Bandaids in Boston

Bandaids in Boston

Before we made it to the Appalachian Trail this summer we went to Boston – just me and Billy and James. It was a crazy few days leading up to it.

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The boys left for Boston a day early. After we saw them off at the airport that afternoon, I tossed five kids into the Black Pearl (our Odyssey), dropped the toddler off at the sitter’s and DROVE the other kids FIVE HUNDRED MILES to Missouri to leave them at summer camp. I made the ‘brilliant’ – and by brilliant I mean ‘asinine’ – decision to stop in Nashville and take the kids to the movies. Afterwards, I drove as long as I could but ended up having to pull into a hotel in the middle of nowhere at two am. Have you tried to carry four sleeping children up to a hotel room at two am with no help? Even the logistics of it…do I leave them in the car while I check in? Should I just wake them up now? Will they have a room big enough for us? Why do we feel the need to send them to camp in Missouri? It was a total mess. The good news is this kind of stupidity is usually when I’m at my best.

The next morning we got back in the car (have I mentioned it was a nine hour drive) so we could make it to camp drop off in time. One child at one camp and three forty five minutes away in the other. Kids are tired and nervous and I’m worried because unless things go perfectly I’ll miss my flight out of Missouri (the last one of the night) to Boston to join the boys. In the end, I BARELY made my flight. But I made it! And they all went to camp. And they all had a great time. And, of course, it was another late night. By the time my Uber got to the hotel in Boston it was one thirty in the morning.

The next morning we went to the park made famous by Make Way for Ducklings. Sheesh…look at me. I look terrible. That was not a happy camper. I mean, I was happy to be with my boys but things were really hard at home with the Waffles  – foster care can be relentlessly isolating and I was feeling…oh, I don’t know…defeated? Which is weird for me because I’m usually a really upbeat person. And I was just tired. TIRED TIRED.

img_0830Oh, well…Mom stays in the picture and all that. 

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Boston was lovely. We took the Revolutionary War Self Guided Walking tour – just used the App – it was great.
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Visited the Boston Tea Party Museum.

And, of course, ate a lot.

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I even went to a baseball game! Even though, we all know, baseball is just the worst.

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Sadly this gigantic milk bottle did not serve creamy dairy treats. Just boring snack food.

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One of the coolest things we did in Boston was go to the flagship Converse store. You could design your own shoe in the store and even get them with the red stripe on the sole. There is a red stripe in Boston on the sidewalks that leads you to all the prominent revolutionary way sights. Just a fun thing to do with a teenager.

After a couple days in Boston we took the train to Maine. Trains are great. Wish we could travel on them more often. Yes, yes, I know what I said about the train to New Orleans. Let’s not talk about that – like, ever again.

Were things easier when I got home? Nope. I mean, they are now but the first year we had the new kids? Wow. I knew it would be hard and it certainly met and, hey, even exceeded my expectations.

But Boston and Maine sure were fun. Travel can be a bit of a bandaid, can’t it – provides a cushion for the blistery parts of life, right? Hmm, in that case, bring on the band-aids!

How to Love FaceBook Again

How to Love FaceBook Again

Well kids, this is pretty much how I’ve felt about this election season:

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“I’m just going to sit hear with my Oreo and be disgusted while y’all argue.”

Hasn’t FaceBook been just awful lately ? I mean, really, just awful.

The thing is we used to not know how everyone felt about everything. Sure, some people would stick a sign in their yard or a sticker on their car but, other than that, we didn’t know the ins and outs of how every friend we had felt about every issue on the planet.

And that was probably a good thing. Because you know the old saying about big toes and opinions*, right?

“Opinions are like big toes. Just because everyone has them doesn’t mean you should go showing yours to everyone.”  

Didn’t you used to love FaceBook? Well, I mean, you wouldn’t admit it, of course, because how gauche** would that be? But you loved it. Right? Or maybe you tolerated it because you needed it. And maybe you’re one of the three thousand and eleven people I’ve seen lately lamenting how bad FaceBook has gotten. I agree. It’s been crazy bad.

Here’s the deal though – you CAN like FaceBook again. I’ll even show you how.

It’s a step by step instruction guide. Now, lately I’ve used this method for politics but for this example I’m going to use football instead of politics because, even though I think Donald Trump is the biggest…uh…big toe in the history of big toes that have run for President, I have friends that I respect that are voting for him.

Option One: Unfollow the person that posts or likes stuff you don’t want to see. You could do that. Maybe you should do that but it’s kind of flawed, isn’t it? While I have unfollowed and even unfriended (whomp, whomp, whomp,) people lately it’s not something you can do for everyone you don’t agree with.

Let’s take my Uncle Tom for instance. Uncle Tom is a big Alabama fan. Which is fine. However, I’m mature enough to know that I’m not mature enough to handle all the Bammer he has in him. Heck, he’s a Korean War veteran!*** You don’t just unfollow a Korean War veteran! I don’t want to unfollow him – I want to see his posts. He’s great! So, what to do…what to do? The method I’ll show you cuts down on SO MUCH I DON’T WANT TO SEE. I’ll walk you through it.

Step One: See post that you don’t want to see:

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Oh look…it’s Rammer Jammer. Barf. Oh look, there’s that maturity I’m lacking that I was talking about. 

See that little arrow in the corner? You’re going to click on that which will produce a pull down menu.

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Select ‘I don’ like this post.’

