June 30, 2010

We're Almost One!

Last year on fourth of July weekend, Kamron and I filled out our first application to adopt from Congo. I started this blog on the same day. So it is about time for our blog to have a birthday! With so much change, it is hard to believe that it has only been a year.

Anyway- I would like to compile a "Best Of" list for my first year of blogging and I could really use your help! I know that I have some of my favorite posts, but that is probably because I lived through it and they evoke a special memory for me. But I really want to know what some of your favorite posts are! On my one year "blogiversary" I'll post a top 10 list of Terry Household Moments as voted by you- my beloved readers!

I know that lots of you haven't been here from the beginning and that is okay. I have gone through all the old posts and tried to label them to help you be able to find things better. One the left sidebar, you will notice that I have listed out the topics for posts and also included a "search this blog" box to help jostle your memory. So please- search through the archives and drop me a comment letting me know what some of your favorite posts are. If you don't know the title of something, you can just put what the post was about and I'll be able to figure it out!

Just to get the ball rolling, I'll list a few of my favorite posts (in no particular order) from this last year.

Thanks for sticking with me through this year! And please, leave a comment telling me your faves (and no- they don't have to be from this list!)!  I am so hoping you all will fill up that comments section! I have anonymous commenting turned on, so you don't have to sign up for anything to leave a comment.  It only takes a second. Thanks a million!

June 29, 2010

Little Things

Today I am thinking about how it is the little things that happen that can totally make life happy!

* My mom came over and cleaned out a month's worth of rotten food out of my fridge. She took all the shelves out and scrubbed them. The woman also swept up enough crumbs off my floor to feed a small country.  And she watched the kids while I took a bath- ALL. ALONE. Only a mom would come and do that kind of thing and not charge you!   What an awesome example of true love!

* I watched the movie UP for the first time today.  Reminded me about how life is not always about the results, but about the journey.  Plus- a good cathartic cry during a cartoon is always a happy experience.

* My brother brought me some fresh peaches in a brown paper bag.  It just screamed summer. YUM!

* More yumminess was had from the dozen Panera Bread Cinnamon Crunch Bagels we devoured today.  Those things are the bomb diggity.

* My dad stopped by today and he reeked of fish.  Made me have flashbacks to blissful childhood afternoons spent at my Granny's creek catching carp and hunting for turtles.

* It's Deadliest Catch and Glee rerun night!  Enough said.

* All the kids are recovering beautifully from all their various illnesses.  I am thinking about how I could make millions by opening up a pharmacy out of my kitchen.  I am also feeling intensely grateful that we have health insurance.

* I am also grateful that my sob story of our recent disasters worked and my doctor just called in an antibiotic for me and didn't make me go into the office.  Score!

* I haven't been to the grocery in about 2 1/2 weeks.  Which means that we are sans at least one ingredient for just about anything I could cook.  You know what that means... Pizza Night!  Yippee!

* I am keeping my fingers crossed that the little people stay healthy and keep recovering because I just made plans with my BFF to slip out for a couple of hours to catch a matinee of "Eclipse" on Thursday.  Yay for me time!  Go team Jacob!

* I gave up diet Pepsi's for a whole month.  But with everyone in the hospital, I totally picked it back up again.  I would normally beat myself up over this infraction.  But you know what- who cares!?!?  I am chalking that up to serious psychological progress. (Or maybe my give-a-damn is just busted?) Either way- it was good to let go of the guilt!

* But most importantly, I am sitting here in my kitchen typing this post at 4:30 in the afternoon.  Usually at this time of day, all hell breaks loose in this house.  Stay-at-homers- you know what I am talking about. Your kids go psycho that hour right before dinner.  But miraculously, all 3 are currently enamoured with Sponge Bob and I haven't heard anyone scream "Mooooooooooommmmm" for at least 30 minutes.  Hallelujah!  Thank you Sponge Bob for helping preserve my sanity.

My mom cleaning out my fridge.  It truly is a thing of beauty!
Isn't she cute?!?!

June 28, 2010

Murphy's Law

A month ago, I needed therapy.  Now, I think I just need to check myself in somewhere!  Noah came home from his boy's weekend with Daddy with a big ol' fat hernia!  Seriously!  A 3 year old with a hernia!  (No we were not making him do hard labor!)  Anyway, the boy has always had an "innie" and lo and behold, on Saturday it turned into an "outie" and was red and swollen.  So this morning I loaded up the kids and we trucked it to the pediatrician's office.  He took one look at Noah's stomach and said that he had a strangulated hernia and we needed to get to the ER right away. 

(I call this the "Oh No, my belly button flipped inside out" face.)

As an aside...last Monday, Miles had a little work done on him "manhood" so that he could go to the bathroom better.  It was just a minor outpatient procedure, but still.  Then we had Sadie in the hospital for 4 days.  And now Noah!  So just in case you are the counting kind of person- yes, that is all three kids admitted into the hospital in 7 days. Oh yeah, and somewhere in the middle of that, we also found out about Miles' tuberculosis. Sadie and Noah sat on the couch tonight and compared IV bruises and that is just not normal!  Kind of makes me feel like I need to cuss.  *MOTHERFART*

So we got Noah to the ER and they got him hooked up to an IV and sent him off to get an ultrasound of his tummy.  Then after waiting an eternity, they finally put him under and took him back to surgery.  It was  a twenty minute procedure that just went perfectly.  They got the hernia repaired and stitched him back up and sent us on home.  Within an hour, the boy was begging for McDonald's, so I think he's going to be okay.  He's just on light activity for 3-4 weeks. (which for a 3 year old, sensory-seeking boy may be a difficult task!)

