Thursday, February 28, 2008

Little David

Well, we finally did it. Dad got his way and Nathan's curls got left in a pile on the table. He was tired of a having a little boy with "beautiful" curls....sigh... We were quite surprised with what we found underneath all those curls, exact miniature replica of David!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I Drew This In Therapy Today...

I'm offering up Nehemiah as a poster child for ADHD and maybe we'll make this the poster. This is a picture of him sitting on Pooka yanking on her ear. I really did draw it in therapy today. He's been on a path of destruction which this week seems to be specifically targeted at the family pets. Two days in a row he was found sitting *in* the guinea pig cage tossing poopy litter in the air. The second time he did it he was actually sitting ON poor Pumpkin. Yesterday morning Adora heard a clatter in the living room. As she stepped toward the door she saw Sydney the cockatiel running across the floor as fast as his little feet could carry him. Further investigation discovered Miah pinned to floor by the bird cage he'd climbed up onto a chair to knock over. Eleven years of parenting crazy people and one 17 month old is going to send me to the Funny Farm in just a week's time....As my dear departed Mamaw would say, "Ay yi yi!"

PS. If it looks wrinkled that's because it is. Guess who grabbed it and crumpled it while I was taking this picture? Come on, I'll give you ONE GUESS!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Chase The Butt

I'm so excited! I was sitting here at my computer the other evening when the BUTT suddenly drifted to the top of my belly. I could feel it right there under my hand. My favorite pregnancy activity has to be playing Chase The Butt. It's so much fun to follow that little round butt around when they toss and turn in there. The older kids are always teasing me about it. They are convinced our babies' first words right out of the womb are going to be, "Hey Mom, what's up with the Butt Thing?!"

This Sucks

We got a new vacuum cleaner yesterday. My dear husband replaced our old broken one without even being asked. We'd been borrowing the neighbor's but I thought she might want it back after we'd had it for a few weeks. So partly out of the need to return what I'd borrowed and mostly out of the desire to get rid of the latest object of Noah's destructive forces I sent it back and found myself vacuumless. That situation was rectified just in time for our Monday Morning House Blessing. Here Ben is finishing up vacuuming my room where I noticed he spent much more time than usual at the job. The vacuum has a nifty, self-cleaning telescoping duster which he enthusiastically demonstrated for me. He was supposed to be vacuuming the steps with the nifty little "cat's paw" attachment (I've never known a cat's paw to be a particularly helpful object..) but I think Adora commandeered the machine so she could get her work done before the end of the day. She wasn't quite as enthusiastic as Ben...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Things I Would Never Know if we Hadn't Adopted

I'm sure there are many more but I'll just have to post this one in parts as I go...

1. How to find a prisoner in the federal prison system.

2. Love sometimes doesn't come easy - it can be hard work!

3. People can get really messed up if they aren't treated well in the first few days, months, years of life.

4. How to identify a sickle cell crisis.

5. How to check the size of a child's spleen.

6. How to find North Korea, South Korea, Cameroon and Hong Kong on a map.

7. The link between food and behavior.

8. How to tack a horse.

9. How to identify doctors who will admit they don't have all the answers.

10. Sometimes I have more answers than the doctors do.

11. Basic principles of speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy.

12. The definition of acronyms such as RAD, PDD, MR, SPD, OCD, BP, ODD, DS, HFA.

13. Not all kids having tantrums in the grocery store are brats. Many of them probably have underlying issues that are just as frustrating to them and their moms.

14. NASCAR can actually be fun to watch.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Cowboy Musings

Yesterday JT and Ben were assigned a fictional letter to write. They had to write a letter from the point of view of a cattle rustler to whomever they chose and include some historical information they've learned. I let them go to town on cowboy grammar and spelling and I thought the resulting assignments were too good not to share. Here's JT's rather short and to the point comunnique:

Dear Fello cow herder

I have discovered something I thought you might be interested in. I have found out that when you sing to your cattle at night it will settle them down. I have also found out a new territory. I myself will be buying some land and selling my catle.
yours truely

And Ben's:

