September 21, 2014

“I Am Getting Real Sick Of Your Crap” (Guest Blog!)

Guest Blog
“I Am Getting Real Sick Of Your Crap” 
By: Lorri Stiles

I am a foster-mom.  Now before your mind fills up with images of a grandmotherly lady, baking cookies while wearing an apron and welcoming dirty faced, skinny elementary school kids into her loving home, I should explain a few things.  I am a bleach-blonde (natural color, unfortunately) ex-semi-professional football player with piercings, tattoos and a deep love for breaking things.  The last time I wore an apron was when I went to a costume party as a ‘sexy, 1950’s house-wife’.  Oh, and I don’t take kids under the age of 14.

Being a foster-mom for teens is tough.  Raising my own 16 year old girl in the process is even tougher.  All of this while working at a university and completing my masters and being an intern at a ‘behavioral school’ has driven me over the edge a couple of times.  Way over the edge.

My kids are rough.  These are kids that have been placed in foster-care for endearing behaviors such as feeding a kitten to a pitbull, throwing rocks at the elderly, bringing a gun to school, and my personal favorite, stealing a check to buy a horse.  The check only paid for half of the horse, and I am not sure where the horse was going to be hid in my suburban neighborhood.

I try to only have one foster-kid at a time in the house.  This allows me to devote the time and energy required to them.  For anyone who doesn’t know, fostering (even the good kids) requires about ten to thirty hours a month in appointments, at least one stranger in your home every month, being at court cases, and defending your every move.  It is exhausting.  By the time you have done it for a year, your whole life has been turned upside down in ways that you can’t imagine.  Seriously, I never imagined some of the rules I would have to follow and precautions I would need to take.  Locking up ALL the medicine in the house is an example.  I know, those of you with young children are saying, in your heads, “well, I do that anyway”.  To clarify the extent of this, all the vitamins, cough drops, aspirin, and even the throat sprays have to be locked, in a box, with a key, that only I have access too.  This means that when my daughter has a migraine, she has to tough it out until I get home, which can be 20 minutes, or it can be 13 hours, depending on the day.  This also means that every so often, I have to meander through my home and find the rogue bottles of ibuprofen and Midol that the girls have bought on their own after becoming desperate for relief from the pain of being an adolescent female.

HAVING TO STEAL YOUR CHILDRENS’ PMS MEDICATION AND LOCK IT UP IN A METAL SAFE = WHITE TRASH.

Many kids come into foster-care from neglectful or severely impoverished homes.  I have to deal with a lot of food hoarding.  Sometimes it is little things, like a kid storing up packaged fruit snacks in their dresser.  Sometimes it is more severe, like two loaves of bread, canned ham, cranberry sauce, cans of vegetables and a box of Twinkies.  That is when I need to intervene.
HAVING TO TAKE A FULL EASTER DINNER OUT OF ONE OF YOUR KIDS ROOMS = WHITE TRASH

There are good times through all of the insanity.  Though I am beginning to believe the good times are just a sign that I am slipping over the edge into crazy land.  A couple of years ago, I had five children living with me.  They were 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18.  Privacy and patience were commodities in the house that we all begged to have more of.  On one of the days where I actually had a chance to leave the house without one child or another weaseling their way into going with me, I got in the car and drove away, off to the store, I went.  Now, somewhere in the back of my mind, I questioned whether this was a good idea.  I was leaving two teen girls and three teen boys to supervise themselves and each other in my home.  I shrugged off the nagging worry, reminding myself that I had homeowners insurance and went on my way. 

When I got home, the children were amazingly well-behaved.  The house wasn’t burning, it wasn’t missing any major structural portions.  The kids were cooperating and playing a video game together.  While this tripped my MOMDAR (that weird radar mom’s have when something just isn’t right, but we can’t figure out what it is), I decided that I was being paranoid and went about my business putting away groceries.  About the time that I had most of the food put away, I realized that I had to go to the bathroom.  I opened the ‘powder room’ door and flipped on the light.  Something wasn’t right.  Was that corn?  And why does the seat have brown….Oh… oh no.  My bathroom was covered in a brown, chunky substance with little pieces of corn floating around in it.  It was on the walls, it was on the toilet, it was on the floor, and it was on the mirror. 

