Wednesday, March 31, 2010


My grandmother, and my youngest sister aren't the only cool ones in the family. Aunt Lissa (my sister who made her grand entrance into the world ON my birthday... no, it gets better... on my very 1st birthday!) is oh-so-special. She paints toe nails and fixes hair just right (and cuts hair, too, I might add... imagine if I had to pay for all these hair do's!), she steals girls away one or two or three at a time and makes them feel extra special. She also is one of the very few (thinking very hard, quite possibly the only) one with whom I leave all 6 girls at once. That's another post for another day, but for some reason I seem to think I'm the only one that can handle all 6. Laughing at myself now. I can be so retarded sometimes.

So anyway, back to that terrific Aunt Lissa... I think I figured out her secret. She gives them treats. Like a whole spoon full of marshmallow cream! Whose love wouldn't that buy?

I tell people all the time there is no way I would have considered any more after about number 4 if it wasn't for Melissa. Add my mother (happy birthday, mom!) and my dad... who are my encouragers, support system, and prayer warriors, and well I just can't be any more blessed.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Have Mercy

Isn't she the cutest?

My youngest sister and her beau came over to visit the other day. Aunt Candice is adored by all the girls... and me, too. She's 10 years younger than I, and I had a very special place in my heart for her from the day she was born. While she was here Mercy decided (a short time ago NO ONE but Momma would do - and it bothered my dear family who was trying to love on her) that Aunt Candice was pretty cool after all. She clung tight the whole time she was here.

After playing outside for awhile we popped some popcorn and put in The Princess and the Frog. Mercy is getting so big... wanting her own bowl just like everyone else, then laid back in Candice's lap and didn't move the whole movie. Of course, I think Candice was slipping Mercy some sips of her coke. That may have helped matters a bit.

Nothing like an 18 month old strung out on coke. ;-)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Coolest Grandmother Ever

Actually, she's the coolest GREAT grandmother ever!

Who would have ever thought my daughter would be on a bright red one of these with her great grandmother?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Heavy Hearted

It's been one of those weekends. I'm not so blown down that I can't look around and see the joy, the blessings, and the comfort of my Savior, but knocked down enough that His plan seems not-so-great. I know how ridiculous that sounds.. like my plan could somehow be better than the God who breathed out of His nostrils stars that make the Sun look like an m&m. But a time where my head knowledge knows that when I see His face in the glorious light of heaven, I will no longer want to ask why, yet my heart lagging far behind... hanging on to anger and fear and frustration...yearning for answers, and fairness.

We lost our adoption specialist this weekend.

When my husband was a band director, she was one of his band parents. Upon learning that we were about to complete our foster license, she stopped him at a softball game and said, "I need to place a little girl in a forever home... she looks just like your family, I can see her little blonde head tagging along behind the rest of your girls." After that, the ball began rolling fast and Blessing soon came to our home. What a gift God gave, but used her hands to do it.

We've spent hours laughing, crying, and experiencing the ups and downs of fostering and adopting children together. She was not only an adoption specialist, but a foster parent herself, currently fostering 2 small children whose lives just got turned upside down. Again. As if their little lives didn't already hold enough trauma. Please pray for them. At the tender young age of 6 and 4, they have already lost more than most of us lose in a lifetime.

She was our adoption specialist, responsible in many ways for the adoption of my children. She was a friend. She was a mom. And she'll be missed.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Daunting Task

I love this time of year. I really do. We hear frogs singing at night, and birds singing in the mornings. The kids stay outside almost all day, running in and out only for drinks, snacks, and to bring me treasures... usually in the form of flowers (weeds) or rocks. They bring in a mess of dirt and leaves with them, but I suppose that's what brooms are made for.

Because we store non-seasonal clothes in bins out in the garage, when a season change comes this daunting task of sorting, trying-on, washing, and packing away comes with it. My living room looks like a few dressers and a garage sale threw up in there. Not only are clothes everywhere, but because I'm not doing my normal pick-up-behind-kids-every-hour routine, so the whole house is a mess. Ugh.

The kids love it, though. It's like shopping. They're trying on clothes and oooing and aaaahhhhing and saying, "cccuuuutttteee". Not only that, but since I'm so preoccupied with sorting, washing, making lists of needs, etc., the T.V. has been on for 2 days straight. I'm not bothering them about school work. It's win-win for them! ;)

Hopefully I'll finish up all the clothes today, and it will be on to the shoe buckets tomorrow. Joy, joy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Daddy's Toss

... is very high.

