Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Pits

This week has been craptastic.  And you know what's really strange?  This exact day two other times in recent years has been the worst I've ever had.  Remind me to not get out of bed next year on this day.  I'm not even kidding.  I'm marking my calendar now to remind myself lest I somehow forget that this date is cursed for me. 

Our friends have a 4-month old baby that needs heart surgery to live.  She was born with a severe heart defect and has already had one surgery.  Unfortunately, she has spent the last week or so in a coma and has been having seizures, so she's too sick for the surgery that is critical for her survival.  Our friends are extraordinarily strong in their faith, but faith doesn't protect you from the sorrow of losing a child.  They are now praying for peace, rather than a miracle.  It's so heart-breaking I can hardly function.

Not to be dramatic with other stuff that really isn't that big of a deal, but then there's the fact that school starts next week.  In case you are a new reader (just kidding-nobody reads this blog) you know I hate sending my kids off to school.  If I could figure out a way to give myself an occasional break, I'd homeschool in a heartbeat.  Today we dropped off Buddy's school supplies and filled out all the "tell us about your child" forms and met his teacher.  He, thank heavens, is actually semi-excited for school to start, so that's progress. 

Also, I missed blueberry season.  I'm so sad and annoyed I could scream. 


There were a few bright points to the day and I thought I'd write them down to cheer myself up.

Sambo let me know that he'd like me to add a red Corvette to a Christmas list.  I explained that was fine, I'd add it.  But if Santa brought him a Corvette, that would use up all his money and resources and no other kids would get any presents.  Then Buddy gave him a talking to about being "ridiculous" and "greedy."

Buddy got a whole bunch of belt loops and pins tonight at pack meeting.  He LOVES Scouts and is constantly bugging me to help him work on different achievements.  I'm really happy for programs like Cub Scouts to help boys develop new skills, talents, and confidence.  Also, at pack meeting they had a drawing for the banner his Den made at Cub Camp.  Of course, all the boys wanted it, so they all put their names in a bowl and drew a random winner.  Buddy wanted it soooooooooooooooooo bad.  And low and behold, his name was drawn.  Both of my boys were overjoyed about this.  On the way home they were conspiring to either frame it or hang it by a flagpole on the outside of our house.  Buddy thanked God for it in his prayers tonight and kept asking me if he thought Nicki peeked when she drew his name because she knew how badly he wanted it.  I explained that Nicki wouldn't do that because all the boys wanted it and she wanted to be honest and fair.  But he is convinced that "Nicki must have known I never win anything and this was really important to me." 

Are you familiar with the game "Pass the Pigs?"  It's extremely simple and fun and I had forgotten all about it.  G and I bought it when we were first married but it's been tucked in the game closet untouched for years.  G pulled it out and now he and I have each spent some time playing with Sambo this week.  And this might be sort of embarrassing, but G and I decided to play a round while in bed too because why should Sambo get all the fun?

I discovered that Buddy doesn't know what a CD is.  Can you imagine?  Go ask your kids if they know because now I'm curious.  We saw a rack of CD's at Barnes and Noble today.  Buddy said, "What is that? A movie about the Beatles?"  I said, "No, it's a CD" (in a sort of he-llo! tone of voice.)  He was then like, "A CD with stories about the Beatles?"  (He is familiar with books on CD.)  And that's when it occurred to me:  he only knows about itunes and ipods.  WHAT?!!!!!!  So then I explained that back in the "olden days" people listened to music on CD's.  The really ironic thing is, Buddy's father owns more CD's than any person I've ever met in my life.  I guess I need to show them to him and demonstrate how they work.

Oh, and does it concern you that in a period of 8 days, we ate at 4 different pizza joints?  If it weren't for that delicious pizza lingering in my soul, I'd be in the loony bin for sure. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012


I just wrapped up an epic summer of having a steady stream of visitors -- including lots of boy cousins for my kids to play with.  First we had G's parents come for the 4th of July.  They helped a ton with the kids (like always) so I could run errands in peace and get my hair done.  They were here for the annual neighborhood block party, and were here to help out with  my kids when my sister-in-law had her baby so I could be available to watch her son and pick her mom up from the airport.  And visit the baby minutes after he was born. We always love having Grandma and Grandpa come!

