Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'm am idiot...

Because I'm so concerned about my kids safety, I try to always make sure that what they're playing with is safe.

Boys will be boys and my boys love their airsoft guns.

I make them wear their safety goggles, and I have repeatedly told them to avoid the face, the ears, their "nether" regions and exposed skin.

Now I hear them going on and on about shooting each other with their airsoft guns and how it didn't hurt, I thought I'd better make sure.

They lied. It does hurt. It really hurts. It totally hurts.


Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dewey Decimal Hater...

Today we packed up all of our school stuff and went to the library. It's good to switch it up a bit. To round off the day, we did a Dewey Decimal Scavenger Hunt. I know it sounds really boring, but it really is so much fun. The kids were begging all day to do the scavenger hunt, so I used it as leverage all day to get them through their assignments. Let's call it their dewey reward.

We were in the 000 section, which contains unexplained phenomena, computer science, general information. We were learning to research and were looking for things such as: how many players there are on a hockey team, who was the 12th president, what is the capital of Syria, when did Pablo Picasso die?...

We were doing it and we were learning.

We were being quiet.

I noticed there was a man about 15 feet away from us on his computer. He began sighing heavily. At first I thought perhaps he was having trouble getting connected to the free library internet. But the sighing was SO exaggerated, I was worried that he was having some sort of asthma attack.

But we continued on with our learning. Because that's what we do. And that's what the PUBLIC library is for. That's what I pay my taxes for... so that I can go to the public library to teach my children if I so choose.

Then this 50ish kind of greasy mullet having, jean jacket wearing, troll, jumps up, slams his computer shut, yanks his power cord out of the wall, walks by, still SIGHING heavily, and stops to glare at me as we are sitting around a small table by the 000 section in the library.

As he walks off, I ask rather sing songily, "were we disturbing you?" Seriously, I wasn't meaning to be confrontational or rude. I really wondered. I can't imagine that talking quietly in the corner of a library 15 feet away from someone would elicit that type of response.

He walks back and gets in my face and screams, "Why yes, yes you were..."

Then he stomps off to the other side of the library, continuing to SIGH heavily.

This man had a serious SIGHING problem.

Really. Really? Really. How old are you?

My kids are looking at me for direction. Their mouths are agape. We are all silent.

Now feeling confrontational, I call out, still sing songily, "I'm sorry. I hope you don't find any children on that side of the library trying to learn. It's so annoying."

He said something else, which I'm glad I couldn't hear.

So now, we load up our stuff because I have allowed this a**hole to ruin our wonderful day. Excuse my language, but at the time, that's the nicest thing I could have called this man.

I seriously had to fight the urge to not jump on this man's back like a spider monkey. I don't consider myself to be confrontational, aggressive or argumentative, but it took every ounce of self-control I had to NOT get in this man's face and tell him exactly what I thought of him.

I know that there will be readers who think that's a horrible thing to say. It's a horrible thing to admit. I seriously don't consider myself to be agressive or confrontational, but I guess I'm also not afraid of my shadow or afraid to stand up for myself either. I credit where I work for developing this personality trait, and I usually consider it a good thing. Today, I was cursing it.

We drove home in silence. I was silent and imagining what it would have been like to have jumped on his back, pulling out his greasy mullet like my inner spider monkey wanted to...

Once we got home, I shared my story with a friend who had a similar anger control issue today, and I started to laugh. And laugh. And laugh. And laugh.

The kids and I started thinking and talking about what was going on in his man's life that would make him so very, very angry. We came up with several different scenarios one of which involved him losing his job at the manure factory...

And we considered the fact that we really don't know what's going on in his life. Just like we don't know what's going on in the personal life of that person who just cut you off in traffic, or the lady in the check out line who was rude, or that quiet kid on the soccer team... we just don't know what struggles other people have.

Justine puts her two cents worth in by saying, "I just don't think he likes your dewey decimal thing..."

