April 30, 2010

9 weeks post adoption

I read a lot of blogs. Probably an unhealthy amount of blogs. It is part of my post adoption research routine. But here's what I find. There are some blogs about the children who are reeling with the aftermath of severe trauma. There are blogs about the journey to get their little ones. There are blogs about the homecomings. But in all the blogs I read, not very many talk about the day to day issues with a "run of the mill" (if ever such a thing exists!) adoption. No one talks about the day to day of the adopted child who is attaching semi-normally and what kinds of issues arise. I am fearful to even publicly acknowledge that there are any issues. Because with Plan A adopters, I feel like there are so many people waiting in the wings to tell me a great big I told you so. All the people who didn't understand why in the world we wanted to adopt in the first place who gave us the warning that we were tempting fate or rocking the boat. So understand that I am not complaining about my child. We love him. We are blessed beyond belief that he is here. He fits in here perfectly. But there are not a lot of first person accounts of things that pop up in toddler adoptions and I wish that I had had some when we were trying to prepare for Miles' homecoming. I read all the books, but there is just something so valuable about hearing whats going on from other moms in the trench. (That's why I LOVE reading all your blogs so much!) So here's my attempt.

We are 2 months out from the time that we brought Miles home. We are not having any major issues, but I will say that some of the information that is floating around out there in adoption la-la land is pretty much false. It all leads adoptive parents to believe that if you adopt a child under age 2 that you are home free and that life is all roses and clovers and these children will just love on you from minute one and you will never have any issues at all! While we never for a minute believed that, I also didn't expect to see so many instances of grieving behaviors in our son. Our story, obviously, doesn't represent every adoption. It is just simply our experience.

We consider ourselves very lucky that Miles shows genuine affection for us. He prefers us. He gets upset when someone he doesn't know wants to hold him and he immediately reaches out to us. I do think that he realized that we are his providers (even if he maybe doesn't know just yet that we are his parents). He loves his brother and sister. If they are hurting, he tries to console them. He pats on them and hugs them before they walk out the door for school. He gets that we are all a unit. And that is HUGE and I am very grateful for that. But there are still issues.

First of all, I can tell that he has a strong sense of loss. Even though he can't verbalize it, it is real to him. There are many times where he cries days on end and I feel certain that it is rooted in grief. There are days when he feels like he needs to held and cuddled and reassured all day long. There are times when he will pick up my hand and make me rub the insides of his arms. He has done this since he came home. I can only assume that someone in the orphanage showed him love this way. He knows that it comforts him and so we will sometimes just sit and I'll rub his arm and I can tell that he just needs a little reminder of his life before me.

So many times people will come up to me and talk about how hopefully Miles will just forget about everything that has happened to him in his life before he came to us. This drives me crazy. While we don't dwell on it, that will always be a part of him and to just gloss over that diminishes who he is. I don't think at his age, that he will have memories, but subconsciously, that feeling of loss stays with you. So for us to hear that, and for people to suggest that we just 'leave the Congo behind' and let that part of his life be forgotten, tells him that his feelings of loss are not validated. It says that the way he is feeling is unsubstantiated and wrong. And I will not do that to my son. I will help him work through it however he needs. Even if for now that just means extra attention and extra cuddling. I am not naive enough to think that this won't continue to manifest in some ways throughout his entire life. But I will not pretend that he didn't have a life and another mother before me. I will not pretend that he didn't have a culture before me. I will not pretend that his hurts aren't real just because he can't say what they are.

Some more minor issues we've seen are with food. The boy loves to eat. He will eat any and everything we put in front of him. But he is a food hoarder. The day that we brought him home we stopped at a restaurant for lunch before coming home. After we ate, we got back in the car to head home. After being in the car about 10 minutes, Miles pulled a piece of bread out of his shirt that he'd swiped at the restaurant. Now that he's been home a while, he doesn't hide and steal food, but he pretty much has to walk around with food in his hands just in case. When we are eating, he will stuff his mouth so full that he can't even chew and also have food in each hand waiting in the wings. Sometimes it is funny, sometimes it is heartbreaking. He just hasn't fully learned that here there is an endless supply- and until he does, we'll just keep on letting him walk around with a cracker in each hand if that's what he needs to feel safe.

He is also very territorial. Part of that is just regular toddler stuff, but some is probably stemming from his history. He is very possessive of his toys and his mom. He doesn't want the other kids to love on me. He gets very jealous if I hold Sadie or Noah. He especially flips out when Kamron gives me any affection. If Miles sees us hug, he will stop whatever he is doing and try to take Kamron down by force. I am HIS mom and he doesn't want anyone else to have me, even if that means he has to pile drive his father to wrangle him away from me. We try to combat that by picking him up and putting him in between us and all hugging. We are hoping to try to teach him that we are all on the same team and there is plenty of love for everyone. But when you've never had that, I can't imagine how hard of a concept that is to learn.

Miles also has a lot of aggression. He has had to always fight for everything he has had. And while his mellowed out look may fool you, he can spit venom. He hits. And he doesn't just take a swipe, he aims to hurt. Living in an orphanage teaches kids survival of the fittest and I imagine it will be a long while until we can make Miles realize that we have his best interests at heart and will supply all his needs without him needing to fight for resources. There is a long teaching road ahead.

We feel so good about the care that Miles got in the orphanage. He was being held in just about every picture we have of him from the orphanage. We have heard that the older girls in the orphanage just adored Miles and catered to his every whim. But living in an orphanage doesn't prepare you for living in a family. And if he is as old as we think he is, there is almost a whole year of his life that is unaccounted for before he came to the orphanage. I can't help but think that that year is probably responsible for a lot of the issues we've seen.

I don't want you to get the impression that it is all doom and gloom. It is not! The things that we are facing are all minor and I think they can be worked through in time. I am sure the whole community of RAD moms I blog stalk are probably reading this and thinking- "I wish these things were all my child was facing!" (You RAD moms are my flipping heroes!) I am just putting our issues out there in case there is another mom that may benefit from our "semi-normal" experience. So now for the good stuff!

Miles is just a super fun little kid. He entertains and loves to be the center of attention. His sense of humor is so oddly developed and subtle. But he is flat out funny and the boy can work a room like a casanova. Miles is always the life of the party. We haven't run into any developmental problems that are common in international adoption. He is a really smart little kid. He is the only one of our kids who shows any athletic promise at all. You give the kid a ball and he can work magic with it. And he gives great kisses. He is a little bit obsessed with giving kisses. Sometimes I feel like he stays in a permanent pucker. One of my favorite things about Miles: the boy sleeps like a champ. After a rough start to the sleeping thing, the boy has it down pat and snoozes a full 12 hours at night without waking up. (I know. Don't hate.) But my very favorite thing about Miles is that he gives love and receives love freely. And while I know the road is sometimes bumpy, I know that he is just the right little boy to complete our family. He is worth every single little bit of extra effort it takes to make him feel loved and safe. We wouldn't trade this whole experience (the good and the bad) for anything in the world.




