Thursday, May 31, 2012

holey carpet

FYI: if you choose to pay your children to clean your bathrooms, and they happen to spill The Works toilet bowl cleaner on your stair carpet, it will burn the carpet fibers and bleach it of color.

So it is a good thing we didn't replace the carpet this spring like we'd intended.


I know I've been quiet.
I've been mulling.
And hugging.
And doctoring.
And sighing.
And praying.
And panicking.
And questioning.
And crying.
And kissing.
And serving.
And breathing.
And collapsing.
And thanking.
And smiling.
When I didn't want to.
And scowling when I did.
I've bought lots of popsicles.
And served lots of sloppy joes.
And gagged.
I've let my older daughter be the parent because she's better at it.
I've let my sons have sleepovers in the girls' room because I'm tired of it.
I've parked, and pooled, and zoo'd, and baseballed, and candylanded.
And sometimes I've gotten a shower.
I've fallen asleep before my younger daughter more times than I can count.
I've resented the songs that propelled me through the last year.
And I've found new ones to sing along with, loudly.
But mostly when I'm in the car alone I bask in the silence.
I sneak out to the grocery store with one kid at a time and never with the new one.
And I've never been so grateful when the neighbor kids come calling.
I don't answer the phone.
I don't answer emails.
I don't answer texts.
I don't answer the door.
I pay my bills late.
I forget to get the mail.
I forget to sign my kids up for camps.
I frequently beg for mercy.
And have been given a lot of it.
I have ants.
And fruitflies.
And something freak nasty that I can't find but needs to get out of my house.
My cat continues to kill birds and leave them for me.
I still can't pronounce my daughter's name.
And I can't tell when she's feeding me a line and when she's telling truths.
I lose my temper.
And I have compassion when I shouldn't.
I look horrid in a swimming suit (yay, June....)
And I don't see it improving anytime soon.
Since I self medicate with sugar.
In other words:
It's just a different kind of the old kind of chaos.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

On mom hair

When I was in grade school, there was a boy in my class named Ryan whose mother had long, "hippie" hair in the age of the permed football helmet mom hair. I always thought that was so strange. Moms shouldn't have long, straight, hair.

Which begs the question, why do I have hair that goes to them small of my back? And why am I so resistant to cutting it?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


In my last post I mentioned that this year I've read a lot of distopian lit. The Hunger Games series, The Giver series, The Shadow Children series.

The more I've thought about it, I've also read The Always War, and the Matched/Crossed/waiting for the third book trilogy.


Girl needs some variance.

Make a difference in the crappy world books (which I have also read) and The world has gone to crap books.

No wonder I'm crabby.

I'm entertained and challenged, but....crabby.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A blog post in FB statuses

I think of Facebook statuses all day. Though I've come to know for a fact that not everyone wants to know all the clever things I think of all day. However, since this is my blog and people either come here intentionally to find out things about my life, or stumble upon it because their googlies match, I will just post status updates here in one big post. Because I have time for one liners. It's the well thought out, meaningful posts that I can't find time for anymore.

Last night, Princess made the declaration that today was her last day of elementary school. *gasp* I lost my breath there for a minute.

I miss my Target shopping expeditions with Charming.

Whoot! Last day of school!

I got three cruise brochures in the mail yesterday. Who has been voyeuring in on my fantasies?

Kinda wigging out. I have a pile of swimming suits that are too small for anyone in my family. This end of era stuff is hard.

I always think I want fruit trees....and then I "help" harvest my mom's and I realize there would be a lot of rotten fruit on my trees because that is a stinkin' lot of work.

I've decided that Iris is no more annoying than my other children. It's just that with them, I can say, "Stop that. It's annoying." And they either will or I will say, "If you must continue, leave." And they either will or I will say, "I kid not not, child, mama's gonna go ape on you if you don't stop." And they will or will be condemned to their bedrooms. She just pretends like I'm not speaking/she can't understand me.

I know, I know, it's a status, not a diary.

