• Deep Thoughts
  • Things you should know

    I’ve finally gotten to the point in my life where I am admitting I’m an adult. I am closer to 40 than I care to be (and I find it funny that some of my friends make fun of me that I’m not yet 40). I have been married for 17 years. I’ve moved a whole helluva lot. I’ve been around the block a time or two.

    You see… I have the problem. It is with (what my husband calls) the P-interest. You know, that time suck of a website that everyone uses to make it appear as if their life is magically more than it really is.

    I’ll sit on my couch and say, “oh look! So and So is “gardening” Only because she just posted 40 gagillion photos of garden shit that really won’t work.

    Here is my list of things that you really should know when starting out in life. Trust me. These things will make life so much simpler if you start out with low expectations.

    1. Open shelving in your kitchen is a BAD idea. Unless you plan to never use your kitchen ever. When you cook grease flies everywhere. Gravity takes hold and the airborne grease settles on every surface. Including your beautiful open shelving. Unless you plan on cleaning off your beautiful vintage canisters and leaded stemware every day just put some damn cupboard doors on those shelves and call it good.

    2. A chandelier in the bathroom is also another horrible plan. Basically a chandelier in any room is a recipe for disaster. And by disaster I mean a dust magnet. Of course you could hire yourself a merry maid. Then you’d totally be flaunting all that money you seem to be floating in. Chandeliers and a personal cleaning lady. Oh hello Mrs. Gates.

    3. Those giant framed glasses look stupid. Stop being a hipster. We are all judging you behind your back.

    4. Your 2 year old does not need a birthday party worthy of Parenting magazine. Just buy the boxed cake mix, serve drinks to you friends and let the toddlers go all Lord of the Flies for a few hours. Little Mackenzieenna doesn’t give a shit if she had an ice cream sundae bar at her party. She won’t remember.

    5. Pinterest won’t make you beautiful, it won’t make you thin. Pinterest will not make you a better cook, it will not make you a better parent. It won’t make your home a show place of architectural digest nor will it win friends or influence people.

    How exactly do you accomplish all of those things? How do you lose weight? You take the fork out of your mouth and quit spending your time in front of the computer. You become a better cook by burning a whole bunch of food until you get it right. Your home will likely never grace the pages of a magazine. It will only grace the pages of the blog you write that nobody reads (like mine!). You will only be more beautiful if you stop feeling crappy about yourself and realize that you are beautiful no matter what. Grey hair and all. You will only be a better parent by making time for your children. By loving them and setting a good example. By knowing that your child only sees the good in you. The beautiful parts.

    These are the things you should know. Tonight a dear friend told me that no problem is too much. Look at your problem. Accept it. And say, “let’s fix this.”

    Life: let’s fix this.

  • Deep Thoughts
  • A good friday

    When I was growing up I attended a Pentecostal church. ?It wasn’t on a totally regular basis, but when I stayed with my Dad we would attend church with my grandparents and they happened to be Penecostal. ?From my experience in the Penecostal church holy week isn’t really celebrated. ?Easter yes, but things like Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday or Good Friday were unheard of. ?Most other religions also don’t celebrate an Easter vigil. ?These are all things my particular church celebrates (or rather observes).

    I remember as a child growing up that I wanted to know what Good Friday was. ?No one in my family could explain it to me. ?I then remember learning about what it was and thinking, “well where’s the good in that?” ?For those unfamiliar Good Friday is the day Jesus was crucified (Maundy Thursday would be the feast of the last supper).

    Good Friday happens to be one of my favorite services that our church puts together. ?I don’t know if we will attend this year, but in my own way I’ll reflect on the day and what it means. ?To me that is to think about the good.

    I’ve had a pretty bad week. ?I bonked my head and got whiplash, then on Thursday morning I made a cake to take to the church for the Seder Meal and I accidentally left it on the counter at home. ?I turned around to get it and when I walked in the door the dog sprinted out of the kitchen (I had left the boy at home with a babysitter). ?I walk into the kitchen to find that the dog had eaten over 1/2 of the cake. ?Totally my fault for not remembering the cake.

