. I start one project, say lunch, and I’m breaking up fights and arguments and before you know it my 3 minute lunch prep of a PB&J has turned into a 45 minute drama fest. And in 45 minutes no one wants PB&J anymore. They want some other lavish food like cereal or spaghetti-os. And ME eat? Puh-leeeze. By the time I actually get to quickly inhale my fried bologna sandwich, the meat’s cold and the bread is stale. I’d rather shoot up calories than have to face off finding time to feed myself.  

And don’t get me started on my PERFECT Boeing. How is it that in a HUGE living room of carpeted floor where he is placed in the MIDDLE amongst brightly colored toys and noisy things that are supposed to entertain babies, does he always roll his way into some position of STUCK in some pile of wires under the t.v. or up against the fire place or any other perfectly hazardous location? And why, even though he manages to roll ALL over the place, does he roll onto his stomach at random, lift his arms and legs balancing on his stomach, and SCREAM bloody murder until “I” go flip him back over? It’s like him yelling he is drowning in water up to his ankles when I’ve been watching him do back flips in the deep end. I just want him to crawl. Except I don’t. Because, then he might ‘walk’, and I went through Brighton learning to walk at 11 months. I don’t want Boeing to walk until he can talk and understand the meaning of the words, “We do NOT climb on the counter and play in the knife drawer.” My nerves really can’t handle another Brighton. Every time I get Brooklyn and Brighton asleep at the same time, take a deep breath and say, “THANK YOU!! A minute ALL to myself without the “I needs,” Boeing starts. He needs to sit up, stand up, bounced, pacified by yours truly. And don’t give the boy a substitute. He wants his Mama and he’s not afraid to say it. Loudly.
After 6 attempts to bribe our children to GO PLAY so we could indulge ourselves with Sunday afternoon naps, I finally made a ramp in Bry’s room to get them interested enough to STAY -PUT sending toy cars slamming into the floor. I climbed into the bed next to Starling and said, “FINALLY.” And then Boeing became disinterested in Squeaky Head, and started his warning call. I asked, “Do you ever want to thump our kids on the head?” Starling nodded, “They only cry when we want alone time.” I snorted at that. “That’s the only time YOU notice!”

And the OTHER thing a feel like? A Bassett Hound. EVERY time Starling comes into the house during the day, where am I? Laid up with Boeing stuck to my chest. I can’t actually SEE myself, but I imagine I look like an old, worn out hound dog.  Given up, pups mauling her, and too tired to MOVE, she just lays there and takes it. But alas, I got Boeing to sleep, then Brighton to sleep. And then Brooklyn was left to herself which meant she had to have me to entertain her again, and Starling’s alarm went off ending his nap anyway, so we shall TRY again NEXT SUNDAY!   

But the good news is, through each day I am LEARNING what does NOT work in parenting. By the time Boeing is 18 I’m going to be a parenting GENIUS

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Birthday Bash!

Well. We were late getting to our OWN kid's birthday party, and we had to trespass. AND we had to walk a mile. BUT... IT WAS WORTH IT!!! In Brooklyn's words, "THIS is the GREATEST PLAY GROUND I've never SEEEN!!!" And she had the "GREATEST birthday party I NEVER HAD BEFORE!!!"

For a very last minute and "it's going to FLOOD" birthday party.... I say we had a great day. The party started at 2 p.m. I was still in Wal Mart at 1:45 buying chocolate frosting, the car to shove on top of Brighton's cake, the strawberries to plop ontop of Brooklyn's overcooked strawberry and cream cheese cake, and pretty much everything else we needed to make the party look Birthday-ish. And when we arrived at the destination that I chose on a whim... (the elementary school playground) low and behold it was blocked off with locked gates. LIKE they were trying to keep people OUT or something. We had a few choices. We could have used the playground that we parked at (with the CAUTION tape and ALL) or WALK around the locked gate and hike a good mile. So we decided to HIKE. And a hike it was! Thank goodness for all my trooper friends who didn't even murmur. To my face. Ya'll rock!
 Having Brooklyn and Brighton's birthday together was great. One bang! One Saturday! One very EQUAL celebration! And having the party at a playground?? Phenomenal. (For ME). It really took the stress out of the celebration. I didn't have to clean my house, have several nervous breakdowns on Starling because we are closer to hoarders than minimalists, decorate the entire house, guard the entire house during birthday madness, and everything else that seems to stress me out before a big shin-dig. The entertainment was provided. It was kid friendly and mostly child proof. Enough running room. And it was a beautiful overcast day. PHEW! Glad that's off my plate.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Giggles

I guess my world is completely dependent on my hormones. Right this moment I am watching Brighton sit pretty much on top of Boeing, who WAS peacefully DREAMING, holding my cell phone to Boeing’s head yelling, “Look! Boe Boe! Bwy Bwy’s hand!” 