April 28, 2010

Conniption

Disclaimer: Insane amounts of whining are coming. I usually try to keep this a happy space but Oh. My. Gosh. My children are killing me today...

I KNEW IT! I totally jinxed this house by bragging that my kids were all 3 good for 3 straight days because for the last 48 hours all hell has broken loose. That's what I get for bragging! I love my kids. They are my whole life. But today I am thinking of selling them down the river. (Where in the heck is 'down the river' anyway, and why does everything get sold there?) I think there must be something in the water because just about every facebook friend I have who is a mom wrote something today about how their kids were being nuts. It was so bad by 8 am this morning that Kamron actually apologized for having to go to work. I begged him to take me with him. I swear, I would gladly take making cold calls all day to spending this day with the kids- and cold calls make me throw up just thinking about them. Puking and talking to strangers would have been a welcome vacation.

It all started yesterday when Mr. Miles cried from the time he woke up until the time I put him to bed. Nothing was wrong. He's not sick. He just felt like crying and being miserable. He's just being a booger. And he has boogers, too. If you don't have them when you get here, Kentucky will give you allergies. Miles is no exception and he has left a snot trail everywhere he's gone for 2 days. And I know that he's only been hearing English for 2 months, but his grunting is driving me batty! He just sounds like an ogre walking around pointing and grunting and screaming. He understands everything we say, he just has no desire to spit it back out at us. He'd rather grunt. Noah had lots of speech delays and was also a grunter, so I know that words don't just happen overnight. But sometimes it still wears my patience all the way down to zero.

Sadie has some kind of 6 year old bossy, whiny, kid PMS thing going on, too. She has just been snotty and demanding. It goes without saying that I have blown my cool on more than one occasion today. I can handle it when 2 of the 3 are having a bad day, but when they are all having bad days together, I would just like to load them all up on a wheelbarrow and ship them off to crap town.

It is one of those days where I called Kamron at 4 pm and told him if he didn't come home right then, there would be no guarantees that the house and children would still be standing when he got home. One of those days where the only words that came out of my mouth all day were, "NO!! STOP!! and IF YOU DO THAT ONE MORE TIME..." I sounded like Kate Gosselin. Ugh.

Yesterday I tried to handle everyone's crankiness with love and all kinds of therapeutic parenting stuff. It didn't do a darn thing. Today, I have gritted my teeth to keep from yelling so often you would think that my jaws were vice grips. It's one of those days where I have had to cuss at the dog to keep my sanity since I wouldn't dream of cussing in front of my kids. I'll even admit it- I screamed expletives at the top of my lungs when I let the dog out. I did however, distort my voice to this weird growly tone so that just in case my neighbors were out they would not trace the mystery f-bomb that flew across the back yard back to me. They would probably think a crazed, cussing grizzly bear/robot combo was running amok in our neighborhood. I know it's immature and unchristian and tacky and all that- but it did make me feel better... until I walked back into the house and realized that the boys had dumped the entire contents of the toy box on the floor and somehow Miles managed to get all the clean silverware out of the dishwasher and throw it all over the very dirty floor. And they managed to do all that in a span of about 45 seconds. I do not know how they do it.

If my mom were in the US right now I would tell her that today was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. And she would tell me that some days are like that...even in Australia.

Kamron told me this morning when Miles was throwing all the food off his highchair that my reaction reminded him of that old Bill Cosby bit where Bill talked about how his wife had the conniption when Bill served her kids chocolate cake for breakfast. So I YouTubed it and watched it and I swear- that is probably a good description of me today! A good laugh and putting all the kids to bed (at an ungodly early hour because I am D.O.N.E. for today!) were all I needed to feel a whole heap of a lot better! After a good night's sleep for all involved hopefully we can all be back to normal in the morning!

Here's the Bill Cosby clip- just in case your day was crummy too and you need a good laugh! (Don't forget to pause the music player on the left first!)

April 27, 2010

Cookin' it up...Congo Style (Chicken Tagine and Plantains)

I've got to hand it to my mom. She always made dinner. Even if it was 8:30 at night before all of our activities were done and everyone was off work, we still all sat down and ate a meal together. But the woman (and she'll admit this too!) is not an adventurous chef. The most ethnic we ever got in our house was tacos and spaghetti- if you could even consider those ethnic. I am pretty sure I had never even tried Chinese food until I was a senior in high school and could drive myself there. I turned out okay (I think)- so there's no harm in being a meat and potatoes kind of family. But I wanted my kids to at least be exposed to lots of different kinds of foods. Even if they say they hate it, they at least have had the opportunity to have something different on their plate. Noah won't eat anything. Miles will scarf down whatever you put in front of him and Sadie falls somewhere in the middle.

So tonight on the menu...Chicken Tagine, a Congolese dish. (From what I've gathered, chicken tagine can be made for many cultures. The difference in the dish from culture to culture is the combination of spices.) I served it over rice with black beans (Miles' favorite!) and fried plantains. I have to say it was fantastic! I think I'm going to have to work this recipe into the regular dinner time rotation. Kamron, my dad and I all agreed that the chicken tasted like something you would order in a really good restaurant. And that is saying something- because I am not that great of a cook. I can bake like nobody's business but when it comes to cooking, my microwave is usually my best friend. I love seeing pictorial food posts on other blogs I read, so I thought I would give it a whirl with this recipe. I see those posts and I get inspired to try something a little different. Only I got so excited about actually serving the chicken tajine, that I forgot to take a picture of the finished product! And there was not a drop leftover to take a snap of either.

Chicken Tagine with Plantains

Here's what you'll need:


Chicken cut into pieces (for the 5 of us I used 3 boneless, skinless breasts)
1 large clove of garlic- minced
4 tbsp olive oil for pan-frying Chicken and mixing marinade
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4tsp ground ginger
A pinch of saffron- I am too cheap to buy saffron, but if you've got it throw it in
a tiny dash of cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander (optional)
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cups chicken broth or stock
salt, to taste
1 lemon (optional)
1 cup of okra or olives (we don't really like either one, so we just left it out!)

For plantains:
3-4 plantains (for 5 people)
cooking oil

In a large bowl or a Ziploc bag, mix 2 T of your olive oil and your spices to make a marinade. Throw in the raw chicken and mix well. Put in the refrigerator and leave to marinade for a couple of hours or overnight if you are one of those super prepared kind of people.


After you have marinated the chicken, put it in a skillet with the remaining olive oil until it is browned all over.


