Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Could I?

I had an interesting conversation with the grant coordinator at work this evening. The Executive Director wanted her and I to talk about donor levels and monies for appreciation. Man, this lady knows her stuff, let me tell you. I left the conversation with a headache of sorts. One step at a time girl.

But it was her day job that caught my attention. She writes grants for us in her “spare time”, so to speak. During the day she writes grants for an agency that finds foster homes for hard to place children. It’s an agency that pushes over 100 million dollars in donations in and out of their doors each year. I asked her about the kind of children they receive…and the answer broke my heart. Although some of their older kids are deviants, who, by the way, successfully bring their lives around. But some of the children are medically challenged. She told me of a child in their agency right now, and infant born to a family with 3 children. The baby got cancer, and the family gave him away. They made him the responsibility of the state, and this agency was left to find him somewhere to go and quietly die. I was floored. And she said it happens more than you think. I’m trying not to judge that family. I haven’t been there. But I guess I can’t understand it, it’s a choice I can’t fathom.

I would have kept him. I would have understood that the Lord wanted me to have this child, as difficult and horrifying as it would be, because he needed me…and I needed him. I can’t comprehend pushing that opportunity away.

And then I thought about those families that take those little ones in. How full of courage they must be. And I wondered if I would ever have the capacity to be one of those people who could do it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Broadway Revisited...Thacker Style!

So, should anyone ever question the insanity level of my family I have proof. I came up with this idea; My brother Rob’s birthday is tomorrow. So I got all my siblings to agree to call him 6 times each during the night, each time leaving a different message. His wife, Tamra, was our accomplice and made sure the cell phone was out for the count as of 10 p.m. this evening.

And thus the insanity commences. By tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. EST, my brother will have 31 birthday wishes waiting for him to begin his 31st year of life. It should be great! Bryant said something about having all his appliances say happy birthday in their own special way. Garrett was thinking about going to different restaurants and asking them to sing their birthday song into the phone. Haven’t checked in with the sisters…no idea what they’re doing. But it should be HILARIOUS.

And here is my contribution. I decided this morning to pick 6 songs from 6 great Broadway musicals, and I altered the words to suit the occasion. The songs became my birthday wishes. Here they are.

I present them for 2 reasons; 1) I think they’re horribly funny;and 2) I worked hard on them and want to preserve them…just in case (and blogs are way more reliable backups then hard drives)

The Cake Song

Doe a Deer from “The Sound of Music”

Cake, yes cake, I want some cake,

And a scoop of that ice cream.

But my diet interferes.

Ah! It makes me want to scream!

Birthdays are so very fun,

Except when you’re turning 31,

I guess it’s all downhill from here.

So I might as well have cake…

Cake, cake, cake

Cake, yes cake, I’ll have that cake.

And two scoops of that ice cream.

Might as well just cope with it,

Being thin at my age is just a dream.

Birthdays are so very fun,

Especially when you’re turning 31,

Might as well enjoy the feast,

Yes I’m glad I had that cake!

Unexpected Song

Unexpected Song from “Song and Dance”

I have never felt like this,

My hair is really gone,

I’m flabby and I’m sweaty,

I don’t know what’s going on,

But deep inside I feel,

It cause I’m no longer 20.

Now, no matter where I am, no matter what I do,

My birthdays seem to find me.

It’s not unexpected, yet,

Not unexpected yet,

It’s a big pain in the heiney!

Wouldn’t it be loverly

Wouldn’t it be Loverly from “My Fair Lady”

All I want is some cake somewhere,

And some presents I just won’t share,

I get the birthday chair

Oh wouldn’t it be loverly!

Lots of ice cream for me to eat,

Lots of candles makin’ lots of heat,

Warm heart, warm cake, warm seat,

Oh wouldn’t it be loverly!

On my own

On my Own, from “Les Miserables”

On my own,

I walk into my 30’s.

All alone,

My wife’s still in her 20’s.

Around me, I notice they’re all younger,

And all I see is Depends and me forever and forever.

And I know, it’s only in my mind,

That I’m talking to myself and just don’t care,

And although, I’m sure I’m going blind,

Still I say… my food’s not pureed.

Birthday Time

Summertime from “Porgy and Bess”

Birthday time, and the ice cream is creamy,

Chocolate Cake, and the gifts piled high,

Oh you know you’re rich, and you’re always good lookin’

Oh wait, that part was for another guy.

It’s my birthday

Oklahoma from “Oklahoma”

It’s my birthday

Let’s bring out the cake, another round!

And balloons so bright, it just seems right,

When I hear that happy birthday sound!

It’s my birthday!

I’ll open gifts up one by one,

We’ll drink root beer, everyone will cheer,

Maybe being over 30 will be fun!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Panda Kisses

This evening, as we were getting ready for bed, I told the two younger kids that whomever got dressed first would get a special surprise. The prize was, of course, a kiss. They were both disappointed, and demanded chocolate.

