For those that like to dream, come in. For those that like to laugh, come in. For those that like to cry and be inspired...please come in. Our family is like any other, but is extraordinary in it's own right. Come and join us at our campfire and laugh a little, cry a little and leave us, but please come back. We love company...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My dream...

I am a dreamer. Always have been. When I was a little girl I would daydream non stop. I have to admit I still do. Here I am officially forty years old and I am still doing it. I have a lot of passion. I have a lot of dreams. I wonder if I am as alone as I think I am. My best friend daydreams a lot. We often discuss our daydreams, and then there are times where we don't even do that with each other. Some dreams are so personal, so sacred that we don't even share them with each other.

But what about other people? Do you all dream? Do you try to remember what it is you were passionate about as a little person? I think my mother was passionate. I have read some of her writings, I have heard stories about her life and what she was happy and sad over and I think she and I shared a passion for writing. She had a hard life and I think she lost so much of herself in her hardships. I don't want to do that. I dream of writing something that everyone would someday want to read. I don't know if it will ever happen, but maybe.

I think all life stories are worth telling. You sit and talk to anyone about their lives and they all have a story. Most of them are compelling, riveting and even inspiring. My story is wonderful. There are the most amazing characters, the most amazing places, but most of all the most amazing events. I want to write it down and share it with the world. I think it's worth telling.

The dream I have right now is to be able to do that. I want to write down my story, my story of who I was growing up, who I have become since I became "all grown up", and the people in my life that make my story so amazing. I think if I could do it, publish it and let other people love and hear about it, it might not only be a dream realized for me, but maybe for her too. My mom. Susie, if I ever get it done the first credit will go to you. I will have a long page of credits, there are so many people to love and thank for sharing the journey with me, but the first would go to you. From you is where I believe I got this passion. Thank you for that.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Facing yourself in the mirror...

I am forty today. The big 40! Old I say! Old! It's days like this that I have to sit and think about my life, where it is, where it's been and where I am going with it.

I have no delusions about where I am in my life. I had so many dreams when I was little. I wanted to own an equestrian park...with lots of horses, horse shows and of course the occasional reporter that would write a story about my dreamy life. I also dreamt of having a home full of children. Lots of girls, lots of boys and a cute hubby that played evenings and weekends with the kiddos. When I was a teenager it was all about the stage. I wanted to be a huge producer in Hollywood. I wanted fame, fortune and lots more reporters that wanted my amazing story.

Now...here I am. Forty years old and one of those dreams has been realized...the kids and hubby. As an adult though I have come to realize that dreams come with a price. They are not free. You hear of famous people, with their money and rich lifestyles...and all their problems. Jail, drugs and abuse...they tend to go hand in hand with fame. My dream of a large family is all that I had hoped it would be. But then again it has come with bumps in the road. When I dreamt of this huge family I never really thought of the problems that would come with it. I never dreamt of the times that I would have to yell so loud that I lost my voice. Or the diabetes. I didn't really have it in my plan to have two of my children diagnosed before they were even a year old. It's not always easy...but it is what I wanted. Lots of girls, lots of boys and a home full of cute kids and lots of laughter. It's not always nice and dreamy...but it will stand as a dream realized.

However, as I look down the barrel of almost half a century on this earth I look at more than just that one dream. I have come to realize that we all have small dreams along the way. I had always dreamt of knowing who my biological family was. My mother and sisters. I have come to realize that dream. It's wonderful and amazing...they are the most awesome people and my life has been enriched by them being in it. I wish I could say the story was perfect though. It's not. I didn't get to really allow my mother to hold me as her daughter before she died. I didn't get to tell her about my life and we didn't get any time together as mom and kiddo before she was gone. That's a dream that will never be realized and I have to come to terms with that.

So what about the dreams not realized? We all have them. I did not become famous in Hollywood as a producer. To be honest with you I don't really mind. I think it would have been fun, but at the same time it would have come with it's price. I seriously don't think a family of nine kids would have worked parallel to a Hollywood lifestyle. But what about the small things? I think those are the things the hurt the most, and end up giving the most reward at the end of the day. A summer day when the weather is perfect, the kids are happy and content, we spend a day at the park and then have dinner on a blanket on the front lawn. While the kids swing and ride bikes I sit in a lawn chair and write in my journal. Is it silly to say that's a dream realized? It's a smaller dream, just "for a day" kind, but still a good one.

