Kid Bites

This really happened.

I was in the middle of plating dinner when sharp, anguished howls went up from outside. Mr. Anonymous dashed out the door to find Doc and Birdie crying messily for all the neighborhood to hear.

Mr. Anonymous couldn’t see any blood or that anyone was caught somehow. Firmly, he demanded, “What’s going on?”

“Birdie BIT my thumb!” Doc wailed, waving his extended, and indeed very red, thumb around in the air.

‘What was it doing in her mouth?’ wondered Mr. Anonymous internally.

“Birdie? Why did you bite Doc’s thumb?”

She nodded an affirmative. In between sobs, she managed to choke out, “He ASKED me to!”

Long pause from the mister here as the two continue to cry.

“Doc, did you ASK Birdie to bite your thumb?”

Distressed and still waving his thumb, he reached for Birdie. “I asked her to do it GENTLY!”

The double sobbing ratcheted up as Birdie consoled Doc in her arms.

“I can’t help it,” she wailed. “My teeth are so HARD!”

 

That’s a genuine slice of Anonymous life.

Hope your day was equally as humorous!

Good Surprises

What do you do to unwind at the end of the day?

Some people watch television.

Some fill out a crossword puzzle.

Some eat that fat bowl of ice cream with Thin Mint cookies crumbled over the top because any jealous little eyes are off to dreamland.

Some people work out.

Some camp Pintrest or Facebook.

Personally, I like to read the pet classifieds on Craigslist.

They.  Are.  Hilarious.

Oh, yes.

Something labeled Fluffy needs a home PLEAZ! turns out to be a nine-foot boa constrictor in a sketchy part of town.

Or CHI-MALTI-DOXI-POO brothers are wildly creepy-looking, bug-eyed mutts that require $750 (because it’s illegal to SELL pets on Craigslist, so an outrageous “rehoming fee” is often applied).

People are nuts!

But the pet pics can be rather hilarious, and the ads can be rather clever.

So I read them.

There happened to be an entry for a border collie last week.  I clicked on the link, and a normal (well, actually quite wonderful) dog’s smile popped up.  He wasn’t a goofy face, so I moved on.

“Wait, wait!” Mr. Anonymous piped up next to me.  He’d been looking at my screen.

“Nah,” I said.  “There’s nothing funny about that one.”

“He was awesome though!” Mr. Anonymous was reaching for my keyboard.

“I’ll send you the link,” I replied, e-mailed it to him, and found a photo of some sugar gliders.

A few minutes later, Mr. Anonymous asked, “So what do you think?  Should we call?”

WHAT?!  I’d been reading about cat sisters reunited or something.

“Call who?  I’m sorry; I don’t think I was listening.”

He pointed emphatically to his laptop.  “This guy!  He’s good with kids, middle-aged, knows some tricks, obedient, doesn’t run away… man, he seems COOL!”  There was the border collie’s picture.

“Are you serious?” I asked dubiously.

“Yeah!  He’d be awesome!  The kids would love him!  C’mon, don’t you want a dog again?”

His excitement was starting to catch on.

I took a deep breath.  “Well, I DON’T want another dog like the last one.  You know?”

He nodded grimly.

Ugh!  The last one was a nightmare… and a menace… and just, well, it didn’t work out.

So we prayed about it, talked to the dog’s current owner, and set a time to pick him up the next day.

And, yeah, he’s cool.  He’s enormous but very cool.

So now, we’ve got four kids and a dog the size of a truck (okay, not quite that big—but he’s close).

And you know what?

It’s good stuff.

Hope your week has lots of unplanned happiness!

Moving Forward

It suddenly dawned on me that I didn’t post a blessed thing for January, and now February is almost gone, too!

So what’s been going on for the Anonymouses?

Not too much!

Doc and Birdie have become more independent (able to do everything in the bathroom by themselves, able to totally dress themselves, able to even pick out a weather-appropriate outfit without help, and almost able to buckle themselves in the car).  They cannot, however, go without stopping for a hug or an ‘I love you’ during playtime.  Which is nice when your babies are suddenly fully-functioning children and you feel like time has thundered past, wild and deafening as a freight train, sweeping away precious cuddling days and the scent of A&D Ointment.

Jet is finding a place for himself.  Honestly, he’s actually finding himself.  He’s just now grasping who he really is… and he’s a rather nice kid.  He’s also curious, focused, artistic, and honest.  He is realizing that he is able to DO more than he imagined: take out the trash, work with Mr. Anonymous in the garage, build elaborate Lego vehicles, research other countries, and be responsible for his little world of space and things.