And is rewarded with grand giggles and squeals and laughter.

A good girl Daddy can toss very high.. but he can brush hair, too. I've even known him to put pig tails in. Aw, Good Daddy.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

She's a Hunter, Too

One of Faith's most favorite things is spending time with her Papa. She thinks he hung the moon. She treasures their time together, and rambles on and on to me later about all that he's said and done. I swear if he said oranges were really purple she'd believe him and argue with the rest of the world. So sweet.

A lot of their time together is spent shooting guns, roaming the woods, and hunting. He has taken her on the youth hunt for a few years now. She got her first deer last year, and her first buck this year. I know lots of women and girls in this part of the country are hunters (including my sister and my mother-in-law), but it still just strikes me as funny when I see my little girl all decked out in camo and boots, toting a gun and sporting hunter's orange.

Friday, March 12, 2010

So It Isn't November

But I wasn't blogging then, so we can pretend. Faith turned 12 last November. Wow. She'll be a teenager this very year. And this is where I do that gulpy thing cause of a big fat lump in my throat. Has it really been 12 years ago that a doctor handed me a beautiful, 6 lb little girl? A baby girl, whom I might add, seemed to know from that very moment who she was, exactly how she wanted her life, and has rarely swayed.

I could go on for hours about her personality... but of course you just have to know her. She's the best kid ever. Well, one of the 6 bestest kids ever. And as is typical of birthdays around here, the birthday girl pretty much chooses (within reason, of course) the activities for the day. This is the 3rd year in a row that all she wanted to do was ride horses. She LOVES horses with a passion that runs deep. She still says when she grows up she'll wants to do hippotherapy (therapeutic riding) - working with horses and kids with disabilities and/or emotional struggles. She'll be fantastic at that... or whatever she decides to do.

So, we saddled up. Here's Faith about to put a blanket on Blue.

She isn't the only one who loves horses. Here's Hope with Sugar.

Big sisters riding little sisters.

Blessing's turn lasted long enough for me to turn around and get the camera. By then she was already reaching for me to get her back off. She's fearless in so many ways, but she did not like the horses, and she does not like elevators or 4-wheelers or public bathrooms. Strange mix, huh?

Sweet birthday memories.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hugs for Dad

There isn't anything better than little arms squeezing tight around your neck... especially when it's accompanied with giggles that tickle your ear, and a little one's grunts like she is squeezing with all her might. But do you know what my favorite part about that picture is? It's my husband's eyes. You can barely see any of his face. But it's enough. Enough to know the joy her sweet hug is bringing him. Enough to know his heart is swelling like mine. Enough to know his smile says it all. Look at those lines in his eyes... his grin must be a mile wide! Oh, the joy our children bring us.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

That Face

This picture of Charity really cracks me up. I thought about just doing a Wordless Wednesday, but I think the reason I find the picture so funny takes some explanation of her personality.

It captures so perfectly her determination. She tries so hard. Too hard, really. She thinks she needs to be perfect. She pays attention to every detail... toes pointed, hands touching toes, jump real high, just the way my big sisters do it... Oh, sweet baby, we love you no matter what! We don't want you to be just like them.

Unfortunately, for a long time her determination was directed towards less than desirable behaviors. She was determined alright... determined to keep us at arm length, to control the house hold, and to cause chaos. She was pretty successful at it, too. She was in survival mode, and I'm glad I understand that now. Because at the time it was extremely hard to swallow.

Oh, the mountains she's beginning to move. RAD is diminishing, and Charity is emerging. I read a great comment a special needs mom made about her daughter. About how her daughter had epilepsy, but epilepsy didn't have her. She talked about how her disorder didn't define her. Unfortunately for RADlings, or at least for me in Charity's case, it did define her for a very long time. It's all I could see. But that isn't true anymore. She's moving that mountain, one rock at a time. We (her family) are trying to help her move rocks, too, but most of the work is hers alone. AND SHE'S DOING IT!!!!! Praise God for His mighty works in her little heart!

She's a hard worker and a perfectionist. To a fault, really, and we're actually working on messing up. And it being ok to mess up. Like, practicing getting things wrong and then reacting nonchalantly. I say, "I want you to tell me the sound this letter makes, but tell me the wrong sound." Then when she "messes up", we laugh and snap our fingers and say, "dad-gum-it, I messed up - now I'm gonna try again." So that maybe when she really messes something up she thinks she should have gotten right, it won't cause a downward spiral of fits and rage.

