Apr 30, 2010

An Open Letter To Walgreens.

Dear Walgreens,

I have much to say to you. Much.

First of all I would like to start by saying that somewhere along the way - probably in some executive meeting with a bunch of fussy "suits" - Target made a play for the suburban housewife. And won. I cannot lie. Target rocks. But you, Walgreens have nothing to be ashamed of.

So I would like to take a moment and tell you why it is I Iove you, little Walgreens.

I love you because you take the edge off of having a sick kid at home. It's true. Just last month one of mine was at home throwing up and my husband and I actually fought over which one of us got to go to Walgreens and pick up the goods. Maybe its because we know we can fill both a prescription and our People magazine addiction all at the same place - or maybe its because the local Walgreens pharmacist takes 13 1/2 hours to fill a prescription so we know we'll be out of the house longer - but either way you make having a sick kid fun again! Thanks.

I love you because there are very few places I can get both an enema and some concealer. And let's be honest, that's impressive. It's also pretty nice when you're short on time; "What honey? You need me to pick up some colon cleanse? And what Junior? You need some play-doh? Well, guess where I'm going?" See? It's all right there. That's nifty.

And don't even get me started on all that make-up. It's a thrifty woman's paradise. Now I will admit, once we reach a certain age there is probably more that Estee Lauder can do for us than Mr. Max Factor, but its nice to know that if I do decide to line my eyes in fuchsia or dab a little Extreme Shine High Gloss Diamonds in Pearlescant That Lasts 15 Hours I can do so for under $7.99 right there on aisle 2.

Thank you for having that big magazine section. And thank you for putting those magazines right next to paperback books that we might never think of buying otherwise, like "101 Pills that Could Make You Pregnant" or "My Mother's Nightmare: How an Ohio Housewife was Held Captive by a Girl Scout". They are just the cheap, sordid trash that I would never wander into a Barnes and Noble and buy. Yet, I will stash them under my Weight Watchers and Paula Dean Cooks magazines so that no one is the wiser.

God bless you Walgreens for that humongous candy aisle you have. And thank you, too, for always stocking it full of the leftover holiday candy that never made it home with anyone. I am glad to help! Thank you for being open on Friday nights so that the Attorney General can take me there and say, "If we're going to a movie then load up here cause I ain't payin' $7 for some Skittles." Thank you for carrying Reese's in several different size bags on the up chance that my addiction is not as strong on a Thursday as it is on a Monday.

I love that you have that one aisle that is nothing but cheap toys so I can say, "Go to the toy aisle while mommy shops. And don't talk to that one eyed man holding the parakeet." And I know that no matter what they bring to me, profess their love for, and say that they just haaaavveee to have it won't cost over $5.

I am only going to say this once: As Seen On T.V. You got 'em, I need 'em. Since discovering your As Seen On T.V. products I have pulled the toxins from my feet, clipped my dogs toenails with exact precision and made the perfect brownies! Where would I be without you, Walgreens? Full of deadly poisons and a smaller size, sure. But where would my dog be? Probably biting his own nails.

See? I could go on and on, Walgreens. You never cease to amaze me. Just this morning I bought the 100 Most Beautiful People edition, a shirt that says That's What She Says for my one year old, some duct tape and a Barry Manilow CD. Where else can you do that? No where. That's where.

So this is my letter to let you know that although you don't have that fancy Bullseye symbol and you don't have a clothing line that comes in really hip, cool colors, I am still a fan. And I will be loyal to you until the day comes that I don't need toilet paper, Lee press on nails and a Butterfinger - all at the same time. Until then...

I am truly yours,

Apr 29, 2010

Mama Said Knock You Out.

I finally did it.

She talked back one too many times.

Okay, that's not funny. Mainly because she really does talk back. Alot.

But in all actuality, I did do it. But I didn't mean too. Well, I did. But I was just playing with her. And I didn't mean for it to leave a her with a big black eye. And not just because giving your child a black eye is a bad thing. Though it is, it totally is. But because she told her teacher on me.

Miss Jeannie: Remi, what happened to your eye?

Remi: My momma hit me in the face with a bottle.

There's really nothing left to say after that, is there?
Except "Oh, Remi. Momma is so sorry. Mama is so so so sorry."
And I was.
But she does talk back. Alot.

Apr 27, 2010

Flu Foreplay.

So I wrote this some time ago in one of my daily meanderings to myself, but never posted it until now. But after spending three hours with my doctor yesterday for him to tell me I have Pneumonia and Asthmatic Bronchitis ("asthmatic"?? only I would get an illness from an illness I don't have) I am going to post this. Not so that you will pray for me. But so that you will pray HE doesn't get it. And here's why...