Bea has taken to knitting for the last four months or so.  She’s always been a voracious reader, but now she’ll stitch a few inches in the morning before picking up a book.  Her work is constantly improving, so is her creative stamina.  Getting a few large projects behind her has made a difference in her level of patience for a piece.

Mr. Anonymous has been building me a new table.  The current one only comfortably seats ten, and with six in the family, that means a card table gets hauled out several times a week when others come to dinner.  The new table will be able to handsomely accommodate fourteen.  The base is done; I have the job of varnishing it tonight.  Mr. Anonymous is working on the top whenever he can smoosh it into his schedule.

I’ve been working on baby blankets (yes, again). Six friends are expecting, and one just gave birth (but her blanket was finished at Christmas.  Whew!).  I’m almost done with blanket #4.  Here’s the one that went to some friends who are adopting a newborn girl.

8Feb2014 (2)

8Feb2014 (4)

The question we keep getting is the same old one: will we adopt again?

I’ve taken to smiling or laughing out loud (depending on the asker).  And when pushed, I simply answer with, “I don’t know.”

Children are inconvenient, embarrassing, and exhausting most of the time.  But never have I spoke to a person on their deathbed (don’t ask) and heard them bemoan having too many children… that can’t be said for the opposite option.

We’re blessed.  We FEEL blessed (less so when someone has the stomach flu or decides to throw a tantrum in the library, but you get my point).  It’s hard to imagine having more joy, more chaos, more LIFE in our life.

But that’s okay.  It’s not up to me.

God’s in charge of all that, and He’s more than qualified to make those decisions.

All I have to do is be mom and varnish the table.

Happy hugs to you as winter’s visit is almost through!

A Good Laugh

What is life like around our house now that we have four children?

Hilarious.

No.  Seriously.  It’s hilarious.

Jet is obsessed (this may not be strong enough of a word) with learning to tell jokes.  Most kids his age are just getting to the how-to-tell-an-actually-funny-joke stage, so this is awesome timing for us.

Buuuuuuuut… this also makes the twins want to tell jokes, too.

Humor is a fiddly thing.

This is one that Birdie told last week:

“Mama!  Knock, knock!”

“Who’s there, honey?”

“Puh- pull!”

“Purple who, Birdie?”

“It’s pwetty!”

And cue cascades of laughter from the three-year-olds.  Doc thinks she is a riot.  Obviously.

This is an amusing thing in and among itself, so Bea and Jet start to chuckle, and the Mr. and I are drawn in… tears end up streaming down our faces.

Naturally, Birdie then breathlessly declares, “Yeah!  That a good one!”

And we all bust up again.

Oh, my.

A lot of people have asked, “So?  How’s it going?” while shooting pointed glances in the direction of Jet (who is by no means an idiot and tries hard not to roll his eyes).

We produce our biggest, eye-watering smiles and answer that, wow, everything is GREAT!!  (Because, once again, Jet is by no means an idiot and does not care for being under a social microscope).  After these concerned and truly well-meaning folks drift off, we parents offer a sly and somewhat apologetic wink to Jet.  He nods back.  It’s cool.

Soon, his eyes brighten, and he bursts out, “Hey!  Wanna hear a joke?  This’s a good one!”

And it really isn’t… but that’s worth smiling over, too.

Something Good Happened

As it turns out, the hairs on the back of my neck weren’t standing up without reason…

We have another child.

Someone sent us a note, we prayed, Mr. Anonymous replied, we studied some papers, and then we all took a plane flight.

Now, we’re all home!

For the sake of the blog, I’m going to call him Jet.

Jet is older than Doc and Birdie but younger than Bea.

And he fits perfectly.

We have a lot to be thankful for this November.  God’s been so generous.

I probably won’t stop to write before then, so happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Anticipation

Ever get the feeling that something incredibly remarkable and fabulously amazing is about to happen?

Me, too.

It’s like sensing that you’ll come home to a fat bouquet of delicious-smelling flowers.  Or just KNOWING that you’ll be the eleventh caller to the radio station to win those sold-out concert tickets.

But better.

It kind of swirls around in the back of your life like the sunshine about to burst out from behind a cast-iron sky.

Something’s about to happen.

And it’s going to be better than imagination can conjure.

Here’s hoping the same for you!

