December 24, 2010

Visions of Bolts, Batteries and Plastic Ties

The children are tucked safely in their bed, and the process of making the magic of Christmas begins in 20 minutes. "Santy Claus" or AMP as he is known throughout the rest of the year, has rushed off to the last store remaining open to buy a bottle of Green Magic Maker (Mountain Dew) in preparation for the insanity set to begin. Presents to wrap, presents to assemble (Pollo's new fancy bike), presents to build (The girl's are waking up to new bunk beds in the manana - shhh...don't tell them.) and only t-minus 10 hours to pull it all off. Never mind the small detail that AMP, or insane "Santy Claus", is insistent that we will also finish every last detail of the basement and upstairs bathroom before his parents arrive at noon (or therebouts I would say after checking the weather - yikes!). So all I want for Christmas this year is a strong drink of coffee, and maybe a nap tomorrow afternoon - but when I add this to my existing Christmas wish list of a pair of slippers, and a four-slice toaster, I realize that I am very, very old.
Time for this old bum to stop procrastinating with my Christmas gift (the computer), grab my scissors and dive right on in.

December 20, 2010

White Christmas in a Box

Yes, there are small flurries drifting outside our house tonight, and there is more in the forecast over the next few days, but that is not the kind of White Christmas I am referring to. Imagine if you will, three small, very rowdy, extremely giddy children and a 4 foot box of Christmas presents. Sounds like fun, unpacking all of Grandma and Grandma's presents and placing them, after orders of severe punishment, under the tree - of course shaken and slightly worse for the wear. But where, you ask, does the White part come into this Christmas story? Did you forget about the peanuts? Thousand of tiny, white protection agents, that are now scattered over every inch of my children, me and of course, my house. I know the box is always better than the gift to a child, but I have never seen Pollo laugh so hard as when Chicken Little tipped the whole box sideways... from her spot inside the box. At one point, all three of the hysterical chics were inside the box together, and smashing peanuts into each others' hair (don't even ask about Chicken Little's hair) and into each others' mouths?? I even saw one go up little Chicken Nugget's nose.

Currently, AMP is shop-vacing the entire house - including me. (I just felt a little suction on my leg as I typed this.) There was some laundry waiting to be folded in the living room where the explosion occurred, and Chicken Little and I have lost already lost a pair of underwear, both to the shopvac beast. I think this White Christmas is here to stay!










December 14, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

AMP and I have been watching The Sing Off together (I feel like he might have lived this show back in Iowa - deep Acapella roots in that boy), and one of last night's themes was Guilty Pleasures songs. This seemed to inspire this evening's events - though spending an entire hour watching television together, despite also folding laundry at the same time, seemed like an enormous Guilty Pleasure all by itself:

GP#1: The pleasure of a roaring fire in the fireplace. The guilt - it seems kind of like Cannabalistic torture to have such a beautiful fire right in front of the poor tree - "This will be you in a few weeks!"

GP#2: The Pleasure of making homeade chocolate chip cookies (of course using my mother-in-law's famous pudding recipe) with my best friend Becky after the kids went to sleep. Wait, I mean the kids went to bed, and not actually to sleep. The guilt came when Chicken Little kept asking from her bed "Mommy, what are you making?" every time the beaters turned on and as I licked the spatula...and maybe the bowl.

GP#3: The Pleasure of eating chocolate chip cookies with our best friends and just catching up. The guilt - enjoying the conversation so much that I missed the timer on the last round of cookies. Just when I was taking pleasure in my new found fame as a decent cook/baker, I magically transformed myself from the Maker of Amazing Cookies to the Creator of Hockey Pucks.

Oh well, easy come, easy go. I am already snuggled down by the fire with my plate of milk and cookies - just hoping my little wee friends, the mice, don't want to join in on this guilty pleasure.

December 13, 2010

The Great Cheese Slice in the Sky

Jerry met his maker and went to the Great Cheese Slice in the Sky the very next day after he tried to snuggle with me. However, I had a eerie premonition that he wasn't alone. Everyday since Thanksgiving when The Horror occurred, I have tread very carefully upstairs. Well tonight, I explored my premonition by checking the trap upstairs that was expertly positioned by our paint supplies. I didn't see anything, but apparently, I am blind, because his cohort in crime, Jerrette, had recently joined him in the Great Cheese Slice in the Sky. AMP just descended the stairs with the wee monster, and panic is back in the house.

I am currently debating between my own personal rock and hard place - new house (get ready to be bankrupted selling this one) or getting Chicken Little the cat that she so desperately wants (never mind the small, very insignificant fact that she is insanely allergic to them). Just as a note, I am a badge-carrying cat hater.