Add in the onions and stirfry for a few minutes until the onions start to caramelize.


Once the onions start to cook down, add the chicken broth. Heat to boiling for a minute or two, then reduce the temperature, cover the pan and simmer for 30-40 minutes. You may want to stir this once or twice in the process. Stir in okra or olives for the last 10 minutes of cooking if you so desire.


While the chicken is simmering, you can make your plantains. If you've never fried plantains before, you'll want to get them pretty ripe. The ones I bought were a little too green. (If you have some really green ones- check out Corey's blog for a great recipe for Haitian benan pese) Also- you do not peel a plantain like a banana. It just won't work so well! The best way to peel a plantain is to cut each end off with a sharp knife and then run a split all the way from end of the plantain to the other. Then try to strip the peel off in big chunks. Plantain skin is really thick and tough to peel! You'll want to cut the plantains on the diagonal so they have more surface area when you cook them. I like them about 1/4 inch thick.


Put them into a hot skillet full of oil. I use canola oil, but vegetable, palm, peanut or whatever oil you have on hand will also work. Put them in a single layer in the skillet. Unless you use a crazy amount of oil, you'll need to flip them over midway through. You will want to cook them until they are brown and crispy on the outside. Drain them on paper towels. We like them with way too much salt sprinkled on top.


After your chicken has simmered and most of the liquid is gone, you are ready to serve your dish. You'll know the chicken is ready when the remaining liquid is more like a glaze than a soup! I served it on top of white rice with a side of black beans. If you'd like- you can squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top of the chicken for a little extra kick. It is super delish! Enjoy!

April 26, 2010

Weekend Mishmash

When you have more than one kid, the likelihood that 2 kids will both be good/sleep well/ and otherwise just not drive you crazy on the same day is rare. So rare that you will think the notion of it went down with the dinosaurs. So imagine my surprise when the stars all aligned and we somehow had 3 kids all have good days at the same time for three whole days. Pure. Bliss. Made me think that we could handle a whole house full. Brought that subject up to Kamron who immediately said, "I have to disagree- for now." Love that boy and all his planning. We did both decide that we are DONE with babies. If any more kiddos come into this house, they will not be babies when they get here.

So we had lots of fun with our freak of nature- all good for three days- kids. (And yes, I know by even typing those words, I have jinxed the possibility that this will continue or ever happen again!) We left the littles with my dad on Friday night and Kamron and I went on a date for my birthday. My dad let the kids get stuff from the ice cream man. I've never let them do this, because I knew that once it happened one time, they would ask all day every day if they could do it again. (Which they have- thanks Dad!) I had to remind myself that grandparents are for letting the kids do all the things that you won't let them do, so I caved. When my dad told the kids they could get ice cream, Noah said, "He doesn't know how to stop at our house. He never does." Busted. Don't judge me. You know you lie to your kids too sometimes.



While they we occupied, we went to the movies. We saw Date Night (Tina Fey and Steve Carell). It was hands down the funniest movie I have ever seen. I laughed so hard my abs hurt when I walked out of the theatre. Several times I had to massage my cheeks because they were cramping from smiling so much. I may have even wet my pants a little. It was that funny. After being together for 10 years, it is just so much fun to go out and laugh that hard together! Laughing together just does something wonderful for a marriage!

Then on our rainy Saturday we stayed in and played wii all day. I got a balance board for the wii for my b-day so we laid low and hula hooped our hips off and Sadie and Noah raced each other on virtual road races all afternoon. It is great exercise for the kids (and grown ups too!). There is not an athletic bone in my Sadie's body. She is super heavy on her feet and she hates to do sports or physical games. But she loves playing on the wii and she gets a great workout in the process. Whoever invented that thing is a genius. We love it. And we love seeing how dumb our kids look when they play it- seriously, it is hours of gut busting hilarity because they are so uncoordinated.

Sunday was church day and my first talk about my Congo trip. I think it went pretty well. I only got choked up once, which is HUGE for me since I am definitely the crier in our house. All in all, it was just great to share my love of my son's beautiful birth country with people I love.

I am hoping that by reveling in the joy of a great and relaxing weekend, I haven't tempted a bad case of the Mondays to smack me in the face. Maybe if I put on a mask, Monday won't find me.

P.S. Don't forget to leave a comment for the latest giveaway...right now you have an excellent shot at winning! Winner will be drawn tomorrow.

April 24, 2010

April 23, 2010

Fortunate Friday

I am preparing for my first public talk about Congo and my experience there this weekend. It is hopefully the first of many on the schedule in the coming months. In preparing, I am going through all of my pictures and notes from the trip. I am painfully reminded that there are those in the world who live without. They live without everything you and I consider "essential". And while I am usually the first to fall into a depression about the inequality of it all, today, I can't help but feel so intensely grateful for the blessings that surround me. I am blessed beyond anything I deserve. I'll admit that life is not always easy, but I have everything and everyone I need to get by and then some.

There are not words to sum up the gratitude in my heart other than to say that isn't it amazing that my creator thinks up scenes like this one for my enjoyment. Because if the God of the universe could paint this- how could I doubt that he will put the pieces of my life together exactly as they are supposed to be? He is the master designer. So today, instead of focusing on the pain in the world, I am going to celebrate the beauty. For it is truly something to celebrate.



Photos from our hot air balloon chasing adventure through the countryside last weekend

April 22, 2010

Reverse Birthday (otherwise known as a giveaway!)

Well...I am halfway through my 29th birthday today. It has been a fantastic day so far. I woke up and ate leftover blackberry cobbler and totally convinced myself that it was the equivalent of eating fruit and cereal. Plus- calories you eat on your birthday don't count. Then got the ol' wooly worms eyebrows waxed. Then had lunch with my mom. And now to top it all off, one of my favorite little etsy shops is sponsoring a giveaway in honor of my last year as a "carefree" 20 something- so you can join in on my birthday fun, too!

Varouna by Chantal is giving you some super cool stuff. They make adorable handmade purses, brooches, dresses, and all kinds of other crafty things. She can make just about anything- in fact, she's making Miles a traditional African outfit to be baptized in! Here's what's up for grabs:

This super adorable purse with the cutest lining I've ever seen!



This funky purse that is perfect for summer!



And since we can't forget the kiddos, you can also win a custom designed pillowcase dress, with your choice of designs, made specifically to fit your little cutie. Here's an example:



You can check out Varouna by Chantal's etsy shop or her crafting blog, Crafternoon Tea to see some of her other great projects. She adds new products all the time so check back often. PLUS- she's offering FREE shipping to readers of our blog! You can't beat that with a stick!