But my point is that her determination isn't aimed at gaining control or the attention (at any cost) of everyone around her. She's now applying that same strong will and determination to getting along with her sisters. To doing her chores well. To accept what we've said and just say, "yes, ma'am". So when the moments of being stuck or regression come, they are oh-so-much-easier to accept... to respond to her the way she really needs instead of my own anger and frustration oozing out.

Funny how a strong character trait is both a weakness and a strength. The very thing about her that makes me want to pull my hair out is also the very thing I love deeply.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Flying High

Yesterday my family joined us for church, and then spent the afternoon at the house for lunch, cards, to share kisses with giggling, wiggling girls, to dance and sing, and so on and so on. Love those kinds of days! My mom took her camera out and captured some great pictures of the girls on the trampoline.

Charity trying to do the split jump like her big sisters. She's a good study... she watches carefully and imitates well. She's so good at everything she tries.

Blessing was not to be out done... she's trying her best, too... see her little hand trying to grab the foot?

Now, I was inside playing cards... but my guess is cautious Grace wouldn't even try. Jumping high is stretching her fraidy-cat personality enough.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Faith is reading Roald Dahl... She's decided she loves him. Right now she's deep in The BFG. I keep hearing all these strange vocabulary words. And what's even more funny is that the little kid's use them like they are real words.

Faith had asked me for some ingredients, which I only half heard, but apparently her Dad and the kids stopped at the local grocery store on their way home from school. Not only did I get a glass (a wine glass... so cute!) specially served to me, but then after she was already in bed I saw that bottle on the counter. She went to great lengths to keep the recipe a secret.

I love it when Blessing asks for Frobscottle, please! What's next? Snozzcumbers?

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I have 2. Hope and Grace. They don't only look just alike. They act a lot alike, too. They're both really sensitive... and extremely sentimental about things. Like every single twig of grass they see they want to keep. Grace asked me if she could keep the little mesh bag the oranges came in the other day. She asked me if she could keep the knot off a popped balloon. "It's special!" she says, all whiny and pleading - like it's a family heir loom or something. Puh-lease.

I swear these two will be on a show one day... a reality one with interventions for hoarders... where clutter and junk has taken over their whole lives. TLC's new Hoarders, Buried Alive or something.

For Hope, I gave her several of these little bins.

One for rocks, pine cones, sea shells and the like. One for Valentines cards and birthday cards and letters and any paper she feels holds some significance (which includes an old tic-tac-toe post it..."But it's the first time we played tic-tac-toe, momma!"). There's another basket for stuffed animals. The rule is the same rule we have for all the children's toy buckets (big blue laundry hampers)... It's up to you what you want to keep, but it has to all fit in there, level with the top (not heaped over), no stuffing. Think I'm mean, don't you? I have 6 kids, people. In a house that wasn't exactly made for 6 kids. The madness has to stop somewhere!

Ever so often Hope has to be reminded of the rule, and to clean out her bins. Cause they end up looking like this:

It prompts all kinds of tears and pleading and, "but so-&-so gave this one to me!" and so on and so on. It's like I'm literally peeling the actual skin off her body. It's that painful. Don't feel sorry for her... Really, the monkey with no eyes or tail and knotted fur kicked the bucket long ago. If it's REALLY special, I'll put it away in the cedar chest.

And now Grace is falling in Hope's footsteps. I find little piles all over the place of her "treasures". Like this one:

And when I said, "Take those back outside, darling, they don't belong in the kitchen." It was met with immediate tears and dramatic pleas, and, "But, Mom, just look at this one, it's so beautiful, I can't put it back outside!" while she shook it only one inch from my eyes (like I could really focus on it that close). She desperately wanted me to see that goofy rock was obviously worth keeping. Umm.. it wasn't smooth or granite or sparkly or any special shape. Really, just a plain old dirty rock.

And then there was this pile of papers on her bed:

I mean seriously... that's a craft wreath no one ever finished for a Christmas project, a sheet of Faith's science notes, and one of Hubby's pay stubs with a scribbled appointment date and address on the back. The meanie I am says, "Grace throw those away." And she retorts, "but that's Daddy's handwriting!". Like I'm the wicked witch of the west because I would even dare throw away something He had written on.

