Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wishing you a Happy New Year

2011 has been an eventful, joy filled, tear filled, busy, crazy year of growth, love and grace!

We are so grateful to each of you, for keeping us grounded, sane and focused on the tasks at hand.  Without each of you and your individual roles as family members, church members, friends, neighbors, acquaintances and yes even some strangers along the way, for sure our lives would be less fulfilled, less colorful, and very very ordinary! 

We have had many highs during the past year, and in my estimation, the greatest would be getting away for a whole week with my husband, the Prince, as we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.  We spent a wonderful, relaxing week in Florida... basking in the sun, each other's company, and peace and quiet!

But other things that ranked high on the list include in no particular order...
  • the graduation of our eldest dwarf from high school
  • a fantastic visit from our dear friends from Florida
  • finding a wonderful facility for Grumpy to attend to work out some struggles
  • continuing my business, growing it and finding many new friends on the way
  • the growth of the Prince's ministry in our church and to our community
  • a visit from our favorite Spanish daughter
  • the return of our favorite Korean dwarf
  • Doc having the opportunity to travel to Spain
  • the addition of Lola and Lucy - our black and yellow (Steeler's puppies)
  • the time we had with a special 10 year old Korean dwarf
  • camping with the family and with friends
  • spending time at the pool relaxing in the summer
  • the joy of giving
  • the joy of sharing Christ's love with others
  • the start of Kids Hope USA at our church
  • the love and support of our friends and family
  • Bashful's first basketball season 
  • God's provisions - for just what we need
I find that the best times are when the house is filled with activity, the children are laughing... but in my older age, I am starting to seek out ways to slow down the craziness of life, stay closer to home and to bask in the contentment of experiencing God's great love and grace for me each day. 

May you and your family be blessed as we enter into this new year, relax in the knowledge that trials are to grow, us not break us, that opportunities to serve others before ourselves are available at every turn in the road.  If you are reading this, know that you and your families are loved and cherished by us. 

Happy New Year !!

The Dwarf and the Axe !

This entry will go back a few weeks...but I believe that it is a story that I will remember for a long time, along with all Happy's bus mates, his teacher and his classmates!

Happy's morning routine is typically carried out in SLOW motion.  On this particular school day though he was up and out of bed, before his alarm went off, he was dressed and moved quickly through his breakfast and chores... certainly atypical of this young dwarf. 

As several of the other dwarfs and I are sitting at the breakfast table, we realize that suddenly our tongues and our mouths are tasting odd, and that there is an odd, strong, almost sickening odor coming from somewhere in the house.  This scent is flavoring what we are eating and drinking as we are inhaling it through out noses...

I hop up from the table and go to the stairs, I call up to Happy, the only dwarf up there, " Hey Happy, you okay??"  "Yea mom, I am okay."  But his voice is not coming from his room, or his bathroom...  so I begin to head up the stairs.  As my foot hits the third stair, my nostrils are assaulted by another blast of the smell. Immediately my head starts to hurt, my tongue is thicker and my nose is burning.  By the time I reach the landing and call out to Happy again, I feel as if I may pass out.

I figure by following the sounds of humming, that Happy is camped out in my bathroom, and as I round the corner to the master bedroom to the master bath, I run into a fog screen from an aerosol can. 

" Happy, have you been spraying your father's Axe body spray?", I ask as I have my face buried into the crook of my arm.  "No mom he says."  "Really???" , I reply, I can taste it, I am struggling to breathe in this space...I am going to ask you once more and I would like you to tell me the truth." 

So, yes indeed I repeat the question.  Now perhaps he is not hearing me correctly since now my eyes are watering and my nose and mouth are still buried in the crook of my arm, but would you believe, standing there in the fog of Axe, he continues to deny that he used the Prince's cologne. 

Now let me just say right now, I FIRMLY believe that teenage boys should take responsibility for their hygiene.  Pit music is a must! and Cologne would be fine, in appropriate doses and with the permission and consent of a parent.  Furthermore, I have a big problem with my son's smelling like my husband, that in my mind is just weird... 

But I digress, I ask him for the third time to tell me the truth please, as I point out the obvious ways that I KNOW he has illegally used the Prince's body spray,  and yes three times is the charm because he says that he did use it.  Did I mention that all the while his is nonchalantly combing his hair????

Now here is the quandary - I glance at the clock... it is now time for him to leave for the bus, if he stays to shower this all off, he will miss the bus and be late for school because I will not be able to take him in until the last dwarf gets on the bus at 8:30 .... so ... I have no choice but to send him off in a hurry, now to catch the bus. 

Little did I realize that this was the day of the return of his favorite teacher who had been out for a few weeks on leave.  Was Happy trying to impress her being a well dressed, groomed and fine smelling young man?  We will never know - but I guarantee that day everyone smelled him before they saw him, had to clear their throats in his presence without clearly understanding why, and maybe suffered from a mild headache that cleared once they got out into the fresh air....

This all happened before 7 am ...  you just can't make this stuff up!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

This is why I don't foster, I adopt!!

As many fans our our family know, in October in a crazy whirlwind of activity, we added to our dwarfs, a little one, age 10 from Korea.  How it happened, I do not know, but somewhere between adjusting to 9 dwarfs in the house, and the news of his impending departure from our home... the little bugger stole my heart.  That is right - just wormed his way in there... was it his smile, or his crazy hats?  Maybe the way he said that I am the best cooker ever...or the way that he would wait at dinner to start eating until I got my plate of food and sat down... Either way... today reminds me why we do not foster children.

Sticking him in the car today was the HARDEST thing I have done in years...  I rest in the knowledge that God is in the details...but I am struggling with understanding what I can not see.  What I do see is a boy, who is 10, being moved to a new host home, who is sad and confused. But what I feel is the tug of a mothers heart, having invested hours into his care and comfort.  Halloween costumes, Christmas gifts, lost teeth, monkey bread making, tree cutting, bike riding, hours of homework, drilling spelling words, leaf project, flooding of the office from his bath, tucking him in at night, praying with him, shopping for shoes that were not too heavy so he could run faster, his crazy giggle, his love of wrestling with the Prince and the other dwarfs, his concern when I get weepy at church, his love of video games, his persistence in what he wants...  our lives were intertwined in such a short time. 

As the mom substitute of this little 10 year old, I tried to provide encouragement, settle disputes, comfort him in his sadness, reign him in during times of exuberance... and today, with great pain I said goodbye to him, potentially to not ever hear or see him again.  As I walked back to the house today, with tears in my eyes, greeted at the door by many of my dwarfs, my tears became sobs and I clearly now know why we do not foster children, why we adopt...

My little dwarfs unsure of what to do for a sobbing mother, offered me comfort,  held my hand and offered me Kleenex and encouragement.  As I sit and write this entry, I am binge eating Laughy Taffy (grape of course) and washing it down with a strong diet Pepsi.  (extra caffeine and carbonation)

It is my hope that we touched him, the way that he touched us.  Are we perfect -NOPE - was he perfect -NOPE - but he was a good fit for our family and he will be missed greatly! you just can't make this stuff up!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

FOOD Auction - oh yea!

Well today happened to be one of those unplanned and wonderful days.  After spending 19 hours in the car driving from Florida to PA, we arrived home at 2:15 am... after 5 1/2 hours of sleep, I realized that today was the frozen food auction... I managed to pull myself together, and head out in the van to the auction and here were my deals for this haul...

