Saturday, February 22, 2014


It wasn't too many hours after I made the Runaway Kit discovery that Small Fry complained she didn't feel good.

She then proceeded to prove it by throwing up. Repeatedly.

I had tired of watching kid TV, and so I'd gone upstairs to watch TV in the living room. I hadn't been up there long when I heard Hubby herding Small Fry up to the top floor. "She threw up again," he said as they went by.

He put Small in the tub for a much-needed bath. I trailed up after them to check on Small, and stood in the hallway, peeking in past a two-inch crack in the pocket door to the bathroom.

After Small was squeaky clean, Hubby told her to get jammies and a nighttime Pull-Up on. Then he brought her back to our bedroom and had her lay on the bed with us.

What followed was a cute discussion about how much Hubby and I love her and how sad we would be if she left our family. And how running away isn't the answer. And how there's no home that's better than ours, because we'll always love her more. And how it hurts us that she wants to leave.

It took about ten minutes to sort out the feelings and to get from sad to smiley, and that's when this conversation happened.

Small Fry [mumbling around her thumb]: God made Dadda for me.

Hubby: What?

Small: God made Dadda for me.

Hubby: Gob may blahblah for you?

Me: God made Dadda for her.

Hubby: Oh. Yes.

Small: An' God made Mamma for me.

Me: Yes.

Small [giving a happy sigh]: God made Dadda for me. [Small stroked Hubby's goatee.]

Hubby: Yes, I think he did.

Small: No think! He DID make Dadda for me!


This morning, Small Fry was bemoaning the loss of her big-eyed piggy (it's part of the Ty Beanie Boos collection). I knew I'd seen it on the floor of her room within the last week, so I thought I'd go find it and bring it to her. Bonus Mommy points, you know.

The piggy wasn't by the dresser, where I'd seen it last, so I knelt to hunt under her loft bed.

This is No Man's Land, a catchall for anything and everything she wants to keep and/or hide.

It's a scary place.

Now, it's important to point out here that Small Fry got hooked on piggies awhile back, but not quite as deeply as Medium is hooked on duckies (and they have to be yellow). And, in the last week or so, Medium has gathered her vast and varied duck collection (20 at last count, not including the four Duckie backups in my dresser) and has been sleeping with them all at night. Small did the same last night with her significantly smaller piggy collection, and complained that it "wasn't fair" that she didn't have as many piggies as Medium had duckies. I made a mental note to add more to her Christmas presents this year.

Innyhoo, I saw her piggy pile on the bed when I went to look for her Beanie Boo piggy, and realized she was missing the floppy pig we'd gotten her for her second birthday. That had to be under the bed, too...might as well track it down. Two pigs with one search.

I found the Beanie Boo piggy without much effort, but the big one was still hiding, so I dove into the pile of large stuffed animals.

That's when I found the plastic grocery bag.

It was full of clothes and nighttime Pull-ups.

So I took it and the piggy downstairs. "Is this the one you were looking for?"

"My big-eyed pig!" she squealed.

"Care to explain this?" I held out the bag.

"It was for when I was gonna go somewhere else," she muttered.

"So you packed that bag so you could run away?" Hubby asked.

Small nodded almost imperceptibly.

"That's a yes?" Hubby asked at the same time I admonished her to use words.

"Yes," Small admitted grudgingly.

I nodded and took the bag upstairs without further comment. It's not the first time she's said she wanted to run away (although it is the first time she's packed a bag), and it won't be the last.

As I unpacked it, I was entertained by what she'd chosen to take with her: her tankini swimsuit, a swimsuit skirt coverup, three undershirts, three summer nightgowns, four pairs of socks, and one long-sleeved shirt. No undies. No pants.

She's more prepared than Hubby was when he packed up to run away when he was a little boy...he grabbed four pairs of underwear and filled the rest of his suitcase with stuffed animals.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Drop in the Bucket

What does $5 get you these days?

A coffee or two at Starbucks. A box of candy at the movies. A stuffed animal at Walmart. A short paperback book.

What about $10? What'll that get you?

A slightly bigger paperback. Maybe two or three coffees at Starbucks. Lunch for you and one kid at McDonald's, if you choose carefully. One ticket to the movies—maybe.

Five or ten bucks to most of us is nothing these days. It won't buy a fast-food lunch for two adults. It probably won't buy a single entree at a nice restaurant. It's not really a whole lot in the scheme of things, and most of us could part with ten dollars and not necessarily miss it.

But to one little girl, that five or ten dollars could be worth everything.
Triple Trouble. Love these little guys.

In my previous post on this subject, I mentioned that my best friend and her husband are adding one more to their family of three rather precocious little boys. They're bringing home a little girl, from Haiti.

Adoption is not cheap. Period. International adoption is a whole other class of fiscal insanity and worry. They have a huge amount of money to raise to bring their daughter home.