Howdy partner,
ow is things?
I now you is gonna be headin this way with yer cattle. I rote tellin ya it's aint an easy trip. When me and my buddies feched some cattle and came this way it was hard go'n. I hope it'le be easier fer you. There's rattle snakes and no water on the way. We lost one u our cattle to the snakes and two more from u stampeed. But we still came out with 2,997. The pay fer em is perty good in this town. I got me a new four shooter with the buckeroos. I've done some figurin and I think I want to settle and become a fermer. I don't think il be able to stay one fer very long but I'm go'n to try.
Yer pal,

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


This morning I was having my morning prayer time when I got a call on my cellphone from my neighbor. Now, normally I wouldn't answer it when I'm in the middle of my meditations but something told me I was going to want to take this call.


Hey, Mary, it's Renee. Um, did you know the babies are outside?

Well, no. But I'm hoping Adora knows that.

Well, she might not. I think they're in the garage by themselves. I saw Noah open the door and let them out.

I believe I hung up on her on my way down the steps, hurtling over two baby gates and slamming my pregnant body out the garage door. Sure enough, there were Nate and Miah wandering around in the garage in their socks. Noah came around the corner riding a tricycle also wearing his socks. I hauled his little butt up to his bed for a nice long time out while Adora gathered a baby under each armpit and transported them back inside. Adora swears to me that the three of them were right in the kitchen with her just moments before Renee called which means he opened up the big front door and the screen door and let them all out. We had no idea he was capable of that. Scary! I am thanking God for using Renee as their guardian angel this morning.

Later, as I was bringing the kids home in the van I noticed Adora's shoes sitting in the driveway getting snowed upon. I inwardly chided her for leaving her shoes outside and left them there for her to suffer the consequences as soon as she realized what she'd done. A little bit later she was looking for them and I told her they were waiting for her out in the snow. She gave me a very quizzical look and then we both realized at once that Noah must have been wearing them (another favorite hobby of his) when he planned his escape. I am just getting too old to have 3 under 2's in the house at once. It's like a crazy place around here! This is war and their combined 6 years are quickly besting my 37.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hey Cool!

Look, I got Poland on my map! I'm not sure what happened to Australia. A few weeks ago it showed up for a few days and then disappeared...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Good Day

I took the Big Eight to the Herr's Factory in PA today. I think the last time we did this tour Betsy was an itty bitty baby - might have been along in the Snugli. While JT and Ben remembered the tour from before, it was still fun for everyone. JM and David are still getting used to their status as (almost) school-aged "big" guys and were thrilled to be along for the ride. They do a great tour and it's all free.

First they showed a movie of the history of the company - started by Mr. Herr and his Mennonite (then) girl-friend. Their courtship occurred in the front seats of a delivery truck as they hauled baskets of chips to customers around the county. There's lots to love about this story. It has love, romance, faith, perseverance and family (all 5 of their children are still involved with the company). In fact, I remember the last time we took this tour - of the actual factory, no simulated assembly lines for this tour! - there were bulletin boards all over the walls in the hallways with notes posted for employees. Just about every one had notices with a post script quoting some scripture or offering encouragement to add prayer to their work day. I didn't notice that so much this time but it is rumored that employees stick around because of the great benefits, including absolutely no work on weekends.

I did let them each take home their snack size bag of free chips. Although not listed in our Feingold foodguide, they looked good - I may regret that decision later, we shall see....oils are always iffy with hidden preservatives.

On the way home I took a little detour to surprise JT. Last week I had discovered this billboard and I wanted him to see it:
Now what are the chances of that?! JT is very proud of the fact that he is the fourth JTK in the family. He is Joel Timothy, his dad is Joel Thaddeus, his Tata is Joel Terrence and his great-grandfather Joseph Thomas (I may be wrong on that one - Tata can correct me!). He's so smitten with his family history that he usually signs his name JTK4. Tata has even made him a real special little book telling the story of each JT with a picture of each generation with his own JTK in arms. So this billboard was a fun little gold mine. It got a grin on JT's face anyway.

We came home and made it through the day's history lesson - the one school item that we just can't slip on or we will fall woefully behind schedule. With a gorgeous sunshine outside and the neighborhood kids home from school for President's Day (whatever...) they all got to romp outside until the rain came.

