Sunday, May 31, 2009

Field Trip Fun . . . Day Two

Okay, here it is! The promised post on our Field Trip
Fun, Day Dos. This is Kameron's third grade class:

Note that it's much smaller than Kobi's. Also of note, we got Naturalist Rhonda again! Of course, I'm the only one who understood the significance of that fact, since I'm the only one who saw her the day before, but I thought it was cool. No word from Rhonda on how she felt about it.

Ms. Parnell is Kam's teacher. She's the lady in the back wearing pink and looking vigilant. She looks vigilant in most of the pictures I took that day...this is a good thing. Her class is very mobile and active. Vigilance is called for. Believe me.

Rhonda is giving instructions on how to treat the beach. The teachers are wondering if Rhonda knows what she's up against. The kids look like they are paying attention...heck, maybe they are! Note here that Kameron is not in the picture. Kameron was already "acting up" (aka, being a butt-head). He was hanging with me. Not fun, I hope.

Here is Kameron returning to the group.
It took him a minute to warm up.
Finally, he gets on board. . .

and okay, let's look for sea creatures!

After some initial hesitation - she didn't want to get her feet wet - Taylor decides she's into this.

Here she is trying to meet a tube worm. . .

that didn't go so well, on accounta that "don't squish the tube worm rule",

so she and Allison explore the kelp.

Meanwhile, some of the boys are looking high

and low. . .

for signs of life.

Yonny double-checks his guide.

There weren't many creatures to be
found this day. Bummer.

But Kameron didn't care. He got a piggy-back from Kelsey.
As far as Kam's concerned, any Kelsey-time is a good time.

Back down at the shore with the group, Kam wonders why the HECK he CAN'T throw sand,
Ms. Parnell? What's the dealieo with that?

Eventually, I'm sure, the class did find sea life. But by then, Kameron was back on dry land, having exhausted his chances to be "good". Such a relative term, isn't it? Good/Shmud. You say Potato, I say Tomato. Right?

They did appear to be having fun, though.

And for the munchkins in Ms. Parnell's third grade class at Hazel Valley Elementary, any and all field trips are most welcome. These little dudes and dudettes just love being outside with people who care about them. That's the best fun.

Thanks again, Seahurst Park and Naturalist Rhonda.

And to Ms. Parnell, her asst. teachers, and the kids in Kameron's third grade class, thank you for letting me come on your awesome adventure! See you next year, I hope!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Field Trip Fun. . . Day One

Kobi and Kameron are both in the third grade.
Kobi is in Mrs. Hayes class.

Kameron is in Mrs. Parnell's class.

As most parent of school-aged kids know, as we approach the end of the school year, the number of field trips increases. I suppose this is due to a few factors: a) the weather is nicer b) the kids are more antsy c) the teachers are running out of new things to teach or d) the field trip budget needs to be spent.

Could be a combination of these factors, and it could be I'm full of it. Very possibly the latter. In any event, field trip season is upon us, and in my history as a mommy, I tend to do at least one trip per year per child. Since I've skillfully managed to avoid all the previous ones this year, I was honor-bound to sign up for this, the last field trip of the year. For both of them. To the same beach. In the same week. In fact, Kobi's was Wednesday, Kameron's was Thursday. Woo-hoo! Today's blog will focus on Kobi's Wednesday trip with Mrs. Hayes' class.

Turns out, our local protected beach area, Seahurst Park, was experiencing a convenient series of super-low tides right in the middle of the school day. That translates into about seventy-five (give or take seventy) buses full of children crammed into a parking lot designed for fifteen cars.
The tide was especially low on Kobi's day: Wednesday.

The weather was terrific - mid-seventies, we had our beach-combing shoes on (well, most of us got the memo. a few kids were in flip-flops, some were in what used to be their "good" shoes), we had our sack lunches, and were ready to go!

The bus ride revealed to me another job I will NEVER, by the grace of God, hold: Bus Driver. People say all the time that they couldn't do what I do. Frankly, I don't know how some of you do what you do. Bus Drivers have my utmost respect. Managing that unwieldy vehicle while trying to hear yourself think and keep those little monsters safe . . .? Most def, not for me.