12-  #5 cans of misc beans( green, black, pinto, and two cans of potaotoes) value of $65  
24 twinkies - value $24
56 chocolate chip cookies - value $15  
4 bags of milk chocolate covered pretzels
6 bags of white chocolate covered pretzels  - value $24.90
4 boxes of snyder hard pretzels - value $14.36
40 strawberry pop tarts - value $10
2 pomolive dish soap - $7
5 Suave deoderants - $18.95
4 boxes of Krimpets  - $ 17.00
2 case of Stride 10 packs each - $22.98
13 boxes of kids cliff bars - $51
30 lbs of hashbrowns - $120.00
6 lbs of turkey meatballs - $59.88
6 packs of mashed potatoes 17.88
4 large frozen red skin mashed potatoes - $28 68
10.5 lbs of white fish - $131.00
8 petite fillets - $57.00
12 tombstone pepperoni pizzas - $ 59.88
3 - 5 lb blocks of sliced american cheese - $27.00
9 lbs of bologna lunchmeat - $ 80.91
10 lb pork shoulder -$71.97
20 lbs of smoked ham - $134.00
10 lbs of boneless ham - $47.00
24 pork chops - $ 131.92
6 lbs of tenderloin - $ 72.00
10 bags of chicken nuggets - $83.00

Grand total retail value - $1,392.....

I scored all this for $360.00  

Really, you can't make this stuff up!   Gotta Love Love Love a good deal!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A letter from Grumpy

As many of you know - Grumpy has been gone from us for 6 weeks now.  He is currently residing at a therapeutic residential boys camp.  While 6 weeks seems like a long time, the duration of the program is between 18 -24 months in length.  Grumpy is "honeymooning" well (we think in the hopes of getting out early for good behavior) but is starting to wear tired of keeping it together all the time and is beginning  to exhibit some of the issues that caused us to partner with this camp for him!  SO for those of you that are praying...keep it up.  Pray for him to get to the end of himself, that in that brokenness he will come to see what Christ wants for his life!

So I digress -- back to the issue at hand - the celebrations of Moms!

Yesterday was the end of his first 6 weeks.  It was also the night of the Mother Son Banquet.  Here is the letter that my son wrote to me as prior to my coming to dinner:

Dear Mom,
Roses are red, violets are blue, mom I really miss you.
Roses are red, violets are purple and you love is like a giant circle.
Roses are red, violets are blue, I love you and God does too.

I really like your amazing cooking skills.  I appreciate you spending time with me, especially to help me when you could have been spending time with the others in the family. You are amazing because you help me when I am sick, you wash my clothes, and helped me make my room my own.  You also spend lots of time keeping the house neat. Thanks for caring about my health and my educatation.  Thanks for adopting me and my siblings, Sneezy, Happy and Bashful.  You are the best mom in the world and I am proud to be your son.

Love, Grumpy

Well the chiefs at camp thought that Grumpy's letter was among the top 3 letters from the campers to their moms and asked if  he would read it at dinner - He was to shy, but he did allow the chief to read it to the group and there was not a dry eye by the end.

To say that I am proud of Grumpy would be an understatement.  I am excited and hopeful about what the Lord is doing in his life.  I am grateful for the young men of God that stand in my and the Princes absence and teach, and encourage, and minister to these broken boys, each day, 7 days a week, six weeks at a time without a break, because of their love of the Lord and for these boys.     The road is long - the journey seems daunting at times, but God is faithful in all things including this !!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New Normal

Well time has been flying by at a faster than normal clip these days - seems the older I get, the faster the days pass for me...

Yesterday we took our eldest to college.  There was much speculation about Doc and the beginning of her college career.  Just about as much speculation about how we as her parents were going to hold up.  But I am happy to report, it was time.  Time for Doc to start a new stage in life, time for her to spread her wings, become that independent beautiful creature that God and we, have prepared her to be! And time for her father and I to rejoice in the milestone of our eldest being equipped and ready for this stage of life.  Without our years of faithful and long-suffering love, patience, prayers, and direction, she would not have been so prepared, so I pause for just one small second to say -- well done to myself and the prince!

However for those of you that long for the details - we left our driveway at 6:18 am and progressed to the campus at a rate of 70 mph - in just under 3 hours. We were swiftly escorted to a parking garage and given a number 80 for our dorm and as Faith went to retrieve her room key and paperwork, the prince and I sat back and smiled!  As our car number was called we left the parking garage and headed to the drop off area outside the dorm, where a pile of  students greeted us and helped us carry all of Doc's belongings in to the building... smooth - no blown backs, no repeated trips up and back - in one fell swoop, van emptied.  We selected a bed, a closet, and a dresser and desk and set to making the space her own.

To say we are proud of her would be an understatement. To say that she is one of the great joys in our life would be an accurate assessment of our love for her. In all this, we know that God loves her more than we do, and that it was indeed time for this stage of life!

The van as we started loading it - about two more suitcases went in - another three boxes a backpack and a sports bag and two bags of Doritos! (thanks Aunt Shelly)

Bryan singing his happy Duke's song as we got off the exit for the campus!  

Walking up to Doc's dorm from the Quad

The Prince and I left the campus at 1:10 - we never felt the earth quake and neither did she... we prayed with her, hugged and kissed her, and said our good byes... not a single tear was shed.  You can't make this stuff up!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I can't believe it my eldest is a Duke!

Well today started out bright and early.  The hubby and I were headed to the school of  Doc's dreams, to "springboard" into the college experience with her, our eldest! 

First of all I wonder, "Am I really old enough to have a child that is going to college?"  Well yes, yes I am!   Secondly I wondered about this university.  With all the choices for higher education out there, we really stood back and let our eldest apply to, any and all schools of her choosing. 

We tried to stay out of the mix, knowing that if she was accepted to schools that she was interested in, the chances of her actually attending classes and doing well would significantly increase! 

Graduation was a great opportunity to beam with pride as I watched my eldest take yet another step towards becoming a wonderful, independent young woman.  It was a chance to reflect, and laugh and cry.  It was also a great opportunity to throw a BIG party! However in the midst of all that, I still did not really grasp the next stage, or the "big deal" about what is lying around the corner.  In my mind, while it was the next logical step, I was concerned because I was not stressed about it or overly concerned per say. 

College.  Acceptance to her "dream" school.  A new mailing address.  Independent thinking.  Making decisions without my input or insight or years of wisdom. (insert chuckle here)  Was I as ready for this as I thought I was?  Was Doc ready for this stage in life?

So backing up to our departure time for this "springboard" event...

4:45 am is a great time to go for a run, but not such a great time to go from lying down to sitting in a car for 2 1/2 hours... so I after some chatter, I find a semi- comfortable position in my seat and proceed to do what every good and concerned mother would do in this situation.... catch up on some sleep! 

Now keep in mind this is my first trip to the university.  Doc and her father have traveled this road together before, frankly on the way to many a vacation spots over the years, I have also traveled this road, however the purpose of this trip down 81 was to stop off  and visit "our dream school" ...not continue on to another destination. 

So off to sleep I go as slight and delicate snores coming from myself in the backseat (so I was informed) I wake just in time to change into my "walking" shoes, arriving in the parking lot of the university refreshed and in need of coffee at about 7:45 am.  As we enter the parking lot we are greeted by a purple cheer-er... okay so there really is a name for them, they are OPA's - and throughout the day I would see many of these young adults in purple cheering us on to our next location, encouraging us with kind words, asking us if we needed assistance...  as I begin to wonder, "Will Doc become one of these purple people in years to come?" 

We are almost immediately split off from our first born.  She is headed to do student registration and we are headed in the opposite direction for parent registration.  We meet again to be herded into the auditorium for some combined welcoming information and a basic overview of the day. 

