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September 2007
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November 2007

HELP!

Ok, look, I know it's like...two days 'til Halloween...what? ONE day? Shoot.

Nonetheless.

Here is the thing: I have the boys' costumes, thank the sweet Lord above, because they were going to drive me stark raving mad with the "When are we getting costumes, Mom? Huh? When? Today? Maybe right now? You know we need costumes, right? When? WHEN? WHENWHENWHENWHEN? And why are you crying?"

Seriously, the nice hospital people were going to end up carrying my lifeless body away, whilst being tailed by three boys, chorusing, "So, when you're done with this one nervous breakdown, can we go get costumes? Today, maybe?"

So, with that sort of incentive, I got those darling children to a party store to find costumes two weeks ago.

That, by the way, is why they do that. It works.

ANYHOW, I totally won costume shopping, because we scored three ninja costumes, which were on sale for FIVE BUCKS EACH. Didn't I WIN COSTUME SHOPPING? I totally convinced the boys that the five dollar costumes were WAY COOLER than any of those other lame $24 costumes, which I wasn't going to buy them anyhow. Besides, they could be some sort of...ninja brigade! A fleet of ninjas! A ninja-thon!

I think they agreed just to get me to stop being so flippin' enthusiastic. Here, sadly, is where things went awry. Part of my enthusiastic sales job of the ninja-rama included me promising they could all choose their own weapons to go with their costumes. Aaaaand that is how I ended up spending $50 on five dollar ninja costumes.

Ahem. *examines fingernails during a moment of awkward silence*

I didn't actually win costume shopping, did I?

Oh well. The point here is that I shall now be shepherding three fiercely small ninjas around on Wednesday, and so the idea has come up that I should dress up too. Coordinate, if you will. The boys think it would be cool if I was a princess and then the could be my protecting ninja horde, which yessss, that's very cute and all...I muttered something about patriarchy. What I meant was that I am too old to wear tulle.

So! Your mission, should you choose to accept it! Give me an idea - something that coordinates with a flock of ninjas - one not too difficult to execute (I'm not hot gluing nor sewing. Buying a cheap skirt at Goodwill...maybe) - and I might just dress up for Halloween. Impress me with your creativity! Please! Because I'm trying to have more FUN as a mom, and my last idea (following the World Series) didn't bring quite the level of joy around here that it could have.

*bites knuckle, hard*

Aaaaaaaannnnd....GO!


The antidote to fear

I am sitting in a darkened living room, watching the Rockies play the Red Sox. The boys are munching popcorn and drinking grape soda (purple…get it?), and stewing in anxiety over their beloved team. The Rockies are down, 4 to 1.

Max keeps calling my mom to inform her with much passion, “We STILL believe that they can win, Amma. We STILL believe.” When he’s not on the phone he flips summersault after summersault on the sofa. Tre is silent and intent on the game. He has inked a small square of paper with a deep purple GO, and taped it on his hat above the ROCKIES. Raphael is mostly enjoying his popcorn, and occasionally looking up to see how many words there are on screen that he can read. Or scramble to make new words.
“Look,” he calls out, “that says soon. If it was backwards, it would say noose. Except it would need an E.” His brothers glare at him, but he is unconcerned.

Arrgh. 6 to 1.

We do believe, though. We do.

Winter finally came to Denver this weekend. Clay and I were out of town, but unfortunately my pepper plants weren’t. We arrived home late Sunday night and on Monday I picked through the remnants of several inches of snow to find dozens of jalapeños and bell peppers lying limp and frozen on the ground. Tomatoes, basil, the last straggling cantaloupe – all snuffed out. Plants slumped against each other, their glossy bright rainbow of greens smudged a dull, defeated olive. I stood there, surveying the mess, but for once I couldn’t work up any angst about the end of the season. Who am I to complain? I was plucking fresh tomatoes for tomato soup as late as October. The season was a lovely, leisurely stroll through everything a garden could be. And even though we’re staring down the barrel of another winter, I know there’s spring right on the other side. I know it’s coming, with brand new tender leaves of neon green. This loss is not too big, because there is so much more to come.

Yikes. 10 to 1. This stings. Tre is explaining to me that the Rockies just had too many days off, and this game is nothing more than a warm-up for them. We choose to believe.

October is traditionally a tangled month for me, with anniversaries of the end of my first marriage, then a few years later my first date with Clay, followed the next year by his proposal.
October. Chock full o’ emotional goodness. And badness.

This year has an extra special dose, with the preparations for Clay adopting the boys in full swing. We have a court date, November 15, and it’s even possible that it all will be done that day. I cycle through the emotions that go with this daily. One minute I am thrilled, amazed, dazzled, by the fact that this is actually happening. After all the talking and planning and hoping, the pieces are falling into place with choreographed precision. Then I progress through the cycle, into anxiety for all the pieces still to be sorted. There is so much still that could go wrong. Would you like a list? I have carefully filled it out in my head during several 2 AM stress sessions. And then, unexpectedly, I find myself skewered by the reality that one half of this transaction is very, very sad.

So sad.

