Stick Figure Family

Stick Figure Family at

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas is here again... Stand up and cheer again...

We were adopted by an elementary school in Richland to be the recipient of a boatload of Christmas cheer! It was so much fun! I stopped by the Cancer Center - who coordinated it - and got to pick up the goodies. I just bawled. This was so nice!

We got home and laid the gifts under the tree. So amazing! Some packages - they told us so - were wrapped by the younger children in the school. They were precious. We had to laugh at a box labelled "Dog." Inside were packages for both our dogs and kitties! Someone had been very, very aware of all the details of our family! I had specifically mentioned on the idea sheet that they should just do one gift per person, but they obviously got carried away.

Carried away .... but overlooked one child. There was nary a gift with his name on it. I checked twice. I checked my copy of the idea sheet. Hmmmmm. How awkward is that? We were so grateful for the gifts. But, maybe one bag had been overlooked? A few days later I got braave and called the contact at the cancer center. I used Heather's "Sandwich" method - thanked her profusely, stated the problem, was there a missing bag? Laughed about it and thanked her again. She was so apologetic! She reviewed the facts. Reviewed the idea sheet and the school's list and realized that this child's name had indeed been overlooked. Oh, no. I had hoped that there was just a leftover bag lying around...

She offered to get him some gifts herself. I told her that we already had some things we'd purchased... So awkward. So awkward! What made this situation laughable, though, was that if Santa was planning to leave coal in Anyone's stocking..... this child's is the one that would contain that black lump! How did they know? Maybe it was meant to be...

This child has always been a difficult one at birthdays and Christmases. Some brain wiring must be short-circuited because he gets angry and throws a fit on each occasion! Knowing that he was going to be short this year had me nervous. I gave him a few extra things and held my breath. But, come Christmas morning he was fine. No temper, no nasty comments under his breath.. He was okay with everything. Wow! Cheers! I told him how impressed I was. He just smiled. Two days later, I'm still amazed at this turn of events! Maybe Santa dropped off a new boy and made an exchange?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

When all else fails, ask...

We were out running errands today. One child hadn't taken his ADHD medication and it was obvious. We walked through WalMart to get a few specific items on my list. He was ornery and ranting and was getting more out of control by the minute. I stopped him and told him I wouldn't have any more of that kind of behavior. He calmed down - for about 20 seconds - and then continued. All the way out to the car.

I was on the verge of creating a scene! I finally turned to him and asked what was going on. "I have to go to the bathroom." Was that all it was? I sent him back in the store with his brother to take care of business. So glad I finally caught on and asked. Seems like I'll never learn that lesson.

It reminded me of a time ten years ago when my big boy started taking money. Nothing I said or did seemed to stop the stealing. One afternoon after discovering money missing from my purse - again - I got so frustrated that I marched over to the elementary school, took him out of class and drove to the police station. I figured this child needed some major intervention or he'd end up a career criminal.

When we arrived, I dragged my reluctant man into the building. I pulled him up to the clerk's window and asked to speak with a police officer. In due time a uniformed man came out to see us. I explained the situation to him. He showed us to an office and sat us down. After a few preliminaries, he point blank asked my boy why he took the money. The answer made me feel like such a heel: "I want to buy hot lunch at school instead of bringing a cold lunch."

He HAD been asking for hot lunch for months. All the while, I had been trying to save money by sending a sack lunch to school. I realized that my stubbornness had driven him to this thievery. It was MY fault. From that day on I paid for hot lunch. Problem solved. No more stealing. It was that simple. So, I guess, when all else fails, ask! I may figure it out yet...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

He's back.....

Our military boy returned from Boot Camp (Ft. Benning, Georgia) on the evening of the 10th. He had already arrived when we got to the Pasco Airport to pick him up. He was tall. Wearing army fatigues. Head buzzed in a "high and tight."

The kids were there to greet him as well as some of his friends. He was obviously glad to see us. He was a bit worried, though, that his luggage wasn't appearing as quickly as he'd have liked.
He finally hugged me and asked to see my bald head. That made him laugh.