So far my view of the campus has been limited, as has been my interaction with the the people other than other parents and the purple cheer squad.  Yet I still am at peace. I feel comfortable.  I think I like it here.  The walk in from the parking lot was nice and scenic, but somewhat limited, and with a speed walker as a husband and an anxious child, there really was not time for taking in the beauty around me, that would just have to wait.

As far as I was able to capture in my time standing in the very long line to use the ladies restroom during breaks, this university prides itself on friendliness, and integrating the families and students into the fold as quickly as possible, and I don't just mean, writing the checks for tuition.  Many of the "seasoned" moms in line stated that other universities just mailed details to their home for their student, there was no formal information day like this event, that here at this university, they went above and beyond what was expected to make sure everyone, parent and students, felt welcomed, informed and encouraged.  We heard from an assortment of administration heads, and even the president of the university himself, regarding ways to be involved, the services at the school for us and our students.  We got to eat lunch in the dining hall, that by the way is ranked #3 in the nation according to the Princeton review... and talk to staff and administrators in any area of the school where we were needing additional direction or assistance figuring things out. 

Now being that this was my first experience at said university, really any university in over 20 years,  I would say that I was significantly impressed!  Once I was able to make it outside for a walk on the campus with my "sweet" tea, ( until that moment I forgot that I was down south!) I was able to see the beauty of this fully mature, well manicured, well maintained campus.  No wonder Doc fell in love with it so many years ago!  It really felt like an extension of home. 

It would be an understatement to say that it was a long day.  Six hours sitting in a car - 7 hours sitting in meetings is a lot of sitting for such a beautiful day as yesterday. But the trip was such a blessing to this mom.  My soul is at peace, not only about the choice that my daughter has made, and may I say, all by herself, but also in the location, the facilities, the administration and staff, the fellow students....and the fact that she is ready for this new stage in her life! 

But more importantly,  I don't have to feel guilty about NOT being anxious or concerned about her being ready for this transition now that I fully grasp and understand it ! As I indicated, earlier my sleep on the way to the campus, was born out of comfort knowing that Doc is prepared, socially, academically, spiritually for this next phase in her life. 

The day just secured those facts in my mind as well as a few others that I had been thinking but was hesitant to say out loud for fear of sounding harsh and unkind.  But thanks to the purple OPA's I feel free to express even these thougths in love and with a smile to my adult daughter as she heads out to university:

No, I will not send money - You should get a job!
No, you do not need your car - take the free bus that runs on and off campus!
I am sorry you don't feel well, have you tried washing your sheets?

It was great to hear over and over again that there is no room at this campus for helicopter parents! That I do not need to feel guilty because I am not overly anxious, or concerned about how Doc will manage without me, because she is doing that already. 

I am proud of her and of the young woman that we have raised.  Here is a cheer to the future! 

GO Dukes!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It is all starting to click!

This week has been filled with many of the same, very typical issues as any other week.  However in the midst of the mundane, there has been a glimmer of hope!  A ray that has burst through at the most unexpected time, in the most unexpected way... Happy is starting to "get it"  Get what you may be wondering... and rightly so.  Each dwarf, with their multitude of issues does leave one scratching their head wondering! 

I have been contacted twice this week by Happy's teacher who is amazed and encouraged by the transformation in young Happy.  It is important to remember that he is 13 as you read this, because you may think that this is the youngest of the dwarfs.... but the milestone is a big one and one that we are celebrating along with his teacher!! 

This is the second email in two consecutive days, and for those of you that personally know Happy, this is huge, because he still struggles to remember his phone number and address!

Good evening! I had to write again and tell you about Happy's reading class! His enthusiasm for reading has been tremendous! Typically he takes his time coming back to the table for small group, finding all items out of place, and placing them in there appropriate place; finding where the "action" is, rather than promptly finding his way to my table. Today he was the first one back, had his materials ready and open to the correct page, had my book ready and open, and was encouraging his group members to quickly join him... He was eager and ready to learn! He volunteered for every opportunity to read and respond! He knew every answer and read beautifully; again multisyllabic words with prefixes and suffixes! He was beaming!!! His enthusiasm encouraged his group mates to volunteer and read to perfection. Happy was actually assisting the others in sounding out words and was offering "strategies" to the decoding of words! I was SPEECHLESS!!! He knew all the strategies I have been reinforcing all year! Your beloved son brought streams of joyful reward down my face! Today was one of those "I am so proud to teach children with special needs" moments! Moments I wish I could capture and bottle up and share with their families. Such an honor it is to educate your son. He is a BLESSING in MY life. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of his.
With love and honor,

Just wanted to share in this milestone!  Because you just can't make this stuff up!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Eggs, Oh how tempting!

Okay - here is the situation - every year we make 100's of Peanut Butter, Butter Cream and Coconut Easter Eggs, it is just what we do....

And it is a long process that usually involves me finishing the storage and pack of the eggs the next day - hence leaving a host of eggs at the "ready" in the garage...

Last year we had issues with the one of the dwarfs  touching them all.  We had small finger prints in the fresh chocolate and no one would lay claim to them, so in my typical style I went dwarf by dwarf and held fingers up to the prints until I had a match --- Winner, Bashful.

Well this year the tale is the same - much work, many eggs  and residual eggs hanging out in the garage.  This morning at about 6:45 am I hear the screen door to the garage banging.  It is important to say that there are no small people allowed up at our house on the weekends until 7am....

So grumbling I haul myself out of bed to figure out who and why they are up before the agreed upon time. 

I come downstairs to see Happy, in the kitchen.  "Good Morning Son... Do you know what time it is, he reads the time to me from the digital clock on the stove, 6:55" he says.  Okay I ask him to repeat the rule to me about what time to get up.  " It is almost 7 he says."  To which I am thrilled to hear that he is capturing the essence of time telling.  "yes, I agree it is almost 7, but the deal is you stay in bed until 7." 

Now while I am making my coffee and chatting with Happy, I see that there is something on his lip.  So I ask him what he was doing in the garage.  "I was checking to see if we have more milk"   "Did we?" I ask.  "Yes" he says.  What did you have for breakfast?  You have food on your face. "Umm stammers Happy, Cereal?  I had some cereal."  Well the coffee pot is by the sink, so I glance in the sink --- I know this is going to shock you, but there is NO cereal bowl in the sink, No cereal containers out on the counter and no milk drippings on the table... so Happy DID NOT have cereal.

During this time he wipes away the evidence and now I don't know what was on his lips, but I have a hunch - so I ask him to come over to me and open his mouth.  He wont open very wide, so I force his jaws open only to see that his back molars are filled with a dark substance. 

So I say to the boy - were you eat ting Peanut butter eggs in the garage this morning???  NO he says. 

I make him sit in a chair and re think his story, while I go fill in the Prince on the details... Shockingly enough Happy stands firm in his lie for over 30 minutes...  and when he finally confesses that he ate the eggs in the garage, he is angry that he cant have what he wants to eat when he wants to ---

You know that funny thing about this is, if he had told the truth, I would not have been mad. Moreover, if he had asked for an egg, I would have let him eat one, because that is what I was thinking about when I came down for my morning cup of coffee... a delicious peanut butter egg and a hot cup of coffee for breakfast would be so delicious... 

Needless to say Happy has no egg privileges today - maybe even tomorrow for lying and lying and lying some more about his sneaking eggs in the garage for breakfast this morning ----

Really you can't make this stuff up!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I May Have Set A Record

Typically I expect that perhaps I will get one or two dings on my vehicles in a year's time, but this year, three of the four Lingle vehicles have experiences some type of minor or major incident.  Of course none of them the 20+ year old Subaru that my prince loves and enjoys so much...

