Thursday, August 17, 2017

Scrambles and Scribbles ~ Herd Control

When I babysat for a living years ago I experienced what I called "Black Thursdays" This was the morning where I had two extra kiddos bookended with an odd and very socially awkward mother who dropped them off and picked them up. She always handed me a check with typed in details and payment to literally the second. I don't know what would have happened if she arrived a minute early. I guess she'd sit in the car. As weird as she was, she was not the reason for the title of the day. The mornings were intense because all six of the children I watched were in the 18 months to four age range. Four (or 3.92 ) hours of food and preparation, then clean up, then diapers and potty time, then short play times with redirection of fighting children, cueing up the hungry whining cycle...and rinse and repeat. And then again. And again. Breakfast, snack, lunch. Oh, the glorious nap time Thursday afternoons. Where I did all the dishes, and made the snacks. Ha. 

Sometimes I experience a tiny taste of Black Thursdays when I'm around the whole expanse of my grand babies. Even though they aren't all in that range of age, some of our interactions feel very much like that cycle of craziness. 

When we first got the three kiddos they were ages 3, 5, and 7 I was a zero to three grandma and everything felt new and different. What in the world do you do with a three year old? Then their baby sister joined the club.  Then Connor came along. As a new grandma I was overwhelmed by the sheer energy and whirl of activity that came with kids when I had been out of the kid business for so long. Just the three alone for a few hours would make me sleep like a baby when bedtime rolled around. With Connor and the baby sister the whole change in baby world from when I'd had babies was intense. Car seats and monitors, strollers and sleeping dos and don'ts have all changed pretty impressively. 

Last Saturday, after a week away at the lake with our daughter and five of her kids, we went back to school shopping. Three stores. A three year old, who had an accident and gets hangry almost hourly, a one year old who weighs as much as the three year old and who does not like to be held, but can not walk, an eight month old who gets crazy wiggles and the ten year old and eight year old who need to try on school clothes, and the six year old who is having attitude issues came along for the ride.  The only one missing was the two year old she has most weekends. 

At each stop the van exploded like a clown car. The sound volume in the van was maxed out. My daughter has grown extra arms since beginning the foster care journey. And I am able to hold two babies and shush a sassy six year old while waiting for her to grab a second cart. And now I can actually stay up past 10 p.m. on evenings I've spent massive amounts of time with her flock/hoard/cluster/herd. Maybe it's like riding a bike. This kid wrangling thing. Black Thursdays helped prepare me to be a grandma of many. And maybe interacting with odd folks. Life skillz. 

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Seasons

I think I just realized that I have fully entered a new season in my life.

I don't know if it's weirder that I was just able to identify it or that I'm there. I think I've been considering this a temporary place. Of course it's temporary. They all are. Seasons, like people and circumstances are changing constantly. And this particular season is one I'm not hoping to move along any faster than it already is.

You all know we went from zero to three grandkids overnight three years ago. Our number has now swelled to four forevers, one on the way to forever and five in varying stages of semi-permanency in our fold.

I would not trade the sweet, sticky kisses or the silly laugh-a-thons for the world. Every minute I spend with any combination of my brood is a precious blessing. Exhausting. Sometimes frustrating even, but a blessing.

I had entered a point in my life four or five years ago where I was able to plan my life on my terms. That is a joke, of course. We've all heard the phrase, "Life is what happens when you make other plans." And life did. A mere three years ago I was taking music lessons. I had coffee dates with friends, I was able to have conversations with my mom and friends on a regular basis. I was blogging almost daily and creating recipes like a beast. I had hours of quietness in my day. Hours.

Somewhere in that quiet we said yes to two beagles. And our daughters and son said yes to fostering children, or growing one the old fashioned way. My kids' journeys are their own. And I get to watch from the sidelines. But two of our kids are single parents and circumstances and realities have put my sidelines kind of front row. Maybe even standing in the middle of the playing field on a regular basis.

