Grandma called it Decoration Day.  She grew flowers just for this day and once told me that if I didn’t have any from my garden to just come visit, she didn’t need store bought.   It wasn’t that she didn’t love flowers, but she was frugal and realistic.  It wasn’t about bringing loved ones money, it was about bringing love.  Once we got to the cemetery it was a joyful reunion.   She would tell the stories about those we were visiting, the same stories every year.   By the time my years could be measured in double digits I had them memorized.   The grownups would make sure that the grass was trimmed back and the headstones swept and the flowers arranged just so.  The cemetery was, and still is, beautifully maintained, that was not the point.  The kids would play chase between the headstones- no disrespect intended.  In fact it seemed the best way for a young wiggly kid to connect with those beyond.  Often a simple lunch or snack would be pulled out before we left, more as an excuse to linger with family then as a need to satiate hunger.

Memorial Day was not a patriotic holiday growing up.  It was about remembering and reconnecting with family, both here and beyond.

By orderfromthechaos

A family looks like this.

It’s been all over the news- I am sure you heard, or maybe stories like these don’t raise your eyebrows and make your jaw tighten.   A big box (yeah that one) called the police on a white daddy when he left with the black children he came with.   The police went to his house to make sure all was well.   They found a multiracial family- just like millions of other families, just like my family.

While visiting family out of town we took out our daughter and our Asian American niece.   Some guy was trying to figure us out and went on and on about recessive genes.  HA.   It was funny but only a step away from the big box story.

When the big box story was brought up among the transracial adoption mommies I was surprised at the lack of outrage!   One person even suggested this was a good thing- ‘better to be safe than sorry.’  To say ‘better safe than sorry’ is to say that it is more likely that a child will be kidnapped then adopted by a person of a different color.  Or at least that’s my interpretation.

I know it’s not standard for parents and children to be different c colors.   I fully accept that people will look at my family if only to see something unusual, a white mommy and daddy and a black daughter.   But different is beautiful and we all need to understand that families come in all shapes, sizes, colors and configurations.    When you see a group of people, look for the connection, the bond, the love that unite them because that is what makes a family, not genes.

By orderfromthechaos

Loosing the child in the tall weeds

I am this close to calling a landscaping company.  See my fingers a hairs width apart?  We have lived here for 7 years and our yard still looks like no one lives here.  Every year we pour time and money and sweat into this place and if you look in just the right place… well no not even that right now.

Brian has no interest in yard work.  He has little interest in being in the yard unless he is standing in front of the grill.   He wants to spend his outdoor time on a river and his down time at home in his man cave or digital dark room.   I used to wish that he was a lawn guy- those guys that get all competitive over a perfect lawn.  But truly I love who he is and wouldnt want that.  I love to be in my garden, but only those parts that grow food.  My time and energy are limited and there is never enough for all the weeds.   Neither of us has any interest in maintaining a lawn.  Not that you can call what we have a lawn, it is more of a weed patch then bluegrass.

So I want to hire someone to clear the public spaces and replace the dandelions and bind weed with rocks and succulents and cactus.  And to level the front yard so I can add more garden boxes to be filled with onions and tomatoes and cucumbers.   And I would call someone today except that I like being married to Brian just a little more then I hate our yard.  And he is resistant to taking on more debt in the name of aesthetics (sanity, it’s my sanity love.)  But if you happen to notice big trucks of rocks pulling up to our house latter this summer, don’t be surprised.

By orderfromthechaos

The story of Ariel

In this house the story of the little mermaid is refered to as “Ariel,” is told frequently, and may star Tiana, Fashion Barbie, Polly Pocket, a random My Little Pony, or a stray crayon. If the actual little mermaid Barbie gets to star in her own story she will be naked because one of the previously mentioned will be wearing her tail.

