October 31, 2010

Birthday Wishes and an Interview with Noah

Happy 4th Birthday, Noah!  I love you so much.  You bring so much light into my life- so many laughs, so many snuggles, so much joy.  I remember writing to you on your birthday last year and this year, I feel like you are such a different child.  You've come so far. Some things are still hard for you, but you just just keep on trying!  I'm so proud of you.  You are such a wonderful, unique, adorable, little boy.  I am so glad that God chose me to get to be your mommy.

Here are a few things you had to say on your 4th birthday:

Me:  If a genie would grant you only one wish, what would it be?
Noah: That my birthday could be everyday.

Me: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Noah: I want to be a teacher because Sadie wants to be a teacher too.

Me:  Do you want to get married when you grow up?
Noah:  NO!  Boooooring!

Me:  Do you want to have children? 
Noah: Nope.  But I want you to still be my mommy even when I'm growed up. (Awe...)

Me:  Do you feel different now that you are four?
Noah: Uh Huh.

Me:  What is your favorite color and why?
Noah:  I like red because it is my favorite.

Me:  Who is your best friend and why do you like them?
Noah:  Kyrie, Julia and Amber because I love them.

Me:  Now that you four, do you think you'll get a girlfriend?
Noah: Ummm.  No. 
Me:  Why?
Noah: Because.  And don't say because why!

Me:  What do you think about world peace?
Noah: World Peace?  What is that?

Me:  What is your favorite TV show?
Noah:  SpongeBob and Yo Gabba Gabba

Me:  What do you like most about school?
Noah: playing inside because they have the best toys and bikes.

Me:  What is your favorite thing about yourself?
Noah:  Being four.

Me:  What is your favorite song?
Noah:  Taylor Swips songs (Taylor Swift)

Me:  If you could have any super power what would it be?
Noah? Fly. Because if somebody had a knife and they were trying to cut you, you could just fly to the other side.  And vampires are mean to people because they bite your skin off when you get to their club.

Me:  What is your very favorite thing to do?
Noah:  Play games with my friends and take a bath.

Me:  What are you most afraid of?
Noah:  Dinosaurs. They are so scary and make scary noises.

Me:  What is your favorite thing about Mommy?
Noah:  You cook the best dinner.

Me:  What is your favorite thing about Daddy?
Noah:  He likes to play with me.

Me?  What is your favorite thing about Sadie?
Noah:  She be's mean to me.  She really is so mean to me.

Me?  What is your favorite thing about Miles?
Noah:  He plays with me and sometimes he shares and he's brown and sometimes I push him.





Happy Birthday, Noah!  We love you!

October 30, 2010

Halloween

Here in backwoods Kentucky- it is actually illegal to go trick or treating on a Sunday.  So today, we celebrated Halloween a day early.  We do the same thing every year- we team up with the kid's favorite neighbors and we go house to house together.  It is great fun for everyone.  Halloween may just be Miles' favorite thing about America so far.  I mean, what's not to love about going door to door and begging for food?  Here are the littles in the throws of Halloween fun!
Super Noah!


Whoa, Mom!  If I hold my bucket out,
people will put food in it!  Holy cow!


Come on bones!  Move faster!  Must. Get. More. Candy!
Be Afraid.  Be very afraid.

She insists on making the creepy clown face in every single picture.

Dreaming about Lois Lane.

It's all fun and games until someone falls over and busts a lip.

 

A little blood can't stop this one.  He's on a mission!

One day I'm going to figure out how to get
 three children to all look at the camera.

Happy Halloween!!!!!


October 28, 2010

Listy Loo Hoo

1.  This is my 300th post.  Hot damn.

2.  I have post retreat depression.  Luckily, I am going in March on Corey's Orlando retreat.  I get to stay in a beautiful villa with Christine, The Other Mother and Mama Drama Times Two.  Dream come true! Can we move it up to this weekend?

3.  My dad bought a four wheeler and I am taking the kids over to his farm this afternoon to help him break it in.  They are so pumped that they can hardly contain themselves.  It's 20 acres of leaf crunching fun.  Sounds like my kind of afternoon!

4.  Sadie is going to a birthday party this weekend for one of her besties who is adopted from China.  Sadie says that pillow pets are all the rage so I picked out the most adorable panda bear pillow pet for Sadie to give her friend for a birthday present.  When I got halfway home, I realized that giving a Chinese girl a panda bear anything is probably one of the most cliche things I could have done.  It truly was the cutest one they have and now I feel like I need to take it back to keep from feeding into a cultural stereotype. Ugh.

5.  I hate to be materialistic, but I'd just about give one of my children for a pair of cozy black Ugg boots.  I am scouring ebay for a good deal. (or if anyone has some they are tired of, you can send them to me and I will be your personal slave for at least 10 minutes) I sent Kamron an email yesterday asking him to get those boots for me for Christmas.  His company has evidently blocked all my emails to him.  It could be because I *may* have a tendency to use profanity.  I sometimes tell people when they meet me that I am the kind of Christian who loves Jesus, but who is also capable of dropping the f-bomb.  I'm trying to be better, I swear.

