So Glad You Asked!

April 17, 2014

Asked What? Happy 13th month anniversary of my car accident!  Break out the sparkling cider!  I thought an update was due, since it is the stupid accident’s fault that my blogging has slowed so.

How are you? I’m fantastic, but improving daily. My right arm still hurts every day, usually just my shoulder, but some days it’s all the way to my elbow.  It is not cry-in-the-corner pain.  It is low-grade only-take-ibuprofen-about-twice-a-week pain.  On six of seven mornings, my first wakeful thought is, “Oh, my arm hurts,” and then I go on with my day.  But it is draining and most days I’m exhausted by 3:00 p.m. just from normal wear and tear of being a homeschool mom.  I don’t make dinner as much as I used to.  My house isn’t as clean as it was just over a year ago. I can’t seem to muster blogging strength or humor. Back in the day, when in the depths of a writing project, I could sit at the computer for six to seven hours and get lost in my own thoughts and words.  Now, after about 20 minutes of typing I need a heat pack on my shoulder and max typing is about 40 minutes.

How is treatment going? We have exhausted all forms of treatment, save pulling out my toenails so I think of something else instead of the pain in my shoulder. I have had therapy, nerve testing, multiple injections in my neck and shoulder, Graston treatment (think of medieval torture instruments being dragged across already wounded muscles), multiple MRIs, massage, pain management and my last resort, being the wimp that I am about needles, acupuncture.  Nothing has improved in the last six months.  So I quit acupuncture.  Seriously, I would have to psych myself up to go and then not look at the 20 needles sticking me twice a week.  I did ten sessions.  I gave it the old college try.  Then I quit.  And I’m really good with that decision. The doctor put in a circle of needles on my shoulder every visit and told me once that it is called “circle the dragon.”  I’m not into all that Eastern medicine hokey-pokey-kung-phuey, so in my mind it came to be known as “circle the wagons.” (You know how much I love 1850′s westerns!) Weekly massage is ongoing.  It’s not the feel-good-and-relax-when-you’re-on-a-cruise massage, sadly.  It’s the work-out-the-pain-and-hold-back-the-tears massage.

What next? We are planning on settling the personal injury case in a “this is as good as it’s going to get” state. Highly disappointing, but I am not without hope of healing from the God who closed a hole in my baby girl’s heart, caused cartilage to grow in my son’s flimsy ear and worked miracle after miracle to bring Nora to our family.  There is ALWAYS hope!

How can we pray? Thank you for asking! Pray that complete healing will come. Pray that I learn whatever dumb lesson I’m supposed to be learning in the waiting time. Pray that God’s will be done.  THANK YOU!!!

Ten-Year-Old Money Management

April 16, 2014

“Mom, my size eight underwear is too tight.  Can we please get me some more?”  Of course this was only uttered in complete isolation from her brothers.  Of course.  She is mortified if I say the word “bra” out loud whether we are alone or not.  It makes me want to work “bra” into every conversation.  Which I am capable of doing, but I’m trying to be the nice mom (in a white bra.)

So off to ROSS we went.  Dress for less.  That’s my idea of a good time.  And Mr. Wallet’s too.  Straight to the back of the store to the girls department we hightailed and bee-lined to the clearance section.  There is ALWAYS underwear on clearance, which I don’t really understand because they don’t go out of season. Ever.  (Well, except for a season in my teenage son’s life when he wore bathing suits for three months…. but I digress.)

chihuahua

BINGO!  Five multi packs to choose from.  All the right size.  All were five pair for $3.  All were cute colors.  All were bikini (which is apparently highly importante for the Colombiana!)  (When she has her first love in college, and he finds this blog, she’s gonna kill me… but that is so far off, I shall continue.)  I wanted to yell, “Sweet Jesus! We scored in the clearance section, folks!” but I did not, only because I noticed something was amiss on my daughter’s face.  She was not as exhilarated as I was with the undies find.  After questioning her dislike for my super saver bargain, she explained that the sudsy, mini yellow Chihuahua in the bathtub pictured on the first pair of panties in the multi pack was no bueno! I countered with an explanation that she could have five pair for $3 and wear the Chihuahua or she could stay snug in her size 8s.  The little doggie grew on her, as I knew he would.  Plus out of the five pair only ONE had the doggie!  The rest were boring… albeit in cute colors.

