November 30, 2011

Miles Update

Yowza.  We've been through one crazy day and a half.  Miles had the first of two eye surgeries yesterday to correct his ptosis (droopy eyelids).  Y'all, I was a nervous wreck.  I love the way that Miles looks and I knew that the surgery would alter his face so much.  I mean, those sleepy eyes are kinda his trademark look and it absolutely broke my heart to do anything to them.

When Miles came home from Congo, multiple eye doctors told us that he would require corrective surgery.  Since we were having so many other medical issues and emotional issues with Miles we put it off and just kept up our visits to the optometrist every 6 months.  The last time that we went, the doctor told us that we really couldn't put it off much longer.  By not having the surgery we were risking permanent damage to his eye (which has already changed shape to compensate for the part of his pupil that is covered by his lid) and substantial vision loss.  Not to mention that Miles had to tilt his head back so far to see out from under his eyelids that neck problems and balance problems were beginning to emerge.

Our surgeon opted to do two different surgeries- one eye at a time 2-4 weeks apart.  Sometimes the swelling after one of these surgeries is so severe that the eyes swell shut and if both eyes were swollen shut at the same time, it would be too difficult on a little one.  We went in for the first surgery on the most severe eye yesterday.  Miles' right eyelid covered almost 40% of his pupil so we opted to do that one first.  I can't imagine walking around having the top 40% of the world be blurry and off color, but my little man has been experiencing the world off kilter for his whole life.

Prior to this, Miles has been hospitalized three previous times that required anesthesia.  Even though he is young, he remembers those times vividly.  His anxiety level shot through the roof as soon as we pulled into the parking lot of the hospital.  I had flashbacks of one of our darkest days ever when we took Miles to have an MRI of his brain and he bit the nurse until he drew blood and beat his head against the floor until they had to sedate him like a wild animal.  It was the lowest of our low points.  I was quickly drawn back to the present when I felt Miles' death grip on me while we walked in the hospital.  He wanted ME.  He knew that I was there to protect him.  My presence was comforting to him.  It was a far different reaction that our previous times at the hospital where he looked at me like I was Satan taking a lamb to the slaughter.  Sometimes it's hard to see how much progress he's made until something like this happens to remind me that he's come so incredibly far from that scared, little, wild boy that he was just a year ago.  I'm so proud of him.

We are so fortunate to have a rockin' awesome children's hospital in our area.  They are always so great to Miles.  We asked for an anti-anxiety, calming drug immediately and they loving brought him a cup of "loopy juice" to help his nerves.  They set us up in a great room and turned on the movie Cars for him.  I asked if they would wait and do all the procedures that they needed to do until he was under anesthesia and they obliged.  They didn't even try to take his temperature or blood pressure or anything.  Thank God for understanding, rock-star nurses who were sympathetic to his trauma history and were so loving to him.  He got good and relaxed and watched a movie and stuck stickers all over himself until it was time for him to go back for surgery.  They wheeled him away and I had a good cry over how my handsome boy would look so different from that little, droopy eyed baby I brought home from Africa. 

My sweet little boy who (in his drug induced stupor) decided to cover himself with stickers just before they took him back for surgery.

The surgery took about an hour and a half and then the surgeon came in to talk with me.  The surgery, he said, went beautifully and that Miles was a champ.  He tried to prepare me that Miles' eye would look very gruesome for a while.  No amount of preparation was going to get me ready to see him.  He looked like he'd been locked in a cage with a professional boxer.  He cried a little coming out of the anesthesia and when he cried there was blood in his tears.  As a mom, there is nothing that hurts worse than seeing your child in pain, and watching those bloody tears roll down his cheeks shattered my heart.  He chugged two slushies and they deemed him ready to come him.  Outpatient surgery will never cease to blow my mind.  One minute you are being cut into and the next, you are being sent home.  I carried that limp little bundle to the car and off we went towards home.  It only took about 5 minutes for the screaming to start.  I had warned the doctor that Miles' pain tolerance was low and that given his history it would be best to have him in as little pain as possible.  He assured me that Tylenol would cover it and I naively believed him.  

Miles was in tremendous pain.  He couldn't stop crying and writhing in pain and saying over and over, "My eye is huwting!"  Finally I called the doctor's office and they called in some pain medication for him.  The doctor told me on the phone that he was sorry he didn't listen to me and told me that I could say, "I told you so" if I wanted.  I briefly thought about trying to take the high road, but I said it anyway.  We dosed him up with hydrocodone around 7pm last night and he took a 13 hour snooze.  His body and his mind had been through more than he could handle and sleeping it off was truly the best thing for him.  He woke up this morning doing so much better.  A large portion of the swelling is gone and the pain is manageable.  He's resting quietly on the couch (which is something he NEVER does) but he's in good spirits and enjoying having total control over the TV channels.

He'll have to miss over a week of school and is not supposed to do anything exciting or strenuous for 10 to 2 weeks days, but that just means that we have more time for extra cuddles and TLC while he recovers!

