Busy Bees

Oh my goodness.  Busy busy busy bees over here.  Believe you me, not working doesn’t mean I’m less busy.  Just in a different way.  A good way, but a different way.

The kids sure are throwing themselves into activities.  We are in the height of cheerleading.  Which, I don’t get, but 9 sure is liking the competition stuff.  Not the games.  Games are boring.  But the really expensive, time intensive, exhausting stuff… yeah.  Loving that.  Her first competition is in a couple of weeks.  She has to be at the coach’s house at 6AM.  Yes.  You read that right.  A bunch of 3rd and 4th graders have to be present at 6AM on a Saturday morning to curl their hair and get dressed.  And I have no idea what time they actually cheer.  They are all going to need naps before that happens.  10 is gearing up for after school karate club, basketball and (fingers crossed) Lego club.  Yeah.  That’s a thing.  Only 30 kids from all grades.  First come, first serve.  Man, I hope he remembered to turn that in to his teacher today.  And 14 starts dance and musical theater classes next week.  Is it sad that I’m a little geeked out because she’s going to get to participate in The Nutcracker at Christmas.  WHAT?  The stupid grin on my face last night when the chick at the front desk at the studio told me that must have been… well, stupid.  I’m a dork.  

The Hughes’ are some busy bees.  But getting these three involved has been the best thing for them.  We are burning off energy.  We are finding other things to do besides watch TV on the iPad/Kindle.  We are getting healthy.  And we are producing.  9 has mastered her cartwheel and front handspring.  She’s getting stronger.  10 has been shooting hoops next door every night (shout out to the awesome neighbors who don’t care!).  14 is crazy excited to buy dance shoes tomorrow morning.  I’m not going to think about what those buggers cost these days.

And me?  Well, I took my first (but not last) yoga class yesterday.  Ouch.  I hurt today.  

Have a great weekend.  We have a football game to hike to on Sunday.  Oh joy.  Oh bliss.

Transitions

Every time I write one of these, I seem to start with “wow, how long has it been?”  I hate that.  There is a lot that has fallen to the side of my life that I am regretting now.

Transitions.  It’s been a big week for transitions.  The kids started school.  New schools.  Yet again.  I hate to think about how many new schools they have had to start in every August.  I hate that we had to do that to them one more time.  8 turned 9 yesterday.  She’s a full blown cheerleader at this moment.  Will it stick?  Who knows.  But I don’t think she has ever been this tired in her little short 9 years.  She’s even quit fighting the “I’m not tired” and is transitioning into “I need more sleep”.  14 is in 8th grade.  I think the transition to high school next year is already making her nervous.  10.  Well, he’s having his own issues at this time, but that needs to stay in house for now.

And me and Josh?  Yeah.  Transitions.  You see, for the first time since I was 18, I currently find myself without employment.  Am I nervous?  You betcha.  A little scared?  Absolutely.  Interested to see what comes down the path next?  Hell yes.  

You see, we took a family vacation to Lake Cumberland at the end of July.  I took off in a kayak by myself one morning for about a half hour.  Just me.  No kids screaming at each other.  No phone ringing or email dinging or text messages going off.  Just peace.  Quiet.  And me.  I remember looking up at the sky and letting the Good Lord know that I was all set for what was next.  And now I’m on my new path.  And I have faith.  A lot of it.  So while I may be nervous and apprehensive right now, I know that I’m going to be alright.  Those that know me well know that I always land on my feet.  

But the kiddos.  Man.  The only question the little two asked is if this means I could volunteer at school now like other moms do.  That’s all they really care about.  And that’s what matters.  The rest is icing.  Some of you may want to ask why and want me to rehash what has happened.  But I decided that I’m not interested in doing that.  I’m transitioning forward.  Back has given me it all it can.  Forward is the way to go.  

So when I say I hope to update more now, I truly mean it this time and may just be able to fulfill on that promise.  We have our first cheerleading competition coming up.  14 plans to join drama and 10 wants to play basketball.  It’s going to be an interesting fall.  Hope yours it too!

And then they release the Cracken

Who watches Modern Family?  Show of hands?  Yeah.  That’s what I thought.  So we have always watched it, but over this last season, I feel Josh and I have been able to relate to it more.  Especially to the Dunphys.

 

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There are times that Julie Bowen or Ty Burrell will rattle off a line and I think about it for days.  If you haven’t seen the second to last ep of the season… SPOILER ALERT… but Phil gets an RV and wants to take the family on a road trip and Claire is concerned about Phil finding about about the “maleficent hell spawn” that their children really are.  I died a little. There have been a couple of times this past season that I wish I had Steve Levitan and Chris Lloyd writing my comebacks for when the kids act a fool.

