Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Great Daryl Nathan

Facebook and memory lane inspired this post!

When Ry and I were first married and without children we spent every weekend at his sister's house.  We had a lot of nights where we nearly peed our pants from laughing so hard from one crazy thing or another!  We made up our own games and entertainment.  But some nights we enjoyed the entertainment of the the Great Daryl Nathan.

The Great Daryl Nathan appeared on public access cable in Grand Rapids, MI in the early to mid nineties. With his puffy long wig and sauve white tuxedo, he would soulfully sing over keyboard presets, reading the lyrics from an old notebook while occasionally hitting a drum fill and flinging up some jazz hands. In "Spinning Wheel", Daryl treats us to a few twirling dance moves.

The Great Daryl Nathan was teased for his dedication and seriousness about his music which I hear he did not appreciate, but it certainly made him more popular!  I can't find what he is doing today, but he has some facebook pages that you can check out and if you know anything about him post and tell us!!  In the meantime I'm sure you will enjoy his music much the same way we did!
(I have video of us enjoying the Great Daryl Nathan.  My nephew is dancing around, my father in law is singing along, and my sister in law is right in sync with Daryl Nathan's prose!  I was hoping to post it on here, but we can't figure out how to do it!! :(  So bummed because it is such an awesome video!!)

International Lover (mp4 video) | Beware Of Pretty Fine Girls (mp4 video) | Spinning Wheel (mp4 video) | Powerful World (mp4 video)
You can also stream the videos via YouTube here: one | two | three | four

Monday, August 29, 2011


August 28, 2011

Today I sat on a hospital bed and held my grandfather's hand as he took his last breaths on this earth.  This was the first time I have ever watched someone die.  I am relieved to say that it was peaceful.  We were all there at the end and surrounded his bed.  We had been talking and Oma (my grandma) and I were talking about how hard it is just to wait for death to come because we knew it was just a matter of time.  Not five minutes after we had said this Opa's breathing dramatically slowed and I called the family to be around him.  I was happy we could all be there so that he and Oma wouldn't be alone, but nothing about death is easy.  I am supposed to find comfort in the fact that he is now in Heaven and a better place and lived a long and happy life, but when I would rather have him here- that is difficult to wrap my head around.

Instead of talking too much about his final moments I thought I would tell you a little about his life!

His life was worthy of a movie script. Here is the shortened version:  He was born in 1924 in Lieden, Netherlands, survived wartime hardships like having to dig holes to hide in from the Germans so he wouldn't have to fight in their army.  He met Oma and went home and told his mother she was the one he would marry - it was love at first sight.  Always building and tinkering, Opa once built a row boat in the bedroom of his apartment! With his family, he immigrated to the United States in 1957.  He, Oma, his son, Henk, and my mom came over on a boat!

He and the family were sponsored by our church.  He told us that they went to dinner when they first got to Michigan at someone's home and they served jello with fruit in it.  He had never seen it and thought it was fish eggs!  He politely ate it anyways!  He was a hard working and worked at the same job for many many years.  He and Oma were together for 67 years!  They couldn't marry for a bit after the war because they had nothing.  Opa had to trade his short pants for a pair of longer ones for his wedding because that was all he had!  They were married for 62 years!

Every part of Opa was strong. His personality as well as his physical strength. The man went through more accidents and obstacles then any other human being I know and rose above each and every one of them with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye! He never sat down and let things happen to him. He made them happen for the better and did it with a smile.

I very much believe I inherited my story telling abilities from Opa. (although I don't know that I will ever reach his level of story perfection!)   He could pull a tale out of thin air and make the world believe it was true.  He made up words and songs much to the delight of my sisters and I.  He got my sister to kiss frogs as a kid and I'm sure he used his story telling talents on us more then once to get us to do things we didn't want to do!  He once told a story so infamous about the Queen of the Netherlands that his boss heard about it and sought him out because he was in awe of what he had heard! (and completely believed)

Opa always seemed to have a smile on his face and a twinkle in those bright blue eyes of his.  He had a way with children and a way with the ladies.   We could always count on Opa flirting with the girls and making them laugh.  He could put a smile on anyone's face at any time.  He flirted with his wife most of all though and never left us guessing who he cherished above all others.