6. I'm thinking about piercing my nose. Maybe I'm going through a mid-life crisis.


7.  I'm now writing for buy-her.com.  Getting paid to gab about stuff I already use is fabulous!

8.  I have hundreds off dollars worth of goodies to give away from people who donated things to the ladies on our retreat.  The girls got awesome gifts every 2 hours all weekend long and they called me Oprah.  (Yes- I'm about to get a God complex)  I'll start the giveaways on Monday and keep on giving stuff away until it's gone.  I have some fabulous stuff- lucky you!

9.  You may remember that a few months ago Kamron begged me to dress Miles up like Mr. T for Halloween.  Since I wouldn't let him shave a mohawk on my child's head, he is now suggesting that Miles be Flava Flav.  Yeeeah Booooy!

10. My six year old daughter came to me yesterday and said, "Mom, I am so bored.  Can I iron some stuff?"  I don't trust her with clothes, but girlfriend ironed our sheets and pillowcases- kept her occupied for an eternity and she was totally in heaven.  I am still not convinced she didn't come from outer space. Little weirdo.  She also sits down at night and does stuff like write lesson plans, grocery lists, and goals.  I want to be her when I grow up.

11.  I am evidently the only mom in preschool who doesn't come to the class parties.  Ummm- I'm sorry.  If I'm paying you to keep my child, I'm sure as heck not going to pay you and then show up myself to run the show!

12. I'm having election ad overload.  I'm Megan Terry and I approved this blog post.

13.  Do you remember how a few weeks ago, everyone put their facebook status as "I like it on the floor/counter/kitchen table, etc.?  I have yet to figure out how that raises awareness about breast cancer.  Maybe I'm just dense, but I don't get the connection.

14. Miles peed on the potty the other day. Then he promptly pooped in the bathtub which totally negated my excitement.


15.  I can't wait to make Halloween cupcakes with the kids for our family birthday party this weekend.  I love to bake with the tiny humans.

16. I'm thinking that I'm ready to go back to Congo.  I'm hoping to beg a few families in the middle of the adoption process if I can tag along on their trips to pick up their children.  I think that stepping foot on Congolese soil again will make me feel like I am "home".  Wonder if I could get my whole family to agree to pick up our lives and move to a hut in the middle of DRC?  On second thought- that would probably mean that I'd have to homeschool and, oh dear lord, I do not have the patience or stamina for that.

17.  I have a burning desire to build a tree house a la Swiss Family Robinson.

18.  I'm starting a diet on Tuesday.  I'm writing it down so that I can hold myself accountable.  I can't start today because it's too close to Halloween and I LOVE candy. I can't start on Monday, well- because it's Monday.  I can't start on Wednesday because by Wednesday I 'm already thinking about what I'm going to eat over the weekend.  So Tuesday it is.  Is it unrealistic to hope that I can lose 30 pounds in 2 days?  Maybe I can just chop off my butt with a butcher knife.

19.  The boys asked me if they could drink their water out of a bowl like cats and I totally let them do it. I justified it in my head by calling it occupational therapy.

20.  Did I mention this is the 300th post?  Sometimes I can't believe I stuck with this blogging thing for so long. Every now and then I shock myself!

October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Pure Randomness

This is my third day at home with no where that I have to go.  No therapy for any of these houligans around here for some reason.  Just me (and the boys) home all morning until Sadie gets off the bus.  This NEVER happens in my house and I am totally loving it.   I have only gotten out of my pajamas once and my hair is well on it's way to being a grease pit.  We've read a lot of books together and played on the floor that is littered with ground in cereal.  Miles has brushed my greasy hair a whole lot because it is great for attachment.  You heard that right- we groom each other like monkeys to build a bond.  Yesterday, we groomed for a loooong time before the grooming tools turned into weapons!  (Happy dance!)

Noah went to school yesterday morning and Miles and I made what we thought was going to be a quick run to Target to get Noah a birthday present.  He turns four this weekend!  We were heading to the checkout and the tornado sirens started going off.  They herded all the shoppers to the back of the store.  Then when the weather got worse, they shoved us all in this tiny fire tunnel for nearly and hour.  At one point, one of the employees came around and asked if there was anything they could get for us.  Person after person said no thank you.  They should have known better than to ask the woman with a two year old with PTSD issues if she needed something!  I piped up, "YES!  I need a diet Pepsi and an apple!"  After looking at me like I was insane, the employee left for a minute and returned with a diet Coke (I'll forgive him the error since he kinda risked his life) and a shiny red apple for Miles.  That apple kept him occupied the entire time we were stuck in that tunnel.  It stuck with him all day, in fact, since two hours later, I realized that he was saving all the skin from the apple in his cheeks.  Gotta love food hoarding issues.  On disaster preparedness, I give Target an A+.  Now- if I'd only been smart enough to ask for a giant bag of candy corn and a latte...

Which brings me to my next thought.  I am getting chubby, I am afraid that my skin may actually rip from being to small.  For two straight months, all I have done is eat.  I'm not eating to mask anything, or cope with anything- I just really like to eat and fall food is my FAVE!  Couple that with surviving purely on chocolate and alcohol carbs for three days on the retreat and my jeans are getting ready to explode- even with a strong series of deep knee bends and ludicrous stretches.  I must reign myself in.  Kamron and I are going to Hawaii together in March (sans kids) and I'd like to actually not stress out about what I look like on the beach.  I find that the older I get, I spend less money on bathing suits and more money investing in good bathing suit cover ups.  Such is life. 