So I used that Cracken line yesterday to talk about the hellish tantrum 10 decided to have at the pool Tuesday and and 8 looked at me and said “he farted?” while pointing at her butt.  Yes.  That is what our house has turned in to.  Different ways to reference someone passing gas.  

We survived the school year.  Everyone passed.  Now we look to the summer.  Sleep away camp is a week from Monday.  4 days of no kids.  Just Josh and me and the house.  Haven’t had that in a long time.  Maybe we can get some stuff done?  Plus, we are taking our own trip this summer.  Staring slow by going to Cumberland.  We have got to work up to a plane and a different state.  I mean, there are wild monkeys that would have been better behaved at the doctor this morning than my 3 were.  You think I’m going to unleash THAT on the general traveling public when I myself am a horrid flier?  I would be the one trying to open the plane door to throw them out?  And those about to respond with “just drive.  It will be fine”.  Please.  I will see about that after we make the trek to Cumberland and get to spend time together on back Kentucky roads.  But there is no way on this holy Earth that I’m driving to El Paso.  Someone will end up in the middle of Nowhere, TX and it may just be me after I body roll out of the car because 10 is tired of listening to Ke$ha or Glee.  

13 turned 14 yesterday and tomorrow night is her birthday party.  A bunch of teenagers hanging out?  It will either be a rousing success or a complete disaster.  Because there is no in-between with teenagers.  Fingers crossed.

And a lovely and happy Memorial Day weekend to you and yours.  Enjoy.

And the hits keep coming…

You know that moment… that moment when you are like “OMG WHY!?!”  For some of my friends, it is the first time their kids either puke or pee or them.  Having skipped (been blessed?!?) to skip the baby portion of our show, I move right on to the school stuff.  And the stuff they can bring home with them.  Like lice.

Yes, my friends.  Lice.  Our dogs have never had so much as fleas and we had a lice outbreak.  It started when 13 got sent home. She found one in her hair in her first class.  Awesome.  Only found two but still.  We were sufficiently grossed out.  So we did the treatment and cleaned EVERYTHING.  Then, just as a precaution, we did the treatment on 10 and 8.  And did I find the mother load on 8.  It is like she was patient 0 or something.  I have never been so skeeved out in my life.  I swear, my head is still moving and we are two weeks out.  I have found a few bugs here and there since then, but GROOOOOSSSS!  

So we got moved.  The house is on the market.  So that stress begins.  Please house.  Please sell.  Please next owner.  Find us soon.  The garage is full of crap.  I’m beginning to wish we had thrown it all away.  

We went to Ikea on Mother’s Day.  Gave each kid a budget to decorate their room.  What was most surprising is that everyone made it out alive.  No blood was spilled.  I’m super proud of myself on that one.  

We are in the final days of the school year.  I think we will all be glad for the summer break.  The kids are looking forward to camp.  I’m going to be glad to not have to drive them out to school anymore.

Celebrated the first Mother’s Day.  It was nice.  Got a poem from 8.  Created and typed by her.  Shakespeare she is not, but she tried so hard.  And I got coupons.  She wants to help cook.  And one is for picking up “but not my room” she says.  I was also gifted a Reds bobblehead that 10 didn’t want that he got at the game the day before.  Nice.

Chopped my hair.  Lice will do that to you.

It still shocks me when people are in awe of what we are doing.  Almost a year in and it feels like it isn’t so much a special thing anymore.  I saw a dear friend from high school get married last weekend.  Hadn’t seen her or the new hubby since the weekend before we met the kids for the first time. They were so excited for us!  On THEIR wedding day.  I told Jackie not to cry, but that was an exercise in futility.  They can’t wait to meet the kids.  I said I couldn’t promise that I wouldn’t stick one in their trunk when they left.  They said they would be fine with that.  I told them they hadn’t met these kids yet.  

We are all volunteering with Go Cincinnati on Saturday.  I call it an exercise in humility.  Lord knows they all could stand some.  Enjoy your weekend.

Blowing the dust off

It’s been awhile.  What can I say?  Life got in the way?  It’s been crazy?  I got bored?  All of those things are true.  But, to be honest, we had a rough stretch of months.  And I felt like “no one wants to read about the shit”.  They only want me to talk about the happiness and the joy and the puppies and rainbows and kids are the greatest thing ever.

But, as I have learned, whether you birth ’em or not, there are rough patches.  And you want to murder them.  Yes.   Murder.  There have been quite a few days where I can’t believe everyone got out alive.  It’s crazy.  

