March 31, 2010

The winner of the Blindside Date-Night Prize Package is...



Heather at Tuesday's Child! Heather is bringing home little Sophia Esther from the DRC very soon. I got to meet the little cutie when I was in Kinshasa. (And I am going to try to arrange a marriage with either of my sons to her because she is a looker!) Sophia and Miles grew up in the orphanage together and traveled across the Congo together to go and stay with the same amazing foster family. See- she and Miles are meant to be...

Heather- send me your address and I'll send you your goodies! Congrats!

And thanks to SO many of you playing along. It was great to "meet" so many new friends. I am just overwhelmed with the bloggy love this week. Y'all really know how to make a girl feel appreciated!

Wordless Wednesday

March 30, 2010

Oh Lord, I'm Goin' There...

So today I was talking to my mom and I told her that for the summer I'd like to find someone to come and take all 3 of the kids away one day a week. I told her I thought that I needed that for my sanity. Then I felt this SERIOUS twinge of guilt! I got that, "Oh my gosh- that must mean I am a bad mom, and I am not nurturing my children enough, and they'll all turn out to be prostitutes and drug dealers" thing going through my head. Of course, I know this is so not true, but as women we are fooled into thinking that we can HAVE. IT. ALL. I think that you can have it all, just not all at once- because, you know, life goes in seasons and all that.

I love my kids. They are my whole life. But dude- sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a life outside of my kids... And why is it that when we start to envision that could-have been life, do we feel so bad about ourselves? It's not that we want that could-have been life everyday! I'd just like to have the opportunity to do that other life maybe one day a month (okay, every week) just to do something different! We shouldn't feel guilty about that but we do! (I say we, because I think that maybe you do the same thing, but hell- maybe it is just me!) Why in the world do we do this to ourselves? I thought about this all day. And do you want to know what I came up with? (Sure you do!) It is because there is always that crazy mega mom out there who will one up you and make you feel like crap about yourself. Come on- you know the mom... The one who only packs her kids organic, gourmet food for lunch. Who manages to be the president of the PTO, the leader of the Girl Scout Troop, and every charity board in between. Her kids know Mandarin when they are like, 3 years old. Her van doesn't even have one crunched up goldfish cracker on the floorboard. She always has her hair and makeup done and she somehow miraculously fits into her size 2 jeans without the aid of a girdle, and she does it all with a SMILE! Does anyone else want to slap this mom?

So today- I'm keepin' it real. We're all moms (except maybe the 2 or 3 men who actually read this blog) and we're all probably insecure about something. We always look at the next mom over and wonder how in the world she keeps it all together. And instead of thinking, "Good for her- she's pulling it off!" we take it as a personal attack on our own inability to keep all those balls in the air.

Several people ask me how in the world I find time to blog and that I must be really efficient. People- it is a facade! I blog because if I don't, I feel like I will spontaneously combust. It is my connection to the adult world. My blog world doesn't include Dora, or reading homework, or boo-boos, or diapers or hundreds of loads of laundry. This is my daily self-care. When I sit here- I can just be... a grown-up. I don't have it all together. Sometimes I only brush my kids teeth once a day. They get generic lunchables full of calories and no nutritional value in their lunch everyday because that's how I roll. I yell sometimes. My kids wear hand-me-downs and have holes in their socks. I let my kids watch way to much TV and I am guilty of making everyone eat cereal or pancakes all to often for dinner because I am just too tired to actually plan out anything better. And you know what? It's okay! We all love each other about 94% of the time in this house and I think that's pretty darn good!

So to those moms out there who "pretend" to have it all together: stop making the rest of us feel bad! In honor of the rest of you- I'm airing my dirty laundry, quite literally. Because just as that supermom makes us all feel like crap, I think seeing someone else's insecurities makes us feel a little bit better, even though we hate to admit it! I wish that these pictures were staged but unfortunately they're not. Here we go... (DEEP BREATH)

This is my laundry room. And sadly- I must confess that after Miles came home I got someone to come and help me once a week to keep up with the laundry and it is still this bad.


Even when all those hand-me-down kid clothes are hung up, they have to take up permanent residence in the laundry room because *gulp* my daughter's closet looks like this and I can't get to the clothing rack.



Did you readers in Switzerland and Australia and everywhere in between just hear my mother groan all the way from Kentucky? My aunts probably just said a great big collective, "Oh no she didn't!"

And here's my "office". It is a miracle that somehow all the bills get paid on time.(Thank you automatic bill pay!)


And then there's the kitchen (do you see why cereal is on the menu?):



Now- lovies, do you feel better about yourself? I sure hope so. Now- go forth with good self-esteem!

March 29, 2010

Getting Supported

I am a firm believer that everyone needs a support system. I think I have a great one- although most of the time I don't utilize it. It is just my nature to try and be superwoman until I crash and burn and leave the pieces for my husband to pick up. Geez... maybe I need to get a therapist...

However- one of my favorite support systems that we have are our friends the Sullivans. I've talked about them before on here. They have adopted two darling little boys from the Congo. They also have a daughter, Livia, that my Sadie just adores- and a son, Parker, that my Noah thinks is the coolest because Parker has 2 hamsters!

There are so very few adopted Congolese children living in the US, but we have a whole little cluster (and by that I mean 4- soon to be 6) of little Congolese boys that live withing a couple of hours of us. Having these other families who look like ours and who share our passion for all things Congo has made this journey all the "more better" (as Noah would say!)

