Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ice Storm Memories

Remember the ice storm of 2007? Although that was a tragedy and difficult time for many, we actually have really fond memories of the ice storm. Of course we never lost power, which makes for fond memories! I don't know why we have such fond memories. My dad nearly froze to death because he wouldn't leave his house. My mom lived with us for like 10 days. Jordan and I volunteered at a shelter for a nursing home whose residents had been relocated. The trees were down everywhere. We could hear tree limbs falling on our house. Entire parts of the city were cloaked in darkness. It looked like a war zone. But the community came together. There was a sense of fellowship and kindness that this city had not seen before.

What about 2008? This is my favorite picture from 2008. It was taken a few days after we got back from Ethiopia in February. We came home to an ice storm and lost power for one night. This is Jordan and her friends, along with all the other kids taking funny face pictures on her laptop. This was a magical photo to me. This was truly a magical night. This photo says it all - the joining together of different cultures, languages, genders, and age groups.

This is what it looked like with a flash.

This ice storm is nothing compared to 2007. Are we even calling it an ice storm? Well, it's been 2 days of freezing rain, sleet and snow. No school today or tomorrow.
In memory of that ice storm, we had an all you can eat pancake brunch today by candlelight with a memory of turning tragedy into bonding. We did it in 2007 and again in 2008. Here's our moment of bonding for 2009's ice storm.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Sisters...How Sweet


How sweet it is to always have a sister to read with in the dark...
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Not me! Monday




Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I did not wash my hair, get out of the shower, get dressed, and begin to brush my hair, only to realize that I had not rinsed the shampoo out of my hair.

I did not work an entire 12 hour shift walking funny, feeling a bit "off", thinking my butt had grown substantially overnight, only to realize that I had my underwear on backwards all night! Seriously people, I could not make this stuff up.

I did not hit snooze 3 times this Monday morning before crawling out of bed to make Miss Jaiden finish her homework under threat of severe punishment. And I did not say at least four times, "This had better not EVER happen again."

I did not forget to buy juice boxes for lunches.

And I did not make the kids play rock, paper, scissors to see which one would get the only remaining juice box in their lunch today. Congratulations to Justine!

I did not get just a little itty bit excited at the prospects of the ice storm and snow coming our way this afternoon. And I did not smile the least bit while apologizing to my dear husband for acting so excited about the prospects of the ice storm and snow coming our way since he has to work outside in the ice storm and snow that's coming our way... Sorry honey. I love weather!

I did not jokingly tell my new secretary at work that I was going to jump off the roof during a particularly stressful event last week. And she did not "get" my humor or offer to call security. Sorry Harriett.

Have a great week NOT doing anything. I plan to NOT watch any old episodes of LOST, NOT be obsessed with the weather channel, or pray for school closings!

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

The weird thing about pain...

I woke up the other day and realized, that for the first time in at least three years, my stomach didn't hurt. The pain from surgery is finally gone and when I take a deep breath, I noticed I didn't have that underlying, constant, gnawing feeling in my stomach that I had grown so accustomed to. It wasn't until I realized that my pain was gone that I was appreciative of the fact that it was gone. I hadn't even thought about it.

And I tried to remember what it felt like. Where did it exactly hurt? What did it feel like? I can't really remember. Was it really that bad? I can't remember the exact feeling, but I can remember the misery. I can remember the longing for something better.

And this made me wonder about the pain my kids have felt throughout their short little lives. Do they remember what it feels like to be hungry? Do they remember their devastation from the loss of their parents? So many memories that I shall never be privy to.

We get so frustrated sometimes because we assume that because of our kids backgrounds, they shouldn't act like spoiled little kids... but guess what? All kids are the same! Josh has BEGGED for a big screen TV for his room (yeah right) since he got here. That's not going to happen! When I said that we have 7 TV's in this house and that is already way too many, he stood firm in his request. When I asked how many TV's he had in Ethiopia, he replied "one." And then followed that up with, "But we only had one room, so one TV for each room..."

It would be easy to assume that they had forgotten their pain. It would be easy to think that they can't remember the pain. But as I tried to remember the details of my own pain, I realized that the memories are there, but so is the hope that the pain is gone.

The challenges related to adopting older children are so much different that the challenges of adopting a baby, but sadly the challenges are just different and not necessarily lessened by the ages. The pain they feel is just the same. And while my physical pain is gone, theirs is emotional and is buried deep within their little psyches. It's hidden far away and covered by years of survival skills and aberrant coping mechanisms.