While we are talking about the not so pretty parts of life, we are starting to see some problems with Noah at school.  I always knew that school would be a struggle for him with his sensory issues.  School is a really hard environment for him.  He has a late birthday, so he won't be starting kindergarten until he is almost 6, but for his sake we chose to have him enrolled in preschool for three years so that he had longer to adjust to a learning environment.  He is now in year two of preschool and lots and lots learning problems are beginning to surface.  At almost 4 years old, he can't recognize any of his letters, frequently confuses colors, can't create even simple patterns and can't remember when I pick him up, even what his letter of the day is.  He always looks at his teacher with pure panic as she is quizzing him as he gets into the car because he can't remember even the biggest of the concepts they discussed that day.  I think we are about to get into a whole new world of learning disorder assessments.  The good news is that he absolutely loves school- but when something is that hard for you, I know that it is only a matter of time until it becomes more frustrating than fun.  On the plus side- everyone says that he is the sweetest little boy in class!  And well- I am just southern enough to prefer that my kid be the sweetest instead of the smartest kid in class.

Speaking of being southern.  Many of the girls this weekend, could not believe how "Kentucky" I sounded.  When I spoke to one of them on the phone she said, "Oh wow!  I'm going to have to start reading your blog with a twang!"  So there ya' have it folks.  Get your twang on.  Happy Hump Day.    

October 25, 2010

This one's for the girls

I think next to my wedding and subsequent honeymoon, this past weekend was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had.  Fourteen wild and crazy strangers descended upon Cincinnati for our first annual mom's retreat.  I think most of us had a little anxiety as to how the weekend would go.  After all, in a group that big of women who don't know each other, there is always bound to be a) a sloppy drunk, b) a whiner and c) a total b!tch.  I don't know why it didn't happen (maybe the universe has decided to show this girl some love) but none of those people showed up this weekend (okay, maybe a few drunks showed up, but nothing sloppy!).  It was like long ago, the 14 of us were created just to be the perfect friends for each other.  There was absolutely no cattiness.  No talking about anyone behind their backs. There wasn't anyone we wanted to shove in the weird little tee pee that was in our front yard and leave for dead.  It was just three days of complete community- one sisterhood where everyone supported each other, loved each other, wanted the best for each other and had the most rockin' time you can imagine.


It all started when I picked Cami (my DRC traveling buddy) up from the airport on Thursday night. We stayed in a hotel together and yapped and giggled until the wee hours of the morning.  Cami and I will be linked together for all eternity after what we saw together when we visited Congo.  If something ever happens to my husband, I'm going for Cami.  I just love her with my whole heart.  Then we picked up Carrie (Texas) from the airport on Friday morning.  As soon as she saw us turn the corner at the baggage claim area, she burst into tears.  The weekend was that emotional.  People needed this weekend like they need air.  We all three hugged right there in front of the baggage carousels and didn't let go.  I knew right then that the weekend was going to be something extraordinary.

The three of us had a loooong time until we could check into our house, but since we still didn't even know where it was, we decided to take a little jaunt out there and just scope the place out.  Weird does not even begin to describe it.  I now know why there are no pictures of the bedrooms in any of the brochures.  We pulled up and there was classic rock blaring out of the speakers on the deck.  I knocked on the door and the cleaning crew said I could come in and take a peak.  What happened next scared the absolute crap out of me.  I am touring the house, noticing the awesome kitchen, hot tub, living area, etc.  I kept walking back to the area where most of the bedrooms were and oh. holy. hootch!  There was a comatose white haired woman laying in one of the beds- arms all jutting out with post mortum stiffness.  I'm thinking, "Who in the world is this lady and why is she here?"  I wasn't quite sure what to say.  I mean, when you call and book a rental house, would it ever in a million years occurred to you to ask if a comatose old woman was living there?"  Ummmm... WTF! (Oh my dod, girls!  A half dead woman lives here!)  I went back into the car and told the others about it.  Oddly enough, when we go back to check into the house, old dead woman's door has a sign on it that says, "Guests- do not come in here!" So this old lady (or her ghost- we still haven't figured out which) made guest number 15.  She enjoyed moaning a lot in the wee hours and the strange smell of some- ahem- herbal refreshment wafted from her general direction on more than one occasion, but never once did her door open!  Creepy.  Lucky for us, Stori (Indiana) is a medium so it all worked out okay.  Don't doubt though that the owner of this property will get a very strongly worded letter from me about that whole old lady in my space situation.


After we got checked in, girls from all over the country started rolling in in twos and threes.  We sat on our huge deck and laughed and joked and all got to know each other.  By dinner time, everyone had arrived.  By 10 pm and after a few cocktails we were all the very best of friends.

If you remember, I once wrote about how my favorite pair of underwear was being held together by a safety pin. Behind my back, the girls all decided that they needed to each bring me some new "drawers" or underpants as Carrie kept calling them.  So on Friday night, I became the recipient of 492 new pairs of panties and one Ms. Clause outfit for when I'm feeling frisky (or just in the Christmas spirit).

I have never laughed so much in my whole life.  We were all afraid to go to bed at night because we were afraid of missing something hysterical (or get killed by the half dead woman sleeping behind the closed door).  On our weekend that was supposed to be so relaxing, we all stayed up til 3 am every night laughing until we couldn't breathe.