And I know, at times, it seems daunting. It's depressing to see how many zeroes still remain in reaching their goal. Constantly hawking fundraising ideas to the same friends over and over again is tedious on both ends, and there's always the fear that you're going to pester the same friend one too many times, and lose the friendship. Sometimes, the monetary mountain is the only thing you seem to talk about...kind of like when new parents get their first night out without the baby, and vow they're not going to discuss parenthood or children or anything like that while they're out, and that's all they talk about.

How do you balance the adult worries of needing the funds to bring home your daughter, whose face you haven't seen, whose birth name you don't know, whom you already love with all your heart, with the three boys who need you now (whom you also love with all your heart)?

It's hard.

It's scary.

It's brain-bending.

It's heart-wrenching.

And if they could maybe get a few people to donate small amounts—$5, $10, whatever little bit you can spare—on a regular basis, I know it would be encouraging to them. Can you squeeze out more, for a one-time donation? Oh, they would be so appreciative.

Could money spent for fast food or Starbucks or another book or a toy or a movie have better use? A higher calling?

I believe it can.

It can help bring a little girl home sooner than otherwise might be possible.

Is your budget too tight to donate? Please, share this post on your blogs, your Facebook pages, your Twitter feeds. Share it wherever you can, where you think there are folks who might help. The wider the net JJ and her family cast, the better their chances are that they can reach someone new, touch some heart they don't know with their story, and meet their daughter sooner.

And bring her home.

There's a link up on my sidebar that will take you directly to JJ's GoFundMe page.

Disclaimer: Yes, JJ is my best friend. Yes, I am supporting her daughter's adoption through both JustLoveCoffee and GoFundMe (both links are on the sidebar). But—as before—she didn't know I was doing this today.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


My musical tastes are somewhat eclectic. Most people who know me are aware of this. While there are certain styles of music that I simply will not listen to based on principle (gangsta rap comes to mind here), I love classical and rock and just about anything inbetween. I will also admit I'm something of a musical purist, in that I generally like the first version of a song best. Remixes aren't my thing, especially if I loved the song to begin with.

There are some notable exceptions: dc Talk's remix of "Jesus Freak" resonated more with me than the original did. Then there are a couple of mash-up groups I absolutely love: Rock Sugar, which blends the best of 80s pop and heavy metal; and The Piano Guys, who do amazing covers/interpretations of both popular music and mash-ups of new and popular music with classical. This boggles my husband's mind, knowing how I am about music and doing something to "mess with" originals. But I love them all the same, although the differences between Rock Sugar and TPG's musical styles are vastly different.

TPG has done a wide variety of mash-up covers ("Michael Meets Mozart" and "Titanium/Pavane"), as well as their own arrangements of recent and not-so-recent hits (Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and Elvis's "Can't Help Falling in Love," for example). And they are fabulous.

Not only that, but they do some amazing videos to go along with these musical concoctions.

Yesterday, TPG released their newest song/video (I really recommend going to full screen):

Why, yes, they did blend a Disney song with 17th-century composer Antonio Vivaldi's "Winter" from his most famous work, The Four Seasons.

As I listened, I found I could pick out which was "Frozen" and which was "Winter." But the arrangement is impeccable.

Here's the Disney song which inspired the new arrangement:

This is "Winter":

It's amazing how seamlessly these two pieces, written centuries apart, work together.

For kicks, here's the behind-the-scenes video, showing everything that went into creating this TPG video.

Then I'd honestly suggest going back, and listening to the TPG song again. This time, just listen, and scroll down from the video and click on "See more" under the "About" section. They tell the story for how this beautiful arrangement came to be, as well as where they filmed.

Really, I don't think you'll be sorry you did.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


With school being cancelled due to massive snow last Thursday, and Friday being a teacher-inservice day, and our school district not electing to sacrifice President's Day to make up for any one of our multiple snow days in the last five weeks, the kids had a five-day weekend, and finally went back to school today.

Thus, all three had their Valentine's Day parties today.

And they came home with various valentines, some of which netted them temporary tattoos.

I have tattooed kids. Multiply-tattooed.

Medium has the least, because two of her five didn't stick. (Too much water, she said.)

I sent the Fries up to get ready for bed a few minutes ago, and Medium bounced back downstairs first.

"Mommy, do you think my tattoos will be gone tomorrow?" she asked.

I'd explained earlier that the tattoos were temporary, and would either wear off or wash off. I considered Medium's question for a moment and then answered, "I don't know."

"WAY TO GO, MOMMY! I agree with you!" she cheered. "I don't know either!"

Monday, February 17, 2014

Odd Blessings

Normally, there's nothing that makes Hubby's heart go pitter-pat than to watch one of the girls read in their bibles.

Not only is this helping with their ability to read and sound out words, but they're choosing to read the bible.

