Sep 30, 2010

Somebody Got A Pen?

I came across this news story the other day and, well, it spoke to me.


Mom Robs Bank, Picks Up Kids at School
By Johnny Dodd

Saturday September 25, 2010 11:45 AM EDT

Erica Anderson, 37, went into an Umpqua Bank branch in Grants Pass, Ore., on the afternoon of Sept. 20, and handed the teller a note demanding cash – with one special request, according to police.

“The note also instructed the teller to wait 15 minutes before calling law enforcement or else two kids wouldn’t make it home from school,” says Detective Sgt. Dennis Ward.

Anderson fled the bank with $1,300 with Joshua K. Deeter Tseu, 19, driving the getaway car, says Ward, and the officers who responded within minutes were baffled and concerned by the note, fearing children were in danger.

Instead, says Ward, "She didn’t want to be late picking up her kids.”

A resident who witnessed the pair’s getaway provided the cops with enough information to track down Anderson. She was arrested in her driveway, not long after picking up her kids at a local elementary school. Both her daughters were munching on ice cream bars when officers arrived at the scene.

Anderson reportedly appeared concerned about what might happen to her daughters following her arrest. “But I guess if she was really all that concerned about their welfare,” adds Ward, “she probably wouldn’t be committing bank robbery.”

Both Anderson and Tseu are being held on $50,000 bail and are charged with first-degree theft and second-degree robbery.

“We average between three and five bank robberies a year,” says Ward. “But I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anything quite like this.”

The things we do for a little spending money.

Actually, my guess is this woman had one of three reasons for doing what she did:

Reason #1

On her way to school to pick up her kids she remembered her promise from just that morning......
"Sweetie, listen to mommy. If you can go the entire day without having your color changed mommy will take you to Sonic."
"Can I get a Route 44?"
"No, that's a little big or a little girl your age..."
">"And can I get some tater tots?"
">"Well, we will be eating dinner around 6..."
"And can I get a small popcorn chicken?"
"Now, honey..."
"You better say I can have those things or I promise you I will go to the principle's office again and you can't stop me!!!"

And before you know it she whipped into the first Regions Bank she saw and the rest is history. I don't know about you but a.) a kid can break you at Sonic and b.) No momma in her right mind wants the school secretary having her on speed-dial. Its worth a felony.

Reason #2

She found it. She had finally found it. For the last 6 weeks of school she had spent every day looking for the first and only library book her child had checked out. All the other kids checked out a book on a weekly basis. But not hers. Nope. Her child has lost the first library book they had brought home. Actually they didn't so much "lose" it as they used the pages in it to line their hamster cage. She discovered that this morning when she went to feed said hamster and save him from a life of dehydration and starvation. And that's where she spotted it. Pages 2, 4, 6, 9, 11 and 13 of The Mine-O-Saur were lining the floor of a hamster cage. And so she knew what was coming. There could be no more avoiding the school librarian who walked her child to the car every afternoon asking the same high pitched question day after day, "Wellllll, did we find our bookyloo today?" She could only pretend to talk on her cell phone so many times in an effort to avoid. But not today. Today she knew the book had been found and it was time to fess up. But to do so would mean paying that dadgum fine. And to pay a fine for a book that had been missing for 35 days would guessed it.....robbing a bank.

Reason #3

There were t-shirts being sold by the PTA. There were cookies being sold by the band. She had ordered two mums and they were ready to be picked up. Not to mention the three new magazines and the Chinese cook-book that was being sold to send the no good 6th graders to Washington. She still owed money for her child's field trip and she owed at least $20 for lunch money on the days when they were running so late that lunch got left. There was the $40 in Scholastic books that had been purchased, $15 for a Red Ribbon week t-shirt and a $20 gift card for the school teacher during Teacher Appreciation week. She thought of the never-ending payments that she had to make for her child to attend a free public school and it brought tears to her eyes and an idea to her mind. Sure she could pay for these things, but first she had to make a quick little pit-stop.