On Saturday I actually had nothing until 5:00p.m. This is kind of a very unusual thing. And it was glorious. I cleaned in silence for part of the day. My Roomba was the only sound except for occasional stereo barking at a loud truck or car heading up the street. I paid some bills. Threw some stuff away, threw a couple things in a giveaway box. I was able to actually do some plotting on the book I'm supposed to be writing. Michelle is free to write after the 1st of the year after two years of constant contract fulfillment. I'm the foundation and stick builder of this second book. And it's August. Just a few months from now we need to be putting in pipes and wires, hanging drywall, and making that sucker turn-key. So Saturday was fabulous and needed.

At 5:00p.m. I took my almost two-year-old to my other mama bear's house and we loaded all those kids into her mini-bus aka 12 passenger van and we headed to church. Crying, whining, laughing, talking, music, a voice from the back shouting that all the seats were filled. We moved into the church like a hoard of locusts. The noise at least, no one was eating vegetation. That I'm aware of. When I am with them I constantly count heads. Sometimes forgetting that number six or seven is in my arms. It's a small church so we take up a full row even with seat sharing. I felt the eyes on us, there is no graceful way to enter a small sanctuary quietly with eight children, three of whom are under two.

Sunday was a small family reunion requiring food, both mamas and seven kiddos joined us. And Monday was a softball game for the ten-year-old. Wednesday, after another long day at work where I trained in yet another clinic, I babysat five while their mom and the oldest were available to answer questions for a foster care training class. Two hours. Two bottles, dinner for the eaters, two diapers, a three-year-old needing potty help, keeping beagles from begging/snatching food from waving fingers, crying, turf battles, a riding toy that kept hurting the rider tantrum, the "mine" whines, a lost tooth celebration. (Praise the Lord I didn't throw away the plastic bag I found when prepping the meal because said baggie that appeared to be empty actually contained the tooth!!!! Mercy!

I began this post on Monday. I've written on and off in my early mornings every day this week. My early mornings start around 5:00 a.m. Sometimes, like twice this week, I spent a little interaction time saying goodbye to my house dwelling daughter and boy-boy. Feed and potty the dogs, maybe get some marketing for Out of the Frying Pan done, get sucked into Buzzfeed or Facebook for a spell, do any financial transactions that are required. And realize it's time to hop into the shower and then get on with my day.

That all said. I'm so grateful for every one of these people and things. So grateful. But the tradeoff is the freedom I did have to chill and chat holding full conversations at a time, or write blog posts, or play music. I know I can still carve out times, like Saturday, where I can do this. Or that I could have some shifting and moving of life. Like the "Writing Thursdays" where I head to my daughter's house at the kiddos bedtime to help make that happen smoothly so that we can keep each other accountable to focus on writing and write for an hour or two. (This has happened successfully a few times.)

In the meantime, I will be content to get something posted in Dregs sometimes. And if that doesn't happen, I know that Blogger will wait for me. And I'll hope you will, too. If nothing else, there will be more activity someday. Because life and seasons are constantly changing. I do know, based on the rate of growth and change in the children in the past year, that one day, too soon, they won't be carrying plastic bags containing a tiny tooth to Grandma's so excited to show her that it finally fell out! Instead I might get a mumbled awkward teenager greeting and maybe a hug of thanks after handing over a gift at birthday or holiday gatherings. The unconditional love shown by a grandparent needs to stretch and twist and remain strong through those times when peers or media are more important than family in kids' lives.

While it is right here in front of me. Ripe for the picking and enjoying, I am embracing all that is grandma right now, because this is going to end up being my sweetest season.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Serials and Scenarios ~ Grab a Chance

There are two contests going on for Out of the Frying Pan. Yes. That Frying Pan where 59 people have given us 4.3 out of 5 stars and folks are beginning to clamor for another adventure. 

Michelle answers questions here. Two of her answers surprised me. I had no idea. But the most exciting part is the copy of the book she's giving away! Woot! Woot!

