June 30, 2011

I'm Lovin' It

A few of my favorite things as of late:

* Outlet malls.  I went outlet mall shopping this week on my day off.  It was the first time I've "outleted" in years and years.  I scored some HUGE deals.  Crocs for $7.  Plaid shorts for the boys for $3.99. Leather dress shoes for Miles for $6. Earrings were buy 2 get 1 free at Claire's and I am the proud owner of three new pairs of earrings.  Actually I am the owner of a total of three pairs of earring because I am the queen of losing one earring.  I tell myself that this is why I can't have nice things and therefore still shop at Claire's as a 30 year old.  I did have to dig through lots of peace sign earrings and Justin Beiber notebooks to find the perfect three pairs.  I should have bought a Justin Beiber notebook while I was at it.  That boy is too cute.

* Ellen.  My friend Ellen is one of my favorite "by-products" of blogging.  Long long ago she was a blog reader who emailed me about adoption and I wrote her back and gave her my phone number.  Y'all, I give my phone number out to most everybody that emails me about adoption and in all this time, I think that only 4 people have actually ever called.  Ellen was one of them.  If you ask her about it, she'll say she stalked me.  I think that she was just be thorough. (which is my nice way of saying that she stalked me.)  She called me one day and spilled her life story to me and her three girls were screaming in the background and I loved her instantly. Then she came on the mother's retreat last year and now she is single handedly responsible for my need for unlimited text messaging.  She is a true friend through and through and she is the funniest person I know in real life. She's adopted the cause of the fatherless in Congo and this week I trekked it to her town to get the 100 cans of formula that she's been collecting to get to orphanages in DRC.  She and I prayed over that formula and asked God's blessing on the babies that would drink it.  That formula will be making it's way to Mississippi later this week and then on to Kinshasa.  How cute is Ellen posing with all that formula?  Love that girl!

* Sudoku.  I'm so late to the party since Sudoku was all the rage years ago- but I'm totally into it all over again.  Unfortunately, my brain can only work hard enough to complete the easy level puzzles.  What this really means is that I have a million Sudoku books that I can only do the first 30 pages of and the rest of the book stays blank.  One day I will grow a bigger brain.

* The 5 foot chicken.  Oh. My. Word.  Last week, I read this blog post that is truly the funniest blog post I've ever read in my whole life.  It is about a five foot tall metal chicken.  The language is really salty so if that is not your thing, then I don't recommend it.  But given my affinity for the occasional "f bomb" it was right up my alley.  Go check it out if you'd like to laugh your head off. http://thebloggess.com/2011/06/and-thats-why-you-should-learn-to-pick-your-battles/

* Men Of A Certain Age:  current favorite TV show that doesn't belong in the reality genre.  I'm trying to branch out from reality TV but I. Just. Can't. Break. Away.  Except for Men of a Certain Age (on TNT).  Hubs and I watch it together every Wednesday night.  It's a great date night and helps me understand my man better.  For instance- as men age they can no longer ride in the car with their wallets in their pockets because their butts become more sensitive as they get older.  Who knew?  I'm learning tons.

* Advertising revenue.  There's not a lot of it, but all the money that is made on this blog from advertising goes to orphan care initiatives.  That makes me happy.  

* My daughter's heart.  Girlfriend is cooking up a fundraiser with her friends that I think you all are going to love.  I can't wait to reveal what it is.

* This foo foo tank top:

Something on the ceiling must  be really interesting.

This was one of my outlet mall finds and it is now going to be my summer uniform.  Consider yourself forewarned.  If you plan to encounter me from now until the end of summer- I will be wearing this.  I'm not typically a fan of tank tops because I'm not fond of my arm fat flapping in the breeze.  But I will make an exception for this one. If you are lucky, I will wear pants with it. 

* Vampires:  These little ones just ran into the kitchen and said, "Look!  We're vampires!"  Evidently, vampires now cover themselves in blue marker.  If you come upon a person with similar markings on the street- RUN!

* Seattle's Best Hazelnut coffee:  I picked up a pack at the grocery a couple of weeks ago and now I am hooked.  I think I'm going to start mainlining it.  It has totally replaced my diet Pepsi addiction.  I figure it's better for me since coffee is a natural substance.  By that same token, though, cocaine is also a natural substance so maybe my logic is flawed.  Anyway, with the exception of 2 splurges, I've been diet Pepsi free for 2 1/2 weeks and my stomach is so pumped about not having that battery acid in it! 

* My sister-in-law:  she out of the blue offered to let all three of my hooligans spend the night with her on Friday night AND keep them most of the day on Saturday.  Ooo-la-la :-)  Moms- y'all know how rare it is that someone calls and says, "Can I please have your kids?"  Usually we are the ones calling and begging so this is a ridiculously awesome treat.  

* Adopt-USkids.  This is one of my favorite websites.  It is full of children in foster care who have already been cleared for adoption.  Children only get on their photo listings when all other avenues have been exhausted for them.  Many teenagers who are about to age out of foster care put themselves on this list so that they can have a base to come home to.  This week, this darling little 6 year old girl caught my eye. You know how some children just pull at you? That's what Marshae did to me. I've looked at her photo listing every morning and prayed that she would get a family.  Are you Marshae's mommy?
UPDATED!  Marshae's info is no longer available.  Does that mean that one of you all inquired about her!?!?!  AWESOME!

