Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday Musings

Happy Monday from the Chairman and co!  Maybe you're not reading this on Monday though so good day to you too!

We just returned from our annual camping trip to Door County.  If you don't know where Door County is just pick up your left hand and look at your thumb.  Now picture close to the end of your thumb and that is where it is located in Wisconsin.  This year approximately 60 of our friends were in various campsites in the state park.  No fights broke out this year.  Ha!  Actually, it is a wonderful time of fun, exercise, smoke in your eyes from changing winds and profitable visits.  The most valuable thing I packed was itch relief cream due to mosquitos that would make Minnesota jealous.

This year was very different than other years.  We were missing one of the MYP due to work.  The other two were missing due to too many friends and sleeping at different campsites.  They did touch home base when their bellies were empty at suppertime.  Otherwise, we'd wave as they biked by.

The Chairman and I had a lot of time together like empty-nesters.  It was very nice to be honest. And the camper didn't reek of sweaty clothes this time.

There were lots and lots and lots of teens.  I must take after my father as I really really like talking to young people.  Well any people to be honest!  I had several good visits swaying in a hammock talking to them.  And I know some other parents that had some great visits with ours too.  It take a village.

Then there's "Gracie".  Poor poor "Gracie" a little girl we don't know.   She was in the campsite behind us for one day/night and she has a mother that let her scream and cry and writhe on the ground all the while her mother was negotiating with her.  "Gracie do you want this?  that?  the other thing?".  All "Gracie" probably wanted was some strong boundaries, a bit of food, and a bed.  Thankfully "Gracie" and her parents moved along soon.

Then there's the economics professor from South Carolina that the Chairman and I caught up to while biking.  He started saying things about my beauty which I thoroughly thought was lovely sketchy.  Then he spoke of his classes and his students and about the political atmosphere in this country all the while we biked away a mile or two.  We came to our turn knowing he was to go on straight.  He says, 'I feel like I'm not done talking with you yet!' and proceeds to turn into our campground with us.  Uh-oh.  So I quickly mention how we had plans as soon as we got back to our campsite with the 60 other friends we were camping with and he seemed utterly disappointed and said, 'well I guess I will have to double-back and leave'.  We cheerfully waved him off and raced to our site looking over our shoulder.

Then there's the bathrooms.  The showers are quite pleasant and warm.  Then you take your stuff to a room with sinks and mirrors to finish up.  Standing next to a shirtless, middle-aged man shaving and combing his hair is kind of like being in the men's bunks at convention - not that I've been there or anything.  But it's just so weird.  So I try to not make eye contact and comb my hair and brush my teeth quickly.

Then you return home and think all is well and you hear your now barely adult daughter had purchased a ticket, rode the train to Chicago and shopped for a whole day without your knowledge.  "I knew you'd be too worried if I did it so I thought I'd tell you once I was home again."  I kinda-sorta freaked out and said, "what if something went wrong and no one knew where you were?".  Oh!  I told several people - just not you.  I guess it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission sometimes.  Secretly, we're kinda proud of the fact that she negotiated her way to the windy city without an ounce of help, had a great time, and came back with a pair of designer shoes that she paid only one penny for!  She's even more frugal than I am.

So here's some pictures etc. from my phone.  Happy week ahead!  I'm off to replace the door lock on our camper.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday Musings

Can you believe it?  Monday Musings for real!  I hope you know how much I love you because today I'm busy as a bee.

We leave for camping soon.  Very soon.  Excuse me as I probably repeat this every year.  Camping is a.  lot.  of.  work.  It is kinda funny as some years back I had to plead and talk and nearly convince the Chairman that camping was such a sublime experience.  Now I'm the one dragging me feet and he's all enthused.  It may or may not have something to do with the fact that I de-winterize the camper.  Fill the tanks with gas.  Clean it top to bottom.  Grocery shop.  Prepare a lot of the meals in advance.  And try to be certain that nothing is left behind we need.  Not that I'm keeping track or anything.  Honestly, the Chairman usually pulls an all-nighter or even two to make certain he can be away from his desk.  So I think it's pretty fair as I get to go to bed at night.

If you ever use a pressure washer, I highly recommend a Briggs and Stratton that I was able to borrow from a friend.  I also highly recommend wearing some sort of footwear as the stream of water can sheer off skin on your toes.  Not that I would know or anything...

I dislike Japanese beetles with a passion.  We are at war with them right now and the beetles are ahead 1-0.  

Teenage girls are drastically different than teenage boys.  We hosted some boys for son #1's birthday last month and they all showed up kinda as they were.  We hosted some girls for the daughter's birthdays last week and they texted like crazy for days before on who was wearing what and came all 'glammed up' for their dinner.  Love them both for different reasons!  Maybe I'll throw in the pictures for reference!  Personally, I think both ways are adorable.

