Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Day after Christmas

I had to head to work today...boohoo.  I was extremely tired.  Not a lot of sleep for the last couple of days and last night I got 3 hours of sleep tops.  The day wasn't as busy at work as I thought it was going to be which was good because I felt so dazed!  Hpoefully tomorrow is the same because I don't foresee a ton of sleep for me tonight either.

I got home around 3pm and we took the kids to Game Stop so they could spend their gift cards graciously given from grandma and poppy!  I kept the little ones (ben, zoe and violet) in the bus while the ds owners looked for games.  I was so please to hear Keith's retelling of the trip.  He told me that Lilianna had been quite a bargain hunter...getting 4 games for her $50 in gift cards..I was impressed.  She got one new one and 3 used ones.  She was by far the thriftiest...apparently she was paying attetion to the Financial Peace U Jr books we bought her..haha!

After gamestop we took Ben and Zoe to walmart to buy a game for their new leap pads.  The kids were very good at the store..when they are good they are very very good...when they are bad...look out!

We had some dinner and played video games, nerf sword fighting and pinball after dinner.  Tomorrow Lily heads to NoLa to stay with her bio dad for 3 1/2 weeks...Lord, please help her to regulate her behavior and keep control of her anxiety and help me when she gets back!  She is excited.  She wants to take her big Santa gift...a metal detector...with her.  I'm not sure that is such a good idea.  It is her present, but I fear it won't make it back in one peice.  Oh well, maybe we will talk her our of it tomorrow.  O is heading back to Bham tomorrow too.  It is going to be quiet around here.  Not too quiet though...Ben can more than make up for 2 kids missing!

vacation day 3

Sunday - we slept in and then went to Blizzard Beach.  What fun!  It was pretty fun - a little cold but fun.  We bought new swim shoes for everyone and went down the lazy river together.  We split up after that Keith taking the big kids with him and Stephanie and I keeping the little ones in the kiddie area.  Lily got kicked out of the kiddie pool for being too big.  She was so sad because the slides were just her speed!
I have always wanted to go to the teen area..but haven't gotten to yet...maybe in October!
I would say we got there around 1130 and we left around 430.  It was one of the most succesful family trips to a water park for sure. 
There has always been O and Keith running ahead and wanting to go on rides while I wait with little kids...and walk behind with the little kids.  That is always the experience whenever we go anywhere with our family.  This particular trip was awesome because I didn't have to follow them around from area to area with the little ones (like 20 feet behind them).
I even got to leave the littlest kids with Stephanie for a while and play in the wave pool with Lilianna.  It was definitely a first!
After we changed we headed back to the hotel and changed.  We went to Downtown Disney and had dinner at Trex.  The kids (especially Lilianna) loved digging in the little excavation area.  The wait for us wasn't that long...the wait for a family of 4 was 45 mins to an hour...the wait for a family of 10 was 15 mins...woohoo.  However, the wait for the food was more like an hour.  Zeb fell asleep at the table!  Classic Zeb!  The food was really good. 

Unfortunately, Violet got into something on Sunday...I don't know if it was at the water park or downtown disney and she threw up all night monday night.  yuk!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


nope no pictures because I just never download them now that I have a fance phone..haha.  maybe someday i will figure out how to send pictures to the blog from my phone.

Christmas eve was really nice...I was on call during the day and had to work until about 430.  I had started some slow cooker chicken and dumplins in the morning so when I got home that afternoon, I threw in my dumplins and was able to have dinner with everyone.  After dinner we started to get ready for  cookies and hot chocolate and I had to head back in for an appendectomy.  by the way...the chicken and dumplins were super duper delish...a good start!

I returned home around 8pm and the kids were in the media room watching something and Keith was putting together the super awesome chrstmas eve gift...a lego table he made for the kids...i will have to post a picture of that...he made a very sturdy, beautiful, functional and huge lego table.  The kids came out and started doing some major lego building.  I was surprised that O was as into the lego table as he was....he just turned 13yo and I expect him to be too cool for playing legos with his little bros and sisters.  

We sent all the kids to bed around 9 and had our annual Christmas eve fight about "the plan" for the evening...which always slows us down by about 2 hours...then we got everything set up and headed to bed around 3am.

Up at 7...with grandma and poppy already here for the fun.  we played with the santa gifts until breakfast was done...monkey bread and sweet cornbread with honeybutter (which also turned out super delish even though it was the first time I had ever made it...yeah!).  We got our huge 21 pound turkey in the oven (my mom did all the gross stuff....thanks mom...I am sooooo lucky!) and opened gifts.  We were very organized and made short order of completely destroying the playroom...I have no idea where everything is going to go. 
Best moment of the day?  Ben saw that we got a fort building set like Lily got last year and started jumping up and down screaming...haha.
Lets see...close second....Lily got a water cannon shooting remote controlled helicopter in round 3 of gifts and O got one in round 5....he saw what it was and looked at Lily and said..."it's on."  it was hilarious.
Surprise of the day...Violet can unwrap presents like she was born to do it! haha.

I feel like this was one of our best Christmases....I probably say that every year....everyone really liked their gifts...not a single one of the kids were petty and jealous of anyone else's gifts..there were no fights...the food was all delicious.  We got to hangout with my parents most of the day and everyone just chilled and got along.  There was a nap time and that probably helped with the getting along....haha.  It was very relaxed all day long...yeah.

I am feeling abundantly blessed today for sure. 

I supposed I would be more blessed if I were asleep at 230 am instead of sitting up with such a bad cough that I keep waking myself up with it! haha.  Today was really great. 

Right before bed all of the kids got light saber flashlights and went outside to battle...each other...imaginary villains and then the crazy lion statues....It was great fun to watch them all just play.  Sometime soon they won't play like that.  I know there will be something just as fabulous to replace it...but I do so enjoy watching them play.  So darn lucky!

vacation day 2

On day 2 is when we actually made it to the AKL - we stayed at Kidani Village and it totally rocked.  We went the magic Kingdom our first was the opening weekend of the new FantasyLand.  A couple of things stand out for me that night.

The first happened when I rode the Flight of Peter Pan with Lilianna.  Lily is a little anxious.  She gets downright out of control with a little unknown.  She agreed to ride the Peter Pan ride..and then O told her it left the ground.   Well, it does leave the ground...but it is a kiddie ride.  She almost backed out of it..but I was able to keep her calm and distracted enough to keep her in line until we got on the ride.  She plugged her ears (as she always does with everything from toilets flushing to fireworks) and she closed her eyes at first...but then she opened them.  Yes, it is a silly kiddie ride....but she opened her eyes, she conquered her fear and she was sooooo excited  to be on a ride that went off the ground.  One of my top moments at Disneyworld, hands down, was watching Lily open her eyes on that ride and seeing them just totally light up.  It was completely unexpected to me that a 9 yo could be so excited about the peter pan ride. 

Later that same night we watched the fireworks from Fantasy land.  Every single one of the kids...even the big kids had that same magic look in their eyes.  I never in a million years would have expected Lily to be as in awe of the show as she was.  I was holding Benjamin and he kept sayin..."look over there...wait over there...the fireworks are everywhere"  in a dramatic way (with hand motions) that only he can pull off.

I think Alex was just dazed...she actually did walk into a wall the first night and fall off of a curb. 

When I am senile and look back on this vacation...I hope I can vividly remember the big toothy smile and look of wonder in Lily's eyes on the peter pan ride and out watching the fireworks.  I want to always remember Ben and his tilting head, hand motions for "the fireworks are all over the sky, mom"


I don't have any time or pictures to upload...but I wish I would have at least posted everyday while we were at that in 30 years when I am senile I can relive the fun!

My parents had to cancel at the last minute so 9 of us left the house at 5am on Dec 1st in the bus to head down to pick up O and then on to Disneyworld.  The kids did so good.  we had dvd players for everyone..attached to the seats with some clever little hanging devices Keith made.  Violet watched colors all the way down there ...the preschool prep series not the terrible Ice-T cop movie from the 80's..haha.

I was amazed at how much stuff we had to bring for 10 people for 7 days..thank goodness we were staying someplace with a washer and dryer...I only packed 2 long sleeve shirts, 2 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of shorts 5 undies and 5 pairs of socks for everyone.  Even on vacation I had to still do 2 loads of laundry a day...oh well!

We got to Birmingham and picked up O around 1130.  We stopped at Chick Fil A....LOVE that place.  We went in so the kids could run around the play area.  They all behaved so well...I was very proud of them.  We hit the road around noon.

We stopped an hour away from Disneyworld and got 3 hotel room.  I took Violet into one room because she was a loud blubbering mess after having slept most of the way in the bus...she wanted nothing to do with sleeping.  We checked in just before midnight.  We got up around 930 hit the continental buffet changed into our first set of matching "Byrne-Cox" team jerseys and drove on into disneyworld. 

We registered at the Animal Kingdom some lunch and had everyone take a nap.  We went for our first evening to the Magic Kingdom.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


We had a great thanksgiving...except for the plague!  haha.  Everyone was sick here.  We went to my mom's for dinner and had a delicious turkey, mashed potato dinner.  yum.  Zeb was all over the canberry...his favorite.  Lilly had like one bit of ham and asked what was for dinner an hour later.  So typical!

