Merry Christmas 2017!

I’m sitting here in front of my computer, hopped up on migraine-fighting caffeine and with a slight fever, so this is bound to be the best Christmas letter I’ve written in a long time.  You, of course, are thinking, “How many years has it been since you’ve sent Christmas cards?  Of course this is the best letter you’ve written in a long time!”  Touché.

McH is still working for The Great Mamma Corp.  Kind of.  He’s an associate director with OneBulb, and he keeps telling me he’s not in IT anymore but now works on the business side of things.  All I know is that anytime there’s some kind of OneBulb IT outage, he’s on the phone, or the computer, or both.  Seems pretty IT to me.  We think our time with The Great Mamma Corp. is probably coming to an end soon, but last Christmas we thought we were moving, so who knows?

I am homeschooling kids.  Still.  For at least four more years.  Maybe five.  I’m not saying I’m burning out.  I’m just saying that after 15 years of no promotions (unless you count my husband giving me the responsibility of more dogs and horses and God giving me more kids), no raises (unless you count my husband not questioning my Amazon spending), and no upward mobility (unless you count no longer changing diapers and wiping noses), I won’t mind “retirement.”

A~ is 20 now (next year is probably the last socially acceptable year to share her age, no?) and a junior at BYU where she is majoring in English, double minoring in editing and family history, and working for the BYU family history department.  She promises to find a job and settle close to us after graduation if we leave Canada South.

L~ is 18 and a freshman at Utah State where she is studying wildlife management and working in a Clydesdale barn.  We figure we can get her back after college as long as we provide horses and/or a place to keep them.  She’s easily bought.

Midge is 14, just got her braces off, and is in 9th grade at the local public school, which is as much of an adventure with the third kid as it was with the first and second.  After high school she plans to go to BYU or somewhere out west, probably, and study something.  She’s only 14.  I’m not worried.  Yet.

Tank Boy is 13, doing 8th grade at home, and very much looking forward to public school next year so that he can finally play football.  Hopefully.  Our schools aren’t much for academics, but they are ate-up competitive about football.  His current interests are Magic Cards and working out, and he’ll shank me in my sleep if we ever move from this area.

Quinn is 10 and doing 5th grade at home.  He loves when we manage to take a trip into town so that he can play Pokémon Go on my phone.  His favorite pastimes include Play Mobile adventures with his slightly younger brother and spending time with his family of stuffed cats.  I don’t know what he’ll study in the future, but it won’t shock me when he marries a spinster. 

Spuds is also 10 and doing 5th grade at home.  Every now and then I want to yell at him that he’s going to drive me to drink, but instead I sigh a little, smile a bit, and tell him he keeps my life interesting.  Now, when he meets new people and they start asking him questions about himself, that’s what he tells them:  I keep life interesting.  He is very much looking forward to wearing his Christmas fedora to church this year.

We hope this letter finds you and yours well, and pray that 2018 brings an abundance of blessings. 

The E. Family

Three Years ago on Facebook . . .

Sept. 16, 2013

Yesterday I learned that almost-nine-year-old boys apparently find it hilarious to silently pass gas in church and watch their mother’s face contort and eyes water until said mother informs the boy that if she can smell it, so can the people sitting in front of her. It’s amazing how wide with mortification almost-nine-year-old-Korean-born eyes can get. Why can’t little boys figure this stuff out on their own?

All Spuds, All the Time

Since I haven’t blogged much for a long time, it seems like, based on the most recent several posts, that this blog is all about Spuds.  I’m not going to help change that perception today, unfortunately.  I mean, we’ll get there.  There is more to talk about than Spuds.  Just not today.

About a week ago, give or take, I took spuds to see an energy kinesiologist, or, you know, voodoo shaman for short.  No, seriously, this practitioner we saw is a friend of ours and has been for years.  After extensive training and gradually taking on clients, he recently quit his career as an IT guy to practice kinesiology full time.  I know, I know, it seems weird.  I get that.  But when you have a kid with all kinds of emotions just plugged up inside him that intermittently explode out all over the place, and he doesn’t want to talk about any of it, and really doesn’t have enough life experience, let alone good, functional life experience, to put it all of his trauma into some kind of usable context?  Why not.  Just. Why. Not?

