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Thursday, December 20, 2012

The One Thing

I met Anita in the hallway of a Baptist church, waiting for my first born to finish up the fun and games I had enrolled him in Awana to enjoy.  She had the cutest little baby face peeking out of a sling, which I had never seen before and was so friendly, I could help but get drawn into her.  She was one of those people you knew right away would be a life-long friend.  We chatted in the hallway for a couple weeks, her flirting with my little ones, me flirting with hers and after a few "getting to know you sessions" it became obvious something was missing.  Her first three children had a typical spacing between them, but then there was a huge age gap between her second to youngest and her baby, so I asked about it.  I am always curious when it comes to baby-making decisions, and so I commented that having a baby after having three children of an independent age (which I define as knowing how to use the restroom alone) has to be a weird experience.  And then she opened up about her Elizabeth, that while not with her that day, was still a huge part of her mothering existence.  Elizabeth was her second daughter, born still, after her husband had decided he did want another little one.  It should have been a happy time.  Another little girl, much wanted, and much waited for from a husband who thought three was plenty.  The baby snuggled in her arms during this conversation was a cherubic little boy that came after his sister had passed away.  I was confused.  The ONE THING I always said would shake my juvenile faith was a child being taken from me.  THAT I could not handle.  I was sure of it.  Little did I know.

Anita was over-joyed when I found out I was expecting my fourth and was so motherly the whole time he was growing.  She provided encouragment, a slew of books about childbirth and mothering, and was my biggest cheerleader.  Until the end, when I admitted I just wanted to stay home and have zero interaction with the outside world because I was totally over the experience of being pregnant.  It was then she expressed worry, saying she felt the same way towards the end with Elizabeth.  She willed it with her entire being that something like this not happen to anyone she knew.  And Eli was fine, and I was fine, and we welcomed him with much fanfare and happiness.  That kind of sadness, the kind that reaches into the core of your being and rips everything out and stomps all over it, hadn't touched me.  Yet.

When I got my next positive pregnancy test, the timing was wonky.  We had just recieved the date of arrival for my two nieces, who we had commited to fostering and eventually, adopting.  I was so thankful we found out AFTER our intensive homestudy, as a fifth natural child might have tipped the scales in terms of our eligibility.  They arrived when I was still sick, exhausted and overwhelmed by the idea of 6 children, let alone 7 but I survived.  That's about all I did.  I cleaned, and changed diapers, and taught reading to my oldest, and we watched a whole lot of Dora.  6 children 6 and under was a huge challenge, on top of Jamie starting back to school, but somehow we did it.  I got through feeling like death, but by the end of the day I was so completely exhausted I could barely move. 

This pregnancy was so much different.  I was sick longer, and with more intensity.  I hadn't really gotten used to the idea of a baby.  With Elijah, the nesting instinct was strong and I was blissed out buying little baby things, making a quilt for him, catching up on the others' scrapbooks so that I could get started on his when we brought him home.  And for this baby, nothing.  My bestie said I was just too busy, too stressed and too tapped out to think about that which wasn't right in front of me, needing immediate attention.  It would come, she said.  I just needed to meet the baby and everything would fall into place.

But it hurt.  I mean, it physically HURT around my abdomen.  Pregnancy is always uncomfortable for me, but I wouldn't have ever described it as painful.  The top part of my fundus burned with any activity I tried to accomplish. Vacuuming, picking up toys, picking up babies....all hurt.  I was so incredibly huge. 

At my 30 week check-up, my midwife noticed I was a bit bigger than I should be, and the baby was breech.  She said I could get an ultrasound, just to rule out twins, but she only heard one heartbeat and really felt there was only one baby in there.  It was something we'd keep a good eye on, she said.  In the end, I decided to call the ultrasound place and just have a looksee.  I mean, here I was with 6 little children and I had a desperate need to know if I was going to be adding two more to this mix, becuase in my mind, that was just crazy.