I am trying to count my blessings that none of the things that my kids have had to be hospitalized for this week were very major.  But oh my Lord!  I would so love a break!  I feel like I am sooooo due for a lucky streak.  Or just a normal streak.  Well, hell.  At this point I'd take any kind of streak other than the one we're on.  However, I have learned over the last week the importance of asking for help.  All of my poor kids have been shuffled around to the ends of the earth, just depending on which one was in the hospital at the time.   And while it has been hard on them, I am so grateful for how many wonderful people we had helping us- whether it was taking care of the kids, or dropping off groceries, or coordinating emails and phone calls, or just calling to encourage us and pray for us.  I am so appreciative of all of it. 

So now- whichever one of you out there is torturing your little voodoo dolls that look like the Terry family- QUIT ALREADY. We can't take anymore! We are tired, doggone it!  So now I'm off to bed to recuperate until the next drama, which hopefully won't happen until sometime in 2068.

 Noah got his IV and didn't shed a tear!  He is so hard core!

June 27, 2010


It was called to my attention that my blog was not showing up in Google Reader or other RSS feeds for about 2 weeks.  Somehow my codes got all messed up, hence the reason that if you find your way here through Google Reader- you just had about 10 posts pop up!  Hopefully, it is all fixed.  Sorry for the confusion!

On a super happy note: we now have 10 awesome, amazing, wonderful women signed up for the 2010 Mom's Retreat.  They are such a diverse group of gals from all different walks of life from 5 different states!  We have some adoptive moms.  We have some bio moms.  We have working girls and stay-at-homers.  It is going to be a fabulous weekend.  There is only room for 4 more!  If you want to come, please let me know ASAP!  For all the details on the retreat- you can check out this post- 

If you told me that you want to go, make sure you send in your deposit to actually hold your spot!  I am so excited.  Can't wait for October!  Yippee! 

June 26, 2010

Whatever is Lovely

Yesterday was a crazy day for Miles.  We reunited after being apart for many days.  He had a million different relatives taking care of him while we were helping Sadie at the hospital.  Life had just been up in the air for him.  And for a child who has trouble and trauma- change is not a good thing. It does crazy things to the brain.  It only took an hour of us being back together for Miles to go right back into the "I hate this woman who calls herself my mom" mode.  I put him to bed over an hour early last night because I was just cooked and decided that we'd just have to try again today.

Hubby had to go out of town this weekend for a business trip.  The whole family was supposed to go, but with Sadie's sickness, we got a little derailed.  But Kamron still had to go, so he took Noah with him for a little boys weekend away.  It will be SO good for them.  So with one less little one to worry about and with Sadie mostly wanting to just lay on the couch, I made up my mind that today was going to be a whole day of being intentional with Miles.

Normally, Miles wakes up angry.  He's hungry when he wakes up and that sends him raging.  But today, I went and got him up early.  I didn't wait for him to wake up hungry.  I went and got him up before the hunger got to him.  I opened the door to his room with a huge smile on my face.  In my head I was thinking I was crazy for actually waking up a monster, but hey- progress has to start somewhere.  Much to my surprise, Miles woke up, took a look at me and reciprocated my smile.  My heart just about stopped.  Miles hasn't made an intentional smile at me in I don't know how long. (But come to think of it, I haven't been intentionally smiley with him either because it is so dang hard to smile at someone who NEVER returns it!)  And it didn't stop there.  I reached over to pick him up out of his bed and the boy HUGGED me.  Both arms around the neck and squeezed and held it there for a long time.  I've seen him do this to complete strangers, but never to me.  My eyes *may* have gotten a little misty.

Then we came down and had breakfast together.  Not breakfast on the fly like normal.  But just him and me sitting down together to eat.  And although he didn't look at me, he just seemed so much more relaxed around me than he normally does.

We worked on our home therapy program the attachment therapist put us on.  It goes a little something like this.  On a normal day, we take whatever time we can (sometimes 5 minutes is all he can handle) where we focus on doing something that Miles is really good at- like playing ball.  Or stacking blocks.  We do that activity together and I praise the heck out of him.  I ignore him when he does something bad (as long as it is only a minor infraction).  He gets absolutely zero negative attention and praised like crazy for the good stuff.  The other kids are not allowed to intrude on this time.  It is just Miles and me.  I get down on his level and we just do our best.  Playtime usually ends when he begins using objects of play like weapons against me.  When that happens, I can no longer reward him with my undivided attention.  I get up and walk away in an effort to teach him that in our home we strive for positive attention.  But when you've been starved for attention your whole life, you usually take whatever attention you can get- hence the reason that most days our therapy play time only lasts a few minutes.  Today we were able to interact with one another for 40 minutes before it turned sour!  Hallelujah!  And several times during play time, he kissed me and laughed.  Now here is a weird thing about Miles.  Miles does not make noise very often when he laughs.  He makes the face and does the body motions like he is laughing but there is no noise because the emotion is not genuine.  He can also fake cry like an Oscar Winner. He is a master of manipulating emotions. But today- oh today- there was REAL laughter.  Belly laughter that came out of some happy place deep within!  It was just glorious!

The rest of the afternoon passed pretty uneventfully- which here, in the land of chaos, was blissful!.  Sadie and I did lots of coloring since she is still just wanting to do quiet activities while she recovers.  Then it was time for dinner.  Usually when Kamron isn't home, I don't go to the trouble to cook and we just have cereal and milk.  The kids just know that when Daddy is gone it means we have Lucky Charms for dinner. ( Don't judge- you know you do it too!)  But since he was gone last night and we had cereal night last night, I thought I could go to the trouble of boiling some noodles and throwing some sauce on top.  Sadie wasn 't eating, so it was just Miles and me for dinner.  He is perfectly capable of feeding himself.  But noodles are really messy and I decided that for a change of pace, I would just feed Miles his noodles.  At first he just didn't know what to do.  We take for granted with our bio kids, that we need to feed them.  As little babies, they can't do it on their own.  The bonds that are made from feeding a child are huge.  But when kids come to you already knowing how to do it themselves, you miss those bonding times.  You have to be intential in recreating those moments where your child can depend on you.   So, even though he could do it himself, I sat down right in front of him and shoveled noodles into his mouth.  He stared right at me and maintained eye contact.  He had to rely on me to give him that next bite.  Not an easy thing for Miles.  Food is such a huge PTSD trigger for him, so rerouting his brain to see food as a bonding activity instead of a flashback to starvation and hunger was an amazing experience.  He still had his moments today (we can't expect too much now, can we!), but overall this was the best day I've had with Miles in months. 