I have been working nights this week and it hasn't been too bad...I am on my last day of nights (does that make sense?!) right now and then I am off for a week...yeah...actually it is 2 weeks.  Starting tomorrow is the Nutcracker rehearsals and performances.  Lilianna got a pixie haircut a couple of days ago and I am still trying to figure out how I am going to make some sort of ballet bun.  I think I am just going to have to slick it down and hope no one notices there is no bun! haha.

On Friday, we head to Disneyworld...we are driving the bus down with all the kids, my parents and our awesome babysitter for 7 days at the Animal Kingdom lodge.  I am so excited...probably more excited that the kids...I can't believe we leave in less than a week.  woohoo.

Nothing much else going on.  We put up all of our Christmas trees...we have 3 this year...overkill...probably but oh so fun.

Just thought I would throw out a post to say what's up!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sweet Lily

On Sunday, we picked up Lilianna from her bio dad.  Sunday night 4 of the kids stayed in a cabin by themselves..oooh fun.  Lily really wanted to sleep on the top bunk.  However, Benjamin was soooooooooooo excited to see Lily he really wanted to sleep in the full size bed with her.  When I agreed to let Ben stay in the kids cabin and told him he and Lily could sleep in the full size bed...I thought his head was going to explode he was so excited.
Lily, on the other hand, was not excited.  I am not sure why she is so self-centered when she gets back from new orleans - but she is always pouty and completely self-involved when she gets back.  Sunday was no exception. 
After we got everyone into bed, we prayed together and Lily thanked God for her brothers and sisters and thanked Him for the time cuddling with Benjamin.  Ben was so happy that his big sister thought that much of him I thought the smile was going to stretch off of his face.  So he did what any self-respecting 4yo boy would do...he tried to share his very special blankie with know the one thing in the world that means the most to him. 
Ben was so happy and Lily was so happy to have made Ben that happy.
I love those moments.  Those are the things I thank God for!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Camping trip

We had a partial trial run of our Disneyworld trip this weekend.  Keith packed everyone into the bus and drove down to Birmingham to meet me for a weekend at the KOA.  He got everything loaded in the bus by Thrusday night and got all the kids in and settled for the trip and left at 430am on Fri morning and they made it to Bham by 11am!  What a feat!  I was very, very impressed.

We rented 2 little cabins...the girl cabin and the boy cabin.  We got everything unpacked and situated and headed to pick up O then to the Galleria for some carousel action and some mall foodcourt.  Alex is so hilarious about the mall.  She wants to buy everything.  It is pretty hilarious.  Unbeknownst to us, it was the official tree lighting there was a Santa arriving with a train full of elves to turn on the lights.  There were performers and lots of people.  A jolly time was had by all.  I can't decide who had the most fun on the carousel.  We headed back to the cabin and went straight to sleep.  Violet slept pretty good, I suppose...ok not really.  It didn't really matter because the comfort of the beds is definitely NOT the selling point of camping with the kids!

Saturday was super fun...we got up and dressed and headed to the Heart of Dixie Train Museum where we played on some trains and took a short ride on a real train.  The weather was perfect, we sat on an outside car.  The trees are perfectly autumnal right now in Alabama and the temperature was just about perfect.  It was really a beautiful day.  After the train ride, Keith had a brilliant idea (this may be a tad sarcastic) to take the kids to toys r us and mill around.  Yes, I was slightly afraid...6 un-napped children in a toy store the likes of which the majority of had never seen...mmmm...sounds like fun.  It wasn't nearly as chaotic as I thought it would be.  We got some ideas for Christmas presents and we didn't actually buy anything so that was good.  At one point, they announced over the loudspeaker that they had a very special guest in the story...Glen who was celebrating his 8th birthday...happy birthday glen.  A few minutes later, Benjamin brought me a toy and said.."is this for 8 yo?"  It said 8+ on it so I told him yes.  He responded by telling me that he was going to get it for Glen because Glen was turning 8 today.  It took me several minutes to convince him that we didn't need to buy Glen a birthday present.  Fortunately for most of the people reading this...You have no idea what it is like to try to convince Benjamin of anything....geesh!

We had pizza for dinner and a great, big, roaring campfire over which we roasted marshmellows and made s'mores.  Mostly, the kids made the s'mores and I ate them...the things I do for my kids!  Everyone was exhausted at bedtime and we headed to bed.  Violet slept exceptionally well Sat night.

Sunday we woke up and got ready for church.  We missed the 9am service by about 15minutes so we went to the Alabama Veteran's Memorial.  It is a beautiful memorial- about a 5 minutes hike on a path up a very gentle incline with tons of beautiful trees.  The kids ran around and we had a very relaxing hike.  Then off to church.  We went to the Church at Brook Hills.  I have wanted to visit there since I read David Platt's book Radical.  He is the minister there.  They have an interesting thing there on Friday nights called Secret Church which is all about bible bells and whistles.  It is inspired by the secret churches in China..churches that are really and truly all about God's word.  David Platt wasn't preaching on that sunday, but apparently on the secret church the friday before, David Platt and Fancis Chan were both preaching.  How super cool would that have been...oh well...I had fun eating cookie cake at the antithesis of secret church...the Galleria!
the kids loved Brookhills though.  O was trying to think of a way to get his mom to take him back next Sunday.  She refuses to take him to church because she wants to sleep in. 

We had lunch, met up with Lilianna...who had been in NoLa with her bio dad for the week.  Went back and played at the campground for the rest of the afternoon.  We did all of our family christmas shopping on, had another campfire with some good quality s'mores and rearranged the cabins.

I had to hit the road around 10pm after I tucked everyone in.  Keith and the kids left this morning and have had one heck of drive home...through rain and the usually impossible traffic in Chattanooga. 

I had a super weekend.  I posted a couple of pictures of our trip on facebook...the carousel and our brand new family stickers on the back of the bus.  They are starwars stickers and they rock.  Darth Vader, amidala, biker scout, leia, ahsoka's x3 and troopers x2.  There is room for one more sticker...i'm just saying hahaha.

I can't wait for Disneyworld...our trial run went pretty good!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Little Benjamin

I know I haven't written in a while...I am so stinking busy...probably the busiest I have ever been in my life and it is sucking...I will be honest.  I am not supposed to be this busy...but I am.
Anyway....we had a very traumatic event 2 weeks ago now.  I came home from working the night shift and went to bed .. only to be awakened an hour later by Keith telling me that one of our cats died.  It was Pumpkin, a little orange kitty that had been so shy for years and had just started letting kids pet her in the last year or so.  She was laying dead on our porch.  She didn't appear to have any trauma to her.  We don't know what working hypothesis is that she ate something poisonous or at something that had been poisoned...we don't know.  We had 2 cats die before..shortly after we moved here. we didn't expect the kids to get too upset.  Strangely, we had gotten a new kitten the weekend before.  I just woke up the saturday before and decided we needed a new cat so we went to the shelter and the kids almost unanimously picked out a super sweet little cat who looked a lot like our cat Socks...except he has a great big white spot on his back.  We named him Spotnik and he is a super cat.
I digress....After we picked up the kids and had everyone home, we told them that Pumpkin had died and how we found her.  We placed her in a big sized shoe box...she looked like she was curled up and comfy.  We buried her near the other cats.  Everyone said goodbye to Pumpkin.  As soon as Keith started burying the box...Benjamin totally lost it.  My little four year old..all at once...voiced this amazing inner struggle to comprehend his own mortality and to question the presence of God when bad things happen.  Not at all what I had expected from Ben.  It was a string of questions way beyond what he should have been asking with "but God is good" sprinkled randomly between the questions.  "Why did pumpkin die? when will I die?  Did God choose for Pumpkin to die or did it just happen?  Did God choose to make me sad? but God is Good..."  all just mixed in with my poor guy crying. 
He was the only child that cried or was upset and I was really surprised how upset he was. 
Maybe in a related note...Ben started getting in trouble at school shortly thereafter..he started being even more controlling and bossy.  He has already been completely convinced that he is the boss regardless of reality...part of the reason he is still NOT totally potty trained..haha.  I have long suspected that his but is going to get kicked out of school because he is just the boss.  He isn't necessarily spoiled, nor do we let him get his way all the time..he is just 100% sure that he is in control.  Funny thing about his preK teacher...she thinks she is in charge.  So, you can see the dillemma.
Keith (who also believes in his soul that he is in charge) has decided that he will teach Benjamin that he is not in charge (in much the same way his parents did to him...I am sure).  Oh the clash of wills should create sparks that Shannon will be able to see in the sky over in Wisconsin...
I love the way God has made my husband and my son...they are so alike..I am so blessed.  I think Ben is feeling less control with this sudden realization of mortality and he is trying to calm his anxious little heart by controlling even more of the world around him.
I hope his sweet, little heart finds some peace before my husband's head explodes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I really AM busy

It has been a whole month since I posted really am busy! haha.  How to sum up one month...I can't really.  Let's compartmentalize...

1.  Dave Ramsey and gazelle like intensity....I suck.  haha.  We are not doing a very good job sticking to our budget because I am doing such a good job working extra and earning extra money...we are successfully outearning our stupity so to speak!  The tennant in one of our houses in Alabama left so we are trying to rent out my house again.  We have a rental company who keeps the first month's rent and then keeps 10% each month...but at least we don't have to stress out about repairs etc anymore.  My brain is totally on board but my broken body keeps buying things...however, in my defense, I don't just spend money Keith and I have a budget meeting first!

