Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas! Love, The Furious Family

This has been a CRAZY week for us trying to cram all of our holiday prep into such a short period of time!  

Let's start at the beginning:

Here are the Christmas goodie bags we put together for all of the girls' classmates... 
(a chocolate Santa, a pencil, a puzzle eraser, and a candy cane.)  
(I personally felt REALLY good about this!  I put together over 30 of these for about $16.)  

Not pictured: Personalized religious teacher's ornaments.  Thank you Bronner's for having an entire section of these!

Charley Bell putting together a pan of Rolo Turtles:
(Don't mind that foot!)

(Sadly, I didn't have time to make any of my traditional Christmas cookies this year.  
Trying not to beat myself up too much over that.)

Decorating our WAY too short tree:
(It looked much taller at the lot!) 
(Don't mind Kid's hair wrap + antlers... 
we had to try and squeeze this in on a school night after her shower.)

(We could only fit about1/2 our ornaments.... Oh well, clean up will be a breeze.)

Last minute attempt at a Christmas Card photo...

(Still haven't gotten around to that... maybe New Year's cards this year)

Santa lists:

 (Good luck trying to find a Chinese doll made of china 2 days before Christmas!)  
(Note to self:  next year demand they write to Santa sooner.)
(Turns out only having two things is harder...)
(thankfully Santa was a good guesser)

Christmas Eve eve I finally got the house cleaned up and fulfilled Baby's wish to string up Popcorn & Cranberry garland...

(I attempted this one year before kids when I still lived in NYC... 
and I remember that it was actually an EXTREMELY frustrating process.)
(P.S. I didn't have high hopes going into this one)

 (Turns out Kid LOVED it.)
(She made them for 2 straight days and proclaimed it her new personal Christmas tradition)

Failed attempt to show you that on Christmas Eve afternoon it started SNOWING!!!! ...
 (We were all so excited that we ended up with a White Christmas!)

The girls after the Children's service on Christmas Eve...

 (Baby was in a Mexican Dance celebrating Christmas traditions from around the world.)  
(She did great! So proud of her for her performance abilities.)

After the service we got to enjoy the luminaries lining every street in our little village... 

 (Such a beautiful tradition, made all the better with the addition of a snowy backdrop!)

Unfortunately all that snow made for a treacherous and long drive out for our Christmas eve dinner!  We finally made it home right before Santa hit our house...

(Phew!  That was a close one!  Got them in their beds at midnight.) 
(Kid was FREAKING OUT that he wouldn't come if they were still up.)

Turns out that tracker isn't totally accurate, by my clock Santa wasn't done at our house 
until 2:30 AM...
  (Santa may have been whimpering in my bed at 12:30 desperately wanting a nap 
while waiting for the kids to be sound asleep)

Proof that Santa was here...

(Apparently the reindeer don't like the carrot tops.)

Might have been the happiest Christmas Morning to date...
 (Possibly our last with 100% believing children and I am grateful for it!)
(Although I will be happy for the extra sleep non-believing children allow)

Adorable Nativity that Kid made me for Christmas...

Mr F modeling his men's nightgown...

(Believe it or not Mr F wore a nightshirt just like this when we were first dating.)
(Yep, I've never let him live that one down.)
(But look at his blurry face... he LOVES it.)  
(And now we have daily fodder for mocking him.  It's a Win-Win!)

Mr. F ended up giving me the best gift he's ever given me.  I actually cried.  After the year when he gave me a giant blue zip up fleece bag robe thing with foot holes (monogrammed, no less), I've REALLY lowered my expectations.  This year, seeing how hard it was for me to find something nice to wear to all of Baby's performances and Christmas parties (especially since I won't buy myself anything over $10... and I haven't worked out in 6 months so nothing fits) he gave me a black velvet dress, a sparkly cardigan, a dressy scarf, and an evening purse.... so that I'd always have something I could throw together. I was very surprised!  

That's all folks! 

We wish you a Very Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

With Love, 
The Furious Family

Friday, December 21, 2012

It's So Hard For Me To Say Anything

People, I am just devastated by the Newtown School Shooting.

It's hard for me to feel that anything else is worth mentioning, right now.  I am so heartbroken for those parents.  I am deeply saddened that anyone would ever have to contemplate such a horrific, terrifying, death.  I am so overwhelmed by it myself. My heart is wrenched by the thought of their terror filled last moments.  It's breaking me down.  It is the worst thing I can imagine.