So if you want to join in on the birthday fun and have a chance to snag one of these (because I shouldn't be the only one getting presents!), drop me a comment telling me what was the best birthday gift you ever recieved. For an extra chance to win- become a blog follower (by clicking over on the left). Tell me if you are a blog follower (new or old) in your comment!
I'll draw 3 winners out of my mixing bowl on Tuesday, April 27th at 7pm. Good luck!

April 21, 2010

Big, African and Gay

I think that kindergarten has been one of the neatest phases of my daughter's life. The things that she is learning in kindergarten blow my mind. They are reading and writing things that, I swear, we didn't learn until the second grade. Sadie's writings are a source of much humor in our home. Today, she came home from school with this in her backpack: (you can click to enlarge)



What she intended it to say is: "Gorilla. It's furry. It's gray. It's big. It's from Africa. It's a gorilla." But I think the way she wrote it is much, much better. Because really- there are just not enough big, furry, African, gay gorillas in the world!

One Love

It seems that international adoption has had so much bad press lately, especially after the Russian adoption debacle. Person after person on the news is speaking out against international adoption. I am in complete agreement that there needs to be reform and more resources (or any resources) for adoptive parents of children who have experienced trauma and extreme institutionalism. BUT, you just can't convince me that my little Miles Dieudonne (or any child) would be better off in an orphanage...


or that Sadie and Noah would be better off without their littlest brother...




...or that this ticklish trio would be better off as a duo.



Nope- you'll never convince me that life in an orphanage is better for a child than life with a loving family. I'll never believe it.

April 20, 2010

All I wanna do is...

Did any other gen X'ers just finish that off with zooma zoom zoom zoom and a boom boom? ;-)

My best friend turned 30 yesterday. Incidentally, my birthday is in a couple of days, too. I was at the store looking at 30th birthday cards for my friend and I started thinking about how excited I was about turning 30. This kind of thinking went on all day until I realized that I will, in fact, only be 29. I thought you weren't supposed to forget how old you are until you are in your 80's?

Anyway- so I was a little disappointed. My 20's have been good to me, but in all honesty, I think they can best be described as chaotic. I am looking towards 30 as a great "settling". Hopefully not a settling of gravity taking all my body parts south, but just an overall calming down process in life. I can't wait for my 30's! No celebrating the 2nd anniversary of my 29th birthday in this house. My husband has worked his tail off to build a successful business and in my 30's I think we'd like to just sit back and enjoy it and watch the kids grow up. (Insert tear here)

With another year of age approaching, I've been doing some evaluating. I am pretty sure when I was in high school and I was actually an organized person, I had a list of things I wanted to do as a grown up. Things like travel, and have a nice house and have a great career and a beautiful family. Those are great goals and I've been able to cross a few off. Since I can't ever make up my mind of what I want to be when I grow up, I am pretty sure I can just go ahead and scrap the career goal. My husband on the other hand is that person whose five and ten year plans are saved on our hard drive. As well as a paper copy stored in about every imaginable drawer in our home. And he makes those plans come true. He writes those goals down and he does them, year after year. He married a person who (if she's lucky) *might* take the time to write out a grocery list but then get to the store only to realize that said list is still sitting on the kitchen counter. That's how I roll. And I am quite content to roll that way.

So I've been thinking about how my life goals have changed. There are still a few big things on my "bucket list." I want to write a book and I want to return to the Congo. Aside from those things, I feel like I don't have a darn thing of any substance that I am just dying to do. (I can't tell if I have low ambition or if I have just been so blessed that I am perfectly content. I'm going to chose to believe the latter, since it boosts my self esteem a bit.) My husband takes care of making the big things happen and I LOVE him for that. I am super happy that I married somebody ambitious, even if some days his type A-ness drives me insane. It allows me to focus on the less broadcasted goals. Like someday I would be able to go to the bathroom completely alone without any little toddlers pulling on my legs or handing me wads of toilet paper or trying to grab body parts they shouldn't grab. The same goes for taking a bath. Moms- you know when there are kids at home, you can not under any circumstances lock yourself in the tub while the little ones roam. Which means that when it is time for you to get clean, you are going to have an audience of tiny people. You know- those tiny people who throw all the clean towels and bath toys on top of you while trying to keep your exposure to a minimum and hoping to just get scrubbed quickly before a catastrophe happens? I wonder what kind of different perspective I'd have on life if I could just have 10 uninterrupted minutes in the bathroom every day? I am pretty sure if would be revolutionary.

So to sum it up- in the next year of life, all I really want to do is write a book and pee in peace. I don't think I am asking for too much. Maybe I'll actually be able to cross something off the list this year! Go Me!

April 17, 2010

Explaining Plan A

I can't even begin to imagine how hard going through infertility must be. It took me about six months to get pregnant with Noah. I watched all my friends get pregnant when their husbands so much as looked at them with sexy eyes. Those 6 months felt like an eternity. In the grand scheme of things, 6 months is nothing at all. I really can't fathom the emotions and the strain that years of infertility must cause. In the eyes of most people, adoption is still considered something you do when you can't get pregnant- it is your "Plan B". But more and more, that is not the case. I can't speak for how it is to go into an adoption from an infertility standpoint. I don't know how it feels so I won't even try to go there. I hate nothing more than for someone to try to talk about something they've never been through, especially when it is something as intensely personal as infertility and adoption.

But more and more, adoption is becoming people's "Plan A". Meaning, as far as you know, you could conceive children but are choosing to adopt instead. We are plan A adopters. I think that in America this is still a really hard concept for people to understand. Some people just can't wrap their heads around why in the world you would want to parent "some one else's child" when you could have your "own".

So many people send me emails asking me how we explained to people about why we were adopting when we could have more biological children and what you do when people are less than supportive. Or what do you do when you want to adopt but your spouse is not on board. 100% of the people I have met who are plan A adopters have a really strong reason for wanting to adopt. It is not just something you decide to do one day. You don't just wake up, say, "Hey, I think I'll spend my life savings and adopt a baby today." Uh- uh. Not gonna happen. It is a thought out, and calculated move. So how in the world do you explain that to people? More specifically, how do you explain that to the people that you love, whose support and understanding is the most important?