In this house the story is a bit different then either the Disney version or the Hans Christen Anderson version. Ariel (and sometimes Flounder because he is cute and funny) are swimming around and Ursula the sea witch trys to steal Ariel voice. Sometimes we can all say Swiper no Swiping and Ariel gets away for a while but eventually the Ursula gets Ariel’s voice. This is a favorite dramatic point where Mariah will sing like in the movie except longer and then grab her throat as if she is choking.

Ursula is then put in timeout because it is not nice to steal.  After her time out Ursula tells Ariel she is sorry and gives her voice back.  Insert more dramatic drawn out singing.  Ariel hugs Ursula and they decide to be friends and swim off to play.  What about Eric?  Well he can play too but only if he can be nice.  Or sometimes he is just at work with Daddy.

Next time Mariah’s version of Cinderella.

By orderfromthechaos

Gime a D

My vitamin D levels bottomed out again. One of the side affects of the MTHFR mutation is my body can’t seem to hold on to D. Recovering from bronchitis used it all up. No worries I am doing what I need to build it up again and in 2 weeks I will be as good as new but in the mean time I am slow.  Both my body and my brain are sleepy and it is an effort to function.  Here is one of my secret get going tools.  After watching this the effort it takes to fold a basket of laundry seems much more within my grasp.

By orderfromthechaos


…. Please dont takes my sunshine away.

Mommy who is going to take me away?

No one, it’s just a song

I wont ever go away I promise. Well just for school but then I will come home.  And  If I get lost I will find a mommy or a daddy or a uniform with kids and tell them to call you.

That’s right.  If you get lost you find a mommy or a daddy with little kids or someone in a uniform and you tell them to call me.  Whats my phone number?


801, I interrupt her

No don’t say it.  I will say it.

She got it right the second time.  This is a recurring conversation with my four-year old.  She is terrified of getting lost or of loosing her family.  I try to reassure her that if she ever gets lost that she knows just what to do.  That I will always be her mommy.  That if she ever got lost that I would find her.  That if she would pay attention and stay close to me in the store she would never need to worry about getting lost.  But its useless.   She has nightmares, her barbie’s get lost when she plays, I can’t sing her favorite song without a discussion, she is afraid.

And why shouldnt she be afraid.  She lost her daddy, then she lost her mommy, then she lost her sister.  She knows loss.

I remind her of when we got adopted.  I remind her that the judge said that I am her mama forever and that papa is her papa forever.  I remind her of when Benni got out and we drove in the car and found him and he was so happy to see us and got right in and gave her big Benni tong kisses.   And it seems to help for a minute.

By orderfromthechaos


I truly believe there are no negative emotions, only negative responses.  So I am looking at my increasing frustration as an oprtunity to stop and figure out what needs to be different.

Lately I am frustrated with  many things, my husband, my child, yogurt.

I am 0 for 3 with yogurt.  Yup I have failed to make yogurt 3 times.  Yogurt is not difficult in theory you get your milk to the right temp, add your starter, then keep it at the right temp for a day or a good part of the day.  Every time I get it too hot and kill my starter.  I have tried a few different methods using the stove and the oven and even under the bed.  It just gets too hot. Apparently they make these amazing unitaskers that maintain a temperature near to what is ideal for yogurt. They cost about $50 and I can use them to make some decent yogurt. alternately they make these great boxes that cost about $300 that can be used to maintain perfect temperatures for all types of not only yogurt but many of the other things I have been experimenting with. They also dry fruits and vegis and can be used as part of the process to make the grains I believe will help me. Any one have $300? I have reprioritized my want list moving this


to the top! Unfortunatly my want list has not been feeling the love latley.  Illness is expensive;  we are lucky enough to have good jobs and good health insuance but still we are feeling the hit of all of Dr’s visits, medications, and missed work.  Further, car repairs and mouse proofing are first in line for funding.  So I may have to give up and buy me some yogurt.  Or I may test the balance of my stubornnes vs frustrtion levels and try again.  Have you had success with yogurt? What is the secret?