It’s an old trick, one my own mother used to employ. So I knew firsthand the bitter disappointment they felt. I fake cried, fake sobbing some incoherent fake phrase about nobody liked to give me kisses, and my sweet 7 year old son acquiesced and yelled. “I want to kiss you mommy!”

I accepted his offering and gave him a hug, telling him he was the best 7 year old boy in the world. He happily turned away and occupied himself with something (not exactly sure what…he was making techno battle noises and crawling around on the ground).

Ashlyn wasn’t as easily distracted from what she had determined was a rather unfair and definitely unforeseen turn of events.

I pulled her onto my stomach (I was laying on

the couch), and told her I would instead, give her a special strawberry kiss. I raspberried her cheek and she laughed.

“Do it again!”

“How about a butterfly kiss instead?”

So we each took off out glasses, and I gave her

a butterfly kiss. She giggled as our eyelashes fluttered together.

“That tickles!”

“I can also give you an Eskimo kiss.”

She raised her eyebrows.

“What’s an Eskimo?”

My brain scrambled for an explanation suitable for a 5 year old that would also be truthful.

“They’re people who live where its cold. So they can’t kiss on the lips because their lips will get frozen together. So they kiss by rubbing noses…like this.”

That would be a fail…

But she bought it.

“Can I have a panda kiss, too?” she smiled.

I laughed.

“I don’t think there’s such a thing as a panda kiss sweetie.”

“Why? Don’t panda bears kiss to say I love you too?”

“Well I suppose…”

“Then how do pandas kiss?”

I had to think fast.

“They rub elbows.”


“What about lemons? “

“Do panda bears rub lemons together?”

“NO! How do lemon give kisses?”

I decided a lemon kiss was puckering your lips and making one big smacking sound.


Watermelon kisses are when you pretend like you are spitting out the seeds.

There were also kiwi kisses, and fish kisses.

And then she decided regular old human kisses were best. She gave me one and then jumped down to go brush her teeth.

Which is a good thing, because I was running out of made up fruit and animal kisses.

Platypus kiss anyone?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


So Paul stayed after school today for chess club, and when I went to pick him up, he climbed in the car with a little metallic looking plastic disc on a patriotic ribbon wrapped around his hand.

"Guess what this is for mom?"

What son?

"We finished our children's stories (side note: written and illustrated) and turned them in today. We were put into groups and each group picked the best story to move on to the competition for the whole grade. And mine was the best one! Everyone loved it."

Sweet! I saw it, but didn't read the whole thing. What was it about?

"About a chubby squirrel who learns good manners. And Troy said, 'Ya know we all love those chubby squirrels!'"

Monday, January 18, 2010

Quote of the day

Ashlyn "Oh my! I have a bossy letter in my name! The N ! N's and M's are bossy to A's". To which I respond "What to do you mean?" ...to which she responds "Well they just tell the A what to do all the time."

Does someone want to try and explain that to me?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Wedding

I went to a wedding. A young lady I was a leader for at church 5 years ago got married today. I also happen to be pretty good friends with her dad, so it was fun to see him in a tux and watch him dance like a crazy person.

I went with Mel and Kirk and another married couple. We sat with the extended family since they go to church with us and we knew them. Besides family, we were the only ones from our church who were invited (her dad is a member of our church, her mother is catholic, they are now divorced). The food was tasty and the conversation enjoyable.

And then they start doing all that reception stuff…the couple’s first dance, the daddy daughter dance… and that’s when it all started.

I watch my friend, his arm around his daughter, as they talk between themselves. He is not often openly tender, and I loved seeing him lay his head on her shoulder for a moment and her whisper- sing the words they are dancing to into her dad’s ear…the sweet and tender verses from “Butterfly Kisses”. It was their moment. And it was special. And before I knew it, I felt a tear escape from my eye. First, simply because it was a lovely moment, and I enjoyed being able to view it. Then, something inside of me clicked, and my mind flashed forward 15 years to the day when Maryn would marry. And this moment was absent. Because she had no father to take her to the floor and whisper how much he loved her, and how she was the most beautiful bride he had ever seen. And a sob caught in my throat, and the single tear was no longer alone.

And then I felt it. My heart was breaking. Not for me necessarily (although I will confess sitting between 2 couples who are openly affectionate, and watching a wedding in progress isn’t exactly joy promoting for me), but for my daughters. How unfair it is they will never have a daddy to be for them what my father was for me, and what my friend was for his daughter. They would never have that moment with their daddy that would be only for the two of them, a moment I know is special because I understand how extraordinary that bond is. My own father loves all of his children, but a daddy and his daughter…it’s just different. Ask my sister, ask my dad. We still call our father “daddy”, because in our hearts we might as well still be the little girls crawling up onto his lap, showering him with smiles and kisses, because we know we are his soft spot. And I could not imagine not being able to have that moment with my own daddy... it would have crushed me.