Once we were home, I asked if he was hungry. He'd been traveling since morning and here it was after 10pm. Yeah, he was. He hopped up and started for the kitchen. Then turned around: "Permission to open the fridge, Mom?" I was dumbfounded! Who was this person, anyway?

Evidently it was indeed Stephen. He'd changed somewhat. Though not nearly a Saint, he's made some leaps and bounds in the maturity department. I can get used to this politeness! I think every child should be required to go through something similar. It's great. We can only hope it continues over the next six months until he's deployed to....Afghanistan.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Driving with Mom

It's only common sense. I expect good behavior in the car when we're traveling with the kids. That can be hard for youngsters with ADD & ADHD, though. Sometimes they just have to burst out into an irritating song. Or hog a shared blanket. Wiggles get in the way. Someone "touches" someone else. Or looks at them funny. Or "smells weird."

A gentle warning that I will pull over immediately if they don't "end it!" usually does the trick. They know to listen, because I have often done just that. Especially when they were younger. I'd pull over to the side of the road and have the offending kidlets get out and do jumping jacks. 50. 100. It worked wonders. The child would be embarrassed, of course, and try to get away with 'wimpy jacks.' Nope. Not allowed. In order to be counted, they must have straight arms, slapping them above the head and at their sides, legs jumping in and out at the proper angle. This usually did the trick. Usually.

Now that they're older, though, they're too cool to do the jumping jacks. So, I pull over and ask the offending person(s) to leave the car and walk to our destination. Really. You have no idea how many times we've tried to return from Church (where we've learned how to be Christ-like) and had to leave a child on the side of the road due to his rude and unkind words.

Just ask the 15-year-old. When she repeatedly acted up and wouldn't listen on the ride back from Salt Lake to her aunt's home, I let her out. She was given instructions to do 50 jumping jacks. She got out but wouldn't jump. "I'm in a dress," she wailed. But I was just as stubborn as she was. When she wouldn't jump, I gave her directions to her aunt's and left her. We'd been there dozens of times, surely she'd remember how to get there. Unfortunately, she got her directions mixed up. Fortunately, another auntie who was driving along recognized her and picked her up. If not for this, she'd probably still be walking - probably be in Arizona or Mexico by now. (And wishing she hadn't been showing off for those cousins.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Devil Cat

The kids calls her the Devil Cat with good reason. Lucy is so amazingly full of energy and mischief! She rips up kleenex and dances with the pieces all over the room - so don't leave any out. She knocks over trash cans - repeatedly - until you give in and empty them. If you're holding a paper (newspaper, letters, reports, etc.) she races up and attacks it - determined to shred it, if possible.

She thinks she's human and has a cute trill that she uses to talk to you. Especially when she wants something she can't get. She tries to play with our older kitty - Skye - by leaping through the air and landing on her head. She delights in teasing Skye and following her around. Until recently, she couldn't access the window sills, so Skye had a few moments of peace up there. Lucy would leap through the air - crashing short of her target. Not anymore. She's grown quite a bit and uses her claws to hang on when her leaps get her - almost there.

Our Brittney Spaniel goes on point whenever he sees her. The first time he did this, he stood at attention for 20 minutes. Dad had to distract him! She's learned that the dogs are leashed up at night in our room, so she strolls back and forth just out of reach. (The brittney always on point, of course.)

If she weren't so cute, we might have to part with her. But, unfortunately, or fortunately, I'm in love with her and put up with her antics. Hope she stays cute for a long time to come!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Second childhood

Someone in our house is going through his second childhood... There is now a Kawasaki ZG1000 parked on our front porch. Fancy leather jacket, matching gloves and bright red helmet (to match the bike's trim) laying on the dresser.

The bike's justification was the high price of gas a month ago - over $4/gallon. Sigh. The purchase price of $3,600 would have bought an awful lot of gas, though. 900 gallons worth! And even more now that gasoline prices have dropped by almost a dollar.

This nameless person used to have a motorcycle. It was sold 22 years ago in order to purchase a newer one. The newer one never came our way. The money went towards the family budget instead. It's been a sore spot for him all these years. I've just been glad that he's been "safe" and not involved in something so risky.