This is Rhonda, our Naturalist and field trip/tide pool guide for the day:

She's the one on the left.

But first, lunch.

Then, play.

Then off to the tide flats we go. . .

Malia searches for signs of life . . .

As her mother braves the fish run
to save a lunch sack:

We found live Sand Dollars . . .

and Sea Stars (aka Starfish).

We learned about crab molts (somewhere a bare-naked crab lurks) .

We watched our steps . . .

and looked under rocks . . .

and really learned a lot.

Thanks, Seahurst Park. See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Person Formerly Known as Me

I feel like mush lately. A few weeks ago, I saw a Bones episode where the obligatory body (after all, it is a show about a forensic anthropologist crime-solver, bodies abound) was found in a field wrapped inside a black plastic trash bag. The former person had been - no delicate way to put this - run through a wood-chipper. So, the bag was full of mush. Is this too graphic? Probably. I'll hurry along, but the visual I'm going for here is that when I saw that bag, I immediately thought, that's what I feel like! A big black trash bag full of yuck that used to be someone.

With the therapy, books I'm reading, and stuff I'm getting from God, I feel more screwed up than ever. I think it's the undoing of all the layers I've wrapped around me over the course of so many years. Like that bag of yuck is me, and the part of me that I thought was real is the part getting stripped away. Not very appealing. And most definitely not sexy.

Ugh. I feel like I'm way too old to be doing this crap. Why in the world do I have to clean out the rotted putrid gunk? What will be left of me? What IS me? Sigh.

No wonder I surround myself with distractions. This healing stuff is way too complicated and difficult. It probably doesn't help that I am forever in a rush to get things done. I'm looking for a step-by-step program outlining specifically what I need to do in order to "finish" this freakin' project 'cause this ain't no fun, folks.

It's beginning to dawn on me that perhaps:
  1. I'm not going to be able to control this process
  2. I shouldn't try
  3. I need to keep repeating numbers 1 and 2 until they get through my thick skull
Dang. Well, if anyone needs me I'll be right here.
Heaped up in this bag.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Getting Out

Therapist Lisa is very firm about me needing to have some "me" time. This is time, a huge chunk of time to my thinking, when I am OUT of the house and participating with OTHER PEOPLE in something that I find enjoyable, relaxing, or otherwise promotes my sense of aliveness and personhood. She wants me to shoot for three times a week, three hours at a time. Wow. Three hours. Three times a week. Three.

Okay. So, the first thing I did was sign up for a writing class. Cool, that got me out once a week for two hours, plus travel time. Downside: the last class is next week, and I have to find something to replace that. Plus, I haven't found the other two things I'm supposed to like doing. Okay.

Putting on my thinking cap, I realize that since I've been back in Seattle, I've wanted to do something like kayaking. This idea led to much exploration and research on the internet. One problem with a kayak is that they are expensive and large - hard to transport. So, maybe a club? Maybe. We will revisit this another time.

Photography is another love - most of the pics on this blog are mine. So, I got on the Seattle Meetup and found several photography groups. Nothing meeting soon, but I signed up for one group.

The really odd and uncomfortable thing is that the idea of going out cold-turkey and meeting strangers, even strangers who have common interests, is really intimidating. This reaction is probably one of the reasons I have Therapist Lisa in the first place. So. . . what's the solution?
I don't know. Baby steps?

So, my friend, Manager Kimi, and I were talking the other night about our exercise deficit. She reminisced about how she used to walk with friends down at Seward Park, a beautiful tree-filled place on Lake Washington. It happens to be near her house, and the loop is almost 2.5 miles - a nice walk for two women who haven't worked out in a while. We agreed that it would be a great idea to walk together. Then, neither one of us said anything. You know how you don't push the idea, cleverly letting it slip away? That way, you've virtuously discussed the idea, but haven't actually committed to it?

Yeah, then I thought about Therapist Lisa. Three hours, three times a week. Mmk, next thing I know, I'm saying, "How about tomorrow morning? 9:30?" She's agreeing and now I'm stuck. All kinds of reasons I shouldn't, couldn't go - blame it on the kids, oversleep, I'm sure Manager Kimi would be happy to take a pass on it, too. . .