No matter her reason (but #3 rings true for me) there's a part of me that says "You go, Mom!" But there's also a part of me that says, "Really? You weren't afraid to rob a bank but you were afraid to pick your children up late from school?" Something tells me either her priorities are off or the teacher who watches over the kids being picked up is one scary son of a gun.

But I'm not one to judge. Trust me, I am a pen and piece of scrap paper away from doing something absurd myself half the time. But I wouldn't terrorize a local business or a lowly teller. I'd take down those 6th graders who are bleeding me dry so they can go kick back in a La Quinta on the outskirts of Washington.

But that's just me.

Sep 28, 2010

Color Blind.

Rarely do I ask something of you on this blog.

(Crickets, crickets, chirp, chirp.)

Okay, okay, I did once ask for help on how to potty train a child.
And I did once ask for a heapin' helpin' of new recipes that my family would eat.
And I did once ask for opinions on a hairstyle.

But I would like to go on record now as sayin' that you people were no help! No help, whatsoever.

So see? Its like I've never asked anything of you, ever.

So let's start fresh, shall we?

I need your help. Or at least your opinions.

Here's my tale:

Yesterday I am sitting in the dentist office with Remi. (Was there ever a moment of doubt in your mind that this would NOT be a Remi story? I mean, really.) She is there to have a "sugar bug" removed from her teeth. In all honesty, it was a cavity, but her dentist called it a sugar bug and so that's the phrase I'm going with as well because it doesn't make me feel so much like a bad mother who has give her children too much freedom with candy as it does some poor unsuspecting victim who found out a bug crawled into her kids mouth one night and decided to live there. Yes, both of these are tragic, but in the second option I'm not to blame.


Yesterday as I am sitting with Remi in the dentist office and she is quietly watching a movie the cutest little boy you've ever seen pulls up a chair beside her. She is instantly intrigued. Because as fate would have it, this little boy is...

(And herein lies the problem)


Even I don't know what the correct thing is to say anymore, so how can I expect her to?

All I know is she is completely and utterly smitten with all things Princess Tiana. Well, guess what people? Princess Tiana is...


In our house, it doesn't matter what you color you call her, lovely is what she is. And she is! She can sing and dance and Remi wants to be her for Halloween, but the AG and I are thinking this might be a hard thing to pull-off.

But I digress...

So as Remi is making a new friend very fast she begins to comment on the color of his skin.
"Look at your arm, your arm is black."
"No, my arm is not black."
"Yes, it is, look at it! Its brown like Princess Tiana."
"No, its not."
"Yes, it is. You are black and I am white."

And it was just about then that the only sweet black lady in the room looked at me with complete and utter disgust in her eyes. "Oh my Lord, do you hear what she's saying to him? She's telling him how he's black and she's white."

Pray, Melissa. Pray.
No, pray harder Melissa.
And faster. Pray faster, Melissa.

And so with all honesty I looked at her and said, "Well, in our house Princess Tiana is our favorite princess and she's black. So to be perfectly honest, Remi is having a little problem understanding why she has to be white."

And given my quick response, my God-given gift of gab, not to mention my astoundingly pleasant personality I seemed to diffuse a rather awkward situation. Thankfully. But it won't be the first time I run into this, I'm sure. I have two kids. And for better or for worse, they are white. And yet they go to school or they go to church or they eat at Chik-fil-A or they go to the movies with kids of various colors all day every day. The subject is bound to come up again. And so how do I handle it? How do I tell a child she is wrong for stating the obvious? But then again, how do we continually state the obvioius without eventually hurting someone's feelings?

If they're overweight, do we tell them?
If they limp, do we remind them?

Not in my house we don't. But I am having trouble finding the line on how to celebrate differences while respecting boundaries and all at the ripe old age of FOUR.