    So the week was pretty bad, but it ended on somewhat of a good note. ?Back in February I turned in my resume at a little local garden store in Tacoma. ?Cute joint. ?I hadn’t heard anything from the guys that owned it so I was planning to call them. ?My dear friend NEAL happened in there last weekend and mentioned something to them about it. ?On Monday they called to ask if I wanted to interview. ?Of course! ?Last night I interviewed with one of the owners and he really liked me. ?I’ll hear on Tuesday if I got the job or not, but it sounds pretty positive.

    I’m totally freaking out about going back to work. ?It would only be part time, but I would have to work on the weekends and I hate that. ?The thought of not having a single day of the week where we can just be a family kills me. ?However, right now I’m thinking about my family and the ability to make ends meet. ?We will make it work.

    There is the good. ?In all of the pain and suffering there is good. ?One small spark of the resurrection and it all melts away. ?That is why it is Good Friday.

  • Deep Thoughts
  • Bacon Truffles: love them or leave them

    No… I am not making truffles. ?I have been banned from making any chocolate confection until Christmas.

    My girlfriend Alicia (aka Tacoma Chickadee) plastered Facebook and Twitter that she had made bacon truffles. ?If you will recall every time I put up the Sweet Hope nominating post at least one person suggests bacon. ?I refuse to make bacon truffles. ?Mostly because the thought of touching raw bacon totally skeeves me out. ?However, Alicia is adamant about the bacon truffle thing. ?She has tried on more than one occasion to create some sort of bacon-chocolate concoction that tastes decent. ?She claims she has done that. ?I tasted the last bacon truffles she made and they weren’t stellar by any means (sorry).

    She offered me a taste of the new truffles, but I had to drive to her office to get them. ?Um, no. ?I’m not driving anywhere for bacon and chocolate. ?I love bacon and I love chocolate, but they don’t go together.

    So now I’m asking you dear internetz. ?We haven’t had a good old fashioned poll here in a while. ?What do you think?

    Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
  • Deep Thoughts
  • Kindergarten conundrum*

    I am going to preface this post by saying I actually want your opinions. ?This means you need to leave comments. ?Please. ?See, I asked nicely.

    As you may know the boy will be entering the big bad scary world of kindergarten next school year. ?It is also that time of year when schools have enrollment for said Kindergarten. ?Although, I can’t find the specific dates for our schools.

    For the past few years I’ve been confused as to what school the boy is supposed to go to. ?We live in a suburb with its own school district. ?We selected this suburb because of the school district. ?Then I was talking with our former babysitter and she said that her brothers go to the major town school district and not the suburb school district even though they live in the suburb. ?I thought that was odd. ?For all I knew our “home” school was the suburb school and they lived further away from it than we did. ?Then I found out that yes, the suburb school is our “home” school and the one the boy is supposed to attend.

    Here are how schools work around here. ?The suburb school district is a 4 school system (K-4, 5-7, 8-9, 10-12). ?The major school district is a 3 school system (K-5, 6-8, 9-12). ?In the major school district families are allowed to select any school they choose, but if they are not attending their “home” school they must provide their own transportation. ?I believe the same is for the suburb school district. ?The suburb school district has 1/2 day kindergarten. ?The major school district is full day kindergarten. ?We can send the boy to the major school district, but we have to have a release from the suburb school district and I’m not sure if we are guaranteed to get the elementary school we would like.

    The facts at hand are: major school district – full day kindergarten, good kindergarten teacher, home elementary school of the district gifted program, not our “home” school meaning the neighborhood kids won’t necessarily go there. ?Suburb school district – half day kindergarten, I don’t know about the teacher’s experience with gifted children, not the home school for the district gifted program, children in the neighborhood might go to the school, some of the best schools in the state.

    Given all of that I had planned to send the boy to the suburb school district. ?Then the aforementioned babysitters mom came to help me with Valentine’s candy and she asked where the boy was going to kindergarten. ?I told her. ?She said that at the major school district elementary school right by our house there is a fantastic kindergarten teacher. ?She has lots of experience with gifted children and is simply wonderful. ?I started to question my decision.