December 12, 2010

Chicken goes AMP

I am looking for an excuse, if any has one, for what just happened. I wandered into the kitchen to start up the Keurig, and then jumped back into the dining room to manage the wee chicks eating their eggs, AMP's best batch in 10 years. There was some polite discussion (pushing and crying) over the seating arrangements, and a little animal game being played (including some cheating and "Dora is not an animal!"). So I guess it is no wonder that I found this in the kitchen - coffee made and dispensed.....must remember the coffee cup next time.

December 10, 2010

Fa la la la lah!

Last night we went to get our Christmas tree at the local Catholic church, whose men's ministry sells them. For the third year in a row, they are oddly enough closed each time we arrive (Dare we say warning call?). So while the three chicks did have a blast chasing each wildly in and about the trees - it was not as a picturesque as it sounds. 19 freezing cold degrees in the concrete jungle of our neighborhood Home Depot, but I still got some pictures, and we got an amazing tree - carted home on the little red minivan.

Tonight, after 3 hours of pizza, 30 minutes of Grinch on TV, 2 cups of hot cocoa, 1 massive roaring fire, 0 broken ornaments (still surprised about that one), and the 4 strands of new lights that AMP read my mind and surprised me with, the deChicken Family Christmas is proudly and beautifully glowing in the corner window. Christmas is coming-and we deChickens are almost ready!

December 9, 2010

Little and Nugget Sayings

Just as a note, my charming little Pollo is also saying hilarious things, but it is primarily the way he says things, in his small little spanglish accent, that is what cracks us up the most and doesn't neccessarily translate well into this forum. The other two are just plain crazy:

"I want to get on an airplane - I miss Jesus and want to go see him." announces Chicken Nugget at the dinner table

"Does the Devil brush his teeth?" Chicken Little at bedtime to procrastinate

"How do you spell their number?"Chicken Nugget trying to call Grandpa to wish him a Happy Birthday

"Mommy, you have a gobble-gobble," as Chicken Little grabs the skin under my neck

"I no poo-poo in the potty" Chicken Nugget in rebellion mid-situation as I scoop her up and smack her down on the toilet, barely clearing the saw blade resting on the back of the seat - no judgment people, we are in construction!

"Mommy, Evan is my boyfriend and he LOVES me!", Chicken Little annouces to which I reply, "I thought Evan and Camilla (Chicken Little's best friend) were together and in love?" The response: "Nope. Now Camilla likes Jada." Jada is the third girl in the three best friends, so this surprises me a little. "Why does Camilla like Jada?" I ask nonchantly as I fold my pants.
"Because Jada is pretending to be Justin Beiber, and everyone loves Justin Beiber!" Obviously.

December 1, 2010

The Numbers

Children & AIDS - The Facts:

1,000 children a day are infected with HIV
2.5 million children are currently living with HIV/AIDS
16.6 million children have been orphaned by this disease.
280,000 children died of HIV/AIDS in 2008

3 and a half years ago, I came face to face with this disease for the first time. We were in Ethiopia, picking up Chicken Little, and we went to visit an orphanage for only HIV+ children, AHOPE for Children. At the time, HIV+ children were not allowed to be adopted, so they wanted to keep the children in a separate place, so they would not experience the pain of constantly seeing their friends going home to new families, and not have false hope of someday doing that themselves. Now that is not true, and more and more of these unbelievable children are getting a home and a family of their own. Also, at the time, AHOPE was hospice, as none of the children were getting the medication that would save their life. Now that is not true as well - since 2006 the children there have been receiving the ARV's and they are living.

Those two hours that we spent there that week were some of the most moving moments of my life. AMP and I walked up to that blue tin gate, with a couple packs of stickers, and some donations. We left an hour later, crying. Not because of the sadness of the children, but because of the complete "normalness" of the children we had just met. They wanted to be held, they wanted to show us their four new bikes someone had given them, they all wanted to play with the stickers we had brought, and the sunglasses we were wearing and to tell us about their school, and their friend, and.... I just sobbed when I left, the one and only time I cried in Ethiopia. Those kids gave the daunting numbers and statistics I had always heard, a face and name. That was "B..'s" or "E's" story - Now I knew some of the over 16 million children affected by HIV/AIDS. And once you know them, and know how very normal and wonderful they are, it is something you can not just push aside as "not my problem".

So, here are more facts about "our problem". This is an entirely preventable disease, if condoms are used, people don't share needles, and mothers that are HIV+ get access to treatment for childbirth. Once contracted, HIV/AIDS is not a death sentence like it once was. HIV is now listed a chronic illness, not a terminal one like it was before the introduction of the ARV drug cocktail in 1996. HIV/AIDS is a more manageable disease then diabetes, except that people with diabetes don't have to deal with the horrible social stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.

What can we do? We can advocate and educate everyone we know, so that the stigma goes away, just like the death sentence associated with the HIV+ diagnosis disappeared. We can give money to help support those 16.6 million children dealing with the intense repercussions of losing both a parent, and possibly their own health to HIV/AIDS. We can hope and pray for the imminent vaccine, and all the advancements in HIV/AIDS care. And most importantly, we can let one of the individuals with this disease into our hearts and our homes - to be our friends and family. They need us for support, for acceptance and for love.

