Friday, November 28, 2008

Acrostic in the key of G (Gratitude)

Turkey was delicious.
Homemade crescent rolls by Bryce and Tyce were a labor of love.
Ads in the newspaper were not as amazing as promised.
Nice dishes and table settings were Mary's project and her pride and joy.
Kids liked watching the movie "The Abyss."
Stormy weather, rain, thunder, lightning were a treat!
Going around the table, we each said what we were thankful for.
I enjoyed walking with the twins and Bryce around the neighborhood.
Venturing into unknown culinary terrain, I made homemade cranberry sauce.
I know Bryce and I loved talking to our families on the phone.
"Nothing ruins a holiday better than people trying to do everything perfect." --Mary Rachel Jones (Has she been reading my blog?)
Games were played until everyone was tired and ready for bed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's a Monday

We're having the house cleaners come and the carpets cleaned today in preparation for Thanksgiving. You know I don't live a life of glamour if I thought this was worth mentioning.

I am thankful for a calm start to the week. My awesome father-in-law Al went in for an emergency angioplasty on Friday and scared us all to death. But he was out the very next day and cheering for BYU at home. (It didn't do any good. There was a lot of crying over here.) We have full confidence that he will return to normal soon, but unfortunately for us, not in time to travel for Thanksgiving. But thank goodness he's going to be okay.

I'd rather forego a holiday gathering and preserve his health than have him risk a prolonged recovery by traveling.

Now I'm off to take M. to school and figure out how to spend 10 hours out of the house today.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My house may be a mess, but take a look at this pantry!

If you come visit me, please disregard the piano music, random toys, and various clothing items strewn around the front rooms. Move directly into the kitchen, where you should ignore the sink full of dishes and unswept floor. Make a hard right, and open the pantry door.

My eagle-eyed sister-in-law Kim noticed I took "CanSolidator" off of my sidebar wishlist. Behold the organization!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Another hurdle cleared

It was not a good start to the day. As I paid for 8 giant cans of corn at the grocery store, Harrison and Cameron walked out the automatic doors. They stood on the other side, watching the door open and close, and actually had the nerve--THE NERVE--to stick their tongues out at me. (Harrison was the ring leader.) You have never seen anybody pay up as fast as I did.

They were big-time busted. In the car I lectured them, and I took away Harrison's tangerine until we got home. Cameron mocked me by saying, "Good thing I already ate my tangerine. Haha!" Luckily I know how to push Cameron's buttons back, because I said, "Well next time you can't pick out a fruit." Then there were cries of "No! I'm sorry! Next time I'll be good! Please!"

Which is all I wanted in the first place.


Preparations and set up for the youth-and-senior citizens dinner for Mutual were stressful. I won't lie. I wanted to bail out, I wanted to call in sick, I wanted to run away to Jamaica. And then I was like, what's the big deal? It's all under control. (Well mostly, what I could actually control.) I guess my main anxiety came from whether people would have a good time, if the youth and older folks would actually mingle, if we had enough food, if we'd carried out the "tradition" none of us leaders had ever experienced.

I sound like the poster child for Xanax.

But guess what . . . it was great. We didn't run out of food. It looked like people enjoyed themselves. I was particularly impressed with Kayla, who spearheaded a baby picture guessing game, and Ceara, who did a fine job conducting (though she did get heckled for accidently calling the seniors "elderly.") I got to sit at a table with some very nice people, and enjoyed good food (turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, cranberry sauce, rolls, and pumpkin pie) and good conversation.

I think that an annual youth and seniors dinner is an awesome idea. I would highly recommend the activity to other groups. And after all that cooking we did, I would also recommend catering.

What I lost in sleep I gained in perspective: Hosting Thanksgiving dinner for 14 this year will be a breeze.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A happy ending

I felt grumbly on Saturday. Grrr.

In the afternoon I ran an errand, alone. While getting my car washed I walked over to Vons to check out their turkeys for our Thanksgiving activity this Wednesday. It felt great to walk that UGH feeling out. Then I bought 3 frozen pizzas for the family's dinner. When I walked back to the car wash the guy was there waving his towel. I'd arrived at the exact moment he finished up my car. Perfect timing!!!!