    I talked it over with a few people and decided to stick with my original choice. ?I wasn’t sold on totally switching districts just for one teacher.

    Then a few weeks ago I was at my goddaughter’s birthday party and started talking to a friend who is a kindergarten teacher. ?I asked her opinion on the matter. ?She voted for the school with full day kindergarten. ?She said to put him there for kindergarten and then move him to the suburb school district.

    The trouble with this is change. ?The boy is already sweating the move to a new school. ?However, he’s been in preschool for 3 years now. ?In all honesty he’s ready for full day school. ?Our suburb school district has full day kindergarten, but we would have to pay for it. ?I’m not sure we could afford it and it’s not a guarantee.

    I was reluctant to make a final decision, but was still leaning towards the suburb school.

    Then last week I was talking with the husband of a preschool friend. ?We had the same “what school” conversation and I mentioned my conundrum. ?He said he’d had lots of discussions with his father-in-law (who happens to be the superintendent of schools for the major school district) about the matter. ?He asked what is the best for the kids. ?Superintendent’s answer was start them early and with full day. ?When he took on the job as superintendent that was his first order of business, full day kindergarten.

    Now I’m totally at a loss. ?What do I do? ?My plan was to go with the 1/2 day and supplement academically with in-home instruction. ?I would like him to go full day (not only for selfish reasons), but I don’t want to switch him around from school to school. ?The trusty husband says whatever district we start him in he will stay there. ?So the major school district kindergarten and then suburb school district for the rest isn’t an option. ?That is too many changes for him (remember suburb schools are a 4 school system so that is enough on it’s own). ?I also want him to have friends that live close by. ?Yes, the major school district school is very close to our house, but the kids come from all over. ?Our suburb is much smaller.

    So I’m asking, if it was your child (who is showing signs of giftedness, yet has trust and change issues) what would you do? ?I have to make up my mind soon because registrations start very soon.


    *yes, it is cost prohibitive for us to pay for full-day kindergarten. ?It is double what we pay currently for preschool. ?If we pay for full day kindergarten we would not be able to pay for other extra curricular activities such as sports. ?Also, there are too many families who want full day kindergarten so we would be entered into a lottery and not guaranteed a spot.

  • Adoption Awareness
  • Guest Post: Grief for little ones

    November is National Adoption Awareness Month and by this point some long time readers are probably saying, “What the heck Elle, where’s the super awesome button?” ?Sorry guys… If you want a super awesome button put one of these up.

    Just because I didn’t get the opportunity to create a super awesome button for National Adoption Awareness month doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten. ?I decided to change things up a bit this year. ?At the beginning of October I invited a few of my fellow adoptive parents to be guest posters on my blog. ?I wanted them to share stories about adoption and how it shaped their lives, how it impacted their lives or something that they didn’t expect when becoming the parents to adopted children. ?I have received some very interesting stories so far.

    Let me introduce you to Suzanne. ?I have known Suzanne since we first met her and her husband in SeaTac airport. ?They adopted their children through the same agency we did and we ended up traveling to meet the children together. ?There are a group of us that share a story of adoption survival unlike most others. ?In addition to becoming friends with Suzanne I have come to greatly admire her. ?She is a fantastic mother. ?She has two lovely spirited children and she parents them with such grace. ?I am not nearly as patient as she is.

    She shared a few stories that she had written before. ?They make you think about the hurts our children have faced in their lives before they became our children.


    In the fall of 2006 we brought home from Russia two confused and neglected children, ages 5 and 6. ?Here are two snapshots of the grief that our little ones carry:

    December 2006: our son had been with us for nearly three months before this conversation occurred, during an alphabet lesson:

    We did the letter “B” last week:

    “Ball. Banana. Bunnies. Bread. Breakfast. Baby.” I said.
    “Mama doesn’t like babies,” Dandy replied.
    “Yes I do! Why do you think that?”
    “Why did you give me to the?detskydom?(orphanage)?”

    Whoops! ?All this time he has thought I parked him there for six years because I didn’t like babies. ?All this time, he had thought I was his tummy-mommy. ? When I met him at the orphanage, he thought I was returning after being away. ?The amazing thing is that he ‘welcomed me back’ with open arms and heart, in spite of being abandoned.