* These crazy kids:  They make my heart go pitter pat.  And not just because they raise my blood pressure.

Happy Thursday!

June 29, 2011


                        I'd like to introduce you to America's newest citizen!

Miles had his day in court today and he is now finally recognized as an official Terry by the state of Kentucky.  His birthday has also legally been changed to make him 3 years old in a few days instead of 2. And he's now a citizen of the United States!  I know that much of this process has been just a formality, but as I woke up this morning and dressed the children up for court, I felt such an overwhelming feeling of completeness.  

Our entire family was sworn into the court and the judge asked each of us if we wanted Miles as a part of our family.  Yes came out of every mouth. We are melded together as a unit of five.  We are connected.  It was made all the more sweet by knowing how much hard work has gone into making this little precious one a part of our family.  Each one of us has undergone so many changes in the last year and a half.  No one came out unscathed.  It was effort (sometimes more effort than we bargained for) for every one of us.  Perhaps, none more so than Miles.  I think of all the changes that we've asked him to make to become a part of this family and it makes our sacrifices seem so small in comparison.  It is nothing short of the grace of God that put our family together and we are so much stronger and more wholly knit together because of it.  God's pretty awesome like that. 

I put Miles' suit on him and combed out his hair while he stared at himself in the mirror.  His whole face beamed as he put on his tie and blazer.  He was so excited to look "just like daddy."  I saw him transform from an insecure, scared child when he came home, to a child who was full of pride at who he saw in the mirror.  I'm proud too- so proud that I get to be the mother of this awesome, little boy.   

The state of Kentucky finally recognizes what I've known in my heart to be true for a long time.  We are a family. Forever and ever.


June 28, 2011

Talking to your kids about race

For months and months we've been on "racial cruise control" in our house.  We've traveled in the same circles, visited the same people and overall, those we encountered didn't think or look twice when our multi-colored family entered the room.  I had actually forgotten that having a multi-colored family instantly makes us a billboard for race relations.

Then came last week.  Last week I believe I had a sign on my head that said, "Enter into major discussions about race with me, please."

It started on Wednesday when I took Sadie to karate practice.  There was a kid who was doing a makeup class in her class that day.  We'd never seen his family and they had never seen ours.  The youngest daughter in their family was about 3 or 4.  She could not stop staring at us.  She would look at me.  Then she'd look at my African son.  Then she'd look back at me.  I could see that she was trying to make sense of it in her head and couldn't do it.  So she did what all kids do- they ask questions!  Now, talking with little ones about how families can look different is one of my favorite things.  Talking with their parents?  Not so much.  This encounter was no exception.

When this little girl finally got up the nerve to speak to us and she said, "He looks different than you.  Is he brown because he's littler than you?"  I smiled at her and told her that that was a good guess, but that even when he got to be a grown up, our son would still be brown. I told her that he was adopted and explained a little bit about what adoption was and that even though we were all different colors that we are still a family.  By this time- the little girl's mom was listening to the conversation.  She decided that she needed to chime in and oh boy- I wish that she hadn't!  She said to her daughter, "Remember when we had your friend M over?  And the nice woman who brought her over was not her mommy but her foster mommy?  It's like that.  She's not his real mommy."  I took a deep breath and considered pummeling this well intentioned woman who did not realize the extent of her own ignorance.  I think as an adoption community, we can all agree that being called "Not the real mommy" is one of the worst insults to throw around.  I was proud of the self control that it took to not go all ninja on this woman. Instead- I chose the slightly less low road and just decided to make her feel stupid.

I looked at the little girl and I said, "Can you see me?" She said, "Yes!"  I said, "Shew! Good!  For a minute I didn't think I was real!"  The mom looked sheepish. I continued to tell the little girl that yes, I was his real mommy and that he would always be my son and that I would always love him and take care of him and that even though we didn't look like her family that we were a-okay!  I gushed over how beautiful I think Miles brown skin is and she agreed that it was really pretty.  The little girl gave Miles a big grin and the two of them pushed one of Miles' cars back and forth for a few minutes.  The mom pretended like she was chatting on her phone for the entire rest of the karate lesson.

What disappointed me the most about this whole situation is that this mom missed out on a golden opportunity to talk with her daughter about race and tolerance.  I think so many times as "white Americans" we feel like we aren't allowed to talk about "black people".  Or we pretend that we are all the same.  And while yes- it is SO important to teach our children that our hearts and capabilities and human nature ARE the same- that there are some differences in culture and lifestyle and looks that we need to respect, appreciate, accept and celebrate.  Kids need to know how to handle themselves and make sense of the situation when they encounter other people that don't look like them.  I can not tell you how many times children (and adults) come up to Miles and rub his hair and say something like, "Wow!  His hair feels weird! Why does his hair feel weird?"  I think that we are failing our children by not pointing out that differences are what make us unique!  We are not talking to them about how skin, hair, noses and eyes can look different across different cultures.  We are not teaching them that the white standard of beauty is not always the right standard of beauty.  We have worried so much about being politically correct that we have neglected to teach our children that unique looks and cultures are something to celebrate!  We fear talking about race because we are afraid of looking racist.

