Monday, June 30, 2008


I hate taking braids out!  I spent at least an hour working on it last night and still have probably another 3 hours to go today.  We have a swim meet tonight, so I have to get moving.  I'm going to see if Hannah can help take some of them out.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed since I'm not sure if she has the patience to do it.  Why oh why did I leave them in so long????????????

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Peaches and Cereal

When I was a kid, I used to have peaches on my cereal in the summer. As an adult, it just didn't sound very appealing. Well, this morning I had my heart set on cereal with strawberries. When I got to the fridge, however, I realized that the kids had finished all of the strawberries (all 4 quarts of them!). I saw a nice fresh nectarine in there and decided to have that instead. It was so delicious! Just like I remembered from when I was little. YUM!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Las Vegas

Mike just got back from Las Vegas. He wants me to go with him, sometime, when he only has to go for a few days. I never really wanted to go there, but the pictures he took while he was there are pretty cool. There are a ton of really pretty fountains all over and I love water. The pool at the hotel he stayed at is absolutely gorgeous, it looks like Hawaii.

I would like to go and maybe now that Jack is home, I will be able to. It would be nice to get away with just Mike, since we don't really get to spend much time together at all. When we are together, we are usually either arguing about how to discipline the kids or watching tv. The last time we went away together was when we came to Virginia to look for a house, in January of 2000.


It got really windy for a short time today and a tree in our backyard blew down. That is the second tree we lost in the past month or so. Only in Virginia would trees just blow over in your backyard, without a hurricane or tornado or anything. Granted, our backyard is natural woods and some of the trees are dying a natural death, but it still seems weird to me! We almost lost our screen tent, too, which Hannah and/or Steven (depends on who you ask) left out in the woods. Luckily, it had blown up against the back fence and a holly tree, but hadn't ripped. It must be pretty sturdy because those holly trees are very prickly.


I finished Hurricane a couple of days ago. It was really good. Now I'm reading Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult. It is a mystery about an Amish girl who has a baby and the newborn is murdered, while she claims to never have been pregnant. It is very good so far and I can't imagine how it is going to end. Debbie gave me this book and it just amazes me how alike are tastes are when it comes to reading! We almost always like the same books.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I'm disappointed because Mike was home for 4 days this weekend. I asked him to do several things around the house, help me clean out the pantry, move the two garbage cans to the side of the garage, change the kitty litters and do one other thing that I can't think of right now. He did do the kitty litters, which is great, but he didn't move the garbage cans. He completely refused to help me clean out the pantry because the kids always leave the door open and that is the reason for the mess. Why can't he understand that he has kids with disabilities. THEY CAN'T REMEMBER TO CLOSE THE PANTRY. It isn't that they don't want to close it, they are trying to disobey him or they just don't care, the CAN'T remember. Now I have the added stress of having to clean out the pantry all by myself.

In his defense, he spent more time with the kids and me than he has in a long, long time. He played Rock Band with us the other night and he walked over to the park for a few minutes to meet us when we were there with Tim and Tricia. He only spent about 10 minutes with us, but for someone who doesn't like to spend any time with us, that was a big deal. He also did laundry and some other things around the house, so I'm not complaining that he didn't do anything, but it is frustrating when he has so much time here and doesn't get everything done that we need.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Today was Sydnee's 9th birthday. First Tricia and I had to go to court today for creepy Paul business. Then Tricia was in no mood to really celebrate her birthday. I invited them to come to our pool and I brought watermelon and homemade brownies. We ordered pizza from Dominos. It was fun. When the pool closed at 8:00, we went to the park for a little while, until the mosquitoes got too bad.


I noticed today that some carrots are starting to sprout in the garden. One of the zucchini plants died and one of the cantaloupe plants, also. Everything else seems to be growing pretty well.

The lettuce in the pots on the front porch are really starting to grow. Shauna and I are going to have to go out and thin them big time because we really over planted. That was before I did the research and found out what I was supposed to be doing!

I hope I remember to put some eggshells out around the cherry tomato on the front porch.