Yesterday, we couldn't even fathom making light of any of this, but this morning when the swelling receded some and Miles was in good spirits, I looked at my husband and said, "Do you remember that part in the movie Hitch where Will Smith ate something he was allergic to and swelled up all crazy like? Miles looked just like that yesterday!"  Yep- we both agreed that our little Miles was rolling Big Willie Style.  Thank God it doesn't look like that today!

Will Smith in Hitch.  This is a close resemblance of  what Miles looked
like yesterday- minus the swollen ears.

If you are the praying type, please pray that he will continue to heal and pray for strength for him since we'll be repeating the whole thing in a few weeks for the other eye.  Thanks!         

November 28, 2011


Sunday morning, we all slept in.  All of us that is, except Miles, who has decided that he doesn't need sleep to function.  When he woke up at the crack of dawn Kamron sat him in the chair with the iPad and there he sat still playing Angry Birds and Geared nearly an hour and a half later when the rest of us decided we were ready to get up and start the day.

I casually mentioned to Kamron that if we were "good" parents that Miles' "30 minutes of screen time" had been blown for the day.  Kamron had no idea what I was talking about.  I said, "Well, some people say that kids should have no more than 30 minutes or an hour of screen time a day."  We looked at each other for a minute and contemplated what that would look like if that that was a rule in our home and then we nearly died.  It wasn't even worth thinking about. He said, "Do real people really do that?"  and I went on to tell him about blogs that I read of mom's who do implement that rule.  God bless 'em.  Truly. I nominate them for sainthood because that would be torturous to ME! I'm just not up for it.  I delude myself by saying that there are so many educational shows on TV and so many great apps for kids that it's okay.  But really, I don't know why I even bother to justify it- because I am okay with this one (HA!) thing that I do wrong in parenting.

Pshew... that feels good to say.  Hello, my name is Megan and I let my kids watch more than 30 minutes of TV a day and I don't care!  I don't think they'll grow up to be dumb or be serial killers (I always want to type cereal killer- like they are lucky charms murderers or something) or be juvenile delinquents.  In the spirit of confessing and how good it is for the soul- here are a few other winning moves of mine that I should include on my nomination form for mother of the year. 

* Sometimes when I walk in the bathroom and one of the boys has peed all over the seat, instead of wiping it up, I just go use the other bathroom.

* I send my son to preschool at least 50% of the time with no underwear on because the sensory fight is not worth it to me.  Also- I think there is something freeing about going commando and if that's how he wants to express his five year old self, then I say, let it all hang out (inside his pants of course!)

* Miles never takes naps.  I used to let it go and not even try to fight him on it.  But lately I make him stay in his room for1 hour every afternoon.  I tried to tell myself that it's because he needs some down time but the truth is that I need the down time.

*  I make my kids ride the bus because the last thing I want to do with my life is sit in the car rider line at three different schools every single day.

* I don't pack school lunches.  Every school year I start out doing it and loose my lunch making mojo around the end of September.  My child eats school lunch where they consider pizza a vegetable.  I know.  I'm crap.

* When I see my children doing something really bizarre or it they are stuck in a weird place (like between the bed and the wall) my first instinct is to take a picture of them and then help them. I may need therapy.

* Every inch of my house (furniture, walls, appliances) is covered in crayon or ink pen and I can't even get mad about it because usually when these incidents occur it is because I am wasting time on the Internet instead of putting on my crayon police hat.

* My children take a bath in a tub with a permanent ring in it.  I stand firm that dirt adds character.  My husband is the only one who take a shower in the stall shower in our bathroom.  That shower may be nonexistent low on my list of priorities when cleaning.  Again- dirt builds character and I am a freaking master at helping people build character.  

* I never put away the clean laundry.  I *try* really hard to get better at it, but it just doesn't happen and Mount Clothesmore sits on top of my dryer.  So sometimes my kids wear socks that maybe aren't clean to school because digging out clean ones would topple the whole pile.  I must get this under control before they get stinky teenager feet.  I'm giving myself 5 years to work this one out.

* I answer questions with "because I said so" and sometime I lose my chit when that isn't a good enough answer.

* Until now, I've held firm to the fact that I have never in my whole life, ahem, broken wind.  You heard it here first, folks.  Sometimes I do aaaaaaand I BLAME IT ON THE KIDS!

I think that I've now done a substantial job of providing evidence on why I should totally be...

By the way, if you do a google image search for "mother of they year" only women who look like they are starring in an adult diaper commercial appear.  Really- they ALL look like this...

If looking all Florence Henderson (who is very pretty, but still!) is what it takes to win, then withdraw my nomination STAT!  Yes, I pee in my pants when I laugh.  Or sneeze. Or bend over.  Or jump.  But dammit, I refuse to play the role of the Depends model if that is what it takes to win this coveted award.  I'll just continue to sit here in my sweats for the third day in a row with my uncombed hair and morning breath and my relative anonymity and be totally pumped that my children appear to be semi well adjusted despite all my attempts to screw them up!  Thank God for my normalish husband who balances out my crazy for them!  Amen.   