There’s a lot to be said about a husband and wife being sick at the same time. A lot. And most of it not good. I believe Tammy Wynette wrote D-I-V-O-R-C-E after her and George Jones shared a bad bowl of gumbo. Even a great Chinese philosopher was once quoted as saying, “Woman, I am a great Chinese philosopher. So you could you please blow that thing in a different direction?”

I should know; it was this day one year ago that I nearly killed a man with my bear hands. Only it wasn’t so much “kill” as it was “suffocate” – and it wasn’t so much “my bear hands” and as it was “my hands gripped around a bottle of Nasonex that belonged on my side of the bed.” Shallow victory you say? Try sharing a bed with a 210 pound nostril and then we’ll talk.

To be honest, the nighttime wasn’t that bad. Oh sure, there were fights over whether or not we slept with the blankets on or off, whether the house was too cold or too hot, whether or not Vicks Vaporub should be applied - there. But that was the fever talking.

Of course there was there one night that I found him staring at me with that look in his eyes. “You have got to be kidding me, “ I hacked.

“Well, I’m not. You got something I want. Something I need. So give it up.”

“I haven’t bathed in three days, my hair smells like a nursing home and you have more gunk in your eyes than our neighbors dog.”

“Either you give me that heating pad or so help me I’ll come and get it.”

And that was the extent of our flu foreplay. It really wasn’t much different than when we are well. He stares me down, I give in due to an overall exhaustion and fifteen minutes later we’re snoring.

No, nighttime wasn’t the problem; it was the day time we had trouble with. It was the moments we were looking at each other (with disgust), eating with each other (with great repulsion) and sharing the remote (with enormous disdain). Not that I don’t get a lot out of watching a show in 15 minute increments, but The Golden Girls really get lost in translation when they are interrupted every 15 minutes for NASCAR. To this moment I don’t know who bought Dorothy at the Bachelorette Auction – Betty White or Jeff Gordon.

But since Jeff Gordon is holding up a trophy and popping open champagne I’m going to assume it wasn’t him.

Or who knows - maybe he’s just excited he passed on the bowl of gumbo.

Apr 26, 2010

Just Givin' The People What They Want.

When I started this blog I figured that I would always use my Monday post as a way to re-cap my whirling weekend of parties on yachts, candlelit dinners on rooftops and mani/pedi outings with the Kardashian sisters.

But then I had kids.

And my Monday posts turned into re-caps of ways to remove crayon from your walls (Magic Eraser….love it!) ways to get vomit stains off your baseboards (Magic Eraser…love it!) and ways to erase the extra lines and chins your face has let take up residence (sadly, not Magic Eraser.)

Take this Monday re-cap.

It’s exciting. You’ll want to grab yourself something, like, oh, I don’t know. A cold drink. A hot drink. A stiff drink. Your choice.

So Friday started off with me coming down with some kind of death like grip on my lungs. I lost my voice almost completely and began hacking up stuff we hadn’t seen since last November. After spending the entire day in bed I decided it would be nice to have a “family night” at home. (Allow me to state the irony of this. Because anyone who has children under the age of 5 knows that every night is “family night at home.”) But I was going to kick-it-up-a-notch because I’m hip like that and so I called us in an order of Del Rio. Which just isn’t the same when you don’t have that 2 gallon bottle of butter on the table like you do in the restaurant. Yeah, you heard it right Michiganers, we keep butter in a bottle on our tables down here in Texas. So take that to your cardiologist !

We also ended up watching a family night classic, Shrek 2. This is a family night classic for Remi because she knows every single word and donkey is soooooo funny. It is a classic for me because Puss-n-Boots never fails to entertain. It is a classic for The Attorney General because Shrek farts. And it isn’t really a classic for Rocco considering he just picked his nose the whole time.

Saturday was much better. I went shopping at the Junior League Spring Market with two of my girls. Got tired after one hour and came home. Later that day I considered looking into retirement homes, but then decided not to be so hard on myself. Instead I took some more cough medicine and laid in bed until I heard the words every East Texas mother hates to hear,


Sweet Lord, come quickly.

At some point this week I will nosh about our evening at the Rodeo. I know, gripping. And I will tell how the decision to serve funnel cakes at this year’s event actually made the front page of the paper. No. I am not kidding.

By Saturday night I fell into my bed but not before hopping myself up on some Mucinex, Vicks, Nyquil and Augmentin. Which is why on Sunday morning at church I could have sworn our pastor was made of playdoh and the entire worship team had cat heads. At some point I turned to my husband and said, “Get me out of here or I am going to have to de-claw that one in the middle.” He took me home and laid me in bed and I don’t remember anything until this morning.

Which is a scary thing since I dreamed I rode in the mutton-busting competition and came in 2nd behind a six year old. Scary thing is I woke up to The AG saying, "Great job last night." Of course he could have been referring to the fact that I put away a funnel cake in less time that #269 stayed on that bull.

