January 30, 2011

90 pounds of reeking garbage moved into my kitchen

We measure attachment/trauma progress with Miles in the little things.  Like the fact that more spontaneous kisses and hugs are happening and he's not doing it manipulatively.  It's in the fact that he only spits his food out when he's really stressed once or twice a week instead of at every meal.  It's in the fact that at our last visit to the psychologist, she used the term "secure base" to describe my relationship with Miles.  Secure base, y'all!  Hot snot!  And you know what?  I think she's right.  It has taken us a whole year- and we are still growing and our relationship is still evolving and he is still healing, but by golly- we are so getting there!

Another sign of healing: the boy got in the same room as our dog and did not lost his mind.  This is the same dog that he has been terrified of since the day he came home.  We decided that our Emma dog might just need to move into the house (on a trial run!) in her golden years.  She's 8 and has bad allergies and depression and anxiety.  Essentially, our dog is a nut case.  (She fits right in!)  She's been an outside dog for about 6 years and now that she's old, well, we just feel sorry for her and so we are giving this inside dog thing a whirl- even though Miles hates animals and I'm neurotic about dogs in the house.  We started out this experiment with a car ride to the pet store that has the do-it- yourself dog wash.  Our dog stunk.  Take the worst smell you've ever smelled and magnify it by infinity.  She was like 90 pounds of reeking garbage with a side of bad breath.

We brought the beast home and Miles wasn't quite sure what he thought about his arch nemesis invading his space.  He stood up on a chair like a 1950's housewife who'd seen a mouse and screamed "No!" about a million times.  Then he took a big step and decided that he was just going to have to roll with it and choose to cope.  He was slow at first...

Then he decided he wanted a piece of the action...

He figured out that the dog would not kill him and that maybe this could just work out okay. Then he decided that he was happy.

And the dog was happy...

And the mama was happy.  But the mama is sitting around in sweatpants, no bra, no makeup and is broken out like a 15 year old boy, so no pictorial evidence.  But trust me, the mama's happy :-)  Ahh, yes.  The mama's happy.

January 29, 2011

For the record

Since this blog is 48% baby book for my kids, I thought I'd post a slew of pictures that have been hiding on my camera from the last month.

We spent New Year's Eve at the zoo.

We went to Brookst@ne and did occupational therapy with all the shakey things you can wear.

We had hearing tests and billions of doctors appointments trying to figure out why Noah can't hear. Next eval- auditory processing disorder- good times.

We had snow.  Lots and lots of snow. 

How many crazy kids can you get on a sled?

Happy weekend everyone.  Hope it's relaxing!

January 27, 2011

Homemade Caramel Corn

You may remember that I bragged a few weeks ago about how great I was doing eating healthier until I ran into a *minor* indiscretion with my friend Ellen's homemade caramel corn.  She brought it to our girl's night out and I have craved it ever since.  Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer and called and begged her for the recipe so that I could make some for myself.  Now that I know how to make it- look out! 

It's pathetic how much joy I got from this caramel corn today.  I know- joy from food- I need therapy- yada, yada, yada.  But y'all.  It is that good.  Ellen said I could share the recipe so that others may find joy in it's buttery, sugary, sticky goodness.  AND it uses the popcorn without hulls so you don't have to contend with kernels.  Double score.

Homemade Caramel Corn

7 quarts puff corn (the hull-less popcorn that's butter flavored)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

1.  Line two large baking pans with parchment paper. If you don't have parchment paper, just grease the pans really well. Divide the puff corn between the two pans.

2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

3. In a medium saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup and butter. bring to a boil over med heat. stirring to blend. let mixture boil for 5 min stirring constantly

4. Remove from heat and add vanilla, salt and baking soda - the mixture will be light and foamy. pour over the corn and stir to coat.

5. Bake for an hour stirring every 15 minutes to redistribute the caramel.

6. Line your counter top with waxed paper and dump the corn onto the waxed paper to cool. When it has cooled break it into pieces to separate. Store in an airtight container.

7.  Try hard not to be a glutton and eat all of this at once.  It is so good you will have to really try.


January 26, 2011

I Don't Get It

I tend to think I'm kinda brilliant smart, but there are some things going on lately that have just downright baffled me...

*My husband just figured out how to text about a month ago.  In an effort to try to be really sweet one day, I sent him the following text, "I love you <3"  The man does not evidently do emoticons because instead of a heart, he thought I was suggesting to him that there was something happening to my boobs. 

*Why in the world are hemorrhoids not called asteroids?  From time to time *ahem* this one has baffled me for years.

*Why do my the children always believe me when they beg to go somewhere and I say, "Oh, that place is closed at 2:12 on Mondays, sorry."  Or "  Oh man!  You wore a blue shirt today and they don't allow blue shirts in the bouncy house.  Maybe next time." Gullible little suckers, they are.

*Why won't my husband's W-2 get here so that I can file our taxes, get back our own money from the government and pay off these adoption loans?  Dude- I'm getting impatient.

*Why do people stand up and sit down so much during the State of the Union Speech?  It must be freaking exhausting for all those crotchety old guys.

*Why do I insist on buying expensive organic skim milk when all I'm going to do is pour it over fruit loops laden with artificial flavors and preservatives or mix it with pasteurized processed cheese spread? 