I have such an amazing adoptive mom support group but unfortunately most of them live inside my computer. So it is great that Stori Sullivan and I have gotten to be such good in-real-life friends. (I find that as you get older it gets a whole lot harder to make in-real-life friends, don't you agree? Or spend time with the ones you do have?) It was awesome to get to spend the day with people who really get what you are going through. We found ourselves saying, "Me too!" more times than I can probably count. And I love that our little boys will all get to grow up together. For our boys to have that bond of being around other native Congolese adoptees will help both of our families preserve their beautiful culture.

So- we spent the day with the Sullivan family just hanging out, taking a hay ride, playing on the playground and cooking out. My kids would all like to move to the Sullivan's because they have "their own forest" and a hot tub. It was a magnificent day of hanging out with friends and getting supported.

All the kiddos getting ready for a hay ride


Livia and Miles enjoying the sunshine


Miles and Ian


Hot tub time!


Don't forget- you only have 1 more day to get entered in The Blind Side Giveaway! I'll announce the winner tomorrow night!

I'm spitting nails

I've been working on posts from our wonderful, fun weekend. But in the midst of what has happened in the Congo- I feel like I have to get this out there first. New reports came out yesterday of a massive attack in Congo. One of the most disturbing things about this is that this massacre occured 3 months ago and word of it is just now making the news. It is not making headlines- it is buried deep in the far recesses of the news. This blows my mind.

The Lord's Resistance Army (think SUPER HORRIBLE BAD GUYS) brutally killed 321 people in an attack in December. When I say brutal- I mean seriously, intensely brutal. I can't even write about it without bursting into tears.

The majority of the people who were killed were men- tied up to trees and then hacked to death by machettes or who were bludgeoned to death with axes.

For the children they massacred, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) decided they would make a little game of it. Children abducted by the rebels were forced to execute other children who had disobeyed the rebels. In several documented instances, the children were ordered to form a circle around their victim and take turns hitting the child on the head with a heavy object until the child died.

A 3 year old girl was burned alive while the other children were made to watch. My son is 3. I can't imagine how these children can endure. I keep thinking what if those were my babies. What if my 6 year old was forced to watch her brothers be burned alive? For the ones who aren't killed, you can only imagine how their bodies and spirits must be broken.

Reports are also saying that the rebel group abducted 250 other people- these were mostly women and children. They were forced to march to a town over 60 miles away. Those that walked too slowly were executed and villagers say that they found bodies all along the trail from Makombo to the town of Tapili in northern Congo.

You may be wondering how an attack this brutal didn't make the news when it happened. The anwser is chilling. The few victims that the LRA showed "mercy" to by letting them return to their villages, were sent home with their ears or lips or sometimes both cut off to serve as a warning to themselves and others that talking about the attrocities would result in swift punishment from the LRA.

Here we are in modern day and this is still happening in the Congo. This just should not be. I am just a mom. I am not sure what the solution is but I know it starts with each of us. If you are reading this right now- you can't say you didn't know. I can't sit back and continue to let this happen. I hope that you won't either. Today- I am going to make it really easy for you to become an activist.

Eight short months ago, secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, visited Congo in a visit that got a lot of press. She stood up in front of God, the Congolese and the American people and pledged to end the conflict in DRC. She has yet to act. Please urge her to use her position to help! Pull out your cell phone and text her. I want her line to absolutely blow up today. Text something like- HELP CONGO or END THE WAR IN CONGO to 90822.

Email your senators. Here's how you can find out who your senator is and how to email them.
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm


I'll make it easy. You can copy and paste this if you don't want to come up with something on your own.

Dear Senator,
While the world turns a blind eye, thousands are dying every week in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a result of the genocide that has been going on there for nearly 15 years- genocide cause by fighting for control of mineral mines. I urge you to create policies that will help to end the conflict in the Congo. Specifically I ask you to support or co-sponsor the Conflict Minerals Trade Act (H.R. 4128/S. 891) that will help end the trade in conflict minerals.
Thank you,
YOUR NAME HERE

Because if it important to stay informed, if you want to learn more about what you just asked your senator to do- here is more info on the bill.
http://www2.americanprogress.org/t/1659/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=6273&elq=9e92044b037046a48bdcb80ff24b9ddd


YOU do have the power to create change. Look at your children. Aren't you thankful that they are safe? That you don't have to worry about someone coming in the middle of the night to take them away, make them march 60 miles, and then rape and kill them? Every one of those children, is somebody's child. Somewhere in the Congo- a mother is grieving that her baby was burned alive. Somewhere in the Congo a family has been ripped apart. Somewhere in the Congo, little children are now orphans. Do something. Please.

March 26, 2010

Cha Ching Badda Bing!

A miracle occurred in this house this week. The boy child has been sleeping. It was quite an ordeal the first few nights, but he slept!

Since coming home from Africa, Miles had been sleeping either on the living room floor or on the floor next to my bed since he has some crazy aversion to his crib. For a tiny bit of time, this was an okay situation while he was trying to learn the layout of our house, etc. But when that tiny bit of time expired, he took to wandering around the house at night and getting up about every 5 minutes and causing quite a ruckus. Not to mention the fact that he (and I) were just plain exhausted, sometimes causing the following:



The situation sometimes got dire and I have ended up with backaches galore from sleeping on the living room floor and the kid is cranky. I'm not even Catholic and I'd started throwing up Hail Mary's in the hopes that the boy would just go to sleep. Part of me thinks that since Mary was a mom she might just have some sympathy for me and throw me a bone. I mean- I am sure that Jesus and James got a little rowdy every once in a while so she might just know how I feel.(I'm having images of Mary telling Joseph, "If these kids don't go to sleep I'm going to flip out!) Plus, I feel like it may be a little better that my other, "Jesus, make this kid go to sleep or I'm going to jump off the roof!" prayer I've been saying!