Apr 21, 2010

That Pat Benetar Don't Know Jack.

Every once in a while I break face. Meaning, I put down all the silly ramblings I have about my life and my kids and my battle over Blue Bell ice cream and "break it down" (as the kids would say.)

Today is one of those days. Humor me, won't you?

For the past several weeks I have been dealing with something that has up to this point in my life been kind of uncommon. (I use the words kind of instead of the word completely because I have dealt with this issue in the past but never for this long and never this strongly.)

Bad dreams.

Not the kind of bad dream where there is a snake after you but then you look up and really its David Hasselhoff eating a snow cone while riding a go-cart. Though I must admit...that would be one bad dream.

But the kind where there's a snake but its wrapped around your child and it won't let go. And it tells you that its there because of the foolish mistakes you've made. Yep, that was mine from just a few nights ago.

Then there are the ones where my family is suffering. My husband is suffering. My children are sick. Or my loved ones desert me. There are the ones where people I love are dying and there is nothing I can do to save them. They are horrible and graphic and I wake up all through the night in a sweat and a panic and a heavy heavy heart.

And I wonder what in the world I ate at 11pm to cause such a ruckus.

But I know that the dreams I have at night are not at all related to the Spicy Garlic Pickle Chips I ate right before bed followed by the chocolate milk chaser. But they are related to something.

Sadly, I am not one of the 15 million people who have read Joyce Meyer's Battlefield of the Mind. I know, I know. It's been on my to-do list for far too long now. But even without reading it, I know a battle when I see one. And I do believe, my lovelies, I got a good one goin' on right now.

Pat Benetar says Love Is A Battlefield. Maybe Pat has had a lot more experience in that area than I have; I'm guessing so. But I say the mind is. The mind is a battlefield. And right now, my mind, my spirit and my thoughts...........are losing.

I remember reading a specific translation of 2 Corinthians 10:5 several years ago, and wish for the life of me I could remember where I read it, but I will never forget it's words: We take every thought captive, making it to sit down, and shut-up!

I've never forgotten that exact wording. Because it told me to do what I knew I could do, tell something to sit down and shut-up. Heck, I do that every day. Maybe it's just high time I told it to my thoughts.

As I began to seek the Lord out ( for those of you who may be unfamiliar with seeking the Lord out, my seeking goes a lot like this, "Hey Lord?? What the heck is going on? I need some answers. Go!") on the issue of my dreams I came to realize something.

What we do not fight during the light, will eventually come back to haunt us in the dark.

Write that down. I make very few valid statements on this blog. But that might just be one of them. My lack of controlling my thoughts during the day was wreaking havoc on my dreams at night. I dreamt of death and destruction, divorce and disaster during the night - because I allowed my thoughts to run amok during the day. By not controlling the way I thought or reacted or spoke to my husband during the day - I paid the price for it at night. By allowing my mouth to speak words of death over my children's behavior or our unpaid bills or my disgust with a friend - I allowed those scenes to replay in my mind at night.

The Word of God is like a big, long table full of the richest and best foods. It is not a buffet at one of those all-you-can-eat places that offer things on their sign like "Steak - Pancakes - Spaghetti - Turkey Legs!" You don't pick one and leave three others. You are either all in or all out. You are either for it - or against it. It can't be done halfway. To think that my mind can run full out during the day, never stopping to reason, or contain itself, never trying to battle thoughts of negativity or death - and yet not feel those things re-surface during the night - well, it just doesn't make sense. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. (Prov. 3:27)

What a night of tossing and turning I set up for myself when I refuse to fight the battle during the day.

I am not sure that dreams are your issue. Quite possibly, they are not. But no matter the issue you are facing today, ask yourself this: Am I doing everything I can to stop the barrage of missiles, gunfire and war that is going on inside my head? Am I standing strong against the enemy as he tries to play war with my mind? And am I truly looking him dead in the eye, and telling him to sit down and shut-up?

If not, then how do you expect to rest?

2 Corinthians 10:5 (The Message) The world is unprincipled. It's dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

It's dog-eat-dog out there and the enemy doesn't fight fair. Tell him to shut-up. And sleep well, my lovelies.

Apr 20, 2010

The Last Time I Talked To My Mother.

My family has always had an issue with size.

And by that I mean, we are not a bunch of featherweights.

This is the same family who grew up singing Southern Gospel thus my dad petitioned that we go on the road as The Dixie Chunks. And for a moment we actually considered it.

So here's a tip: When you come into our family and it's Christmastime, and everyone says, "Hey, let's draw names for gift giving this year," pray to the God you serve that you don't pull a woman in my families name out of that hat. Because at some time during that season she will try and trick you, try and trip you up, try and nail your sorry shirt to the wall by saying these words: "I saw a sweater at Kohl's I would love to have."