13 gave us a run for our money there for awhile.  We weren’t sure we could do it.  We weren’t sure if we were what she needs at this point in her life.  Have we turned a corner?  I’m not sure.  We’ve hit some milestones.  We’ve started to really build some trust.  And the threat of losing her phone for even one day is enough to make her think twice.  And we are still having moments.  But who isn’t, right?  Show me a parent who isn’t having a moment and I’ll show you a parent who is a lying liar who lies.  

I sat with a woman in my office today as she struggles with the kids she’s taken in.  She’s new to this.  Brand spanking new home.  No kids.  Just her and the hubby and the dogs.  Sound familiar?  That was me in August.  She’s not a bad person for admitting that it’s hard.  Because it is.  So bloody ass hard.  It’s ok to cry.  You’re going to yell and lose your temper and say things you don’t mean.  That’s life.  That’s family.  That’s parenting.  Hell.  I had a very experienced foster dad look at me tonight and say “we’re just making it up 99% of the time”.  

We’re moving.  We found a 4 bedroom home in a much more desirable part of town, at least for me.  Goodbye Independence.  Hello Villa Hills.  Two of the bedrooms are interesting colors.  Yeah.  Let’s go with interesting, shall we?  But we are all ready to move forward.  And the new house… starting our new home the 5 of us together… to me, that’s the most exciting part of this whole journey.

I’ll do my best to update more regularly.  I need to.  If only for my own sanity.  But if you are ever wondering “what’s THAT like”… I recommend a book called Instant Mom.  It’s by Nia Vardalos.  You know, from My Big Fat Greek wedding.  Yeah, her.  It’s like she was hiding in my closet and writing this book about my experiences instead of hers.  I like knowing that someone who is besties with Tom Hanks is experiencing the same things I am.  

Josh and I are taking a trip, just us.  Nowhere super exciting.  Nashville.  But we plan to enjoy it.  Be adults for awhile.  Golf.  Drink.  Sleep past 7am.  You know, live it up.  

Have a good week.  

Life Goes On

It has been awhile.  What?  Since before Christmas?  I feel like we have all gotten into a groove and have become boring.  Is that possible?  Is it possible to be boring when there is always so much going on?  We had a good Christmas.  We stayed busy.  Maybe too busy.  Time will tell.  The gifts were opened and looked at.  Some were awesome.  Some haven’t been looked at since.  I’m still not sure how to thank “Uncle” Sean for the Nerf guns.  Working on that one.  

But there is no rest for the wicked.  Kids want and they want and they want.  And you have to move on.  Even when all you want to do is curl up and feel sorry for yourself.  You see, we lost a dog today.

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Aiden was never a fan of the vet. Ever.

This is Aiden.  We adopted him while we were still in Bowling Green.  Haley, the retriever we lost last year, was in desperate need of a friend.  Aiden was the first dog we saw the day we went to the shelter.  Josh made me look at all the dogs, but I knew that I had been chosen that day.  And even through the Houdini acts and destruction and the white fur that is everywhere, he was one of the greatest fur buddies one could ever have.  And he decided that today was his day.  No pomp.  No circumstance.  He just curled up in a ball and went to sleep.  If only we could all go that way.  The worst is that our 13 year old found him.  She was so distraught and sad.  But the resiliency of kids.  She’s talking to friends as I type.  9 is at his Slammers class and 8 is watching TV on the iPad.  The younger two just kind of nodded and went down to see him before we took Aiden to the vet.  Maybe it is because they have been through so much loss that they are old pros (which makes me want to start to cry all over again) or that they didn’t have the connection that Josh and I did to him.  Maybe we are looking at huge meltdowns this weekend.  But life does go on.  When we got home, 8 came out of her room, gave me a hug and told me she was hungry.  And what can you do but move on, carry on, and keep on trucking.  

And trucking we are.   The attorney has been contacted.  Paperwork is being completed.  And hopefully soon, a court date.  We talking name changes and how to spell things.  I will miss that dog more than I could ever explain in words.  He was there for me when I was sad, I mean really really sad.  He made us laugh and laugh and laugh and we will continue to laugh and laugh and laugh as we tell stories to the kids.  They love to hear stories about the dogs that occurred before they arrived.  I think it makes them feel like they were there too.  Or maybe they are just really good stories.  These three will help us keep the memory of my buddy Aiden alive.  So life goes on.  It has to.

PS: Have you ever had a dog dust crop a room you are sitting in and stink you out of it?  Josh has.  By Aiden.  If you ever get the chance to have him tell you that story, you should.  It’s one of the good ones.

