September 29, 2011

Small Victories

Last night, I saw my son pretend.  It may seem like a small thing to you, but to me, it was everything.  Miles came home from Africa not knowing how to play.  Sure, he enjoys his toys and can push a toy car around for hours, but he never could figure out how to really play with his toys, or join in a game with the other kids.  I know that he's smart enough to, but there has always been a disconnect in his brain that won't allow him to see objects as anything other than what they are.  Other children his age could pretend to be a baby when they are playing family with some bigger kids.  Or other children could pick up a banana and pretend it was a phone.  Not Miles.  A banana is a banana is a banana, and the only thing you do with it is eat it.

When we adopted a toddler, it never occurred to me that abstract play would be something that would take so long to "pick up".  I always just assumed that kids were hard wired to know how to play.  I was very wrong.  Not having ample opportunity to explore and pretend in those critical development years really affects those things that we just assume are supposed to come "naturally" to children.

I think I never saw this disconnect in Miles' brain more than when we were working on his fear of animals with his psychologist.  We came up with a program to help desensitize and rewire Miles' thinking to see our dog as part of the family and not something to be feared (I think I'll post a video later of how we did this).  The process was agonizingly slow.  We began with using an oven mitt that looked like a dog.  It was very obviously not a dog but when we pretended to bark and made the over mitt "lick" Miles like our dog would, that oven mitt became a real dog in his mind.  My son went weeks were he was terrified of an oven mitt because he couldn't distinguish the difference between reality and play.  The lines were jumbled and he just couldn't make sense of an environment where things weren't as they were supposed to be. 

Unless his play revolved around pushing a car on the same path of floor day in and day out, it was awkward and unnatural.  I had gotten used to seeing his brother line up action figures creating scenarios of all kinds and making up a whole world in his head.  Miles just couldn't do that.  His world is very black and white and he still (even almost 2 years later) often reverts back to his survival instincts to make sure that his needs will get met.  I think that in his mind, there was no room for pretending.  Why make up an alternate world when you were still genuinely worried that maybe you wouldn't get what you needed in the real world?

When he started school about a month ago, he went through a week long period of severe regression.  Miles couldn't "remember" how to walk or eat.  He drooled when he took a drink like he couldn't remember that the next step was to swallow.  He stopped using the toilet.  He was aggressive with his siblings.  He was putting his shoes on the wrong feet on purpose.  He stopped making eye contact.  For a long time, I wondered if we were doing the right thing for our son, sending him to school so young so that he could get the therapies that he needs.  He slowly adjusted to school and began thriving again, not only at home, but people in his school have told us that he is just so happy and smiley to be there.  He seems to really be firing on all cylinders and I think that a new environment was just what he needed.  Spending daily structured time away from me where he can see that I always come back has helped to solidify our bond for him.  It's given him a practical, tangible lesson in permanence.  Last night, it was confirmed to me that we absolutely made the right choice for HIM. 

Last night was just a typical night.  One kid was doing homework, one kid was watching TV.  And lo and behold, we looked over at Miles and there he was- sitting on the floor with an action figure, making it talk and fly.  He was in his own little world.  A world that he thought through and created.  A world that he allowed himself to slip into because he was comfortable and settled enough in the real world.  I just looked at him for a while.  My sweet little son, who is usually so hyper vigilant that he knows when a person walks in a room, had no idea I was even there, watching him make Batman climb up the steps and run away from some unknown pursuer.  He was having so much fun and was actually lost in his play for the first time. 

It's the little moments that make this journey of adoption so amazing.  The looks, the connections, the setbacks that so often make you realize just how much progress had been made, the love that takes time to grow and the moments where Batman can make a little boy feel like he's right where he's supposed to be.

 

September 27, 2011

You Are Invited!

If you are local, come on out to:
 
Outdoor Family Movie Night For CONGO

Featuring: Soul Surfer (rated PG)


Saturday, October 8th at 6:30 pm (movie will begin at dark)

Simpsonville City Park
Old Veechdale Road- Simpsonville, KY (behind city hall)

$ 3/ person or max $10/ family

Bring the entire family for a fun night out.

