Southern Snow

Snow in the South is a funny beast. We don’t get it often, so when we do it’s pure pandemonium. People lose all forms of common sense and logic. It’s quite a spectacle. This past Friday morning, almost all of the state of Alabama woke up to the making of a winter wonderland.

We knew there was a chance of snow, that usually means it gets unseasonably cold and then it rains. Occasionally, they forecast inches of snow and we get a light dusting. On the other hand, if they forecast a dusting, expect to be snowed in. We had 2 inches of snow on the ground before i had my morning coffee. I think snow makes coffee taste better. Oh, by the way, I’m one of those crazy people who love the cold and snow.

One of the strangest events that happens in southern snow storms, is what everyone buys at the store to prepare. One would think the grocery stores would be out of bottled water and non-perishables, but no, not in the South. For some reason unbeknownst to me, Southerners buy the stores out of milk and bread.

I know, I don’t get it either. Milk sandwiches are not something I want to partake in. But, at least they were prepared and made it to the store. I chose to call mother natures bluff and ended up scavenging the pantry Friday night like a college frat guy. I was trying to concoct something edible with Cheetos, dried pasta, Christmas tree cakes, and pineapple.

Another thing about Southern snow is driving. We might get snow worthy of a snow day every other year. People here just don’t know how to drive in it. I spent my early twenties in the Midwest, which taught me how to drive in it. So what that really means is, when it snows the state is closed. The roads become blocked with wrecked cars in the first few hours. So even if you can drive in it, you will inevitably get stuck out in it.

It snowed for over 10 hours at our house. The grand total of snow fall in our yard was over 8 inches. That is a huge rarity in our area.

My personal favorite Southern snow tradition, is the ridiculous things people do to be on the states favorite weather man’s page. My brother is one of these people. Example pictures are below, because I will sound crazy describing them.

I share genetics with this guy!

I’m sure all regions have crazy things they do when they get unusual weather for them. What are some of the weird things that your area does? What do you think these people are doing with no power and all of the states milk and bread?

 

Anxiously Accomplished

It’s hard to describe the feeling that comes over you when something you have worried and stressed over for so long, just disappears. I have been on pins and needles for 903 days. Never knowing if Stella would stay with me forever or not. Don’t get me wrong, her case looked good, I knew she was where she needed to be, but I have this thing called anxiety, and it said otherwise.

Having anxiety and deciding to take part in the foster care system is basically signing yourself to play a really long version of Russian Roulette. You can’t stop your brain from going to the worst case scenarios and in these circumstances, it can make you physically sick with worry. I would spend sleepless nights worried about the most irrational, wildest, most ridiculous worst case possibilities after getting one small sliver of bad news. See, with anxiety, where everything is already under scrutiny, the simplest piece of information can be twisted into this terrifying news that doesn’t even exist. It’s just the best.

There were days when I wouldn’t even want to speak to anyone, because I was so full of worry. Days when I was so exhausted from not sleeping, because I was up all night thinking about what could happen. Days when I couldn’t eat, because I knew she had to go to a visit that she didn’t want to participate in.

Once I finished the adoption placement a few weeks ago, I was her legal guardian. I don’t think my brain really had time to process what an accomplishment that was, because everything else was moving so fast and I had things to get done. Even standing outside the courtroom on adoption day, I still wasn’t at ease, we were taking photos, and making sure everything on our checklist was finished.

As we were making the hour drive home, it hit me.

Like a tidal wave of accomplishment, celebration, and calming.

We did it. We crossed the finish line. She is safe and provided for, for the rest of her life.

I will never be able to fully describe what that felt like. The purest, truest, brightest feeling of joy and calm. My brain is never quiet, but it was Tuesday.

For a brief moment, I had no worries, no concerns, no fears.

903 days of worry.

903 days of anxiety.

903 days of fear.

Gone.