The day was typical.  I had to get all the kids ready.  I had to get myself ready.  Jamie came home early for our appointment and brought in the mail. We had a late notice for our rent, and I had to call and figure out how we were late when we sent our check off over a week ago.  I remember ironing a piece of fabric for a quilt while waiting for Jamie to finish getting ready and then piling all the children into our two vehicles because we didn't all fit in our mini-van.  We made the long trek to the ultrasound place, after stopping to get cash from the ATM to pay for it, and the only thing on my mind was keeping my children in line and quiet during the appointment.  We had no one we knew well enough to watch them, so they went everywhere we did.  My focus was entirely on them and what they were doing, so much so that I didn't notice how long the ultrasound tech was taking.  And she wasn't talking....It was a very long time and then the dreaded words came "Well, we need to call your midwife.  We are seeing some issues with the baby."  I know more words were said.  Something about his heart and inadequate growth.  I was just in a daze.  Jamie was crying.  I didn't understand enough of what was happening TO cry.  I was too busy trying to tell him it would be okay and get several children into a bathroom because they all needed to go.  I talked to my midwife on the phone and she was going to set us up with specialists to get a better picture of what was going on and we had to book it home, because we had a home visit scheduled with our social worker.  We had to drive home separately and I remember having to concentrate on driving because I was shaking.  The kids were asking questions and I remember feeling like I had to protect them from the reality that this baby may not be okay, and feeling as though I had completely failed them.  That this reality was way harsher than any I wanted them exposed to at such a young age.  Was this really happening?  TO ME??  This is my "ONE THING..." Is this happening?  Seriously?

Our social worker never showed, which was fine with me.  I made some phone calls.  I called my best friend, who was also pregnant and I told her "Please...don't let this make you worry about your baby.  Your baby is fine ok??"  She was out somewhere and promised to call me back.  Then I called my mom and it was then I lost it.  When she asked if I was ok, I broke down and said "Something is really, really wrong with the baby."  And she cried.  And she told me she was so, so sorry and that I was such a good mom and everything would be okay.   At this moment, she said all the right things even though it would be the last time during this momentous occasion this would be true. 

The next few days were awful.  We had to wait for answers and wait for an appointment.  In the early morning hours, I woke up with terrible anxiety.  I couldn't breathe.  The amniotic fluid was building fast, as my baby didn't have the lungs to use it, and it was pushing up into my diaphram causing difficulty in taking normal, good, deep breaths.  The day before I had sat in my big garden tub, praying, and ultimately, my heart and soul accepted that this baby wasn't going to be a little person hanging around our family.  His form of dwarfism would take his life.  I had no background or book knowledge of his condition, but I just knew, in the very depths of my being, his life would not be a long one.  The second I understood this in my heart, a peace that I had never known before, took hold and I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I'd be okay.  So when the appointment happened, it wasn't a big shock when we got the news of exactly what was happening within me and was the outcome would be.  We had to make some decisions based on the rapid rate of uterine growth that was happening (thus the pain...) and we decided to have an induction.  I was 32 weeks along.  My buddy Anita was now chasing a crazy toddler who was born at 32 weeks.  I had no thoughts of "taking his life" early, as he was at a perfectly viable age to survive this world if that was his destiny, but if I continued on this path for 8 more weeks and waited for that 40 week mark, I may not fare as well.  This didn't bode well with my new friend, that had set me up with the mother's helper who was watching the children this very day.  In her mind, I had just signed up for an abortion.  This decision ended our friendship as I declined to speak to her pastor to get "permission" to go through with this induction.  It was made by myself and my husband, our excellent doctors and after gut-wreching, heart-bleeding prayer.  God was there, but apparently He wasn't enough.  I needed one of his representaives to give me the go ahead. 

Matthew was born and died within the hour.  I held him and talked to him and told him about his brothers and sisters back at home, how much we loved him.  He was held his entire life.  He was sweet and tiny and peaceful.  It was hard to understand.  The littlest girl in my house was born addicted to heroin, and here I was, eating a bunch of green shit everyday, watching my diet, not taking Tylenol, doing everything right and my baby was taken.  Was it "fair?"  Not really.  Nothing in life is.  Did I feel robbed?  No.  His destiny played out exactly as it should have, whether I liked it or not.  I, and no one, is owed any amount of days, or perfect experiences, or sublime joy, as we walk this planet.  Did it shake my faith?  In people? Absolutely!!! In God, not even a little.  Because He met me.  I had never experienced such a palpable faith as I experienced in these moments.  I physically felt His prescence because I called on Him.  It wasn't a Hallmark, feel good sort of thing.  I physically felt HELD during all this.  Many would say it's because my soul manifested a need and my mind filled it.  That it was somehow ME creating what I needed.  I find this ridiculous.  I'm a woman who can freak out if shoes aren't perfectly organized and a paint color on a wall is a shade off from what I wanted.  There is nothing peaceable in me.  I'm a frazzled, stressed out mess pretty much all of the time.  Relying on my own strength or ability to manifest some peace in this situation would have had me locked up in a mental ward somewhere.  I didn't have it in me then and I still don't have it in me now. 

