Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Keeping it Real - Laundry Edition

I know there are lots of magical places seen only on blogs, home garden television or decorator magazines where people's homes are always immaculate and everything is in its place.  This isn't one of those places. 

With a larger than average size family, we have a bit more laundry to do than others.  I had gotten a smidgen behind on laundry when we were gone for Thanksgiving weekend.  So, for all those who ask me about how much laundry a family of seven makes,  I thought I'd show you what really happens if I don't do a couple of loads a day.  

Full disclosure - I hadn't gotten to the sheets and blankets yet.  Those were still dirty and piled on laundry room floor.  Behind the towels rolled on one of the dining room chairs is an unseen basket full of clothes that need to be ironed.  Oh, and my basket of things needing to be mended is overflowing in my laundry room.

Welcome to my life.

Here's the hoard of laundry.

The clothes balanced precariously on the back of the chair all need to be hung up.  There is another fully draped chair hidden behind the one in this picture.
I run out of room on my table, so I also make stacks on the floor.
Anyone want to sort some socks?  Yes, that is a regular-sized storage tub  full.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Giving Thanks

Our family got back from a long weekend visiting with my family in Wisconsin.  Without potty breaks, it takes nearly three hours to drive there.  We stayed at my parents house for three nights, but spent Thanksgiving meal with extended family at an aunt and uncle's house.

We had been in virtual adoption hibernation trying to limit Veronica's exposure to the outside world in the initial months home (to promote bonding and attachment).  We hadn't seen these relatives for many, many months.  Some, not for nearly a year.  Yet, as soon as I walked into the house, I was welcomed. 

That never seemed extraordinary to me before.  It was a blessing I took for granted.  Of course aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents would be happy to see me.  Of course I had one of several places I could go for holidays.  I fit in.  I belonged.  I was a part of this big, sometimes crazy group of people, and I would be forever. 

And, as has happened about every other year, I had a new kid to show off to the relatives.  This time, though, when my daughter was oohed and aahed over like all my other children had been, I finally realized how big a deal this was, and how much I have always taken for granted.

My husband and I chose to adopt because we love being parents and there are millions of children all over the world who need a mom and dad to tuck them into bed at night.  I got to have another child to love, and this precious child got a mom and dad.  But, it didn't really occur to me, until this first big family holiday, that she has gained so much more than parents and siblings.  She has a whole extended family now.

She will become part of our large family's lore and legends.  For the rest of her life, she, like the rest of my children, will belong.

And that is what I am so incredibly grateful for this Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nerf Guns and the Evolution of a Parenting Philosophy

My kids have lost all the bullets to their Nerf guns, and I have been thinking about whether to get some spares for a Christmas gift.  I never would have considered this a decade ago.  Let me walk you through the evolution of a parenting philosophy - from pre-children brilliance to resigned compliance.

1. Before I had my first child -"My children will never play with toy guns.  Guns are serious business.  They should be used for getting some venison and little else.  My future children will be thoughtful and not ever consider perpetrating acts of violence either real or imaginary."

2.  First child is an infant/toddler - "Look at all those hooligans kids shooting things."  A smug smile would accompany my obviously better parenting.

3.  Now I have a couple of kids - "Stop turning those sticks into guns.  Put your fingers down.  I'm looking at you Mister.  Put your fingers down.  You may NOT say 'Bang bang you're dead' to the tree."

4.  Add a couple more kids - "Maybe if I pretend I don't see them, I don't have to try to stop the inevitable.  I played Star Wars and GI Joe as a kid and managed to not turn into a sociopath killer.  Lets hope for the best."

5.  Kids a little older  - We went to a garage sale and there was a whole arsenal of toys spread on the lawn.  "Yes, kids.  You can each pick out a sword.  No, not a gun."  Swords became our gateway drug into the word of weaponry.  I end up duct taping many of these weapons after rowdy games of pirates, which kept my children (and the neighborhood children) content in their make-believe worlds for a full summer.  Imagination is good, right?

6.  Kids got little older, as they tend to do - Child receives Nerf gun as a gift.  Clearly this is the coolest thing he has ever gotten.  "At least its not a realistic replica of a tommy gun or howitzer."  I sigh in resignation.

7. Present Day - "Just don't shoot anyone who doesn't want to be shot."

Sometimes you pick your battles.  Sometimes those battles involve foam bullets and plastic swords.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Long Time - No Post

As I posted previously, I had been immersed in the creative marathon that is "National Novel Writing Month."  Yes, I used the past tense.

Friends, let me teach you a little lesson about backing up your files.  In my creative writing frenzy, I had written over 16,000 words in my novel.  That is approximately 1/4 of a novel.  Then my laptop went kaput.  It is fried.  It has corrupted the files, overwritten them and practically laughed at me while it happened.

My sweet, computer-competent husband tried to recover the file.  He managed to (after hours of work) access a couple of the files, but they contained gobbledy-gook with a few readable sentences thrown in to taunt me.  My novel is lost.  I want to tell you all that flash drives are your friends.  Please back up all the important bits and pieces you wouldn't want to lose.  Everyone knows this, but most people put it in the back of their minds.  Let this be a friendly reminder to you.

Were does that leave me?  I had been on track to complete my novel during National Novel Writing Month, but I think this will put me out of contention.  I am pretty awesome, but I can't finish a new novel in two and a half weeks.  I succeeded in completing my novel in time last year, so I know I am capable of doing it.  I'll have to wait till next year for the thrill of victory.

So, what am I doing with myself without the looming November 30th deadline?  I've started my next novel.  I won't have the glory of finishing it in a month, but I've at least got the stick-to-it-ness to keep on going.

And, lucky for all my faithful, friendly readers, I will have more time to post on the blog.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Come Procrastinate With Me

Come and join my procrastination party.

You see, this is November. And that means it is National Novel Writing Month.  This is the month that thousands of people around the world work towards completing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  (Thank goodness for daylight savings time.  One more hour.  Woo hoo.)

I had thought about participating in this a few years ago, but always made excuses for why I couldn't and then I wimped out and didn't even try.  Last year I thought, "This is it.  I'm doing it."  And I did.  I finished the 50,000 words with one day to spare.  Sure, not all the words flowed like Hemingway or Austen, but I finished it.  I had a rough draft of a novel. 

So I began this year.  Unfortunately, my procrastinating led me to have absolutely no plot thought of up until the day it started.  I'm flying by the seat of my pants and not exactly sure where this novel is going to go. 

You may be wondering why a person would attempt to write a novel in a month.  What is the prize, you may ask yourself.  I'll tell you - a great big "Good Job" and that's it.  Its just for glory and bragging rights.  What more motivation does a girl need?  This is what fuels me through hours of writing a day.  Well, that and pixie stix and Diet Dr. Pepper.  But mainly the sense of accomplishment thing.

So, dear readers, I am counting on you.  Please forgive my less consistent posting this month.  Please encourage me to get off the internet and get writing.  I need all of you to hold me accountable.  This is like running a marathon.  Only it lasts 30 days.  And nobody is on the sidelines cheering for you.  And nobody hands you water as you run. 

Actually, I'm not too fond of running, so maybe the marathon analogy falls apart.  But the cheering thing is always helpful.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Fun

We had beautiful weather for a Minnesota Halloween.  The kids had a great time Trick-or-Treating.  Veronica figured out looking cute would get her some candy and kept up with the big kids.

Connor - Man of Steel

Bridget - Why yes that is a ninja with a Mohawk

Riley - Trust me.  Riley is under the mask
Sawyer - We had all the superheroes protecting the neighborhood

Veronica - This puppy is not sure what is about to happen

One pumpkin for each child