And that is without a doubt, the most beautiful version of overwhelming joy I think there is. When I realized I was feeling every ounce of worry shed off of me like a second skin, I noticed I was even breathing easier. My anxiety had even made breathing a chore. Not anymore.

Now I get to worry about normal mom things like,

  • What is my kid chewing on?
  • Why is the floor wet?
  • Why do the shoes I bought her yesterday, not fit today?
  • Why is my kid always snotty?
  • Is she going to put me in a nursing home or her basement when I’m senile?

I’ve accomplished a lot of things in my 32 years, but this is by far my proudest moment. And I still have a tiny speck of sanity left. So, today I’m giving anxiety the finger, because as hard as it tried to break me, I won.

 

Stella Frances

Saturday, June 13th, 2015 at around 8:30pm, I answered a phone call. A phone call that would change multiple lives. My case worker was calling to ask me if I would accept my first foster placements. She knew I planned to be an adopt only case, but I had a placement fall through the week before, so she wanted to give me the option first. Case looked good. I accepted.

A few days later, on June 17th, I met my daughter. She was this scared and timid little thing that wanted absolutely nothing to do with me. She was not shy about her displeasure with everything. She never smiled.

After a few months, a lot of tears, prayers, and love, she started smiling and laughing. Then she started talking, which currently never stops. This kid exudes positive energy in her sleep. It’s impossible to meet her and not fall in love with her. Her transformation is mind-boggling. And I got to see it all.

We have been together for 903 days, and today we get to stop counting. We have forever now. That’s a lot of adventures.

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We had a wonderful photographer document our day. I’ll have a more detailed post when the pictures come in.

 

 

Manic Monday!

Holy guacamole, it’s tomorrow! The day I’ve been waiting on for 902 days. Sassy’s adoption day!!!!!!

Seeing as how my brain is a chaotic storm of emotions and anxiety I thought I would share another bloggers adoption journey.

Jonathan over at Strange Codex has one of those writing styles that just sucks you in to whatever story he’s telling you. Plus, he’s hilarious. He adopted his daughters from foster care, as am I. Hop on over to his page and send them some love.

Here’s where to find him

https://strangecodex.wordpress.com/2008/01/29/day-two-were-still-standing/ 

http://www.strangecodex.wordpress.com

TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We’re gonna celebrate!

Leave me your favorite celebration songs in the comments, momma’s making a playlist!

 

You Serious Clark?

I hate watching the news. HATE it.

It’s not that I don’t want to be informed or aware, it just makes me mad or depressed. I’ll read about it all eventually. Since the perv purge started, I’m terrified I’ll see one of my childhood heroes or crushes implode my happy memories. If someone comes forward about Tom Hanks, I’m losing all faith in humanity.

But, I digress. I love reading weird and funny news. In today’s weird news, we find someone a little too full of Holiday joy.

Police in Sudbury, MA found themselves traveling behind a car transporting a Christmas Tree much larger than the car, and it wasn’t driven by the Griswold’s.

Picture from the Sudbury PD before pulling the car over

You serious Clark?

It may not be Clark, but I’m sure, whoever they are, their family has stories. And though the police handled the situation, I have questions…

How big is the house they plan on putting that monstrosity? That enormous tree is hanging a few feet off of the back of this car, who knows what the front view looks like. This is a Christmas Tree for Andre the Giant, not Susan down the street. I mean can you imagine how many strands of lights that sucker requires?

Where did they acquire it? I can only assume the forest, because surely no Christmas Tree farm employee would help someone tie Goliath on David’s back. OR was it from a farm and the employees just wanted to watch how it all played out? Both are legitimate possibilities I believe.

What do you think is living in it? Come on, a tree that massive has to have a few unwanted occupants. You can’t tell me you don’t think there is at least one concerning living creature in that tree.

How did this seem like the most logical and sound way of transportation? Do they not have one single friend that has a truck and/or trailer? Or thought maybe we should get a more realistic tree? Did they lose some sort of bet?