Suddenly, my entire body shook with silent sobs as the woman sitting next to me (also a friend) put her arm around me and the tears fell on her shoulder. It was only a minute and I withdrew slowly, excused myself quickly and quietly, fighting the growing pain in my chest and scurried out of the building. I walked around outside without a coat, waiting for the pain in my feet (I was wearing heels) and the soggy cold night to overtake the sorrow in my soul. I was hoping for a numbing affect. I cried, and walked and breathed deeply.

And the pain began to dissipate.

I returned to the party, danced the “Twist” with my sister, and a slow song with the brides little brother (I use that term loosely…he’s 6 foot 6) and we left, giving our love and best wishes to the bride and groom, and passing hugs around generously with the extended family. I hugged and said goodnight to my friend and reminded him to enjoy the evening and not look like he was going to tear his new son-in-law's arms off every time he saw him touch his daughter.

When I got home an hour later, my kids greeted me…or they greeted the cookies and ice cream I brought home. Whatever. But my 7 year old son asked me how the wedding was, and if the food was good. And then he looked at the floor and sighed. “You need to have a wedding mama. We really need a father.”

I know my love. Everyone needs a father.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Christmas Part 3: Friends

Tuesday the 22nd, I had a whole bunch of my former students over; Cassie, Ashley, Jena, Kensey, Katie, Laura, Dan, Kristen and Steph all came for fondue and fun. We chatted, played “Imaginiff” and later, “Nertz”, which they loved. It was such a pleasure to reacquaint myself with this part of my life. I am so glad to still have relationships with each of them. I couldn’t imagine my life without having known them.
Just like I can’t imagine my life without this next person. Wednesday was another day of old friends finding each other. Melody, My best friend from high school in Bowling Green, and one of my very dearest friends ever, who lives in Tennessee, was visiting her parents in Michigan. I talk to her frequently, but we haven’t seen one another for almost 2 years. I couldn’t resist. I dropped my kids off at my parents and Toledo and headed to Lansing for an early Christmas gift for me. (When she told her mom I had said that, her mother replied, “You should bring her something else”). She brought her sweet baby, and also a bag of bath time goodies just for me. Oh, and she is also a baking queen, and brought some goodies for me to take home and share with my family. We ate lunch at PF Chang’s, a first for me. But I loved it. And we talked and talked. I always love how it’s like we’ve never been apart and I am grateful our friendship had grown and changed even as our lives have moved onward and upward.

After lunch, we went and browsed around a bookstore in the same shopping center. As we waited in line to ask a question, we couldn’t help but notice the fellow in front of us. He was wearing jeans and a collared shirt…and a long black coat, a stovepipe hat, and a well trimmed beard. He was speaking to the clerk using phraseology that sounded as if he had stepped out of Jane Austen novel; very formal (contraction-less) and super polite. He momentarily turned to baby Mack, who was in her seat on the ground and began talking to her in the same manner. Mel and I smile politely and move slightly closer to the car seat.

On the way home, I passed an interesting sign on the freeway, which I convey now only because I find it to be very good advice: DO NOT PICK UP HITCHHIKERS. PRISON AREA.I got back to my parents in time for supper. My baby brother, Garrett, and his wife had flown in the Saturday before for the holidays (Amanda’s family lives in the same town as my parents), and so they joined us after dinner for some caroling fun with another family who are friends of my parents, the Lenahans. My kids went along first out of force, but by the second house, they were more enthusiastic then anyone. I hadn’t been caroling in a decade and half I believe, and I really enjoyed it. We went to some families I knew, and others I didn’t, and then stopped by the bishop’s house on the way back home. The kids had a wonderful time. Mandy, Garrett, Mom and Dad and I watched a movie, and then the next day I headed back home to get ready for Christmas Eve.
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Christmas Part 2: Sing...Sing a Song...

Sunday the 20th, we had our program at church. I always enjoy this. Mel and I sang with another brother from church, O Holy Night, which went well despite the fact Mel was battling a cold and couldn’t hit the high note. The primary children also sang “Little One” quite beautifully. I had a moment during that. All of my children (expect for Paul) were up there. I watched their shining faces, and I watched other parents in the congregation smile warmly and grab each other’s hands. I suddenly was overwhelmed with sadness that I could not do the same, and I started to cry. I knew their dad was watching, and he was also well pleased with his children. I was sad we could not share it together.