    After I explained that I was a new Mama on the scene he said it was very sad that we had had to wait so long. “I needed you,” he said. “I was a sad baby. I needed you no?bolshoy padashdi (big wait).”

    And a few months later, in?February of 2007 our daughter — who sings all the time –was singing over her breakfast.

    I love my mama.
    Yes I do.
    I love my mama.
    Yes I do.

    My Ruskie mama.
    No I eat.
    My Ruskie mama.
    No I eat.

    I love my mama.
    Eat. Eat. Eat.
    I love my mama.
    Eat. Eat. Eat.

    My mama loves me.
    Eat. Eat. Eat.
    My mama loves me.
    Eat. Eat. Eat.

    My Ruskie mama . . .

    The song stops.

    A small voice asks, “Mama, did Ruskie Mama love me?”


    “Why no I eat?”

    We read all the books, the blogs, the list-serves. ?We had buckets of knowledge about the circumstances that children come from and the struggles of adapting to the new lives. ?We knew a lot. ?But how could we possibly anticipate moments like these? Moments that show us the confusion, the questions, the sad wonderings with which they live.

  • Deep Thoughts
  • Something to do with all of that sugar

    Did you know? ?My favorite band in the whole wide world is playing at the Moore Theater in Seattle on December 31st. ?Here in Seattle. ?On December 31st. ?Cake, my favorite band in the whole wide world is playing in Seattle at the Moore Theater. ?December 31st. ?Tickets are on sale now.

    That is pretty much what the trusty husband has heard everyday since I found out that Cake is playing at the Moore Theater in Seattle on December 31st. ?Did you know? ?They are my favorite band in the whole world. ?Cake. ?At the Moore Theater. ?December 31st. ?Show isn’t sold out yet.

    This post really isn’t about my favorite band in the whole wide world (that is playing at the Moore Theater on December 31st). ?It’s more about what they wrote on Twitter yesterday. ?There was simply a link to their Facebook page. ?One entry in particular.

    At the current moment I don’t have anything to say on the matter. ?Not the post itself, but some of the asshat comments. ?It just amuses me that people can take so many things out of context. ?Or make such a big deal out of nothing. ?OR change something so simple and make it a giant political shitstorm.

    So, given the comments in Cake’s post, what do you have to say about it. ?Glove are off this time. ?Be honest. ?I won’t delete or censor. ?I know you’ll be up in a candy induced sugar high. ?Have fun!

    And remember, Cake is playing at the Moore Theater in Seattle on December 31st. ?They’re my favorite band in the whole wide world and they are playing on December 31st at the Moore Theater… in Seattle.

  • Bitch & Moan
  • Just, wow

    Last night we were sitting around the table waiting for the boy to finish his dinner when the trusty husband picked up the Washington State Voter’s Pamphlet and began to flip through it. ?He stopped to read something and then looked at me. ?”I am going to ask that you don’t read the statement against Referendum 71,” he calmly stated. ?Of course that meant I HAD to read it. ?Being the anti-news person that I am I had no clue what Ref. 71 was. ?He mentioned that it was a revision to the domestic partnership law that WA had passed a while ago. ?A measure that I whole heartedly supported at the time.

    This go around it is just a few minor revisions to the wording of the law. ?Basically, it makes the wording a little more gender neutral giving same sex partners a few more rights than before. ?Things like sick leave for a partner, custody in the event of a disillusionment and worker compensation and unpaid benefits upon a partner’s death. ?What it DOES NOT do is redefine marriage in Washington State. ?That is very clearly stated in the wording of the referendum.

    I begged the trusty husband to give me the voter’s pamphlet so I could see for myself what he didn’t want me to see. ?As he begrudgingly handed it over he said, “I warned you.”

    Let’s start by mentioning that the against statement has 4 exclamation points in it. ?I’m actually surprised that it wasn’t written in ALL CAPS BOLD AND UNDERLINED!!! Then they really could get their point across.

    Next, we’ll break down what is basically causing me to have an aneurism.

    “SB 5688 is primarily about homosexual marriage – not benefits.”

