It’s about nothing.

I already had a post mostly written but I typed it out on my phone while I sat in my awesome recliner feeding Lanie and then the WordPress app started acting like a fool and now my post is in limbo somewhere and I’m not sure what is going on there so now I get to start all over.

The post wasn’t all that momentous.  I was bragging on myself for completing my 146th day of running at least 1 mile every day even though I have a chest cold and there was this picture of my running shoes because for some reason that felt like a good idea at the time but, really, who wants to see a picture of my running shoes?

Also, up until just a second ago I thought monumentous was a word. Apparently, even though I’ve been using that word my whole life, it is not an actual word. The actual word is momentous. This reminds me of the hyper bowl scandal of yore.

So, in the end this post is really about nothing and I feel very Seinfeld right about now.  Seinfeld was a very popular show so I guess something about nothing isn’t such a bad thing.

Here’s a picture of my shoes.

You’re welcome.

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Filed under: Um...

6 hours later…

Still sanding.  

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Filed under: Uncategorized

It has become our normal on Saturdays now to get a project done or partially done or maybe just a tiny bit done because it’s a huge deal to make all new kitchen cabinet doors and we keep getting sidetracked because there is always something shiny catching our attention.

We’re redoing the kitchen right now, which is a terribly large and time-consuming project and because we’re a glutton for punishment last week Rabbit and I decided we would add to the ever-lasting job by sanding and restaining our 14-foot long dining table which had become sticky and glittery (don’t ask) and gross. This sanding job that we thought would take a day or so after the help of urethane and stain stripper has turned out to take more than a week and “required” the purchase of a fourth sander and so much time that we could have been using to shop at Target.

We now have two sanders on the job and the hubster and I have both been working on the thick layers of stain and urethane that heavily coat this huge table and my hands are still vibrating and Rabbit says his fingers feel like they have springs in them.

I should add here that when I say I have been sanding, I mean I sanded once for like a half hour. Just enough to say I helped sand.  In my defense, Lanie has been sick this week and she requires me to squish and squeeze her and kiss all over her cheeks when she’s not feeling well so I really couldn’t do much to help anyway.

I’ll get a picture of the kitchen cabinets we’ve been working on for the last month and write up that post later if I have the time. They’re going to be beautiful.

Someday.

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Filed under: LucyMaggieSometimes we do stuffThe Rabbitthis house

I’ve always enjoyed the 90 degree weather that comes with living in the south. I could easily run my daily miles in 95 degrees except my running buddies wailing that it’s soooo hoooot makes me crazy so we try to get our run in during the cooler parts of the day.

Lately, while I still enjoy running in the height of warmth in the afternoon, I am finding myself looking forward the the cooler temperatures that may or may not be right around the corner because we live in Florida and while summer is quite predictable, you never really know what you’re going to get each winter. 85 degree Christmas? Sure. 30 degree New Years? Possible.

Yesterday the temperature here didn’t even get into the 80’s and I feel like this should be celebrated as some monumental record low for us here in Florida in August. Maybe it’s not, I don’t feel like asking Google. But the drop in temperature got me thinking about fall and I’m realizing that my love affair with hot southern weather is not what it once was and I’m ready for scarves and jackets and boots and does this mean I’m finally old?

For the first time in my adult life I am dreaming of sipping on coffee while sitting under a quilt on the porch watching the snow quietly pile up on the lawn.
What is happening to me?

Alas, this is not a realistic dream here in the southest of all states and for now I’ll have to be content to be here in this place that I have come to love.

I am beginning to believe that we Culbertsons are nomads at heart and the challenge for us might just be planting deep enough roots to hold us securely in one place.

I feel like a long vacation may be in order.

P.S. I cannot find the origination of the picture I used in this post so I cannot credit the source but I did not take it myself.

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Filed under: FloridaFriends & Family

The long process of adoption

Many of you know that we have completed our homestudy that qualifies our family to adopt from foster care here in Florida and many other places in the USA.  That was a year and a half ago and since then we have experienced the ups and downs of matches, non-matches, hope, mistakes, recertification, and the heartbreak of knowing a child is a victim of something that can potentially create in him or her predatory-like behaviors.  It angers me that a parent, or anybody, would do such things to a child. It angers me that those abuses can and do change a child, even a very young toddler, forever.