Monday, the 21st, was the annual elementary program. Now typically, I view this as a night of slow torture, but decided to go with a different attitude this year. Maryn was so meticulous in getting ready. She wanted to look beautiful. I think she did. But there was a moment when she missed her ad terribly. She could recall twirling for him, and waiting for him to tell her how pretty she was. She missed that.
Paul was already gone, so I dropped the other two off in their classrooms to wait and Lyni and I went to sit and watch. The younger grades, 1st and 2nd, just sing a few songs. The older two grades, 3rd and 4th, do a little play. It was fun to watch, especially since the principal got covered in confetti “water” as part of the 4th grade play and the student body present cracked up hysterically. It was a lovely evening.

I am particlaury fond of the first picture, where Conner is discreetly "picking his seat".

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Christmas Part 1:Family Christmas Party

So this is officially the Christmas catch up-or the beginning of it anyway. I have decided to go chronologically, since theoretically if makes the most sense. So we will start with the Saturday before Christmas, the 19th.
Paul was going to go to his dad’s on that Sunday, the 20th. We have made it a tradition over the past few years to have a family party separate from Christmas where we have a red and green supper, and open gifts to each other so the simple things we get for one another don’t get lost in the shuffle. This year we included Paul’s “Big Brother” Clayton, since their plans to get together for Christmas were complicated when Paul’s dad’s girlfriend called and made arrangements for the visit.

We opened gifts first. Simple gifts from the dollar store. It was a lot of fun. All of the guys present got foam dart guns, which was great. Ashlyn got the long awaited bubblegum machine, and Maryn got 2 dream catchers. And I gave everyone pop rocks, which they all thought was great.

Here you see one of Paul’s gifts, funny glasses and a clown nose. And we gave Clayton exactly what he asked for, a pony and a car (an orange convertible nonetheless). It was fun.

By then, it was dark, and we went into the kitchen where I had everything set up with Christmas dishes and candles. We ate red and green jello salad, ranch baked chicken, red smashed potatoes, green beans and Shirley Temples by candlelight with soft Christmas music in the background. The kids think this is so much fun! We finished off with these amazing (low calorie I’m sure) chocolate cupcakes filled with raspberry filling and topped with heaps of chocolate butter cream compliments of my friend and baker extraordinaire Susan.
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Sunday, January 3, 2010

After all...

It was the best of times and the worst of times…all in the space of about 3 hours. My brother Bryant is here visiting from Utah, and so my brother Rob and his family came up from Cincinnati. I was getting ready to go over to Mel’s for an adult evening, and when I got into my car, after barely starting up, it just felt sluggish. I got about 100 feet down the road and was not accelerating, so I got out to check tires. Bingo, flat tire on the driver’s side rear. Backed up to my house, and decided to try and pull it into the garage so we could change the tire later when it wasn’t freaking 9:30 at night and below 0. Got stuck in a drift in front of my garage door. Dang it. Called my brothers for help. After several years of getting stuck in the exact same spot, I have a method of getting out. Crank the wheel all the way right, put the gear into reverse, open the driver side door, and with one leg, rock the van. On the rock back, push the gas. Works every time. It worked this time too. Called my brother to tell him I didn’t need a push, just a ride. Could smell the bad tire by now, so I didn’t go into the garage. I just backed up behind the barn to keep the van out of the wind and walked back to the house. But here’s the clincher. This is the first time I’ve ever done this with Reynaud’s full fledged on. My hands were exposed 2, 3 minutes tops. By the time I got back to the house, my hands were white and I was in so much pain I was sobbing. I knew I had to get them warm fast. So I put them under what felt like scalding water (I tested it on my forearm, it was barely even warm) and stood over the sink crying while I waited for the pain to subside and the color to come back. It did, in a bright red and purple splotchy flush as expected. My hands felt stiff and painful for about a half hour longer, but not the screaming pain it was at first, just a dull throbbing.

That was obviously the worst of times.

The best was yet to come. Bry did come get me, and we went back to Mel’s. We all decided to play Balderdash. I have never, ever laughed so hard in all of my life. Rob plays not to win, but to make people laugh. Bryant kidn of did too this time, but it started out as not on purpose. The first word was “fizzog”. Rob wrote something ridiculous about a dragon that blows bubble instead of fire. Bry hands me a paper that reads something about blowing the fizz off a bear. He meant to write beer. But I was laughing so hysterically by the time I got to it I couldn’t even read it. It just went downhill from there. We have decided the best way to play this game is with siblings, late at night. Both act as anti-inhibitors. At some point we were all crying, we were laughing so hard. Bry came back here and is staying so we can all go to church. He will also help Paul shave properly because he needs it. My son called me 3 times while I was over there to make sure I was okay, and got a bed ready for Bry without being prompted. Tomorrow after church, my brothers and my dad will push my car into the garage to fix it and my hands feel nearly back to normal.

It was a good night after all.