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Friday, December 30, 2011

Caught somewhere between Michelle Duggar, Grizzly Adams, and my crazy me

You see, I've been trying to channel my inner Michelle Duggar.
I mean really now, does that woman ever lose it?  Does she ever fall apart or raise her voice?  When she's trying so hard to load her 19 kiddos in the car and Jim Bob is inside on his self-proclaimed "Duggar time," liberally shellacking his hair with just one more coat of Aqua Net, does she ever flip out and yell across that monstrosity of a house of theirs, Cheese and rice, JIM BOB!  Just freaking get in the CAR Already! 
No, I think not.  
She has that sweet voice, that quiet voice that she talks about that seems to imply that she's never even had an inkling that she's ever wanted to take a Duggar progeny out back and tan the hide right off of them purely out of spite and vengeance.

So I try to channel my inner Michelle Duggar when I feel things are falling apart.

And on this occasion, there were a lot of things falling to pieces all around.  I mean a lot.  And a lot of places for me to fall apart right along with it.
We wanted to visit little-cabin-in-the-woods before the holiday was completely spent.  I mean when you live in the desert, it's important to get in your fare share of snowman building, sledding and snowball fights!
But I forgot to give Sunny enough notice to ask for a few days off work, so we ended up waiting till Thursday to leave.  And Papa needed a full work week, so he wasn't able to join us till Friday.  And that left yours truly traveling solo with the 5 youngest crazy 9's heading up the mountain.  So far, no problem.
But we got a late start.  The teens slept in, and I wasn't about to tidy up the remnants of the Christmas carnage by myself.  I tried to time our departure around lunch so we can pick up crappy fast-food for lunch for the ride up, then hopefully the littles would nap in the car on the 3 hour ride up.  But by the time we finally left, it was 2pm.  And we hadn't had lunch yet.  And getting-very-cranky-by-this-point Tess and Jude hadn't had naps yet either.  But at least we we were on our way.
The 3 hours ride up the mountain was somewhat predictable.  It was very un-Duggar.

  • His sock is in my ear again!
  • No we don't have any scissors right now!
  • She's kicking my seat!
  • Keep your car seat buckled!
  • I wanted a cheeseburger, not chicken nuggets!
  • My headphones won't work!
  • But all my friends get to stop for candy bars!
  • Why can't we have Ketchup in the car?!
  • Mom, tell me we don't have to listen to your radio station the whole way!
  • Don't you dare drop that game on the floor... again!
  • Stop touching her, or you'll be sorry!
  • My DS isn't working!
  • For the 20th time, keep your feet on the floor!
  • You're driving 5 miles over the speed limit, Mom!
  • I'm thirsty!
  • Don't make me pull this car over, young man!
  • I have to go potty, now!
  • I can't see the video screen!
  • Mom, I forgot to bring any shoes!

Ya, someone actually forgot shoes.  Needless to say, God provided me with many opportunities to practice using my quiet-mom voice in the midst of absolute chaos.  I think I held it together... most of the time... although Patch may argue that one with you.
We pulled up to the cabin at 5:30pm.  It was already starting to get dark.  
First priority is to turn on the water.  Find the water valve under 18" of snow.  Use bare hands to pry freezing cover off.  Use the water key to turn with all my might while simultaneously wondering if Papa has an easier time of this with his manly-man muscles.  Wait a minute, is that water seeping in my UGG boots?

Second priority, turn on the heat.  My my.  38 degrees seems colder than I remember.  Gee it's unusual I cant get the thermostat to turn the heat on.  Hmmmmmm...
The furnace wasn't working.  I checked the fuse box.  I checked the propane tank.  I checked the battery in the thermostat.  Nope, it was broken and certainly not in my repertoire to know how to fix it.  Now where was Jim Bob when I needed him?

Because we never turn the heat completely off in the cabin, (we just turn it really low, like 40 degrees) we never totally drain the cabin and the toilets still had water in them.  
Did I say water?  
I should have more accurately said ice.  Which means that my third priority was to figure out how all of were going to use the bathroom.  

It was about this time, about the time that we realized that we could actually see our breath inside the cabin, that the progeny got hungry.  Priority #4.  

And no TV since it's a cabin and all.  Entertainment we could all partake in under the electric blanket was the 5th priority.  
Two carry-out pizzas were ordered.  All the electric heating blankets, both of them, were dug out and plugged in.  2 space heaters were found and one put in the bathroom to hopefully warm up the frozen-ice toilet.  Boys had too much fun peeing in the snow  (My inner Michelle Duggar cringed at this.)  I downloaded Airplane off Netflix, and we very very slowly watched the temperature creep up.  After bundling up the little ones in bed, I made a quick run to the grocery store.  And we celebrated our survival with s'mores and hot cocoa.  By the time the last kiddo went to bed, it was a balmy 55 degrees.
I sat up at least a couple more hours, tending the fire, mesmerized by the crackle and the glow.   I roasted my own marshmallows, all alone in the quiet.  
The sweet quiet.  
The sweet cold quiet. 
And it was truly a sweet time of reflection of our day and all that's possible.  After the car ride, the kiddos never complained once about the lack of a toilet, or wet feet, or lack of food, or the cold cold cold cabin.  It became an adventure to over come.  And overcome we did!
I think Michelle Duggar would have been proud.  
And maybe more importantly Wonder Woman and Grizzly Adams! 
We were almost at 60 degrees by the time I went to bed.  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

little photo album

We forwarded a photo album-board book to our little WanWen.  Liv and I sat down in the evenings together and decorated the plain white album with stickers and labels.  (if you can read these labels, and it says something like, my foot has a huge bunion, or this house is a sleazy brothel, please don't tell me.)
The photo album was fun to put together and left me wondering if it's something she'll ever see.
To be honest, I'm not sure how much of an advantage it is for an almost 2 year old to see photos of us and our home.  I'm just not sure she has the ability to "get it" at such a young age.
But I do think her foster parents will certainly see where she is going and who will be loving on her.  And hopefully it will give them a bit of peace about her leaving.  I'm sure they love her, after all we think she's been with them since she was just days old.
Last but not least, we tucked some princess stickers inside and as many kisses as it could hold, and sent it on its way.
Leaving us to envision her little fingers holding it and her slobber covering it's pages.  
Good bye little photo album.  Tell her we love her!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

