April 28, 2015

Drinks Are On Me!

Little kids love to help, and my twins' servant spirit is stronger than most. They love to clean toys, sweep, put dishes in the sink, and pretty much whatever else you ask them to do. In fact, there are many times I don't even have to ask.

Today was one of those days. After lunch, they took their dishes to the sink and dropped them off. Adam and I were still eating, so, I figured they'd wander off somewhere to play. A few minutes later Fox returned with a small plastic cup full of water. The cup looked suspiciously just like the cup of Cocoa Puffs Stone had earlier.

"Mom, I got you a drink."

Not wanting to crush his spirit, I took the cup. "Awe. Thank you! You are such a nice boy. Thank you for thinking of me." As I put the cup beside my plate, I could tell the water was hot. Mmmmmm. There were also various things floating in it. Double-mmmmm!

Fox hung on my leg. Waiting.

I'm a total germ-a-phobe. I wanted to smack the cup across the room to get it far, far away from me. Then, by some saving grace, Fox grabbed the cup and said, "No, I got this for Dad."

Phew!

Adam chuckled, "Wow, thanks buddy."

"You going to drink it?" Fox asked.

Adam looked into the cup. "Buddy, there's things floating in it." Adam quickly jumped up with his empty plate and ran away.

TRAITOR!

Fox climbed up in Adam's chair and peered inside the cup. "Oh, that's wood. Hold on, I'll get it."

Wood?

Fox shoved his whole fist inside the cup, displacing a good majority of the water. He pulled his hand out. "Got it!" He opened his hand and shook his head, "No, that's grass." He shook the wet grass from his hand. "Hold on, I can get it." He shoved his hand back into the cup.

Where the heck did he get this water?

He fished around and fished around, getting more and more frustrated. "I can't get it!" All of a sudden, his face lit up. "I know! I need a straw!" Fox jumped down off the chair and ran to the kitchen. He came back and threw his red straw in the cup. "Now I'll get it."

I watched as he sucked up mouth full after mouth full of water, and then he'd spit it back in the cup after being unsuccessful at sucking up the wood chunk.

Finally, he took the straw out, placed it on the table, and sighed. "Maybe I should just clean it."

I smiled, "That sounds like a very good idea." I wanted no part in putting that hot, wood, grass, fist, spit water anywhere near my mouth!

He jumped back down and ran for the kitchen. While he was gone, I tried to psyche myself up to take a little swig of water to make him happy. I knew that by cleaning, he meant rinsing it out. For me to be alright to drink it, it would have to be dumped, scrubbed, bleached, boiled, and ran through the dishwasher at least seven times.

He came back in. The cup was full and he had a big smile on his face. "This water is cold."

"Well, that's good."

He placed the cup on the table. "The cup is all wet, because I cleaned it in the bathroom."

Noooooooooo!!!! My resolve faded fast. I thought to myself, OK, one small swig of, what is most likely, toilet water. Dogs drink out of the toilet all the time and survive. No, wait! I can just keep my lips closed and make it look like I'm drinking it. That's it!

Lesson 193: Having to mentally prepare to drink water = white trash

I was finally ready to take the cup. I reached over, but right when I put my hand on the thing straight out of my nightmares, Fox snatched it out of my hand and said, "I think I need a drink."

Yes son, enjoy the fruits of your labor.




April 24, 2015

Preparing For Baby

I have a cousin who is due to have her first baby a week or so after me. I talked to my Grandma the week after my cousin's first baby shower.

"She cried, because she was so overwhelmed with all the stuff she got, she doesn't know where to put it all," my Grandma told me.

"Ha! Must be nice," I answered.

"Why? Aren't you ready for your baby to come?"

"I have a dress."

"That's it?" My Grandma sounded kind of alarmed, but it was true.

Finding her concern amusing, I told her, "Yeah, the dress is size 6-12 months, but it'll do. I also have a lot of size 5 diapers here. They might be a little big. Since we don't have a crib, we'll probably just put her to bed in a laundry basket."

My Grandma laughed, "Do you have a car-seat, or will you be bringing her home in a pillowcase?" (We're related....she gets me.)

