Thursday, April 30, 2009

So what do you do?

What do you do with a pre teen boy who hasn't been parented?

What do you do with a pre teen boy who doesn't know how to be parented?
What do you do when you don't know what to do?
My relationship with Josh has had it's ups and downs. We seem to do OK for awhile. And then... boom... I get hit with a dose of reality. Josh does not like to be parented. At least not by me. He takes offense and pouts with every single thing I do. As long as life is going along swimmingly and I don't rock the boat, we do just fine.
Then comes homeschooling long division. And correction about behavior. And punishment.
And in reality, I am the one who suffers the most punishment. I get the glares. The silent treatment. I get ignored. I get ostracized.
Clearly, teaching him how to do long division and how to read is a crime.
We've come a long ways... but clearly, we have a long ways to go.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

THE prom dress of all prom dresses...

Let me tell you something about Jordan ... when she wants something... she makes it happen. We looked for a specific prom dress all over this country. It was back ordered on the internet and wouldn't be shipped until AFTER prom. Not good. We drove all over Kansas City trying to get it.

Jordan started calling all of the Anthropologie stores in the country. Of all places, she found it in Chicago. They just happened to have one left... and it just happened to be in her size!

I love the description of the dress:

"Black-and-white stripes and a bit of silk trim take cover beneath a canopy of draped khaki canvas, which in turn shelters a pair of pockets."

If you knew Jordan, you would see how perfect it is for her to be wearing a canvas and silk dress with pockets to the prom. Now if I could just get her to wear black converse. That would be perfect.

While we were in Chicago, Jeff texted us and said, "I think the dress is here..."

We excitedly texted back asking what it looked like and if it was the right dress.

He replied, "It's not the dress, it's a coin purse and some knick knack crap."

I don't know if you have noticed or not, but we have a kind of weird sense of humor here at Ellerbeeville. It would be nothing out of the ordinary to play a practical joke to make our kids freak out about something so important. And we would take it out to the end.

So we text back, "Yeah, right. Whatever."

It's difficult to hear humor in a text message, but when Jeff replied that he was not joking, we started freaking out. What? A coin purse and knick knack crap?

That's not what we wanted.

Jordan texted her best friend and prom date Drew to tell him that her dress came, but it was a coin purse.

He replied, "Really? Is it that small?"

After we got home from Chicago, Jordan was able to get to the bottom of the mix up. Somewhere in the world, a Joanna got a beautiful dress instead of her coin purse and knick knack crap.

Anthropologie came through though and took care of it immediately!

This beautiful dress was overnighted, arrived yesterday and it fits perfectly!

Love it!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sit back and relax as you listen ...

As you all know, I am a huge Coldplay fan, as well as all kinds of music. A friend sent me this video, and I wanted to share it with you.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Ellerbee Animal Rescue?

Do as I say, not as I do?
Not here at Ellerbeeville. In every single day, I try to think of how I can be a role model for my kids. How can I teach them what is important? How can I help mold them into the people I want them to become? What traits are important to us? I know too often, they catch me saying something that is not that said in the loving attitude I want them to have. They catch me all the time... not taking the time to do the right thing.

Last week, we were driving through a busy intersection when we saw a little beagle puppy wandering around in the middle of the street. Typically, I don't stop to pick up stray animals. I am, as you all probably know, ALWAYS late and ALWAYS running from one event to another. The kids didn't even see the little dog about to meet his maker at the corner of Kansas and Walnut. But for some reason, I pulled into a driveway, threw the car in reverse and went back to the intersection. I stopped traffic, got out of the car and ran around the intersection chasing the poor little, scared puppy. My kids were all cheering for me from the car. People were honking, several people were waving at me, with a funny hand gesture... but I just kept blocking traffic, and finally got little "Lucy" to come with me to the car.

I called the number of Lucy's collar. I got an answering machine. I started to panic, thinking that I might end up with another dog... I call Jordan to google the address on the collar so that I can at least drop little Lucy off at her house.

