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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Each year I feel like the worst mama in the world, but Halloween isn't my favorite holiday.  It's a lotta work for candy you could just go out and buy.  4th of July and Thanksgiving are my favorites.  Each year I have to prep myself to get in the Halloween spirit and at a minimum fool the kiddos in to believing that I like this holiday.  This year I was off to a good start and had the decorations done the first week of October.  Whew!  Costuming 6 kiddos is daunting.  I hurts, but now I begrudgingly just let the kids pick a store bought costume, and the used kid's clothing stores always have great deals.  Wonderfully this year many of my kids were excited and happy with their sibling's hand-my-downs from years past. 

Boo and our neighbor prepare to fight evil.  Or perhaps they ARE evil?  It's a bit of a mixed message Boo has going there with the Superman, monster mask, red-diaper wearing, costume.  So what's with that red Superman diaper anyway?

Patch went through the garage to get his catcher's gear on. 
The big girls made a humble attempt to dress up.  Truth be told, Sunny decided that a costume was in order only hours before nightfall.  So Granna took her out shopping, and she came home with this cute t-shirt declaring she was a hippy.  Call me naive, but that just may have possibly have been a ploy to go shopping.  Hmmmmm  Livy used a hand-me-down costume of Sunny's, Little Red Riding Hood sans hood. 

This was T&J's first experiece with Halloween.  Last year they had only been home a little over a month, were only 14 months old, and were too scared.  And I kinda believe that kiddos should be walking to get candy.  This year, I must admit, I had so so much fun taking them up and down our street.  They were a hoot to watch.  I checked the thermometer when we went out, and at 66 degrees the costumes for T&J were a little too warm. 

Jujube, complete with a proverbial "monkey on his back."
They quickly figured out it was all about candy. You could see it in their eyes. 
"They're just GIVING this stuff away!"

They started off towards each new house with excitement and a gleeful trot. But as we drew near the next home and the unfamiliar door way, Jujube slowed and eventually stopped short of the doorway. Only with Papa's hand would he approach the door. 
Tess, who's never met a stranger, had no problems approaching strangers to rid them of their chocolates.  She ran ahead and tried to let herself into several houses.  She met each person with, "Hi!"

They hit about 12 houses.  Then back home to appraise their ill-gotten booty.  Or is that a ill-booten gotty?
Anyone remember all that crap candy that we got when we were younger?  Those big orange peanut shaped things that weren't even wrapped?  Or that pink-white-brown, celephance-wrapped cube?  Now-a-days we pick out the Almond Joy's, and the rest is a usually great combination of chocolates and fruit pectins.  Papa ususally sneaks out all the Reeces Peanut Butter Cups, and I have a weakness for Whoppers and Dots.   I also subscribe to the theory that the more candy the kiddos eat tonight, the less we'll have to deal with in the comming weeks.  A couple of the kiddos went to bed a little green around the gills. 

Happy Halloween all!  I hope you had far more treats that tricks!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I'll start by saying this post is difficult to write. Like exposing your weaknesses.
Everyone wants the best for their children... and prays for it.  Everyone wants their children to be gifted and talented and not for it all to come easily, but to know enough so it's not hard all the time.


At every turn I seem to run into little ones who talk, no ramble, with ease.  Answer questions. Say their name.  Speak in sentences. Identify their noses and eyes and ears.  Ask questions.  And the other little ones adopted from VietNam seem to have come through it all so unscathed.  So unaffected by it all and many are even "advanced" in their development.  It's good.  Really good.  And the way it should be.

Tess says two words now.  Sometimes when she sees new people at the store or when Papa comes home, she says hi.  Tess also says yay.  At the end of a song and when she's excited she says yay, yay, yay, yay and claps her hands for the joy of it all.  Tess's speech is about that of a 12 month old.  Tess is 26 months old now. 


It's hard not to worry. It's really hard not to worry. I worry... a lot. I don't need a perfect gifted child. I just want Tess to reap joy and love from the world. I want her to love God and love others. It's important to remind myself of the circumstances of her first 12 months when we couldn't be there to coo at her and hold her and assure her. She handled it differently than her crib mates at the orphanage. Now I can see how her personality would do that. When it gets bad or challenging, Tess seems to internalize everything, take it all in and bury it and sink into her oblivion. At 2 I can easily see that! Papa and I saw it in her pictures when she was 10 months old. It's an amazing revelation of her sole through her eyes. Did I mention I worry a little from time to time?


So enter stage left... Miss Betsy.  Tess and Jujube each see Miss Betsy one time per week for speech therapy.  Miss Betsy is camera shy, and I assured her that pics would only be in black and white and with a soft focus.  I assure you that Miss Betsy looks awesome in color and a crisp focus too!  She is so wonderful at captuing T&J's attention and engaging them.  With blowing bubbles. 

And climbing.

And Playdough.

And airplane hunting of course! 