Today is World AIDS Day - and I am reminded of one of the most stirring calls to action I have ever read:
"I believe that this could very well be looked back on as the sin of our generation. I look at my parents and ask, where were they during the civil rights movement? I look at my grandparents and ask, what were they doing when the holocaust in Europe was occurring with regard to the Jews, and why didn't they speak up? And when we think of our great, great, great-grandparents, we think how could they have sat by and allowed slavery to exist? And I believe that our children and their children, 40 or 50 years from now, are going to ask me, what did you do while 40 million children became orphans in Africa?"
Rich Stearns, President of World Vision, U.S.


November 27, 2010

Jerry

Last night, after an eventful day of seeing old friends and driving a lot, AMP and I tucked the kids in bed, and then sat down together on the couch to look at houses on the internet (an absolutely favorite pastime, even if we are never moving from this house). Around 10:00, these two old folks decided to call it a night, and head upstairs to curl up under our chocolate brown fur duvet and perhaps have a moment or two together before we drifted off to sleep. As I crawled into my side of the bed, (and let's just discreetly say, the pj's weren't on yet), I saw something small, chocolate brown and furry crawl off the foot of the bed - and the screaming ensued!

A rather large mouse was sleeping completely camouflaged and all cozy in the lush furry rolls of the duvet - Apparently, two furry creatures wanted to sleep in my bed last night - AMP and the Mouse. AMP started believing my hysterical shouts and flailings when he saw the mouse charge under my dresser. As he rose up with my tennis shoe in hand to whack it, the sneaky little bugger darted around the corner and into the main room. AMP, in his boxers, chased it wildly around the corner and lost it in the crawlspace. Through this whole escapade, this Chicken was in the fetal position, screaming like an insane person in the middle of the bed - all thoughts of "togetherness" gone forever!

In the light of morning, the fear remains. I had to take the three chicks upstairs with me for protection while I got dressed for our excursion to Home Depot to buy a bigger and better mousetrap. AMP has now named our little intruder Jerry, which seems too personal to me, since there has been a major fatwah declared against him!

November 24, 2010

My Thanksgiving

I am so thankful for my friends who are like family to us. This only child has somehow managed to collect a great brother and some amazing sisters along the way - thanks for being in my life.

We had a riotous family photo shoot last Saturday. If you make it to the end of the slideshow below, you will see the quick descent into insanity that prompted one of my blessed children (take a guess which one) to not get their promised cookie reward. But despite the craziness, Jamie managed to get some great first family pictures (Thanks!). So, this is what I am most thankful for this year - all of my little fabulous chicks home, and AMP who is laughing all along the way with me.


video

I keep on Falling

I get asked frequently if the love is the same - between a mother and her biological child and a mother and her adopted child, as I have had the privilege to experience both. The answer is unequivocally, yes. Loving a child is just like falling in love. There is an initial spark of love, which when combined with their utter dependence on you for every need is actually a very powerful start to the love - it is nice to be needed, but it is completely intimidating. However, no matter the folklore of love at first sight, I believe it takes time to truly fall in love - a long and wonderful process. I fell in love all over again with Chicken Little again in Colombia, as I watched her mature into Big Sissy seemingly over night, and I fell in love tonight when she cuddled into my lap to watch Curious George. I fell in love with Chicken Nugget the other night when she grabbed my face between her two little hands and quoted my own phrase back to me "Momma, I luv you da most!" And I started falling in love with my little Pollo yesterday, when he climbed up in my lap, curled both arms around my neck, leaned his forehead on mine, and just smiled at me with those huge dimples. Everyone should have this much love in their life, and I am unbelievably lucky to have the daily experience of a love of this magnitude.

November 22, 2010

June is GTA Month

It seems like every month has a theme - a theme of awareness. I googled and found this link, and it will need to be bookmarked so all the month/themes can be added to our family calendar. I was particularly excited to learn that October is National Window Covering Safety month. As a full-fledged Chicken, I have spent many an hour worrying about the general safeness of our window coverings for the wee chicks. Mural Awareness Month in May also intrigued me, but Parental Awareness Month in April confused me. Is it awareness for the struggles of parents, or for all the children to be aware of how aware their parents truly are? I think Seagrass Awareness speaks for itself, but nothing trumps Goat Trauma Awareness (GTA) month in June. Do we think this is head trauma, or psychological trauma - I will keep you posted, as this one must be thoroughly researched. But, I digress - the Google did it again. One quick search and two hours later, I am surrounded by open windows of hilarious, useless information.

