Posts Tagged ‘mama’

Mother Guilt

July 25, 2014

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If you’re a mother, you get this.  It’s very real.  So real it’s tangible.  Guilt that only mothers can have, get or put on themselves.

Three years ago, I dutifully accompanied the Colombian princess to her first American dental appointment.  After the x-rays and examination, the dentist handed me a sizeable Mother Guilt trophy explaining that her Colombian fillings were of poor quality and ALL needed to be replaced.  She had multiple cavities that would need to be filled immediately and there was so much work necessary that we would have to take her to a pediatric specialist to put her under for the procedures.  He had the nerve to ask if she brushed her teeth.  He meant AT ALL!  If nothing else, my little girl is diligent with personal care tasks.  She is the most regular flosser in our house, I’ll have you know, Mr. 24-year-old not-shaving-yet white coat!!

After listening to his entire money-hungry spiel, I inquired the location of the cavities.  As I suspected, they were all on baby teeth AND they were all minor.  With the referral slip in hand, I slipped out of the office and took the princess home to her father.  Being fully versed in dental procedures and examinations, together her father and I ascertained that the Colombian fillings were just fine and we wiggled all the baby teeth with cavities.  We noticed they all got more wiggly as we took turns wiggling them. Nope, not fixing them.

This is a translation for those who aren’t mothers.

What dentists say: “Your child has cavities.”  What a mother hears: “You are not taking care of your child.”

What dentists say: “There are two types of fillings.” What a mother hears: “There are $250 fillings that good mothers choose, and $75 fillings that bad mothers choose.”

What Dentists say: “Is your child flossing?” What a mother hears: Are you concerned at all about the health of your child?”

What Dentists say: “Is your child brushing after each meal?” What a mother hears: “If you haven’t taught her to BRUSH HER TEETH, what the heck are you doing all day long?”

What Dentists say: “She hasn’t been in for a long time.” What a mother hears: “Why are you a mother at all?”

This entire dental event had me swear off my motherly duties of dental visits.  Period.  I somehow forgot the six month check ups… for two years.  It’s easy to block episodes that cause Mother Guilt.  Finally, after almost all of her baby teeth had fallen out, I made an appointment for her with her FATHER to go back to that horrible place.

Her appointment was this morning at 8:00.  By 9:40 I had not heard from them and was envisioning my little Colombiana strapped in the reclined chair, wearing a bloodied paper bib with tears running down her little cheeks into her ears.  Just then my husband called and relayed that they were at Denny’s having breakfast.  He casually mentioned that she had NO CAVITIES! WHAT?  And I wasn’t there to receive my Mother of the Year trophy!!!  When they got home, she reported that they put fluoride on her teeth and told her not to eat anything for 30 minutes, but that Daddy took her to Denny’s anyway.  Nice!  Father guilt doesn’t even exist!  If her fluoride wore off with a Jr. Grand Slam, it is SOOO not this mama’s fault!

Whirlwind Weekend!

May 28, 2014

 

Whirlwind Weekend is now behind us.  Our eldest son, Austin, graduated in a beautiful ceremony for which Rick and I were responsible.  There were a few snags, but the evening turned out to be very rewarding for the 145 graduates and their family and friends.  They felt loved, celebrated and prayed for! So worth it, in my humble opinion, to put on a grand celebration for homeschool graduates!  A homeschool graduation is a day to celebrate the parents who chose this often difficult educational route, the mama who toiled endless hours in subjects she’s not all that familiar with, the siblings who were right there in the thick of things and of course, the graduate who survived.  This child in particular, caused more prayer hours in my life…. so far….. please read the previous post to learn why we are so proud of him!

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After cleaning up the church and scrambling home by 11:00p.m., we slept for four short hours and then jumped in the van to drive 17 hours to a wedding in Oklahoma.  Son number two has had his driving permit for one week…. no, not even.  Five days.  F I V E.  So we endured a few white-knuckled hours of experience for him during extremely uneventful stretches of flat highway across the top of Texas and Oklahoma.  How can he be allowed to drive?  He was chubby and cute and three years old just a few months ago???

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The wedding was beautiful…. truly… as beautiful as a wedding can be.  Our daughter was one of the bridesmaids and it was such a joy to experience the love between the young couple starting their new life together! And blast it all, I didn’t take one picture of the couple together!