I lost it.  The edge of sanity came and went in a blink of an eye.  I was fast approaching screaming lunatic that needs shock therapy.  I stormed out to the living room where my children sat, playing their game and I screamed words I never imagined I would have to even think while living with teenagers.

HAVING TO SCREAM THE WORDS “WHO POOPED ALL OVER THE BATHROOM AND DIDN’T CLEAN IT UP” TO KIDS WHO ARE WELL BEYOND POTTY TRAINING YEARS = WHITE TRASH.

My kids erupted into laughter.  The fact that I didn’t have an aneurysm, a stroke, a heart attack or a psychotic episode at this point obviously speaks to my mental and physical strength.  I was dumbfounded.  I lost it again and said the words that would ultimately be my downfall… “This CRAP is NOT FUNNY”.  My kids fell on the floor laughing.  Finally, my princess, my angel, my 16 year old demon looks at me and says, “Mom, it is chocolate” before she falls back down laughing so hard she couldn’t breathe.

HAVING KIDS MAKE REALISTIC POOP SMEARS AND CHUNKS OUT OF BAKER’S CHOCOLATE, COCOA POWDER AND CORN = WHITE TRASH



Miss Lorri, as my kids call her, is my lovely babysitter's (Pi) mom. This woman has a heart of pure gold, and it gets bigger with every kid she meets. She's an expert at loving those who can be hard to love. Not only is she a foster mom, she is also the person responsible for the remarkable breakthrough of our autistic son, Jagger. She was his very first TSS, and she spent 5 hours a day, 5 days a week, for years working with him. He started out non-verbal, and God bless her, she had to sit through tantrum after tantrum, but when she was done with him, he was able to be mainstreamed in Kindergarten. I know my children are not the only kids who have become better individuals because of her influence. Jagger may scream, "I'm not your boyfriend!" every time he sees her, but I know he does in fact love her. Just like the rest of us!

Thanks Lorri for being brave enough to air out that dirty laundry! 




August 17, 2014

Living With Nature.....Indoors (Guest Blog: Carrie Noble)

Guest Blog

Living With Nature...Indoors
by: Carrie Noble


My in-laws’ owned a “historic home.” A hundred years ago—maybe even fifty—it must have been spectacular. The exterior: three stories of red brick, topped with multiple chimneys and a slate-tiled roof. Inside: well-crafted woodwork, multiple fireplaces, tall windows framed by tasseled curtains, and a majestic staircase.

By the late 1990’s, the place needed some serious work. Functional central heat would have been nice, for example.

Its upstairs apartment was supposed to be temporary housing for my family, but we ended up staying for nine loooonnnnnng years. We arrived with one kid and left with four!

You know how mankind has slowly overtaken forests and fields, shoving Nature aside? Well, I think that was what was happening there…in reverse: Nature trying to reclaim its territory.

Exhibit one: Squirrel Bowling Leagues. In the attic above our bed on the third floor, squirrel bowling was the “in” sport. They must have used jumbo walnuts as balls—they made so much racket. I think they had a bar up there, too, because sometimes we heard them brawling and swearing in Squirrelese.

Once, a member of the league must have made a wrong turn and ended up in our bathroom. Sad to say, after Mr. Squirrel tangled with my husband and a boot, he never bowled again (unless they bowl in Squirrel Heaven).

My mother-in-law also relied upon my husband’s skills as an amateur exterminator when uninvited bat houseguests flitted through her region of Wildlife Manor (not its real name). My husband wasn’t much of a tennis player, but he could backhand a bat like Martina Navratilova.

And then there were the snakes.

One day, I watched in horror as a blacksnake climbed up a brick wall to a ledge under the edge of the roof. Snakey proceeded to lunch on baby birds, despite my fervent prayers for him to fall down and die. (Did you know snakes can scale walls? That’s just wrong!)

I found a baby snake in our bathroom once. I screamed, slammed the door, and waited for my husband to get home. By then, it had vanished. No one ever went to the bathroom without turning on the lights after that.
Snakes also liked to frequent my mother-in-law’s kitchen downstairs. She has snake-o-phobia, so she did not ask them to stay for a cookie and a Bible story.

Hordes of mice came to call, too, leaving their little black droppings as parting gifts. Gees, no wonder the snakes came in. The house was prime hunting grounds!

Does anybody like big, hairy wolf spiders? I found one in the sink, the size of a toddler. Well, maybe not quite that big. But close enough.