And since I’ve woken up feeling like a song bird that just got a whiff of spring, I just SMILED and thought, ‘Sooo sweet that he is a) so excited about seeing the picture I took of his hand holding the fake roach I put there for him to freak when he woke up, b) desirous to share his excitement with his baby brother.’

And now he is riding him like a horse saying, “Bouncy Bouncy!” (I did intervene! Boeing is still breathing and happy). AND Brooklyn has now been drug from her bed by a gleeful Brighton yelling, “Waked up Bwook Bwook!!” (And ALL their covers are now on the ground). Brooklyn’s hormones must be on track with mine. She half opened her eyes, smiled and said, “Silly Bry Bry.”

Starling and I have been cracking UP at this little household we’re attempting to manage. I was nursing Boeing in the living room and Brooklyn was on the potty. She was yelling at the TOP of her LUNGS, “MOMMAY!!!!!!! I’m DOOOOOOOOOOONE!!” I obviously had no intention of MOVING. I was quite cozy and had JUST gotten that way for the FIRST time that day. (It was like 8 p.m). I tried yelling back to her something about, “THEN GET OFF!!” BUT by then she had found her chant to be rhythmic and was singing her yell over and over and couldn’t hear ME over herself. (She gets that from her parents that make EVERYTHING into a song. And I mean EVERYTHING). Plus, when I yelled Boeing jumped, unlatched, and then milk went to spraying everything in a five mile radius. Brighton was curiously watching this process unfold. I said, “Bry! Will you go tell sister ‘MOMMY said GET OFF the POTTY if you are DONE.” VERY excited to be given an assignment, he hurriedly ran (right into the hall WALL) regained his balance and took off to the bathroom.

Then I hear, “MOMMMMAY I’m DONE!!!” (still in a sing song voice). And Brighton’s big turn. “Bwook Bwook. Potty.” (In the voice of the Clear Eyes Commercial man. Total deep monotone) NOTHING about what Mommy said but whatever. And they repeat this about ten times. “MOMMAY I’m DONE!” “Bwook Bwook Potty.” “Mommay I’m done!” “Bwook Bwook Potty.”

It sounded like they had invented a toddler rap to me in my half delirium mind frame, and I got so tickled I was laughing Boeing off my lap, which is unfortunate, but when I get tickled about something, the harder I try NOT to laugh, the more funny it becomes. So then I gave up on Boeing, who bless him, is the most patient baby on earth, who just clung to my hip still blinking milk out of his eyes while I went to peak in on Potty Rhapsody.

Brooklyn was yelling using one hand as a mic and the other as a cheerleading tool while Brighton danced around the toilet, rather bent his knees and moved back and forth like a gorilla. This lasted until Brighton caught sight of the spray bottle on top of the sink. And soaked Brooklyn, who couldn’t escape. (Which is how EVERY bathroom venture ends. Brighton can’t WAIT to have a trapped target to spray. At least it was water this time. He sprayed her down with mean green last week. Her outfit now has pretty pink bleach spots. Glad I was blissfully happy THAT day or Brighton may not have hands).

And AJ! Dear boy. We were at Chic-Fil-A eating lunch and AJ said he always hears something that sounds like someone knocking on the front door. Starling nonchalantly said, “Ah, yeah. That’s just the man in the attic.” And continued stuffing his face. I kind of laughed and continued slurping my High C. And I don’t know how long it took me to realize AJ’s eyes were about to plop out on the table, but at some point I did notice.