I can't really explain what happened this weekend.  There are not words.  I tried to convey to my husband last night just how magical the whole thing was.  I think that every single person there got exactly what they needed from it.  Some needed to get away from their kids.  Some needed a shoulder to cry on.  Some needed to practice their routines for their HBO comedy specials.  Some just needed a friend.  How we were all there for one another was beautiful.  Some people were going through some tough stuff.  We listened, we supported, we got inspired- then we laughed it off and kept going.

I have sat around my house today and smiled a million times thinking over the good memories- and laughing like a nut at all the inside jokes flying around on facebook today.  I've made 13 new best friends.  There is not anything I wouldn't do for any one of those women.  If one of them called me and needed me, I would hop in a car or get on the next flight to be there with them- and I know they would do the same for me.  Just having that makes me one of the luckiest women alive.  I will apologize in advance because I am sure I will be writing about things that happened on the retreat for weeks to come.  Can't help it.  It was just that good.

For my girls:  Stori, Amanda, Ellen, Natalie, Michele, Jamey, Crystal, Renee, Glenna, Cami, Carrie, Birgit, Sandy and Vagine- I LOVE YOU ALL!  Can't wait to do it again next year!









all photos by Ellen Bugler. http://ellenjoyphotography.blogspot.com/

October 21, 2010

On Marriage

I have several friends going through divorces right now.  They are in pain.  They are hurting/angry/grieving/relieved/depressed/scared/questioning/hopeful.  You name it- they've felt the emotion.  The good, bad and the ugly.

When I started this blog a little over a year ago, I promised my husband two things: 1) I wouldn't talk about our marriage and 2) I wouldn't talk about "doin' the dirty".

You know that I struggle on a daily basis as a mother.  But last night after talking with a friend who is getting divorced, I realized that by not ever writing anything about my marriage, it paints the picture that we have the world's most freaking happy marriage.  In an effort to keep it real here, I'll just say- NOPE.  That is a big, fat lie by omission.  We love each other ( a whole lot) but we bug the crap out of each other on a very regular basis.  We have the same fights over and over and over again.  We don't always communicate well.  For example, when I ask hubby, "Can you help me clean the house before the company gets here?"  and 15 minutes later he is still watching football, he doesn't realize that I mean help me NOW!  Or when he asks, "Can you get deodorant for me the next time you go to the store" and then he continues to tell me every five minutes that he is out of deodorant, I just want to scream, "I GET IT!  I'll get you some freaking deodorant.  Stop telling me!  I'm not stupid!"  There are times when every time he opens his mouth, I want to rip his lips off.  And I know he sometimes thinks the same thing about me, although he's too much of a gentleman to actually admit that.  Yep- he's a lot nicer than me.

We are very much opposites.  So opposite in fact, that Kamron will tell you that he thinks we are exactly the same.  Whatev.

The truth is, we are just exactly like every other couple I know.  Marriage is hard.  Really hard.  Being married while raising kids with special needs- Oh holy crap- it's tough.   In the days before the antidepressants kicked in and I thought I'd rather stick my hands in the garbage disposal than keep going the way I was going, I found myself on more than one occasion thinking, "If I got divorced, I could have every other weekend utterly and blissfully alone."  That is in no way intended to make light of divorce. I was just really worn down. 

Being worn down does a number on a marriage.  It makes everything come to a head.  By the time I spent all day every day dealing with the kids, there was nothing left of me to give to a marriage.  And I am no picnic to be around all the time.  I'm opinionated, independent and random. 

All this to say, that we are the same as every other married couple.  We ride the peaks and valleys.  Sometimes were not on the same page (or even reading the same book) and sometimes life is super good.  This week, things are super good, but next week- who knows.  Life happens.  What I am learning (and it may take me another 50 years of marriage to perfect) is that my attitude and willingness to compromise make all the difference.  That is humbling because I HATE to compromise.  Me no likey to give up control.  But I'm working on it.  I think that's the key, keep working on yourself.  Keep mama happy and things tend to run more smoothly.   Except sometimes, keeping mama happy isn't always possible in the situation you are in and you have to get out. For my friends going through some tough stuff in the marital trenches,  I'm sorry.  I love you.  I value you.  YOU are special- even if you don't feel like it.   

I'm not sure how to wrap this one up except to say- we're normal.  We're more Everybody Loves Raymond than Leave it to Beaver,  and I'm okay with that.  I just wanted to keep it real, because until last night, I didn't realize that I gave off the impression that our marriage shoots unicorns out it's butt.  If nothing else in life, I try to always shoot it straight.  Now, I think I need to go tell my husband that I love him tremendously and thank him for putting up with me and my crazy.  Hopefully, he won't remind me that he needs deodorant.

P.S. I really did just google "unicorns coming out the butt" to try to find a picture for this post.  Wow- weird things come up.  This post is remaining pictureless.  You can thank me later. 

 

October 19, 2010

Is it Friday yet?

Dude.  I'm worn out!  It's only Tuesday, but I kind of feel like it should already be Friday!  Want a rundown of our last week or two?  Of course you do!

