Saturday, 28 April 2007

Head in the Sand

Last week every one's thoughts were on Virginia Tech and like my friend Joanne, the sadness continues to surface. This was one of the events in history that make me think about our lack of access to the media. We haven't had broadcast TV for over three years now and I still have urges to be a voyeur when there is a tragedy as this was. I've missed Tsunamis and shootings and hurricane Katrina, drug addicted people dying with people fighting over their children, and my kids have missed even more as they don't choose CNN when they use the computer. I've wondered if my children's world looks different from not seeing the incessant replays of these events. Are they naive? Do they feel safer not seeing human sadness played out in violence? For every motive in the shootings and suicides, I see a small reflection in our own emotions. We deal with feelings of not having friends, jealously, suffering from past hurts and physical difficulties on a tiny family level. We talk about how God wants us to handle it when you don't feel important or a friend doesn't call. Do I want my kids to see what happens when people don't have the Lord to turn to? I think their strength can be in their innocence. When this generation of kids become adults they may need people who haven't "seen it all" and who assume that all hurts lead to tragedy. I bet they will be able to guess how someone feels after a loved one has died, without even asking them. (I find that to be the most ridiculous media question of all.) Will sheltering them from all this make them less effective to share the Lord with others? I don't know the right answer... so for now - ignorance is bliss.

Friday, 27 April 2007

I Couldn't Do This With a Ladder

Our 17 year old son David is doing track again this year. He caught the track "bug" from his older brother Kevin who loved it and was great at it. Kevin ran the hurdles and David decided to follow in his footsteps. David's the poster child for A.D.H.D. and all those years of jumping around have finally paid off...the hurdles are just another thing to hop over, only nobody tells you to sit down and stop being annoying. His best day this season was when the coach told him he was as good as Kevin. He has crashed landed over the hurdles and scraped up his face and shoulder, left nipple and leg. That gave him endless scabs to pick off his body and why does he think we want to see each piece and what lies beneath it?

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Sign Right Here and Here and Here

My parents are on their way home from watching my grand kids in France. Check out my son in laws online diary of their trip. As they prepare to leave, our family here did some preparation to go to France this summer. Today was passport day. Of course, we waited till the last possible minute to start the process so every little delay is enough to give you a heart attack. One of the boys needed a picture ID. We went to the DMV to get the card and didn't have all the right paperwork. You can't have all the right paperwork the first's impossible. Our second try this morning we got it right, he got the ID and all seven of us left for Maryland to the Passport Agency. Everything was running smoothly (if you don't count the kids being loud and ridiculous and that the new ID card wasn't accepted because it had to be issued over a year ago) till we got to Steven and Ashley's passport application. Apparently you're not allowed to take foster children out of the country without a ton of more paperwork. Now these aren't cute babies we were stealing away to Poland or something, but teenagers who I'm sure we'll wish we had left behind on more then one occasion during our trip. We were informed that we had to go back to West Virginia and get a State Official to give us permission to take them and have it notarized. We pick that up tomorrow and back to Maryland to finish. And then you have to pay over $90 a piece for each one on top of all the aggravation. Then the only worry will be the postal system delivering the passports back to us safely and on time. Who's worrying?

Monday, 23 April 2007

Next She'll Want a Pony

My husband likes kids pretty much. He's parented over 40 some but he can be a little...I'm thinking of a nice word (he reads my blog)......gruff at times. He likes having kids around but they can't touch his feet or chew with their mouths open or tip backwards in their chairs or leave their shoes downstairs and they can NEVER EVER EVER sleep with us. Not when they're babies and not when their sick, it's never happened - ever.
Scarlett, our grandaughter, got up a couple of times during the night and she wasn't really hungry but was missing her mom. At 5:00 am I was tired and brought her back to bed with me. Her Poppa not only allowed her to sleep with us but watched her while I got up and took my shower.
Scarlett - you have no idea!

James has left his response to this entry. Read it here.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Are They Gone Yet?

My daughter Kara and her husband Nate were invited to a wedding. The kind of wedding where the bride made it very clear she didn't want any screaming babies during the ceremony. Which means that Scarlett ( who is 4 months old and screams randomly) is staying with us this weekend. They drove up and brought in 87 pounds of baby gear for their 13 pound baby. Kara then, very seriously, proceeded to tell me everything I needed to know about taking care of Scarlett. There were instructions on the freshly pumped bottles of breast milk and bags of frozen breast milk and when each was to be given. She told me when she would sleep and when she wouldn't (like in the middle of the night). Now, I'm not a first time mother or grandmother, but this was Scarlett's first time away from mommy and daddy and I was trying to pay attention and listen politely .....however, sitting cutely on her daddy's lap, Miss Scarlett was grinning at me from ear to ear. She was already making plans for FUN while the parents were gone. I'm with you Scarlett!!

Thursday, 19 April 2007

No Place Like Home

As happy as my Mom and Dad are to be watching their great grand kids in the beautiful village of Me'ry, France, they are sad to be missing spring in the West Virginia hills. So this post is for you Mom and Dad. The Bradford Pear trees have finished blooming, but the Forsythia is a brilliant gold and the purple of the Red Buds are every where. Crab apple trees are peaking and there are even dandelions in your grass. The Dogwoods, however, are waiting for you to return before they open up.

So come home soon!