We miss opportunities to teach our children about racial tolerance and acceptance by trying to hush them up really quickly to keep them from "embarrassing" us when they have genuine questions.  Along these same lines, several years ago, I was walking with my daughter into a department store.  A little person was walking out of the department store and was crossing the street to get to the parking lot.  My darling daughter starts pointing and screaming, "Look Mom!  That kid doesn't have none grown up and she's crossing the street!"  I slammed my hand right over her mouth and kept on walking.  What I should have done was stop and take the opportunity to tell her that this was in fact a grown woman.  That she was probably very smart and as old as mommy, but that sometimes people aren't all the same heights and that it is OK!  We forget in the moment to use these instances as teaching tools.  We are all different and that is great!  But pretending like differences don't exist diminishes the amazingness of diversity.   

Later in the week, the children and I were all in an elevator together.  The kids were sitting on the floor of the elevator because they think the ride is more fun that way.  There were two boys in the elevator with us.  One was around 11 or 12 years old and he was accompanied by his younger brother who was around 7 or 8.  The younger of the two was bouncing off the walls.  He was rocking his body and pacing around the elevator like he was a nervous wreck.  He was shouting something about wizards (the boys had been playing a magic quest game in our hotel) and then all of a sudden the unthinkable happened.  This kid got down in Miles' face and yelled, "What are you looking at weirdo?  I hate brown people!"  I froze.  My daughter froze.  I wasn't sure what to do.  We've gotten lots of questions before but never once have we encountered pure racial hatred.  The elevator doors opened and the two boys got off and I still stood there stunned.  Sadie said, "Mom!  We should have popped him!" but I truly didn't know what to say.  I just stood there looking at my beautiful black child and feared for the day when he'll begin to understand what those words mean.  

I don't think that 8 year old learned to hate African Americans all on his own.  That is most likely something that is part of his family culture.  Either that or his parents have never had those tough conversations about race and that child is simply fearing what he doesn't understand.  Either way- adults have failed that child.

Parents, teachers, babysitters... are we taking the time to talk about racial issues with our children?  Are we teaching our children tolerance?  Are we teaching our children that it's okay to talk about race and to ask the hard questions about race? Are we teaching them that our differences are beautiful and not something to use against each other to make each other feel bad?  Are we creating environments in our homes that allow children to have an open dialouge about racial issues?  I hope so.  I know that I can't shelter my son from all the jokes, slurs and hatred that will come his way just because of the color of his skin.  But I can hope and pray that this generation of moms and dads will be the generation who takes the time to teach our children about race and diversity.  Talking with your children about tolerance and the differences in race and culture does not make you a racist- it make you a good parent. Do it.

June 26, 2011

A Kindle Giveaway!

Thanks to you guys and your clicking fingers that voted for us every single day, we were named number six on the Circle of Moms Top Adoption Blogs list.  And as my way of saying "thanks" I'm giving away a Kindle! I have always said that we have the very best readers in the world and I mean it every single time.  Thank you for caring about our family and for rallying around our causes! You each deserve a Kindle, but alas, one is all that have to give away.  Hopefully you will win it!  

Up for grabs is the Kindle 2 Ereader 3G (in white):

*holds up to 1500 books
*downloads books in just 60 seconds.
* 3G capability means you can download books from anywhere
*read up to three weeks on a single battery charge
* weighs only 10 ounces
* 6 inch screen reads without glare

   Because I love you so much, I'm giving you tons and tons of easy ways to enter to win!  You can do one thing or all the things for multiple entries.  Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment  (1 entry)

Additional entries: 

2. Become a fan of our facebook page- "old" fans count too! (1entry) 

3.(1 entry)Follow me on twitter AND tweet the following:
I want to win a kindle 3G from @meganterry01 and Millions Of Miles http://bit.ly/mhkXHw    

4.  Connect with us via Google Friend Connect

5. Post about this giveaway (with a link) on Facebook.  (1 entry)

6.  Blog about this giveaway. (3 entries)

If you are bad at math (like me!) that is a total of eight entries!  Don't forget to leave a separate comment for each entry.  I will use random.org to choose the winning comment on Tuesday, July 5th at 9pm EST. 

Thanks again for voting us into the Top 25 adoption blogs!  You all are awesome!  Good luck!  

* I purchased this Kindle myself as a thank you for our readers.
This giveaway is not associated with any corporate sponsors or companies.

June 25, 2011

Saturday Snapshot

Say cheese!  Swiss cheese that is! 
Beware of the holey cheese ninja :-)

June 22, 2011

I'm in love

A few things about me...

1.  I'm cheap frugal.
2.  I've got a little extra "fluff" on my body in a few areas.
3.  I'm trying hard to build body confidence.
4.  I'm frugal.
5.  I despise bathing suits, bathing suit shopping and wearing a bathing suit in public.  If it has the word "bathing suit" in it or involves wearing one, I've already made up my mind that I hate it.
6.  I'm cheap.

