Monday, March 30, 2009


I know it's kind of frightening, but this lovely little creature is now adorning my desk at work. Maggie painted it at the after-school program and told me she wanted me to take it to work and use it as a paper weight. I kind of feel like I have a figurine from the Tammy Faye Baker collection sitting on my desk now. But no matter - - my child made it for me, and I will cherish it.

(OK - perhaps 'cherish' is too strong of a word.....)

Sunday, March 29, 2009


A short while ago, Aleita was following Maggie around the house, doing her best to get smacked. I was actually surprised that Maggie didn't come to tattle on her. Aleita is tired and a little grouchy, so she is doing her best to "share the love."

For about three minutes straight, she continually asked Maggie, "Why did the chicken cross the road?"

The first time she asked, Maggie said, "to get to the other side," to which Aleita joyously responded, "No! Because there was a chicken party!!" Then she laughed and asked her again.

"Why did the chicken cross the road?"

Maggie sighed and responded, "because there was a chicken party."

Aleita giggled and said, "No! To get to the other side!" Then, she asked her again:

"Why did the chicken cross the road?"

Maggie, patience running thin, responded, "Whatever I answer, it's going to be wrong, so why don't you just tell me?"

Aleita said, "No! You have to tell me!"

Maggie ignored her and continued working on the picture she had been drawing.

Aleita persisted, "Why did the chicken cross the road? Why did the chicken cross the road? Maggie! Answer me.....answer me!! Why did the chicken cross the road!? Why did the chicken cross the road?!!?"

I decided to cut Maggie some slack and asked Aleita to come help me do the dishes from dinner. The child is apparently some freak-of-nature, because helping with the dishes is one of her FAVORITE activities. She happily complied, and in the process forgot all about the road-crossing chicken.

I told them they could play in their rooms for 15 minutes before bed -- she is currently doing her best to recruit Maggie to be part of the band that she is forming in her room. (to which Maggie keeps responding, "LEAVE ME ALONE!") I better go read them their stories and get them in bed before she writes a song about chickens.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


As I was walking back to my office from downtown after lunch today, I was meandering along and looking in the various shop windows. In the display at one of the stores were angels of many different sizes and varieties, along with a fancy, hand-painted sign reading, “Children are a Gift from God.” As I walked a few feet further, I noticed that they also had a small sign on the door of the shop, right by the handle, which in bright pink letters read, “CONTROL YOUR CHILD! IF THEY BREAK IT, YOU BUY IT.”

Apparently God’s gifts have been wreaking a little havoc with the merchandise these days!

Friday, March 20, 2009


I have been in Chicago-land this past week for work. Yesterday, I actually did get a few hours of shopping in - - one of the things I picked up was a new shirt for Maggie. When I got home tonight and was unpacking, I had her try it on. It had a bird on it flying through the sky, and in fancy, swirling writing, it says, "Don't pollute my air." Maggie looked at it for a moment, but couldn't tell what it said because the writing was so loopy.

"What's written on this shirt?" she asked.

"Don't pollute my air," I told her.

She looked at me with a tiny grin and said, "I don't pollute the air....except when I FART!!" Then she laughed like a lunatic.

You gotta love eight-year old humor.


On the way to my meeting in Chicago-land today, I was stopped at a stoplight in the Palatine-suburbia area and saw this place. It cracked me up, so I took a picture with my camera phone and thought I would post it.

In case you can't read it, the name of the place is the "C'mon Inn."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


If it weren't for the "beep" from my car when I hit the lock button on my key ring, I may never find it in the Wal-Mart parking lot. I know - I should pay better attention to where I leave it parked. Barring that, thank goodness I can make it "call" me whenever I have lost it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Maggie often asks questions about her adoption and about her birth mom - - she has a very natural curiosity about her background, and has since she was quite young. We have gotten very used to her occasional queries into the subject. (Aleita, on the other hand, may very well assume that she was descended from wolves because she has no interest in the subject of her adoption. The only part she cares about is the fact that we have an "Aleita Day" party for her every year to celebrate her adoption day.)

So a few days ago, when Maggie brought up the matter of her adoption, it was no great surprise to me. She wanted me to tell her about the day we actually went to the courthouse and her adoption was made final. I began to explain it to her, and when I got to the part about the judge she said, "There was a judge?"

"Yes," I answered her.

Her eyes grew wide and she gasped and said, "Was it Judge Judy?"

I laughed and explained that it was actually not Judge Judy, but a man named Judge Diamond.

"Were we on T.V.?" she continued.

"No," I told her, "We were at the Macon County Courthouse. Not nearly as exciting."

She seemed a little deflated that her adoption was somehow not as "flashy" as she was imaging it in her head. Truly, I wonder what sort of fantasy she had concocted in her head about the day of the adoption.