But I didn't. And she didn't. So we did it, and it was nice. Beautiful, even. It was sunny, warm (but not hot), semi-crowded, but not packed, Manager Kimi is great company. . . maybe this getting out with people isn't so bad after all.

We are walking again Tuesday morning before my next appointment with Therapist Lisa. I know I will be glad when we do it, but I feel my mind already trying to wiggle out of it. Yet I know I want to do this! UGH, ugh, ugh!

Will my mind ever shut up and learn its lessons?

Baby steps, right?

Friday, May 22, 2009

"Home" Free Write #1

I'm in a writing class at the University of Washington - Experimental College, but we meet on campus, so I feel like a somebody after all these years. But, as usual, I digress!

The teacher has us doing a lot of free-writing. And since the focus of the class is memoir writing, most of the prompts revolve around our past. Now, I signed up for this, so I should be having "fun", right? However, I don't think my past is fun. I've spent many years trying to avoid it - see any of my previous posts. Therapist Lisa is certain that digging into what comes up is a good thing; that my sadness and detached feelings are due to me continually devising new and more innovative ways to distract myself from reality. She's probably right. Which is a good thing. Someone needs to know what I'm doing.

So. . . memoir class this week had prompts surrounding "Home". I dug into it with a little trepidation, I must confess. One of the reasons for that became clear when we did a cluster map around the word. I spent the entire time remembering all the places I've lived. When we finished, I'd come up with twenty. Twenty homes in roughly forty years. Well, a little over forty. I'm not saying how much over.

It makes sense then, that I am ambivalent over the concept of Home.

Here is the first free-write:

At this stage in my life, home is both a place I've made for my family, and a place I long to be. This home, the home in Seattle, is keeping me from the one I long for: heaven.

Psalm 73:25
says: "Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. "

That is how I feel, yet conflicted, because the family God and I have created is intensely a part of me, my heart if you will, and I can't imagine leaving them - especially now.

So here I am, my adopted self, in my adopted home town, with my adopted children and adopted dog, living in a borrowed house. Rooted to them, yet a traveler still. Only here a while.

My prayer for them is love and peace and joy and hope. My love for them is beyond words. My peace is in knowing I am where I should be. My joy is deep and quiet. My Hope is waiting for me, for them, for us. Waiting for us to come home.

Thank you for reading, peace be with you all.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Letting Go

A few weeks ago, I declined a placement. That means I said "no" to a nine-year-old, needy little girl who's been in a residential treatment center (like a step above a mental hospital) since she was six. Three years of growing up institutionalized. Not in a home. Not with a mommy or a daddy, or any facsimile. Not with her brothers or her sisters (she has five, all in foster homes). No one to tuck her in at night. In fact, according to her paperwork, she often has great distress around bedtime, and has to spend time in the "quiet room". Think a little bigger than a closet. Empty so the child won't hurt herself.

How horrible is that? Put a six, seven, eight year-old girl in a "quiet room" by herself right before bed time? Doesn't the staff have time to read with her, pray with her, kiss her good night? Oh, that's right. They have ten other children in their Cottage (cute name, like a fairy tale or a vacation resort) to get to bed. Oh, and there's no religious indoctrination, so no prayers to comfort the little girl.

Hey, grow up kid. This is a tough world if you haven't figured that out yet. Maybe the fact that before you came to us you were ripped from your home by policemen, medicated, restrained, and moved into several different homes before you landed up in our "treatment facility" should have clued you in. No wonder you don't want to go to bed at night.

The agency I work for brought me her packet. The packet is the thick pile of paperwork that covers much - not all - of a child's life in the system. It includes things like Psych evals, school IEP's (Individual Education Plan, for the "special" kids), and various social worker weekly, quarterly, and annual reviews of her behaviors, placements, medical stuff, etc. It also has court records, that talk about the circumstances of her removal from home and her parent's progress (or lack thereof) toward getting her back, visitation orders, blah blah, blah. They're pretty scary things. Even for an experienced foster parent.