The One Thing.  There was ONE THING I said would shake my faith, long before it was even the hint of reality in my life. I could have asked where God was during all this.  But I knew.  I knew more then than I did before and to be honest, more than I know most days.  But if I close my eyes and think back to that time, I feel it all over again.  The physical presence of love that reaches beyond this human plane and gives such a hope that this isn't all there is, that the amount and strength of love we experience here is just the beginning of something much, much bigger. 

And now the One Thing that cannot be taken from me, the One Thing that cannot be shaken, is my faith.  Many have tried, through various means, and all have failed.  I will hold onto this Thing until my dying day when I don't have to wonder about it's truth anymore because either all will be answered, or it will all go dark, and even if...even IF, I am totally wrong and it's all been a fallacy, I've still lived an excellent life, full of faith and love, with no regrets. 

In short, I still win ;)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Ghost of Plain Days Past

It doesn't take a special day on the calendar for remnants of what we've left behind to come haunting us.  It can happen any day.  With social media so rampant, it happens everyday for most people.  Friends from our youngest day, our wildest days and those we've picked up like moss along the way, follow us through our life's journey.  It's kind of amazing to reconnect with those we thought had forgotten us, or we, them but there are times when it's a bit unsettling.

My husband and I met independently of anyone either of us knew.  We met without the help of mutual friends.  We simply found each other.  Two people who had nothing in common but a dot on the map, where our bodies and souls met and decided they needed to spend the rest of their lives together.  He had his past.  I had mine.  And we put them both to rest to start a future free of all that.  Just us. 

But every now and again, ghosts waft into our lives, laying claim to that which no longer exists.  They remember us as we were, when they knew us and seem to think that which they knew, the person we were with them, is still hanging around.  Not remembering they are the ones we left behind, with intention.  They were not the people we chose to build our lives around. 

Although I do generally seek to live a gentle, peaceable life, this certain propensity from people in my husband's past stirs a great, hot, white fury so deep within me, it physically burns.  Those who feel that because they knew him many years ago, the certainly have a right to communicate with him, in a way that is too familiar for a mere friend.  Those people sitting in perhaps the fifth row of my husband's life, trying to squeeze into the front, as if they are somehow just as much a part of his fiber as his family.  Or me, his wife. 

Ain't happening.  Not today, not ever. 

Jamie is kind and unassuming.  He is nostaglic and looks fondly on those memories, with emphasis on how far he's come and how glad he is that his life is now what it is, and not what it once was.  He will tell anyone that his success is my success, as he couldn't have done it without me, and that's only partly true.  He could have accomplished all that he has without me by my side, but the truth of the matter is, he wouldn't have.  He had no reason.  He needed a witness to all that he would attempt.  Someone to push him just enough to keep him going, but not knock him over.  Someone to understand where he was going and how he was getting there.  Someone to physically watch as he poured over books, and calculations and emails, and remind him why he was doing something that drove him insane.  To be a father, he needed a mother and he chose me.  And we chose, together, the life we are leading now.  Just us.

He didn't pull me into this, and I didn't pull him in.  This is our life.  The one we made together and continue to build.  And those who remember him as their own, as their friend, as something more have no place in it anymore.  You can pass by.  You can say 'Hi, how are you...' but it will never be okay to seek him out, on a daily basis,. and try to take that which is not yours.  Your fond memories of a crazy teenage alcoholic-in-training are just that, memories.  You have not been a part of the building of the man he is today.  You aren't part of his heart, his faith or his family.  You are where you belong, in the archives of the memory of a man so pure-hearted, he had no idea what you were trying to pull.  But I'm a girl and I know.  You do too. 

So, in girl terms, I'll put this plainly.  Back the fuck off.  Please and thank you. 



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Life Well Spent







Yesterday, I was chatting it up on Facebook, taking a small break from demolition clean up, when I got a message to call my mom, that my uncle had passed away.  I just kind of sat there in shock.  I knew, from the grapevine, his health was suffering, and that there was some uncertainty about his time left on this planet, but his death was sudden. 