He was a lot of fun, but he was no none sense as well.  He taught me how to row a boat, bait a hook, dive, call swans, and tried to teach me to sail - to name a few things.  He could get a room in giggles in two seconds and quiet it just as fast.  When I was young every weekend in the summer we spent with Oma and Opa up at a lake.  One of our traditions was going to Suzie's Ice Cream parlor.  I had a hard time deciding what flavor of ice cream to get.  I never wanted to the same one because I wanted to try them all so it had to be just perfect!  So I was almost always the last one to get my ice cream and probably the last one to find a place to sit.  On one particular day I was milling around and everyone was waiting for me to sit.  Opa sternly and not too quietly said, "Sit!" to me and every person in that place found a seat within 5 seconds flat!  The dog on the porch even sat down!

I could go on and on and on about Opa.  I feel extremely blessed that he was part of my life and the lives of my children for so long.  He showed me how a person should attack life and live cheerfully.  He showed me how to be respectful and demand respect.  He loved me without reservation and I loved him fiercely.  He was a man to admire and one you wanted to be around.  I miss him already! 

Opa and I

My Mom, Opa, Oma, and the kids

TyceOpa about a week ago

Jackson and Opa

Lola loved giving Opa kisses!  I think he got the most kisses from her out of everyone!

Oma and Opa

Opa and Tyce

Friday, August 26, 2011

Michigan Adventure!!

For the past three years Ryan and I have been taking Jackson to Michigan's Adventure for a fun day during the summer.  This year A was supposed to come with us, but he had soccer try-outs so he missed out on the fun.  Maybe next year!

Of course the day couldn't go without some fun adventures! 

The first thing we always do is go to the waterpark and get a locker.  If you don't get there right away you won't get a space.  This way we can change our clothes when we are ready to go swim. 

The first ride we hit was the corkscrew.  This is not the most ginormous ride and Jackson is big enough for it and I have been on it a ton of times.  Yet, standing and waiting in the line just makes my heart start to beat faster.  The longer we wait the more anxious I become!  Once I get on the coaster and go down that first drop I am fine and enjoy it, but it is close to torture for me to wait for it!

There were three of us so Jackson was going to sit by me and Ry was going to sit on his own.  We got in line so that we would be on the same coaster.  As we got closer to our turn, it turned out that we wouldn't be on the same ride afterall so I asked the lady  and her friend behind us if she would like to go first.  I wasn't prepared for her to start yelling that I was "totally screwing her over"!  She also wanted to ride on the same coaster as a friend who was down a few cars.  Ignoring her outburst, I then turned to a couple behind Ry and asked them if they would like to go ahead of me.  The lady then started to repeat over and over again how she was being "screwed"!  Awesome language when you are around a ton of kids!  Then she tried to push past me to be in front of the line.  I put my body in front of her to block her way and just shook my head.  She may have had 70 pounds on me, but I already had a ton of adrenalin pumping through my veins!  I wasn't about to let her separate me from my family!

There was a very simple solution to her problem.  I just didn't want to share it with her at that moment in time.  If her friends let one person in front of them, they would have been together.  Oh well.  As it turned out she went in front of us loudly letting me and everyone waiting know that I had "screwed" her over!  It made no difference to me!  We had a super fun time on our first ride!

We ventured over to the Scrambler and the Tilt-a-Whirl.  We had to post-pone our ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl because of someone's unfortunate willingness to share their lunch on the ride.  Jackson loves to ride these two over and over again and Ry can only stand so much spinning so it is up to me to have the gut of steel!

