Monday, September 28, 2009


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


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????????)


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.


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


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. :)