Then it was a perfect rainy afternoon to watch a movie assigned to them by their choir director - Fiddler on the Roof. They'll be singing Tradition! in their upcoming Spring concert along with a bunch of other musical numbers so she has them watching a whole series of old musicals. I love this one. I remember seeing it in the theater with my family when I was about Ben's or Ruth's age and being woefully confused by the plot. So I made sure to watch it with them and explain the storyline. What a great storyline it is!

The evening was topped off with a momentous occasion for Ben. Thanks to some good friends, Ben has finally gotten himself in the cast of a real live play (one that isn't being performed in our basement that is). He'll be the third storyteller in a production of Alice in Wonderland and this evening was his first rehearsal. I printed his script off last night and handed it to him. He promptly carried it to bed and began to memorize every one of his 21 lines. He was well prepared for this evening and I was really proud of him. He got in there and did a great job.

The last treasure of the day we found at Wal-Mart where we ventured after Ben's rehearsal. Pickles was so delighted that I found these for her:Yes, dill pickle flavored Pringles! Nope, not Feingold approved but they sure were tasty - and very sour. All in all, a wonderful day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"Dress"ing Pickles

I've been ordering clothes from ebay for Pickles. Yes, she's a GIRL. We've had a grand ol' time torturing the offspring with the withholding of this information for the past couple of weeks. We had to tell them, though, when it looked like Ben was going to pop a gasket at the mere mention of pickled snacks. Sometime during my delusional sick state Tad carried me off to get a sonogram. I didn't have a voice at the time so I couldn't manage my usual banter with the sonographer but she did let us in on the little secret that our growing baby appears to have a "hamburger" dupa versus a "hotdog" model. Then she printed off a bunch of still shots, none of which showed the hamburger from any angle. We realized this would give us free reign to torture Pickles' siblings mercilessly - and we did. We finally broke down and told Nathan the news and then watched the show as the kids invented all sorts of ways to wring it out of him. They finally decided Nathan was speaking in code and came up with their version of the solution. If Nathan declared the baby a 'nana then it is certainly a girl, a gookie indicates a hotdog and a Gooka (Nate's name for Pooka the dog) means I'll be giving birth to a gender-neutral puppy. Unfortunately, Nate changed his story by the hour - giving them the impression that I just might be giving birth to a hermaphroditic golden retriever.

The only one who didn't play the game was David who insisted from the get-go that I am most certainly bearing him a little sister. He stated it over and over insistently and enthusiastically. When questioned about his knowledge he would just say, "Well, the girls have a lot of boys already and they really need a sister. But that doesn't matter because it's a girl." He was really rooting for his sisters but that was irrelevant - the fact that the baby is a girl is no special favor to them, it just is.

By the time Ben could stand it no longer I pulled him aside and shared the news. I allowed him about ten delicious minutes of knowing before we informed the rest of the crew. We happened to have their deaf friend, Teddy, over who ended up in the middle of the commotion without realizing what was getting everyone so riled. So I decided to let Teddy be the bearer of the news and signed the word for girl. Without any understanding why I was doing this he yelled out GIRL! to the delight of some and the dismay of others.

As for Pickles' parents, we're thrilled. With 7 boys and 3 girls it does seem like time for another girl - besides, I'm finally sort of getting the hang of being a girl Mom. It's only taken me....7 years now. For some reason being a Mom to those boys has always come much easier to me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Nathan for President

We decided at dinner time that we need some new names on the docket. Nathan for president with Nehemiah as a running mate. Their platform is sure to please the under 4 crowd (too bad they're too young to vote or we might have something here).

Some of their campaign promises:

1. First and most importantly they promise never to tax cookies or bananas. There will, however, be a Bath Tax (get over it Mom).

2. Any foreign policy issues will be handled by Big Brother (also known as Ben).

3. All WIC recipients will be issued 16 slightly licked tupperware lids and 7 unmatched containers.

4. The eagle as a national symbol will be replaced by Gooka the Golden Retriever who will appear on all currency and replace the stars on the American flag.