My due date is now just a little over two weeks away. (I've had half of my kids 2 weeks early.) Am I anymore ready than I was when I talked to my Grandma a month ago? Uh, not really. We don't even have a name for her yet. (We weren't expecting a girl!)

My mother-in-law came for a visit last week and brought me 3 onesies, a couple of outfits, a bib, and some socks. She called after she left and asked if there was anything else I needed for the baby. I told her, "not really." She then started asking questions.

"Do you have a bassinet?"

"No."

"Do you have bouncy seat?"

"No."

"What about a dresser?"

"Yeah, you gave it to me, remember? The clothes you brought came in it."

She paused for a moment. "Jess, that was a cardboard box."

"And?"

.....silence......

"Jessica! A cardboard box is NOT a dresser!"

"It does the same thing. It's holding her clothes right now."

"Oh, brother. That's not going to fly with me."

(I love my mother-in-law. lol)


Lesson 192: Being absolutely OK with cardboard furniture for your newborn = white trash

That's the difference between having your first baby and your tenth. I don't care about dressers. It's not important right now. The last three kids didn't have dressers until they moved to their own room. Then, they share dresser space with whoever their new roommates are.

You know who else won't care about dressers, bouncy seats, or fancy new clothes? The baby. That is the one thing I've found time and time again. All they care about, at first, is snuggling, eating, and clean diapers. The hospital sends us home with diapers, I'll be capable of feeding her at a moments notice, and there is no shortage of arms for snuggling in this house!

Did you ever watch the movie, Babies? (http://www.focusfeatures.com/babies) I at least have wipes. The mom from Namibia wiped her baby's butt with what looked like a corncob! A corncob people! In that culture, they have nothing. Not even clothes. Yet, that baby was able to thrive. Women have been having babies since the dawn of time. God equips us with everything we really need. The rest is just convenience.

Please don't think I'm saying we should all go live naked in mud huts. I'm saying more stuff doesn't make you more prepared. If you're expecting, you're physically prepared. There's no need to stress about having the latest, biggest, best, jet engine propelled baby swing. Kids like to do the unexpected, so, odds are, your new baby will hate that swing anyway.

April 20, 2015

Discomfort

I've been pregnant before. A lot. I've had twins, been a week overdue, and had gallbladder and sciatic problems during pregnancy, but this time, by far, is the most uncomfortable I have ever felt. There are several reasons for my discomfort.

One, I believe, is my age. Not that I'm old, but I had my first baby when I was an agile, muscular 19 year old. This time, I still hadn't lost all the baby fat from babies #2-9, and the most exercise I saw in a day was carrying laundry basket, after laundry basket, upstairs. When I complain about my discomfort to my doctor, he constantly reminds me I'm not a "spring chicken" anymore. I guess I've become more of a fall turkey, complete with stuffing.

Another reason I may be uncomfortable, is my clothing. I only have one pair of maternity pants. I'm not the kind of person to wear the same pants for a week without washing them. I just can't do it. So, the rest of the time, I cram myself into my normal pants, that are way too tight. Luckily, they are low-rise and can be fastened below my belly...tightly...pressing firmly on my cesarean scar. Unlucky for everyone else, they are low-rise and my butt, that has reached planet size proportions, does not fully fit in the back of my pants. I have an ample supply of not-embarrassing-at-all butt fat and plumbers crack spilling over the top, and sausage is made in a more attractive manner than me dressing myself in the morning. I wish my maternity shirts still fit, but alas, they don't. I started wearing Adam's shirts, because they are longer. He asked me the other day if I could hurry up and have this baby so I would stop stretching them out. (You can tell this is our 10th baby. Pregnancy holds no magic.)

The last reason, I am carrying extremely low. I feel as if this baby could fall out at any second. My normal gait is now a waddle, but I feel like I should be walking around on my tiptoes, like I just dismounted a horse and am about to poop myself. Needless to say, bending over is not my friend. Fate is a cruel mistress, seeing as children and the messes that go with them are all on the ground. Why can't kids throw more tantrums on top of counters or tables? Why must they throw themselves down on the floor? Why can't they leave toys on high ledges or desks? Why do they have to scatter toys on the carpet?