But something in her packet spoke to me. Her age, for one thing. She's still so darned young. My other kids at home are four, eight and nine. She could really fit in. Plus, I have another bedroom. And most importantly, I am pretty certain I could help her. I have years of experience with damaged children. She's at an age where she could definitely stabilize given some serious family time with lots of love and boundaries and hugs. I've seen it happen, and something in her packet called to me.

Now here's the stinky part: I just couldn't say yes. I thought I could. I mentally planned getting the extra bedroom ready, who to contact at our local elementary school, checked into how her visits with her siblings went, talked with my agency about getting a special approval on my foster license for her. . . and the morning of what was to be our first meeting, I canceled.

This hurt on so many levels. The little girl didn't know about me (thankfully), so it wasn't about letting her down, but it really killed me to recognize my own weakness. To actually admit to myself and to the professionals I work with that I couldn't, in fact, do it all. It hurt to leave her there, to not be her rescuer. This thought led me to a twinge of self-awareness: why do I think I am the only rescuer for her? Then I argue: I know the statistics. I know she is unlikely to find a home given all her needs. It's hard enough to get people to take one typical kiddo; these more "involved" children rarely get placed in good, loving homes.

But I can't do it. I can't take another baby girl with intense, high needs and: a) take decent care of the brood I already have; b) get my own act together; which leads to c) a is dependent on b. And adding baby girl would lead to: d) me moving into a state hospital. The whole house of cards would collapse.

My heart is heavy, though. I want so badly to be the instrument God uses to reach this little girl; and that one, and that one, and that one. . .

"learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow's cause."

Isaiah 1:17

May is Foster Care Awareness Month: My personal prayer is that every family, every person who can, would check his or her heart and see if he, if she, has room for just one child. Just one. Please consider it. Please honestly consider what you can do as part of your community to help one hurting child in a way that is meaningful and maybe sacrificial. They are our children, and our future. Thank you.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Love is . . .

Today was a strange day. While I attended a luncheon benefiting foster children and trying to raise awareness of the extreme lack of homes in our area, Andrew's mom was in court trying to speed up his return home.

Oddly enough, I sat at a table with a woman who had her children removed from her home years ago, and through that experience, she got sober and eventually got them back. Then, three foster families were spotlighted during the luncheon. One of the mothers spoke briefly about how she and her husband were working with the biological mother of one of their foster sons, and how the mother was working her program and taking college classes, etc.

Now, this is fantastic. I am really happy for these families and how great they are doing; actually making progress, using the system's help to become stable, loving homes for their children. Yay. Really.

But, I've been fostering for over fifteen years. My experience is that this is a rare phenomenon. In fact, I can't think of a single parent of any of my children over the years that did comply with the department's requirements, any that worked at it and cared enough to try to get their children back.

I freely admit that I am jaded and pre-disposed to doubt the bio-parents and their willingness to change in order to keep their children. So, here I am listening to these two people representing families of origin while Andrew's future is being decided.

I won't go into the details of his case. This isn't the place for it. The truth is that he is her child, and not mine. No matter how I feel about him, no matter how my other kids feel, he belongs to her, and if she can get it together and be his mommy, that is the way it should be.

We have the next four weeks to transition him. It's now my job to help him succeed, and give it the best chance possible. That is how I have to love him now.

Andrew is a four-year-old foster child who's been in my home since early November. He came in crisis, after living in seven different homes. His mom came back last year and began the process of getting her sons back. I'll keep everyone posted as appropriate, and definitely appreciate all prayers.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Is This Contributing to My Misery?

Therapist Lisa says that I have an "overactive, over-developed sense of responsibility". I think that's a nice way to say I'm co-dependent. Or that I have no life of my own and I've chosen to make it this way - ouch ouch ouch.

I don't like hearing that a lot of the mess I'm in is my own doing. I'd much rather blame someone else - for instance, God. After all, isn't He the Supreme Ruler of the Universe? Do I not belong to Him? Therefore, it stands to reason that He can fix all this junk. . . am I right?