She was not done. Oh no. The bubbly Chihuahua was not going down without a fight. Turning to the non-sale section, she pointed to some cute sets of pink undies with turquoise lace gracing the top. Seriously, the ones she picked looked like they were strays from the racy lingerie section of the ladies department.  Why do they even make little girls underwear resemble Victoria’s Secret garb? Pointing out the $6 price tag for TWO pair, I asked her how many doggie panties we could buy for six dollars.  She thought for a moment and answered correctly, mumbling defeat, “ten.”

I explained that it is not a wise use of our money to buy two pair of fancy duds when ten serviceable ones would do.  I suggested that if she really wanted the lacy ones, she could use her own hard-earned money. (Insert eye roll here.) Utterly ridiculous! She would not pay $6 for two pair, even though she wanted me to. No way! She even made a little snorting noise in disgust.

And the underwear lesson went down in the history book as a frugal find but a fashion failure. Egads… a bathing Chihuahua… can you even imagine?!? Disgraceful!

 

Nora’s English Lessons

April 7, 2014

Nora’s English lessons are ongoing, continual, every day, all day long, even into the dark of the night, forever… it seems.  Just today’s list of words that she learned …. either the meaning or the pronunciation:

1. “Shweediss” = Swedish…. as in Swedish pancakes, my grandmother’s delicacy.

2. “School Rock House” = School House Rock.  Come on! Those are classics!

3. Inspect … “isn’t that when you save piles of things like rocks?”  Um no.

4. “Ann of Grenoble.”   Oh.My.Stars!  Anne of Green Gables.  She did not live in Russia near Chernobyl!

5. “Dad didn’t ate any.”  We ain’t hillbillies no mo.

6. “Mom, what is a globin?”  I don’t know.  “It’s here in my book!”  Spell it.  “G O B L I N.” That spells goblin…. it’s a make believe little monster.  (Why the heck are there goblins in the phonics workbook anyway??!!)

7. Nora looking at a picture of a newspaper and logically trying to choose the descriptive word from: Pretend, Prison and Printed.  “It looks like it’s really a paper and but you could pretend it’s not. You could read that in prison. Someone had to print it, so it is printed. I don’t know this one, Mom.”  Circle any of them, Nora.  :o)

These are the days of our lives. 

Anne with an E

April 6, 2014

One of my favorite book series is Anne of Green Gables.  The summer we drove across Canada and camped on Prince Edward Island, Anne’s home, I read the series as we passed the Lake of Shining Waters and the White Way of Delight.  Lucy MM’s writing is superb.  The words that come out of Anne’s mouth are hysterical!  She is so full of imagination and wonder at every little thing… and highly dramatic!  So funny!

Several months ago, I started reading a shortened version of the book to Nora, our little adopted daughter.  I wondered how it would affect her, hearing about Anne’s heartbreak at not having a family.  The book glossed it over pretty well and got right into the daily events on Anne’s life at Green Gables.  Yesterday, I found the movie online for Nora to watch.  It is over two and a half hours long so it took three sittings to finish it all.  Nora sat on the end of her chair the entire movie!  It was priceless.

anne

This tentative look on Anne’s face as she waits for Matthew at the train station…. it’s the same one I saw on Nora’s face the day we got her.  “Will they like me?”  “Am I okay?”  “Will they keep me?”  “Will I be safe?”  “Everything changes today.”  WOW!

The movie does not sugar coat the fact that no one wanted the red haired orphan in the beginning.  Nora didn’t say much, other than looking at me with wondering eyes and asking, “They do keep her, right?”  I watched most of the movie with her, but never looking through the eyes of an adopted child until yesterday.  She must have related to so much of the story.  It broke my heart when the two women in the very beginning call Anne “trash”… good heavens.  I didn’t even remember that part.

I understood a bit more now about how Anne wanted to be called Cordelia, hoping for a different life than the one she had been given that lead her to the depths of despair. Marilla’s line was superb, “To despair is to turn your back on God.”  So true!

We’ve had two nights of reassuring talks that Nora is ours forever. That God never left her without someone to take care of her. That we prayed for her for four years before she was part of our family.  That God chose her for us and us for her. I don’t think we can ever say those words enough.  Ever.

This was a First for ME!

March 30, 2014

Toilet paper is apparently a current topic in my life.  Some of our children’s friends TP’d our house a few weeks ago and due to the extremely pokey trees we have in the yard, there are remnants of the prank still waving at us. Even our tall son and his hockey stick couldn’t remedy the situation. My extremely frugal husband was thrilled to find five rolls of TP with 3/4 of the goods still on the roll! We have been saving money left and right from this yardly joke.

