Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I wish I had a picture...

...but I don't. Because I promised I wouldn't.

Hubby is out of town this week, on his annual summer mission trip with the teens. The Fries and I have thus spent the last several days out at my folks', and came home today. (Our kitty-sitters are also on the mission trip.) Sis and BIL and their kids are in the States right now, also staying with my folks, so it's been cousin insanity and 11 people (more than half of them kids) in my parents' home.

With a few nights away from home, no Hubby, not my own bed, and no Mika to come snuggle with me at night, I haven't slept well. The drive home was tiring, even if it was only an hour.

So I made a decision. I was lifting the Amish Summer tech ban for the afternoon. They've gone mostly without tech since Sunday evening anyway. I needed a nap. I fixed everybody lunch, and sent the kids up to the living room to watch TV while I dozed in the den.

When I woke a little while ago, I figured I still had some time before I needed to tell them to get ready to go so that we can go back to the VBS at a church near Gramma and Poppa's tonight (they've gone the last two nights with Roo and A-man). Large and Medium were watching TV. Small was not.

"Where's Small?" I asked.

"She's upstairs," Medium said.

I followed what I thought was the sound of water being turned on hard and rapidly turned off.

The girls' bathroom. Of course. Which they all know they're not supposed to play in.

I peered into the room and saw no one. "Small?" I asked.

"I'm hiding back here."

I walked to the back of the bathroom, and found her tucked between the toilet and the huge cupboards by the sink.

With her electric Dora toothbrush.

And there's the "water" sound.

She was also holding a black marker cap.

And her eyelids were black.

"Where's the marker?" I demanded. She leaned out and pointed over to the counter between the sinks. I took the cap and put it on the marker. "What's on your finger?"

"Lotion."

I grabbed her toothbrush and studied it. "Is there lotion on your toothbrush?"

"Yes," she mumbled.

"Why?!"

She shrugged her shoulders.

"Well, you've ruined your toothbrush. You know this is not a toy. Why did you put lotion on your toothbrush?"

Another shrug.

"No. That's not good enough. You show me what you were doing with the lotion and your toothbrush."

Small held the toothbrush up to her cheeks, as if she was applying makeup.

I frowned. "I'm very disappointed in your choices."

I walked down the hall to my own bathroom, struggling not to giggle. I sent a text to my best friend and called Small to my bathroom.

She saw my phone. "Don't take a picture," she begged.

"I won't." I ripped open an alcohol prep pad and wiped at her eyelid.

"Will we still get to go to bible school tonight?"

I'd said they had to behave. "Yes."

"What if my sisters see what's left on my eyes?"

I finished with the second prep pad on her other eyelid. "Well, that's the price you pay for drawing on your eyelids with marker."

Her lip quivered, and I tipped her chin up so she could see me. "Are you mad?"

"I'm disappointed," I said. "I love you. Please don't draw on yourself with marker, okay?"

She went back downstairs and watched TV from the stairs.

But, oh, a picture would have made this post perfect!

Monday, June 23, 2014

There's no weirder animal than a youth pastor...

...except maybe his wife.

It's VBS week at our church. (I'll bet you never would have guessed!) Hubby, as youth pastor, is sort of under the auspices of the Children and Youth Commission...and that group is responsible for putting on Vacation Bible School every year.

That means Hubby usually is pretty heavily involved. He helps emcee the start and end every night, and he teaches the 5th grade class. (Handy, that. The 5th graders will be the next ones to graduate up to youth group in the fall when they start 6th grade.)

This year, I sort of got...well...not quite "voluntold." It was more "volunbegged." Given my choices between tech crew and helping teach 5th graders...Auntie J, video tech, at your service. For the hour or so between the end of the Start-up Stampede and the beginning of the Tail End (I kid you not; that's what they're called), I am blessedly left to my own devices.

Namely, working on the crib cover for my one-year-old niece Noodle (previously mentioned here as Na).

However, I had a question for Hubby, so I scooted over to his class, which is up here on the second floor near my digs in the sanctuary balcony.

He introduced me to his class (four girls and one boy), and advised the boy, J, that I was not to be messed with.

"That's right," I said with mock severity. "I'll kiss you."

That is, I should point out, my favorite threat for keeping preteen and junior high boys in line. I just haven't had cause to use it in awhile. Hubby laughed. "It's been a long time since I've heard you say that."

I asked him for a minute of his time, and it was the girls who started timing me! I looked at Zym, who goes to our church and knows me well enough. "I'll kiss you too!"