A few nights ago, when Miles woke up for the third time before midnight and roamed all over the house, Kamron decided it was the last straw. The boy was playing us. We were clearly being manipulated. So Kamron put the pack and play on Miles' familiar part of the living room floor, put the baby in it and walked away. He came back to bed and we were determined that we were going to ride it out. Miles was determined he was going to ride it out, too. After about 15 minutes of crying bloody murder, I was also laying in bed crying bloody murder. I felt like we were being so cruel. I worried that we were just going to magnify whatever sleep/crib trauma the child was going through. I am grateful Kamron was willing to take on the "bad cop" role, because I just couldn't do it. Mostly, I think it was because he would want to divorce me if I went too much longer without any sleep. (I do tend to turn into a monster in desperate need of Prozac or a Valium or something!) Finally, we decided that we needed to drown out the crying and we laid in bed and watched reruns of "The Office" until the wee hours of the morning. After an hour of crying, Miles finally gave up and fell asleep and there he slept for 7 straight hours! (Insert angels singing the Hallelujah chorus here) That more than doubled his previous record. I think the boy just needed some boundaries. Anyway- after blissfully sleeping for a solid 6 hours myself, I woke up panicked that Miles must be dead and that is why he didn't wake up a million times. Much to my surprise, he was all curled up in the playpen sleeping like a brick. I am so excited!!!! I am at that point in my life where I will totally equate the excitement of a full night of sleep to losing one's virginity. Yay sleep! The possibility of future sleep has me positively twitteredpated! And it didn't stop there- 4 nights in a row of solid, wonderful, rejuvenating shut-eye. I feel like a new person! And Miles woke up full of smiles and hugs, so his nights of good rest didn't scar him too badly either! Score!

Mama On A Mission

In case y'all haven't noticed- I am on a mission to raise awareness about the Congo. I want the Congo that my son can return to as an adult (hopefully just to visit!) to be a very different place than it is now. I hope that it still holds all the same beauty and splendor, without the fighting, the disease and the desperation. Our hometown newspaper has done a series of articles on our family and our adoption journey to help us raise awareness about the plight of the more than 5 million orphans living in the streets and orphanages of the DRC. Check it out!

Miles to Home


If you've made your way here from Rainbow Kids- welcome! Check out the right sidebar for all things Congo and Adoption. Let me know if there is something I can do to help you on your adoption journey!

And because there haven't been any for a few days, here are some gratuitious kid pics. Does anyone else find that once you have more than one kid- you can rarely ever get them to all smile at one time? Here is our best attempt.









P.S. Don't forget to get in on THE BLIND SIDE GIVEAWAY! Even if you're new here- I'd love for you to play along!

March 24, 2010

Blind Side Giveaway

There are not a lot of families that look like mine in the movies. So when one comes around and it is a great movie to boot- you better believe that I am going to jump all over it and watch it a million times! And I want to share all that fun with you! I am giving away a copy of the movie The Blind Side, which came out on DVD yesterday! I LOVE this movie. It is super inspiring and sends a really positive message about transracial families and loving our fellow man.

If you haven't seen it- you can catch a peek at the trailer:



Plus- Sandra Bullock is in it and she is just so dang cute you can't help but love her! (She won an Academy Award for her role in this movie, too.) And heck, I'll even throw in a few packages of popcorn and movie theatre candy to top off date night. (Sorry- you are on your own for securing a sitter!)


To Win:
1. Leave me a comment on this post telling me what your favorite movie candy is. (I like to alternate between junior mints and milk duds!)
2. For an extra shot at winning, leave a comment AND become a follower of this blog (over on the left hand sidebar). Tell me in the comments that you became a follower or if you are already a follower.

**I'll have one of the kids pull out a winner on Wednesday, March 31th at 7pm. Winner will have 2 days to claim their prize (I'll also try to get in touch with you!) before another name will be drawn**

Good luck!

March 22, 2010

You Can't Say That On Television

When you are a mom of 3 nuts, you have no idea what will fly out of your pie hole at any given time. Here's a smattering of some things that have come out of my mouth this week (and no- I am not proud of very many of them!):

"We don't strangle people we love- now stop trying to put the TV cables around each others necks!"

"If I see you try to smell your sister's butt one more time you WILL go to time out."

"Pajamas are not food. Stop trying to eat your pajamas."

"No- I don't care if you color your whole body with markers. Just make sure you wash it all off before you come back out of the bathroom."

"Because I said so- that's why!" (said way more times than should be allowed. Did anybody else swear to themselves they'd never say this to their kids and then fail as miserably as I did?)"

"Every Chinese girl is not named Kai-lan. Every Latina girl is not Dora. And every African American boy is not named Little Bill."

While bra shopping, "Are you sure that's what size I need? When I look at that bra on the hanger, I feel like I could flip it over and serve chips and salsa out of those cups! That's depressing!" The sales lady was not amused.

"Happy Birthday, Kamron. Since you never put anything on your list, I got you something I would like to have instead!"

"Be careful with that zip lining. I've heard it could be brutal on your crotch."

