Friday, May 30, 2014


Today, we finally got the judge's full opinion, written in response to Bro's Concise Statement of Matters Complained of on Appeal. (Yes, it's really called that. Welcome to Legalese 101.)

I say that we go the full opinion today, because we had half of it last week. The judge sends her opinions/rulings/whatevers printed back-to-back (I know from previous orders), and the secretary at our lawyer's office must not have realized that when she copied the opinion to mail to us. So, we only got the even-numbered pages.


We were so entertained.

It was both amusing and comically frustrating to read only every other page and have to muse about the pages we missed. We got all this last Saturday, so I emailed our lawyer right away to let her know. She replied right back (is it any wonder we love this lady?) and said she'd talk to the secretary on Tuesday, and explaining that the judge always did paperwork back-to-back. That was, of course, exactly what I figured had happened.

I anxiously awaited the mail this week, and when no fat white envelopes arrived from the lawyer's, I emailed her this morning. She kindly scanned in the odd-numbered pages and emailed them to me this afternoon.

So, I went to print them out, and...

Cannot print. Printer is in an error state.

Say what?

He's so cute when he's sleeping.
I went upstairs and checked. I was the last one to use the printer, after all. I'd printed out an invoice yesterday for my business records, and window had popped up for the printer, but didn't display an error message.

The printer was OFF.


There was only one explanation.


Darn cat. He likes to chase, catch, and/or play with the pages as the printer spits them out. Any time I print more than a page, I close my office door first, so he won't cause a printer jam. Dingbat cat.

He must have been in there when I printed the invoice (which printed again as soon as I turned the machine back on) yesterday, and pawed it off. Toad.

The machine continued with printing our previously-missing pages of the order, and I closed my office door. (I stupidly didn't check to make sure Pa'ani was not in my office, but that turned out okay; he was on the couch next to where I was sitting when I got back downstairs.)

When I collated the pages together so the order was finally complete, I sat down to read.

Oh, it was lovely. It warmed the cockroaches of my heart.

Have I mentioned before that I love our judge? 'Cause I love our judge.

It's pretty safe to say that she decimated my brother's arguments. I sent Hubby a text with a quote from one of the pages we didn't have before, and he replied back, "Ooooooo."

I've read the full opinion twice now, and Hubby has read it once.

We are once again thoroughly impressed with our judge, so glad we had her, and I'll tell you...her opinion gives me a huge rush of something I haven't felt in a long time about all this.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Earlier tonight...

The kids are playing "Hangman."

Large Fry: Pick a letter, Medium!

Medium Fry: [rattles off alphabet, from A to Z, with lightning speed]

Large [frustrated]: No, just pick one letter!

Me [since this is the third go-round of this conversation]: Medium, pick ONE letter.

Medium: Five.

Me [chuckling]: Five isn't a letter!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Today, I choose to PRAISE.

The last week or so here has been kinda rough. Between Small Fry's surgery and recovery, and large bills arriving in the mailbox along with legal paperwork that makes the grief and anger and helplessness all come rushing back, and then me getting sick on top of all that, I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Okay, let's be honest—more than a bit overwhelmed.

This morning, however, my best friend JJ emailed with the news that they'd had another donation come into their GoFundMe account for their adoption (I know who it was, and names are being withheld to protect the guilty and preserve their relative least here on the blog). Great news to start the morning out with!

JJ and I usually email back and forth throughout the days while she's at work. I love that we do that, and days when she's not at work are kind of email-dreary. She made the announcement at one point this afternoon about how much she has to be thankful for, and so she decided to make this a day of praise. She listed the things she was thankful for: working appliances, a refrigerator full of food, a husband coming home from his trip tomorrow, extended family matters working out better than expected, a reliable vehicle, that God continues to work on fundraising for their adoption.

I replied with my own list: air conditioning that I don't have to have running 24/7 right now, dishwashers and clothes washers that clean my things without me having to stand over them and "help" the cleaning happen, batteries, battery-powered clocks (even though the one here in the den seems to eat up batteries like they're going out of style), a husband with a good job, duckies, and Diet Dr Pepper.

Then I picked up the kids from school. And got the mail from the mailbox.

Oh, look. The lawyer's bill. Sigh. I hadn't realized we'd exceeded our retainer yet, although it's not surprising. Although...that's a much bigger number than I thought I'd be seeing. Oh, look. More paperwork from the court. (Gee, I'm glad I'm not the one that Bro's attorney is accusing of erring in judgment and abusing its discretion in determining clear and convincing evidence.) It's gotten so that I hate going to the mailbox because I don't know what I'll find there.

I felt the weight of it all begin to settle on my shoulders again.