My girls are a constant reminder.  My own Charlotte, barely a few months younger.

Everything I do, as a parent, all day, reminds me of how profound their loss is.

Doing laundry... and I stop and think how they will do their laundry and find some of their precious child's clothes in the pile.

Put my girls to bed... and know that their child's bed remains empty.

It's such a horrible grief... and I feel that I need to honor it by not forgetting.

By not putting small things above the weight of their lost lives.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

This Is Important

read here

*I do want to amend this to be clear that I don't know anything about the author or the validity of her post... but I do think her overall point is important.  Any attention we can draw to our current mental health system and it's (very real) deficits is more than called for after a tragedy like this one.  I hope her post will make you think and investigate, and that is always a good thing.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Broken Hearted

I am so sad and send out my deepest condolences to anyone affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

I cannot imagine the pain, suffering, and grief of the parents, family, and friends of the children and their teachers.

The most horrific thing I can imagine has happened to those little children.

I am devastated by their loss.

I am so very sorry for the parents and the unimaginable grief they are experiencing.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

We'll miss her...

Mrs F got the call this morning, and has left to join her mom's family to mourn the passing of her grandmother, whom you all know so affectionately as The Cougar.

As Mrs F noted, we all as a family had a close relationship with her grandmother, as she was the only person of that generation living close by. We spent time with her often at her home here and during summers at the family cottage, and those two places were the setting of so many family events. To our girls, Mame (as she was known to one and all in real life) WAS who they thought of as a grandparent, since their true grandparents are younger. Kid is especially hard hit by this, as she and Mame had a special bond.

As this unfortunate and untimely decline has unfolded, Mrs F has come to accept that Mame is at peace with all of this and is now joining her husband and friends and family in the afterlife, and that knowledge has helped Mrs F immensely as we waited for the end to come.

That said, I'm sure she will need and appreciate the support that so many of you have given her during so many times of need in the past. I can't tell you all how much of a relief it is to our whole family to know that she has such an amazing support system here.

Mr F

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Unfortunately I'm Tired

Dear World,

I'm so tired this week.  Dealing with my sister over the last 3 weeks, every moment a crisis with the weight of an actual life on the line was... well... extremely draining.  I hadn't slept through the night, always on call, and was pretty much existing on pure cane sugar.  That crisis while not averted still looms large and painfully constricts my thoughts.  She went back, and it's depressing.  It is literally depressing me, feeling so hopeless.  I have to work every single day not to let the frustration make me grow angry and shut myself off to her.  There is an overwhelming urge to do that.  To throw up all the time and energy and money we put into helping her and slam the door.  It isn't recognized, it won't be recognized, it may never be acknowledged and anger can make you focus on that.  On YOU.  But it wasn't ever done to bring us recognition it was done to show her love and support.  And you can only love and support someone where they are at.  And right now, she is back there.  And I have to keep answering the phone and being open minded and understanding and hoping that in doing so... one day... she'll believe she can have something more from this life.

So that is always simmering.  Sometimes on the back burner, but usually on the front.  Our house is suffering, our diets are suffering, our sleep is suffering, my parenting is suffering... our cats are suffering for crying out loud.  It is so hard to help her when the help is keeping her there.  I feel like I'm on an episode of Intervention and I know I shouldn't "love her to death" but at the same time if I alienate her now there will not be another chance.  Mr F who had so valiantly given of himself is, truthfully, a bit angry and frustrated.  He'd like to move on to other crises... I'm not sure I can move on.  In fact I feel strongly that I can't.  I'm too scared that their good phase is *too good* and am afraid of how it will end... I am constantly waiting for that call.

Meanwhile, my heart is breaking for my grandmother.  She fell ON THE SAME DAY that my sister had the first very big scary fight.  This stuff has been concurrent every step of the way and the one I deemed life threatening and poured all my energy into (every single day) was not the one in danger of dying.  I'm shocked.  So shocked and saddened and overwhelmed by it all.  And, unfortunately, I'm coming into this from a extremely beaten down emotional place.  There was no break to come up for air and I'm feeling pretty depressed, to be perfectly honest.  Life has been rough, and stressful, and disappointing, and literally life & death for a couple of weeks... and it is very hard to sustain that level of stress for an ongoing period of time.  Hard to be so emotionally distracted and still show up for LIFE... making lunches, washing uniforms, checking homework, remembering that it is "Wacky Hair Day", figuring out the ridiculously complicated benefits choices for open enrollment at Mr F's work, and trying to figure out how and when we can decorate for Christmas.