Finding intentional moments of joy with Miles in just our regular everyday experience today has changed my perspective on some things.  I learned that with a child who has experienced trauma, you have to measure progress in small steps.  I can't expect him to love me unconditionally, but I will take those five minutes of eye contact and 40 minutes without trying to take my head off and the first real hug and roll them all up and throw it under the umbrella of progress.  It gave me so much hope that he is not damaged beyond repair.  It made me see that  I CAN do this therapeutic parenting thing.  And that maybe- just maybe this is all going to turn out okay.

Finally brothers and sisters...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
- Philippians 4:8

June 25, 2010

Clicking for Congo!

There are so many super easy ways that we can help people in the Congo. Here's an insanely easy one- and it doesn't cost you a thing. Our Family Adoptions- an amazing non-profit humanitarian organization- is up for a grant from Chase Community Giving. Chase is awarding a $250,000 grant to the organization that gets the most votes in their contest. I realize that that is super ambitious. But the really cool thing is that they award $20,000 to each organization that finishes in the top 200. Right now the 200th place organization only has 243 votes! If only half of the people who read this blog every day follow the link and vote- we've got that beat in a day! Come on! We can do it!!!

Our Family Adoptions uses all the money that comes in to the organization to care for orphans in the Congo. They feed them, clothe them, staff orphanages, buy formula, send kids to school, buy medications, dig wells... the list goes on and on. The point is this- they do amazing things and are all volunteer run (so they have zero overhead)! And with just a couple of clicks, you can ensure they get a big ol' fat grant to keep doing awesome things and making a difference in the lives of kids in the Congo! $20,000 can do a whole lot of good! Click on the link below to vote.

UPDATED!!! My great friend Carrie just contacted me and said that she has some awesome Congolese treasures they picked up in Kinshasa that she will donate (giveaway style!) to people who vote. She has a handcarved wooden box and some Congolese jewelry that she wants to entice you with. If you click the link and vote for Our Family Adoptions- leave me a comment and tell me so! You'll earn an entry at the Congolese goods. Blog or repost the link on Facebook or Twitter and earn an extra chance! (Don't forget to tell me you shared the link in your comment) Since voting wraps up July 13th- we'll end the giveaway fun then.  The REAL winners are the kids you'll be helping so GO VOTE AND SPREAD THE WORD!!!!

She's Outta There!

Oh my.  After 4 days in the hospital we are finally home.  And exhausted.  Actually beyond exhausted.  Sadie is feeling a teeny tiny bit better, but mostly we just had to leave the hospital because our insurance gave her the boot since she was saturated to the gills with IV fluids and they don't let you just "hang out" in the hospital unless they can connect you to something.  Hopefully we won't end up back in the ER this weekend.  I'll catch you up on all the latest Terry household happenings soon, but right now I am too tired to do anything but put up a few pics of our wild week! 

Okay- I realize it is kind of paparazzi-ish to take a picture of your child getting out of an ambulance, but they made her sit there in the parking lot of the hospital forever so I pulled out my phone to shap a shot since I thought the boys would think it was super cool that their sister got to ride in an ambulance.

Even GranMary couldn't make that girl feel better.  Honestly, the whole week just left us feeling a little like this...

And now I am off to deal with the aftermath that leaving your child who is struggling to attach for 4 straight days creates.  Good times!  Regardless, it is SO good to be home!

June 23, 2010


Hi all.  If we are Facebook friends, then you know that Sadie is in the hospital.  This will be her second night there.  After ruling out appendicitis and pancreatitis, she is being treated for severe dehydration from a terrible vomiting bug.  12 hours on IV fluids didn't touch how dehydrated she was.  Her poor tongue was completely white by the time we got to the ER because she just didn't have any extra water in her body.  So we are going for night number two of IV fluids to see if we can get her back to functional.  She is really homesick and wornout.  On the fun side, we got to take a super cool ambulance ride in the middle of the night!  Yippee! (NOT!)  If she can keep these fluids in, she should be able to come home tomorrow.  Be back when my little girl is all better. She is such a trooper! (And she looks so stinkin' cute in her little hospital gown)  I'll post a pic when we're home and settled.

In the mean time- make your reservations for the 2010 Mom's retreat.  We already have 5 very super cool women joining us!  Hope you can make it!

June 21, 2010

MOM'S RETREAT 2010!!!!

Oh my goodness! Can you feel my excitement through your screen????? I have been thinking about hosting a mom's retreat for a looooong time. I mentioned it on here a couple of weeks ago and so many of you said that you wanted to come. So I spent 2 weeks scouring the country in search of the perfect place where all us moms could converge for a couple of days of peace and quiet. Some places were fabulous but cost a fortune. Some places were cheap, but were complete dumps. But finally, I found the perfect place!

The 2010 Mom's Retreat will be at...

October 22-24, 2010

You are going to love this place:

It just screams peacefulness and serenity! Harbourwood sleeps up to 14 people.  There are 5 bedrooms with 6 beds, 4 inflatable mattresses and several couches. Even though that means that every person won't have their own private bedroom, if you're like me you'd sleep on asphalt just to get a night's sleep away from the kiddos. There are 4 bathrooms, a hot tub, hiking trails, a barn with farm animals, a gorgeous lake..