2. Violet...I am actually starting to worry about her a little bit.  She is still not eating much.  She will only drink out of a bottle with a slow nipple on it and will eat about 1 small babyfood container...and only step 1.  The only thing she puts in her mouth is her blanket and her finger...and those are relatively new developments.  She is 15 months old people...I am starting to worry that she has a real oral aversion problem.  Of course, I have decided that it is all my fault for not being home enough.  I have a very well developed sense of maternal guilt!  Other than that...she is a genius and I am only a little bit biased. 

3.  Ben...OMG...he is STILL not potty trained.  He is 4 and 2 months into 4k!  This, of course, is my fault too somehow.  He is so smart and so STUBBORN!

4.  Zeb is the coolest cucumber.  He is totally the little boy in school that has it all together and all the boys want to hang out with him.  He is starting to act like that cool kid and teased the other kids at home.  Ben announced that he wanted to be called Benjamin not Ben.  So Zeb kept saying.."Ok BEN...ok BEN".  As you can imagine a snarky big brother might say it!  Luckily, Ben knows how to take Zeb down by teasing him about his girlfriends at is so hilarious.  Zeb has started speech therapy and apparently has a week lower lip and a week tongue.  We were told to have him chew gum aaaahhhhh noooooooo..or blow up baloons...aaaahhhhh nooooo.  we will have to decide which is the lesser of two evils in our house...chewed up gum left all over the place or kids fighting over balloons.   haha

5.  Lily - she is doing remarkably well with her school.  Our new workbox system is rocking.  I was out of town in September frequently and it has been hard for us to get her back into focussing.  We started using an adaptive online math program called Dreambox that she loves and is really improving her math skills.  She started guitar and piano lessons and is going to be an angel in the Nutcracker this holiday season so that is fun (ugggg...bun making....)

6.  zoe is rocking the 4K - she has a few problems with her Z's but is doing really good.  Her behavior at school is soooo good.  We need lots of routine to keep her stress level down but she is doing sooo good.  I was a little worried before she started that she may get tired and overloaded at school.  I was worried about her losing her cool and melting down at school, but that has only happened once and it was after school waiting for pick up. 

7.  Alex is doing pretty good too.  She continues to be an enigma to she trying to do her homework, is she trying to fail on purpose?  I don't know.  We try to get her involved in things like dance and she says she doesn't care if she does it or not.  She loves to hang out with her family around the house, or at least appears to be happy playing...then she turns around and talks the younger kids into doing things that get them into trouble.  I am constantly reminded of Bryan Posts discussion on his sister.  Now that I have some time, I think I might rewatch the Bryan Post videos and focus on trying to figure her out a little bit!

8.  O - poor O has a new step-dad, and O is having a very, very tough transition.  We all wish he could move up with us full time..but I don't have a whole lot of hope for that happening. 

9.  DISNEYWORLD!  we are going in a little over one month and I am soooo excited.  I blew like $850 on matching sport jerseys for everyone to wear to the park...I can't wait to get them in.  If you are at Disneyworld the first week of December and see an obnoxiously big family in brightly colored matching team might be us! woohoo.  Our super awesome babysitter, stephanie and my super awesome parents are also coming.  Stephanie is hilarious, the other day my parents were up while she was babysitting and after they left she turned to me and said "I can't wait to hang out at Disneyworld with you parents..they are so much fun"  That they are!

10.  I am totally getting a new cell phone in the next couple of days and I am sooo excited.  I think I got my last phone in 2008 or 2009 it is a pink razor flip phone..haha.  I am thinking about a Samsung Galaxy 3s.  so anyone have on of those fancy phones?   what do you think?

I have got to blog more because I have just a truckload of rambling that has been waiting to be released...

Monday, September 17, 2012

My take on taxes

If u order a copy of the us tax code, you have to pay for 16845 pages. Who pays who doesn't pay state, federal, local....whatever. Democrats have some propaganda, republicans have some propaganda...blah blah blah.
There is one thing I know for sure - if the tax code were fair and just it would not be 16,845 pages. Keep it simple stupid. If you can't fit it in one page it is too complicated to be transparent and fair. That is true for every legal document I can think of.

There are lies, damn lies and statistics....right. So the politics in the US are ridiculous right now...there are no statesmen who actually care about integrity and honor..both sides care about spinning numbers and spewing propaganda trying to England people into some kind of nonsensical us vs them instead of Americans thoughtfully and respectfully discussing issues. I am pretty sure that Romney is not a Nazi....regardless of what Obama says. I am pretty sure Obama isn't a Muslim terrorist.

I am also pretty sure that any honest statesman who might be interested in serving our nation would never run for political office because it would make them sick. It makes me sick. Can I just vote for Ron least he tells it like it is and wants some transparency!

An idea

I was trying to be still today and pray. I have had a lot on my mind and a whole lot in my life ...too much in my life for about as long as I can remember. I suspect that I may spread myself too thin in order to have an excuse for not mastering one thing. I was thinking about that. In fact, I was sure that was where my epiphany was going....cutting back, learning to relax...blah blah blah.

It went in a totally different direction. Well, maybe not totally! I am a goal directed person. I set goals, I make lists, I schedule things. I have many areas of my life where this strategy works....mainly anything related to school or work. We have been trying to follow the Dave Ramsey thing doing the same goal directed thing....only the goals I have been setting are the wrong kinds of goals! We have been writing monthly cash flow plans and financial blueprints....over and over. However, just when we start getting traction......we make the same old mistakes and screw up. That is because our goal isn't to have a super looking budget....our goal is to change our behavior. We are awesome at changing our money strategy...but not at changing our hearts. So in addition to money goals...I need a heart changing plan with achievable short term and long term goals that I can make a list and check items off of the list. So I ask myself...what can one do to facilitate a changed heart....ok yeah....duh....time in prayer. Dave Ramsey, himself, recommends proverbs. So I decided that I will make a list, a goal to read through one proverb day and really figure out what it means to me. I know that this super awesome owners manual for life will hold something new for me everyday.

While I was thinking about my turn the intangible heart changing goal into a something I can put on a list. I was scrolling through the most important things in my life to see if there was some way to extrapolate this idea to other areas. I came up with a that I think might change my life in a very very real way. But I am still working on it!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The worst blogger

I have totally turned into the worst blogger...maybe it is because I am so busy.  I have a list of about 100 things I have to addition I am on call right now and thankfully at home.  Tomorrow I am heading out for a week of locums.  UG...I so loathe every second I have to leave home to make extra money.  I am not exactly sure what my problem is that I can't just live within my means!
In addition, one of our monthly bills just jumped from the world of interest only to paying principle...which is good because it will get paid off faster...but sucks because it more than doubled.  One of our tenants is moving out which puts us back in a bind to get a new rentor for one of our houses we couldn't sell in Birmingham.  UG...did I mention UG.
I know I am grateful and blessed for the opportunity to work extra hours and make extra is blessing not a curse.   That being said...I am getting old and tired!  I just want to chill with my peeps.

Peeps..what happening with them....oh big news...Benjamin is finally potty trained...yeah!!!!!! He had to stay home from school (4K) for one whole week and he decided he was going to be potty trained so he could go back to school....yeah!  He is as hilarious as ever.  I know this age doesn't last and that makes me just a little bit sad because there is nothing as sweet as my little Ben carrying around his yellow blanket and the 3 small cow stuffed animals Keith won for him out of the claw machine.

Zoe is rocking the good behavior at school.  She is having some difficulty with writing her name and really anything.  She just sits there and stares at the paper.  Then starts to cry.  She refuses to even try to write anything...very frustrating.  A little over a year ago we had an OT eval and they said she fell within the std deviation, but showed some issues with fine motor and I wonder if this is an expression of that.  Keith doesn't really think that is it so I am not going to obsess about whether or not we need to get a new OT eval.  Poor Keith doesn't need another appointment he is responsible for getting kids to! haha. 

Zeb is doing great in school - he has had a killer cold the last week.  Not much to report on Zebby.

Alex got her first report card.  Everyday after school we say...Alex do you have homework and she I did it at school with Jimmy (her aid).  Somehow she is getting an A in math, but she is getting a 57% in Lang Arts and a 74% in Social studies...someone is about to do homework everyday whether they have it or not! haha.  There is a parent teacher conference in someone's near future. 

Lilianna has been super tired the last couple of days because I have been working nights and Keith has been letting her stay up and watch Harry Potter movies...bad dad! haha.  Lily's school this year has been totally rocking!  We have a workbox with folders for each subject, each day and Lily can pull them out and work on the assignments with minimal prodding.  There are several online assignments, a couple of workbooks and lots of reading.  We are totally rocking this year...I do believe we have our homeschool groove on ...finally!  I feel super organized and I think she is really enjoying the classes this year.  She even said that she thinks she is learning more this year because of the new way we are organizing it. 

Violet...what can I say....she won't sleep!  augh! just like every other child biologically related to me!  It will catch up to her when she is 40yo..that's all I can say.  She is in charge.  We put some tennis shoes on her today and let her walk around outside in the yard for a was her first adventure walking outside.  She is a cutie and boy is her dad wrapped around her finger.  Unfortunately, Zeb gave her his cold and she is miserable tonight.  I really, really, really hate leaving Violet when I have to leave.  I figure one of these days my leaving will just break her heart and she won't love me anymore...I will come back and instead of giving me a super big smiley hug she will just kind of grunt at me and walk away. 