It seems that I'm always waiting for a crisis to end, to finally take a breather, maybe have a year where it is just a *normal* life.  Without a tornado, new job, new school, broken arm, abused sister, and now dying grandmother.  I'm sure I've missed some things.  We have not had a year without at least one major transition (usually several more), or major medical stress in... well... I'm not sure we have since we left NY.... 11.5 years ago!

There are a lot of things I can't control.  But I'm working on recognizing the things that I can.  My sister's situation is legitimately stressful... dealing with her/my family was surprisingly the MOST stressful part... and that is something I could have avoided or truncated and should not have let it takeover.  I need to choose to disengage from stressful people and relationships and let them think what they will, without feeling I need to defend myself all the time.  I'm fairly sure Julie wouldn't defend her actions if she knew that her motives were in the right place.  I need to stop wasting my life on that.  I waste SO MUCH time on that.

So, anyway, if you are a non-toxic person in my life, just know that I'd like to spend more time with you.  I don't mean to ignore you... it 's just that toxic people tend to take up all the room and I haven't had the strength of character to walk away.  You know... "Oh, nice person that genuinely likes me, I'm sorry I can't have a relationship with you, I'm too busy defending my perfectly reasonable life choices to an asshole that hates me".  It's laughable, but also so sad that so much of my life really has been devoted to that.  I am trying to do better.  I'm trying to see a situation for what it is and let it go... to disengage.  A lot of my close relationships have been modeled on a pretty negative one (my father) and being in the struggle all the time to get someone to like me, see me, recognize me is always about that core relationship.  It draws me to people who are guaranteed not to.  I'm knocking down that first domino now and hoping that the rest will tumbled down in quick succession.  I think that I'll breathe easier when I realize that it is much easier to surround yourself with people that REALLY DO LIKE YOU, than to try and convince people that don't that they should.

Mrs F

PS I was really excited about sending out Christmas boxes... not sure if that is feasible or not this year... but keep an eye on the blog.  If I can, I'll give one away.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

And In Other News

My beloved grandmother, The Cougar, is passing away.

She tripped and fell 3 weeks ago.

No one knows why, but she just isn't pulling through.

One thing led to another and things have progressed very quickly.

A woman who was in good health, and her usual spunky attitude, just 4 short weeks ago at Kid's birthday party is now on hospice.

It's been an overwhelming shock and hard to comprehend.

I believe that her strong faith in an afterlife with her husband and parents and friends that have passed on before her is a comfort to her and that she yearns to join them and end her pain and suffering.

We had a close relationship both when I was a child and recently as an adult.

She was an avid blog reader and enjoyed her Cougar fame.

Mr F lived with her for several months when we were stuck in NC selling our house, firmly cementing her crush on him.

Just a month ago she was making us gag and laugh with her  sexually inappropriate comments towards him.

Now we are driving up to say goodbye.

Because she was a young grandmother (only just 82), and a constant larger than life presence at all our family functions and summer vacations, my girls have always considered her their grandmother, not my grandmother.

This is the first death of a loved one they will remember.

Kid is devastated.

Baby is nervously pretending that she doesn't hear us.

I'm trying to get this right.

Friday, November 30, 2012

She's Making A List

"I'm not buying a giant box of Junior Mints."  Mrs F admonishes Baby.

"Fine.  I'll put them on my Running Away List."  Baby replies.

"Why do you need Junior Mints when you run away?"  Mrs F queries.

"I don't need them to run away."  Baby explains, exasperated.

"I'm putting them on my list of why I'm running away."  She continues.

If you'd like to see Baby in a holiday performance, fear not, there is still time... and plenty of them.

You can catch her in Concordia University's Boar's Head Festival this Saturday
December 1st at 7:30 PM.
Ann Arbor, MI
($8-$15 tickets)

Having seen the rehearsal I can say this is a pretty good holiday production.  No need to pay more for the expensive seats.