I told him when he bought it a month ago that he couldn't whine and moan over the cell phone bill or other expenses as he's done in the past. He said he wouldn't. But he has. Last week I heard, "I'll have to get a second job to afford all this" as he ran through the bills. (The same phrase he's used for the past 29 years.)

"Oh, well, then, you could go ahead and sell the motorbike if you're afraid there isn't enough money to go around..." He hasn't responded to that one yet.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cat Tales

Lucy likes Skye's Food Better (and her water bowl and her litter box and her window sills.....)

Lucy did it!

Twice now! (Hide the toilet paper!!)

None more curious than she...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Shopping with Cinderella...

We survived. I keep pinching myself and realize that we're alive to tell about it. Our newly-minted 16-year-old can now date and was asked about a month ago to attend the Homecoming dance with Zach. We were glad for her. It sounded innocent enough. This was one of those events to be scrapbooked! (As if the date wouldn't be permanently etched on our brains... )

Actually, we found that prepping a young lady for homecoming dance is like pulling off a wedding. Or, like being a fairy godmother. Get a dress and shoes and jewelry and a garter and all the professional accouterments: hair styling, manicure, pedicure, photos... It's a major investment to transform our darling into Cinderella for an evening of fun!

Of course, the biggest fuss goes into shopping for The Dress. This takes a lot of time and effort. You must be very particular in your choice. You need to have That Look! And of course, nothing you suggest is ever good enough. Her first shopping attempt was with her sister. (Who says she's never doing that again!) Nothing was found. Nothing. It was discovered, though, that our dear is no longer a size One. Nor is she a Three. Scandalous! (And all the dresses she liked were either a size One, Three or over Fourteen - which size she isn't, either.)

The next, more serious, outing took five hours. And, to make matters more interesting, she was accompanied by none other than Dad. (Mom was down with chemo side-effects.) The poor guy swears he's "Never Shopping With That Girl Again!" She has that effect on people. I have to admit that I've said the same thing myself. She has a - ahem - hard time making up her mind..... and tends to disappear on you, only to show up 25 minutes later (totally confused as to why you're frustrated with her!)

But, the fact is that she and her fairy godfather Did find a dress. And, it was on clearance! Regularly $135 marked down to $27. Whoo Hoo! With a few alterations, a donated hairstylist and makeup artist (all courtesy of the Church ladies) borrowed shoes and her own investment in a manicure/pedicure she was ready. Though, like Cinderella, a bit late.

No fairy godparent could have pulled off a better job! Our little princess was beautiful. And, she had a great time... and has plans for ToLo, Prom... you name it, she's planning on it. (We're still in a bit of a daze, of course, wondering where we're going to find another fairy godmother since you know the rules: you can't wear the same dress twice. And no one we know is up to accompanying our little Cinderella on a shopping expedition ever again!)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

What's Love Got to do with it?

One of our family goals is to foster Love for each other. Isn't that why we have families? Around here that often translates into refraining from killing each other off before bedtime. Or, in some cases, before breakfast. Sometimes we wonder how successful we've been in teaching the kiddos this concept. We've had our share of name calling, cat fights, and law enforcement events. A while back, the kids were involved in a knock-down drag-out fight right in the temple parking lot. At issue was who got to sit in the front seat on the ride home. Obviously, important topics like that generate a lot of emotion!

We've been known to get pretty creative when it comes to teaching the concept of brotherly (and sisterly) love. When tempers flare and words start flying out of control, the guilty pair often get to finish their "discussion" out on the front lawn - regardless of the time, the outdoor temperature or even what they happen to be wearing at the time! Amazing how quickly those discussions end.

Sometimes we add extra chores to whomever is "the next one to speak." We get lots of work done around the house that way. (Though egging them on actually has the opposite effect; they simply won't argue when I dangle such pleasantries as, "I need the kitty litter box changed, don't you have something to say to each other?")

Many times we haven't allowed the quarrelsome pair in the same or adjoining rooms for hours at a time. (Until they beg for us to let them "play" again.) And for years we staggered their wake-up calls to avoid the inevitable hassles of getting ready at the same time in the morning.