I am off to bed...I have to pack and drive about 10 hours tomorrow.  yipee.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Today I turned  I had to work - I was on call.  Work has been kicking my butt lately..this week has sucked.  Violet has been keeping us up all night and all day...I feel about 100yo.

The kids were soooo excited that it was my birthday.  They worked on songs and dances to perform for me all day.  They colored me presents and crafted dolls out of papertowels, markers and rubberbands.  They are so sweet.  A little over the top with their energy level and excitement about the whole thing. 

The kids also helped Keith back and frost a 4 layer butter cake with chocolate frosting....yumm.  Zeb ate his ginormous 4 layer piece and said..."I don't like cake stomach hurts"  it was kind of hilarious.  This was after he ate 3 hotdogs...he may blow up tonight!

I need a week of vacation to just sleep in and let Keith sleep in...he is more worn out than me...he is much older than me after all...hahahhahahha (one year!)

Life is good....and 40 is the new 30.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

How to tell you are an adoptive mom?

Today is Keith and my 5 year Is the wood anniversary, daisy is the traditional flower for the fifth anniversary.

I measure it in terms of what countries we are now eligible to adopt from....haha!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Such a lucky duck

That is me.....a lucky duck. I am human, so there are times when I might feel overwhelmed and feel like complaining....who me?!

I am so lucky. As of this Sunday, I will have been married to my husband for 5 years. He has changed my life. Seriously. I was happy before I met him, I loved my job, my daughter - I was in the process of adopting Zeb. I had it all....everything I wanted. I was tired, but I was happier than I had been in years. I distinctly remember driving home from work one evening...late...and thinking to myself how happy I was!

Ha...I laugh at that happiness now - I had no idea what "happy" really means.

My children totally rock.....yeah they each have their own idiosyncrasies, but I can't believe how lucky I am to have such awesome kids. I am not sure why everyone doesn't want to have 7 or 8 kids. It is so much fun watching them turn into little people. There is disappointment, heartbreak, exhaustion and joy. The things that are easy are not the things that define you and are not the things that become important to least to me!

I am just so grateful that I have my husband and children. I am so lucky and many times feel like I won some sort of abundant life lottery!

Sometimes I just want to scream Thank You at the top of my lungs and acknowledge that I have been blessed and I am so grateful to God for this life....but I will pray and blog instead!

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Yes, we had a joint Lilianna - Violet birthday party today.  Violet was still not interested in the cake...oh well.  She did eat something though....we are barely getting stage 2 food in her but she ate almost an entire little cup of bananas and mixed is a win!

Yes...there are pictures, thanks to Keith's persistence.  I am not sure why I am the worlds worst picture taking mom.  Maybe if I had some sort of smart phone that took pictures I would be a little better about it...probably not! 

We are trying to get some Gazelle like intensity and pay off some bills...but it isn't working so good.  Everytime I work a little extra....we spend a lot extra!  UG...we decided to post our 2 year plan on the fridge and called it "You're goin down calendar".  Maybe if I see out plan every time I pass by the fridge I will stick to it.  We still can't bring ourselves to have a yard sale.  We are working on it though!

Lily had a friend from girl scouts spend the night last night.  They had fun and stayed up super late.  Lily is such an imaginative girl who loves imaginative play.  She tends to gravitate towards kids who are just as crazy as she is...usually that means they are younger...and her friend from Girl scouts is no exception.  Her friend is 7 (Lily is 9).    They were hilarious together though. 

School starts tomorrow for Lilianna.  We started on some handwriting today while I was baking cakes.  oooowwiiiieeee is her handwriting atrocious.  We did handwriting without tears last year and I wouldn't say it was without tears last year and it won't be without tears this year.  Her handwriting is as bad as mine and almost as bad as Keith's - that is saying a lot! haha.

I am rambling....but I am heading to bed now.  The weather is beautiful here...we went out to the pool today for a couple of hours and it is almost too cold.  I think we are going to have to close the pool either this week or next sad.  I LOVE the family time at the pool.  In 2 years we will be able to get a heater for the pool if I follow our "you're goin down calendar". 

Tomorrow is rush around the house and give everyone baths while Keith leaves early to run the lights at church day...i guess that should all be hyphenated!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


After we legally adopted Alex and Zoe, we had to wait 9 months for our immigration application to be approved by the the state department to get their immigration visa's.  They stayed in an orphanage for 9 extra months so that they could legally immigrate to live with their parents.
Another couple travelled 2 weeks ahead of us and have been waiting 2 1/2 years for the immigration visa's for their daughters.  They are still waiting...not because of any questionable issues with their relinquishment.
I think if you break the law you shouldn't get to cut in line.  I am sure there are exceptions to the rules...there are always exceptions.  Immigration is is how our country was built.  I don't think it is fair that people who illegally came into this country get to stay and 2 year old girls living in orphanages have to wait 2 or more years to live with their parents.  Maybe if 2 year old immigrant adoptees from West Africa could vote, our president would help with their immigration paperwork. I mentioned, you can always find some sob story case that makes you question whether a law is right or wrong ... but if the word "illegal" precedes an action....any action....guess is illegal.  The argument isn't should it either is or isn't.  If you think the law is to change it.  You can't just pretend it isn't the law.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Why can't I be THIS is beautiful!  It is not my overstuffed dining room...that is for sure!  I am a tad envious.  Keith can you make me one? hahaha!


Alex is well into school with her first test tomorrow on memorizing the Northeast states and their capitals....eegads.  I was worried about her being able to keep up with her homework last year....I am very worried about this year.  It is going to get ugly, fast.  We did not do a stellar job at preventing the summer back slide!  Since Lilianna has been out of town, she has been doing the chores on Lilianna's chore chart.  So on Sunday we had her add up her commission.  She came up with the craziest numbers I have ever seen.  I even wrote out what she needed to add know...fed the cats for $.25  5 I wrote out .25  vertically 5 time.  I know there are some super homeschoolers out there who could successfully teach her...but I am not one of them.  All we can do is stay patient, try to help her with her homework and not get bogged down in it.  I want her to be happy and I want to spend quality happy family time with her and if we focussed on getting all of her homework done and making her memorize capitals...we would spend 6 hours a day with her crying, pouting, and we would never get to spend any time with the other kids.  So, she gets 2-3 hour of homework and homework help a night and if that doesn't finish her homework...such is life.

Zeb and Zoe are hitting WCS on August 23...that is their first day.  I have slacked with Zeb too.  We bought a ton of material from the Preschool Prep Co. and it is awesome.  I haven't been really good about working through it with Zeb.  I have a big sight of sight word books for him to practic on and we are on the second book of the first of three levels...oops.  However, we have a set of videos on dipthongs, blends and sightwords and they have done a great job learning from the videos.  We also have sight word flashcards that all three of the big little kids are doing great with.  I haven't done all of the things I wanted to do with Zeb, Zoe, and Ben this summer, but I have gotten something done so I don't feel totally suck-y!

Now Ben...there is a tricky one.  We have him registered at WCS for 4K, but he is still not potty trained...the kid is 4 years old and refuses to use the toilet.  He is the most stubborn person I have ever met in my life...seriously...and have you met me or my husband?!  He has decided he doesnt' want to go to school and he is not going to use the toilet.  Keith thinks he can outstubborn him.....I know he can't, but in a surprise move...Keith is outstubborning me on this fact.  You can't control WHAT comes out and WHEN in a kid or you end up with a 5 year old with a giant stopped up colon getting an emergency   ex'lap and colostomy.    I think Keith is going to take him to school...and I will just pray that all of the worst case scenarios I can think of won't happen.
If he stays home I am totally ready with a curriculum for him though! haha...Preschool Prep workbook and a couple of workbooks from the creative thinking co.  We have a lined wipee board for practicing letters.  We are all set to get him rolling. 

I may have already posted about how excited I am about Lilianna's school this year.  It is going to rock!  We made a workbox with hanging folders for each subject for each day.  She decorated little labels which I laminated and placed velcro stickies.  The labels are on the outside of the folders, when she completes the subject, she pulls the label off of the folder and puts in on her big red hanging billboard next to the day.   I am very excited about it. 

Handwriting and Bible every day to start the day...BJU press handwriting and Bible Study for All ages for bible.  I am also copying some cool virtue worksheets from confessions of a homeschool mom that is organized by subject areas like arguing (which our first subject!).  Lily will also be reading some of the Christian Heroes series and we are going to try out the unit studies books from YWAM ....I figure this also counts as Literature too. She is already reading George Mueller for fun...she just loves to read!

Math is still K12...I like it what can I say!

Science - I am kind of winging it.  We are doing anatomy I have a rock and learn video, the Usborne Body encyclopedia and an anatomy billboard.  The first 2 weeks are planned out and we are learning about the digestion system...Lily is about to be grossed out..hahahah mwahahahah.

Grammar, composition, spelling, vocabulary, and lit is K12 for the most part.  We are also incorporation a lot of literature for history...lots of books...biographies on people in history.  We are doing Language Arts extension work on Time 4 Learning too. 

History - we are doing Sonlight this year for American History, we will be using a lot of  extra added biographies, and the Liberty Kids Videos. 