Don't believe her! Walk away!

What she's really saying is, "Go. Buy me a sweater. I'm just dyyyinnnngg to see what size you get me. Because one size too big is an insult. Two sizes too big is a slap in my face. And don't even think about getting me something too small."

I kid you not, I have put back names in that hat for the last three years until I finally draw my Uncle Dave. He wears clothes both enormous on him and three sizes too small - so either way I feel it's a win/win.

Which brings me to my mom. Apparently, mom has decided that sizes are for the weak. By that I mean that she now walks through a department store and if she likes it she purchases it. Sizes be damned! (I can say that word because its in the context of a point I'm trying to make, you see.) In the last few weeks she has purchased shirts for her sister: one was two sizes two small, one was two sizes two big. I don't know if they fought about it, but she has had to buy her sister lunch once a week for the last several weeks.

She bought two outfits for Rocco that would have been so cute on him.....six months ago.

And Remi would look adorable in her new Spring clothes if 2008 would roll back around.

I'm taking her for cataract surgery this morning. So maybe that is to blame for all the misguided buying she's been doing lately. And yet amazingly it never stops those beady little eyes from looking at whatever it is I'm wearing and saying, "You should have gotten that in a bigger size."

Here's hoping this year I draw her name.

P.S. Just for today, let's do like my mom: SIZES BE DAMNED! (Again...I use the word for emphasis.) Pick whatever size you want. Who's gonna know? Today I am a size 6. And girrrrrrl, it looks good on me. What size are you?

Apr 19, 2010

It's All In The Journey. No, Really. It Is.

I would like to show you all the article I wrote for a magazine that has been nominated for several journalism awards. But it hasn't been written yet.

So I will instead share with you all the latest article written for one of our local magazines here in deep East Texas. When I was asked to write the article I thought they would want me to write on something I knew something about; like the time I spent in a Taliban training camp, the dinner I spent with Arafat or how last week, Thailand's election commission - an independent government body that oversees races and can disqualify candidates - recommended the dissolution of Abhisit's party. Cuz I know alllll about that kind of stuff.

But noooooooo, they wanted me to write on being a mom.


Better yet, they wanted me to write on Why I Like Being A Mom. Which is ironic since when they first contacted me I was knee deep in Baby Claratin and Vicks Vapo-Rub and secretly inside (as well as loudly and publicly) I was wishing Mary Poppins would show up at my door and give them the medicine and give me that magic umbrella that takes you to faraway places.....like Marshalls or Costco.

But as usual, I gave the people what they want. It's Jesus in me, what can I say?

So without any more fanfare.....or, really, any, for that matter....here it is.

Oh and when you're done reading it be sure and let the editor know how effective a monthly column would be where I dole out my advice on topics such as: how to treat diaper rash by not making them wear one, how to make your husband think you didn't eat all the Blue Bell by by telling him you threw it out due to heavy conviction, and how to slip retirement home pamphlets into your parents mail and making them think it was their idea. Seriouly, write her. She loves that kinda stuff.

So here it is, from The Journey magazine.


Why do I love being a mom? Hmmmm….let me think.
At times I think the reason I love being a mom is the same reason I wore big bangs in High School and listened to Kenny G in college, “everybody’s doin’ it.” Think about it. Would you really fit in well at Chik-fil-A if you didn’t have children? And how would you know what celebrity should be your best friend if you didn’t have children at the same time as them? (Hi! Jennifer Garner! Call me!)

I like being a mom because it’s okay to look like a hot mess at Chik-fil-A and I always have a reason to buy People magazine. So there are perks.

But honestly, there are times when it’s really difficult being a mom; times when it’s really difficult becoming one, too.

Much like my mood swings, my desire to have children had its highs and lows all through my life. At first there was “no way I was ever going to have kids,” followed by “if I get pregnant it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world,” to “am I seriously never going to get pregnant?” and then to “God, give me children or I will die.” (Gen. 30:1)

And so year after year, miscarriage after miscarriage, my dream of having a child began to fade. But my longing never did. And suddenly in 2005, with no warning or planning, I was pregnant. And everything I had ever wished for came flooding back to me; I Googled “How to make hair-bows” and “Football lessons for preemies” within the first few minutes.

But life – because it is at times hard and unfair – happened. And the beautiful boy we waited so patiently for left us just as shortly as he came to us. And I assure you, picking out car seats and picking out grave sites are two very different things. But I suppose looking back I can say - one makes you happy while one makes you strong.

Today I am a mom…of two. How do I know? I’m tired and cranky. I exist on two cups of coffee, chocolate milk and whatever they leave in their lunch box. My biggest fear is that one day I will roll my eyes and they will actually stay that way. And the only “girl time” I ever get is when I am trying to use the bathroom and my 4 yr. old, Remi, is staring at me.

