Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Yeah, we went camping.

When you take a man who would 
throw some junk in a bag and sleep under a tarp with his head on a rock, 
and a woman who thinks "roughing it" means no hot water,
and add 12 children between the ages of 3 and 15...
it could get ugly.

We prepared for the trip.
Paul went shopping for the food,
purchased an additional tent (making 3), and
gathered supplies from under the house and wherever they get stashed,
while I packed clothing, found swimsuits for everyone, decided on towels,
packed toiletries, and attempted to explain to some very confused Ethiopian children
that in America, sometimes people go sleep outside by a fire for fun.

We were finally packed and as prepared as we could be.
Paul had spoken with a lady at a relatively close campground who informed him
of all kinds of activities and amenities for the kids (pool and real toilets)...
so we drove to that park!
However, once we arrived we were flagged down by an older gentleman who
kindly informed us that they were
"all filled up".

Not. Even. Kidding.

I refrained from saying:
"WHAT? It's a park! With grass and dirt and trees! Did you run out of grass??
You mean to tell me there are no more dirt or rocks for us to sleep on?"
I ooze self control.

What does any rational parent do with a giant van full of children packed to the brim with camping supplies who is suddenly told there is no room in the proverbial inn?

Google "tent camping state park" and cross your fingers
while your husband says "I'm just going to drive this way till we find something."

We wound up at the Natchez Trace State Park.
Nice place,
plenty of space,
plenty of bugs  rednecks trees,
and real flushing toilets.

So we set up camp.

You can't see the third tent... but it's there. Trust me.

Then we went to the lake/beach to swim.

I liked the lake/beach.
The bathroom was only like 25 yards from the grassy ledge where our towel city was founded.
Unlike our campsite which had oodles of shade and flat ground,
but was 100 yards from the potty. 

We wore the kids out at the lake/beach:

The kids did cool stuff... 
and less-cool stuff like putting out flames with their fingers.
Still get a shiver when I think about that "hey mom, watch what he can do!" moment.

We sat by this:
and ate approximately 46 smores.

Some of us had more fun than others... 

But it was beautiful there! 

One of these children appears to be "a morning person".
See if you can spot him: 

And two of these three children are smooshed under the one having fun: 

The first night we were there we COULD NOT SLEEP.
This group of couples pulled up at 10pm and announced
"this looks like a PERFECT spot!"
and proceeded to set up their camp (in the dark)
and then get drunk by the fire and laugh/snort/cackle until 3am.
There was about to be a scene.
It would have made the news.
I'm sure of that.

So, when my kids propelled themselves out of bed at 6am I wasn't saying
"shhh!! there are people sleeping!"
I was saying
"hey! Why don't you go play soccer over there by those cars and tents!"

And then I laughed when I saw our clothesline and wondered what kind of "perfect spot" they would think they had found when they woke up all hung over to see THIS:
That's right... you picked the PERFECT SPOT!
HA! Hahahahahahahahaaaaaaaa!

I think we had fun...the jury is still out.

But by the second morning
we were VERY ready to go home
where children can go potty without an escort and 
we can all sleep on real mattresses without fear of
giant bugs or bats or snakes or 
whatever other kinds of creepy crawly critters come out at night.

and this was my aftermath:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A picture of all the kids!

It's a little difficult to get a picture of this group of kids where
everyone is looking the same direction with some sort of smile on
their faces...but here's my best attempt!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

That's a lot of kids.

Sometimes I don't realize we have a lot of kids.

I mean... most of the time I guess it just feels normal?

But, there are other times.

Like, for instance, yesterday 
when I took these kids to the doctor for one child's appointment:
And suddenly, I looked around and discovered that the entire room was full of kids.
There were none hanging from the ceiling... thankfully...
but there were SIX kids in the room.
I mean, 2 years ago I had 4 kids at home and we fit in a normal-sized vehicle.

Add to that the stares, dropped jaws, and comments like
"boy, you have YOUR hands full!"
"Are they ALL siblings?"
"are you the mother? of all of them?"
and I think...
"uhm... what kind of psychotic babysitter 
takes 6 kids to the doctor?!? I'd fire her."

It happened again the other night.
We had this sudden rain storm come through
and my husband was home and decided
it was a great time for a game of soccer.
In the street.
In the rain.

So, I went out to take a picture and thought
"wow... looks like LOTS of kids came out to join the game!"
And then realized they were ALL mine. 
Nine kids playing in the rain.

Okay, so I had a moment of panic that went like this:
"it's all fun and games till Mom has mildewed clothes
at the bottom of the laundry basket! 
Crap, that's going to be a lot of dirty, wet, stinky clothes!"

Another time it seemed like a lot of kids...
Lunch...minus 1 of the crew.