Let's start at the beginning. I know that it is not this way for all people, but within my circle of adoption friends, the idea to adopt always started with the woman. I don't know why this is, maybe it is just the way we are wired. A lot of times, the woman felt so strongly about this, but just couldn't get her husband on board. This was the case in our house, too. Let me re-phrase that. Kamron did not rule out that we would adopt. He just made it very clear that my time table and his time table for pulling the trigger on the adoption were VERY different. When I decided that my heart was 100% behind wanting to adopt, I wanted to do it right then. I knew that my baby was out there and I wanted that baby right then. Waiting for "the right time" seemed ridiculous to me. Just like with biological children, there is never a "right time." There will always be something going on with work. There will never be enough money in your bank account. You can wait for x,y, and z to fall into place. But as soon as they do, there will always be another x,y, and z. Having children or adopting children is just one of those things you do, despite the timing. (In my very unscientific opinion) It took almost one full year from the time I told my husband I was feeling called to adopt until we actually made the call and filed the first papers. That year was very hard for me. I'll be very honest here. I love my husband. He is the yin to my yang. We are the perfect compliment to one another. We are peas and carrots, yada, yada, yada. But the thought honestly crossed my mind, "If I have to divorce this guy in order to sign those papers as a single parent, I'll do it!" I felt that strongly about wanting to adopt. I am super ashamed to admit that, but it's true. I did not get how he wouldn't want to adopt right at the minute I wanted to. I though he must be a heartless, selfish jerk to be able to look at those pictures of those starving children in Congo and NOT want to bring one home immediately.

Ladies, (and my five male readers) let me tell you. I was mad. I was depressed. I was not a good wife. I made the strain in our house palpable. I did not want to wait. Finally, I just had to realize that for my husband the experience was very different. For him (and maybe for a lot of men) they plan out things differently. They think about the finances of it. It is a hefty price tag. They think of the practical issues: the space in the house, the need for a mini-van, the jump from however many kids you have or don't have to what you will have if you add another one. And they may even need to grieve a little bit for the child that they won't be passing their genetics onto. It is just a different ballgame for them. It doesn't mean that they are heartless. It doesn't mean that they don't care about the starving children. It doesn't mean you need to divorce! It's just different. And now- having been through an adoption, I can see that you need both sides of that equation. It does absolutely suck, though, while you are going through it and your not on the same page. Sometimes I felt like we weren't even reading the same book. I am a feeling person. I feel personally responsible for each and every one of those orphans. I lay awake at night thinking of ways to bring more orphans home. I think with my heart. Which is not a bad thing. But the flip side of that is that in a situation as enormous as adoption, you need someone to be the one to think with their brain and say, "Okay, if this is going to happen, then how are we going to pay for it, and where is that baby going to sleep and how can we work a minivan into our budget?" You need someone to say, "It may take x number of months for us to be able to work this out and here are the steps we need to take to get there." As opposed to my child-like demand that we must do this NOW!

You have to remember- adoption is not the "norm". When you approach a spouse or partner with it, you have to consider that you may have just changed their vision of how a family is built, how a family looks and how they've maybe always thought of family. Just because adoption is on your radar, does not mean that it is on your loved one's radar. It takes time to change that vision and create a new vision together. And the timetable for every couple is different. Give it time. If you are the religious type, give it prayer. The way to handle this is not to get mad (like I did) and not think of ways to manipulate or strong arm your spouse (like I also did). In the end, the results in my house were the same, but I wish that I would have approached the situation more lovingly and more reasonably. You don't get a do-over in a marriage, so take the time and try to understand where your spouse is coming from if they are dragging their feet. Chances are, it's not because they are heartless. Talk about it. Explain your side, but be willing to accept that your spouses concerns/fears/expectations are valid. Understanding and working through that is essential to creating a home that is a loving environment for your child. In retrospect, I am okay that we waited a while. I know that my husband needed that time and that time helped him be an amazing father to Miles. I knew that it would work out, but he needed that extra time to make adoption his dream, too.

Just like it is not on every spouse's radar, adoption is not on the general public's radar. Don't be discouraged if your big adoption announcement gets more "Oh my God's" than "Yippee's!" People fear what they don't understand. If they haven't seen you struggle with infertility, the notion of adoption may seem like it came completely out of left field. Be able to explain your "why" to people. Be armed with information and answers. But also don't get to disappointed when people just don't get it. They need time to internalize it. Once again, you've changed their vision.

With lots of our family we started small. Once we decided to adopt and knew it was a for sure thing, we still took baby steps in announcing it. We especially took it slow with the oldest generations in our family, since we anticipated that the reaction would not be positive. We told them that adoption was something we were thinking about. We took their concerns to heart. Then a month or so later, we told them this was absolutely something that we were going to do and were prepared to address their concerns since we already knew what they were. Then about a month later, we told people that our son was going to come from Africa and that we were going to be a transracial family. Letting the news out in small increments like that seemed to work pretty well for us. That way we weren't shocking the hell out of anyone and we were able to give them small bits of information so they didn't have to internalize the whole thing all at once.

We didn't approach it that way with everyone. With our immediate family members we just flat-out told them and most of them were overjoyed. They still had lots of questions, but were overall really open to it once we explained why we wanted to adopt and about the need for adoptive parents. I get that it is not that way with everyone's family. People have told me that their parents and grandparents were adamantly opposed and even have gone so far as to say that they weren't sure they could love their adopted grandchildren as much as their biological grandchildren. I think a lot of times, just having the child home and with their family changes people's perspectives. Being able to hold those grandchildren may make them feel differently. Something about actually seeing the child is often enough to soften hearts. Not always. We do have some members of our family who still have yet to meet Miles for various reasons. And while it hurts, in the end, you just have to do what is right for your family. If you know in your heart that adoption is the right thing for your family, you have to follow that path and not worry about the people that you can't control. I think Dr. Seuss said it best when he said, "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

I wrote this with a few specific families in mind. Hope this helps. You are NOT alone! Follow your bliss.

Blast From The Past

I have been derailed the last 2 days with what I think is an allergy attack on steroids. I can not quit coughing and the coughing has rendered me without a voice (my kids are thrilled!) and with a giant headache. So, since I can't come up with a very coherent thought through the antihistamine induce stupor, I'm just going to share a few pictures I stumbled upon from my pre-blogging days.

These are from when Noah was about 3 months old. Sadie treated him just like a little baby doll. She set up this scene and then begged us to take a picture of it. Incidentally, these remind me of the scene from ET when ET is in the closet and blends in with all the stuffed animals! Have a wonderful weekend!


April 15, 2010

Oh How The Years Go By

When you are waiting for your first child to arrive, everyone tells you to slow down and enjoy it, because they grow up so fast. It's true. You get so bogged down in the diapers, the illnesses, the homework, the day-to-day that sometimes you don't notice it. Then all of sudden- BAM!- it hits you like a ton of bricks that somehow you blinked and your tiny little ones are all of a sudden little men and women.

I saw this with Sadie for the first time yesterday. I took my 3 kids plus one of Sadie's friends to the zoo after school. On the way there, Sadie and her friend were sitting in the back of the van singing as loud as they could to Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift while doing hand slap games. I had flashbacks of sitting in the backseat with my friends jamming to Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" and giggling and playing those same games. It seems like just yesterday that she was toddling around in the backyard and now she has this whole other life outside of me. She has friends and all these other people involved in her life that I have no control over! When in the world did my little girl all of a sudden get so old? I know she's only 6, but it just seems like it's all going so fast. Yesterday she came home with this picture she drew at school.