It is the perfect place to come and relax, recharge, and have fun with lots of other moms from all over the country.  Take time to reflect and hang out without the stress of everyday life and those little rugrats we all love so much!  I foresee many wonderful conversations on this deck in my future.  And hours reading books in the swing overlooking the lake.  And long soaks in the hot tub.  (Can we just leave tomorrow!?)
I don't know about you, but I HATE to cook when I'm on vacation.  And since I have designed this whole weekend to give you a break- I will not allow you to cook, either.  We've gotten a fabulous deal on catering, so all of our yummy meals will be brought right to us.  We are also having some local professionals come in to give spa treatments for your weary bones and muscles.  The only thing you have to do is show up and eat and sleep and get pampered.  Sounds like my  kind of weekend!

And the very best part is that I created this trip with your wallet in mind.  I know that so many of you stressed out moms are paying buckets of money for therapies for your kids.  You or your spouse have been laid off.  You feel guilty about spending money, blah, blah, blah.  I know that.  I want you to be able to go.  So I am giving you 4 whole months to start collecting your pennies and line out some childcare.

Here are the cost details:
Lodging for 2 nights = 74.90
Catered food for the entire weekend= $49
Total Cost= $123.90 (yep- you can totally swing this!)

Extras You Could Do:
Spa Treatments- pay per rub
Adult Beverages- pay by the slurp if you are so inclined to bring it in your suitcase

The only other costs associated with this trip are your transportation costs.  Cincinnatti is very centrally located so hopefully lots of you will be able to drive.  Once we know who is coming and where you live, we can arrange some carpooling if you'd like. Or better yet, convince your BFF to come with you and split the costs of gas!  If you are coming from far away, check priceline and Expedia for airline tickets.

If you are a bit nervous about getting together with a group of women you don't know at all, don't be! I'll put together a contact list of everyone before hand, so we can all email back and forth and get to know each other a little before we join together for our giant slumber party.

I already had to put down a deposit, so if you'd like to go, I need half of your trip costs ASAP to hold your spot.  ($62)  Spots are on a first come- first served basis.  The other half will be due 30 days before the trip.  Email me at meganterry01@aol.com and let me know if you want to come along.   If you have any questions (because I am sure that I am leaving out some really important info) leave a comment and I'll keep adding new info and answers there!

Hope that you can come!  I can't wait to meet so many of you in person!  And remember-YOU deserve a break!  See you in Cincy!!!!!

Mugshot Monday

About a month ago, I swore that the slip n' slide was the best money I would spend all summer.  I was so wrong.  The best money I've spent all summer was on the $59 (big sale!) pool we put up in the back yard last week.  It is 10 feet wide so it is big enough for everyone to play in together.  We have been spending all day every day in this pool.  For some reason, when I throw all my kids in water, they all get along.  They don't complain and they have FUN! (And they get worn out and take naps! Yippee!)  Swimming is the great equalizer in our home.   We've had some wonderful family time in there.  Sadie even told me that I was the best mom in the world for getting them a pool.  I'll take that!

June 20, 2010

The Nature of the Beast

We've known since about 6 weeks after Miles was home that the adjustment was not only not what we expected but also that it was just not normal.  At that 6 weeks home point, it was almost as if something in the poor kid just snapped.  I think that he finally realized that he was here to stay and he panicked.  Then it started to snowball, faster and faster until... we all reached the breaking point. 

Our lives began to revolve around the tantrums.  I began to feel weird about having people over because I wasn't sure how Miles would act toward other kids.  I got nervous taking him to the church nursery.  I felt like I couldn't leave our kids in the same room unsupervised ever and that just wore me all the way out.  People told me he was just trying to test his boundaries.  But my gut was telling me that there was so much more going on than that.  I could feel my sweet, tiny Miles shutting down when we were at home.  He still totally put on a show for strangers and latched on to anyone at the grocery store who would show him an ounce of attention,  but at home, he just turned into someone different.  At home, I found myself saying in my head (and out loud to a few people), "This kid hates me."  Miles seemed to have no problem loving all over my husband. It was just me (and Noah) that he just couldn't handle. (We're the people that he is around all day every day)  And as a mother, that is defeating.  Kids are supposed to love their mothers.  And mothers are supposed to love their children.  That is supposed to just be a given- not something you have to work at every minute of the day.   If you've never had to live with them before, let me tell you- survival behaviors are hard to love and even harder to like.

I wondered where that little boy who just melted into me in Africa had gone.  He had been replaced by a child who genuinely seemed tormented most of the time.  I could still find glimpses of that earlier child, so I knew that we still had hope.  We started researching and going to doctors and adoption experts and finally found out last week that Miles has extreme post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  And he is on the attachment disorder spectrum.  No one is calling it RAD, because he does recognize that we are here to keep him safe and he does seek us out to meet his needs for food- but that is about it.  The PTSD just takes him from a normal kid one minute to a child that needs a straight jacket the next.  We're working on figuring out the triggers for him.  Hunger is a huge one.  Before meals, right when he starts to get hungry, he goes off the deep end.  The hunger takes him right back to a state of fear and chaos.  It is just heartbreaking to watch.

We're still trying to push papers through the state to qualify him for services- which seems to just be taking forever.  The state just can not understand why we don't know our own son's birthday or exact age.  Doctors from 2 different clinics have submitted statements on our behalf about his estimated age, but the state just can't figure out what to do with that.  When we finally get that pushed through, the last clinic we saw suggested that he be therapatized like crazy.  He is a really smart kid, but at 2 1/2- he only has the social/emotional capability of a child less than half his age.  So he's got a lot of catching up and a lot of brain reprogramming to do.