Friday is going to be SuperFun Fridays with a movie, unit study on the movie and logic games and puzzles from The Creative Thinking Co...I just love that place!  Analogies and problem solving galore. 

I think school is going to flow much better this year. 

School starts for Lily on Sunday.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chick Fil A .. a post script

I really don't know what the whole deal with Chick Fil A and their support of whatever goups some other group says is hatefull...I am not NBC with a fact checker.  When I was sitting in the car on Monday for 8 hours driving down here I had a lot of time to think about it.

The thing that struck me during that time was not about the current controversy.  It was the simple fact that there are people in this world that live their faith everyday, in every part of their lives.
They are not afraid that they might alienate perfectly good chicken eating customers.  They are not afraid that someone they barely know who follows their blog might be confrontational in the comments section about their faith. 

It is easy to talk about Jesus Christ and what a great gig it is to have the Holy Spirit whispering in your ear and heart when you are talking to other people that have met this cat, Jesus.  When 95% of your life has been spent in a liberal setting calling organized religion the "opiate for the masses" you appreciate different things.  My testimony, my moment when I jumped in with my whole self is not anywhere in this blog.  You know why?  Fear and pride.

I was afraid of being judged by the non-Christians I had become friends with and who I am related to.  I had spent so long not being a Christian that I was also a little prideful...I am not one who likes to admit I was wrong...I am sure there are lots of people who might find this hard to believe! haha.

One of the things I love about being a Christian is that we are all flawed, broken, busted up wrecks and that is OK.  I am a work in progress and I learned from the Chick Fil A scandal that I am going to be a Christian with a voice.  I love listening to contemporary Christian songs and watching sermons because they are all sharing with me some perspective on the human condition and their take on the coolest owner's manual ever written - the Bible.

So my post script is that I really can't debate all of the intricacies of what some organization has been espousing for the last 30 years.   That wasn't the crux of my post on Chick Fil A, my point was that it is easy to be judgmental, twist words, etc.  When the big picture for me was that a business owner has the nerve and conviction to take heat for his beliefs and I was too chicken to even post that I am a Christ Follower on my blog.   

How we lie to ourselves!

Keith and I were watching that show House Hunter's International at some point in the last year and there was a family looking for a house in Italy.  It was the mom, dad, and 2 kids who were maybe 18m and 3yo.  They had narrowed it down to the 3 houses and the mom kept saying...." I think the kids really want to be by the beach".  She kept saying it everytime they talked about the houses. 
It was obvious that SHE wanted to be by the beach...the 18m and 3yo could not have cared less!

Whenever Keith or I start talking crazy in order to justify something WE of us inevitably says..."yeah, but the kids really want to be by the beach". 

We are selfish...I say in humanity.  It is sooooo easy to trick ourselves into believing that we NEED something or that we are doing something for someone else when it is really for us. 

How about this one.  My family is going to Disneyworld in December because the kids really want to go (ohh hahahahhahhahaha)..yes the kids will have fun and they DO want to go.  The kids also like to dig big holes in the yard and eat candy bars for breakfast.  We are going to Disneyworld because Keith and I want to go!  When we go, we are going let all the girls get transformed into princesses at the Bippity Bop Boutique because THEY really want to...especially Violet...she told me she really wants to go to the bippity bop boutique and get dressed up like a princess.  She also told Keith that she wants to make sure he is there to see her...Keith told me she said that. 

I am selfish.  I listen to Dave Ramsay dvd's more than the average person...I am sure of that.  I almost always listen to him when I am traveling (8 hour drives each way) and I am intellectually dedicated to following his advice and getting out of debt.  However, I just can't really commit to it.  Have I had a garage sale?  NO.  Why?  Because I hate doing garage selfish is that.  Yeah I could make some excuse about being busy, lots of kids, on call, Keith at camp, yadda yadda yadda.  I just hate having garage sales.

I could cut a lot of fat out of my spending...literally.  I have been in a town with a Starbucks since late Monday night and I have spent probably 30 bucks on mocha's.  I did that while spending an official truckload on Jenny Craig food at the same time...that is a lot of stupid at one time.  In fact, I actually ordered my next 2 weeks of Jenny Craig food while sitting at a Starbucks eating a 490 calorie piece of lemon pound cake.  I suck...I admit it.  Tomorrow I head home and will be a good dieting fiend.

There is a super Christian Radio station down is called "the Fix"  they have little worship minutes around 330 everyday...I dont know if they have them more often, I am just always in my car around 330 and they come on!  The one today was about selfishness.  About letting go of the selfish little things you want...the things you try to hide and disguise from others and yourself.  Ironically, I was also reading a blog last night...HERE about the reluctant husband.  Also addressing the topic of selfishness in the wife as the root cause of the reluctant husband.  Wow what an awesome perspective!  It is a great "Be the Change" kind of post.

So I want to be more self-less or at least less selfish.  Try saying that 3 times really fast.  Maybe at the same time I will develop a little more grattitude for the things I already have!  I quit eating chocolate in college for about 5 months and boy did I start appreciating the taste of vanilla and those delicious soft mollases cookies by Grandma's Cookies...yummm.   My first step is going to be brutally honest with myself about what I do that is selfish and there is sooooo much.  I think that identifying it and not allowing myself to disguise my selfishness by calling them NEEDS or attributing it to someone else's NEEDS or WANTS is my mission for the next week.  I need to be more aware of the ways I am lying to myself in order to spoil myself. 

I have been brainwashed by GI Joe as a young kid....come on you know what's coming next....."Knowing is half the battle". 

I get annoyed at people who tell me they NEED something when it is just a want and maybe that is because I do it myself!  Here is to a week of honestly viewing how spoiled rotten I am...maybe I better go get another Mocha to give me strenght for the week ahead..haha!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Study breaks

I have been hitting the books super hard while on my current working vacation in beautiful Decatur, Al.  After about 10 hours of mindnumbing studying I hit the internet to unwind.  Guess what...there are still people adopting children and blogging about it.  It has been so long since I could just peruse my old blog haunts and backtrack traffic to my blog...I didn't realize that there are people in the world who are completing homestudies...waiting for referrals, gathering clothes to travel with.

You know what else...there are still people blogging about mission trips, planning more trips and doing their part to help orphans.  I have been going to the same old blogs for the last 2 or 3 years without branching out and it was fun to find brand new places to visit and new peoples lives to peak into.  By the way....I LOVE the same old blogs! 

It was fun, and now I am going to collapse in bed for another day of work and studying!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Being a Christian...what I learned from Chick Fil A

I have refrained from saying anything about Chick Fil a.  I have been really busy and I truly don't have time to follow a lot of the stuff in the media.  I haven't really followed the whole chick fil a thing.  The way I understand it, the 91yo owner guy - who has always unabashedly infused his Christian morals and values into his business - said to a Baptist group and publication that gay marriage is not biblically based and he thought it was ridiculous to oppose God on something that was just so plainly outlined in the bible. 

soooo yadda yadda and lesbian kiss in planned...yadda yadda yadda....chick fil a appreciation day...yadda yadda yadda.

I love me some chick fil a.  There have been times when I can't figure out what I want to eat so I just pull into chick fil a because I like their commitment to helping the community.  I have never been to an adoption conference that Chick fil a hasn't supplied at least one meal if not more for free.  I have been to a number of conferences too. 

I have spent the last week trying to figure out why this became such a huge deal and what do I really feel about it.  I have seen people bitch about how chick fil a hates gays because of what the founder said (totally don't see that as what he said...but maybe I am out of touch), I have seen Christians bitch about other Christians that chose to eat at Chick fil a instead of sending their 5 dollars to orphans.  I have seen liberals bitch about Christians standing in line at Chick Fil A instead of standing in line at homeless shelters to feed the homeless.  I have seen other Christians post the same picture as if they know that the Christians in line don't also give their time to helping the least of these.  Seriously, let he who is without sin cast the first stones dude...or post the first picture, as the case may be. bout all the people slinging harsh words take a look at themselves critically for a minute.  Did every single person who posted that picture of Christians in line at chick fil a slamming them for not standing in line at a homeless shelter...volunteer their time at a homeless shelter?  I am thinking no. 

You know what the owner of Chick fil A does that I wish I did more of....he lives his faith.  He is a business man and he is a Christian and he infuses his faith into his whole life.  I have spent the last almost 4 year of my life trying to compartmentalize my work is here , my family is here, my faith is here.  Mr Chick Fil-a (dude I don't even know his name...I suck!)  is brave enough and strong enough to say...I am not going to open my restaurants on Sunday even during the Olympics in Atlanta when I could make a truck load of money.  He is brave enough to live his faith, even though politicians threaten to prevent his business from opening in their cities ( I think that was Chicago and Boston). 

So what I learned from Chick Fil A is that I want to be more like him.  I started this blog about 5 and half years ago when I was an surgery intern starting the process to adopt Zeb.  I have learned more about life, priorities and what is real in this world in the last 5 years than I could have imagined.  The biggest thing I learned is that I have been wrong in my life.  I have made lots of good choices and lots of bad choices and that is ok.  I am loved.  Part of the compartmentalizing has been to refrain from talking about the peace and joy being a Christ follower has given to my life.  Especially on my blog.  There are not a ton of people that read this blog, but many of the ones that do are not Christians and I have been afraid of not only offending them, but of being judged by them.  Mr Chick Fil A isn't afraid of being judged in a business world that is not only devoid of God, but an environment that mocks God and mocks those who follow Him.

