Sunday, October 30, 2011


This weekend, Dora and Diego (kissing cousins) set out on an adventure. Prepared to rescue absolutely nothing... except some solid adult time. The kind, where adults act like ridiculous children.

Arriving at our gracious hosts house, we were pumped for Halloween fun and Scavenger Hunt 2011, baby.

I whipped this hunt together, in maybe an hour or so... (try several weeks) threw a couple quick ideas together... (researched and provided a detailed theme centering around Spooky songs) ... basic locate a black cat, kind of stuff... (our possible arrest factor was at the highest level.) Clues Included:

'Zombie Jamboree'

'Breakin the Law... Breakin the Law.'

'In the Shadows' Locate a headstone with the number 13 printed on it. This one actually got just a bit spooky if you were not the person holding the flash light.

Children of the Corn. Taken in a corn field.

Flag Girl (Lydia) and Beetlejuice in our chariot.

There were MANY stops and MANY clues to photograph. But I'd rather showcase some costumes.

Warhol and Sweetbreads dressed very poorly
(or maybe very well) as the opposite gender.

DJ Bride. Preggo but still rockin some sweet tunes.

Coach with his favorite girl in photos.

Is this weird... but did Mrs and General look almost better as Cavemen? Seriously, she was beautiful (and curvy!) and he is oddly hot in leg-warmers.

Winehouse: Thanks for letting our hunt repeatedly crash your party. You coulda said "No. No. No."

We know I don't care for hugging on a normal basis: this made me extremely uncomfortable. You can almost see the shiver moving down my spine.

Oh wait... no, actually THAT made me extremely uncomfortable. Grandpa: you must be so proud of your eldest son. He is very pretty.

Out of 4 teams, my team placed second. Upon further review, I declare WE are the actual winners. We first appeared to lose to The General's team by a mere 15 pts. 15 pts we would have earned with the best pumpkin smash (clearly ours was more dramatic.) Originally, the 15 pts were awarded to General's team. Except, I discovered later they actually smashed my child's pumpkin, from our porch.
The Clue clearly reads:

'Smashing Pumpkins':
Smash your RECENTLY PURCHASED pumpkin 10pts
The most dramatic smash, receives additional 15 pts.
Judging based on location, style and mess.

FIRST: You did NOT smash your recently purchased pumpkin. Therefore, that is NEGATIVE 10pts
SECOND: Judging based on location? -15 pts

Tink sadly declared this evening "Mom...I jus hafta use your husband's punkin for my jackolater because Ahkenna's daddy jus smashed my punkin."

Hear This: If people don't stop smashing my children's pumpkins (or smashing pumpkins on our vehicles)
The Hunt Master will retire from her post.
Plus, I'm nervous I can't possibly top this year.
Though Coach just told me: "Nobody actually got arrested last night, so you've got more in ya."

His comment, sorta felt like a dare.

Friday, October 28, 2011

4 Thank-yous Plus 1.

Chili Davis these are your 4(1) Birthday Thank-yous.

1. Thanks for being a nice guy. Seriously. A great guy. A good man. As often quoted by me (for years!) "We really love Chili. We really like when Chili is around. We think Chili is great." You were always the better half.

2. Thank-you for including me in the surprise Saturday at the Bears game. It was easily one of the Top 20 days of my life. If I think about it... I can still hear the quiet, secret click of Doc's can, from the back seat. That was an amazingly great day.

3. After showing the above pic: Thank-you for always hugging Coach up in every picture. As if he will perpetually remain your Lil' Buddy... even though he is actually a grown-a$$ man, with three children.
But still... it's sorta cute.

4. Thank-you for taking your bleepin Iphone to New Orleans, which housed your Mapquest App... which you obnoxiously used, even though I was standing right there, with a New Orleans book opened to an actual map. Thank-you for helping to make my super cool tourist book, appear dorky and outdated.
Yeah... thanks for that.

Plus 1:
But mostly, thank-you from all of us...
for making This Girl smile:

Because, a Smiley Flag Girl is WAY sweeter than a
... ummm... Un-Smiley Flag Girl.
Happy 41st Birthday, Chili Davis.
You really are a great guy.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Eleven!

