Posts Tagged ‘mommy’

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!

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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.

Three Years Ago Tonight…

November 24, 2013

We were a family of six, yet the sixth little wonder was 12 hours away from being in our arms!  We landed late at night to the cool, dark skies of Cali, Colombia and met our “already” friend and our translator.  What a blessed relief her welcome hug was to me that night when we got off our third airplane and stepped onto our daughter’s homeland soil.

We broke a few rules with our adoption.  I presume the three year statute of limitations is up and I can freely discuss a few happenstances from our adoption journey that have remained semi-covert until now.

We weren’t supposed to have any contact with our interpreter until we got “in country”, but we needed questions answered ASAP.  It was a Friday night when we accepted the referral and we were to fly out the following Wednesday, so the flights needed to be booked pronto.  I also had 27 million questions.  No one at the agency was available to answer our “last weekend” questions, so I called a gal across the country who had returned from Cali with her little angel a few months earlier.  She put me in contact via facebook with the lady who would be our interpreter.  She was a godsend, for sure!  She helped us with flights. She booked our hotel/apartment for our first few days.  She gave us a list of what to take/what not to take.  And then her smiling face met us at the airport near midnight.

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We weren’t supposed to go visit the village where Nora was born.  We were told that this could cause bad memories or frighten the child.  As far as we could tell from the gargantuan paperwork pile, Nora had not lived in that village since she was a baby.  We had the name of the hospital and thanks to adoption blogs, I learned that we could take our final adoption papers to the hospital and ask for records.  So we did.  LaCumbre was an hour away up in the misty Andes Mountains.  The hospital was clean and shiny and had an open air courtyard in the center of the building.  Hanging plants and freshly painted blue trim did my heart good.  We requested a copy of the record from the day Nora was born and were blessed beyond measure to get information about her birth mama (health history, height, weight, medical history, etc.) AND we discovered that Nora’s birth weight was incorrect on our paperwork!  We also found out what time Nora was born and how long she was.  I couldn’t be more grateful for those little tidbits of information that are worth their weight in GOLD to an adopted child.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

We were supposed to stay in one of the adoption hotels recommended by the agency.  We contacted three of them and the going rate for a family of six was $330 per night… and we were staying for three weeks. ($6930!) Now we are thrift-loving souls and frankly didn’t have that much to spend on accommodations/food.  The night before we left, my husband found a vacation villa a few miles out of town in the country in a gated community with a pool and a line of shops to meet all of our needs…. for $1,000 for the three weeks!  Thank you, God!  There were four bedrooms, two full baths, air-conditioning, a washing machine and beautiful surroundings.  We hired a wonderful woman to cook and clean for us every other day…. she also went shopping with me and picked lice out of our hair.  She was a saint!

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We weren’t supposed to have any contact with the foster family who took care of Nora. We were told they might try to take advantage of us and our situation in the USA.  Unbeknownst to us, Nora came bearing a little heart-shaped notebook minus all the pages that used to be inside. I thought it a bit strange until she pulled out the back lining and revealed all the contact info for the foster family.  We had Nora call them and say one last goodbye the night before we left for Bogota.  We have since been in contact and they sent pictures of their home, Nora’s bed, the family, her friends, the school, the church and the neighborhood where she lived.  Another blessing to an adopted child!  We send them current pictures of Nora and have chatted with them online a few times.  They are very thankful for this contact as she is the only child they have fostered who they have heard from.

Usually I stick to rules like a fly to flypaper, but sometimes there are very good reasons to break a few rules.

Playhouses Will Be in Heaven!

November 11, 2013

From my earliest memories, I have LOVED playhouses.  My talented and skillful father built one for us when I was four years old. It was a big triangle and transformed our woodsy Oregon backyard into a deserted island, the open sea and the jungles of deep Africa.  When our kids were 4, 1 and nearly born, we moved into a home with a deluxe tree house/fort that was so perfect for our growing family!  We lived in that house until the kids were 10, 7 and 5.  All they knew of backyard bliss involved that playhouse.  They decorated it every Christmas with a mini tree, sparkling mini lights and mini stockings for all family members and the dog.  Secret meetings were held there… and sleepovers.  Lots of sleepovers!

house playhouse

So, with our little princess joining the family, I have been envisioning a playhouse for her for SEVEN YEARS!  This is what I have longed to build:

playhouse pink

And more accurately….. this:

playhouse

And this would be ideal, but could be ostentatious in our backyard:

playhouse victorian

With my husband leaving the country for ten whole days, the kids and I, …. O.K., it was just ME…. decided to build a playhouse for Nora, the Colombian princess, before she was too old to play in one.  Budget: $50 max. And that is only if I put off grocery shopping for a week or two.  How many times can teenagers eat spaghetti in a week?  We’ll see.