Nature was pretty aggressive in the yard, as well. Ticks and poison ivy attacked my kids often enough that the doctor probably kept our charts in the section of files labeled “rednecks.”

And oh, the pool hole! Once upon a time, it had been a beautiful in-ground pool. But during our stint at Wildlife Manor, I had to phone the game warden to rescue a young deer that was trapped in the crumbling, weed-infested chasm. As for groundhogs that fell in…they were out of luck.

So…I’m pretty sure
Lesson 187: living in a tumbledown mansion with more critters than they have in the Philadelphia Zoo=White Trash!

Truth be told, we were blessed. We had indoor plumbing and enough to eat. Winters were tough but nobody got frostbite. And the kids still reminisce about the seven-acre yard where they climbed trees, rode bikes, picked apples, and frolicked in poison ivy.

It wasn’t my idea to live there, but I know it was God’s plan for us at that time. And when we finally moved into our very own house, we appreciated it all the more.


However, I still firmly believe that Nature should stay outdoors.



I met Carrie at St. Davids Christian Writers' Conference this past June. She befriended me despite thinking I was a stalker. She is a wife and mother of 4, and she just so happens to be the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award winner in the YA category. Her book, The Mermaid's Sister, will be available in February 2015. (You can pre-order a copy on Amazon......hint!....hint!!)


Thanks Carrie for your trashy contribution!!  

August 11, 2014

Table Manners

First off...

Lesson 185: Blogging from your phone because your baby destroyed your laptop =white trash
(I tried to find any random acts of auto correct,  but reading microscopic text was killing me! I apologize for any I missed.)

Back to the story...

Anyone who has kids knows there comes a time during summer vacation when you lose all control. Not only do you lose control, but you lose the will to even care.

Well, that time had come in our house. The rule of our house is no TV or games until chores, homework, and instrument practice are done. Even then, they only receive one hour of TV time. They perform other chores off a list in our kitchen to obtain extra time. This past week, everything had gone right out the window.  No one had practiced an instrument (unless playing Rock Band counts). There were several days when they didn't do their one required chore. And the video games! Oh the video games! It was just so much more relaxing for me to have them zoned out in front of the TV than fighting and destroying my house.

Of course, Adam, who spends 99% of his time at work or asleep, told me, "we need to take back control." Which translated to," you need to handle this."

So, I started the long frustrating road to getting my kids under control. The way things started out though, I wondered if they'd finally figured out they out numbered me.

I'd ask them to do something and I was blatantly ignored. Our first floor is a TV free zone, yet I went to the store and returned to find not one, but two televisions in my living room. "We'll put them back when we're done", they told me. They were in my living room for a full week.

I asked my older boys to clean their room. I walked past their door after an hour and heard, "One!" Slap. "Two!" Slap. Apparently they were waiting for a tap-out. I decided to give them more time. An hour later, I put my hand on the door knob then heard, "My seaweed,  my rules." What in the world? I pulled my hand off the knob as if it were scalding hot and decided to give them one more hour to finish the task I gave them.

When the hour was up I went to their door and heard screaming. I entered their room to see the mess had not changed. They all froze, which was impressive seeing as they were in the middle of holding Stone and trying to wrangle him (against his will) into a pair of doll panties.

Adam was right. I needed to get things back under control. "Clean this room now or you're all grounded." They looked at me, dropped Stone (who flopped away like a mermaid), and finally got to work. I resolved from then on I would ask them once and that was it. No excuses.

It has worked for the most part. The No Nonsense Sheriff has rolled back into this no-good-child-run town, and is getting things done. I'm back in my saddle and quick on the draw. No pathetic excuse can be drawn before I shoot a well aimed, "Now!"

"I'll do it after.."

"Now!"

"Just give me a..."

"Now!"

There have been a few times when I'm not such a tyrant.

"Now!" I yelled as Jovie sulked away to clean up stray dishes.

"But I'm really hungry."

"Eat a cracker while you clean." See? I allow little privileges as long as they are still doing what I've asked. I just can't back down right now.

However, this tactic did backfire. During my loss of control, my kids decided they didn't need to sit and eat at the table. They ran around and dropped food everywhere. The twins were the worst.

One night I served dinner. Rex grabbed his corn dog and ran. He jumped in his little Cozy Coupe car and tried to drive away. (Did I mention my kids also brought in all their outside riding toys?) Finding him, I opened the door, pointed and said, "Go to the table." He looked at me with a devious smile and said, "No."