November 27, 2011

My husband's life is complete

The picture quality here is not stellar, but something happened in our house this morning that has made my husband's life.  In fact, the man, who is NEVER emotional, had a little tear in his eye after....

...the death star was blown up and the character's from Star Wars were getting their medals for courage.  Yes, I'm being serious.  You see, the mister decided that this was the morning that he was going to share his intense love of Star Wars with the middle little.  Noah and Kamron sat glued to the television with pure wonder and amazement on their faces as Noah watched the original Star Wars movie for the first time.  I think seeing one of his favorites through the eyes of his son will be one of Kamron's greatest parenting triumphs.  Truly, this is probably going to be one of those moments that flashes before his eyes on his death bed. (I don't get it, but whatever.)  So, I thought that I'd better sneak up on them and snap a pic so that we could remember this "monumental" moment for all eternity.

Yes- Miles is fidgeting and flailing about just as he always does, but the others are having an
out of this world time.  Har Har.

I've always hated the way that the paint color in our living room looks like a neon atrocity in photos, but capturing this father son moment is totally worth sharing the atrocity with the world.

May the force be with you on this fine Sunday afternoon.

November 24, 2011

100 Gratitudes

I'm Thankful... (in no particular order)
  1. for my awesome children (even during the 20% of the time that they get on my last nerds)
  2. for my awesome husband (even during the 8% of the time that he gets on my  last nerds)
  3. for my mom and dad who should teach classes on how to be divorced with grace
  4. for the little girl who will one day become my daughter
  5. my grandparents- especially my grandmothers who amaze me continually
  6. my in-laws (okay- most of them :-)  Just- kidding.  All of them!)
  7. the MRG's- the best group of friends a girl could ask for
  8. Jess- who has been my BFF since college and still can listen to me rant like a champ
  9. diet Pepsi
  10. enough food in our stomachs and a warm house and more that enough clothes and shoes
  11. for my husband's job and the security it provides
  12. reality television
  13. the Internet
  14. for books- especially children's books
  15. for Our Family In Africa and Jabu Africa who are doing such good work for children in DRC
  16. for the convenience of cell phones and how they make our world so small (but buy used- conflict minerals, you know!)
  17. for Christmas music... and novelty rap music
  18. to be an American and for the people who fought for my freedoms
  19. for the blogging community
  20. my minivan which not only gets me where I need to go but also makes me oh so cool
  21. for Jesus and my freedom to follow him (I should move this up the list, duh)
  22. for whoever invented cobbler, brownies, and pie
  23. for people who work in the social services fields advocating for children
  24. to have enough money to pay my bills every month
  25. to have access to food any time I want it
  26. for cheese
  27. for board games and the hours of family fun they provide.  Hello Yahtzee!
  28. for little children snuggles that are now freely given, especially those we fought hard for years to get
  29. for medical care and a rockin' pediatrician
  30. for our big crazy yellow beast of dog, Emma
  31. for a backyard and a neighborhood where my kids can run safely
  32. for my family photos.  They are so cherished.
  33. for my bathtub and the stress relief it provides.
  34. for babysitters who will take on three (and soon to be four!) children
  35. for cartoons to entertain the children when I need a minute- or lots of minutes
  36. for public school and the great teachers that my children have there and the blessings of a free education
  37. that my children have a church they love and a program they think is awesome to go to on Wednesday nights
  38. that the door on my bathroom locks so that for at least 10 minutes a day, I can get some privacy
  39. for the people who love and encourage me every day with their kind words
  40. for antidepressants
  41. for vulnerability and the unlikely friendships it creates
  42. for date nights that come few and far between but are always lovely when we get them
  43. for one on one dates with each of the children- even if it's just to the grocery store
  44. for therapists who have given my children so much time to help them be the best that they can be
  45. for our son's psychologist who helped us sooth some of his demons and make him (mostly) whole again
  46. for chocolate
  47. for my children's friends who are all such good kids
  48. for neighbors who will give you a cup of sugar or a listening ear or help you corral kids in the back yard
  49. for the opportunity to travel and take vacations on a regular basis
  50. for my microwave
  51. that I've learned (for the most part) to be okay with my own weaknesses
  52. for growing up in a small town
  53. to have been able to go to college without debt
  54. for email
  55. that I can usually laugh about it when really crappy things happen
  56. that I live in a place where we get to experience all four seasons
  57. for Eron (a little girl that I met briefly in DRC) who has changed so much about the way I live and think about life and my mission and purpose in caring for the fatherless
  58. for my dad's and my granny's farms and how walking around there makes me feel like I'm free
  59. for Facebook- which seems dumb, but is so very awesome for keeping people connected
  60. for the occasional cards and letters that still come by snail mail
  61. the opportunity to volunteer at some great places and for some great causes
  62. the kindness of strangers
  63. that I have so many things to look forward to and that life is excited and fresh each morning
  64. that one of the things my children do well each night is go to sleep.  Somehow we've managed to get three children that go right to bed when it's time without a fight.  It's one of the biggest blessings ever.
  65. for my bout with depression because it has made me stronger and more empathetic to people
  66. for life.  My mom was a pregnant teen and could have chosen a different path.  I'm glad she didn't.
  67. that my husband eventually said yes when I came to him and told him I wanted to adopt- even though it had never been on his radar
  68. for how adoption and being a part of the adoption community has changed me for the better
  69. for the opportunity to get to share our passion for orphans issues on a regular basis in front of lots of different people
  70. for our health
  71. that my parents, grandparents and even a great grandparent are still alive
  72. that there are times that I can go days and days without ever having to get out of my sweatpants
  73. that we made it through that first year with Miles and that attachment disorders did not eat us alive
  74. that we made it through the roughest years of sensory processing disorder with Noah and actually went on to add another kid despite knowing that kids can sometimes screams for years on end
  75. that I am not defined by my mistakes and for friends and family that are always willing to forgive me when I screw up
  76. that I have a husband who loves me unconditionally even though I am not the skinny girl he married and I am not always loving or even very nice
  77. for Pandora and how much cool music it brings into my life
  78. that my children are learning to give back and that they enjoy it
  79. that I am a morning person and can get my kids off to school without feeling like too much of a zombie
  80. that all my children are potty trained and that we are sooooo done with diapers in this house
  81. that I feel safe in my own house and don't have to worry about wars happening outside my front door
  82. for earplugs- which have single handedly allowed me to sleep and have kept me from having to get divorced
  83. that Noah is such a constant source of humor in my life
  84. that when I turn on the tap, clear, clean water free of parasites comes out
  85. for candy corn
  86. for hair color that helps me hang onto my youth and keeps me from being prematurely gray
  87. to have a house, that while cramped, provides everything we need
  88. for the laughter of children running around in my living room
  89. for the freedom of expression that allows me to say anything I want on this space
  90. that I had cousins to grow up with
  91. for text messaging and marathon texting sessions with my besties
  92. for my high school youth group
  93. that I have parents who tried their best to give me as many experiences as they could
  94. for a  family who values education
  95. that I will never have to know the pain of choosing to leave my child at an orphanage because poverty renders me unable to care for them
  96. for my Mamaw's homemade sourdough and banana bread and the love she puts into making it
  97. that even at times when we've had no money in the bank, we've always had each other
  98. for pansies in the spring and mums in the fall
  99. for a God who loved me so much that he sent his son to die for me.  Do you know him?
  100. for this day.  Happy Thanksgiving!