It would look something like this:  make lunches, bathe kids, have speech therapy, have occupational therapy, drop off kids, pick up kids, have an overnight date with the hubby (oo-la-la), comb hair, dress kids, feed people who never seem to be full, change lots of sheets after bed wetting, go on a mini vacay to Mammoth Cave with the fam, have dinner with a friend, have dinner with a wonderful PR woman who is about to "pitch me" to get my career moving, change diapers, go to developmental therapy, go to psychologist for one kid, go to psychologist for another kid, take Miles in for surgery, return billions of emails, visit the pumpkin patch with one of our favorite families, grocery shop, nurse a raging headache, administer countless eardrops, have a lovely breakfast out with my sweetie where we extol the virtues of bacon and sausage, sleep (a little), pray (a lot), visit a new church, fold 6 billion loads of laundry, list stuff on craigslist, puts kids on the bus, get kids off the bus, babysit, gab with my girls,get attacked by dust bunnies in the basement, make millions of flash cards for various therapies, play outside, play inside, build a fort, mop the floors, make tall towers out of blocks, scrub the toilets, read books to children, attempt to read books to self but fall asleep every time, check spelling homework, clean kitchen too many times to count, catch up on blog reading, load and unload dishwasher 400 times, stitch up holes in clothes, hike in the woods, get allergy shots for the whole gang, drink a million diet Pepsi's, go to follow up doctor's appointments, visit the pharmacy, take the kids to trick or treat at the zoo with an old friend, call my mother 3 times a day every day, count my blessings, sell eggs for my dad, meal plan, give up on meal plan and eat out way too much, spend time with my granny, watch kids have a ball with our neighbors over fall break, watch instructional videos about how to start dreadlocks, tailgate with some awesome Congo Mamas, doctor boo-boos, clip 30 fingernails and 30 toenails, change a whole lotta diapers, clean up poo from inappropriate places, learn to sew on a sewing machine by watching youtube, give hugs, give kisses, pay bills, pay more bills, fight with insurance company, sort through school papers, lose my mind, try to find mind but realize it is too far gone...

But you know what?  It's all okay... because our Cincinnati Retreat is in just 3 short days!!!!  Renewal, renewal, renewal!!!!! (Is it Friday, yet???)

Here's the last few weeks worth of adventures:

Clowning around at home with Daddy.

Pumpkin Patch with one of our most favorite families- the Sullivan's!


Date Night!  GO CATS!


My little pumpkin picking a pumpkin.

Decending down into Mammoth Cave for a 2 mile hike.

Sadie, Noah and Miles taking a forced picture break on the way to the cave.
 Lucky for them my camera ran out of batteries a couple of minutes later!


October 16, 2010

Missed Signs

An old ex is getting married this weekend.  We aren't still friends and haven't talked in over 10 years.  But his impending marriage made me remember a mixed CD that he had made for me.  My first year of college I loved that CD.  I couldn't really remember what songs were on it, but thought I remembered seeing it in the basement not to long ago.  I went and dug it out and put it in my CD player.  At the time when the ex made the CD, we had been together off and on for almost a year.  Most of the songs were love songs, but as I kept listening one song really stuck out in my mind- U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For".  HELLO!!!  What?!?!

Why in the world did I not see that message written all over the wall a whole lot sooner!?  Note to all men out there: that song has NO place in any kind of romance, unless, of course, you are trying to make your girl feel inadequate and crappy.  Missed signs all over the place.  Oh well.  I think life turned out a whole lot better this way anyway!

P.S.  The hubby wooed me with a mixed tape he called "mellow tape".  Wonder how many other girls out there have a copy of the exact same "mellow tape" he made?  Ah boys... so unoriginal, yet they try so hard  :-)

October 14, 2010

Measuring Progress

This morning, my mom and I took Miles to the hospital to get tubes put in his ears.  I always fear doctor's appointments.  It has always been a trigger for Miles.  I have nightmares about the last time I took Miles for an MRI, and just thinking about that potentially happening again, makes me want to run for the door and give up.  BUT today, the boy was golden.  He was delightful at the hospital.  He was as sweet as pie to the nurses and he worked the room over as usual, but he clearly knew that I was the one there to protect him and be there for him.  He looked for me when I went to the bathroom.  He reached out for me when they brought him back from surgery.  He asked for food instead of wailing and screaming to communicate his needs.

I know that the very nature of trauma and attachment disorders ebbs and flows.  That while today we are on top of the mountain, we could be back in the valley in a matter of minutes.  But 4 months ago when Miles had surgery for the first time, there was none of the mountaintop experience.  He had zero trust for me.  Just the fact that he wanted me and trusted that I would be there for him shows me that he is making progress and that the 6 hours of therapy we put our life on hold for every week with him is worth every precious minute.

I see healing in his face.  I feel healing in his kisses.  It is not always easy.  Sometimes I can see in his eyes when our attachment therapist has him hug me that it hurts him.  That he does not want to give up the control he has in the relationship.  He doesn't always want that intimacy.  It is intense for him.  But then there are days like today, and I know that the boy is healing.  He is working through the big feelings.  He is struggling to get there, but I know that he can do it.