    The text of the explanitory statement says, “If approved, the measure would not change the statute defining marriage under Washington law. A domestic partnership would not be within the definition of marriage, which would continue to be limited to one man and one woman.”

    Oh it gets better…

    The against statement goes on to say, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the foundation for civilized societies and has been for centuries. Marriage does not exist just for the emotional satisfaction of two individuals, but for the greater good of the social order. Marriage is about providing the most stable and healthy environment in which to raise children.”

    ah, buh, AH! ?For the good of the order. ?For the CHILDREN! ?Think about the children. Because nobody with a gay parent has ever amounted to anything (*cough* Rene Russo, Anne Heche, Ally Sheedy *cough*) ?or a single parent for that matter (Hello, President Obama). ?Only those with a mother and a father will ever become something memorable.

    Better still…

    “SB 5688 redefines terms such as ?husband? and ?wife? to be construed as ?gender neutral.? The new law will confuse children and likely result in public schools influencing children to accept a new definition of the ?family unit? so that same-sex partners will be a recognized norm.”

    Oh dear lord. ?If we talk about it in school it might make all of the children GAY! ?Kinda like cooties.

    Does it really matter what two people who love each other do in the privacy of their own bedroom? ?It seems to me that children would benefit from having as many people around them who love and care for them as possible.

    I don’t get it.

  • Deep Thoughts
  • Out of the mountains

    I want to thank everyone for not egging my house while I was out of town. ?To be honest you might have, but I was so tired last night when we got home I didn’t even check. ?We were gone from 4:00 a.m. Saturday morning until 11:00 p.m. Monday night and it felt like the longest 3 days of my life. ?I say that in a good way. ?I didn’t want to come home. ?In fact, my return home feels rather cheap and empty. ?However, I’ve come home with purpose along with validation.

    It is difficult to sum up my experiences at Holden Village and Let Justice Roll. ?What I will say is that it is the best youth event I’ve ever been to. ?I am a much better person for having gone.

    So first some words about Holden.

    Holden Village is in a secluded part of the Cascade Mountains. ?It takes nearly 1/2 a day to get there and it is only in Washington State.


    The blue is the car, the green is the boat and the red is the bus.

    We left our house at 4:00 a.m. and left Tacoma around 4:30 a.m. ?First we had to drive to Lake Chelan State Park to the Field’s Point Landing for the Lady of the Lake. ?We cut it mighty close. ?Our breakfast stop in Wenatchee ran a little long and we basically busted ass up the hill to get to the boat on time*. ?Once we boarded the boat we took our seats outside to enjoy the 2 hour boat ride up the lake**. ?I snapped a number of photos however, I was using a wide angle lens and that particular lens is in need of replacement so many of my photos are terribly washed out. ?After the sunburny journey up the lake we then boarded a bus for a trip aptly named “the bus ride of certain death.” ?You see, you travel up 2000 vertical feet in an old school bus. ?The first 1000 feet are via treacherous switchbacks, but with a remarkable view.


    We arrived in the village on a sunny afternoon and were greeted by guests and village residents. ?We were treated to a wonderful lunch of salad and creamy broccoli soup and delicious bread. ?What a wonderful start to the weekend.

    I have so many words to say about Holden Village. ?It is an amazing place. ?The people are so warm and welcoming. ?The surroundings are breathtaking and the peace you feel the minute you step off of the bus is unimaginable. ?It is like stepping into a whole different universe. ?It is like time stopped. ?2 hours can feel like 2 days, in a good way. ?You live so in the moment that you forget that there is a busy world down the mountain. ?This place allows you to forget.

    However, our mission in Holden was to not forget.

    As I mentioned before we went for a youth event called Let Justice Roll. ?Equally amazing as Holden itself. ?This little event is put on by Trinity Lutheran College in Everett, WA. ?It’s main leader is someone that the trusty husband has known for 21 years. ?He is a man passionate about youth ministry. ?He is also passionate about social justice issues in the world today. ?The purpose of the event was to bring together youth from the area to discuss social justice. ?Sounds simple right? ?I assure you it was anything but.