Then I went to pick up medication at the Walgreens drive-thru. I was the only one there. Score!

I think the sun was shining on me.

Don't you just love when things work out just right?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Blessings of Adoption

Tomorrow is National Adoption Day. In honor of this occasion I thought I'd share with you a few of my thoughts and feelings on the subject.

I believe adoption is a miracle. Think of the allegory of the grafting of tame and wild branches in the olive tree--the Master of the Vineyard, in his wisdom, took two entities that needed the benefit from the other--and he made them one.

And how beautiful was the tree because of it.

I love my life. I love how my children came into my life. I love our family tree. I love the Master of the Vineyard for binding our family eternally.

And that is the deepest joy of my heart.


Now on to a more practical note.

There have been many times I've said something, trying to be supportive or insightful, when I've offended someone instead.

(Like the time in high school when a classmate told me she was half Native American and I exclaimed, "Oh, you're a half-breed!" I had no idea that was a racially charged thing to say.)
Anyway, I'm not one to easily take offense but I do recognize insensitivity when I hear it, usually letting it roll off my back. Maybe you're the same way. However, if I could enlighten you a bit on what to say to an adoptive family, perhaps I could help you save yourself from an uncomfortable situation. Here are some things people have actually said to me, or to someone I know.
"Your children are so lucky you rescued them from a horrible life."
I feel that they rescued me as much a I did them.
"I heard this story where the couple had their baby for 5 months and then the state pulled him out of the home and returned him to the crack-smoking grandma . . ."
Sensational horror stories don't make up the majority of adoption stories, but they get the attention and can scare people away.
"You had your children the easy way."
Physical pain: yes. Mental anguish: right up there.
"How much did your kids cost?"
Ummm . . . I didn't pick them up at Macy's Baby Sale.
"Were their parents on drugs?"
I understand your curiosity, but you just can't ask that. I don't want you to pre-judge our kids based on that information, good or bad. We love and respect our birth parents because they gave our children life.
"I had no idea your daughter's hair was so long."
I'll admit that this is picky, but what I feel like you're saying is, her hair is so different and strange and unlike the "normal" hair you see every day.
"Blacks are responsible for bad schools, crime, teen pregnancy, global warming . . . oh, but not your kids."
Racist remarks offend me. I said I wasn't easily offended but this is the thing the bothers me the most. Don't assume it's okay to say it but exclude my kids from the stereotype. Not cool.
"There was a Mulatto guy on my soccer team."
The term is mixed race or bi-racial, please.
"You should need a license to reproduce in this country."
Again, a picky one I've probably said myself. But what it implies is an US against THEM mentality, a superiority that relegates birth parents to the underbelly of society. This is absolutely false. Birth parents have a myriad of circumstances--from lovingly placing their babies in the arms of a forever family, or yes, to having their 8th crisis pregnancy end a whirlwind of social workers and foster homes--or something in between. The point is, they gave their children life. That life is not a mistake; he or she is a child of God with an important work to do on this earth.
We don't live in a perfect world and wishing won't make it so. It's what we do about it that makes the difference.
"What do you know about their REAL parents?"
Does anyone really say this? I don't think so, but I'm including this anyway. REAL parents raise you. Birth parents give you life. All are important.
"Aww, that's so cute that she calls you 'Mom.'"
An old lady said this in all sincerity! Yeah, it's cute because I AM her mom!
"I know just how you feel. I adopted my Fifi from the pound."
For the love of Christmas, do not compare my child to your Yorkie Poo.
"Just watch, as soon as you adopt this next one, you'll get pregnant."
Probably the most common and annoying of all, for two reasons. First, no I don't think I'll get pregnant, and thanks for reminding me . And second, it implies that adoption is a second choice. For us, that's not the case at all.
Okay, now the do's.
Throw the prospective adoptive mother a baby shower!
She is about to become a mother too, with all the anxiety, nervousness, anticipation, and enthusiasm any parent feels at her baby's arrival. Thank you, Tracey, for throwing mine over 3 years ago!
Treat adopted kids like you would any other kids.
Easy to do.
Use the term "birth parents."
Of course not "real" parents, as mentioned above. Biological parents is acceptable. Natural parents is really outdated. The last time I heard that phrase was on an episode of "Family Ties" where Skippy reunites with his "natural mother."
Celebrate the family's adoption day and sealing day!
These are the "birthdays" of the family. We loved that people supported and loved us through the challenging and amazing times.
Respect the family's privacy.
If you're open and have a listening ear, the adoptive family will probably open up to you. A lot. But don't be intrusive.
Accept the child for who he or she is, knowing there might be more than meets the eye.
While adoption is wonderful, it still means the child experiences pain from a significant loss. Pain can look like aggression or depression and be expressed or internalized, or come out in other ways. Their challenges may be difficult for you (and me) to understand but they're doing the best they can.
Talk about adoption in a positive manner.
It's not shameful and it's not a secret. Many families have open, loving relationships with their child's birth parent(s). If you know someone struggling with infertility or a crisis pregnancy, you can offer a positive opinion on adoption.
Tell them they have a beautiful family / beautiful, smart children.
It's okay to acknowledge it. We think so too. And we love flattery as much as the next person!
You can make the difference in someone's day!!!

