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Team Bedlam

June 2, 2013

I am currently holed up in my bedroom with my laptop and a pound of bacon (okay, 12 oz., but let’s not split bristles) because it’s either that or have a nervous breakdown.  Somewhere in my house, at this very moment, my eldest is fighting back tears and thinking I am just the most insensitive, mean mom in the world because . . .

Drum roll please . . .

I told her we are absolutely not adopting a teenage boy no matter how badly she wants an older brother.  She is claiming she has always wanted an older brother.  A few years ago she wanted us to adopt a twelve-year-old girl because, she said, she always wanted a twin sister.

This would all be much easier for me to deal with if she were off crying somewhere for some normal teenage reason – like because we won’t let her dress like a whore or go on dates to the drive-in with a pot-smoking boyfriend.  Then I would feel wholly justified.  But instead, she is off crying because I won’t adopt an older child right now, so, rather than feeling justified, I feel like a heel.  There are lots and lots of teenage boys who need families, and I’m saying no to all of them.  Bad, bad me.

And yes, it is me.  It is all me.  If it were up to the trusty husband, we’d have adopted a teenage sibling group by now, so I am completely alone in my compassionless, selfishness as I keep telling them, “I just can’t handle it right now.”

Because guess what?  I can’t.  It’s not like going to the pound and getting a puppy.  A lot of baggage and struggle comes with a teenager who doesn’t have a family.  Who could expect anything less?  I wouldn’t expect anything less, but I know I’m not ready for it.  Now is not the time.

My dream in life at the moment, for the past several years’ worth of moments,  is to just get my feet under me, to have a year or two of status quo.  I have begged for that.  It has yet to happen.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful.  I have been blessed a lot.  I mean, A LOT, and I know this.  And the past three years?  Have been some of the most stress-free years of my married life.  Nobody has died, we have not had any screamy, colic-y, unable-to-sleep babies, we have not gone through any adoptions, we have not moved, I have been able to get reasonable amounts of sleep, I have been able to manage my migraines relatively well, we have not had financial struggles, there have been neither surgeries nor job changes . . . life has been pretty good for the most part.

But . . . there is always a but.

There is a lot to do around the homestead.  Never ever in my life did I ever fantasize about living on a farm, mini or otherwise, yet that’s pretty much where I am.  I mean, real farmers would scoff, I’m sure, but once you buy a tractor and plop a horse in a fence and put on muck boots even once, that makes you a farmer in my book.  We’re now on our second tractor, and we have three horses.  I was wearing muck boots last weekend.   Thanks to the weather and the million other things I have to take care of, my garden still isn’t in.  That is major stress right there for a farmer.

So I’m living my husband’s dream on the mini farm while he’s off at work all day, sometimes out of town for days, and, though I don’t have to do the day-to-day horse and barn chores, I’m always the one here when one of those beasts escapes (and, generally, if one is lose they all are lose), and I’m always the one here when the fence gets broken, and I’m the one here when one of them (or all of them) throws a shoe, and I’m the one here giving cats IV fluids and shoving antibiotics down their throats, and I’m the one here when the animals die (the cat stayed in a box on our back porch for days until he got back in town to dig a hole in the frozen ground), and I’m the one here dealing with the never-ending behavioral issues stemming from one son still acutely feeling the sting of abandonment and inaccurately surmising his birth mother must have gotten rid of him because he’s bad, and I’m the one dealing with the stupid school district, and I’m the one doing the homeschooling, and I’m the one planning the vacation, and I’m the one making sure the 10 million animals get fed, and I’m the one always saying no to getting more animals (because I’m apparently the only one with any common sense), and I’m the one here all day with the barkingest dogs in the world, and I’m the one feeling like a complete failure because I can’t keep up with it all and, oh my gosh, don’t even ask me when the last time was I cleaned our showers.

And I realize he works hard.  He really does, and I am grateful for it.  And I know he has to deal with stupid people and situations at work every day.  But?  Whether or not those people ever pull their heads out and get over their stupidity is really not, ultimately, his responsibility.  If my kids don’t become decent adults/people, if my son doesn’t get past some of his aggravating, accusatory, self-pitying, pushing-people-away behaviors and is never able to have  healthy relationship when he’s older, if my oldest daughter never gets her nose out of a book and figures out how to have an actual life?  Totally my fault for not being a good enough mom.

