Thursday, December 24, 2009

Quote of the day

"I can feel my ovaries starting to clog from eating all those eggs."--Alex

Update: Alex wants to make sure everyone knows that he was just kidding, he does know it is arteries, not ovaries!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Teenage Drama Update

The one with the attitude and the one who had the cell phone taken away for the turn in violation are both cleaning their rooms, without being told! One came down with four bags of trash (Walmart size, not trash size!) and the other came down for a bucket of soapy water to wash the bedroom floor! Yay!

The one who needs the dermatologist is still looking in the mirror and now "needs a frickin' haircut soooooooooooooo badly"!

Oh, by the way, none of the teenagers have any problem eating all the Christmas goodies I have been slaving over!

More teenage drama

Two confiscated cell phones. One taken away for not turning it in at 8:00 pm, as required. One taken away for wearing brother's jeans without permission and then lying about it. Caught in the act when the jean pockets were checked and an excused absence slip from the school office, complete with the date and the name!

Add one who refuses to do his household chores before he goes to work, one who thinks I am a maid service, and one who has an attitude about everything. How I love being the mother of five teenagers!

The drama of teenagers

"I need a frickin' dermatologist!"
"I thought you were cleaning the bathroom, where does the dermatologist come in?"
"There is a mirror in there and I can't stop looking at myself!"

Monday, December 21, 2009

Baking Day

I was exhausted last night. I spent about 12 hours baking. I made 11 loaves of Portuguese Sweet Bread, 6 dozen hand-dipped truffles, two batches of cream cheese pastry, and two batches of refrigerator cookies and 5 pounds of fudge. When I write it out like this, it seems like so little, yet it was so much work and so time consuming! I actually made the fudge and refrigerator cookies on Saturday.

It was so much work, but also fun and worth the effort because the goodies are such an important part of the traditions that my kids love so much. They really hate it when anything changes about the holidays. There is no such thing; in my eyes, as saying, if I don't have time or money, I just won't bake this year. It is too special to my kids and makes them so happy, I just won't compromise on that. I've seen how much deviation from the norm upsets them. Last year, my mom stopped her annual tradition of giving each kid a personalized Christmas ornament on Thanksgiving. My kids were devastated! They were upset again this year, although not as upset as last year, since they had been hoping she only took one year off, but no such luck. I remember how much I loved the holiday traditions when I was a kid, like getting a Life Saver's Christmas Book every year. I guess since the kids of this generation are being raised in such a scary and tumultuous world, keeping things the same is more important than ever.

Last Weekend

Last weekend, Hannah, Shauna and I went up to Northern VA for Mike's work Christmas party. We had a great time! The party was so much fun and the food was delicious. I've never had upscale catering before and it was wonderful. I'm used to pulled pork, fried chicken and beef sandwiches! Not that those aren't all delicious, this was just a bit different for a change.

We spent the weekend there, doing a little shopping and a fun tacky Christmas light tour. We saw some really pretty houses. The girls and I left on Sunday afternoon and Mike just stayed, since driving home that night and driving right back Monday morning would have been silly!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Reece's Rainbow Angel Tree

There are still SEVEN children with no sponsors! Please, if you can, sponsor one of them. It would be great to see all of the children have at least one sponsor. I believe that THIRTY kids have found new homes, since this year's Angel Tree started! Yay!

http://www.reecesrainbow.com/angeltree2009sponsorpage.html

Monday, December 7, 2009

Please put this on your blog

You might have noticed the new button on my blog. We are helping to raise money to save four year old Tonya from going to a mental institution in her country. Please put this button on your blog and help pass the word!

Thank you!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Socks

I just had to search through our 'sock crate'. This is actually one side of a huge coffee table/trunk that opens for storage. It is full to the brim with unmatched socks. I was looking for Hannah's choir stockings. Luckily for me, they are black. I searched through a sea of mostly white socks. Still could not find both of them. I found a fork.

*Update: Found the other one on attempt two! I was hoping for a spoon, as well.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Birthday Central

Six out of nine of us have birthdays between September 29th and December 1st. Today is the last one. Yay! It gets expensive and time consuming, with a lot of baking going on. CUP's is September 29th, Shauna's is October 13th. Then we have three in November, Hannah on the 11th, me on the 25th and Drew on the 30th. Alex was thoughtful enough to be born 5 hours into December, so I wouldn't have three November birthstones on my Mother's necklace!

So, happy birthday, Alex! I can't believe he is 15 already. Drew was hanging out with friends for most of the day on his birthday, so his birthday dinner & dessert is scheduled for Wednesday. I will have to try to find some baby pictures to post!

Now that the birthdays are almost over, I can start concentrating on Christmas. Alex already decorated for me, with some help from Shauna. We have two small trees, instead of one large, because our cats climb the large ones and wreck them. The small ones can be put in the sun room at night, so they can't get at them. Last year, I just put the small green tree with blue lights in the sunroom, fully decorated. Now we just have to remember to bring it out every day! This year we put the white tree on top of my computer desk. For some reason, the cats never go up there and so far they haven't bothered it. Last year we folded it up and put it away in the box, but left the ornaments on. It still needs to be fluffed and I would like to get some garland for it, but it is almost ready to go. We are having some issues with the electricity where my computer is, so I now have a lovely orange extension cord running across the floor between the family room and kitchen. Mike fixed it a few days ago, but apparently putting in a new outlet wasn't enough because it went out again yesterday. We now have no light or ceiling fan above the kitchen table. Our outside outlets in the front and back stopped working several years ago. Our house really seems to be a lemon!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Quote of the day

"Alex, you have man-legs."--Hannah

"That's because I'm a man."--Alex

"You're a boy. You're not a man until you get your period."--Shauna

Friday, November 27, 2009

Quote of the day

"They should make a candle called Italian Dinner."--Alex

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hannah's Field Hockey Picture

Quote of the day

Me: "What about sweet potatoes?"

My sister: "Oh, I forgot about those. I have some regular potatoes, but I don't know if we can use them to make sweet potatoes."

Me: (Laughing hysterically!) "Um, that is like saying you have a box of macaroni and cheese mix and you are going to make brownies with it!"

Ahhh, the joys of the holidays!!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tonya

I meant to mention this yesterday and just forgot. Thank you, Denise, for commenting on it and reminding me! Tonya is now featured on the home page of Reece's Rainbow! You are right, Denise, she is really cute and I bet she does have a great personality! Here are a couple of pictures of her that have been posted on the site in the past.

Roses

This is one of the things that makes me love Virginia so much! Roses blooming in November! When I think back to how cold and even snowy it could be in November in Chicago, I can't believe how lucky I am to now live in a place with such beautiful weather. We have had a couple of chilly days, but I could count them on one hand. Mostly it has been in the 60's & 70's every day. Of course, we had that huge nor'easter/tropical storm last week, but even though it rained for 4 days straight, it was warm.