And now I'm stepping off my soap box and into my minivan to cart Miss M. off to school.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

We had a great time in Utah this weekend. I really needed a change of scenery, and even though we had two terrorists in the car ("Open my window! Turn off the music!") it was still a good trip. We even got to see our sweet nieces (ages 6 and 2) and Betsie's new beautiful house. Family is the best.

Today is a catch-up day--unpacking, laundry, straightening, grocery shopping (already done), and all that other fun stuff. And the phone calls--holy hannah, I have work to do. I don't know why anyone would actually run to be president of anything.

(President-elect Obama, call me. Once you get your feet under you, I will be your shoulder to cry on.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Guess what I brought into the courtroom

I had my court appearance for my traffic ticket this week. At the entrance I put my bag on the security belt. When I walked through the metal detector, the buzzer went off. The guard looked at my shoes and declared, "You've got a metal buckle on your fancy slippers."

FANCY SLIPPERS!! I will never look at those flats the same way again.

Anyway, I walked up to the courtroom, sat down, and searched for the cheat sheet Bryce made me. I'm pretty sure it said things like Plead Not Guilty, Call Him Your Honor, Compliment His Robe. But I couldn't be sure, because I couldn't find that little paper in my giant bag. But guess what I did find. A wool sock stuffed with not one, not two, but THREE super-sharp PARING KNIVES, left over from our Mutual pumpkin-carving activity the week before.

Take note. Metal on your footwear: red flag. Three deadly weapons that could stab, maim, or kill at any time: no problem!

Knives, people.

Well, I neatly wrapped my little secret back up and stopped looking for the paper. I didn't want anyone to get, you know, suspicious. All that digging around might have meant I was trying to cover something, or maybe I was just foraging for graham cracker crumbs--but you just can't be too careful.

Finally it was my turn. I told the judge he looked very handsome. I think he was impressed by my shoes. I pleaded Not Guilty and we parted ways.

A bored-looking city attorney with a pack of Marlboros in his shirt pocket met me in the hallway. I turned on my sad-but-charming face, which I have used before. I explained, boo hoo, that I hadn't had a ticket for over 10 years, I didn't mean to ignore the sign, etc. He looked like he wanted to say, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, Not Guilty. Seriously, I went to law school for THIS?" but he said, "I can reduce your ticket by $100 and send you to traffic school. Here, take this paperwork and go pay at the window. I need a smoke."

Oh, I can work it when I need to.

Yes, I can.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One down

I am a runner on the track of November, and I just jumped over my first hurdle.

The program Young Women in Excellence was last night, and I must say, after all the anxiety and stress leading up to it, it was . . . excellent.

The girls displayed projects they've worked on in one of the seven values: Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, and Integrity. There were items such as volleyballs, scrapbooks, handicrafts, reports on service, and art projects. We have awesome young women.

As far as the program goes, a highlight for me was the skit that my very talented friend Tomica wrote. The script was great--set at school, one girl laments that she'll never see her grandmother again, and the other girls explain the Plan of Salvation and invite her to church. It was funny, touching, and the acting by the girls was awesome!

