Remembering CJ

I don't want to own this shirt.

I don't want to look at it.

I don't want it to exist.

Because the reason that it exists, causes so much pain for my dear friend.

Hallie from Wonderful World of Wieners lost her son CJ in April. Her family courageously participated in an Out of the Darkness walk this past weekend, and those of us who could not attend were offered the opportunity - no, the honor - of buying and wearing a Team CJ shirt.

My heart aches for her every day. I admire her strength so very much. I wish there were something, anything, I could do to ease her pain even a small amount.

But all I can do is wear my shirt, and remember CJ.

{Visit Angie @ Seven Clown Circus for more Wordful Wednesdays.}


Whole Lotta Random, topped with Chocolate!

First of all, it's Chocolate Winner Time! I randomly picked the winner from Random.org (see all this random already?) and the winner is...........

Comment #26-
Erin from My Little Miracles!
Erin said:

June 24, 2010 12:36 AM

Blogger Erin said...I'm a follower of your food blog too! =)
WOOHOO, congrats to you, Erin!

Toy Story 3 was amazing. Disney & Pixar could not have done a better job with it. We laughed, and I cried for at least the last 10 minutes. I highly recommend it!
We also have a new quote we're all saying: "I told you, stay outta my BUTT!!"

I have an empty house again! The teens are at a church camp, Andrew is still at his grandma's, and Elayna went to my parents' house since everyone else is gone.
I think this time, instead of being all productive like last week, I'm going to be lazy and sleep! Next week we'll be busy with Elayna's softball tournaments, so I better rest while I can.

We're calling the tournaments our "softball vacation". =) We're actually really looking forward to it. In addition to the fact that we really enjoy watching Elayna play, the tournaments are in a really nice town. Also, one of my friends has a daughter who's also playing in the same tournaments but an older division, and hopefully I'll get to spend some time with her. And, I'm going to get to meet up with a bloggy friend while we're there! Lots of fun.

Thanks to those of you who read my post yesterday and left supportive comments. I really appreciate it. I try hard to do my best for Andrew and I really appreciate your kind words.
And since I did post a novel yesterday, I'll cut this one off here to give you a break!

Hope you're having a great week!

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My Not-So-Nice Side Came Out, Growling and Roaring.