Here's my sweeties taken on the day of (and also the day before) their birthdays.   Eighteen and fifteen!

Don't hate me but I don't really struggle a lot with my weight.  However I was making a somewhat diligent effort to lose a couple pounds lately and they refuse to come off.  So I've scheduled a colonoscopy.  I figure that ought to do the trick.  Stay tuned.  I'm sure I'll have a blog post after that experience.  

Through various conversations with some family members and friends I've been more aware that people are fighting many battles we are hardly aware of.  I'm thankful for those that share a bit of their experiences so that we can think of them or better still entreat on their behalf.  Sometimes it is almost overwhelming the needs out there but I'm again so thankful that every need will be supplied.  If you start thinking of someone more than normal, just let them know.  It might make all the difference to them.  And if not, at least you can feel better for trying.

I've currently cooked up lots of taco meat, made homemade spaghetti sauce and now I'm off to make zucchini bread.  My happy place is in the kitchen so I'm hoping to get back there so my mood improves.  

Happy week ahead!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Her story

I have blogged in the past about the incredible and life-altering experiences we had with both of our adoptions.  Words fail for the gift we received in our first two young people.  We are forever indebted and forever thankful for them for so many reasons.

As most everyone knows, with adoptions comes uncertainty, worry, and incredible joy.  When I gave birth to our last child fifteen years ago yesterday -  really the emotions were almost the same.

When I thought I might be expecting I purchased the cheapest tests I could find.  I quietly took it one morning and all the while "big" sister that was just past two was wandering around the bathroom asking two-year old questions.  The second line appeared.  I went to talk to the Chairman.  His first reaction was "oh no!" because for us that meant most likely another miscarriage, or a D&C, or worse yet - a pre-term birth.  We had five experiences already so what would make this one different?

I was considered the high risk of high risk mothers,  My OB/gyn referred me to two excellent perinatologists that I saw bi-weekly until they felt it would only need to be weekly,  I would get knots in my stomach before every appointment and received pictures of our growing baby after each time I went.  That was a comfort and I would stare at them between the appointments.  I nearly always pushed in the double stroller of the older sister and brother and fed them snacks as we waited for the doctor.  Yes - uncertainty and worry.

My heart would sink just a little when people would say, 'you adopted your children so now you will have one for sure'.  There were no guarantees and I didn't even wash baby clothes or buy diapers until the due date was just days away.

My due date came and then three days later I knew sleep wouldn't be coming.  I stayed awake all night.  By the dawn's early light I went outside and walked and walked and walked.  My mind was in a different zone.  Finally I told the Chairman what was happening because I knew he would go into full-blown action once I whispered "it's time".

We had only three hours in the hospital before our black-haired baby was born.  The Chairman and I looked at each other when she cried and then so did we.  We cried for her safe arrival.  We cried for the big sister that was already in heaven.  And we cried for all the ones that didn't make it.  Yes after uncertainty and worry, there was joy.

We named our baby Mira because to us she was a mira(cle) to us.  We named her Mira because it echoed the name of her older sister Amara that was with us just three days.  And we named her Mira because it means 'wonderful' in one language and 'peace' in another.

The biggest gift this little baby by blood gave to us was infallible proof that the way you feel about your children doesn't matter if they come to you through the gift of adoption or through the gift of life.  As we stared at these three souls we were given, the love and devotion we felt - and still feel towards them - was exactly the same.

Somehow it has always seemed 'easier' to write about our adoptions because they are more unique. Everyone has a birth story.  But for us, this story has been unique like our adoptions.  As the Chairman and I look back to those years we are now so incredibly thankful for the uncertainty.  The worry.  And yes, even the losses.  Because it has brought us to this point where we know the souls we have been entrusted with are exactly the ones that should be here with us.  And for that and for them - we are thankful,

sheer joy

she made it safely!

my arms and heart were overflowing
And now our 'baby' holding our friends precious 2-day old 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Red/white/blue Musings

Greetings on this 4th of July!  I just had a most miserable walk.  It may or may not have something to do with the fact I drank 18-20 oz. of iced tea shortly before I left.  Whew!  I made it back just in time.

I noticed that so many have their American flags displayed today.  It looks so nice!  We have a cape cod-style house and it just 'looks right' to have ours displayed all 365 days of the year.  I wonder if people think we're extra-zealous about the 4th holiday?  Or maybe they think we're super political.  Or maybe they just think we're too lazy to take down our flag like some are too lazy to take down their Christmas lights.  Or maybe I was just bored and over-thinking the whole flag thing.