"How many times do I have to tell you? Mommy's shirt is NOT your Kleenex!"

They always say that children learn more from what you do and less from what you say. Man oh man am I grateful for that! Hopefully I haven't warped these cuties too badly. Maybe instead of contributing to their 529's I should start setting aside dollars for their therapy!





March 21, 2010

Sunday Snapshot

Hubby's birthday was Friday (the big 3-2!) and we celebrated by going on not 1 but 2 dates! On Friday night my mom came over to keep the kids and we went out to dinner. (This was the first time I'd left Miles!) After a fantastically relaxing dinner we decided to do a little shopping. On our big night out together we actually went our separate ways most of the night! We'd go into a store- go look for the things we needed and text each other as to our whereabouts. And it was actually a lot of fun! I guess we've just reached that point in our marriage. Then we reconvened to go out for dessert (the best part!) Anyway- it was just nice to get out and be in the same general vicinity of one another without anyone crying, needing their nose wiped or diaper changed.

Then on Saturday night my sweet sister-in-law, Kennethia, came to love all over the kiddos while I went to go be supportive of my rock star hubby. He's been in a band for nearly forever- so I headed out to the club to watch him rock it out. Now- I am a really un-trendy person, so for me to go out somewhere like that is stressful because I will stare at my closet forever and ever and just wait for something cute and trendy to materialize. Somehow it never does. I told my bestie yesterday that when you get past the age of around 22, the process of trying to get bootylicious probably needs to start around lunchtime, if you intend to go out by 10pm. It also feels a little strange to park my minivan in the parking lot of a bar. Man- I am feeling so old! But Kamron's band played great and it is always so good to see them perform well after all their hard work (even if I do whine to him incessantly about how much time his band takes up!)

So this morning, Miles is punishing me for leaving him. The boy is attached to my leg with a death grip. He is babbling something that I am certain in English is sure to mean, "How could you go off and leave me woman! To ensure that you never do that again I am going to make you hold me 24 hours a day from here on out! Got it!" To which I reply, "Darling- I love you! I am sorry for leaving you. But if mama wants to keep her sanity, mama must go out and act like a fool every now and then." Self-care, loves. Self care!

And to leave you with a smile, here's our latest family portrait. Sadie is really proud of this masterpiece as she says that the ears on the boys are just perfect. (I love that the boys are all dressed alike and that the dog appears to have a bird beak!)

March 18, 2010

Saying goodbye

I have this picture of Miles that I have never shared. It is of him looking out the window of the airplane as we pull away from the Congo. Even now I can't look at this picture without crying. Pulling away from the airport was so emotional for me. One-because I was anxious to get home. But two- even though I know that Miles' life will be so much better with us than in an orphanage, I still had a twinge of guilt over taking him away from his country. I think that is why I am reluctant to apply for US citizenship for him. I am very content to let him be a permanent resident and then allow him to make that decision for himself when he gets old enough. Because you can take the boy out of the Congo, but you can't (and I wouldn't even want to) take the Congo out of the boy. I love that little Congolese cutie.

(The poor kiddo had to ride naked all the way to South Africa because he had already exploded out of all the extra clothes and diapers in my backpack and the airline made us check our other carry-ons because the plane was too small to store them! Traveling mothers- let this be your warning!)

March 17, 2010

The Sound of Stupid

Miles has been home for almost a full month! Where has the time gone? We're starting to go out more and more which means that more and more people are coming up to us and asking LOTS of questions and giving their 2 cents worth about our transracial family.

I recognize that a lot of people are just curious about how we came to look the way we look. So I'll answer their "is he adopted" question by saying, "Yes- we are an adoptive family." Sometimes they are very genuinely interested in how it all came about and, if you know me at all, I can launch right into a conversation about the injustice and beauty of the Congo right in the middle of Wal-Mart just as easily as John Wall can slam a ball. I love to talk about it and try to use it as a way to raise awareness to people who really do seem to care about our story.

But I can also recognize that lots of people aren't curious- they are just downright rude and nosey! And I brush these people off because they aren't worth my time. But my goodness! Sometimes I get a really good laugh at some of the really dumb things people have said to me!

First of all, I'll just say that in our situation a whole lot more African American people will make comments out loud to us than white people. White people will just stare at us with this "Wonder how that happened" look on their faces. White people seem to be really scared to talk about race or say that our son is "black". People... he is black! (and quite cute I might add!) If you've got a minute,one of my favorite bloggers, Corey, just wrote a great post on race issues Anyway- here are just a few of my favorite idiotic things we've heard:

One woman (men never talk to me in public for some reason) walked up to me and said, "Honey, your husband must be REALLY black for you to have a baby that looks like that!"

Then there is the dreaded question phrased ever so indelicately..."Is he adopted or is he yours?" I always answer this with "Both" and walk away. Or they'll see me out with all the kids and they'll ask about Miles and then ask if the "other 2" are mine. I always say, "All three of them are mine and I love them all very much." I guess I don't get how there is a gap in people's brains that makes an adopted child any less "yours".

And then people do the downright gross and ask (right in front of Miles who will understand to be hurt by this later in life) "How much did he cost?" Dude- don't even get me started on the profanity that nearly escapes me when I get asked this question. It has only happened twice. The first time it took me really off guard and I stuttered out some incoherent piece about how legal fees are expensive, etc. But the second time I got smart and answered with a big ol' nunya- as is "Nunya business!"