Once, when they were younger and the usual techniques didn't quite cut it, we resorted to tying their wrists together and waiting until they could cooperate cheerfully for a certain amount of time. It took over an hour. Eventually, they ended up laughing themselves silly.

At some point in time, we know they'll enjoy being with each other. There are glimpses of it now and then: invitations to join in on a coveted activity; asking the other's opinions about a new purchase; silence when a certain sibling starts in on a boisterous rendition of "Roll on Columbia..." Well, the silence doesn't necessarily mean approval, more likely that everyone's mouths are full at the moment...

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Today, Kyle brought me a carrot from the garden. And a grape. "Good, huh?" He's been playing with Sissie's kitten here in my room, too, and laughing hysterically.

Today, he also passed the sacrament during church - with a little help from his Friend. While he was near our pew, he paused to show me his two mosquito bites. And to tell me that his foot still hurt, he had a scratch on his arm and one on his chest.

And today his big brother has been very helpful at home. With new guidelines, he and sister have been doing ALL of their chores, instead of just bits and pieces of them. What a great improvement! They've also both been working at jobs outside the home all summer. How nice for them to be "rich!" Of course, all that money burns holes in their pockets, so we HAVE to go shopping tomorrow before school starts.

This weekend, Max is headed out to see our army boy graduate from basic training. He'll still be busy for another 6 weeks of training, but this is something he's very pleased with accomplishing. We're glad for him, too.

Biggest sister is working today at the Veterinarian's. She's told us about the workings of the back-room of the place. How they walk the dogs, clean the kennels, assist the vets and run the incinerator when necessary. She even did her duty and found a home for an abandoned kitten (which she promises to have fixed and declawed asap! before it scratches everything in our house to bits...)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Our Youngest

Our baby turned twelve last month. So grown up! He's even a deacon now and can pass the sacrament at church. We asked one of his past teachers to walk with him and guide him to the correct pews. He managed quite well, thank you! Tears streamed down our faces to see this great accomplishment!

He's so adorable. Because he's developmentally delayed, he can still entertain us with innocent twists of reasoning and a charming logic all his own. Last night he hung out with me and asked questions one after the other:
"What is hatred?"
"What is a platypus?"
"Why does a beaver slap his tail?"
"Does a beaver know about the cracks in the ice?"

I couldn't quite catch the connecting thread between all those questions, but he seemed satisfied with my answers. He likes to use big words and has a remarkable memory for people, music and events.

He doesn't like conforming to our form of living, though. I wonder sometimes what planet he'd be most comfortable on since he would stay up all night if we'd just let him; he'd set up the swimming pool in the snow - and have fun! Forget to tell you that his tooth aches or that he has any pain in general. He doesn't come when called or participate in family prayers or stop chattering no matter what you say or do to him. Unless he's at school. It took him two years before the teachers at Hawthorne ever heard him speak and even longer for the Sunday School teachers to know that he even knew how to talk. And he'd drink soda pop as his sole form of nutrition if we'd let him.

I take that back. He makes great melted cheese burritos - with garlic powder sprinkled on top. And he's eating it right now while wearing his new Iron Man costume (with Muscles and a Mask and the Blue Thing in Front that keeps him alive) and watching Sponge Bob and keeping the time so he can tell Heather when it's time to wake from her nap. So, here's raspberries to the System that labeled him 'mentally retarded' at age seven (that's the official age at which you can label a child.) We love him. We're glad there's someone around here who keeps things light and interesting. And teaches us new things every day!

Saturday, August 9, 2008


In the Mormon Church, you don't clap during the services. None of those loud acknowledgements such as "alleluias" or "Amens," either. No. When someone performs a lovely musical number, we are merely moved to tears or smiles of admiration. Total silence rules until after the service when we rush up and hug the person or pat them on the back and congratulate them on their superior peformance.