And to add to it, we also found out that Miles has latent tuberculosis.  If you know us in real life, do not panic, it is not contagious.  He will just need to be medicated for 9 months to keep himself from developing active TB.  His first TB tests after coming home were negative.  Malnutrition affects all kinds of blood tests.  When we brought Miles home 4 months ago, he was older than 2 and only weighed 12.5 pounds.  If you are the praying kind of person, please pray that this TB test was the only false negative test that he will have in the coming months when we do more rounds of testing. 

We are also hoping to have some clear discernment about Miles' eyes.  The doctors are suggesting that we have Miles' eyelids tacked up since their droopiness is affecting his vision.  He walks around most of the time with his head tilted back so he can see out the bottom of his eyelids.  I love those sleepy eyes, but I also want my son to be able to see properly.  The surgery is very easy, but is also very painful.  At this point, while he is having so much trouble attaching, I am not sure that putting him through something painful is the right thing to do.  When he had his 2 stitches in his head taken out he wouldn't look at me for days and only let me hold him if a dog was around for a whole week.  I can only imagine how much more intensified that would be with a really painful surgery.  I'm thinking it may be a better idea to just hold off on it for a while.

I do apologize for being such a downer for the last several weeks.  That is not the intention, because I am actually feeling pretty good right now.   But, this blog is an open book about my life and that means taking the good with the bad.  However, now that you know what we are up against in our home, I'll try to keep it positive!

Last week was my first day of having my summer babysitter- which was Amazing with a capital "A".  I laid by the pool all day with my best friend and talked about everything under the sun.  I got burned to a crisp in the hot sun and finally stopped looking like a vampire.  (Next to Miles, though, most everyone looks like a vampire).  The kids did great with the sitter (who is just about the prettiest teenager I've ever seen.  Seriously- she looks like Beyonce before Beyonce started making her hair that crazy shade of blonde.)  So all in all- that whole situation is going to just be glorious.  I felt totally energized by my time away and can't wait to do it again this week.

I also started trying to take better care of myself.  Eating better, coupled with insane amounts of stress have so far resulted in a 15 pound weight loss.  Go me!  My mii on the Wii now only says I'm overweight instead of obese.    Woop Woop!

So see... it's not all bad!  In all things there is HOPE!

**I'm announcing the Mom's retreat for 2010 this week.  Holy cow- I'd love to get away.  Wouldn't you?  Stay tuned for details!**

June 17, 2010

Just taking a tiny break.  We had Miles evaluated by a bazillion experts at the international adoption clinic in Cincinnati yesterday.  Long day.  Lots of answers.  Lots to process.  Nothing we didn't expect to hear or already assume, but we've got some work ahead of us- and lots of researching and therapy and advocating for services to do.  So forgive me- but for a couple of days, I am just going to get busy living and parenting and attaching and playing with my kiddos in the pool without worrying about taking the time to write about it. (Glad you understand!)  Be back in a few!

June 15, 2010

Winner and Photos

The winner of the Boot Camp Giveaway is...

Tianajane from Safari Njema

Congrats!  Email me your address (and real name!) and I'll have CSN stores ship your bootcamp kit right out to you!

It's only Tuesday but already it seems like we've had a busy week.  We had a little mini Congo boys reunion yesterday.  We drove an hour and a half to hang out with our friends the Sullivan's and Hall's who  both have boys adopted from the Congo.  All of our kids have so much fun together.  And us moms, too.  It is so refreshing to spend an afternoon with other mom's who just "get it".  Here are our 3 families of kiddos all blended together for an afternoon of fun.

The four Congolese Cuties enjoying a sandwich and a swim together:

And here is Miles with Moise.  They lived at the orphanage together for about 7 months.  Then they traveled halfway around the world to reunite.  I love that these families live close enough that we can pop over for the afternoon.
(I also love that it looks like Moise is flashing some gang signs!)  If you'd like to take a trip down memory lane, here are Miles and Moise in the orphanage together.  (Miles in back, Moise on the right)  I think they've both come a long way!

We also had a fun visit from Papaw Gary and Granny Liz.  Gary taught the kids how to do hand slap games!

We are so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends!

June 14, 2010

Bad Words

The other day, the boys were getting on Sadie's last nerve. She had had all she could take of their antics. She said, "These boys are...are...grrr...they make me want to say the 'D' word!"

I was a little bit appauled! (And a little worried that maybe she's overheard me on a tirade when I let my frustrations out on the dog! I always figure if the dog doesn't understand 'sit' then she sure isn't going to understand if I throw an 'h' in there sometimes.) So I asked Sadie what she meant and was so happy to learn that her dreaded 'D' word was actually the word "dumb". She just wanted to say that her brothers were being dumb! *Big Sigh of Relief!*

But it got me to remembering about a time when I was in the 3rd grade. My mom was a teaching assistant for a kindergarten class. There was one really bad kid in her class named Zachary. One day in class, Zachary called someone a mother fu..(you get the gist). I remember my mom coming to pick me up from my grandmother's that afternoon and telling my grandmother that this little kid had said "M.F."

This M.F. baffled me. I asked my mom what it meant. She said something like, "Well, you know the 'F' word, right?" The only forbidden 'F' word I knew was "Fart". And in my mind that was a really bad one since we weren't allowed to say it in our house.

I shook my head that I certainly knew what the 'F' word was. I told my mom that I didn't understand what the M. was for, though. She explained to me that sometimes people put the word 'mother' in front of the f-word. I didn't get it. I could not for the life of me figure out why you would call someone a "Mother Fart." But for years when I would get really good and mad, I would call people a "Mother Fart" in my head. In the 5th grade I got made fun of a lot because I was a big nerd and I hurled my mother fart thoughts at lots of kids. I am quite grateful now that I never said it out loud. I would have just given them more ammunition!

For now, I am just going to count my blessings that "dumb", "stupid", and "shut-up" are the worst words my kids know. Wonder how long I can keep them that innocent...