Trying to explain this stuff to other adults is hard enough.  Trying to explain where I was going to take him and what the purpose was to a nine-year-old????  At first I told him we were going to see an energy therapist, but then the wild look in his eyes made me realize that was a poor choice of words.  Spuds hates therapists.  So I back peddled and told him therapist was the wrong way to describe it and that he wouldn’t even really have to talk.  The confusion was all over his face.  Finally, I told him that our friend is like Aang from Avatar the Last Airbender, but that he’s an emotion bender, not an air bender.  For good measure, McH, who, deep down in his very soul is pretty sure I’m a quack for even trying what he is pretty sure is quackery, told Spuds that it would be kind of like Po learning how to be a Chi Master in Kung Fu Panda III.

Yes, I am pretty sure that, at this very moment, arcade game developers are updating the old Whack-a-Mole games to Whack-a-Doo games.  You will be able to bop our likenesses on the head for a quarter if you’re fast enough.

So I took Spuds for the two recommended sessions.  At the end of the last session, the friend/practitioner told me that it isn’t uncommon for an uptick in the negative behaviors as things work out and re-regulate, but that it was also possible to just see the rages disappear.  I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING because, I’ll be honest, I thought it, too:  He pretty much covered all his bases there.  No matter what happens, he told me it was to be expected.  So the next day, when Spuds had a total meltdown, well, what could I say?

The thing is, I’d seen this meltdown coming for days.  The Husband saw it, too.  Heck, even my mother, who has never experienced one of these episodes, saw it coming while we were there visiting.  I hoped it wouldn’t happen until McH was back from Utah and the rest of us were back from our appointment-riddled road trip, but it was not to be.  On the whole, however, it was shorter and much less intense than usual, so I thought, “Hey, maybe the emotion bending helped a bit.”

But the real story in all of this [What?  she’s written this much and hasn’t gotten to the REAL story?  I’m going to need more coffee and maybe a time machine if she really wants me to keep reading] happened the next day.

We were back home and in desperate need of milk (according to my kids) (none of whom have actually used any of that milk that is still sitting, factory sealed, in my fridge), so Spuds and I went to the grocery store.  As we were walking past the pre-packaged frozen foods section (on our way to the Ezekiel bread), Spuds saw some lasagna or something and said, “I’m an Italian guy!”

“You’re Italian?”  I asked.

“I’m an Italian food guy,” he explained.  “I’m not actually Italian.  I don’t think.”

“Well,” I ventured, “we don’t know anything about your biological father, so I guess it’s possible that you could be part Italian.  Maybe someday we’ll get some DNA testing done and find out if you want?”

He liked that idea.  And then?  The proverbial floodgates opened.  I mean, not like the Hoover Dam floodgates or anything.  Probably more like a little dam built by small children that is falling down from the force of the tiny brook running through somebody’s backyard or something.  But for Spuds, the conversation that followed was flood gates opening.  He talked about some of his life experiences in a way he never has before.  There was no reticence or reluctance.  There was eye contact.  It was casual and comfortable (for us, anyway — can’t speak for the other shoppers who overheard it).  When the conversation got interrupted by the need to get something off a shelf, he picked it back up on his own with, “Let’s see . . . where were we?  Oh, yeah, the ear piercing . . . ” and went from there.

Today he decided to get out this box and gp through his past

There was a coherence to his narrative that has never been there before, and he was able to give me a timeline to some things that he had never been able to give me before.  It was all just a jumbled mess of random events in his mind until that conversation in the grocery store.

So, yes, there we were, walking up and down aisles, waiting in the checkout line, etc. talking about his biological mother, what “biological” even means in the context of parents (even though he’s heard this before, he somehow never got it), police cars, being taken away, how his birth mom “did it” with “every guy she knew” (his words, not mine), who he was actually living with vs. who he was literally with when the police showed up, and whether or not he feels safe with us and why.  I was asking questions, he was asking questions, and did I mention the eye contact?  This was huge . . . YUGE! (shudder).

I don’t pretend to believe that everything is magically over and done with and we now have a perfectly healthy child, thankyouvermuch.  I know that’s not the case.  However, I also know that we had a breakthrough in the frozen foods section on Monday, and it lasted clear through to the checkout.

Was it the energy kinesiology or coincidence?  I’m leaning strongly toward the energy kinesiolody, but, as a friend said, “Either way, it’s God.”

Tewt the Newt couldn’t agree more.

 

Proud Mom Moments

I don’t know why it took so long, but today we found out that L~ got a 5 on the AP English exam she took last spring.  My English major/mom heart is happy.