5. Feeding the National Symbol can occur by tossing your leftovers at the Amercian flag.

6. The first order of business will be appointing John Michael as ambassador to Hooville.

Well, they have my vote...any other takers?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


I got an email yesterday from the lacrosse director telling me what to do if I'm not receiving his emails....I was so busy contemplating that one I missed the list of evaluation dates JT is supposed to be attending.

Still sick. I'm sick of being sick. I'm sick of having a sore, raw throat and no energy. I just wanna get better! At any rate, I'm not at my blog posting peak to say the least...sorry...

Friday, February 01, 2008

Most of my week was spent here, on the sofa, trying to motivate myself to move in some direction or another. Tad took this picture because he thought it was funny to see all of the sickies lined up on the sofa together, although Ruth and Miriam technically weren't sickies at this point (it seems Miriam may have spent her day today succombing to the current plague). Ben's dizziness has finally cleared up and he's been fine for a couple of days now. JT was the only one to throw up - guess he needed to shake up the symptoms a bit but Philip takes the cake. He's not able to read his own body signals nor is he able to determine what is appropriate behavior for any given situation so he took a good look around him and decided to imitate what everyone else had done when things started to feel not so right about the gills. He spent an entire afternoon clutching at his throat dramatically and seeing how far into the back of his head his eyeballs could roll. When he got done with that routine, he decided to walk about with a limp. I'm not sure how this incarnation of the common cold involves a hip injury but he discovered one. The hip injury was followed by the Hurt Look Whenever Someone Asks Me To Move. I did try to refrain my requests for physical activity from him until after he'd spent three days straight laying on the chair with a blanket over his head but even at that he developed quite an indignant attitude at the mere mention of putting his dish in the dishwasher. I'm glad, in some demented way, that I seem to have taken the worst of this foul disease because it has helped me to gauge everyone else's symptoms a bit and have sympathy - or lack thereof - accordingly. David landed at the pediatrician today for an antibiotic to deal with the developing ear infection and I finally straggled my way in to see my doctor who also prescribed an antibiotic. My throat has been so flaming sore that sleep has become torture. I'm hoping that, while no one else seems to be dealing with a bacterial infection, the rawness of my throat is indicative of something different from what the others are suffereing and will be relieved soon by the antibiotics.

Tad's been doing a great job playing Dr. Mom for us all. He stayed home from work on Monday and Tuesday when I was nowhere near ambulatory. By Wednesday I was on my own and we've been just barely making it every day since. The whole thing is compounded by the laryngitis caused by this sore throat of mine. I haven't spoken above a whisper in several days. At least I don't have to answer the phone...although I've had Adora making dr appts for me and fielding the must-do phone calls.

The combination of laryngitis and Mr. Dr. Mom has its pitfalls, though. My dear husband is the most helpful human being in the world as long as he has tons of words to go by. No just making up supper for this guy, he needs a recipe. And a simple point to that there and point to that place over there will not get the job done. He needs a detailed description of what to pick up, it's current location and description and just as much detail about where to put it, when and why. The words he requires are tough to provide with no voice. The other day he went off to make lunch with the instructions to make peanut butter and cream cheese crackers. I tried to squeek out that he needs to ask the children which one they would prefer but he was off with a mission before he heard anything else. Some time later I wandered into the dining room to find a lot of uneaten lunch (a rarity in these parts). A close examination of the leftovers revealed this:
Yep, crackers smothered with cream cheese and topped with peanut butter and another cracker. The ew factor alone made me turn around and walk right back out of the room. To his credit, this man's father raised him with the belief that if foods share space in the refrigerator they can certainly share space in a casserole - or, apparantly, on a cracker.


Last Saturday night Granddad took JT, Tad and the boy cousins to a Blast game. It was Sagu statue night and JT was really excited to have a statue of one his mentors from soccer camp this past summer. He and Tad went down after the game to get Sagu's autograph on the statue and were pleasantly surprised to see how committed he was to standing there with a big bandaged leg chatting with his fans. When JT got to him, he looked closely and said, "You were at camp." JT nodded and Sagu then went on and on to say how fast JT was and what a good player he was. It was very encouraging for JT who really wants to play for the Blast someday. All the professionals who have coached him say he has what it takes...


Yes, he looks like a girl...
and he's sucking on the ear of a babydoll....
What can I say? It's been a rough week!