We hit most of the rides that Jackson could ride and wanted to ride.  One word of recommendation; if you are going to ride the wooden roller coasters - no matter what amusement park you go to and you are built like me, it may be a good idea to wear a sport's bra.  I'm just saying... Those rides are so bumpy and you get thrown all over the place and sometimes not all of your body is thrown at the same time or in the same direction!  It could be an added thrill for your companion rider, but why chance it! (let's just say I learned this one the hard way)

Toward the heat of the afternoon we journeyed to the water park.  Jackson's favorite is the wave pool.  Frankly, I am not a fan.  The place was packed and there were bodies everywhere!  The waves pushed everyone around and into one another.  I was super nervous trying to keep within arms reach of Jackson and out of the reach of the 50 people spilling over the wave in my direction! 

I think our last wet ride was "Grand Rapids".  Do not ride this thing unless you really want to get wet!  It is not in the water park and you have to wear shoes on it so it is deceiving!  Mark my words, you will be completely drenched from your head to your shoes!  The first year we went on it I walked around the rest of the day making fun sloshing noises in my shoes.  (only amusing for the first four steps)  We wear our suits and flip flops on it now.  And of course I am the one that gets drenched each and every time.  I walk away looking like a drowned rat with running mascara!  I think that makes Jackson's entire day!  He belly laughs like nobody's business!  The best sound ever which is why I put myself through it time and time again! 

Super fun time was had by all and we were spent!  Can't wait for next year!!

"Acting" silly!

"Acting" scared!

Can you spot Ry in the last seat?  Jax is next to him...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Grandpa's "Big Bikini"!

When we lived in our old house we enjoyed a huge garden!  We had flowers, raspberries, beans, pumpkins, peppers, tomatoes, tomatoes, and more tomatoes - did I mention tomatoes?  Jackson used to pick the tomatoes and call them "no nos" and eat them whole. 

At this house we don't have a garden, but will hopefully have one next summer.  The little ones did plant seeds this summer however!  Our neighbors were kind enough to let them "help" plant their seeds for a bountiful summer crop!  I held my breath until I saw the shoots come up because I wasn't sure how the "help" turned out!  The little ones rushed to the garden every day looking for those shoots! (after a week of looking every day and not seeing anything they lost interest = thank goodness!!)

Grandma and Grandpa have a wonderful garden as well and the kids picked some vegetables yesterday.  They brought home cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers.  When I came through the door into Grandma and Grandpa's house to take the kids home Tyce told me he had to show me "Grandpa's big bikini!"  I wasn't really sure I wanted to see his "big bikini"!!  This is what he brought me:
Grandpa's "big bikini" aka zucchini

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This Makes Me MAD!!

I watched the Today Show the other morning and caught a story that just kills me!

It is about a man (a really young man) who got his girlfriend pregnant at 19.  The girlfriend had the baby and relinquished her rights without telling her boyfriend about it.  Ironically the couple is back together and want the baby back.  The child is now three years old and living with an adoptive family across the country.

Now, I understand how he would be more then upset about his child being adopted without his consent and I feel for him, but my question is where was he when the child was born?  If he had been there or had been involved he would have had a say in what was going on.  There would have been no way he could have missed any of that going on!  But maybe I don't have the entire story...  And no it wasn't right of the girlfriend to do it behind his back.  Is it his mom who is pulling for this?  Is it a fantasy between him and his girlfriend that once they have their daughter they will be a wonderful family and everything will be great?

This makes me sooo MAD!!  I wish that adults like him would stop being so selfish!!!  This child knows no other family and is being loved by a family she adores!  Being an adoptive mom myself, I can't imagine what it would do to Lola to have her go with strangers who are biologically related to her!  When it comes to family I don't think blood matters all that much!  Lola would react and feel the same as Tyce or Jackson would if they were taken by a stranger just because they shared some DNA!

So what is the solution?  Maybe.. be responsible?  If he were responsible in the first place he wouldn't be in this position.  What is done is done.  So, there is nothing wrong with him writing her letters and eventually being introduced into her life somehow.  It is not going to damage her living as an adoptive child- as he stated!  Be responsible and put the child first!  I don't care how sweetly you have decorated her room in your parent's home!  Grow up!!  Having a child is a big deal!  Being a parent is more then having a name on the wall and DNA in her body.  It is putting the child above all else.  It makes me heartsick for the little girl and her adoptive parents and angry at two people who first did a wonderful, selfless, courageous thing in finding a better home for their child and now trying to take it all away!
You can watch an interview with the birth father here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!!