Was he challenging the Sheriff to a showdown? Silly boy, hadn't he realized it had been high noon all day and the Sheriff hadn't lost yet? I aimed and shot, "Now!"

He jumped out of the car and ran to the table. He yelled, "But I poopin'." I didn't really register what he was actually saying. All complaints had sounded the same and I was still strutting around from my latest win. I felt the urge to be a kind tyrant and decided to be lenient.  It wasn't until the words were coming out of my mouth that I realized what I was truly saying...

"You can poop at the table."

(Record scratching)

I rounded the corner to see the rest of my kids looking horrified.

"Really mom?" Jet asked holding his nose.

I stared at the kids' disgusted faces. Hold it together Sheriff. You can't back down. They'll think you're weak and you'll lose everything you've worked so hard for.

"Yes, really. Everyone eats at the table." I sat down, held my head high, and resumed my dinner. A round of groans met my ears. I pretended not to notice and fought the urge to groan along with them.

Lesson 186: Teaching your kids it's socially acceptable to soil yourself at the dinner table = white trash

Is this the point where the Sheriff rides off into the sunset?.... No? ....Bummer.






August 4, 2014

Are You White Trash?

I've had a lot of women come up to me lately and share their "white trash mom" moments. They are all really funny and make me feel slightly better about my own life. Apparently, we can all be a little trashy from time to time.

So, if anyone is interested, you don't have to be a mom, you could be a dad, grandparent, child, pet, the wildlife that sits in my garbage cans at night and eats my "white trash" bags full of garbage, I don't care, if you're trashy I want to hear about it and I will be taking stories to post as a guest spot on my blog.

Please send your stories to whitetrashmomstories@gmail.com. Don't forget a little bio about yourself to be included with your story. Unless you want to remain anonymous. Some are in denial of their true trashy selves. But I say embrace your trash and own it!

Can't wait to hear from you!

July 9, 2014

Just a Crappy Blog

Last night, Stone's t-ball team celebrated the season with a pizza party at the park. I was only going to take Stone, but at the last minute I had to take eight out of nine kids, and we had to walk.

We all had a good time, until Stone ran up to the pavilion holding himself. "I have to pee!" I looked around. My kids were EVERYWHERE. I called to Jagger and he ran Stone up to the bathrooms.

A few minutes later, Stone screamed across the park. I looked up and he was still holding himself by the bathrooms and Jagger was running right for me. "Well, it looks like Stone peed his pants," I sighed at the other mothers.

I was about five steps away when Jagger yelled, "Stone pooped his pants! It's in his shoe!"

Great. Of course, I was completely unprepared. What mother of nine would pack a diaper bag when going out? .....What's that? All of them? Guess I didn't get the memo.

I cleaned Stone up and it was time to walk home.

As we walked, my kids began to sing. You know the 12 Days of Christmas? The part where you sing, Five Golden Rings? They changed the words to Stone pooped his pants! Even Stone, who had dried his tears and realized pooping his pants was quite amusing, sang along. They sang in 3 piece harmony, and at one point I thought they were singing in a round, but it turned out the twins were just unsure of the words. Even Hawk cried, "Poop-poop!" from the stroller.

We rounded the corner, the singing stopped. Jagger turned his head and commented, "Stone, why did you have to poop your pants? Why couldn't you just hold it?"

Being the loving mother I am (complete and utter sarcasm), I said, "Jagger, what about the time you couldn't hold it at the restaurant and you pooped your pants? You had to wear Dad's shirt and you looked like MC Hammer."

"Who's MC Hammer?" Jet asked.

I sighed, "you looked like a ninja."

Jagger slumped his shoulders, yet had a grin on his face, "Oh yeah."

"Haha!" Jude pointed, "Jagger, you pooped your pants."

"Uh, Jude? Remember the one time we went to Gabriel Brothers and Dad had to call for me over the loud speaker, because you pooped your pants? Good thing we were at a clothes store, because I had to buy you all new clothes."

Jude flashed me a devilish grin.

"Why did they all poop their pants?" Jovie laughed.

"Jo, you pooped your pants when Grammy spent the night." I reminded her.

"Oh yeah. I had a dream I was pooping my pants, but I really DID poop my pants." She smiled and shook her head as if she were enjoying the nostalgia. "That was awesome."