Baby and Kid are also performing in the Messiah at the Concordia University Chapel
Sunday, December 16th at 2 PM.
Ann Arbor, MI

Again, if there is anything I've learned in the past few months it is that the Lutherans know music.  
I haven't seen the rehearsals for this yet, but I'm sure it will be fantastic.

Baby will be in a small holiday tap dance recital at 
Dancer's Edge Dance Studio
Thursday, December 20th at 12 PM.
Dexter, MI

Baby is also dancing in a ballet performance as part of a Christmas Eve service 
at the Dexter United Methodist Church.
Monday, December 24th 4:30 PM.
Dexter, MI

If you are around and in need of a little holiday cheer... you know where to go.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's A Long Story

So, I know things have been weird around here.

It comes down to this:

either you believe a victim or you blame a victim.

Mr F and I fall into the former category,

while sadly a SHOCKING number of people in my extended family fall into the latter.

It's a pretty sickening discovery.

And sad.

How someone can believe a boyfriend's story hook line and sinker...

even after the police had been called...

so willing to write off their own daughter as an hysterical idiot rather than abused?

Not willing to drive 1 hour to verify her safety, when no one could locate her.

While Mr F drove 600 miles there and back TWICE in one week to do so.

Not for his own sister... but for MINE.

Only to have him accused of overstepping his bounds (not by the boyfriend but by my own father).

We've been threatened, maligned... it is unbelievable.

People, our minds have been blown.


It never occurred to me that I was supposed to get approval from my father to help my adult sister.

Or that he would be so threatened by our doing so.

And, yet, the abusive relationship makes a LOT of sense now.

So the question is:

If you have opened up your home for an extended period of time, how did it go?

What things worked and what did not?

What do you wish you had known or done differently?

Did you have some kind of set agreement about responsibilities?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

When Your Life Is Taken Over By Full Time Craziness

guess what the last thing you are thinking of is?

whether or not you look fat

so, that is one upside

the downside?

everything else... haha... just kidding (kind of)

the downside is discovering that people who should treat you with respect (at the minimum) don't

maybe because they don't know how to

but also because they are way too busy protecting their egos

sometimes when you start to solve a problem that other people have deemed unsolvable

only because they were not able to solve it

those people will lose their shit if you dare to think you might have a workable solution

they'll do just about anything to prevent you from being able to prove them wrong

even if it requires them to sabotage their own offspring's welfare to stop you

sometimes the truth is so much more disturbing than you ever imagined

and you'd already imagined it to be pretty damn fucked up

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What Up

It's like we've been thrown into a bad bad episode of Jersey Shore or something.

It's definitely a hot bed and I forgot all about my fake/real mentor,

because "What Would Julie Do?"...

um... I wish I knew.  Seriously.  Cleaning up this mess is like 10 full time jobs.

It's so crazy that the girls have often called out from their crafts, or reading, or whatever with...

"You know what the smartest thing to do would be?"  and then they'll lay down the truth.

And we're like... word.

Some things are obvious to everyone but the person that needs to see it.

Friday, November 23, 2012

On This Day After Thanksgiving

I am thankful that I am an adult and when people are narcissistic raging assholes that NEVER change...

I can divorce them from my life.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dear World

This is why blogging is difficult:

Any time I try to use my laptop he sits on it and puts his face in my face. He's the size of a bobcat and when he says "look at me"... you do it.

#1  I have not been working out and I feel terrible about it. Ever since the mousescapades I can't go on my treadmill.  Mr F tried to pretend that they magically disappeared when he removed their habitat (insulation)... but I knew better.  By now there are probably an entire nation of them and they are plotting their extensive upstairs infiltration plan as we speak.