The white billowy clouds splatter the crisp blue sky making the lush green grass even more vibrant.  The crack of a bat sends the stark white baseball spinning through the vast.  It seems suspended in air and the crowd holds its breath to see if it will bounce off of the forgiving green or be swallowed up by the leather of the brown glove.  Waifs of popcorn, hot dogs, and beer touch the noses of the patrons and people put their arms up high in harmony with their neighbors as they make a wave travel around the stadium.  The music plays, the crowd cheers, and the flag waves.  What a wonderful All American pastime baseball is!

That is until my family ventures through the stadium gates.  The game is lost on every single child I have. 

A sat very still and watched trying to comprehend the events of the field, but soon began drawing pictures and coloring with Jackson who was most concerned if he could get a souvenir like a giant finger or not. 

Lola cheered when the crowd did, but was more interested in the smells in the air.  "Momma - I smell popcorn!  Can we have some!  There's some cotton candy!  Can we have some?  Maybe later?  Momma!  Ice cream!!  I want some of that!  Can we have a snack?  I'm thirsty.  I'm hungry!  Momma look!  I have never had that before!  Look at that boy!  He has a treat.  Can I have one?  Maybe later?"
Lola eating her treat - I don't know what is going on with Tyce in the background!

Tyce in typical fashion found a caterpillar crawling on the stairs which he desperately wanted to keep.  He then sat down and had to check out all of the people around him.  His first comment was,  "Momma, look at that BIG guy!  He has a lot of babies in his tummy!"  Just what you want your child to say about someone within hearing distance of you!  His next loud observation was, "Why is that guy wearing his bathing suit?"  (he had on shorts with a tropical print) "Are we going swimming?  Where is the water?"  My favorite comment of the day was, "Momma, where are the cows?"  The crowd was booing the umpire and he thought they were all mooing!!

Cruising in our shades on the way to the game!

Daddy and Tyce taking in the game

Jackson looking at the people behind him in his glasses
Six sets of sticky fingers, three sets of ice cream stained clothes, and six sweaty people later we left the game having watched all seven innings and our team winning!  Lola still wanted cotton candy, Jackson was sad a foul ball never came to him, A wanted a shower, and Tyce was about to collapse from exhaustion, but I think they had fun????

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mommy Drink

So maybe I didn't need to stick with my original summer plan about starting a new hobby because things did get better, but now that school is in sight the kids are driving me to my breaking point.  Honestly, they fight all day long no matter what activities I engage them in!  More times then not Ry has come home this past week to me either with a piece of chocolate in my fist or an adult drink.

Tyce, Lola, and I were in the store getting a few odds and ends.  We had time so we looked at the lobsters for awhile and played on the bikes in the toy aisle.  They were not fighting and were very agreeable so I didn't want to mess with a good thing!

When the list was taken care of Lola took it and pretended to read off the items.

Lola: "Yogurt"
Me:  "Got it"
L: "check.(she is making a flourish with her arm likes she is checking something off)  Cereal.  Check. Bike Pump. Check."
(I don't know where she got the "check" thing from.)
L: "Peanut Butter. Check. Lemonade. Check. Mommy Drink.  Check."
Me:  "Wait.  What?  Mommy Drink?"
Lola: "Right there!  You have Mommy Drinks!"  She pointed to the bottles of wine in the cart. (which were on sale which is why there were more then one bottle)

Yup.   I guess she got it right.  Those are Mommy Drinks.  Not Daddy drinks.  Not adult drinks.  Strictly Mommy Drinks.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Is the Sign on my Forehead?