I believe that one day they will have an awakening, just as I did, to the fact that their pain is gone. I pray for that day. I pray that they will be able to look back and have good memories of their childhood and not just painful ones.
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Friday, January 23, 2009

update

Just thought everyone would want to know Jaiden broke her glasses today...
so she had them for:

7 days............ which is:
168 hours........................ which is:
10,080 minutes........................... which is:
604,800 seconds

Because my employer changed our eye insurance and I didn't know it, I ended up paying for those glasses out of my own pocket. If you break it all down, those glasses cost me:

$24.12 a day
which comes out to about:
$1.00 an hour

Great!
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Here Kitty, kitty


I was going to let this wait until Not Me! Monday, but I just couldn't resist.
I accidentally *blopped* down on our poor new little itty bitty kitty today. OK, I sat right down on him.... and stayed there a minute before I realized I wasn't sitting on my sweatshirt. He didn't even resist. Weirdo cat. No meows, no scratching, nothing. When I jumped up, he was just sitting there looking kind of flat. We both had a look of surprise and shock and kitty had possibly a look of anoxia... or a fractured neck... perhaps? The kids were all screaming, "the kitty was up your butt!" and "Poor Kitty." and "you killed my new kitty..." and "wait til dad sees what you've done."
He still looks a bit shocked, but he's running around like... well... like a big woman sat on him today. He has, however, stayed out of my chair.
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Fact VS Fantasy

We have been working on differentiating between fact and fantasy here at Ellerbeeville. I know that my life may seem like a fantasy to some of you, but in all reality, it's quite... well... a slap in the face, and usually painfully real. Josh and Jameson seem to have some sort of "magical" thinking about how things actually work. They have a hard time differentiating between fact and fantasy.

Here's how that lesson went.
Imagine Josh reading these questions and answering fact or fantasy.

1) My cat can talk to me. "Um sometimes... fact"

2) The zoo is closed on Mondays. "Fantasy."

3) I have a man-eating tree. "Yes!"

Oh boy! This lesson is going downhill....

4) My dad mows the lawn. "Definitely fantasy."

By George, I think he's got it! Too funny!
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Our little four eyes...


Last week, Jaiden was suddenly having a hard time seeing the multiplication tables on the wall of our school room. She honestly couldn't see anything. I took her to get her eyes checked and look what she needed! GLASSES! Doesn't she look so sweet? She has taken to her glasses very well, likes them, and hasn't even lost them in... what has it been... 4 days? Yeah!
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Our last first tooth...



Justine's dream has come true! She lost her first tooth.

She has faked having a loose tooth for many, many years now. In her true storytelling manner, she has told us she lost a tooth, swallowed it, and it grew back in. She's told us her teeth were loose when indeed they were planted solid in those little pink gums.

When she told us recently that she had a loose tooth, we were all like "yeah, whatever..." Well, low and behold, she was right! That sucka was so loose, she was able to pull it herself! And so the last first tooth in the Ellerbee household was saved and transferred for a cost to the tooth fairy.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration 2009


I let the kids skip their morning schoolwork in order to watch our 44th president be sworn in. Even if I didn't agree with all of his politics, I have to admit that I was excited to see the first African-American president with his hand on that bible! What a moment for all of us. What a moment for my kids to realize that they can do anything they set their hearts to. I honestly pray for President Obama that he may promote change in a positive way.

And so I had to ask myself if I would have been interested in this at age 8 , 9, 10, or 11? At what point did I begin to LOVE history? I'm not sure, but I'm obsessed with it now. Perhaps it came with homeschooling? I don't know! It does help that I've been through K-4 many times throughout my life. Yesterday while watching the inauguration, I kept hearing "peaceful transfer of power," and all I could think about was our founding fathers and how they set up our new country. Our second president, John Adams, was known for peacefully allowing Thomas Jefferson to take over as president after he lost re-election. What a wonderful country we have!

The fact that I now have African-American children made this just a little more exciting for me. I was excited for THEM. I wanted them to realize what this meant. I wanted all the kids to know how monumental this moment in history was.

Oh my lovely kids. They bring me such joy.

Jack kept sneaking his Nintendo DS behind the couch to play. Justine was enthralled with some sort of animal daycare she was making, and kept making animal noises. I looked over and Josh was ASLEEP. Jameson and Jaiden sort of, kind of, watched it with me while they fought over who was going to sit on my lap. I know Jameson was paying attention somewhat because when the cannons started shooting, she exclaimed, "Oh my gosh, they're shooting at him." And at least she thought that was a bad thing... and she wasn't ASLEEP or playing DS.

Now is the time for us all to come together and stand behind our president. It is time to put our differences behind us. What a wonderful country in which we are privileged to live.