The weight of my calling to be a mother is very heavy on its own, is what I’m saying.  I don’t take it lightly.  I never have.  Sometimes I wish I could, but I don’t know how to just relax about the whole thing because . . . eternal consequences, you know?  I don’t want to fail.  Add the weight of all the rest of it, and I feel like it’s just driving me down into the ground.

But all anybody seems to notice is that I won’t let them get chickens and/or goats, and the horses stress me out, and I melt down when the newfoundland rips a big hole in the screened-in porch so she can stick her head in to try to play with a cat (that I didn’t want but we had to get because we need barn cats to keep the mice out of the hay), thereby making us look like the epitome of white trash, and they don’t like the food I cook because it’s healthy, and instead of gushing non-stop* for days with gratitude over the new flooring in the basement I am stressed out by the fact that our entire basement (and, oh gosh, it is a big basement with an entire apartment in it and a lot of crap) is just completely torn apart with the aforementioned crap strewn everywhere (never mind the fact that I frequently asked if we couldn’t just cull the crap before we started the flooring project, because I knew this would happen), and why haven’t I done a load of pinks yet?  And now?  Now?  I won’t try to adopt a teenage boy.  How selfish and thoughtless can I be?

My lack of being a team player knows no bounds.  I just never expected to be a member of Team Bedlam.

Tewt the Newt is in hiding.  I don’t know if he’s eating bacon or afraid of becoming bacon.

*For the record, I have gushed: I have thanked, I have admired, I have appreciated, I have praised, but that’s not what gets noticed.

Protected: Judging and Being Judgmental

January 7, 2013

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Protected: So We’ve Had a Little Problem . . .

December 13, 2012

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The Mortification of a Teenage Daughter

November 3, 2012

Lately I have been stalking Pinterest for Christmas decoration ideas.  I’m not looking for just any Christmas decoration ideas, however.  No.  I am looking for Grinch-themed decoration ideas.  Not to worry.   These decorations won’t be for my own home.  No, no.  These decorations are for something far more appropriate — our church Christmas party.  Because, you know, nothing says “Remember the reason for the season” like going to a Grinch-themed Christmas party at church.

Bah humbug.

The theme for the party, however, was picked, approved and decided upon before I had anything to do with it.  Now that I do have something to do with it, I am in charge of the decorations.  Honestly?  I’ve found some cute ideas and come up with some good ones on my own, so I’m I little more excited about it.  But, still?  I turn to my network affiliates when I want my kids to enjoy the cartoon versions of Christmas.  I take them to church for (gasp!) more spiritual fare.  Whatever.

In all my Pinterest perusing of thing Grinchy and Whovillian, I came across a cute outfit idea.  It’s not a costume, mind you, just an outfit:  green skinny jeans, green t-shirt, green Converse, and a red cardigan.  I wasn’t looking for an outfit idea.  I just found it.  That’s how Pinterest works, after all.  You just find stuff, and it sucks  you in, and you realize you need it even though you didn’t know it existed five seconds earlier.  So that’s kind of what happened to me when I saw this outfit.  I concluded that, if I have to decorate for a Grinch party at Church, then I needed to go as the Grinch (without actually going as the Grinch).  I decided I’m just too old to buy myself Grinch-green Converse high-tops, but red is a good color for me so I already have a bunch of it, and I figured the green jeans would be cute.  I found a pair on clearance at Kohl’s, and, coupled with the current coupon (who in her right mind shops at Kohl’s without a coupon?) they cost all of $8.00 and change.  That included tax.

Rather than wait until December, I wore my outfit today to our Super Saturday Holiday Workshop (it’s the one day a year the women in our congregation “take off” for 4-6 hours (depending on whether or not one is in charge of it) (I was) to get together and make crafts that we can give as gifts) (so imagine our piss-off-ed-ness consternation when the men scheduled something, rather last minute, on the same day at the same time, as if the children only belong to us) (harrumph).

Anyway, back to the outfit.  I wore it today.  Green jeans, white t-shirt, red jacket.  It was quite Christmas-y and, since the t-shirt was not green, not even a bit Grinchy (at least, I like to think that).  I still had it on as we were sitting together as a family for dinner tonight, and I said, “I’m half tempted to go back to Kohl’s and get the same jeans in red.”

“Other than Christmas, when would you ever wear red jeans, mom?”  A~ asked.

“I could wear red jeans lots of times,” I said.  “Like Valentines day!”

“Yeah, and you can wear the green ones again on St. Patrick’s day,” Midge piped in.