That stinker kept counting. Must be her father's influence.

I got what I needed, and by then, J had joined in the countdown. There was only one thing to do.

I smooched him on the cheek. Loudly.

I haven't lost my touch. He was on the floor in seconds, trying to wipe it off his cheek, using the carpet.

I grinned and leaned over him. "I promise I got my cootie shot this week."

He was still saying, "Ewwww!" when I left the room.

Hee.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Biology Lessons

Small Fry bounced into my room, where I've been resting most of the afternoon following the bear of a headache that I had last night.

"Mommy, guess what? Tomorrow, Ariel is going to have her babies!"

I smiled. "Really? How many babies?"

"A hundred!"

"That's a lot of babies!"

"Yeah. And guess what today is?"

"What?"

"Ariel's birthday! Large Fry and I are gonna have a party."

"Okay."

"Ackshully, she's only going to have fihteen babies."

"Fifty?"

"No, Mommy. Fifteen."

"That's still a lot of babies."

"Yeah." Small nodded, wide eyed.

"Is she going to have them all at at once?" I asked as Small skipped for the door.

"No," she tossed over her shoulder. "She's gonna have them in a row."

Silly me.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Sometimes, it's hard to be an adult...

It's the last day of school. The kids were done at 11:15 this morning. And since the weekend holds both Father's Day and Poppa's birthday, the Fries and I have errands to run. So we took Daddy back yo work and headed out.

First stop, Rite Aid. Large needs a refill on her focus pill. I dropped off the script, and Medium announced that she'd found another lizard toy that she wanted, as a friend for her toy komodo dragon.

I said no.

This created a case of the grumps, which Medium excels at.

The grumps soon spread and I quickly changed my plan and headed for Wendy's. Lunch for everyone!

We sat down at a table and I asked the kids who would like to pray. Both Small and Medium raised their hands. In order to avoid further cranks, I gave Medium the nod.

"Dear God," she opined. "Thank you for the food. Amen." She paused. "And please help me to get over the thing I'm trying to get over."

I couldn't stop my chuckle...but at least I didn't laugh out loud.

Friday, May 30, 2014

So.

Today, we finally got the judge's full opinion, written in response to Bro's Concise Statement of Matters Complained of on Appeal. (Yes, it's really called that. Welcome to Legalese 101.)

I say that we go the full opinion today, because we had half of it last week. The judge sends her opinions/rulings/whatevers printed back-to-back (I know from previous orders), and the secretary at our lawyer's office must not have realized that when she copied the opinion to mail to us. So, we only got the even-numbered pages.

Hilarious.

We were so entertained.

It was both amusing and comically frustrating to read only every other page and have to muse about the pages we missed. We got all this last Saturday, so I emailed our lawyer right away to let her know. She replied right back (is it any wonder we love this lady?) and said she'd talk to the secretary on Tuesday, and explaining that the judge always did paperwork back-to-back. That was, of course, exactly what I figured had happened.

I anxiously awaited the mail this week, and when no fat white envelopes arrived from the lawyer's, I emailed her this morning. She kindly scanned in the odd-numbered pages and emailed them to me this afternoon.

So, I went to print them out, and...

Cannot print. Printer is in an error state.

Say what?

He's so cute when he's sleeping.
I went upstairs and checked. I was the last one to use the printer, after all. I'd printed out an invoice yesterday for my business records, and window had popped up for the printer, but didn't display an error message.

The printer was OFF.

O-F-F.

There was only one explanation.

Weasel!

Darn cat. He likes to chase, catch, and/or play with the pages as the printer spits them out. Any time I print more than a page, I close my office door first, so he won't cause a printer jam. Dingbat cat.

He must have been in there when I printed the invoice (which printed again as soon as I turned the machine back on) yesterday, and pawed it off. Toad.

The machine continued with printing our previously-missing pages of the order, and I closed my office door. (I stupidly didn't check to make sure Pa'ani was not in my office, but that turned out okay; he was on the couch next to where I was sitting when I got back downstairs.)

When I collated the pages together so the order was finally complete, I sat down to read.

Oh, it was lovely. It warmed the cockroaches of my heart.

Have I mentioned before that I love our judge? 'Cause I love our judge.

It's pretty safe to say that she decimated my brother's arguments. I sent Hubby a text with a quote from one of the pages we didn't have before, and he replied back, "Ooooooo."

I've read the full opinion twice now, and Hubby has read it once.