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In the fairytale setting there was a fairytale swing… one of the tallest I’ve ever seen.  Nora had a few moments of terror after the ceremony.  Her scared belly laugh makes me giggle.  It’s the laugh she can’t hold in… throaty and deep.  I love it!

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Above all, I’m glad to be home.  Home sweet messy home.

 

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.

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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!

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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!?!

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.

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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.

Laundry Line Up

February 20, 2014

In the Crosby household, the minute your little hands could reach the knobs on the washing machine and dryer you were taught to do your own laundry. In my humble mama opinion, this has been glorious, to say the rock-bottom least. We have, however, hit a few glitches over the years.

1. Children who leave their laundry in the washer, in the dryer, piled on the washer and dryer, piled on the floor in the laundry room, etc. for DAYS.

2. Children who can only remember to empty the lint screen if they were paid $127 each time. (And no, $125 is not enough!)

3. Hanger stealing children.  BYOH!

4. Children born in Colombia who had a birth mama who was 4’11”. (She may not be able to reach the knobs until she is 21!) Thus, the laundry stool was welcomed into our home. (So …. the cow…. does this mean there is life milking cows after the laundry is done???)

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This week I have had the pleasure of watching all three of my children who are still living here do their own laundry. Son #2 dragged all his bedding downstairs to the laundry room a few days ago including his comforter.  It did my heart good.  Hubby and I were on the couch (watching Downton Abbey, but that is entirely another story!) when the dryer buzzer announced that son #2’s sheets were dry. A gangly 15 year old came flying down the stairs, ran to the laundry room, grabbed said dry sheets and dashed back up to his room. (Not emptying the lint screen. GAH!) A quizzical look came upon my husband’s handsome face. Being the bearer of all knowledge about my kids’ weird ways, I informed Daddy-o about the joys of climbing into a bed with warm sheets…. even in Phoenix, Arizona it is a pleasure.

Yesterday, the little Colombian princess was sorting her laundry on the couch in the family room, then moved it all to the laundry room and washed, dried and put away all her clothes. (Insert happy mama sigh.) Later that day, she was dusting the family room and happened upon a little pair of black panties with a hot pink waistband in the large blue decorative bowl that sits on the coffee table in front of the laundry-sorting-couch.  She was horrified that she left them where all the world could see… and she couldn’t stop giggling. Made me giggle too.

Today, I brought down my basket of dirty clothes but got distracted being a mom before I could get them sorted.  Son #1 whisked through the kitchen in the middle of my distractedness and loaded up the washing machine before me and my loads that were downstairs FIRST! However, I don’t care AT ALL!  He is 17 and washing his own stinky clothes without being asked or prodded.  It is a mommy victory moment and I will happily wait in line behind my kids for the washer ANY day!

Christmas Baking at its Best!

December 23, 2013

This has been my year of slowing down… giving up control… take ‘er easy, eh!  That extended over into my Christmas baking.  Remembering my baking days of the past…. I had lists for the grocery store… new recipes picked out from Pinterest and printed out…. days marked off the calendar for BAKING ONLY!  No more.

This is how it went down this year…. the slowing down year….  I noticed that none of the five others living in this house were eating up the chunky peanut butter.  This brought on the spontaneous idea of making peanut butter cookies.  You know the ones… with the criss-cross fork marks.  Immediately I broke out the trusted red and white checked Betty Crocker cookbook with stains and spills to tell of my love.  There are plenty of spots on the peanut butter cookie page… bringing comfort to my soul.  So I started making the yummy delicacy… deciding to double the recipe along the way.  I was obviously absentmindedly following the recipe while visions of sugar plums danced in my head.  I remembered an entire bowl of milk and white chocolate Hershey kisses left over from a party three days hitherto.  I decided mid-mix to make the peanut butter cookies with the kisses in the middle.  So yummy!

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While all that was going on, I somehow switched which recipe I was following in Betty’s book.  Bummer.  I found myself looking into a bowl of WAY too much sugar and an odd amount of flour for the PB cookies.  I realized I was not making German Chocolate Pinwheels…. so I set that bowl aside, stuck a sticky note over the incorrect recipe, and started the dry ingredients again.  Then I didn’t have enough flour.  A trip across the street to borrow flour commenced.