Shortly after getting this news, I was shopping at Costco with the 13-year-old, almost-12-year-old, and the two nine-year-olds.  You all know I deserve a massage and a medal now, right?  Because I do.  Anyway, as I was pushing around the cart laden with, among many, many other things, 160lbs of dog food (who needs Crossfit when you’ve got about 250 lbs worth of dogs at home?) we saw this:


and my almost-12-year-old son said, “That’s from Macbeth!  ‘Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.'”

My heart almost exploded.  But only almost because, you know, somebody had to pay for and drive all those canine comestibles home.  At any rate, I’m feeling a little more excited about starting our homeschool year next week.

Tewt the Newt thinks that’s a good thing.

Of Tantrums and Police Officers and Other Fun Stuff

It’s not that there hasn’t been anything about which to write.  It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write it.  But homeschooling, and Relief Society President-ing, and normal parenting, and increased migraine activity, and . . . you know how it goes.  The blog takes a big ol’ back seat.

However, there are things I never want to forget.

We have our last post-placement visit in two weeks.  A couple (few) weeks after that we will finalize Spuds’ adoption.  We’ve been talking with him about that most evenings at bedtime for a few weeks now.  Bedtime is the only time he’ll even remotely open up, even just a little bit.  Mostly when we talk about it he just wants to talk about what restaurant he wants to go to for dinner afterwards.  His last family ate out.  A lot.  We’ve taken him out to eat a couple of times in the past five-and-a-half months (not counting the big trip out west), so he’s really excited about the idea of restaurant food.  Ribs.  He wants ribs.  So be it.

He has also asked if his previous family will come to his adoption.  Stab me through the heart.  It’s not that it hurts my feelings that he wants them to be there, it’s that I hurt for him because I know they won’t be there.  Even if they lived two towns over, they probably wouldn’t come.  On the one hand, I don’t blame them.  Just rip off that Band Aid and be done with it, right?  On the other hand?  They are still important to him.  These people who were convinced that he was not bonded with them at all are important to him.  So, while they are done with him, he is not done with them.  That hurts me for him.  He doesn’t really get it right now.  I just tell him that they live too far away and won’t be able to make it (which is true).  I don’t think now is the time to tell him that they just are done with him.  Someday he’ll figure that out, I supposed.  I don’t look forward to that day.

I worry about the finalization.  Things have been so unbelievably good.  He’s only had one meltdown since the Utah trip, and, though I had to restrain him, it wasn’t as bad as the meltdowns he had on the trip.  Yeah, he tried to scratch me.  I think he tried to bite me once when I wasn’t paying too much attention because I was answering another kid’s schoolwork question.  But overall?  It wasn’t horrible.  I mean, I could answer a kids’ schoolwork question, after all. There wasn’t the yelling and screaming.  He called me a liar and told me to shut up several times.  He tried to kick me.  A lot.  My kids are going to have some great childhood memories:  “Hey, Tank Boy, could you come over here and hold your brother’s feet for a few minutes?”  Tank Boy is a trooper.  And?  He’s very strong.  After Spuds calmed down and bit, and I told the Tank to let go, the kicking eventually started back up.  At that point I made a game out of it.

“Are you playing footsie with me?  Really?  Most boys don’t play footsie with their mom.  But hey, if that’s what you want to do . . . ” and I started chasing his feet with my feet as I dodged the kicks.  There might have been a few rounds of “Spuds and [high school girl he has a crush on] sitting in a tree . . . ” followed by the explanation that it really would be more appropriate to play footsie with that girl.  But, you know, whatever . . .

By the time that tantrum was done, he not only conceded defeat and went back to the school work he’d decided he didn’t want to do, he was laughing.  That counts firmly as a trauma mamma win, right?

Anyway, so there was that.  I think *that* was triggered by some cards he got from former teachers back in his home state.  I appreciate that they sent him cards.  He needs to know that he was cared about back there, that he is missed now.  About a week after *that*, he wrote back to the teachers.  We’ll see how things go if they write again.

But I worry about the finalization.  I worry that maybe it will hit him that his previous family is really, truly out of the picture.  I worry that the stark reality, the fact that he was given away, will hit him.  I worry that he will lose his . . . sh . . . well, you know.  It’s a legitimate worry.

So we’ve been talking about it most evenings.  He’s never had much to say beyond choosing a restaurant and asking if his other parents would be there.  He has expressed some worry about meeting the judge.  Tonight he said he is worried that the judge might yell at him.  Knowing that he can remember his previous adoption proceedings, I asked him if a judge has ever yelled at him before.

