The Joys Of Teenagers or The Monster In The Drain

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As a mother of twelve, four grown with families, and eight at home, I am constantly alarmed at what six teenagers can do to their rooms.  The two twin twenty year olds are a whole other scenario.

Lets start in the basement.  Four girls, two nearly eighteen with their own rooms, and two (twin) nearly sixteen year olds in a shared room.

One bathroom.   Disaster.  Could call the Health Department.

I do check this, please note that.  But, I do other things in my life.  Mothers have lives too, so they cannot always collect all the washing, or clean up every mess in the lives of eight between the ages of thirteen and twenty.

Well last week, I had a cushy life.  It was spring break and I took the five, somewhat easiest, to the beach.  The youngest four were obviously the messiest, and the least to clean up.  Note to self that this should change.

I was assured in my absence, that the bathrooms were wonderful, the washing was done, the house was immaculate .

They lied.

After I got through the twenty odd loads of washing from home, not the beach -I did that before I left- I ventured down to look at rooms and said bathroom.

The drains were blocked.  In a week????  So I got the plunger from behind the disgusting toilet, covered in long hair, dust and stuff I won’t name here, and I plunged that sink.

CRAP!!!  Up from the bowels of the sink drain came this rather large, almost huge, scary, creepy many legged creature!  It flew out as I plunged and almost hit me!  I dived, flayed the plunger at that sucker and got it back in the sink.  My heart was racing!

I kept my cool.  I’ve watched those scary movies.  Heck I played the scary role in a film about to be famous.  I breathed in, pushed that hundred legged wormy creature back down the drain and drowned it.

The water was still not going down the drain.  I closed my eyes and plunged.  The monster was back in the drain, or the lock, or the sea that belongs at the end of the drain.

Can I say I am dramatic?  Yes, I am an actress.  A real one, with an agent.

I got myself together.  I retreated almost hearing the Bach’s Tocattta and Fuge in Dm.

Then in trepidation I approached the top floor.  The home of the twin twenty year olds.

Words fail me.  They have real creatures.  Like lizards, and flying things in cages.  The rats (pets) have gone because of my begging, but, any live creatures are smelly at the least.

Then there are their wet towels from the hot tub. Yes we live on what some would call a resort with hot tubs and heated pools.  Underneath monster cans, snack packets, gym bags, pistachio shells, crap from the two flying foxes (Australian), and the cage, which is double storied,  I find a pile of smelly clothes.  I think they have lost these.  They have become part of a lost Kingdom.  Underneath that, are coat hangers!  Oh the cry of my heart.  Do you understand how many coat hangers you need with eight kids??????????

Millions.  That’s all I’ve got to say about that.  It’s like a box of chocolates.

I could barely find their beds.  At least they had sheets on them, but the blankets and comforters were hanging in all the other mess.

Quite frankly I couldn’t walk through any of it, let alone know where to start.

This took a week to make.

Of me not being here.  I cleaned before I went.

Me not cracking the “whip” so to speak.

Speaking in a nice, kind Mrs Doubtfire voice that tells them to clean it up dears, is just an illusion.  I scream like a rabid animal caught in a trap because they ignore me, through the nice request.  Then they have the audacity to ask “Why is Mum so crazy?”

Oh I wish.  But.  And this is a BIG BUT!

If you are called, or find yourself in a large family, then this crap happens.  I am a little OCD or CDO as I prefer.  If you want to keep peace, some of this has to go by the wayside.

If you want to be something other than a Nazi cleaner, and a mother who yells about the mess, then you have to let some things slide.

Not to chaos, but to living.  Sometimes things get away.  Not the end of the earth here.  Sometimes, as a mum you get overwhelmed, but it’s not the end of the world either.

Learn to be flexible.  Learn to understand the laughter along with the endless mess, washing, animals, huge family gatherings which leave another mess, but leave a lot of memories.

Today, I made some really funny memories that I will tell my children’s children and everyone will laugh.

It’s called family.  In my case, blended, beautiful, big family.

Lessons learned.  While I have this many kids at home there will always be some, or major mess.

It is my job to teach them to clean it up.  Even if I am tearing my hair out.  Because if I do it, I am not teaching them.

Now, to chill out, after the 20 loads of washing.

Join my email for more fun and adventures in the blended family.

WILL BLOOM

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So… Why are we parenting differently from a Galaxy far far away?

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So, we are coming home from the beach today.

Need to set alarms early, like, 6a.m. cause I got five kids with me.

Sheets off all beds, towels in the wash, all bags packed as well as food.

Breakfast………….mmmmm………… different story.

Two get up.  GREAT!  Three are dragging.  One has personal stuff.