But also like any other mom, I’m scared; scared that I’m messing them up more than I’m preparing them, scared that I obsess too much over their hair and not enough over their love of sweets, scared that someday I’ll turn my back and someone will grab them because they really are the cutest kids you’ve ever seen. And then I get really scared when I think that someone might keep Rocco because he’s so sweet and cuddly, but someone might return Remi because she can’t be quiet for longer than 14 seconds. I’m scared that when people say “she’s just like you,” that she really will turn out just like me; fears, imperfections and all.

Sometimes I get scared that the job of being a mom is too hard. And sometimes I find myself with a wad of Kleenex and a lap full of Hershey Kisses calling out to God to “make me better, make me stronger, make me able.” And sometimes, in the midst of my tears I am reminded of how cold it was outside as I sat in a cemetery and listened to a preacher proclaim life, when I all I saw was death. And how even then, amidst hopelessness and loss, God spoke to me, “I’ve heard every cry, saved every tear. I have not forgotten you. And I know.”

And I realize that what I love most about being a mom is not the kisses, not the belly laughs, not the chubby thighs, but the fact that I am fulfilling God’s highest calling for my life. And I am never, ever alone.

Melissa Lee

Apr 15, 2010

Seven Reasons I am Too Old For Justin Bieevverber.

1. Saturday night Justin Beaver was the musical guest on SNL. While little girls everywhere swooned and gasped, breathed heavy and ripped at their clothing, I sat with my husband and said things like, "Isn't he adorable?" "Look at those young people dance. I love to see young people dance." To which he replied, "Why don't you throw your bra at the T.V.? I'd help you get it off but the songs not that long and I'd have to borrow your dad's tractor."

    2. My little sister told me that all the boys in her school think Justin Bibber is gay. Which is a fairly standard statement for 13 year old boys who are threatened by anyone's moving-in on their testosterone entrenched turf. All the girls love him. Thus, he must be gay. I assured her that he wasn't gay. "How do you know?" she asked. "Because all the boys in my class said the same thing about New Kids on The Block when I was in school." "You listened to them? How old are you?" "Old enough to know that Donnie really was that tough. Danny never really did grow into his chin. Joey was the most talented as I had always suspected. Jordan's voice never did lower much to no one's surprise. And Jonathan, well, Jonathan might be gay. No one can really say for sure." She rolled her eyes and continued staring out the window.

    3. When I picture Justin Bowlfinger appearing in Teen Beat I can only picture him with one person. Alyssa Milano. Now I ask you, how cute would they be?

    4. Though I love the song "Baby," by Justin Beerhair I can no longer say, "I love that song Baby and I know every word." Because in fact, I do not. In fact, I cannot understand half of them so I choose to sing only the words "Baby, baby, baby, ohhhh…." To which my three year old said, "I know those words, too, mama." It's the circle of life, people, the circle of life.

    5. Last weekend I was eating at Chick-fil-A in the mall when I saw a young boy standing at the counter. For a moment I stared at him and thought, "He kind of resembles that Justin Bystander." He was so cute with that wispy hair in his face and that little grin. But then his mom walked up. And I had graduated from high school with her. And I cried into my waffle fries.

    6. My hair looks like Justin Bifocal. I don't mean for it too. I just does. I'm trying something different with my bangs and The AG told me I should look at the cover of People magazine. I was expecting to see someone intelligent, beautiful, striking, and gorgeous. Instead I saw a 15 year old hormonal teen boy. And I knew I was doing something RIGHT!

    7. And the last reason I know that I am too old to not only like, but even listen to, Justin Belcher: Whenever I look at his poster on my little sisters wall I think one thing, "Never stop flossing, Justin. Gum disease can pack a punch my friend. Pack. A. Punch."

    Apr 13, 2010

    Your Thoughts. And I Know You Have Them.

    If a blog is good for anything it's good for getting people together and having them discuss, talk, and wear something completely out. (It's also good for posting pictures of your kids, lets not forget.) But today? Today I want to hash it out.

    You've read about it. You've heard about it. And you've seen it everywhere. But what do you really think about it?

    Here is a recap from www.abcnews.com...

    A Tennessee mother's decision to send her 7-year-old adopted son back to Russia, alone and with a note that she no longer wanted him, has horrified officials and adoption experts in both countries.

    Outrage erupts over American woman who sent adopted son back to Russia alone. Angry Russian officials are calling for a halt to all U.S. adoptions until the two countries can hammer out a new agreement that spells out the conditions and obligations for such adoptions.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedevcalled the boy's abrupt return "a monstrous deed." The Russian president told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview that he had a "special concern" about the recent treatment of Russian children adopted by Americans.