Hannah has gotten over being sick. She came home from school on Monday with a low grade fever and ran a fever all day on Tuesday. By Wednesday, she was fever free and she returned to school on Thursday. It is hard to tell what she had, but it might have been H1N1. It is always hard to tell with Hannah because she doesn't get sick like typical people. When everyone else in the house has a high fever, cough, sore throat, body aches for a week or ten days, she will have a medium fever and body aches for a couple of days. That is just the way she is. Same things with colds, she will be sick for a day or two and then she's fine. Weird. She went back to school just in time to get her H1N1 vaccination on Thursday! The school finally got them in. Alex and Luke get theirs next Monday.

Alex had his first performance as Daddy Warbucks today. He was awesome! It was a really cute show. He will have another one tomorrow and then one more in December. I will try to post some video, but I didn't take any tonight.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I've been keeping a secret!

Yep, I have been keeping a secret, since last February, February 18, 2009, to be exact. On that day, I came across a website called Reece's Rainbow. Reece's Rainbow is a non-profit adoption ministry. They help find homes for orphans with Down syndrome and some with other disabilities. Most of the orphans are in Eastern European countries. In those countries, children with Down syndrome are routinely placed in orphanages, as there are no services available to their families. At the age of 5, or thereabouts, they are transferred from their "baby house" to a mental institution. Most of the children die within the first year of their transfer. They receive little or no medical care, attention, or love and are often strapped to their beds. In the United States, children with Down syndrome are treasured and there is a long waiting list of families who want to adopt the few that become available. With the many services and medical treatments available in the U.S., these kids can grow up to be happy, productive members of society. Many even learn to drive, get married, and live independently.

As I browsed through the children's pictures, I fell in love with a little girl named Tonya. I really felt that we would be a wonderful family for her, even though we hadn't planned on adopting any more children. I kept it to myself for a couple of months, thinking that the feeling would pass. It didn't. More and more, I felt that I had been directed to the website and Tonya's picture for a reason. I talked to Mike about it, and while he wasn't against actually adopting her, he expressed a lot of concern about the financial aspects. I don't blame him for that, it isn't like I hadn't thought of that, a lot. I guess where we differ, though, is that I feel very strongly that we would find a way to come up with the adoption and travel fees, if we committed to Tonya and put our minds to it. Mike doesn't quite have the faith that I do, however.

Adoptions in Tonya's country cost about $24,000, which includes travel costs and lodging. Since it doesn't seem to be an option for us (although, I have to admit that I am still hoping and praying that it will work out, somehow!), I have committed to helping raise money for Tonya to be adopted. Even though it would break my heart to find out that another family had decided to adopt her, I would be incredibly happy that she was going to be getting a family and her life will not be lost or damaged forever in a mental institution.

We had a garage sale last spring, which I blogged about, and we raised a bit of money from that. Since our hockey rink was closed, we decided to disband our non-profit hockey organization. Since we had a 501-(3)c status, one of the requirements for disbanding is that we must donate any remaining bank balance to another non-profit organization. A few months ago, I approached the rest of the board with the idea of donating it to Reece's Rainbow. They voted, unanimously, to do it and that money is now a part of her adoption grant. While it is still only a drop in the bucket, if you go here, to the Reece's Rainbow Blog, you can see that Tonya's grant is beginning to grow.

I am blogging about this now because I would like to spread the word about Tonya and the other beautiful children at Reece's Rainbow. They all deserve homes and loving families. There are a lot of families out there, like mine, who would be willing to take them in and love them, but cannot because they just don't have enough money for the adoption expenses. Please take a few minutes to look at these children and see if you can find a way to help them with a financial donation or by becoming a prayer warrior. Right now, they have an Angel Tree and if you send a $35 donation, they will send you a porcelain Christmas ornament with a picture of your sponsored child. Just click on the ornament on the side of my blog for more information.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quote of the day

"Mom, you should get a job. You don't know what it's like to work. All you do is a half hour of cleaning a day. You have no idea about working."--Steven

Thursday, October 22, 2009

On my way...

On my way to Las Vegas! Hannah scored a goal in field hockey yesterday. She has only been playing for a month. Yay, Hannah!

How's that for a blog entry???

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bargain weekend

I got ten 4 ounce Wheat Thins for only 25 cents, total! I also got 4 dozen eggs for only 7 cents, total! I love a good bargain.

I just finished making apple spice muffins and chocolate chip muffins for school this week and I'm off to make pizza. This is taking WAY longer than I planned. Blogging probably made it take a little longer!

No major news this weekend.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Is this still good?

Luke found this coupon in a rarely used kitchen drawer. It expired on September 30, 2000. I guess I should throw it away!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Quickie

Jack's car almost fixed.
Front porch and stairs, spotless. Only took two days of pressure washing. I'm sore.
Recent emails still not answered.
Blog entry on my awesome weekend, now two weekends ago, still not done.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Strawberries

My wonderful husband brought me a treat from Las Vegas today! He surprised me with some chocolate covered strawberries. Two are dipped in white chocolate and dark chocolate and two are covered in chocolate and toffee pieces. Yummy!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chocolate yogurt recipe

Chocolate Yogurt or Drinkable Chocolate Yogurt

2 cups plain fat free yogurt (You can get 32 oz. for only $1.57 at Walmart)
4T Cocoa Powder
sweetener to taste, I use half sugar and half splenda
1 tsp. vanilla

No milk or a Tablespoon or so of milk for consistency if you are making regular yogurt. If you want drinkable yogurt, add about a cup of milk or as much as you need to make it a chocolate milk consistency.

We mix this in the blender, but you can probably mix it by hand, as well, as long as you can get the cocoa powder to dissolve completely.

I'm going to try adding a little flax seed next time and see if anyone notices! I added it to my homemade granola bars tonight and they taste exactly the same, so I'm sure the kids won't even know.

Jen, we also flavor this plain fat free yogurt with dry jello mix and a little sweetener. It is so much cheaper than the little cups of flavored yogurt and delicious with some homemade granola.

Are you kidding me????????

If anyone has ever wondered why I named my blog "Are You Kidding Me????????", you will have no doubt, after reading this entry.

Hannah and Shauna were on their way up to bed. As they passed through the foyer, they smelled smoke. A big thunderstorm with lots of lightning was just beginning to subside, so I immediately thought that our house might have been struck and there was a fire in the attic. I hurried in there and smelled it myself. It was very strong. I opened the front door, no smoke smell. I opened the living room door, no smoke smell. I sent the kids upstairs to sniff, no smoke smell. I opened the door to the garage, strong smoke smell! I turned on the light and couldn't see any fire. I closed the door and checked the backyard to see if I could smell it or see fire, thinking maybe a tree had gotten struck, no smoke smell. I went back to the garage and it was still really strong. Just as I was about to turn the light on, I saw what looked like a flashlight beam, moving over the front windshield of Steven's car. He hasn't been able to afford to have the transmission repaired, so it has been sitting in the garage for many months. I turned the light on and didn't see anyone outside the side door. I turned the light off, again, to see if I could see it, nothing. I turned the light on once more and looked around, still nothing. Then I really started getting scared because I knew that a human was attached to that light I had seen.