“No, but a police has.”

“When has a police officer yelled at you?” I asked.  “At school?”

“No, at [the other parents’] house.”

“Really?  What happened?”

“He yelled at me to sit down and said he was going to put kid-sized handcuffs on me.”

“Why?  Why was he there?”

“[The other parents] called the police.”

“Your parents called the police on you?  Why???”

“Because I didn’t want to sweep the floor.”

“So you had a fit?”

“Yeah.”

Through further questioning and cajoling, he admitted he had been yelling and screaming, had tried opening a window to get out, had had a really royal tantrum.  I don’t know if he was physically violent.  Probably.  Also?  He was seven.  The dude is little for his age.  LITTLE.  And they called the cops.  And the cop came in and yelled at him to sit down.  Safe to assume, I think, that cops don’t have any training on how to deal with a traumatized child.

“So you didn’t want to sweep the floor and you overreacted?” I said.

“Yes,” he sighed, looking somewhat crestfallen.

“And then they called the cops which means they overreacted” I said.

He sat up a bit, eyes wide.  “I don’t know.  Did they?”

“Yes, buddy.  They did.  You overreacted and they overreacted.  It doesn’t make them bad people, it just means they didn’t handle that situation the best they could have.”

He looked like a little weight had been taken off his shoulders.  I think he’s still a bit trepidatious about meeting the judge, and I’m sure there are still all kinds of unresolved feelings about being readopted, but some blame got spread around, off his shoulders and on to someone else’s, and he looked relieved.  Maybe a bit bewildered, too.

As the husband and I walked out of his bedroom, we were yelling at each other with our eyes, “Who in the hell calls the police on a seven-year-old having a tantrum???”  I mean, if he had been threatening them with a knife or something, maayyybeee.  But we know that didn’t happen because they told us themselves the knives were always locked up.  I want to believe there is another side to this story in which calling the police on an angry, traumatized seven-year-old makes sense.  I don’t want to judge them or demonize them.  I especially don’t want to lessen them in Spuds’ eyes, because they matter to him, and they did do a lot to help him while he was in their care.  But I’m still baffled and bewildered.  I haven’t walked in their shoes.  I don’t know the day-in-day-out, nitty-gritty details and emotional toil they experienced over the course of their years with him.  I worry that, with finalization, I will start to find out.

Right now, though, I’m choosing to let my hope be greater than my worry.  Based on what we’ve seen and experienced so far, I have fantabulous amounts of hope for Spuds and for his and our future.  We are at that point where it feels like he was never not a part of our family.  Did we really go to Orlando last winter without him?  How can that be?  Wait, he doesn’t know about our traditional Christmas Day Nerf war?  Doesn’t seem possible.  He is ours.  He has always been ours, even before we knew him.

Tewt the Newt is going to get a Kleenex

PS — my other kids?  All fine.  All troopers.  Quinn volunteered to take a turn holding Spuds’ feet so he couldn’t kick me.  Sweet, sweet Quinn.  He would have gotten the stuffing kicked out of him.  A~ is loving college.  L~ is loving sideline cheer and is looking forward to competitive season, especially now that she can do back handsprings.  Tank Boy has come so, so far over the years, you have no idea (because I never blogged all the nitty-gritty details of just how hard things were with him), and Midge?  Good, constant, steady Midge.  She brings sunshine to my soul when I want string the boys up by their toes. (I wouldn’t actually do that, obviously). 🙂

A Load A Day My Left Butt . . . I Mean, Foot

Do you all know who the FlyLady is?  She’s all about blessing your home and your family by keeping your home clean.  Cleanliness is next to Godliness, you know, so it makes sense.  The FlyLady has all kinds of good tips and tricks and systems.  Oh, she’s all about the systems and schedules and things to help you keep your house clean.

I follow her on Facebook.  She posts her little memes several times a day to remind her followers to get stuff done, or maybe it’s to make us feel guilty.  I’m not sure.  Anyway, one of her little FlyLady memes says, “A load a day keeps Mount Washmore away,” and every time I see that one?  I just want to say, “Bite me, FlyLady.  Just bite me.”

Okay, I don’t really want to say that.  Not really.  Just sorta.  You see, I’ve heard her speak a couple of times at the big, Midwest homeschool convention.  I’ve talked with her at her convention booth just a tiny bit.  She is actually a charming and delightful person with lots of good ideas and advice, and someday I want to be just like her:  an empty nester.  When that day comes, I’ll be able to implement all of her tips and tricks and systems and schedules successfully, but right now?  I have six kids living at home.  Do you know what a load of laundry a day gets you when you have six kids and a husband?  I’ll tell you what it gets you.  It gets you behind is what it gets you.