Quilt It Up

September was the month of quilts.

My goal for the charity auction is reached, and it feels fabulous!

Here’s the damage:

minky floral (2)

This one is made out of supple and fluffy minky fabric with a satin back.  It’s small enough to be a car blanket, but it’s batted inside, so it has a nice weight, too.

minky owl quilt (1)

This one is similar to the one above except (a) I can’t seem to take a worthy picture of it, and (b) it’s about double the size (so no batting for this one lest it feel too much like a mattress).

stripes and blocks quilt

I’m in love with this strips and blocks one!  To me it says, “BOY!” without balloon-y cartoons or realistic grenades.  It’s just happy and simple.

teal and brown quilt (2)

This teal and brown one has kind of a chic country girl vibe, but—for the life of me—I am horrible at photographing it in a worthy way.  The back has yellow rickrack sewn into the binding for a cheerful surprise.

pink and orange floral quilt (1)

If colors were actual affection, pink and orange would be a child’s squeal with delight and a cozy hug.  There’s a satin ribbon tag stitched into the edge because all my babies loved the tags on their blankets (it’s nice for hanging up, too).  This one is large and light; it could transition easily to a princess cape in a couple of years.

doll quilt (2)

Finally, a doll quilt that I don’t intend to send to auction.  I imagine this will become part of Birdie’s Christmas loot because that girl loves to mama her dolls.  It’s only about a yard long by a couple of feet wide… a good size for three-year-old hands to practice swaddling.

They aren’t much, but they are something!

Now, after I whip out some yellow polka-dotted bunting for a friend’s shower, my faithful sewing machine is going on her annual “vacation” (a.k.a. cleaning at the repair shop).  At this point, I think we could use some time apart… distance makes the heart grow fonder and all that.

As September slips into October, here’s to a super-productive, back-into-the-swing-of-things, crack-out-the-Christmas-ideas, deep-clean-the-house, bake-some-goodies autumn joy!

Hugs!

Summer, Farms, and Quilts

Two things:

First, a couple of weeks ago, we were all piled in the car doing errands when Bea piped up that she wants to have a farm when she’s grown.  Mr. Anonymous asked what she’d have on it, and she replied, “Oh, I’d like a dog and a horse and some sheep.”

Of course, Birdie then says that SHE’D like a farm someday.  “I want a kitty an’ a piggy an’ a sheeps.”

Not to be outdone by his sisters, Doc then declared that he, too, will have a farm.

“What would be on your farm, Doc?” we asked.

He knew immediately.  “I want a puppy and a kitty and a train and a bus annnnnnnnd… a twuck.”

Ack, he kills me!  Now that the “twins” are three, I feel like everything is happening at light speed with them.  When Bea turned three, I embraced the constant and rapid change… but now… let’s just say I’ve grown nostalgic in my old age.

I know I’m not alone in noticing the sudden switch from ‘toddlers’ to ‘kids’.  We’ve started to receive comments like, “Oh, your babies have grown too much!  Time for another one!”  Typically, I shrug and smile.  Really, what am I going to say?

Wow, though.  They really are fantastic children, and the love I feel for them sometimes makes my ribs ache.  We’re so, so blessed.  If you’re a mom, I’m sure you know the feeling.

Second, my charity quilt progress has been slow but steady.  I finished two more, but one of them is going to a friend’s expected little girl (so I can’t show it to you—her details are on it).

So!  Here is the third one!  This was my sketch and some “compass” fabric that was designed for the Boy Scouts of America.

compass quilt (1)

Here’s the finished result.

compass quilt (2)

And the back is all national parks of the United States.

compass quilt (6)

Granted, it’s not much to write about, but I like how the arrows give it some east/west movement.

That’s a touch of our August.  I’m ignoring the start of school as long as possible, but last week I cleaned out the kids’ closets from tip to floor, took a startling amount of stuff to the Goodwill, and am going to a much-anticipated BBQ tomorrow.  Summer has had wings this year, but hopefully, there are still a few more thrills left of it.

Personally, I’m thinking s’mores.

Love to you!

Jump Around!

Can July be any nicer?

Really, it’s a wonderful-licious sort of month.

Here’s what’s been happening at the Anonymous home:

Polka grew up!  She got in the last of her adult feathers and FLEW AWAY!  Did you see that coming?  We didn’t, but Mr. Anonymous and I are pretty relieved (ducks can live up to twenty years!) and very happy for her.  She learned how to roost, self-feed, hide from predators, and swim… and fly.  She’ll be fine; she wanted her freedom!