My phone rings. It's Lucy's owner. I bet she's so happy I saved her dog... right?

She goes on to tell me that they live right by there and the dog just likes to go to the intersection to "look" at the cars. I explained that she was about to be looking at the cars from underneath a couple of tires... She never once said thank you... or I'm so glad you saved my dog. Just that I wasted my time and that the dog was just fine in the middle of the busy intersection. "She just likes to play down there..." I explained that her dog was playing alright... playing chicken with the oncoming traffic.

All this time, I have my phone on speaker phone because, well quite honestly, I have a new phone and don't know how to take it off speaker phone. Can be quite awkward at times, but came in handy for the kids to hear what Lucy's owner was saying.

We head towards Lucy's house and Justine, who keeps calling the dog a bagel, bursts into tears. "Why didn't you tell her that Lucy jumped out the window of the car and ran away? Then we could take her home." Yeah right!

The kids questioned again and again why a pet owner wouldn't care where her dog was or care that it could be hurt. I wasn't sure what to say. We took Lucy back to the bad pet owner. You can learn a lot from the conversations coming from the backseat. Hopefully, they also learned about thinking of others, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, as well as taking the time to do the right thing, even when you don't have the time.

The next day, Jordan came home with this little, itty, bitty baby kitty. It was the smallest thing I had ever seen. I doubt this kitty was even weaned yet. We fed it milk from a baby medicine dropper. It's eyes were all matted shut and it looked very sick. Jordan took care of the little thing for days until she found (was forced to find) it another home. The kids all cried when she took the poor little thing to its new home.

And so that is our week at the Ellerbee Animal Rescue. Now if someone would just come rescue the pets I already have.

"Free to a Good Home".... dog that barks and yips at all hours of the day and night. Dog who loves to dig in the dirt and ruins my yard at every opportunity?
Maybe I should make it:
"Free to a Mediocre Home"?
"I will pay you to take my dog..."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Soccer pics... with my new camera!


I love technology

What would I do without my computer, my awesome new phone and my I pod?
Jordan and I looked ridiculous on the train... both of us with our own little technology set up.
Yes, I love technology, but not as much as you, you see... But still, I love technology... Always and forever.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Jordan's trip to U of C... my trip to introspective empty nested depression

Day one
This train is moving along so fast, bouncing my thoughts from here to there. In case, you don’t recognize it, the train is a metaphor for my life. The Cowboy Junkies “I’m so lonesome I could cry” blares in my I pod. The I pod Jordan had to teach me how to use. Once again, another metaphor… Jordan has been the one to teach me many things. And not just the easy stuff. She taught me how to grow up; how to be selfless; how to dream big. I get up to walk around on the train, and just like my life, if I don’t hold on, I lose my balance and fall flat on my face. The landscape outside moves by so quickly, if I try too hard to keep up and watch each tree pass, I get dizzy. I force myself to look away from time to time.

Perhaps because I am an introspective person by nature or very possibly the fact that I am preparing to send my dearest, oldest daughter away to college, I use this quiet time to imagine what it will be like to actually take this trip again in a few months and come home empty handed. What will it be like to actually leave her in Chicago? What will it be like to not have her crawling in our bed to watch Grey’s Anatomy? How will I feel to know that she’s gone?
As we travel to Chicago this week, I realize we are as close as we’ve ever been. I say that now, just as I always said that whatever age my children were was my “favorite.” I also realize that as we go for our college visit at the University of Chicago, that most likely after this summer, my daughter and I will probably never reside in the same city. I feel like I should feel more somber; more sadness. It scares me that I haven’t had a nervous breakdown over this. What I feel at this moment is overwhelming happiness, excitement and joy for her. Perhaps there is a small amount of melancholy mixed in.

I know that I will miss her. But I think I'll be OK.