 “Are you for REAL?!” he finally choked out. Starling was OBVIOUSLY going to continue because he started with, “You know that little door in Brighton’s room?” But, I, not wanting to wake up with FOUR children in my bed, quickly SQUASHED the story. I mean, really, you don’t mess with a kid that locks every door in the house, then locks the little chain thing (that I’ve only ever seen in movies but our doors weirdly have them. The ones we haven’t yet replaced).  And THEN pushes five gallon paint buckets in front of them. No. You stick to scaring the Starling’s of the world. And occasionally your one year old with fake roaches…

“There are NO people in our attic or anywhere else in our house for that matter. We bless all of our homes when we move in and every night we pray for safety. Our house is very safe.” (So long as you don’t trip over random tools, step on a nail, or electrocute yourself). But I didn’t add that. AND then a thought occurred to me.

“A bad spirit would have to be INVITED into our home.” AJ’s eyes bulged again. “How do you do THAT?”

“Well, bad music, bad movies, even looking at bad stuff on the internet….”

“I’ve got to clear out my music!! I’ve got to get me some Christian songs!”

What a lovely idea that he came up with! All by himself. J

I have to say, parenting is kind of a trip. I actually have no idea what forms of entertainment could possibly compare to a day’s worth of THE Johnson FAM-I-Ly! (Which has its own song… well SEVERAL songs that we bust out randomly). Despite the crappy pay of zero dollars an hour, being a stay-at-home mom pretty much ROCKS!   



Friday, April 19, 2013

I am always stuck on Chicken OR Egg? What came first? Hormones or crazy children?

You know those days where everything goes just right? The kids listen when you speak. You finish cleaning your house and look around at your accomplishments and smile. You look lovingly at your children and think, what did I do to deserve such angels?

Today was NOT one of those days! I know what it is. I woke up and it was COLD. I don’t like the cold during the winter, but I especially don’t like the cold during the summer! Now Mississippi needs to decide what season it’s representing because every SINGLE time I decide to pack up our winter stuff, FREEZE! Starling put a window unit in our bedroom since he likes us to wake up with frozen snot-sicles. It was the warmest room in our house this morning. Well, besides AJ’s room where he was running a heater. With the window open. WHATEVER. The men in my life make about as much sense as expensive wrapping paper.

We managed to get to the gym an hour late. But we got there, so that’s saying SOMETHING. I obviously haven’t recuperated from my sinus infection because my normal exercise routine almost put me in the ground. I was wheezing and hacking like an asthmatic swimming in a pool of pollen. I basically crawled to the showers. Starling hurried back home, because AJ’s social worker was waiting to do her second home visit. Starling said two of our storage unit renters were in our house when AJ’s social worker showed up. Which two? Oh about the shadiest looking characters on planet earth. They aren’t, of course. They are really nice people. The dude in question has already been deported once, and is back in Hattiesburg. (Says boo-coodles about our country’s border patrol). His white girlfriend, a beauty to say the least, was just waiving around her un-lit cigarette while trying to keep her clothes up. So that’s good. Nice impression of the company we keep. WHY can’t anyone just PUT their STUPID payment in the slot that says PAYMENTS!? Why do people feel that it would be better to show up UNannounced at my HOUSE?

Of course we were all starving by lunch time. Unfortunately, Boeing has blossomed into such a fatty I can no longer nurse him while cooking. I can barely nurse him standing up PERIOD. Brooklyn and Brighton forgot that I have more than one child. It’s all about “ME- I need- I need!!!” THANK GOODNESS for AJ who just hops right in and starts taking orders like a well trained waiter. By the time I had Boeing fed, AJ already had bologna sandwiches made for the kids and their chocolate milk poured. That did WONDERS for my nerves. With his help, I was able to get family fed and kitchen cleaned in less than a third of the time it normally takes me.

But, my nerves weren’t off the hook just yet. No, Brooklyn and Brighton seemed determined to give me a nervous breakdown. Brighton wanted a banana. I gave him a banana. I asked Brooklyn if she’d like one. No. Brighton wanted another one, the last one. I gave it to him. HOLD YOUR FIRE, Brooklyn is having a conniption! She needed that banana. Brighton eats half the banana and gives it back to me. (Throwing the peeling on the freshly mopped kitchen floor). I give the half banana to the still distraught Brooklyn. THE SKY IS FALLING, Brighton needs his banana back! He wasn’t done after all! HOW about PEANUT BUTTER?? Oh yes. Peanut butter saves the day. Each kid gets a spoonful to lick on. Clean up banana peel off floor.