Unfortunately, when God created us as His image-bearers, He forgot to make us mindless, will-less, puppets. He gave us choice. Some old, long-dead theologian called it the terrible gift of free will. The thought is that God wants us to want Him. He doesn't want us to love Him because we have to.

But it's a double-edged sword. That rebellious, stubborn part of us that helps us survive this world, that strong spirit we pride ourselves in, is also the part that keeps us shaking our tiny little fists at the loving One who created us. And if you're me, blaming Him for all manner of consequences I've brought on myself and for not running my life the way I want it run. I also tend to blame Him for the nasty choices others have made that damage me. Basically, I want God to be my sugar daddy (do they still say that?), not my God. Not the One who knows best, sees all and will, eventually, put every yucky thing right.


So, in line with me taking responsibility for my side of life, for the choices I can make and the things I can control, Lisa gave me this little thought to think before I make a move: will this contribute to my misery?

It fits right in with detaching from the outcome. If I make good choices - ones that won't contribute to my misery (don't you LOVE that word, misery?), and then detach from the outcome (let God be God - not me), theoretically, life will be easier, more joyful, and carefree.

Okay, that sounds too simplistic, doesn't it? But what if she's right? What if it works? What if God - Who I completely believe in - can be trusted?

Wow. . .what a concept. I have to ponder this awhile.

Love you guys - thanks for working through all this with me.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Mother's Day Post Mortem

My day began at 6:16 a.m. Kelsey, my nineteen year old, snuck into my room to check on me, then left the house. When she got back about an hour later, all the little kids had been into my room and up on my bed to wish me a Happy Mother's Day. That, and to beg me to let them watch cartoons in my room. I declined. Kesley shooed them out, closed me up in my room, and told me to go back to sleep. As if.

A little later, she returned, bearing fresh coffee, eggs, a magazine, a huge bouquet of flowers from the Pike Place Market, AND a little bag of these awesome mini-doughnuts fresh out of the doughnut maker at the Market. Yumm. A nice hug and kiss, then out the door to round up the kids.

Kesley took over all the mommy duties for the day. Woot! At one point, Andrew came in (I was still in bed, reading), and I referred him back to Kelsey for answers to his many questions. He asked, "Aren't you in charge anymore?" I told him that for today, Kelsey was, not me. Loved it. One of the many difficult things about being a single parent is being the one and only "go to" person in the house. Every single question about every single issue has to come to you. A friend once said to me, "I bet sometimes you feel like saying, 'Who's mom? My name is Misty'". Yes, it gets like that. More lately than it used to.

But yesterday was sweet.

One really special thing I realized, was that out of the nine people in the house (eight young adults and children plus me), only one (Kelsey) was celebrating with her biological mother. And, out of those nine people, only three had one mother. The rest of us had at least two: a bio mom and either an adoptive mom or a foster mom.

Crazy, but true. And it made for a very special day. I got to receive the mommy love from all these kids. Pretty awesome. And I feel very blessed and honored to be able to stand in for the moms whose child I had on loan. Only God knows where we will all be next Mother's Day. Life moves quickly, and change is the norm.

But for me, this one was perfect. Thank you, Kelsey, Kristen, and Elesha. I love you all.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


I think I've known for many years that one of the keys to a contented life is through acceptance. Back in my married years, I attended several Al-Anon and Nar-Anon meetings. One of the things that really stuck with me is the Serenity Prayer. You know:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

As a new Christian, I read an awesome book by Hannah Hurnard: Hinds Feet on High Places. This allegory drawn from the third chapter of Habakkuk follows the journey of Much Afraid as she travels with the Shepherd. At one point, in the desert, she meets a little flower which pushed through the dry, almost concrete-like earth to bloom, all by itself. The flower introduces itself as Acceptance with Joy. It was able to thrive despite its circumstances. Out of the entire book, that is the only part I remember. It struck me then, and obviously, is still with me.

But, on so many levels, acceptance just feels wrong. As an American (as you know, we are pioneers), as an "enlightened" woman, and even as a Christian, I can find rationale for fighting badness - for kicking against the goads as God accused Paul. Doesn't the Bible say not to be overcome by the darkness, but to overcome evil with good? How does that jibe with acceptance? Acceptance feels like giving up. It feels like surrender. Which, I guess, it is.

