Monday, October 27, 2008

Why is our life so weird?

I spoke with our court liason officer for the juvenile justice system today and she gave me a great update on our little adopted felon, Thomas. As an aside, she has been great in keeping us updated and letting us know what to expect as we trudge through the court system, so kudos to DW for a job well done. She basically said that "no news is good news" and that Thomas entered Youth Challenge and unless he flunks out or opts to leave, we will not hear anything. If he does opt out, the case will bounce back for sentencing and he will have to serve jail time. Nothing like a proverbial sword hanging over your neck to give you some motivation, huh? The other great news is that his mother has been charged and will be arraigned around Thanksgiving for the theft and delinquency of a minor charge (relating to Thomas and his younger brother). We don't have to appear, but if hell has frozen over and she decides to plead guilty, the judge will sentence her at that time. I don't hold my breath that she will do that since she immediately blamed her son (yeah, mom of the year!) for the theft despite the fact that she was driving the getaway car. I'm pretty sure that she should not count that as "quality time" spent with her children, or I have been reading the wrong parenting books! Stupid me, taking my kids to the park and Fernbank. The reason this whole situation seems so strange to me is this: If you had told me last year that I would be muddling through the courts as a crime victim, I would have said "you're crazy". We don't live a life of danger and I kind of thought we were immune to crime since we are so (dare I say it) boring. Even crazier that we have been able to show the Gospel to a kid who has had no upbring from his parents in the most real way I can imagine. So here I sit, hoping that our repentant car contents thief will persevere in his time at Youth Challenge and will show up at our door ( since he knows where we live, hee hee) and present us with his graduation diploma, and we will be able to rejoice with him on his good choices and say "Job well done". Here's praying for no jail for Thomas and mucho jail for his mother.

Friday, October 3, 2008

In the interest of full disclosure...

I am a registered Republican but that's not to say that I think all Republicans are the best. There are some clear idiots out there and I'm sure it all depends on what your expectations of politics is that defines who the idiots are. May I just say, I don't include Sarah Palin on my list of "idiot Republicans". She was so great last night, although I wished she would have jumped a little more on Biden and his stupid statements. I thought my head would explode when Biden said that people are sitting around the kitchen table wanting help. Help!? How about opportunity? Unless we want a nation of people sitting around going "man, I have something really terrible going on...when is the government going to HELP me?", we must stop providing HELP and begin providing OPPORTUNITY. Whose fault is is that someone decided that real estate is a guaranteed investment and you should have a house that you couldn't afford in the first place? Mine? We are having to eat the depreciation in our house, so should you. It seems lately the punishment for lying about your income to get approved for a higher mortgage and buying a house you know you can't afford is that the government (that's our tax money, by the way) will come and fix it for you. Stupid us for being responsible and delaying our desire for a giant tv so that we could make our (apparently) optional mortgage payment. I know this seems like a weird segue from the debate to this, but my thoughts were racing last night and I'm going with a sort of politics stream of thought post. I also decided last night that my biggest political pet peeve is when someone says, "Personally I don't believe that _______ is right but I don't feel it is my job to legislate it". The best example is abortion (and I know this is such a touchy subject and I hate to use it but it just works). I don't understand how someone can say that they believe that killing unborn children is wrong and they are a professing Christian and it clearly is biblically wrong, but the law should allow it. Clearly all laws are offensive to some people, otherwise there would be certain laws that just are never broken. Do we just say, well, I personally believe that murder is wrong but you seem to have a justification for it so we can't legislate to you not to kill, because that would be imposing my morals on you. What the h...? Why can't people just say what their beliefs are and that is how they would legislate instead of talking out of both sides of their mouth? It seems like that would be doubly offensive and not appeal to anyone instead of appealing to everyone. I love politics, I just don't get it I guess. Well, I will sign off for now since S. is attempting to relocate all of the bath water to the floor using his body to displace it. I firmly believe that all of our children are crazy...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Countdown Begins! Cue ominous music...