Early in the fall I was on the WEST shore, YIKES, lost as I usually am there, so in my haste to reposition myself into a turning lane, I accidentally bumped into a man that was already in the turning lane... He was "just going for a sandwich"  there was minor (and that is too big of a description of the situation) damage done and even when the police officer arrived he laughed at the man to taking the time to call for such a situation.  This was in Faith's car.

Fast forward to December when we bought a great little white Nissan for me to drive around town...  one owner previously, garage kept, great stereo, heated leather seats, sun roof - ah the life! Well 9days before we could remove the 3 month registration sticker from the rear window, a woman leaving an ally and crossing over a lane of oncoming traffic ran right into the front of my sweet little white car.  (Insert sad face here)  The police officer said that I can drive it home that it did not need towed and sited her and on we went. 

After two weeks of dealing with insurance, and estimates etc it was determined that they were just going to total the car - but we just got the car... so upon further investigation we were able to find that we could take the total check - purchase a salvage license and take the car to the body shop or our choice -  and have the repairs done - which is what we did - we had a rental for about two weeks and our car was done in about 3 weeks and so not even two weeks ago we picked up our car from the body shop !

Last week on the way to cooking class - in my 15 passenger Van - a lady traveling behind me, claiming to have not seen me, rear- ended me.  Causing damage to the rear of my van and destroying her vehicle totally.  I am sure she was not going 15 mph like she told the police!! Because the total in repairs to this vehicle is $3,800 ...  Now the part about these accidents is that they really can disrupt one's day and or week!

Not only was I late to work that night - the next day, I felt like I had been hit by a MAC truck - significant muscle relaxers have helped make me feel a bit better during the day, ex rays indicated nothing was broken, and the lesson that I learned here, is that for all the years that I used to make fun of people in fender benders wearing neck braces and going to physical therapy, I now have been hit with enough force to make my body revolt.  

In all praising God for his provisions of kids that were kept safe, and equipment that was in the back of the van unharmed, and that a good friend driving by could bless me and another could come help me get set up for class that night! 

Really though?  Two accidents in 9 weeks??? You just can't make this stuff up!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sneezy's Series of Unfortunate Events!

Okay - after today, my prince has a new title to the book that he is writing.  

Isn't Life RAD?? Living with Reactive Attachment Disorder Children 

Now you may wonder what is RAD... good question, the short answer is this:

Reactive attachment disorder is when infants and young children don't establish healthy bonds with parents or caregivers. A child with reactive attachment disorder is typically neglected, abused, or moved multiple times from one caregiver to another. Because the child's basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren't met, he or she never establishes loving and caring attachments with others. This may permanently alter the child's growing brain and hurt their ability to establish future relationships. Reactive attachment disorder is a lifelong condition.

But your next question will be, What does this look like on a daily basis?  This is far more complicated and is unique to each child that suffers from the diagnosis.  We have two children with this, and it presents differently in each one. 

But for Sneezy and her several days of unfortunate events... when it all came to a head, it looked like this...

As always, a bit of background...Sneezy is on the cusp of being a young woman, and for all intensive purposes is, the issues that prevent her or us from taking this giant leap into young adulthood his her inability to know how to correctly behave is social situations, how to properly engage in conversations, in person or electronically.

And so the story begins... Sneezy wanted a Facebook account.  The Prince and I are hesitant because of her inability to observe what most would consider a normal understanding of social graces and the natural ability to know that you don't comment on every photo, every wall post etc.  We did acquiesce and allow her to open an email account for the purpose of communicating with teachers, checking grades, and getting updates on school happenings and schedules.  (and as a gauge as to how she would handle the responsibility that went along with having an email account) The Prince and I have the pass code and we are able to monitor her account, and things have been going well.  So for her 14th birthday we purchased an Ipod for her (you know the fancy kind with the touch screen and wireless Internet.) which we got used from a reliable source and have been monitoring her time on that as well.  However recently, we were noticing that she was obsessing with texting (using the free texting app) that she downloaded, as well as a general over use of the Ipod. 

So now we are all current, Sneezy went away on Friday after school and while she was gone, her Ipod goes off and she has a facebook message... I say something to the Prince, asking if he gave Sneezy permission to open a facebook account.  He says no.  I say well she just got a notification that she has a message... The Prince says we will talk to her in the morning..

Fast forward to Saturday Morning after breakfast, and we ask her about her Facebook account, which she denies having... really we say, since you got a new message notification on your IPod while you were away last night, it would seem you have a facebook.  " OOOhhh that..." she draws out, "ummmm... well I share an account with a friend.  Oh, we say... this is not acceptable, you have gone behind our backs and have been deceptive about this, so you need to cut all ties to this account, and hand over your Ipod for a week.  In a huff, she says "FINE." Whatever, I didn't really want an account anyhow." (RAD response: to lie about what you really want to make it seem like you don't care about the situation)

So my Prince says while we have Sneezy's undivided attention, do you have any other "new" accounts we should be aware of?  "No."  Prince pushes further, no email accounts, no other facebook accounts, nothing new? "Nope" . 

Now it is important to note that there is no one else in ear shot of this conversation.... this will be important later... we wrap up, she hands over her IPod and we move on with the day -- (RAD response: no remorse, no desire to "make things right" the reaction is to pretend the incident never happened)

So fast forward to Sunday: Our exchange student gets in the van to go to church, excitedly looks over her shoulder and says to Sneezy, " I find you on facebook, I request to be your friend, when you get facebook?"  "What?  Who did you request to be your friend? I inquire as we are driving towards the church.  What was her full name because, our Sneezy does NOT have a facebook....  Sneezy Lingle, I find her on someone elses friend list, I request her." 

Oh my, there must be a mistake I say to the exchange student.  So please show me the friend acceptance and the account attached to it when you get confirmation please.  
All the while in the rear view mirror Sneezy's face goes through about 16 color changes of red...all the while blubbering about how she does NOT have a facebook.

So after church Sneezy and Sleepy head out to the great outdoors for the afternoon with a friend, and I, and a friend turn into Internet sleuths... hacking facebook accounts, which we still have no understanding of what happened... but to summarize - Sneezy in a series of very unfortunate events created a ghost account, hid it from the Prince and I as well as her big sister Doc. But because she could not hide all people, and could not spell the exchange students name, the exchange student could access her... (RAD response: inability to think things through to a logical conclusion, which is that eventually on someones Facebook friend list, someone who knew she should not have an account would see her.) 

Well at the end of the day, Sneezy and the Prince and I sit down to have a conversation about the situation.  Now please remember it is just a discussion about telling the truth in all things, and that when you lie it breaks trust, and to point out that she had ample opportunity on Saturday to tell the whole truth but how one lie snowballs into more lies until you are caught in an avalance of lies that burry you alive (okay that visual was for all of you without RAD or processing disorders, because had we said all that Sneezy's head would have been spinning.)  

So I sit at the laptop and tell Sneezy to log into her Facebook account... so she starts typing in an email address that is not her gmail account.  And feigns not knowing her password... but is she pretending or is this part of the series of unfortunate events... so we log on to the home page for hotmail and she tries to log in there - however her account is frozen because of too many unsuccessful log in attempts (and not by me that afternoon, because I hacked her account through her gmail email. ) So now it seems that Sneezy went to a lot of work to create on the sly, an account both in hotmail and facebook, that she could not use or access, because she did not write down the passwords... um... would that be the chastening of the Lord for being disobedient to her parents???