*Why will the kids ignore me all day long and then the second the phone rings stick to me like a fish on a wormy hook? (the Kentucky is coming out of me y'all)

*Why do they sell lingerie at Target?  Seriously- do they not realize that the bulk of their clientele is 30 something moms with droopy boobs and 2.5 snotty nosed kids that she's dragging around in the cart that keep her so exhausted she probably doesn't even want to do the deed?  Oh wait- I think I just solved this mystery.  It is a ploy to disgust us so much that we walk across the aisle and pick up another pair of sweatpants.

*Why do little boys (okay and big boys too!) think that they need to have one hand on their penises all the livelong day?  When we had boys no one told me that this would happen.  They need to put that in the books.

Now I'm so thoroughly baffled I'm in danger of a brain explosion.  And let's face it- that would be a bigger mess than I want to deal with.

January 24, 2011

Beautiful Souls

My head has been filled with thoughts of the children I met in Congo today even more than usual.  The longing to see those little faces- hoping that each of them is okay.  As I was looking through my friend Tiana's pictures of her recent trip to Tanzania, I couldn't help but be reminded that we serve a Creator who loves his children to his very core.  The beauty of this photograph spoke to my heart in such a profound way, I just had to share it... the smiles, the hope, the promise.. all those beautiful, little souls ready to take flight...

-photograph by Tiana Proudfoot- used with permission

January 23, 2011

Plague Induced Linkage

After taking care of a sick kiddo all week last week, I've been got.  I came down with the dreaded stomach bug yesterday morning and have been quarantined to bed for the last 36 hours.  Can I just say that this is actually kind of nice?  I mean, not the part where I puke every time I try to move, but the part where I get to stay in bed while my husband takes care of everything.  It never fails that on the rare occasion that I do get sick, I always seem to get sick on a Monday or Tuesday when there is no help in sight and I just have to suck it up and pretend like I'm not sick and keep plugging along.  So when I got sick on a Saturday it was like a little bit of luxury.  Hubby said, "Get in bed, I got this!"  Oh my word!  Despite the fact that my house is a wreck, I love that man for picking up the slack. (Lord help me though, if he comes down with it and I have to deal with man sickness.  Man sickness makes me want to pull my fingernails off one by one.)

Unfortunately though, I had to miss our dear friend's birthday party last night.  (Happy 30th, Courtney!)  My mom was already planning on keeping the kids while we went to the party, so I sent Kamron on to the party and the littles to grandma's.  And I... well, I did nothing.  In my quiet house, I laid in bed and rested.  And tried to keep down sips of water.  And watched 2 hours of Sex and the City reruns and 2 hours of Everybody Loves Raymond reruns and the latest episode of Teen Mom.  And took a hot bath.  And stayed curled up under 3 blankets to ward off the freezingness. (I think I just made up a new word)  So all in all, taking a sick day was not the worst thing that has ever happened to me.

Since I haven't done anything of note- unless you want a play by play of the insane amount of television I've watched- I'm going to do a little linking to my favorite blog posts from the last week.  One of my favorite things about blogging is the unique perspective you get on so many things that make you stretch your beliefs and understand things from a different point of view.  I LOVE it!

The Livesay's- Happy Birthday Miracle Babies- a feel good story about some miracle births in Haiti

How Can They Hear- Conversations No One Should Have - grab a tissue.  This sweet family is dealing with a very sick child

Welcome to My Brain- Masturbation Nation- No one dispenses humorous parenting advice about talking to your kids about sex quite like Christine

Ethiopia or Bust- By Josh- a look at MLK day

Never A Dull Moment- a Haitian adoptive family reflects on losing their birthmother in the earthquake

A Forever Family- You probably saw Davids plea for a family all over the internet.  This is the family that is adopting him and the most awesome ever picture of Davids finding out he has a family.

Andy, Kiara and Family- my dear friend who is selling homemade body butter to raise money for their next adoption. (I highly recommend the chocolate peppermint!)

And now I must go and... watch more tv and let my body finishing getting rid of this crud.  On the plus side- I'm sure I've lost a whole mess of weight.  SCORE!

January 21, 2011


A glimpse into the week of each of the littles...

This little guy was taken down by the stomach bug and stayed wrapped up in a blanket watching cartoons for almost 5 days.  He is the sweetest patient ever, and always had a cute little smile no matter how bad he felt.

 This cool dude's locs got taken out.  After a retwisting on Saturday, Daddy didn't realize that he couldn't submerge his head in the tub and all the twisting unravelled.  He's at the age where he refuses to wear a sleeping cap and wants to rub his head on the carpet, couch, etc. all the time and it just wasn't working out.  We'll try again when he's a little older.  But I think he looks so distinguished with his short hair!  He also spent nearly every waking moment in his pajamas because we had many many cold snowy days.

This little lady rocked it on her math test this week.  Then she took a turn for weird and decided that she wanted to sleep inside her toy box like it was a coffin.  She did this for many nights until it started to freak me out really bad when I'd go check on them at night and I had to put an end to it.  It reminded me of when my brother was about her age and he slept inside a trampoline box pushed under his bed for one whole summer.  Kids are strange...

...But they're also pretty darn wonderful.