This morning after church, I was visiting the ladies room and when I arrived in my chosen stall, I noticed a huge white rose where the toilet paper should have been. I did see the elderly lady who left the stall before me, and I wrongly assumed that it was a silk rose to clip in her hair that she inadvertently left behind. Upon closer inspection…. not so. The sweet dear had taken the time to make a toilet paper rose…. FOR ME!

toilet paper rose

Never in my life have I seen a TP rose! It made me smile. The thoughtfulness of that little lady. All for me. I feel the need to find a how-to-make-a-TP-rose video on youtube so I can pay it forward.

Wasn’t that nice of her!?!

Miss Potter Strikes Again

March 28, 2014

If you have been around MySister’sJar for any length of time longer than three days, you are probably aware of my fascination with the movie Miss Potter.  I  L O V E  it.  That is all.

All around me little hints of my favorite film show up to bring a smile to my heart if not also to my face.  A wooden hedgehog in a craft store yesterday.  My watercolor paint brushes standing lonely in a smudged jar.  A vintage, faded-yellow-with-time envelope that was mailed to my grandmother in 1928.  A stuffed Peter Rabbit in his blue jacket with brass buttons in TJ Maxx.  Everywhere.  Even at the river last Monday.  I took a picture of my shadow because it reminded me of Beatrix.

Verde River 012

I imagined Beatrix saying her first lines from the movie, “There’s something delicious about writing the first words of a story.  You never quite know where they’ll take you.  Mine took me here….” as she was sitting beside crystal blue water in the Lake District.  Here she is wearing the outfit for my shadow:

miss potter dress and hat

Okay, it was mostly the hat, but it DID remind me of my fellow author/artist/lover-of-nature bosom friend, a couple generations removed.  My nature journal brings joy to my soul.  I cannot draw nearly as well as Beatrix, but it is inspiring to try.  The smell of the eraser.  The rainbow of colored pencil crayons in the RIGHT order in my prisma-color box. The challenge of copying some little tidbit that God created in nature for US!  Yes, for us to admire and marvel at… and draw in our nature journals.  :o)

Do you have a favorite movie that shines reminders to you everywhere?

That’s MY Girl!

March 14, 2014

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Nora, my 10-year-old, came and inquired about the “easiest” dictionary for her to use.  “The Children’s Picture Dictionary that you keep in your playhouse is the easiest one,” I answered.  Then she spied it.  My pretty sky blue Complete Christian Dictionary was in arms-reach on the homeschool shelf in the family room.  She pulled it down and sheepishly asked if she could use THIS one.  “Of course you can but it doesn’t have as many words as a regular dictionary,” I explained.

She hopefully queried her daddy, Do you want to sit on the couch with me and read the dictionary?  Hahahaha!  That’s my girl!  The three males rolled their proverbial eyeballs at me.  Gah!

Sitting on the couch for about 20 minutes, she was flipping pages left and right and I could hear, under her breath, “J K L M,” and “S T U V W.”  Finally I questioned, “What word are you looking up?”  “Booty,” she replied, which brought on a burst of laughter from me, her father and brothers.  She’s not thinking baby booties…. unfortunately.  We (term used very loosely) taught her the clapping game Big Booty when she joined our family in Colombia.  To no avail, I tried to explain slang words. I eventually gave up with, “Booty won’t be in the Christian dictionary.”

“Why not?” she inquisitively asked.  One of her brothers told her, “Bad words aren’t in the Christian dictionary.”  Her big brown eyes flew open as she realized booty is not a good word to be using. “Is it a swear?” she almost whispered.  Her daddy replied, “Not really, but it won’t be in there.”

“Are you sure bad words aren’t in here?  Let’s look one up and see.  What’s a bad word?” she expectantly asked her daddy.  “Well, you tell me all the bad words you know and then we’ll see,” my tricky husband answered.  Hahaha!  She wasn’t falling for that!  Then her brothers glanced at each other and one of them added, “We can think of some bad words you could look up.”  Not funny and not happening, thankyouverymuch.

Nora settled for looking up “any” word.  Then she came up with TRAP.  Her and her daddy spent WAY too long finding the T… then the R…. then the dictionary fell and closed and they had to start all over.  She asked again, “What does it start with?” “C” said one of her mischievous brothers.  We all chuckled and I threw the wet blanket on the crowd conversation again adding, “It’s a CHRISTIAN dictionary…. trap starts with T in the Christian dictionary.”  Good grief!