Except, that is, for when our baby was just two. Her daddy stood and in his very impressive bass sang a piece from "The Messiah." It was magnificent. Few people are aware of his fine talent and there were audible gasps. At this point, Baby yelled, "Yea!" and clapped her heart out. That was one Mormon performance that got its just rewards!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Mr. Scissors

Our second son loves scissors. He's never come out and said so, but he has regularly chopped things up. Often, he's not able to put words to what he does. But it seems there's something "moving him" to do it. Creativity?

He cut up a leather purse of mine and later insisted in front of a counselor that it would be no problem to sew it back up again and obviously We were the ones with the problem. Why wouldn't we just hand him a needle and he'd show us!

Once it wasn't just scissors - he took the clippers to his head and shaved the back of it bald. Then, he screamed for over four hours that he hadn't done it. Well, then who did? He was so convincing that we asked each of his siblings if they'd done it while he was asleep. Taking him for a walk by himself revealed the truth: yes, he'd turned on the clippers. Yes, he'd rubbed the clippers all over the back of his head. No, he didn't realize it would shave off all the hair wherever he'd rubbed them...

So, what kind of a job would you give such a child? Cutting the grass? He was so anxious to do that coveted chore that he took the mystery fluid sitting in a jug next to the garage and poured it into the lawn mower's oil pan. When that ended up smoking up the front yard, he washed it all out with the hose and water. His father has never forgiven him for that one!

He has a reasoning all his own when it comes to hacking away at things. On his adoption day, he wasn't able to express his mixed emotions. So, he cut up the trampoline - stabbing it repeatedly with a stick. He cut up his sisters' shirts because they had been "mean" to him. Cut up their panties and tied them in knots. In order to have ankle socks for sports, he cut the tops off of all his socks. Mr. Scissors now has quite a number of raggedy socks and he's sure COOL lookin'.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Who needs Dennis the Menace?

Dennis the Menace has never been one of my favorite comic strips. His outlandish deeds were always too unbelievable for me. Besides, I have my own version right here at home. His deeds are just as unbelievable, but I’ve witnessed them all for myself. For instance, when our little menace was a tyke, he stepped on a hot burner while raiding the kitchen cupboards. He has the ring-shaped scars to prove it. He’s gotten his head caught in the railings of our living room. He lost Dad’s new fishing pole while using it to retrieve his hat that blew into the river. And he’s blown up our microwave oven. Once he and a friend rolled around the family trampoline with roller blades to practice their jumps, tearing it to smithereens. (I made them sew it up as punishment!)

Cankers are something that have always plagued our poor boy. Once he self-administered canker sore medication, only to realize too late it was Wart-B-Gone. That’s why we started locking the medicine cabinet. He’s always had trouble with his ears, too, getting outer ear infections which often end up sealing shut his ear canal. We’ve made many trips to the emergency room over the years when he’s been in terrible pain with this malady – always after midnight. At nineteen years of age, though, you’d think that he’d had enough of the ER. But no, he stuck a pencil – eraser side first – into his ear and the eraser broke off inside. That little tidbit cost $500 to have it removed! He must really like that ER. He’s been there so often. Once the ambulance took him when he took his brother’s bike and tried to jump it over a tall pile of rocks, landing instead on his neck.

He was actually quite decent in music. Mrs. B told us that he ought to continue it in high school. He played the cello in elementary school. He wasn’t quite gentle enough with it, though, as he once broke two cello strings within 24 hours. They cost $35 each to replace and you know that’s the parent’s – not the school’s – responsibility. He broke a clarinet that we bought for him in middle school and we finally had to have him quit band at the end of the year after he broke an Alto Sax. “I just leaned it up against the music stand, Mom, and it fell over.” (Almost $200 for that mistake.) It was just too expensive to keep up with him.

He’s usually pretty coordinated, except for the time he was walking along the top of the bike rack in middle school and slipped, straddling that pole on his crotch. And while he’s a crack shot, he once tried to convince his brother to be his moving target. He swore up and down that it didn’t hurt to be shot with an air soft gun. And to prove it, he shot his own leg! That was the end of THAT conversation.