I asked her to tell me all about the picture and she told me that it was of her and her best friend, Cole, when they are all grown up and married! They are throwing a fancy, candlelit dinner party for their friends. Sadie is wearing her nicest dress and Cole is wearing a flower in his pocket he picked out of their yard. Oy. I just want to stop time for a while with that girl.

On the flip side, I do find myself wishing that the boys would grow up. Just a tiny little bit. I know they are just being typical brothers, but they are driving me crazy. Miles has some really aggressive orphanage behaviors and that itty bitty boy can just pummel Noah into submission in a matter of seconds. Noah, who doesn't have an aggressive bone in his body, tries to come up with more clever ways to settle the score with his brother. Like today... Miles was getting on Noah's nerves. So Noah went into the kitchen and fixed himself an enormous glass of ice water. When Miles was least expecting it, Noah dumped the entire thing on top of Miles' head. I sent Noah to his room for time out while I dried Miles off and sopped up the puddle of water out of the carpet. When it was time for Noah to get out of time out, I asked him why he did that to his brother. His response? "He liked it the last time I did it!" Really? How in the world does some of this stuff get by me?

I will just be so happy when school is out and I have my Sadie back at home all day to help balance out all the testosterone. Or maybe I just need a margarita? Or a vacation? Or a margarita on vacation? Yes. That's the ticket! Who's with me!

April 13, 2010

Gimmick Picking Day

Today was supposed to be the day I was going to start this big gimmick diet. BUT, I got so inspired after asking y'all what you were doing to lose the pounds, that I started last Wednesday. You had some good ones! After your prompting I found myself googling The Cookie Diet, South Beach Diet, The Kind Diet, P90X, The ABS diet, Weight Watchers, Breastfeeding (don't think that's going to happen, Courtney!), Muscle Max, Master Cleanse, Vitamin B injections and a few other things that you emailed me. But overwhelmingly, you all were in agreement that to lose the weight I needed to RUN! Ugh.

I hate to run. I hate to run with a passion, but I know that it is good for me. So- last week I went and got fitted for some new running shoes. My last pair had completely disintegrated on the inside. I'd like to say that it was because I wore them out, but that would be a big fat lie. I strapped on my new shoes- which btw feel like heaven!- and went for a walk. Not a run. A walk. Because it is all about small steps. I tried to get in a 2 mile walk most every day last week. I realize that I need to do a major overhaul to my running playlist on my iPod because the last time I actually "ran" for exercise was 3 years ago, so my running playlist still has me jammin' to Fergalicious, SexyBack and This Is Why I'm Hot. Now- I'm embarrassed a little.

I guess I'll just put this out there, because maybe if I put it in print, I'll actually get motivated to do it. I also googled "marathon training". Oh. My. Lifigus. (That is what my old college roommate's BF always said and it stuck with me.) Just hearing the word "marathon" scares the doodie right out of me. I'm not committing to it, I'm just saying that it is on my radar. There is a marathon in Louisville, KY in October. That would give me 6 months to train *IF* I decided I had the kahonas to give it a whirl. When I think of marathoners, I always think about these skinny, rail-thin waifs with giant veins popping out of their legs, trucking it down the road. That is SO not me. Well, maybe the varicose veins part- but the rest is a pipe dream. I can guarantee you, that if this marathon thing comes to fruition, I would use it as a way to raise some sponsorships for Congolese orphanages. That right there ought to be motivation enough, but just thinking about carrying this enormous butt 26 miles, makes my cellulite almost run and duck for cover. We'll see.

I also just tried to be a little nicer to myself. I know that counting calories and obsessing about it does not do me any good. So I tired little things. I tried to drink one less Diet Pepsi every day and drink one more glass of water. I tried to not each so much sugar and eat more green vegetables. I took a vitamin. Basically, I am trying to overhaul my life from the inside out. I still had a giant slice of pizza and some french fries, but that's life!

So here's to small steps. Because someone once said, "The journey of a thousand miles (or 26) begins with a single step." And for today, that is just about all I can tackle!

April 12, 2010

A Clever Title Eludes Me

Kamron and I went out for dinner this weekend with Miles. We were ambushed by wellwishers who recognized our cutie from the article our hometown newspaper did about him. Every comment was very positive, and lots of nice, harmless questions until...

There was a group of 8 or 10 very dressed up people at the table right next to us. They just kept staring at us and whispering and I just kept ignoring them. Finally, they designated a leader and sent her to get the scoop on our family. She opened her mouth to speak and here is what came out-

"We're Jahovah's Witness and we're not prejudice!"

No "hello". No "how are you." No "your baby is so cute". I really wanted to burst out laughing! I am pretty sure I have never introduced myself as, "I'm United Methodist, and I'm not prejudice" before. It's always the people who are trying to be so PC that come off as so un-PC. I have nothing against Jahovah's Witness, or any other religion for that matter, but her delivery just killed me! It was as if at that moment she had decided that she was going to speak for the entire organization! Has anyone else noticed that usually when you have to add the disclaimer, "I'm not trying to be rude/racist/prejudice BUT... it usually means that whatever follows the but is, infact, rude/racist/prejudice?

I can't even remember how I replied to her because I was just trying so hard not to laugh at her. She said a few other mindless things and then went back to her table who then stared and whispered some more after she took back her juicy gossip. I try so hard sometimes to remember that in our town, we are one of the only families who looks like ours and I try to put my best foot forward and represent with integrity, but... sometimes the bit@! just comes out in me and I can't help it. Odds are, I probably said something a little snippy to her as she shoved her religious flyers in my hand. I'm going to try to do better. Kamron handles weirdos way better than I do!

Today marks the beginning of our adventures in cloth diapering. I ordered all these cute cloth diapers before Miles even came home. But with the parasites, I felt like using cloth just left too much room for cross contamination in the laundry or in the handling, etc. Plus- the sheer volume of diapers involved in parasite ridding is enough to make even the most committed cloth diaperer lose her resolve. So we've plugged up landfills with our non-biodegradable diapers wrapped up in non-biodegradable plastic bags for the last 6 weeks. Starting today, we are *trying* to be a little kinder to mother Earth. Plus- aren't these diapers just cute?



I ordered them from a woman I met at a farmer's market last fall who runs her own company of Earth Friendly Baby Products. They are called Greener Baby. Miles seems to be really comfortable running around in the diapers and they are super absorbant. They aren't paying me to endorse them and they probably don't even remember that I ordered diapers from them months and months ago- but I love that the lady who makes them is just a mom trying to make a difference in the life of her family and the environment one diaper at a time!

