Friday, October 31, 2014

It's Autumn Time

"It's autumn time, it's autumn time,
the leaves are falling down.
It's autumn time, it's autumn time,
bright colors can be found.

It's autumn time, it's autumn time,
Red, yellow, green and brown.
It's autumn time, it's autumn time,
it's all around the town."

The words of this children's song play in loop
in my head this time of year
as I see the changing colors, the fallings leaves,
and the perfect days for building piles and jumping into them. 
I live in the most beautiful part of the country ever.  See!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

It's Hard

Foster Care isn't for everyone.  It's not for most people.  I'm not sure it's for me.  It is something I truly feel like I am inspired to do.  In my most logical, reasonable moments I think I am good at it and a good fit for it.  But in my worrisome mothering moments and emotional state - I worry and wonder that someone else could do it better, that I'm not doing it right, that I'm further traumatizing these kids who have already suffered so much at the hands of adults.

There is so much about the "system" that makes me batty.  If you had a day, I'd tell you all about it.  I'll spare you here.  That being said...I've learned so much - good and bad about myself, about humanity, everything in general.  My kids have gained so much from doing it and I really do believe in people helping people whenever they can.  I have felt enriched by each child who has entered our home, whether for a day or two years. 

As part of the "system", they host Resource Parent Events quarterly.  They always end up being lovely.  It's a guaranteed, good family fun day.  The fall is an event at Oregon Dairy to pick pumpkins, take hay rides, go through corn mazes, a free dinner, and games galore.  Thanks to everyone who helps with these.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Picture and A Story

A picture is worth a thousand words or a story in the life of me. 
In the spirit of continued catch up...

The other day I was at the gym.  I had run there, between 2.5 and 3.5 miles one way depending if I take the direct route or a round about one.  I do weights and then run home.  While there I was seated on a stationary row machine, calves flexed hefting weights back to make sexy shoulders.  Angel, a man of Latino descent who I loosely know - he had been calling me Sara up to that day not really knowing me either, walked up to me and grabbed my calves and said, "You have such big calves.  How do I get calves that big?" 

I promptly told him that I was sweaty and he should probably not touch me.  That however complimentary it seemed to him, that most girls would not be happy to hear that they have big calves, that he should run more and that it was just my genetics.  Yeah, I'm one of those really blessed "girls" who can bulk up really easily.  Genetic jackpot for my brother counterparts, but here are my beastly calves. 
First weekend in April and October is hallowed.  For real hallowed in our house.  It is General Conference.  Well if you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormon) it is the weekend twice a year, that the prophet, of the whole Earth, and the 12 apostles with all appropriate priesthood keys talks to the people and tells them what God wants them to know.  It may seem crazy to some, because we sit around for (5) two hour sessions between Saturday and Sunday watching them on TV or streaming them online. 

Now with my six kids you may ask yourself how do they sit so well for so long, well here are my best tips:
1.  My kids naturally follow my lead - if I have an attitude of absolute reverence and love for these meetings and men - my kids tend to follow suit and think likewise.
2.  I cook, bake and buy my way to a food coma.  Each kid gets to pick their favorite foods and we have them all that weekend.  For every thirty minutes they sit and listen reverently they get to eat one of their favorite food.  When they were younger this was crucial.  As they get older it is just another special part of the weekend.
3.  We veg out.  Pillows, blankets, forts, and cuddles abound as we all snuggle down to enjoy.  As a family who loves to be on the go, this weekend is a great weekend to recharge. 

You should watch sometime.  It won't be an experience you regret.  And if ever interested, come join us. 
My husband is super handy.  I love it when it suits me or saves us money.  Truth be told, it can sometimes be a burden as he fiddles his way into a new invention, a free unlimited supply of cardboard or any miscellaneous object, or gives him an "idea". 

But nothing makes me happier than when I look at things that are more organized as a result of his dinking.  In 30 minutes and with minimal dollars he solved my crowded shoe area in my closet.  I love this man.  I also love that I have my own walk-in-closet and he has his own.  No cross contaminating my organization with his "organization."
This little boy makes me laugh and want to pull my hair out.  He had a wiggly tooth forever.  He was so excited.  It was his first.  Each day he tempted me to wiggle it to feel how loose it was.  Each day I asked if he wanted me to pull it.  And each day his reply was something to the effect of not today, maybe tomorrow (wonder who he learned that delay tactic from?). 
Now if you know me, you know I am somewhat of a picker.  And this definitely came under that category near the end.  It needed to be pulled.  He often ended up in tears while eating and had to even call me from school in a panic about what would happen when he actually lost it (he does have some anxiety).  Daddy even tried to sneak it out.  Didn't work so well and he was a mess of tears, "pain" and distrust.
Finally I told him, he had no choice - he had to be brave and let me pull it.  He agreed and then promptly panicked.  He screamed and fought as we had to hold him down so I could pull it.  It took me less than a millisecond.  When I backed away from him, he asked, "Did you pull it?  I didn't even feel anything."  I know child.  I know!  This is not my first tooth rodeo.  If you weren't so adorable - I would be much more gray haired and bald.