We aren't going to the fireworks tonight.  The reason is we went to the big ones in the big city last night.  And tonight the two working guys want to be in bed by 9 so they can hop out of bed when the alarm sounds at 5:15.  I won't argue with their thinking.

I was quite amazed again and the huge crowd.  One article says that it draws nearly a million people.  And those "million people" all drive cars so it is quite exciting when we are leaving.  I digress.

I am amazed that so many get out of their chairs and drive downtown and park and walk blocks and blocks and blocks and sit for several hours noshing on snacks waiting for darkness to fall.  And then the booms and ahhs and brilliant lights fill the sky.  It all seems so simple in our technology-driven world.  It was just nice to see large families gathered together waiting for the tradition to start once again.

Twenty-three years ago tonight the Chairman looked deep into my eyes in the middle of Minneapolis Minnesota and said 'will you be the Chairman's wife?'.  Actually, he simply asked me to be his wife which I said "yes" without hesitation.  I created the "Chairman's wife" title just to make me seem more important.  Heh.

My toe is 89% better!  Thanks for asking!

The cat is 75% better!  Thanks for asking!  He came down with some weird fever/respiratory thing.  I vacillated between thinking - let nature take its course or utter worry about 'my toddy-toddy'.  I would have taken him to the vet yesterday but they were closed and he's on the mend.  I'm glad I saved $200.

Someone said the two happiest days of a boat owner's life are the day he buys the boat and the day he sells it.  Today anticipation was high to go have fun on the lake.  I stayed back to get some things done here before I joined them and got a text 'there's a problem'.  Uh-oh.  So no boating time today but thankfully we have friends with beautiful ponds and rope swings and the day was not ruined.

I'll take the time to see if there is a picture or two to post.  Happy 4th!!!💥

He read the directions and she did the haircut.  😱

the Chairman celebrated birthday #49 with cheesecake!

a nephew and the dog


pre-fireworks games

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Not so crabby pants

Well I put my crabby pants into the laundry and haven't seen them since.  I'm so glad of that and so is my sweet family.

Speaking of laundry.  I just finished the laundry of one of the MYP and there were count them 31 pair of underwear in the basket.  If my math serves me right I haven't seen her laundry basket for nearly a month.

I'm a "homemaker".  Some people think we usher off our family to their places of work or school and then sit around eating bon-bons and reading romance novels.  Usually I do things that are noticed.  I buy groceries for the cupboards and cook nutritious meals and pack lunches for the masses here.  Laundry.  Vacuuming.  Lots of yard work.  You name it.  My family is very appreciative - especially the Chairman.  But today I did things that are not noticed.  I cleaned out the produce drawer.  I emptied the central vacuum tub and got the filter clean as well.  And the biggest deal was the dryer lint hose that leads to the outside.  It was nearly completely blocked.  So I "youtubed" it and figured out how to get it clean (with a yard blower no less!) and voila!  No more fire hazards at the Chairman and co.

And!  The happy news is that we get some special guests this week and that leads me to clean corners.  The sweet ladies that are coming don't care one iota if I cleaned the corners.  I'm sure of it and you could even ask them.  But I want them cleaned for my own peace of mind.  I think I vacuumed up no less than nine spiders so that's worth something, right?

My toe.  Oh my toe.  My poor little toe that went wee wee all the way home.  It was all better and it was ready to get back into normal shoes and act like a right-proper pinky toe.  Until I partially jammed it tonight.  I didn't say or even think any naughty words.  However I yelled 'oh good grief!'.  And so we will be hopping back into the Birkenstocks again tomorrow.  (heavy sigh)

We were at a simply gorgeous wedding reception this past weekend.  The groom and bride are adorable.  Their personalities are lovely.  Their priorities straight.  And the wedding reception was wow-worthy.  We sat outside under these pretty little lights and enjoyed a yummy meal in great company.  And then the wind hit and the rain and it made a simply gorgeous wedding reception quite entertaining watching people race this way and that gathering up the gifts and hauling the piano out and grabbing anything that might blow away.  The silver lining in the storm cloud was we all retreated into the safety of the house and got to watch videos of the actual wedding, their honeymoon, and the video shown at the actual wedding.  It was a super-fun evening.

The Chairman is having a birthday Sunday so if you see him, be sure to say very loudly, 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY!'.  He likes lots and lots of attention.  (heh)

I'm too lazy to post pictures so these words will have to do...

Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday Musings

Did you know that after I showered this morning -  I walked into my closet and put on my crabby pants?  Yes, I saw them sitting there and decided today would be a good day.  And I've worn them all day.  I hope to take them off soon and not see them again for a very long time.  I think the other people that live under this roof would agree.  I just love Lucy.  Not that Lucy.  This one.
A man came to tune up our riding lawnmower today and now it works just horrible.  He's reputable and has good reviews and knows his stuff and suddenly it looks like a super-bad haircut.  So I called and he's returning bright and early in the morning.  I think this has a little something to do with me feeling crabby.