And again...
Dishing up dinner and laying plates out down the counter.
"Oh wait, someone is missing their chicken leg..."

It's funny when these moments of 
"woah, that's a lot of kids!" strike.
I never know exactly what's going to cause that head-count inducing confusion...
or at what point it's going to just ALL seem normal! ha ha!

In other news...

Today was the last day of school.
I'm a little apprehensive about this summer.
This is a LOT of kids to keep track of.
I did buy these cool bracelets:
from to wear to the pool, the zoo, wherever.
It makes me feel a little daycare-y,
but I guess if it keeps me off the front page of the newspaper,
it's worth it.

Speaking of the last day...
why do they bring home so much STUFF!??
They came in the house and dumped piles of papers, 
folders, notebooks, report cards, 
art work, graded papers, and who knows what else...
right onto the kitchen counter.
Gee, thanks.

Then they ran outside to play,
get hurt, need bandaids, drip sweat,
eat cheap popsicles from plastic tubes,
and come in later wearing enough dirt to create
a small mudslide in the bathtub.

I guess summer is officially here!

Monday, May 14, 2012


Just some random stuff I've said or heard...
 in the past 24 hours.

(walked into the girls' bedroom...)
Me: "Why are you all dancing around naked?"
5 year-old daughter: "We was having a party!"
Me: "A NAKED party??"
her: "Uh huh!"
Me: "We do NOT have naked parties. Ever. Until you are married."

6-year-old daughter: "I'm invited to Hawaii!"
Me: "Really? Cool..."
her: "Yep. It's my friend's birthday party!"
Me: "Maybe it's a Hawaiian party at her house...?"
her: "No. It's at Hawaii."

Me: "What is this on the floor?"
6-year-old daughter: "Pee."
Me: "Dog or People?"
her: "um...peoples?"

"PLEASE stop trying to blow up the toothpaste tube!"

"We do not dunk our hair bows in the potty, but if we did...
we certainly don't put it back in our hair!!"

"No, I will not buy any dry ice.
Our neighbors hate it when you guys explode water bottles."

(thinking to myself this morning...)
"pleeeease let that just be squished banana under my toes..."

"New rule: No more comparing biceps at the dinner table."

"Mom, Ricotta NO speak English? Ricotta speak Tigrinya??
Ricotta... na! Wow, Mom... Ricotta no speak Amhara!"
(uhm... Ricotta is a dog. She doesn't speak. At all.)

(Sometimes I say stuff just to hear myself talk...
to children who don't speak the lingo... like this:)
"First of all... The dog doesn't eat broccoli.
Second... You're the 10th of 12 children!
You will likely NEVER get away with rookie stuff like that!"

"Sorry... it takes a few minutes to buckle 5 kids into car seats."
(can't decide if that's funny... or

"No monkey noises on the potty!"

I think that's it for today...

I took 6 kids to the dentist this morning,
I'm tired.
Only two kids have cavities, so that's good I suppose...
one of them had the left side done today.
It was funny listening to him explain the procedure to his brothers
in Tigrinya.
"blah blah blah blah medicine...sleep...bzzzzz!!!! blah blah blah...Gift!"
(they gave me medicine, my mouth went to sleep, the thing went BZZZ!! then I got a present!)

Better update soon...
with pictures...
and words smart people use.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Paranoid much?

Dear over-sensitive adoptive families,

It's not always about YOU.

It's not always racism.

It's not always anti-adoption-mongering.

It's not always hate.

Sometimes... it's just not.

I'd like to issue a public plea for all of us to just...
take a DEEEEEP breath and
remember that
but not everyone has malicious thoughts
when they look at you in public.

Sometimes when I get a funny look at the store
or at the park
or at the doctor...
I remember that (no matter their color)
I'm traveling with my own field-trip sized gaggle of children.
And I'm wearing these...
which are just awesome.

Sometimes, they stare because...
come on.
Have you SEEN my kids??
They are GORGEOUS.

Sometimes they stare because
they are still hoping and praying to someday
add to their family through adoption.

Sometimes my entourage is blocking most of the meat department.

I know there are a LOT of adoptive families out there
who get their  panties in a wad  
feathers ruffled
every time someone looks at them with something less than this:
Let's all just take a giant step back...
and remember that
when we look all
we tend to bring on the looks that
make us flip out and cry "racist".

be prepared for uneducated questions...
know that you are (whether you like it or not)
a walking billboard for adoption education and awareness...
and try to give a few more people some grace.

And don't forget to breathe.
(Oxygen = good)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Real life.

This is what crap is under the table after dinner with 12 kids and 2
adults. Stray carrots, bread crumbs, several kidney beans, some fake
flowers (??), a shoe, crumbled up napkins, and apparently all that is
left of my pride for sharing this photo.