It wouldn't be so bad if this low-slung pregnancy didn't make me pee myself. Seriously. I sneezed last Tuesday and peed my pants. (Of course, it had to be my maternity pants.)

Lesson 190: Peeing your pants at age 35 = white trash 

I can't even pick up at the end of the night without multiple pee breaks. I average about 1 pee per every 3 bends/squats. Adam constantly tells me to just let the mess go. The sad part is, I have been letting a lot of things go. I even have my kids helping me with my chores. They do things for me on top of their own chores, and things still aren't getting done. I'm very frustrated, but my frustration pales in comparison to my sense of discomfort. SOMEONE SEND A MAID!

At this point, I'm praying for an extraordinary nesting period. I usually know when labor is imminent, because I get an uncontrollable urge to clean my fridge.

Lesson 191: cleaning the fridge = having a baby 

In this upcoming nesting period, I'm praying that God gives me the uncontrollable urge to clean the fridge, scrub floors, dust, wash windows, take out the trash before it's overflowing, clean bedrooms, wash bed linens, clean out closets, sort through a mountain of toys and throw away broken items, remove fingerprints and crayon off walls, mow the grass, clean the garage, and if at all possible, remove dead leaves from the gutters. I'm also hoping, that during all this activity, I will only have to take 1,789.25 pee breaks. That would be awesome!

February 26, 2015

The Importance of Checking Teacher Credentials

Jude and Jovie are currently into playing school. They love to sit the twins and Stone down and pretend to teach them various things.

Jude teaches math, and by that I mean he writes down ridiculous math problems on a piece of paper and then belittles the younger kids when they don't know the answer. (FYI...he doesn't know the answer either.)

Lesson 189: ridiculing kids who have never had a math lesson when you need a calculator to find the answer to your own problem = worst teacher ever!

Jovie teaches art and science. This past week's lessons have been about rainbows. I thought she was merely teaching them how to properly draw one, but today I found that isn't exactly true.

I sat in the toy room watching Hawk play on the slide, when yelling erupted from the tv room. Stone and Rex stormed into the room. Stone, with his angry eyebrows blazing, asked, "Mom, how are rainbows made?"

"When sunlight hits raindrops it reflects the light and makes rainbows."

Stone turned to Rex and yelled, "See! I told you it was from rain!"

Rex stomped his foot, "No! Rainbows come from princess power!"

Hmmmm.....maybe I need to revise Jovie's lesson plans.


February 20, 2015

The "Crappiest" Day of My Life

We finally have a house! After almost three years of our old house being on the market, a year of nightmarish renting, and close to two months of living with my in-laws while Adam lived at the restaurant, we finally have a place to call home. Our family could not be happier.

We were so happy, I gave in to my husband's and kids' request for a dog. Why wouldn't I say yes? I'm a 35 year old pregnant lady with 9 kids and a husband who lives at work, it made perfect sense to get a 12 week old nervous puppy who needed potty trained in the middle of winter.

Dream. Come. True.

Ok, that's a lie.

In truth, Belle is a very good dog. She's wonderful with the kids. The little boys poke her, pull her tail, roll over her, and flop on top of her all the time, and she lets them. What makes me absolutely crazy is potty training.

She just doesn't seem to get it. I could take her out and she could do her business, but it seems like she has a full reserve set aside for in the house. If she sees a blanket on the ground, she runs directly over and pees on it. When Adam or Marky look at her she lets out a little sprinkle. If they pet her, the flood gates are opened and she sits in her massive puddle wagging her tail, throwing pee to either side of her. If Adam picks up a leash, pee. Someone new comes to the house, pee. I leave and come back, pee. Constant. Pee. I live on my hands and knees with a roll of paper towels and cleaner.

The pee doesn't bother me as much as the poop. I can't stand the poop! Belle doesn't poop in the house if I'm in the same room as her, but if she can get away from me for a second and goes anywhere near the toy room or the back wall in the fireplace room, she poops. It makes me crazy!