We started talking about how important it is to not let your inner monkey out.

I told them.

I'm not going to pretend to be perfect, not to you and not to my kids.

I told them how angry I was. I told them how I wanted to lash out at that man. Ok, let's be honest, I basically wanted to assault him.

So then we talked about what I did to keep from doing that.

I prayed.

I counted to ten.

I prayed again.

I counted to twenty.

I prayed.

And I turned around and walked away.

We also talked about how important it is to have self-control. Even if you're a 50ish troll at the library irriated by 5 cute kids. It's not OK to treat people like that. It's not OK to behave like a 2 year old throwing a fit in public. It's not OK to do to anyone what that man did to us.

It really brought home the idea that the way we behave on our worst days tells the world who we are on our best days. It really gave credit to my ongoing lecture that learning to control your anger is one of the most important things you can learn.

I went through several different scenarios with the kids about how to "turn the other cheek." I gave them situations and they gave me the answers.

Finally, I said, "What if someone makes you made at soccer?"

Jack's response, "I'd slide tackle them..."

So... obviously we're still learning this very difficult, very frustrating lesson. And I have to admit, as we drove back by the library for soccer practice about 30 minutes later, I still wanted to stop and find that guy and tell him what I thought of him.

But I didn't. And that's the important thing.

And if I were to see that man tomorrow at the library, I will thank him for opening up that conversation.

We all learned so much at the library today... and some things weren't even on our assignment lists.

"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well."

Matthew 5:38-40


Text Message Tuesday

And now.....
Drum roll please....
The best text messages of the week.....

*not from my daughter... but another college freshman who I absolutely adore and consider to be my 7th child.

Message: "I'm in the dining hall with my backpack stealing some china for my dorm to return later on in the semester and my face was sly but that just made me smile hard."

Reply: "HEHEHEHEHEHE. You criminal."

Message: "I know rite?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!"


*sometimes it seems like the answers are so obvious, I don't even know why I waste my time and energy on clicking out a reply.

Message: "How's your bike ride?"

Reply: "Headed home. Jack fell in the creek."

Message: "Of course."


*we even pray via text messages... well kinda.

Message: "Justine's prayer tonight for dinner... Thank you for letting Mommy get home and that Jordan is a grown woman and we all lived happily ever after. Amen."


*text messages can convey such raw emotion

Message: "I'm gonna go lay in your bed and sob."

Reply: "Aww. That's so sad."

Message: "Kids are so happy we are home! I probably won't have time to sob... but I want to."

Reply: "Tell them I miss them."

Message: "I will. Have fun at Hogwarts."


*just sharing a little mothering meltdown

Message: "Why can all 5 of my kids be within 5 feet of each other without acting like complete jerks?"

Message: "I mean can't. Geez. Sorry all the screaming and fighting is interferring with my thought processes..."

Reply: "Probably the same reason two of mine are the same way. I'd love to know the answer to that ? myself."


*for those of you not blessed with gastrointestinal issues... IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome.

Message: "IBS sucks."

Reply: "Actually it blows."

Message: "You're gross."

*text messaging is a good way for me to share the good, the bad, the disgusting, and the hysterical.

Message: "Justine just got kicked in the face with a soccer ball... Her nose started bleeding and she's crying and blood snot is going every where. And she stops crying and says 'it looks like catalina.'"

Reply: "gross."

Reply: "And ouch."

Message: "She's begging me to take her to the hospital for an x ray."

Reply: "An xray! I have to say it again, she would."


*sometimes I rely on my texting friends a little too much and am quite lost without them

Message: "Where are you? I need you..."

Message: "I am sending the check for January vacation. Do I make it out to you or someone else? Sorry I haven't sent it to you yet... Is that why you're avoiding me?"

Message: "Seriously. It's just money. Nothing is disrupt our friendship over... "

Message: "I never took you for such a shallow person. If you are dead in a ditch... well then I'm sorry for all of this."