June 13, 2010

You Get What You Need

I'm afraid that in the last few weeks that I've come across inadvertently as sounding like adoption is not an awesome thing.  That is about as far from how I really feel as is possible.  I think that adoption is one of the most mutually beneficial relationships that exists on Earth.  A child who would never have had one, gets to experience a family.  And parents, get to experience that child.  It is win/win. 

And despite that we have been having some ups and downs lately and we still have tons of unanswered questions, I would never in a million years even think that adoption is anything but wonderful.  I have always heard that the number one thing to expect in international adoption is to expect everything.  But I really just think that that is true for parenthood in general- no matter how you get your kids.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Miles has always been meant for our family.  I think (and I am no theologian) that God gives you what you need when you need it.  Now- I am not sure what the lessons are that he is trying to teach me with Miles.  But I know that it is obviously a lesson that I need to learn.  And sometimes I fight that and kick and scream the whole time, but eventually I will figure it all out.

Each of my children has been exactly what I needed at the time.  When Kamron and I found out quite unexpectedly after only 4 months of marriage that I was pregnant, God delivered to us a kid who came out of the womb sleeping 12 hours at a stretch every night.  He gave us a kid who somehow had her cry box turned off.  He gave us a kid who never got sick, who never had any issues because that is ALL we could handle at that time in our lives.  Then Noah came along.  And God gave us a kid with some issues.  Not crazy major issues, but some issues.  And it was hard.  But we handled it and came out as stronger parents on the other side.  We learned so many  lessons along the way and we learned how to navigate the state therapy system.  So many times I got furious at God in the process.  I would look at my son and get angry when he was delayed at sitting up or walking or just about any of those milestones.  I got angry when my friends would talk about how their kids were so advanced and I wondered what in the world I had done to have such a hard row to hoe.  But then one day, I just let the situation go.  And I realized that God had put all the right people and all the right services right in my path.  I was equipped with all the tools I needed to be able to help my child.  And somewhere in the middle of that, I discovered all the things that I loved about Noah.  I love his sense of humor and I loved all his quirks.  I loved his big heart.  I learned that focusing on the things that made him amazing instead of all the things that made raising him hard, changed the whole life of my family. 

I am trying to remind myself of those lessons as we go through some struggles with Miles.  I am reminding myself that I know how to work the system (thank you God for teaching me that lesson with Noah!).  I am reminding myself that I am equipped to help him heal.  We're too far in the middle of it for me to figure out the big picture lesson here, but I do know that THIS child- he was meant to be mine and that we are equipped for the job.

I realize that not everyone that reads this blog, believes in the same God that I do, and that's okay.  And I also don't want it to be misinterpreted that "God gives your kids issues" just so that us nutty parents can learn a lesson.  I look at my friend Cassie and her little boy who had cancer.  Do I think that God gave her son cancer to teach her a lesson?  Absolutely not!  But I do think that even though the struggle was more than I can imagine enduring, she came out on the other side with all these tools in her arsenal and has done amazing things to raise awareness and research funding for childhood cancer and has been a source of comfort for countless families going through the same thing.

Do I think that God allows teens and young adults to suffer from addictions just to teach the parents a lesson?  No way!  But overcoming addictions and demons can sometimes bring about healing that families are desperate for.  Same thing with the RAD mamas I love to read about.  No one would ever wish for horrific things to happen to children that they can't recover from.  But I look at the community that these mothers are building and I can't help but be anything but inspired at the things they are doing IN SPITE OF the things their children are going through.  It all just gives me so much hope.

I know so many mothers right now going through all kinds of things with their children- weather their kids are little or grown or they are still waiting for those children to come home.  I don't know all the answers.  But I do know that each one of those children was given to you/chosen for you for a reason.   Those reasons aren't always easy to see, but there are things that you can do for that child that no one else can.  A change of perspective (like in my case) can made a world of difference. 

There is nothing harder than watching your child suffer.  I just know that everything I've been through in my life has prepared me for this journey with Miles- even though we don't exactly know what that journey looks like yet.  So now instead of saying "Why God?", I'm saying, "Thank you, Lord for THIS child.  Thank you for placing him in a home where we have all the tools and resources he needs.  Thank you for equipping us just for him."

My prayer for you (and me) today is that you realize just how equipped you are.  No matter what your situation is, HE promised to always give us exactly what we need. 

I'm not exactly sure  how to wrap this one up, except to say thanks for those of you that he has laid in my path.  You are making the journey beautiful...

June 11, 2010

Summer's here!

Summer is in full swing around here...

Sadie got out of school a few days ago and that meant saying yes to a little project she had been wanting to do for her teachers.  She desperately wanted to make cupcakes for her teachers, but being the overachiever that she is, just regular old cupcakes would not do.  Here is what we spent way to much time making...

She was so proud to carry those into school!  And it just made her whole day again when she walked by and saw me posting the pictures.  She always knows I am super proud when I share pictures of what she's been doing!

Her day was not so made, however, when she stepped off the bus from her last day of kindergarten ever.  Sadie has been really sad about school ending, so I wanted to make that moment when she stepped off the bus really fun for her.  So Noah and I each got a can of silly string and we silly stringed her when she got off.  It did not go over well.  In fact- it scared her to death!

No- that is not happiness written all over her face!  That is one tradition that definitely will not stick.  I am so happy to have her home for a couple of months. 

We also went swimming in GranMary's pool

And caught lightning bugs...

Well, the rest of us caught lightning bugs- Noah couldn't get the hang of it so he smashed a few, but we'll try again! 