November 21, 2011

A "Little" Announcement!

We have a little something to share...

We are growing by "two feet".  Yes folks, we are ready to add to our brood!  Kamron and I are signed up for the next round of foster care classes that start in January!!!!  *SQUEAL*  Our hope is to adopt a five to seven year old African American girl from the foster care system to round out our little litter. That would make two boys, two girls.  Two adopted children, two biological.  Two brown, two white.  It all seems very zen, don't you think?  :-)

My heart is still all wrapped up in the Congo and the children there.  However, going through foster care just seems like the right move for OUR family for many reasons (both personal and practical). Even though we are not going to be adopting from Congo,  I will NOT give up on the orphans in DRC. A massive part of my heart is there (and will always be there) and we will continue to raise funds for those left behind and for other adopting families walking that road.  So for us, right now, this is absolutely the right path and we can't wait to get started on it.  I'm so giddy about gaining a daughter that I crack a big grin every time I think about it! 

I'm afraid that this announcement may be a little premature because it could be a looooong time before we get finished with all of our training and actually get a placement.  We are hoping for a placement whose case is likely to end in termination of parental rights and that may mean that we wait a long time after we are approved. That may also mean that for a period of time, we will be foster parents to little ones who need a temporary place instead of adoptive parents- and that is a-okay!  We are trying to be flexible and learn as we go since this frontier is all very new to us. 

I know that this is going to open us up to hearing every horror story from foster care that ever was- every case of how the child was returned to an awful situation.  Every case of out of control kids.  We know the risks.  This is something that we have prayed over, researched and thought about for a long time and we are EXCITED about it!  So excited in fact, that I couldn't wait until January when we start the classes or way down the road when we have a placement to tell the world!  I kinda want to shout it from the rooftops!  I may just do that- if you live in my neighborhood, listen for me :-)

Thanks for continuing to be a part of the story of how our family grows! 

November 20, 2011

Miles "Reads"

If you remember, I had a theory about how Miles is like a goldfish and wouldn't grow because his "tank" was too small.  Well, he's like a goldfish in many other ways.  The main one is that his attention span is only three seconds long.  He's been begging me to record him reading a book, so this morning, I finally obliged.  I give you- goldfish reading a book (or goldfish reading two lines of the book while he flails around)...

November 17, 2011

Comings and Goings

It feels like I have been insanely busy the last three weeks.  However, when I look back on it, I can't really think of many things I've done that have been very worthwhile.  That is not my favorite kind of busy to be! Anyway- here's a little look back over some things that have been going on.