If gays and lesbians show up at Chick Fil A for a kiss in, they are going to get the same awesome service that Christians get there.  Not because they are paying customers and Chick Fil A wants their money, but because Mr Chick Fil A gets that as Christians we are here to show the love of Jesus Christ...not to hate people.  It is their pleasure to serve.  That is not a principle based in is a biblical principle.

I want to be more like chick fil a...I want to live my faith and want it to be my pleasure to serve. 

So what I learned from the Chick Fil A hullabaloo is that I will no longer be a chicken about living my faith (who could resist that pun!).

Big family

Someone who has only one child asked me an interesting question today.  She and her husband are talking about trying to have a second child.  She asked me...."how is it when you have more than one you love them the same or differently? What does it feel like to have more than one child?"

That seems like a crazy question when you don't remember what it was like to have just one kid!  The image that came to my mind was the part in the Grinch...when his heart grows however many sizes it grows....I forget.  That is what happens with each addition to my heart grows 10 sizes per kid!  It is exponential.  I loved did I love that little pumpkin.  When we brought home Zeb, I loved him and I loved Lily even more than I did before.  There is no zero sum about just keeps growing and it isn't only the love for your is the love for the world around you too...the world has more color and more joy in it ...everything is better with more kids! 

Sometimes I get bogged down in some pretty unimportant stuff....paying bills, keeping the house clean, getting everyone fed, bathed, and dressed..haha...unimportant stuff.  I forget how my life is soooo darn blessed.  I am living an 8 dimensional life full of so much joy and love and I owe that all to my awesome (ly exhausting!) kids and my totally amazing husband.

I totally remember sitting in the office at the family practice clinic I was rotating through the day my match list was due to NRMP deciding where I was going to spend the next 4 years of my life.  I manipulated that list 100 times if I did it once.  I remember sitting there about to hit the send/finalize button.  At the last minute, I changed my number one pick to UAB and I know that that decision was going to change my life.  I said to myself and I vividly remember saying this out loud...This is going to change my life.  I took a deep breath and jumped in.  That decision is why I have all that I have now...why I have my family.

I digress, the point of this post is that my life is better with more kids.  I am so lucky I figured that out!

I wonder if it isn't just kids that increases your capacity to love. I read the stories of missionaries and blogs of people like Katie Davis and marvel at the amazing lives they lead and the amazing things they do and the amazing amount of love they have for the people around them.  The Bible is such a great handbook for life and Christ gave us such a great living role model for us to pattern our decisions after.  He loved.  Maybe the more people you love the more you are truly living and the better life is.  So what does it feel like to have and love more than one feels good.  The question I have is what does it feel like to Love like Christ did...I bet God just opens up your heart and pours joy into it.  I hope I get to figure that one out in a much more real way someday!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Nothing really new

Well, it has certainly been a long time since I posted anything.  Lets see, what has happened in the last month?  Alex had her birthday..which went really well.  She was excited about all of her presents and I made a castle birthday cake for a beauty and the beast theme.  Lilianna went to camp.  We send her to Camp Crestridge, which is in Ashville, NC in the Lifeway complex there.  She LOVES it.  It is one of those camps I wish I could have gone to as a child.  We decided to send Alex to the one week session in August at Camp Crestridge instead of the week at 4h camp.  She is going to go next week and she is really excited about it. 
Yesterday was Lilianna's birthday, she went to her dad's on Sunday for 3 weeks.  We are going to have a swimming party when she gets back..I am going to invite all of her girl scout friends.  I met Lily's dad on Sunday in Chattanooga and Lily and I had about 2 hours to hang out at the Mall.  We have been doing a chore chart with commissions a la Dave Ramsey and she has about 50 dollars in her spend and save so I let her do some shopping and spend her money.  It was amazing how quickly she was able to do math when it involved determining what she could buy! haha.  She bought a leg indiana jones video game and a dress and futon for her stuffed hippo at build a bear workshop.  She is such an awesome little girl.  All my kids totally rock.  I really liked spend some alone time with her. 
We hired a new babysitter and i am hoping that with a new babysitter I can start spending more one on one time with each of the kids. 
Tomorrow is a trip to Cincinatti children's hospital with Benjamin for his eye.  We have been patching it everyday for 2 hours a day with some of the coolest eye patches.  Hopefully things have corrected ok.  He still looses it with eye when he is tired.  It will be a nice trip.  We have to leave at 4am...yikes.  This is where I would say...we can go to starbucks and out to lunch but I started a new diet and I am not sure I am going to cheat tomorrow...i probably shouldn't but it's starbucks!
On monday, I started jenny craig....the food isn't nearly as terrible as I thought it would be!  Actually, it is pretty good.  I have been surprised.  I am kind of a picky (and unhealthy) eater, but I have enjoyed everything so far.  The hardest part is that I am used to grazing all day long - especially at home.  It is very hard to not finish off Ben's uneated cinammon toast...ugg!  Probably just cutting out the grazing would be enough to lose the 18 pounds i need to lose...but oh well.  The food is really convenient for taking to work and I have to go out of town next week for locums so that will be easy to use there too.
I really am going to post some pictures...really!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Benjamin is 4yo

I do have a couple of pictures.  I can't believe that Benjamin is 4 years old.  He is my baby...ok while not officially my baby anymore..that title is officially held by Violet...aka...the baby.  He is my baby boy.  I have it on good souther mom authority that your youngest boy is well....your baby. 

He got a buzz lightyear birthday cake, a new bike and helmet, an imaginext dragon thing with 2 guys on it and a remote controlled car.  Oh and I special  super cool flashing light and funny noise gun. 

He was totally ridiculously excited about it being his birthday.  He kept excitedly saying it was his birthday.  I know all kids are excited about their birtday..but there was just something extra hilarious and endearing about Benjamins' excitement today.  His birthday cake was "the best birthday cake ever", he kept hugging his presents saying he loved his birthday presents before they were even unwrapped.

I know that every parent thinks that each of their kids is totally awesome...and i am no exception.  Benjamin is totally awesome.  I love the way he talks with his is hilarious.  I love the way he asks "what are my other options?" when we tell him to do go to bed.  I love the way he gets all fidgety and huggalicious when he is excited.  When keith was putting on a fireworks display for us last night..he kept yelling "thanks dad" and wanted to get up and run give him a hug every time he lit a good firework.

Ben is my baby.  He is stubborn, smart, loveable, and so sweet.  As far as I am concerned he can stay this adorable and toddler-iffic forever. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

the new school year

The new school year for Lilianna officially starts this week.  Her school year runs from July 1- june 30th.  This will mark the beginning of her second full year of homeschooling and I am really excited about this year.  We are adding a whole new level of organization which is aimed at developing her initiative a little more.  She leaves for camp this Sunday for 2 weeks and when she gets back we are going to be ready to start full tilt.

Our curriculum is a little hodge podge.  Language arts and math is still K12.  Science is going to be a mixture of unit studies and time4learning.  K12 was just a little too experiment heavy for me.   History is sonlight and I am adding in lots of extra historical fiction for each section.  I think we might try time4learning's composition program time for 8 week course online and see how that goes.  Electives are dance, singing, and guitar lessons and we will keep k12 art.  We have a lot left in our bible program from last year so we will continue that . 

I have this idea in my head of a laminated wall poster with little pockets for days of the week down the right hand side.  rows with each subject area and popsicle sticks color coded and decorated with assignments written on them.  As she completes the assignment she can move them over to the day pocket. 

If she gets all of the mon-thur assignments done, she can choose 6 sticks from the wildcard things she likes to things on, read a book, play logic puzzles, do an artbox.  She can pick out her friday schedule. 

I am thinking about putting together a work box too, so that her assignments will be easily accessed by her so she can have the initiative to get things done.  I have had trouble getting art projects done because I am not always present during school I am going to put together art boxes...everything needed to complete a project in a box she can just the directions and go to town.

The most important thing for Lilianna is she needs to get a really good night's sleep and she needs to be able to start her assignments and get them done early in the day before she gets too tired or wound up. 

In August it will be just Lilianna and Violet that will be home during the day, so I hope moving work time to the morning will make it a smoother process. 

Last year I tracked hours and we fit school in when I was available to do school with her.  While we got lots done, I think that I had too many subject and a really high bar for accomplishing volume of work.  We are paring down this  year into more manageable chunks and a more organized daily routine.  I am going to approach assignments on a daily basis and track days instead of hours.  I think these changes will improve our school.

I have been working on my parenting mojo...reading new books, watching video series etc.  One of the videos I watched said...there are no perfect parents only parents that are working on it.   haha...that is me.  I think that is me as a homeschooling mom too.  When we first pulled Lilianna out of school, the remainder of second grade was sooo much better than the previous 3 years of school.  Last year was challenging at times.  It was easy to forget what a different and happier little girl Lilianna became after pulling her out of school.  I say without a doubt and without question that homeschooling Lilianna has been one of the biggest joys in my life and continues to be.   I am far from perfect at the homeschool thing...but I am working on it and Lilianna is a lot happier (even if she won't admit it!) and it makes me happier too.