Since you didn't ask I'll let you know that my toe now is a big believer in the buddy system!  My little broken little piggy that went 'wee wee wee all the way home' now is good friends with the little piggy that 'had none'.  I'm thoughtful like that.  I think not being able to walk for days has a little something to do with me feeling crabby.

We currently have four teenagers living here.  The addition has been a wonderful addition in every way.  He's somewhat quiet, funny, relaxed, helpful, orderly, and polite in every way.  I'm so glad he's spending the summer with us.  He has nothing to do with me feeling crabby.

However, with four teenagers (and actually five now starting tonight for a couple days I reckon), the groceries are flying out of the cupboards and freezers at record pace.  Maybe because I'm feeling like I'm always cooking or shopping has a little to do with me feeling crabby.

And now I'm going to start blowing bubbles up here on my soapbox.  Yesterday, we were hearing about a person that had passed away and the comment was mentioned, 'he was the adopted son of so and so'.  That made me privately crabby.  If he was adopted, he was their son.  Period.  End of sentence.  That one almost gets me as much as 'real mom'.  Yes I'm the real mom.  Yes, the Chairman is the real dad.  If you're trying to think of another term it would be 'birth mom or dad'.  That doesn't make me crabby.  Just a little uncomfortable.

See that little fella on the left?  It's his 17th birthday tomorrow.  I just marvel at how this little 8 pound gift we were given is now this humongous almost-adult.  I would love to gush about him a bit but if he read it he would probably pick me up in one quick swoop and toss me onto the sofa like he's done before more than a few times.  I think of it as his form of a hug.  Heh.
Here he sits by his grandpa because they share birthdays just days apart.
So this is enough Musing.  Hopefully next time I'm not so crabby.  

Saw this quote lately and loved it.

If God is making you wait, then be prepared to receive more than what you asked for

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tuesday Talk

Greetings from the Chairman and co.  We are back to ordinary days after some very extraordinary days.  I was existing on a hybrid mix of adrenaline and exhaustion.  After several ordinary days now,  I'm back to existing on a mix of work, contentment, and thankfulness.

Someone that just also lost someone very dear to them used the word 'indebted'.  That is the word that kept coming back to me after our experiences of late.  It is a miraculous work - the ability of others to know how to just fill a gap that is needed.  That happened day after day after day.  It could be a pan of delicious food.  It could be a text message at just the very moment I needed encouragement.  It could be a card in the mail.  It could be someone saying not once or twice but three times that she was driving over to walk Lisi so I didn't have to think about it.  Yes it's miraculous and I am indebted.

The oldest of the MYP graduated on June 3.  There was a field-wide graduation party on June 10.  I think we were near 200 together give or take about 20.  Who really counts friends?  The more the merrier.  As we were planning the time together with two other families it was my hope that it would be not only a lovely celebration of three amazing teenagers launching forth, but also a wonderful time of fellowship with those we love.  It was and I'm thankful.

The shared party was with two other families that have intertwined with ours since our babies came to be.  I held one of the other graduates when he was about 20 minutes old and his parents were trying to decide a name for him.  He's one of our son's best friends and his truck appears in our driveway at regular intervals.  I feel just as close to the other graduate.  When he was born I went over to visit with his young mother and instead of talking about her new little baby, she kept wanting to know about our long wait to go to China.  She knew we still had about ten months ahead of us and wanted me to stay encouraged and to know that the one we would receive would be 'chosen' for us.  I love how our three young people all have had each others backs for nearly 18 years and have the confidence it will continue.  Don't ever let anyone tell you that teenagers are tough to raise.

Life is so interesting and ever-evolving.  When your children are little, you rock them carefully and quietly to get them to go to sleep.  You may even get down on your hands and knees to sneak out of the room before they peer over their crib.  Last night our teenage son said to me, 'well I'm tired so see you tomorrow after work'.  It was 8:45 pm.  Heh.  

So did you want to hear about my toe?  No?  Well too bad.  Several weeks ago I jammed my pinky toe on a door frame.  Now several weeks later it still hurts like the dickens and swells if I use it too much or it gets too hot.  I reckon I have a teeny-small fracture on my pinky toe.  Sounds like a little problem, no?  Well did you know how much your pinky toe does?  I didn't either until it suddenly hurts.  

My extremely talented sister-in-law made this beautiful quilt for her graduation.  So so pretty!
When going through pictures for the graduation board I came across this one.  I love it and I loved him.  
Have a great week ahead!  Maybe we'll be chatting again soon.