100% of the money raised will go to caring for orphans and families in the
Democratic Republic of Congo

Bring blankets and lawn chairs

FREE popcorn * All other concessions by donation

* PLAYGROUND * BAKE SALE * RAFFLE * DOOR PRIZES



Hope to see you there!  Please visit this LINK for the event's FB page to RSVP.


Gingerbread Cake With Warm Caramel Sauce

When I was a little girl and the weather would start to turn cool, my mom would make gingerbread cake with ooey gooey caramel sauce all over it.  It's comfort food at it's best. I made some last night and my daughter pronounced it the most awesome thing ever.  I hope that you love it just as much as we do!
 

Gingerbread Cake With Warm Caramel Sauce

Ingredients: 
Cake:
one boxed gingerbread cake mix and ingredients to prepare it

Sauce:
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 Tablespoons corn syrup
3 Tablespoons butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:
Prepare gingerbread cake as the box instructs.  For the sauce- mix the first 4 ingredients and cook just to boiling, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Stir until smooth.  Pour on top of warm gingerbread cake.  I like to poke holes in the cake with a fork when it is just out of the oven so that it soaks up the sauce. Enjoy! 

P.S.  Leftover caramel sauce is mindblowing over ice cream :-) 

September 26, 2011

My Beef With Lionel Richie

I have a bone to pick with Lionel Richie (or the Commodores, or whoever).  Somewhere along 1977, they gave us the song "Easy Like Sunday Morning".  Lionel and his cronies obviously didn't try wrangling children to church on Sunday mornings or they would never in a million years have recorded this song.  "Easy Like Sunday Morning" conjures up this picture in my head of a man, dressed in a fuzzy bathrobe and slippers.  He's dunking his donut into his coffee and reading the paper while the dog lays at his feet.  And maybe for that guy, his Sunday morning is easy.  But I'd like to see Lionel write a song about that guy's wife...

...That guy's wife.  Aye carumba.  I'd venture to guess that many of us mama's who try to get our kids to church would like to kick the easy Sunday morning notion in the teeth.  Here's how a typical Sunday morning goes in my house:

1. Roll out of bed when kids start running down the steps like elephants. I contemplate pretending that I don't hear them, but then realize that they will most likely kill each other or rip the house apart from ceiling to floor if I don't get up and get food in their stomachs.

2. Cook breakfast.  On Sundays, I really try to make a hot breakfast for my family.  It's like my penance to make up for the amount of pop tarts I shove down their throats during the school week.

3. Clean up breakfast.  Load dishwasher. Sweep up crumbs. 

4.  Give the dog medicine.  Shove the same pill down her throat at least five times since she hocks it up and spits it out every single time.  I try hard not to cuss at her since it is Sunday and she's sick.

5.  Finally take time to gulp some caffeine.  Now, my nose wakes up enough to realize that Miles smells like poop.  Our conversation goes like this, "Miles, did you poop in your pants?"  Him, "Ummmm.  No, mommy.  Sadie did it."  Me, "Sadie pooped in your pants?"  Miles, "Yeah."  I quickly realize that giving him the third degree does no good.  He gets bathed and lotioned and his hair gets lotioned and combed and his clothes get put on.  Then I move to the second kid.

6.  Kid number 2's sensory issues get the best of him when we switch from the summer to the fall wardrobe.  We have the conversation about how it is too cold to wear soccer shorts for the three hundredth time.  We discuss the need to wear pants to church instead of pajamas.  He cries.  We hug.  I try to do a little occupational therapy voodoo on the kid and we get his pants buttoned.  Then we deal with socks.  And shoes.  God help me.  Why does it come as a surprise to everyone that they have to wear shoes when we go to church every single time.  PEOPLE!  Yes, we are from Kentucky, but you can not go to church with no shoes.

7.  Then I have a shoes fight with kid number 3.  Every Sunday she gripes and moans that she wants to wear high heels to church.  Her feet are enormous and she nearly wears women's sizes in shoes.  And women's high heels are not appropriate for her.  Call me a prude, but she is seven and a little girl- not a tiny hooker.  I made the mistake of buying her some teeny tiny high heels a couple of years ago when they were on clearance.  On the occasional Sunday she still tries to jam her foot in them Cinderella's step-sister style and whines when she realizes for the seventy eleventh time that they are about 4 sizes too small.  Then there is hair to comb, teeth to brush and dresses to be mulled over.