Day two
We made it to the University of Chicago via mass transit and after a few mishaps with a map, made it to the newly admitted students orientation and had a very successful day. Luckily, we had been to the University a couple of times before, so we somewhat knew our way around. Jordan seemed a little apprehensive from the beginning. Nervous. Who wouldn’t be? I was nervous for her. But I was OK. She was OK.

At the end of the day, when it was time for the parents to leave, I got up to leave… and kept looking back at her. She never looked back. I kept walking. In a daze. I walked out of the building to go on the parents tour. This was probably the best thing the University could have done; keep all the students in the room to hook them up with their sponsor and get them to their dorm. The parents, on the other hand, get on a bus and are wisked away for a tour of Hyde Park and Chicago. Once again, I was fine. When I sat on the bus and realized that in a few months, I will be getting on a bus and leaving her there, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. I looked around to see if any other parents looked like they were fighting back tears. They all looked thrilled. I didn’t see a wet eye in the bunch. I make myself straighten up. I will myself not to cry.

Then I remember when Jordan and I moved to Lubbock, Texas, by ourselves when she was three. I was starting a new job. She was starting a new daycare. I remember every detail of the day. How she cried and hung on my leg… “Don’t leave me.” “Mommy please, don’t leave me.” I left her with both of us in tears. I cried all the way to work. I’m sure she was fine.

She was fine then, just as I’m sure she is fine tonight. I sat on the bus, texting my friends, trying to get my mind off of what my future of leaving her will be like. I am still fighting back the tears.

And so, my night, the night I was so anticipating being all about me… the night with no children… no responsibilities… involved me shopping for my kids and going to a bookstore that I’m sure Jordan would have loved. We would have spent hours looking at all the titles, browsing, showing each other books. And then I bought a big piece of chocolate and headed back to the hotel to eat my feelings.

Once again, the Cowboy Junkies whisper in my ear, "I'm so lonesome, I could die..."

Day three

I made my way to the southside of Chicago lugging not only my own luggage, computer bag, purse, camera bag, shopping bags from the previous night, but Jordan’s backpack as well. I was met by a nearly radiant Jordan, who stated, “I love this place. I stayed in the dorm. I made friends. I sat in on a class, which we had outside under a tree…..” And the list went on and on. If I heard, “I don’t want to leave here… ever…” once, I heard it a thousand times. I met some of the kids already going to school here. They were just like her. They were quirky. They were smart. They were different. They were University of Chicago students. And now, she was one of them.

We left Chicago both feeling good about our adventures. We left knowing 100% that is the place for her. We left knowing that she is supposed to be there. We left knowing that we will soon be back. And I left knowing that the next time, I’ll be going home without her. I have approximately 5 months to get used to that fact. I think I’ll be OK. I plan on taking her on a big shopping spree right before freshman orientation… that will for sure make me want to leave her there.... shopping with her always makes me want to leave her somewhere...

Monday, April 20, 2009

5 hour energy chasers...


Miss Mississippi.....

Justine was Miss Mississippi in the history banquet. She was so absolutely adorable. She did a great job, even remembering in her memorized speech that Elvis Presley was born in Mississippi, and Root Beer was invented in Biloxi.

She did a great job and we are so proud of her!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

New Camera!

I am loving my new Nikon D 60. Although I'm still perusing the manual, I am having fun taking some pictures of my pretty kids!

This picture.....
becomes this...

This picture...

becomes this one...


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Why University of Chicago?

Check this out!

Ellerbee Girls Bonding Adventure

Decisions, Decisions...