January 20, 2011

How Far Have We Come?

I never really stopped to write anything earlier in the week about Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  I'll admit, as a white child growing up in America, I never stopped to think about this day as anything other than a day to be off of school.  But as I grew up and began to understand the struggles of African Americans in our country, it began to make sense to me to honor Dr. King.  His message of peace and equality still rings true today- not just for African Americans, but for all oppressed people.  I read so many blogs this week about how far we've come and how families that look like mine might not even be possible without activists like Martin Luther King.  I took a moment to reflect on how significant it is that our president is African American.  I thought about my daughter who has the opportunity to go to school with a rainbow of children.  I thought of my brown son and how he will be able to go to that same school.  As my children got drinks from the water fountain at the grocery, I thought about how awesome it was that there was one fountain for all instead of one for "whites" and one for "blacks".

As I was reveling in the progress, I read the following statement this morning from one of my male, African American friends on Facebook, "I can't even get a gallon of milk from the (grocery) without some old lady grabbing her purse. Even when I got ( my daughter) with me.  I don't want your purse!"  The comments that followed from other African Americans were so telling.  One made a reference about how fast white women lock the doors when a black man walks past their cars in the parking lot.  Another talked about how these types of things happen so much more often than people think.

I was snapped right back to the reality that my black son will grown into.  A world where, though there are equal rights, there are still hardened hearts.  A world where many people still equate skin color with crime and violence.   A world where white women will hold their purses closer for no good reason when he walks by.   A world where there are still churches who have unwritten codes that keep blacks out of the congregation.  A world where the "n" word is still thrown around with no regard to the derogation it causes.

When we made the decision to bring home a son from Africa, we felt the weight of racism in this country.  I think so many times as the majority, we like to think that this doesn't still exist.  We like to think that we treat everyone the same, but do we really?  I wish I had a nickel for the number of times I've been asked, "Now that you have a black son, what if your daughter wants to marry a black man?"  Usually the asker acts like this would be committing a crime against humanity.  I like to respond, "Is he nice to her?  Does he treat her like a princess?  If he does, who cares what color he is?"  For the most part, our family is accepted with open arms everywhere we go.  But sometimes, the racism is palpable.  From time to time, I've seen people look at our family and look at our adopted son as if he is a disease.  We've heard their comments, we've seen their looks. 

Sadly, for many people that we know, our son is the only person of color they have contact with.  It amazes me the attitudes that he's changed- how many times I've heard people mutter under their breath while they watch him play, "He's just like all the other kids!"  Well, of course he is.  He is just a kid.  But he is still a kid that will grow up in  a world where the very color of his skin will make people assume that he can dance, sing and play football and will go on to do drugs and commit crimes in his spare time.  People fear what they don't understand, whether it be race, religion, sexual orientation, AIDS, whatever.  Until we let go of the stereotypes, are we really moving forward? 

If Dr. King were alive today, I think he would say, "Well done.  But we are not finished.  We've changed the laws, now let us continue to change their hearts." 

January 19, 2011

Play it again, Sam

I'm needing a tiny little writing break.  I have about a gobzillion irons in the fire so I'm bringing one of my favorite posts from last summer out of the vault...

Therapy Makes Me Sick

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

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

Her: I think that all you need is to learn to take better care of yourself and make yourself more of a priority.

Me: I totally agree, but I obviously don't know how to do that or I wouldn't need to be here.

Her: Well, it is a journey of self discovery.

Me: Yes... but can you tell me some concrete things that I can do to help myself?

Her: The journey of self discovery can take many forms. Silence.

Me: Silence. (By this time I have soaked through my shirt!) My inner monologue is screaming at me to run. This conversation is going to go nowhere.

Her: What are you thinking?

Me: I am wishing that you would just give me an assignment or a workbook or something tangible to grab hold of. I know that I am this way because of x,y and z. What I don't know is how to fix this. If I knew what I needed to do, I wouldn't need therapy! That is the whole reason I am here.

Her: What do you think you need to do?

Me: Ummm, I just said, I do not know. That is why I came to therapy. To learn the answer to that very question. Are you hot? (At this point, I contemplate stripping because I am so hot I think I may have a heat stroke.)

Her: Yes, it is warm in here.

Me: Silence. While in my head I am saying, "Oh God. This could go on forever. Give me a freaking assignment already before I melt into a little puddle of sweat on the floor. If you are not going to be a concrete kind of therapist, I am definitely not going to come back. Quick, Megan. Think of a BS answer already so you can get the heck out of here!" Out loud I said a boldfaced lie. I said, " I think that you have given me more to think about than I can possibly process right now (lie #1) I think I need to just go home and reflect about it and take steps from there. (lie #2) I am sure that the answers will be clearer after I've had some time to really contemplate everything." (lie #3)

Her: I think you are right. (Hallelujah! She bought it!)