I went upstairs to get Jack and Drew to come down and help me check it out. I wasn't sure what was going on, but my theories were that there was an attic fire (one of our attics is directly above the garage) and a neighbor was checking it out with a flashlight or there was a fire somewhere outside of my garage, maybe in the garbage cans, or there was someone out there with a flashlight, trying to burn my house down!

While I was upstairs, getting Jack and Drew, Alex and the girls had gone down and Alex opened the door to the garage, but didn't turn on the light. As I came down, he turned to me and said, "It's Steven, smoking in there." I didn't think it was because I had looked in there numerous times and no one was there. So, I looked out there and saw what looked like a lighter flickering, just inside the side door, right next to Steven's car. I turned the light on and saw one of Steven's friends standing there. He sort of stared at me, like a deer caught in the headlights and I yelled, "Who else is out there?" and heard Steven answer from the car. Out climbs a kid I've never seen before and Steven. I, of course, freak out and really start yelling. "What the hell are you doing smoking pot in my garage? Of course, Steven replies that they aren't smoking pot, just sitting in his car smoking cigarettes and talking. My reply to that was, "Bull f-ing sh*t!" I ask why they are sneaking around, then. He says they weren't sneaking around (Now is where the first are you kidding me???????? comes in!!) . According to them, they were just sitting in the car because it was storming out. The boy I don't know is standing completely turned away from me the whole time I'm talking, so I can't see his face. I tell him to turn around and look at me when I'm talking. He did and then I told them that they would have been welcome to sit on my covered porch and smoke cigarettes during the storm, but if they ever bring drugs or alcohol onto my property or sneak around my property, I will call the police and have them all arrested (including Steven). Steven mutters a few more things about not smoking pot, not sneaking, etc. and then says, "You don't have to be such a bitch about it." (Again, I say, are you kidding me????????)

Stuff

I'm still working on the post I promised about what happened Saturday night, that I have been waiting 15 years for! It is going to be a very long one, so it is taking a while. I only get to go on the computer for bits and pieces of time and it is too much to do all at once.

I'm also still working on my list of things to blog, so here are a few things I can cross off. This is just a bunch of miscellaneous stuff.

Aurora (one of the cats) fell or jumped out the kitchen window the other day and disappeared. I had opened the windows because it was a nice day. I knew that one of the screens was ripped on the bottom because Paint had fallen out a couple of weeks ago. That was really funny because he fell out, panicked and ran to the door, which is right next to the window and scrambled back into the house! Anyway, I was hoping that no one would get out because I really wanted the fresh air in the house. The ripped screen is on the cat's favorite window, the one that looks out on the back hummingbird feeder (see even my cats love the hummingbirds!!!), so there are usually at least two cats on that windowsill when the window is open. So, Aurora got out and when Alex opened the door to get her back in, while she was still on the deck and wanting to come in, the stupid dog ran out and scared her away. She took off, around the house and disappeared. We tried to find her, but figured she would come back at some point, so we let it go. A few hours later, the girls were out in front with their friend, Shannon. I went out to ask Hannah something and I asked them if they had seen Aurora. The answer was no, but they had been looking for her. As I said, "Okay, keep looking.", I started to hear a frantic meowing right below me. I was on the porch, leaning out. I looked down at the bushes and couldn't see her, but it was clear she was panicking and wanting some attention. The girls ran to her, but she was under a rose bush and they couldn't reach in to get her. Shannon ran home for some cat treats to try to lure her out with. That got her a little closer to the front, but not close enough to grab. Luke went out and was able to show her a path out, that didn't have thorns and he brought her in. Boy, was she happy to be back home!

Alex made some delicious chocolate yogurt the other day. I love Stony Field Farms Chocolate Underground yogurt, but it is really expensive. I had a recipe for chocolate yogurt and I haven't made it for a long time. Alex made a batch and it was delicious! I don't know why more companies don't make chocolate yogurt. When Jack and Drew were little, we used to eat it all the time. I can't remember which company made it, but it was so good. We were all disappointed when they stopped making it. Yoplait makes a chocolate whipped yogurt, but I don't like that one. I love it when Alex makes yummy things! I'm so lucky to have a son who loves to cook.

I was watching the news from Chicago, since we get WGN on our cable. I heard them say that Kiddieland was closing! WHAT? Kiddieland has been there forever, it can't close. I never went there as a kid because we had a kid's amusement part near us. I think it was also a Kiddieland, but when I was about 10 or 12, they tore it down and put in a Venture, which eventually became a Target. However, when Jack and Drew were little, we used to go every year. They loved it there.

A teacher in the family?

Luke has been having a hard time deciding what he wants to do with his life. He knows he wants to go to college, but that is as far as he could get. For the past year or so, I've been sending him articles I see on line, about different careers. Some sounded good to him, such as computer science, but didn't feel like a perfect fit. Last night he told me that he thinking he might want to be a teacher. I can't believe I never thought of that for him! At first I was kind of shocked, but after asking him what he wanted to teach and hearing his answer of history, it made so much sense. This boy loves history. He also loves to help his siblings with stuff they don't understand. He has a great sense of humor and can inject silliness and jokes into almost any situation, so he would be able to keep the kid's attention. This is the kid who will, suddenly, for no apparent reason, just take on the persona of a Family Guy character and have everyone in the room laughing hysterically. He would make a great teacher. I just wish they made more money, seeing as I was counting on him to help support us in our old age!!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quotes of the day

Alex: "Mom is like Steven with weed, except with books."



Luke: "Once you get your license, you can swear."

Funnies of the day

Funny number one: Alex, Hannah and I were looking for canola oil in the pantry. I figure out that Steven must have used the last of it and say, "Well, you either can't make brownies or you will have to use olive oil, which might give them a funny taste." Alex replies, "Why don't we just use some from Hannah's head?" It takes me a few seconds to "get it"! We had just finished a conversation about how much hair oil she had used.

Funny number two: I told Alex, Hannah and Shauna to do their chores. I hear them talking amongst themselves.

Alex: "My leg is broken."
Shauna: "My arm is broken."
Hannah: Runs to the stairs and pretends to fall down. They all laugh. She comes into the kitchen saying "Ouch" and showing me the rug burn she got on her arm from 'pretending' to fall down the stairs and get hurt!

For the record

Just for the record (Denise!), I was just kidding about the hummingbird saying goodbye! I am NOT turning into my Dad, for those who are concerned!!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Great link for special needs parents

Claudia is a mom of 12 and while I love all of her posts, this one was extra amazing and true and I had to share. Click here to see Claudia's blog post about grieving.