And so this is Christmas

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So we are prepping for the first Christmas together.  See the tree?  Dear me.  Gift buying for kids.  If Justice is hell, then apparently Toys R Us is purgatory.  Not that I went.  Josh was the brave soul who made that trip.  We have them convinced that we installed a hidden camera that streams the video to our phones, so we will know if they try to go through the gifts.  It’s like Elf on the Shelf except it is free and not near as creepy.  And it seems to be yielding the same results.  

Big plans this holiday season.  We have recently started attending Crossroads in Florence, so we are attending the Awaited show on Friday afternoon.  Everyone keeps telling me how much we are going to love it.  Saturday we have tickets to see A Christmas Carol at Playhouse in the Park and then reservations at the Lager House.  Sunday we plan to hit the Festival of Lights.  All of this in the hopes that come Monday morning, these little buggers will sleep the hell in.  830 would be perfection.  

But as we get ready to celebrate with our insta-family, I keep being drawn back to what happened in Newtown last week.  Damn Savannah Guthrie and her amazing journalism skills for making me bawl like a baby on Monday morning.  Hearing about these beautiful kids and thinking about these families that won’t have their children with them on Christmas morning… well, it breaks my heart.  These three have only been with us for 4 months now.  But I know that I would cut a bitch who ever tried to hurt them again.  We had a TV moratorium all weekend.  We just couldn’t do it.  We wanted to enjoy our kiddos, not cry for those lost.  Maybe that makes me a little heartless, but I have cried for those children for sure.  8 came into our room Monday morning while I was watching Savannah Guthrie through my tears and she asked me if I was crying for the kids who got hurt.  I told her I was.  She crawled up next to me, put her arms around me and told me it was going to be OK.  Which, of course, made my cry harder.  I asked her if she had any questions.  She didn’t.  I asked her if she was scared to go to school.  She wasn’t.  I asked her if she knew she was a pretty awesome kid.  She said she did.  And then I started to laugh.  

Life is short.  And sometimes cruel.  So you have to take the opportunities to laugh and smile when they present themselves.  So I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a super duper Happy New Year.  Have a good one.  See you in ’13.

Happy Thanksgiving

So the first big Holiday is here for our new family… and it is my favorite one.  Thanksgiving.  I know.  People just love Christmas.  But for me, I love the crisp autumn air, the football and the turkey.  Oh the turkey.  We get a fresh one from Tewes’ every year.

But a few things have changed.  We normally host Thanksgiving, but we are out of room this year.  So we cook.  Mom hosts.  Hopefully next year we go back to how it has always been.  But this is the first Holiday with kids around.  I can’t decide how this is going to go.  Will we all be behaved?  Are we going to fight over mashed potatoes?  What about the pumpkin pie?  All three have not pulled any punches about the fact that they all love them some pumpkin pie.  We shall see how the evening goes.  We watched the majority of the Macy’s Parade.  They seemed to enjoy that.  They begged me to turn on Super 8.  Not the most Thanksgiving of movies, but they all enjoyed it.  We leave for the parents’ house in about 2 hours.  We have added deviled eggs to the menu for our 13-year-old.

And then comes the big question… do I hit the stores in the AM and take advantage of some deals since I now have three extras for Christmas or do I keep my stance of being anti-Black Friday?  I can promise you will not see me at midnight at Best Buy or Walmart.  But if you want to hit up Crestview Hills at about 8 tomorrow, you may just see me there.

And they kids aren’t the only ones still struggling, especially as we come to the holidays.  My patient, level-headed husband has a huge meltdown last night.  We were up till midnight dealing with that.  I wish I could tell you all that it is all roses and puppies and rainbows.  Some days, like today, it is.  But the three days leading up to today… hellish state of hell.  Plus, it doesn’t help that Josh and I had to compress 5 days of work into 3.  That always makes things super fun and relaxing.

I hope you and yours have a great day and that you get the Black Friday deals you choose to go after tomorrow.  Personally, we are going to take advantage of cyber Monday and get a new TV.  Merry Christmas to Josh and I.  Have a good one my friends.

The Tooth Fairy is Serious Business

So I mentioned in my last post that 8 lost a tooth.  First one here.  And apparently, it was serious.

She stood here in the kitchen that night, thinking very hard.  I finally had to just ask.  She wasn’t sure where she was going to leave her tooth.  She moves around a lot at night and she was afraid that the tooth would roll under her bed and the Tooth Fairy wouldn’t find it.  She had put it in one of her pink Squinky… whatever the hell those things are… containers.  She thought long and hard about it.  While I was sitting here thinking “how the hell am I going to sneak in there, steal the tooth and leave a dollar without waking her up?”  And then, brilliance struck her little head.