We shall see how it goes or if the extra laundry just drives me bonkers!

P.S. Miles' bumble bee hat is one of a set of animals that cool aunts Peggy and Belinda brought over this weekend for the kids. And- there's even enough for mom and dad to get in on the animal action- LUCKY us! Here are the kids hamming it up with Peggy and Belinda. Really- after these gals ran around with the kids for an hour, it really did feel like we were in a zoo! They are super fun!

April 10, 2010

Black + White = Zebra

I am thanking my lucky stars that my children have not yet asked exactly how babies come into the world. I am one of those parents that believes in only divulging age appropriate information. So yesterday, when Sadie starting asking questions about babies, I tried to keep it simple- maybe too simple!

Sadie, age 6, asked me how I would get a baby in my belly to be able to be black like Miles. This is actually the first time that Sadie has even acknowledged that Miles isn't white. It is just a non-issue for our kids. He's just their brother. I tried very matter-of-factly to tell her that I would never be able to have a baby grow in my belly that would looks exactly like Miles does.

I explained that babies are always the same color as the mom and dad that made them- like she is the color she is because her daddy and I are the same color. She totally got that. I thought that was the end of the conversation. A moment later, she piped up, "What do the babies look like when the mommy is white and the daddy is black?" I told her that the baby would be a mixture of both colors.

She could not stop laughing. She was in hysterics. I finally asked her what was so funny. She said, " You mean the baby would look like a zebra?!"

Noah, who really didn't get the humor in her visual, then asked, "What happens when two rainbows make a baby?!"

Maybe we need a family lesson in genetics!

April 07, 2010

I love a good cause!

If you remember, months ago I asked you all to pray for this little guy...

His name is Xavian and he is the son of one of my high school friends. When Xavian was just a couple of months old, he was diagnosed with brain cancer. After countless rounds of chemo, Xavian has been cancer free for about 4 months! His mom and dad are working tirelessly to raise awareness about pediatric cancer. Right now they are raising money through the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. The Relay for Life funds research for cancer in hopes of finding a cure, so that other families don't have to go through what Xavian's family has had to endure. They aren't just asking for your money. They are giving you a chance to win a New Orleans Saints football signed by the Super Bowl Champions themselves! How cool is that? If you'd like to help their team fund a cure for cancer and get a chance to win the signed football, you can check out their WEBSITE for all the details!

Another thing I always like to help promote are people's adoption fundraisers. Sallee's family is trying to raise the funds to bring home their little one. She makes these super cool "Poppy Dip" dresses and skirts and uses the proceeds toward their adoption fund. Sadie's "Poppy Dip Twirl" came in the mail last week and she LOVES it! They have the neatest fabrics to choose from! Plus- my sweet Sadie is featured on their website today! To get your Poppy Dip on and help a little sweetie come home to their family visit their website at www.itspoppydipblog.blogspot.com

Sadie in her Poppy Dip!

Wordless Wednesday

April 06, 2010

I need a new gimmick

As much as it sucks and even though I didn't give birth this time around, I am finding myself a good 25 pounds overweight 6 weeks post baby.

How in the world did this happen?! There really is no reason to gain weight through the adoption process, but I swear it happens to just about every person I know that has gone through it. You go to that physical they require for the homestudy and get on the scale. You think you're doing okay. Then somehow, 9 months later, shazam! There you are with a big ol' gut hanging out and no inflated uterus to blame it on! At least this time, I don't have that big dark brown line down the middle of my stomach. Really! What the hell is that thing pregnant women get? It's just weird.

In December I did the Jillian Michaels' 30 day shred. Only in my case it was the Jillian Michaels' 12 or 13 day shred because after that I had had it. Maybe I could pick it up again. But probably not. I am not proud to admit it, but I am a fad dieter. I try them all. I kind of get a kick out of trying them. My problem, though, is that I rarely do them correctly. When Adkins was the big thing, my college roommate and I decided we were going to jump on the bandwagon and do it. We thought that if we ate fried chicken every day, we were totally following it and couldn't for the life of us figure out why we didn't drop the pounds.

I've done the grapefruit thing, the 7 day soup thing, the Weight Watcher's thing, blah, blah, blah. I've done the eating right and exercising thing too, and I swear, it doesn't work any better than anything else. Right after I had Noah I trained for a half marathon. I was running about 3 billion miles a day and somehow managed to gain 7 pounds. And don't try to tell me that muscle weighs more than fat, because hot Bob Harper from the biggest loser says that is just crap. And anybody that hot, just has to know what they're talking about, right? While I am on my celebs and fitness kick- let me just say this: Who do these twiggy celebrity women think they are fooling when they say, "Well, I just chase after my toddlers all day and it keeps me fit!" Seriously. I chase my kids around all day and my fat trails right along with me. Does. Not. Work.

My bestie is doing this crazy thing where she is injecting herself with the HCG pregnancy hormones everyday and is losing an insane amount of weight. Go figure. But I am not ready to go that extreme. Seems a little scary to me.

So here I am, once again trying to figure out exactly what I am going to do to smooth out the dimples on my bootie. I put on some self tanner, thinking that tan cellulite looks way better than pale cellulite, but *surprise* the cellulite is still there. (Only now it's kinda orangey and streaky) I think I need your help. What have you done to drop the pounds that actually worked? And if you say- eat right and exercise I will jump through the screen and bite your fingers. Seriously- I am drawn to the crazy like a fat kid is to cake- so lay it on me. Fill up the comments so I have lots to choose from. I'll pick my fave and start it next Tuesday (cause nobody in their right mind starts a diet on Monday!) Thanks, loves!

6 weeks post adoption

Every adoption is different. Your try to prepare for every scenario. You research and read about the kids who won't attach. You read about the parents who won't attach. You read about the kids who over attach. But, like life, adoption is like a box of chocolates- you never know what you're going to get. So really- most of that research is for nothing, except your own peace of mind. Because when it all boils down, you just have to parent the best way you know how and do what works for you. We read so much stuff about how you shouldn't let other people hold or feed your child for x number of weeks after coming home. It seemed like that was the consensus for how to foster attachment. And it probably works for a lot of families. But that didn't work for us, so we threw that out the window. I'm glad that I had it in my arsenal of information, but in our situation, it was just useless knowledge.

So here we are 6 weeks post adoption and things are still surprisingly smooth. At our last doctor visit our pediatrician now estimates that Miles is about 20 months old. (Remember that his birth certificate says 8 months!) However- even though he is much older than we thought (which is super common in the adoption world!) he still is only 28 inches tall and weighs only 19 pounds. He doesn't register anywhere on the growth chart. Every single time we go to the doctor, Miles' ages exponentially. Getting regular food, sleep and love has boosted his development like crazy. We joke that with perhaps 6 months of regular food, we may discover that mister Miles is really around 5 years old! So this July- instead of celebrating his first birthday, it appears that we will be celebrating birthday number 2.