Swim Meet

We had another swim last night. Alex, Hannah and Shauna all did great. Alex got first place in back and IM and second in free. Shauna got second place in free, third for back and
Hannah got second place for free,
The weather started out really hot, but cooled off in about an hour. It was really comfortable by the time I started keeping score, during the second half.

Gramma came with Tatum, who she was babysitting for because Sydnee also had a swim meet the same night.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Family Night

Last night we had so much fun playing Rock Band! We played for 3 1/2 hours and even forgot to make the popcorn. Jack is excellent at it and Hannah and Shauna did very well. They both have a really good sense of rhythm, unlike their mother! We took turns singing and my throat was sore by the time we were done.

This is something we will try to do more often, since everyone enjoyed it so much. Mike even stuck around for most of it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Happy Birthday, Grampa! He would be 84 this year. He passed away from throat cancer when I was pregnant with Steven. I wish Steven could have seen how much Grampa suffered, I don't think he would smoke now if he had witnessed that.

I wish Grampa was still around, he would have loved having so many grandchildren!

Family Popcorn & Rock Band Night

Jack proposed that we have a Family Rock Band Night tonight. Since the girls and I had planned on making old fashioned popcorn tonight, we decided it would be a Popcorn and Rock Band night. They just started with Rock Band, although I haven't yet finished cooking the chili. Alex is staying overnight at his friend, Amberley's and Luke is staying over at his friend, Stephen's. I promised I would sing later, so I better go warm up my vocal cords!


Jack was telling Mike and I a story about his friend. Apparently they were all at a party at NIU and several of them were sleeping on the living room floor. Michael Summa (Jack's friend since kindergarten) farted really loudly and woke everyone in the room up, except one girl named Arcadia. Then Jack says, Michael's ass to wake ratio would have been better if Arcadia had woken up, too. Okay, that was mildly funny, but not the funniest part. So Mike then says to me, "Did you ever think, when we brought little Jackie home from the hospital, that the words "ass to wake ratio" would ever come out of his mouth? I couldn't stop laughing. This probably sucks in the re-telling, but I wanted to put it down for my own enjoyment in the future!


I am also making chili tonight. I make a double batch and then I can freeze it so Mike can take it to work. I'm going to start putting all my recipes on here. That will make them easy to find when I need them! I have them all on my computer, but I need a new hard drive, so I don't have access to them at the moment.

Mom's Chili Recipe-Double batch

2 Large Puree
2 Large Diced Tomatoes
2 Large Crushed Tomatoes
8-15 ounce Mild Chili Beans
6 packets chili seasoning
Cooked ground beef & turkey mixture (I don't know how much, I think I put in about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds.)

Add all ingredients, except chili beans and cook over low heat in a large pot, until hot. Add chili beans and cook for a few minutes longer, until beans are heated through.

Alton Brown's Macaroni and Cheese

I made the stove top macaroni and cheese that Alton Brown made on Good Eats. It was yummy! Of course, I skipped the hot sauce and dry mustard because I had no dry mustard and I don't like hot sauce. Next time I will omit the salt because even though I cut it in half, it was still a bit salty tasting. I will also only use 4 1/2 cups of cheese because I used 6 and although it was delicious, I don't think less cheese will make a noticeable difference, but it will cut the fat by quite a bit. I also used Barilla Plus macaroni, which I love because it tastes great and is super nutritious! I would definitely make this again, as it is much healthier than the Kraft boxed stuff. It is also a lot more expensive, though! This is still a relatively cheap meal and would be great on swim meet nights, when the kids need lots of extra protein and carbs.

Here is the recipe I will use next time:

1 pound macaroni (14.5 ounce Barilla Plus Elbows)
6 T butter
4 eggs
12 ounces milk
pepper to taste
4 1/2 cups cheese (I used Fiesta Blend from Walmart)
A tablespoon or two of cornstarch, dissolved in a little cold water (I didn't use any this time and the cheese sauce was just slightly thinner than we like it.)

Boil elbow macaroni and drain. Pour it back into the pot and add the butter, mix to melt.