Oh, her eyes,
make the stars look like they're not shining
Her hair, falls perfectly without her trying
She's so beautiful, and I tell her every day

When I see your face,
there's not a thing that I would change
Cause you're amazing, just the way you are
And when you smile,
the whole world stops and stares for a while
Because girl you're amazing,
just the way you are

-Bruno Mars

Happy Birthday to my God-daughter
and Tink's Best Cousin Forever!

You have yet to meet a camera, unable to capture your beauty with mini model-like perfection. Your electric blue eyes... your perfect smile... steal away any photograph. I enjoy your hugs and barely notice your tiny, bony bottom, as you snuggle on my lap. I look forward to your magnetic energy during each play-date! We love you bunches.
Enjoy your day: Tink's bigger little cousin.
Thanks for dressing with so much style,
just to wave good-bye.
Who said, sequins can't be worn in the morning?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Just Wonderin' Halloween 2.0

*Why would anyone grow up and decide they want to be the house handing out the crappy cheap candy? And yet, there are obviously people who do.

*Same idea for handing out toothbrushes, we don't tell your kids to get a haircut... but we'd like too.

*Why do I insist on semi-making my children's costumes every year? The imaginary bear hug and "Thanks, mom you are the greatest, I appreciate your love and attention to detail" never comes to fruition. After I die, they are going to feel super guilty about not continually telling me how Great I was. Especially, after reading the chapter in my journal, where I describe in detail how Great I am.

*Every year, Coach and I dance to the same music. We purchase several bags of candy. Then Halloween morning, I call in a desperate panic for him to buy more. Because our supply appears to have been misplaced. Why does he continue to participate? Because I am a real-life witch... that's why.

*When did Halloween turn into the slutty holiday? Why are the women's costumes too short, too tight and too lacking in clothing? Has the nation forgotten October nights are freezing and the general idea is to consume obscene amounts of candy?? I'd prefer not to be photographed in a belly-less Navy Seal costume, chowing down my 4th Buttercup... who am I kidding... I mean my 7th buttercup. Maybe my 8th.
But I totally skipped lunch.
Facebook doesn't need that tagged photo.

*What child would Trick and not Treat? I say:
'If given the choice... always choose Treat. Eventually, life will play plenty of cruel and rotten Tricks on you'.
Put that on a friggin Hallmark card.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Question: How can you Tell if you are the Third Baby???


A.) If you are wearing hand-me-down Christmas pajamas, in the middle of October.

B.) You have that... "My momma might've missed a couple-too many Prenatal vitamins" look in your eyes.

C.) All of the above.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Heart Break

This past weekend was extremely difficult.

* After a long and brave fight, a beautiful young woman named Taylor, lost her battle with cancer.
She was a classmate of One's. She should be enjoying a life at college. While I did not know Taylor personally, her father is The Kid's teacher. This man, returns my son to me each afternoon, inspired and enthusiastic about his day at school. That alone, tells me enough about the character of this family. They are Good People. And their loss must feel crippling.

* My brother suffered the very worst weekend, in his ongoing struggle with schizophrenia. Our nightmare escalated to a frenzied and desperate place. At this moment, he is at the hospital with my father. Hopefully, being admitted for a successful rehabilitation. I fear he may be gone for some time.

While many may be unable to see the connection between these two heart wrenching events... they feel unbearably similar, this evening. When God gifts a mother and father, with their precious child, their arms immediately reach to pull the new warm bundle into their hearts. Your first instinct of protection is primal.
A mother immediately thanks God, while simultaneously praying that He helps her, to keep this child whole and well. Unfortunately, answering that prayer is completely unrealistic. Their knees will scrap, their hearts will break, their bellies will ache...
And then, sometimes the beautiful bodies the mother had once created, will break beyond repair. And no matter the reason, the parent instinctively wishes to hold their grown baby, to their heart. As if, a parent's love will be strong enough to heal any ailment.