Hummingbirds

I haven't seen any hummingbirds in a whole week. I am so sad. I really miss them. I still check the feeders regularly, hoping to see at least one who is passing through on it's way to somewhere warm, but no such luck. It is still pretty warm here, I haven't had to wear a jacket yet, so I expected them to be here longer. I can't help but wonder if Black Meanie is terrorizing other hummingbirds in Mexico right now! I also wonder if the same birds come back every year. I haven't been able to find any information about that, so I'm guessing not.

I found this awesome hummingbird website that has a bunch of videos on it.
My favorites are the ones called Hummingbird Haven. Now that is a role model for me!

I'm not sure of the exact date, but it was about one week ago that I saw the last two hummingbirds. One of the gray and black ones fed, and then came to hover about a foot in front of me. It actually peed and I checked my foot to see if it had peed on my foot because it was so close. It hovered for quite a while, then moved a little to my left and hovered for awhile more, staring at me the whole time. I think it was saying goodbye! Black Meanie was there, as well, chasing it away a couple of times, but it seemed like he was more interested in feeding himself than chasing the other one. They must have been filling up for their long trip because they were both pudgier than usual and the next day, they were both gone. I can't wait until spring!

Tons to blog about

I have so many things to blog about, most of which have popped up over the last few days. I have been keeping a list on my computer so I don't forget anything. This is way too much to blog all at once, so I will be adding posts throughout the day today and probably tomorrow.

CUP is in PA, visiting Janine. He left last Wednesday and will be home tomorrow, although I have no idea what time. Janine, if you are reading this, will you please let me know what time his train gets here? Thanks. I will have to wait until Janine blogs to find out what she and CUP did in PA, since he never tells me anything! Although, I have been getting a few glimpses into their activities on Facebook. Janine started school and while I think she is still stressed out, at least she isn't in a panic anymore, so that is good news! She tweeted a great story about school. For one of her teachers, this is her first teaching experience. She got overwhelmed and broke down in front of the class. Janine said no one else said anything, so she just blurted out, "Well if it makes you feel better, this is the only class I get!" Everyone, including the teacher, started to laugh. I thought that was really sweet of Janine, since I know that teacher had to be totally humiliated and I'm sure she will always remember the student who rescued her!

The kids and I had a very relaxing day on Sunday. First of all, Mike was only home for 32 hours this weekend. He got home from Ohio at midnight on Friday and left for Las Vegas at 8:00 am on Sunday. The parts of the weekend he was actually here for where nice, though. Anyway, when I got home from the airport, I was thinking about making some homemade donuts as a treat for the kids. I had thought about buying some on the way home from the airport because I haven't gotten them donuts in probably at least two years. Then I thought about how expensive they are and changed my mind! I was looking around on the internet for recipes and trying to decide if I wanted to go to that much work, when Alex came down and started rummaging through the fridge. He found a pound of bacon and asked if we could make it. I didn't even remember that we had a pound of bacon in there! I said yes and decided that as long as we would be making a mess with bacon, we might as well do the donuts, too. I actually made a Native American flat bread recipe and then Alex made a vanilla glaze and a cinnamon-sugar topping. They were delicious! He even put some of my precious Boston jimmies on some of them. Yum! It was a fun time that morning. All the younger kids pitched in to help with the breakfast and it was actually peaceful and relaxing. They even pitched in to help clean up the kitchen, which was a nice surprise!

More on our weekend, specifically, our wonderful experience on Saturday night, later! Just for a teaser, we did something that I've been longing for for the past 15 years and it was awesome. Then more awesomeness happened last night, as a direct result of the awesomeness on Saturday night!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Yay!

Alex tried out for his first high school play and got a part! I forget the name, some foreign thing and I have no idea what it is about or what part he got. I think he is the only freshman who got a part. They only have 4 or 5 weeks to rehearse and I think there is some sort of competition between the three area high schools. I believe it is only a one act play. He is also joining the International Thespian Society Club at his school. I'm not sure about he details for that, but I know they earn points for every play they are in, beginning in middle school, so he already has a lot of points. At least that is what he thinks, so it will be interesting to get more information about that.

Did she make the team or not????

I wanted to title this post, "A day in the life of a child with multiple, invisible disabilities", but decided that was a bit too long. It does fit, though.

Hannah tried out for the field hockey team at her middle school this week. First she went to a week of pre-conditioning, then three days of try-outs. I felt pretty confident that she would make the team because she is an awesome athlete. However, she is only a 7th grader and has never played field hockey at all, so it would depend on how many 8th graders were returning to the team and how many 7th graders have more experience than she does. I had heard that several 7th graders have done field hockey camps and rec leagues, so they would at least know the basic rules, which Hannah does not. She has played tons of roller hockey, since she was four, but field hockey is a lot different.

Let's go back to the second day of try-outs. Hannah was supposed to stay after school and go straight to the try-outs. Lo and behold, she walks in the front door with Shauna. Ugh, is my first thought. Turns out she has been feeling nauseous since lunch and didn't know what to do, so she came home. She told her friend, Shannon, to tell the coach that she was going home because she was sick. Usually, when Hannah feels sick like that, she just needs to eat, so I made her eat and lie down for a few minutes. After about 30 minutes, she felt much better and I took her to the try-out. The coach was surprised to see her and said she thought that Hannah had changed her mind about trying out. I explained the situation. Apparently, Shannon hadn't told the coach that Hannah was sick. Not much of a surprise there. Although Hannah and Shannon are friends and have been for 9 years, Shannon is very competitive in sports and since Hannah is a natural athlete, she always tends to outshine Shannon a little. Not too much, since Shannon is also a very good athlete. Hannah is not competitive at all and will slow down in both track and swimming, to let a friend catch up, even during meets, but it is important to Shannon to be the best. All during the try-outs, Shannon kept telling Hannah that she couldn't afford field hockey and she wouldn't like it, so she should try out for cheer leading instead. Since Hannah had thought about trying out for cheer, this was confusing for her. It made for a confusing week of conditioning, as Hannah waffled back and forth between field hockey and cheer. She ultimately decided to try out for field hockey and do cheer next semester.

Anyway, at the end of the third day of try-outs, she called me to come pick her up and told me she hadn't made the team. When she got home, we discussed it and she said that the coach had called her over and told her that someone had told her that Hannah wanted to try out for cheer. Hannah told her that she had wanted to try out for cheer (meaning that she HAD wanted to, but decided not to). According to Hannah, the coach said, "Well, if you want to cheer, go cheer." I had a feeling there was more to it, that Hannah didn't remember (not surprising :)!). I wasn't sure what to do. Should I call the coach (who is a neighbor and I have known for a long time, but not real well)? Or should I just let it be? Hannah was disappointed and mad because Shannon had obviously told the coach that Hannah didn't really want to play field hockey, which wasn't the way it was. I decided to wait until the next day and see if the coach called me.