I think my point is that as I turn 40 I have come to realize that dreams can mean so many things. Big things and little things. The gray area is much larger than it once used to be. Me and Jon getting a date where the kids have no problems and our cell phones remain silent...sweet! A dream can be for my kids to spend time with their cousins that they love so much, and they get along so well with...so sweet! A dream can be us getting through Christmas without anyone going without...so so sweet! I am more open to what my dreams can be. I have better eyes now. Wiser heart. Boy, there is hope for me. Imagine where I can be in another 40 years assuming I don't go insane before then? :)

Am I crazy?

My sister Tracy and I have decided that we are all crazy. Some more than others, some are more aware of their own insanity than others...but we are all a little out to lunch, if you know what I mean.

Now...seriously...there are so many things to assume I am crazy over. Of course...9 kids. Everyone calls me crazy over that one. Now, I don't necessarily disagree with them on that one. You have to be a little bit nuts to want that many children. Polly called me crazy when one night while we were taking one of our walks I decided to play "spy" and started hiding behind mailboxes. But this time...I will agree with anyone and everyone that I am crazy.

I am remodeling my kitchen...well, that's to say that it's going to be remodeled. However, I may not be doing the brunt of the construction, but I have had to clean out the kitchen, move furniture, set up dinner plates on the coffee table and throw away several old items I have found on the top of cabinets. That's not necessarily the crazy part. The truly crazy part is the part when I tell you that while in the middle of this insane construction we are also trying to prepare to go on an 11 day vacation. A beach, Vegas vacation via car. I need to have all the laundry caught up, all the dishes done, 11 people packed with all the proper clothing (it might be cooler in Capistrano that Vegas..so the kids need to bring cool and warm weather clothing!), the house cleaned, the bathrooms torn apart to prepare for new floors, the kitchen emptied and cleaned out and a few toys and food items for the car prepared. That's all...really...that's it.

I have been working for days straight. No end in sight. I have toggled between the laundry room and the kitchen trying to get it all ready. I made up lists for the kids so most of them could pack themselves. I have to admit it was very cute watching Joey trying to help Colby pack his little bag. He was being so meticulous about each and every item on the list. Craziness.

I have no one to blame but myself on this one. I thought it would be great for the workers to be here while we were gone. We would be out of their way and they would be out of ours. Nice set up....but that meant that I had to try to maintain two crazy events simultaneously.

Crazy, I know. However, you might not think that so much when I am on the beach sipping a soda, watching the kids play happily while the workers are giving me a new kitchen at home. I guess we are only as crazy as we make ourselves and then in the end it tends to work out. Not so crazy after all? Maybe? Maybe not...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Your incorrigible

I have days....days where I am too tired to even want to hear the name "mom". There are lots of those in fact. However, there are also days where I not only like it, but love it. I liked being young...and silly. I still like being young and silly. Just last year my friend Polly and I were playing spies throughout the neighborhood while on one of our nightly walks. Hiding behind trees and mailboxes. Those types of moments are the moments when I love being around my children. I have so much fun dancing and making a good video with them in the kitchen.

Last night I got them on video doing the "Hoedown Throwdown". The only thing that was wrong was that I wasn't in the video with them. I need to have Kenna teach me so that we can re shoot it. I admit, I am incorrigible. I like to play, I laugh at a good bodily noise and I am all about fun. I am sure my husband thinks he's got an over sized teenager with me around sometimes. There's been more than once at dinner when someone does something...and I am the first one trying to stifle a laugh because the offender did something that most definitely should not have been done at the dinner table. My sense of youth and irreverence gets the better of me in those moments...and I get myself in as much trouble as the kids do.

I also love to hang out with my daughter and her friends. When they get to teenage hood they become so much fun. I love to laugh...I love to make jokes. Some of McKenna's friends have been very content to come over and hang out... with me... :) Right now I have an ongoing joke with Kenna's friend Joey. He keeps making "momma" jokes to Kenna and I have told him he owes me a frosty. He won't pay up. I have threatened to call his "momma", but so far it's not working.

Last summer we were invited to go to a pool party with some of the neighbors. I thought "Hey..pools are fun..." No....this pool was to die for. It was a mini water park. Slides, cliffs to jump off of...waterfalls. Most of the adults got in the water with the kids, and played for a while. By the end of the evening though I was still jumping off the cliff long after the other adults has gotten out and assumed a position of "adults talking to adults while the kids play". I was still playing with the kids....and loved every minute of it!

I love youth. I love that sense of freedom, that sense that your entire life is still ahead of you and the world can be yours. Sometimes I envy my kids, their entire life is still ahead of them. They have so much to look forward to. I would love to be young again.