This is what I had to work with:

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It is a tool shed my son built when he was nine.  It is solid!

Wish me luck and say a few prayers for creativity and imagination and more creativity and free stuff and great ideas and more free stuff like carpet and a bean bag chair.  A few windows, some flowers, a slap of paint and this place will rock her little heart for a few more years!  Be strong in the Lord and never give up hope.

Happy Basha’s Memories

October 24, 2013

bashas

Basha’s is a local grocery store chain here in Arizona that I used to frequent a LOT due to its proximity to our house at that time.  We moved near Basha’s when I was pregnant with our third child and lived in that wonderful house for six years.

As you can imagine, I visited the store OFTEN with all three children.  The three children that God blessed us with who don’t really look that much like their mother or father.  We have two blond-haired, blue-eyed kids and one with dark brown eyes and hair.  My husband has black hair and light brown eyes.  I have light brown hair and green eyes. Genetics are a weird deal.  I tell you all this frivolity to set up the first happy memory.

Happy (sort of) Memory #1:  I was casually strolling the aisles at Basha’s with my three offspring, when a lady in her mid-twenties came up and inquired, “Are these all your children?” “Yes, they are,” I replied proudly.  Then she had the audacity to ask, “Do they all have different dads?”  What in the blue blazes was she thinking???  I glanced down at my attire, wondering if I left home with only wearing my underwear … nope, fully clothed, not looking like a hoochie-mama.  I assured her that indeed, these three angels did have the same father, but I didn’t go into the fact that none of them look like him.  Good gravy, lady!

Happy Memory #2:  In our homeschool we studied a unit in science about the motion of falling objects.  One of the examples was Galileo dropping a cannonball and a musketball off the Leaning Tower of Pisa to determine that falling objects fall at the same rate.  Of course we climbed up in the play house and dropped all sorts of items into the dirt below to test this ourselves.  Back to Basha’s…. months later we were in the pasta aisle and my middle child was closely examining the spaghetti sauce jars.  (Not sure why???)  When all of a sudden he yelled (because he never spoke quietly until he was 12) “Mom! Here is the crooked building that the guy threw the rocks off of!”  (Insert song from the Sound of Music as I mentally skip through the hills of happiness!)

Happy Memory #3:  Yet another trip to Basha’s with my two little boys in the seats of the cart and my personal shopper (7 year old daughter) walking beside me.  A kind, elderly lady with fluffy white hair shuffled by and stopped to look at my children.  She smiled so sweetly.  (I braced myself to explain that I only had one husband.) Finally she remarked, “You have beautiful children!”  I whole-heartily agreed, but merely said, “Thank you!”  As she slowly made her way down the aisle, my loud, middle child yelled to the grandma, “My daddy drives a fancy Cadillac!”  It was true, albeit a hand-me-down from my parents, but his statement shocked me, nonetheless.  The sweet little lady threw her head back and belly laughed, as did I.

Happy Memory #4:  This same store had a very generous produce manager who allowed our daughter to go behind the black swinging doors each week to get free “rotten” food for her bunny rabbit, Blackie Honey Bunny Crosby.

I miss Basha’s.

It’s a Mother’s Day CONTEST!!!!

April 27, 2013

Come one.  Come all.  Step right up and enter to win a GRAND PRIZE for you or a mother dear to your heart this Mother’s Day.

What would every mother want?  A diamond ring?  No. (Could get lost while playing in the sand at the park!) A new MiniVan!  No. (Take it from my experience, after you hit someone in a minivan, they are not that great any more!)  A dozen roses! No (They wilt in no time, especially if you bought them at Walmart!)

Maybe something to bring joy to her heart.  Something to make her laugh…. and snort… and laugh some more!  Yes, you guessed it!  A Book!  YES!

my mom book

Yes, a FREE autographed copy of my book Laughing in the Midst of Mothering!  Every mother you know needs a laugh!  This book can be yours (for your mom if you aren’t a mom) by merely entering your name in the comments section of this blog.

You have until May 5th midnight to enter.  On May 6th, after I sleep in, I will randomly draw one name from the list and announce the winner here on MSJ.  I will blast the name for all to see.  The winner will have 24 hours to contact me with an address for where to ship the book.  If person #1 doesn’t contact me, I will draw another name on May 7th.  :o)

Discoveries from the Chersterfield

March 24, 2013

My husband actually called the couch a chesterfield this week and he hasn’t even been watching Downton Abbey.  I believe it was a Canadian flashback for him.  I remember my Canadian grandparents using that term for the sofa, but not my husband!