Doc has come across a new favorite toy.  Now, while nothing can take the place of a ball, this comes close.  He spotted this set at a garage sale last week and hasn’t left it alone since it’s been sterilized.  Here’s how he left them set up the other day before going outside to play.

favorite toy

He drops each character off at their own stop, kicks off the “mean” passengers, remembers everyone’s job that they are off to, and then picks everyone up in the reverse order to deliver them to their homes.  Here’s the magic of this toy: he will play with it for HOURS.  This is my child that has to jump to count to ten, walks around while “reading” a book, and that has been caught multiple times swinging from the living room curtains.  As one of his great-grandmothers put it, “I’ve never seen him so engrossed in anything.”

And speaking of Doc’s kinetic needs, Mr. Anonymous purchased a twelve-foot trampoline (with net!) for the backyard.  When Doc’s outside, he’s flying around on it.  When he’s inside, he’s got his bus.  The girls like the trampoline, too.  Bea most enjoys laying on it and reading.  Birdie pretends it’s a home in which she can entertain Bea and Doc.  The three of them have required some strange moratoriums be set on the space: no sport balls (Doc), no shade umbrellas (Bea), and no tea sets (Birdie).

My “quiet” time indoors has been spent finishing these.

purple quilt

yellow wheels

yellow wheel

They’re both toddler size and are for a charity auction earlier next year; there are between two and four quilts to add.  Progress has been slow, but I’m motivated to have them done before Christmas prep starts.  Side note: someone mentioned last week that Christmas was getting close, and I almost knocked them flat.  Stop rushing everything!  (Hmmm… that sounds hostile.  I’m usually pretty even keel; I promise.)

But that’s what I’ve got for today.  Guests will be here in less than twenty minutes, and Bea is leaving for a baking date, so I’m done here!

Revel in the day!  It’s a good one!

What To Say About Adoption

The last several days, I’ve been mulling over some bizarre and unsettling views of adoption that have made me stop and think.  There is such a mystery to it that I can’t seem to wrap my mind around… but people have questions—mostly well intentioned questions—that they honestly want answers to.

I can engage that.

But what has come out of all this is that I realized a lot people have NO IDEA how to ask about adoption.  Adoption is more common than what society believes.  For a long time, it was treated as taboo—to the point where plenty of adopted children didn’t know they had been adopted!  In the spirit of wanting to educate and perhaps give newly adoptive parents a way to appreciate the hearts of their well-intentioned friends, here are some actual questions I have personally been asked.

1.        “So where did you get them?”

This question is the sort that you can ask if you are inquiring about a great pair of jeans your friend is wearing.  Because jeans are just stuff.  People aren’t stuff; they’re souls.  Instead, ask:  “Were you children born locally, or did you have to travel to bring them home?”

2.        “So what is she anyway?” (This is in regards to ethnicity.)

If you’ve ever heard this one, you probably heard a rather terse parent reply, “A baby.”  It’s hard to imagine someone approaching you at the water cooler and asking, “So what are you anyway?”  That’s awkward.  If you are really burning to know what ancestry a child has, be sure you’d be willing to answer this question from a stranger yourself: “Do you know what her heritage is?  She has such a beautiful nose/face shape/chin/etc.”

3.        “So what’s wrong with him that his real parents didn’t want him?”

First, there doesn’t have to be a good reason for a biological parent to stop parenting (and even if it IS a good reason, it’s just not anyone else’s business).  The child is a victim—not a problem.  Second, a biological parent isn’t a ‘real’ parent or the ‘old’ parent… they are a biological one.  A ‘real’ parent chooses to love and nurture their child unconditionally in the face of health problems, anxiety, and heartache.  This question is purely and completely offensive.  In every way.  Every.  Way.  There is no better way to ask this question.  Don’t ask it.

4.        “How much did he cost anyway?”

Slavery is fittingly illegal in the United States.  It is unlawful to purchase another human being… and it’s reprehensible.  Adopted children are not purchased.  This question gives the sense that an adoptive parent is the sort of person that deals in human trafficking.  Legal fees can indeed be expensive; the average cost of a domestic adoption is about equivalent to giving birth without medical insurance in a hospital.  The best way to ask this question: don’t.

5.       “Does she know she’s adopted?”