Message: "I miss you."

Reply: "Sorry. Forgot my phone in the diaper bag. Thought I lost it once I realized I'd gone a whole day without texting."

Reply: "I literally came home from church, took a nap and then watched 3 episodes of gilmore girls when I thought 'Gina never responded to me again last night... I must have made her mad.' Are we really both so co-dependent to our text messaging?"

Message: "I was so scared for you. I still can't catch my breath..."


*if the girls only knew...

Message: "Did I tell you that Josh's friend's parent told me that he told all the girls he got so fast by running from the hyennas in Ethiopia. Haha."

Reply: "Jax and I are cracking up. That Josh!"

Message: "I didn't tell them that the first time he saw a hyenna in a zoo... he freaked out."

Reply: "Oh. You should share that."



Monday, September 28, 2009

Not me Monday

Welcome back to another Not Me Monday created by MckMama!

I did not load up all of these bikes on the back of my car and then drive 20 mph across town, completely expecting one if not all of them to fall off at any minute.

I did not wave on the traffic behind me, simply wanting to spare their lives from what was sure to be a huge disaster caused by me.

My son did not fall in the freaking creek, even after I told him a million times to be careful.

I did not know full well that he would be the one to fall in the creek even after I told him a million times to be careful.

I definitely did not bake brownies and put birthday candles in them for my daughter's baby doll twins... Sam and MacKensa.

I did not allow her to use her tooth fairy money at the educational store to purchase Sam a musical clacker because she loves music, and a small animal figurine for MacKensa because she loves animals... OR is it the other way around?
I always forget...

I definitely did not make the entire household sing happy birthday to twins Sam and MacKensa just because it made Justine so incredibly happy.

My lovely husband did not give her a lecture on the finer points of parenting and let her know what a huge responsibility she has taken on with those twins.

I did not skip a morning soccer game to sleep after working all night and end up promising to cuddle these two plastic grandchildren.

Sam looks freaky doesn't she?
Or it that MacKensa?
I forget which one's which.

I did not miss my son's first goal of the season while I was catching a few hours of sleep after working all night.

It was not a tie-breaking goal for which everyone applauded and carried him around on their shoulders.


Not me. I would never miss such a monumental moment in his short little life.

I definitely did not beat myself up over missing soccer games or vow to never miss a goal again... no matter how much sleep I've missed.

Have a great week not doing anything amazing!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

If it helps...

Jordan has called twice this weekend. She was absolutely exuberant about college. She loves her roommate. She loves her house members. She loves Chicago.

She absolutely loves the University of Chicago.

I know it's a lotta love, isn't it?

She is thrilled beyond belief, and "feels like she belongs here."

It's weird to hear my daughter so enthusiastic about something.
No one has said she's too quiet. In fact she's become quite the social butterfly. She's with people who get her. She's exploring Chicago.

She likened college to being better than her favorite summer camp, which she cries for a week every summer when it's over.

It makes it ALL better doesn't it?

Excerpts from a mother's diary - part 2

*written Sunday September 20, 2009

I feel like I went to bed and woke up a different person. Completely different.

I went to bed happy. Calm. Rational.

Woke up.... not so calm or rational.

Yesterday was a great day. We did all the things with Jo that we wanted to do.

I knew it was our last full day together.

I wanted to soak in her laugh.

I needed to memorize her smile.

It was the ideal day.

We walked around Chicago. It was perfect. Not too hot, not too cold.

We took off as if we knew exactly where we were headed. Much like Jordan has been throughout her entire life. She has always been the one who knew what she wanted in life and where she was going.

We walked to Lake Michigan.

We rode the gigantic ferris wheel at Navy Pier.

We went to the Art Museum.

Where I immersed myself in Van Gogh's bedroom,

While Jeff's taste lead him more towards Renoir...

We all stood in front of Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the La Grande Jatte... all Ferris Bueller style... with our heads tilted to the side.