They love to spend time with her!  And she can get them to say things, like hi and yay. 
Keep up the good work, Miss Betsy.  You know I just had a type-o and typed Keep up the god work, Miss Betsy.  Yes,  please keep up God's work Miss Betsy.  In His plan, He unites just the right people at just the right time.

And I'll try to stop worrying.

PS-I just did spell check, and yay isn't a word.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Something Wicked This Way Comes

It's those dirty fingernails that are SO scary!  No doubt they are harboring H1N1!

OK Jujube isn't really that scary or "wicked,"  but couldn't pass up sharing his extreme cuteness!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Crazy 8 Highlights--Lamp Gum

  • I found "lamp gum" this weekend. No, that's not a typo. You know... lamp gum! Apparently "someone" was done chewing their gum and stuck it to the lamp in our family room. I'm strangely perplexed by my conflicting feelings regarding "lamp gum." On one hand, how dare anyone disregard their family members and stick chewed up spitty gum on a lamp! Ewwwww! That's disgusting and a total disregard for our home! On the other hand, that's so awesome that they didn't just toss it on the floor in the carpeting. That stuff NEVER comes out, and I appreciate it being left in a safe out of the way place even though it should have been placed in the trash. Benefit-of-the-doubt mom, thinks perhaps "someone" was thinking of reusing his/her gum to reduce his/her carbon foot print. Hmmmmm... lots to consider with lamp gum! Who woulda thunk?

  • Aunt Marite and Aunt Nancy and cousins-- I hear there's a little shin-dig is SoCal in 2010?  We are in dire need of a vacation and SO we will ALL be there with bells on.  May try to hit Dland too if we can save up our "egg money" for the tix.  Can't wait to see you all!  6 hours in a car with 6 kids, including two 2-year-olds???? You better have some lithium waiting for me when we get there!  Or at least a glass of wine.

  • Dumb things people say-
                      Are those your children? (referring to Tess and Jujube)
                      Yes they are.
                      They're going to be great piano players! All the Asians are!
                      I've gotten variations of this comment several times over the last year.  Again refering to 
                      T&J--     Do you have trouble finding Vietnamese food for them to eat? Or do
                       they eat American  food too?   Really?  They were 12 months old and had                          
                      only had formula when we got them.  Mac-n-cheese and beanie-weenies go down just fine!
  • Patch, in 5th grade, was having a particularly bad homework day recently. I try my best to not get sucked into Patch's vortex of Homework Hell when he has days like this, or he feeds off my energy, and before you know it we have a "situation" on our hands. During his spiral downward, he declared and repeated and then yelled, many times, that he was going to run away. I know he was just trying to get a rise out of me. I selectively ignored his outbursts, and sure enough he took off. Thinking no one was watching him, he went in the front yard and scuttled up the big ash tree in our front yard, barefoot... WAY up, about 40 feet. At least I knew where he was. He was pretty hot under the collar at this point and Papa was due home in about 30 min, so I let him stay there. He needed a break and some fresh air anyway. Papa talked him down easily, and he came in, had some dinner, and finished his homework. Score? Parenting-1 11-year-old temper tantrum-0
  • Recently I've been thinking a lot about the joys of parenting both older and younger children at the same time.  Sunny and Livy and Patch are stepping it up.  Papa and I are very intentional about not wanted our bigger kiddos to do OUR job and parent or be care givers to the littler ones, but rather just enjoy being siblings.  Then when the bigger ones do choose to read them a book, or load them in their car seats, or make them lunch, it is out of love rather than obligation.  T&J, now 2 years old, and Boo, now 7, have finally figured out how to "play" with one another and Boo is so happy to have a baby brother and sister follow him around and copy his every move.  A mama of 6 again counts her blessings.  (Gotta love the light skin/dark skin in this pic!)
  • If you consider manners and social graces important, or are perhaps of a delicate constitution, skip this bullet point now---(fair warning to Aunt Nancy and my mother-in-law)----Maybe Heather can answer this one with her experience with her twins that are just a bit older than my sweeties. --- Are twins tandem poopers? T&J, although not regular, are in sync with one another! Not dinner conversation I know, but this is a blog, not dinner. I'm amazed and strangely fascinated by their ability to coordinate their bowels with one another! My father's hard-earned money spent on years of my college education is reduced to conversations about poo. It's sad, I know.  

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blog Book-It's a Good Thing

OK, I will start willingly admitting that this is self-absorbed & egocentric.  This one is for Sherri, and Gayle, and Michelle, and Sharon, and Christina, and Robin, and all the bloggers out there.  It's a good thing.