The first month at home was incredibly rough. No sleep. Lots of crying. Lots of needing to be held. Then all of a sudden I think it just clicked with him that we weren't going anywhere. That is not to say that he doesn't get stressed out when he can't see me or that he is completely fine- but more that I have seen a change in him and he just seems more settled. We had no intention of dropping him off anywhere for a very long time. But the kid started a full on football game in our Sunday School class a couple of weeks ago and we started thinking that maybe we ought to check out the nursery. We have the BEST nursery gals ever and they have loved on all of my children so I knew that Miles would be in great hands. We took him down one Sunday and let him explore a while and then took him home. But this week we took him to the nursery and let him stay and he loved it! No issues with dropping off, separation anxiety- nothing!

I posted a few weeks ago that Miles had slept through the night. It wasn't a fluke! He's continued sleeping through the night for 11 hours at a stretch! As moms, we like to think that we love our children unconditionally- but I love mine a whole lot more when they sleep!

And finally- after 6 weeks, a dozen trips to the doctor and thousands of dollars spent on medical care- we are finally a parasite free house! I feel like screaming that from the rooftops! I thought the poor kid would never get rid of all the junk in his intestines, but he is free and clear and feeling good! No one ever tells you when calculating adoption expenses to account for meeting your insurance deductible within a month of being home! It is crazy expensive for all that bloodwork and medication you need to get a child well from a 3rd world country.

And since things are going so well, we're getting asked a lot if we ever plan to adopt again. And to be honest, it really depends on which one of us you ask. Kamron is perfectly content with 3. I, on the other hand, think that *maybe* I see a little 3 or 4 year old Congolese girl fitting in with our family pretty well. But not any time really soon. We're just going to take a little time to enjoy things just as they are and count our blessing for smooth sailing so far.

April 05, 2010

Whirlwind

I am a homebody kind of gal. So the sheer level of our hecticness this past week blows my mind. The good thing, though, is that we've been doing some REALLY cool stuff! (Which makes the breakneck speed all worth it!) So sorry for the delay in blogging, but I've just been busy living it!

My mom had my blog all bound into a book for me! It is one of the coolest gifts I have ever been given- sort of like having your journal published! On the other hand, in the 9 months I've been at this blogging thing, my book was over 200 pages. So from that, I've learned that maybe I talk (or type) a bit too much!

The craziness started on Thursday when my mom and I took the boys to the zoo! They had so much fun. All the baby animals were out in force. Our zoo just had a new little baby gorilla born a few weeks ago and we actually got to see it (and miraculously- I was able to get a great picture of it through the glass without all the slimey kid fingerprints showing up!!)



Then, that evening, I got to go to an advocacy training program for the ONE campaign. They give you opportunities to get in front of your elected officials to urge them to create policies to fight global poverty. I LOVE this organization. They are completely bipartisan and work to help educate people and congressional leaders about poverty, AIDS, malaria, women's rights issues, etc. and what we can do to create change! I can't wait to sit down with my congressman and give my spill about the DRC to someone who actually has the power to create policies to change it!

Miles and I squeezed in a lunch with the Iowa cousins that we haven't seen in years!


And somewhere in the middle of all this, I made my first attempt at Congolese cooking. I made Moambe, which was really good but had WAY to much peanut butter in it. When I make it again, I'll halve the peanut butter and double the tomato. It looked like this:

Sadie and Noah are not adventurous eaters, so I knew this was never going to fly as it was. So I scooped up their food and rolled it all into a tortilla and they gobbled it up! Miles, on the other hand, loved it just as it was...


The next day, Sadie and I had a girl's day out. Since Miles came home, we've been very intentional in making sure that all of the kids still get one on one time with us. Sadie is a shopaholic. She is so into fashion and accessories so she chose to go to the mall and pick out the new spring/summer wardrobe. I know I've said that I never buy my kids things that are new because they just cost too dang much. BUT- I just have to take a minute to brag here. We shopped the power-hours on Saturday morning. We used coupons and bought only the things that were on sale. We bought over $400 worth of clothes for all three kids and only ended up paying $116 for all of it. Cha-Ching! When we checked out, the sales lady said, "You saved over $300!" To which Sadie, my little savvy companion says, "That's great savings mom! Dad's gonna be really proud of us!" (And he was!) And now the kids are set for a loooong time! Here we are posing it up in the middle of the mall.


Then came Easter...


I love Easter. I love the whole sense of the holiday. I love that when I look around church I don't know who 2/3 of the people are because I think- at least for today, they heard about my Jesus. Our school system in on spring break this week, so my Sunday school class full of teenagers was sparse. I only had three adorable teenage boys. And if you know anything about teenage boys, they do NOT discuss. So I threw my whole lesson out the window because I knew that with the audience I had, I wouldn't get anywhere. So I pulled out the Bible and just read to them, out loud. I read them the entire account of the Easter story. I think so many times as Christians, we focus on Easter on the "He is Risen" part and we don't really stop to reflect about all the sacrifice that led up to that beautiful morning. So I sat there and read and read and read...and those boys had the most thoughtful things to say after it and actually asked if we could do the same thing next week with an account from each of the gospels so they could figure out how to piece together the WHOLE Easter story. I was floored. Every now and then, you do actually get through to them. Can I get an amen!!!!

Then there was Easter lunch with the family and the Easter egg hunt with the cousins.




Just in case Easter wasn't awesome enough already, we all loaded into my uncle's truck and drove to the back of the farm to visit the horses. Sadie and Noah love the horses! I do to!








Easter night we had a visit from Aunt Kennethia who brought new bubbles. Miles drank quite a bit of the bubble solution. A few times he opened his mouth and a bubble just popped out!



We were so busy yesterday that Miles couldn't help but crash on GranMary's lap.

And now, after all of the chaos of the last few days, we are ready to celebrate Spring break by doing absolutely nothing but playing and sleeping! Yippee!

April 01, 2010

Mother Clucker!

I have been waiting for months to be able to use that as a post title! And that can only mean one thing: The Chickens Are Here! (You can take a look at THIS post if you have no idea what I'm talking about) Chicken John's flock arrived over the weekend and the kids went nuts over them!






Miles really loved looking at all the chickens...



...But trying to hold one was a whole other story!



In a few more weeks, the chickens will be big enough to leave the "nest" and be able to run around outside with these guys:



I'm no parenting expert, but I think that every kid needs a little farm in them to keep them balanced. I'm just sayin'. Next up on the farming agenda...pygmy goats!
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