And in case you are wondering what I am doing for me this summer- I hired a babysitter.  She came over to hang out with the kids a little while yesterday to get to know everyone better and learn their routines.  She will be coming over one blessed day a week to take my place while I take a day a week to decompress.  (I may cry when she goes off to college in the fall.)  In years past, the money has stopped me from doing this, but this year I developed that attitude that I can't afford NOT to take care of myself.  I deserve a break! Cause if mama's happy and functioning the whole machine runs better.  I may have FINALLY just figured out that I am worth a day off! She's also available on some nights- so I see lots more date nights with my darling husband.

Oh, how I love summer!  Don't you find that the days are so much easier when you can just turn the children loose in the backyard?  Thank you Jesus for inflatable pools, bikes, swing sets and your beautiful sunshine!     

June 09, 2010

Hello, 2. It's nice to see you.

I took Miles to the doctor today.  As an aside let me just say that I love our doctor so much- I leave his office every single visit in awe of his awesome doctorness.  He's the kind of doctor that calls at night to check on my kids when they are really sick.  If this guy ever retires I am going to be up a creek. 

The verdict is that Miles is between 24 and 27 months old.   So- since a whole year of his life just flew by in a blink, I am just going to share a few things I love about my favorite now 2 year old...

*He is spirited. 
*He has the most amazing smile and he flashes it often.
*He says the word shoe a hundred times a day and it is cute how he enunciates it every single time.
* I love that he is an adventurous eater.  Despite that fact that I am not- he makes me feel like a good cook.
* He is crazy smart.
* For my husband, I love that Miles is athletic as all get out.  The other two are the creative type, and I am glad that Kamron now has a kid who could throw a ball for hours.
* Miles can dance.  Old School.  It is very Sammy Davis, Jr. and super cute.
* Like me, Miles is not an animal lover.  He and I can be non-animal together.  Seriously- kittens scare the crud out of him.  It is nice to have a kid who won't beg me to take in strays!
* He is very mechanical and curious about how things work.
* He is a water baby.
* He is friendly to everyone.  He is the kid that waves at everyone from the grocery cart. 
* His sad puppy dog eyes melt my heart every time I look at him.
* He's just darn cute and we are so lucky he is here.

Mmmm... powdered sugar donuts sure do make a boy happy!

June 08, 2010

Some kind of happy

Unless you only read this blog sporatically, you  know that we have been struggling in this house lately.  Sometimes it is overwhelming.  The latest struggle is trying to get Miles help at the earliest stage possible to help him overcome his severe aggression. We are trying desperately to get him into our state's early intervention progam. Our main issue is that the child's birth certificate says that he is 10 months old when we suspect that he is older than 2.  This is no one's fault.  A year ago, based on his size, I would have made the assumption that he was a whole lot younger, too.  But that malnutrition is a tricky thing and the things it does to developement and growth are shocking.  So every month, as Miles grows, he ages exponentially.  Every trip to the doctor ages him by months and months.  When he first got home, we thought that maybe he was a year old.  Then when we got some food in him and he wasn't listless all the time, we thought maybe 18 months old.  Then he got in 18 months worth of teeth in a 2 1/2 month time span and we thought he was around 2.  Then he started being able to stand on one leg and jump and do all sorts of other crazy stuff and now we think he's older than two.  Seriously- malnutrition is a bitch.  If he is older than 2, then there is a ton of his life that is unaccounted for before he arrived at the orphanage.  Whatever the reason, he is acting it out in some crazy ways.   The state likes hard numbers.  His documentation says 10 months and that is standing in our way of getting him properly evaluated for pyschological help.  Lucky for us, we have lots of advocates and friends that are connected with the system that are fighting for him.  And I think we may be able to pull it off and start getting Miles some services to start helping him heal.  I told my dear friend yesterday that you know your world has been flipped upside down when you are frantic to find psychological help for your child before they are even verbal.  But we are on the right path and I see light at the end of the tunnel. 

Our family was desperate for a shake up from the routine this weekend.  Saturday we tried to keep the kids separated all day to keep the pressure from building up.  I took Miles out for some one on one time all morning. (which included getting his stitches out) and then in the afternoon, my mom came and took the big kids to a movie.  Just keeping everyone away from each other and giving the kids a break from Miles, seemed to work wonders.  I know that it is not possible to keep em' separated (anybody else just bust out the Offspring song?) all the time, but for a day, it sure was nice!  And then on Sunday it was time for some family down time after church.  And what better place to have down time than Papaw Johnny's farm?!

The farm is my kid's very favorite place in the world to be.  They are free to get dirty, run off some steam and just explore until their heart's are content.  Just seeing them have so much fun was refreshing to me.  We left all the stress behind and just had fun.  And seriously- it was way better for my soul than the $100 I dropped on therapy.    The day reminded me of how awesome this adventure of parenting 3 children is.  We stopped for a photo and at that moment I actually felt like maybe this was all going to turn out okay...eventually.

Somehow our little jaunt to the creek to get some water for the chickens, turned into all the kids stripping down nekkid and having the time of their lives in the creek with their Papaw.


(Yes, we do feed Noah- aka "BOB" for Bag of Bones!)

The kids jumped off the little bridge into the water so many times, I thought that my poor dad's arms would break from catching them so many times.  And each time there were giggles and joy and utter happiness.

Seeing my children this happy was like a lifeline for me.  I always wonder what kind of images I'll see on my deathbed when I am reflecting over my life.  I hope it's these images and the sound of all that laughter.  It was just so much perfection.

You can't buy that kind of happy.  Even if it only lasts for an afternoon...

June 06, 2010

Therapy Makes Me Sick

So after a long week last week, I had my first appointment with a therapist.  I knew I needed this and lots of you guys told me that you wouldn't have gotten through the transition without a therapist, so I just went for it.  I google searched and read profiles of gazillions of therapists in our area and narrowed it down to a few that I felt would be a good match.  I made an appointment and made myself a nervous wreck about going.  I had delusions of grandeur that this woman and I would be fast friends and that she would wave her magic wand and I would leave there the freakin' happiest woman in the world.  It did not quite work out this way.  In fact, therapy made me sick.  Literally.