8.  Then I drag myself to the tub.  I think about shaving my legs, but it's too much effort.  I look over at myself in the mirror and sigh.  I drag myself over to the closet and sigh.  I have a bazillion summer dresses but nothing for fall weather except a size six navy dress that just sits in my closet to serve as a reminder that at one time in my life I was thin and fit into a nice navy dress.  Damn navy dress.  I ask my husband, who wears a suit to work every day if he will be embarrassed of me if I wear jeans to church.  He tries to smile sweetly at me, knowing that no answer about a woman's wardrobe is acceptable.  I go and pull my jeans out  of the dryer and spend the next ten minutes doing the pants dance trying to get them buttoned because I'm too lazy to look for my spanx.

9.  One kid spills a drink all down the front of them and has to be changed.

10.  Find my socks, find my shoes, and lament that flip flop season is over.

11.  I look for my check book to write a check to church, pulling everything out of cabinet looking for said checkbook.  I check the bank balance to make sure I don't bounce a check to church. 

12.  Start telling the children and husband that it is time to load up and go to church as I run around gathering things and throwing them in my purse.  Five minutes later, I'm still running around, one shoe on, one earring on, searching for my wedding band and yelling, "Get in the car!  Time to go!"  I run to the bathroom to brush my teeth and hope to knock my bad breath down.  By this point I'm screaming, "GET IN THE CAR RIGHT NOW!  WE ARE GOING TO BE LATE!"  It finally registers to them that maybe they should move or mom is going to blow a gasket.

13.  Load three kids in the van.  Slink down in my seat and let out a giant breath.  Husband says something like "Why are you sweating?" and I sigh.

14. I spend the entire ride to church thinking about serenity and trying to recuperate from the morning while the children argue about what to listen to on the radio.

15.  Walk into church, put on a smile and pray fervently that in the rare event that Lionel Richie walks into the sanctuary, that God gives me the restraint I need to keep from strangling him.

September 23, 2011

The One Where I Realize I'm Getting Dumber and Skelebob Visits

My kids are out of school today for teacher development.  The mister took the day off of work because we were planning on taking the littles camping tonight.  However, a couple of things happened to derail our plans.  One, it's pouring down rain.  And two, Super SkeleBOB is visiting.

BOB is what we sometimes call Noah because he is so skinny.  It stands for Bag Of Bones.  One day he decided that BOB was not cool enough and declared that his name was Skelebob.  Of course we thought that it was hilarious and the name stuck like glue.  But this week he's had a terrible stomach virus (compliments of his sister) and over the course of three short days, he lost over 15% of his body weight.  You can see every vertebrae in his back.  His knees look like rocks with toothpicks coming out the bottom.  He's so thin that I'm surprised he can even walk.  When he turns sideways, he almost disappears, thus we added the "Super" to skelebob making him Super Skelebob.  So camping in the rain is absolutely out of the realm of possibility for him.  Since today is the first day that he's not carrying a barf bowl around with him, we are going to begin our mission of bulking him back up to his regular BOB status. 

So what do you do on a day where it's raining and the whole family is cooped up together?  If you're nerdy like us, you play geography apps.


When Miles realizes that there is a camera around, he instantly turns it on.  We are changing his middle name to "Look At Me".
I thought that I would kill the rest of the fam on the state capitals.  After all, I once aced a test on the state capitals in the 5th grade (20 something years ago) and I truly believed that I would have retained every single bit of that information.  On the first run through, we knew the capital of the state that we lived in and only a handful of others.  I mean seriously- those New England states gave us fits.  Some people joke that teenagers think they know everything, but I really think that I knew a whole lot more back then.  I'm getting dumber in my old age.  Now my brain is jumbled up with all kinds of useless knowledge like "one scoop of formula for every 2 ounces of water" and "stick a lemon in the disposal when it starts to stink".  There's no room left for knowing that Pierre is the capital of South Dakota.  It's been pushed out by mommy junk.  I think I should just stick to Angry Birds and fattening up Skelebobs.

Hope you have a great weekend! 