Now here is the RAD part --- the focus we are trying to discuss is the issue of sin in her life (lying and being deceitful) but because of her issues the wall goes up, the emotions leave her (except anger and irrational thought; if that qualifies as an emotional response) and the conversation swings with more drama and unrelated events than a weekday soap opera... from we are not caring enough parents,  to we are all up in her business and need to not care so much, to we are ruining her dreams, to she wants to work at McDonald's all her life.  If she got pregnant we would kill her and her baby, she wants to go to college now, but we will never let her leave our house to she is leaving and we can't stop her.  Why would she waste time talking to us because we are not her real parents... well I guess you get the idea. 

To all of this I sit shaking my head, rationally trying to talk to an irrational child, who is a broken and cracked vessle that the Lord, almost 8 years ago placed in my heart and home to love forever.  Feeling like I am failing to be able to prepare her for the basic situations in life, where she will be faced with consequences from poor choices, confrontations with others asking her to do something different or not do something at all... wondering if we are getting through at all.

Again, no connection, no remorse and today 24 hours later,  it is as if the conversation never happened, as if she never had electronics or the right to use them in our home, not a thought in her mind,  that she broke a bond of trust, that she unknowingly spent so much time and energy building;  by going behind our backs and doing what she wanted.... 

So I once again offer this snap shot of life with a big sigh, and a humble recognition that you can't make this stuff up....and often giggle to myself to think that God placed all this in my hands because He thinks I am more than capable of all things through HIM who strengthens me....

Saturday, March 19, 2011

We are never to old to learn... or at least to see the world through a different lens!

So it has finally happened.  Happy has a friend.  We will call him Jester.  There is a long sorted story behind how Jester and Happy got to this place.  It would stand to reason that birds of a feather flock together, and it would seem that these two have more in common than one would think. 

But let me start in the beginning: Happy has never really expressed an interest in having a friend, it would seem to me that surrounded by a pile of siblings, and a home that has a revolving door on the front and back for friends, family and neighbors to walk through has served him fine until this point. 

Out of the blue, Happy says that he has plans to go to a school function with Jester.  Well being that I am a mom that insists on planning and plotting every detail of the ten person family, I figured that I would ignore Happy's plea for this outing and eventually, he would forget about the event.  NOPE.  This was not to be the case, so when I got a phone message about the event, I again thought - I will let this ride, it will pass... NOPE.  And as a side note, Happy is very content and rarely asks to do this mildly compelled me to pick up the phone and call to investigate said friend and trip to the school  function. 

As it turns out my good buddy Happy had the facts wrong... shocked?  I am not.  But I do the good mom thing and offer to take Jester and Happy to the event.  I also offer to bring Jester home with us after school, and allow him to visit and have dinner with us prior to the event.

I am a bit puzzled about the whole situation as few things just did not add up... Jester's mom did not seem to be concerned about who I was, like am I an ax murderer,  nor did she introduce herself.  Now, I know that I am the atypical mom in some regards - I like to know all the details - the more details the better...she did not even give her name to me until the end of the conversation, when I asked her for it...

So now plans are set, and I am still scratching my head, puzzled over the fact that this child is in Happy's class, and Happy's class is filled with special needs kids, would you not think that she would even want to fill me in on Jester's needs, or if he had allergies... So I email Happy and Jester's teacher... ask some vague questions about their friendship, and if she can give me some information on what I can expect when I pick up the boys at school. 

Her email back to me simply says, " Oh boy.  I will call you if that is okay." 

Now in the meantime, my Prince says to me that this situation that I find myself in, really is my own fault.  I did not ask this woman for information about her son, so why am I upset that I don't have information about her son... well I guess that is a good point, but some parents are in denial about the special needs of their children, so I didn't ask because I didn't want to offend??? The conversation was already awkward enough, because all the conversation was one sided ( my side) and she gave one word responses... nothing additional... with many pregnant pauses...

 "Were you planning on taking Jester and Happy to the event?"  "No"  " Would you like Happy and I to meet you at the event?" "NO" "can someone come get Jester after the event? " "NO"  "Do you think Jester would like to come home after school with Happy and have dinner and then go to the show with us?" "Sure", "Can you send a note to school so I can pick up Jester?" "Yes" - I think you get the idea!

Well the appointed time rolls around on the clock and the teacher calls to give me the "skinny" on the situation.  It is a sad story of a boy who much like Happy, adopted, later in life, been through a lot with a host of special needs.  But as the story unfolds, I feel my heart being pricked towards ministering to this little boy. 

The Prince and I discuss this over lunch and the decision is made to keep the plans for the day the same and love Jester like he was one of our own....

Promptly at 2:35 Happy and Jester stroll out to the car.   Happy is extremely giddy, silly and sing songy as he calls me Mommy - O and rattles on about how I am the bestest mom in the whole world...
Now give me a minute to tell you what I was expecting to see when I picked up my lil' ol Happy and his little friend....this:  someone slight in size like Happy, big smile on his face, hard to remember upon glancing at him that he is almost 14.  (Happy could pass for your average 10 year old)

Here is what greets me... Happy, and a very tall, man-boy, with hair that he shaved himself , double the height and width of Happy. 

Jester is very sweet and friendly, he offers to sit in the back seat, and  I instruct Happy to sit with his friend... His reply  " Yes Mommy - O "

Jester is obviously very self conscious about his self induced haircut, and says : "I cut my own hair, because I wanted a military cut.  Do you think you could fix it for me ?  I reply - well you look like you got most of it, and because I don't know your family very well, it would probably not be a good idea for me to fix it for you. Well could you let me use your scissors Jester inquires?  Um no Jester, I don't think we will be using scissors today, but how about we go for some ice cream on this beautiful day?"    So in a fit of child like giggles, the boys decide that ice cream would be a great treat..."Mommy - O"

So I pull into the convenience store, and point the boys in the direction of the Good Humor case, and go to refill my own beverage cup.  Come back around see that the boys have decided that they are going to do everything the same, so they are both going to have drumsticks.  We go to the counter to pay, and I send Happy for napkins, we pile into the car, windows down, head home.  What transpired in the span of 2 miles and 6 minutes is still a mystery to me.  By the time we pulled into the drive way, Jester is asking if I can help him get a stain out of his pants.  But when he and Happy get out of the back of the car, they have ice cream on their faces, hands and all over their pants..not just one spot but smears every where...

In the house we go, all the while Jester being very concerned about not touching anything, because he doesn't want to get ice cream stains on it.... I have them wash their hands, they do but never touch their faces (why because I did not tell them too!) I give up on having Jester try to wipe off the chocolate on his tan pants and find an outfit for him to change into, and take his and Happy's clothing to the washer, 1/4 of a bottle of spray and wash later - and the washer is running!

 Note to self... next time a nice refreshing beverage might be best!

In the meantime, Happy has to do dish before going out to play with Jester.  Jester is cheerfully helping when I come down from the washing machine.  Talking up a storm about how he and Happy should do everything together and how he can make him a bracelet, about his dogs and about his hair cut.  Now it seems that one of the things that Jester is good at is telling the same story over and over again,  AND Happy is great at listening to the story and smiling and nodding.  Jester is the talker, Happy is the listener...   and I start to think aren't all great friendships like that?  One friend is always the talker and the other is always the listener!

Life lesson # 1 for the day - Ice cream is the glue that seals the friendship deal!
Life lesson #2 for the day - Good friends, balance each other out!

So the next activity they choose to do is go out and play... now Jester doesn't want to mess up his good shoes so he is trying to wear a pair of Happy's shoes... Remember the size difference... Happy is in a size 4 and Jester a 13 I note, when I glance inside his good shoes.  Fortunately for Jester, Happy has a big footed brother and we can hook him up with a pair of shoes to wear to play in!