    We were graced with the presence of Pastor George Johnson. ?George was formerly the Director of the Hunger Program for The American Lutheran Church. ?George taught the youth about social justice focusing primarily on the difference between charity and justice. ?Every participant of the event walked away with a deeper understanding of social justice in the world. ?My hope is that fire will burn bright and be a path for change.

    While at the event we were given a large amount of free time on Sunday afternoon. ?The trusty husband, myself, my girls and a few other leaders took a short hike up the mountain to sit on some chairs, take in the view and have fun and serious conversations. ?I was able to snap a few photos of the views.


    Holden sits in the shadow of an old copper mine.


    I have more to share on the subject, or I should say on life in general. ?The point of the matter is I had a wonderful time, I didn’t want to come home and my life has been changed forever.


    *there is only 1 boat a day to the Village

    ** Lake Chelan is 55 miles long and the Lucerne landing is about 1/2 way up the lake.

  • Adoption Awareness
  • I wonder how much is in there

    The boy and I had a bit of an odd occurrence today. I suppose I should start by saying the child has been a little out of sorts lately. Last week he started school. Then he spent the night at his grandparents. He’s not totally sold on the prospect of spending time away from us. In fact whenever we go to pick him up from a night away it is a total “I missed you guys” cry-fest. This we he’s come down with a little cold and last week my MIL told him about an upcoming trip the trusty husband and I are taking that will have us away for 4 nights. Any one of these things isn’t a big deal, but when you pile them all on top of each other it makes like a little punky.

    We had finally gotten past most of the scream until my ears bleed portion of our week only to have the child freak out because the roofing guys accidentally knocked one of our downspouts loose* and the trusty husband was walking out the door and couldn’t fix it right! then! He was afraid it was going to leak while he was sleeping. And oh the horror of a leaky gutter. Whatever will we do. Then there was the slug. The slugs have been eating the stuff in the garden so the child naturally thinks the slug is coming straight for him and is going to gnaw his foot off. Let’s just go with the morning wasn’t that great.

    I sat down at my desk and called the child to watch the Pickle Speak video. I thought he might find it cute to see himself as a baby. He did. He then wanted to watch a few more of my YouTube videos. I showed him the one of him having a tantrum just so he could hear what it’s like when he screams at me. I followed that up with Getting Around Khabarovsk**. I thought he might like to see the town he is from. As we watched he started asking where he was. Was that our car? Is that were we stayed? I tried to explain to him that this is a video from before we met him. Consequently the video was made while we were waiting for Alexander. There are no photos of Alexander in it and I didn’t tell the boy anything about Alexander, just that it was before we met him.

    The video is almost 7 minutes long and about 4 minutes into it he said he was ready to be done. Attention span and all. I put him down and he went off to play. I went into the kitchen to work on a few projects and the child was unusually quiet in his room. I asked what he was doing. “Nothing,” he replied. A few minutes later he was still rather quiet. I asked if everything was ok. “Yes,” he replied. I went about my business of slicing tomatoes. All of a sudden he comes running into the kitchen and begins sobbing. Not as if he’s hurt, but as if he is so horribly sad about something.

    “I missed you guys when I was in Russia,” he cried.

    We had a bit of a conversation about how Russia is not a bad place and that it is something about him that makes him special. The conversation was a little tangenty, veering off to include washers and dryers***. What I eventually fished out of him was that while watching the video he had a memory of Russia, but couldn’t articulate what it was. I have no clue if this is true or what he was just telling me, but I’m inclined to believe him.

    I would like to say that we are at the point that the first two years of his life have been negated by the work we’ve done, but is just isn’t the case. I know he still has some memories. Experts believe that children don’t make concrete memories until age 5, but there are some people who make memories earlier. My child happens to be one of them.

    I want to help him understand that his time in Russia was not bad. I tell him over and over that he was in a good place. While the Russian government could have done more for my child and every Russian orphan, his caregivers did the absolute best job they could with the resources they were given. I just wonder how much is in his mind and if it is causing him any pain.

    *The child has an overly weird fascination with gutters
    **which, holy hell, has over 11,000 views!
    ***he is also fascinated by washers and dryers