September 21, 2011

Cost and Transparency In Congo Adoptions

When we completed our Congolese adoption in February of 2010, there were only a handful (I think only 4) agencies working there.  Now, just 19 short months later, there are dozens of agencies with pilot programs.  I get emails all the time asking me which agencies I would recommend to families. The organization that we worked with is no longer completing adoptions.

Since we didn't work with any other agencies, I don't feel qualified to recommend any of them.  As with all countries, you hear horror stories from some agencies.  You hear how some are completing adoptions unethically.  You hear of children coming home whose stories just don't match up with what their agency told them.  I've even heard of people given referrals for babies who haven't even been born yet!  As we all know, pregnant moms in third world countries typically wouldn't make an "adoption plan" for their unborn child unless they were approached and that is just out and out illegal. And there are some agencies that are doing great work and are also committed to helping the children left behind in Congo. So my best advice is to do an insane amount of research before you choose and agency.  Check out the reviews online.  Talk to other parents who have used that agency- and I'm not talking about the parents that the agency tells you to talk to.  Use the powers of the Internet to find them on your own and ask the hard questions.  Not just the "how long did it take" questions, but the ones that make people uncomfortable.  The "did you see anything that made you feel uncomfortable about the way the adoption was completed" and the "did you feel like officials in Congo were paid the appropriate amounts of money for the services they did" kinds of questions.

I think that those of us close to the program fear corruption in the system above all else.  I know that one of the taboo topics in adoption is money.  I think that it is because to the outside world it seems like we are talking about how much our children "cost".  But to those in the process, it is vital to talk about costs because it is one of the fastest ways to spot corruption.  For that reason, I'm posting today about the cost of our Congolese adoption in hopes that parents completing adoptions have a frame of reference to know if something is amiss.  I'm hearing reports of adoptions from Congo costing about twice as much money as they should and it grieves me that so many are profiting on the misfortune of orphans along the way.  As with all things, costs vary quite a bit- especially over time, so this is intended to be a guide and not a definitive declaration.  I'll denote things that could vary with a star and explain them at the bottom.

Congolese Adoption Costs- Completed Feb. 2010

Agency Application                                                                            $200
Homestudy                                                                                        $1500 *
USCIS filing fee/fingerprints/background checks                                 $910
Congolese Attorney and Congo Court Costs/ translations                   $5500
Flight for one adult/one lap child                                                         $2550  **
Taxi and Daily Escort in DRC                                                            $725
US Embassy Appointment                                                                 $400
Accomodations and meals for one adult/one child for 1 week             $1000
Foster Care for one month/child medical care                                     $250
Adult Vaccines and Visa Entry                                                           $900
Passport for One Child                                                                      $375
Stipend to Orphanage                                                                        $3500  ***
Travel Insurance/Western Union wiring fees                                       $350
DGM fee to get exit clearance                                                      $50    ****

Total costs to adopt one child from DRC                                                                                       $18,210 

A few notes:

* Homestudy fees vary greatly from state to state.  We decided that every agency would eventually give us the report that we needed so we used the one in our state that was the cheapest. 

** Flights now are way more expensive than they were in 2010.  In many instances, you can expect to pay about twice as much for an international flight.    

***  Orphanage Stipend.  Typically, I'm not pro-orphanage stipend.  I think that if orphanages expect to get stipends it can sometimes cause them to "find" babies to fulfill a "need".  However, because we knew that the particular orphanage that our son was from and were comfortable with the transparency they showed in accounting and proving the parentage and orphan status of children that were being adopted, we felt 100% confident that supporting our son's orphanage was the right thing to do.  His orphanage is under the control of the church denomination that we attend and we know the volunteers that travel there regularly and knew without hesitation that the orphanage stipend was not used in a corruptible manner. 

**** DGM fee.  I highlighted this bit of information particularly because this is the posted amount that DGM requires to issue an exit clearance for your adopted child to leave the country.  Often it takes a long time (sometimes several weeks) to be issued this clearance.  If your agency is expecting you to pay more than the posted amount for this exit clearance, you need to think long and hard about weather or not someone was bribed to expedite clearances.  