That all happened on Friday and on Saturday, Hannah and her friend walked up to Rite Aid (a different friend, not Shannon). At Rite Aid, they saw the coach. The coach told Hannah that she missed her at practice that morning and that they were practicing on Monday, if she would like to come. HUH? Hannah told me that she was really confused about why coach would say that when she hadn't made the team. Now what do I do? Do I call the coach and try to explain that my perfect physical specimen of a child has a bunch of hidden disabilities and she has no idea if she made the team or not? Do you know how hard it is to explain hidden disabilities and how they affect thinking, when you barely can grasp it yourself? Plus, it is extra hard because many of the disabilities Hannah has are related to birth mom's drug and alcohol abuse, as well as her mental health, all things that I would like to keep as private as possible, at least around the neighborhood! Ugh.

I thought about it for a few hours and finally decided to send the coach an email, which I had planned to do anyway, thanking her for giving up her time for the conditioning, etc. I told her that I appreciated the conditioning and it was so good for Hannah to get that level of exercise after a relatively lazy summer and so on. I also said that even though Hannah hadn't made the team this year, she would try to get to some of the games to watch how the game is played and try out again next year. Here is part of her reply:

Did she not tell you? I saw her on Saturday and asked if she missed hockey and she said yes. So I told her to be there on Monday from 3:30-5:30 and she said yes. I almost called you but I figured she’d tell you. I sat her down during Friday’s horrible cuts and asked if she wanted to play hockey or Cheerleading. I heard she wanted to cheer. I told her she is an incredible athlete and would be great at anything she put her mind to. She said she really wanted to do cheer. So I told her to do what made her happiest; but I would always take her back. Then I saw her Saturday and she said she wanted to play hockey. So I am expecting to see her on Monday!

Hannah was really happy to find out she had actually made the team and so was the rest of the family! Then on Monday, she brought home a note that said they would have practice on Wednesday from 3:30-5:30, a scrimmage game on Thursday and no practice on Friday. I took this to mean they would have no practice on Tuesday, since it wasn't mentioned. So, Hannah didn't take her hockey stuff, per my instruction, yesterday and came home after school. Later in the evening, the coach called me to find out why Hannah hadn't been at practice. I explained the situation and she said that a bunch of kids told her that they told Hannah there was practice. I asked Hannah after I hung up and she said that one girl had told her, but that girl has lied to her before, so she didn't believe her. Of course, by the time she got home, she forgot to mention it to me. I would have driven her over there, if I knew.

Talk about getting off to a great start! How the heck am I supposed to explain this to the coach and let her know that Hannah was not trying to get out of practice (she loves it), but her brain works differently than most and this is what happens sometimes? This is the first time, other than doing a competitive cheer team when she was 5 & 6, that she had been in a sport, where I haven't been the coach or director, so I haven't had to deal with this. When she was in cheer, she was very little and I was always there with her, so this wasn't an issue. Luckily, the coach is very nice and wasn't mad about it, but I am sure I didn't do the greatest job explaining everything to her and she probably thinks we are all nuts here!

What a way to start the day

I woke up at 5:50, as always, now that school has started. That is the time that I need to wake Alex up, since he has alarm clock issues. More on that in a minute. I felt around for my glasses, on my nightstand, where I always leave them. No glasses. I woke Alex up and told him that if he had any extra time, since today is an early release day and he didn't have to make a lunch, would he please come help me look for the glasses, since I can't see a darn thing. I kept looking for the glasses, with no results. Alex came and spent a little time, actually looking, not just feeling around like I was. No glasses. Luke heard about the problem and he came and looked. No glasses. They both go off to school and the girls come to help me look. Hannah looks, no glasses. Shauna looks, no glasses. Shauna looks, again, still no glasses. Hannah looks again, still no glasses. By now, I am very close to getting hysterical. I cannot function without my glasses. Well, I would be able to read and use the computer, but that is it! I was getting more and more panicked as it got closer to the time that I have to drive Jack to the train station because he is going to visit Janine this week. I even sent Jack a text at work and told him to get home asap, to help look for my glasses. As soon as the girls left for school, I decided to do one more search, before I started the hysterics. Still no luck in any of the usual places they might have fallen, like under the nightstand, under the bed, etc. By this time, I had already prayed to St. Anthony several times. I prayed one more time and for the third time, decided to search my blanket and Mike's blanket. I did that and still no glasses. I guess at this point, St. Anthony had decided that I had learned my lesson about taking better care of my glasses, and he decided to have pity on me. I wasn't even thinking about it because I knew that the glasses were not on the bed or in the blanket, but I picked the blanket up, held it over the floor and shook it gently. Then I heard one of the most perfect sounds I have ever heard...the tinkling of the arms of my glasses hitting against each other, as they tumbled to the floor! WHEW, thank you, St. Anthony! That left me with just enough time to shower, dry my hair and get Jack to the train station on time. Then I saw an Illinois car on the way to the station, which was the icing on the cake because Janine and Mike have been beating me lately and I am usually the Queen of Illinois cars.

I think I have figured out how my glasses got tangled in my blanket. Sometime during the night, I woke up and noticed that Hannah and Shauna's cell phone had fallen off of the book that I had left it on. My phone was still up there. I had four books stacked up on my nightstand and my glasses and the phones had all been put on the top book when I went to sleep. I guess my blanket must have swept across at some point and knocked the phone off the book and knocked the glasses on itself. Needless to say, I'm going to clear off my night stand today!

As I mentioned, Alex has alarm clock issues. He has no problem setting it for the right time, turning it on, making sure am and pm are correct and turning up the volume so he can hear it go off. The problem he has is doing all of those things at the same time, so the alarm actually goes off correctly and wakes him up!

As I also mentioned, today is an early release day. Since Luke gets off early every day, it was an early, early release for him and at 10:25, he and Stephen B. came bursting through the front door! Well, actually they tried to burst through the door, but sort of just thudded against it, since I had locked it when I came home from the train station. Since they brought both empty recycling bins up for me, I forgave them for crashing into my door! What a day so far!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Quote of the day

"I'm going to blog about this."--Luke

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First day of school

The kids were really anxious to start school this year, which was a good thing. Usually they aren't so excited, with the exception of Hannah, who loves school. Even Luke was looking forward to it this year. I guess that is because he is a senior and has early release every day! Alex started high school and likes it so far. Hannah came home with a big smile on her face. I wish that could happen every day! Shauna is the only one who came home upset. She said that it was confusing. She thinks that some of her classrooms have changed places since the orientation last week. I doubt that, I think she just got mixed up on where she was. She also said that the teacher was explaining things and going too fast and she was listening, but couldn't get it all. I told her things will get better and easier, but she doesn't agree!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Quote of the day

"I had a hummingbird experience."--Luke

(A hummingbird flew up to him, sniffed him (his words, not mine) and then flew away. He was wearing a red shirt.)

Friday, September 4, 2009

27 years ago today...