Whisk together eggs, milk, and pepper. Stir mixture into the pasta and add the cheese. Continue stirring over low heat to melt the cheese. This only takes about 3 or 4 minutes. I used fancy cut cheese, which is thinner and it melted very quickly and easily.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gramma's Birthday

Today is my mom's birthday. She would KILL me if I told how old she is, so I will remain quiet on that subject. Shauna and I picked out a pretty candle holder that will go around her new patio table umbrella on her deck. I wasn't sure what to get her, she doesn't need anything and doesn't want a lot of junk, but I think she will like this and get some use out of it.

I think I will also give her the Irish book I bought yesterday, as long as she agrees to let me read it when she is done! She loves bargains as much as I do, so she won't care that I bought it used. As a matter of fact, she'll be happy that I did!

I will probably stop by her house a little later, when Hannah gets home from drama class. My sister and her family will probably come by, too, so that would be nice for the kids. They love to spend time with their cousins.


I just finished reading No One to Trust by Iris Johansen today. It was excellent, just like every other book I've read by her.

I started reading Hurricane by Karen Harper. I haven't read anything by her or even heard of her yet, but I can usually tell by reading the first page if I'm going to like a book or not. I am a couple of chapter in and this books seems like it will be really good, so I'm anxious to get to reading!

I thought I would have more time to read once the kids got out of school, but I guess I was wrong. Hopefully, things will calm down soon and I won't have so much running to do.

Green Grass & Tomatoes

The new lawn, just before the netting was taken off

Yay! We actually have a front lawn! We had the hill that serves as our front yard seeded on May 25th and yesterday Steven and his friend, Jeff, took the netting off and revealed green grass. Long green grass that needed to be cut today. Wonder of wonders, Drew actually cut it for me! He hasn't cut the grass in years. Granted, it is only a small part, straw is still covering some of the grass, so that part hasn't been cut yet. Still, he usually won't do anything for me anymore, so this is big.

The grass looks really good. It is a lot of crab grass, but that is okay for now. At least it covers most of the dirt and the erosion problem is gone for now. We can always reseed in the fall and get better grass going for next spring. Drew said he was surprised that the lawn isn't as level as it looks. We had so much dirt delivered (two huge truckloads) and I guess some of it sank a bit.

Shauna was upset yesterday because she found a tiny green tomato on our cherry tomato on the front porch. She was trying to get a closer look at it and it came off. She felt bad, but I'm sure more will be coming very soon. The plant looks nice and strong and healthy and has several flowers. There is also a tiny green tomato on one of the plants in the big garden! I know I should pinch it off and let the plant concentrate on leafing out, but I can't bring myself to do it!

Also, our cucumber seeds are coming up already! Four have germinated and we only planted them 5 days ago. The lettuce on the front porch has been taking forever to germinate. It was supposed to take 7-10 days and here it is 3 weeks later and we only have about six tiny two leaf seedlings. I hope it starts to take off soon!

Book Jackpot!

I went to the library today because Alex and Hannah wanted to see the play Bloody Poetry that Backstage After Dark was putting on.  Shauna went with me and she played in the kid's section of the library until the play was over.  Her friend, Cierra, who lives right across the street from the library was there with her sisters and so they all had a great time.  They used the computers and played with the blocks and toys, while I shopped for books and read.  It was so nice for Shauna because Cierra was her best friend in school last year.  Then our subdivision got redistricted and they aren't together any more.  

I found a book that had healthy recipes for kids and I copied several down (since this was a check out only book!) that I plan to make this summer.  

As my family and friends know, I am blacklisted from the library.  Well, okay, not truly blacklisted, but I have banned myself and my kids from getting any books out of the library.  We always lose them or forget to return them, etc.  It is just way too much stress.  Even the times we do keep track of them, I am worried the whole time we have them that something will happen.

So.....I only get books at the ongoing used book sale at the library or I get them from my friend, Debbie.  She is as obsessed with reading as I am and we love the same kind of books, so it works out great.  