We discovered how athletic he is when he was 9 months old. He was fussing in church and we gave him a ball to occupy him and keep him quiet. Nothing doing! He got rid of that by throwing it clear across the entire chapel. It landed up with the Deacons waiting to pass the sacrament. He often got bored during the real game of baseball. He’d lie down in outfield and wait for the ball to show up. The chewing out he got from his coach didn’t deter him, however. He was always practicing throwing that ball. He loved to throw hard and fast. In fact, while he waited for Mom and Dad to get their wills signed and sealed by a notary public, he decided to get in some more practice. He threw his pitches against the side of the brick wall – until he eventually missed and shattered the business’s large plate glass window. Thank goodness for homeowner’s insurance! Don’t know how a menace’s folks could survive without it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

You're in the Army Now

Our 19-year-old has joined the army - army national guard to be precise. He's wanted to do this for years. He quit all his medications cold turkey last January and did surprisingly well for the next few months. (You can't be on medications if you plan to join the military.) He went on several weekend warrior excursions while waiting for his boot camp and thought they were a blast!

Back when he signed up, his recruiter came to the house to administer the "test" (kinda like a college-placement test) and answered lots of our questions: "Yes. We train them and give them a skill that will make them productive citizens in the community." "Yes. When he attends college, we will give him a small stipend. He MIGHT be able to live on his own with that." "When he gets out of boot camp he'd have to wait six months before he can be part of the regular army." "He will be gone to boot camp for 13 weeks, 3 days." "No. He can't decide to quit...." "So, do you all... sounds like you WANT him to leave..." Didn't take him too long to catch on.

Our big boy made himself "ready" to leave months before June 23rd. The last weeks were pure torture. He called his grandparents names. Left giant messes. Broke family rules. Broke God's rules.... We banned him from the house one week. (He slept in a tent outside.) Refused to participate in his going-away dinner... We were so ready to say, "Goodbye."

The wait at the airport wasn't too long. He had some friends come along. Security told him that he had to leave those big bottles of mouthwash, etc. with us. Off he flew in a prop jet to Oregon. Then on to Ft. Benning, Georgia via Texas. Met some guys there. Excited to finally be fulling his dreams!

We got phone calls. He was there. Got his uniform. He'd make it, even though it was hard.
It was hot.
The food was gross. (Grandpa refused to tell him, "Told you so!" even when I begged.)
The schedule was insane.
He was homesick. Send letters. Send money. "Promise me you'll come to my graduation!"

Letters along this same theme arrived. Finally, we got an address for him after 2 1/2 weeks.

Another letter came Saturday. Apparently, he panicked during the gas chamber training. Ran out of the building. Was ushered back in. Ran out a second time. Beat up the 6 guys assigned to haul him back in. (You know how athletic he is!) Finally finished the training when threatened with police involvement. Has an Article 15. Gets to mow the grounds with a push lawn mower. Gets to do guard duty. Gets to do all those army kinds of things....

We're just enjoying the quiet around here. While it lasts (Oct 10th will come too soon, I'm sure.)

Thursday, July 10, 2008


My oldest feels left out not getting to be featured in any of my kid blogs. She's had her moments though. No denying it. When she was just a little squirt, she was acting up at the dinner table. We had her go to her room and wait there until we were finished eating. That was her grand punishment; staying in her room.

Dad and I sat eating our dinner in relative quiet until we heard some yelling. It sounded like it was outside, but maybe not. Maybe it was from our dear daughter's room. I left the table and walked up the stairs of our tri-level home, opened the last door on the left - hers - and saw her tiny two-year-old body standing in the open windowsill hollering to the top of her lungs, "Save me. Someone, save me!" Wonder what the neighbor's thought we were doing to her...

About this same time, she was being potty trained. It didn't take her long to get the basics figured out, but almost daily she'd soil her panties. I'd mutter under my breath every time, "Dang It All..." I hated cleaning up poop! One day I had a change of attitude. Maybe I had been to a mother's workshop. I don't know. But, I decided that I wouldn't mutter anything under my breath. I would be polite and understanding. When the inevitable poopy pants arrived, I replied in a honey-sweet voice, "That's okay, Dear." "No it's not!" She replied, "It's Dang It, Mommy, Dang It!" So glad that's as much as we curse in our family!