If I showed you the coat closet full of scrap booking supplies that I have, I'd embarrass myself. Picture a coat closet with a plastic dresser in it, on wheels, with 10 drawers, each stuffed. Non-acidic archival papers, in every shade of the rainbow and then some. 'Cause archival papers are important.  Heaven's sakes if the pics are tinted yellow from cheap paper. Not 1, not 2, not, 6, but the Costco super pack of 15 designer edge scissors for all my cutting needs. You gotta have stickers if you're gonna scrapbook! And die cuts too. And no less than 1,648 permanent markers with various tip widths for documenting everything. And adhesive to stick all this crap together. But let's not stop there. By all means let's purchase extra albums and pages for all the scrapbooks I'm gonna make years into the future. And top it all off with the extra large 36 inch long matte cutter with poster-board sized self healing matte! I know what you're thinking, Surely she can't be serious. Well I am serious. And don't call me Shirley!  Did you say you wanted to hang up your coat? Too bad 'cause that coat closet is full! I did a lot of scrap booking for 5-10 years and have many albums to show for it, but I haven't scrap booked since Boo was 12 months old.  Guilt.  I'm thinking of selling the whole closet on Craig's List.

Then I found this-
and the guilt started to ease. It's a site, that at the push of a button, (ok maybe a 3 or 4 buttons) my blog became a book! Voila! Instant family album via our blog!

Pretty impressive cover with one of my favorite photos from VietNam!  Starts at $25 as a base price, then they charge more the more pages you have. And there are options to change things around a bit, take out comments if you want, things like that. I didn't do a thing.  I'm in to simplicity these days typos and all.

It has a table of contents for each entry.

And here are entries when we were more neurotic than usual waiting for our little ones to come home...

Here we are in SaiGon, VietNam...

And this one is about Nana and strawberry jam. Oh I miss my grandmothers. Don't get me started.

And my Vietnamese recipes are in there too!

Looks awesome! I'm self published! I'm easily impressed.

And most importantly the pictures and stories are all there for my children.
Now when I'm of advanced age and in "the home" and unable to articulate the stories of my children's youth, they can turn to the pages of our family book and wipe spittle from the corner of my mouth.

Ya, definitely gonna go the Craig's List route. It's a good thing too.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Sunset Photo Session Part II

Everyone who comes over to our house gets a little infected by the "crazy virus." Melissa was no excpetion when  she came over for pictures.  Maybe it was the 95 degree October heat.  Or maybe it was reminissing about how our own well-meaning parents encouraged us to play with lawn darts.  Or perhaps Melissa's blue hair her junior year of high school.  She was so cool!  I was a band geek.  Or maybe it was just fact that it was Thursday.
What ever it was, we decided to let our children play in the street.  I'm cringing even as I write this.  It's wrong I know.  But it seemed the right thing to do!
The sprinklers at the neighbor's house were broken and water was filling the street.  It was really more than they could resist!  That kind of thing is ok in the city... right?  City folk play in the street, right?  I saw it on Sesame Street once.  It must me be so!
Maybe 95 degrees in the fall justifies letting your kids play in the street?  Throw me a bone! 
Maybe I should have been on the lookout for cars instead of taking pictures.
But the sun slowly set, and we had a great time splashing around!
No children were harmed druing the photographing of this blog post.

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Sunset Photo Session Part I

My photography obession has grown exponentially, and to avoid incessant eyerolling from my own progeny, I have resorted to asking my friends to bring over their children and families to photograph. With the holiday card sending season just around the corner, I've easily taken advantage of my procrastinaor friends. It's a win win siutuation, except for the children who are less easily duped.

So my friend Melissa, who I've known since we were 11, brought her 2 accomidating kids over. Melissa is one of my very best friends and one of the smartest people I know. We're from the same small town and went to the same small elementary school, jr high, and then high school. Melissa was the first in a long line of "maddona-wanna-be's" when that kinda of thing was cool. She was the first to wear her bra on the outside to school and wore a wedding dress to a concert. And eventually she married my first boyfriend but that might be a whole nother post. I told you it was a small town, right?

And by the way, it is kinda awkward explaining to friends that I only dated two men, really boys at the time. The one I married and the one she married. But really, who needs all the sorted details!

Everyone needs a friend like Melissa. See those gorgeous dark deep-set Italian eyes? They'll look you strainght in the face and tell you your full of crappola... if you are. I LOVE that about her! If you're slightly exaggerating a story about the hardships of your youth, she call you on it right there in front of everyone.
  • "You did NOT walk up hill, barefoot, in the snow, both ways to and from school everyday! You're dad owned a VW bus and drove you to school EVERY single day. I was there."
  • "God is not a republican!"
  • "Shoulder pads went out over a decade ago. I don't care if they make your waist look smaller.  Take that off!"
  • "You were a band geek so just accept it.  You played the flute and marched in the band and wore that awful furry q-tip hat and everything."

She's the one I want as my friend when my vision goes bad to tell me that my nostril hair needs to be trimmed, or to pluck that hair growing out of my mole. She'll do it. She was the person that held me tight in church that day and looked me dead in the eye and suggested I get some counseling when things were so rough, and I couldn't get past it. I did. She was right.

Here's her son T who obviously got her gorgeous dark features.

But M got her wonderful eyes!
And of course those fantastic chicklettes! Aren't chickettes the best?! Marking a season in life when there are few worries and such promise. Melissa says they are starting to bother her.  You're beautiful M!

To be continued tomorrow in Part II
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