Memorizing it.

Soaking it in.

Much as we memorized and soaked in the entire day spent with Jordan.
And I had to consider my life as a Seurat painting...

Thousands of tiny experiences all put together...

To create the masterpiece of a lifetime.

This week is my masterpiece.

We have had thousands of experiences leading up to this point.

It's finally here.

I watched Jordan as the nervousness crept after her all afternoon, then completely enveloped her by evening. I desperately wanted to grab her, hug her, beg her to stay. To stay my little girl... But I didn't.

I congratulated myself as I went to bed last night for not being the emotional wreck I imagined I would be. I had a mental picture of myself sobbing, but I refrained.

I tossed and turned a lot.

Then I woke up.

And I felt like crying.

And I imagined leaving her today.

And I was speechless.

Utterly speechless.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Question for the day...

Do all children lose their minds between the ages of 10 and 12?

Just wondering...


Friday, September 25, 2009

I don't know...

I don't know....

If it's because it's Friday and I'm getting ready to go back to work...

Or if it's because we went bike riding at Jordan's favorite park today...

Or if it's because I just spent the better part of an hour picking out new songs for my blog that remind me of her... *sigh*

But today has been the hardest day yet...

And I think it will be the day I finally cry.


Finally... Jack's room

So... the bunkbed that I ordered in July did arrive before now, but I've been a little busy to post a pic. So here is Jack's finished room. The bed also has a trundle bed which pulls out, 4 drawers, and a pull out desk!

I think it turned out great, and he loves having his own room!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

first and last day on a skateboard...


Nothing was broken... luckily.


Well that's one way to do it...

I seriously found it this way. And my only question was...
Are you locking someone in? Or someone out?
Good grief.
Maybe we can keep it full longer this way...

Engagement Announcement

Yep. It's official.

Mr. and Mrs. William Ellerbee of Springfield announce the engagement of their daughter Justine, to Cooper Theo Wilkinson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Wilkinson of Ft. Worth, Texas. Ms. Ellerbee graduated from kindergarten in 2008 and is currently pursuing her education in first grade at home. She is an aspiring actress and is currently starring in a Dr. Seuss production at the community theatre. Mr. Wilkinson is attempting to potty train and walk without falling down. He is completing his Masters thesis in the finer points of time out with an emphasis in spoon to mouth mechanics. A March wedding is planned.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Excerpts from a mother's diary - part 1

*written Friday Sept 18, 2009

We were up late last night. Too late. It was reminiescent of the night before we left for Africa. Except then we were going to add to our family. This time around, we are packing up the eldest and are about to leave her in a strange city with a bunch of strangers. Just like packing for Africa, there was a penetrable excitement in the air. We all knew our family was about to change for the better, yet we were all nervous about how that change would actually occur.
How would our family unit survive such a huge adjustment?
Would it hurt?
Would it be hard?
What will our new normal be like?

So far, I think I'm the only one who hasn't cried. I have time for that later. No time now. Too much to do. Story of a mother's life, isn't it? No time to even mourn the monumental move of a child due to laundry, packing lists, and preparing soccer uniforms for the remaining children.
I'll cry when I have more time.

Watching the other children cry their little eyes out, although heart wrenching, also warmed my spirit. I saw the love the children have for each other first hand. I saw the tears. I heard the sobbing. I felt their intense pain. And for a split second, it made me happy. Happy because this is what I've always wanted for my family. I have always wanted kids who loved each other intensely. I hope they always remain this close.

How I love this picture of Jaiden's little face as she loves on Jordan the night before she leaves. So symbolic and sweet.

For now, I'm just going to try to document our experience the best I can. Oh and enjoy my last few days with my dearest daughter in my favorite city on earth!

And she's off...

Jordan just called... (on the phone... yay!!!!) to tell me she got her own radio show at the University of Chicago radio station!!!!!