And of course we have heard the " well, now what if Sadie wants to marry a black man" debacle. It sucks that we are still in this anti- interracial place in America. Really. Why in the world does this matter? I don't care what color (or gender, for that matter) the person she decides to marry is as long as they treat her like a princess. I place way more weight on the issue that the person love her, respect her and value her than if they are white. Or "yellow" as Sadie would say :-)

And here's my very favorite one I've heard so far. A customer at Chick-Fil-A came up to me and we launched into a discussion about transracial adoption. She was probably in her fifties and was so proud to tell me, "You know, when I was in high school I had a black friend!" I was thinking- Ummm... do you mean to tell me that you haven't had a meaningful encounter with a black person in 30 years??? You may as well have told me that the person at Kroger who bagged your groceries once was black! Since I didn't think it would be a good idea to say what I was thinking, I was stumped. I said a sarcastic little, "Good for you!" and just left it at that.

Ahhh...the sound of stupidity!

March 15, 2010

Mugshot Monday



In honor of our SEC Champions, we have inducted another one into the big blue nation. Go Cats!
(Just to tell you how much my hubby bleeds blue- he has had me write the UK starting 5 from the year they were born in each of the kids' baby books. So far, Miles wins the prize for the most exciting team!)

March 13, 2010

From the mouths of babes

Do you remember that when we saw our first picture of Miles last year how Sadie exclaimed, "He looks just like Noah!"? Our dear friends came over last night and their adorable son Ethan took one look at Miles and said, "He looks just like Noah!" I love how kids automatically see all the ways that we are the same instead of the ways that we are different. But now that Miles has been home for a little while, Sadie has changed her tune. She carried Miles down the stairs a few days ago. She had put some sunglasses on Miles and wanted me to see how cute he was in the glasses. As we were both admiring him, Sadie said, "He looks just like Michael Jackson, doesn't he?" I sure hope that the girl meant Michael Jackson circa the 1970's- however, I have no idea when she would have seen a young Michael Jackson, so maybe she really did mean the late, great Michael Jackson in all his plastic surgery glory. Hmmm...I don't see it...
And then there's Noah...Noah has been relatively tame these last few weeks. But he came flying down the stairs the other day, really complaining of an ear ache. I immediately thought he must be getting an ear infection so I asked him if it hurt way down in his ear. He said, "No, it only hurts behind my ear on the outside." This sounded a little weird to me so I asked him what happened to his ear. And in true Noah fashion he replied, "Well, some very small animals climbed up to my ear and they drew triangles and rectangles on it and it hurt really bad! Have these small, shape drawing animals visited any one else lately? Not sure if we should call animal control or Ripley's Believe It Or Not to come in and take care of our small animal problem.

The same day I posted about Miles' shae butter lotion, we had a little incident. Okay- we had a BIG incident. Somehow Noah sneaked the container of cream from right under our noses. He grabbed the tub that was the Crisco like solid. Evidently he felt like the family that lives in our dollhouse needed a good lubing. As well as the floors of the dollhouse which even after repeated scrubbing are still so slick the dolls could ice skate on it. This poor man, his daughter and their dog may never recover. It looks like they got creamed by the Stay-Puffed Marshmallow man from Ghostbusters.

Enjoy your weekend!

March 11, 2010

Joe Cool and the slug trails


I think this kid is super cool. Seriously- he is like a little mini Bill Cosby. He moves like Bill- he has that same Bill Cosby grin. He draws laughs like a comedian. He is a ham. Miles is really into entertaining people. If you would have told me that same little, sad kid I met almost a month ago would be the ham in our family, I would have thought you were crazy. Just goes to show what a little love and some goldfish crackers can do for a kid.

You see how shiny and glisteny little Mister is? The week we came home his poor skin got so cracked and dry. It was awful. I tried just about every lotion and oil known to man. I was stopping every poor, unsuspecting African American woman in every store I went to polling them on what they put on their skin. One lady turned me on to a shea butter solid that worked really well. The stuff is about the same consistency of Crisco. It really helped his dry skin and smelled pretty good, too. The drawback to this is that you have to put it on at least twice a day for it to keep working well. Miles loves getting rubbed down with lotions and creams- it is really good bonding time for us. But keeping up the routine twice a day was really time consuming. Plus- the kid left a trail like a slug every time he went anywhere with all that glisteny slick cream. He was so oily I felt like I was getting ready to put him in a pan and fry him. So I thought I'd try something else. In my quest against ashiness (is that a word?) I have found the most amazing stuff! Here's our new magic bullet:
It is JR Watkins Natural Green Tea and Aloe shea butter body cream. I loved the shea butter but the consistency of the solid turned me off. This is a really thick cream and is easy to apply and isn't greasy. It leaves his skin super soft without being slick. So no more slug trail! And it only has to be applied once a day! I bought this at Walgreen's. The only scent they sell is the Green Tea and Aloe, but if you buy it off their website you can get the same formula in other scents. It is $9 for about 3 1/2 oz. Not super cheap, but not super expensive either. Now...if only I could figure out a way to get paid for this endorsement!