I came home with the following stash and only spent $12:

9 Hardcovers (even though I prefer paperback) and 6 paperbacks.

Bloodlines by Dinah McCall
The Healer by Sharon Sala (Dinah McCall is another name this author uses)
Gone by Lisa Gardener
Pandora's Daughter and Countdown by Iris Johansen
Without a Doubt by Marcia Clark
Irish Country Childhood by Marie Walsh (Not a book I would typically get, but it looked good)
Hurricane by Karen Harper (New author I haven't read yet)
The Burnt House by Faye Kellerman
Killing Orders by Sara Paretsky
Hunting Fear by Kay Hooper
Snow Blind by P. J. Tracy (new author I haven't read yet)
The following by Sue Grafton, from her alphabet series:
G, H & I (3 in one book)
D, E & F (3 in one book)  I can't remember what each letter stood for and since it is 2 am, I'm too lazy to get up and check.

That's it for now, I should be in bed, reading!!!!!!

First Swim Meet for 2008

Alex, Hannah and Shauna had their first swim meet last night.  It was only a friendly, with First Colony, who is a division above ours.  We lost the meet and Shauna couldn't swim because she had an ear infection, but Hannah and Alex did really well.

Alex normally swims in exhibition, which means there are other swimmers that are faster than him and they swim for points and he does not.  Well, he swam exhibition last night, but won first place in all 3 of his events!  That means that he might get to swim for points this season, which is a big step up.  He has been jogging and he attributes that to his shorter times.  I am so proud of him for working so hard.

Hannah had a bad stomach ache yesterday, not sure if it was a regular stomach ache, cramps or a side effect of the Abilify she started taking last week.  She still swam, even though she was in quite a bit of pain.  She swam for points (as always!) and got first place in free style, fourth place in breast, disqualified in fly because she touched the bottom (she knew she would have to because fly requires much use of the stomach muscles and she knew she wouldn't be able to do it, but she had to swim anyway) and first place in an exhibition relay.  I was really proud of her for sticking with it and swimming, even though she felt so badly.

I kept score for the second half of the meet, which I really like doing, so overall it was a good meet.  The best part were the cool temperatures.  If only all the meets could be like that.  Our next meet is next Monday and Mike will be home to see it, so that is good.


I went through some posts on a Yahoo group that I started many, many years ago. I realized that I had some interesting things posted there, mostly funny things the kids said or did when they were little. I thought I would post them here, to preserve them.

This one was posted in 2001, but actually happened in late 1996 or early 1997.

I was laughing when I saw this post because you
said your daughter is anxious to get another "brown
baby". Before we got our daughter, Hannah, I was talking
about getting a new foster baby soon and my son, Luke,
who was four at that time, kept insisting that we
only get a baby boy. He told me that if we got a girl,
he wouldn't hold it or kiss it or even love it! Soon
after, 8 day old Hannah was placed with us and he fell
head over heels in love with her. He treated and still
treats her like she is his little glass princess! When
she was about a month old and he was holding and
kissing her constantly, I said, "Hey Luke, I thought you
said you didn't want any baby girls, and you wouldn't
hold, or kiss, or love them". He looked at me very
seriously and said, "Moooooooom, I meant I didn't want any
white baby girls, I only love brown ones!". And now
that we have two brown baby girls, he still wants

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Steven and Luke's team had their play-off games for the first half of the summer season. They were missing their top scorer because he went to a Pearl Jam concert, but they won the first game, anyway. Steven and Luke played great and had a really awesome play, where they skated down together, passing the puck back and forth the whole time. It was so pretty.

They also managed to get a goal for an older guy who is on their team that isn't such a great player. He is a really nice guy and they have been trying to set him up for a goal all season and it finally worked tonight. Steven passed it to him.

The first game was against a team that is sort of their rival team, so they were really happy to win. Tensions were running high during the game and it was getting a little dangerous, so I'm just glad no one got hurt. There were quite a few temper tantrums and penalties, but that is par for the course. I've been keeping score for the adult league for so long now that the tantrums don't even bother me anymore!

