If I know you, and you're reading this blog, you have two choices:

1) Feel free to pretend you haven't, should the contents be offensive, sensitive in nature, or just TMI (Too Much Information).
2) Comment freely or talk to me face to face, and be prepared for further honesty and opinions.

Okay? Okay.

Jul 31, 2007

Deathly Hallows

Our own Malfoy- he insisted on dressing as Draco because he has blond hair, don't ya know!

We braved the crowds and went out at 11 PM to secure our own copies. Since it is the last book and all... It was fun. We have bought two copies for the last several in the series because I have been just as eager to find out what happens next. Leo came home and was up 'til 2:00 reading away. Saturday, he read between his two performances and by Sunday (the 22nd) mid-afternoon, he was done.

We sat side by side on Saturday reading for a couple of hours... Käri had taken the rest of the crew up to her brothers house for the day with the visiting South Carolina relatives, so it was just us. So quiet, kinda weird.

I finished Sunday night, just a few hours behind. A good ending, I think. It was a fun series. Great characters. I'll miss the anticipation of waiting for the next installment.

69 Today

I find it hard to believe that summer is drawing to a close. I swear we just got out of school. Is it because I'm getting older or all the kids and so much to keep up with? Perhaps the combination. Whose to say???

My mom was just here for a few days to see Leo in his performance and hang out with the kids. She couldn't not clean while she was here. And while I suppose I shouldn't complain, it can be so annoying.

I was raised in a 'everything has it's place' kind of house and I used to be extremely anal about having things neat and clean in in my own house. As our own family grew I began to let go of a lot of that. It still bothers me that I have stacks on the counters, dishes in the drying rack for days at a time and toys everywhere. Not to mention that the bathrooms aren't as clean as they should be, my cabinets remain unorganized, and my refrigerator somewhat dirty. Oh, it's there, and I look forward to the day when my dining room table is not an extension of the laundry room, but an actual place to sit and eat. But, for now, it's the way it is. I could choose to stay up to all hours keeping everything neat and tidy, but I refuse. See, I like to sleep and I like to have my time at the end of the day. Time that is spent sitting and staring at pages of print, t.v., or the computer, not a sponge in one hand and a dust mop in the other. We don't live in a sty, but there is always something (sometimes many things) that can be cleaned up.

So, when my mom arrived we were in the middle of the Strep plague, of course. Every time she comes, she goes home and gets sick... She thought she'd help out by cleaning upstairs, which means all the kids bedrooms and the family room. I tried to convince her to read a book with the kids, play a game, go swimming, but she persisted. She vacuumed for hours- all right, well it seemed like hours...that woman can clean! I wouldn't let her at the comet to clean the bathrooms so she left those alone- not to mention I had cleaned them the morning she arrived! That's the hard part. I know she is just doing what she feels to be helpful and yet it's also vaguely insulting. Like my house isn't clean enough for her. Which, really, it's not. But, it's my house, right? Oi, mothers...

And on that note, today is her 69th birthday! Happy Birthday Mom!

This is not all what I started out writing about- just what came. So there it is.

Jul 27, 2007


In other words, Greetings! The Latin translation, anyway.

I was a bit tense waiting for Leo's premiere of Shakespeare. He was just fabulous! He's never nervous and is always good, but in the last play he was an elephant, before that Snoopy...never a Shakespearean Friar. One performance down and two to go. He's half the size of most of the cast, but delivers his lines with finesse, he is the character. So amazing to me. And, I'm so glad he discovered this love and talent for the theater.

He has never been a sports fan, and in fact, just doesn't understand what all the fuss is about. He recently asked just that. "Why are most boys so crazy about sports?" It was an odd question to answer. We talked about the competition piece, that sports are something safe to enjoy... and then I was at a loss. The conversation then revolved around the theme of believing in yourself and being proud of your strengths. He's already figured out that the popular girls gossip and the popular boys are the jocks... It's hard to sit back and watch the beginnings of middle school angst.

Meanwhile, I was diagnosed with strep throat and an ear infection on Tuesday. Since then, the kids have fallen, one by one, to strep throat. Thankfully, our pediatrician knows us well enough that after the first one was also diagnosed, we get to just call in when the others have become symptomatic. Mia and Abe are the only ones who has yet to succumb.

However, Abe went in for tubes yesterday morning, so he is on antibiotics since there was much pus discovered behind one of his eardrums. Needless to say, we have been laying low, watching videos and hanging about the house. Lot's of pudding and Popsicle's this week. And a little cup of pink medicine at every meal for the next ten days..

edited to add- forgot to post this for a day or so

Jul 19, 2007

Parental Advantage

So, it's near bedtime last night when the kids ask if they can watch a movie before bed. Käri and I agree and stipulate that they will only be able to watch a bit before they turn in. No problem. Now for the movie choices. Gus suggests Treasure Planet- a fun flick- but, we have recently received a movie by mail, Herbie Goes Bananas. Pro's and con's are weighed heavily, arguments as to the merits of one over the other. Meanwhile, Abe and Mia have to go to bed, oops, there is always another day. Finally Käri decides to put both movies behind her back and I get to choose which hand. She motions with her right arm, so I will pick right (she wanted Herbie!). I, of course, think to myself 'okay, that arm, which is her right, but my left, so I'll choose left...right?' It's just like laying on the chiropractors table- suddenly I can't remember right and left, it's the damnedest thing. Anywho, of course now I've selected the wrong hand so Käri switches them behind her back and pulls out Herbie! Surprise!