I don't know what it is about me, but people like to randomly talk to me.  I will be in the grocery store and strangers will look into my cart and comment on what I have!  The cable guy will tell me about his motorcycle accident and the checkout guy will tell me about his roommate stealing his food!  It seems I can't get a quote on something or ask where to find something in a store without hearing someone's tragic/gross/happy story!!  Ryan suggested I comment back with something shocking to make them stop, but I don't think that will work!  I think that will just open it up for more comments I don't want to hear!  There are times I encourage conversation, but I feel like when I am not in the mood to talk to people that is when they really seek me out to have a heart to heart.  Maybe I have a sign on my forehead or something!  I just don't know!  It takes up a lot of my time listening politely, but Ryan always seems to appreciate the stories I come home with!  Do things like that happen to everyone???

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm turning into a Shar Pei

I have a lot of experience working with children who are deaf. After all, that is what I went to school for! I learned what they now refer to as an "old school" approach to teaching children who are deaf or hearing impaired, but I have to say I pull out the "old school" stuff a ton with A in trying to help him learn to speak English as well as the current stuff! 

I think what I do the most is actually going to make me look like a Shar Pei breed of dog!

I do the "wait with an expective look" on my face a lot. I get a lot of one word answers to questions so I do a lot of sitting and waiting with my eyebrows up and my head forward. I think my eyebrows inch up farther the longer I wait until I creep the kid out with my eyes the size of baseballs and my eyebrows becoming one with my hairline and my neck stretched out!

I ask open ended questions instead of yes and no questions. He hates this!
Me: "Tell me what you did today."
Him: "Uhhh... Nothing!" (the eyebrows go up) "I can't say in English." (eyebrows are now up to my hairline) "Oh Come on!!!" (eyebrows inch up higher and head turns a little while my neck stretches closer to him) "I played soccer!"
Me: "Where did you play?"
Him: See above (but eyebrows end up in the middle of my head)

I point out what other people are saying.  When the other kids say something or something is said on TV that I think is interesting like waxing and mascara (not really) I ask A what was said.  He can never tell me so the person has to repeat it and he has to listen and then tell.  A lot of grumbling is added into the conversation.

I by pass him for a lot of things so he has to ask for what he wants and if he doesn't the eyebrows go up again and I wait and wait and wait until he talks!
 I repeat what he says so he can hear it again.

I talk non-stop.  I am like a radio sports announcer and give play by plays on what we are doing, what  we were doing, and  what we will be doing.  (So see there really is a good reason for me blabbering all of the time!)

I repeat what others say so he can hear it a little more clearly.

I repeat myself but by using different phrases.  "yes, yup, ya, you bet, sure, certainly, of course"  You never think of all of the different ways you can express the same thing until you have to stop and check for understanding or are asked to explain.

So now I am turning into a non-stop talking Shar Pei!  Bet A never thought America would be this cool!

(and this just means I may need to use facials more often!)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I am a Soccer Mom

Last night A had his first soccer game!  It was a scrimmage actually, but still it was his first real game in an organized sport!  He made the JV soccer team along with only three other freshmen. (yes, I am bragging and I can officially do that because he is a foster child from a different country and that is the rule!)  He   played almost the entire game! 

I don't know that much about soccer even though three of my four children are playing soccer right now, but A has some moves!  He does a great job dribbling the ball down and passing.  I was quite proud!  I was the most proud that he seemed to be understanding the rules and what the players and coach were saying!  Or maybe that was more of a huge relief then a feeling of being proud.

So, does this mean I am officially a soccer mom now?  My idea of a "soccer mom" is one of a yuppie mom who dresses to the nines, has her hair and nails done and a housekeeper and a cook.  That definitely isn't me so I looked online just to be sure.... The phrase soccer mom generally refers to a married middle-class woman who lives in the suburbs and has school age children. She is sometimes portrayed in the media as busy or overburdened and driving a minivan.  She is also portrayed as putting the interests of her family, and most importantly her children, ahead of her own.

This definition is definitely me and has been me since the day Jackson started school!  I may have even been classified as a "soccer mom" before I had kids and was teaching and driving my minivan!  I wish I could be the other soccer mom though.  My idea of a soccer mom definitely has more promise to it!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Painters at the House...Do Not Hire this Crew!

I bought the kids some paints today.  Nice crayola paints in little plastic bottles in all different colors.  Lola and Tyce were so excited to create a masterpiece they could barely wait for me to find the paint brushes and paper!