And I started typing back another email to JJ. I mentioned the paperwork. And then...well...I'm thankful for a lawyer who knows her stuff and has got our back. I'm thankful for supportive parents who are going above and beyond to help us with this, more than just emotionally, and believe that we're doing what's right and best.

"There you go! Overcome the legal malarkey with praise! It's all junk and you know it!" she wrote back, adding in her list: she's thankful that the termination orders are the current orders, so that we are not having to deal with lining up visitations and the additional stress that those visits cause; that the girls are old enough and wise enough that they see what's going on (and that's a whole other blog post, by the way) and know how much we love them; that God continues to supply all our needs, including our fabulous lawyer, and that the same God, while rarely early, is always just on time.

We kept going!

  • We have friends who love and support us through this insanity, who rejoice with us, mourn with us, get angry along with us and for us, who let us be real about the frustration, rather than expecting us to Jesus Juke our way through it.
  • The judge gets to defend her position on her ruling, and that's something I'm actually looking forward to reading.
  • Our lawyer is honest and trustworthy.
  • Our God has all this covered, and loves me despite the fact that I know this but fret about everything anyway.
  • I'm married to a man with a heart big enough to open it up wide and take in three little girls and love them as his own, enough to want to go to all the hassle and heartache of being determined to make them his own.
  • My children are healthy and happy.
  • My cats—my furry kids—are also mostly healthy. I am grateful that we have an excellent vet for the times when they need medical attention.
  • Kitties. They give such comic relief.
  • Electricity and running water and indoor plumbing!
  • Our church loves its children so much that they pay half of camp tuition costs to the nearby RGC. My girls can go to camp for a week this summer, and it will cost me less than $200 instead of nearly $400.
  • Food to eat. Clothes to wear. A house to live in that more than supplies the space we need. Medical care.
  • Plenty of leftovers in the fridge, so that I don't have to cook a meal from scratch tonight!
  • I found a lost marble under the couch yesterday! (I don't even think it was mine.)
We are blessed.

We are loved.

There is plenty to rejoice in.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Random Thoughts

A semi-brief update on life here in the last few weeks...

  • I survived The Single Mommy Experiment 2014, although it was not without a few hiccups. Here we are, making silly faces at the airport after Daddy got on the plane and we were trying to be brave.

  • The Fries all decided that they needed Daddy Shirts to help them sleep while Daddy was gone:
    Large with Teddy, Daddy's bear.

    Medium needs $1 million in ransom...

    Small could fit in there three times, I think.
  • Medium Fry still missed Daddy so much that she put her Daddy Shirt on over her clothes as soon as she got home from school on Monday. 
    Still waiting on that ransom money...
  • Large Fry's third grade spring concert also occurred while Hubby was away. Fortunately, Gramma and Uncle D came out to see Large perform. She did a great job, along with all the other third graders.

  • The appeal-filing deadline came and went while Hubby was in Florida, sufferin' fo' da Lawd. However, we found out the day after the deadline passed that the appeal had indeed been filed on the very last day. It was disheartening, maddening, and saddening. Bro is appealing on the grounds that we failed to make our case that he had failed to act as a parent in the six months prior to the filing, and that the court failed to properly determine the parent-child bond between Bro and the Fries. We had really hoped the deadline would pass without incident, and I hadn't realized how deep my hope was until our lawyer emailed with the news that she'd been served the appeals paperwork.
  • Small was scheduled for a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy on May 7, so the night before (naturally) I scooted down to the urgent care one town south just before they closed, because I had a horribly nasty sore throat that had only gotten worse as they day went on. Viral sore throat/tonsillitis, the doc said, and I would just have to let it run its course. She gave me a prednisone taper to help with the swelling and soreness, and said I just needed to be smart and careful (washing my hands a lot and using sanitizer) and I could be at the hospital with Small Fry the next day.
  • Small's surgery was a success, and her ENT said that her tonsils were enormous (no surprise) and that her adenoids were severely obstructing the passages at the back of her nose/throat, so both had really needed to come out. He assured me she came through surgery like a champ. It was horribly hard to come back into recovery and hear her moaning, crying, and gagging. I knew she wasn't quite awake yet and was hurting. Mom came out bearing gifts, and Small and I spent the night in the hospital just to be safe. She's doing great, and is able to eat soft foods already, although she's still favoring jello and Pediasure shakes. Anything that keeps her hydrated is fine with me.
  • I traipsed over to the local walk-in clinic this morning since I've been barking like a seal ever since we got home from the hospital, and it was only getting worse. Sure enough, my viral sore throat brewed itself into a nice sinus infection, and I feel worse than Small Fry does. I'm heading to bed soon as a result.