Then she asked if she could wrap things up by praying for me. As an aside- I chose this place because I liked their faith based approach to therapy. I totally believe in the power of prayer and am never one to pass up on someone offering to pray for me. So she launched in to her prayer. And no lie- it went on for about a zillion minutes. It seemed like a crazy long prayer to me being as how we had just met and all. I am ashamed to admit that I started to just drown out her talking because I was so hot. By this time, I could have rung out my shirt and was beginning to soak through my pants. One of my college roommates called this sweaty butt phenomenon "swamp ass." All I could think of during those last few minutes of prayer was how my swamp ass was going to leave a wet spot in this woman's chair and I wondered if she would think I wet myself. I finally decided I really didn't care if she thought I had peed in my pants or not, I just wanted to get out of there before I burst into flames. I am quite certain that hell is not as hot as it was in that office. By the time she started to sound like she was winding down, I was nearly ready to pass out. She said, "Amen" and I stood up at the speed of lightening. I thanked her profusely and blessedly she opened the door to freedom and fresh air.

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

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

"Yes," I said, "I opened them."

"Oh- did you get hungry?"

"I guess you could say that." I said.

The poor guy just couldn't stop trying to make conversation while I swiped my debit card. "Why did you get so hungry?" He chuckled.

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

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

January 17, 2011

I am a machine

Something happened to my self esteem this weekend.  Usually when something happens to my self esteem it has either gone missing or has had a huge bite taken out of it.  But this weekend, what happened to my self esteem was remarkable.  Y'all, I feel good.  Very. freaking. good.  I've stuck with all this eating healthy stuff and you know what- it feels good.  I've stuck with my couch to 5k program and you know what?  It feels good, too.  It feels amazing to take 30 much needed minutes a day for myself to go out there and pound the pavement while my favorite rappers cuss in my ears.  And finally, FINALLY, the scale moved!  And that is just an added bonus. I put on my favorite jeans and they felt a little loose and it wasn't just because it was the fourth time I was wearing them without being washed. :-)

I was on top of my game this weekend.  The attachment  challenged one was giving me fits on Friday, but on Saturday morning, I woke up and was on my therapeutic parenting A game.  Stuff got nipped in the bud with patience and understanding and I did not once lose my chit.

Another kiddo was sick and puny but just wanted to lay in bed and watch cartoons all day.  I hate it when the kids are sick, but when this one is sick, he is so easy going that it is almost like a vacation taking care of him.

Another kiddo spent the weekend with a friend.  Plus- hubby was home to attend to the needs of the children while I did something tangible to contribute to society.  I got so much done, it was almost like someone put speed in my anti-depressants! 

Here's what got accomplished:
*5 bags of broken toys, rocks and other crap the kids drag home, puzzles with missing pieces, and garbage thrown out of kids rooms
*5 bags of toys dropped off for donation  (they no longer have anything to play with and therefore can not make a mess!)
* bathrooms were scrubbed to a sparkling shine
*all the laundry was washed and is waiting for our laundry angel to come and fold and put away on Tuesday.
* outside Christmas lights were taken down and put away
* all the boy's outgrown clothes were dropped off to someone else's home who can use them
* my desk was cleaned off and organized and now feels so lovely and uncluttered
* 300 loads of dishes were washed
* responded to the six billion emails in my inbox
* watched a movie with my husband and stayed awake through almost the whole thing
* cleaned out my purse and sorted through receipts for taxes
* had a disco dance party with the whole family by the light of the Crayola Glow Dome.  A great time was had by all.  Plus, I got to slow dance with the man I love while the littles ran circles around our feet.  *bliss!*

It was a happy, wonderful, productive weekend!  Bring it Monday. I aint skeered. I'm ready for 'ya!

January 15, 2011

Fun For Fans

There's a little giveaway going on over at the Millions of Miles facebook page. 
Stop on over and check it out!

It's all about the hair- maintaining dreadlocks

Miles' locs have been in for nearly 3 weeks.  Today, we did a little maintainance because they were so fuzzy.  Here's what we (and by we, I mean me) are doing to maintain them...

Today, we did a light wash.  Not a lot of scrubbing- just making a slight lather and rinsing it out.

While the hair was still wet, I used a loc and twist gel to completely saturate the new growth and the fuzzies that had busted loose on each individual loc.  When one loc was saturated I hand twisted each one and used a double pronged clip to hold it in place.  I repeated the process for each of his 53 locs. (just as an aside- Miles loves having this done.  He sits in the sink and stares at himself while we talk.  He rubs cream on the mirror, eats some of it and just generally has a good time.  Lord help me if the kid ever starts to grow and no longer fits in the sink.)

Once each of the locs has been re-twisted and clipped, I use the hair dryer to set them in place.  We did this in two 15 minute sessions because I'm a wimp and my arm gets tired.  You know the hair is finished when the locs get firm and don't squish out product when you squeeze them.  Once they are firm, remove the clips and then use the dryer to finish setting the parts that were under the clips. 

Once everything is set, I use a little scalp oil in a pointed squeeze bottle to oil his parts and then rub a little oil down each loc.  Voila!  Easy peasy- and so much easier on Miles than trying to keep an Afro detangled!

January 12, 2011

The tiny humans are taking over

I'll just say it.  My children are driving me nuts- each and every single one of them for very different reasons.  Even though there are only three of them, it feels like there are at least 86 children running around here.  It is snow day number seventy eleven for our school district today and I'm about to call God and the superintendent and scream, "Enough Already.  You are KILLING me!!!"