#2A School has been on an upswing.  I'm really not sure what we'll do next year, though.  Kid is getting all As which is fantastic, but we still have 2 hours of homework a night and at least one weekly breakdown (usually on Memory test prep night).  The fact is that this is only 4th grade and the homework situation is only going to get worse next year.  For the most part I'm cool with the academics, but the teacher is not a good teacher and I still have to reteach her everything after school.  Add to that the fact that next year Baby will also have homework and I just don't know that this is a feasible situation.  Kid currently leaves the house for school at 7:35 AM and is done with homework at 6:00 PM... between school, commuting, and homework she is putting in 10 hours and 25 minutes toward school every single day.  She is only awake for 14 hours.  You know?  It just isn't a good life balance.  Plus, she doesn't have weekends off... we have 2 hours of homework to do on Saturday AND Sunday every single weekend.  Plus, while she has made 2 good friends, they are Korean exchange students that are going back to Korea next semester.  That whole thing is very interesting, and telling.  It is not a coincidence that she chose them.  As she said "It's like playing with deaf kids that don't know sign language."  Which means, it's fun and light and superficial.  There is no drama, there are no feelings getting hurt, there are no playdates, or disappointments.  I said "You know, I wonder if you would have liked being a boy.  They seem to be able to just play at recess without it being a big deal."  "Yes!!!" She said.  Being a girl (especially these days, and especially at this age) is different, there are a lot of politics and it just doesn't appeal to her.  I actually respect and am in awe of her ability to avoid and disengage from that.  I still can't do it.  She created with the Koreans exactly what she was looking for... fun with no strings attached.  They love her and she loves them and there is never any drama.
(I actually wonder if her boy craziness is in large part an interest and wish to be part of their fun and playing... I do wish girls could have that freedom more)

 #2B  Baby loves school and is enjoying her Lutheran indoctrination (and I'm not joking... she digs it).  She is doing well and has made good friends and fits in well socially.  BUT She was identified (by them) as "very gifted in higher order thinking" in their Kindergarten testing for conferences and this school couldn't be a worse fit for that.  It is a great fit for a shy anxiety prone middle schooler that likes things very organized and cookie cutter so she can more easily manage ... but... not so much for a think-outside-the-box creative type.  I think I mentioned her ability to draw and write (without any compromise in detail or ability) upside down or to a sideways orientation if she wants?  Yeah, something is going on in that noggin.  She has a fantastic teacher that is actually teaching her things and a wonderfully small class (7 kids), but next year she'd be funneled into a 24 kids 1st grade and have to sit in her desk all day.  There is a school for the gifted in Ann Arbor BUT it's twice what we are paying now for both girls to attend this school... which makes it, technically, 4 times what we can realistically afford on an ongoing basis.  Gah!

#3 I'm looking at homeschooling again, which will allow us to pursue the things that are more stimulating to her (and be able to afford and have time for extracurriculars).  But as I said to the girls... "if we are homeschooling next year we are homeschooling for excellence".  Baby now likes to chime in with "for excellence!" anytime I say homeschooling, now.  Which may mean the use of specialized tutors for some subjects.  Now that I know what Kid is capable of... we're going for it.  There are a lot of great advantages to homeschooling including some awesome programs that allow you to finish an Associate's degree by the time you graduate high school.  Plus, this school they're in is a small school.  We could try homeschooling next year (my first year juggling two curriculums) and if it isn't great or if we don't think it is better than the school, we can always put them back in.  They can go in at anytime and they'll know everyone and it won't be starting back from scratch.  Kid is in favor of homeschooling, and I know when the Koreans go home she's going to really struggle to stay in until the end of the year (which we are 100% doing at this point).  Baby is willing to try it if it means she can participate in gymnastics and dance (which she'd have to give up if she went to 1st grade at St. Paul because of time constraints and cost).  So that is that.  I'm heavily researching different curriculum options which is something I find very interesting... so that's fun.

#4  We are trying to adopt!  A 25 year old!  Things might not pan out but we are hoping to be able to give a good safe place to land and start things over to someone we care about.  The kids are excited, and as I said to Mr F  "It'll be good practice for adopting".  Plus I could use the company, this lifestyle... of driving all over town all day long can get very lonely.  I actually thought about trying to train Big Boy to be my car companion.  Mr F told me that no cat would like that... but I've found plenty of YouTube evidence to prove otherwise!

#5  I have been listening to an old Tony Robbins motivational CD in the car.  People, he says some profound stuff.  And this was an OLD one... he's gotten his schtick much more refined.  Still this was the take away:

If you are in a negative interaction you can change your perception or change your participation.

People, that's Big Time.  I'm really working on that.

I'm also really working on my new catch phrase that I created for my real (but very much embellished for my own inspirational purposes) friend/ mentor (unbeknownst to her):

"That's a hot bed and I'm not going to lie in it"

I think that can catch on.... feel free to spread it around.  It's such a great visual.  I'm using that all the time.