Could they even tell they were being pulled over? There is only a small portion of the back of the car that isn’t engulfed by the mammoth tree. There’s no way they can see out of any windows or mirrors. Loudspeaker? Smoke signals? And did the officers think they were hallucinating? I would have loved to be sitting on my front porch when that spectacle drove by!

Where is the tree now? I feel like I need closure. Did the police take the tree? Did they help them get it home? Did they get arrested for stealing the tree from a National Forest? All I have are questions.

I may or may not have sent the Sudbury Police Department a message asking for answers to the trees back story and current whereabouts.

Hope this gave you a good giggle for your Thursday! And remember to transport your trees responsibly!

Fury Road

To get to and from work everyday I have to travel on the Birmingham equivalent to the 405 in Los Angeles. It’s basically Mad Max Fury Road. Some days, I beat the road. Reading the lanes, finding breaks in traffic, and getting home before my bladder bursts. Other days, such as today, the road beats me.

I try to be optimistic about my travels home, if I haven’t heard of any incidents by the time I’m walking to my car. I get in my car, and get some music going to pump myself up for Fury Road. So far so good. I’m casually driving the speed limit towards the interstate, no one is driving like a moron, we might actually do this!

It takes a total of 2 miles and 5 minutes for all of that to go to hell in a hand basket.

Now I’m surrounded by idiot drivers, I’m excited if I go above 15 mph, and I’m pretty sure I just saw a toddler flip off an old lady. And so this fresh hell begins.

It only gets worse. At this point, I’m 30 minutes into my drive and have witnessed two wrecks, 5 birds being flipped, about 8 people texting, 4 cars bail out, and a car full of teenagers cutting people off with centimeters to spare. I also have to pee.

Here’s the thing, I’m a happy person, I like doing nice things for people, I want everyone to get along and be happy. I’m a peaceful person. BUT, for whatever reason, traffic makes me hate people indiscriminately. Why can’t people just follow the rules of the road and drive like a semi-sane individual?

Annnnnnnnddd now the mouth breathing teenagers almost take off the entire front end of my car.

I still have to pee.

I’ve made it over half way. I can do this. I’m not going to cry, or be on the news….I repeat to myself chanting.

I was actually sitting in park at one point. IN PARK. On the interstate. With a full bladder and needing a snack and a hug. The guy next to me was devouring a glorious burger. Bastard.

After about 10 minutes, we start crawling again. Then we stop. Then we crawl. Then we stop. Luckily, Stella had already been picked up from school and wasn’t hearing any of mommy’s traffic words.

I’m still at least 5 miles from an exit that will get me home. Still have to pee. Still trying not to cry. Oh and did I mention a rock cracked my windshield, and I ran over something loud and suspicious from the car in front of me?

I honestly don’t know if the tears I was holding back were from traffic or the feeling of my bladder trying to rupture.

I’ve finally made it to my exit 73 minutes later. I see the bright beautiful lights of the Jack’s. I can save my bladder from self destruction. I park and start to run inside, without unbuckling my seat belt. There were witnesses…

They also watched me run across the parking lot. I don’t run, ever, so I’m sure it was a sight to see. Especially the part where I tripped over the curb and almost face planted the door.

I walked back to my car and decided to go through the drive-thru for a milkshake. I deserved it for not having a psychotic break or a news worthy road rage moment. Fury Road bested me, but I just restocked my purse with snacks and Xanax, today I’ll be ready!

 

 

 

 

The Snackside Down

The wonderfully retro world of Stranger Things. I highly doubt the genius minds at Netflix can make me happier with any other show. It quickly became a fan favorite. Season 2 dropped last month, and let’s face it, we all binge watched it before the weekend was over.

Now we’re stuck waiting a year to see what other shenanigans the kids in Hawkins will get in to.

However, in the meantime, I found this little jewel to ease the pain of waiting. Sesame Street also knows how wonderful Stranger Things is. There is a parody on Sesame Street of Stranger Things. AND IT’S FANTASTIC!!!!