“Sure.  And . . . let’s see . . . I could wear either the red or the green ones on Mardi Gras.  That’s a colorful holiday.  It doesn’t really matter what color . . .” I was saying as my husband interjected:

“I don’t know about the jeans, but I’ve got some Mardi Gras beads I’ll give you.”

A~’s hand froze, half way to her mouth, and the baby carrot she was about to eat just dangled from her paralyzed fingers as she looked at her plate in dismay and said, “I get that.  I get. that. one!”  With me to her right and her father at the other end of the table to her left, she didn’t know where to look, so she just kept staring at her plate while I laughed hysterically, her father turned a soft shade of fire-engine red and sniggered like a school boy who’d just been caught snapping a girls’ bra strap, her younger teenage sister tried to puzzle it out in her head, connecting a dot or two, and the three youngest just said, “What?  What?!?  I DON’T get it!  WHAT IS SO FUNNY???”

June Cleaver would be mortified at both my attire and our dinner conversation, not to mention the current state of my house.  I shall never wear pearls.

Tewt the Newt, on the other hand, couldn’t give a flying fig about pearls and feels mighty smug about the fact that he is already green.

I’m Not Trying To

October 25, 2012

I’m having one of those parenting moments.  Okay, when am I NOT having one of those parenting moments?  Honestly, I have never so seriously contemplated the option of sending my kids to public school as I have (continually) this school year (with the notable exception, of course, of the year I actually did send the two oldest to public school) (and last year and this, in which the oldest is going to high school, but that has always been part of the plan).  Maybe it’s burnout.  Maybe my hormones need adjusted (umm, yes, I’m sure that’s part of it), or maybe it’s that, as I’ve been getting healthier over the past two years or so, I’ve come out of a bit of a fog, and I am seeing more clearly that I am profoundly not appreciated in my own home (ha!  what stay-at-home mom is, right?  RIGHT??)  But whatever it is, there is one phrase that I wish I could just erase from my kids’ vocabulary:

“But I’m not trying to!”

For example:
Me “Please stop chewing with your mouth open.”
Child “I’m not trying to!”

For the love.  Never have I ever said, “Please, stop trying to chew like a gorilla with a bad head cold.  Please stop trying to mine for nose nuggets.  Please stop trying to write in run-on sentences like the 3rd grader and/or blogger that you clearly aren’t.  Please stop trying to forget to wash your face so that you look like you’re part of Fagin’s gang.  Please stop trying to put your make up on in a way that makes you look like crack whore raccoon*.  Please stop trying to make your bedroom resemble a post-Katrina New Orleans Wal Mart.  Please stop trying to treat me like dirt.”

Nope.  Never said any of that.  But any time I tell them they need to do something, or stop doing something (seriously, I’m the mom – I’m supposed to do that, right?  Because I’m surrounded by people who don’t seem to agree with that philosophy (and I’m not jus talking about my kids), so I’m starting to question myself; starting to think maybe my role is to just be here and let everybody “exercise their agency” and “learn from their mistakes” while I take antidepressants so that, as they spiral out of control, I don’t care).

Where was I?  Oh, yes.  Any time I tell them to do something or not do something, I get the whiney, “But I’m not tryyyyying tooooo.”

So maybe I’ll stop trying to do laundry.  Maybe I’ll stop trying to clean the house.  Maybe I’ll stop trying to do the grocery shopping.  Maybe I’ll stop trying to take them to their church activities.  Maybe I’ll stop trying to buy them clothes.  Maybe I’ll stop trying to make meals (this one is so high on my list, for various reasons, that I just may do it, and they can all fend for themselves).  Maybe I’ll stop trying to help keep the 10,000 animals we have alive, enclosed, and well-tended, maybe I’ll stop trying to teach them . . . anything.

And when everything goes to hell in a hand basket?  I’ll just tell them I wasn’t trying to.

In the meantime, I have to go try to make a birthday cake.

Tewt the Newt is grumpy. 

*In her defense, she really isn’t trying to go for the crack-whore look, so it isn’t a battle over what is and isn’t appropriate eye makeup.  In my defense, how many times do I have to emphasize the value of WASHING under one’s eyes?