March 10, 2010

Real Housewives of KY

I should have learned by now that when your children just beg you to go to bed at 7:30, you should *not* jump up and down and throw a party. You should clear out the washing machine and line the beds with plastic and make them sleep in ponytails, because when they go to bed that early, they are all going to wake up somewhere around midnight covered in vomit. Silly mama- you knew better! Still- you took your book to bed and reveled in the fact that you read a whole 8 pages of a novel before your eyes were so heavy you had to go to sleep (at 8:45)! When the whole time you should have been getting the house ready to be infested with germs. Maybe you should have put away the mountain of laundry on top of the washing machine so that when the puking parade began you actually could get to the washing machine! Or made sure that the matress covers were on the kid's beds so that you weren't scrubbing mattresses with soap in the middle of the night. Ahhhh, stupid hindsight!

And in other news, the honeymoon is over for Mister Miles. I have read lots of books and articles about this and tried to prepare for it, and here it is. Now that I think he realizes he's here to stay, he's really getting down to the real work of adjusting to our house and our lives. Which right now includes hours and hours of crying every day. And regression in the sleeping department. And in the eating department. Now that he's realized that food is in constant supply here, he's figured out he can get picky and throw food and scream when he doesn't get what he wants. All totally normal for that post honeymoon phase of coming home. He is still super friendly and becoming more and more loving every day and he does great during outings. It is when we are at home that the struggle is at it's peak. He mostly needs to be held, a lot. And reassured a lot. I can't walk out of the house to get the mail or let the dog out without the child having a near panic attack. It scares him to see me walk out the door. In many ways, I think this is great progress. It means that he has learned that I am the one who takes care of him and he is scared to lose me. Great attachment! But still wearing on the mama who needs to carry him around and stay within his line of vision all day long. I knew this would happen, and I am so happy that it is working out this way, but I didn't factor in that in so many ways, I would feel like a prisoner. And in a lot of ways, it hurts my heart for my son. I know that he is acting this way because he has experienced so much loss already in his life. Though he is just a little guy and we adopted him young enough that he most likely won't have any memories of the orphanage, I can tell that the feeling of loss still surrounds him. I know that those feelings of fear are very real to him. There are other things too. The moment I put him in the crib, he throws up and is overwhelmed with panic. I can tell that there must have been some sort of trauma there. So we just don't put him in the crib. I think it is too soon after coming home for him, to force him to tough it out. Just seems a little cruel at this point when I can so obviously tell that there is trauma there. I know that he is not just manipulating me- I've had a child who manipulated her way through sleep issues and this is not the same ball of wax. So Miles is still sleeping in the middle of the living room floor. He won't sleep on the floor in any of the other rooms. I am guessing that it is because we spend most of our waking hours in the living room and that is where he feels most secure. However, this makes it nearly impossible for him to get a nap because there are 4 other crazy people who live here and sleeping out in the open is just not practical. And then there is still the issue of the parasites invading his little belly. We just can not get rid of these things! Everytime I think it's cleared up, the next day we have a whole new infestation. Poor little guy- I know it is painful for him.

I'm not trying to complain. Miles overall is doing amazing! Truly- he is blossoming and opening up more and more everyday. Just trying to keep it honest and paint an accurate picture of it all because I know that there are a lot of people reading out there who are contemplating adoption. I think that so many times the books say that if you adopt children before they turn age 2, then you are footloose and fancy free and at the core of it, that is just plain false. Adopting children when they are younger, in general, I think may ease the transition, but truth be told- we have no idea what our children have experienced before coming home and that all factors in.

So- enough with the doom and gloom... A few days ago we went hiking at Papaw Johnny's house. That is my kids absolute favorite place to be in the whole world. They could walk around in the woods forever. Miles is no different- he loved wandering around in the woods, too. It was so awesome to get out and get some fresh air and exercise! I love those little, adventurous kids (even when they are barfing and crying!)


March 08, 2010

Are you there God? It's me, Megan.

I am smack in the middle of one big crisis of faith. Going through the adoption process strengthened my faith in ways that I never imagined. Just being on the path that God had for our family made me feel like I was riding one big spiritual wave. But since I saw the things I saw in Congo, I'll admit, I've been pretty mad at God. Okay- I've been a lot made at God. As in- I can't open my Bible and I can't pay attention at church and when I pray I just fill up with rage and I'd be lying if I hadn't said some things to God lately that have probably hurt his feelings. I am a deeply "feeling" person, and I know the things I've said to God would have crushed me. So how does God feel about the things I've hurled his way? I hate to put words in his mouth because he's God and all, but I imagine it feels like how I'd feel if one of my kids told me they hated me. Only magnify that infinitely. Because I know that God loves me infinitely more than the intense love I have for my kids. And then multiply that by- oh, 6 billion children or so.

You see, I know that God does not cause suffering. I KNOW this to the very core of my being. So I don't understand why I am so angry with him. I went to the Congo knowing it was going to be bad. I knew there were people dying there. I knew that there were children starving there. I knew that people there were desperate and suffering beyond anything my privileged American self could comprehend. But seeing it...seeing it broke something in me. Seeing it made me question almost everything I know. It goes back to the age old question of "why do bad things happen to good people?" But it is more than that. You see, I know that bad things happen to good people all the time. And I know that God works through those situations. I've seen it happen. But I just don't get how he can let it happen to an entire nation. Or an entire continent, for that matter. Thus, the crisis of faith.

I've talked to God- or more accurately I should say that I've yelled at him about this. I just don't get why God doesn't "do" something about it. I don't get the "why". Why so many helpless children have to die. Why so many people have to be in despair. I looked at those girls dying in the orphanage and I get mad at God, because I see that he so easily could have done something about it. I get that we are here on Earth to be his hands and feet. But there we were being his hands and feet at that exact place and time and those girls were still going to die! I don't get it. Surely, God in his infinite wisdom, has a plan for all of that, but it is eating at me that he hasn't shared it with me. How selfish of me. I know that He is calling others to do things about the suffering in the world and they are ignoring him. What is your excuse? Money? Inconvenience? Selfishness? Ignorance?