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Newsflash

Sssshhhhh! Don't talk too loud about this because she'll change her mind... but Jordan told us last night she was going to apply to the University of Missouri - Kansas City! I think she's realizing how much she's going to miss us when she's (in Berkeley, New York, Chicago, Seattle, or Eugene) far, far away in college. Or maybe not... I am jumping for joy on the inside...

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Update:
Part of me is jumping for joy... the part who wants to see her daughter more than 4 times a year. The part who wants her to get in state tuition along with Bright Flight Scholarship for getting a 31 on the ACT. The part who wants to be able to afford to go visit her daughter at the drop of a hat.
But there's another part who doesn't want her to settle because she thinks I'm going to fall apart without her. The part who doesn't want her to give up her dreams of exploring a big, new city. The part who doesn't want her to have any regrets...
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Monday, January 19, 2009

10 years later

This is funnier than it should be.


Not me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Due to circumstances beyond my control (I'm lazy), I will not be attempting to be the first one to link on to MckMama's wonderful blog, but perhaps at this rate, I will be the last. Check out her site. She's hysterical and inspiring.


I did not have to clean up petrified kitty cat poo from this sweet little kitten that Santa Claus brought last month...



Tons and tons of petrified kitty poo from this plant and all the other plants in my house! Bad Kitty!




I did not impulse buy and get a beautiful new table runner in all my favorite colors...


Nor did I fall in love with and just had to get new seat cushions for my kitchen chairs in all different colors... because I couldn't make up my mind which ones I liked the best.

I totally did not laugh until I cried at the Justine Timberlake and Beyonce video skit from Saturday Night Live.




I did not catch a pot of grease on fire in my kitchen because I was trying to make a homemade donut... and my son did not have to tell me not to put water on a grease fire... and I didn't make all the smoke detectors in the house go off for the first time ever. Nope it wasn't me.

And my son did not actually say, "Wow, mom your fire was way bigger than mine." See this post about my pyromaniac son.

And I did not hear this totally gross and disgusting conversation in the car this week,
Jaiden, "Mom, Justine had a big booger on her dress."
Justine, "It's not there now..."
Jaiden, "YEAH... because you ate it."

There are SO many things that I did not do this week. I wish there were more time for me to share, but I must be off to NOT do some more stuff!
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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Analyze this...

OK, I get it. I'm watching too much TV. No More TiVo'd Idol. No more old episodes of Lost on my laptop in the wee hours of the morning.

I awoke with a start after dreaming about buying life insurance from Ryan Seacrest out of an October 2004 Vogue magazine. I then somehow ended up on the Lost island. There were cages that I thought looked just perfect for making a daycare, but no one would go near them because of all the wild animals. I had to take a weed wacker to the jungle and take care of the animals, but I got the daycare started... (in the cages... I have no idea what psychological meaning this has, but I'm sure it means something and don't even mention that one of my children is living under my stairs or I swear Rebecca B is going to drive here from Washington and take Justine from me...)

OK maybe just a few episodes of Lost per week to slowly wean down my obsession...?
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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Love a nurse today...they so deserve it

Number of times my octoginarian patient has offered to "kick my a$$" tonight
...............................................................3

Number of times my octoginarian patient has hit me tonight

...............................................................2

Number of times I have seriously thought I should have picked a different career

...............................................................1

What 7 am will be to me

...............................................................priceless.
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We've added a seventh bedroom...

Every body needs their space.

When we built this house 5 years ago, the bedroom upstairs was the nursery. It was one of those perfect nurseries with the mosquito net aroung the crib and the matching decor. Justine deserved it, as her humble beginnings in the old house were very humble.

She was born into our family when we still lived in a 1200 square foot house... 6 people in a 3 bedroom house. We were falling over each other. It was always a mess because there just was no where to go. No room to turn around in.

Justine lived in our walk in closet for the first 4 months of her life. By the time we moved into our new house, she really deserved her own room. Those were the days when the carpet still looked respectable. There was no writing on the closet doors.

This bedroom was home to only one little girl. Justine finally had her own space. Jaiden was 3 at the time and quickly became afraid of her room in the basement. She moved into Justine's room, and her room became the schoolroom. Fast forward a few years, we decide to adopt Jameson and Josh. Add another person to her room.

The girls have been fighting about who is going to move into Jordan's room next year when she goes to college. We have repeatedly told them that Jordan's room will remain just as it is until she is done with college and has a home of her own. Someone has been listening to my "you need to learn to solve your problem" speech because Justine has solved her own problem. She took things into her own hands.

She cleaned out the "cubby" under our stairs, and moved an old crib mattress down the stairs and into the cubby. This area was meant to be a tornado fraidy hole, but it quickly became a play area for the girls. Now in typical Ellerbee style, it has yet another purpose.