As hard as it is to either of them to part with any of their treasures, they are incredibly sweet and thoughtful when it comes to doing things for and especially giving things to other people. Like these darn weeds, er... ahem... I mean beautiful flowers. I was being funny. I really do think they are beautiful. For now. But Lord help us when they wilt and I throw them away.....

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fashion Statements

Grace and Charity both love to play dress up. Charity unfortunately got left out of pictures this morning, cause she's busy doing extra work to make restitution for her behavior last night. She suddenly got very stuck. VERY stuck. It was actually kind of good. I mean, not at all. I was angry. Thank goodness Hubby was here to have a level head and lovingly dole out creative responses. She couldn't find her voice (you know, long pauses before answering, mumbling, speaking very soft or whiny or both). So he had her crawl and look for it. She was not happy. Every minute or so he'd ask her if she'd found it yet. It took her a good while before she said "Yes, I found it" it a nice, normal voice. "Oh, good!" He said. "I'm so happy to hear you sweet voice I love so much is back!". She forgot where her plate goes after dinner (even though she's cleared her place and put her dished into the sink every day for 2 years now). She just stood there saying, "but I don't know where it goes!". Ahem. Then she said her sister hurt her. One of her big sisters who wasn't even in the room. Yes, she was really at it yesterday. And I'm so glad Hubby was there to handle most of it.

Cause I was done. I really didn't even want to think about appropriate responses anymore. I was exhausted and frustrated.

But what was good was that when she was tucked into bed (early because she never did get it together enough to cooperate), Tj and I were talking about how long it's been since she was that stuck. I remember a time when all day every day was a complete battle of the wills. Especially before I learned a lot of therapeutic parenting techniques. We were clashing CONSTANTLY. As frustrating as it was for her to stick her heels in deep yesterday it really was a "aha" moment... realizing how far she's come. She really melted for most of the evening, but the earlier part of the day had been fine, and it's been weeks since an episode like that.

So didn't mean to go on a RAD tangent, but it seemed kind of unfair that Charity wasn't in the picture.. cause she loves dress up every bit as much as Grace. They are both little fashion divas... though with very different spins. Grace's style is wild and nothing matches. The louder and more crazier the colors and fabrics are, the better. Charity is all about things that actually look good together. She'd rather dress up in real clothes, dresses and pantie hose and have her sisters do her hair all fancy than to wear those old dance costumes and hats that Grace loves. Grace will look absolutely ridiculous in swim goggles, cowboy boots, and a leotard. She will go to town like that and strut with glee while everyone looks her way and laughs (and wonders what kind of mother she has). Charity wouldn't be caught dead in something so ridiculous. She, too, likes to strut, but in class, not goofiness. ;)

Boy I'm taking the long way around on today's post.. the point was those glasses on Grace's face. They've been there every day for over a week now. She loves those things. Her obsessions with Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz and those little red shoes have faded, and a new one for Scooby Doo has erupted. I didn't realize the connection till she was on her hands and knees, all squinty eyes, patting the ground around her saying, "Oh no! My glasses! My glasses! I can't find them!" and, "Jinkies! there they are!". Silly girl. She makes me smile.

Oh, and Blessing? Notice she's in regular clothes. She HATES dress up. She can tolerate a leotard if there is nothing itchy or lacy or the seams aren't too tight. And the tag has been cut out. For a few minutes. Then she sheds it. She does like toboggans, though! ;) And she loves to carry purses... to fill, dump, and refill the bags over and over. That girl!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Not Me Monday

I did not demand my children eat peanut butter and honey sandwiches, fruit, and yogurt... while I had doritos and a coke. Nuh-uh... not me!

Grace did not tell me that she wants to live with her friend Libby. Multiple times. I did not over analyze. Nor did I take it personally. Not me!

I did not back our big huge van into our little jeep that can't be seen through the back windows - even if it was parked horizontally back there. Definitely not me.

My children did not then contort their little faces into huge eyes or cover their mouths or say, "ooooooooo, momma had a crash"... in those voices reminiscent of elementary school mocking when that kid was about to get in big trouble. Not my kids.

I absolutely did not then blame my husband for parking back there in the first place.

And I totally did not give Faith a great lecture the same day about taking responsibility for her own actions. Because that would be stellar parenting and totally practicing what I preach. Sheesh. Not Me!