As I sat for a moment listening to Remi talk to him I was proud of one thing, never once did I ever fear that her words would be anything but kind. Being a different color or a different size or a different nationality is not a dealbreaker in our home. You are treated equally and with respect. She worships her daddy who has never spoken unkindly of any color or race. And for that I am most thankful.

On the way home I asked Remi, "Baby, maybe you shouldn't have told him he was black. I'm sure he knew. Why would you want to say it out loud?" And as only the innocence and beauty of a four year old can she said, "What's wrong with that, mama? If I saw someone who was pink I would just have to tell them, 'you are pink and you are sooooo beautiful.'"

And she would be right.

Sep 27, 2010

I Need Just Enough Rope To Hang Myself.

Have you ever made a Bucket List? You know, that list of the top 25 things you want to do before you die. I've heard of people making them, but I myself have never made one. Until Saturday night. Saturday night I started my Bucket List, but because I'm creative and probably rank pretty high on the genius scale I'm doing mine a little differently.

I'm not making a list of things I want to do.

I'm making a list of things I don't want to do.

Bucket List:
1. Never do a ropes course. Ever. Again.

And this is the part where you're probably thinking, "Whoa, Melissa did a ropes course this weekend. Go Melissa!" Stop with all your go's and whoa's. I did no such thing. Granted I went to a ropes course. Granted I signed a waiver allowing me to participate at a ropes course. But I did not do a ropes course.

Whereas some women decided to take a more hands-on approach. I decided to take a more spectatortorial approach. (It's a word, look it up.)

I would like to go on record as saying there were many drawbacks to me doing a ropes course. Let's start at the top, shall we?
1. I get winded walking to my car.
2. I recently had knee surgery and spent 6 weeks on crutches. If something else happens to my knee the Attorney General will take me to the Greyhound Bus Station an drop me off. For good.
3. I get winded walking to my car.
4. I had pneumonia a month ago. (Hush! It hangs on for 6 weeks.)
5. I get winded walking.....well, you know.
6. At one point you hurl your body over a wall. Do I need to come up with more reasons?

Now, I'm not gonna type this post as if everything about the day was terrible, it wasn't. I really enjoyed doing it with the group of ladies I got to do it with. I liked every single one of them and have no problem believing that they liked me back (even though in my mind I know its because they didn't have to help hurl my body over a wall.) But I will admit to you it was the maddest I have ever been at God and His nature. I am just not an outdoorsy kind of girl.

Now had they had a ropes course inside a Sephora, I would have gladly scaled a wall for some free OPI or Kiehl's cream. Or better yet, when will a genius arise like a venus rising from the sea and open up some kind of pedicure place that serves latte's while you watch America's Funniest Home Video's of people doing ropes courses? Now there's a franchise I could get behind.

So here's to all my sweet friends who did this...

And this...

while I did this...


You make a Bucket List of things you DON'T want to do....what would be on yours?

Sep 22, 2010

Tis The Season.

I think you all know I have some pretty strong opinions.

That's opinions, by the way, not onions. Though I did have some pretty strong onions on my hot dog the other day. Wowza.

So like I was saying....opinions.

So here it is - premier season; when all of the new shows they've been advertising over and over and over and over (I'm talking to you, The Event) finally come to a TV near you. And I'm not gonna lie, I've been a little excited. Why? You ask. Well, I'll tell ya. I just don't watch enough TV. I really don't. Lately I've been looking at my life and all the things I'm accomplishing and I so I said to myself, "Self, look at how your laundry is piling up and your fridge needs to be cleaned out so badly a tomato actually raised its hand and cried, 'Me! Take me!' You know what you need self? You need some new shows to watch." And I agreed with myself, as I normally do in these situations, and so I plopped down and made a list of all the shows I want to record and try out.

And I'm not gonna lie. There were lots of 'em.