Tonight, Small Fry was skipping around in different books of her little paperback bible, reading from random passages. She started with the New Testament, then the Old (she braved the book of Job), and then back to the New Testament. She would occasionally spell out words for us to help her with, or sound them out on her own. She'd followed Hubby into the kitchen to grab a few more minutes with him before he left for his meeting tonight.

Hubby came into the den just a few minutes ago, wearing an expression of abject relief. "Odd blessings..." he mused.

"How so?"

"Small Fry was reading in Matthew 25. 'At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten vuh-vuh-vuh...'" He clapped his hand over his eyes. "And all I can think is, she's gonna ask me what that word is, and I'm gonna need to tell her, and then she'll want to know what it means!"

I'm snickering, because I know the word is virgins.

"And then," Hubby said, "she just said, 'That word's too hard. I'll read somewhere else.'"

Yep, dodged that bullet...

My hand hurts.

The kids decided to make valentines for their classmates this year, rather than just buying them.

Which basically means that Mommy spent about six hours putting valentine heart animals together so that the girls could write names on the backs. I got a system going, so it didn't take as long as it could have, but all that cutting of little hearts pretty much made my wrist scream at me by the time I was done.

But they turned out rather well, if I do say so myself:

Fox. By far, the most time-consuming.

Kitten. The one that the kids turned around.

Puppy. I think this was my favorite.

If we do this next year, I'm making up kits ahead of time. month.

On a lark...

My niece posted her reading speed results on Facebook, which made me want to check mine.

Her speed is nearly twice mine.

I think having kids made my ability to read fast sort of disintegrate.

And, quite possibly, my niece is a freak. :)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Lots of Heart(s)

Hubby is away this weekend for Winter Slam, the annual ski retreat weekend with the youth group kids.

Surprisingly, today was not a train wreck. The Fries grumbled about their assigned chores, but they did them. Hubby called late morning and everybody was able to talk to him.

We had such fun that Medium Fry couldn't believe we'd had all three meals today when I told her that it was time to get ready for bed. "What about lunch and dinner? We didn't eat!"

I reminded her that I'd made mac and cheese for lunch, and then sandwiches for dinner. "Oh, yeah!"

After lunch today, I collected the things I needed for the little craft project I'd been promising to do for several days. We were going to do it on Wednesday, when the kids had an ice day (we got two inches of ice; I was grateful they canceled school). But the my plans went all agley, as Robert Burns would say, and we weren't able to be crafty.

Last week, I was happily killing time on Pinterest and found several pins for heart-animals. Moons ago, I remembered doing a similar craft with my mom. I could recall heart-shaped lions and pandas and I knew there were several more that we made. I just didn't quite remember how.

So I got together scissors and glue and construction paper and Google. I pulled up lots of images, but didn't find anything that I knew the kids would just loooooove until I saw a piggy made of hearts, glued onto a lunch-sized paper bag.


So I pulled out pink and red paper, and got to work. Small Fry squealed with glee when she saw what I'd made:

And, of course, as soon as Medium saw it, I knew what she was going to ask for.

I wish I'd counted the number of seconds it took between Medium seeing the piggy and asking for a duck. I wouldn't have needed more than one hand.

There were no duckies made out of hearts. I didn't figure I'd find them; ducks are Easter and spring. Piggies, by their being pink, are more easily associated with a red and pink holiday like Valentine's Day. But...hmmm. Yeah, that might work!

A duck!

Not to be outdone, while I was mid-duck-creation, Large Fry piped up, "I want a unicorn! Do you have white?"

"I have white."

"I want it to have a white body and white head and pink feet and a pink nose and a pink horn."

Oh, by all means, let's not tax Mommy's artistic ability.

I finished the duck, to Medium's great delight, and then searched among heart-animal images, trying to find something I could use to as a unicorn model.


So I gave it my best shot.

Large loved it.

Medium went on to make another duck, and two more piggies, before deciding she wanted to make a cheetah. I felt I'd pretty much taxed my animal-creation muscles with the unicorn, so I told her I wasn't sure how to make a cheetah. I figured she'd go back to something else, even when she had me cut out several orange hearts.

Silly me.

Nope, she tackled the project herself.

Meanwhile, Large created this owl without any help from me:

Medium got frustrated when she couldn't make the paper take shape the way she wanted to, and when I gently reminded her to ask for help if she was stuck, she did just that, and brought over a large orange heart with a tail attached to it, small hearts glued all in a row.

"I wanted to make a cheetah, but I can't get the rest right!"

I was impressed with what she had so far. I cut out another orange heart to make the body, and a smaller one for the head, and then smaller hearts for the nose and to stack for the ears. And cheetahs need  spots, so I made hearts for those.

Medium was having trouble with the eyes, so I'd agreed to help with those too. However, bedtime snuck up on us, and I'll have to wait to put eyes on until I know what Medium wants.