Sometimes good friends make all the difference.  I love people, love to figure out how they work, what motivates them, all about who they are.  That being said, I'm pretty particular about my close friends.  Not that I don't want more, but time is a hot commodity for me.  I don't want to spend time on mediocre relationships, trying to make them better, trying to be something for someone I'm not in an effort to feel connected.  But when I have a friend, they are true.  The kind I can count on for a big crisis, a mini one, and a million laughs in between.

For me there are three main components.  They have to be a person of high moral standard and character and inspire me to be better than I am in some way, be understanding of my religion - because it is everything I am, but willing to get a little crazy with me because I have a mischievous side that loves to get up to no good shenanigans that will make me giggle endlessly and the memory will perk me up in the midst of a parenting crisis. 

And when that happens, it feels amazing.  They want to hear you brag about your kids because they love them almost as much as you do, they think of you over little things (you mention you like a kind of rice a lot and it shows up on your door step one night) and they connect with you over the dumb things and when you talk whether it's every day or every year you jump right back to where you always were.  Thanks Sue for being one of them.

Farm Show is over.  But the spirit of Farm Show remains, because it's Manheim.  In this small town, we take community seriously.  And it wouldn't be Manheim, if for a field trip we didn't go to the Farm Show.  My group of hooligans for the day.  This was just before the first injury that ever happened on my watch in over 30 field trip chaperoning affairs.  Beware of tag and tripping around jagged rocks.  It will lead to stitches in your head if you are a little boy. 
Does my life seem perfect or what?  It seems pretty perfect to me - most of the time.  My dishwasher may be on the fritz, my dryer on the verge of breaking, my ice/water maker on the front of the fridge finicky, my lawn filling with weeds, my car may be approaching 200,000 miles, my husband may have an untraditional job, I may be a single parenting it half the time, I may have foster kids in my home who make my life harder, I may volunteer more hours than I think I have in a day, and I probably am a little overweight, am re-dealing with adolescent acne in my 30's and wondering how I'm going to make it all work moment to moment, but seems perfect to me.  I wonder what makes the difference.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Farm Show 2014-15

If you're not a regular to my blog, you probably don't know how awesome Manheim, Pennsylvania is.  It may sound like some German town and let's be honest there is a lot of German influence.  The food is to boot.  But you may be wondering what else there is.  Well it is home to the world's largest auto auction, it's a few short miles form America's Coolest Small Town 2013, proud presenters of the Renaissance Faire and more picturesque small town values and images than in the movie Funny Farm.  And there are a million farms and a plethora of Amish or Mennonite people. 

Well nothing sums up our small town charm more than our Farm Show. Each year the first full week in October we have farm show.  You watch this small town bustle with excitement and activity.  Everyone participates whether you are a farmer or not.  My daughter has been on the Farm Show court twice and Jr. Queen Alternate twice and our agriculture experience is limited.  But our town comes out and comes together to celebrate our existence.  It's quite remarkable and I just fall in love again. 

Here's a small agricultural collage to help you realize how amazing we are.  Pictures will never convey all of my fond feelings. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Run, Bella, Run

After years of artistic endeavors and rebuffing all of my suggestions that Bella try a sport, this year she decided she wanted to run Cross Country.  Of all the sports to start with???  But hoo-rah!  The first two or three weeks were rough, but she has settled into it and loves it.  Each meet she gets faster and faster.  Now there is talk of running Track in the spring and next year's season.  She may just have turned into a athlete after all.
In other news, I decided I wanted to try a speed run to see if I could run as fast as her still.  Well I did 3 miles in 25:18.  Not too shabby.  But now I hurt!  I think it may be final.  She may just be better than me.  Start midlife crisis, now! :)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Randomness and Playing Catch Up

Here's what's happened in our neck of the woods:
Travis and I got new cell phones - yay,
we practiced for and had the Primary Program - success,
the kids all participated in the Run for Fitness event and none were even close to last place,
I started a 12 week health challenge with friends - so good for me,
Bella and Issac were in a youth triathlon - pics of Bella were all blurry.
What's happening in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Practice Drill

Q.  What happens when you have hot oil on the burner and you get distracted?
A.  Well you get a burning oil smell.
Q.  What happens when your son asks about what is making that smell?
A.  You remember the hot oil.
Q.  What happens when you remember the oil?
A.  You feel grateful it didn't catch on fire and you turn off the heat and remove the lid to try and let the oil cool down quicker.

But that will be your biggest mistake.  Because even though there was no fire, add the fresh oxygen to the hot oil and ka-boom, you have a mini explosion, fire climbing your microwave, cupboards and ceiling.

Q.  What happens when you see this rolling fire?
A.  You squeal, momentarily panic, and start pulling out the fire extinguisher from below the sink.
Q.  What does your husband do?
A.  He lifts the hot pot off the stove and promptly throws it into your backyard, where it will burn several spots of grass.
Q.  What happens next?
A.  He says you don't need the fire extinguisher and tries to put out the flame with a hand towel.
Q.  What happens then?
A.  Well that puts out the fire for the most part, but catches fire.  Your wife will put that fire out.  And everything will be fire free, but totally singed.
Q.  What will you do next?
A.  You will open all the windows and doors to let it air our, you will scrub endlessly.  Most will come off.  Some will not.
Q.  What will remain singed?
A.  The plastic of the microwave will forever be discolored.  So sad!

Moral of the Story - Don't leave hot oil unattended on the stove.