Next we had G's sister and her family come.  We ate good food and spent a full day at a new waterpark nearby.  We arrived at the waterpark when it opened and stayed until nearly closing and yet my kids were still in tears when we left because they couldn't bare the thought of leaving.  My boys' idea of a great time is going to warterparks.  They both LOVE to swim above doing anything else.

 My boys with their cousin, Logan.

A few days later my sister, M, came with her husband and two boys (ages 4 and 1).  We hadn't seen them in more than a year and a half, so this was a huge treat to have them visit.  Luckily I talked them into extending their stay by several days because we couldn't handle the idea of them going home so soon.

Here are some highlights from their visit.
  • The Zoo.  Especially when all the cousins were running every which way and nobody was listening to their parents because they were tired from jet lag and/or excited to be with their cousins.  But the best moment was when both of M's kids fell in the water feature there at the zoo.  I knew right then and there I was glad my sister had come.  It's nice to associate with kids as busy/crazy as mine. 
  • San Francisco.  Her husband was presenting a research paper at a conference in SF, so I talked her into tagging along with him for 4 days of peace and quiet.  I held down the fort with the kids, while they were gone and while G worked long hours.  It was exhausting, but I knew what I was getting into.  I was responsible for the 4 MOST hyper and talkative little boys you'll ever meet, but I did a fine job, if I do say so myself.  (Note:  they are also the smartest and most charming kids you'll ever meet.)  We had no major incidents and everyone was happy the entire time.  And I only did a small amount of 'emotional eating.'  But joking aside, it was a huge pleasure to be with my nephews. I love them so much from afar, so bonding with them and getting to really know them was so enjoyable.  It didn't hurt that her younger son called me "mama" the entire time.  
  • My new nephew's blessing.  The kids were perfect in church.  The blessing and party after were awesome.  The baby was darling.  And Tahsha's parents are awesome too.   
  • Sunday night dinners and riding bikes outside.  My brother, sister, and I have two boys each.  So when they all are here, it's craziness.  So Sunday evenings we'd sit outside and watch the kids play.  One Sunday night Tahsha's dad brought over salmon from Alaska for dinner.  I don't eat salmon, but my family loves it, so this was a huge treat.
  • All our other meals.  Most nights we'd have a big meal and whoever in the family was available would come over  and eat.  My sister is a genius in the kitchen.  Shrimp tacos, homemade bread a few times, flank steak, black beans, and fajitas.  I cooked too, so we ate well the entire time she was here.
  • Happy Hour with G, my sister, and her husband.  Date night/having a babysitter for the kids is always a hit with me.  Now that she's gone I'm wondering why we didn't do this every night she was here.  (????)
  • Talking to M and her husband about all they have learned lately.  Impressive and Inspiring.
  • Long talks all day and all night with M.  She is so smart and has great ideas and is such a deep and spiritual thinker.  Plus her advice and attitude motivate me to do more and do better.  The list of new hobbies and skills she's picked up lately are mind-blowing. 
  • Feeling validated by M in my parenting.  She gets it like nobody else.
  • Getting personally trained in Pilates.  M is newly certified and is an amazing teacher. 
  • Jordan giving me a back and neck adjustment.  Wow! 
  • Insanity workouts.
  • Holding Tahsha's baby so much.  I'm so glad we have a new baby in the family.  Holding babies is my very favorite thing to do, after all.
  • When Henry told me and G in all seriousness that his name is "Darling Dorothy."
  • When Henry told me and G in all seriousness that his favorite band is "Kid Rock."
  • Finn's hugs and his talking.  He made me change my mind about my typical "not-a-fan of 18-month-old-children" attitude.
  • How much all the kids worship Buddy.  He's the oldest cousin by 4 years, so he's everybody's favorite.  Camden has always loved Buddy.  Henry's best friend was Buddy.  Sambo was jealous of how much Henry and Buddy clicked.  And Finn spent the last few days saying "get wowa" or "wowa has" over and over again to indicate he wanted Buddy or what Buddy had. 
  • Analyzing why Henry and Sambo don't get along better.  They are only 3 months apart, so that contributes to the problem, I'm sure.  But they have the most fascinating (and frustrating) LOVE/HATE relationship.   
 It took a lot of effort on the adults' part so Buddy could practice the piano.  Otherwise he had a posse bugging him the entire time. 
  • Buddy's love for the new baby.  Buddy is enamored by babies -- always has been.  Every time the baby was around he begged to hold him and got all up in the baby's grill.  I love this about Buddy, though.  Sambo, on the other hand, is clueless about babies and doesn't even notice they are there.
  • Going to the numerous parks.  We went to several and the kids had a great time at each one.  I particularly enjoyed our Saturday night pizza party at the fountains with all the grand kids, all the siblings and my parents.  Only my sister's husband was missing. 