And it made me think of last years season premier post when I was all high and mighty and said I wouldn't watch Cougar Town. Which I do. Because in all honesty it has nothing to do with being a Cougar and everything to do with good timing and quippy lines. Also, its about six friends who live in the same cul-de-sac and hang out at a bar. And I thought to myself, wow, Courtney Cox in a show about six friends who hang out a bar. Interesting. Really out of her comfort zone. But actually its super funny, and you all should try it, unless its bad and then I blame this girl I go to church with who told me I should watch it.

But if this year pans out to be anything like last year I will start by recording 15 new shows and end up being a faithful follower of about two of them. Like last year when I started out with Mercy (huh? What is that?) and Accidentally on Purpose (where did it go? It was here and then poof it was gone) and ended up only recording Modern Family, The Good Wife and Cougar Town.

So which new shows do you think will make the cut? And which shows are you still watching from last year?

Sep 20, 2010

Tuesday, You Are Welcome Here.

5. Monday I went back to the gym. It was the first time in a very long time. On my way out the door a lady grabbed my arm and said, "Its good to have you back." And I thought that it made the gym feel kinda like a Sunday School class for really skinny people.

4. My stupid iPod broke. I went to the website to see how to reset it, but even that doesn't work. It is just really old and really used and really tired. And so it broke. And it broke while I was working out. And it decided to freeze up and break on a podcast that I had record 100 years ago and had never listened to called, "How to Discipline Your Children In a Christ-Like Way" by Focus on the Family. And my eyes got a major workout from all the rolling they were doing while I was working out. Stupid iPod.

3. Also on Monday I went to get a Texas license. I figured its about time since I've lived in this state over a year. I stood in line 25 minutes for them to tell me I needed a birth certificate ("I will need to find that"), my social security card ("Hmmmm...I know I saw that somewhere"), proof of vehicle registration ("Proof of a what on a huh?") and $25 (I only had $6 on me). She also told me I would have to have my picture made. I was surprised by all of this! The AG asked me later, "You didn't know it cost to get a licence and you had to have a picture taken?" And I replied, "I honestly didn't know all of that. I just assumed you got it for free and they used your old picture." "The one from Tennessee? The one from 12 years ago?" "Yes, I wanted them to use the one where I had The Rachel haircut." And it was then that I realized: I am my mother.

2. I picked both of my children up from school early on Monday. I disrupted one classes nap time and another classes recess. Both children were pretty hacked off at me, but they had a dentist appointment. Can I mention what a pleasure it is to ride down the street with one child who is crying from missing his nap and one who is screaming, "On Scooby Doo, Shaggy had to get a shot in his tooth. And then they made him eat cotton! Please don't let them give me a shot in my tooth! I hate cotton! Puhhlleeeeze mama!"

1. I arrived at the dentist 24 1/2 hours early.

Mondays. Gotta love 'em.

Sep 13, 2010

Not So Much Gloating, As Floating.

I don't use this blog to gloat.

Because let's be honest, what have I got to gloat about? I don't have a bikini ready body and I didn't just get back from my cruise around the world. So when I say to you, "I went on a girls weekend this past weekend and we stayed at the Ritz Carlton and it was awesome." I am not gloating. Nor should you take it that way.

Gloaters would be those people who when they stay at the Ritz they pull up in their convertibles, their over sized shades and their shitzu's in their purses.

Gloaters are the ones who wear their bikini's into the elevator while going to the pool.

Gloaters are the ones who walk up to the hotel bar and know some fancy shmancy drink to ask for.

I am not a gloater.

I am a mother.

And I went to the Ritz Carlton with three other mothers.

We got a discount.

We pulled up in my little black SUV that I did have especially washed for the weekend but one could still not mistake the fact that at some point in the not too distant past, a child threw up in it.

When we finally reached the hotel we looked like a hot mess. Why? Because we had gotten (collectively) 13 children off to school that day, straightened our houses so our husbands could at least find the remote, loaded our luggage in our car by ourselves and applied deodorant as we are driving down the road. When your a mother, it's a little hard getting out of town.