Because of numbers 1, 4 and 6, the bathing suit that I had purchased on last year's clearance rack was unraveling at all of the seams and I needed a new one.  I mean seriously, who wants to spend very much money on an elastic body stocking?  But we've got a conference coming up for hubby's work that is being held at Great Wolf Lodge.  We love GWL, but wearing a bathing suit in front of all those business associates? Not so much.

For some reason I didn't plan this move out very well because I ran out of time to leisurely shop for one and ended up having to take all three kids bathing suit shopping with me today.  (Insert groaning, cussing and tears here)  I don't know anybody whose idea of fun includes stripping down and trying on swim suits in front of their kids, but whatever.  I had no choice.

I came to the first rack of suits that didn't look like butt floss and picked up every one piece bathing suit that had enough support to hold the girls up.  The boys were sitting in the cart covered by a mountain of Lycra.  As Sadie was oooing and ahhhing over all the skimpy, teeny bikinis and trying to convince me to buy something covered in glitter, I was grumbling under my breath at how wasted all my modesty talks were undone with one single shopping trip.

We trucked it to the dressing room where I pulled on a bathing suit that had a huge tag boasting "instantly slims you."  It was made by Spanx and as you know, I love me some Spanx.  I tied it all up, adjusted the parts of the body that required adjusting and looked in the mirror.  If my kids had not been in that dressing room with me I probably would have screamed out ,"Holy f#@k!  I have a waist!!!!"   It was like the angels sang and God smiled down on me in that one instant.  I'm not sure where all of my torso fat goes when I put this suit on, but it seems to disappear.  Probably gets compressed down into my liver or something.  Granted, it doesn't do a damn thing for my thighs and bat wings, but I actually felt okay about it.  Never ever ever in my whole life have I bought the first bathing suit that I tried on, but I fell in love with this one instantly.
I'll just go ahead and lie and say that this is my body while I'm at it.
 Miles was trying to climb out underneath the dressing room door.  I pulled him back in by the elastic waist on his shorts.  Noah (awwww... sweet Noah) said it was the perfect bathing suit because it looked good with my toenail polish.  Sadie was still advocating for something skimpy and glittery.  I picked up all the other untried on garments and headed out of there.

In my opinion, Spanx has saved me massive anxiety, hours of time trying on suits and kept my child from being listed as a missing person.  If I'd have had to stay in the dressing room any longer, he'd have crawled right under the door and I love him and all but I would not have chased him through the store in my skivvies.

So what had the makings of a total disaster turned into a total success!  Score! I give the day two big thumbs up.

Don't you wish you had a seven year old who wanted to use your camera to take pictures all the time so that you had pictures of yourself doing all sorts of dumb things like giving thumbs up?  Of course you do.
These opinions are my own.  I paid for this suit with my own money and Spanx paid me nothing to endorse this swimsuit.  But if they wanted to send me a gobzillion more, I would not object.  I'm just sayin'.

June 21, 2011

Bulleted Blogging

Some recent things going on...

* Sadie woke up covered in a rash from her shoulders to her ankles yesterday.  We all loaded up and went to the doctor.  (Those exam rooms are not made for three kids!)  Turns out she has strep throat and evidently she is allergic to the strep infection and broke out in hives as a result.  Luckily, she doesn't feel bad and hopefully we can keep the boys from getting it.

* We also had to go to the doc to have one of the boys looked at who got a bug bite in a really unfortunate place.  The subsequent unfortunate place swelled up to grown up size proportions.  Not good!  But all has returned to normal in that department.  Said child may or may not have screamed "Don't touch my poopus!" to the doctor.  And the other children in this house may or may not be talking about "poopus-es" all the time now because they think it is so funny.

* Did you know that amoxicillin is now made by a different manufacturer and no longer comes in the default bubble gum flavor?  What is this world coming to?

* I went cold turkey on my diet Pepsi addiction last week.  I've now been a full week without one.  Surprisingly, I did not die and I have not killed any of my children.  It is totally too much information, but I've peed clear for the first time in years!  My kidneys are doing the happy dance.

* Go and pray for my in real life friends, the Gyorffy's.  Their son Theo, who has been home from Congo for just four month, was diagnosed with leukemia last week.  They could use your prayers and encouraging words.

* I'm going to the Catalyst conference in October where Katie Davis will be one of the keynote speaker.  She is the kind heart behind Kisses from Katie.  I'm going to hug the living daylights out of her.  It's okay to be jealous.  The creator behind TOM's shoes is going to be there too.  I may also hug the living daylights out of him because he is Hot with a capital H. 

* I'm also going to the BlogHer conference in San Diego in August.  I'm totally pumped about this.  This conference is just for me.  I usually only do conferences and seminars about orphan care, but this BlogHer conference is purely for fun and relationships.  Meeting other bloggers is such a thrill for me. What stresses me out a little bit though, is that on twitter all the women are talking about what their sponsors are dressing them in.  Ummm... I'm a little bit of a Walmart and Target wardrobe kinda person.  And I'm small potatoes so sponsors aren't knocking down my door begging to dress me and put designer shoes on my feet.  I am totally going to rock my Walmart sundresses and be freakin' proud to be out of my house where the only butt I have to wipe is my own!   