*  We survived our very first slumber party here in the Terry household.  Last weekend Sadie had her five besties over.  A few weeks before that, the same group of girls had a slumber party at another girl's house and the mom said that they didn't sleep, giggled all night and were wild as goats.  I tried to brace myself for a house full of squealy 7 and 8 year old girls.  Their teachers must have really worn them out and worked them hard at school that day, because half of them fell asleep in the van on the way home from the bowling alley at 8:30.  Seriously.  They came home, watched a movie and ate popcorn and all fell asleep watching TV.  Totally not what I expected, but you will NOT hear me complaining.  The next morning, when they got up, they played quietly upstairs and Kamron and I slept in until 8 am- which is a HUGE treat for me.  Who knew that it would take a slumber party in my house for me to get some rest! 

It's not a party till you bust out the puffy paint!
*  I realized last night that this is post number 505, which means that I totally missed making a big hairy deal out of my 500th post.  Boo!  I was saving that one to be something really profound and yada, yada, yada.  Now, it's just going to be buried somewhere in the archives with no fanfare because I evidently can't count.  Oh well- perhaps I'll come up with something profound for 600 if I can hang on that long!  One of these days I'm bound to run out of stuff to say.

* Speaking of stuff to say... Willie Garson (from Sex And The City and White Collar) will be here on Millions of Miles in a couple of weeks answering some of my questions about the adoption of his son, Nathen, from foster care.  I'm t-totally pumped about it!  I mean, seriously.  How cute is he?

 *  I spent a small fortune on shoe inserts a couple of days ago.  This is my official proclamation that I feel O-L-D.  My feet have been feeling all jacked up for a few weeks and lately, there are lumps on the bottom of one of them.  When I diagnose myself with dr. Google, it leads me to believe that they are heel spurs. Now, it looks like a Dr. Scholl's factory threw up all over my bedroom. Y'all- 30 has not been kind to me. Lumps on my ovaries, lumps in my boobs, and now lumps on my feet.  Dude.  I've got to figure out a way to get healthy before someone mistakes me for an old dog and decides it's time to take me out behind the shed and shoot me!

* A couple of weeks ago, I got to give my very first sermon.  We speak at churches all the time (if you ever want us to come and talk about adoption and orphan issues, contact me!) but I'd never given a real sermon before.  I absolutely LOVED it, but I'll just say that I'm glad God did not call me to be a preacher because I could NOT handle doing that every week.  (And neither could my potty mouth)  But- it was a wonderful experience for me and I hope eye-opening for the congregation we had the privilege of speaking with.  We talked all about ways to help orphans all over the world. I cried the whole time.  I tried not to, but it always happens.  My friend Shelley was there with me afterwards representing the foster care system and one woman actually signed up that day to become a foster mom!  Made my whole week.

Me preachin' it about caring for orphans.  Also- I'm wearing a dress that my SIL left at my  house last winter. 
Now she'll know where it is and I'll be out the only winter dress that is in my closet!
 *  Noah is playing Wipeout on the Wii completely naked as we speak.  One of these days I am going to figure out how to get that child to wear clothes.

* I'm counting down the hours until Breaking Dawn gets to the theatre.  The idea of a vampire wedding and subsequent vampire spawn has me positively giddy.  I will totally be amongst the throngs of teenage girls sighing when Jacob Black takes off his shirt.  It's pathetic, I know, but I make no apologies.

* I think that wraps it up for the ridiculousness happening around here!

November 16, 2011

Dear Sadie

Dear Sadie-

Today you are eight.  I doesn't seem like that long ago that you were swaddled up in a little pink blanket smiling and giggling while Daddy twirled you around the living room dancing to Norah Jones songs.  In those early days we just stared at you and wondered how in the world we ever felt fulfilled before you came into our lives.

You have always been our easy one.  The one who's relatively healthy.  The one we never have to worry about at school.  The one who is such a good helper to me that sometimes I have to step back and remember that you are only a kid and not a 40 year old woman trapped in a little girl's body!

Your Papaw Johnny tells me all the time that you remind him of me when I was little.  I loved all the same things that you love now- reading, sugar, iced tea, Little House on the Prairie, church, breakfast for dinner, Ramona Quimby and taking care of other people. 

Sadie- You are putting more good out into the world that most people 5 times your age.  You impress my socks off.  Now, that's not to say that you don't get a little sassy from time to time, but for the most part, you are kind hearted to everyone.  Last year, one of your teachers had all the kids in your class write down nice things about every other kid in the class.  Your friends said things like honest, helpful, liked by everyone, smart and helpful.  I think they pretty much summed it up. 

You are still a little bit shy.  You have a core group of friends that you have had since kindergarten but you aren't big on making new friends.  You get nervous about trying new things but you are getting braver and braver every year. 