    Torry Hansen of Shelbyville, Tenn., put 7-year-old Artyem Saviliev -- renamed Justin Artyem Hansen in the U.S. -- on a plane to Moscow's Domodedovo airport with a note in his pocket saying she was returning him, that the boy had severe psychological problems and that the orphanage had lied about his condition.

    "I no longer wish to parent this child," the note read, calling the boy a liability.

    "This child is mentally unstable." Hansen wrote to the Russian Ministry of Education. "He is violent and has severe psychopathic issues/behaviours. I was lied to and misled by the Russian Orphanage workers and director regarding his mental stability and other issues."

    "On every level putting a little kid on a plane and shipping them somewhere is horrific behavior. If you have a problem, you deal with the problem," said Adam Pertman, executive of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. "It is certainly the equivalent of abandoning your child."

    Bedford County Sheriff Randall Boyce told ABC News that he had tried to visit Hansen Thursday and again today, but was told by Hansen's lawyer "they said they will meet with us later, sometime next week they said."

    "This is a touchy deal and I'm not sure if anything illegal has been done or not," Boyce said.

    Nancy Hansen, the boy's grandmother, told The Associated Press that she and the boy flew to Washington and she put the child on the plane with the note from her daughter.

    A Tennesee mother's decision to send her 7-year-old adopted son back to Russia, alone and with a note that she, has horrified officials and adoption experts in both countries.
    (ABC News)She told the AP that the child began hitting, kicking and spitting and making threats in January.

    "He drew a picture of our house burning down and he'll tell anybody that he's going to burn our house down with us in it," Hansen said. "It got to be where you feared for your safety. It was terrible."

    Nancy Hansen said she and her daughter, a single mother, went to Russia together to adopt the boy, and she believes information about his behavioral problems was withheld from her daughter.

    "The Russian orphanage officials completed lied to her because they wanted to get rid of him," Nancy Hansen said.

    Artyem, who turns 8 next week, "was accompanied from his home in Tennessee to Washington by his American grandmother, who put him on a direct flight to Washington to Moscow," U.S. embassy officials told ABC News.

    His grandmother reportedly told him he would be happier in Russia before handing him over as an unaccompanied minor for his flight to Moscow.

    A friend and neighbor of Torry Hansen, who identified himself only as "Mr. Austin" said the Hansens were a nice family and the boy had been causing problems, including setting fires and trying to burn the house down.

    Those procedures include not allowing an unaccompanied minor to travel on a one-way ticket and making sure the child boards the plane with signed paperwork and a name, sometimes even a photo, of who will care for the child at the destination.

    The family had paid a driver $200 to meet the boy at the airport and take him to the Ministry of Education. Once there, officials found his U.S. passport, adoption documentation and Hansen's letter in his backpack.

    "After giving my best to this child, I am sorry to say that for the safety of my family, friends and myself, I no longer wish to parent this child," it read. "As he is a Russian National, I am returning him to your guardianship and would like the adoption disannulled."

    U.S. embassy officials were immediately contacted and they met Artyem at the children's hospital where he was being examined. The boy is physically fine according to Russian media reports, but Kremlin's Children Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov told reporters outside the hospital that he is traumatized by the ordeal.

    Artyem cried when he was asked about his family in America, saying his mother used to pull his hair and his grandmother always shouted at him, Astakhov said.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said today, according to The Associated Press, that "we have taken the decision ... to suggest a freeze on any adoptions to American families until Russia and the USA sign an international agreement."

    While he understand's the knee-jerk reaction in Russia to protect their children, Pertman said banning all adoptions isn't the way to go.

    "There are lessons to be learned from this," he said. "Ensuring that all the other kids that need loving homes don't get them is not the way to solve the problem."


    I don't want us to get ugly ("Death to her!" "Firing Squad!!") nor do I think we should. But I do want to know your thoughts. So many of you that read my blog are adoptive mommas; but adoptive or not we all have a feeling about this.

    Allow me to think outloud for a moment: What if it were me? What if there was nothing left I could do? What if I had tried everything? What if I were tired and exhausted and yes, I'll admit it, fearful? What would I do?

    Would I send him away?

    What would you do?

    Be careful what you say though, mommas, walking in someone else's shoes is always a dangerous thing. Because the truth is, I want to say, "would we even be HEARING about this had she not absurdly put him on a plane ALONE and sent him back with a note pinned to his backpack?? I mean, seriously??" But then I fear someday I will do something ridiculously stupid and Chris Hanson and the Dateline team will camp out in my backyard for the next three months.

    So let it fly, my lovelies. This is what we in the south, refer to as "hashin' it out."

    Apr 12, 2010



    Did anyone see it? And if so, what did you think?