Yesterday started out okay but quicky went south. Sadie had a friend over to keep her company, which usually keeps all the kids occupied all day long.  But not yesterday.  Sadie still complained every 23 seconds that she was bored.  There isn't anything to do.  We never have any good food.  She never gets to have any fun.  Everybody else's mom takes them to the movies and Chuck E. Cheese's on snow days, blah, blah, blah.  At first I ignored it.  Then I got real mature and yelled, "Poor pitiful you!  You got the worst mom ever!  Maybe you can put an ad in the paper and get a new mom who is better than me."  Oh Lord.  I swore I'd never be that passive aggressive make your daughter feel guilty mom and I totally went there.  Next thing you know she'll be 50 and I'll be in a nursing home trying to guilt her into coming to visit.  Perhaps I'll go on and on to her about how bored I am.  About how all the other daughters bring their moms chocolate and come and take them to the movies on Sunday afternoon.  Yep- I can give as good as I get. Oy Vey.

And then there's Miles.  Miles and the mother flippin' snow is enough to drive someone to a mental institution.  The other kids got on all their snow gear and went outside to play for a while.  Miles stared at them out the window and kicked and hit and yelled at me to take him outside.  I was like, "DUDE!  Chill out!  You hate the snow and it's really cold out there."  I tried to remind him what happened the last time he went out in the snow but he could not be reasoned with.  So I put on his snow gear and my snow gear and we walked out the front door.  For about 3 minutes, he was okay. He slid down the hill with the other kids once or twice, then realized he was miserable. Then the screaming started.  He screamed until I brought him in.  He got so discombobulated about being cold for the 300 seconds he was outside that he then screamed for a solid hour and a half.  It was the kind of screaming that you are certain will lead to puking or hyperventilation.  I tried all of our therapy techniques to no avail. I finally tried to regulate him by taking him up to his room and putting him in his pack and play until he could calm down.  It only served to give him enough privacy to strip down naked and do strange things with body fluids.  After that, every single thing that happened yesterday sent the boy into a tailspin and unfortunately I did not have my big girl panties on so I was also in a tailspin.

Which brings me to Noah.  About 70% of the time Noah has a voice so high and loud that only dogs can hear it.   The word of the day yesterday was , "Mooooooooom!" all stretched out into 2 syllables.  "Mom, get me a glass of water!"  "Mom, Miles scratched me!" "Mom, Spongebob is on!"  "Mom, did you know that stegosaurus has plates on his back?!"  "Mom!" "Mom!" "Mom!!!!"  I had to ask several times that he quit talking, but it didn't work.  We tried playing the quiet game.  That didn't work either.  I tried to offer him money (I know, I'm ashamed) to be quiet and even that didn't work.  I thought about leaving the crazy glue out in plain sight in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, he would glue his lips together, but I decided against it.  With my luck, the children would have probably glued me to the floor and stomped on me for the rest of the afternoon.

Then finally it was time for Kamron to get home from work.  Hallelujah!  But really all that meant was that we had to run all over creation taking the rental car back and picking up my van out of the shop and moving car seats and kids back and forth between cars.  Let me see... Since I'm on a roll, I wonder what else I can complain about?  Oh yeah.  Those mentholated breath rite strips that I thought were going to revolutionize my life have now given me a rainbow shaped line of zits across my nose.  And I'm sick of eating healthy food and want someone to give me a giant slice of chocolate cake with a side of lard and preservatives, dammit!

Before bed last night, I got the text alert that school was cancelled again for today.  I may have said a bad word.  A really bad bad word. And my husband may have laughed at me. I'm going to go drown my sorrows with a stout Diet Pepsi.

*Amazingly, all this complaining made me feel a tiny bit better.  Feel free to put your complaints in the comments.  We can commiserate together.*

January 11, 2011

Everything you ever wanted to know about a stygimoloch

Here's a little video of Noah.  I just love that boy.  I love his laugh.  I love his spunk.  I crack up that he can't recognize a single letter of the alphabet but he can tell you about every obscure dinosaur there is.  Here he is with a little humor and a dinosaur lesson.


January 10, 2011

What's Up?