I’ve been doing a minimum of three or four loads a day for the past . . .  forever (and, yes, some of my kids do laundry, too), and you still can’t see the floor in my laundry room.  What makes this especially bad is that I have a laundry sorter, and it, too, is still full-ish.

Not that I blame the FlyLady for this.  Obviously, it’s not her fault that I have six kids.

Oooo!  Side story:

A couple of weeks ago the studly husband went on a pioneer trek reenactment with the youth from several local-ish congregations of our church.  He was the trail boss, which means he got to ride his horse and dress like Porter Rockwell (minus the long hair),  and he was all kinds of happy.  One evening, while on the trek and after the teenagers had all bedded down in their tents for the night, the adults were sitting around talking, and one of the women chaperones* asked him about his kids, and when he told them he has six kids, she did what everybody who doesn’t know us well does:

“YOU HAVE SIX KIDS????  HOW???  I MEAN, HOW OLD ARE YOU???  YOU CAN’T HAVE SIX KIDS!”

I’ll spare you the hysterical yelling that ensued when he told her the oldest is going to college in the fall.  So, when she settled down enough for other people to get a word in, one of the other men said, “You know how you can prevent that from happening again, right?” and another quickly followed with a seemingly envious, “You are so lucky to be able to have so many kids.”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

While I would have said (in my head), “Yeah, I know how to prevent that.  The next time I get the urge to adopt, I’ll just stuff all my money and legal forms of identification into a condom.  That should put a stop to things,” McH said (out loud), “Luck didn’t have much to do with it.  We adopted the last three, so we pretty much made it happen.”  Mr. I-Wish-I-Could-Have-Lots-of-Kids just kind of faded into the background after that.

Anyway, six kids.  Lots of laundry.

On Friday, I told two of my girls to strip their beds of all bedding:  sheets, comforters pillow cases, any extra blankets, you know, everything (they should, of course, be able to figure out what “bedding” means without this lengthy explanation, but if parenting for 17 years has taught me one thing, it’s that common sense doesn’t pass through the placental barrier), and start washing it while the husband and I went to Costco.  Costco is about an hour from our house, so this was a big trip that gave them plenty of time to get lots of bedding washed and put back on their beds.  Unbeknownst to me, however, two things happened while we were gone:

1.  A couple of the boys heard me tell the two girls to get their bedding into the laundry room, and these boys assumed that everybody was supposed to strip everything off their beds and, apparently, out of the linen closets.    They might have even hitched a ride to Wal Mart just to go buy more bedding to be washed.  Okay, so maybe they had raided the linen closets a few days earlier to build forts and decided that all of those blankets were included in the washing decree.  Pot-ay-to, pot-ah-to.  I’m still not sure about the trip to Wal Mart.  At any rate, they followed my instruction to put ALL THE BEDDING into the laundry room.

2.  Nobody washed a damn thing.  I guess, technically, that is something that didn’t happen.

And so it was that I came home to a Mount Washmore the likes of which the FlyLady has never imagined.  I literally could not walk into my laundry room.  I could not walk around the pile of bedding.  I am not even kidding when I say I had to get equipment, set up base camp outside the door, and climb over the laundry to get to the machines.  Okay, maybe I’m kidding about the base camp and equipment part, but I did have to climb over it.  And?  I did, for real, lose my water bottle in the laundry room for a whole 15 minutes or so.

If I could have easily gotten to the starch, I probably could have sculpted some presidential visages into the mountain, but that’s awfully hard, thirsty work to do without one’s water bottle handy.

Who am I kidding?  I don’t own starch (unless you count corn starch which, in this case, you really shouldn’t).

Mount Washmore is finally gone now.  It only took me three days to do it (not even kidding).  There are a few random blankets on the floor, waiting to be washed like the last vestiges of . . . a mountain of laundry composed of bedding; but, you know, clothes needed to be washed.  As important as clean bedding is, there came a point where I had to decide if I was going to wash the last few blankets so that the kids could take them out of the linen closet and build new, clean-smelling forts, or if I was going to wash clothes so that the kids could pull them out of their dressers and not run naked through the neighborhood.  They are all currently clothed, so I think I made the right call.  I imagine FlyLady would agree.