More on my real/imaginary friend/mentor later.  Her name is Julie and she is really an amazing person.  But I've made her more amazing in my mind.  I don't think she'll mind.  I also like to pull a WWJD? with her when I know I'm entering a toxic situation.  Her name is Julie so the WWJD? works perfectly. Usually my imaginary Julie response is "That's a hot bed and I'm not going to lie in it!".  This makes me laugh hysterically... but you know.... she's on to something.  Try it.  That phrase is empowering.

Also, on a similar front I've spent an awful lot of time worrying about Kid and her social life.  And some of these revelations (the boy thing, the Koreans, my fake/real mentor and her fake slogan, Tony Robbins, etc) has all come together and made me think about my own projections.  Kid did not come out as a child.  She came out as a Julie!  She already knows a hot bed when she sees it and she sure as hell is not going to lie in it.  I on the other hand am still working on the impulse to ask the occupants to roll over so I can squeeze myself in.  Kid knows herself more and is more comfortable with herself than I've ever been.  She has had MANY social opportunities, and she does have friends, but more often than not (nearly 99.5% of the time) she doesn't like groups of girls (which at 10 is the option), doesn't like parties, or large gatherings where you don't know how to quite fit in, she doesn't like extracurricular meet ups or classes.  She likes to play anonymously on a playground, or at a 2 week summer camp where there are not huge emotional strings attached, or have a one on one playdate with a couple of kids she's invested in.  She's fulfilled by that.  And any need I think she has beyond that is not about her but about me.

Okay, that's a lot.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

More House Makeovers

Okay, so I hope you can appreciated that we are real people.

This is our laundry room we are talking about, AND we actually do laundry in it.

We don't have vignettes and accent lamps strewn about.

We have cat litter and underwear strewn about.

Get it?



 This last shot is standing in front of the sink and looking at the back wall.  Like every other room in our house, this one started out a shade of off white... the same shade on the walls, trim, doors, ceiling, etc... it was asylum time all the time when we moved in.  Also, please notice that pathetic light fixture.  I really don't think it was like that when we first saw our house, but it was like that when we moved in. It stayed like that for nearly two years.  Don't worry, you never would have noticed it, all the dirty laundry would have distracted your eye.  I promise you.

Now, note what is most unfortunate:  the laundry room is also the access point between out kitchen on the right and our family room on the left.  The other door leads to the basement/garage.  This is UNFORTUNATE!!!  Every person that comes through our house will at some point go through our laundry room.  No one wants that!  If we had a million dollars we'd put up a wall and enclose the laundry room and form a hallway for connecting the kitchen to the family room.  But we don't.  So...


We painted the room a light green with bright white trim.  Mr F removed the under sink cabinet doors and painted the cabinet and shelves a nice dark grey color.  I made the curtains, the under sink one now hides a cat litter box! I also added that chevron cotton throw rug (for $8! and the pattern makes it look blurry in the pic but it is sharp in real life), which kind of keeps kitty litter from being tracked all over the house.  Mr F hung that vintage chandelier (it's just taller than his head), and added the decorative hooks from World Market to the back wall.  We finished it with the Boston Fern, which I kind of think makes all the difference in the world.  Think about plants, people!  

All in all:  $13 for the hooks, $80 for the chandelier, $15 for fabric & curtain rods, $10 for the plant, $8 for the throw rug, and $60 for paint (I think, that is not my department... you could do it for less but we buy expensive no VOC paint).  Whole room was under $200.  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Birthday My Beautiful Ruby

I've been meaning to mention...

Kid turned the big 1-0 yesterday.

Every time I sit down to compose a post about it, I start to cry.

Not because I'm sad she growing up, on the contrary, every year she grows more and more into the most loyal and loving friend I've ever known.

I cry because my love for her, and her impact on my life, is too overwhelming to verbalize.

She's had a hard load to carry physically and mentally and emotionally.

She's had epilepsy, a cataract, two eye surgeries, abdominal migraines, OCD, she's had two major out-of-state moves leaving all her friends behind, been in a car accident, witnessed a hold up, and lived through a tornado... and she's only just ten years old!

So maybe it is no surprise that she is wise beyond her years.

Or that she watched Pride and Prejudice last weekend and totally got it.  I mean she was laughing hysterically.  And that's with the satire, sarcasm, and the old fashioned British dialogue and the fast mumbly delivery!

God, I love that girl.

