Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

It's off to Asia I go.

Again.

There's still no train that travels there.
There's still no boat that will agree to take me there.
But alas,
I go.

My sweet pretend sister Lori has asked me to accompany her to China to adopt her precious Rebekah.
Her husband Doug was going to go but Rachel is still waiting on that elusive new heart.....and somehow the prospect of Rachel enduring a heart transplant whilst both her parents were on the other side of the world sounded oddly misguided. 
So I'm coming off the bench and we are calling in a substituion.

I apparently only ever go to China with people named Lori.
And oddly it's nearly exactly two years ago that I was there with other sweet Lori. 

Me
and Lori
in China
together.

Somebody needs to have the consular's number handy.
Just sayin. 



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Wondering.....

I'm having a hankering for some good, authentic Chinese food.

Anybody have any recommendations?

What?

I have to go to China for that?

Oh.
Ok..........

Monday, March 2, 2015

Hired. Hungry. Hired & Hungry.

Looks like that freshly inked social work degree is going to get some use afterall!

I've had my eye on a PRN social work job at a local hospital for a couple of weeks,
and last week, they called
I interviewed.
They offered me the job that day!
What what?!!

It's not full time(which I want)
it's flexible(which I need)
it's within mom radius from the kids school(Child vomiting? Mommy on the way!)
and it's going to allow me to get my intern hours done for my MSW program(which is essential)
check, check, check, check!

I am supah excited.

I was more excited until I remembered that I still need to cook for these fools everyday. This realization ratchets up the difficulty level a few notches when I am not home all day.....especially since it's baseball season.
There is a finite window of time wherein I have to get them home from school, fed, clothed in baseballiness and then we head out to the fields wherein we usually don't get home until so laaaaate.

I typically serve dinner at around 3:45.
No really.
3:45.
This changed my life about 6 years ago when I figured this out.
Prior to the change the kids were coming in the door from school famished and proceeded to eat every snack that resided within the confines of this house.
A couple of hours later dinner would be ready and gasp! No one would be hungry.
Yeah....that doesn't so much work for me.
So it occured to me that if I roll back dinner time to shortly after they get home they will instead fill up on dinner, not snacks.
It works.
It's a beautiful thing.
Dinner at 3:30/3:45, on to whatever sports are occurring that evening, then a snack or dessert if I had made it that day after the game/practice/whatever event here.
They snack very little now and eat dinner a very lot. (Man that college degree was good for my grammar)

So I need you.
I need your recipies.
You know how we all have our go-to recipies?
Help me Rhonda, I need more.
I'll share mine you share yours?
I already have my standards like chicken pot pie, chili, tacos, spaghetti that I can throw together.....
And I know I can get lost of the abyss that is pinterest recipes but I want to hear from my real life peoples, what do you make that's fast that you love?  Favorite crock pot recipes? Working moms what do you do?

Here is one of the kids(and all their teen friends) favorites.
I make this and somehow 5 more teenage boys will show up at the dinner table.
It is quite possibly the most unhealthy thing you can ever eat.
But it's quick.
Easy.
A crowd pleaser
And it's made of things I usually have on hand. 
And when 6'2 friends of your teenage boys come up to you after basketball games asking if they can come over next time you make it you know you're on to something.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

DORITO CHICKEN CASSEROLE
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) package Doritos, crushed
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken (I grab a rotisserie chicken and shred it)
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) can corn, drained
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided (I use sharp cheddar)
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup 
  • 8 ounces sour cream

 Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Spread crushed chips out into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  3. Stir chicken, 1 cup Mexican cheese blend, Rotel, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, and sour cream together in a bowl. Pour chicken mixture over crushed chips into the baking dish.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Spread remaining 1 cup cheese over the casserole and bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 5 minutes more.

*I do not put the crushed chips on the bottom as the recipe instructs. I found that they burn before the rest of the casserole is hot. So I bake everything else and then crush the chips onto the top, cook an additional 4-5 minutes to crisp the chips and serve over rice. * 

Go ahead. 
Try it. 
You and your expanding waistline yet oh so satisfied taste buds can thank me later. 
It's off the chain yo.