Some snippets of what has been going on in our house lately:
  • I got to hook up with 7 of the original Cincinnati 14 retreat gals for a grown up slumber party this weekend!  It was Fabulous with a capital F.  There was tons of laughter, a Just Dance tournament and enough homemade caramel corn to give me some insane indigestion that lead to an hour long case of hiccups.  I loved every minute of it!  There is nothing in the world like having wonderful girlfriends.
  • Aside from the caramel corn, I've been killing it on my "be kinder to my body" diet.  I've eaten good healthy food.  I've been running three or four days a week and have lost exactly 0.000 pounds.  Ugh.
  • I discovered mentholated Breath Rite strips this week.  My life will never be the same.  I love oxygen.
  • I am in the final stages of planning our annual Congo vacation raffle.  (HINT:  skiing in Colorado!  Woop Woop!)  If anyone has any airline miles they would be willing to donate to the vacation package, I would love you forever.  It is tax deductible.  Please Please Please- I'm begging you.  My goal is to raise $10,000 for vulnerable children in Congo and I think it would be much easier to get there with some airline miles. 
  • Miles dreadlocks look dreadful.  He refuses to sleep in a cap and they are the fuzziest, most horrendous looking little locs I've ever seen.  I'm trying to give them some time to mature, but they are looking so bad, I don't really want to take him out in public.  Noah says it looks like Miles has woolly worms on his head.  That is about the truth of it. 
  • I had a jalapeno pepper that was so hot it took the skin off the top of my mouth.  And since I am in contention for mother of the year- I then dared my children to eat one also.  Fortunately, they were all smart enough to turn me down.
  • Noah is obsessed with doing chores for money lately.  He has been doing massive amounts of chores for mere pennies, since he has no idea of the value of money.  We've tried to teach him, but he just doesn't get it.  He swept the floor, picked up the toys, and windexed the glass doors for 17 cents and a chuck e cheese token.  Score!
  • I'm crossing quite a few things off of my goals list.  My cabinets have all been cleaned out and organized.  I am embarrassed to say that I threw away copious amounts of food that expired in 2007.  The fridge and freezer have been cleaned out. The bathroom stuff has all been organized and I realized that I will never need to buy soap or mouthwash again.  I thought about throwing away all the pots, pans and skillets that had all the non-stick stuff burned off of them until I realized that would only leave me with one tiny pot.  Maybe I should add new cookware to the goal list.
  • My van is in the shop.  I'm hoping it won't take a million years to fix.  Thankfully, my husband had the forsight to buy the extended warranty that I was certain was a waste of money.  He's good like that.  Until then, I am stranded at home with two wild boys who are eating me out of house and home and who are finding it hysterical to take turns punching each other and licking each other's faces like dogs.  I have yet to see why that is funny.  Boys are gross.
  • I'm counting down the days until hubby's W-2 gets here.  I love tax season.  How nice it is of our government to give me back my own money they borrowed from me interest free.  I get pumped about the windfall.  We have got to get a new mattress before my spine grows into the spring that digs into me at night. 
  • I love google analytics.  I frequently crack up when I see the search words that lead people to my blog.  This weekend's funny one: "I poured gasoline on my children."  WTF?  I can guarantee that has never happened in this house. 
  • Happy Monday.  Hope your week is spectacular :-)
*not-so-subliminal message:  donate airline miles, donate airline miles...* 

January 07, 2011

The model pose

When Sex and the City came out, we were flat broke.  We could barely afford the rabbit ears that went on top of the TV, much less afford cable so I could see what all my gal pals were obsessed with.  By the time that we actually got cable, the show was over.  Then TBS started showing reruns a couple of years ago, but it seemed like they never showed the early ones, so I never really saw how the fab four started out.  Then, last week E! started showing reruns and they actually started at the beginning of the series!  Yippee!  The other night I watched an early days SATC marathon and saw an episode that really stood out to me.  It was all about men who are "modelizers" and only date models.

I don't know about you, but here in podunkville, we don't have a lot of models running around on the street.  But it did get me thinking about some things; one of them being celebrities on the red carpet.  I'll admit that a seriously guilty pleasure for me is taking a peek at people.com every single morning to see which celebs are in rehab, which ones got divorced and which ones got knocked up.  I'm a sucker for a good knocked up celebrity story.  But what really gets me are the red carpet poses.  I can't help but look at them and laugh and wonder who in the world made these rules and told all these girls that this is what you need to do to look beautiful for an audience.

Yeah- I never strike a pose with my arm cocked up like that so the world can see my armpit stubble.  And what about the legs?  Who decided that you need to cross your legs to look good?  It just looks like an accident waiting to happen to me. Those skinny ankles look like they are just about to snap in half.

And the one hand on the hip?  I get that it makes a nice silhouette.  But enough already! I am so over it.  This whole crazy one hand on the hip thing is trickling down to the masses.  When the spring prom season rolled around last year, all of my teeny bopper FB friends posted pictures of themselves with their pals in gorgeous gowns and the hand on the hip thing.  What happened to the big groups of gals with their arms all around each other's shoulders?  What happened to documenting the friendships?  Now it's just groups of teenagers standing next to each other with their ankles crossed unnaturally or their knee cocked up with the hip/hand thing.  Seriously.  Kind of broke my heart that what we've taught our girls is that it's more important to look good for a picture than to be natural with your friends.  I think I'm just going to ban the viewing of prom pictures this year so that I don't have to get on my soapbox about teenage girls and beauty.

And one more thing...  (I think that drunk college girls are starting this one.) I'm also tired of the kissy, fish face pictures.  Yeah- I get that it makes you look like you have cheekbones, but you also look like an idiot.

Wanna know how real friends take pictures?  They drop the kissy face, they throw their arms around each other and smile.  And they do it because they love each other- not because they feel the need to look like models.

Ahhh... I love my friends.  Lord help us the day a model wants to join the group. 