* This woman chaperone is another side story all unto herself.

Tewt the Newt can’t wait until I figure out the best way to tell it.

It occurs to me that maybe I need to clarify something:  I really do like the FlyLady and her tips and tricks and systems and schedules.  I have read her book, have bought copies of it for others, and have purchased some of her cleaning products.  I haven’t fully implemented any of her systems and schedules, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned some valuable things along the way.  I mean, why else would I keep going to her lectures at the homeschool convention?

The Mortification of a Teenage Daughter

Lately I have been stalking Pinterest for Christmas decoration ideas.  I’m not looking for just any Christmas decoration ideas, however.  No.  I am looking for Grinch-themed decoration ideas.  Not to worry.   These decorations won’t be for my own home.  No, no.  These decorations are for something far more appropriate — our church Christmas party.  Because, you know, nothing says “Remember the reason for the season” like going to a Grinch-themed Christmas party at church.

Bah humbug.

The theme for the party, however, was picked, approved and decided upon before I had anything to do with it.  Now that I do have something to do with it, I am in charge of the decorations.  Honestly?  I’ve found some cute ideas and come up with some good ones on my own, so I’m I little more excited about it.  But, still?  I turn to my network affiliates when I want my kids to enjoy the cartoon versions of Christmas.  I take them to church for (gasp!) more spiritual fare.  Whatever.

In all my Pinterest perusing of thing Grinchy and Whovillian, I came across a cute outfit idea.  It’s not a costume, mind you, just an outfit:  green skinny jeans, green t-shirt, green Converse, and a red cardigan.  I wasn’t looking for an outfit idea.  I just found it.  That’s how Pinterest works, after all.  You just find stuff, and it sucks  you in, and you realize you need it even though you didn’t know it existed five seconds earlier.  So that’s kind of what happened to me when I saw this outfit.  I concluded that, if I have to decorate for a Grinch party at Church, then I needed to go as the Grinch (without actually going as the Grinch).  I decided I’m just too old to buy myself Grinch-green Converse high-tops, but red is a good color for me so I already have a bunch of it, and I figured the green jeans would be cute.  I found a pair on clearance at Kohl’s, and, coupled with the current coupon (who in her right mind shops at Kohl’s without a coupon?) they cost all of $8.00 and change.  That included tax.

Rather than wait until December, I wore my outfit today to our Super Saturday Holiday Workshop (it’s the one day a year the women in our congregation “take off” for 4-6 hours (depending on whether or not one is in charge of it) (I was) to get together and make crafts that we can give as gifts) (so imagine our piss-off-ed-ness consternation when the men scheduled something, rather last minute, on the same day at the same time, as if the children only belong to us) (harrumph).

Anyway, back to the outfit.  I wore it today.  Green jeans, white t-shirt, red jacket.  It was quite Christmas-y and, since the t-shirt was not green, not even a bit Grinchy (at least, I like to think that).  I still had it on as we were sitting together as a family for dinner tonight, and I said, “I’m half tempted to go back to Kohl’s and get the same jeans in red.”

“Other than Christmas, when would you ever wear red jeans, mom?”  A~ asked.

“I could wear red jeans lots of times,” I said.  “Like Valentines day!”

“Yeah, and you can wear the green ones again on St. Patrick’s day,” Midge piped in.

“Sure.  And . . . let’s see . . . I could wear either the red or the green ones on Mardi Gras.  That’s a colorful holiday.  It doesn’t really matter what color . . .” I was saying as my husband interjected:

“I don’t know about the jeans, but I’ve got some Mardi Gras beads I’ll give you.”

A~’s hand froze, half way to her mouth, and the baby carrot she was about to eat just dangled from her paralyzed fingers as she looked at her plate in dismay and said, “I get that.  I get. that. one!”  With me to her right and her father at the other end of the table to her left, she didn’t know where to look, so she just kept staring at her plate while I laughed hysterically, her father turned a soft shade of fire-engine red and sniggered like a school boy who’d just been caught snapping a girls’ bra strap, her younger teenage sister tried to puzzle it out in her head, connecting a dot or two, and the three youngest just said, “What?  What?!?  I DON’T get it!  WHAT IS SO FUNNY???”

June Cleaver would be mortified at both my attire and our dinner conversation, not to mention the current state of my house.  I shall never wear pearls.

Tewt the Newt, on the other hand, couldn’t give a flying fig about pearls and feels mighty smug about the fact that he is already green.