Anyone else have suggestions for keeping stuff organized or really cool ways of helping kids feel motivated and take initiative?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Crazy summertime

The last month and a half has been totally crazy. I took some extra jobs...locum tenens jobs during my vacation weeks to pay for a new roof, pay off some bills and generally give us a little spending money for getting some things done around the house. I am out of town right now. I have basically spent 4 of the last 6 weeks away from my family in the name of earning some extra money....and it sucks to be away and I am grateful to have the option and opportunity to do it. Pay day rocks and it is gone so fast!

Leaving on Monday totally sucked. Violet was standing at the window playing with a ring, waving and smiling and laughing at me and then I got in the car and started to pull away and she had thrown down the toy and started crying and banging the window with both hands in a end of the world my heart is breaking kind of way. I cried for three blocks....SUCK! I have no vacation left for me to you know, take a vacation. In fact, I was out of vacation for this week so I drive back Thursday night and will work the night shift (3 pm to 7 am) on fri, sat and sun then back to work mon ant 11 am to be second call.
I left this week on Monday morning around 10 am, but instead of enjoying my kids before I left, I had to put away two weeks of clean laundry and vacuum the upstairs.

So, I have committed to working a week in august, and I have a conference in august and one in October. I am not planning anymore leaving of my family for at least a year and I am going to find someone to help around the house so I never again feel driven by my performance based perfectionism to prioritize dealing with the dirty house over hanging with my home fries.

Unfortunately, I can not stew in a messy house...yes it may reflect some sort of emotional or mental deficiency, but I seriously can't function like a whole person if there is clutter all around me. I wish I could be one of those moms who posts all those catchy postery looking things on facebook about luxuriating in their clutter because they are emotionally stable enough to ignore it and focus on all those things that I know, intellectually, are more important than sweeping 3 days of frosted flakes up from under the table. That being said ( in a horrendous run on sentence no less), I will literally melt down in the face of a small amount of stress when my house is messy. When I say small, it is relative! 7 kids and a job with the highest suicide and substance abuse rates of all physicians...there is stress.

So..... To recap:
Working during vacation sucks
Extra money rocks
Leaving kids to work sucks
Keeping my house clean instead of spending time with the kiddos sucks
My pathologic need for clutter free living sucks
I am in desperate need of someone to clean my house

That about covers it....

Oh yeah..I am off for the fourth of July and can't will be my one vacation day for the summer!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Common adoption scenarios

I don't have cable tv so I don't really watch a lot of tv. In the last month I have spent a lot of time in hotels so I have been lucky(?) enough to watch a couple of episodes of the Gene Simmons family jewels show. In this season, his wife wants to adopt and he and their grown children are dead set against it.
It is interesting to see her working to convince them. I think it is a common scenario that the wife feels called to adopt and the husband is hesitant to downright opposed. It has been described in a lot of adoption publications as due to the husband worrying about finances...supporting another child affording the adoption etc. This explanation can't possibly explain gene Simmons hesitation.
Why are the adult children against it? I can't figure it out except that they are self centered and just don't want to share their parents. I truly can't understand what is going on there!

I guess what I am trying to say is the "reluctant" parent is not always just a function of financial worry like I have previously assumed. I have a hard time figuring out why all families wouldn't want as many kids as we have! They just don't know what they are missing! Or is it that I am in a sleep deprive delirium!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Failed adoptions

I have basically been away from home for the lat 3 weeks. I have spent a lot of time studying, but I have also spent time just....alone. I do like some alone time, but I have missed my little guys a lot! I am so lucky to have so many kids. I recently told someone that each of my kids...all kids are blessings and wow do I mean it. So by most standards we are VERY blessed!

However, I am having a remarkably hard time letting go of Aaron's adoption. To all those who are counting....this is the third time our attempts to adopt him have stalled out....failed one might say! How do I really feel about it? Guilty, sad, a sense of emptiness and jealous.

Why do I feel guilty? Strangely, I don't feel guilty for the obvious reason. We willingly stopped a's adoption process because we simply can't work with CWA and we can't travel to Kyrgyzstan for an entire month. Practically,a Kyrgyzstan adoption is not possible for my family. We have never met him. We know people who have met him and we have heard all about him. We have glimpsed bits and pieces from his life for the last 4 years. Our first pictures were from when he just turned 5 years old and next week he will be 9. So the obvious reason to feel guilty would be that I felt like we were abandoning him. However, I don't feel that way. A wise woman once told are out to build a family not save children. As unpopular as it might be for me to say this....a referred child is not your child until they are home arguing with you about going to bed! So I pray for A, and I thought he would make it home to us...but that is not going to happen. So why guilty? Maybe because if we had room for A don't we have room for someone else? Or how about if we had the money to pursue A's adoption we should have the money to make a difference in another child's (or children's) life.

As a mom who has lived in the world of international adoption for the last 6 years and who now had no adoption I started trying to find some sort of orphan care thing I could focus on. Maybe I could find a project or an organization to help. What I discovered is something I already knew....dude there are millions of kids who need families. Being half involved in an adoption had kind of sidelined me from the big sad picture. I am sad because now that we are not adopting, I have become reacquainted with one of the reasons I am so moved to adopt!

I am a smidge jealous of the families that had the unwavering dedication to battle the Kyrgyzstan adoption monster! Of course, I am also overjoyed that these little kids, who should have been home years ago, are now feeling the love of a real family for the first time! It stings a little cuz I thought I would get to be a new mom again!

I don't feel empty really, my life is super full and ridiculously blessed with abundance I have done nothing to deserve. My life, for as long as I can remember has been a little bit crazy. I think I fill it up, I purposefully keep it hopping so I don't have down time and I avoid relaxing like it gives me hives. I have been covered up by projects and adoptions and jobs and moving ...hurricanes..whatever almost constantly since I started medical school and probably before then. I might be a crazy maker and the next couple of years is going to be an opportunity to embrace my inner empty crazy maker vault. I am going to do my very best to work on one project for the next I am going to decrazify my life and work on being a better mom to my super awesome blessings, a better wife to my husband (who treats me like a princess), a better teacher to Lily and all the kids, and a healthier role model in a lot of other ways.

We have room on the bus and in our family for more kids. I am convicted that I am the project I am supposed to be working on right now and it is more than a little hard for me to slow down and stop all the hustle and bustle.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

One of those life changing experiences

Years ago I was working in an ICU and we had a patient that was older...not 80's but not 40's. He was on a ventilator befor I started, so for all intents and purposes, I had never met him. He kept getting sicker and sicker. It became time to find family. He had never had any visitors, his ex-wife and children wanted nothing to do with hi...he had been a mean, alcoholic, mean guy....did I mention mean?

We finally found a great aunt who came in to talk about withdrawing care. She hadn't seen him in many, many years....since he was a child. She told me he had been such a sweet little boy. She remembered him as being so sensitive and always trying to take care of his little brother. When she came to visit he just wanted to sit on her lap and get as many hugs as possible before she left. She eventually quit going to visit because his dad was a mean alcoholic.

We withdrew care and I cried off and on all night for the sweet, sensitive little boy that never got to grow up. Of course all the ICU nurses thought I was a freak. I just kept thinking about a sweet little boy getting the sweet knocked out of him until he became his mean alcoholic dad.

It breaks my heart to know how many kids are getting the sweet beaten out of them by abuse, abandonment, institutional living, starvation. Babies all start out sweet and in need of love, acceptance, affirmation, security. sometimes it is so unfair the hand they are dealt.

Seriously, Human trafficking, child prostitution, child soldiers, child slavery, child-headed households? It makes me sick....orphans who could have loving homes but UNICEF and corrupt foreign governments have some selfish, misinformed agenda that does not factor in the child sitting in the orphanage hoping for a mom whose lap THEY can sit on and get endless hugs.

Every once in a while I am reminded of how fragile childhood sweetness is and I am broken by knowing there are so many kids who have no one to fight for their sweetness.

If you would pray for A in Kyrgyzstan and that his little heart and sweetness is protected, I would appreciate it...I pray for that everyday.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

4K graduation is 4K graduation for Zeb and I am not home to go.  Yes, it isn't even a real grade but I feel a little guilty.  Bad Mommy!  I think this is the last time I am going to willingly miss an event like this.  I can't tell you how many times in the last 4 days ( since I have been out of town) someone has said something about kids growing up too fast...blah blah blah.  I suck.
I am done feeling sorry for myself!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

i think this is funny

I think it is hilarious.  Just saw it.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


I am working today a nice 8 hour shift until 3.  I took call last night too so I am a little on the tired side...with a cold.  Violet has given a super runny nose to everyone.  woohoo.  Today after work, we are going camping for one night.  This will be our first family camping trip since October, 2008 when it was 30 degrees, Ben was 3 1/2 months on an apnea monitor.  As you can imagine from that has taken me 3 1/2 years to recover from that experience and willingly try camping again.

So, we have a great big tent, a cot with an airmattress on top, and 5 excited kids.  Although, i can't tell for sure, I bet Violet is excited too...haha. 

I may live to post about it....but you never know!

Friday, May 4, 2012


I have a secret...ok it is not a secret if you know me.  I am one of the world's top worst money managers!  I suck.  We have half heartedly been following Dave Ramsey's steps to financial peace but it has really been hard to live like no one else so later we can live like no one know what I am talking about if you know what I am talking about...haha!