We recently received a call about a child that our family is being considered to adopt.  This caught me completely off guard because I feel we are often overlooked as a possible match because of our family size.  We’ve had calls about 3 possible placements so far and each call has had me so nervous.  The case worker asks me questions about our family, why we want to adopt, what we do for fun, and I’m so afraid of saying the wrong thing, not being clear, not giving enough information or giving too much information or going on and on about nonsense that doesn’t do anything but make me seem a little crazy so I err on the side of caution and do more listening instead of talking which I am not sure is any better.

I can’t think of the right questions to ask until I get off the phone and then I’m afraid to call back because I don’t want to appear obsessively eager but if I don’t call back our interest in the child might not be fully realized. I get my hopes up and remind myself not to get my hopes up in 10 second cycles and my stomach sits in knots while I try and reason with myself that being calm and patient and trusting in God is the best course of action.

The truth is we aren’t likely going to be matched with this child, no matter how much I want this placement. Because even though we believe that being adopted into a large, bonded family can be an asset to a traumatized child, from the outside looking in it can just appear like organized chaos, which is also true.

But, seriously, who wouldn’t want to be a part of this obviously fun family?

My plan is to remember that God is in control and if He is preparing us to adopt a child or sibling group we’ll know when He’s ready for us to know.  Until then, I’ll just hope and pray that we’re prepared for him, her, or they when the time comes.

And when that happens we’ll have fun updating our family pictures for sure.

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Filed under: adoptionFriends & Family

I’m sitting here wasting time because I’m not sure what to write about and I’m using my writers block as an excuse to not get anything done so there is a giant pile of laundry to fold and the little girls’ room is in a painful state of disarray and my closet needs decluttering and why on earth do I have 100 squares of felt when I don’t even like felt?

If you know me in real life you know that I have had a problem living up to my minimalist standards the past few years. It’s as if settling down in one place, knowing that we don’t have to move soon because retirement is less than a year away, has kept me from feeling the need to be move-ready and we’re finding ourselves overrun with stuff that has no purpose other than to remind me that I need to declutter and get rid of stuff.

But we’re discovering lately a stirring. A feeling of possible changes in our future that has prompted my inner declutter bug to get back to work after years of hibernation. I’ve been tossing and giving away things right and left preparing for a move that may or may not happen in a year or two.

Maybe it’s the every 3 to 4-year habit of moving the Navy created in us that has us instinctually assuming it’s time to move on. Or maybe it’s God’s plan for us to have another adventure. I can’t be sure. What I do know is I have a lot of stuff to get rid of and a lot of laundry to burn.
I mean fold.

 

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Filed under: Uncategorized

I really want to write something but lately, like the last 4 years, my head has not been about that at all.  I feel like I lost my muse or something and every so often I walk around asking “Are you my muse?” like a little bird looking for his mother.

Alas, I may have to just get used to writing without a muse for now.

It’s not as if I don’t have anything to write about. I have 10 kids and one of them is Maggie and she provides so much writing material all by her little 3-year-old self. And my 22-year-old is getting married in November and there is so much that could be said about that like her dress is unbelievable and I need to cook 100 lbs of taco meat and she forgot to save all of the Avery labels she created and they were all deleted before we could print them out and that’s like 150 address labels people.

But putting my day down here on the blog isn’t as easy as it once was. Even still, I’m not ready to give it all up and I know I need to make an effort to write more regularly.

Here’s a picture.

We were at Gabe’s cello lesson and we were running late and I didn’t get Lanie’s hair done so I just put a barrette in it and that didn’t really take.

And here’s another picture.

Kait is actively working on getting Lanie to interact with her.  Lanie just stares at her like she is in the picture most of the time. I think it’s the glasses, which is funny because Lanie wears glasses herself.