Make-up, hair, appearance.

Two (twins) who are the youngest think they are exempt.

Phones are really important.  Like what are their friends doing?

Like in my grandkids, also coming home from the beach.

Finally out the door, made it in just over an hour.  Record time.

Anyone with large families will get this.  Two, one, easy peasy.

Then, oh then.

I get the over usage of data message.  I try to say nicely, NO FACETIME!!  Of course using my nice voice doesn’t work, but on the second over usage of data, I guess I elevated my tone to make it work!

Bored!  All bored.  They all have cell phones, a flat screen TV with video and a large bag full of videos to watch.  They have pillows, reclining leather seats (we drive an airport shuttle with all the bells and whistles) and they are still thinking “BORING!”

About that time I thought I should tell a small story, but one that was a  wee bit telling about the age we live in.

I reminisced.  You see when I was a kid, up until I was about ten or so, and I do know I am dating myself here.  We didn’t have a TV, there were no cell phones, no internet (90’s I believe), and no I Tunes, FaceTime you got it etc.

When I was going and coming from holidays it was like this.  We all got up around 3 a.m.  Dad read the paper, delivered to our door, Mum started the packing.  There were no fast food restaurants, and buying food in any form was pretty rare.  She had to prepare for our holiday at a remote spot on the beach understanding we were going for three weeks.

Food for a family of five (sometimes six because our grandma would come), clothes for all of us, games we could play, fishing rods, hats, flip flops (we called them thongs, and yes I know), warm and cold extras because it was Fall, or Autumn as we called it.

And, my daddy loved to go out on the boat fishing, so extra stuff for him.

I wish I could remember if he took his banjo-mandolin with him.

Then the journey. Yup, what a trek.  Gosh, well, we got up at 3.am. but Dad had to read the newspaper.  Very frustrating for Mum, who made his cup of tea, toast and eggs, and had all of the other packing to do.  Boy do I relate.

We had an old green van.  A “Comma”.  It was almost like a seven seater these days, but wasn’t.  It had two benches which wasn’t enough so we had a couple of extra back seats.  No seatbelts at all.  I’m not even sure that were not two front seats and a bench.  I was really young, but did remember that old green van.

The roads were not that great in 1957 plus, and many bridges were not built at that time.  To get to our holiday destination (which was also mine for some forty years plus after that) we drove 200 miles at around 45 miles an hour, crossed three rivers by driving on a ferry, and and it took us about 12 hours to get to our destination.

It was worth it.  We played “I Spy”, and all other sorts of games.  We asked “how long until we get there” more often than my parents could have stood, but we did get there.  And, we made lots of memories.  Without phones, TV, FaceTime, Face Book, The Internet and constant communication.

Was it worth it?

Oh yes.  You see I took my own kids there for multiple holidays before I moved here.  They made memories they will never forget.  I have taken this blended  family to this very place, across the many miles, to Australia.  They have not forgotten.

So, why are we giving in to phones, Face Time, Face Book, Snap Chat, Instagram and many of the apps out there that are affecting the innocence of our children.  Why are we becoming subservient to our children’s needs for what?  Just putting this out there.

Maybe parenting has become old fashioned and if it has, then maybe that is why we have a lot of “Lost Children” in our foster systems, our  adoption rolls, and our international issue of children without parents.

And I do know a lot of  those children are not the products of electronics, they are the products of hunger, alcohol, drugs, war, neglect and ignorance.

I encourage you.  TV, phones, electronic instruments are not the answer.  Sometimes, a good old fashioned game, or just a family dinner around the table has the answer.

For the “Lost Children”?  We are their answer.  They do not have a voice.  They feel invisible.  Those children are on our streets, around the corner, in foster homes, in the “projects” and overseas in orphanages.  Orphanages that do not love or hold these children, places in Africa where children roam the streets hungry, alone and uncared for.  And the numbers are growing.

All I ask, is this.  Pray as a family, eat as a family, laugh as a family and play as a family.  Other than that, pray for those  Lost Children who do not have a family or anyone who prays for them.

If you would like more of this, please join my email list.  I am about to give out amazing interviews from Parents who thought they could not ever find a forever child and much more information for your journey into the foster/adoption world.

Also, I am about to record my new song “I Feel Invisible” which I am giving away to those on my email list.

Keep tuning in!

 

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Interactions Of The Blended Family

 

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I am at the beach with five of my “heart” birthed children.

It’s quite amazing, or funny whichever way you want to look at it, as to how the different personalities interact.

Then add in the conversations, and visits from the “womb” children.

Makes it tricky for a mum of twelve to get some personal space, but I  have, even with managing to do a lot of work, and spend a heaps of time on the beach with the growing younger kids.