Mike and I were married 27 years ago today. As I sat in the doctor's office with two kids this morning, I realized that at exactly the same time, 27 years ago, I was having pictures taken with the girls in my wedding, at my mom's house. Outside, the boys were gathering and drinking beer in front of the house, although I didn't find that out until later. The wedding was at 10:30 am, so this was pretty early in the morning for beer drinking! Luckily, my husband had the sense to only have a little. Had he shown up drunk to the wedding, I wouldn't be blogging about our anniversary right now! One of the groomsmen wasn't quite so intelligent, though, and passed out on the altar. I didn't even notice!

Anyway, it doesn't seem like 27 years ago at all. We are planning to go out to dinner tonight, thanks to a gift from my mom. We were going to go out by ourselves, but then we remembered that we had purchased a gift certificate to the restaurant where Steven works and we decided to go there and bring some of the kids. I ordered the certificate in February, so I guess it is about time to use it! We don't mind bringing the kids since they are a lot of fun.

The rest of the day will be spent cleaning, not exactly what I was imagining 27 years ago, today! Oh, by the way, I was only 12 when I got married. :)





Monday, August 31, 2009

Peace and Benadryl

It is quiet and peaceful in my house. School starts next week and my kids have been staying up until all crazy hours, long after I'm asleep. Last week, Shauna even went with Janine to visit Jack at work when he took his 4:00 am break! So, we got some melatonin today and I gave them a dose of Benadryl and as far as I can tell, they are all asleep! Alex has his ninth grade orientation from 9-2 tomorrow, so he really needed to get to sleep early.

I felt really crappy this weekend and I am heading to bed myself, hoping for a better week than weekend!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My duh

In this post, I said that Alex thought they were supposed to look for pots. He corrected me last night and told me it was pans, which of course, is close to pads and makes a whole lot more sense! Duh for me!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Interesting...

So, Janine and I were talking about why Mike changed his Facebook profile to say that he is married, but he took off the part that said he was married to me. Alex pipes up with, "Well, he is in Vegas!"

Friday, August 28, 2009

Duh of the day

"Please go get pads and Equate anti-diarrheal."--Me (to Alex and Hannah, at Walmart)

After being gone for a very long time:

"Alex made us look at pans for a really long time because he thought you said pans, not pads."--Hannah

"I couldn't find the anti-direl (sic) pans. Then Hannah told me you said pads."--Alex

"Yeah, but that was after we were looking at the pans for 5 or 6 minutes! Then I remembered that you said pads."--Hannah

"We saw one of the neighbors when we were looking at the pans. Good thing I didn't ask her if she knew which ones were the anti-direl ones!"--Alex

Ugh, these were the same two kids who had told me only minutes earlier that the gravy wasn't in the aisle that has the big gravy sign on it. When I pointed the gravy out, Alex said, "Oh, that's on the bottom shelf. We didn't look there." I can't wait to take those two shopping again!

***Edited to read pans, instead of pots!***

Quote of the day

"Hannah, did you throw that hammer?"--Me

"Underhand."--Hannah

Monday, August 24, 2009

Home

We are home from vacation. Tired. More later.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The best laid plans...

Didn't I say we were going to the aquarium and to see Lucy the Elephant today? Well, things didn't go exactly according to plan. We didn't do either. It also never rained like it was supposed to.

Some of the kids went to the beach a time or two. Actually, all of ours, except Hannah did. They also went crabbing with the Dads and had a great time. They are hoping to go again at least once before we leave on Monday. A threatening storm sent them home early from crabbing, but the storm passed us right by.

We drove to Toms River, NJ, about an hour away from Atlantic City, just to eat dinner at White Castle. Yum! Some of us then had ice cream at Mentos in Ventnor, just a few blocks from the house. Nick's cousin arrived tonight, along with two of her kids.

We are hoping to get some beach time in tomorrow, if the beach isn't closed due to high waves and riptides.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Quote of the day

"Nick was born with a mustache"--Denise

Mom's Day Out

We had a Mom's Day Out today. Denise, Lucille, Judith, and I went to see the movie, Julie and Julia (or is it Julia and Julie?). It was really, really good. Then we went to the Goodwill store and shopped. I found 6 really nice silver picture frames for the kid's rooms and some other storage/decorative items for their rooms. I also got myself a book or two. Nothing incredibly exciting, but nice. After Goodwill, we stopped for a quick bite to eat at McDonald's. The yogurt parfait was yummy and the iced mocha coffee was delicious.

Hannah and Brittany went for a long walk down the boardwalk today. Mike followed them, just to be sure they were safe! Then Judith took them shopping. Hannah found a pair of colored jeans for only $10.

Steven, Stephen B. and Luke went for a long walk, after dark. They walked six miles there and back, plus however far they walked while inside the different buildings they went in. They checked out some stores and casinos.

We played some dominoes tonight and, in keeping with my tradition, I was the biggest loser!

Tomorrow we are planning to go to the aquarium and to see an elephant named Lucy. Not sure what that is all about! It is supposed to rain, hence the indoor plans. We are also supposed to have huge waves this weekend, due to the hurricane. I hope they don't close the beach!

Quotes of the day

"You can't use flip flops as a reliable source of walking around."--Steven, commenting on the fact that Stephen B's mom told him he didn't need to bring gym shoes on a beach vacation.

"I smell a cat fight coming on. I'm allergic to cats, so please go in the basement."--JJ's comment to Denise and I when we were "arguing" during a game of dominoes.

"I don't have ADD, I'm just always multi-tasking."--Nick (who was apparently multi-tasking when he forgot to make us the promised and eagerly awaited bruschetta.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Quote of the day

"Blogging is for Blosers."--Stephen B.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Quote of the day

"Cool my bottom off, please."--Denise to Nick when she was sitting in the passenger seat of a car with air conditioned seats.

Flashback

This was the morning we were leaving. I kept notes. We were parked in front of the house, car fully packed with belongings and kids. Mike wanted to take a shower after loading the car, so he went back into the house. We are not moving, just sitting there in front of the house.

5:58 am: "Luke's touching me!"--Stephen B.

6:02 am: "Mom, Stephen's touching things that don't belong to him!"--Luke

6:03 am: "Stop touching my butt! I'm getting the heebie-jeebies from sitting next to Luke."--Stephen B.

6:05 am: "I have a really good bladder."--Stephen B.

Good thing they were doing this on purpose, just to annoy me and stopped when Mike got in the car, or we would have arrived with two fewer children!

Atlantic City, Day Four

Yesterday, the family with four boys left for home. The kids were missing them today and Shauna asked me if they were returning! Last night, Lucille's friend, Judith and her granddaughter, Brittany, arrived.


Today we sort of just chilled around the house. Well, I'm not sure chilled is the right word to use here, since the heat index was around 100 today! Nick and I went on a date to the hair store to get african american hair supplies. I was shopping for sturdy combs when I heard a crash, followed by, "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up!" I glanced around the corner and saw Nick putting things back on the bottom shelf with his foot, so I just pretended not to know him!