* The hubs and I had our fathers over for a Father's Day cookout.  I am so lucky to have a great daddy who has turned out to be the world's best Papaw.  One of the things that makes my heart pitter patter like nothing else is watching my dad play and love on my children.  A loving father is one of the best gifts that God can give a girl.

*  One of our neighbors drives the world's loudest motorcycle.  He sometimes revs his engine at the ungodly early hour of 6:30 and it wakes Miles up every time.  I know for a fact that this guy is not driving his motorcycle to work, so I'm thinking about going medieval on him. Or removing something essential from this freakishly loud machine.  If only I knew what a carburetor looked like...

*  Hope you have a lovely Tuesday! 

June 20, 2011

The Goldfish Syndrome

I've heard somewhere that goldfish only have 3 seconds of memory.  I imagine that their inner dialogue goes something like this, "I'm a fish.  I'm hungry.  Wait!  I'm a fish!"  I'll liken Miles' attention span (or any toddler's attention span!) to that fish's memory.  But more than just the three second attention span, my husband has made the miles/ fish comparison many times lately in what I'm calling "The Goldfish Syndrome".

You see, goldfish will grow to the size of their tanks.If you buy and itty bitty goldfish and you leave it in an itty bitty tank, it will stay and itty bitty goldfish.  But if you take that same goldfish and put it in a huge pond, it will turn into a huge goldfish.  I don't quite understand why that happens.  It is one of those phenomenons that make me scratch my head and say, "What the freckle?"

It's no secret that Miles won't grow. At what we think is three years old, he is the size of an average American 15 month old.  We've looked into every possible reason for why this could be and can't come up with anything other than extreme malnutrition as an infant. Seriously- we've run all the tests.  He's been poked and prodded and weighed and measured more times that I can count.  I've even called the doctor once to ask him what it was that Webster had to see if Miles could possibly be the next Webster.  Nope.  That wasn't it either.

So hubs has come up with this new theory of why our kiddo won't grow.  It's because his "tank" is too small.  When Miles came home he had no desire to co-sleep.  He likes to be completely alone and in total darkness when he sleeps.  He is the lightest sleeper imaginable.  We at first thought when Miles came home that the boys would share a room, but it became clear really quickly that Miles needed his own room or he would never sleep.  So we moved Sadie into Noah's room and Miles now takes up permanent residence in Sadie's pink princess room.  With his horrible crib trauma, we just set up the pack-n-play in there and he loved that thing immediately.  I don't even think that it's a full sized pack-n-play.  Anyway- he falls asleep as soon as he hits the pillow at night and sleeps all night in it.  He's only climbed out of it once and I think it freaked him out so bad to have some freedom that he never even tried it again.  It goes on all of our trips with us and for him, that tiny little cage is home for him.  But Kamron's theory is that Miles will never grow bigger than the confines of that pack-n-play.  His inner goldfish is refusing to get larger than his habitat.  Because we can't come up with anything better (medically speaking) I am pronouncing my son to be the first person in the universe with Goldfish Syndrome.  We will be getting an award recognizing us for this huge breakthrough in medical theories at next year's Nobel Prize awards.

We've thought about putting him in a real bed, but why rock the boat when this has been working for us so well for the last year and a half?  And seriously- he doesn't look discontented, does he?  I may be biased, but I truly think he is the cutest, little, brown cuddle bug on the planet- especially in his PJ's. *sigh*

Today is the last day of the Circle of Mom's Top 25 Adoption Blogs Contest.  Can you vote for us one last time? (CLICK HERE!) I'd really love to finish in the top 5.  Pretty please, with sugar on top?  When you are finished with that, click over and join our Facebook page.  I'll be giving away something pretty awesome over there when this contest is over as my way of saying thanks.  We LOVE LOVE LOVE our readers like crazy cakes.

June 16, 2011

This is your brain... this is your brain on summer

My brain is on summer vacation.  We've done absolutely nothing of any importance for weeks on end with the exception of the 5 billion assessments Miles has had to do to get services through the public school system.  We've filled up our days with swimming in the blowup pool in the backyard and going to my mom's house to swim in her pool.  Basically, we are turning into fish and we all kinda like this life.  Except for my poor husband who still has to work so that we can afford for me to stay home and play with the kiddos all day.  He's bordering on jealously of our slovenly ways and I don't blame hit a bit. 

Every time we go on vacation I find myself wondering what would happen if we just sold everything and moved to a shack on the beach and lived simpler lives.  Well- this summer is my attempt at doing just that right where I am.  We are doing less and just "being" more.  The kids are cleaning out there rooms and packing up bags for Africa (which really ends up being a local mission right here in town, but my kids always have Africa on the brain)  We are trying our hardest to simplify.  If we wake up and want to go to the movies, we go to the movies.  If we decide that we want to stay in our PJ's and read Junie B. Jones books all day, we do that.  It has been soooooooo freeing.  And so empowering.  I've said no to a lot of things lately and it really does feel good.  It means that I have more time to focus on the things that matter most to me.  And believe it or not- there is actually no guilt at being more guarded with my and my children's time- and guilt is usually my middle name!  I'm sure that in a couple of weeks we'll end up scheduled up to our eyeballs again, but for now, this is exactly what we needed.  For the first time in a long time life seems normal-ish. *gasp* I said it! (And now I've probably jinxed it.) 