I have known all along that our journey to Miles is just a tiny part of the big picture for how the Congo will impact the rest of my life. I know that God has broken my heart for this place for a reason. I know that he revealed to me that Miles was out there waiting for us, so that the rest of this journey could begin. But now that Miles is home I have no idea what to do. We are here living our happy lives, while the suffering continues.

I've asked God, "Now what" and "Why" a hundred times in the last few weeks. Nothing. I know that he is giving me time to enjoy my precious little Congolese miracle, but it would be nice for him to say, "Okay Megan, I am going to give you 6 months to breath. Then I want you to do x,y and z." I know that x,y, and z are out there, waiting for me to do them, I just wish I knew what they were. I have often heard that sometimes God doesn't show you the next step, until you've taken the first step. Well... we took that first step. Now what? My brain is swimming with ideas but there is no direction and I am getting tired of waiting. The only thing I do know is that we are not supposed to go and live in Congo. I know this because Kamron said, "No absolutely not, Megan. Put that idea out of your mind right this minute!" So- I feel like if that was part of it, then God would have called us both, since we are kind of a packaged deal. (Did anyone else just hear my Mom and Dad breath a big ol' sigh of relief?)

So I guess I'll keep waiting. And trying not to be so mad at God. I'll try not to hold him responsible for the suffering. I'll try not to put the list of dying people on my list of grievances against him. I know those losses hurt him. Those are his children. I guess I should also add to my list that he'll take the anger out of my heart. And maybe, just maybe, I should also pray for...patience.

"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I'm afraid God would ask me the same question."
-Anonymous

March 07, 2010

Spring has sprung!

We had sunshine yesterday and temps above 30 degrees for the first time in ages. We took full advantage and got the kids outside to run off some energy!




I have taken about a million pictures of Miles, but two of my very favorite ones happen to be with each of my parents. Here is one of Miles with my dad. Every time I look at this one, I am just reminded of how we are all much more alike than we are different.

And my other favorite I took last night at my Granny Sadie's 74th birthday dinner. Miles is really into people's faces. He loves to explore faces with his hands. He gets so excited about it he slaps love taps all over who ever has him. He is just trying to show affection, but my gosh- the little guy has some power in that swing. He was trying to show GrandMary just how much he loved her and I caught the moment right before that big smile on my mom's face turned to tears from having her nose cracked. Sorry you got hurt mom, but I still LOVE this picture!


Miles says, "Sorry,GranMary. I love you!"

March 03, 2010

I know my hygiene is around here somewhere

Stop. The. World. I just got a shower. And washed my hair and shaved my legs for the first time in I can't tell you how long. New moms- you know what I am talking about. I thought that this time would be different. I thought that since this is the third time around I would have figured this all out by now. But nope- somehow the time to take a full on shower eludes me. Sometimes it is noon and I realize that I haven't brushed my teeth. I think that I have only fixed my hair a handful of times and I know I have only put on makeup once in the last 3 weeks. Night comes and I have good intentions of taking some clippers to my toenails or the tweezers to my eyebrows, but my bed just looks so inviting I don't do any of it. I have only cooked 2 meals since I got home from Africa- which means that now my fat jeans will only button when I have my spanx on. And I haven't been to the grocery in 3 weeks so the contents of my fridge are wilted celery, expired eggs and ketchup.

I still haven't unpacked my last suitcase from my trip. I think I am afraid that there may be cockroaches stowed away in there that decided to come to America. Somehow in my head, I think if I just leave the bag closed, whatever may or may not be in there can't escape. It's not that I am lazy. I am not depressed. I am hyper vigilant about watching for warning signs of post-adoption depression. That is not it. I am happy as a clam. This is just a classic case of wore-the-hell-out! So new moms- fear not! You are not alone. If we could stand the smell of each other we should band together and form a club. A club called the " I know I have a new baby and you want to come to my house- but my hair is too greasy and my sink is full of dirty dishes, but come on in, club!"

Would you like to join?

March 02, 2010

A day in the life

A pictoral review of a day in the Terry household...



I pulled out the camera bright and early and FINALLY got a picture of all three of them semi-smiling and looking at the camera! Hallelujiah!



Miles is a happy, happy boy in the mornings! He wakes up and eats breakfast- then eats another breakfast when Sadie and Noah wake up. (Yes- that tiny guy scarfs down 2 breakfasts!) Some faves are pancakes, Nutri-Grain bars and Fruit Loops.



Jamming to some tunes with Daddy before his workout.



One of Miles' favorite parts of the day is when Sadie gets home from school. Yesterday he just couldn't stop hugging her.



They had a dance party. Yesterday we taught Miles how to do the "lawn mower". He is now an expert at it!



We perfected our cirque du soleil moves that impressed the socks off of Daddy when he got home from work. *Note to self* a grown up on the floor is infinitely more fun than any toy you could ever have. My dad used to do this with us for hours and we LOVED it!



After a dinner of hodge-podge leftovers, it was bath time. A long time ago Kamron said that once Miles was home and we put him in the middle of Sadie and Noah in the tub- they would look like a hamburger in a bun. It is very true.