After the hair store, we snuck to a homemade candy store. We only got a couple pieces because we had to eat it before we got home and before it melted in the heat! It was good, but Fannie May is a million times better.


After our quick chocolate fix, we headed to Wawa for ice. I was wondering what was taking Nick so long, as I waited in the car. I kept seeing people walking in and walking back out and still no Nick. Then Denise called to see what was taking us so long. I tried to convince her that Nick and I were at a motel, but she knew it wasn't true because I didn't have my "hot shirt" on! She probably also figured that I'm still too traumatized from the mooning incident, back in December, to even think about Nick and motels in the same sentence! Anyway, I explained how it was taking him forever and she said, "I know exactly what is going on. He's in there, getting some fancy iced coffee drinks for you and him." No sooner had she finished saying that and out walks Nick with a bag of ice and two iced coffees! Wow, does she know her husband, or what? The iced coffee was delicious, by the way, and much appreciated.


Back on the subject of candy, Nick and I thought that we had thrown away all the evidence after our candy-finding mission and gotten off scott free, but Detective Denise spotted the note with the candy store address written on it, which had inadvertently been left in the car, and we got busted! We got quite a dirty look and I was left to wonder if she would have been happier if we really had been at a motel!!!! (Joking, Everyone, in case it isn't obvious!)


After returning home, Angela (Nick's sister) and I made an attempt to comb and braid GracieGirl's hair. We succeeded in only making her sob, not once, but several times. So, we moved on to Shauna's hair. It was way past time to take out her extensions. I have decided that I am taking Angela home with me! She pitched right in and removed at least half of the braids, while I did the other side and combed and rebraided her head into four french braids. It was SO much quicker with a helper! It came out really cute and should last for at least a few days.

Angela took the kids out for ice cream and they surprised me by bringing back some mint chocolate chip in a waffle cone. It was so yummy. I haven't had really good ice cream in a long time, so it was a great treat. Good thing it has been too hot for me to eat much at meal time, since I had two sweet treats today!


After braiding and a quick sandwich for dinner, we played Dominos. I have never played before, although my mother has been telling me I needed to learn. I didn't think I would like it, but I really did. I came in dead last (by about a hundred points, I think!), out of 6 players, but I still had fun. I'm beginning to understand the strategy, although some of the train things still confuse me a bit. I'm sure if I play a few more times, I will have it down.


Tomorrow, the three youngest kids are heading out to go on a Dolphin Cruise. Mike and I and the older boys are going to skip that since the cost is really high for adults. Nick, Angela, and Judith are all going, so there will plenty of supervision. Mike and I need to drop the kids off at the cruise, so we are going to take Stephen B. and Luke and do a little sight seeing around Atlantic City.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Another quote of the day

"I already got my exercise for the day. I walked into and back out of the house."--Denise, when I told her that her Mother-In-Law had suggested we go on a bike ride. She was offered a hoveround, by the way, so the only actual exercise involved was walking down the stairs.

Quote of the day

"I always check mug shots on Friday. Friday is Mug-Shot-O-Rama."--Mike

The Hotel Paradise

I was wondering, out loud, what the polar opposite of The Hotel Cinderella would be and Alex suggested The Hotel Paradise. I think that is the perfect name for the beautiful home we are staying in, here in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Nick's parents, Angelo and Lucille live in a huge, gorgeous home, built in the very early 1900's and for some reason, they allowed us all to come visit! In addition to Nick, Denise and their 4 kids, we are here with 4 of ours (one more to come next Wednesday), plus Stephen B. Nick's sister, Angela, is here with her son and friends of hers, with their 4 sons. Later today, a friend of Lucille's is arriving with two 15 year old girls, but Angela's friend's family is leaving today. Whew! I think I got everyone. However, because this house is so large and has a huge front porch and back decks, there is plenty of room for everyone. We even have our own floor!



Read here, if you haven't heard about The Hotel Cinderella. Here is what happens at The Hotel Paradise. Lucille told me to put away everything I had brought with, like toilet paper, paper towels, and food and use theirs. She told me that if we ran out she would buy more and she wants us to take everything we brought with us back home! She is so sweet. I won't do that, of course, I have been sneaking our stuff in when she isn't looking! Now, we have never met Lucille and Angelo, so it is amazing how generous they are. Now, please don't take this the wrong way. Nick and Denise are very generous, as well, and all of this is said in jest!

Last night, Lucille had all of the kids playing a nice, long game of Bingo. It was awesome, she bought all kinds of little prizes for them and they had a wonderful time.

More to come...

More vacation pictures

Ready to go!






"The Hotel Paradise"



Awesome front porch on "The Hotel Paradise"





Atlantic City Vacation!

Atlantic City Beach

Janine and Danny came to visit on Saturday!

E



Alex and Hannah on the first night we arrived. We got yelled at by two fishermen to be quiet! The funny thing was that we WERE being quiet. Good thing they don't live with us!


Alex, Luke, Stephen B. (back)
Nate, Hannah, Shauna (front)





Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Packing and cooking

I am busy packing and cooking for our beach vacation with Denise and Nick. We are leaving in the early morning hours on Friday (hopefully!) and I still have a lot to do. I have been preparing for a long time, but still have so many last minute things to do. It will be fun and worth all the work, once we get there, I'm sure!

Then and Now


Shauna Anne Sylvia's adoption day, July 31, 1998, age 9 months

11 years later

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Adventures in laundry

In today's laundry, I found two shirts that I have never seen before. No one knows where they came from, including me. Then, I find Drew's new underwear, pictured below. They are actually quite humerous. I guess this is what happens when you start letting them pick out their own boxers!

By the way, I have no clue why this is underlined and I can't fix it!




Second annual cul-de-sac party

It was 100 degrees for the block party, but we still had a great time! We really have very nice neighbors (except for one, who pretends to be nice, but is a witch with a b!). Except for that one person, I like all of the other 7 families in our cul-de-sac. Alex, Hannah, and Shauna prepared a bunch of water games for the kids. The parents were so grateful because they kept the little ones occupied the whole time.








Click here to see the First Annual Cul-De-Sac Party.

Alex's Clean Room!


I'm enjoying it, while it lasts!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Quote of the day

(When we get to the beach...) "Are we going to just park and go straight to the beach or do we have to unload everything?"--Shauna

Oh, how I wish we could just go straight to the beach! Loading and unloading are only second in highest vacation stress level to packing!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Out of the mouth of Steven

"You don't know anything about real life. I bet you would be pissed if you had to go out and work and only keep $30 a week and be broke for six days every week."--in response to having to give me money from his paycheck for HIS bills.