If you lived nearby you'd totally want to come over and park yourself on the couch near her station (the good chair and ottoman under the good light where she seemingly speed reads a novel a day, her spent books and used kleenexes littering the ground around her feet) and let her cheer you to no end with her witty and bitingly sarcastic remarks about anyone who may have wronged you that day.

When you laugh she will suppress a prideful smile behind her book, but her eyes will glint like diamonds.

This girl is smart and fiercely loyal.

She didn't get a lick of my physical genes but as she says...

"Thank God I got your personality!"

Through nature or nurture she does... but infinitely better.

She has a confidence, sense of self, and a pure motiveless and selfless spirit of giving and kindness that I can only play act at.

I hope that the fact that she has never had to fight for, or question, our love and support, or our firm belief that she is a gift to our lives, coupled with our acceptance and enjoyment of her nature, has helped develop that strong sense of self and confidence in her being and her abilities, and that it will sustain her as life unfolds its challenges around her.

Childhood hasn't been a walk in the park for her, but I have a feeling adulthood will suit her quite well.

And I fully intend to live next door, so I don't have to miss a minute of it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hope Everyone Is Okay... Because I'm Certainly Not

I was huddled up having a major tornado PTSD anxiety attack as the wind speeds picked up to something insanely ridiculous last night.

And, people, I know what 140 mph wind speeds look like.

Last night wasn't looking (or sounding) that much better in comparison.

Me no likey.

It was no f'ing joke at our house last night.

Who knew it was going to be like this all the way in the middle of Michigan?!  For the love of God!

We still have one massive tree outside Baby's window, so we moved her to my room and Mr F slept with her while I went and lay hyperventilating all night long in Kid's guest bed.

I felt like a wild animal with all my instincts kicking in... and people... they were not telling me to go to sleep as Mr F had suggested.

They were telling me to WIG THE FUCK OUT.

(and for the record the cats' instincts were also telling them to wig the fuck out... so I think I may have been onto something there)

Thankfully the wind speeds didn't really pick up until the girls' were in bed so they didn't have to know what was going on.

We thought about keeping them home from school today because the wind speeds might make the highway commute we have dangerous.

But Mr F also worried leaving them home with me all day might be dangerous to their psyche.

Hopefully things will die down before I have to go pick them up.

Because what would be most damaging to their psyche is what might happen with me + minivan + wind gusts + semi-trucks + highway merging.

Just saying.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Misheard Lyrics.... Kid Addition

At the girls' school they sing a lot of crazy praise songs.  When I was there for Family Day I was shocked to hear them sing a Christian parody of "We Will Rock You" by Queen.  That just seemed wrong on so many different levels.  And, yet, it was also totally awesome.  But still wrong.  Wrong wrong.

Anyway, this morning Kid and I were reflecting on how wrong it was, and we looked up the praise version to figure out how they changed "big disgrace":

(To the tune of "We Will Rock You")

Jesus was a cool dude,
40 days with no food,
Then he wrote the golden rule and that's O.K.
He's got love on his face,
Full of grace!
He's spreadin' his word all over the place!
Singin', We will, we will
Praise him yeah, praise him WOO (2x)

"Full of grace!"  

Kid started laughing and revealed she'd been chanting out...

"He lives in Space!"every time they sang it.

Which was especially funny.

We had some people warn us fervently that the school would indoctrinate our children.  

I really wasn't worried about it.

#1 We're talking about Lutherans not Nazis.

#2 It's clearly too late.

#3 You can't indoctrinate kids who are already being indoctrinated. (see below)

Which brings me to...

In terms of non-Christian Christian interpretations how wrong is it that in order to help Kid memorize her 7th and 8th Commandment and meanings, as defined by her teacher,I gave her some sinful acronyms?  That's what I thought. I mean if it's alright to change the lyrics to "We Will Rock You" to suit your purposes I think there is room for a little creativity on my part.  With that in mind, for "betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation"  I suggested a simple "BSH" or "bullshit hell".  The second, for "defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way."  I suggested "DSE" or "Dad sucks eggs".  People, I know my child, and this was a very titillating prospect for her.  She was able to get a 100% while at the same time inwardly defying the system.  I call that a success.  Am I raising her up right, or what?!  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Two Roads Diverged In A Wood

and I,

I took the one that went straight to a McDonald's hot apple pie.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ha ha ha ha.... Life is So Funny... (plus updated house pictures)

So, as per the norm, just when I think I'm ready to move forward in one direction

something come up and hobbles me:

Or I should say hobbles her, which in turn hobbles me.