Just having that hope, makes my reaction to his "issues" so much different.  I find that I have more patience with Miles.  I am getting better at understanding his needs and reacting appropriately.  I am learning which battles to fight with him and which ones to let go.  My reaction is directly feeding his.  Does this mean that I don't get frustrated and yell and scream and pout and throw a fit and whine about why things can't just be natural and easy?  Hell to the no!  I get an A+ in fit throwing!  But I am doing it less and less as we've gotten some help from some great professionals.  And the more videos I watch about theraputic parenting the easier it gets.  And the more I read about ways to help my son thrive inspite of what he's been through instead of fighting to change what he's been through, the more we connect.  Knowledge is power in attachment therapy.  The more we understand our children, the better equipped we are to help them.  If I have learned anything about theraputic parenting it is that it goes against every instinct you have.  With my other (biological) children I worked so hard to help them acheive independence.  With Miles it is just the opposite- trying to teach him to be dependent and trust that others can meet his needs- that it is okay to love.  That is no easy task.

I found a video on my camera the other day and I have watched it over and over again.  I think it speaks volumes to the growth that is happening in our family.  If you watch it, you'll probably think that it is very normal: kids are playing in the back yard, dog is running around, nice fall night.  But it was not that long ago that normal at any level could not be found in our home.  It was not that long ago when all of our children couldn't play together without Miles bullying the others.  It wasn't that long ago that just hearing a dog bark sent Miles into a panic attack.  It wasn't that long ago that the little boy climbing a ladder all by himself was too weak with malnutrition to pick himself up off the ground if he fell down.  Millions of miles to go, but millions of miles we've already trudged through.  Progress.  It is a beautiful thing. (Someone remind me of this next time we are at the bottom of the pit!)



P.S.  Miles' surgery was very successful!  No problems at all and he is expected to regain all the hearing he has lost as a result of potentially 2 1/2 years of chronic ear infections.   YAY!  Plus- he just looks super cute in his teeny tiny hospital gown. :-)
   

October 11, 2010

Royalty

I've been trying to use and teach the appropriate terms for my kid's anatomy lately.  The days of "wee wees" and "front bottoms" are over.  They need to know what things are called and not be afraid to use the correct terminology.

Sadie has it down pat- although she giggles like a school girl every time she says vagina.  Noah, on the other hand, just can't for the life of him remember what his parts are called.  It seems like no matter how much we talk to him about it, we just can't drill the word "penis" into his brain.

Last night, the hubby and I were completing the bed time rituals- the pj's, brushing the teeth, the cuddles.  Noah and I were going over body parts.  Our conversation went a little something like this:

Me:  That is your penis.
Noah:  Ok.
Me:  What is it called?
Noah:  I can't remember.
Me:  It's your penis.  Now- what is it called?
Noah:  Ummm.... Your highness

The hubster and I almost died from laughing so hard.  Love that boy and all the comedy he brings into our home!

October 10, 2010

One year ago

One year ago today, we were driving home from a family vacation to Florida.  We were pulled over at a roadside stand in rural Alabama buying a few pounds of boiled peanuts.  My cell phone rang.  I looked at the caller ID and my heart started racing as I saw our attorney's number pop up.  With our spotty reception, I deciphered that she was calling to tell us about our referral.  She said that she was sending me an email right then with our baby boy's picture and his information.  I couldn't stop shaking.  I paid for the peanuts and got in the car and looked at Kamron and told him that we had a son.  There are a few times in a marriage, where the look on your spouse's face is etched in your brain.  The moment that I told Kamron about our new baby- was one of those.  Such connection.  Just magical. 

We had no internet connection where we were out in the middle of nowhere.  We were chomping at the bit to find somewhere with some wi-fi so we could bust out our laptop and see that first picture.  After what seemed like an eternity, we found a KFC with a big sign boasting that they had wireless internet access.  We all raced in, sat down at a table and fired up the computer.

There is nothing like seeing that first picture.  The wonder, the uncertainty, the joy, the questions.  It all floods you.  But mostly- there is just excitement.  I knew without a doubt from the first moment I saw him that Miles Dieudonne was exactly made for our family.  Here is a repeat of my post from this day last year...

WE HAVE A BABY!!!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen: We’d like to introduce you to our son!


Isn’t he precious?!? We are absolutely over the moon! His Congolese name is Dieudonne. (Pronounced Dyuu-doh-nay) It is French, meaning “God Gives.” Could that be any more appropriate? He is around 6-7 months old and was abandoned at the orphanage in July. He appears to be healthy as a horse! I have been staring at his sweet picture for hours and am already madly in love! When Sadie first saw Dieudonne’s pictures she exclaimed, “He looks just like Noah!” Not sure about that, but he definitely looks like he belongs in our family!

We will begin court proceedings in DRC this week. From here, if things move quickly, we could bring him home in as little as 3 months. If things move slowly, it could take up to 6 months. Please pray that our sweet, precious, little boy continues to stay healthy and that the courts can move at lightning speed so we bring him home as soon as possible. I am just dying to squeeze him and love on those sweet cheeks!

October 08, 2010

Get your pumpkin bread on!

Last week I shared my Mamaw's most amazing banana bread recipe.  Today, she's letting me leak her pumpkin bread recipe to the public!  (You are in for a serious treat!)

I hate deciding that I want to bake something, then googling a recipe and having no idea if it is any good or not.  I'm here to tell you that this pumpkin bread is freakin' good.  Slap yo' mama good.

So- this weekend, go to the pumpkin patch.  Get a pumpkin and carve it up, then use those guts for something scrumptious!  Or just do what I do and pick up a can of pumpkin at the store (I totally go for easy!)

Here you go!

