crying kids and apples

 

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We have cool friends who just take the initiative and do stuff, and without them we would be inert.  They took us to an orchard high on a mountain in western North Carolina yesterday.  The best part was just being with our friends, but the orchard was nice too.  The thing is, and what these pictures do not convey, is the amount of people there.  I estimate a thousand.  Just swarming the orchard, baskets in hand.  Lines at the fried apple donuts section, lines inside the barn to pay for their apples, apple cider, apple pies, apple butter, apple jelly, apple everything.

The animals, who no doubt love the feed people give them from the little gumball-machine feeders, were just standing far back from the fence in the middle of their field like yeah no.

I passed a lot of moms and dads reading their small children the riot act because their wee kids wouldn’t cooperate amidst the 1000 people on this hot September day.  The ambient sound everywhere was something like, “…or so help me I will…”

I think what was going on, judging from the matchymatchy outfits on the tiny human siblings, was that they were to be props in an idyllic Fall orchard photo shoot, and they would’ve been better off taking a nap.  One lady had a kid who was trying to break free from the wagon she was supposed to be sitting in, and the person I assume was her mother was grabbing her with one arm while the wagon full of siblings was rolling down an incline, and that little girl wasn’t budging, and the mom was spitting threats at her, and the wagon was still going, and I thought maybe the mom, combined with the weight of the wagon, was going to rip that little girl’s arm off.  Other matching children squirmed as their parents shoved apples into their hands and commanded things like, “Look up at the tree! But smile! Look up at the tree and smile!”  or, “Sit still! Turn around! Quit crying! Smile!” or, “Look at that apple you’re holding!  Can you smile at the apple? You like apples, don’t you?”

But from the way a lot of those little kids were acting, I seriously doubt they’ve ever eaten an apple.

It was fascinating.

And also I got miniature honey bears, so.

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wherein I blather on about our first foster placement, and stuff

P1000214They don’t like that page; it hits a little too close to home for them.

They’re pre-schoolers.  We’re forty.  We’re getting a good workout.  I have sat on the floor more in the last week than I have in the last ten years combined.  Every surface in my house is sticky, like every single surface.  There are diapers and wipes stashed in nearly every room.  I wash hands and faces all day long.  I am grateful for my Dog of the Year for licking up the food off the floors so that I don’t have to sweep.  I am grateful to my two teenagers for watching the small humans while I run to pee.  I am grateful to my husband for running after-work errands because I just can’t.  I love my church family for giving us so much clothing on such short notice, and my family for being like well come on in–the more the merrier!  I nearly cried for joy twice this week over the kind staff at the community center who allowed them to come right in to the childcare while I went and ran.  Probably my fastest mile time yet, I’m so not kidding, because I was burning off pure potty training angst.

They ask about/for their parents a lot.  We talk to Jesus about them.  I ask Jesus to watch over their parents and keep them safe and help them to be not sick.  And I love Jesus and I trust Him, but under my breath I’m like, Seriously, Jesus, you better help their parents get their stuff together and let these little people see their mom and dad again because if they keep asking You, and then nothing happens, their hearts are going to break, and so is mine.

My dad had pockets of sheer tragedy throughout his young life, and he said the kids asking for their parents and not understanding what’s going on brings back some difficult memories for him.  My dad is tough as nails, and his voice cracked, and I knew he meant what he said.  That night I sat next to the toddler bed with the older one and prayed over him and cried, because, see, it’s like he is my dad.  And it’s like I get the chance to go back in time and hold my little dad and rub his back and take care of him and keep him safe, but also I am seeing what my little dad must have gone through and then I see his life zooming forward to now–wife, kids, grandkids…  I don’t know.  I don’t know what I’m saying.

My fourteen-year-old is off to camp tomorrow.  My sixteen-year-old is days away from seventeen, and so wise for his age.  He gives me parenting advice.  That I actually use.  I want to spend time with every one of my eleven nieces and nephews because, dang it, they will not stop growing and their personalities are exquisite, but I don’t have time.  Elusive time.  I have to settle for a brief conversation here, a quick exchange there, and then a few weeks or months later I’ll see them again and they’ve grown another inch.

This blog post has a bittersweet tone, no?

Bittersweet times.

But sweet.

You Are My Bucket List

A fun thing to do is:

Wait until you’re almost forty, with two kids–teenagers, and start talking to your husband about having more kids.  Remind him how he always said, “Wait until the kids are a little older,” and then say, “The kids are older.”  Start asking him if he likes certain baby names.  Pray that God will help you understand the strange unfulfilled nagging in your heart, and help you understand why you dream of little kids with big, sad, questioning eyes.  Pray that your dreams will step out of your head at night and tiptoe across the pillows and then step down into your husband’s head, so that he can see them too.  Wait.  Tear up a little bit when your husband calls from work and says, “I found a toddler bed on Craigslist for a good deal.  Want to go get it tonight?”