Life lesson #3 - Friendship is blind to the obvious differences that we each have... they wanted to be so much the same that there was no way in Jester's mind that he couldn't fit Happy's shoes!

To the outdoors we go!  Now I will say at this point I am still unsure about what will happen if  I am not an ever present sight for them while they are playing (not dissimilar to those days of small children learning to play alone, I sat on the fringe and watched, encouraged and cheered for them.)

At one point Happy was running with his hands full and with an untied sneaker... I cautioned him, slow down and tie that shoe before you trip... Jester, says to him... "stop I will help you", I think he is going to take the toys out of Happy's hand, but instead he bends down and ties his shoe for him.

Life lesson #4 - A friend does things for you that are sometimes hard for you to do.

So we played basketball - one time I counted 22 shots, not one went in...

Life lesson #5 - A friend encourages you to keep trying.

We jumped on the trampoline.  We had to stop because there was a bee, but Jester swatted it away so that it would not sting Happy. And then they ran at top speed into safety.

Life lesson # 6 - Sometimes we do things for our friends that are scary.

We played more basketball, we had another snack and we played video games.
We had dinner, got dressed, we attended the event at the school, and we took Jester home. 

While it is now very clear to me that birds of a feather DO flock together...I have to say, I learned a lot from Happy and Jester regarding friendship today.  Sometimes, we just need to slow down, and look at things through a different lens... 

Really, you can't make this stuff up.  And today I am happy that I did not miss this time, or these life lessons taught to me by my special needs child and his first ever friend Jester.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What's in a Name???

Well I suppose I should start out by saying a name is a name right?  Many names are same - but spelled differently:
Amy, Ami, Amie
Sarah, Sara
Catherine, Katherine
Karen, Caryn

Hence the most recent tale of our dwarf Grumpy...

Now it also bears reminding you the reader that Grumpy is not know for his ability to make good choices, or even to be able to see into the future regarding things that he has done on the fly or off the cuff as it were.

I will back track a bit for you so that you can get the whole history on this particular situation.  Last week Grumpy came home from school on Thursday and was in a particulary fine mood.  In the midst of the arriving home chaos, he choose to fly way under the momma radar and disappear upon entering our home.  Often this happens as the kids always seem to wait to use the bathroom until they get home from school.  I am welcoming the Behavioral Service Team to the house to work with Sleepy and Bashful, and after about 10 minutes realize that Grumpy  is no where to be seen or heard....  Unusual to say the least - and at the most a good indicator that he is up to no good. 

So I settle everyone into their assignments - and go off in search of Grumpy - not in his room, not in the bathroom, not outside.  Head to the basement - TaDa ! there he is... watching TV which is an absolute no-no during the week.  (His excuse is that because Sneezy is home sick and is watching TV, so should he be allowed)  So I call him upstairs to get me his homework.

"Mom, I dont have any homework. |" That is funny I think to myself, because tomorrow is his spelling test.  I instruct him to go out to the garage and get his backpack - he comes in with just his planner... can you say RED flag???  When the boy ignores a directive, it is ALWAYS because he is trying to avoid something. 

I play his game - " Grumpy, I instructed you to get your back pack. Why did you only bring me the planner? "  No response - I open the planner - now mind you he is supposed to write his assignmnets in everyday! and the last three days are blank !  So I say - this is amazing - no homework?  Not even spelling ? 

GO OUT TO THE GARAGE AND GET YOUR Notice becuase I think he may have hearing issues- NOT! I speak loudly so that I make sure he can hear me ---

He returns 5 minutes later with a big attitude and an even bigger mess.  We could officially change his dwarf name to Sloppy - but since that is not an option, I just wanted you to know that it would so fit in this particular moment. 

I make him remove all the items from his messy back pack - we have papers flying around everywhere, tests that were supposed to be signed and returned, papers for me to read about upcoming events, but most importantly balled up in the bottom of the bag (becasause if you make something look like trash, magically it is!) two hit sheets --- one dated 13 days prior and one for 4 days prior. 

"Hum..."I say to Grumpy - " what are these?"  No response - "when were you going to give these to me?"  "oh Today mom he says"   Really ??  Doubtful since this one is 13 days overdue!  His response - " Well I told my teacher you were holding them and refused to sign them like before."    NICE, the boy does listen! See side note!

Side note - yes one other time about three weeks ago he got some hit sheets and because they were over a week late when he gave them to me (or I shook him down for them) I told him and his teacher that if he was in no hurry to have me sign them so that he would not miss recess everyday - then I was not going to make signing these sheets a priority for me either - and when I got around to reading and signing them I would give them back to him to turn in, and in the meantime, he would need to continue missing recess or whatever the punishment was for such an offense.

So I email his teacher and let her know that I just got these items in my hands that day - Thursday and that as he stated to her previously I was in no hurry to return them and that she should just continue to administer consequences for him until he returns the hit sheets.

His teacher emails me and says in so many words that she is really sorry to have fallen... AGAIN... for Grumpy's shenanagans.   That on MONDAY ( reminder it is now Friday) he told her that I was holding the papers and that I refused to sign them.   So she was sorry and I could send them in whenever - but did I know that there were three, not two.    So I email back and say to her that I know she has a lot going on and I dont blame her for listening to Grumpy, but that she needs to remember that everything he says needs to be followed up on - yes that is exhausting - but look he got away with things for another 4 days and completely got his teacher off his back, and no I did not know that there was third.

Fast forward to Monday - over the weekend I signed Grumpy's sheets and sent them back to school with him.  When he went to turn them in after missing recess for 2 weeks basically, his teacher asked about the third one.  Oh he forgot to get it - goes to his desk and comes back with it ....

Signed by Brian Lingle --- not that the childish cursive would have given him away, but when you forge someone's name, you really should know how they spell it.  His daddy spells his name Bryan !!

Really, you can't make this stuff up!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's all about the deal!

Well I am sure you may be wondering, what does a mom of 8 do for fun?  Well I wish I could answer with some off the wall tale of high flying adventures, skydiving, or rock climbing...but alas, late yesterday afternoon, my running partner picked me up at 4:30 PM and we drove to another friends house, loaded a cooler, and some chairs into the back of, yup you guessed it, a mini van, and headed off to New Cumberland (yes the adventure was in crossing the river in rush hour traffic) to a food auction.

Now... you see the fun part about the food auction, if all those in attendance understand the idea behind getting a good deal, is that you check in, get a bidder number, and then go and scope out what is on the auction block for the night. 

Chips, snack foods, breakfast foods, canned goods, candy ... but the big draw the FREEZER TRUCK!!

I know.. all  your hearts have just skipped a beat... what could possibly be on the freezer truck. Well unfortunately, we are not sure either.  That is the big adventure!

So we find our seats, get some empty boxes for our loot, and start wait... Oh but our adult ADD kicks in so we get up, and wander to the back of the seating area, and find dinner!  Now, please understand, dinner is homemade, and CHEAP!  My running partner was very graciously purchased three main courses, and three cans of soda, and still got change... sorta like McDondalds. 

Okay -- the excitement is building .. so close to the start, yet so far away...  so we pass the time by chatting about our kids, school and our hubbies...  Okay conversations stops as the auction starts! 

We let them get warmed up.  We throw our numbers up in the air a few times with little success... again hopeful that those in the room are going to play by our rules ---cheap cheap cheap deals...  Oh good deal, 5lbs of Oranges for $3.50 ! I just bought 3lbs for $5.99 at the grocery.   The deal is on.. 