It also means that there is really no good blog material.  Which is okay!  I'll take this lovely calmness over good blog material any day!

It's a rough life, isn't it?

*Don't forget to vote... we are slipping in the polls!

June 14, 2011

From the weekend

This past weekend we went to St. Louis to visit the inlaws.  That's really all I can say about that except that I felt the need to hit the liquor about 5 minutes after we got home :-) 

We are in St. Louis often, and I had pretty much thought that we'd done just about all that the city had to offer.  But on this trip we discovered the City Museum.  It was a treasure trove of awesomeness.  We spent the afternoon climbing and exploring and having a great time!  It truly was the best museum for children that I've ever been to .  Noah said that his favorite part of the museum was everything.  Sadie loved all the slides.  And Miles loved the giant ball pit full of playground balls.  Here are a few snaps from our weekend.

If you look closely- you will see Sadie walking across the wire cage about a zillion feet up off the ground.

June 13, 2011

The Power of Saying Yes- Lessons from the Attachment/Trauma Seminar

It’s been nearly a month since I attended Dr. Karyn Purvis’ attachment and trauma seminar at Summit 7. I’ve worked really hard to incorporate as many new strategies as I could into our daily routine. Some worked, some didn’t. I think the main thing with therapeutic parenting is that you have to do what works for you and your child- what is one family’s magic bullet, may be one family’s stressful trigger point.

There are a few things that I learned there that I think are very universal for all families. The main thing is something that Dr. Purvis calls “getting in yeses.”

A newborn who is born into a family who wants him and takes loving care of him child hears an average of several thousand “yeses” before they get to toddlerhood. Baby is hungry and cries and mom comes to him and by feeding him, is essentially saying, “Yes! I hear you! I know you are hungry and I will take care of that need!” A baby that is tired cries and by mom rocking him to sleep while singing songs, she essentially says, “Yes! I hear you crying! I want to love on you and put you to sleep!” A baby who is lonely cries and by mom coming to him and playing with him and giving him attention and eye contact, she essentially says, “Yes! You are so precious and adored! I want to spend time with you and show you how valuable you are!”

Babies are hardwired to need adults every two hours (when they get hungry). If that need is met, that baby’s sense of self and his place in the family and in the world is established. After a couple of years of having constant needs and having those needs met , that child has had two years of continuous reassurance that he is loved and valued and safe. So when that same darling little baby, at two years of age, tries to stick something in the outlet and mom shouts out “NO!” he might be angry, but he still knows that mom is safe and that he is still loved even though he’s been told no. His sense of self and his place in the family is not shattered because he has years of positive responses “in reserve”.

Now- take the child who has lived in an orphanage or on the street. He has not heard “Yes.” He has never been made to feel valuable by knowing that someone cares enough to meet his needs. After only 30 days of not having his needs met, a newborn baby will stop crying when he is hungry. Thirty days is all it takes for a baby to determine that he can not rely on someone to meet his needs.

When we bring these children into our homes, we have to be understanding of how profound this sense of self reliance can be. We have to be patient when helping them assimilate into our families. Creating a culture where a child feels safe enough to be reliant on another takes time, creativity and the patience of a saint. Dr. Purvis says that one of best ways to do this is to make a concerted effort to get as many yeses in every day as you can. We have (sometimes) years of making up for all those yeses that our children never heard. For me, this is one of the hardest things that I do all day. For example:

Miles comes to me and wants a snack. It is not snack time. He is not truly hungry and it is almost dinner time. In no way is he going to get a snack out of me. Instead of saying to him, “No. It is not snack time. Go play.” It is better to say, “Yes! Of course you can have a snack! As soon as dinner is over!” Turn the natural no into a yes. It goes against our gut to say yes when we really mean no, but in our children’s mind, they just need the affirmation that eventually that need/want/desire will be met .

Often times, as adoptive parents, we forget that even the smallest amount of neglect and/or abuse can have a long and lasting impression on a child. We tend to believe the old adage that love is enough and that once these children from hurt places have a family that they will simply forget all the old feelings that they have.

Dr. Purvis gave an example of a scientific study done on 5 month old babies. A stranger came in the room and stood in front of the baby’s faces and would not smile. The stranger remained stoic even when the babies cooed, laughed, cried and tried everything they could to engage the stranger. This encounter lasted only 2 minutes then the stranger left. 15 months later, when those same babies were 20 months old they were shown a slide show of different people’s faces. When the stranger’s face (who had acted disengaged before) came up in the slideshow, the baby’s became visibly upset. Many of them turned their heads, some cried, some even gagged and choked because the image created so much stress in them. In this instance, there was no abuse or neglect- simply a failure to connect. Now imagine the impact that adding trauma, abuse and neglect add into that equation!? The power of making important connections for children from birth is HUGE!