Here she is looking all "Harry Potterish" in the cupboard under the stairs.


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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Don't believe in God?

Ask those 155 people on US Airways flight 1549 what they think...
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Our favorite Smoothie Recipes

We thought we'd share with you our new favorite smoothie recipes. Because it seems like we are always running and time is of the essence, I have found that making a blender full of smoothies and passing them out is a great way to get the kids to eat something healthy for breakfast or even a snack!

Simply Smoothie
2 bananas
10 to 12 frozen strawberries
1 cup apple juice

Vitamin C-ya
2 bananas
1 orange
2 kiwis
10 to 12 frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 to 2 cups orange juice

Go Bananas
2 bananas
1 apple
1 orange
1 chunk fresh pineapple
1 to 2 cups apple juice

Mighty Melon
2 bananas
1/4 cantaloupe
1/4 honeydew
1 cup frozen melon chunks
1 cup apple juice

Just Peachy
2 bananas
1 cup frozen peaches
1 cup apple juice

B-O-P to the Top
1 bananas
1 oranges
3 chunks fresh pineapple
10 to 12 frozen strawberries
1 to 2 cups orange juice

Tropical Twist
2 bananas
1 mango
2 kiwis
1/2 papayas
10 to 12 frozen strawberries
1 to 2 cups cranberry juice

Berry Good
2 bananas
1 cup raspberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
10 to 12 frozen strawberries
1 to 2 cups cranberry juice

Sweet 'n' Sour Apple
2 bananas
1 green apple
1 red apple
10 to 12 frozen strawberries
1 to 2 cups apple juice

*Put all the ingredients in the blender in the order listed. Blend on high until fully blended.

** Taken from Jaiden's American Girl book "Girls Love Gymnastics".
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Children's Museum Pics









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Long haired freaky people need not apply

I like to put people in categories. I know it's a bad habit. Most of the time I put people in categories who are unlike me. I guess I am subconsciously jealous. Very subconsciously. There is a group of moms I have been on the outskirts of for many years. As I have observed quietly from the fringe, I often will compare and contrast myself to "the group." I have made some great observations:

their shoes and purse always match
they don't use a $1.49 Barnes & Noble bag as their purse
they are either dressed in perfectly matched size 0 Hollister wear or designer work out clothes
they don't look like they threw on whatever they found hanging over the end of the bed, usually jeans and a T shirt
they rarely have kid snot, left over food crums, or Cheeto orange fingerprints on their jeans
they always have make-up on - usually perfectly applied
they typically don't need to wear a hat to cover up 2 day hair
their names are usually Candy or Felicity
they love to discuss their latest diet and exercise routine with everyone in earshot

As I sat on the perimeter eavesdropping on their conversation last week, I heard several of them talking about their boys and the new haircuts they banded together to make them get. All of the boys belonging to "the group" had the same designer crewcut.

"Their hair just looked so... unkept."

And then I looked at my own boys.
Josh who hasn't had a haircut in at least the last year and hasn't WASHED his dreads since September....

And there's Jack who had to wear a headband last week to play soccer because he couldn't see through his long locks.

Aren't they adorable?
I wouldn't have them any other way, and I'm sure they feel the same way about me.
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Yep, it takes a lot of effort...

To be this kind of mom....

...the kind of mom who encourages her kids to shoot tiny, airway occluding marshmellows through a marshmellow launcher she bought them for Christmas, straight into her kids' tracheas...



Yep, a lot of effort and a very special person indeed.

If at once you don't succeed, try, try again.
video

And Again.

video

And Again.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The world is an oyster...

Jordan, "I wish I could just double major, double minor and go to med school."

Mom, "Sure, you could become a doctor with doctors without borders in the Middle East (using Middle Eastern Studies Major) dealing primarily with women (Women's Studies Minor), translating in Arabic (using Arabic Language Minor) while filming a documentary (using Film Major). That sounds great!"

Oh to be young and so capable to do ANYTHING with your future!
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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Not Me Monday


I did not go to WalMart 4 times in one day, each time forgetting a different item.

I did not see an approximately 10 year old child with a pacifier in her mouth, pajama pants and no shoes in 26 degree weather on my fourth trip to WalMart.

And my 6 year old did not feel the need to point that out, quite loudly, followed by the phrase "that's disgusting."

I did not smile blamelessly as though I had no idea what the little cutie had just said.

I was not 15 minutes late taking my daughter to her very important Kindergarten Birthday Party because I underestimated that these people lived in the sticks, and I did not get lost leaving the party sight and end up 30 minutes north of my destination with my gas gage reading empty.

I did not teach my kids the words to a No Doubt song so that we could win Guitar Hero.