I'm going to try to keep this post less-than-novel-length, but there's some history that has to be explained in order for you to understand the story. I'm sorry if it doesn't make total sense, but there's just so much background and I can't cover it all.
First of all, if you want to read some of Andrew's background, you can go here, here, here, or here. (when I first started this blog, I used nicknames, and Andrew's was "Spiderman".)
But for a quick summary, Andrew is John's son. His biological "mother", Christina, left when Andrew was 6 months old. From that time on, she was in and out of Andrew's life, never a stable presence and would go long periods of time with no contact. When I met John, Andrew was 4 years old.
A few years ago, Christina briefly seemed to get her life together and married a pretty good guy I'll call G. The reason I knew he was a pretty good guy is because I knew him and his family when we were kids. It was only coincidence that G met Christina; trust me, I wouldn't set her up with my worst enemy.
So, Christina talked John into letting Andrew come stay with her. She said that she and G were doing great and could give him a great life, and to please give her a chance to be a mother to him for the first time. So John decided to give it a try, and at first things seemed to be going well. But in time, things started sliding downhill and ended in a crash and burn. Andrew came back to live with us, and we found out that it had been horrible living with her. She split with G and he told us about things that went on there. Andrew was emotionally abused on a daily basis. He is now in counseling for this.
He came back to live with us almost two years ago. Since then Christina has seen him once, about 2 months after he came back to us, for about 10 minutes. She hasn't even called in over a year. Christmas, Andrew's 10th birthday, etc. passed by with no attempts at contact. We hoped that maybe she had moved far away and we were finally done with her.
So, now we're caught up to the present time.
Two of G's sisters, V and J, were my Facebook Friends. Again, we have all known each other for many years so I saw it as an old friendship rather than a connection to Christina. And for about a year or more that's all it was. Then a couple of weeks ago, after I mentioned that I was taking the kids to see Toy Story 3 when it came out, I got a message from G's sister V. She has a son who Andrew was very close with while he lived with Christina. V wanted to know if they could meet us at Toy Story 3 so that the boys could see each other and they could all see Andrew, because they missed him a lot. She also assured me that if we didn't feel that it was good idea, that was fine, they "love and respect Andrew SO much" and would never do anything to hurt him. She stressed that it would only be her and her two kids.
John and I discussed it and decided that right now, we want that whole chapter of Andrew's life involving Christina to remain closed. He's come a long way and we'd hate for him to regress. So I very kindly wrote V back explaining this to her. Specifically, I told her that we hadn't heard from Christina in a year and wanted to keep it that way. She replied that she totally understood, but made a comment about also respecting her brother for loving Christina and giving her another chance. Now, we had thought Christina and G were still separated or even divorced by now, but apparently not.
So, I thought that was the end of it. Then last week, my Mother In Law's phone rang. Lo and behold, after all this time, it's Christina popping out of the woodwork. MIL wasn't home but Christina left a message saying she just wanted to know how Andrew is doing because she misses him SOOOO much.
So, I thought, there's no way this is a coincidence. V must have had something to do with this. But at the same time, I really respected this family and didn't want to believe that V would do something like that.
Until I got a Facebook message. From CHRISTINA. Who barely even knows how to operate a computer. But she had just made a new Facebook account and guess who was her ONE AND ONLY FB Friend?
V, of course.
And her message said that she misses Andrew so much, and "mother to mother", could I please be kind enough to send her pictures of HER SON?
I was LIVID. I couldn't believe that V would do that, not to me but to ANDREW!
And Christina's mistake was to refer to Andrew as "HER SON", when speaking to the woman who has stepped up and became a mother to "HER SON"!
So I sat down and composed some Facebook messages. I am surprised sparks weren't flying from my fingertips, I was SO freaking mad.
I told Christina first of all that biology does not make a mother. I told her that Andrew calls me Mama and wants nothing to do with her. I told her that if she does truly have any love for him, then leave him alone to be with a stable family.
Then I messaged V. I told her I was shocked that she would do this to Andrew. I explained that he is in therapy because of all the abuse he endured at Christina's hands and how dare she bring her back into his life? I said, your family may be fooled by her, but we've been through her crap enough times to know that she will lie, use you, and then stab you in the back. It's the only thing Christina knows how to do. I also told her that her entire family would now be blocked from my Facebook (cutting off their only contact to anyone connected with Andrew).
Then, while looking at my Facebook pictures, I found a photo that I decided I was, in fact, willing to share with Christina.
Here it is:
(click to make it bigger - it's the Mother's Day card Andrew made this year for ME.)

Cold hearted? Why yes, yes it is. But you don't mess with MY kids.


Fun Times

I'm going to jump right into fragging with Facebook Faves this Friday!

Fave #1.
Cyndy N. E******: So my kids are at their dads this week and Andrew is at his Grandma's. Could someone please come to my house and whine, argue, roll your eyes, slam doors, and make messes so I dont feel so totally out of sorts?? Thanks! =)

I got LOTS of offers from parents, to send their children over!
This is the end of my first child-free week of Summer 2010. It was very quiet! I got a lot accomplished. I devoured books like Cookie Monster eats cookies! I also finally broke out the jewelry making kit that I bought months ago, for the first time. I resized a bracelet that was too big, and made three pairs of earrings!
I made a total of four cobblers with the blackberries & blueberries growing in our yard. I took two to work, and gave one to Andrew when we met up for a doctor's appointment. Andrew with his own cobbler is like a crackhead with a crack cobbler. He was a happy camper!

Fave #2.
Cyndy N. E*****: I am so unbelievably angry and disgusted right now. Its one thing to stab me in the back but to involve MY child? Repulsive. Unforgivable.

(this was involving Andrew, my youngest son, and I WILL be elaborating about it, I promise. I need the therapy!)

Fave #3.
Cyndy N. E*****: I reeeally need to make it to church this Sunday. Fantasizing about voodoo dolls is not exactly a healthy or Christian-like activity. (poke, poke!)
(also relating to the situation with Andrew. My favorite comment on that status was from my daughter Elayna: Mommy what's a voodoo doll?)
Moving along!