Ok your turn, 
bring it on sisters.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Que Scene:

I was at an away game for Jason & Jordan's basketball team a couple of weeks ago and as I was in the gym bathroom washing my hands I observed the following conversation takes place:

Middle School Girl #1: You know he only likes you for the way you look
Middle School Girl #2: Yeah, I don't care.
Middle School Girl #3(who is currently using the restroom): You are such a diva!
Middle School Girl #1: I'm going to text him.
Middle School Girl #2: No way.
Middle School Girl #3(still using the restroom but fully engaging in this conversation nonetheless):You totally should!

Me(In my head): Thank you Lord for giving me boys. You rock.
Because really.....I have zero idea what is said in a boys bathroom but I'm near positive it's nothing like girls.

Out.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Taking Out The Trash

I have friends that have kids super close together.
I have friends that have kids that are within a few years of one another.
I have friends that have raised a set of bio kids only to turn around and begin all over again with a few precious adopted kiddos. (And to them I tip my hat, and offer caffeine.)

I would say I fall somewhere in the middle of that.....sorta....kinda....maybe....I don't know. 
Jason had just turned 5 when the twins were born.
Jordan is 12 months and 2 weeks younger than Jason so by my stellar math abilities he had just turned 4. So 4 boys in 5 years.

This was my life back then.

My ovaries are overachievers. 
And this was me back then:

No really. See

Fast forward one or two or 13 years and Jason is now 18 and about to graduate from high school.


Jordan is 17 (see that math I did there again?!) and a junior.


 And those squishy squishy baby boy twins are about to turn 13.


So 4 boys in 5 years but nonetheless a gap between twin town and the teens.

And then I adopted.

Now my youngest 5 kids are within a 22 month block of time.
5 kids within 2 years.
Which now looks like 11,11,11,12,12.


So I guess I fall somewhere in the middle.
Some of my kids are really close together.....like 6 minutes apart(Push em out, push em out, waaaaay out!).....some are 12 months apart.....some are 8 months apart.....some are 6 years apart from one another.

But nonetheless I have learned that coveted wisdom of doing things a bit different the "second time around". Though I haven't raised a set and are starting over, the difference in ages between the teenagers and the youngest 5 is enough of a span of time that I have gained some perspective and tweeked/revolutionized/realized I was screwing up their work ethic how I operate and what I expect of them. 

Case in point:
Jason and Jordan nary lifted a finger when they were young. 
I would get them off to school and with toddler twins behind me I would travel around the house picking up their dirty clothes, positioning hot wheel cars just so in the appropriate garage, lining up the tonka trucks under the window, straightening their rooms and making their beds.

Did you hear that?
I MADE THEIR FREAKING BEDS.

Seriously.
Why did no one stop me?
Sister got no posse. 

Young moms, lemmetellya. Please don't make their beds. I am begging you.
FOR THE LOVE OF THEIR FUTURE, PUT DOWN THE DUVET AND SLOWLY WALK AWAY.
These kids are capable of so much more than we give them credit for.

Because here's the rub,  those cute little kids with the firetruck pillow sham very quickly morph into teenagers that haven't a clue nor motivation to pick up a thing.
And since they will read this one day, I'll leave it at that. Wives, I apologize.

Now there is a new sheriff in town.  Wives, you are welcome.

You made a mess?
You'll clean it up.
You have dirty laundry?
You'll bring it down.
You walked into the house with baseball cleats on?
You'll sweep the dirt.
You peed all over the toilet seat?
I'll clean it up because you are a boy and don't seem to notice and by the time I notice I have to tee tee really badly and I'm hopping mercilessly up and down with my legs crossed realizing I don't have the time or bladder control to find which child lacks proper aim. Wives, sorry again.

These days there is a TON more accountability up in here.
And it's working.
They are learning responsibility, hard work, how to sweep/vacuum/dust/properly load the dishwasher. 

My latest mantra is "See a need, meet the need. This is what men do."
When a laundry basket of clean folded clothes is sitting at the bottom of the stairs you carry it upstairs! Without being asked! This is what men do!
When you see the sink is full, you load the dishwasher! Without being asked! This is what men do!
When you see a towel on the floor you pick it up! Without being asked! This is what men do!