I thought I would go with the least messy of my options and put the two of them outside.  We have a little plastic picnic table on the deck that is perfect for all of their messy fun!  I set them up with plastic plates with drops of different colors, paint brushes, and paper.  I left the slider open and went inside.

I was busy doing this and that.  Honestly, I don't remember quite what I was doing, but after a bit I realized it was way too quiet.  There hadn't been any tattling, any disagreements, or any demands for food!  Something was definitely wrong!

I raced to the door and discovered they had closed it which explained the quiet.  Before I even opened it, I knew I was a goner!

There they stood in all their painting glory!

Of course I raced to get my camera first.  Clean up later.  And what a clean up it was!  The water table was filled with grey goo.  The picnic table had a beautiful rainbow design on the table top and the benches.  The deck was splashed and splattered with color and there was a trail leading down the steps to the brightly colored rocks below!  The only thing that wasn't covered in paint was the white paper scattered across the yard!

The children had to scrub the paint off of the deck and then I hosed them down before allowing them into the house.  The hose water was very cold and as I splattered them with water, I asked them where they could paint and if it was ok to paint their bodies.  The cold forced out shrieks of no and that they should only paint paper!  I'm sure if the neighbors were watching they could have interpreted the situation in a whole different light!

As a side note, the paint did come off and when I asked Tyce how there was paint in his nose, ears, mouth, and hair he told me that the paint grew wings and flew there!  He most definitely did not put it there!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tasmanian Devil

It never fails.  It is kind of like washing your car and then it rains.  At the most inappropriate time around the most possible people, your child will throw the most glorious of fits known to man!  Of course when no one is watching and it is only you to witness it, your child will be the most angelic presence on earth saying the sweetest, most tear jerking statements imaginable.  This of course makes one wonder what it is about the public that brings out the Tasmanian devil in children!?

On Saturday we went to an open house for the new YMCA that was just built not too far from us.  They had a tour, games, and lots of treats for everyone.  It should have been a fun time, but Lola didn't think so.  To be fair she was being punished and wasn't allowed to have a cookie like her brothers did because she had stolen and eaten all of her brother's candy the day before.  She had even eaten the wrappers to cover her tracks! (I am in big trouble with that one!!)  So I can understand how not getting a cookie could turn her sour. 

As we were engrossed in activities it seemed that she had forgotten to keep on her sour face and things seemed to be fine.  That is until it was time to take a picture.  The child absolutely refused to take the picture and then when we said we could do it later she screamed that she wanted it done now! 
Lola's picture ID - a forever reminder of a fun day!

And when I say screamed, I mean a blood curdling sound that would turn anyone's blood cold!  I had her sit on my lap to take the picture.  She of course was not happy with this and her brothers giggled over her face captured by the camera which made her even more angry until I had to carry her out of the building.  I dropped my purse and everything and left it right where it was so I could take this kicking, screaming, shrieking tornado out of the building!

Wouldn't you know it, but there were camera crews covering the event waiting outside!  Of course!  I couldn't help but shake my head and grin at the irony of it all.  I had tried to get her out of the public's eye only to walk right into an even bigger audience!  So as I tried to carry this child who continued to scream, "No Momma No!" like I was taking her to beat her in the car, (That thought did cross my mind, but I only strapped her into her seat) I had even more people watching us and the possibility of this being recorded for all time!  Lovely!!  Just another fun outing!

Friday, August 12, 2011

I Lost my 16 year old - Part 2

So yesterday's post covered the disappearance of A, my 16 year old and his friend, J when they were dropped off at the movies.  After being missing for 3 hours they showed up on our door step, a little sweaty and hungry, but fine.

I felt annoyed, relieved, and baffled all at the same time!  According to them, they waited for an hour just where I said they should and never saw me so they walked home!  Seriously, A made this girl who he is trying to woo walk almost 6 miles on a very hot day and he didn't even stop to get her water or food! (according to them...)