    The Attorney General and I went to see it at a Saturday matinee (hellloooooo $5) with some friends and we gave it...


    Of course our rating system goes as follows: One star - we hated it. Two stars - we liked it.

    So as you can see, we aren't very technical in our process. But if it makes me laugh out loud then I'm up for it, and this one did. Of course it's Tina. And if you've been reading this blog for very long at all then you know how I feel about Tina. Let's just say I give her two stars.

    We topped off our Saturday matinee with some Mexican food and a little game playing. That's right, I can do it all on crutches, baby. You can't stop me! You can't stop me! And let's be honest, nothing says "great Saturday" like a little Tina Fey humor, a chili rellano and some Loaded Questions: Adults Version.

    *I would hearby like to state for the record that the Adult Version may indeed be very adulty, but my girlfriend - whom I borrowed it from - felt it necessary to go through the game cards and only send those she felt appropriate. So we only ended up answering questions that only got as naughty as: "Name one celebrity whom you would NOT want to receive a Swedish massage from." (P.S. Larry King...it's not lookin' good for you.) So if you go and get the game and it's all naughty and such, don't blame me. My game was edited for content because I embarrass easily. Okay, I don't embarrass easily. And I didn't put down Larry King either. (Can you guess who??)

    Sunday ended just as good with The AG planting all sorts of lovely items in our flower beds, my kids running and jumping until they fell sound asleep, a pizza, someone other than me giving my kids a bath and a late night viewing of The Sixth Sense - which I just happen to catch on TV and can still make me jump to this day. (Tell me...how did we never know the truth the first time we watched it?? Admit it. You didn't know either.)

    It was a great weekend 'round here. I would love to give it three stars, but then that blows our system completely to heck. So, how was yours?

    Apr 8, 2010

    And This Is The Post That Grandparents, Aunts and Family Members Require Me To Post. Sorry.

    The Easter Bunny came. He had originally brought some Reese's peanut butter eggs, but strangely, they never made into the baskets. Remi asked the million dollar question, "So a big huge bunny comes into our house, drops off a couple of candies and then watches me sleep?"
    I must admit...it seems kinda creepy, no?

    Maybe I'm just partial, but this picture doesn't do her justice. She was a doll. And aren't hose a wonderful thing? They covered up the fifteen places where she had fallen the week before, or the cat had scratched her or her brother had bitten a plug out of her.

    As cute as he looks, his attitude was that bad. He wouldn't stand, he wouldn't smile and he certainly wouldn't let his sister touch him. Remi said, "I don't think he knows it's Easter and that JESUS IS DEAD!!!" (*Note to self: Re-teach the Easter story to my children.)

    Rumor has it that his shirt was all tucked in, his tie was perfectly in place, but that the moment we dropped him off in Sunday School he lifted his shirt and walked around with his finger in his belly button the entire time. But I guess that's boys for ya.....don't matter where it itches, they gonna scratch it. Yuck.

    Once she heard there was candy in those eggs, she was off! I haven't seen her move that fast since we told her a huge bunny comes into her room at night and watches her sleep.

    Here's what is great about Rocco hunting eggs: He picks up one and drops four more in the process. Not only is it cute, but after a while you realize he hasn't moved from the one square inch he started in. But did I mention, cute?

    Apr 7, 2010

    Driving Miss Crazy.

    I am a good southern belle.

    Take yesterday for example. Yesterday was a picture of what a southern girl should do.

    I spent my morning loading up the car with clothes I was taking to a kids consignment sale. This is so I can help with the "costalivin'" round here. Aren't I a good belle?

    (*Another blog post will be dedicated to the fact that I never again will spend 44 hours of my life washing, ironing, labeling, pricing and hanging up clothes to be sold amongst 2000 other onesies with spit up on them. Nope. Never.)

    Then I drove an hour and half out of town with my mother and my Granny. Because if you have to drive out of town at any time and for any reason, and you are a southern belle worth the salt on her watermelon, then you will take the trip with other female members of your family. Don't ask my why. I don't make the rules. I just follow them.

    We then proceeded to eat lunch at the Potpourri House. We had chicken salad. Pimento cheese. And two jugs of sweet tea. Had you looked around the restaurant you might have seen Julia and Suzanne Sugarbaker. It was that southern.

    After lunch we proceeded to go shoppin'. But lest you think we are from some place cold and dead like Minnesota - or some place even worse, like California - we DID NOT buy clothes for ourselves. Okay, that's a lie. We did. However, we did it the politely southern way. We bought for ourselves only after purchasing something for another woman in our family. See, it says a lot about a person if they go up to a cash register and place something on it that is for them and them only. It says EVEN MORE if they go to a cash register and place four items down and three of them are for someone else. God smiles on this. And He rewards your good deeds by letting you live in the south and promising in His Word that when He returns He will set up shop somewhere along the Mason Dixon.