January 05, 2011

You are what you eat

This little one has a cold.  His nose is running faster than an Olympic gold medalist.  Today, while we were having lunch at Subway, his nose started to drip.  Before I could dig in my purse for a tissue, he took the bread off his sandwich and wiped his nose with it.  Afterwards, he reassembled his sandwich and ate it like nothing ever happened.  For some reason, I let him do it.  I guess I figured that the snot came from his body and it probably wouldn't hurt him to put it back in his body.  I just threw up a little in my mouth thinking about it.  It is true that you are what you eat, because this one has been an absolute booger ever since.  At least he's resourceful. *sigh*

January 04, 2011

Heavy Hearted

I was so honored to get to speak today to a group of influential business leaders about the humanitarian crisis in the Congo.  I am so passionate about sharing my love of Africa.  I love showing people what they can do to aid vulnerable orphans there.  I love telling people how beautiful and resilient the Congolese people are.  In preparing my presentation, I looked back at my pictures from the orphanage that I visited.  I couldn't stop looking at my sweet Eron.  She was this beautiful, little girl who wouldn't let go of me at the orphanage.  I loved her instantly and from the moment I saw her, I pictured her being in our family. 

About 3 months after I got home with Miles, a friend traveled to the orphanage and took Eron a new dress.  My friend sent me pictures of Eron in her new dress.  My heart cried out as I saw "my" little girl looking so adorable in her new outfit. But a couple of months ago, when another friend went to the orphanage, Eron was not there.  I know that she wasn't adopted as we know all of the adoptions going on within that orphanage.  Deep down, my soul hopes that a long lost aunt or a grandma came to take her home, but I know that it is much more likely that Jesus came to take her home. 

Even though this news came to me months ago, looking back through Eron's pictures, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  It serves to me as a reminder that each and every one of these children are precious.  They are not only somebody's child, but each one is His child.  Each on is beautiful and unique and each deserving of a family to love them.

My Eron- you are a beautiful daughter of God.  

Eron in her new dress

"This child must know that she is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn't been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like her."- Pablo Casals

January 03, 2011

Husbands and Adoption AKA- Flip Your Magnet

*warning*  Not one iota of this is scientifically based.  These are my own meandering thoughts and observances of how I see the situation broken down and how it all played out in the MoM household.

Okay.  I'm just going to go ahead and put this out there because I get a bazillion emails from women (ALL women) who say, "I want to adopt (like yesterday) but my husband is just not on board.  What should I do."  First of all, I say get divorced and adopt as a single take a minute and try to understand where he's coming from.  I was ready to adopt a whole year before my husband was.  In my mind, it felt like I was dragging him every step of the way.  I knew that my heart was there, but his just wasn't yet and waiting until it was and wondering if it ever would get there was e.x.h.a.u.s.t.i.n.g.

It caused all kinds of craziness in my mind.  I wondered why my husband was so heartless.  I mean, who doesn't want to help an orphan!?  As if we didn't already know that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, they also think really differently about family planning, especially adoption.  For us, adoption wasn't something we ever discussed.  We were cruising along, having some biological kiddos, and then one day I came home and looked my hubby in the eyeballs and said, "It is my purpose in life to adopt a baby.  Let's do it."  At the time I suppose I expected him to say, "Ok.  Let me make the call.  Let me fill out the papers.  Don't worry- if this is your dream, I'll take care of it."  Ummmm... hello?  I must have been off my rocker to think that was how the conversation would go.  After all, I was struggling to take care of the two children that we had.  How in the world had I proved to my husband that I could tackle another kid, much less, handle the adoption process.  I hadn't.  Y'all, fear lingers in the minds of these men.  Logistics are important and looking back on it, I realize that my husband's fears were 100 percent founded.  I wasn't really in a good place to adopt at the time that I thought I was.  My husband, who knew me best, could see this.  But this doesn't mean that it didn't tick me off royally that he was slowing things down.  In retrospect, it was the very best thing he could have done, but at the time, I couldn't see it at all.

In talking with TONS of prospective adoptive families, more often than not, it is the woman who initiates the adoption.  Adoption is messy.  It defies logic.  It is a lot to wrap one's head around.  The men that I know, need something more concrete.  They want to know how the money will be raised, how long it will take (not a span, but an exact date), what life will look like after the adoption, how they can love another person's child, etc, etc, etc.  The women I meet are more willing to take a leap of faith and figure it out as they go.  Most men can't handle that!  They need to have things talked out.  They need to plan.  They need to see the vision of the whole thing coming together.  And many times, it is our job (the woman desperate to adopt) to show him that lovingly- not get mad that he needs that. (Cause y'all- I've done it un-lovingly and it just makes a mess the size of a nuclear explosion.)

Then one day as I was strolling along in this "my husband is heartless and we will never get to adopt" puddle that I'd created, I all of a sudden had a paradigm shift in the way I was thinking about the whole situation.  I finally began to see it from his perspective.  In our case, I felt like I needed to step up my game to get our adoption moving.  I needed to suck up how hard it was having two kids and get a plan.  I needed to prove to my husband and to myself that I could take care of the things that were already on my plate (the kids, the house, the bills, the laundry).  I needed to nurture and serve the family that I already had until it was firing on all cylinders.  And not in that fakey Brady Bunch way.  Ladies- I am not saying to be super woman here.  I'm just saying that if you can't handle the things on your plate as they are, then it might not be the right time to adopt. Take a minute to figure out how you can get a grip on all the things that you are already doing.  I had to get serious about self improvement.  I had to figure out how to organize my day to be more functional.   I had to figure out how to take care of the children that I already had and learn to be happy about the challenges.  Again- not in a fakey way.  It's just that I realized that when my husband would get home, I would offload 8 hours worth of kid screaming crap right on his lap.  It's a wonder he ever wanted to come home.  His brain was saying, "Hell to the no we can't adopt a baby or have a baby or get a goldfish.  This woman can't handle it!"  And he was right.  I had to learn how to take the hardness of motherhood and learn to revel in the joys of it instead of focusing on the things that made me want to put my hands in the garbage disposal. 