Then I think about going through high school again and then I change my mind....don't want to be young again. I think I am happy with just being an over sized child who can have fun and relate to her kids. I see nothing wrong with that. Unless it's during church...then I might get in trouble!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Taking it for granted...

I think we all do it. I think it's in our nature as human beings. We sometimes get selfish, self absorbed and "it's all about me". I know I do it. I think that things are about me. I think I deserve all the attention the world has to offer me and then some. I take life for granted. I am sorry to say that I often get put in my place. But my question is why do I have to keep learning this particular lesson over and over again?

I have been very self absorbed as of lately. I have been thinking a lot about myself. There have been a few things that have come up that I have been trying to deal with and there are days that I haven't done a very good job of dealing. There are days. But then there are days where I am reminded that there is a greater power at work here than myself. There are people all around me that are also going through such difficult things, and I didn't even know it.

One moment when I was gently but firmly put in my place was when I got in the accident with the little boy next door. I had driven up and down my road for 3 and a half years...I had pulled out of the driveway, never with a problem. Then came Aug 4th 2008 and I had a life changing experience. My life and Ray's life were intertwined...just for a moment. I felt so small and so powerless as I sat there with his small head in my hands, bleeding and broken. At that moment I was not taking life for granted...I was scared and small and in need of something bigger than myself. I was taught...I still smile everytime I see Ray and his cute smile. I still tear up a bit when I watch him walk by, knowing we both experienced a miracle that day.

I spent some more time at the courthouse today. But today was a little better. I wasn't able to get the copy of the records like I had wanted, but I was able to look through the papers. Most of it was the adoption decree that my parents had signed. But there was one paper that stopped me in my tracks. One paper that made it all worth it to me. The paper that my mom signed on June 1st, 1970 giving away her rights as my mother. Giving away her child to someone else. I just sat and stared at that for a moment. I felt small again. I felt like there were bigger powers at work there and my heart ached for Susie. There was her signature, giving up her rights to "baby girl Grimm", and I felt like so many of my problems were small and selfish. I have never had to go through the pain of losing a living child. I loved her even more in that moment and my problems seemed smaller and more managable.

Then after getting home from the courthouse, and taking care of Kenna (she had her wisdom teeth out today), and making mac and cheese for everyone, including Kenna's friend Jake, I decided to get on the computer. I like to browse a sight called "Just Mommies". I have made friends there, mostly through my miscarriages and the journey I have had with those loses. There are some amazing women out there in the world and it's been uplifting to share my hardships with people that have also had those same types of loses. But today I had another moment. When I got on there I found that one of the women who I became friends with during my last short pregnancy was having problems with her current pregnancy. I have read her blog and have been following her story becuause it's an inspiring one, and a heartbreaking one. She lost conjoined twin boys at only 16 weeks, and then suffered a miscarriage at 12 weeks. Now she is 21 weeks pregnant with another little boy and she is in the hospital trying very hard not to have him. If he is born now he will only live a minute or so. He is just too small to live. I was humbled with this news. This sweet couple have been through so much, have lost so much and don't have any living children and here they are trying not to lose another baby. My heart ached again. I have prayed for them. Brandi, David and Baby Evan...going through so much.

I have said it before, life is just hard sometimes. I had an emotional day today, but not in a bad way. In a good way. In a way that has taught me and continues to teach me to love the people around me...as much as I can...and then some more. My children, my sweet husband, my sisters and brothers, my nieces and nephews, my parents, friends. Everyone. I do have one amamzing quality, and for those of you who know me well,you know I don't have the best self esteem, but I will admit freely to this quality, my love for others knows no bounds. I love people, I just do. Allow me to do it and you will be surprised with me. That is one gift of the spirit that I have discovered about myself....my love knows no bounds. Through this I have found that I often take life for granted, but not for long. It turns around when I hear about someone elses life story, someones elses struggles and triumphs. In those moments it's impossible to take life for granted...it's just too fragile and short.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I remember using that name endless times in my life.
"Mom...where are my shoes?"
"Mom, can I go to Lisa's house?"
My mom always used to say..."I changed my name!" Now I know why.

I think one of these first days I am going to count exactly how many times a day I hear that word. Mom. Mommy. MOM! Mooooooooom.....Ma? MAAAAAM! It comes in many varieties, but it's always in reference to me.