I called my mom and she was understandably upset.  This is her sister's husband, married their whole adult life, and let's face it, when someone in your immediate circle passes away, within your own age range even, it's a bit jolting.  My mom was feeling it yesterday.  I could hear it in her voice.

And so we talked.  About life.  About making plans to start living after a certain requirement has been met, like after retirement, or when this or that big thing is accomplished.  My aunt and uncle were just settling in to a happy retirement life, although my memories don't paint them as people who truly waited to live a good life.  Everything I can remember about them is happy and active and LIVING. 

This is not the case for other people I know.  Scrimping and saving, being extremely wise with their time and their money, saving up for the Big Day, when they can truly START living.  I think wise investing to secure a future income is definitely a good thing, but when situations like this present themselves, it does make me question how much planning for the future is ripping off the enjoyment of today.  How far must we go to plan for an uncertain future?  What choices would we make today if we knew our time was limited?  Would we put every penny away, in a bank....or spend the extra we had to bless our own lives, or the life of someone else?  Would we pass on something we truly wanted today, so that we could have something different ten years from now? 

My mom and I talked about all this and for some reason, my thoughts turned to my children.  Not in a morbid "Oh no....I won't be here for them forever" kind of way, quite the opposite.  I explained to my mom that death didn't scare me, but not living while I was alive did and that was the very reason I have to count to 7 when I am ticking off my children.  Because they ARE life.  They are the "things" we want to invest in.  Not a whole lot of people get that.  That it's intentional.  That as much as I tease and joke about the craziness that is my life, this is exactly the life I wanted, that I was brave enough to embrace, regardless of how counter-cultural it may be.

What most people don't know is that had we followed the average American life plan, and had our 1.8 children (WTFudge is this anyways?  I never understood how you could decimal point humans.  That's just creepy)...we'd be living a much, much different life right now.  If it were just Jamie and I, and our two oldest children, our lifestyle would be drastically different.  There would be private schools, instead of homeschooling.  There would be international vacations, instead of camping, or hanging out at the beach.  There would be loaded bags of mall goodies in the back of my brand new SUV, rather than thrift store finds in the back of my tiny Ford Focus (or 15 passenger van).  There would probably be lots of workers in my house, doing all this home improvement stuff, rather than a bunch of random trips to Lowes and toddlers weilding hammers helping us knock walls out.  In short, there would be a lot more, a lot nicer "stuff" and we fully understand that the choices we've made have cancelled out the possibilities for a hoity-er, toity-er lifestyle.  (And most likely, my hair wouldn't suck and I'd actually know what clothes are in fashion from year to year.  Maybe not.  Maybe I'd still knit, and would knit ALL my clothes with all that extra time on my hands). 

I guess, the stark reality is, we chose life.  In a big way.  Not that we think our choices are superior in any way, but they are what we WANT from this life and we were able to look past the societal expectations and pressures and just go for it.  And it's hard.  It's really, really hard.

My life most days is one big ball of crazy.  Boredom is not a word I am familiar with.  At all.  There are places to get to, kids to shuffle around, kids to feed and clothe and love and teach.  There are big kids wanting my attention while the little ones make a nest in my lap and there is always, always some form of entertainment happening, live, from a monolouge about the unfairness of having to pick up five more things on the floor than another kid to a wrestling match right at my feet.  There is noise, and movement, and messes and cleaning....And some days I just want to run away from it all, because it feels like I'm never in control of my own destiny.  I can't make a decision and run with it.  I have to calculate all the possibilities and make decisions based on what could happen, what will most likely happen, what ALWAYS happens (this would be that someone will not be able to find both their shoes.  It ALWAYS happens) and to be honest, this can really suck sometimes.  I admit it.  This life is hard.  It's not some Walton family thing happening all the time, but...

Yesterday, as I was telling my mom how much my family meant to me and how much I loved each of my children, I realized I love all of this.  I love the good, the bad, the easy and the hard.  I love the littles and the bigg'uns and the in-betweens.  I love that my house is so full of energy and life, even when there are clothes scattered all over the place, and dishes aren't done, and I have to figure out what's clogging the bathtub this time.  I simply love my life.

It may have taken a bit of a jolt and a shake to realize I really do live an excellent life and it's my hope that I always do.  It may not be glamorous most of the time, and I may not be known by any one other than people under this roof, but at the end of the day, I can say I've truly lived one more day on this earth, rather than merely existed. 