Meanwhile, back on the chesterfield, I have made several life altering discoveries.

1.  Healing takes time.  Time allows you to think and write and read, all activities that tend to get brushed to the sidelines during a busy schedule.  I have missed writing.  I need to carve out some time to express myself with written words.  It brings me joy…. and I like joy.  It’s one of my favorite things, but not exactly in a brown paper package tied up with string. (Name that movie song.)

2.  My daughter and my niece hand picked lovely yellow and purple wildflowers, placed them in jars and brought them to my coffee table that holds everything I could possibly use while on the couch.  I have spent long moments watching little bugs crawl all over the sunny blooms.  A bit of wildlife right here in the living room.

3.  Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. (Name that artist.)  My front yard blooms are in their glory mode and I have spent time each day sunning myself next to their colorful display: royal blue lobelia, cadmium snap dragons and pansies, hot pink, pale pink, variegated and snow white Sweet Williams, four shades of purples in pansies, violets and violas, and a salmon pink geranium that has yet to open its glowy blooms for my pleasure.  Vitamin D is a glorious bonus.  My nature journal is calling to me to capture the array of colors.

4.  I am the sole individual who wipes out the microwave.  Sad but true.  Come on over and have a looksie at a week’s worth of blown up food bits.

5.  Ringo the wiener dog eats orange foamy earplugs.  Disgusting.

6.  I truly am a night owl.  Even on narcotics, my best hours are from 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.  However, this was aided by a total of six hours of napping today.

I pray you are blessed with a full night of restful sleep while I am uninterrupted on the chesterfield.

The Worst Adoptive Mama on the Planet

March 23, 2013

Quietness and darkness have enveloped our home.  Only because it’s 4:35 a.m.  Our house is rarely quiet, rarely dark and rarely active at this time of the morning.  It has been one week since my car accident that has driven me to sleep on the couch (I couldn’t even THINK of climbing stairs for the first four days home).  And as much as I love sleeping with my husband, I love sleeping …. without fearing that he will kick my battered legs, bump my aching arms, yank the sheets against my seatbelt bruises on my neck or snore and make me crabby.  I’m starting to understand why my grandparents had separate rooms.  (Don’t worry, Honey, I’ll come back upstairs eventually.)  Aching arms woke me up in these wee hours… and it’s not time for the wonder drugs yet.  The fact that I can wait it out gives me hope that I’m not completely addicted to pain killers. Even in weariness, I have some level of self control.

My six year old habitual pastime of reading adoption blogs is still a passion of my soul.  It always will be.  Reading about a young couple tonight faced with infertility who have chosen a child in Ethiopia makes my adoptive mama heart beat with glee.  Another baby will have a mama.  Another daddy will cry tears of joy.  Another child will be placed by God and the nightmares might just fade a wee bit, making life a better place.  A safer place.

As an adoptive mama, I have had the normal adoptive mama fears that I am the worst adoptive mama on the planet.  I have cut off the Colombian princess from sugar at times, even sending her to bed with no cake!  Imagine!!!  I have sent her to her room when I couldn’t think of answering one more question about heaven.  I have not taken her to Disneyland.  I won’t buy her cute clothes just because they are cute, when her stuffed closet has more than enough.  I am sure I have been caught on surveillance tapes more than a dozen times in the Walmart parking lot saying, “We are not here to buy anything for you today.”  And I’ve wondered if she was in a different home, would she be granted more stuff and have more privileges.  I have expressed this self-doubt to other mamas and one in particular has told me again and again, “You are the perfect mama God chose for your girl.  She is in the right home.  You are the right mama. You are loving her just the way she needs to be loved.”  And it does my heart good for about three minutes and then the doubts return.

The before mentioned car accident was actually a glimpse into my “good adoptive mama” side that I needed to see.  The crash happened in the blink of an eye.  The air bags exploded.  Stinky smoke filled the van. And all I could think to do was jump out of my door which only opened half way to get to my nine-year-old baby in the seat behind me.  We hugged each other and balled our eyes out together.  She was not hurt.  I quickly realized that my legs were not fine and I was needing to sit back down.  Yes, the metal hitting metal sounds were ghastly and hurt our ears, but I believe what scared her the most was hearing me cry for the first time.  The ugly cry with snorts and uncontrollable guttural sounds. She kept reaching up and touching my shoulders in the front seat. Through the tears and pain, we bonded at a deeper level.

On my girl scout sash of life, I feel like I earned my “Unconditional Adoptive Mama Love” badge.  And my bruised body is a mere side effect of the stamp of approval on my heart.