In all seriousness, the monthly theme that means the most to AMP and I, is this month, National Adoption Awareness. In this week of heightened awareness around Being Thankful, I believe that one of the things I am most thankful for in my life, is to be apart of the world of adoption. I have been utterly and completely altered and blessed by my experience with adoption, both in my own family and in the lives of my friends. Everyone wins in this situation. I win - I get to parent a phenomenal child, adding a little more diversity, and love and of course general hilarity to my life and future. My child wins - they get all that comes with being part of a family, and having a Mom and Dad to call their own. I thank God everyday for my kids, and the love and joy they have brought to my life.

48 hour challenge update

Considering we decided at the last minute - Friday night at 11pm to be exact - to redo the floor in the bathroom, and considering that we also went to church, had a family photo op with "Aunt Ninny" (photos to come soon), and caught up on a week's worth of laundry, and not to mention managing the monsters, oops I mean children, and....well, can you see where this is headed?

One Week Bathroom project eases its way into Two Week Bathroom. There is just a teeny bit left to do on the bathroom, like install the sink, or mirror or shower. But toilet is back in the house and working (insert Hallelujah Chorus here) the paint is on the walls, and the floor looks spectacular thanks to AMP's hours of painstaking work last night. I must admit the mental image of AMP tiling in a white tshirt, boxers and moccasins is going to stick with me for a while - I couldn't stop laughing. Internally of course, because you don't want to tick off the man with the trowel in his hand.

November 20, 2010

48 hour challenge

6:30 this Saturday morning, and I am up and dressed before the kids are even awake (for those of you who know me, please pick yourself off of the floor, close your mouth and continue reading. This is the deal. In this House of Horrors, I mean House of Projects, we have a disturbing tendency to start a project and leave it unfinished...for years. Basement, started in late 2006 - early 2007 before Chicken Little appeared. Current status, being finished off (tile, door, window, heat, moldings) by our trusty friend Pep the Builder and his brother. Upstairs Bedroom (ours) and sitting room, started in the summer (2008) before Chicken Nugget arrived, in order to have a place for our bestie Leanndra (also Chicken Nugget's care giver to live for a year), which she did, amidst the studs and installation. Current status, still some minor painting and lighting and then final setup to do.
And now we have torn out the bathroom - the main floor bathroom, the one our crazy pee-pee producers use. It was supposed to be a week project, and it started last Saturday morning. The new goal is that by 6:30 am Monday morning, when we get up for work, that spectacular new room will be done. Current staus, no paint on walls or moldings, floor to be retiled, no fixtures, and if course no running water. Keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer. This Late Lucy Chicken might crack under the stress!

November 17, 2010

The Good Egg

Fell asleep at 8pm with wee Chickens. Awoke just now at 10:45 to find AMP cleaning house and the toilet back in the house. Despite all the best laid Chicken/Lisa plans of painting tonight, and progressing towards resuming our social activities, our trashiness quotient is receding (thanks only to an industrious husband installing that toilet), and the measure of our laziness (okay, I own that one) is only climbing. While AMP is now vacuuming (what a good Egg~), this Chicken is heading to bed. Goodnight. High hopes for tomorrow.

November 16, 2010

Water Shortage

So, we made it, in the nick of time, and we have a shiny, new bathroom - bright white and empty. Unfortunately, (or fortunately) we can't do anything tonight to the bathroom while it "cures". Fortunate, that now I can catch up on The Good Wife and go to bed in the pm, not the am for the first time in several days. Unfortunate, because AMP, in an unexplainable passion to suddenly not have a half-done project, has established the edict that no social plans can be made until the bathroom is done. Not one shared cup of coffee, nada. This was upsetting to me at first, as there are several friends I want, even need, to hang out with this weekend. But then I came home tonight to get the kids ready for bed, and there was no water.

We will now take a short commercial break while I run up and down the stairs "assisting" my husband (which mostly involves me standing on the cold cement basement floor, looking concerned, generally useless, but extremely supportive) in getting the water flowing again in the house. (insert soothing, non water-related music here)

As I return to the dry safety of the couch, the water is running, but the toilet is still in the backyard (and he has hijacked the television - no Good Wife for me). In conclusion, three young, potty training children and one working bathroom all the way in the basement - Did I ever mention Chickens are excellent planners?

One Week Bathroom

AMP and I decided to just get some projects done around the house, so that we are less stressed thinking about all that needs to be done. Why we chose to do this when I am less than 4 weeks back from my third maternity leave in 4 years kind of escapes me, but why not? So, we hired someone to help us finish the basement playroom and spare bedroom (ongoing project since the Winter of 2007 - it was time) and then to just further complicate the lives of 5 people who go to 5 different places every single day of the week, we decided to redo our original bathroom. I think I can no longer claim to be even moderately smart after making this decision - all rational thinking went out the window last week when I called the guy to come refinish the tile for tomorrow. In order for the tile to be finished, the bathroom must be empty of everything - completely cleaned out and bare.

