Wednesday, October 17, 2012

20 Questions

1. What is something Mama always says to you?
Joel: Stay at our house.
Stella: I love loo.
Liv: I love you.

2. What makes Mama happy?
Joel: When Papa's at work.
Stella: Hugs.
Liv:Mama happy

3. What makes Mama sad?
Joel: If the bad guys get Joel.
Stella: This (and makes a sad face)
Liv: Mama no sad, Mama goo-girl.

4. How does Mama make you laugh?
Joel: Smile on your face.
Stella: Smile.
Liv:Mama silly.

5. How old is Mama?
Joel: Bigger.
Stella: 6. Mama you 6? (holds up 3 fingers)

 6. How tall is Mama?
Joel: Really bigger.
Stella: Bigger.  (Stands up on tiptoes)
Liv: (Nods head)

7. What is Mama's favorite thing to do?
Joel: Cleaning.
Stella: Papa.
Liv: Mama silly.

8. What does Mama do when you're not around?
Joel: Crying. 
Stella: Mama our house. Stay here. 
Liv: See ya soon - buh bye

9. What's Mama's favorite toy?
Joel: Baby pants. (What in the world does that mean?)
Stella: Cars. 

10. What is Mama really good at?
Joel: Playing bad guys with Joel.
Stella: Colors.
Liv: (walked away for 10 minutes)

11. What is Mama not very good at?
Joel: Yell at Dottie barking.
Stella: Mama good.

12. What does Mama do for her job?
Joel: Mama go in the car.
Stella: Just like Papa.

13. What is Mama's favorite food?
Joel: Macaroni.
Stella: Supper. I like supper. 
Liv: Appa (Apple)

14. When you go to sleep, what do Mama and Papa do?
Joel: Leave and I can't hear it.
Stella: Tools. Just like Dadushkas. 
Liv: Mama food - hungee! 

15. If Mama were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Joel: Rapunzel.
Stella: Spiderman. Uh-huh. Papa good job, Spiderman.  Papa give Mama high five!
Liv:Mama I HUNGEE!!! 

16. What do you and Mama do together?
Joel: Stir the juice. 
Stella: Play toys. 
Liv: Hungee. 

17. How are you and Mama the same?
Joel: Lay down in bed.
Stella: Big girls.
Liv: Food.

18. How are you and Mama different?
Joel: Ears.
Stella: Cartoons. 

19. How do you know Mama loves you?
Joel: Mama loves you when Joel smiles.
Stella: For toys. 
Liv: Yummy food. (I gave her a banana)

20. What do you think of the Hawkeyes?
Joel: Stinky Hawkeyes.
Stella: Hawkeyes poop.
Liv: Ewwww tinky. 
The girls are saying "cyclones" not glaring at you.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Unca Jackson

Hi Everyone. This is Jay, the husband of your normal blogger. I'm going to interrupt Kelsey's sweet, poignant blogs for a quick tale about Joel. But first, some history:

On the summer in which I experienced the scariest night of my life, my cousin Neal was tasked with babysitting my brother Dallas and me during a family trip to Chicago. We ate pizza and rented a movie: Michael Jackson's Thriller music video. Oh. My. Was that a werewolf I just saw? In a lettermen's jacket? I've watched countless movies since my first experience with Michael Jackson's classic, but nothing has scared me as much as Thriller scared me. I was terrified. Dallas was terrified. Right after the video ended it was our bedtime. We begged Neal not to turn off the lights. After all, werewolves are obviously scared of the dark. No one ever sees a werewolf, or any monster for that matter, in the light.

Fast forward to today. We went to my in-laws' house for supper tonight. At some point someone pulled out an iPod. On said iPod was the Michael Jackson Thriller video. Joel sat on Kelsey's lap and watched it. Kelsey, who lived in an MTV-free bubble growing up, had somehow managed to experience nearly 30 years of life without partaking in the introductory werewolf scene. Suddenly, Michael Jackson's letter jacket starts to rip, and his fingernails grow into yellow claws, and his eyes turn yellow, and his whiskers grow out, and his teeth, oh god his terrifying teeth, grow sharp and then sharper and then sharper yet until Michael Jackson officially becomes the most lifelike and terrifying werewolf ever put on screen. Joel's eyes grew wide. The terror my brother and I experienced as a child (minus the possibly deranged lunatic cousin portion) now lived in Joel.

The rest of the night at my in-laws' house passed by just fine. When we got home, that's when we knew we were in for a long night. Joel sat at the table and ate his before bed meal (because he REFUSES to eat a full meal at a normal mealtime--stories for another day). He started to talk to us in his cute English/Russian hybrid language about monsters. The conversation then turned to the scariest monster of all: Unca Jackson. That's when Kelsey and I officially won our Parent of the Year awards for the wonderful lies we told our child:

Joel: Where is Unca Jackson now?

Kelsey: He is dead.