Daisy's Scrumptious Pumpkin Bread:

3 1/2 cups all-pupose flour
3 cups sugar
2 tsp soda
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup oil
4 eggs
2 cups pumpkin
3/4 cup water
1 cup raisins (optional)
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Sift dry ingredients into bowl.  Add oil, eggs, pumpkin and water, mixing well.  Stir in raisins and pecans if desired.  Spoon into two greased and floured 5x9 inch loaf pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 65 minutes.  Remove to wire rack to cool.  Yields 2 loaves (24 slices) 

Enjoy!


These are the two newest members of the Terry Clan. 
They are having a great time living on our front porch.


October 07, 2010

Bonding

Miles and I had some wonderful one on one time this morning.  After days and days in the trenches, today there were lots of smiles, giggles and even a completely spontaneous hug! (Do you hear my heart screaming with joy!?)  I decided that this kind of awesome behavior deserved a really special treat for Miles.  The boy LOVES coffee.  Because he's two- obviously it is just a rare treat for him.  So today, he got his own teeny, tiny Miles' sized cup of joe.  Call him crazy, but he likes his coffee black- just like him mom.

Mornings like this make the whole journey worthwhile.  Here's to a day of promise, hope and savoring the good times...

October 06, 2010

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies

One of these days I am going to figure out how to pull one over on myself.  I'll keep practicing lying to myself until I figure out how to do that.  Here's a few slants (read bold faced lies!) on things I tell myself to keep me feelin' good!
  • LIE:  Kids need a whole lotta sleep to be healthy.  That's why when they are cranky I put them to bed an hour and a half earlier than normal- for their health TRUTH:  I'm sending them to bed at 7pm because I'm done for the day (stick a fork in me, I'm done!) and if they want to live to see another day they better go to sleep! Now!
  • LIE:  Almonds are good for you.  TRUTH: Not if they are drenched in chocolate
  • LIE:  I will get to the bottom of the laundry pile today. TRUTH:  Everyone will be wearing dirty clothes tomorrow.
  • LIE:  My winter clothes all shrunk in the closet over the summer.  TRUTH:  I'm just sticking to the lie.
  • LIE:  I will vow to do some of my Bible Study homework each day- the way it is intended to be done.  TRUTH:  I will wait until the last possible night and do all of it at once and pretend like I kept up with it properly.
  • LIE:  Pizza is a balanced meal.  TRUTH:  a) sausage serves no nutritional benefit and b) pizza is not balanced when you eat it 3 nights a week.
  • LIE: I let my children cry it out because it's good for children to cry.  It exercises their lungs.  TRUTH:  I run away from crying children because crying kids make me want to stick my feet in the garbage disposal.
  • LIE:  All of the cracker/cereal/goldfish crumbs in my car would be necessary for survival if I was ever in a wreck and stranded for days.  TRUTH:  The Health Department would shut down the minivan in a heartbeat.  I may have to get a hazmat suit to clean it out.
  • LIE:  If I just wait long enough, the husband/children/dog will scrub the toilets, make the dinner and run the vacuum.  TRUTH:  I do not live in an alternate universe where this scenario would ever be plausible.
  • LIE:  Candy corn and pop corn can be considered vegetables since they are in the corn family.  TRUTH:  My mother says even corn is not a vegetable it is a starch- so I strike out on all fronts.
  • LIE:  Said to me more times than I can count- "Oh you must be so happy and having so much fun since Miles has been home.  TRUTH:  Do you consider scrubbing poop out of an afro fun?  I could make a case for being happy.  But having fun- not so much,
  • LIE:  Underwear can be considered clean if you wear it inside out and use a panty liner.  TRUTH:  Not really- but I'll keep pretending.  (Have you sensed that I have real issues with the laundry?)
  • LIE:  If I just don't take the medical bills out of the envelopes then I don't have to pay them.  TRUTH: You will totally get sent to collections for this.  Not that I would know or anything...
  • LIE:  A new pair of boots will solve all your problems.  TRUTH:  No- but I still want some new boots, dag nab it! 
  • LIE:  As long as I have my family around me, life is so good.  TRUTH:  I would maybe kill baby kittens and kick puppy dogs for a break right now!
  • LIE:  If no one sees me eat a whole box of cookies, the calories don't really count.  TRUTH:  this will only lead me to the afore mentioned lie about how my clothes magically shrink in the closet.
  • LIE: I can achieve my goal of world domination within a year.  TRUTH:  This may take two years- but by golly- I'm gonna do it!
Have you told yourself any humdingers lately?    

Adoption Must Knows

If you are thinking about adopting or have just adopted or have had adopted children home for years- you absolutely MUST do this!

My gal, Sarah, is an adoption coach/consultant.  (I wish I could carry her around in my back pocket!  Who couldn't use a good coach on this journey!?)  She is putting together a free online book club to study the book The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis.  If you've never read the book, do it!  In my opinion if you were only able to read one book in preparation for adopting, hands down, this one would be it. Karyn Purvis is a rock star.

Sarah's study starts October 15th- so you still have plenty of time to go out and find the book if you don't already have it in your arsenal.  I got mine at a yard sale for 50 cents (top that!) but amazon has used copies right now for about $7.  I'm signed up for the study and can't wait.  Because no matter what state your family is in (smooth sailing or down in the trench) all of our children deserve to feel more connected and us parents deserve to be supported in fostering that connection.  You can read more about Sarah's study and sign up HERE

And now for the second adoption resource...