Last Saturday morning - wake up to the same disgusting bathroom AMP and I have used for the last 5 and half years in this house. There was the original tile on the wall (79 years old), all cracked and dingy. There was the icky towel bar that was also quite up there in years, with the matching ceramic inset toothbrush holder, that didn't come close to fitting these new fangled thick-handled toothbrushes. There was also the last remaining wall paper (baby blue stripe -matched the black and white tile detail and the yellow sink and tub perfectly) in a house that was once fully coated in tiny floral wall paper. By the end of Saturday, the wall paper was down, the walls were half scrubbed and the weird tile pieces were broken out. Yesterday, AMP spent 7 hours stripping the woodwork, while I bribed the children to not go swim in the paint stripper and turpentine. Tonight, AMP did some scholarly professor work, while I grouted the new tiles, and cleaned out the mess. Now, it is 1:30 am. AMP is still working, I am six seconds from bed, and while we are the trashy people with a toilet in the back yard, the sink and radiator are still nestled happily in their spots in the bathroom. T-Minus 6 and half hours until Tile Man arrives, expecting a bare bathroom - I wish him luck.

October 31, 2010

Goodnight Prayers

Overheard tonight during prayers with Chicken Nugget:

"Tank you God for my...(almost said food, then caught herself) my Mommy and my
Papi."

Overheard tonight during goodnight prayers with Pollo:

"Tank you God for candy, and for Cow (Chicken Nugget's costume), and for Giraffe (his costume), and for Olivia, and Emma, and Oscar (all friends from church) and tank you God for Grandpa and Apa. (Both of his Grandpas)"

Overheard tonight during goodnight prayers with Chicken Little, after I jumped in her bed and rolled around to warm it up (her special request) while she put on her PJ's:

"Thank you God, for my Mommy, because she loves me, and thank you that she warmed up my bed, and thank you that her toot wasn't too smelly, and that the smell isn't on this side of my bed."

October 26, 2010

First Class

Yesterday, when planning my first trip (nothing like coming back from
maternity leave and traveling on day 2), I got upgraded to first class on
the Acela-that was a definite first!

This morning, I got up way ahead of schedule (another first and quite
shocking to say the least), and leisurely got ready. Of course there were
costume changes, and when I settled one of my favorite military style
winter(turned out to be a very poor choice for the 70 degree nyc day)
blazers (that hasn't fit in three years-yeah me), I felt very first
class.-at least until I remembered that what I thought was a cool shrunken
blazer 4 years ago, is actual a petite jacket on a non-petite girl (ie,.
Big girl in a Little girls jacket). No matter, I finished getting ready
except for my makeup, zip up the suitcase, and hop in the car to catch
my fancy train car.

I thought I had left plenty of time to get to the train, but as I parked
the car, I heard the train in the station, and I have never seen it early,
so I raced-huffing and puffing past all the beautiful people to slump in
seat. I started digging around in bag for my makeup(lots of time to put in
makeup on the train), and then digging some more. Then dumping the purse
out on the seat to dig some more.

Second day back on the job, first day in the beauty market, zero makeup on
the buyer. Very classy.

October 25, 2010

Charging forward

Hi ho, Hi ho
It's home from work we go
(whistles)

7:44 am - After three frantic wardrobe changes, I went with the outfit that my 6 year old picked out, and Chicken Little and I raced out the door.

8:02 - Quick sip and spit of the coffee that lacked any creamer - very thoughtfully made by Absent Minded Husband.

8:23 - Called Lisa and reinitiated the morning commute phone call - Calm adult conversation ensues, with only the occasional "Stop that"yelled on her end.

9:01 - I congratulate myself enthusiatically on making it to work on time, even with fog.

9:07 - Happily enter the world of bath soaps and shampoos and lotion and all sorts of hair removal instruments- I am going to be one nice smelling, exfoliated, hairless Chicken!

5:04 - Totter back out to the car in the new shoes - hello beautiful shoes, and hello new blisters!

6:30 pm - I open the back door and am charged and tackled by three happy little monsters! Lots of hugs and kisses, and "Momma, I lud you!"

Day 1 - complete success.



October 24, 2010

12 hours to Sanity

12 weeks ago, I left work, four days away from meeting my new son. It has been 3 months and so much has happened. We really started to settle into a routine last week and now, chaos, or rather, sanity, returns to the deChicken family. Momma goes back to work tomorrow (hear Hallelujah chorus resounding through the air). The lunch bags are packed, the snacks are stowed, the outfits are clean (though I have yet to confirm my first day outfit - oh the stress) and drop-off and pick-ups are scheduled. 5 people and 5 different locations - Keep your fingers crossed, people, this could get interesting!

On a technical side note, the struggle for hipness continues - I asked myself, what hip person uses a pc these days? So, on a whim (or rather in desperate frustration at the ancient 6 year old beast in the basement) tonight at 5:15 AMP and I decided to bring Christmas home early to the deChicken family. At 5:38, he peeled out of the driveway, racing to the Mac store before it closed at 6. He shut the store down, but he got it, and now I am typing this post on my new Mac Air. Big hearts are encircling this tiny computer! But now how to spell check with the right click....