For me, it was a wake up call in not only parenting therapeutically, but in parenting from a place of understanding. So many times we expect our children who are adopted from hard places to just fall into our families and forge those connections and they don’t know how. While it is so easy to get angry and frustrated (which is almost always my gut reaction) the response needs to come from a place of empathy and understanding. We wouldn’t adopt a child with no arms and expect them to come home and be able to swing across the monkey bars. So why do we adopt children and expect them to know how to love and be connected when they don’t always have the tools to be able to do it?

Attending the seminar was so valuable for me. I still struggle with my reactions to many of my child’s behaviors, but I at least recognize when I am not appropriate. Many times as parents, who are parenting any type of special needs, we need to take a step back, re-evaluate and reassemble the big picture. They need us to remember that those early years before they came to us have a bigger impact than we can always know or understand. Our children deserve that from us. They deserve our “yeses”. They need our actions to remind them that “Yes. I see you. Yes. I hear you. Yes. I will take care of you. Yes. I adore you.” Even when it’s hard. Even when it hurts. Even when it’s not easy. Get your yeses in.

Don't forget to click over and vote for us every day for the Circle of Moms Top Adoption Blog.  For me, it is more than just a nice honor.  These kinds of lists direct parents thinking about adoption to our blog.  I want to be a resource for parents, an advocate for Congo and a voice for the awesomeness that is adoption.  Thanks for your help and support!  Go vote! (by clicking on the link!)http://www.circleofmoms.com/top25/adoption 

June 07, 2011


Noah is a sucker for pop music.  The kid is kind of a top 40 junky.  (We are partial to the Kids Bop Albums that sing the songs minus the innuendos and dirty words.)  His current favorite is the Britney Spears' song "Dance Until the World Ends".  He sings it from the time he wakes up until he goes to bed.  Over the weekend he told us that all he wants for his birthday is to meet Britney Spears.  He must think that mama is superwoman or something- but I have a feeling the kiddo will have his first heartbreak when she doesn't just happen to show up at his birthday party.  Don't judge me as a bad parent but I'm kinda in love with the pop princess as well- the new, reinvented, more maternal version- not the head shaving mental breakdown version. 

Noah, in his infinite four year old wisdom, asked me to make a video of him singing to send to dear ol' Brit in hopes that she would want to meet him.  He also said that maybe he would be famous because of his great singing.  Here he is, singing his little heart out to his favorite song to his current girl crush.  I've watched it a hundred times and it cracks me up every single time.  Love that boy and his crackly voice.  Wonder if he could stay four years old forever?  

Who needs video games and cartoons

When you can do this all morning?  The joys of summer break!

It's only a matter of time until someone breaks the bed... or an arm... or a leg...  But it was oh so much fun!

June 06, 2011


* I am now the mom of a second grader.  How in the heck did that happen?  Where is the time going?  I am so crazy proud of Sadie and her accomplishments in the first grade.  She finished highest in her class in math (she does not get that from me) and reading.  We had a huge celebration in her honor.  The boys picked out a pink and blue cookie cake for desert.  We made Sadie's favorite dinner- homemade lasagna.  And she came home to a house that was decorated just for her!  Not to mention that there were a couple of fireworks to mark the occasion.  She was super excited and I am so proud!

Noah was totally pumped about the sparklers!

*I also had a meeting with the special education team with our public school system to do Miles' last evaluations.  He has been a truly delightful kid these last two weeks- loving, affectionate, and fun.  I was worried he'd go into his last evaluation and charm the pants off of everyone and they would look at me like I was a crazy person.  But- the combination of a new environment and too much stimulus threw the boy off of his game and he tested like I hoped he would.  As much as I wish that Miles was up to developmental standards- two years with inadequate nutrition and very little stimulous in an orphanage are keeping him from being on target.  He's making great progress but he still needs services.  So I'm really glad that he tested in a way that proved that he is in desperate need of lots of services.  We go in next week to write his IEP (Individual Education Plan) for his new at risk preschool program that he will start in the fall.  I'm so excited for him.  I think that this will be AWESOME for him.  Plus- they send the short bus to our house to pick him up. He is going to think that he has died and gone to heaven getting to ride a bus to school like his big sister. 

*  I tried my very first sweet potato yesterday.  I'm in love.  I'm going to want one with every meal now.

* We've had lots and lots of time in the pool this weekend.  We put up our blow up pool in the back yard and went to a pool party with family on Saturday.  My children will be as brown as biscuits (the ones that aren't naturally brown!) in no time flat, while I will probably remain pasty white all summer long.

* My friends Ellen and Sandy are collecting formula for children in Congo.  They are up well over 100 cans.  I'm so lucky to have friends with such caring hearts.

* The hubs had strep throat all week last week.  Man sickness.  God help us all.  Thankfully he has made a full recovery and is going back to work today. 

* I took the big kids to see their first play this weekend.  We went to see a children's production of Hansel and Gretel with my aunts and cousin Julia.  My kids have been reinacting the scene where the witch gets put in the oven with such enthusiasm.  Maybe they will become theatre junkies!

* Consider this your daily reminder to please vote for Millions of Miles in the Circle of Moms Top 25 adoption blogs contest.  We are holding steady in 3rd place but there are LOTS of great blogs on there that are catching up. You can vote once a day- so please please take a couple of seconds to click over and vote for us!  The direct link to vote for MoM is HERE.  