Or better yet what is the secret to getting a 4 year old to clean her room without a melt down or a husband to get his hubby do list done in under 6 months without nagging?

By orderfromthechaos

Not like ‘little house’ but still…

It feels like a long hard winter.  Not like wolfs howling at the door but we have had herds of mice, respiratory illnesses, and it has felt like I am constantly dealing with problems.  Not quite crisis mode but my resources have had to go to solve the immediate problem and not where I would like them to be going. 

I was going to write all about our mouse infestation, but I am still too traumatized.  They seem to be gone for now, but I have not been able to clean up my storage room.  I just don’t go in there if I don’t have to.  I plan entire meals around avoiding that room.  Last night I was craving pancakes- we had waffles because I knew the waffle maker was in the sanitary kitchen and the griddle was in the yet to be sanitized storage room.

So my intentions have all been put to the side for now.  My intentions for now are to get my house clean after a long illness and to finish mouse cleanup.  My three previous intentions are still there.  Sort of.  I have decided to wait till fall to resume piano lessons.  I have yet to make this official but I will.  I have been reading my book off and on, and I am slowly working on the guest room when everything else makes me crazy.

Last week we were all sick.  Brian and I had Bronchitis and Mariah had RSV.  Were were the coughing family chorus.  Mariah was the healthiest and Brian and I took turns trying to stay awake with her so the other could rest.  We did lots of coloring, watched lots of kid movies and mostly the week is a fevered blur.  In the years we have been together Brian and I have never been sick together before.  It was strangely bonding.  Now that we are recuperating I feel like a reset button has been set.  Only my house still looks like a 4 year old and some dogs and a cat took over.  

By orderfromthechaos


Just for the record

I attempted the Alton Brown cottage cheese and got a little thickness on the spoon.  I don’t know enough to know what went wrong but I have found a recipe specifically for goat’s milk and will be trying that.

I finally got my sourdough starter!  Wahoo!  My first attempt to revive it was a bust.  There are several reasons it may not have worked.  I am going to get a water filter and try again.

I found a cookie recipe using chia seeds that could be a success.  They are delicious but spread out on the cookie sheet too much.  I will add more flour next time and try again.

The cottage cheese recipe requires butter milk I purchased some buttermilk starter and am attempting buttermilk.  It takes a couple of days so cross your fingers.

I really want to have cottage cheese and yogurt down before completely giving up cows milk, but it is a challenge.  I have been talking to the boss about giving up cows milk except for hard cheeses for lent.  If we decide to try it Fat Tuesday will have us cleaning out our ice-cream and string cheese stash.  HA!



By orderfromthechaos

What I learned from my job

I answer phones for a big medical company in Northern California.  This is definitely a job and not a career.  After working at this job for over a year I find most calls to be so similar I can almost do my job in my sleep.  Every once in a while I still learn something.

The flue is so pervasive right now that I have had a chance to see what it looks like when everyone is sick.  When ‘everyone’ is sick that means that Dr’s and Nurses are sick to.   With lots of sick people and fewer healthy caregivers to treat them, if you need help you will wait a long time.   At one point it was a four and a half hour wait to talk to an advice nurse.   The wait in most of the weekend clinics were even longer.   If you weren’t dying you would have to wait for help.

That means if you forgot to refill your birth control, pain meds, heart medication- you may not get it before the pharmacy closes.   That means if you can’t remember how much children’s Tylenol to give your little one- you’re not going to talk to a nurse about it anytime soon.   That means if you get dehydrated you need to go sit in a waiting room with a lot of other sick people for several hours before you can get fluids.

What you can do?  Keep your medications filled.   Most of the advice the nurses give can be found on line through a reputable source- figure out while you are healthy what a reputable source is and bookmark it.   Get help before you are completely dehydrated, before you are desperate.  Pray we never have a true pandemic because we are not prepared to handle it.

By orderfromthechaos