We have 4 weeks now until my sister and brother in law come to visit from the North Pole (Alaska that is, no really!) and bring my darling niece with them. Our family is growing by leaps and bounds this year! I am having the panic you have with the end of the pregnancy...all these things need to be done and we will never finish in time. I made a list today just so I can see how crazy things will be in the next month and then I can mark off what I didn't get done and lament my poor planning since we have known we would be adding my niece since January. My brother in law P. is the best and he puts up with the craziness of our family so well, but I'm really trying to limit the overplanning and the crazy so it is a relaxing visit for he and M. Particularly hard is that M. will be having to say goodbye to her precious J. and do all of her "last things" for a year. I know it will be hard for her to do them and to a lesser extent, hard for me to watch her do them, knowing that she is having to turn her baby over to me to care for and love for a year. Thanks P. and M. for having confidence that we can do this and please don't grade me too harshly when she returns to you with tats and a felony record. Ha. I'm not kidding. It is very difficult to describe the situation to people because it seems so unbelievable, but here goes. One is the Army and the other in the National Guard, the branches don't communicate with each other about deployments. M. was given a choice about a later deployment but they decided this meant less time apart as a family. J. will reside with us for a year and be loved tremendously. C. is looking forward to having a girl to play with and we have already purchased matching clothes as per her request. We are not able to give very much information about what P. and M. do for their missions, but between you and me, they are both kickass helicopter pilots, type to remain unknown. We should not disclose full names, ranks, units, equipment, where stationed, and exact deployment dates or returns, so, sorry for the initials. Remember, loose lips sink ships. I have posted a picture of our sweet "daughter for a year" and a few of our kiddos too.

S. and his "big boy underpants"

J. and C. at Seacrest Beach

No waves at the beach, waiting on the hurricane to hit.

Okay, I am no good at this technology junk, I can't get pictures of J. to load. You'll just have to take my work for it...she is adorable and soon she will be as crazy as our kids.

How bad a mother do they think I am?

In April, Hubby heard someone closing the door of my car after cleaning out several electronics and my wallet at 4am and proceeded to chase down the thief in his car. It was a real live high speed chase through our neighborhood with hubby on the phone with police giving his location so police could arrest the culprits. They were pulled out of the car at police gunpoint and it turns out the fleeing felons were...a mother, her 15 year old son, and his 12 year old brother. Nice, huh? We have been to court on the juvenile matter several times and he seems to really want to correct his mistakes and make some better choices. Since the break in happened, my kids bring it up a couple of times a week, asking about Thomas, wondering where my player and wallet are, can we go see Thomas in jail, etc. Fast forward to this past Sunday. C. was very upset with me on the car ride home from church and was telling me that she isn't my girl anymore. I guess I didn't show enough sadness by giving in to what she wanted, so she informed me of the following: "I don't want to be your girl anymore and I want to go live with Thomas, who stole your wallet and your player!" It made me really think for a minute, how bad a mother does she think I am that living with a felon is more appealing that our wonderful home full of love and no felons? Fortunately, she quickly changed her mind when I pulled over to have her get out of my car (I wasn't really!) and became my girl again. Oh well.

Update on Crazy Mail Lady

Well, Hubby met with the supervisor Chuck and he said that he would like to call me to set up a time to come with the wack job to apologize (I hope not like the last one...). This solution was offered after I requested a written apology from CML and Chuck said he would have to "check their policy on written apologies". It probable comes as no surprise that he has not called to set up said appointment yet and it is going on 3 weeks now. I think that he feels like the act of saying that they will call me is the same as the actual apology. I think I am going to start using that technique in my life... you know, just say you will do something and then its as good as done. No wonder I don't get very much accomplished, I've been actually trying to do the work. We have moved the mailbox and as a really fun bonus, since the mailbox is not at our house anymore, they will not deliver packages anymore because it is not secure. They must just sit around trying to figure out how they can do less work and raise stamp prices. Idiots.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Here is Crazy Mail Lady's work, rotated 90 degrees from it's original location. Nice, huh?