This weekend, families are in pain. For each of those families, I am Tru-ly sorry. But through the overwhelming misery, I have witnessed a small town unite. In our time of need, we were able to turn to several, whom stopped their lives to help us. Their contributions, no matter how small, were great and significant to my family. Your kindness, has etched a special spot in our hearts.

A sweet suggestion circulated, to remember Taylor. We were asked to light one candle on our front porch tonight. This was the perfectly appropriate manner to have my son, understand and share in the loss..

To every parent, whom has held their child as they suffered. Who has watched their baby's future fade away. Who has unwillingly surrendered their child, to a plan greater than their own: I can not imagine.
My thoughts are with you.

And now,
I'm glad I didn't know the way it all would end
the way it all would go.
And our lives are better left to chance.
I could have missed the pain,
but I'd have had to miss the dance.

Yes, my life is better left to chance.
I could have missed the pain,
but I'd have had to miss the dance

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gimme-a... H I C K....

Ok...Let's get Tru Stories back to business.
Weeks ago:
Ditta texts. Asking if we were in for a Team Trivia Night, raising money for Special Olympics. Sure, ok.
1 Week later, he texts this is a theme night. How about Superheros? Sure, ok.
1 Week later, again: Oh... by the way it's an hour out of town, with a classier group of people in attendance and it's sorta for his work... Ummm, ok.
Then the real drama begins...
So hey, how about we change from Superheros and instead, all the guys can wear the Hickory Huskers uniform from the 50's dance? Fine, ok. Except, that means all the girls have to be cheerleaders.
WAIT... hold the phone. Me too???
We started with a long skirt/sweater idea, similar to the actual cheerleaders of their day. Once or twice, I suggested khaki pants, which apparently was
'the worst suggestion in history'.
Finally, The Mrs. sends out a mass email, which I assumed to be a joke. Instead: it was a walking, wide-awake, living nightmare. The Mrs. found an actual cheer leading web-site where we could just order matching uniforms (yippie!!) and should we go with yellow and maroon (Yes! Why not?! I sooo Heart Yellow!) and the skirts are sorta short so what size did I want (well an XS of course!) and then we could all wear matching Keds (Obviously! I totally want to run out and buy matching Keds!) and doesn't this sound fun and aren't we super excited!!?
After a lifetime of repelling anything cheer leading
(I barely smile, much less enthusiastically shout the spelling of cheerful inspiring words): this sounded like the OppOsite of Super Fun.
But it was for charity (yada) and even though I tried convincing Tink into last-minute puking (she wouldn't) Coach and I prepared to go. With authentic olden-day cheerleader bangs, in tow.

Just wearing the 'uniform' had my skin crawling and my uncomfortable gene flaring... so when we arrived and discovered only 3 out of 50 tables had actually dressed in a theme... it got sorta awkward. The Cherry, on the whipped cream??? The girls had ordered matching Yellow socks with poms and 'CHEER' printed on them. (SQUEAL!! I'm so EXCITED!! I can totally wear those again!)

Please notice.. A.) My bangs. B.) the 300 people in plain clothing. C.) How weird and awkward my arm looks attempting to hip-hold that pom.

Halfway through the event, we learned we lost Best Costume/Table... uhhh, what? Someone shouted "Did you even see this table??!!" and pointed to us.
I responded, "Did they even see my bangs??"
People were not happy.
The Mrs. was even less happy.
Her and The General are pretty accustomed to winning Best Dressed and got just a little bitter on the Trivia answer sheets.

By the end, at least 4 maybe 5 people had some fun. (Mostly those related to the Sunbury side of the table.) We left empty handed.. though I (luckily) have that uniform (and socks!) For Life.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Brother's Name is Joel.