And though yes it has taught them a lot in practical real life operations of a house with this many boys in it, it has also done something else for them....

They now take pride in meeting the need now before they are even asked.
Oooooo a heart change. 
Yes.
This is what I'm after. 

Because eventually little things like carrying a load of laundry upstairs will morph into bigger areas of their life.... and that heart that bends to serve will bend toward the weak, toward the weary, toward the lost, toward their wives and that is what I want from them. A heart tuned toward service for Jesus and they will carry that load and meet needs that are way beyond a sink full of dishes.

The youngest 5 have stepped right on up to being more responsible for themselves, their things, and being aware and considerate of what needs to be done, the teens are still overcoming years of their mothers enabling behaviors. Wives, yeah....again....I hang my head.
But even still I can see the light beginning to shine through. When I used to go into their room every couple of days armed with bleach, trash bags, and pink feathered rubber gloves and clean their filth, they instead now chose to live in the filth temporarily BUT eventually acquiesce, stage a cu, realize their mommy isn't going to do it and clean it themselves.
It's brilliant.

Example:
Jordan(17) is responsible for taking out the trash.
Jordan has been great at this, he doesn't wait for me to nag encourage him, he sees the need and does it. Love.
Jordan also likes to eat.
Homeboy is 6'2 and muscles the size of Rhode Island.
Wait....Rhode Island is the smallest state.....how insulting....let me start over....
and muscles the size of Alaska. (Your welcome Jorge)
So not much will stand between him and dinner time.

My biggest in stature and littlest. But never never too big for the cart
So when said man-child arrives in the kitchen to see that the trash is full but also that dinner is on the table he is faced with quite the sticky widget.
To trash or not to trash.
To delay the eating, or to not delay the eating.

Because he is smart, he improvised.
Exhibit A:

New Trash Bag On The Floor

With notes that read, "Temporary Trash" arrows and then "Have a nice day".

Love that kid.
Wife, you are welcome.
I certainly don't get it all right but dude, I'm trying. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cuz I'm All About That Narcissism

Bout that narcissism, no treble.

A bit (read: quite filtered, appropriate for the internet update) about me.

I graduated.
I graduated from college.
Finally.
At age 92.


I lactated my way through life during the years when most people are at college.
So after 18 years of staying home caring for tiny humans, I went back to school. 
Number of people in my family that have ever graduated before: 0.
Number of other 92 year olds that were in my cohort with me: 1.

This is Kathy. She was born in the 1800's like me!

We became fast friends when we looked around on the first day and realized that we were the only two people born back in the horse and buggy days. It felt good to have someone else in the class that didn't entirely know who the heck Rhianna was or what "Turn Up" means. To say we greatly exceeded the marginal age of the youngens around us was well....true. Nary had their loins seen a child emerge from them. Babies ya'll. They were babies.

So I done did get that educkation and I feels smart now.
It really helps me understand how to better vacuum the floors and do the laundry more effectively.
No.
No it doesn't.
I'm back to being at home with the kids and being domesticated, which I love.
But at the same time, dare I say I am truly eager to use my brain to expand out of the household responsibilities.
It's hard.
The figuring out the balance is hard.

My undergrad degree is in social work and I will be starting the Masters of Social Work program...I'm assuming.....still waiting for admission decisions to be released....waaaaaaa......in the summer which will be a quick 3 semester accelerated program; summer, fall, spring. So I will graduate with my MSW when Jordan graduates from high school next May.
After that I am going to REALLY good at cleaning the floors.
No.
No I'm not.
So for now I am enjoying making the cookies after school, schlepping around in my yoga pants(that have never seen any actual yoga nor any other exercise) at the grocery store, cooking and cleaning up after all of these peoples and relishing the fact that there is no 20 page paper waiting for my attention.





Onward.

*Thank you all for being so supportive of my return to all things social media. I've missed writing. I've missed connection. Ya'll are like one great big giant hug from dear friends and also from strangers that I've never met.....which sounds creepy but.....ya know....oddly isn't. Just wanted to say thank you. Props.*

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

As Paul Harvey Would Say...

And now the rest of the story.

It occured to me after a few FB messages wondering what Joshua's actual diagnosis was, that I totally forgot to add that part to my post. Whoopsie.