May this always be the case....

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Put A Lid On It

 
I've always considered myself a very fair parent.  In all things, I try to respect my childrens' point of view, even when the differences might be hard to live with.  I've accepted they may not always share my faith, my philosophy, and they may even end up not liking knitting, or knit wear (Although that will never stop my efforts in bringing them over to the dark side.)  I'm cool when they ask the hard questions, give a little leeway when their child-like ways don't mesh with my adult need for order and I even let them make jokes at my expense sometimes (and even laugh.)
 
But there's a recurring trend happening in my house that I just cannot get behind at all. 
 
My children have all developed a religious objections to lids.
 
No, I'm serious.....
 
 
Glue...do you have any idea how much glue we go through?  I didn't know why, until I spotted this little diddy....
 

And just because you put the sugar up high, to keep it out of the reach of ninja toddler, does not mean it doesn't need a flippin lid....
 Yes, dude, I get that you like to use spices....and that you're a very creative and passionate cook.  The pizza DEFINITELY needed some ginger...but the ginger also needs A LID.
 Really?  This is just nasty.  Did you know liquid bbq sauce will morph into sludge without a lid? 
 And I'm not even going to harp on the lidless state of this jar, because the damn thing should have been dumped and washed.  This does not belong in my fridge.  Come ON people...
 I guess the next time we have an elf over for a spot of toast, we'll have just the right amount of solid jelly to peel off the bottom of this jar for a crunchy jelly sandwich.  WTF??
An aerosol CAN with no lid.  Do you have any idea how tempting such is for a ninja toddler.  Well, the instuctions did say it would take care of "jock itch" so if Noah has any sort of rash anywhere on his body, it's well taken care of now. 

 Yes, dear, you can apply some of my cheap, fake perfume....but remember....put the LID back on.  "Oh I will Mom....in my next lifetime, I swear!!"
 Well the good news is they are using the mouth wash right?  Maybe.  Without a lid, we could be looking at good dental hygiene practices, or just some really expensive drain cleaner I suppose.  Dude....really??? 
Oh that's just some $25 per tube junk we don't need to protect from the ninja toddler who thinks it's gel candy.  I should disclose a lid wouldn't help in this instance anyways, and this tube needs to be out of sight completely for it's own protection, but still...that hard crap that gets on the end of an open tube is beyond nasty...

But we got smart and started buying toothpaste with the lid attached...HAHAHAHA....not.  Really, is there some kind of physical pain associated with closing something that is open?  What would Freud say about this?



He'd say, "Damn your kids have serious issues.  They don't finish what they start and can't be bothered to use lids.  They need drugs...."

Not even the fear of losing the ability to turn on the TV scares my children....and this is saying a lot considering we now have a TV that won't even turn ON without a remote...
 
I've trained my children ot put everything where it goes, via a lot of training and threatening and profuse labeling of all household items to the point you'd think I run a kindergarten out of my home.  I've considered, briefly, labeling lids...with the ever creative word "LID" but if the lid is lost, it doesn't do much good to have it labeled...
 
I'm working on a plan, I really am.  I think some superglue might be involved.  If not to teach my children a lesson in lid replacement, than for my own amusement!
 
If I can get the religious lid objection under control, my next task will be to transform their belief that walking around a mess, willing it to clean itself will never work.  Because even after years of it NOT working, they still give it a try every now and then.
 
For now, I am collecting the lids from cast off items and am considering wrapping them up as Christmas gifts.  :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

In lieu of fake snow and Santa

I got the call Friday morning, from a dear friend, who knows way more about what's going on around town than I do.  There was to be fake snow in my tiny town on Friday, followed by a parade on Saturday, complete with Mr. Claus himself.

And I declined. Or rather, admitted to myself (and her) I freakin hate stuff like that. I really do.  I know I should embrace my community and participate in holiday events to round out my childrens' social interaction, but the thing is, they are MY kids, so I'm pretty sure they got the "I freakin hate parades" gene from my DNA.  I gave them the option.  "Hey uhm kids....there's a parade, a Christmas one, tomorrow.  You want to scrap all our plans and go?"  The look on their faces told me all I needed to know, but I had to make sure the look really did say "Mom, have you lost your mind?" and not "Mom, we've been waiting our whole lives for you to finally give us permission to share our feelings about the sore lack of parade activity you've foisted upon us, our entire childhood, and going to this parade will save us years and years of therapy sorting out why you didn't love us enough to take us to one, at least once..."