Then there are your brothers.  Oh Sadie- those boys love you to pieces.  You tell everyone that they get on your nerves, but you love them and protect them like a momma bear.  You and Noah share a room and you quite literally giggle yourselves to bed every single night.  Daddy and I sit downstairs and laugh at how close you two are and how funny your quirky little jokes to one another are.  Noah always falls asleep first and then you pull out a book and read until you can't hold your eyes open anymore. If you had your way, you'd stay up late and wake up at noon every day.  You get that from your Daddy.

You bring so much joy to my life.  I feel so blessed every time I think about how God allowed me to be your mommy.  You are one amazing little girl.  Can I be like you when I grow up???

I Love you from here to the moon and back.

***Every year, I give my kids a little interview on their birthdays. I hope that it will be a great way for me to look back and see glimpses of who they were at every stage of life and see how they change over the years.  To see Sadie's last year's interview and my babble about how K-Mart made me pregnant, click HERE.

Me: If a genie would grant you only one wish, what would it be?
Sadie: To be the smartest person in the world!

Me: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Sadie: A farmer or a teacher.

Me: Do you want to get married when you grow up?
Sadie:  No!  That answer is NO!
Me: Do you want to have children?
Sadie:  Yes.  I want to adopt from Congo, China and America.

Me:  That's a lot of kids.
Sadie:  Yep, three. 

Me:  Do you want to have any babies in your belly?
Sadie: NO!

Me: Do you feel different now that you are eight?
Sadie: Yes. I feel older and taller.

Me: What is your favorite color and why?
Sadie: I like red, but blue is my favorite team so I don't know how to describe it.  I like red because it's pretty.  Now I hate pink and yellow is my least favorite color.  It looks too weird.

Me: Who is your best friend and why do you like them?
Sadie:  Lucy and Allie because Allie is nice to me and Lucy always plays with me.

Me: Now that you are eight, do you think you'll get a boyfriend?
Sadie: *giggles* NO!
Me: Why?
Sadie: Cause then whoever was my boyfriend would be hangin' out with me too much.

Me: What do you think about world peace?
Sadie.  Ugh. What did Noah say to that one?  I have no idea.

Me: What is your favorite TV show?
Sadie: I wish Twilight was a TV show!  Or New Moon!  But my favorite show is Amazing Race! (which we all watch together every single week)

Me: What do you like most about school?
Sadie: Definitely reading!  And math! 

Me: What is your favorite thing about yourself?
Sadie: That I'm sweet and kind and smart!

Me: What is your favorite song?
Sadie: Adele or "Stereo Hearts"

Me: If you could have any super power what would it be?
Sadie:  It would be fly power and that's all.  Because I could fly up in the air and fly around the world.

Me: What is your very favorite thing to do?
Sadie:  Read.
Me: And what else.
Sadie: Just read and read!

Me: What are you most afraid of?
Sadie: Wolves and foxes because I had a dream about them.  I was jumping on the bed at Papaw's house and I was trying to get away from them.  And naked mole rats!

Me: What is your favorite thing about Mommy?
Sadie:  That you take us to really fun places and you took me to get my ears pierced.

Me: What is your favorite thing about Daddy?
Sadie: He's funny.  He's definitely funny and he scares me.  I like when he scares me and tickles me!

Me? What is your favorite thing about Noah?
Sadie:  That he's crazy.  But why does he lie?  He lies ALL the time!

Me? What is your favorite thing about Miles?
Sadie:  He's crazy too!  He's a naked nut ball.

My love bug looking so grown up after she got her ears pierced on the eve of her eighth birthday. 
You've come a long way baby! (But you've still got that same big ol' heart!)

November 14, 2011

Take Care of Your Girls...

...Or as Miles would say, "yo girls".  Yep- I'm talking about those girls.  The ones firmly attached to your chest.  Your boobies.  Or your lady lumps if you're Fergie.  I know that last month was breast cancer awareness month, but heck, I never run on time anyway.

I'll let you in on a little secret.  Last year I had a little work done on my girls.  I had the volume of a coke can taken out of each one.  It truly was the nicest thing I ever did for myself.  (Is it weird to think that my idea of self care is having my nipples removed and sewn back on?)  It eliminated my back pain and made my clothes fit and I can finally wear bras that don't have to be special ordered.  It's nothing short of miraculous.  Anyway- my surgeon suggested that I get a baseline mammogram about a year after surgery just so that the doctors can see how things look, where the scar tissue is, etc. 

Now- breast cancer is rampant down both sides of my family.  Add to that that we all have really dense breast tissue so it makes it more difficult to feel the bumps and lumps. I resigned myself long ago to the fact that at some time in my life I was probably going to personally deal with breast cancer.  I never thought I'd be dealing with "faulty boobies" at the young age of 30 though.  I went for this routine baseline mammogram about 2 weeks ago thinking nothing of it.  (For the record, it is NOT as bad as everyone makes it out to be!)  They said, "If we see something, we'll call you in the next day or two.  If not, you'll get an all clear letter in the mail in about a week."  Days went by and I heard nothing so I assumed that everything looked fine.  Until I got that call.  "Mrs. Terry.  There are some suspicious spots on your mammogram that don't look like scar tissue or normal breast tissue.  We need you to come in for further testing."