We never went to the pool and although our room overlooked it we never once looked at it. To do that we would have had to open the curtains. And to open the curtains would have been to let the sunlight in. And to let the sunlight in would have been to arouse us from a very restful sleep. The kind of sleep that goes from 10pm until about 8am. And them from 11am until about 1pm. And then from 3pm until about 4pm.

During the times we weren't sleeping we were eating. And not in the big fancy restaurant downstairs, oh no. We were eating the chocolate covered peanuts we found in the lounge. Why? Because we spent all our money guessed it..........presents for our kiddos.

See? So far? Not a gloater.

When we were thirsty we didn't go to the hotel bar. Nope. Instead we went to the hotel lounge. We stuffed free Dr. Pepper's in our purses along with bottles of Gingerale. Because one of us had the stomach bug that they had caught guessed it........our kiddos.

Oh, yeah. This is just gloatalicious.

While some gloaters leave in their convertible for the Galleria shopping experience, we do not. Instead we drive halfway across town to find a store that specifically sells Crocs. Because one of us has bone spurs and we need a good sole.

We also don't hit up an oxygen bar or a new age spa. We do however find one of those Rocky Mountain Chocolate stores and order a Diet Coke. And a chocolate covered pretzel.

While some who stay at the Ritz opt for the all day spa treatment, we choose to go to Nail Envy. It is ran by a family that doesn't speak one word of English and sang Buddhist worship music the entire time they did our feet. But we didn't care. Because one of us fell asleep and snored. One of us read a People magazine cover to cover. One of us updated Facebook and one of guessed it.........called to check on the kiddos.

While some girls leave the Ritz on a weekend night for a rousing evening of clubbing and caviar, we play it a little safer. We head to a nice, quiet restaurant where we can share our favorite recipes and help the other one come up with ways to punish her video game addicted teen. We discuss hair and fashion and our inability to do either of those with great panache. We share trade secrets in parenting and our husbands favorite things to eat that we make. We don't order sushi or fancy Japanese beer. We order the strip steak. And meatloaf, for the one with the stomach bug.

Because, you see, we are mothers. We are not gloaters.

We are wives. We are not gloaters.

We are ladies. And we are not fancy.

But we have each other. And we love each other. And we would listen for hours while one shares pictures of her kids or talks about the way her husband makes her life sweeter.

And I'm happy to do so - and I'm honored to do so - with these ladies.

So perhaps I am gloating........just a little.

Sep 6, 2010

Love Is...

Knowing there's nothing to be embarrassed about for being two. All two year olds love Mickey. In fact, Mickey rocks.

Knowing that your family cooked a feast of your favorite things: Hot dogs, grilled corn, cheese dip, watermelon and Nonie's chocolate chip cookies. It's also knowing that they ate it because I love it, even though it gave some of them heartburn.

Knowing that your mom knows exactly what a two year old boy wants. So she gets it. And even pays for it to be overnighted. And when she says things like - "I will never pay that much money to stupid ol' Wal-Mart again" - to dad, when she doesn't think I'm listening, we both know she will.

Knowing that since its a Mickey themed birthday and I'm the guest of honor that I have to wear these ridiculous ears.....

...while she gets to wear this. And look adorable. And I don't even care. Cuz she's my sissy. And I love her. Tiara and all.

And its knowing that when they start to sing the Happy Birthday song, and I get a little timid, that instead of stuffing my hands in my pockets I can hold on to my mom. Because my hand still fits perfectly on her.

Sep 2, 2010

I wanted to write a really funny poem to tell my little man Happy Birthday, but I can't seem to find anything silly to write about him. Even though he is silly personified.

Instead I just want to say that some people have the mistaken belief that an adopted child is so longed for that the minute they come into your world you are just enraptured with them. Wrong! Now certainly they are longed for, but bringing an adopted child home is no different than bringing a birth child home - you still have to bond, you still have to connect and sometimes its more difficult than other times.