My blog typically serves as an amusing stage for my extended family's hilarity. People click on Tru Stories from the 222nd Floor for a giggle or a cute picture. I often credit myself as living life filterless and keeping it 'realz'. A trait, I am actually surprisingly proud of.
In the past two years, I have sparingly mentioned my brother's illness. I have politely referred to his troubles as 'being ill' or 'not exactly the boy I remembered'. I am not ashamed of my brother or embarrassed by his disability. I have simply avoided details, in an effort to keep my 'public' from feeling uncomfortable. There are words/topics our society shrugs away from.
Yesterday, it finally occurred to me, my brother deserves a voice on my blog. As an outlet to hundreds of people all over the world, my continuing silence on this subject encourages the prejudice of the uninformed. If Coach's sister, had been diagnosed with cancer, I would have opened the blog floodgates. Pleading for your prayers. I would have posted her picture and bragged of her beautiful traits. By not treating my brother's illness with the same dignity, was a mistake. I owe him my apologies.
My little brother is four years younger than me. He was the bright light of our family. My brother's name is Joel. He has Schizophrenia. This, is his Tru Story.

Joel was diagnosed at 18. After two years of erratic behavior, which lead to experimenting with drugs or alcohol. (The eventually progression for nearly every schizophrenic.) Family or friends, immediately felt more comfortable blaming the drugs for Joel's behavior. I always understood the drugs were the result and not the cause. Joel had eccentricities as a child, which are now easily explained. He was nervous at slumber parties. He always kept his window tightly locked. He would color coordinate his drawers. We accepted these quirks as the traits of an extraordinarily brilliant child. Testing far above other children his age. Since his diagnosis, there has been times of extreme sadness. Times of bored daily survival, with a few precious moments of joy.
The brain is a complicated muscle, sending electric impulses to register thoughts, discomfort, physical need and emotion. A perfectly normal brain, often juggles their impulses fairly accurately but can confuse themselves with alcohol, sleep deprivation, even a passionate love affair. The schizophrenic brain has the same electric impulses extremely magnified and without the ability to properly compartmentalize.
For Example:

Woman A (with a normal brain) walks into a crowed bar, alone. At that very moment, Table Q (with several strangers Woman A has never met) turn in her direction, anticipating the arrival of a friend. Without having noticed Woman A, Table Q returns to their conversation, making a quick joke about the lateness of their missing companion. Table Q laughs hysterically. Woman A, believes they noticed her and made a joke at her expense. She stands frozen, registering the moment in her mind. While she is standing, two patrons from Table Q again look in her direction. One whispers to the other, they are STARVING and irritated with their late guest. The other responds by rubbing his belly and laughing. Woman A, witnessed this exchange, convinced they were making fun of her bloated belly in the dress she wore. Woman A feels embarrassed. Her face is red and she in devastated, believing Table Q is discussing how awful she looks (she already felt unsure wearing the dress!) She turns from the bar, rushes out humiliated. Returns to her warm apartment. Throws in jammies. Stays up late, feeling depressed and eating ice cream.
Table Q... never the wiser.

A similar moment has occurred for EVERY woman EVERY where. In Jr high, a girls bathroom...etc. Eventually, Woman A would calm. Realize Table Q probably was NOT talking about her. Woman A would feel silly and forget how ridiculous she behaved.
My brother, suffers moments like this, every time he walks into a public function. He is convinced the world, thinks he is weird. He is afraid people are talking about him. He becomes paranoid, ashamed, embarrassed. He may attempt to defend himself. He has likely created the scenario in his mind... though his disease prevents rational deduction from helping him realize the idea is ridiculous. He craves the safety of his home or the comfort of small groups, he can trust.

In the past 2 months, my brother has been weaning off an old medication and desperately searching for another. The result has left him seriously manic, sleep deprived and with painfully clear depressive thoughts of his life. Joel has been hospitalized, lost weight, attended countless appointments and taken hundreds, if not thousands of pills. My mother has written several uncomfortable posts on her blog. Unfortunately, each has become more of an irrational journal entry, too personal for many to deal with. Her ugly honesty, has unintentionally solicited uninformed advice.
I have heard people rationalize... "At least Joel is not a 7 year old, suffering from cancer." True. I pray to never know the pain of losing a child to an accident or cancer. Though, I honestly pray even harder my 3 beautiful children shall never inherit my brother's fate. My parent's only son, essentially died at the age of 17. (I understand this declaration will offend many, yet I stand by this statement.) Who Joel was, who he could have become, his memories, his interests, his abilities... died 13 years ago. Today, remains the adult shell of the person Joel could have been.