One morning, I took her out. We came in and she took off running for the toy room. I chased her in, and sure enough, she was pooping on the floor. I picked her up and ran her back outside where she pooped even more. When we came in I thought she would be good. No. A half an hour later I found her pooping in the fireplace room, right beside Adam's laptop.

Later that day, I retrieved Adam's computer. When I got it to the table I smelled something gross. I looked down to see dog feces on my shirt. Apparently, she had gotten some on Adam's laptop and I didn't see it until it was smeared all over me.

If I only had to deal with dog poo, it may not be so bad, but I have three kids that are still either potty training or in diapers. That night, I was trying to take Hawk's poopy diaper off. He wasn't having it. When the diaper came off, he contorted his body to where he was able to wipe his butt on my pants. At this point, my whole days attire had been defiled.

This would have been enough for anyone in a single day, but not me. I can never get enough!

Rex is doing pretty well potty training, but he hates when he gets a little dribble of pee on his pants, so he changes them constantly. This day he had run out of pants and resorted to a pair of shorts. I was in the kitchen when he found me.

"Mommy, I pooped on the floor."

"You pooped on the floor?"

He nodded, "come here."

He led me to the toy room, and sure enough, there was a big ball shaped turd on the rug. (Of course, it had to be on the rug and not the hard wood floor 3 centimeters away!) He had pooped and it fell out of the bottom of his shorts. Gross.

I sighed. "It's ok buddy. I'll clean it."

I walked into the kitchen and got the paper towels and cleaning spray. I came back in and looked down. The poop was gone. What in the world? Where did it go? I thought to myself. I noticed something move out of the corner of my eye. I glanced over to see the dog standing on the other side of the room with Rex's turd in her mouth. I gasped, "No!"

When our eyes met, she jumped down into her "chase me" stance. "No, no, no, no!" I know they told me not to tell the dog "no", but that was all I was able to say. She took of running through the house, thrashing her head from side to side. I chased her all through the house until she flung it from her mouth, landing on more carpet. (Did I mention there are only two carpeted rooms in our house? What are the odds?)

Lesson 188: playing fetch with a ball made of human feces = white trash

I called Adam that night and told him I had reached my limit. "This by far, has been the "crappiest" day of my life."

"I'm sorry honey, I'll plug everyone's butt when I get home."

Oh, if only!

November 22, 2014

Jude's Special Gift

Last night, Jet asked if I would teach him how to cook. I chuckled. Anyone who knows me, knows I CAN NOT cook. Well, my kids are an exception to that statement. They are unaware that there are real moms out there. Wonderful mothers who prepare dinner with actual food and don't use a microwave.

You know how they say, the perfect spouse will be someone who will be able to be your strength where you are weak? Well, I married a gourmet chef. Apparently,  God also found my skills in the kitchen to be deficient.

How bad am I? I burnt no-bake cookies, because I tried to bake them. I was very confused why the person writing the recipe would leave out the temperature for the oven.

Adam has struggled over the years to teach me how to cook, with no success. He has no idea why I'm not retaining anything he teaches me. He has trained lots of people in the culinary arts, yet his wife has to call him everytime she wants to boil an egg, because she can't remember how to do it. I explained that  cooking to me is like trying to make him solve a calculus equation. It makes no sense, it gives me anxiety, and I have no  desire whatsoever to do it.

So, when Jet asked me to teach him to cook, I told him, "You should ask Daddy to teach you. Cooking is one of the special gifts God gave him."

Jet asked, "What's my special gift?"

"Well, you're still pretty young. You have lots of time to find out. Pray about it and God will show you."

Jet smiled, "I can't wait till I find out."

"I already know what my special gift is," Jude chimed in.

"Oh yeah?" I looked at my eight year old. He looked very proud of himself.  "What is it?"

"My special gift is not brushing my teeth."

Lesson 187: Your kid believing poor oral hygiene is a gift from God = white trash

(Note: I am blogging from my phone again and it is auto correcting and bolding text like a boss. Thanks for bearing with me!)

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!