October 23, 2010

Hipster Flair

I have spent the last two weeks in a last ditch effort to increase my coolness factor, and reduce or at least attempt to mask my mom-of-3-ness. I go back to work on Monday, to a whole new department, where I will be buying bath and body product (who's excited?!?! I only shrieked in excitement in the ear of my former boss when he called and told me - super professional and so cool of me!). I need to be as hip as this nerdy, lost somewhere in post-29 world mom can be. In a classic example of just how truly nerdy I am, I was out for coffee and dessert last night with two good friends (Happy Birthday B! and S, I would be happy to be friends with the good twin), in the hippest section of of the city, at 11 o'clock at night, and we spent the better part of three hours discussing theology and the Council of Nicene. But I digress.

So, I have been on a small shopping spree at all the hippest places - TJ's, Marshall's and Target obviously! I have bought sweater dresses/tunics and leggings, worn knee boots out of the house, tried skinny leg jeans and dress pants and all manor of long, wrappy sweaters. However, in the flurry of trying to shop while flailing frantically at the three small, store-destroying, scene-causing children, I bought a pair of jeans that looked as if they were identical matches to another pair of jeans I own, only down a size. It was only upon arriving back at that house, as I reached to remove the tags that I saw the two little words that are so not cool: Easy Rider. I had bought Mom jeans - I cried, but I kept them because they were so crazy comfortable

I had my nails done and my hair cut and colored - though there is no way to mask the damage done to my hair by Chicken Nugget. Absolutely no one tells you that after having a baby, large sections of your hair just, fall out! and have to regrow. I am either growing out thick bangs, or just living and loving my mullet - and please note that hair stealing baby is 2 years old and the damage is still very visible!

I have been watching trash TV - Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice and Gossip Girl by the hour (all while the children are sleeping of course - this is serious trash, in my book at least). But honestly, besides loving the fashion (that I could never fathom wearing, but hey, I am not Blake Lively and I, and thankfully, my husband have accepted this fact) and the true City feel ( I miss it!) I truly don't understand how they all so connected and ultimately disconnected by these "blasts" of gossip from some anonymous person. There is lots of dramatic pausing after dramatic text reading. This leads me to my most unhip trait.

Texting. When texting started, or at least when it started registering on my radar in 2004, I thought I could age gracefully past this phase, and join the world of post 29year olders who had no need for and no clue about texting. I make phone calls. I live for the phone, in fact, but I don't type on my phone. Unfortunately, everyone else my age did not make this decision to leave the texting to the younger folk. So now, I find texts 3 days later, I am constantly trying to text back in that ridiculous limited character space to friends about dinner plans that already happened, or the fact that they are running late (or more likely them finding out where the late Chicken is). Last week, I sent the exact same text to a person 6 times, and in the end, it actually wasn't a text to them. Add coworkers and bosses instant messaging me on my blackberry, and I am really in trouble. So I give up. I am not texting cool. I will DVR, blog, email and talk to my friends on my smartphone, skype, check my three sets of voicemail, facebook message and wall and chat, and even mobile upload from my ipod touch. I am as connected as I can be, but I will not text. That is my new line in the uncool, unhip sand around my streaky hair, mom jean, appliqued sweater wearing self.

October 21, 2010

"Too Tired"

Where, oh where has the blogger been?
This question was posed to me yesterday by one of my best friends (Happy Birthday B, by the way) and my answer was one word - "Too Tired" - oh wait, that is three words.
Day 1 - "Too Tired" to do laundry - but if I hadn't, the basement would have been buried soon, and the children would be naked, and we made a rule recently that no deChicken can run naked through the house, so...no blog, only endless laundry.
Day 2 - "Too Tired" to wake up and go to the bathroom. I have a dream that one day I will not have to wash 2 sets of pee-pee sheets a day. The nap adds a set, so I could have them skip the nap, but then when would Mommy clear out the DVR? So no blog, just drowning in a sea of pee-pee sheets and pants.
Day 3 - "Too Tired" of the doctor's office. Current calculation is 7 hours this week, and that brings the grand total to 26 hours in the last month - not including the dentist appt I missed last week. Nothing serious, just obscure and weird, requiring large amounts of times spent WebMD'ing the latest diagnosis and adding two more specialist to both the speed dial and the Mom calendar I had to buy today (with full people tracking flow chart). So no blog, just endless sympathy stickers, and sympathy lollipops, and unsympathetic wrestling holds for needles!
Day 4 - "Too Tired" to put away nicely folded laundry in piles all over the living room, so when the dinner guests arrived, I held crying "Pollo", (he wakes up as happy as his Momma does) and AMP did frantic laundry hurdles when he got home 10 minutes later. Apparently, someone in the family, (and I swear this time it wasn't me) was also "Too Tired" to flush, because one of guests was treated to surprise in the downstairs toilet (again, what is with this family and potty issues! And no, I promise, it wasn't me, Jo!) - not embarrassing at all. So no blog, just endless apologies for the floater, and the laundry piles, and the burnt grilled cheese (isn't that what everyone serves dinner guests?)
Day 5 - "Too Tired" to watch TV. I promised the B (Happy Birthday to you, wait, did I already say that?) I would write this post (it might have sounded way funnier on the phone to her last night), then was "too tired" to make it through one hysterical episode of 30 Rock - went comatose on the couch at 9:15. So no blog, only drooling and snoozing.
3 more days, and I get to go back to work! This staying at home nonsense is exhausting!

