Wednesday, August 20


Little man face

New favorites

Happy Birthday, Cash

18 months

Cash and his green arm

fbcFall 031a


THAT is your real smile

(Stealing my own schtick here, as I did this when Ben turned five...)

Tuesday, August 12

Under new ownership

Under new ownership

We sold the salon.

The Moxie Salon is now owned by Brad & Cindy Norris.

What gives, right?

Much like when we sold the duplexes, a case of Too Much On Our Plates.

Ani has some sort of therapy appointment like EVERY Monday. Either with UCP or the AIDB and starting soon, a feeding clinic. (I think it's WONDERFUL that we have access to so many ways to catch up her development.)

She qualifies for all this early intervention until she's three. But it eats up a lot of Kris' time. The time he used for salon-ownership-related things.

Kris will still work at the Moxie, but now it's Brad that owns the Moxie.

I think this is swell.

We met Brad and Cindy ages ago. Brad was still the front man for a... screamy? Scream-o? A band. There was this duplex with a unit for rent next to the house Kris and I were renting. Brad and Cindy moved into the unit. And then we bought the duplex(es). Life is zany.

Brad had been interested in cutting hair, and now he knew a dude stylist. So when Brad was no longer with the band, he went to hair school. And then got a job working at Kris' mom's salon! Because, there again, zany.

And then Kris and I wanted to start a family, and we didn't want him commuting to another city when we had one, so... we opened a salon.

Guess who came to work with Kris at the Moxie?


So if you're gonna sell your awesome salon to somebody, isn't it great that they've been there since the beginning?

We didn't figure the Norrises would be interested. They, too, have four children. Who with four children has time to run a salon?

But their kids are a bit further apart, which no doubt gives some breathing room. (Also, and you probably know this, some people take to parenting better than we do. I mean, I think Kris and I are GOOD parents. But we find this gig HELLA HARD WORK, yo.)

A new chapter for the Moxie. I think it will be a good one.

Thursday, August 7

One kindergartener and two 2nd-graders


This is the kind of thing graphic design moms make when their kids don't all use their "real smile" in the same photo.

And this is the kind of thing that shows up in your inbox when you work with photojournalists:


Back to school, kiddos.

Monday, August 4

Sanity pocket

The kids have fresh haircuts for the start of school this week. (I ordered them each a new shirt in case they wanted one for the first day of school. The tracking number tells me the package is in my city, but isn’t supposed to be delivered until Thursday… which is when school starts. C’mon, Post Office! Cough up the Carter’s box before then!)

Speaking of new shirts, the sleeves on this one are so cute they hurt my feelings:


We had lined up Jordan to come watch the kids Saturday afternoon so we could go watch Guardians of the Galaxy. And then she got into some poison ivy & couldn’t make it.

I texted Jaimie about this and besides offering to come watch the kids so we could have a movie date (an offer she immediately regretted, no doubt), she was also like “hey, bring them to swim.” So we did.

The big kids frolicked in the pool but could not sweet talk me into joining them. I am too old to swim cold. (Ani hung out in the playpen or laps and also managed to break a glass bottle on the concrete. Troublemaker!)

Kris asked his mom if we could leave all four kids with them long enough on Sunday to go see the movie. She was game. (His dad bought Ani a plastic travel mirror and apparently she spent hours talking to herself in it.)

Seeing a movie on Sunday afternoon was so nice. A little pocket of sanity.

Tuesday, July 29

5 months of Ani

Five months with Ani

Hey, last week, I forgot to make a 5 Months of Ani post. Whoops. (C’mon, I have four kids. Be surprised I get anything done.)

Since we’re coming up on the 6-month-home mark, we met with a social worker yesterday as part of the post-placement report process. We answered questions about Ani’s eating (or lack of) habits, her sleeping, her siblings, her vision.

That meeting began at 9:30am, and one of Ani’s therapy meetings was at 10:30am, so the social worker got to see one of Ani’s speech therapy sessions.

We are SO FORTUNATE to have access to early intervention programs. The progress seems slow, but it’s there.

Also, you haven’t even been home five months yet! (And it took a few months to get referred to early intervention, so you’ve been getting therapy an even shorter amount of time.)

Like, I can’t really do much in the laundry room with you anymore. Because if I turn my back, you climb to the top of the shelving rack where I keep baskets. The top, Ani. Seriously?

I used to be able to sort and fold and stuff, because you were content to explore the washing machine. But that isn’t enough for you anymore, which while cumbersome to household chores, is also GROWTH.

It’s still the best when something makes you laugh, though. IT IS THE BEST SOUND. Everyone in the room will stop what they are doing to listen to you laugh.