Stop the press.  I'm only 30.  I quickly convinced myself that I was going to be leaving three precious children without a mother.  I called my husband and cried until I gave myself a raging migraine.  I had to wait 4 days to get back into the doctor.  They did a breast ultrasound and more diagnostic mammogram.  They plastered images of my lady lumps all over the exam room wall.  The doctor came in and studied them and studied them and flipped back and forth between the pages of our family history of breast cancer and then studied them some more.

Now this post can go down as the one where I posted a picture of my breasts on the internet :-)

There is a "weird area" on the images.  My doctor says areas that look like this are hardly ever cancerous but that I'll need to be on the every six months mammogram and ultrasound track to watch the spot. Wait and see.  Ugh.  My official diagnoses is this:

Probably benign.  I told my friend Ellen about it and she said, "Probably not comforting".  She's right.  Probably is rough.  Waiting another six months is weird.  And then six more months.  And then mammogram after mammogram every 180 days for the next couple of years when I'm only thirty years old.  (Have I mentioned that I'm only 30?)  In hind sight, I wish that I had demanded that they go ahead and do a biopsy, and I still might. I may also consider having the genetics testing done for the BRCA gene. I've had part of my breasts removed before and I'd do it again if I needed to.  Sometimes I think that living in oblivion would be nice, but when it comes to your health and you are mom, you can't afford that luxury.    

All this to say, no matter how old you are (or aren't) make sure that you are doing your monthly self exams and if anything is off- take the time to go and see about it!  Consider this your public service announcement for the day!  Take care of yo girls.

November 13, 2011

Transracial Travel: Chicago Style!

When we became a transracial adoptive family, I expected a lot of things to change.  However, I never thought that our travel patterns would need to be shaken up a bit as well.  We tend to be beach vacationers when we get the opportunity to travel.  On our second to last trip to the beach, our brown son was just about the only minority that we saw the whole week we were in town.  We'd been traveling to the same beach destination for years and I had never realized how "white" it was until we brought a child that wasn't white   This last trip to the beach in Mexico (where my brown cutie was pulled out of my arms and made into a spectacle) made me realize that we need to choose some more diverse places to visit.  We racked our brain about the best places to travel where we could be intentional on giving our children the opportunity to be around people of all colors.  I believe that all children need this exposure to different races and cultures, no matter what race they are- but I think it's especially important for transracial families.

The husband and I traveled to Chicago when we were dating waaaay back in the stone age (it seems like that long ago that we were carefree childless travelers!)  I loved the feel of Chicago.  The energy of the city is electric- like a friendlier version of NYC.  And best of all, the diversity of Chicago and it's neighborhoods is incredible!  It was quickly decided that it would be the perfect destination for our weekend getaway.

Our children were so excited about going to the "big city".  When you come from a one stoplight town, any town with tall buildings is amazing- but Chicago!  Chicago is massive! We were surrounded by a sea of different cultures, different races, different languages, different architecture, and all sorts of new experiences.  My kids rode in a cab for the first time and they were floored.  We loved asking all of our taxi drivers how long they've been in Chicago and (if they weren't originally from Chicago) listening to the stories of how the came to live in the windy city.  Talk about diversity!  If you ever want to give your children a lesson in world cultures- talk to some Chicago cab drivers.  Most of the drivers we talked to were first generation immigrants to the US who traveled around and decided to call Chicago home.  They discovered long ago what we were learning over the course of the weekend- Chicago is accepting.

In a small town like ours, we can't leave the house without getting double takes.  People look at our son who's skin doesn't match ours and most of them smile- a few of them stop to ask questions, but all of them notice.  In Chicago, no one looked twice at us.  We were the norm.  We were a family of mixed up colors and no one cared at all. It was glorious!

Just as importantly as it is for an adoptive families to be around other adoptive families, I think it's also important for our minority children to not always be in the minority.  We need to give them opportunities to not always be the "odd man out" and that includes the way we travel.  We need to make sure we are visiting places that are not hostile to other races and that are inclusive. We found Chicago to be a perfect place to do this!

If you ever go, here are our top 5 favorite things to do in Chicago:

The Shedd Aquarium:  This was hands down the children's favorite place in the city.  We could have stayed there all day.  The habitats that the animals are in are beautiful.  There is a new jellyfish exhibit that is probably one of the neatest animal exhibits I've ever seen.  I had no idea that there were so many species of jellyfish- each one more beautiful than the last.  This exhibit was a little bit extra- but worth every single penny.   

The kids' favorite exhibit was the giant shark tank that is home to five different species of sharks.  The keeper's presentation was so fascinating, that we went back to hear it a second time!   As a parent, I love that the exhibits are from floor to ceiling, so that even our little ones could see everything without us having to hold them up.
That giant green eel behind Noah was every one's favorite animal.  That thing was enormous (and creepy)!