Only a few kids showed up for the youth league, so I was able to spend a lot of time talking to the mom of one of the players. She thinks he has Asperger's so we had plenty to discuss. It was nice to talk to an adult!

Hannah brought her friend, Alexus, to the rink and they behaved really well. They hung around with Cory the whole night, so I was expecting some trouble, but there was none at all. Yay!

I almost forgot to say that they lost the championship game by only 1 point! That's okay, though, their team has already won the championship a couple of times and the team that won is a good team, with mostly nice guys on it.

Doctors and Lawyers

I had to take Shauna to the doctor today for an ear ache. She has swimmers ear. Hmmm, surprisingly none of my kids has ever had this before. She has her first swim meet tomorrow night and won't be able to swim in it. She doesn't mind, though, she hates the meets anyway. She likes the meet, just doesn't like to compete in them, she gets too nervous. Being the mean mom that I am, I make her do it anyway because I think she needs to come out of her comfort zone once in a while and do things that she isn't comfortable with.

I went with Steven to see his lawyer about his contributing charges. I read all the police reports and even though I was pretty sure he did what they accused him of, it is obvious from the reports and statements that he didn't. The charges might even be dropped before court next week, which would be great. If he did it, I would want him to pay the price, even if that price was jail, but I don't want to see him convicted for something he hasn't done. I just wish he would start taking his bipolar meds again. He struggles with life enough when he is taking the meds.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Pizza Night

Monday is always pizza night, so I better get rolling! This week is Chicago style thin crust, which I make in my new (to me) Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. I had been wanting one forever when my mom asked me if I had any use for hers, since she never even used it. Are you kidding me???? I had totally forgotten that she even had one. She must have gotten it around the time I got married (1982), but it still works perfectly. I use it several times a week.

I love to make pizza, it is fun and relaxing, but it takes quite awhile to make it for my large family. Especially because I par bake all the crusts to make sure they are extra crispy. I will make some cheese, pepperoni, and a BBQ chicken pizza this week. YUM!

Alex's Hair

I finished highlighting Alex's hair and I'm waiting for him to get out of the shower, where he is rinsing and conditioning it. I can't wait to see how it came out. The highlights go on as bright white so on his black hair, he looked like a skunk! The color is supposed to be a reddish, which looks good on him (as I found out when he helped himself to a dye box out of my bathroom cabinet and dyed it himself, which he later denied. Hmmm, like I couldn't tell that his hair was suddenly a reddish brown color instead of jet black???).

Okay, well with his hair still wet, I can't really see any highlights, so I guess they are going to be very subtle. I was expecting them to be a little more dramatic. I guess I will just have to wait until he finishes drying it.

I think I did a much better job on his than I did on Hannah's when I did hers a about a month ago. I learned a lot with hers and Alex's had a much better applicator, despite the fact that they were made by the same company.

I should start unbraiding Shauna's hair today, but I so dread it. The poor kid has had those braids in so long.

Well, Alex's hair looks awesome! It is very subtle, but looks great. He loves it, so that is the important thing. I'll take a picture and attach it, but I'm not sure the highlights will show up in the photo.

My Book

I just finished Bogeyman by Gayle Wilson. It was really good! It's a slightly romantic suspense novel with a touch of supernatural thrown in. This is only the second book by Gayle Wilson that I've read and the other one (can't remember the name) was really good, as well.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day and other stuff

Happy Father's Day, Mikey! So far, it hasn't been the greatest, no breakfast in bed (the other kids were sleeping when he woke up and Shauna and I were out planting), no gifts.

We still have to go shopping for his gifts because when we tried to go on Friday, it was discovered that my keys have gone missing. It was very odd because although I am famous for misplacing my keys, I know that when I got home from taking Hannah to her doctor appointment, I left them with my purse, on the couch. No one borrowed them for anything and they were gone a couple of hours later.