It even has Barb!!

The Sesame Street version, “Sharing Things” is about Cookie Monster becoming a Cookiegorgon and needing more snacks after he ate everything in the Snackside Down.

There’s also a literal 11 and 8.

Thank you Sesame Street for making a pretty Mondayish Tuesday, a little brighter!

 

Follow the Leader

As your kids grow and learn, you start seeing their individual personality traits. The parts of themselves that is so uniquely them. You sit back and start imagining all of the wonderful things they can accomplish with those traits, and what careers they would best be suited for. I’ve joked about Stella becoming some type of cutthroat executive or leader of a small unknowing country. My most recent future career match for Stella, was leader of a small cult.

Gasp! What? You want your kid to be a cult leader?

No. I’m jut saying she has some qualities and traits that make her a good candidate for any followers looking for a leader. Let me tell you why.

My mother and I recently took Stella and my nieces to ride the Polar Express. While we were waiting, Stella decided to perform a musical ensemble, that no one wanted to participate in besides her. No one. All of the girls participated within 5 minutes.

Several minutes later, two kids from another group joined the girls platform performance. These kids were following her around like she had the secret of life. They didn’t even know her name.

Once the singing was complete, I hear, “Hey guys follow me”.

No explanation of why, or where to, just the simple request to her followers. She didn’t even have to ask again, and had everyone lined up following her, plus a few other kids that appeared out of nowhere. I have to repeat myself more than twice just to get her to put socks on.

This kid has half of the Polar Express passengers on her time at this point. People who have never met her, have literally zero information from her, and no destination, are just merrily doing her bidding.

She had me deleting apps to make more room on my phone so I could video her singing. Yeah she got to me too. I think I’m mostly baffled at her ability to just yank away your desire to ask questions. I need reasons, explanations, but apparently if she just smiles and gives that shoulder shrug she tells my subconscious it’s a good idea.

This tiny person has the ability to boss you around and make you say thank you. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. She could have said “Forget Santa and the Polar Express, let’s go to Wal-Mart” and every single one of us would have gone.

She shouts out orders, but it’s so cute and sweet and she gives that innocent grin, then suddenly it’s the only thing you want to do. You don’t know where you’re going, or why, or what you’ll do when you get there, but dammit you must.

She’s hilarious, and I’m sure she will only get funnier. I hope she decides to use her powers for good instead of being Jim Jones Jr. Until then, if she offers you Kool-Aid, avoid eye contact and run as fast as you can.

A Name.

A name.

We all have one.

It’s what identifies us to the world. Usually, it’s a name you were given at birth. A name that was picked out because of its sound or passing a family members name down. In extremely rare cases, like this, you get to name the personality.

Sassy was born with a name. There wasn’t anything wrong with the name, but a little over a year ago, she asked me for a new one. Knowing her case was headed for adoption, I asked her what she wanted her name to be. At that time, her best idea for a name was “Princess”. I thought about the proposition for a while and came up with three names that I thought best suited her and her personality. She picked her first name without hesitation and has never looked back. Her new first name is as sassy and boisterous as she is. Stella.

Her middle name was no question. I knew I wanted her to have a family name. Once her little personality started to really shine, there was no doubt which grandmother’s namesake she was. Frances Alma Blackwell was one of those women that could cut you down and bless your heart in the same sentence.

She had more spunk in her 90’s than I’ve had in my entire life. She drove everywhere like she was a getaway driver for some sort of terrible crime. I actually saw her hub cap  roll across someone’s front yard from her hitting a speed bump. She told me I was hallucinating.

She was as stubborn as the day is long, and as mean as a snake if she needed to be. She survived losing her husband and son. I’m telling you this woman was as tough as cast iron. As strong as she was, she loved like it was her mission on this Earth. All of us knew how much she loved us.