A few words about "agency fees".  You will notice that we didn't pay anything except the application fee to our organization to assist with our adoption.  They are all volunteer and do not require to be paid for their services.  I get that this is a rarity in the adoption world.  I do think that agency directors and people on the ground working to help get your children home do deserve to be paid.  They absolutely deserve to be compensated for their time and expertise.  Just make sure that you know up front what these costs will be and ask that they be itemized so that you can be rest assured that the fees are not exorbitant.  While I do believe that people working in the adoption industry deserve to make a living, I do not feel that it is ethical to profit from the plight of the fatherless in the world.  Only you can determine if agency fees are fair and ethical.

I hope that this information helps families that are walking this journey to have a jumping off point.  It is often complicated and overwhelming.  Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section and I'll do my best to put together a Congo adoption FAQ post next week.                                                                                                                                         

September 20, 2011

Happenings

*  I'm finally feeling a little bit better!  It's such a huge sigh of relief to be semi functional again!

*  I took my daughter to an informational meeting about Girl Scouts.  The woman leading the meeting said that we couldn't have a troop unless at least 2 or 3 moms stepped up to lead it.  Which means that we all sat there looking at each other in silence for the next 15 minutes waiting for someone to cave and say they'll do it.  Several times Sadie nudged me and said, "Mom.  They  mean you.  You are supposed to raise your hand."  I pretended like I couldn't hear her. 

* Many, many, many (like a crazy amount) of my in real life friends have announced over the last few weeks that they are adopting!  Which is awesome.  For some of them it's kid number 5 or 6 or 8.  For some it's the first baby.  In all the situations I am so overjoyed for them that I can hardly contain myself.  I get positively giddy thinking about children coming home.  But part of me is also very jealous.  I see us with a little, brown girl with a head full of braids and snaps coming to us by way of the foster care system and because it's not happening right this minute, I feel a bit jealous.  Actually a lot jealous.  Man, I HATE jealousy!  But, I'm hoping that this is a good lesson in patience for me.  As Kamron's grandma says, "Lord, Give me patience, and give it to me NOW!"

* Not that I'm in any position to give parenting advice, but a friend of mine suggested that we give this idea a try and it has changed my life.  Each kid now has their own hanging closet organizer.  In each little cubby, you have everything you need to complete one outfit, down to the sock, undies and accessories.  This way, they can just grab the entire contents of one cubby and have everything they need to get ready for school.  This handy idea has made all the difference in our morning routine.  No one freaks out about where a missing shirt is or how they can't find their socks.  I load it up on Saturday or Sunday and we are good to go for the entire week.

Ignore the rest of the closet mess.  This is as good as it gets around here!  :-)

* My mom moved a mile down the street from me.  Not in that creepy sort of Everybody Loves Raymond way, but in that, "Mom, I'm running late!  Can you run to my house and get the kids off the bus" kind of way.  This is going to be A-mazing!  Luckily, she called in the first favor by having me run to her new house to let the refrigerator delivery guys in.  I also delivered dinner to her house last night in hopes that when I call in the next 25 neighborly "favors" she'll remember that I make the best lasagna on the planet and she's willing to do whatever it takes to get another pan of it.  I wonder how long it will take before one of the children realizes that they can run away to GranMary's?  I give it two weeks.  I'm so lucky to have such a cute, fun mom! 

* Speaking of parents, I went out on a date with my dad last week.  We very rarely go out without the kids because the kids are so crazy about their Papaw Johnny that they don't let that happen very much.  Every since my parents got divorced, I've taken on the role of shopping for my dad's clothes for him.  He takes me out to dinner and I play Rachel Zoe for a night twice a year.  It is truly fabulous.  I took my dad out for his first cup of St@rbucks foo foo coffee and one of us *may* have made the shocking confession that they cried the last time they saw Dirty Dancing.  I'm so proud of the awesome grandpa that my dad has become.  Even though I was a daddy's girl to the core, my father will be the first to admit that he wishes he would have done a lot of things differently in raising his children.  He's more than righting those wrongs with his grandchildren.  It makes my heart smile every time I see him with my kids.  And one of my favorite things about him?  He never talks about my mother with anything but pure respect.  How many children of divorce can say that one?  I feel so incredibly blessed to have such a great relationship with my mom and dad.