I may be wrong, but I am suspecting Steven might have had something to do with this. I noticed the keys were missing right after I gave him his new contract that I told him he had to agree to follow and sign or he had to move out. He was very angry (surprise, surprise). I am afraid he might have taken the keys as revenge. It isn't unlike him to steal keys so he can sneak out with our cars in the middle of the night. The card Hannah got from Gramma with $20 in it, for her 5th grade graduation is also missing from my purse. What a coincidence that Steven told Jack he had $20 to buy beer the other day, hmmmmmm...... Two of our WII controllers are also missing and Steven told Jack he was selling things from his room that he doesn't need, such as cables and splitters to get beer and pot money. I wonder if he considers the WII controllers cables or splitters???? Of course, Steven denied this and called Jack a b**ch for snitching on him.

Even when you get to the point that you KNOW your child needs to move on and out of your house, it is so hard to do. I know that at just turned 18 and very immature, Steven is nowhere near ready to move out on his own. He has no job, no car (well he has a car that isn't paid off yet and now needs a new transmission so he can't drive it) and no where to go. The no job thing is his own fault, the car thing was just really bad luck. It is past time for him to move out, though. He keeps stealing from us, refuses to take his medication, refuses to help out around the house at all, complains when we "don't have any good food", picks on his siblings, screams at me and is very disrespectful, etc. Even though I have had all I can take from him, I am still so sad and terrified about forcing him to be on his own. The thought of one of my babies being homeless and hungry is horrifying. I am also afraid that he will go into a rage, since he hasn't taken his meds in months, once he is kicked out for good. I think I am going to be forced to get the police involved, which I absolutely hate.

Steven's class graduated yesterday (he got his GED over a year ago). How sad is it that Steven was unable to stay in school and graduate with them because his medical (hence behavioral) issues were too severe? How sad is it that so many people mistakenly think that substance abuse problems and mental health issues are the result of poor parenting?

Our First Veggie Garden

Shauna has been wanting to start a vegetable garden since we moved to this house in 2000. Mike finally built us a really nice 16' X 6' raised garden bed! This will be our experimenting year, as we have no clue what we are doing. I have done some internet research (my specialty!) and we are trying out square foot gardening.

We are really late in the season to be just planting, but oh well. We should have had our plants in around mid April. We only started the actual planting yesterday. Mike started the beds a few weeks ago, but it took so much dirt to fill. We ended up having to buy 92 bags of dirt and humus to fill the bed. It would have been much easier to have the dirt delivered, but our house is on a steep hill and there is no way to get the truck to the backyard. That would mean we would have to bring the dirt up in wheelbarrows, from the street. It was easier to just get the bags and bring them home a few at a time. At least I think that was easier.

If this works out, i would love to have a few more beds next year. We all LOVE strawberries (except for Alex, who doesn't love them all that much) and it would be awesome to have our own strawberry beds.

Yesterday, Shauna and I planted 13 tomato plants. This morning we planted 6 zucchini plants, 5 watermelon plants and 9 cantaloupe plants. We also planted Romaine lettuce seeds, carrot seeds and cucumber seeds. Shauna and I had planted a cherry tomato plant and bibb and leaf lettuce in some posts on the front porch two week ago. A couple of the lettuce seedlings appeared yesterday and the tomato is growing nicely, with several flowers on it already.

When we were done planting, Mike came out and put up a fence around the bed. Hopefully, this will keep the dog and other animals out. As we were raking the dirt to level it yesterday, Wrigley decided that it would be great fun to run through the bed and even lie down in the middle and refuse to get out! Shauna and I did not think it was so much fun since we had to re-rake every time he messed it up.

My First Blog

Jack (my oldest son) told me that he can't believe I don't have a blog, so I decided to start one. My fear is that I will blog for awhile and then not feel like doing it. I have a hard time following through with things I have started. I guess I will just try and see how it goes. Maybe I will surprise myself!

I have spent a lot of time, lately, reading the blogs of other adoptive parents. In them, they describe the struggles they are having with their kids and I was shocked to see that there are so many parents out there who are going through the same things that I am. Sometimes coping with my kids is so time demanding that I get really isolated from the rest of the world. Maybe this blog will help me to expand my horizons!