Fast forward five or six days… the bowl with flour and sugar is still sitting on the counter with a sticky note in it detailing the amounts of ingredients.  The German cookies required far too much effort and time to continue. So today, I decided to pour over Betty’s offerings to see if any recipe called for those measurement of sugar and flour.  YES!  Pumpkin bars did!  Two weeks ago I was in Fry’s grocery store and saw pumpkin on sale… so I bought it.  My sister once told me, “If you buy what you love you’ll always have what you need!”  (It was concerning scrapbooking supplies, but I have applied it to every area of my life.)  Today two huge pans of pumpkin bars were created to perfection.

However, the recipe called for cream cheese frosting.  I did discover a tub of said frosting in the fridge and frosted 1/2 of one pan.  A third of a pan was consumed sans frosting.  Another fourth was eaten with frosting.  I texted my grocery-store-bound husband and asked him to pick up more frosting.  Many people in North Phoenix must be making pumpkin bars with flour and sugar left over from German Chocolate Pinwheels that were supposed to be Peanut Butter Kisses….. there was no cream cheese frosting to be found.  Finally arriving home with bricks of cream cheese…. that now need to be made into frosting…. that’s where we are.  And we will be here until tomorrow as the Grinch that Stole Christmas just started.

How has your Christmas baking gone???

Chicken Coop Construction

December 17, 2013

Third time’s a charm, right?  I hope so!  This is our third attempt at raising chickens.  The other two tries were highly successful and with each adventure we learn a little more.  Nov. 25th, Nora’s Gotcha Day, we bought some new chickies.  Darling little fluffy peepers…. soon turned into noisy, smelly growing birds.  But we love them.  Truly.  From that day, I knew I had approximately three weeks to get a coop built.  Time got away from me… and I ended up purchasing a bigger plastic storage tub to make my planning/collecting/building time last a tad bit longer.

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My sweet supportive husband did not want chickens.  At all.  He didn’t even care if we would eventually get two dozen eggs a week.  Nope.  He is scarred from having to clean out maggoty chicken poop a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away.  It’s okay.  If I were born in a different era, I’m sure I would have fit right in with Little House on the Prairie.  Oh to have a free range flock!  I dream of wearing fashionable rubber boots and collecting eggs in a hand-woven basket from my huge coop at the back of the grassy property.  But no.  I’m in Phoenix.  In an HOA, nonetheless.  But it’s all good.

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Being non-supportive, Mr. Wallet didn’t feel the need to “invest” in chicken coop construction.  Go figure!  The one I would love to build comes in a tidy box with a shiny picture on the front of a two story coop with a run, shutters, metal roof and wood paneling that I admire with ogling eyes.  For a mere $249, it could be gracing my backyard!  Trying to keep peace on the farmstead, I have been pouring over Craigslist, an online garage sale…. particularly the FREE section.  She shoots, she scores!  I found a 3’x3’x3′ wooden shipping crate!  PERFECT!  I did talk my sweet supportive husband into dumpster diving with me in the next neighborhood where new homes are being built.  We totally scored some 4×6 treated beams and a bunch of other useful pieces of wood.

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Yesterday was spent removing nails, measuring, sawing and praying.  Today I called my two nephews and niece over from across the street to help me and three of my kids get the legs on this baby.  We should have video taped the whole ordeal.  They are ALL sarcastic and funny and loud.  I was explaining the procedure, “Two of you need to lift the crate,” before I could breathe my eldest nephew named his sister and cousin for that job.  Hardy har har.  The four remaining cousins were to hold legs in place while I screwed it all together.  They were all in place but talking so loudly I finally pulled the trigger on the drill and yelled something …. nice… like “Please use your inside voices” or some other such nonsense.  They all laughed.  In my face.  Anyway, we did get the coop duty done.  Tomorrow is front door construction and heat-lamp hole drilling.

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The girls are getting all feathered out already!  HURRY!

Grand Canyon Travel Advisory!