When the Cats Away the Birds will Play

March 13, 2014

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Well, this was a first!  Upon returning from a week away, there were two concentrations of gnats in the house.  One by the fruit bowl…. not surprising, and the other in the kid’s bathroom upstairs???  The other noticeable “markings” were in my kitchen… bird poop on my kitchen counter, the print of a bird on the INSIDE of the window and two bent feathers to lend to the tale.

What in the world goes on when I’m away????  Did they leave the doors open and invite in the wildlife?  Did the bird wander in because the swarm of gnats was so inviting???  I feel like I’m in Maui, at my sister’s house, with the plague of gnats. Okay, no, it’s not THAT bad.

Come to find out, some child of mine ate a banana and threw away the peel in the upstairs bathroom. Probably a week ago, because that’s when I left. It was a gnat smorgasbord!  I have never seen that many gnats in a bathroom before, but then, I’m not in Maui.

Pinterest to the rescue again.  Vinegar, dish soap and a bit of water in a little bowl collects gnats like flies to fly paper.  It’s an amazing concoction that worked wonders right before my bloodshot eyes. I also hung up a curly fly strip IN my kitchen to aid in the death of the irritating little bugs.  That was a first! Three hours later we are almost a gnat free zone again.

I did wipe up the bird poop, but haven’t made it to cleaning the window yet.  There’s only so much excitement I can handle on my first day home.

The English Beast Raised its Head Today

February 25, 2014

For the Colombian princess, English has been her second language for almost three years now.  She has learned to read quite well now, but she SHINES in the creative spelling department. (ugh!) I have come to realize that in the Crosby household we must not speak very clearly.  You’d think I would have better pronunciation as I’m on my third time through the entire Downton Abbey series! Here is a little glimpse into our English lessons today.

explode the code 002

Nora reads a sentence and then checks the YES box or the NO box.

1. Can a tiny baby sleep in a playpen? NO is checked.  I ask her to explain.  “A tiny baby can’t sleep in the sand out in the open at the park by the swings!” she explains, horrified that I might think that is acceptable! Ah, playpen = playground. Situation rectified.

2.  Can cattle fit in a cradle? YES is checked.  I ask her to explain. “If the cradle is big enough and you have a small cattle, it could fit,” she justifies! I ask her to define cattle. “It’s the cage the dogs sleep in.”  Ah, cattle = kennel.  Situation rectified.

3.  Are there animals in a stable? NO is checked.  I ask her to explain. Rolling her eyes she points out the obvious for her mother, “How could an animal fit in a stable?”  I ask her to define stable. “It’s when you hit that silver thing and stable the pages together.” Ah, so stable = staple.

4. Do you put a kettle on the stove? NO is checked.  I ask her to explain. “There are big holes in the side of the kettle.  Water wouldn’t stay in there and I think the plastic would melt,” she reasons.  I ask her to define kettle. “Its the cage the dogs sleep in.”  Wait, I thought that was cattle?  So, cattle = kennel = kettle.  This is making perfect sense.

And this was all within fifteen minutes!  But that is not all.

5. Can a needle vanish in the tall grass? NO is checked.  I ask her to explain. “If you hold onto the needle it won’t bannish!” (implied: DUH, Mom!) I underline the V in vanish and she corrects her pronunciation.  I ask her to define vanish. “It’s when you bisappear.”  Oh my stars.

Come On, Get Happy!

February 24, 2014

sunset 002

Tonight I was feeling pretty whooped as I was driving home from my daughter’s piano lessons. As I came down a street in our neighborhood, a block ahead a young man came flying out of a side street on a bicycle. I knew it wasn’t my cycling son because he wasn’t wearing a helmet or a riding kit (uniform…. or unitard!  hahaha!) Just a neighborhood ride, I guess. The closer he got I realized it WAS my cycling son, in street clothes, ripping it up on the bike. I didn’t have time to roll down my window as he approached the car. But as he went by with a big Cheshire cat smile on his tanned face, he was pointing down the street and riding like the wind, Bullseye.

I never know what this kid is up to.  Seventeen and full of life. Wasn’t it a little too dark for the Popsicle man??? Making a U-turn I followed him down another side street that ends at the desert. He jumped off his bike and yelled over his shoulder, “Mom! It’s going to be a great sunset. I’m going to take some pictures!” And off he ran through the cactus and sage brush carrying his bike.

He was right about the sunset. No one can beat God’s paintbrush! I drove home and got the camera in time for this beautiful sky-on-fire picture. I got to thinking about this son of mine and the fact that he chases sunsets and wants to take a photo to remember it by. That’s pretty neat, if I do say so myself. His wife will like this some day. Made me happy.


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