Speaking honestly, there are times in the auction where you sit there thinking - "what am I doing here?" On this particular evening there was a great deal of candy - and while we sat through the piles and piles of candy and soda options, I texted pictures of my friend the auction virgin to her hubby, took a phone call from another friend.... purchased a drink... just killing time... the goal of successful auctioning is patience, and boy did my patience pay off last night!

So we are getting down to the end of the night - the auctioneer starts lumping odd combinations of food stuff together... mustard and sausage and clove gum...  and I am preparing to leave for the evening - and then all of a sudden the pile at the front of the room starts getting bigger and and bigger - they are throwing in things like whole cases of snack foods, chips, olive oil, so I start throwing up my number... well the total of items being bid on keeps getting larger, and of course the amount of money is getting larger - I am in for $30, $35 and they keep adding stuff - $50 (out comes a case -12 large frozen pizzas) $55 - more stuff -at one point I think I even bump up my own bid... cause now even though I am trying to play this cool...this is exciting!  Now they start adding other items - toilet paper, tissues, I am at $100 and the lady that is bidding against me drops out so, I think I have this deal... but alas a man in the back picks up the bidding $101.  Okay... ok... lets get some perspective on this ... Cereal, toilet paper, tissues, tons of snack foods, sausage, olive oil, pretzels, bags of chips (that retail for $3.99 a bag) dish soap, hand soap... this is all stuff that my family will use!  Okay $135 - $136 - I raise my hand and blurt out $150... do I hear $151...urg this point I am ready to end this craziness ! $175 I say.  the man says $176...  this is just crazy.  Oranges - 30 lbs of them added to the bounty, 20lb of chocolate milk balls, another case of Pretzels...  more tissues, more toilet paper, room oder eaters, My final offer $200.... 

Auctioneer says $201.... $200 do I hear $201...  he looks at the men on the floor and asks if there is anything else to add to the pile , a few more small things are added...  $200.... going once, going twice...... last call do I hear $201 ... SOLD for $200... number 223!! Woo Hoo --- a cheer goes up from the crowd! 

Well we start packing all this stuff up and realize that we now have a major transportation issue ! Lucky for me I can avoid total stranger danger, (several men from the auction house are willing for a fee to take me and my stuff home ...) as my running partner has some friends from her church there and they are able to help by loading up my 30 boxes of food stuff into their van and they are able to give me a ride home!  Yea me ! and my peeps! 

Here is the listing of what I got - now keep in mind that throughout the evening I had purchased the following items prior to the mother load:
2 bottles of Palmolive dish soap
1 -10 lb pork roast
2 - 5lb bags of sausage topping
2 - 5 lb bags of oranges
7 - Tony's pepperoni pizzas
8 - Red Barron 2 pack snack pizzas
1 - extra virgin olive oil
4 - bags of potato chips
1 case - 39 individually packaged cheese curls
2 bags of popcorn snack packs
3 crocks of butter

Additionally -
22 boxes of facial tissue
4 dish soaps
+1 5lb bag of sausage topping
1 case of Dijorno self rising cheese pizzas (12)
7 - 4 packs of toilet paper
20 lbs of milk balls
16 little Debbie apple pies
24 little Debbie chocolate pies
9 boxes of little Debbie gingerbread cookies
1 case of sun chips
2 packs of AAA batteries
5 loaves of bread
1 5lb container of mustard
1 bag of white cheddar cheese curls
4 bags of utz chocolate covered pretzels
4 packs of stella dora bread sticks
2 boxes of chocolate protein bars
2 boxes of beef jerky
2 containers of hand soap
96 individually wrapped cheese curl snacks
2 5 lb bags of steak fries
16 cans of pork and beans
2 boxes of Fuel cereal
7 bags of Martins Sea Salt chips
10 tubes of Easter candy
5 Bags of tortilla chips
1 jar of ranch dressing
2 jars of barbq sauce
4 bags of BBQ chips (full size)
12 bags of thin pretzels
8 bags of sourdough pretzels
4 round tubs of wheat pretzels
9 boxes (8 to a box) peanut butter cracker packs
1 case (15 bags) of ranch flavored pretzel bites
2 cases of clove gum
2 large bags of double bubble gum and candy
2 boxes of cake mix
4 boxes of instant oatmeal
30 lbs of oranges

AND...  one large pink stuffed Easter Rabbit!

By my calculations - last night the Lord blessed the Lingle's with over $900 in groceries for under $300.00

$900 worth of groceries, for under $300
FUN time with my 40 something friends
No kids breaking my concentration
Ride with people that are no longer strangers
Sharing my oranges
and rejoicing in the fact that you just can't make this stuff up!

Please visit my other auction virgin friend's blog for an acount of this same food auction and the mechanics of participating in the fun of a food auction!

Monday, January 31, 2011


Me and My BFF !

There are times is life when a BFF is really the only one that you can turn to, you can't turn to your co-worker, or a neighbor, a relative or a child, sometimes in situations of great distress only a BFF will do!

My BFF and I have known each other since we were this size --- I know what your thinking the blonde must be me seeing as how I am towering over her --- ah ha - you forget that today is the anniversary of her birth, so the fact of the matter is that she is just older than I!  Hence forth at this time in our life, BIGGER , I mean taller than me!

As  you can see from the photo - she has always loved me. (or is she trying to push me out of my chair?)  However I can't say that I have always had those same feelings for her.(although I think I wanted her out of my chair!)  She was a wee bit spoiled in my mind, and while at that age I am sure my harsh assessment stemmed from extreme jealously... but I can't be certain of that all these years later.

I will say this - God brought her back into my life when I least expected it and in a way that I would have never imagined, and that was over 16 years ago. I must also say that I knew who she was all those years ago, and she had NOT a clue who I was until weeks later... to say that I was struggling to with the grown up version of my friend from so many years ago would be an understatement!

But because of her love for the Lord and complete cluelessness about my life long grudge against her, she called me because she wanted to be my accountability partner.  Hum - I can remember to this day, standing in my kitchen looking out the window, talking on a green phone on a cord about how that would be wonderful... who doesn't need a little accountability in their life? 

Well fast forward through our husbands and piles of kids to the present.  There has only been a few days in all these years that we have not spoken to one another at least once a day on the phone or via a text message or some other electronic messaging device. 

I would like to think that she is a great extension of me. Or maybe to say that she is my opposite and that is why we get along so well.  We can agree to disagree, she can get the items on the low shelves and I can reach the high - my Capri's are full length pants on her - we both love a good cup of coffee - mine is just way sweeter than hers- and we love a good cry and an even better laugh. She likes little cars and I like big trucks, she is numbers smart - I am the big picture girl.  She likes to have a plan, I like to fly by the seat of my pants! 

So many years ago, who would have known that God was preparing us for adult friendship, that kind that is only strengthened day by day, and where absence makes the heart feel like it is going to stop beating...or maybe that is just me having a panic attack because I cant reach her on my electronic devises...We rejoice together in one anothers victories, knowing that God has created us both in His own image, and that we are here to complement each other and bring our strengths to the forefront of our interactions with each other and our spouses and our children. If I never have another Friend like her, I can say that my joy has been completed in knowing and loving her!

Aunt Patty, Crazy Aunt Patty, Patricia, Chicken Little, Chica....

Happy Birthday to my Best Friend Forever and Ever and Ever !

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What a Good Mom Am I ... NOT !

Well as you all know, our house has been plauged this year with illnesses. It seems that one right after another as we have rolled through pink eye, and chicken pox, stomach flu, and sinus infections.  As much as I hate that the crud won't leave our house, I am remembering that this is not the case every year, and I am thankful that the majority of the time, the majority of the house is functioning and healthy... 