I was going to write more but Lanie is fussing and her brother trying to entertain her ain’t doing the trick.

I didn’t have time to proof read this. I’m sorry.

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Filed under: Uncategorized

I actually have my own Wookiee.

I suppose we should get her a pink one. This was three-year-old Maggie’s response to me mumbling about looking for a mini crib to replace Lanie’s co-sleeper now that she can get from a lying down to a sitting up position by herself.

I might add that watching Lanie go from laying down to sitting up is as entertaining as it is awesome. That little extra chromosome provides for some serious flexibility that astounds just about everybody who watches her move around.

Anyway, weeks ago Rabbit and I spotted this shirt at Target…

And we both suddenly realized that Maggie is a baby Wookiee.

See?!

I didn’t buy the shirt right away but did end up going back for it because Maggie has Wookiee hair and doesn’t care and how could I not?

This child is equal parts mischievous and loveable and my favorite thing she does lately is give me a hug and a kiss and ask me, while her bottom lip is all pouty,  Am I still your baby Wookiee?

To which I reply, Of course you are.

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Filed under: Maggie

The more we know the better we do.

Last night when I started writing this post I was feeling quite stabby but this morning, with a fresh perspective and a calmer heart, the tone has changed. So goody for you because you’re getting less ranty-Mel and more preachy-Mel, although I’m not sure either me is better than the other. Also, when I use the word you in this post what I really mean is you know who you are and it may not necessarily apply to you but if it does you’ll know it.


Growing up, my mother, and also my 4th-grade teacher who had adopted two girls with Down syndrome, had impressed upon me that certain words, though acceptable in society, should have no place in our vocabulary.

Not all that long ago and throughout much of the 1900’s people with Down syndrome were not considered human (and, sadly, this is often still debated in the scientific community). The word retard was at the height of its use during this time to describe a Down syndrome and those with mental disabilities. It was then appropriated to describe things or people that were stupid, ridiculous, worthless, relating them to a Down syndrome (notice the absence of the word person).  And while retarded can be used in a way not tied to this derogatory use, better words do exist and probably should be used. Retard was not, and is not now, a word used in a positive way.

I have to admit that even though I’ve never used the word retarded to describe stupid things or people, I had never understood why it was considered such a bad word by so many. I reasoned that as long as a person wasn’t using it to directly insult somebody with a disability it shouldn’t be considered derogatory and why is everybody so sensitive all the time?

But then there came Lanie.

On March 15th of last year, I gave birth to this absolutely beautiful baby girl.  She was born in the traditional fashion, 7 lbs 3 oz, goopy and crying and healthy and with Down syndrome.

And JUSTLIKETHAT everything, my whole world, changed.

Still, for months, while in the throws of denial about Lanie having Down syndrome, I continually tried to defend the use of the word retard, a word I never even used. I was fighting against Down syndrome. Fighting against how I felt it changing me. Fighting against becoming one of those moms. But the more I heard the word used in general conversation the more I cringed and hated the sound of it because I knew it was harming my child. It goes deeper than just hurting feelings. Using the word retard helps to sustain a negative view of an entire group of people who simply don’t deserve it.

When you use the word retarded to describe something stupid or ugly or wonky you are relating that thing to people like my 16-month-old daughter. It is degrading, dehumanizing, and devaluing. And whether or not you mean it like that, that is exactly what you are doing and how people like me hear it. And when you defend your use of it, you are not only perpetuating the continued use of it in our society, you are saying that using that word is more important than the human it is damaging.

And the truth is, parents of children with Down syndrome are often too sensitive and that does push people away and that topic definitely needs its own post. But there is a line, people, and using the word retarded is crossing it.

I understand that maybe you didn’t know this because not long ago I didn’t know this. But I do now so I’m telling you.

And now that you know, you should do better.

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Filed under: Down syndromeLanie

There’s nothing like cuddling together on Daddy’s pillow and reading a book about how not to care for a new baby.

These girls sure do love their Daddy. I wonder how he’s going to feel about the chocolate Maggie wiped into his pillow case from her face.

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Filed under: Uncategorized

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