{Sigh} of relief

Does anyone else out there breathe a sigh of relief when Christmas is over?
I think that makes me a bad mama. But it is what it is.   And at least I don't think any of our kiddos are the wiser about my shame.
It's no surprise that Christmas isn't my favorite holiday.  And I truly envy all of you who get so excited and decorate and have craft projects just for the holiday.
But...
{Sigh}
What's Christmas without a yo-yo?
Don't get me wrong.  We had a good one.  Well actually, we had a fabulous one!

Good golly are they sweet  when they share!
With ripping and tearing,
and prime rib and Yorkshire pudding,
and stockings and singing too.
I was undeservingly blessed with some awesome gifts!
The bike was FAR to big for him.  Off to make an exchange.  
My favorite was some RMB Papa tucked in my stocking.  Although he says it's not polite to talk about money, but I though you adoption gals would understand how amazingly romantic that was.
And there was a steady and constant stream of The Christmas Story playing all. day. long.
But it's still no Thanksgiving.  And it's certainly no 4th of July!
Toddler wielding scissors amid a sea of wrapping paper.  
Trying hard to head up the mountain before school starts back up and get in our share of snowball fights and sledding.

Friday, December 23, 2011

NVC and the 50mm

Like I had mentioned earlier, the next few steps in our adoption are quite complicated.  So just trust me when I say that another milestone has been met (insert applause here) with the cable of our approval by the NVC.   It's another step the US govt has put in place.  
The good news is that we seem to keep shaving off a tiny bit of time with each step.  I'm guessing that folks with the US govt are trying to push things through before they leave for Christmas and maybe this is what is responsible for things getting done a little bit faster than usual.  The shaved off time is adding up, and confirms that we'll likely leave for China in Feb, rather than March.  Which I'm really having a hard time believing!!!! I know it'll be colder in February, but this would be couple weeks sooner that I can wrap my arms around my girly and smother her in kisses, (and likely scare the pants off her, poor sweet thing) and that would be the best gift ever!

Shifting gears...
I'm still  frustrated with every image I take recently, so I tried something different.  I reached deep into my camera bag and pulled out my 50mm.  If we've talked about lenses before, you know I think a 50mm this is THE most important lens anyone can have, and it's the first lens any DSLR owner should purchase and practice with.  And because I'm a hypocrite, I'll share that I hardly ever use my 50mm.   Hanging head in shame now.  But here's the thing, Papa and I bought this lens when we were in college!  That makes my 50mm over {cough cough} 25 years old!  It's is a dinosaur, circa 1987.  A relic.  When it focuses it sounds like sand, and it produces images that are always in soft focus.  I think it has a light leak too.  The results always leave me wanting.  But I'm desperate I tell ya!  So out it came.


So here are some pics of part deux of the cookie making, the part where Granna so generously volunteers her kitchen again, the kiddos scatter massive amounts of sprinkles.  
Ok, ya, the adults couldn't resist getting involved either!

My sister-in-laws and yours truely
Dear Santa,
I'd like a new 50mm lens for Christmas.
Crazy me
All the granddaughters... so far.  
Merry Christmas Eve Eve, Y'all!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

20 things that consume my crazy thoughts


The littles are completely consumed with this song.  
It's catchy and all, but I'm not sure why.
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Any other Mad Men fans out there?  When is season 5 starting?
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My camera is breaking.  Shutter issues.   I'm not sure how much longer I can nurse it.
.   .   .   .   .   .  .   .
Jude dreams about Baby Mimi almost every night. He tells me so each morning.  
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I made lasagna last night, and my husband said it was one of the bet meals I ever made!  Mama bliss.  
The recipe is here which doesn't seem so special, but like I said, they love love loved it!
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I must have one of these made to look like Mimi.  I'm pretty sure it will be her 2nd birthday present.
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I miss Peggy.  A lot.
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After a LOT of discussions and some stress, Sunny has a plan!  A plan about what she'd like to do next year!  I'm going to try to get her to write a post sharing the details.
.   .   .   .   .   .  .   .
My papa wants to get together and do an epilogue of this post.  Like the details and how it all came to be.
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I have bangs again.
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I miss Don.  Why is Don so yummy when he treats women like crap?
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I have absolutely no desire to take photographs.  I'm not happy with any of them.
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Feb 29th is looking like a probable travel date to China.
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My dog is getting old.  That's sad when that happens.
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We're gonna head up to Little Cabin in the Woods after Christmas for some good ol' sledding, snowball fights, and snowman building.  Now where DID I put my long underwear?
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really miss Jonie.  Is the baby she's carrying Greg's or Rodger's?
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Bullying and school issues have taken a back seat during Christmas break.
It feels reeeeaaal good not to think about it for 2 whole weeks.
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I am so doing this... as soon as I have a moment to spare.
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Our traditional Christmas dinner menu is scheduled, prime rib, Yorkshire pudding, fresh green beans...  Worthy of breaking my diet for.
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Heck, I miss even Betty.  Seriously, when is season 5 starting???

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cookies and Santa

He told us before our visit, that he was not going to sit on Santa's lap.   He was adamant.  And that was ok.  
He changed his mind.  



Sunday Snapshot

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