I've been a fine example for her to follow, so it's just expected that she turn out great with the few above exceptions. Well, there was the time when she begged for me to leave baby Stephen in her room while I ran downstairs to grab some item. When I came back up, she was sitting pretty as a picture on some pillows on her bed. Baby Stephen was no where to be found! I asked her where he was and this lovely 2-year-old pointed proudly underneath her pillows. She was sitting on him! (Maybe she knew something we didn't.)

I guess we all have our moments. Like when she took the car each weekend the spring of her senior year telling us she was working Saturdays and Sundays at Costco handing out samples. I stopped by one Saturday in May and she wasn't there. I combed the store asking each sample lady if they knew where she was. Turns out that she had never had a job at Costco. It was all a charade. She called that afternoon to tell me she was on her break, though. ha ha Definitely wearing someone else's genes on that occasion.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Confusion on the brain

Got a can opener handy? I need to see for myself what's inside this child's head! He looks normal enough on the outside. The neighbor lady claims he's the "cutest thing" she's ever seen... So, what's the deal? We took a drive to Grandma and Grandpa's - you know, "over the river and through the desert... to Burbank we will go..." On the side of the river is Sacagawea Park - one of the actual spots where the famed Lewis and Clark Expedition camped. Really.

We decided to WOW our new son with this bit of information. Of course, he's only seven years old, but if you're going to live in Washington - and the desert half at that - you have to show your pride somehow; you have to know your history, right? And, here's this famous landmark right along the roadway. So, I proclaim innocently enough: "Hey, that's where Lewis and Clark camped. Right there at that park. You know, they were early explorers and they followed this river to the Pacific Ocean."
"I know all about Lois and Clark."
"Oh, yeah? Lois and Clark?"
"Yeah, it's a tv show with Superman."
"Ah! Well, we're talking about Lewis and Clark. LEWIS and Clark... The explorers from 200 years ago."
"I know all about Lois and Clark."
"Well, sure you do. But this spot is where Lewis and Clark... you know, Meriwether LEWIS and Wlliam CLARK the explorers travelled and...
"I told you, I know all about Lois and Clark."
He's shrieking now, "I hate it when people think I don't know what I'm talking about!" Soon, tears are rolling down his face... "I know all about Lois and Clark!!!"

Of course he does. And Who's on First and What's on Second... for months on end this conversation haunts us every time we visit Grandma and Grandpa's in Burbank. We finally have to call it quits. No one is allowed to talk about Lewis (or Lois) and Clark. Ever! We just pretend the landmark (and tv show) never existed. Otherwise we'll end up with permanent confusion on the brain.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

This thing called gravity...

I have one of the most remarkable children. I could give lots of remarks about her! One of her first accomplishments when she arrived as a seven-year-old was to sneak up on a sparrow sitting on our porch - and catch it with her bare hands. Wow! Talk about talent. This kid must know a lot! Maybe. Maybe not.

It must have been that same week that I looked out the window and saw her climbing a peach sapling in our backyard. A stray peach pit had taken root and grown about as tall as the dog kennel. As she climbed, I raced outside to warn her. But I was too late... as soon as she reached a goodly height of two feet, that poor tree crashed down onto the sandpile below! It wasn't far enough down to have hurt her. (Though to this day, she remembers me laughing at her experience with gravity.)

A few years later, she was even more daring. She followed Stephen up onto the roof of the house via the overhanging cedar tree. She didn't leap off of it onto the trampoline like he did, though. My constant vigilance prevented that trick! But, she was so cocky, knowing that she was as clever as her older brother - completely oblivious to any danger she might have been in.

Some things I just assumed she would have learned. For instance, most 13-year-olds understand things like the solar system and our place in it. Somehow they just know. You wouldn't think to come right out and teach such a thing, but doesn't television, the movies, even art depict us living ON the earth? Somehow this little tidbit of information had eluded her up until this point.

One fine summer day as she bounced on our trampoline, eager to get to spend the night outside, the two of us talked about the stars, the sun and our earth... then somehow she expressed confusion. "Why can't we just walk through the earth to the other side?"