I do remember the day of her adoption quite well. We had fought for Maggie for almost 19 months in court (she lived with us since she was three days old though.) On the day of her adoption, we were in the courtroom with family and friends, and it was my turn to testify on the witness stand (which is just a formality once you have reached that point in the adoption process.) Maggie, however, was a very energetic toddler and did not want to be contained by sitting on a bench with her grandparents. She fussed and whined and made it clear that she wouldn't be happy until she was allowed to get down and walk. Since we were the only ones in the courtroom, the judge said, "just let her be - she won't hurt anything." Thus, my 19-month old went wandering around the courtroom while I was giving testimony on the witness stand.
She meandered all over the courtroom, winding her way among all the guests we had with us, up to the court reporter, and finally coming to see me on the witness stand. At that point, she decided to play "peek a boo" by bending down behind the wall and popping her head up and yelling "boo!" at everyone. She was a hoot, but it totally distracted me giving my testimony to the point that our attorney had to remind me to pay attention to his questions. When it was all said and done and the judge declared the adoption granted, I don't think there was a dry eye in the house. I cried out of joy, and I cried from the relief of knowing that our struggle was finally over and that she was officially ours, forever.

Not exactly the grand beginning that she had pictured, but yet, one of the very best days of my life.
Chris, Maggie & I - Maggie's Adoption Day, June 10, 2002

Our attorney (Garry Davis), Maggie & I - -

Maggie's Adoption Day, June 10, 2002

Monday, March 9, 2009


For those of you that miss the reference in today's blog title, a few years ago, Jessica Seinfeld (Jerry's wife) published a cookbook called "Deceptively Delicious." It was full of recipes that featured sneaky ways to include nutritious fruits and vegetables in your everyday cooking without your kids realizing they had been duped into eating something healthy. Tonight, I got a little deceptive.

I started with chicken broth, and cooked carrots, a red pepper, and a half head of cauliflower until tender. Then I added some spices and some shredded smoky cheddar cheese. I took the whole thing and dumped it into the food processor and pureed it until it was creamy smooth, then returned it to the pan to stay warm. I cooked some chicken breasts on the grill to go along with it, and told my family it was "cheesy carrot soup."

Three out of four Hales gave it a thumbs up - - Maggie, Chris, and I all liked it, but Aleita wasn't a fan (she did at least try it though.) I was mainly overjoyed about my little experiment because I had managed to get my husband to eat cauliflower -- and compliment me on it! He is a fairly picky vegetable eater (though not as picky as some RITTERS I know.) He always deflects my attempts to get him to try new things when it comes to vegetables. Even if it is something I am fairly sure he will like, he will refuse to try it if there are certain vegetables involved. In that respect, my kids are much better eaters than he is. They will at the very least TRY something before they decide that they don't like it....and for the most part, they will eat almost anything.

I could hardly wait to announce my victory at the dinner table tonight. As soon as the last drop of soup was gone from his bowl, I proudly shared with him that he had just dined on soup containing CAULIFLOWER. He tried to downplay my victory by saying that I only got him to eat it by mashing it to bits and adding cheese, but I don't care. The fact remains that he still ate cauliflower. And liked it. Ha.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Last night as I picked Maggie up from her Brownie meeting, I told her she could ride in the front seat on the way home if she wanted to. Before anyone freaks out and calls me a horrible mother and a child endangerer, please keep in mind that the meeting location is four blocks from our house, as well as the fact that my 8-yr. old is practically the same size as I am. Anyway - she was thrilled and thought she was big stuff because she got to sit up front. Hey - some kids are pretty high maintenance, but mine is thrilled with a ride in the front seat. . . how awesome is that?

I started the car and then we got buckled in and ready to roll. Earlier that day, I had driven to a lunch meeting along with another one of my co-workers. I didn't realize she had left the seat warmer on until Maggie turned and gave me a funny look and said, "My butt is getting hot."

I explained that the seat warmer must have been left on earlier, and reached over to flip it off. She said, "NO! Leave it on! I like it." It was a chilly evening, and the seat warmer did feel nice in the cold car. She then asked, "Do we have these in the back seat?"

I told her that they were only up front in my car. She had this look of awe on her face, then she said, "So everytime you and Daddy get in the car and it's cold, you turn these on?"

"Yes," I answered.

"That is so not fair," she protested. "No wonder you guys want to sit up front. I want butt warmers in the backseat!"

I explained that some cars are made with heated seats in the back, but mine just happened to only have them in the front. She thought for a moment, then asked, "Are Daddy's seats like this in his car?"

"Only in the front in his too." I answered.

She shook her head and let out a little noise of protest. Then she declared, "When I get big and have a car, EVERYONE will get butt warmers."

I can't say that I disagree with her. Now that I have had a car with seat warmers, I never want to have a car without them.