Of course, she exclaimed!  I don’t roll around NEAR as much as she does so she will leave it under my pillow.  But will the Tooth Fairy know?!?  I mean, I’m an adult.  Why would the tooth be under my pillow and not hers?  Would she find it?  Would it work?

Then she did the first thing she could think of.  And that, my friends, was to write a note.  To the Tooth Fairy.

So there was a first draft.  As you can see, there were spelling errors and not enough room.  8 has to do everything perfect.  So…

 

The final draft.  She had her priorities, as you can see.  Couldn’t lose the pink holder.  Wanted to make sure she got the going rate for kid teeth.

We laughed for hours.  We made sure to scan this so it could be kept forever.  This is so going to rear its ugly head at her rehearsal dinner.

Have a great Halloween all.  I know we sure are going to.

 

Justice is highway robbery!

Like weeds, they are growing!  It is unreal.  The 8-year-old… no joke… 4 inches in 2 months.  She lost a tooth today.  It’s been a big weekend.

So, there was a desperate need for clothes… including for yours truly.  I love me some White House Black Market, but I can’t just drop the money in the boutique for 5 new pair of pants.  But there’s the outlet.  In Jeffersonville.  Not familiar.  It is halfway to Columbus.  So that was 90 minutes in the car all 5 of us.  But if we were doing this, I was at least going to get something out of it.  So Tanger Outlet Bound we were.  We didn’t get to leave till noon because of swim lessons, so we got there about 1:30 or so.  Just some things we noticed.

1. Kids shoes.  Really, world?  They outgrow them too damn fast to really justify a $40 price tag.

2. Aeropostale: Thanks for being awesome.  BOGO jeans!  $3 shirts!!  And bonus to having stuff a 13-year-old WANTS to have.

3. I love White House Black Market.  Love.  The sizes are legit and the stuff lasts forever.  It is soooooooooo worth the drive up there.

4.  Justice.  Let me tell you what… Justice.  I was warned about Justice.  Never go in there without a coupon.  If it isn’t 40% off, turn around.  Krista, if you read this, holy HELL you were right.  I’m not sure I really believed it.  Screw that place.  $54 for a pair of little girls’ boots!  Are you KIDDING me?  Me pay $54 for a pair of shoes… sure… that’s a bargain for me.  I’m also not putting on 4 inches in a month and asking for food 4 times an hour.  My 8-year-old, though.  And this was the STUPID outlet!  The regular stores?  I don’t even want to know.  That place is like the girl stereotype threw up and decided to sell it for 25% markup.  The only reason we walked out of there with a Beiber shirt is because I had a work crisis and I am only capable of one fight at a time.  Justice.  Never again.  We got coupons for “our next visit”.  I told our 8-year-old to use those for her scrapbook because all they are at this point is decoration.

5.  Having an 8-year-old in the dressing room with you is better than a mirror.  The ooooh’s… the aaaaahh’s… the “those are soooooo soft”… the “you look so pretty!”  If some enterprising marketing exec reads this, a cute 8-year-old is waaaay more convincing than most sales people are.

6.  It isn’t a myth.  Boys really do hate shopping.  I was only able to keep him going by offering him a snack halfway through.  He would really prefer me to just come home with clothes for him.

So was it worth it?  Yeah, I got some really good deals for me.  But what really made it worth it was hearing that the 13 year olds new clothes were the HIT of the football game we dropped her off at after we got back.  She got rave reviews all around.  That feeling?  That made the entire day worth it.

We have started mainlining season 1 of Once Upon a Time with 9 and 8.  They are in love.  Which makes me happy.  I’ve been delaying starting season 2 because I wanted to see if they would watch it with us.  They will.  We’ve gotten through 7 episodes in 3 days.  Toasting cable was the smartest thing we have done in the last month or so.

And my birthday is Tuesday.  35.  And before you start… I’m not looking for a load of happy birthdays.  I never have.  But this is the first birthday with kids.  I always wondered what it would be like to have kids around on a birthday.  Especially one that I don’t think I’m handling so well.  30 didn’t faze me.  35 is taking its toll.  I know there is a gift in my future.  I’m not sure what it is.  I’m told that the search for a gift was a trip.  9 was convinced that I would just love the long gold chain with a giraffe pendant on the end of it.  For those that know me personally… feel free to die of laughter now.  I do know it came from Dillard’s because 8 is the worst secret keeper in the world and I had to ignore as we walked back through on Friday afternoon so the girls could get their haircut.  I thought her sister was going to shove her into a Coach purse because her eyes kept darting toward counters.

So we tick down toward the holidays.  They are fast approaching, aren’t they?  I’m already thinking about what it will be like to decorate this year with three extra people around.  Should keep me on my toes.

Have a great week all.