Last Wednesday Kid tripped and fell (hard) during gym.  She tried to catch herself and the force of the impact broke her radius.  That girl is so insanely stoic, though, that it was hard to figure that out right away.  The ER splinted it and said that's all she'd need.  We wouldn't even have to go to the Ortho clinic if we didn't want to.  Hmm... not so sure about that advice.  They made a follow-up in three weeks with the clinic "just in case" and said we could just cancel it if everything seemed fine.  The Orthopedic clinic called the next morning and said she needed to come in for a hard cast on Tuesday.  They did not agree with the ER.  While a cast is certainly more of an inconvenience, I'd rather not worry all the time that the splint isn't on properly, or hard enough to really protect her if she hits it at school.  Without a hard cast she's pretty limited in what she can do.

This morning we got up extra early to account for having to dress her.  And I'm going to hit Value World to see if I can't find a cardigan and a coat I can cut the arm off of.  This is one instance where the uniform is a bigger hinderance than it is a help.  Now Mr F will unpack her bag in the morning and I'll get there early to pack her up.  It is her left arm (and she's right handed) but she's not the most coordinated with the use of both of her limbs!  She'll have to sit out of gym and I'm hoping her teacher will let her work on her homework during that time which would be a huge bonus.

In other news, this accident trumped our weekend plans to head to Chicago.  Boo.  And cost us just as much.  Double Boo.

Mr F used the extra time to paint our dining room ceiling in preparation for hanging our chandelier.  It's going to happen, people!  Maybe even before 2013!  He also weatherstripped our doors (why we went through 2 winters with 1/2" gaps blowing cold air in I do not know... I did request it 2 years ago), installed my new programmable thermostat (which has been sitting in the bag for 1 year), new coat hooks (which I love... so I can move some of the 1 million coats off of the coat rack and the kids can actually reach to put their coats and bags away)...

(the door and trim are white... so keep that in mind when you assess our wall color... it is not mustard yellow, I swear, kind of a wheat color.  The hooks are a camel color with red and blue designs from Cost Plus World Market and were $7 each.  I got some green ones for the laundry room.)

See, look not mustard AT ALL:
I told you I wasn't lying.

He also made some serious ground finishing up our exterior paint...


Note our house had pinky beige aluminum siding, light aqua trim (wtf?!), off white doors and soffits, hunter green accents (window frames, gutters, railings, etc.), and black (with dark bluish tint) shingles on the roof.

 Thanks to the tornado...
We now have HardieBoard plank siding which we have painted a dark indigo (risky!).  All of the trim, gutters and soffits are painted a bronze color (kind of brownish/gray depending on light).  The walk railings are now a deep dark chocolate brown and our doors are a russet color.  Our shingles are Weathered Wood by Timberline... so much better, I promise you.  I think now that everything has come together it looks really great.  Such an improvement over the original house colors!  It only took a EF3 and  7 months to get here ;)

Window boxes scheduled to make their arrival on the scene sometime in spring of 2013!

(awesome terracotta urn style rain barrels are from overstock.com)

I took care of Kid.  Wrote out her book report for her, taught her this week's memory (5th &6th commandments), and did her Science test review with her. I planted 70 spring bulbs, went grocery shopping (and actually put them away!), fed the crew, made curtains for the laundry room, and made these cool Christmas Trees from catalogs:

(surprisingly fast and easy!  Just fold the page in at a right angle toward the seam.  Then fold that page again making a tight paper airplane like fold back into the seam.  Fold the bottom up to be flush with the bottom of the catalog.  Repeat 100 times.)

Mr F and I finally finished the first four seasons of Breaking Bad.  I have mixed feelings about that show, although it picked up a bit at the end.

Kid and I watched Wives & Daughters on Netflix late into the night while we waited for her pain medicine to kick in.  I have only good feelings about that series.

And the girls and I (mostly the girls) have been watching The Road to Avonlea (from the library) and are loving it. It's like everything you remember Little House On The Prairie being until you watch an old LHOTP and you can't imagine how something so obviously filmed on a sound stage and not accurate to the books was so successful.   The Road to Avonlea has 20 more years of TV making know how on its side and it shows.

So, all in all, we used our time wisely.

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