Awesome?

Lesson 183: Proud pants poopers = White Trash

"Stone pooping his pants wasn't the first time and it won't be the last," I told them. Then on cue, as if he were holding it for that exact moment, Hawk audibly pooped his pants. "See, Hawk just pooped his pants."

The kids laughed and sang out, Hawk pooped his pants!

I'm glad my kids can laugh at their embarrassing moments. Yes, those moments in life are horrible, but our family has found that laughter is definitely the best kind of medicine. We take lemons and turn them into a whole stinking lemonade stand and pass out cups of amusement to any passerby. Maybe my kids will have trashy blogs of their own someday......I apologize in advance.



July 1, 2014

Say Cheese!

It's no secret my family is odd. Adam will tell you it's my genes that cause the weirdness in our children. I'm not denying that possibility. I'm also not denying my family's unnatural love of cheese. We love cheese, but my son Rex has taken it to a whole new level.

I first noticed something was amiss when Rex would ask for a piece of cheese and then a few hours later I would find it completely uneaten in random places. I found them on the couch. I found them in a toy skillet. I found them in the fireplace. Cheese was everywhere!

Then, it escalated to his asking for American Cheese slices still in the wrapper. He would freak out if I tried to unwrap it. I told him he was absolutely not going to just hold a slice of cheese until it became inedible. Wasting cheese is just plain wrong. (I love cheese! You don't wrong cheese. "Nobody puts Cheese in a corner!" Sorry, I'm having a moment.)

Once he was shut off, he took matters into his own hands. I would get into the fridge and find cheese missing. Whole bricks! I would play a game of Hot and Cold with Rex. He had no idea he was playing, but his face would give it away. "Where's the cheese?" I'd ask. He'd freeze and only move his eyes as I walked around the room. His eyes getting wider the closer I got. 

Sometimes I didn't even have to ask. He began carrying baskets full of cheese bricks, baggies loaded with cheese sticks, and purses brimming with cheese cubes. Oh, and I can't forget when I came into the room to Rex cooling himself with a hand fan made of cheese slices.

Could it get any weirder? I'm so glad you asked.

A few days ago, Adam and I were outside with the kids doing yard work. I noticed Rex missing when I did a head count. Adam went inside to find him. While standing in the doorway, he yelled to me, "Hey, the American Cheese wrapper is laying on the floor in front of the fridge."

"Ugh! Please find Rex and get the cheese." 

Adam returned laughing. "There is something wrong with our children," he said.

When Adam started up the stairs, he called out, "Rex. Do you have cheese?"

He heard a quick, "No," coming from the little boys' bedroom. Reaching the doorway, he saw Rex on his bed, completely covered with his blanket.

"Rex, do you have cheese?" he asked again.

"No."

Adam pulled the blanket down. Rex's eyes became wide as he realized he had been caught red handed lying on his bed with American Cheese slices covering his entire body in some sort of bizarre cheese suit.

Lesson 182: Feeling the need to wear cheese = white trash

Lady Gaga's personal stylist better watch out. Rex is on the scene, and the cheese doesn't stand alone!

June 6, 2014

Age Defying Face Cream

Times are tough, and it's written all over my face. Literally.

Since we moved to our new home, things have been tight. Well, everything but the skin on my face. And with our finances the way they are, I have no extra money to buy fancy Avon face creams that I used to get. I thought I would be able to survive, but today I took a selfie with one of the twins and realized I had a wrinkle in the middle of my forehead even when I relaxed my face. Lovely.

Lesson 181 : Wrinkles = White Trash

Tonight, while I was at Walmart buying milk, I thought I would take a detour to the cosmetic aisle and see if they had any cheap face creams. $20! They were all over $20! Come on Walmart, where are the $1.97 bottles of Equate Face Cream with the circle that says, "Compare to Botox"?

I walked away grumbling about tough times and about the twins who I swear are responsible for the wrinkle on my forehead. By the time I reached the refrigerator aisle, I was smiling. Why do I get upset about wrinkles? Wrinkles show the world I've had a life well lived. Yes, the wrinkles on my forehead give away that I've dealt with a lot of stress and worry, but my laugh lines show that despite the trials of life I've found joy and a reason to smile.

Wrinkles are beautiful little story tellers.

Ok, but maybe it would still be nice to be an unpublished author.