Learning all about sea creatures!
Architecture River Cruise:  My husband and I both agree that this was our very favorite thing we did.  We went on one of the Shoreline Sightseeing Cruises.  It was an hour long (which was the perfect length of time with the kids)  It was far and away the very best way to see as much of Chicago as we could.  With the children, there is only so much walking we could do and there are just so many things to see.  With this cruise, we got all the highlights and so much more.  I, who know absolutely nothing about architecture, LOVED hearing the stories behind all the buildings- why they got built where they did, why they were the style they were, and the cut-throat business behind creating the world's tallest buildings.  Our tour guide was phenomenal- brilliant and funny and entertaining.  He talked for an entire hour and I felt like I was hanging on his every word because his stories were just so fascinating.

Usually anything involving water throws my motion sickness into a tailspin, but the cruise never went above an idle speed.  I've seen Chicago from foot, by taxi, and from the top of a tall building, but seeing it from the river was truly the most unique (and most fun!) way to see the city.

Chicago Children's Museum: This museum was a mecca of fun for our kids.  The museum is fairly small- which I love because it is easier to keep up with everyone!  Unlike some of Chicago's other amazing museums like The Field and The Museum of Science and Industry, this one was all structured around play.  They hit every single major love that our children have- water, dinosaurs, heavy machinery and climbing.  Our intellectual 7 year old and our rambunctious 3 and 4 year olds were all equally enthralled and engaged with this museum.  Noah was over the moon about the dinosaur dig exhibit.  As a mom of a sensory seeker, I really appreciated how many different tactile experiences the designers packed into every exhibit.

Miles was very into how many huge pieces of equipment there were to climb on- including a backhoe and a fire truck!

All of the kids were into the super cool water exhibit.  What I loved about it is that most museums we go to that have water exhibits just have cups and toys to splash around in.  While that would be great for our littler kids, we also have one who wants to know more and think more while she's playing.  This exhibit was great for both ages.  There were pipes and pulleys and ways to manipulate the flow of the water that kept every one of them entertained and challenged for a loooooong time.

Adler PlanetariumThe Terry's had never been to a planetarium before, so we have nothing to compare it to, but we thought that the planetarium rocked!  They had a fantastic area just for kids that was all hands on space stuff.  My kids must have "blasted off" on the rocket simulator at least a million times.  Miles found that hooking up hoses on the space ship was one of the funnest things imaginable.  We all enjoyed the star show (Journey To The Stars- which is the planetarium's newest show).  We laid back in our cozy seats and learned so much about how stars, galaxies and planets form.  Our children were glued to their seats (which is no easy feat!)  The information was presented in a way that made sense to the children but was also deep enough to keep the adults interested as well.

The Navy Pier: If you ever need some excitement in your life, go to the Navy Pier.  It is such a giant conglomerate of fun and food and complete overstimulation. Truly- where else in the world can you walk down the street and see this?

We rented a giant bike on the Navy Pier and rode down by the river.  (Note to self: driving a giant bike when three of the people on the bike can not reach the pedals is HARD!)

Sadie shocked us all by riding on the big swings which she said was "the funnest thing ever!"

There are so many wonderful restaurants on the Navy Pier (Harry Carry's, Bubba Gump) and it's a great place to people watch.  It really did all go back to being able to look around us and see people of all colors and nationalities and feel right at home with our our multi-cultural family- which for us, is so refreshing!  

Our children can't wait to go back to Chicago soon.  And neither can I!  It was a wonderful place to go for our fall mini vacation.  We'd like to give a HUGE thanks to Chicago Tourism for helping us plan such an amazing trip!

visiting "Sue" the t-rex at The Field Museum

Checking out the animals at The Lincoln Park Zoo (which would have been one of our favorite things, I'm sure, if they hadn't closed down all the animal exhibits 20 minutes after we got there!)

*This post was written in conjunction with the Chicago Board of Tourism.

November 08, 2011

Storing Up For Winter

Today just has that feel about it.  You know- that feel that this could be the last of the beautiful fall days before Old Man Winter sets in?  We had a busy schedule planned out for the day that included errands of all kinds- the bank, the library, allergy shots and the grocery.  But midway through the day, when the kids said, "Let's go to Granny's to jump in the leaves!"  I couldn't help but think that a trip to the farm sounded way more fun than the grocery.  Luckily, Granny Sadie had a clear agenda.  When she suggested that we make some sandwiches and have a picnic back at the creek, we just had to do it!  After all, we are storing up the sunshine for the winter!  It was such a lovely day that was so needed by all of us.  As we were riding in the back of the truck to get to the creek, Sadie took a giant deep breath and said, "Ahhhh... my favorite thing is being in a big open space with my family!"  Cheesy?  Absolutley- but it just goes to show, that the best things in life are free.  Who needs Disney Land when there are rocks to skip, trees to climb, creeks to cross and Grannys to squeeze?

A little light reading on Botswana up in the tree :-)

“Sometimes,' said Pooh, 'the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” ― A.A. Milne
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