We're going to see Toy Story 3 tonight. I absolutely cannot wait! Toy Story was my oldest son's absolute favorite movie growing up. I told him under NO circumstances was he to see this movie without me!
am the one who watched him jumping off the couch, pretending to be Buzz Lightyear, shouting "To infillity...AND BEHIND!"
I was the one who put him on the school bus, where he sat by a 5th grader and proceeded to say to him "What are you looking at, you hockey puck?"
I am the one who occasionally got called a "mean old potato"!
It is without a doubt the most quoted movie in our home. So we are very excited to see TS3.
Well....Tim and I are. And Elayna is pretty excited, too. Shelbie is Less Than Thrilled, because she is a 14 year old girl and is therefore required by law to be Less Than Thrilled about anything that does not involve her friends, her cell phone, shopping, or cute boys. Also, there's a state statute that requires her to say "Ughhh" and "OMG" while rolling her eyes and sighing while we do these activities about which she is Less Than Thrilled.
I'm not raising any criminals, so I'll have you know she follows these laws to.the.letter.

A fun time will be had by all! I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend.
For more Friday Fragments, visit Mrs 4444's!

Mommy's Idea

Straaaange Things Are Happenin' to Me....

A bizarre and unsettling phenomenon has been occurring at my house lately.
There have been some very strange goings-on.
Allow me to explain.

1. We have put bags of chips in the cabinets, and the next day...
they were still there.

2. We've emptied hampers and trash cans, and days later....
they were still empty.

3. Lights were turned off....
and they stayed off.

4. Radios did not play at all hours of the night.

5. Dishes stayed clean.

6. Toothpaste blobs did not linger in sinks.

7. The hardwood floors did not have any small wet footprints on them. None.

What caused this twilight-zone-like activity to occur?

The absence of the small, unruly munchkins who usually occupy my home.

And I am just crazy enough that I miss them!
{Never fear, soon they'll back to wreak the usual havoc.}


Picking Blackberries

All along the left fenceline of my lawn, there are wild blackberry bushes growing.
Bush after bush, heavy with berries. Green, red, and black. When they're ready for picking, they are black, fat, soft, and so heavy they start to bend the branches.
You can pick them and pop them right into your mouth. They are warm and sweet and juicy.
What could be a more idyllic summertime activity than picking and eating fresh berries right in your own lawn?
But there is one catch. Snakes like blackberry bushes, too. They hide in the shade of the bushes. Apparently they don't actually eat the berries, just the small rodents who do eat the berries. They don't want any trouble, but if a child comes running up to them, they will react. They will strike, out of fear.
So now it's a question of balance. I want my kids to know the pure summer joy of picking and eating berries. The pure pleasure of jumping out of the pool, running across the yard dripping wet, and grabbing a snack right off of the bush.
But I need to caution them. I need them to be aware of the danger that could be lurking in the bushes.
I want my kids to be joyful, not fearful.
To have fun, yet be cautious.
To feel the pleasure, but never the pain.
I just want them to pick the blackberries.


Time for Fragging Again!

Mommy's Idea

SMP Update: The Snail Mail Project is going strong! I have officially deemed it a success; I have 30 participants so far. You're still welcome to join in!
My 14 year old daughter acquired a pen pal from England through the SMP, and now my 9 year old daughter has requested a pen pal. So if anyone has a daughter around 9 years old who would like to pen pal with Elayna, please let me know!

I'm really appreciating blogger's auto-save feature tonight; I've accidentally closed blogger out twice while typing this post up! I don't know what's wrong with me tonight!

Recently I've started to like or even love foods that I previously didn't like at all. I don't know if it's because of my surgery, getting older or what. Case in point: salted almonds, which are healthy. Pancakes, which are NOT.
Mmmm, pancakes........

I don't play Farmville, or YoVille, or HoVille, or whatever the other Facebook games are.
But I'm slightly addicted to Family Feud on Facebook, and have many of my co-workers addicted too. It's SO much fun!