October 16, 2010

Potty Talk

A friend of mine posted on Facebook that there are 18x more germs on a cell phone than on a public restroom seat. At some point in the sea of mundane comments about how nasty this was (mine included), someone made the insightful comment that we should then start grabbing cell phones out of the mouths of toddlers, and handing them toilet seats. I say all this because this reminded me of the grossest and funniest deChicken story ever. Prepare yourself - this is a seriously gross, stomach-turning story - weak stomachs, and germaphobes please exit here.

Last year, I went on a trip to Europe in February, right after Chicken Nugget really got her feet under her and started toddling in full force. AMP always likes to come up to the airport and pick me up when I come back from an overseas trip, so he packed the girls up in the car and headed up to get me (he is super-dad still at this part of the story. In true AMP form, he went to the wrong terminal, so I ended up waiting for a few minutes outside baggage claim. When they showed up finally, Chicken Little looked horrified and excited, in the way only a 5 year old can. AMP looked, well ill, and Chicken Nugget looked happy as a clam. Kisses all around, and as I carried Chicken Nugget to the car, I asked why they were so late. AMP of course confessed the terminal confusion (and his terminal state of confusion), and then unloaded the rest of this on me:

AMP: "So, ummmm, Chicken Little had to pee right when we got here."
Me: "Okay"- searching look
AMP: Rubbing his face with his hands first, he says "Well, I took them into the men's room, and then I had to help Chicken Little with her button. I didn't realize Chicken Nugget could move so fast yet, so when I looked up, she was over by the urinals and was holding 'baa-boo' (her pacifer) in her hand."
Me: "Okay" - confused and slightly concerned look
AMP: Swallow - "She dipped it, in the urinal...."
Me: "Noooo"
Chicken Little piping in : ".....and she put it right back in her mouth! After she swished it around in the boy potty!"
Chicken Nugget: Just staring at me with the happiest little smirk on her face.

So the moral of this story is, please don't be concerned about the germs on your cell phone. My one year old happily survived the airport urinal.

October 13, 2010

Apple Pie

In order to appease my husband about the other weekend's apple picking escapade, I decided to make him a homemade apple pie. This is the holy grail of desserts for AMP, and I once made a good one (note, once). So, I start cutting and peeling and coring this afternoon, while my three crazy nut job children played outside - check out what they did when left to their own devices in the garage:







All was going along swimmingly (AMP's favorite word - he even tried to put it in his dissertation), until I started digging around in the cabinets for my pie pan. Nada. I went through every cabinet in the kitchen, and .... nada. I thought they might be hiding in the drawer under the stove - the drawer that has been jammed closed for over a year - so my Dad, Papa Chicken (he and Nana Hen are currently visiting the Coop), took apart the drawer with a screw driver, and....nada. So I gave up, we hauled the children inside so Papa Chicken could watch them watch television, and I took the Swagger Wagon to the grocery store. I decided to splurge and buy myself a new ceramic pie pan instead of the disposable kind, because what self-respecting baker uses disposable aluminum pans? An hour after the whole process started, I pull back into the driveway (the house was still standing) and carry my new pan into the house and dump my handbag on the mudroom counter.....right next to a ceramic pie pan. My friend Christina had left it at our house on Sunday night after the girl's party. I had washed it up nicely and put on the back porch so I wouldn't forget it of course! To add insult to injury, the decal on the bottom of her pan is - you guessed it, an apple pie recipe.

October 9, 2010

Prayer

Surrounded in the kitchen by 50 pink Princesses cupcakes, I re-found one of favorite songs on my Ipod - Sarah MacLachlan's "Prayer of St. Francis". I just went back to my most trusted source of knowledge (Wikipedia), and found out that while it is attributed to St Francis, it can only be traced back to a 1912 French prayer magazine. No matter the source, I love it. This is what I believe and what I can only attempt to live.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon:
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope
where there is darkness, light
where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

October 8, 2010

Sister Birthdays

On October 8th, 2004 Chicken Little was born in Ethiopia. On October 6th, 2008, Chicken Little got a sister. Two years ago this morning, I left the hospital with Chicken Nugget, in all her two day old newborn glory. We hit the grocery store for cupcakes and Domino's for pizza all before heading to Big Sissy's preschool - it was Chicken Little's birthday and we had a party to throw! Chicken Nugget was in school before she ever entered our home, but that is of course only fitting for a member of the deChicken family. And who would be scared of taking a brand new baby, barely 48 hours old, into a preschool full of kids in the middle of cold and flu season. Not me says the Ultimate Chicken, but maybe that was the residual epidural speaking, or perhaps AMP was projecting his endless bravery (needless recklessness) onto me.