I managed to walk each day with my soon to be college kid.  She is the one who can be slightly overshadowed as she is almost the same age as her sister, who requires a lot of time and attention.

She can appear to be quiet, but is very strong minded.  A good thing, I think, but, between her and my young man who is with me, their strong wills took them in a direction they didn’t plan on last night.

As the eldest of the group, college kid wants to be in charge, as in under me (maybe), and my young man, well, he’s the man of the house this week.  Then, add in his similarly minded twin sister, and you have a recipe for a difference of opinion.

Such opinions became vocal last night as we were all ready to go out to dinner.  We had, or at least I thought we had, decided to walk up the beach to a restaurant that they had been waiting to go to.  The sun was setting, it was very pretty, and, quite frankly, I would have got the rest of my steps for the day.  Not that I’m counting.

But then, young man had lost his flip flops.  They were no-where to be found (no surprise here) and he had to wear his precious grey and white special Nike shoes.  He was not walking on the sand.  Those suckers get cleaned every day.  He was not getting them wet.  Not his Nike’s.  He was walking up the road.

The door closes and everyone begins the straggle to the elevator which is almost outside our condo.  And, the voices begin to raise.

You can guess what it was about?  The Nike’s were not going on the sand.  The others wanted to walk the beach.  Their little opinions were echoing down the balcony that runs along the condo’s.

Three took off in the elevator, and two stayed with me.  The Nike man of course because his shoes were not getting sand on them.

Well, I have learned sometimes we all have to learn lessons, including college kid.

Lesson learned.  I came back inside, rather quietly for me, explained that we were not going out arguing, and began to prepare dinner at home.

Shocked faces and phone calls flying back and forth from the three now waiting at the restaurant.

But MUM?????  Yes?  We are eating in.

Noooooooooooooooo!  I was expecting a heated exchange of who was to blame, but I announced that if they chose to argue, we would not be going to restaurants for the rest of our time here.

I cooked a variety of things I had left from our week at the beach and we all sat down and watched something called “Face Off”.  My education was now enhanced by a new TV program, and we all stopped expressing loud opinions.

The night finished joyously by the younger four hanging out in the hot tub, all friends again, and college kid and I binge watching “Face Off”.

Keep tuned for more adventures.

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The Dynamics of The Blended Family

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We are a multi level blended family.  Me, two kids, marries Amazing Hubbie, no kids.  I have two, then we make another two,  making four, then adopt eight.  Multi layers.

All are different with some similar.  That makes no sense, but makes sense to a certain degree because we do have sibling groups,  Including three sets of twins.

It is quite disarming, or cute, to find that my first two kids, by another father, are very similar to the second two biological by Amazing Hubbie.

Two boys, two girls, one of each by both, and similarities in one boy, one girl and yet another set of one boy, one girl.

Ok, I now have totally confused you.  So simply.  One of each from my first marriage, match one of each from my second.  Puzzling, except I have these very dominant genes that show up everywhere.

Then add another eight. Three boys and five girls, totaling  seven girls and five boys overall.  I am continually freaked out about the similarities in behaviors and personalities of the birthed from my womb and birthed from my heart.  Cause, you see, there is no difference.

It comes down to how we raise them.  What values we put in their minds and how we treat them.  You see for me, they all were equal, no difference in either birthed from heart vs womb.

They do have their own differences, which are inherent to their own personalities, but, the morals they are raised with, and the manners that are instilled are the same.

Even if they screw up!  Yup they have the same, “crap” as in, I disappointed or didn’t obey, or rebelled, as each other in the family.  When it comes to what is taught and caught it is the same.  No difference.

What makes differences is personalities, or diagnosed difficulties. Either in learning, or other.  That is where the difference comes, not from being a biological or an adopted child.  That doesn’t make one bit of difference.  It’s the challenges that a child is born with that make the challenges in life.  If we parent accordingly, then birth by heart, or birth by womb makes no difference.

I have fallen in love with every one on my children the moment I saw them, from birth, from meeting in a DCS office, to the NICU, to the doorstep when they arrived via a worker from DCS or after hours.

I also fell in love with more than one child who came to me as a foster child that I could not keep, or got moved on.  I only grieved for a small moment, because more than one of those I now am in contact with or never lost contact with.  Hearts are big.  Love is bigger, and we all can become a family, no not a village, but a family, who helps raise the more challenging ones, who lost parents, and sometimes siblings, but through the love that pervades the family, becomes the person God envisioned them to be.

I thank God for my journey through loving the Lost Children, some of who I call my own.  Many are found, let’s try to save or consider those who are lost.

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