Have you heard of the Celebrating Adoption Photography Network?  They are a group of professional photographers all over the US who have a passion for adoption.  They love adoption so much that they will donate their time and do photography sessions for adoptive families for FREE!  That's right- FREE.  If you've ever paid for a professional photo shoot for your kids- you know just what an expensive endeavor that can be.  You can't beat free with a stick- so if you've adopted a child of any age in the last 12 months, you qualify for a session with an amazing photographer.   You can click HERE to find out more info about the Celebrating Adoption program and find a photographer in your area who participates. 

I found out about this program when a local photographer (and Millions of Miles reader!) contacted me and told me about it!  I am so glad she did.  If you are in the Louisville/Lexington KY area- you must check out Lizzie Loo Photography. Her work is gorgeous!  She captures the most precious candid photos of children I've ever seen.  We have our free session scheduled with her tomorrow- I can't wait to share the photos with you all!  Plus- Lizzie Loo Photography is donating goodies for our retreat ladies.  A company that loves and celebrates adoption and that wants to shower stressed out moms is a double winner in my book!

Sign up for the book study and book a photo shoot!  Take advantage of all the resources out there for you- that's what they are there for! Get ya some!

October 04, 2010

Big Kid Love

To say that Miles has been difficult lately would be an understatement.  Beginning all these new therapies and implementing new parenting techniques to help him has thrown the boy into a tailspin.  Sometimes I forget that Miles and I are not the only people that this is hard on.  Being the sibling of a child with special needs can sometimes be brutal.  And Miles has a lot of special needs.  This last week of Miles' craziness has totally piled up on the big sibs.  There were many days around 3pm that I heard Noah say, "Mom, can't you just put Miles to bed and we can just get him up in the morning?"  Oh darling- sometimes I wish I could!!!

Attachment challenged kids take a lot of energy. They need so much reassurance. They need so much attention. It often leaves the whole family feeling like they've been smoked right down to the filter.

By the time Saturday rolled around, we were all spent and needed a break in the worst way.  We texted GranMary and begged on our hands and knees asked nicely if she would take Miles for the day on Sunday so that we could have a day out with the big kids.  She was nice enough to say yes and we immediately began planning for all the big kid fun that we could have.

We love good cheap fun and we love festivals.  So we went to the St. James Court Art Show.  It is one of the biggest art fairs in the US.  Thousands and thousands of artists come from all over to showcase their creativity.  We had a perfect fall day- sunny with just a slight chill in the air.  We walked around arm in arm all through the streets of Old Louisville looking at all kinds of beauty. We talked to lots of artists, ooh'd and awe'd over their creations and had a blissful time not worrying about anything. 

Kamron and I so enjoyed the day out with Sadie and Noah. They are such neat, little people- each with their own big personalities.  They loved the two on two time just as much as we did.  They got so much attention, dictated the whole day, and had their voices heard without all the hubbub of a tiny brother in tow. Batteries are all recharged and hopefully we are all ready to tackle a whole new week!

(After re-reading this, I feel like I just have to say that we love Miles a whole lot.  There- is that more balanced?)

Here is our awesome "big kid date" in pictures:


Self Promotion Makes Me Ill

One thing I hate to read on other people's blogs is all about how "popular" they are.  I usually think "who gives a rat's butt?" 

But today I am breaking my own rules. (Eeek!  I just cringed typing it!)  I have always wanted to write a book.  I want to share my love of adoption, Congo, motherhood, and all things crazy.  10 months from now- all of the kids will be in some type of school and that will be the perfect time to get the ball rolling for all that writing!  So now I am doing the preliminary work.  And part of that is working on making myself seem "marketable" to agents and publishing companies who will want to know who in the heck actually cares to hear about what I have to say.

This is where you come in.  If you like it here- you can do a couple of things to help me out.  One- you can click over on the left and sign up to become a follower of this blog.  It won't send you crazy emails or anything.  It's kind of just a show of solidarity.

I've also succombed to the facebook page.  So- if ya' really want to be nice you could click HERE and "like" Millions of Miles on facebook.  If you want to be super nice, you could suggest it to your facebook friends.

Thanks, y'all for helping me take step one in making HUGE dreams come true!

October 01, 2010

The most awesome banana bread recipe in the world

Consider yourselves lucky.  Today I am sharing my Mamaw Daisy's top secret recipe for banana bread.  It is hands down the very best banana bread I've ever eaten (and I've eaten a lot of banana bread!)  If you're good, next week I'll share her top secret pumpkin bread recipe- just in time for fall festivals!

Insanely Delicious!

Banana Bread (aka:  Daisy's Bomb Diggity Banana Awesomeness) 
2/3 cup shortening (I use Crisco)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups mashed bananas
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2/3 cups nuts (optional)

Directions: Cream shortening, sugar. Beat in eggs, bananas, and water.

Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Add to banana mixture. Stir in nuts (optional). Put in greased and floured pans. It will make 8 small loaves or 2 large loaves. Bake at 350 until done. Test with a tooth pick. I bake mine for 35 minutes when I use the small loaf pans . Around 50 minutes for large pans.  Let it cool and enjoy!
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