It is fun that they can celebrate their birthdays with one big party (and very convenient for Mom and Dad) while still having their own special day, two days apart. While I was pregnant, Lisa and I speculated at length about the possibility of Chicken Nugget being born on Chicken Little's birthday. We couldn't fathom how anyone would deal with two children in the same family having the same exact birthday - we talked about this off and on for months (no lie), until we remembered that Lisa's sons.....are twins!

Anyway, I couldn't be prouder of my two little girls. They have been the best of friends since the beginning, and are both just magical in some many different ways. I always had this insane fear that I would end up the mother of 4 boys, with no Pink, and no Princesses, and no Sparkles and Sunshine. And then we started the adoption process in Ethiopia, they told us there was an 80% chance we would get a boy - and we got Chicken Little. When I got pregnant with Chicken Nugget, we assumed it was a boy, because that deChicken family is a Y producing herd(what are families of Chickens called?). And then suddenly we had another beautiful girl, and my world was full of Princesses, and Pink, and all sorts of Magic and Sparkles, and let's not forget the Drama that comes with two girls! I love that I get to be their Mom, and really love that they get to be sisters. So here is a resounding Happy Birthday to Chicken Little, and an equally resounding belated Happy Birthday my little Chicken Nugget! Who loves you the most?


The first time Chicken Little saw Chicken Nugget.

A year ago with Grandma


The Birthday Girls!

October 5, 2010

Attention

So we attract a bit of attention. Four years ago, when it was just AMP and I, no one ever payed a bit of attention to the slightly (okay, more than slightly) nerdy couple in the corner. Introduce the magical Chicken Little, and I begin to notice more attention, but I attributed this all to the amazing cuteness of my darling daughter. When Chicken Nugget came along, we did (and continue to get) a lot of comments like, "Oh, she is such a miracle!" (like Chicken Little isn't?) or "So glad you got to have one of your own" (Again, and Chicken Little isn't our own child?), but I just explain that we chose to add Chicken Little to our family, and that Chicken Nugget was a happy (but completely unplanned) surprise - not that anyone truly needs the details of our family planning strategy (we didn't have one). Anyway, throw in Pollo with Skin Shade #3, and the odd looks come 90 miles an hour, all day long. I am sure that there are some people imagining crazy stories, when AMP isn't with us, and I am out and about with my beautiful children. The abject staring, pointing, and whispering started in full force in Colombia, but again, we attributed this to Chicken Nugget's major blondie status, which of course doesn't blend in quite so well down there. And while it seems like it may be better here, I believe that is because I turned my Are-those-people-staring-at-us? radar off a few days ago. Yet with the decrease in staring has come a rapid increase in inappropriate comments and questions. While adoption is my favorite topic, which I will happily discuss at length at any time, some questions and comments are just weird, like "So what happened to their real family?", or "It is like when I adopted my puppy...." . This Dad says it perfectly in his blog (Click here to read it)- all but #10 has been said to me more times than I can begin to count. With the increase in inappropriate comments has also come increased attention from random members of the opposite sex - never have I been hit on so much! So I say all this to say, please at least try not to stare, judge, or make assumptions when you see this crazy blonde woman with three different colored children all under the age of 6 traipsing down the street . Don't ask her if they are all really hers - they are. And don't assume she is easy - her husband will readily attest to the fact that she isn't.

October 3, 2010

First Annual deChicken Plucking Festival

Today seemed like the first true day of Fall. We headed out to a local farm with our friends to try apple and pumpkin picking. Now, my husband may have grown up on a farm, but I am a city Chick for sure - no picking experience whatsoever. The fabulous fresh air, the hysterical friends we were with, the beautiful scenic views of the red barns (because all barns were meant to be red), the cozy sweatshirts and the vision of my three gorgeous (no bias here) children romping the fields and glorious orchards must have sparked a temporary bout of complete insanity. Currently in the trunk of my Swagger Wagon are two extremely full bags of apples (not including the one Chicken Nugget devoured, seeds and all - I promise I feed the child!) and 66, yes I repeat, 66 lbs of pumpkins. As a note, we eat about 1 apple a week if we are lucky, and the last pumpkin we bought rotted in our front porch window. AMP on the other hand, in true Dutch form, was muttering about bologna sandwiches all next week to pay for the pumpkins. But my three children were swirling happily in the insanity with me, and I tell you, I have never seen Pollo so happy - Check it out!