"You are going to make me lose my job because I won't have anywhere to stay and I won't be able to work."--In response to me telling him that he could not stay at our house while I am away, seeing as the last time I went away and trusted him to stay at home, he invited friends over (which was totally prohibited) and one of these lovely friends smashed all of my next door neighbor's outdoor lights. Steven paid for the lights and apologized and the neighbor still likes us, but I am still mad and will never trust him again.

"It isn't fair that just because YOU want to go on a vacation, so you can have your fun, I have to find somewhere else to stay. I don't have anywhere to stay so I will have to stay at a hotel and that will use up all my money from work, so I should be allowed to go with you on vacation and it would cost me the same amount of money."--In response to me telling him he could not go with us because he is disrespectful to me, and I am going on vacation to relieve stress, not bring it with me, and he will pick on the kids, plus he can't afford to miss 12 days of work.

"I don't give a "F" what you say, I'm going to break in while you're gone and stay here, no matter what you say. I will beat the "F'ing S." out of anyone (meaning Drew and CUP) who tries to stop me. I could beat the "S" out of both of them and don't think I won't."

After about an hour of this ranting and raging, and about a half hour of me completely ignoring him and not speaking at all, he kindly offered to make some sauce for me. Go figure! He made the sauce, following my recipe, politely asking me where to find the ingredients and then asking me to taste it to see if he did it right. I'm sure he was expecting a compliment on the delicious sauce, but I couldn't force myself to say anything more than, "It's fine". Shortly after that, he left to go to a friend's house, where he stayed the night, thank goodness.

Don't think I am mean because I won't let him go on vacation with us. He has been in a horrible mood for the last few weeks and being around him for even a few seconds is pure torture. He smokes constantly, so he stinks. He rarely washes his clothes (as evidenced by my shock over him doing so, yesterday!), although he has done much better with showering every day . If his clothes are dirty, he steals clothes from his brothers and then gets cigarette burns on them and sometimes they are left at a friend's house and never returned. When he is in his current mood, he picks on the kids constantly. I mean constantly! If I say, "Alex, you forgot to put your plate in the dishwasher.", Steven begins a rant, "Yeah, Alex, you never put anything away and you use Drew's cologne and you never clean up after yourself and you are gay and you never put your plate away and you didn't empty the dishwasher and in 1995 you stole a piece of my Christmas candy..." He will go on and on and most of what he says is nonsense. When he is done ranting about Alex, he will move on to someone else. Also, when he finishes a rant, it is never over, he will start up with it all over again a few minutes later. These are but a few of the many, many examples of why I don't want to bring Steven on vacation with us. Even while I'm away without him, I'm going to be stressed out by him because I will be worried sick that he will insist on staying at the house and he will follow through on breaking in and fighting with CUP and Drew.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Shocker of the day

Steven did his own laundry and folded it, neatly! What in the world is going on?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Homer Glen Visitor

Who visits me from Homer Glen? I used to live very close to there, in Frankfort, Oak Forest and Alsip. My grandmother and aunt lived in Pebble Creek, back when it was still called Homer Township. Let's see, what else? I adopted several cats from the TLC Animal Shelter, is that still there? I used to take the kids to the pumpkin patch, but I can't remember the name of it. Of course, it isn't in Homer Glen, but I spent a lot of time at Orland Square Mall as a teenager!

Smoke

The house is filled with smoke and it wasn't caused by me this time!!!!! Yay!

Shauna was cooking a chicken patty in the microwave and she misread the directions. She thought it said 11 1/2 minutes, when it actually said 1 1/2 minutes. Ha! Like Mother, like Daughter!

Denise blogged for me!

I can be lazy today because Denise already blogged for me! Please go to her blog and read this post. Pretend I wrote it because every single thing that she blogged about has happened to me, more than once.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Question of the day

19 year old son pees in the kitchen garbage can in the middle of the night. This is witnessed by 11 year old who got up to see the sunrise (huh?). My question: Is this a manifestation of his mental illness or is he just a freaking idiot?????

CUP, do not answer this, I already know what you are going to say!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A trip to the mall

Yesterday I spent the day with a good friend, two teenagers and two almost teenagers. Even though I hate shopping, especially mall shopping, we had a great time. There was some whining (mostly me!) and a lot of laughing. A LOT of laughing. Alex and his friend, Amberly, had decided that they really wanted to go to the Short Pump Mall, which is over an hour from our house. I agreed to take them and prayed that Renee, Amberly's mom and my friend, would agree to go, as well. Lucky for me, she was happy to go.

This was my first trip to Short Pump and I was impressed with the mall. It is an outdoor mall, which I normally don't like in the summer. I think the designers really took the climate into account and made the mall with lots of overhangs and shady areas, so the heat really wasn't too much of an issue. At one point, I did start to feel a little sick. I think it was from going in and out of the air conditioned stores. Once I sat outside in the shade for a few minutes, I felt fine.

Alex, Amberly, and Renee

Amberly, the back of Renee, Me, Hannah, and Shauna behind the bag.

I hate some of the stores there. Is it really necessary to have stores that smell so strongly of cologne that it is overpowering? It must be blown in somehow because it permeates the entire store. It isn't air freshener, it smells like men's cologne. Also, the music is so loud! Talk about a headache waiting to happen. Amberly and Shauna both got headaches. Then the lighting is so dark. I've never been in stores like that before and I hope never to be, again!

The shopping itself, was a little stressful, but not too bad. Hannah is much better at shopping and doesn't melt down every time I say no to something. The kids each were given $30 to spend. They were very good about going straight to the clearance racks, Mommy has taught them well!

After we were all shopped out (which was about 10 minutes into it for me!), we headed to Cici's for dinner. We had a good dinner and a ton of laughs there. The kids wanted to pretend that we were lesbian parents and kept calling us their two moms. I'm not quite sure where that came from! At one point, Amberly was laughing hysterically about something (I never did find out what) and Alex kept pretending to give her the Heimlich maneuver. The problem was that he had been eating a sticky bun and had sticky goo all over his hands. He put his hand in her hair and left a big clump of goo. Poor Amberly! I think she might have been questioning her friendship with Alex at that moment.

This is how Alex and Amberly play air hockey. First they played with their hands, since there were no paddles. Then I saw them lying across the table, just enjoying the air! This picture was not posed.
Mad Shauna because she didn't get a prize

Hannah playing a game

When we pulled up to Renee's house and the kids opened the back door to let Amberly out, a huge bug flew in and landed right behind my head. Even though the kids claimed it wasn't that big, they couldn't really see it and it was really huge. It was at least two inches long and anything over ant-size is huge for a bug! I was trying to get out of the van to get away from it when the stupid thing decided to land on my head! Let's just say there was a bit of screaming. Enough to scare their huge dog away from the car. I was able to get the window or door open (I was so scared I don't remember which) and the bug flew out, thank goodness. So, we had one last laugh before Renee and Amber headed inside. On the way home, I realized that I was exhausted, more from the laughing than anything else, but it was a very fun day.