Have you read any good memoirs lately? Or ever? I love them and am looking for some really good ones to read. I've already read all of Augusten Burroughs', by the way.
I recently read "Her Mother's Daughter" by Linda Carroll, the mother of Courtney Love. It was very good!

OK, I'm out! Hope y'all have a great weekend, and visit Mrs 4444's for more Friday Fragment Fun!


Swing Batta Batta.....





"Good game!"





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The Week in Review

I have to say, I really enjoyed my time away! Not that I don't LOVE blogging, but it was nice to have a break.
So, many of you asked what I did during my time away.
Let me tell you, it was a very busy week!

First of all, as you may have noticed unless you're reading in a reader (Hi!!!), I revamped my blog. I LOVE IT. Do you? Please grab my new button!

Also, I fought the British.

Then, I gave in and let them win.

(this is my highly exaggerated way of telling you that my in-laws wanted Andrew to spend the entire summer with them, and although John & I don't think it's totally in his best interest, we decided not to fight the issue.)

We debated, and decided against, opening a can of worms indirectly related to Andrew's biological pathetic excuse for a mother. We'll keep her, and everyone remotely related to his life with her, out of sight and out of mind.

I graduated one child from the 8th grade.

I took another one to All - Star softball tournaments.

And the oldest one is officially a high school senior.

Needless to say, my break wasn't exactly restful!
I'll be elaborating and posting pictures about many of the above-mentioned things throughout the week. Thank you all for stopping by, and I can't wait to get back into the swing of blogging! I hope you had a great weekend & have a great week!


Frazzled Friday Fragments

I know I whine about being tired all the time, but fortheloveofGod, it's Friday once again and I am TIRED once again! I have been working an extra shift every other Friday (on the weekends that the kids are at their dad's), but this weekend, I'm not doing it! I'm going to rest my weary bones.
I feel like I'm behind on everything, from housework & yardwork to blogging and emailing and pretty much everything in between. Every weekend I try to catch up, every weekend I make some progress, but actually catching up seems like trying to herd cats.
It just ain't happening.
So this week when I stopped by my friend ShortMama's blog, I noticed that she was taking a week off of blogging. I thought, that's genius! Not that blogging is a lot of work, but it does consume some time. I figure if I take a week off of blogging, I can work towards catching up on YOUR blogs! And of course, all the other stuff that's behind in my life. But I do have my priorities!
So that's the deal. I'm frazzled, I'm fragging, and then I'm off for the week.

Frag 1. Elayna caught a softball with her tummy last night. It came at her quick, she tried to catch it in her glove, but didn't quite make it. She tried not to cry, but it really hurt! It immediately made a purple ring on her belly. But within a few minutes, she was back on the field playing again. That's my girl!

Frag 2. This week, our county implemented a uniform policy for all public schools, Kindergarten - 12th grade. There are very mixed feelings about this, from kids and parents alike. Do your kids wear uniforms? How do you feel about school uniform policies?

Frag 3. I got my first Snail Mail this week! I have two snail mail partners, one here in the US and one in England. This week I got Snail Mail from England. I am so excited about this project! If you don't know what I'm talking about, click the button.

Frag 4. Speaking of buttons, I made myself a new one. Check it out! I'd love for you to grab it.

Frag 5. This week is my kids' last week of school. During the summer, their dad and I alternate weeks. It's hard, I miss them a lot! I am trying to console myself by thinking of all of the wonderful, uninterrupted sleep I will get. That's a definite plus side! We're trying to plan some fun things to do on the weeks that they're at home. Camping, for sure!

Frag 6. I'm fragged out! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! And don't forget to visit Mrs4444's (a teacher who is OUT FOR SUMMER!) for more Friday Fragments!

Mommy's Idea


Little Bit of Cuteness

Did you know that cows come in mini-size?
No, not snack-size, you carnivores!
I have seen miniature horses, and miniature goats (which I LOVE!!). But never cows...until Friday!
John and I were stopped near the interstate and I noticed this trailer.

Always nosy curious, we just had to check it out. The drivers were nowhere to be found, but I poked around anyway. I mean, how could I not, with this sweet thing poking its head out at me?

They look like babies, only they're not! They are, however, super cute.

Add this to my Christmas list!

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