Let me tell you, this did not happen overnight.  It was a process.  It took me a long time to stop getting ticked about finding a sitter so I could take one to the doctor and see it instead as an opportunity for some one on one time with each kid.  It took me a long time to stop getting mad that someone was always hanging on me and focus on enjoying those snuggles more. (Oh, who am I kidding?  I still get ticked off when they hang on for dear life like tree monkeys all day.  But I try not to!) It took me a long time to stop throwing 8 hours of garbage on my husband when he walked in the door.  I tired so hard to be more smiley.  I didn't go all June Cleaver, but more I just tried to think about how I would feel after coming home from work to only hear about the crap from the day instead of the good parts.

In trying to create a better situation, I was actually able to start shifting the way my brain saw my day.  When each kid would do something really cute, I would write it down on a little piece of paper so I could remember to tell hubby when he came home.  And in doing that, it made me focus more on the happiness that lived in my house instead of the overwhelming-ness.  Overall, the whole thing that was designed to make my husband think I had my act together- actually did make me a happier person with more control over my life and my thoughts.  Who knew that deception could be so mutually beneficial!?!?  (Seriously though- you can think of it as deception but I like to think of it as fake it till you make it self improvement.)

Even though my husband would never admit it, I know that deep down he was probably worried that with another little one pulling at us, he wouldn't get as much attention.  Yep.  Those husbands need attention, too.  I was all too guilty of putting the children to bed, and soaking in the tub all alone until I would turn into a prune and then crawling into bed with a book and getting angry at being interrupted. (edited to say: after reading this, I sound like a HORRIBLE wife- yikes!)  And forget, ummmm... you know.  'Cause oh holy night- after all day with people hanging all over me, I didn't need another person touching me!   

Again, there has got to be a paradigm shift here people.  You've got to nurture that relationship for your own good.  The key to healthy, happy kids is a healthy marriage. Duh.  But it's true.   I find that when my husband and I are on the same page and we are connecting and taking time for our marriage that our kids follow suit and thrive so much better.  Last night while I was in bed I was thinking a lot about how my husband and I are like magnets.  Sometimes we have this indescribable pull toward each other and there is nothing that can pull it apart.  And then there are the times where one of the magnets gets flipped and the magnets repel each other and they do this dance around each other but you can't get them to stick no matter how hard you try to push them together.  But you know what?  If you shift the way you think about the relationship and focus less on being right and more about nurturing, the magnet flips itself back over and they stick together again.  Girls- flip your magnets.  See this struggle to get on the same page about an adoption as less of an "I'm right and he's heartless" scenario and see it as a "He's got fears and I need to help him through it" scenario.  I wish I would have flipped my magnet a whole lot sooner than I did.  Heck.  I probably need to flip my magnet a whole lot more than I do!

During the whole adoption process, I've never felt more bonded to my husband.  But once Miles came home, I slacked.  So I guess you could say that those deep seeded fears my husband probably had about his attention levels were probably right.  But now that life is settling down and Miles is doing so much better, I am on a mission to nurture that relationship again.  But this all goes back to the fact that we need to show our husbands, not just tell them that the relationship that we have will still be a priority, no matter how many children get added to a home.

And then there are the finances.  Oy vey.  Thinking about adoption finances can just about make a person's skull come unglued and shoot their brain into orbit.  Get a plan.  Do your research about grants, loans, fundraising ideas.  Write it all down.  If money for an adoption is not just laying in your lap (and really?  Who has that kind of money laying around?) then be prepared to tell your husband what you are willing to give up to make it happen.  Have a real discussion about the options instead of just going on the hope that money will fall from the sky.  My husband for one, needed to see where the money was going to come from or what the options were for trying to make that happen.  Women- I am one of you.  I know how tempting it is to say, "It will come.  If we just take this leap, I know the money will come."  But every man that I know would like to see a plan.  Get one.

So to sum it all up:  be understanding, be patient, do not be condescending about how high and mighty you are for wanting to help the orphans and how horrible your husband is because he's not there yet.  See it from his perspective.  Address his fears through actions and watch how your own life and relationships improve.  Because some times, you just have to flip your magnet.

January 01, 2011

Top Pics

Happy New Year!  I know that today is supposed to be all about looking ahead,
but I wanted to take one more look back over the last year.
Here are my favorite pictures of 2010:

Meeting Miles for the first time- Feb. 14th

Swinging in the hammock at the alpaca farm

Favorite shot of sweet Sadie

I hate chickens!!!!!
"I have to pee!"  - Classic Noah

Papaw Johnny going a little overboard throwing Miles on vacation!

The retreat gals.  Oh how I love each and every one of them.

Easter- my how they've grown.

Favorite family pic of the year.

Little devil.

I love the tranquility of this photo.

The second week home with Miles.  He doesn't even look like the same child.

Favorite snap of Noah (by Lizzie Loo Photography)

Like father, like son

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