My parents are struggling with the impossible decision of long-term care. Professionals and friends have matter-of-factly, told them 'it is time.' I share the sentiment, this situation is not ideal or healthy for my parents and Joel. They are living in a highly-stressful environment. Still, my question is this:
If Joel had suffered a terrible car accident at 17, was severely paralyzed, yet retained his mind: would people callously expect my parents to cart him away?
From my more personal angle, Joel is my only sibling and an Uncle to my three children.

Joel is extremely uncomfortable attending formal events, in new locations. Yet, when The Kid received his First Communion, Joel was his only God-parent in attendance. Joel wore a new outfit, to a service not of his denomination, walking directly behind his God-son, to the front church.

Joel is nervous in situations with lights and loud noises. This winter, he attended every one of The Kid's basketball games. And several home baseball games.

(Uncle and Coco.)

After spending durations in Bromenn, Joel is terrified to be near hospitals. Yet, he faced his fear to visit The Kid, within hours of his birth. Joel will never have a daughter of his own. Though he will happily, draw a driveway full of princess castles (for his bossy Tink), play Barbies with his Coco and patiently read countless books, to his innocently adoring nieces.

It may shock the public to realize, there are not cute little Group Homes, on the corner of every small town. Honestly, mental illness has made very small strides from the days of the Cuckoo Nest. The nearest location to place Joel, is one hour and thirty minutes away. It is unlikely children under the age of ten, would be able to frequently visit such a location. If or when my brother is placed, will essentially end the relationship between Uncle and my children.
Joel will be alone. In a strange town. Without his parents, his sister or the only children, he will ever form a relationship with. Our family holidays will be reduced to uncomfortable 'Day Before' visits or brief lunches. On Christmas, we will celebrate without Joel... pretending to not feel his heart-breaking absence. The unbearable guilt will hang over our family. His phone calls, begging to be allowed back home, will rip at my parents soul, crippling their marriage. No more basketball games. No chalk castles.
I hate to appear so crass: but none of this makes me feel lucky, Joel is not dying from cancer. This illness is very much a cancer on my family.

If this post, has angrily struck a cord... I am glad. I want to shake your beliefs on schizophrenia. I want to start a candid discussion. Suggest this blog post to a friend. Or take another understanding look at the 'weird guy' in your community. My brother does not need your pity... he is sad enough for himself. My brother does not want you to feel uncomfortable in his presence... he is uncomfortable enough within his own mind. My family does not benefit from your whispers... my brother continually and bravely battles the whispers, haunting his thoughts.
My little brother's name is Joel.
He is Schizophrenic.
And I still, really love him.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I lobe you, Five times more.

There are moments, as a mother, when you fall in-love with your child... all over again. Typically, a mother loves their child immediately. Unconditionally. Upon feeling them within your belly. Or the first moment you are given your baby to have and to hold. And The Evening... maybe three weeks after your baby has been welcomed into the world, when you hold her close and can actually feel your heart physically grow. Bursting to the point of heartbreak, for the grateful gladness of being her mother.
You become busy with the chaos of motherhood. Moments are blurred with the feeling of frustration, exhaustion, hands to the heavens-wondering why they just HAVE to put their hand in their poopy diaper!? But then... there is a week. A month. A morning... when you 'see' your child again. You pause to notice them. Notice how they have grown, who they are becoming. They take a first step. Tell their first joke. Magically learn how to use the remote control. And you realize:
Oh... That's right. My baby is growing up.
The over whelming, throat closing, almost painful heart burst, washes over. Nearly knocking you over. I felt myself fall in-love with Tink again, during the last month. Her unique personality, her forming relationships and her breath-catching beauty.