If you know me in real life, you know that I cry at the drop of a hat.  I cry when I am happy, I cry when I am sad, I cry when I am stressed.  Crying is just kind of my catch-all go to emotion.  So I plunked myself down in the chair, told the woman my name and then let the flood gates go.  I liked this woman.  I felt comfortable around her.  I had no trouble dumping my stuff on her.  But something told me that she wasn't the therapist for me.  She didn't have any kids, which made me feel like she couldn't really empathize with me or our situation.  She had no clue about any adoption related issues.  So I knew that I was going to need to shop around for someone who would be a better fit for my issues.  However, I totally took advantage of the time to just sit down and decompress so I cried until I gave myself a raging migraine.  Then I was ready to go home.  But this woman must have been determined to give me my money's worth.  A half an hour into our visit the rest of the building closed down.  And they shut off the air conditioning.  We were in the tiniest of rooms with the door closed and it heated up fast.  An hour into our visit, I felt like I was good and done and didn't have another thing I could talk about but this therapist was just not wrapping it up.  I kept getting hotter and hotter.  I soaked through my bra and my spanx in no time.  And spanx are not easy to sweat through.  I felt like she just had no idea how to wrap up the appointment.  We kept talking in this circle forever and ever that went a little like this:

Her:  I think that all you need is to learn to take better care of yourself and make yourself more of a priority.
Me:  I totally agree, but I obviously don't know how to do that or I wouldn't need to be here.
Her:  Well, it is a journey of self discovery.
Me:  Yes... but  can you tell me some concrete things that I can do to help myself?
Her:  The journey of self discovery can take many forms.  Silence.
Me:  Silence.  (By this time I have soaked through my shirt!) My inner monologue is screaming at me to run.  This conversation is going to go nowhere.
Her:  What are you thinking.
Me:  I am wishing that you would just give me an assignment or a workbook or something tangible to grab hold of.  I know that I am this way because of x,y and z.  What I don't know is how to fix this. If I knew what I needed to do, I wouldn't need therapy!  That is the whole reason I am here.
Her: What do you think you need to do?
Me:  Ummm, I just said, I do not know.  That is why I came to therapy.  To learn the answer to that very question.  Are you hot? (At this point, I contemplate stripping because I am so hot I think I may have a heat stroke.)
Her:  Yes, it is warm in here.
Me:  Silence.  While in my head I am saying, "Oh God.  This could go on forever.  Give me a freaking assignment already before I melt into a little puddle of sweat on the floor.  If you are not going to be a concrete kind of therapist, I am definitely not going to come back.  Quick, Megan.  Think of a BS answer already so you can get the heck out of here!"  Out loud I said a boldfaced lie. I said, " I think that you have given me more to think about than I can possibly process right now (lie #1)  I think I need to just go home and reflect about it and take steps from there. (lie #2)  I am sure that the answers will be clearer after I've had some time to really contemplate everything." (lie #3)
Her: I think you are right.  (Hallelujah!  She bought it!)
Then she asked if she could wrap things up by praying for me.  As an aside- I chose this place because I liked their faith based approach to therapy.  I totally believe in the power of prayer and am never one to pass up on someone offering to pray for me.  So she launched in to her prayer.  And no lie- it went on for about a zillion minutes.  It seemed like a crazy long prayer to me being as how we had just met and all.  I am ashamed to admit that I started to just drown out her talking because I was so hot.  By this time, I could have rung out my shirt and was beginning to soak through my pants.  One of my college roommates called this sweaty butt phenomenon "swamp ass."  All I could think of during those last few minutes of prayer was how my swamp ass was going to leave a wet spot in this woman's chair and I wondered if she would think I wet myself.  I finally decided I really didn't care if she thought I had peed in my pants or not, I just wanted to get out of there before I burst into flames.  I am quite certain that hell is not as hot as it was in that office.  By the time she started to sound like she was winding down, I was nearly ready to pass out.  She said, "Amen" and I stood up at the speed of lightening.  I thanked her profusely and blessedly she opened the door to freedom and fresh air.

But by the time I got to the car, my head was pounding and I just could not cool down and I knew I was going to be sick.  I started the car and blasted the AC and took off.  But it was too late.  At the stop light, I had to open the door and puke on the street.  I was right next to Target so I decided to go in there and sit in their parking lot for a minute.  After a minute or two I thought I was better so I decided to just run in Target.  On my way in, I very embarrassingly had to throw up in their parking lot.  I took off running toward the building so I could make my way in to the bathroom.  The other thing you should know about me is that I throw up so loudly, it could be heard in China.  It is so loud, it is scary.  I can't control it.  So after my time in the bathroom I was so embarrassed I had to stay in the stall until everyone that could have possibly heard me was out of there.

I knew I needed some crackers and some water to settle my stomach, so I walked over, grabbed some crackers, ripped them open and devoured some.  When I went to check out, the clerk said, "Umm, ma'am.  Did you know your crackers are open." 

"Yes," I said, "I opened them."
"Oh- did you get hungry?"
"I guess you could say that." I said.
The poor guy just couldn't stop trying to make conversation while I swiped my debit card. "Why did you get so hungry?" He chuckled.

I thought, "If you only knew how complicated the answer was, you sure as heck wouldn't ask that question!"

So needless to say, my hour and thirty minute therapy session was not that beneficial! I didn't learn a thing about myself I didn't already know.  I made myself sick and I wasted $125.  I did go and buy a new dress that night, though, and that made me feel super good- so maybe instead of real therapy, I'll just try retail therapy! (Just kidding)  I may decide to shop around and find a better fit for a therapist who has better air conditioning.  The one thing I do know, is that I definitely will NOT go back to that fiery inferno.    
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