Dear Bathrobe Lady

October 1, 2012

Dear Lady In Her Bathrobe Coming out of Wal Mart,

That was a bold fashion statement.  From its full-length fuzziness to is beacon of bright, Christmas, redness, I was mesmerized.  I had my phone in my hand.  I almost took a picture.  Almost.  Part of me wishes I had, and part of me is glad I didn’t.  I really dithered there in the parking lot, phone turned on, just one click away from immortalizing your . . . je ne sais quoi (which I believe is French for “complete lack of fetchin’ up”).  In my amazement, I was unable to process the black shapes on your red, red robe.  Were they Scottie dogs?  Reindeer?  Mud flap girls?  Because I hesitated and did not take the picture (out of respect for both your humanity and mine) I will never know.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Dear Quinn,

The fact that you could not tell me what a firefighter does is evidence that you watched way to little Sesame Street during your preschool years (I now have “Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood” looping through my head).  The fact that you could tell me that police officers shoot people and put them in jail is evidence that I am failing as a mother.  The fact that, when instructed to draw a picture of somebody doing a job, you drew a picture of a female teacher and GAVE. HER. BOOBS. should be of great comfort to your father, who is mortified by your love of all things pink (like the shoes you drew on the teacher).

photo (2)

(Yes, I asked, “So, these are her arms, here?  Ok.  What are the two circles above her arms?”)

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Dear Readers,

First, thanks to those of you who didn’t give me up for dead.  Because I’m not.  I’ve just been in a blogging coma or something.  Also, I am working on editing photos of our epic Harry Potter birthday party to share with you.  Do you know how long it takes to obscure faces on a fragillion photos of a party that involved about 30 people?  I could password protect the post, but I want to see if any of my hard work makes it to Pinterest.  Wouldn’t I just feel like the homecoming queen if some of my ideas started showing up on Pinterest?!?!  Oh yes, yes I would.  That reminds me – It’s . . . well, crap.  I had to stop writing for a bit because dinner was ready, and now I’ve forgotten of what I was reminded.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Dear Aging,

You. Suck.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Dear Me,

Sometimes?  You rock.  Way to work in the word “mewling” when you helped the husband draft that email today.  Great word.  Really.  A word that was crying out to be used.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Dear Readers,

I remember!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been on the blog, so I’m behind on any new, fun, update-y type things in the world of WordPress.  Gadgets?  Widgets?  Buttons to encourage pinning?  (I never got to be the homecoming queen, so I’m desperate here.)  Let me know what’s new and great.  In the meantime, Tewt the Newt will do a little digging around, too.

Bringing Blogging Back (I Totally Plagiarized That Title)

September 27, 2012

Hey there!  Remember me?

No?  You don’t?

It’s okay, I hardly remember me, either.  It’s been a while.

Well, here I am now, and I have a message to share:

(I have apparently turned into the queen of one sentence paragraphs, but that’s not my message)

Everybody’s favorite blogger, (oh, crap – I haven’t done this for so long that I accidentally typed blooger at first– I don’t even want to think about what a blooger is) . . .

Starting over (this is the message, I swear) . . . Everybody’s favorite blogger, Michelle, over at And Sam Makes Seven is starting a movement.

Dear heavens, not that kind of movement (and if it were that kind of movement, and she’s only just starting, and she’s blogging about it?  Well then, this post would be all about praying for our favorite blogger).  So anyway, let’s call it a campaign instead, shall we?  She is starting a campaign to bring blogging back.  Click on that hyperlink I so generously provided and read all about it.  She uses the term “overlord” more than once, which we all know is the hallmark of an award-winning blog post.  I’m really excited about this campaign, actually (almost as excited as you are that I’m finally writing a paragraph with more than one sentence), and here’s why (aside from the lack of vitriolic advertisements):

But it wasn’t better. No, it was not. FB and Twitter took away our abilities to communicate in complete, grammatically correct thoughts. Remember grammar, guys? Wasn’t it nice?

Instead of taking a small thought or incident and turning it into a carefully crafted story about our lives- full of the touching, humorous, quirky, heartbreaking and mundane details that make our families and ourselves unique and interesting- we now take big thoughts and happenings and condense them down into little blurbs here and there. It’s too hard to fit touching, humorous, quirky and heartbreaking into a little blurb, and so… The mundane took over. We traded the art of storytelling for speed and convenience.

Isn’t Michelle brilliant?  Yes.  Yes, she is.  That last sentence I quoted, the one about trading the art of storytelling for speed and convenience, proves it.  I actually am on the verge of tears here.  She is profound, and she can tell a good story.  You know what?  Every now and then?  So can I.  So why the frap haven’t I been doing it?