My Tink is an acquired taste. She is most certainly not going to make herself easy for just anyone to love. She will not 'kiss a grandmother goodbye' just because they are leaving. Or appease her uncles with a pretend laugh. She will not paint a pretty picture to make others more comfortable. Or deliver a posed smile, just to fill your photo album.
But if you have played your game real smooth, if you have grazed on the outside edge of her land without an eager desperation and she has accepted you into her world. You are Golden. Tink has proven herself a loyal friend. She adores her inner circle of family. She has a surprisingly gentle understanding and patience with her Uncle. And an unwavering devotion to her parents and grandparents. She lights up in the presence her cousins (from her rweally big boy cousins to her faborite gwirl cousins).

Tink rarely 'guess what I did in school today!' or brags about her accomplishments. Though I see her growing with a quiet wisdom. She seems to understand her world with a sensitivity. She is feeling what she is learning. She absorbs the conversations, relationships or actions of those around her. Within hours of her birth, her eyes seemed to clearly 'get' her surroundings with the calmness of an older woman.

My Tink has character, to spare. While she is certainly not the Jazz-hands Broadway sensation that is her little sista or the Award Winning Pampered Genius which encompasses the personality of her big broda.... Tink has depth.
She had perfected her eye-roll by her first birthday. Her irritated sigh could out-dramatic Elizabeth Taylor. Her petite hand seemed to naturally settle on her little hip. She has literally been called out of school 'Naked'. She dropped out of Tumbling due to an extreme lack of 'not caring to raise her arms'. Tink will comfortably ignore the person sitting next to her. She will politely and mater-of-factly discuss the flaws of your complexion or eye color... and she seriously will not take any c*@p from any one. No danks.

Tink. Is. Beautiful. She stole our family photo shoot, without effort. Her deep thinking blue eyes, the strangely calming color of a storm approaching in a warm afternoon sky. Her small, precious features which mistakenly liken a perfect China doll. The sweet line of her cheeks, may trick the unsuspecting into wanting to cup her lovely face for a kiss. (My sincere best luck to whomever would attempt that mis-step.) And her ridiculously untamed curls, which for many become even more impressive the less they are wrangled. Tink tires of 'being her Dad's pretty' but her beauty continually takes my breath away.

To my Tink:
You will always be my tiny perfectly pink doll. The very best surprise, to a woman whom typically dreads the unknown. You have changed my life. Your stubborn competitive nature will undoubtedly become a challenge. The world could always use more fairies. Thankfully, I was gifted the feistiest, tiniest, most determined fairy of them all. I lobe you Tink.
All over again.
You're still and always just too good to be Tru.
Happy 5th Birthday.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Rapunzel Birthday.

This afternoon we threw our smallest, cheapest, shortest birthday party eva. From the looks of these pictures, it seemed to work out well for everyone.
I could have posted 30 more smiley pics.
Happy Rapunzel Birthday party, Tink!!
I heart your cute little cousins and friends.

Now... seriously my teeny tiny smallest lil baby you ever did see, is not REALLY turning Five on Monday?
That can't be right. Is it??

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Mother and Son Dance.

The Kid's school held it's first Mother and Son Sweetest Day dance. And this week, The Kid asked me (via a hidden note) if I would check Yes or No... to attend the dance with him.
Thankfully, I checked Yes.
The Kid and Grammy ordered my beautiful wrist corsage and Coach secretly padded The Kid's pocket with dinner money. And off we went... on our date.

After a peaceful (sista free) dining experience. We chatted and exchanged pleasantries (The Kid pulled out my chair and asked for the bill). At the Dance, we stumbled upon the Second Cutest Couple and danced side by side for the remainder of the evening. Apparently, the majority of Mother/Son combos are not so interested in each other's company or smooth dance moves. Out of the MANY attendees, we were practically the only four dancing away the evening.

Which was a crying shame.
The Bride (Otherwise known as The DJ) sideswiped me with a surprising Hallmark moment, choosing to play my Top Three Favorite song.

As I danced with my eldest, my only son... I was a bit chocked up, as I realized the tiny baby I had danced to sleep nightly, is now a very tall pre-teen-ish. And I suspect, our future slow dances are numbered. I am grateful for tonight and the memories made.

"So take the photographs,
and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time"

For what it's worth it was worth all the while
It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.