We are once again thoroughly impressed with our judge, so glad we had her, and I'll tell you...her opinion gives me a huge rush of something I haven't felt in a long time about all this.

Hope.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Earlier tonight...

The kids are playing "Hangman."

Large Fry: Pick a letter, Medium!

Medium Fry: [rattles off alphabet, from A to Z, with lightning speed]

Large [frustrated]: No, just pick one letter!

Me [since this is the third go-round of this conversation]: Medium, pick ONE letter.

Medium: Five.

Me [chuckling]: Five isn't a letter!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Today, I choose to PRAISE.

The last week or so here has been kinda rough. Between Small Fry's surgery and recovery, and large bills arriving in the mailbox along with legal paperwork that makes the grief and anger and helplessness all come rushing back, and then me getting sick on top of all that, I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Okay, let's be honest—more than a bit overwhelmed.

This morning, however, my best friend JJ emailed with the news that they'd had another donation come into their GoFundMe account for their adoption (I know who it was, and names are being withheld to protect the guilty and preserve their relative anonymity...at least here on the blog). Great news to start the morning out with!

JJ and I usually email back and forth throughout the days while she's at work. I love that we do that, and days when she's not at work are kind of email-dreary. She made the announcement at one point this afternoon about how much she has to be thankful for, and so she decided to make this a day of praise. She listed the things she was thankful for: working appliances, a refrigerator full of food, a husband coming home from his trip tomorrow, extended family matters working out better than expected, a reliable vehicle, that God continues to work on fundraising for their adoption.

I replied with my own list: air conditioning that I don't have to have running 24/7 right now, dishwashers and clothes washers that clean my things without me having to stand over them and "help" the cleaning happen, batteries, battery-powered clocks (even though the one here in the den seems to eat up batteries like they're going out of style), a husband with a good job, duckies, and Diet Dr Pepper.

Then I picked up the kids from school. And got the mail from the mailbox.

Oh, look. The lawyer's bill. Sigh. I hadn't realized we'd exceeded our retainer yet, although it's not surprising. Although...that's a much bigger number than I thought I'd be seeing. Oh, look. More paperwork from the court. (Gee, I'm glad I'm not the one that Bro's attorney is accusing of erring in judgment and abusing its discretion in determining clear and convincing evidence.) It's gotten so that I hate going to the mailbox because I don't know what I'll find there.

I felt the weight of it all begin to settle on my shoulders again.

And I started typing back another email to JJ. I mentioned the paperwork. And then...well...I'm thankful for a lawyer who knows her stuff and has got our back. I'm thankful for supportive parents who are going above and beyond to help us with this, more than just emotionally, and believe that we're doing what's right and best.

"There you go! Overcome the legal malarkey with praise! It's all junk and you know it!" she wrote back, adding in her list: she's thankful that the termination orders are the current orders, so that we are not having to deal with lining up visitations and the additional stress that those visits cause; that the girls are old enough and wise enough that they see what's going on (and that's a whole other blog post, by the way) and know how much we love them; that God continues to supply all our needs, including our fabulous lawyer, and that the same God, while rarely early, is always just on time.

We kept going!

  • We have friends who love and support us through this insanity, who rejoice with us, mourn with us, get angry along with us and for us, who let us be real about the frustration, rather than expecting us to Jesus Juke our way through it.
  • The judge gets to defend her position on her ruling, and that's something I'm actually looking forward to reading.
  • Our lawyer is honest and trustworthy.
  • Our God has all this covered, and loves me despite the fact that I know this but fret about everything anyway.
  • I'm married to a man with a heart big enough to open it up wide and take in three little girls and love them as his own, enough to want to go to all the hassle and heartache of being determined to make them his own.
  • My children are healthy and happy.
  • My cats—my furry kids—are also mostly healthy. I am grateful that we have an excellent vet for the times when they need medical attention.
  • Kitties. They give such comic relief.
  • Electricity and running water and indoor plumbing!
  • Our church loves its children so much that they pay half of camp tuition costs to the nearby RGC. My girls can go to camp for a week this summer, and it will cost me less than $200 instead of nearly $400.
  • Food to eat. Clothes to wear. A house to live in that more than supplies the space we need. Medical care.
  • Plenty of leftovers in the fridge, so that I don't have to cook a meal from scratch tonight!
  • I found a lost marble under the couch yesterday! (I don't even think it was mine.)
We are blessed.

We are loved.

There is plenty to rejoice in.