Man. Blogging at 72 years old reminds me that my memory is not what it used to be.

So without any more ado, Joshua's diagnois:

WE HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA.

Whew.
Glad we cleared that up.

They ran every test under the sun trying to determine what it was he had/has/TBD.
But nothing.
Hep C, no.
Other livery stuff that could manifest in these symptoms: no.
Other non-liver stuff that could manifest in these symptoms: no.
All viral panels: negative.
All bacteria related thingamajigs: nadda.
'Tis a mystery.

If this same set of symptoms come back again I have been told we could be looking at something autoimmune related and they will start driving down that road if it reappears.
Oh gracious please turn the car around, how I hope it's not that.
I don't know much, but what I do know of autoimmune diseases is that they are very difficult to diagnose, are even more difficult to treat, not typically curable and are life-long.
Waaaaaaaaa.

So far it's been a couple of months and nothing.
Whoop.

As for Joshua. He's back to Joshua.
Silly.
Goofy.
Loves to create.
Loves to laugh.
Loves to leave his clothes/toys/shoes/trash/ all over the house.
Love that boy.





Monday, February 23, 2015

Head On Over

To No Hands But Ours
today.

I shook the dust and massive cobwebs off of my writing and shared an experience I walked through a couple of months ago.

I hope you laugh.
I hope you find hope.
I hope you want to come over and have coffee with me.
I'll have a cup waiting for you......and some coffee-mate coconut coffee creamer because yes....just yes.

You can find the post right here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Going Private

Wading ever so slowly back into blogging again,
But going private.

Shoot me an email or leave a comment with your email address if you want an invite. 

Grace & Peace,
Your absent blogger.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

If You Take a Teen to the Doctor

If you take a teen to the doctor to rule out strep throat he will be taller than the choo-choo train table.
If he's taller than the choo-choo train table you will laugh and think to yourself its time to move your 6'2 son to Family Practice.


If you think you should move to Family Practice you will realize that he won't have great reading material like Andy has Asthma and bedwetting brochures to read anymore.




If he doesn't have Andy has Asthma and bedwetting brochures to read he will fill out his complaint form and notate that his last menstrual cycle was 2 weeks ago.


If he fills out his complaint form and notates that his last menstraul cycle was 2 weeks ago,
well
never mind.
The end.

Dear grown up Jordan, 
You make me laugh. You make me like laugh, laugh. I have more fun going places with you even in the most mundane tasks than is ever considered normal. I love your heart, your sense of humor, and the way that you are uniquely you. We may not color on the exam room paper with crayons from my purse while we wait anymore like we did when you were little, but talking about menstrual cycles and bed wetting is equally entertaining with you. Love you kid. Errrr man. Errr manchild.

Love, 
Mom

Monday, November 25, 2013

Remember This?

You are going to have to click, click, click to really get a grasp of what has transpired through this story but I promise you it's worth it.

Do you remember this? 

And oh my goodness you HAVE to read this
(The Lord BLOWS ME AWAY so often.
The way this story was weaved together absolutely astounds me. Katie.....seriously?!)

And then this happened.

And then there was this incredible day. 

And today?

THIS. 

Thrilled.
Humbled.
Standing in awe of the One that could have placed these boys anywhere on this Earth that they have ended up one hour away from us.

Faithful,
faithful God.

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 

Great.
Is.
Your.
Faithfulness.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Remember Last Week When I Went To China Unannounced?

And I didn't tell you?
Well.....actually I didn't tell ME either.

Yesterday I was minding my own business at school when I received a couple of text messages asking me if I had seen Lori & Stacey's blog.

Well pfft no, I've been in school all day.

I'm thinking at that point that they have written some beautiful heartfelt blog posts about their trip to China when Lori adopted Abby coming to a close.

Well ummmmm....that's not entirely what happened.
Read for yourself.
And simultaneously pee your pants. 
I know I did. 





















So yeah.
I had a blast.
Rocking my pearls and a super cute new dress. 
I'm home now and surprisingly unaffected by jet lag.

Lori & Stacey seriously girls, thanks for the laugh.
I'm slightly but not really less bitter about not going with you now.
Love you both!