    In between our consignin' and our lunchin' and our shoppin' we chatted. In the eight hours we were together we covered these topics: babies, hair, boobs, chicken and dressing recipes, cleanliness, guitars, donuts, I.B.S., coffee, husbands, hairy arms, hairy chests, hairy faces, facial hair, Michelle, Melba, Meridith, Melinda and Lisa.

    Whew. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

    It was a great day, really. I watched and listened as my Granny drove my mother up a brick wall in regards to her driving, her hair and her attitude. And I relished in the fact that as much as my mom drives me crazy - she has someone doing the same thing to her. And it made me think of karma; and how we really don't give that karma thing enough credit.

    And as I sat with my head back on the seat, pretending to be asleep, I overheard these things...

    "Annette, you have tags all over the back of your neck. You need to work on those."

    "I had a man-friend, once."

    "I don't like donuts and they don't like me. I belch all day. And who wants that?"

    "You can be selfish and hold a guitar and say 'look at me' all day long. But it don't mean people will look and it don't mean you're religious."

    "Momma, you should see that new Tyler Perry movie that came out called 'I Can Beat Myself Up All By Myself' - it is so good."

    And I remembered that sometimes being a good belle means never having to say - "uhhhhhh....it's not called that."

    Apr 5, 2010

    Where A Who Can Be A Huh?

    I know Easter was this weekend. And I do hope you had a good one. And although it was special and beautiful and my kids looked a.dorable. that's not what I want to talk about today.

    Instead I want to leave you with this one question; hopefully to get your morning off on a roll. Get your thoughts swirling. Get your mind working.

    Here goes:

    Several years ago when I was praying for children...
    when I was desperately praying that God would give me children......
    and when people would remind me of the sleepless nights that last for 18 years,
    or the panic attacks that would come every time you take them to a store
    and they leave your sight,
    or the money that would continually go to everything under the sun
    for THEM and never for YOU
    or the fact that you would go 14 years without a date night with your husband....
    and when people would remind me of these things and I would say, "no, no, I really want children, I do, I do, I really want them,".........
    when all of this was happening.....
    why didn't anyone anywhere ever once tell me about the perils
    of a little place in hell called........
    Chuck. E. Cheese?


    Shame on all of you who have had children all this time.
    Shame on you for not telling the newbie.
    For shame.
    May you sleep tonight dreaming that your child spent your retirement money on tokens for Wac-A-Chuck E. and that the little girl who spent the evening puking in the stall next to me, is in your carpool line this week.


    Apr 1, 2010

    I Felt Like An April FOOL.

    Day nine.

    It has been nine days since my surgery and things are not going well. I had my first emotional break-down yesterday. Not my first emotional breakdown ever, mind you. Just my first one during these nine days.

    I realized yesterday that I still had to buy eggs for Remi's party and stuff them. I also had to buy eggs for Rocco's party, stuff them, and provide his class with party favors. And that I had yet to purchase anything via The Easter Bunny for my two on Easter morning. And I had no idea how I was going to get into town and do it all. Not to mention I have no shoes to wear on Easter morning. Oh, and also I'm singing on Easter morning while. sitting. on. a stool. like a big piece of lard. And Rocco will be hunting eggs with his class for the very first time this morning and I won't be there to see it. And.....

    Cue the water works.

    It was a bad one.

    Yesterday evening The AG took me to Target to pick up all my necessary items. Do you know how you get around Target if you are on crutches?

    You ride one of those scooters.

    I rode a scooter around Target for 45 minutes while The AG pushed a cart about ten yards behind me. I assumed he was doing this out of complete mortification to be seen with me ON A SCOOTER but he said he was doing it because he couldn't keep up. Really? Because that scooter had to have some kind of governor on it because the thing didn't go over 3.4 miles an hour. He could have kept up!!

    But that's beside the point. The point is that on my list of things the Holy Spirit needs to deal with me on (and let it be known - there are many) I honestly thought pride was way on down the list. I have never thought of myself as a prideful person. At least until now. Because the moment I got back in that car I started crying. And crying turned to hyperventilating. And hyperventilating turned to gagging. And I had a breakdown all over that car. All because I had to ride that dadgum scooter. And all because I saw a girl I knew and she saw me run into a ladder. And all because I saw a family from church and they just stared at me like I had three heads.

    It was quite the shock and awe to one's self esteem. Let me tell ya.

    In fact, I am so devastated just writing this that I don't even have a snappy ending to this post. So I won't try.

    I won't even try.

    I'll just end with this thought, "Perspective. Perspective." It could be worse. I could have to drive around with one of those scooters in my car and pop it out for the grocery store and the bank and such. Perspective. Perspective.

    Perspective stinks.