Already this morning I have heard it many times. It's only 7:34 and this is what I have heard today.
"Mom, I want to crimp my hair, but I don't know how to do it myself..."
"Mom, where my shoes?"
"Mom...where are some long pants?"
"Mom, I am really tired and I don't want to go to seminary today"
"Mom, can I have a home lunch today?"
"Mom...mom....mom..."(Skyler while in bed...)
"Mom, it's really hard to sleep and let my body get better when the kids are fighting down the hall..."
"Well..mom..this is what happened! I didn't mean to wake up Lacie...it's just that Joe was being so obnoxious!"
"Mom, where is that lunch bag that I like?"
"Mom...where is my new pen?"

And sadly enough that's only a few examples of the use just this morning. Now, don't get me wrong. I love that word. I have never wanted anything more than to be a mom. It's always been my life long dream. I just didn't have a clue what would go with that.

I like to write. Now this process takes time, concentration and effort. It's not something you can do on the fly. It took me 3 hours to write my last blog...I had to get up and stop my train of thought so many times it was rediculous. As we speak two of my kids are trying to make themselves home lunch (I usually make them eat hot lunch beacuse we get it for free. One of the few perks to having a huge family!) and they have both asked me about a hundred questions on how to do this. I think it's good for them to have to do this themselves...they know how to put chips in a bag. Really. But they still have to ask the same thing over and over again. They know how to do it, they just lack the confidence that they are doing it right. That's where mom comes in.

"Does this shirt go with these pants?"
"Do you have a quarter for milk?"
"Can I wear a jacket today..is it warm enough?"

Now I do have to admit that some of the questions are just stinkin hilarious! I have had more than a few good laughs over some of the things they ask. Some of the time I don't want to know why they are asking what they are...

"Can I put a creamie in a bag of ice and have it still be frozen by lunchtime?"
"Mom, what is this brown, black, green stuff on this lunch meat?"
"Can I get on the roof and get my barbie?"
"How much is too much to spend on icecream from the icecream truck and is it ok that I bought some for the Green's too? By the way I took a twenty out of your wallet..."
"What is that horrible smelling stuff on the bottom of my shoe?"(while sitting on my bed)
"Is it bad that the baby is on the roof with me?"
"Will Colby get hurt if we put him in the trunk of the car?"
"Can we walk to McDonalds and do you have money?"
"Can we melt pencil erasers in the crayon maker?"

These are all questions that I have been asked in my time as a mom. Actually that might have just been a few from this week. I love to laugh and some of my biggest belly laughs have been at the questions my kids ask.

However, the flip side of this is that sometimes I start to twitch when I hear "MOM?" I get that so many times in one day that I want to run away and hide...stick my head in the sand or sell myself to the gypsies! Because for every one funny question, I get 10 not so funny questions.

"Who went in my room today? Because they destroyed it...why weren't you watching the little kids?"
"Mom, what can I use to clean soda out of the keyboard?"
"Can I have your last soda?"
"Mommy...where is clean underwear? I had an accident..." (which is now all over the toilet, wall and floor!)
and after a long long day of questions, problems, fighting and yelling I get the grand master question that pushes me over the edge...

"Mom, why are you being so mean?"

Ugh...spend one day in my shoes and that will be that last question you ever ask me...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Trying to work with the government...

I have had my first run in with the United States Government. I can't say that I have been missing anything my entire life. I have heard stories from other people about dealing with it. I have read articles....and non of them have given me a huge amount of confidence.

Recently I decided to try to get my adoption records unsealed. Now...I have been sitting on this for a while. I actually went down to the courthouse years ago and got the paperwork to file. I never really got it going, so 3 weeks ago I started the process all over again.

First trip to the Courthouse...I had Polly, my little kids and my nephew Drake. I left them all in the car together while I ran in to get the paperwork. I had to wait in this insanely long line just to say..."Can I have the petition to unseal an adoption?". It took the lady exactly 20 seconds to produce the paper. "Just fill this out and bring it back in". I went home, called my friend Mary who worked for a Judge for years, and had her help me fill out the paperwork. It only took a few minutes...then I had to take it to a notary, then back down town.

Second trip to the Courthouse....I turned in the paperwork, paid the 35 dollar fee and was told that since it was tuesday they would try to get the paperwork going as fast as possible, but it might take a bit to get the file out of archives.

Two days later I got a call saying they had my file. I misunderstood thinking "wow...that was fast!"....so....