 Happy Monday :-)

June 03, 2011

She'll Remember Us As The Booger Family

I don't know if any of you have ever had to re-adopt your adopted kiddos, but evidently we live in a state/county that does not recognize our adoption- even though the federal government does.  So essentially, if we wanted to make Miles a US citizen and legally change his birthday to make up for his huge age discrepancy we have to pay a fortune and go through a pretty ridiculous court process.

We started this process in late January.  We were told it would take about 30 days.  We are STILL dealing with it!!!!  This week, we had to have a guardian ad litem come to our house and observe our family (much like a homestudy).  She has to write a report for the judge to determine if we are a suitable family for Miles.  Ummm... hello?  He's already legally ours!  Not to mention that we love him like crazy cakes and he's been our son for nearly a year and a half.  So all in all, it is just a ridiculous, time consuming, money guzzling formality.  Gotta love the government, right?

So- the guardian ad litem (who has no children) comes over and Miles is bouncing off the walls and all the kids are trying to put on a performance for her.  Sadie removed her shoes mid visit and the whole house filled up with this stench that nearly knocked us all out.   Miles is yelling, "I need to peep!  I need to peep! I need to poooooooop" as he grabs himself and does the pee pee dance.  She writes something down in her notes.  The kicker was Noah- ahhhh Noah.  Mid interview Noah comes into the room and starts freaking out saying, "I found the booger!  I found the booger.  Here mom- here's the booger!"  And he hands me this:

...which is technically the gas bubbles piece from our Operation game, but it does look like boogers.  He goes on to say, "I found it under the bed!  And I was like, is that a real booger?  And I thought it was a real booger, so I went under there to get it out!  And then I realized it was the piece to our game!  I found the booger!!!"  He was so proud of himself.  Miles came over to see what all the commotion was and he chimed in and said, "Is that you's booga mama?"  She wrote some more down in her notes. I wanted to crawl in a hole and die.

Kamron and I just looked at each other on opposite sides of the room while this circus was going on.  Our telepathic, with our eyes conversation went something like this:

Him:  Can you believe this?
Me:  Yes I can.  This is the sort of crazy chit that happens all day long here.
Him:  Why do our daughter's feet smell so bad?
Me:  I know, right!  I think she must have rubbed them with stinky cheese and then baked them in the sun.  Please- say something about the smell so this woman doesn't think I'm passing gas next to her.

Him (out loud)  You'll have to forgive our daughter's feet.  I'm not sure why they stink so bad.  Sadie, go put your shoes out on the porch.
She takes more notes.

Me (subliminally): Say something about the boogers.  Make us seem less crazy!
Him (out loud): You'll remember us as the booger family, I guess.

She takes more notes.

Me (subliminally): Really?  That's the best you could come up with? 
Him (subliminally):  How much can you really say about boogers?
Both of us:  Is this ever going to end?  How much longer can we endure this?

Eventually, the guardian ad litem finished her notes and said that she thought that she had everything that she needed.  I'm fairly certain we gave her WAY more than she needed.  Oh dear Lord, I'd give anything to see what that report for the judge says.

Fortunately, she missed our dinner conversation last night where we were talking about how it was only 6 weeks until we go to the beach.  I casually said, "Only 6 more weeks for me to get my butt in shape."  To which Noah replied, "Why are you going to get your butt shaved?" 

Truly, there is NEVER a dull moment in this house. 

June 01, 2011

No Extreme Couponing Here (But I did save $51)

In this day and age of extreme couponing, I just wanted to take a minute to share with you how I'm saving my family money.  If you've been around here for any length of time, you know that my logic is not always 100% sound, but this makes complete and perfect sense to me.

I hired a babysitter for the summer.  Not for the whole summer- just one day a week.  People in the outside workforce typically get two days off every week, so I kinda felt like as a stay-at-home mom I am totally deserving of a six hour break one day a week.  (Oprah would say this was my aha moment of finding my worthiness)

I'm paying my fantabulous summer sitter $8 an hour for 6 hours for my three bambinos .  I barely squeaked by in math, but I'm pretty sure that is $48 a week.

Yesterday during my babysitting day, I got a pedicure (totally gluttonous, I know, but if you saw the nastiness they call my feet you would have deemed it necessary as well.)  The pedicure cost $23 with a tip.  Then I drove through and sipped on a vanilla latte from that restaurant with the germy play place.  That added another $3 to my day.  The rest of the day I spent window shopping and reading magazines for free at my favorite quiet bookstore.     

You may be asking yourself, "How in the world is spending $74 on a totally frivolous day saving your family money?"  I'm glad you asked.  Here is my answer.  An hour with the psychologist costs $125.  In my book, I just saved my family $51 by taking one whole day a week to preserve my sanity to keep myself out of the shrink's office. OMG- somebody better put me on my own reality show with these money saving tips!

*We've been nominated as a Circle of Moms Top 25 adoption blog.  If you'd like to throw Millions of Miles a vote in this process, I'd sure appreciate it :)  You can vote HERE. Voting is really easy, just click the thumbs up next to the number of votes.  You can vote once each day.  Thanks!
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