What am I supposed to do with this baby bird that Nonny the Evil brought me last night, but didn't kill? It's just sitting outside my window, starving to death.

Nonny the Evil finally finished the job. 

I've decided it takes about one month to miss Ethiopia.

I keep having flashes of what "living" is. Most of what we do, isn't.

Educated our little Ethiopian in 80s music. Brainwashing officially in progress.

Holy......I am the mother of two middle schoolers.

You know you've done your job when your grinning kid shushes you for making a scene in the closing seconds of the school year.


Educating our little Ethiopian in "summer." School tomorrow? No. What? Swimming, baseball, late nights, cold treats, sleeping in, fun. *confused look*

Apparently 2012 is the year of distopian lit for me. Read Hunger Games trilogy (again), reading The Giver trilogy (again), and reading the Shadow Children Series to the kids.

You know those people who like to blow out other people's candles to make theirs shine brighter? Stop your puffing in my direction. I beat myself up enough as it is. If you intend to use my blog against me, make sure I don't know about it, mmmmmkay?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

How Do I Love Thee?

Let me count the ways:
Year 1: For marrying me when we were too young, too poor and too stupid in love to know better.
Year 2: For letting me live on the opposite end of the country from you so that we could BOTH pursue our dreams...regardless of the fact that it all came to naught.
Year 3: Through the trials of grad school psychoses and the beginning inklings of infertility.
Year 4: Through the first of several miscarriages.
Year 5: When we learned where babies come from...ARKANSAS!
Year 6: When post-partum psychoses made grad school psychoses look mild.
Year 7: Though the seven year itch.
Year 8: OMGosh I'm pregnant again????
Year 9: For letting me have Frodo on the back porch.
Year 10: For being my biggest cheerleader and encouraging me to write my first novel.
(please tell me there will be a second someday?)
Year 11: When the rejections started rolling in, but the contracts for non-fiction did also. Still cheerleading.
Year 12: When we hit our stride. As evidenced by the appearance of Charming.
Year 13: The best one yet.
Year 14: Dear Lord, there must be more to life than cooking and commutes and comparisons.
Year 15: For bringing us back to the 'boro and surrounding us with family.
Year 16: To Africa and back. Twice.

I love you Mr. Chaos.
Tell me you'll dance with me when we're old and wrinkly.

More Kechene Thanks

I thought one reader in particular might want to see this whole group of boys in the orange shirts she bought. These were the younger Kechene kids who got their new duds before lunch with the older kids.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Kechene Kids Say Thanks

I have more, but here's a taste of our second visit to Kechene.

Kids R Fun

I love the ages of my kids. It's so fun. For example, I got to listen to this, this morning.
Have a happy day!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Family Traits

A couple nights ago, we were reading a random family devotional which, much to my dismay, extrapolated on Family Traits. Red hair, green eyes, slight build, on and on, ad nauseum.

(Apparently they were trying to get at "we are the family of God and should take on His characteristics," but I rate it an "F" for failed miserably.)

So, we finished the three paragraphs and I asked my kids, "What are some of our family traits?"

To which Frodo replied, "Basically nothing."

I laughed my head off.

PS I then did my motherly job of bringing it around to our family creed: Honor, Obey, Respect, Encourage.

Because values mean more than hair color, anyway.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The new normal

OUR first lost tooth.
I'm tired. So, so tired. I crave snuggles with my children that come effortlessly. Thank the Good Lord that people are still bringing us food because it takes every scrap of energy I have to give all the eye contact and positive reinforcement I can. Who knew eye contact and hugs were so exhausting? We are happy, don't get me wrong, just completely emotionally exhausted.

I was driving my Frodo alone to a 7AM orthodontist appt yesterday and I had a flash of mourning for the simplicity of it. He could talk away and I didn't have to stop him so that I could explain what a grain elevator was.

Charming came down this morning and climbed on my lap and just hung out for a while and I had a flash of nostalgia for a time, not so long ago, when all my kids unabashedly loved me.