Actual things we have in our house now, that we didn’t a year ago:

P1000055that toddler bed, monkey, banana quilt

P1000048dolls

P1000045(1)preschool books

P1000043all sorts of wee knitted and sewn stuff

Don’t know where all this will lead.  Just know God is leading me, leading me.  Leading us.  I told my friend last year that I hated that spot on every doctor form that says Mother’s occupation, because I don’t have one.  But I do.  I’m a mom.  I take care of kids.  And I love it.  And I thought for a moment that it all had to come to an end when my kids are grown, but that’s not true.

It is cold and there is snow on the ground, and we are only allowed to miss one session of our foster parenting classes, and a year ago I would not have imagined that tonight my husband and I would be asking God to please help us be able to get down off this mountain tomorrow and make it to class.

A few weeks ago my husband and I were out and about doing errands and we began talking about what we should do for our twentieth anniversary at the end of this year.  I ended up lamenting the fact that we never go anywhere.  (I turn into a person of extremes in arguments.)  At our next stop, I was walking through a store and saw a sign that said You are my bucket list.  And then I was snaking back through the store to where my husband was like, “I looooove youuuuu.  I just want youuuuu.  Only youuuu.  I don’t need to travel.”

It’s true.  This is my bucket list.  This life.  Wherever it leads, it’s mine.

Navarre

 

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dolphin

dragonfly

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Our day:

Lalala lovely day pretty yellow flag big fluffy clouds.

People buying fish for bait and everybody has them but we don’t know what kind they are because we’re tourists, and oooo it’s like Sharknado hahaha can I take a picture of your fish on it’s hook there? Uh, sure, I guess.  Is it alive? Is it dead? I don’t know, but it’s in the sky.  And a dragonfly.  We have dragonflies in TN, but not against a sea green background we don’t.

And a dolphin or maybe it’s a porpoise?  I want to hold it.

Look, there we are, our reflections, in the water.

Then very worried man, very worried, on the beach like, “There is a tornado.” And we moved so fast, we were like booking it across the sand, and I actually thought we might die this day.  My daughter asked, “Why are all those people still just sitting there on the beach?”  And I said, “I don’t know, but that’s their choice.”  Even though I thought they were all making very, very poor choices.  All those innocent children.

And then we were like spinning out of the parking lot speeding past people going toward the tornado, and people standing around.  I was all like these people are idiots!!

But then my husband’s phone somehow told him it was a waterspout.  That waterspouts dissipate quickly once over land, and it did, it did dissipate, in front of our very eyes.

We were out of breath.  We were so wet and sandy, cause, you know, you don’t take the time to rinse or dry off when a tornado is coming.

People were probably either like:

Why is that minivan streaking out of here like that?

or

[laughing hysterically]

 

chickens, middle-schoolers

chickens2014 eggyolk2014Yay. Two chickens still alive.

We don’t have enough eggs now since the chicken theft.  Having to supplement with eggs from the store.  Gasp.

In that there bowl are two of mine, two of a stranger’s.  Mine are orange, with distinct edges.  The ones from the store are yellow with a strange cloud issuing forth.

Ew.

Get your own backyard chickens, people.  It’s no big deal.  (As long as you don’t live near mountain lions.)  Just feed them, tell them they’re beautiful, collect their eggs, be healthy, repeat.

OK, so I’m really enjoying having middle-schoolers.

My house is full of middle-schoolers every day, and they make me laugh.  My son is 14, my daughter is 12, and all the stuff that’s going on with them is so typical.  Acne, braces, voice changes.  I find it amusing.  They don’t, but I do.  Every day I’m like ooo, what will he sound like today My daughter has to put those wee rubber bands on her braces like thrice a day, and food bits sometimes get stuck in her mouth and she gets really frustrated.  They grow out of jeans in like a month so they get embarrassed about their shins showing.  All their friends are tall and skinny and hungry and they look like gangly clumsy wiggly giants.  They have a hard time getting their words out.  The thoughts form, then there are a lot of uh’s and um’s and and’s before the actual sentence emerges.  Their brains are growing faster than their tongues can keep up with.  Their understanding of humor is changing.  Things are funny now that weren’t a year ago.  Things are not funny now that were a year ago.  When one of a group of them manages to sum up a thought in concise terms, they all pounce on it–repeating it, repeating it, laughing, laughing–because someone has spoken what they’re feeling or thinking, and what a relief, knowing they’re not alone.  My niece is in 8th grade.  Her teacher made them all sit down and shut up and write an encouraging note to the person sitting in front of them.  One of the students wrote a note to the person in front of her that said, “You have a nice butt.”  I laughed and laughed.  I would be so encouraged if someone wrote me that note.

I like middle-schoolers.

That’s all I got for now.