First, I can not figure out how Ryan and I both would not have seen them if they were where they said they waited.  I was there for 45 minutes in a minivan with my hazards on in front of the doors!! I even have a magnet on the side of my car advertising It Works!  You can't miss me!!  Ryan actually walked around the entrance!  My thought is that maybe my time and their time are not the same.  Neither one of them had a watch on so maybe standing outside for 10 minutes felt like 60 minutes. 

Second, why not just call?  Why go through the trouble of walking all the way when they could have asked to use a phone?  Am I missing something here?  There are phones in every. single. store.  What person would tell a kid "No, you can't call your mom to pick you up."  It seems like common sense to me that they would have asked to use a phone.  However, they have not been brought up the way my other kids have where even the schools teach them what to do if they are lost.  They haven't had me quiz them about who they talk to and don't talk to and what they do if they are lost in a crowd, so maybe it isn't just common sense?

One thing is for sure, A now knows what to do if he is in that situation again!  I liked when Ryan said, "Even if we are late, we will never leave you."  Maybe he has been left before and he didn't know that.  I hope he does now!  I was ready to call in the National Guard to find him!  My goodness, Ryan was going to stop every movie in the theatre and search every face in there!

So, I walk away from this situation being a little bit wiser.  First, whether they like it or not, I am going to prep my kids for what to do just in case something happens.  I don't think I can remind them enough.  I know they will groan and say they know and have heard it a million times, but did they really listen? 

Second, I think I will get a cheapy cell phone.  Ugh!  I hate to give in to the request for a cell phone, but I'm going to get one of those little things that you just pay for the minutes.  The kids can take it when they go somewhere so I can call them and they can call me for rides or whatever. 

Third, I am going to get each of them a reflective vest with flashing lights so I can spot them in a crowd day or night.  Or a microchip with a GPS in it!  (I'm only semi-kidding about that!)  Finally, I am going to remember to hug them all no matter what!

Not sure if A appreciated all of the hugs he got when he finally showed up or in the morning when I again expressed how relieved I was that he was ok, but he'll have to learn to live with it!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I Lost my 16 Year Old - this time it wasn't on purpose!

The other night I about lost it.  I need to clarify - I lost my 16 year old and then about lost it!  I know, hard to believe!  How in the world can that happen???

So here is the story.  A and his cute friend who happens to be a girl, J, went to a movie.  J's mom picked them up and dropped them off at the theatre.  I was to pick them up.  We discussed where and when we would meet and all seemed right with the world!

The time for our rendezvous rolled around and I piled the kids quickly into the car.  I had them all use the bathroom, but we skipped the shoes. (priorities)  I got to our destination, took a slow sweep of the area and then parked with my hazards on ..... for 45 minutes!

Yes, we sat in the car waiting and waiting and waiting!  I had a clear view of the door and everyone that came and went.  No sign of the two kids.  While my anxiety built the other children in the car were of course screaming and fighting and trying perform aerial feats over the chairs.  Lovely.  Before I banished all of them out of the car to sit on the curb to wait so I could keep my sanity, I called Ryan.

He relieved me of my duty and set about trying to find the missing teenagers.  After checking the obvious places like in the movie theatre lobby, outside, and the food court, he meticulously searched the mall.  (the theatre is inside of the mall) He even went to security and gave a description of the teens and left his phone number in case they were found.  He looked at security cameras to check all the exits and nooks and crannies in the mall.  -So yes, you are being watched!  Apparently he and the managers at the theatre became BFFs and he was allowed to go into the movies!  He even told me he saw some of a movie that I would like! 

After two hours of searching, all of the security personal and movie employees knew Ryan by name!  The next step was to go down the hall stopping at each theatre, pause the movie, and turn on the house lights to see if they had snuck into another movie!  Ry was a little slow in pulling that trigger.

In the meantime, the mall had closed and I had called the emergency line for our case worker.  I didn't want to wait for it to be the middle of the night before I let them know what was going on.  Our thoughts were that they could have gotten food, but they weren't in the food court - they went shopping, but all of the stores were closed - they took the bus, but we had no idea where they would have gone!  Where in the world were they???