Okay, since my last post was so serious, I feel the need to lighten the mood. My mail lady hit my mailbox the other day. Which is not actually very hard because I do it more than I would admit. However, the difference is that I own my mailbox and if I want to hit it every day than I will. Crazy mail lady...a different story. I heard a scraping and looked out my bedroom window to see the mail truck way closer than it should have been, like with it imbedded in the side of the truck. I waited, expecting that she (CML) would come and tell me that she had hit it and then we would inspect the damage together to see what happened. Alas, my wait was in vain since she detangled herself from the pesky mailbox and got the heck out of Dodge. Well, that did not sit so well with me since I saw her do it, and I wondered if she would have done the same thing to my car (I think yes). I called the supervisor of the mail carriers and he said he would have her come back and talk to me (great, thanks!) and that she was in the wrong for not notifying me (really?). About 10 minutes later, CML comes roaring down our road and she jumps out of the truck. I was sort of thinking that was a strange way to start an apology, but it turns out what it started was her telling me what a crummy postal customer I am. I don't give her a place to turn around, I always block the box (huh?) and that it was a choice of either hitting my mailbox or hitting my car. So I guess that I'm glad she made that choice for me. She said that I was going to have to figure something out about how to relocate my box. My response to her was that I wasn't mad that she hit it, I just thought it was a good idea to tell people when you hit their possessions and that my regular mail carrier (a very nice lady) always manages to deliver our mail without hitting our box or our car. I am grateful to NML that she does not make us choose which of our belongings we would like damaged. CML's attitude was that since our box is old, she shouldn't have to tell me she hit it. I told her I was not asking her to pay for a new mailbox, just to acknowledge that she should have told me and she said that she would pay for it and send a postal inspector out (which is not necessary). I asked her how I should go about relocating my box on a random persons property and wouldn't that cause some problems with the order of the mail. She replied that she didn't care what I did, but that something had to change. Which I agree with, but the change I was thinking of was not hitting our box. She then yelled at me that her supervisor called to find out why she had wrecked her truck (again, something clearly my fault!). I finally told her that she should leave, that it was no apology at all and she shouldn't have even come. I walked back inside with her yelling at my back the whole time. At this point I made another call to her supervisor to explain the outcome of her return. He told me that he had told her to come back and apologize. I said, "she came back, but I wouldn't call that an apology". He then explained to me that he had called her to ask when she was going to report her accident and she played dumb about it (I think he might have given her too much credit for playing dumb, but whatever...). He finally asked her point blank if she hit the box and suddenly she remembered something about that happening, but she didn't think that was an accident, since she only hit my mailbox. When he heard what she had done when she came back to our house, he said that he was sorry and that they couldn't have their carriers out there "acting all spastic". I haven't heard anything more, but I can assure you that I park my car way out of her reach so that her choices when delivering mail are 1. hitting my mailbox or 2. not hitting my mailbox. I figured that it was probably a good idea to remove my car from the option of things to hit.

We have the privilege of living near the airport where fallen soldier Army Cpl. Matthew Phillips arrived. Since we have such a military background in our family, I thought it was important that the kids see what the actual cost of the sacrifice is for families. It was very hard to see Cpl. Phillips wife so young and grieving so much, but so brave in the face of what must be the worst thing imaginable. It was a very moving experience to see so many of the people from my town stopping their lives to honor such a brave man. Cpl. Phillips and the other men fighting with him faced an impossible situation and met it with courage. It makes me so proud of all the men and women who have made the choice to defend our freedom with their lives.

The Patriot Guard was in full force and I am thankful that they have committed to protecting grieving families from the nuts that use these situations to prove that they are right in whatever nutcase opinion they hold. I didn't realize that they started the Patriot Guard to show respect for the fallen heroes, but also to drown out protester with their loud engines and singing. Can you imagine what that looks like to have these burly men singing? Amazing...