Post Wreckage Wisdom

March 21, 2013

Before this past Saturday, the previous car accident I participated in was in 1999 in Anaheim, California.  Thankfully I have been fender bender free for 14 joyous years. (However, in my current state of narcotic use, I could easily and most probably be missing large periods of my life in my memory banks.)  When one meanders through life without hitting other vehicles, you tend to forget many important facts regarding collisions.  This morning, at 4:06 a.m., I am here to inform all those who need informing on said subject.

1.  Accidents happen when you least expect it and when it is not convenient in your life.  In my case, I was casually  heading to Bed Bath and Beyond to purchase a much needed shower curtain liner for the main bath due to visitors who were scheduled to arrive at my home in exactly four hours.  My daughter and two friends were descending upon our house for Spring Break from college in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a mere 14 hour drive to Phoenix, Arizona.  Two days after their arrival, three Canadian relatives were also visiting for a week.  Hence, the new shower curtain liner was MANDATORY.

2.  Teenage drivers are a danger on the road.  Out of a neighborhood shopping center driveway (right next to Charming Charlie’s purse/accessory mother ship store) a small white vehicle came flying directly into my lane from the right without any warning time, hindering me from doing all those things you know you should do when you figure out you’re are going to hit another car, i.e. brake, scream “Sweet mother of God!”, brace yourself so as to increase muscle injuries, curse the driver’s day of birth, yell at your kids “Hang on, Mommy’s going to hit someone!” or any other such nonsense. I glanced at the car and slammed into it.  That is all.  I never saw the driver’s face as she was looking to her right the entire time she was entering the four lane road, planning on crossing two lanes of traffic.  The kind police man asked me how long I had between my visual awareness of the other car and impact.  “One second.”  I have since wondered about her actions.  Did she just find the queen mother purse to match her favorite hot pink and cheetah print shoes, and couldn’t wait to get home and unite the two, creating the perfect ensemble?  Did she just eat at the Mellow Mushroom and was in a pasta induced coma with garlic permeating from her pores?  We will never know, dear reader.

3.  When the kind police man finished my inquisition and then glanced in the back seat of the van to witness a tear-stained little Latina child, he should have used his kind policeman voice and asked a politically correct question like, “Who is this little sweetheart?” or “I see we have a princess in the back seat.” or “Honey, are you ok?”  But NO.  He got the wrath of the blubbering adoptive mother when he blurted out, “Who is THAT?” like I picked up an illegal alien down by the border and was transporting her color-coordinated, well manicured dimpled self like a criminal. I will admit I answered a bit tersely, “SHE’S MY DAUGHTER!!!!”  My tone set him in his place and his kind police man voice surfaced as he praised her for being in her booster seat and wearing her seatbelt.  I am a protective mama first, and an injured car passenger second. Don’t ever forget that!

4.  Auto injuries are curious beasts.  Due to the impact of the airbag underneath the steering column of our van, my shins took a real beating.  I did not know there was an airbag under there, nor was I aware that it was hinged from the bottom and the molded plastic cover was capable of shaving your legs so thoroughly upon explosion, you might never need to shave them ever again due to the absence of several layers of skin and hair follicles.  Thank God I was wearing jeans.  As was predicted by my ER doctor friend, other injuries will surface when the most intense injuries subside.  After four days of lying on the couch with my legs elevated and iced every hour around the clock, I was able to stand without tears accumulating in my eyes.  Then I realized my right shoulder was not working as well as it had been performing before the white car jumped in my path.  Yesterday x-rays were had and after two days of icing my shoulder every hour around the clock, we will hopefully have some answers tomorrow as to my gimpy limb.  When that is concluded, I do not know what will make me cry next…. the seatbelt bruise line across my entire torso?  Or some other area still in shock waiting to surface.  I will surely keep you posted, even though I am aware of “women’s tea rules of courtesy” of not speaking of sickness or operations.  This ain’t a tea…. it is my blog, and where else can I complain with my sense of humor intact for the enjoyment of others?

5.  God takes care of His children.  When God found our new-to-us van on November 30, 2012, He was testing my thankfulness at receiving such a good and perfect gift from Him, despite it being red.  Red is my least favorite color.  But I WAS thankful for the van… the low miles, the reasonable price, the stow-n-go compartments to haul more junk, the awesome air-conditioning, the radio controls on the back of the steering wheel, etc.  And I was content knowing that I couldn’t see that it was red while I was riding in the van. I imagined that it was a purty royal blue color.  So I am pretty sure I passed the red van test and now get another new-to-us van that is not red.  I will keep you posted.

Currently my pain meds have once again done their duty and I am ready to drift back to a psycho-dream filled sleep.  Good night for now.