 Here are all six of the boys!
  • Going swimming twice.
  • M and her kids getting to meet Sambo's birthmom and her family.
  • Our hike at Multnomah Falls.  The kids rocked the hike.  But the true hero was L, who held a sleeping Finn all the way down after also carrying him all the way up.  And then he dealt with the fighting and loud children in the backseat of the car on the way home.

  • Our beach trip to a new favorite spot, Taft Beach.  The weather was incredible.  I've been itching to go again ASAP.
  • Listening to M and L debate and discuss the merits of each of L's job possibilities after he returned from several job interviews.  We've all got our fingers crossed for them.  We really hope they return to the this area so partying like rockstars can become a frequent thing.  But we also know that this is their choice and they know what's best for their family.  Even if it might not be best for mine...
  • Watching the Olympics every night.  So exciting!
  • The Children's Museum with all six of the cousins.  We only lost kids a few times and for short periods of time, so all-in-all it was a success.  
  • Parade and Fair.  Every year I walk my kids with a few adoption friends in the parade kicking off the start of the county fair.  After the parade, we always enjoy the fair -- the animals and especially the food.  This year was particularly fun because a childhood friend (who recently adopted a baby girl) came too, plus M and her kids, my mom, and Tahsha and her kids.  I must be simple-minded because I find the parade and fair great fun and I look forward to it every year.  And to make it even better, my adoption caseworker came along too and it turns out he grew up in the same town in Michigan my sister now lives in.  Small world, right?! 

We were so busy every single day between our activities and making meals and taking care of all the crazy kids.  We stayed up way too late every night and got up way too early every morning.  Most nights we only got a few hours of sleep.  For more than two weeks we kept up that pace.  But then they had to go home...  And it took a few days to fully catch up on my sleep.  I'm not sure if it was my exhaustion or my depression that they were gone that was the problem.

No pressure, M and L, but we really need you to  move back.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Kindness At Its Best

After face-painting

The following story is old news, but I really wanted to record it to remember it.  This happened in June, right before school got out.  

Every year Buddy's school has a Field Day to celebrate the end of school.  I volunteered this year and of course had Sambo tag along with me.  He LOVES going to Buddy's school.  He loves anticipating going to school and loves to feel like a big boy like his brother.  Plus he and Buddy are really close, so he enjoys being with him and seeing what he does.  

As expected, Sambo was super excited to do all the games with Buddy.  However, the school pairs all the students up with the partner and they are required to stick with their partner the entire the.  Since a lot of the field activities were partner games, that meant if Sambo wanted to participate (which he did), Buddy or his partner had to sit out so Sambo could play.  At each station the two older boys would talk amongst themselves to work out who would play with Sambo and who would wait in line.  Then they’d switch if the line wasn’t too long.  I never asked them to do it, or even dropped any hints that they should include Sambo.  I was in charge of taking photos of the event, so I was doing my thing the entire time.

Two months later, I still get tears in my eyes thinking about the way the older boys acted.  They were so incredibly kind to Sambo and were not only tolerant of him, but genuinely happy to give him a good time.  I gently asked Buddy and his partner a few times if the were OK having Sambo tag along.  I didn’t want to give them the impression I thought they were weird for playing with him but I wanted to respect that this was THEIR activity.  Over and over again they assured me they were having a great time.  

There is nothing I’d rather have then a kind son.  He treats Sambo good at home, but watching him treat Sambo well when he’s with his friends made my year.
 Collecting Marbles with Their Feet
 Wheelbarrow Races
 Three-Legged Races