We recently had pizza and four of my five kids cheered and the fifth one made rude ooooo-yuck noises and I wished for a time when pizza and burgers pleased everyone in the house.

But after a hard day of miscommunication and power struggles, Iris still wants me to snuggle her to sleep, and that is beautiful, too.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Fresh Produce Review

So, before I left for Ethiopia, I told you about my new skirt from Fresh Produce.
And now that I'm home and have washed the grime off, Brent and I went out back, in gale force winds, to take pictures of me with jet lag, in my new skirt.

Me, in a jersey tiered skirt

jersey tiered skirt, in pebble

it just makes you want to dip your toes in a waterfall...

work it, work it

new skirts cause euphoria!

even wild animals will like you in a new skirt!
For perspective, here's me in an old skirt:
 Do I look even remotely "fresh?"

I'm kidding. I live in skirts, so I should be able to give a valid opinion on this one. And here it is: This skirt is 100% cotton and made in the USA. As opposed to my other tiered skirt that is 100% poly and made in Vietnam. My new skirt is cool and goes with everything. My old skirt is hot. Yes it also goes with everything, but it is looking old and raggedy. My new skirt I can't wear in Ethiopia because it is too short....but I believe Fresh Produce has some long ones, should I decide to go back in the near future.

If I were buying, I would buy it in the grey color they advertise it in. I thought that might be what "pebble" was. I was wrong. If you buy it and you buy "pebble," know that your candy cane striped panties will show through. I dig the light tan pebble. I just also want one in grey. When I ordered this skirt, I ordered a medium. It fit for three days of wear. Then I washed it. And went to Ethiopia. And barfed up six pounds of belly fat. I think I will order they grey in a small. I'm not sure if wear/wear/wear/wash made the difference or the weight loss did. A medium fit perfectly based on their size charts and my weight at the time. But if you are on the border of two sizes.....I dunno, maybe size down. In the skirt, anyway. It's stretchy.

My vote: Fresh Produce clothes jersey tiered skirts are pretty rad. And I want more.
Not a skirt wearer? Fresh Produce has other stuff, too. I like the BFF top.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

More things we take for granted....

bird song.
colors that aren't brown.
One showed up with a weeks worth of injera.
Another with a loaf of fresh baked bread and a sack of groceries.
Garbage collectors.
King size beds.
The ability to flush.
A child reaching for your hand.
Consistent power.
food variety.
bug spray
a lost tooth
free playgrounds
eye contact
comfortable silences
easy banter
water pressure in the shower deserves a second mention.
working refrigerators
full of various condiments
public libraries
full of a bunch of books you'd never read
all my children under one roof
the education of our children
knowing your child's story
speaking your child's language
being asked to do your daughter's hair
not looking for a hidden emotion for a quiet child on the couch
first Popsicles and purple tongues.

 To paraphrase Katie Davis: I was not meant for those firsts, I was meant for these.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Things We Take For Granted

Tap water.
That won't kill you.
Brushing your teeth.
With tap water.
Water pressure.
A shower.
Clean vegetables.
Shoe choices.
Clothing options.
Traffic laws.
Paved roads.
Having something to do.
Eye contact.
Bare feet.
Giggles of children.
Incessant chatter of your offspring.
A small hand reaching for you for comfort.
Being able to communicate.
Stores actually carrying what you need.

I climbed into the shower after Brent on Sunday night to discover that he'd used most of the hot water. It was still the best shower I'd had in a week. Instead of being irritated, I was thankful. I climbed out refreshed.

I think at times we get so hung up on the little things that bother us, we forget about all the good we have stopped noticing.

Ethiopian coffee ceremony with Chaptas.
Lord, may I never stop noticing the good.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


Our first family photo.
I'm sure you can tell it isn't me at my best.
And my newest daughter is terrified.
I have more to tell, but for now, I'm busy bonding with my child and when she sleeps, so do I.
I am sure I have a post or two coming.
Don't give up on me.