We don't do so good depriving ourselves of things.  I eat out way more than I should.  When we were really, really, really tight I was doing really good at not splurging.  Then when the crunch eased a  little bit I went back to my old ways.  We starting keeping the little kids home from daycare (saving like $1200 a month) we have hired a part time mothers helper (about $200 a week).  I still can't bring myself to have a yard sale...oh the horror of having a yard sale...I can't do it!  If I were a gazelle, I would have a yard sale, sell all my clothes at a consigment store and sell everything else on ebay.  I wish I could hire someone to do all that gazelle stuff for me but i think hiring someone to do it kind of defeats the purpose of doing it.

No, we don't ever use credit cards.  We do leave extra money in our checking account as cushion...that we (mostly I ) spend on stuff.  We do things like the trip Keith and I took..although my work paid for a lot of was still way more money than we should have spent.  Then I feel guilty and confess on my blog..haha.

Seriously, it is hard- really hard for me to say no to things.  This summer, I am working a ton of locums to make some extra money - so I literally don't have any vacation until after Christmas.  The money is going to go to a new roof and paying taxes.  I am not even going to get the satisfaction of using that money to pay off a credit card. 

Now, don't misunderstand me I am not without perspective.  I know that I am soooo blessed to have as much vacation as I have so that I can work some extra jobs.  I am also so lucky to have come across the opportunities for making extra money.  Things have aligned so that I have been able to take these jobs.  Also, of course, I really, really like what I do so working is mostly a pleasure.  Not as much fun as being home with the kiddos, but it is fun.

I just wish that I was more gazelle and less morbidly obese squirrel at Disneyworld.  I want to be one of those people who writes a blog about paying off 100K in debt in one year.  Instead, I am one of those people who blogs about how they wish they could be one of those people.  There are a lot of us out there.  People who feels inept and ashamed of their "should's"  I should have sold more stuff on ebay, I should have cooked some spectacular casserole out of the 10 lb can of baked beans and the 1/8 boxes of 4 different types of unused pasta with the unmoldy half of the shredded cheddar. 

What I am is someone who keeps changing the big plan and bumping back the date of the "i'm debt-free" call in.  Right now we are looking at sometime in 2015.  Oh well, you can't stop time I suppose and 2015 is better than never....which is what it was before we started with Dave Ramsey's steps for financial peace!

I am sure I will feel better about the whole thing next friday (payday..woohoo).

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Playground

My husband is pretty amazing.  He built this totally awesome playground in our backyard.  He has been planning, replanning, shopping and stockpiling playground equipment since 2009 and no it has been constructed and it rocks.  There is a speed slide and a tornado slide (ben calls it the tomato slide...nice).  There is a tunnel between two 7 ft towers, there is a swinging bridge between two other towers that you can't really see in these pics.  There is a rock wall, cargo net, punching bag, track line, multiple sets of rings, a trapeze/bouy ball, rope, twisty swing, 2 tire swings, a baby swing, a glider, 5 or 6 swing spots...I forget...monkey bars, 2 fireman poles and a multitude of binoculars, periscopes, pirate wheels, instruments etc attached onto the framework.  It is one of the wonders of the world I am pretty sure.  I probably forgot some stuff on it too!
When Keith first finished it, Ben would ask if we could go to the park in our backyard.
Zeb likes it so much his hair is standing straight up! hahaha...I'm not sure what is up with his hair...but I LOVE it!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A vacation

So we went to a conference last week...and yes it was in Disneyworld.  We didn't tell the kids we were going to Disney...we just said out of town.  It was breaking my heart to not bring them to disneyworld and i don't know if I could have stood going without them if they had known and been so sad and disappointed that they didn't get to go.  However, Mickey will be glad to hear that it strengthened our resolve to get our family to Disneyworld in the next year!  We kept seeing things that one of the kids would have was getting a little tiresome to have to say....OMG Ben would freak out...or something to that effect.
We also did a lot of talking about things....imagine....we don't really have time to talk with the baby know...demanding attention every minute! 
Another agency opened in with excitement and hope I called to talk to them about their program...another $21K not including travel and 30 days in country...ummm....can't happen.  So one of the things we processed during our trip was the permanent loss of our dream to bring Aaron home.   This just isn't a country whose new international adoption program falls into the doable column for our family.
I thought about whether I wanted to ambush Keith with another country's program or if I wanted to wait until Violet is a year old and then ambush him....we will have been married 5 years then and China special needs could be doable then....of course, I decided no or I wouldn't be typing it here..haha.  Seriously though I couldn't ever keep any kind of secret like that!
So just like that...our super awesome family is complete. 
That being said...I saw a video today for fainting that is an idea.

Violet is sitting up, crawling and has her dad wrapped around her finger.  She is totally loving the new playground and the baby swing.  Everyone is loving the new playground and I have got to take a picture and post it...because it is amazing.

I am not sure if I posted this already..but Zoe has been completely potty trained for like a month and it totally rocks!  Ben is still refusing to potty train.  oh well, you can't control what comes out or goes into someone so I am not too worried about it.  Ben's stubborn hard headedness is driving Keith crazy...mostly because Ben is Keith 37 years ago...of that I am sure!

Zebby is a trainwreck everywhere he goes because he is a size 3 kid in a size 6 body..just throwing himself all over the place and tripping over his own lanky legs.  It has gotten to the point this week when I started to worry that maybe he has some sort of degenerative neuromuscular disease...but I am pretty sure his coordination is just not keepign up with his growing.  I may get an ot consult just to calm any nagging concerns i have though.

Lil rocks.  I need to get her started with some singing lessons though. I have a homeschool post brewing soon!

Alex ...well that is a whole different post! 

Sisterlocks....who has em?  I have been looking into getting them for Zoe...all hair care is like some form of torture for her and my heart just can't take it.  Looks like the closest licensed consultant to me is in Greenville, SC....ROAD TRIP!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Busy week

My job has kicked my butt this week.  I have probably worked more hours this week than I have in a long time and it is only Wed, or Thursday...ok I think it is Wed! haha.  We finally found someone to help with the kids 2 -3 days a week.  She started yesterday and it seems to have worked out ok.  I am cautiously optimistic.  She is really just a mother's helper/babysitter.  She is keeping the kids distracted while Keith gets to do some projects, spend one on one time with kids and runs errands etc.  She is also cleaning up after the kids and helping with lunch.

She comes back tomorrow for her second day.  She will be here 3 days next week because...drum roll please....Keith and I are going out of town together without any kids for 3 whole days and a half of another day..haha.  I am going to a conference at Disneyworld and keith is coming with me.  I will let you in on a secret.  We have never gone on a vacation by ourselves that didn't involve meeting new children or bringing them home.  We did go to Asheville, NC for a weekend last year when I was about 4 months pregnant with Violet so I am pretty sure that doesn't count!  I keep teasing Keith that we will probably end up completing a domestic adoption next week while we are in Florida....haha.  We are not looking, but if blessed we are paper ready....haha!

We are leaving Easter Sunday and driving up to Charleston, WV because our flight leaves super early on Monday and we will get to Orlando at 1030.  I have check in for my conference on Monday, but no workshop until Tuesday.  Keith says he can't wait to actually go to the bathroom by himself without the pitter patter of little feet trailing behind him.  I wish he were looking forward to spending time with me...but really how can I compete with a solo trip to the bathroom!  When I grow up I am going to redo my bathroom with a big jacuzzi bath tub and doors with locks...maybe those giant bars that you lower down across the door like they had in castles. 

Of course, since I weigh 10 pounds more than before I was pregnant with Violet I have nothing to wear at Disneyworld except scrubs.  It is a good thing my overwhelming exhaustion has completely killed my vanity!

Tonight was an interesting night at home. Keith went to church to help install some lights and the kids and I hung at home.  I made some dinner - then, instead of bringing everyone down to the media room and watching a movie, I split everyone up.  Benjamin and Zoe watched a preschool prep video on letters (which Zoe is totally rocking on!), Zeb did some before and after (I write out a sequence of numbers and leave blanks and he has to fill in the blanks), Alex played her DS , and Lilianna read a cool Usborne history book to Violet in the reading room.  I folded laundry and there was quiet in the was weird.  Usually we try to direct everyone to the same place so we can supervise...but keeping them separate tonight worked really well.
Another thing that has been pretty new around the house is my dictatorial cleaning demands.  Before dinner I summarily demand that the kids clean up their playroom and their bedrooms before they get dinner.  I know it is mean..but darn if they don't clean up that big old mess.  Woo hoo.

The amazing playground of fabulousness is almost done too...I can't wait to take pictures and post them.  Keith is a total playground building genius.  Seriously, y'all have got to see this playground..I can't wait until it is done.  Oooh...we also opened our pool today.  The pool guys came and pulled off the cover...there were a ton of dead frogs all laying belly up on the bottom and a GIANT salamandar in the deep end all belly up.  There was also a mating pair of frogs with a trail of eggs a 6 foot trail of was a little bit disturbing.  We don't have a heater or anything so it will literally be months before we can swim (I want a pool heater soooo bad...maybe next year!), but I dooo love to look out the window and see the water swirling around in the pool.  Maybe we will get the big hammock up on the playgound and I can lay there and watch the kids play and watch the swirling pool at the same time.

I am is what I do.

PS.....Life is so good and I am super grateful for all of the awesomeness in my life!

Karyn Purvis Insights and Gifts - sharing power