And even more exciting. (Because it's my idea and it's new.) A chance to help us create a character for the second series of adventures for Fern and Zula. Yes. That's right. You could provide a friendly port in the storm for the gals or someone to whip things into a further frenzy here

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ The Shoes and Other Stuff

Bored Panda posted a bunch of funny parenting tweets. Ha Ha Ha. It says top 10 but goes on for pages.

#37 feels very much like our K...who is 6. Yesterday I went to the store with the herd. Seriously. There was a herd. We went to get tennis shoes for the 10-year-old. K wanted new shoes. One (one of) of her pair of dress shoes is getting too small. Her mother put her foot down. K even brought up the wedding she's in in November, surely she would need shoes for that. No worky. 

Now, I have to admit that I'm a pushover sometimes. An easy mark. A weak link. In the store K who chose to rid in the cart suggested we go look at shoes in her size. Then pointed out certain features. When I stood firm I was dismissed. At least she's not the Queen of Hearts...I kept my head. 

And bonus. Have you seen the Macklemore video with his 100 year old grandmother? 😂😂😂

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Scrambles and Scribbles ~ Ooopssss Did I Do That?

I've taken a little break from blogging. I didn't mean to. It sort of just happened. The early mornings are so quiet in my house I could, if I chose to be super disciplined, blog every single morning. But most mornings I'd rather quietly absorb than speak. Then there's the social media overload. I feel like I'm talking too much. 

Then there's the life that is not fully mine that I live outside of my hour of quietness every morning. I never know which grandbaby I might be snuggling with after work, or what kind of day my husband has had, or which chore has to be done and it better be tonight. Or if the almost two year old will be snuggly and giving me fishy face kisses or chucking toys at any adult in his realm of rage. 

As a matter of fact, I should feel so much freer. Our church has dissolved and become home to another church. For the first time in over twenty years I am not a leader in our church. No meetings. No cleaning crew. No early arrival for practice. No committee conversations. Not one thing on my calendar I need to attend because I should show support because I'm a leader. I don't even know if "our" church is going to end up being in the same building we've worshipped in for 25 years. Church shopping is interesting. And I don't know if that's good or bad. There is something so freeing about not having someone come up to me and know who I am. I don't have labels yet while church shopping. But, I'm not a woman who loves to shop either, so there's that. 

My job has ramped up. Granted it's not a job where I'm attached to my phone 24-7. I don't have a lot of decisions to make. And it's not life or death. But it has grown to absorb more hours of my life. Something as tiny as having 1/2 hour lunch deducted whether you take a 1/2 break or not is an irksome reality and it etches out time from living my life. I don't want to sit in a break room. Or walk the halls of a clinic or absorb the outdoor air that is full of dust from construction or smoke. Leaving campus in not a reality when it takes 6 minutes to get to the office and 6 minutes to get to the car parked in employee parking. So I end up eating, chatting and heading back to my desk to at least be productive. Part of my job is trained monkeyish. I do a lot of scanning. Oh, it's necessary. And I certainly will gladly accept my paycheck that is based on my licensed skillset regardless of whether I'm actively doing a service they can bill for, or scanning, or waiting to see if a patient will show up or not. 

Then there's the work fog of being in three different locations doing different tasks in each and not really knowing what is actually on my agenda too far in advance. And the learning curve. Every last one of those situations is full of learning and correction. The policy and guidelines and expectations are clear and very black and white but while that's true, it's also true that the computer part of it all gives us three or four different ways to do the exact same thing. I find myself often accidentally discovering a short cut or another way of doing something but not really knowing how that happened or if I can remember how to do it again. 

Then the weeks of intense learning curves of late, then the plunging in and trying to translate book knowledge with a manual you cannot consult because there are literally phones ringing and impatient providers standing over you with a task that must be done now on-the-spot, hold-your-breath-and-guess training. Merging that with watching kids so mom can attend two weddings in one weekend and joining the herd for a baby shower, or softball game, or trip to Target, or dinner. And something in my very taxed brain had to give. And friends. The blog was it. 