Third trip to the Courthouse. Again I had my little kids with me. I went downtown, paid for parking and run up to the civil courts thinking my file was ready. Hahaha...how wrong I was. "Oh, I am so sorry you had to come all the way down here....your file is here, but it hasn't gone to the Judge yet. He's a fast Judge and it might be ready as soon as tomorrow. We will call you"

You can imagine how disappointed I was. Ugh....more waiting. But...that's ok. Monday morning I got a call from Sue at the civil courts. "Your file is here and waiting." Yay!

Fourth trip to the Courthouse. I drag my kids downtown again. I pay for parking again. I texted my sisters all again...surely this time I was going to get my file. I had everyone hyped up and boy was I ready for some great news! I get to the desk and the clerk looks at me and says "Well...your file isn't down here, it must still be upstairs with the Judge...go up there" Ok.....I go upstairs, talk to the Judge's clerk....she says it must be downstairs. Ok....so I go back down to the civil court. "They said it is not up there, it must be down here", so the clerk goes to look again. She comes back with a file....my heart starts to beat fast. She puts it down in front of me and says...."well...this is your peitition, but the file is wrong. It seems that when I looked up your file I accidentally ordered the file just beneath yours. So....the Judge approved your petition, but it's on the wrong file. I am so sorry, but I will have to send this file back and order yours. Again, I am so sorry." By now I am going crazy. Fourth trip to the Courthouse and nothing to show for it. This was all on monday. Then comes friday. I get a call from one of the clerks in the civil courts office. "OK, your file is ready" By now I am skeptical...."Really? So I can come downtown and get a copy today?" "Yes, you can, it's ready" Yay! Here we go again.

Fifth trip to the Courthouse. Again, take the kids...this time my older kids. I thought they would enjoy seeing the inside of the County Courthouse. With metal detectors, armed police officers and everything. They were excited. We get down there, get to the clerks desk and I am excited again. "Hi, I am here to get a copy of my file" Ok....well...."I can't find it down here", Oh my gosh...really? "Well....they told me to come into to get it today." Well, why don't you go up to the Judges office and see if it's there." OK, now I am seeing a pattern emerge. So, I drag my kids upstairs again, talk to the Clerk to Judge Quinn and she says..."I don't have that file, Judge Quinn signed off on that 10 days ago" Now I am trying really hard no to scream or cry...either one was right there on the surface. So, I go back downstairs and plant myself in front of the clerk again. "She said they don't have it up there...it must be down here." "Well, I have looked and I can't find it." At this point I decide to tell this clerk the entire story, since the woman I had usually spoken to was a woman named Sue. After recoutning my story she brightens up and says "Oh, Sue told me about your file, but I don't know how she resolved it, I can't find the file and she is not here. She is only here in the mornings. So you will need to come in to talk to her." Now, I know I will have to come in to talk to her because at this point I had left several messages with Sue and she never called me back...a face to face conversation was the only way it was going to happen. So...I left the Courthouse empty handed again. And near tears. It didn't help the my daugher Megan kept saying "Sorry mom, I am so sorry". I wanted to cry....right out loud.

So, that was monday. Tuesday morning I dropped the kids off at school and drove, in pouring rain, in heavy morning traffic downtown again.

Sixth trip to the Courthouse. I paid for parking again, waded through deep puddles, in a torrential downpour, with three little kids in tow, up to the Courthouse again. After waiting several mintues for Jessi and Colby to put all their cars and toys through the x-ray machine, the kids led me straight to the clerks office. They remembered. As soon as I came up to the window, I saw Sue, she saw me and we both lit up. "Oh hi....I have been trying to reach you. I have your file! Now the I tried to get the old petition to work for this file, but the Judge wants a new petition. You just need to fill out this paper again." She did have my file, it was right there in front of me and I could see my name on it. It was all I could do to not grab it and run. I think the kids would have slowed me down though! I sat down, filled it out while Colby, Jessi and Sky ran amuck. When I was done, I remembered that it had to be notarized. "Oh, no, don't I have to have this notarized?" "Oh yes, but I can do that for you right here." Those words were music to my ears. I signed it, she signed it and we were done. She said that she would put a note on it and try to have it done as soon as possible, but worse case scenario...it might be 3 or so days. I expect worse case scenario now...knowing what I know.

So, here it is tuesday and I hope to have my file in my hand by thursday. Now, that will be one more trip....my seventh. That will mark the beginning of my efforts to get my records from the adoption agency. They need the judges orders to get that file to me. So we have to hope they are a little more organized the Courthouse has been.

Now, after all of this if all I get out of it is a paper that says I was adopted I may just have to shoot myself. Give me something that made all this worth it, eh?