Tuesday, 17 April 2007


Just as we were all getting used to our home with no Troy, (which means when it's Youth Group night, EVERYONE goes away and means that when we watch a scary movie, NOBODY has to go to bed first and I never have to remind ANYONE to brush their teeth) I get a phone call. His Auntie asks if I've heard the news that he's coming back. Seems that all the paperwork wasn't really completed and he's coming back to finish the school year. I'm so worried as she talks that he's traumatized about having to come here again. She puts him on the phone and he says, "So..Mom...which car are you picking me up from the airport in?" He was mostly concerned that I bring a car with no front airbag so he could have shotgun. As he walked back into the house, he barely nodded to me and said, "Hey Mom." Within minutes he had annoyed his sister till she said, "Troy, stop it...leave me alone." He had a very satisfied look on his face which said, "I'm home." So much for trauma.
Tonight I had to sit and listen to him read his story for homework. This isn't an activity for an impatient person. He didn't brush his teeth the first time and of course he needed a story read in bed about trucks.
Oh well...he's so darn cute.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Welcome Company

We have some relatives that if they weren't related to us we would have picked to have as friends anyway. My husband's great Aunt Louise and his second cousin Tony are here visiting and they're awesome. The first time I met them I was a newlywed 18 year old at my husband's family Christmas gathering. I was shy and awkward and ready to run out the door. Aunt Louise turned to me and started reeling me into a conversation till I was laughing with abandonment. I've loved her ever since. We've visited back and forth over the years (they live in Portsmouth, New Hampshire) and it's always wonderful. Amazingly, Aunt Louise is 92! This five generation picture is from the left- cousin Tony, Aunt Louise, my husband James, daughter Kara and her daughter Scarlett in the stroller.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Stephen, Josh, Nate & Ruben

I was thinking the other day how surprising it was that I liked all four of my son-in-laws. You'd think that with four daughters getting married at least one of them would have picked a jerk. I know some mother-in-laws who are convinced that their child's spouse wasn't good enough for their daughter or son. On the contrary, I've had moments when I hoped that my son-in-laws wouldn't give up on my daughters. Not that there's anything wrong with the girls...just that they can have moods at times. You know....ugly, not speaking, sure that they're right and he's wrong, kind of moods. But the son-in-laws hang in there and love their wives.
The four of them are very different in personalities but all are great Daddies. I've been there when the grand babies were born and each has made me want to cry as they stood there holding their new baby with that look that says they have fallen completely in love with this child. They have rocked babies at night, bathed them, taken and dropped them off at daycare and been the "babysitter" whenever needed (my daughters will say you can't "babysit" your own child) and they all make sure that their families go to church.
How can I not love these men who love my grand kids and my daughters like this?

Monday, 9 April 2007

Ressurection Day

Our entire group celebrated Easter at a sunrise service on the beach yesterday. The music was very cool and the gospel message was given to the hundreds of people gathered there to listen.

After a huge breakfast we drove around the island to the North Shore where the kids got to swim in a waterfall and have a picnic lunch.

Just talked to my friend Anita in West Virginia and it's still snowing. I may never come back!

Saturday, 7 April 2007

She Looked So Good till You Got Up Close

Still in Hawaii. And for everyone who said they were jealous... don't forget the CHAPERONE part of this trip. Ever try watching 15 teens at one time?
Hawaii is amazing, no doubt.
As a tourist, there is everything to do here. I see the sun set and sailboats are silhouetted between the palm trees while the surfers are lined up and catching the perfect wave. Little kids are playing in the sand...bongos and guitar music in the distance...every store has something you want. The land has been blessed with incredible beauty.
We walk with our girls along the streets at night. They've never seen homeless people before. They've never seen people perform for dollars or make a living with their body and they think that these must be "bad" people. We have to explain that God loves the people just as much that live like this as He does their nice church friends and that His death was because he loved that old woman in the leather outfit and black boots and bleach blond hair as much as He loved their Sunday School teacher. My heart breaks at their needs.
Hawaii has such beauty and such loss. It must be a lot like the Garden of Eden..almost perfect till sin showed up.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Aloha from Hawaii

My husband is a Jr. ROTC instructor at our local high school and he takes his 4 year seniors on a trip to Hawaii each year over spring break. Of course, he needed me to help chaperone. The two youngest girls are along...homeschool in Hawaii!
After a very long plane ride, we have arrived. Our motel is on the beach in Honolulu and breakfast was outside. I understand why this place is called paradise. (My son just called from West Virginia and it's 34 degrees and snowing.)
I'm liking this!

Monday, 2 April 2007

Better to Have Loved and Lost

Being a foster parent is about the greatest thing I can think of to do. You get to have a ton of kids without all the stretch marks. They don't always look like you, but in my case, the kids probably think that's a good thing. Dull moments are non-existent and flexibility becomes your best trait. I've gotten to parent some of my favorite people in the whole world.
And then there's the hard parts.
We've had a delightful, goofy, sweet, strange little boy with us for the last year. He has enough "labels" to fill a psychiatrists clipboard front and back. He's in special education at school and has occupational and physical therapy.
We just like him and he likes us.
Tomorrow he moves to his aunts house and becomes her little boy. It's a good place for him and she's excited to have him. Troy says he's "a little happy" and I am too...and a lot sad. He's flying out tomorrow with a huge part of my heart.