Kris’ mom made you laugh on Sunday by flipping you back and tickling your tummy. These past two weekends, you have stayed there with your siblings as we ran a few errands. You’ve done well with that.

I made you laugh last night by doing tongue rolling sound effects. You were delighted. (I always loved how my mom could make that sound.)

How has it been FIVE MONTHS? (And how has it only been five months???)

Monday, July 28



Zoe had a Girls Only overnight stay at the water tower on Friday with Elizabeth and Emily. So the boys wouldn’t be bummed out, we let them each invite a friend to spend the night at our house — Evan for Ben and Vann for Cash.

I was prepared for it to be quite loud and rowdy with FOUR BOYS. I mean, you hear things. Right?

They ate watermelon and pizza. They played games on the computer. They came and shot us – pew, pew, pew! – on the sun porch. And then they settled in to watching TV.

So it turns out, you can DOUBLE the amount of boys in my house and it will still be quieter than if Zoe is at home. Huh.

Kris did go separate them when they were all still awake talking after 10pm. He sent the older boys to the guest room and the younger boys upstairs. (Vann relished the opportunity to sleep in the top bunk.)

In the morning, their adults came to get them and we went to Anna Ruth’s birthday party. We picked Zoe up after, and it was nap time when we got home.

What? After all this Spend-the-Night Adventuring, you expect us to NAP? Yes. You are still under the dominion of your Draconian Rest-time Overlords.

Sunday afternoon, the kids got to witness how well their parents can re-route the city. On the way to Kris’ parents, the north-bound exit off I-759 was blocked for a wreck. (I-759 is a spur, so it just ends and you have to go north or south.) Okay. So we went south.

“This isn’t the way to Monk and Mink’s,” Cash declared.

“It’s not the way we usually take, but it’ll get us there.”

On the way home, there was another wreck. I had the music blaring, because this is what I do when my children are being too loud or particularly quarrelsome, etc. I just turn the music so loud that they can’t hear themselves talk. (It’s not my most mature parenting tactic, but it works.)

I cut the music off. A cop was blocking South 11th Street, just before the entrance to the walking trail. I turned around and thought it’d be closer to try to take Hickory Street than detour through Rainbow City.

We made it half-way down Hickory and the bridge was out!

“This is the kind of thing I would have made a locator map for back in the day,” I told Kris.

Now we were just sort of driving around South Gadsden. (The GPS didn’t want to load, either.) It took a few turns, but we ended up in Walnut Park and then finally onto Forrest.

The kids didn’t like driving behind the steel plant. They thought it was creepy.

By the time we were on a road they recognized, Ben was declaring how thankful he was that we live where we do. Zoe agreed. A little detour and their perspectives changed. “I love our house,” Ben said when we got home.

Yeah. Me, too.

Thursday, July 24



Striplin's Open House was this morning, and I had three VERY EXCITED kiddos milling about and digging around in their school supply boxes. (Kris took Ani on to the daycare.) They chatted all the way to school about various teachers. Cash hoped to have Mrs. Tow but also Mrs. Barber. Zoe explained that he couldn't have Mrs. Barber yet, as she is a 2nd grade teacher.

We went and found all of their classrooms. Cash did get Mrs. Tow, and Ben got Mrs. Barber. (He hadn't told me, but apparently this is what he wanted, just like getting Mrs. Keeling for 1st grade.) Zoe got Mrs. Greer, who seems SUPER NICE. The kids don't know her since she doesn't do Edge, which made Zoe a little shy.

I had some excitement yesterday: I found out who Grace's parents will be! (Grace is the little girl with albinism that was in Zoe's same orphanage.) The mom-to-be and I are now Facebook friends and I was able to send her all the photos I collected of Grace from here and there.

It would have driven me CRAY-ZEE to not know where she ended up. Such a blessing to find out.

We met Ani five months ago today. We haven't even known her half a year yet!

One morning this week, she climbed on the little car Kris' parents got for her birthday. As she scooted it around, I thought about how when she got this gift in May, she didn't know what to do with it. At all. Toys were not in her repertoire.

Now she knows to push the buttons to make noise, and she knows she can climb on it and use her feet to push it. (I haven't managed to show her how the corn popper works, but she does so love the sound it makes.)

Similarly, when she came home, books were foreign to her. Now she will sit in my lap and let me read her a board book. She might turn the pages or lift the flaps or touch a fuzzy part. (She has a favorite paper-pages book. Not to read, of course, but she knows it by its spine and will pull it off the shelf to play with it. And I wonder "why this one?")