However, Doc seems this year to be struck by everything... (except the stomach flu...knock on wood). 

This week she has been assulted by a tickle and a cough that is relentless.  We have tried a variety of medicine to help her sleep and stop coughing at night - none have worked.  So Tuesday, after having the day off school on Monday, and suffering through another sleepless night, I say to her... "I have something that will fix you right up...maybe?" 

I proceed to dig around in the cubboard for some cough medicine that my doctor gave me when I had pnemonia, that did not work at all for me. It was a pill.  I told Doc to take that , and then I followed that with a 12 hour cough medicine in liquid form, which had not been successful for her at all to this point. 

Doc heads to school and then to a field trip. It is a few hours til I see her again.  In she comes, yellow curls bouncing, to my office with a big cheery HI Mom!  Not exactly my Doc's standard greeting.  How was the field trip I ask, she indicates that it was great and that she really enjoyed watching the smoke of the incense curl and twirl into the air. (they went to a Buddist temple)

She then hops over to me and says, "my eyes are blurry, do they look blurry to you?" as she sticks her face in mine. Now I am wondering, what is going on with this girl.  She is rather excitable it seems, and in a far better mood than she has been in, say for about a year?!

I ask her if she feels okay, "yup" is her reply.  "Well, she says, talking very fast, I do feel funny, I am not able to stop talking and my head feels fuzzy."  All the while the swish of her yellow curls bouncing with each word.   

Then it hits me - the cough medicine that did not work for me, IS working for her and I also gave her the "back up" in case the pill didn't work, so I have esentially gotten my daughter high on cough medicine. Oh brother is all I can think, But instead I ask her this question, "Are you coughing?" 

NOPE, not coughing at all !!

Lesson learned, try one medication at a time, and never send a child with too much medication to the Buddist temple...

Apple I-Tunes Made $40+ off us this month

So what is the rage?  Technology is great ! We have Ipod shuffles, Ipod nanos, Ipod first gen, the newest latest greatest Ipod....

Flash back to last Thursday morning. About 7 AM.  The husband, a fresh cup of coffee in hand, sits at the computer to review the financial status of our family accounts.  He chokes on his coffee as he reads out loud, "Apple I-tunes, $29? Swipe fee $12.00 ?  Who, sputter, snort on coffee..." 

A round the 8 ft table the dwarfs that are present say, "We don't know anything about it, " with wide eyed innocence.  " I want all ipod delivered to this table now so that I can check histories and see who is downloading apps and music!!!" 

In a musical almost sing song voice Sleepy states , "it is not me, I don't have Internet "! Dopey pipes in with "my Ipod is linked to my personal bank account, so it is not me".  Doc insists that she did not purchase anything recently, and the Korean friend is excused because frankly she just looks confused by this situation. 

Dad says, where is Happy's Ipod?  Well Sleepy skips off to locate it, "happy" to be out of trouble on this one!  A full out search goes down in Sleepy's room, and no Ipod to be found. 

I think at this point it would be worth mentioning that there are never situations where a dwarf is allowed to take electronics to school, ipods, hand held video games etc... As Bashful sees the dwarfs tossing Sleepy's room, he pipes up with, "Hey I saw Sleepy slip his Ipod in his pants pocket this morning." 

Well Bashful does not have the reputation around here for honesty.  Often times he is caught jumping on the ban wagon of a sibling that he perceives is in trouble, happy to know that he is not, so we don't hold too much stock in what he says.

However on this day, because Dad is so mad about this charge on his account - he heads upstairs for a quick shower and change, and it may be worth mentioning at this point that is coffee is long forgotten, oh how adrenaline is a great substitute for caffeine, and heads off to the middle school that Happy attends.

Now I don't know about you, but seeing my six foot father, standing in my school office when I get called out of class, would put the fear of God in me.... but not so much for Happy.

When asked for the elusive Ipod, Happy says - "oh yea, it is home on my bed ."  Dad thanks him for his time, shoos him back to class and returns home to find the missing Ipod.  Dad and I spend about 10 minutes back in Happy's room. Yep, you guessed IPod....

Now Dad is HOT, and I don't just mean his physical appearance.  I mean he is boiling mad about this missing piece of technology -and even though Sleepy has denied downloading anything other than the free app his sister hooked him up with, someone, in our home spend some serious money the day before on the Apple Itunes website!! 

I calm Dad down, sending him off to the office with the knowledge that he can investigate the charges on his account while at the office today and check with Sleepy when he gets off the bus about the Ipod. 

Fast forward to 3PM.  Happy gets off the bus and comes to say hello to his dad.  His father in his calm way says, "Hey Happy, your Ipod wasn't at home this morning when I went back to the house to look for it."  Oh Happy says, that is because it is stuck between the mattress and the frame, I hide it there so no one can take it."  "Oh but it is not" says Dad, "Mom and I removed your mattress, and all your blankets and pillows in an effort to find it.  Guess what? No Ipod. "   

"May I see your backpack?" Suddenly Happy says, "I am not feeling good, my stomach hurts."   And very well it should have since in the first pocket that Dad looks in viola .... IPOD!

As it turns out,  Happy did not know what he was doing when he opened his free app.  It seems that there were all kinds of options for him to download items that he needed to pay for, and since he tries to act like a normal functioning 13 year old, but is on a first grade reading level and understanding, he did not know that he was purchasing these items when he clicked yes ...nor did he know that his father keeps no additional monies in that account linked to the Apple Itunes account and that when he ordered these items there was an additional $12 fee because the account was overdrawn,  an honest mistake that could have been resolved if honesty had been his standard from the beginning. 

Happy has lost his Ipod for an undisclosed amount of time, has paid his father back, when he shows that he can be honest in his interactions with others, he can earn it back.  In the midst o f all this, we all learned that maybe Bashful really does pay more attention than we give him credit for! 

You really can't make this stuff up!

The case of the toilet paper hidden in the drawer!

Oh boy this one is a great one!  I will warn you in advance this story is a bit graphic - those with weak stomachs should probably not  continue on...

About three Saturday mornings ago, in a good mood, I stroll past Grumpy's room. As I look inside, I think, it is a bit messy, but he has been trying to keep it neat, so I will help out and while he is eatting breakfast, Iwill straighten up some stray items. 

I pick up some books and place them on the shelf, place his deodorant on the shelf, and then grab a handful of misc little items that would go well in his junk drawer.  I pull open the drawer, and find a rolled up pile of tissue paper.  Okay, this is where the weak of heart need to consider continuing on...
I pull out the tissue - to realize that it is toilet paper, covered in .... yes you guessed it, poop...URG!

I drop the paper as if it was on fire! My first response is, aside from GROSS, is are you kidding me? 
What is this?  I take a deep breath, call my husband, and tell him of my find.  He says, relax, I am sure there is a good explanation for it. Right, I agree, a good explanation. 

SO I calmly walk downstairs and tell Grumpy that he should come upstairs when he is finished with his breakfast. I go back to his room and wait for him. 
He arrives and spies the wad of offensive tissue - I say "Please can you tell me what this is and WHY it is here in your junk drawer."  The truth please.  Speak the truth. 

"Well you know the other day, he says, when I had diarrhea? Well I went to the bathroom and wiped and later when I got my PJ's on, I realized this was stuck in between my butt cheeks, so I took it out, but Dad said I couldn't leave my room, that I had to go to bed, so I put it in my drawer."  To that I responded, this is the time that you chose to be obedient?  Really? 

His father's response "Put that boy on a road march. If he can walk around for the greater part of the day with that wad of tissue between his cheeks and not realize it, he needs to be on a diet!"

Really, you can't make this stuff up!