But come back soon. Because Rob went to the lake with two grandkids and I've spent so much time with the littles and there are so many stories. I will tell them. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Serials and Scenarios ~ Latest Reviews

I know. I took a break from blogging last week. Not on purpose, just that I didn't have much to share. My job required some training and my brain is spinning with new to-dos and future duty details and the unknown of exactly what my job is at the moment. Two locations or three? Multiple hats. And no control. Yes. Is it any wonder I couldn't come up with anything to share? 

But after signing onto Amazon I found three reviews that made me smile. So I'm sharing them. Nothing like someone getting us to add a happy sigh to my day. And equally exciting was my Saturday. I cleaned, and I filled a couple of bags with stuff that's outta here and mended/hemmed a pile of clothes that have been bugging me including scrub pants that I have to wear everyday and no longer have to roll up.  Happy sigh. I hope your weekend was as great as mine! 

on June 23, 2017
There are so many things to like about this story: memorable characters getting into crazy situations, humor that makes you giggle out loud, plenty of red herrings to keep the reader guessing and a touch of romance. Good, clean fun wrapped up in a setting that is unique. I love the way Zula's wobbly high heels were always clipping on the concrete and her interest in fake foliage never flagged. Fern was a no nonsense delight with her practical streak gentled by her tender feelings for Philippe and her utter impatience with Fifi was a crack up. These two ladies aren't letting advanced age keep them from solving the biggest mystery to hit their retirement community yet!
I am a Zu-Fer fan, for sure.
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on June 15, 2017
Out of the Frying Pan by Michelle Griep & Kelly Klepfer is a delightful book centered around a retirement community in Florida. I could see myself as a combination of a couple of the character and at times, laughed out loud at their conversation or antics and would have to explain myself to my husband. The two main characters, Fern and Zula Hopkins, are sisters-in-law living together and are as different as night and day. Fern, the more serious, seems to be a grouchy bear while Zula, the frilly one, dotes on her puppy and beautifying the world with her attire, makeup, and artificial flowers. Fern and Zula do have one thing in common, both are snoopers. When they run across the dead cook of the retirement village who has been murdered, the perfect opportunity for snooping arrives. Good looking Detective Jared Flynn arrives on the scene, and the ladies also develop a plot to connect him with their niece, KC. Unbeknown to them, Jared and KC have already met thru a dating website. The book twists and turns thru the adventures of the two elderly ladies thru a world of drugs, murder, and romance. If you want to read an enjoyable book where the characters are zany and funny, you will want to buy this novel. The characters and plot will not disappoint you. I received a copy from the author and publisher of The Book Club Network in exchange for an honest review.
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on June 1, 2017
This is a clean, entertaining mystery with a lot of quirky characters. The main characters you will meet are KC and her two hysterical aunts who try to help Detective Flynn solve a murder.
I loved this book and would read more from this author.
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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Serials and Scenarios ~ Last Few Days

Fern and Zula are holding a contest. Just a reminder. Or a last call for any of you who might be on the fence! Here's the link with all the details.

Three winners in all. Now we have more than enough entries. But we want all of you who might want the amazing prizes to have a chance. The prizes? Glad you asked! A Hobby Lobby gift card. A Trader Joe's gift card. And an Amazon gift card/copy of the book. 

All you have to do is snap a picture of a bouquet and tag us on social media. Now. If you don't have social media just send me the picture via email and I'll put it on social media. Easy peasy...kind of. Zula might have trouble with sending a jpeg from her phone. Errr Fern's phone. Especially since she had issues with dialing 911 with those fingernails when she stumbled onto Leonard's body. Or was it Fifi who stumbled over Leonard's body. Anyhoo. You get the gist. 

My email. See how easy I'm making this is. 

Maybe you're wondering if you even want to read the book. Here's the link should you want to check it out!