And yet, underneath it all is the reality of our days. I close my eyes, and I can see Raphael, face split by a fierce grin, sprinting to leap into Clay’s arms. I see Max, leaning into Clay’s side to feel the warm strength of him, his face aglow with equal parts joy and relief. I see Tre, who struggles under the weight of a sudden adolescent need to be right all the time, and yet will follow Clay around with boyish glee as they work on a project together. And I see Clay, who loves us all back with such grace and ease, so completely, that it would seem that he was born to this – to step into this family and wrap his arms around us all.

13 to 1. This is brutal. Still, it is better for our team to be here, in the World Series, than home, watching the Diamondbacks play. “It’s not over,” Tre growls at me from his chair. I have to agree.

After all, I find, the antidote to fear is not more security.

It is hope.


Because it's all about being a champion

In the last week everyone in the family has caught their first cold of the season. Everyone EXCEPT me, that is.

Ok, Tre hasn't gotten sick either. The point is that CLAY has succumbed and I have not, which clearly means that I'm winning.

Now, I can see how looking at that previous sentence written there like that, in cold black and white, you might be shaking your head a little. Maybe even thinking how immature I can be. I understand why you would think so - to which I say, "Shut it. Poop head."*

It's really not fair, I'll admit. After all, this morning at 6 (!), when Clay gently kissed me good-bye and headed manfully off to work, I chortled to myself and burrowed deeper amongst the warm covers and pillows, intent upon sleeping a few extra hours of the kind of sleep that is kryptonite to viruses. Ha ha! I am SO WINNING! UNFAIRLY! BUT STILL!

So you can imagine my joy when mere minutes later (ok, 90 minutes. Still.), I was pounced upon by my eldest son, who had roused himself just to check the morning paper.

"THEY DID IT!" he bellowed.

"Whaaa?" I peeled my eyelids open, throwing up my arms to shield my head from the onslaught of noise and unacceptable levels of joy.

"THE ROCKIES WON! WE'RE IN THE WORLD SERIES!"

And indeed, we are.

Go Rockies.

And me.

* I would so NOT say that, in real life. First of all, "shut it," is the same thing as "shut up," and We Don't Say That. Secondly, I'm still trying to live down the Slubby Pee Head incident. I will not be found guilty of Poop Head too.


I spent the weekend at a church women's retreat. It was everything a retreat should be, but rarely is. By Sunday morning I was tired and happy, with much to take away to think and pray about.

I was also ready to see Clay and my babies.

They met me in the lobby of the hotel. One minute I was watching the door, tapping my foot, and looking around in bored anticipation. And then the next minute they were there, boys rushing to envelope me with noise and hugs and exclamations, Clay trailing behind them to reach for me over their heads and kiss me. We all circled each other, reaching out to touch and exclaim and grin and be entwined.

And then, somehow, within five minutes I heard myself saying in a distinctly steely tone, "I said Get. In. The. Van."

And also, "What did I say? Do you THINK I am going to change my mind?"

The hour was not over before I found myself closing my eyes and taking a deep, calming breath before I answered.

The truth is that although peace and contemplation and renewal is nice, here, in the middle of the noise and chaos and brotherly contention, is where I live. It's good to be home.


Some thoughts from a beautiful Autumn weekend

You might think that having boys around that are plenty big enough to rake leaves would be a help...

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...you would be wrong.

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You're not the only one who plays Uno, Mir. Around here, it is the cause of much laughter...

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...and SOMEONE has a special dance he does, when he defeats the little boys.

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It occurred to me, as the cold rolled in on Sunday, that there may not be enough time left for this...

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...to become a full grown cantelope.

In other news, Tre says, "GO ROCKIES," ...

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...and swears he's not taking off the hat until they win the World Series.

Winter may be coming, but life is ever so sweet.


During this entire conversation, #249 worked on a Latin test

Mid-day phone ringing! It must be Clay! It could be a hundred other people, most of whom tend to be representing charitable organizations that are hoping we have used clothing to donate (ha! used SHREDS of clothing, maybe), but let's hope.

"Hello?"

"Hi there, beautiful," it IS Clay! Either that, or the Lupus Foundation is finessing their approach. "Whatcha doing?"

"Oh, Max and Raphi were just out front, gazing in awe at a butterfly landing on the purple mums. So I slid open the window and barked at them to get inside and get to work. The work of spirit-squashing, it never ends."

"Yeah, well, numbers 250 and 251 are like that. They wander off."

"Uh...are we referring to the kids by numbers now?"

"The kids ARE numbers now."

There was a pause while I considered this for a moment. Then it dawned on me.

"You mean...like...COURT CASE NUMBERS?"

"Exactly."

I will spare you the next part of the conversation, wherein I cooed my admiration of him, and he modestly pointed out that there will probably be issues to be confronted in the future. For, you see, the court case numbers he was referring to would be the result of months of paper-chasing on his part, culminating in the packet he turned into the court this morning.

So he can adopt the boys.

Wheels in motion, hoops to be jumped through...we have to have a home study done, which makes me completely paranoid. We're hoping for a court date by Christmas. Makes me cry, just typing that.

"Hey," I said, as Max fell off his chair and proceeded to roll around in the dog hair under his desk, and Raphael brought me his printing workbook to show me how he'd done a whole page in letters like a robot would, "do you think now that they're numbers they'll be a little more orderly in their behavior?

"Well, it all depends on if they follow mathematical principals. 249? Sure. But 250 and 251? I doubt it."