And so it was with Rocco.

At his little small ten week mark I found myself with bags under my eyes crying to my doctor, "I can't sleep. He won't sleep. He needs something all the time and I don't know what it is. I think I'm losing it." And I remember The AG taking me to lunch and sitting across the table from him and saying, "I'm not bonding with him. Its just not happening. What do I do?" And his tender words were: "Give it time. You're tired. He is too. It will happen. I know it will."

And my Lord did it ever.

Within days of saying those words the Lord began to place in me a peace that this child was as meant for me as I was for him. I was not in over my head. I was not losing my mind. And I was not as bad at this task as I thought I was.

And suddenly Rocco began to overtake me.

His lips began to fit perfectly on mine. His eyes began to follow me around the room as much as mine followed him. His laugh began to show up in my dreams. And his hugs began to be the thing that got me out of bed the quickest. I fell in love with him. And I fell deep.

And sometimes I look at him and pray for the wife that he will marry someday and that prayer sounds like this, "Dear Lord, wherever she is, whatever she's doing, trip her. Because she is not good enough for him."

And then I ask forgiveness and pray a real prayer. And I pray over his life and his tender spirit. And I thank God that after he saw fit to give me the whirlwind that is Rocco's sister, he saw fit to give me Rocco. Who is undoutedly one the most sensitive, sweetest, loveliest little boys you've ever met. Who just yesterday got a swat for throwing a temper fit and thanked me afterwards.

I am more thankful for Rocco than I ever thought I could be. He has changed my life.

And he has changed it for the better.

Happy Birthday, Roccstar!


Sep 1, 2010

We're Back From A Brief Meltdown.

To say that I have had computer problems is putting it mildly. But I hate to blame anything on my computer when I could just as easily blame it on my children.

For the last 24 hours I have tried, tried and tried again to post something. After all, I have had MUCH to say (don't I always) but it has been met with great resistance on the part of all things technical. But literally, 12 minutes after The AG returned home from a business trip everything was running smoothly. Apparently there is some little button on the side of my computer that turns the internet on and off. And it was off. And it was not (Rocco) my fault (Rocco).

So now I can blog. Except that I forgot what I was going to blog about so now I have nothing to say.

Chances are I was going to blog about how Remi Hope has had a viral infection and has been running temps upwards of 104. And although that is sad and scary she is doing much better now so I don't feel so bad for asking this question: But is it just me or do all moms take temperature like this, "Okay you have 103.4. Which means you have been locked in this house with me since Sunday, so that's Sunday, Monday, and probably Tuesday and Wednesday. You have a temperature of 4 more days till mommy goes to live in a hospital."

Is that just me?

I love Remi's pediatrician, I really do. But when he came back in and told me there was nothing he could do for her "it will just have to run its course" I looked back and him and said "you get out that handy dandy prescription pad and you make some magic happen, Jack." Apparently he thought I was talking about for her. I wasn't.

So today, after four days of some really high fever and some really high pitched whining, Remi is back in rare form and off to school. Oh sure, she was still running 102 last night when I put her to bed but I sent her to school anyway.

Oh, seriously.

I'm not that bad.

Am I, Lord?

She was fever free and back to her old self. So off she went. Which means I need to get a few things done before they call from Rocco's pre-K to let me know he's running a temp. Which I expect will happen just annnnnnnyyyyytime now. The doctor said he predicts Rocco will have aquired this lovely disease by about 10pm Friday night.

Rocco's birthday party is on Saturday.

Do you see my problem here? I can't win for losing. But I'll tell you this, if that child gets sick and is in bed on the day of his birthday party I will not be upset that I spent my life savings on a cake that looks like Mickey's playhouse. Oh, no. It will still get eaten. I assure you. And I might (I said might) even let The AG have a piece.

And I thought I had nothing to say. Ha.