The day started out innocently enough. We made a list of parks that we like around Springfield to investigate for Jordan's graduation party. First we went to Founder's Park. This is a park downtown. They often show movies here in the summer. It's a very industrial looking park with a lot of stone and not very much grass.
It has a lot of historical significance with pictures about the history of Springfield.
I like it a lot. Jordan wants something with more nature.
And so we move on to Jordan Valley Park.
Also downtown, but with a fountain you can play in and more grass.
I also like JVP, but it has the potential of being kind of boring for a graduation party. No playground equipment or anything to do really.
The girls did enjoy playing with their shadows.
We went with a see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil and ignore all evil theme for this picture of all my girls.
Bored easily with shadow puppets, we moved on to Jordan's number one choice. Sequiota Park. We used to go to this park a lot when Jordan was little. Perhaps that why she has such fond memories of it.... after today, we all have fond memories of it.
Sequiota park has a cave. A pavillion. A walking trail. A pond with inches of scum on the surface. Bike trails. Picnic tables. Playground equipment. Ducks.
We decide to go on a nature walk.
That's where this adventure takes an ugly, dirty, terrifying turn.
Looks serene enough, doesn't it?
I can almost look at this picture and think that I am anywhere else...
Things begin to take that ugly turn when the girls discover several large trees down, laying across a running creek. Granted, the water was only about a foot deep, however all I could think about was Leslie in A Bridge to Terabithia being swept down the river to her death.
I am terrified of heights. And I mean terrified. Paralyzingly terrified. I keep moving forward, in a kind of catatonic state.
Of course, the children take off across the smaller section of the creekbed. Jaiden goes tiptoeing across the sticks. Jameson, in typical Jameson style, just barrels through the water, shoes and all, not caring at all that she isn't using any of the debri in the water as steps. Justine goes in right after Jaiden. She falls down. On Jaiden. Jaiden goes flying into the water. Justine follows. Shoes are floating down the river. Both are soaked. Jaiden is screaming at Justine.
It was a nice, bonding moment for all. I silently wish I had gone to the bathroom before this little hike. Laughing that hard, needing to pee and being around water... could end very badly for me. But I trudge forward.... still somewhat catatonic.
And then... we come to this mother of all trees across the creek. It's got to be at least 20 feet in the air... OK maybe it was more like 10. But for someone who is so afraid of heights, like me, it might as well have been 100 feet in the air.
Here is the monster log...
And here, my friends, is a picture of my foot, as I walked across that log. Yes, I even got my camera out of my pocket and took a picture because I knew NO one would believe that I would EVER walk across a log all acrobat of China-style.
So as if needing to pee, being around water and laughing wasn't enough to challenge my bladder control, add absolute FEAR to the mix.
The girls were all cheering me on. I was screaming, "I'm freaking out here." I contemplate turning around, but I can't even do that. I consider getting on my hands and knees to crawl the rest of the way, but I am unable to do anything other than continue the inch by inch baby steps in my soaking wet shoes which now have no traction on the bark of the tree. The end of the log is like a bright light beckoning me... daring me to keep going. I finally reach the end and breath for the first time in multiple minutes. I am light headed. I still need to pee.
Of course, my girls crossed the tree like it a 5 foot wide side walk. Miss Jameson pretty much skipped across it. She probably could have turned cartwheels across it.
The others were a little more cautious. Did I mention that they all went across barefooted and I was the one carrying 4 pairs of shoes when I had to walk across?

We were really doing well until Justine fell...and then fell again... and again. Suddenly she was like a magnet being drawn to the ground. The last straw was when she fell onto a large rock while crossing the creek. The drama that girl can put down is amazing. She was screaming and crying and blaming me for "making" her come here in the first place.
No, she wasn't hurt... too badly. She kept screaming about a broken patella. "My fibula... my tibia... my patella." She was screaming so loudly that I was concerned someone would think we really did hurt her. She would settle down and as soon as we looked at her, she would begin screaming at the top of her lungs. Jordan and I continue to laugh at her in a manner which really did lack any compassion. She had a bruise on her knee and was very, very dirty, but her bones were intact.
After long hot baths, we all settled into our PJ's for dinner. Justine, of course, had to put her leg up on a pillow with an ice pack. Continuing to cry intermittently and telling Jeff how it was "mommy's fault" that she "broke" her patella.
We had a wonderful adventure, and the location of the graduation party was decided.
I hope they don't expect all the guests to have to cross the log.
That would be some party! You wanna come?