It was good.  We promised them a weekend of friends, demolition and cake and that made up for missing the small town parade going on.  But, we totally made our own snowy fun.  I have proof :)


 
How's that for a Winter Wonderland?? 
 
All I planned to do was remove all the photos from the wall and the nails holding the photos up.  After that was done, I decided to take a little peak in the one place we thought a load bearing beam *might* be....and the kids, naturally gravitating towards destruction (like moth to a flame) immediately started grabbing tools and going crazy.  Well, after I threatened them that if they did this, they WOULD be cleaning up the debris and the shop vac WOULD be going at all times.  It didn't take them long to go from that above.....to....
 




I didn't even panic.  For some reason, every little bit of this crap that comes out of my house, I feel lighter somehow.  I hate these nasty walls so much.  We have much more to do, but I won't let the kids touch the "cotton candy" (no, no one's tried to eat it...) insulation because it's fiberglass and I-T-C-H-Y.  Well, Kyle's allowed to remove it, as long he wears gloves and believe it or not, the children will not touch the stuff, even if it's just hanging there, begging to be torn down.

See that shop vac?  It's one of THE best purchases we've ever made.
 
Because....


Oh my goodness!!!
 
This eventually got cleaned up, but not TOO good because today, we're back at it.  Hopefully by the end of today, this wall will ceast to exist.  Hey, this counts towards homeschooling right?? ;)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cheers!!

Alcohol- Liquid intoxicant you can legally drink once you reach the pinnancle of maturity and responsible behavior....you know....when you turn 21 and gain all sorts of wisdom that previously escaped you in the previous 24 hours when you were a mere 20 year old.  Whether yummy or burning, in a bottle or a glass, it's appeal cannot be understated.  Sex sells alcohol and alcohol sells sex and when you put them together you have many human beings walking the planet that may not have otherwise existed.  In that vein, I'm sure we can deduce it's one food product that has had the most impact on relationships across the board, from the beginning of time.

And it must be celebrated.

On Facebook.  Or Myspace if you're still old school.  Or all the other picture sharing websites if you're cool enough to know about them.  Because when you're getting sloshed with all your friends it's definitely picture worthy.

Or not.

This is a PSA to all people over the age of 25.  Taking pictures of yourself getting drunk is only funny to you.  To the rest of the world, a counter full of booze is just not that interesting.  We get it.  You drink.  You're cool.  You have lots of friends.  They drink too.  You went to the liquor store, legally, and now you're going to do shots of some liquid that you legally bought, and you're planning on getting drunk and being stupid. Hurray for you.  Oh wait, get the camera.  Must provide proof how cool we are to be drinking alcohol.

I don't get it.  Especially pictures of people my age partying hard and then posting pictures of such events on social media websites.  I mean, dude, we're all in our 30's.  We've been allowed to purchase and consume alcohol for well over 10 years now.  I'm definitely not thinking "Wow I wish *I* was there, being cool and getting drunk..." No, I'm thinking "Uhm, where are the kids?  Are they going to DRIVE after such indulgence? Do they have any idea how much yarn they could buy with the beer money they are wasting?"  You know, normal adult stuff like that. 

I do understand there are situations where a camera and an adult beverage might be a reasonable match like when toasting someone at a wedding.  Or enjoying the beautiful presentation of a fruity margarita, or a frosty beer taking second place to a really big fish,  or on Pinterest in the form of wine charms or a hut made from recycled beer bottles.  Those are all acceptable for inclusion in the family photo albums, but the whole crowd of people surrounding the counter in someone's house, taking shots, for the sole purpose of getting completely paralyzed emotionally and physically.....lame. 

You might think me embittered....jealous...green with envy because I'm not that cool and never was.  My first taste at being intoxicated was also my last.  I prefer to have full control of my faculties, and while I do enjoy a nice glass of wine on occasion, you won't see me posting a picture of myself, with a glass, with people all around me celebrating the adult beverage in my hand.  No, I'm way past all that nonsense.  Genuinely cool people know the fun in sipping on a cocktail is getting just relaxed enough to laugh at all the people around you thinking they are cool but looking a little (a lot) like idiots. I'm saving my camera memory space for the important things in life like yarn, toddlers, and the off chance I notice I'm having a really good hair day while using the bathroom. 