What I'm maybe starting to grasp - maybe - is that is a both/and thing. Yes, our Creator hard-wired us to rise up against injustice, that's part of being an image-bearer of Him. To hate wrong doers, to protest on behalf of the innocent. It's very scriptural, too. Just check out the Psalms.

However, ultimately, if we believe He is our Lord and that the earth is His and all the fullness thereof . . . then it only makes sense to do what we can, but leave the rest to Him. My problem is with the leaving the rest part.

I am seeing that I tend to push and push and push some more. I get a cause fixed in my mind, decide it's good (which they usually are), and then go full speed ahead. The trouble is, even if I started out doing a job for God, I stop asking Him for guidance, provision, and most importantly, I stop asking Him if this is what He has for me to do. Just because something is good and needful doesn't make it my job. Ouch.

Super-ouch because I've had to utterly fail in order to get the point a few times. I've lost homes, money, friends. . . I have a very thick skull, apparently.

Lisa the Therapist is working with me to fix this. She talks a lot about acceptance: accepting my past, accepting my present, accepting my future. It shapes out like this: I need to accept reality - how I feel about stuff, damage that I've done, damage that's been done to me. . . I'm learning to say, "I cannot change this. I will never have (fill in the blank)", or "I may never have (fill in the blank)." And further, as a Christian, that God may never fix this or change that. He may never give me the outcome I want and am convinced I need.

Can I be okay with that? If nothing ever changes, if I never see justice done here on earth, if I never get my deepest desires, will I still belong to Him and trust Him? Will I still believe? Will I believe that He is good?

Or will I turn my back on Him, pouting and sullen because He didn't do things my way?

If I am convinced that He is God, the Creator of universes, time, matter. . . how can I possibly be so sure that I know anything at all, let alone what's best for me and the rest of the world? There's a passage in Job that says it well:

Then Job replied to the LORD:
I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, "Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?"
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.

You said "Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you and you shall answer me."
My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.

Job 42: 1-6 NIV

I'm hopeful that I will get better at accepting. 'Cause endlessly struggling and striving has tuckered me out. I need a vacation. Anyone available to babysit?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Chores

So we mowed the lawn yesterday. I say we because, in my family, it takes a village to mow a lawn. Klaryssia appointed herself picker-upper of the shorn grass; Andrew (the youngest) manned the rake; Kameron (my nine year-old who doesn't walk yet) kept a watchful eye on the mower - because he LOVES LOVES LOVES loud, noisy machines, like vacuums and motorcycles - and Kobi? My eight year old manikin head-loving son? Well, Kobi was dressed for church in his light-colored khakis, white kicks, and his snazzy button-up short-sleeved shirt. Not exactly yard work attire, but Kobi rolls like that. I expect that he will be one of those guys who sends his jeans to the dry cleaners so they get a good crease. Seriously, he folds his jammies BEFORE he puts them on. Really. I'm not kidding here.

Anyway, back to the lawn.

In a perfect world, I like to do this job during the week when the kids are in school. The reasons for that will become apparent. This time, however, I had a few complications. First of all, this is Seattle, and no matter what I say, it does rain a lot. So the challenge is, of course, to find a non-rainy day. It's helpful if this non-rainy day falls on a day when I actually am home in order to mow. Often, this is enough to keep me from mowing for weeks. A fact that bugs the HECK out of me.

So, the first chance I got, I dashed to the garage to whip out the mower. Unfortunately, I forgot that last summer my big awesome mower croaked. No funds to repair. Okay, so back-up mower. No gas. Okay, so I'll go get gas. No money. Hummm. This is delay numero dos.

A few days later, I had money and got the gas (well, actually I sent Kelsey to get the gas since she was over at the house for something). Unfortunately, it was late in the day, kids came home, homework, toileting (Kameron), blah blah - no mowing.

Next day. I am planning on working after I get the mowing done. It rained.

And so it goes until yesterday. It was Sunday, but we didn't go to church because little Andrew has yet another cold and the Swine Flu has everyone super-enforcing their sick policies, darn them. No sneaking him into the nursery, no church. And so, voila, mowing day.