Then it is time for bed. Miles still prefers to sleep in the middle of the living room floor so this is the scene at night. Miles and Kamron can be found watching old movies on the floor together until the little one falls asleep.


*sigh* Life is beautiful!

March 01, 2010

The Mother Of All Blowouts

Hmmm... we've been home a week and things are going so smooth it's scary. Is it wrong of me to think that at some point the other shoe will drop? I know that I haven't been at this long, but I think the jump from 1 to 2 kids was waaaaaay harder than the skip over to 3 kids- adopted or not.

Sadie pretty much thinks that Miles is a real live baby doll sent here just for her to squeeze on and take care of. She does an excellent job. She practically begs me to let her feed Miles and play with him. She has even set up her bedroom as "the nursery". She'll yell down the steps, "Moooooom (sound familiar to anyone?)- the nursery is open for business!" This is my cue to take him upstairs to be babysat. She even makes me sign him in on her sign in sheet- complete with information about where I'll be (ummm, down the hall?) just in case she needs me. And Miles just eats this up! He trusts Sadie completely and loves being left alone with her for short periods of time. Plus- Sadie gets to feel like the most rockin' big sister ever!

Noah is a different story. Noah has always been our kiddo who just needs some extra attention. Now that Sadie is directing all her attention to her new little brother, I think Noah is feeling a bit left out. We've been trying to compensate all over the place but I can tell the adjustment is hitting him hardest. I know it's difficult for him to no longer be the baby, but I didn't think that middle child syndrome would kick in as quickly as it has. Don't get me wrong- he loves Miles and plays great with him, but I've heard a lot of, "Mom just play with me for a little while" and "Mom- carry me instead of baby Miles." Miles is typically content to be put down so I can give Noah all the cuddles he needs, but still I know that Noah's world has been turned upside down. I see lots of one-on-one dates with mom and dad in that boy's future.

Miles is picking up all kinds of new skills. The longer that he is here, the more I begin to wonder if he might be even older than the estimated 12 months. He has awesome motor skills and can even stand on one leg and kick a ball. I'm pretty sure my other kids couldn't do that until way later. Or maybe it's just the Congolese soccer star trying to come out in him! He has even started to sleep a little better in the last few days- only waking up once or twice in the night instead of 320 times. He eats great and is just the happiest little boy. He reminds us both of an old man. He just has some wise old ways and is so deliberate with all his movements. Of all the kids- he is by far the calmest one. Thank you Jesus for finally giving me chilled out baby! Our main problem with him is getting rid of these stupid parasites in his stomach. The boy has a bad case of giardia from drinking bad water his whole life. It took the lab 4 days to figure that out for some reason and it has so far taken the pharmacy 4 days to get the medication ordered. (Collecting all those poop samples has been the highlight of motherhood for me, let me tell you! Lots of dry heaving was involved) Hopefully we'll finally get to start treating it this afternoon so the kid can stop exploding. And by exploding I really do mean exploding. As in- it's about 8 AM and he is already on his 4th set of clothes for the day. This is a problem that Miles has had since the day I met him. It is much easier to deal with here in the US where I have a washing machine and running water. In Congo, these spontaneous poop combustions were a nightmare- except for one time that turned out to be the most humorous part of the trip...

Did you notice the fabulous Congolese dress I had on in the pictures of my visit to the orphanage? The dress was bought out of serious necessity! When we went to the market to buy the beans to take to the orphanage, Miles had the worst blowout in blowout history. Unfortunately, he was on my lap when this happened. To say that I was covered in poop would be the understatement of the century. It went from my knees to my chest. Yep- I was knee deep in it. I had a change of clothes for the baby, but nothing for myself. After about 3 minutes in the heat, flies were beginning to swarm all around me. We were at a food market and there was no clothing to be bought. Once the driver got a good look at me, he drove us to the closest street vendor selling dresses. I walked up to the lady selling her wares in all my poopy glory. I could see in her eyes she didn't want me anywhere near her goods. I made some gestures to her that I obviously needed to get something to change into. She grabbed something off her display and drug me by the hand back into this abandoned building. She took me into a room the was all empty and concrete and shut the door. This was maybe not the smartest move I ever made, but seriously- a girl covered in flies and parasitic diarrhea will do whatever necessary! Once we were in the room together the woman just kept staring at me. She didn't say anything- obviously she knew it wouldn't do any good to talk to me since we didn't speak a word of the same language. This staring at each other game went on for a good while. Finally I didn't know what else to do, so I just stripped. When I say stripped, I mean everything- because I was poop soaked all the way through my skivvies. Then the woman made some sort of gesture with her hands that alluded to "the girls". I'd like to think she was paying them a compliment, but more likely she was thinking something like, "Wow- I've never seem anything that white. Those are so white you can almost see through them!" or "Man- those things are seriously droopy! Poor stupid American!" Once I was naked, more staring. Really- when someone is staring at you naked, 5 seconds can feel like an eternity! I was starting to think, "Ummm, maybe getting buck in an abandoned building with a strange lady in Congo was NOT the right thing to do."

So after standing there completely exposed for a good while while the lady took me and all my lily whiteness in- she finally slipped the new dress over my head. It was enormous, but after the whole experience, I didn't really care or want to try to bargain for a smaller one. And that is the story of how I came to be the owner of my native Congolese duds.

It is like that nightmare where you are standing naked and people are making fun of you. Only add in the third world and tons of poop and that about sums up the experience. Yep- good time in Africa!
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