Joel: Okay. But in the cartoon, Unca Jackson comes out of the ground.

Kelsey: Good point. He is in the ground in California though.

Joel: The circle map. Show me California.

At this point I went and got a globe out of Joel's room. Before I sat down, Kelsey told me to tell him Australia was California.

Jay: See Joel (pointing to Australia) this is California. This is where ALL the monsters live. See all this blue around Australia? That's water. It's a well known fact monsters can't swim. Nor can they drive in boats or airplanes.

Joel: Car?

Jay: Silly Joel, you can't take a car on the water.

Joel laughs. Then, for some reason that probably made sense to him asked: Where's Wolverine?

Jay: He's in California too (pointing at Australia again).

Joel: Wolverine fight monsters?

Jay: Sure.

Joel: What's this (pointing to Canada)?

Jay: That's Canada. That country is filled with people you'll make fun of for the rest of your life.

Joel: Monsters in Canada?

The conversation then continued. I tried to convince him that Unca Jackson was just a pretend werewolf and he was wearing a mask. But the video was so convincing, that Joel mimicked the entire transformation for me. He explained that no mask was put on. Unca's face just turned scary. No gloves were put on. Unca's hands just grew big claws. There was nothing I could do to convince him that a zombie werewolf was not going to end him tonight.

We went to bed. I read him Cat in the Hat. I read him some book about a dirty dog. And I read him a light-hearted tale about barnyard animals singing. Then it was time to sleep. I went and sat in the chair in his room, as I do every night, while Joel stared at the ceiling, petrified. He'd occasionally shoot up and say, "Papa leave cogda (when) Joel sleeping and Unca Jackson bed boom RAAR." I showed him the videos of Michael Jackson applying make-up to become the werewolf. It worked for about three minutes until Joel fell asleep and then shot immediately awake because of the monsters in his dreams.

Finally I had to call in Mama. While Papas are good tactical ground support for potential monster raids, only a mother can soothe the beating heart of a scared five year old. That's why it is now 11:30, and I'm writing a blog while Kelsey cradles Joel to sleep. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Because. (3 months home)

Here we are.  
Our family.  
Happily married, for sure, but definitely something missing. A little banged and bruised from all we had just endured. I think Jay would agree that we were mostly hopeful that our dreams were about to come true. But we were also entering into totally uncharted territory and the daunting journey we had ahead was a little, um... scary. 

I would also lie if I said the thought, "Why me? Why us?" never crossed my mind back then.  I tried not to say it out loud, basically because I knew it was a selfish little thought I needed to keep to myself.

But our "village" was already quietly coming out of the woodwork to boost us along the way. And my amazingly talented and super supportive friend, Ashley, helped us capture some pictures to send to our adoption agency in hopes to help us find our family. 
-   -   -    -    -    -   -   -   -   -   -    -    -    -   -   -   -   -   -    -    -    -   -   -   -   -   -    -    -    -   -   - 

And then there's "us" one year later. Three months together as a family.  

I cried when I first saw these pictures. (You can see that Ashley Schrage is still rockin' the village with her gorgeous gift of photography!)

Somehow, miraculously, here we are.  We have our family. 

And to Me from a year ago with the, "Why me? Why us?":

Because. Because. Because. (You impatient fool!)

Monday, October 1, 2012


It makes me cringe.  The "Mom" count.  You know the one.  I'm counting to three so you do what you were supposed to do before I started counting. Yah, that's it. 
I assure you he's always on his best behavior.
 So one day, in an event totally out of character for any of my darling children, one of the knuckleheads (err, angels) was doing something he or she wasn't supposed to do.

And then it happened.  
Me? Misbehave? Never.
"Darling, sweetheart, dearest love, please stop torturing your sister."

Still in shock that a child of mine would actually misbehave, I was even more taken aback when it didn't stop after I had just asked them so politely. 

"I need you stop that behavior, it's inappropriate."  
This angel can do no wrong.
And then it came.


OMG. Did that just come out of my mouth? And did I just hold up the fingers for extra emphasis? No, not me, I wouldn...

But out of nowhere, his eyes got big, he stopped what he was doing and said,

"Mama! Stop! Please don't say THREE!" 

Superheroes/Mischief Makers. Yes, Stella has a plastic hammer in her hand.  But she's the perfect Thor. And yes, Putin, my Russian son is now Captain America.
What? WHY?!  This is ri-gosh-darn-diculous (Yep, I have totally G-rated thoughts).  Why do you, child of mine, care if I say the number three?  And why when I count out loud and put my fingers in front of my face do you suddenly change your behavior?

Oh you know that #3, he really means business.  Grr. 

Here I am exasperated with life after too many 1-2-3s. Actually I was just resting my eyes while the kids took a bath. Is that frowned upon?
So long story short, I hate myself for it, but I do the  3-count now. Like, frequently.  But it works,  dammit. 

Oh shit, so much for "G-rated".

Don't judge.