Cheers!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

This Meeting Will Be Called To Order....

The Coffey Family "We Suck" Meeting was called to order, Decemeber 3, 2012 at approximately 5:00 p.m.  The Honorable Jamie Coffey presided whilst holding Emory, who was enamoured with Calla's face for the duration of the meeting.  Melissa Coffey, co-anchor of the Ship De La Coffey, also in attendance, spreading out dinner preparation over three children vying to use the cheese grater. Thankfully much cheese was needed for casserole and she diplomatically divved up the cheese so all hands could have a turn. 

Meeting started with acknowlegment that Cassidy sucked.  We must clear this up each meeting, as Ms. Cassidy always has the first word when we sit down to "discuss" and her words are always "Is this a we suck meeting..?"  Yes, my dear, yes....

Jamie proceeds by asking the children if they would like the status of tenant in our home, or family member.  Confused looks appeared on all faces that knew what the words meant.  Jamie explained a family member lives in our home because we love them and a tenant pays rent.  Eli was the only child who thought it would be cool to have enough money to pay for his living space.  All concurred that they preferred family status.  Long explanation as to what Jamie's jobs are in steering the family boat, not discounting the huge contribution of our family's entire income.  Props to Jamie for keeping us fed ;) 

Discussion of expectations verses reality.  Discussion of trust and how Melissa does indeed, trust all children over the age of 8, to do what they are supposed to do without micro-managing every second of the day.  Discussion that all those seconds of the day Melissa is dealing with babies, diapers, school books, and ninja toddlers.  Discussion of how ninja toddler can destroy an entire room in five seconds and acknowledgment of frustration from all parties, with a gentle reminder that all children pass through annoying (scary) toddler phase and current toddler needs some grace and love, not duct tape and a cage.  Discussion of how resident 5 year old is whopping all their asses in cleaning and having a good attitude.

Trouble-shooting commenced.  No one is assigned kitchen floor duty on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.  Whoops.  Melissa asks all four older children to hold out their hands for paper, rock, scissors, thinking maybe one person would whip them all and we'd do a process of elimination thing, but that was a total fail.  We had two rocks, one scissors and one paper.  So we moved on without really figuring out who would do the floor on those days.  Note to self, think on this today.  Votes for kitchen improvements and a proposed timeline for changes to be implemented.  Notes taken on zones and what the issues at hand were.  Issues noted, and written down. 

Proposal of extended training program was met with some apprehension until program was duly explained.  Goal in mind is that all children know how to complete not only their zones, but everyone else's in an acceptable fashion. Melissa suggested one training round could be the nasty refridgerator that she hasn't quite figured out how to clean one handed.  Groans started, but then came to an immediate halt when the word "Allowance job" was thrown out.  Reiteration that children that do jobs created by family living, by themselves, get paid and paid well.  All children wanted Fridge Training, but only one will be selected for this round of "What the heck is in this tupperware...." until next month.  Discussion of what type of green food we'd be serving with dinner casserole interuppted allowance discussion and we experienced a quick pass through the Twilight Zone when all children did a "Yay" sort of thing when Jamie remembered we had brussel sprouts in the deep freezer.  (And I quote, "Its the vegetable version of popcorn..." What??) 

Meeting was ended with an admonition  to do their jobs really fast, with a good attitude because we had ONE more episode of Walking Dead before their season break and that would not be put on until all chores were done and done well.   Melissa notes, to herself, that Monday bribes have now come to a halt and is sad.  Although, most of the fun from watching this isn't in the actual show, but the acting out of five big kids being zombies and one ninja toddler taking them out with a cap gun....before the show comes on. 

Extended training program enjoyed it's first session with Mallory and went exceedingly well.  She and her Daddy caught up on all the to-be-folded laundry and got all clothes put away.  We will be going littlest to biggest, so Eli is next and I'm curious to see what task he will be tested on this evening.

If I had a vote, it would be "Toilet tissue removal from drain..." because ninja toddler baptized 12 (TWELVE!!!) rolls of toilet paper this past Saturday while his bath was running and we are still getting it out of the tub. 

Until next time, here's hoping all changes and ideas and solutions work their magic and we can enjoy a wonderful, clutter-free, plumber-free and peaceful holiday season!!