We are probably very unusual in that we have not isolated our children from these things. My sister's best friend was killed in Iraq in 2006, and it was such a great loss in so many ways, but it was a loss that we shared with our kids as young as they were. I think the positive aspect of this is that my children know that it's not just a cool job, but a sacrifice on the part of many people to be a soldier. My utmost respect to the families who are fighting on the homefront while their precious son, daughter, mother, father or other family member fights so far away. Never knowing what the knock on the door will bring or an unfamiliar car in the driveway means.

To the soldiers who serve all over the world, my family thanks you and your families for your service. We anxiously await your safe return, and send our respect and prayers out to you every day.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The kids wanted me to put some pics on our "log" so everyone can see how much they have grown. So without further ado, I present the greatest kids ever!

My bounty from the market

Thanks Molly for such a great recipe for chicken stirfry,
it is even better with this eggplant!

The wild blackberries are sooooo sweet.

These are all of my tomatoes...since I'm a foodie, it's important that you know that the little ones are actually black and are called Russian Black Plums. The kind of orange ones are striped and are called Red Lightning and the whitesh one is called a Garden Peach Tomato. Yum!

Our farmers market is the best

I have been making a conscious effort to live a life more "green". Not because NBC devoted several weeks to working it into every story line, but because I feel that it is part of the charge to us as christians. Obviously we have to drive the evil gas guzzler due to the number of kids we have, but I am feeling like lately we are really doing our part. I have been shopping at the farmers market for the last several weeks and have received many benefits from this. My favorite is seeing and shopping with people that I know in a more leisurely fashion, instead of the rush into the grocery store "Hi" that I usually give people. I also love knowing that the food feeding my family has only been off the vine for about 24 hours. From a green viewpoint, my food has only been driven at most 25 miles to reach my table and most items are grown with organic methods. Some people have commented that one gets such a limited selection of food at a farmers market, but isn't that how our families lived for years until we were fooled into thinking that grapes are a year round food? Where does summer squash come from when its not summer anywhere near me? Do I really want to know? What's wrong with making a menu based on what's available instead of what the recipe calls for? I was not tempted to make an heirloom tomato gratin until I saw the beautiful crop of tomatoes that were at my market, but I can assure you that it will be all the sweeter because the fruit came off the vine yesterday. Making an effort to buy locally or even within the state makes a big difference to our economy and to our tastebuds. My kids know now to ask "Where did this come from?", and meeting the person who grew our food is very exciting to little ones. I use my reusable shopping bag and return egg cartons and fruit baskets to the sellers at the market, but I can't seem to get a handle on actual recycling. We have a small amount of space (which is also very green to live in less than 1100 sq ft), but it does present a challenge with what to do with the stuff until I can get it outside to sort it. Fortunately, buying fresh has eliminated the space wasting green been cans and we are using 2 liter bottles for greenhouses as we attempt to grow more gardenia and hydrangea bushes from clippings. And when it comes right down to it, what is better than shucking fresh corn, finding a caterpillar in it, letting the kids play with the worm until the corn is done, and then watching children enjoy what is really good in our lives.

Monday, July 14, 2008


I guess I have been inspired/challenged by CJ Green, a great friend, to start blogging about our life. Her exact words were "It's so easy, you just set it up on blogspot." So here I am, about to disclose my greatest triumphs, biggest challenges and worst parenting mistakes to anyone who cares to read. Also, to help my wonderful sister and brother in law keep up with the life that their daughter will be living for the next year. Yes, that's right, we will be parenting my niece Jaime for the next 14 months starting in October. We just didn't think we had a crazy enough life, so we are looking to add anything that might send us over the edge. Oh, and we are homeschooling Jake (and probably Charlotte, since she is allergic to being excluded) for kindergarten, which rounds out the craziness. I feel boldly optimistic that this is not the worst mistake I have ever made. I know this since I can readily think of 3 things that I have done this week that are worse.
Hark, I hear an argument about what channel the tv should be on...Noggin (It's like preschool on TV!) or 298. They are the same thing, Noggin is 298. day has begun. More later.