I knew, knew, knew that the whole program would be fine, which helped me get through the day. I am getting SO much better about letting things go--the little details that I can get so hung up on. I printed the program--no clipart, no colored fonts. It took me 30 minutes. We put the tablecloths out--they weren't exactly even and weren't in value color "order" but I let it go. Only four out of the seven flags had all their parts, but the four we had looked great. Our special musical number was less-rehearsed than I would have liked, but it turned out fine.

Breathing in, breathing out . . . letting go.

I truly love the Young Women. I am so blessed to have this calling. I love the ladies I serve with, and the awesome young people of the church.

My next hurdle is planning the Thanksgiving dinner for the youth and the elderly in the ward. I have no idea what I'm doing or how to do this, and I'm wondering how this fell into my lap. But I'm taking a deep breath and . . . sprinting onward.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hello, Mr. President

What did you think of tonight's election results? My support and prayers are behind our future 44th president. Feeling patriotic and hopeful, we watched Barack Obama's acceptance speech tonight. I thought he did a great job.

Mary: So if Obama is the next president, where did the old president go?

Me: Well, he doesn't start until January. That gives the old president--George W. Bush--time to finish up and the upcoming president--that's Barack Obama--time to get ready. I mean, he couldn't really start this very second, right?

Mary: Yeah, that makes sense. He wouldn't even know where his desk was!

Me: Right, and he has to move all of his stuff into the White House.

Mary: Move in? Does the White House have bathrooms?

Me: Yes, and living rooms, bedrooms, a kitchen . . .

Mary: Oooh, I hope I grow up to marry the president of the United States--or become president myself. That would be awesome! Well, actually, I wouldn't want to be the president because I wouldn't want people coming into my house and complaining at me all the time.

Me: That's why it takes a special person to do the job.

Mary: I hope his children aren't troublesome. That would be terrible if they terrorized the White House!

Me: Would you terrorize the White House if you were there?

Mary: I would try not to, but probably, yeah.

Monday, November 3, 2008


On the road with a van full of youth, on the way to a choir practice

#1: Hey [#2], I noticed I didn't see your sister at church today. Is she okay?

#2: Yeah, she went with our mom and dad to their classes today.

#1: Really? Was she upset with somebody?

#2: Yeah, she and of of the young women got in a fight before chuch and they both got grounded.

Tyce: (eyes her suspiciously) Did she get in a fight with YOU, by chance?

#2: Ye--I mean, I am not in justice to discuss this matter.

Tyce: I think you mean, you are not "at liberty" to discuss this matter.

#2: Whatever.


At night, telling the boys a bedtime story

Harrison: Make sure you tell it where we're knights and we get cupcakes at the end.

Me: Okay. Once there were two brave knights who went trick-or-treating. They went to the first spooky house and said, "Trick or treat!" and they both got two candies each. Then they went to the next house . . ."

Harrison: Don't forget the cupcakes!

Me: I won't, don't worry.

Cameron: I have contraband.

Me: What?

Cameron: Contraband. I'm going to play this straw in the contraband. Hoo hoo!

Me: Okay . . .

Cameron: Mom, why aren't you telling the story? Get it away.

Me: What?

Cameron: (grandly gestures) Get it away, Mom!

I finally figured out that was this is his attempt to say "Take it away."


Watching the Noggin show "Miss Spider" with the twins; Miss Spider adopted several different types of bugs and in this episode, one of them wants her mom to show her the tree where she was born.

Me: Harrison, you were adopted too!

Harrison: Like that little beetle?

Me: That's right.

Harrison: What tree did you find me under?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Report

These were their costumes. It was a spooktacular night.

Tyce was the very dashing and presidential Barack Obama. He went to a surprise birthday / Halloween party for his friend Skye and had a blast.

Here's where it gets fuzzy. Literally. My camera has been dropped so many times that the flash no longer works. But I hope you can tell that the twins were knights; black (Cam) and silver (Hare).

Mary was a sorceress and she had this pretty hat to go with her dress....which she refused to wear. ("It looks too princess-y!" she complained. Hmmmm....yes.)

We even went to our next door neighbor's house for a little get-together.

Our "other" neighbors were in their element. I saw one of them (the one I call Billy Hill), in a long black tunic with a ciggie hanging from his lips, putting out still more decorations, including the the giant green skull. And I have to say, all his hard work paid off. I was scared.