“MOOOOM! Bry won’t SHARE!?!” Oh. Dear. Brighton has scaled the cabinets and gotten the ENTIRE jar of peanut butter. His whole ARM is stuffed in the container all the while running madly from his sister who is desperately trying to get a jab in with her spoon.

Extract peanut butter from Brighton. Would have been easier to use a saw and remove the entire arm. Bathe screaming, flailing Brighton in sink while Brooklyn bounces like a ping pong ball at my side yelling, “But I’m not done! But I didn’t take it! But I need some more!”

Boeing starts crying. He wants to sit UP. Not kind of up. Back completely straight UP. And he wants to STAND. Too bad he is 3 months old and can’t do either on his own. AJ spends a lot of time holding Boeing upright and letting him put weight on his legs. He LOVES it. And now thinks he can demand the upright position anytime his eyes are OPEN. So AJ deals with him even though he is trying to help Starling work.

“Kitchen CLOSED! Everybody go PLAY!” But no one wants to play. Lunch and snack and drink have left two little kids completely famished. They could collapse from starvation at any minute. Heartless mother says, “GET. OUT. NOW.” I walk away from two tantrums to take Boeing.

“MOOOOOM!!!!!! Bry is TAKING that brown HORSE from me!!” I considered breaking the brown horse’s legs off and yelling, “YOU ARE NEXT!” but, I refrained. I grabbed Brighton, dropped the horse onto Brooklyn, told AJ, “Let’s go job hunting!” and ESCAPED.

AJ got some job info from town and we returned home. He started filling out a job application while I tried to unwind my nerves and be patient. Before I finished unwinding them, Brooklyn and Brighton started fighting over my phone. “Bry took your phone and didn’t ask PLEASE!!! And can I have your phone PLEASE?” To which Brighton ran over Brooklyn like a bulldozer and yelled, “Pweeze!”

“Brighton just runned all over me and jumped on my hair! And I asked first!”


I sat blinking at record speed, wondering if the throbbing in my temples was induced from agitation or if I should take a Tylenol. I checked out my blue foot where Brooklyn dropped a can of apples. Quite a bruise.  

While Brighton was waiting on the verdict, he thought it a nice idea to dump his bag of cereal in the carpet and stomp it. The carpet I JUST vacuumed last night! I inwardly, and perhaps a little outwardly, SCREAMED. Both kids heads popped up and I sprang into action yanking my phone from sticky fingers, pointing to Barbies, kicking through cars, “CLEAN. It. ALL. UP. NOW!”

“But- but-but-“

I didn’t even have to say anything. I guess they smelled the smoke from the fire in my eyes.

“Yes ma’am!” And Brooklyn got to work. I turned to Brighton.

He grudgingly rubbed his hand across the smashed cereal. I counted to three, spanked him, and plopped him in time-out. I got him out and he picked up the cereal like he had a rabid dog snipping at his heals.

Starling and AJ left for Petal to get some four-wheelers to work on.

I got out Brooklyn’s school box so I could help her with her reading. While she sounded out every “C-A-T” word in the story I wrote her (which has like 10 ‘CAT’s that she always starts with s-s-s and I have to say WHAT does C say? For her to remember it says CU), Brighton dumped the entire box of letters, ripped open all four sets of flashcards, turned the deck of UNO cards into 60 card pick up (times 5). All in the matter of 3 minutes. IF THAT.

I don’t know if he is possessed by some creature of chaos or has no self control, but buddy as soon as he saw me looking at him, he got to picking up the mess he made with both arms. After Brooklyn read the story to me three times, which is too painful for words, I told her it was nap time. Brighton and Brooklyn actually seemed RELIEVED. And so I am going to hope a nap cures all of our issues and they will wake up happy and my nerves will have rejuvenated themselves.

I think I have answered my question “hormones or crazy children.” Hormones. Because, after reading this blog, I have to say this is a pretty normal day. And a relatively MILD day for my children.   

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It's a.... MAN!!