Remember frap?  What a great word.  We still use it in our house.  That’s the power of blogging and little boys learning English as a second language.  We can change the world.

If you still haven’t read Michelle’s post, well, bless your heart for sticking through my drivel, but do make the time to click on over because she enumerates other good reasons for brining blogging back, like the freedom of telling your stories the way you want to tell them rather than censoring yourself so as not over share with nor offend any of your 285 closest “friends”.  I mean, I don’t know about you, but I have tons of people on my FB friends list with whom I would not share my blog.  I bet you do, too.

Incidentally?  I have about half of my FB “friends” blocked from seeing most of my posts and photos at any given time (if you’re reading this, rest assured you are not one of them) (unless you found my blog purely by following me on Pinterest before I realized that linking said blog to that account was about the stupidest thing I’ve ever done – then you might be one of them).  And that?  Is an interesting story.  But it’s a story I haven’t told because I haven’t been blogging. 

Remember when I blogged roughly two years ago about the person who thought it was a-okay to give kids a ride down the highway and/or unmarked country roads (seriously, I don’t know the exact route she took) in the trunk of her car?  Yeah, that’s just the tip of the iceberg around here.  Well, okay, maybe it’s a big, foundational chunk of the iceberg, but the point is we have a whole frozen ocean worth of crazy we’re navigating  every time we step foot into our church building.  Seriously. 

Don’t get me wrong, there is greatness there, too; but for the most part it’s trapped under the ice.

Good stories.  Stories I haven’t told.

Okay, so Michelle has some rules for those wanting to join in the Bringing Blogging Back campaign (really, it’s the only campaign worth following right now, anyway):

  1. Make the commitment: Agree to update your own blog at least once a month (You can do it! I have faith in you!) and choose at least one blog to read, or return to reading, once a month (You do not have to state which blog you’re choosing, but come on… it will be mine, obviously. Technically, however, you’re allowed to read someone else’s… I guess).
  2. Spread the word: Write a post telling your readers about the "I’m Bringing Blogging Back" campaign and ask them to join you. Give them these ‘rules’ and ask that they share them on their own blogs (this is starting to sound like an Amway kind of thing or chain letter, but it’s not. I promise. I won’t ask anyone to send me a dollar, or buy crap). You can link to this post if you’d like, or just tell them in your own words.
  3. Let me know: Leave me a comment saying, "Yes, Michelle, I’m with you! I’m Bringing Blogging Back," and link to your post about it. Actually, I don’t give two flips how you say it- you can just leave a comment saying "OK, I posted about it," or even just "I’m in," "Me, too," or whatever. The important thing is leave a comment letting me know you’re in and link to your post. If you don’t have your own blog, but will commit to being a faithful reader, just leave a comment saying so (Anyone who comments on this post will be added to my blog roll, if you’re not there already… Unless you don’t want to be listed).
  4. Buy the official "I’m Bringing Blogging Back" t-shirt for only $34.95 at… HA! No, I’m totally kidding.

So I’m committing to blogging at least once a month.  But really?  How can I not blog more?  There is always something crazy going on around here.  I could blog about our two new cats, our new dog, our new horse, the “rehab” center into which I will undoubtedly check myself because I need a break.  Seriously.  I’m not addicted to anything (not even my old friend diet Dr. Pepper).  I just need a break.

I could also blog about the epic Harry Potter party we just had here last weekend, or the effects of gravity and aging on my turkey-wattle-neck and the night I went to bed despondent over it, and my husband said, “There, there.  We have the money to take care of it if it really bothers you that much.”

Well, okay, he didn’t say “There, there.”  I mean, you’ve seen pictures of him, right?  He doesn’t even LOOK like the “there, there” type.

And, yes, it really bothers me that much.

Stay tuned . . . I may one day blog photos of tumescent chin liposuction.

I’m also committing to reading blogs again.  But here’s the catch:  I will probably, for the first time in my life, wish I had a Xanax prescription as soon as I open my Google reader account (if I can even remember how).  So I’m not going to try to go back and play catch up.  I’m just going to wipe the slate clean, as it were, and go from there.  Hopefully your lives are soap opera-y enough that I’ll be back up to speed in three blog posts.  Seriously, just kidding.  If your writing is that damn repetitive I’ll drop you like a roach-infested ice cream cone.

So, who’s in?

Tewt the Newt says, “Ready . . . set . . . blog!”


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