June 7, 2013

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Yes, I’m here as your valued travel adviser having returned from the grandest of canyons a mere three hours past.  Here are my Top Eleven-and-a-half Suggestions for visiting the Grand Canyon National Park in Northern Arizona (brought to you by Hershey’s smooth milk chocolate bars):

11.  Hold onto small children around the rim.  There are not railings everywhere…. I mean, come on… it’s 277 miles long on EACH side.  Safety first, people.  The guide told us that 12 people die each year from falling in.  WHAT?  Yep.

10.  Take your camera.  This may seem like a DUH!, but I didn’t have one with me as ours landed on the ground too many times.  My friend brought hers and hopefully she will share her pictures!

9.  Engage those around you.  We met delightful people from Utah, South Africa, Maine, Germany, Pennsylvania, South Korea, South Carolina, India, China and even California!  There were plenty of elderly folks who love to chat.  They asked to see our paintings, asked to take a picture of my drawings, asked if all these kids were mine and visited about lovely information of their experiences from their homelands.

8.  Stay until sunset at least once.  The colors are unbelievable, incomprehensible, and awesome!

7.  Plan an extra hour for every event you want to attend if you are taking the free shuttles.  Yes, they are free.  No gimmicks.  The only place in the USA where FREE isn’t a catch word for “sucker”. Thank you, U.S. Government, for providing free shuttles in the park.  At the beginning of the week, I thought the bus drivers were grouchy and mean.  After four days of witnessing what they go through with wild American kids that can’t sit in a seat for the love of God, and ALL the lovely foreigners who just needed more help with the maps, the schedules, the standing-in-the-white-space-by-the-door law, the back door and front door loading and unloading rules, the no eating and no drinking rules and the back-away-from-the-curb-when-bus-is-approaching guideline….. I realized I would probably be grouchy too, or supremely sarcastic, which is usually over foreigners’ heads and would cause MORE confusion.

6.  Go inside Kolb’s Studio.  Downstairs they still play the original moving pictures that the Kolb Brothers showed to visitors in the 1930s.  The artwork in the studio is outstanding!  Well worth the time, it’s air conditioned and the historic photos are the BEST of these two renegades, even at the age of 93!

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5 1/2.  Drive all the way to Desert View Point and climb the smelly tower all the way to the top.  The views of the Colorado are supreme.

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5.  Bring your own food from home.  And solid blocks of ice, if you are camping.  Prices inside the park are astronomical….. seriously from outer space. A 2 litre pop was almost $4.  If you are coming from Northern Alberta, that is a reasonable price, I understand.  But you can go to Walmart in Flagstaff and fill up on 2l pop for $.99 each on your way.  One trip I purchased 1 bag of charcoal, 2 bags of ice, a lemonade, a greeting card and 2 packs of gum….. guess how much….. go ahead….. guess…… higher…… higher….. yes, $30.26.

4.  Camp!  Ok, I know you hotel-cushies just rolled your eyes and I lost ya, but seriously, to stay at least four days and not spend your children’s college funds, camping is the way to go.  You will never forget the stars in the night sky!!!  Amazing!  No bugs.  Hot showers.  Or rent an RV and use the microwave.  Be somewhat cushy.  The camp sites are only $18 per night.  The CHEAPEST room in a lodge on the rim is $169 per night/low season/2 people.  Or stay at a motel outside the park and use the free shuttle every day.

3.  Carry your own lunch.  This is from experience, people.  Take responsibility and pack in your own food.  Mine “accidentally” got set down at a shuttle stop somewhere… and I had to beg for 1/2 sandwiches from my sons.  Some lucky soul is now carrying a bright yellow lunch sack with Linda Crosby written across the bottom.  If you see him/her, please tell them you read my blog.  It looks exactly like this:

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2.  Plan at least 4 – 5 days to see everything.  There is SO MUCH to see!  We stayed five days and I still didn’t get to tour the insides of the historical buildings or hike down a bit of Bright Angel trail (you know, just to say “Yeah, I’ve hiked Bright Angel.”)

and the NUMBER ONE Suggestion for visiting the Grand Canyon is….. (drum roll, please)…. WEAR SUNSCREEN!  Learn from my mistakes, people.  And take it from me, if you think your facial make-up has sunscreen, you may be fooling yourself.  Mine used to… and stopped including it without my knowledge…. and my face got toasty roasty… but not as bad as my red v-neck burn.  Say no to skin cancer and wear sunscreen…. waterproof sunscreen, because you will sweat.