I can’t believe I am JUST NOW getting to BLOG about this! Well. Last month I had three kids and this month I have FOUR! (And I don’t mean I got a four legged creature EITHER). I have an 18 year old son now! Due to confidentiality, I am not allowed to post pictures or use his name.  So of course I am DYING!! I thought I'd never be able to blog! BUT then I decided to get creative.  I pixilated our new son’s eyes. Unrecognizable, right? Kind of? AND I renamed him for my blog. I will call him AJ (Another Johnson)). Here is our new and improved HaPPy Johnson FAMILY!!

All I have to say is going from three to four kids was WAAAY easier than one to two or two to three. Mainly because I usually have to wait 9 months to get a kid and this time I had to wait 3 hours. And getting an 18 year old comes with perks. Already potty trained, through the terrible two’s,  through the horrid teenage years, he can cook, he can clean, etc. He’s a hard worker, too.

And I’m sure you are wondering WHAT in the WORLD is going on. So DO LET ME TELL!

Fostering children has been on my personal agenda since before I got married. And since Starling is the most awesome human being EVER, he ALSO wanted to foster care. WELL then we HAD kids. And we’ve been in gut house, rebuild house, move to next house, gut house, rebuild house, etc… limbo for.ever. And we are still in the rebuild house phase of our current home. Two weeks ago, I got a phone call from a social worker asking if I’d be willing to take an 18 year old. “Sorry, our house isn’t ready and we are only taking kids 4-8.” And I hung up. And then I told Starling about the call.

I then had a distinct recollection of one of my prayers offered up AGES ago where I was on my knees praying about fostering a child and saying, “I just don’t think I have it in me. I am so MOODY and I can’t keep it together with the two kids  I have NOW!” Following my semi- melt down, I felt a stern, “Have faith. Welcome all the children I have prepared for you.” And it was such a powerful feeling that I immediately said, “I will pray about every child and if You tell me to take him/her into my home, I will.”

Even though I was very dead set against the thought of bringing an 18 year old male into my home, the memory was so vivid, I looked at Starling and said, “I think we should pray about it.” And he felt the same way so we did. And we both felt very strongly that we should meet him. I didn’t know why God would have us want this child knowing our house was FAR from ready, but I felt that I needed to call back the DHS worker and without questioning the matter further, I did. And the very next day we met the social worker and AJ at Mugshots, ate lunch and talked, visited our house, and agreed that we would finish our second bathroom in a week so that AJ could move in. And then AJ and his worker left and Starling went straight to the bathroom and got to work. An hour later AJ’s social worker called and said that AJ had met with her supervisor, plead his case about being old enough to be around construction, and old enough to HELP Starling finish the bathroom, and that she had consented to letting him move in with us right then. So less than three hours after meeting AJ, he moved into our home.

I won’t say that I wasn’t nervous, because I was. I have not only never fostered before, but have certainly never raised a teenager! I’m 26! When AJ was born, I was turning 8. But, the one thing I know about parenting is a parent must LOVE first. So that was my first dilemma. How do you go about loving someone you JUST met a few hours earlier? It seems easier to love a baby because they are all fat and mushy and needy and how can you NOT love a baby? But an 18 year old? Wow. AJ is a man! Well, on my knees again (been spending a lot of time on them) I remembered a previous prayer when I was asking the same question. “How can I ever love a foster child as much as my children?” It seems utterly inconceivable. And the answer came quite simply. “You didn’t think you could love Brighton as much as Brooklyn. You will love the child like your own. Have faith.” I figured it would just take a while and EVENTUALLY I would learn to love AJ like my own.

Well, God works fast when He wants to, I suppose. I don’t know if it’s all the praying, all the heart to hearts, or just a darn miracle, but our family bonded and fell in love with AJ by day 3. I felt it plain as a stomach ache. We read scriptures together as a family, said our family prayers, put the 3 little ones to bed, and AJ, Starling, and I stayed up to chat. We had a heart to heart about some things. And when I walked into my room to climb into bed, I said, “Wow. That didn’t take long. I can’t believe I already love him.”

The heart is DEFINITELY a muscle. When exercised, it gets BIGGER and STRONGER and craves more exercise. My hearts done got the elephantitis! I feel so great having AJ in our home, I want to save the world and all the kids in it. I’ve started finding joy in interacting with kids I found barely tolerable a month ago. I can’t believe how much stronger our family has become in the last two weeks. I think everyone should pray about foster caring a child. Who knows what little miracles await!