She was one of 7 students chosen to host their own show. They had record number of applicants this year, so the fact that she was chosen is a huge honor.

The best part of it... her show is from 4am to 6am. If you know Jordan and her sleeping habits... this is truly hysterical!

We are so proud!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Text Message Tuesday

Come on. Leave me a message.
Do it! I drove 9 hours today and I'm still doing it...

sometimes text messages are all about relevant current events...

Message: "I just read this on my friends facebook status, I hope Kanye doesn't show up to Patrick Swayze's funeral. I'll let you get back to your funeral in a minute.... but Michael Jackson had the best death of the year. Just sayin'"

Reply: "That is funny. Like really funny. Like side splittingly funny."


sometimes text messages make absolutely no sense...

Message: "One time when I was in Chicago, I saw a dog that didn't have back legs. His owner had a little seat for his butt that was on two wheels. Like a doggy wheelchair. If you see that dog tell him I said 'what's up'? He was cool."

Reply: "I will totally look for him. And I will call him Carlos."

Message: "He's a black pug and he was running down by the river. Well half running, half rolling."

Reply: "Does he look like a Carlos or a Tyler?"

Message: "Definitely a Carlos. For sure."


some of my text messages are absolute nonsense...

Message: "Just so you know, Justine has changed her name to Spider and is insisting that we all call her that. Hope that doesn't interfere with the wedding plans."

Reply: "Hmmmmmmm. Mrs. Spider Wilkinson. Gotta admit, it does have a nice ring to it."

some of my text messages are just to share what it's like to be me...

Message: "Jameson just asked do you use a spoon to eat soup? Even Josh said, what kind of question is that?"

Reply: "By the looks of my butt, I use a shovel."

Message: "Right. Like soup would make your butt look like that. JK"

Reply: "Well maybe its all the fried food I eat with my soup."

Message: "I wish I had a tape worm. Then I could eat as much as I wanted and lose weight."

Reply: "I think you can order one on the internet. Just google it."

Message: "Yeah but I think you can only get them by the case. You want one?"

Reply: "Yea. I'm sure we could deal em. Instead of drug dealers, we'll be diet dealers. I see stacks of $20s in our future."

Message: "Hollatapewormasaurus!!!!"

Reply: "That can be our tapeworm dealin website address. I feel like the .org will give us a but more credibility than a .com."

Message: "Absolutely. .com seems like we just want to make money, but .org really gives the appearance of what a helping organization we would be."

Reply: "But just to clarify...... I'm just in it for the free tapeworm and the stacks of $20's."

Message: "Absolutely."

looking back, it's hard to imagine spending 15 minutes on this conversation...


what's a text message Tuesday without another Justine quote?

Message: "Justine starts drama classes tonight, and told Jeff her life was about to begin because she was becoming an actress."

Reply: "Awww. That's so cute."


text messaging and gang signs help pass the time during a long trip to Chicago...

Message: "Jeff's trying to teach me how to do gang signs with my hands. Sadly, I'm dyslexic with my hands... I will never be able to join a gang."

Reply: "I'm good. I can do lots. I guess I'm cool enough to be a gang banger..."


sometimes text messages share monumental moments in time...

Message: "Wow. it's over. she's gone."

Reply: "Awww. Sweet Jo. Call if you need me."


sometimes text messages bring people together and hold others together. Without my text messaging support this weekend from my wonderful friends Grace and Jaclyn, saying goodbye to Jordan could have been really awful, but thankfully I had the support and laughs I needed.

I was reminded that the three of us, who had very similar beginnings, have become three strong, successful women with strong stories to share.

Thank you guys!

Message: "Celebrate for me, you and Jaclyn. 3 women who could have just ended up as statistics but actually pretty much kicked ass in life."

Reply: "AMEN."



this is us in Chicago...


Locks of Love

Before my wonderful daughter left for college, she took this beautiful hair...

And turned it into this beautiful hair...

And into a 12 inch locks of love donation.