Now it was my turn to be confused. What was she talking about? I asked her to imagine that she was an ant. Imagine if that ant was walking on an orange; the earth. "You would have to walk an awfully LONG way around and swim across oceans...." At this point it dawned on her: we live on the OUTSIDE of the earth, not the inside! In horror, she gasped, "Then why don't we fall off into space?"

"Don't you remember falling out of the peach tree about six years ago? There's this thing called gravity..."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Clutter Capers

Mom expressed surprise that my kids - teenagers mind you - leave such amazing messes. Taija made a "coconut loaf" (cake) yesterday and left it in the pan. It got its innards removed, while the crust and crumbs still line the pan, the counter, stove and floor. The same thing happened with the watermelon. Scoops taken out of the center, drips all over the floor. Milk left out on the breakfast table... They act so clueless: "I didn't do it..." What drives me bananas is when they step over - or directly on top of - things like the newspaper, clothing (folded!) or toys. "It's not my job..." Or, they'll sweep or vacuum a room only to have me ask them to redo it 3 or 4 times. Wouldn't it just be EASIER to do it right the first time?????? I've even asked the eye doctor on our yearly visits if their particular type of vision problems include not being able to "see" objects like these.

Mom wanted to take photos of my counter tops this morning and then demonstrate the proper way to cut a slice of anything and set it on a plate. We could make an evening of it. Actually, that would fit right in with the classes I've previously held here at home such as: "Mama's school of cutting meat at the dinner table," "Mama's school of blowing your nose one nostril at a time," "Mama's school of how to close your mouth when you eat," "Mama's school of "How to properly wipe your behind" "Mama's School of How to do it with ONLY 4 squares of toilet paper" (really!!)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Totalled on Tuesday

Our oldest son came home and in my chemo-blurred brain I heard, "I wrecked the car. It's okay. It's not as bad as you might think." It was bad. The poor green Taurus has to be totalled since repairs would exceed it's value. Son's okay. Bumped his head after he hydroplaned into the guardrail. But it didn't seem to do him much harm. He seems to think that the car is his now and that he can drive it - at least until it runs out of gas. I made sure to get the key back from him and squelched his ambitious plans.

Heather has had a few fender benders in the past, too. Now our second son is taking driver's ed. Last month I let him drive in the parking lot. Then I let him drive home. It was worth every minute of sheer terror (think: roller coaster ride!) to have him admit that driving was harder than he'd thought it would be. For ten years now, since he "drove" the cars on the track at Silverwood Theme Park, I've heard from him how EASY driving is. No matter what kind of driving predicament we've been in, we've heard from Second Son how he knows ALL ABOUT driving; how he'd learn in NO-TIME... it would be A CINCH. ha ha ha

After that first and only drive with me, I had him repeat ten times: "Driving is harder than I thought it was. Driving is harder than I thought it was." Now that the class is almost finished, he sheepishly admits that the teacher told him he needs a lot more practice.... But, since I'm supposed to avoid stress as I go through chemo, I have an excuse to keep from ever having to drive with him again..... ha ha ha (Insert sound track of evil woman laughing...)

It's now up to you Hubby Dear...

Monday, June 9, 2008


Some of my friends have seen that things can get a bit crazy around here. In fact, I've learned to NEVER say, "It can't get any worse than this!" Because it DOES! Sometimes I would just love to look inside the kids' brains to observe their thinking processes. How do they come up with these quirky things, anyway? The good part is that though we've raised two of them from infants, one since he was a toddler and two of them from age seven, none of them has our genes. We can actually blame EVERYTHING on someone else!

All of them are ADD or ADHD (think: Dennis the Menace times five) Several have other diagnosis..(is there a plural for that word?) The youngest is developmentally delayed. All of them are unique. We love them and manage to laugh about their predicaments - not presently, but later we DO laugh. I've been asked numerous times to record their antics. I've also rated their stunts from CUTE to CLUELESS to STUPID to CRAZY and a few other titles. If you suppose that I'm being heartless and crass, come on over and I'll train you to cope for a week in my shoes! You'll discover that laughing is sometimes all you can do, save for abandoning the whole gang and joining a convent.