If she doesn’t, did you just spill the beans?  Because that’s not cool.  If you are the bestest and closest of friends with the person you are asking, you probably know this answer already!  If you’re not this person’s dearest kindred spirit, it’s just not your place to ask.  If for some reason (you’re a nosy great aunt or a gossipy neighbor) you MUST ask, this is the only possible way to avoid permanently ruining your relationship with this person forever: “What’s her favorite part of her birthstory?”

6.        “Do you know who his daddy is?”

Odds are, yes.  Lawyers are very thorough professionals who make it their business to get the answer to this.  Even if a specific birthfather hasn’t been fingered, there is a definite short list that implicates all the men who have been served by the court to terminate their parental rights.  All of this information has been documented and sealed by the court at an adoption’s finalization hearing.  So you don’t need to ask this question!  Whew!  Isn’t that a relief?

7.        “Were they abusing him or what?”

Here’s the horrible truth that most of us already know… bad people have kids, too.  That means that there are real, live, good adults walking this earth that did not have a happy childhood.  And they don’t want to share their baggage with the checker at the grocery store or their cousin’s new girlfriend.  It’s tragedy they don’t want to spread around.  So if you ask this question, more than likely, their adoptive parents will give you a stern stare and change the subject because this is not something you share with others; ugliness isn’t what you want associated with your child.  The child is happy and home; focus on that.

8.        “Do you ever talk to her real mother?”

Many birthparents have some contact with adoptive parents (especially domestic adoptions).  Birthparents who make the decision to terminate their parental rights in order to give their child the life she deserves are LOVING parents.  They are not heartless or abandoning their child.  They simply cannot provide the life they feel their child deserves.  So they make a plan and give their child the best possible family.  Because they care, they wonder how the child is doing, hope for the child’s future, and are naturally curious about the child—more frequently than one might imagine.  Birthparents and adoptive parents do a cautious dance to assure that everyone is emotionally okay and that the child’s life is steady and full of love.  This is a long answer all to say that it is likely that there is some form of contact between the two households.  But why would that be public information?  It’s a cautious dance!  Just let them get through it without distractions.

9.        “When did you get her?”

In our culture, the most common form of adoption that is discussed is animal adoption.  Strange when you think about it, but there it is.  It is understandable to talk about “getting” a puppy… but not so much a baby.  Try asking this way:  “When did she come home?”

10.    “That’s great that you adopted!  I never could.”

REALLY?!  Why?  Are you done raising children?  Do you deeply enjoy the experience of pregnancy?  Do you have a problem with orphans?  This statement is so perplexing.  If you are trying to show your support for adoption and haven’t thought through your words yet, perhaps this is what you were hoping to convey: “Adoption is a such a wonderful way to grow a family.”

11.    “Do you have any natural children?”

Could you define ‘natural’?  Are the artificial ones an option now?  Are you wondering if all of this parent’s children are adopted?  This might be what you mean to ask:  “Are all of your children adopted?”  or “Do you have any biological children?”

12.    “How is he adjusting?” (This is in regards to an older child.)

Is the child in the room?  How well would you adjust to a whole new life?  This question is fiddly, isn’t it?  You’re trying to be supportive and maybe be that listening ear for the parent.  That’s your intent, right?  So how about this question instead: “How are YOU adjusting to the growth of your happy family?”

13.    “She is adopted.”

Obviously, this isn’t a question.  This is a statement said a thousand times, but it’s on this list for two reasons.  First, why is this often mentioned?  Does this child have little asterisk by their name that shows that, hey, this one came from somewhere else?  Second, adoptions are long and usually accompanied by pricey lawyer fees and emotional stress… then finalization day happens.  The skies part; birds sing; it’s the end of a journey and the start of a new day.  Simply, it’s magical.  And it makes the trials fade to the past tense.  So when it absolutely MUST be said, say this: “She WAS adopted.”

There you have it.

I’m surprised by the number of people mournfully who tell me, “We just can’t adopt.  We’re too old/big of a family now/broke/sick/etc.”  Let me respond with this:  IT’S OKAY!  Not everyone is going to adopt a child.  The greatest thing you can do for adoption is show your support!  Hand down clothes to a growing family, make a big deal when a child comes home, PRAY for a child to go to just the right family, treat the child like a regular member of their family, and maybe offer to baby-sit in a few months!  Adoption is how God Himself has chosen to grow His family.  Support adoption, and you’re standing behind a respectable principle.

Now go have an awesome day!

6June2013 Jude the Obscure (3)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.