Nanny was not my biological grandmother. Her son that she lost, was my brother’s dad. When my mother remarried, and found out she was pregnant with me, Nanny was the first person she called. Nanny was more excited about my arrival, than a millennial on Iphone release day. We always had a very special bond, her and I. She would have loved Stella to the ends of the Earth and back.

Nanny was one of those homemade candy making southern grandmothers. Her fudge is making me salivate right now just writing about it. You’re not supposed to make divinity when it rains, she didn’t care. It always turned out perfect. She was like a candy wizard. I loved visiting her on candy making days, when you hugged her she just smelled like butter and sugar. It was glorious. That’s still the memory I go back to anytime I melt butter.

I think the first time I compared Stella to Nanny, was one of the first few months she was with me. Stella was eating, so very slow. So very very slow. The one joke you could always count on being made at Christmas, was something about Nanny’s eating. That woman was the slowest eater on God’s green Earth. When I was about 10 or 11, I called her the day before and asked her to start eating at breakfast. To this day, when Stella takes 4 hours to eat a meal, I start calling her Frances. Stella has several times a day, that I will just stop and laugh and say “Ok Frances” because whatever she just did was 100% Nanny.

There is no other name I could imagine my baby girl having. She is named after the toughest, sassiest, funniest, woman I’ve ever known. That is saying a lot since our family seems to produce extraordinary women. But what’s even more than that, Nanny and I had a bond that was never based on blood or biology, just indomitable love.

Pretty perfect naming story if you ask me, or Stella Frances.

 

 

Sweet November

November is the one month of the year when people purposely sit and contemplate about the things in their lives they are truly thankful for. Most days, being gracious isn’t at the top of my list. In all honesty, most weekdays I’m just trying to make it home after work, through rush hour traffic, without Sassy repeating any of my “traffic words”. We, as a collective whole, don’t take time in our busy day-to-day to stop and be thankful.

This November, is different. This one is special. This month gave me the greatest blessing I’ve ever received in my 32 years of living. This sweet November, I am officially adopting Sassy. On the 17th, I signed the towering stack of paperwork, filled out her new name, and exhaled the biggest sigh of relief imaginable. I think most importantly, Sassy got to go to school with her new name she has been longing to go by for a year. Talk about one happy and thankful little girl.

I’m thankful for amazing friends that recommended the best attorney for the job. Our attorney jumped into action, and miraculously reserved us the last available court date of 2017. I was already told it would be January, and I was fine with that. Yesterday, I received the best early Christmas gift possible. We will go before the judge on December 5th. That’s also my late grandfather’s birthday. My grandfather that adopted my dad. Pretty beautiful if you ask me.

Actual representation of my reaction to everything!

This November, I am thankful for the heartbreak and torment infertility caused me. That’s right, I’m thankful my uterus can’t do it’s one and only job. I’m thankful for every single negative test, for the pain, for the doctors being wrong. I’m thankful for most types of adoptions costing astronomical prices. For God finding a strength in me I didn’t know I had, and sending me to the foster system.

It’s not easy being a foster parent, I don’t sugar coat things. It’s stressful, terrifying, maddening, but yet the greatest thing you will ever do. I’ve spent the past two and a half years on pins and needles, fearing that she would leave me. Knowing I am her mother, but not knowing if that’s what I’ll remain. When they brought her in the room to me all those months ago, I knew right then, she was my kid. Sometimes you just know.

This year, I am thankful for 2 and 1/2 years of labor pains, coming to an end. I’m thankful Sassy has her new name, and that we’re stuck with each other now. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this is National Adoption Month, or that we signed on the same day of the month I took her home. It’s serendipitous to us.

Today, I’m thankful for every single bit of the bad, because I wouldn’t be here with Sassy without it. Sometimes the journey you keep trying to force yourself on, isn’t the one for you. Surviving the storm, makes you find beauty in the rainbow not everyone can see. I can see the beauty in my pain and tragedies now, her name is Stella.