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Obviously, I don’t want to Unfollow my Uncle – him being a Korean War VETERAN and all****. And I don’t want to Unfollow him. Third option: ‘Hide all from Alabama Crimson Tide.’ – Oh, heck yeah!

Now, I’ll never ever have to see anything from the Alabama Crimson Tide account again. Tider Insider? Gone. We Love Bama Football? Gone. Publicly I Say I Don’t Approve of Harvey Updike But I Had My Picture Taken With Him at the Bowl Game?***** Hidden. It may seem like a pain but you would not believe how much it cuts down on you seeing.

Heres the deal – Facebook wants to show you things you are interested in. It’s in their best self interest. So, they provide these tools to help. The more you like Facebook the more time you’ll spend there and the more moolah they can make off you.

Now, go forth and unfollow accounts!

The problem with unfollowing accounts is it’s kind of like only having one type of friend. It insulates you and gives you a skewed view of the world. That last sentence – yeah, it’s pretty accurate.

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It really is true and I’ll give you an example from my own life. A couple months ago I was thinking about the upcoming football season and I thought ‘was Alabama good last year?’ Like, I really did not remember that they had won the National Championship. I saw nothing about it on Facebook or Twitter that’s for sure – that’s because I hid all that business eons ago! So, see how it insulates you?

Should you unfollow accounts? Sure – just remember whether you support ‘The People Who Love Big Toes Who Run For President’ or not they still exist.

Now, lets all go make Facebook great again.

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*The quote isn’t actually about big toes but my Mom gets all kinds of irritated when I use questionable language on the blog so we’ll go with big toes.

**I have no clue how to pronounce the word gauche.

***Uncle Tom used to tell all his nieces and nephews he was in the war even though he WAS NOT. For years I thought he got shot in the Korean War because he showed me his small pox vaccination scar.

****The man is like sixty – definitely not old enough to fight in the Korean War.

*****Yeah, this isn’t actually an account…that I know of.

Working and Not Working

Working and Not Working

When people see us for the first time in awhile they haltingly ask us  ‘So…how are things working?‘ As in, ‘how the heck are y’all adjusting to now having six kids instead of three.‘ For the most part, things are going well.

Here’s what’s working:

The physical part of the job is going better than I thought it would. I’m cooking every night, the laundry is caught up, getting everyone up and moving and getting everyone down to bed – it’s all going swimmingly. Oooh! And the first week we had them my friends brought us dinner every night and the church’s foster care ministry showed up with gift cards, diapers, and meals for the freezer! So score!

IMG_6608Everyone is on time to school, forms are being turned in, lunches are being made, and homework is being done.

Of course, I say that but I do need to admit that there has been a lot of this:

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“Heather, Can you please bring James home? I have to take the fifth grader to clarinet lessons.’ “Carl, Can you bring Henry to football? I have to take James to Cross Country. ‘ So, it takes a village and all that.

We’ve learned how to tweak the things that don’t work. The two year old is grumpy if you wake her up, the 3rd grader needs to lay out her clothes the night before, the girls need to sleep in their beds not on the floor, the fifth grader hates long car rides, the phrase ‘it’s not fair’ has been banned from the house, and on and on and on.

Some stuff though? Well, it’s just not working. It’s two things really and they directly relate to each other.

Number one, and this is going to sound ridiculous, we can not figure out a good seating arrangement in the car. When we sold the Silver Mine (my old Acura MDX) and bought the Black Pearl (our Honda Odyssey) I thought it was plenty big enough for eight people. It seats eight – we have eight – end of story.

No, not end of story. It does seat eight but once you add in a big car seat and backpacks and people with short tempers etc…Well, we’re like sardines in there. Do not suggest a bigger car.  I can hardly drive the Odyssey it feels so big.

A reoccurring, as in every single time we get in the car, fight is over who sits where. Before the foster kids moved in the rule was the oldest gets first choice of seats. If the oldest wasn’t in the car the next oldest got first choice. That worked very well. And then came the fosters. Suddenly, Henry no longer got to sit in the front if James wasn’t there. And Stella always has to sit in the third row. And, oh the belligerent complaining that began. Which, can I just say, I NEVER got to sit in the front when I was their age so what in the world are they complaining about?!

First, I tried just saying ‘sorry Hank but you’re not the second oldest anymore.’ Bad idea. Second, I tried a rotating every other day system. That didn’t work either. Billy suggested assigning seats and never letting the older boys get a turn in the front. I’m not crazy about that idea. So we start the morning off on the wrong foot with complaining about who sits where and we pick up from school with the same arguments.

Any suggestions?

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The second issue we haven’t been able to fix is all the blasted fighting between Henry and our fifth grade foster son. They fight ALL.THE.TIME. As in, they can’t be in the same room with each other without fighting. And you may be thinking ‘Oh, I fought with my sister/brother all the time growing up!‘ Well, that may be but it’s driving us batty. I need peace in my house and these boys? Oh, they are not giving it to us. It’s strange because we spent a ton of time with these kids before they permanently moved in and Henry and the fifth grader got along great. The second they moved in though…

Several people recommended the book Siblings Without Rivalry. It’s really good and when I implement those principles it’s definitely better but I’m not always around. So, until this guy actually turns into Superman and starts making peace instead of war…

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…what are we to do?

No, seriously, I’m waiting on you to tell me what to do.

Ahem…still waiting…