One little problemo - all this rain and lack of mowing leads to. . . you guessed it! A very tall lawn! And, since it rained Saturday (see post below), it was long, wet grass. Kinda hard to mow in the first place. But hey, I'm freaking super-mom (ha), so we WILL mow this grass. My plan was to sneak out back while the boys were out front and get 'er done. Unfortunately, mowers are a little loud, and they are a lot curious. They were back there seconds after I got the mower going.

Next problemo: the mower has no grass catcher. The wet, long, grass proceeded to jam up the blade on the mower. Like on the very first pass. Stop, open the little hatch, pull all the cut grass out, set the blade free, pull the cord, start the mower up again. Next pass. . . sputters to a stop. Open the hatch, pull all the cut grass out, set the blade free, pull the cord, start the mower up again. I am not kidding, the mower got jammed every single pass. At one point, it didn't even make it that far.

Now, while I am quoting "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" in my mind, and sweating like a monkey (if they sweat), I have my four little "helpers" helping me.

Klaryssia is shouting over the mower at me (like I can hear), grabbing up the grass as I toss it out from the little hatch, and walking about two inches behind me. I can't hear her, so when I back up to try to free the blade, I knock her down. I lost track of how many times this happened.

Andrew is holding the rake, which is probably four times taller than him, and flailing about trying to rake up grass I haven't cut yet. He's also helping by knocking the heads off all the pretty white dandilion "flowers". Woo Hoo, he's planting future weeds for me.

Kobi starts out picking up some of the grass, gets bored, starts climbing on the steps to the gazebo and jumping off the rail. Right where I'm mowing. After I scream a few times, he gets the picture and helps by going off to ride his bike. Yay. One down. Meanwhile, Kameron (who I left in the front yard with a basketball), has managed to make his way through the side yard, over rocks and through natural hazards to appear in the back yard. The siren call of the mower was too much for him. I wasn't surprised.

Kameron joined Andrew and Klaryssia in their little huddle around me, and promptly declared that the rake was his. As you might expect, chaos ensued, I mowed on. I can't recall how long it took to finish the back yard - stopping every four or five seconds to clear the grass, frantically watching all around to ensure that the kids kept all their body parts intact, trying to get them the heck away from the mower. . . it was a mommie nightmare.

By the time I got to the front yard, they were bored - thank You, Jesus - and I got that part done pretty quickly. Of course, by then I was exhausted and thinking a tall glass of wine (cold and white) sounded awesome. Unfortunately, it was only around 11:00 am, and I decided I should wait a few more hours. Thankfully, the grass got cut, no one got seriously hurt (Kobi's white kicks got a little grass-stained, but what the heck), and one more Chore got crossed off my list for now.

That night, at dinner, I heard from them all what a good job I did, and what great helpers they were.

Indeed. Couldn't have done it without them.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Rainy Saturdays

Sorry for all the parent talk, but since I appear to be a life-long mom, and now have these freaky little boys, it's on my mind a lot.

Today, Kobi and Andrew are wearing t-shirts on their heads and shaking their "booties". Let me be clear, I don't watch much "bootie shaking" on TV. I am not a proponent of "bootie shaking", although, in my sordid past, I was. So where this nonsense is coming from is a mystery to me. Why can't they just play with trucks and guns like other boys?

Meanwhile, Kameron is sitting on the toilet screaming and laughing. I expect him to momentarily start turning around to view his poop (another boy thing, I guess), which will lead to smears on the see where this is going. Yuck.

Meanwhile, I'm doing laundry, wiping down tables, helping my 21 year old with a three page essay - over the din.

Such is a rainy Saturday in the Rainwater manse. My monologue consist of lots of "NO", "Go to your room", "Stay out of his room", "Don't pull down your pants", mixed in with a generous helping of "No running in the house" and, that classic, "BECAUSE I SAID SO".

Helping with chores? Sweet pancake breakfasts as a family? Perhaps a family outing?


I need to get out more. Or someday, people will be hearing about us on the evening news. Just kidding.

I think.