The kids are fine with the choice and run upstairs to put on pajamas. Grace and Gus, properly clad in pj's come quietly to my side and report that in fact 'Mommy cheated'. What? I am properly aghast and send them to talk with Mommy- trying oh, so hard not to laugh. Käri catches the drift and is aware of what's coming. She is prepared with a plausible excuse for the excess noise produced when she pulled the movie out from behind her back and in Herbie goes. Grace is the only one who can't quite let it go and mutters "but, she did, she switched them, I heard her"...

Are they really that old? No more switcheroo behind the back trick?? What's next...?

Jul 15, 2007

Good News, Bad News

Good News: The laptop is back!

Bad News: The hard drive had to be replaced, which means we lost everything!

Good News: Leo, Grace, and Gus have finished their theater production and they were simply fabulous!

Bad News: Grace and Gus no longer have theater practice. Which means, they have no schedule to their days.

Good News: Leo was invited to join the 12-18 year old cast of a Shakespeare play (he's 11), auditioned, and is playing a major role.

Bad News: Leo has to memorize Shakespeare.

Good News: There are five weeks of summer left.

Bad News; There are five weeks of sumer left. Which means, we only get Käri for another two or three...

Jul 12, 2007


I'm in the hallway. A brick half wall, finished with cyclone fencing to the roof of the outside corridor. I wait and I cry quietly. I'm waiting, embarrassed, defiant. I form excuses in my head. The door opens and she steps out to talk with me. Black curly hair, prematurely gray. I look up at her, away from the green plaid skirt, knee socks and brown nike tennis shoes. She shakes her head at me, questioning, waiting for an answer.

"You don't know how hard it was last year, how hard it was for me..."

"And what about me?" is her response.

We talk and I begin to understand empathy, the other side of things. Reaching out beyond the ethnocentrism of childhood. What it's like to look at things from another perspective.

I remember this event as a marker for the beginning of adolescence, the groundwork for what I was to become. It was when I decided to work with kids in trouble. It is why I am a foster parent.

Miss Carroll, Miss Rita Carroll. I watched her work a room of 35 eighth graders, teach us, respect us, discipline us. Her teaching, her caring for us as individuals, her coming back to work each day to a bunch of unruly pre- adolescents who were all but wild. The example she set, sticks with me. She made a difference for me. Perhaps it would have happened some other way, some other day, I don't know. I looked up to her, loved her.

She is still in education, a principal now. I visited her seven years ago and let her know she made an impact in my life, that I was grateful for her presence, her dedication, her perseverance. We laughed and reminisced about that class.

I wonder, when I meet people or see kids hurting, reaching out; who was that person for them or who will be that person?

Jul 10, 2007

Da' Beach

Not only did we survive the beach, we had a fabulous time! Good friends, good food, fabulously cool weather... What more do you need? Well, it would have been lovely if the kids would have slept til 10, instead of 5 or 6- THAT would have been better!

On the trip over, Mia spotted a whale... on a lake... with a motor... otherwise known as a jet ski- that kept us laughing for quite a while. She was so excited- LOOK, LOOK, A WHALE!!

There was much playing at the beach, a lighthouse, fireworks, traipsing around the cabin, and oh, so much fun! Even grown up time at night, after all 13 were asleep. I had a hard time choosing between grown up conversation and going to bed. Ultimately, grown up time won. But, I was so tired when we got home. Oh, well!

I picked a few of my favorite shots... some pictures are trapped on the lap top- which, after having been dropped twice, right before we left, is now, not working. And the warranty expired 30 days ago!

The Rock!

The Waves!

The Jump!

The Solace!

The Sand!

The Ocean!

The Lighthouse!

The Kids!

Jul 2, 2007


Bush and Scooter sitting in a house...Just not the "big house", apparently.

I've become completely apathetic. Which, I know is where they want us to be. What the hell are we supposed to do?? Where are the strong politicians to stand up to this regime? Grass roots organizations? Singing in the streets? Something, Anything!! What about Cheney? Holy cow!! I watched the local news tonight (which I never do) for the first 20 minutes. And there was nothing, nada, zilch!

First comes lies, then comes deceit, then comes corruption, in the baby carriage...

∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆

In other news~

We are escaping the heat and heading to the coast. We have been invited to stay with some friends at their family house on the coast. Oh, so nice! Not many can put up with our brood. And in fact, we have been told to our face that we were not invited to something because "well, you know, all those kids..." Good for them for being honest. And, Uh, good for us! I digress... In any case, we are hoping for highs in the 60's maybe low 70's (compared with triple digits around these parts) and some good fun.

No internet access, though. I'm still considering bring the laptop- you know for downloading pictures off the camera and maybe a drive into town to the internet cafe. I'm so addicted, it's ridiculous.