Ryan took it all in stride.  I think he was actually enjoying playing detective with all of his groupies!  I wasn't as amused. 

About 9:45ish the door bell rang.  Our door bell never rings unless it is the kids in the middle of the day trying to be naughty!  At the door there they stood!  Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum - a little sweaty, but no worse for wear!  I called Ry and announced their arrival.

So 3 hours past the time I was to pick them up at the mall they appeared on our doorstep!  What happened?  How did they get there?  We live 5 1/2 miles from the mall!  What's your guess?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Awkward Turtle

I couldn't resist telling you about our last night at Lake Tahoe and the infamous "Awkward Turtle"!

After our hike we beelined it to our room where Ryan immediately collapsed on the bed.  I however got my suit on and talked him into going to the pool with me!  It's not that I wasn't tired, I just knew if I layed down and took a nap I would never get my momentum back!

There is something so odd about having the sun beating down on you while you swim and look up to see snow on mountains around you!  I love it!  We hung around at the pool for awhile and were entertained by people who had a little too much sun and drinks.  Sometimes it's fun to watch people who are intoxicated and sometimes it is a little painful!  It is almost like an accident.  You want to know what is going on, but you feel like you should look away!  (a good time to pull out the awkward turtle!)

There were a group of people in the pool playing the band/singer game we played on the hike.  This time they picked a letter and each person took a turn naming bands or singers beginning with that letter.  If someone could not think of one or repeated one they had to drink.  There was a lot of laughter and fun.  Ry and I did our part by feeding groups  and singers to players when we could!

It wasn't long before security came and told the group to settle down.  I have to say I was a bit shocked.  There was no swearing or obscene things going on.  It was the middle of the afternoon!  They were just laughing loudly!  Some people just can't stand seeing others have fun!  If you wanted peace and quiet you should go hike to Eagle Lake or stay in your room.  Hotels are filled with people who make noise!!!

Our last dinner there had an Oriental theme.  They had red lanterns and Asian cuisine.  I was extremely happy to see sushi.  I can't figure out if it is the actual sushi I love or the ginger and wasabi!  I just can't get enough of it!!  (my mouth is watering just thinking about it!) During dinner they had music and a show.  People in dragon costumes came out and performed.  It was a great show!

We were to get up at 3 the next morning to go get our flight home so I know Ryan wanted to get to bed at a decent time.  (he told me repeatedly that that was the plan) Maybe he forgot he was traveling with me!  After dinner we went inside with a group of people and hung out for quite a time!  I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants!  It is then that I learned of the "Awkward Turtle".  I plan to introduce everyone I know to the "Awkward Turtle" and get it started in Michigan as I hear it is already on the streets of Miami!

First, I had no idea until just this moment, when I googled it, that an "Awkward Turtle" really is an actual thing!  From the Urban Dictionary:  During an awkward moment, this hand gesture is used to mark the situation as awkward, and, depending on the situation, makes it more awkward or clears the air. The awkward turtle is made by putting one hand on top of the other with the thumbs sticking outward and rotating forward. The speed of the rotating thumbs depends on the degree of awkwardness.

Now what you need to do is to put your hands on top of one another -both palms down.  Put one thumb in and have him swim off to one side and down or you can just spin those thumbs- now you have your "Awkward Turtle".  What is the purpose of this?  Let me set up a situation.  You are hanging out with a bunch of friends.  You are chatting and having a good time.  Suddenly someone says something that is neither appropriate nor humorous.  Everyone is feeling a little awkward.  That is until you pull out the "Awkward Turtle"!  Just do the hand motion and the ice will be broken!  Maybe a nervous laugh from a few people but then you can move on! 

During our last night in Tahoe a lot of "Awkward Turtles" came out to play.  Many of them actually crashed and burned on the table because things were so awkward and it is just fun to do and a few forgot they were awkward and acted a bit frisky instead! (somehow one turtle turned into two and.. -well if you want to know that motion you'll have to ask!)  Such a super fun night and I even learned something new!  Needless to say, we did not get in bed at a decent time, but we were able to sleep on the plane so no worries!
The Awkward Turtle