* Last Friday night, Sadie and I and her BFF and her BFF's mom went to a book signing.  Lisa Yee (who wrote the latest American Girl books) was in our town.  Ms. Yee gave the girls a great talk about how they can be whatever they want to be and how they always have the freedom to change their minds.  As a mother, I love having other strong women deliver this message to my baby girl!  I think us moms had more fun than the little girls.  We pretty much giggled like 8 year olds and acted completely inappropriate and embarrassed our daughters.  It was glorious!



Sadie and author Lisa Yee
After the book signing, we went to a great area of town and had the city's best gelato.  There was a little festival going on and Sadie and her friend practiced their dance moves and ate their gelato and pretended to have brain freeze.
Those girls are so sweet and fun!  But the fun turned sour when at 1am, Sadie came downstairs to our bedroom sick as a dog.  I thought it was just too much junk food, but by the next day she had a full blown stomach bug, which she has so graciously shared with the middle little.  But even when she's sick and in bed for three days, she's still just so darn cute!

Before the middlest came down with the dreaded stomach bug, I was able to con him into a foot massage during the big UK/UL game.  That boy loves his mama!
 * There's a little giveaway going on over at the Millions of Miles Facebook page.  The giveaway benefits the Hendersons as they prepare to bring home their son from Ethiopia!

* I'm off to care for sick kidlets!  I feel terrible that they all feel so crummy, but is it bad that I secretly kinda like when they are calm and quiet and just want to lay on the couch and snuggle all day?

The view outside our front door last week! 

September 16, 2011

Where Babies Come From

For a long, long, long time (entirely not long enough, though) when the question of where babies came from came up, my children would say, "Africa.  Duh."  Actually, I added the duh just to prove that I'm a product of coming of age in the 90's.  But truly, they thought that when you wanted a baby, you just went to Africa and got one.  And they came in a variety of colors and ages, etc. and you just brought them home, put some baby Gap on 'em and tada! Babies.  That's one of the joys of adoption.  You get to pass all kinds of things like this off. 

Then one day the big kids noticed that some people we knew actually had babies IN THEIR STOMACHS.  Shut the front door, y'all- the big kids are almost 8 and 5 and they are just now realizing this baby in the belly phenomenon.  I'm not sure if they are just non-observant or if they think that some people just randomly get implanted with basketballs under their shirts sometimes or what has caused this lack of knowledge, but such is life.  It was a random Tuesday, about a month ago, when the question that every parent dreads came out of their little innocent mouths, "Mom?  Where do babies come from?" 

I truly tried to just say Africa but they weren't having it this time. Darn it.

Noah said, "But how do the babies get to Africa?"

Ummmm... I fumbled.  I wasn't sure how far to go with this one.  I know that when kids are old enough to ask serious questions, they deserve to have serious answers.  But as the bullets of sweat dropped down my forehead I was really praying that I was NOT going to have to give the birds and bees talk.  Speaking of, why in the world do they call it "birds and bees".  Birds just seem to hop around in the grass in close proximity together and then voila!  Eggs.  I'm pretty sure that I didn't end up with my first two kids by hopping around in the grass too close to someone.  If that was true that these kids could be any body's because ya know- I'm kinda partial to hopping around in the grass with strangers.  Just call me a bird whore.

I finally figured out that they had no interest in how the babies got into the bellies.  What they really wanted to know is how they got out of the bellies.  The conversation went a little something like this. 

Me: "Well, Noah.  Mommies go to the hospital and the doctor helps get the babies out."
Noah: "But how?"

Me:  "Ummm.  You know how mommy and Sadie don't have penises?  We have a special place that babies come out of.  Only girls have that special place so only girls can have babies.  (And OMG.  I really did say "special place" to my son.  What the freckle was I thinking?  I think I caved under the pressure.  I have got to get better at saying "vagina" in my real life.  Or "magenta" as I called it as a kid.  I also called it a "slick" as a toddler but that's probably a whole other post.  For the record- I think I meant "slit" and it just came out all wrong.  For a period of a few year. *sigh*)

Noah:  But really, Mom.  How does it actually come out."

Me:  Mommies push and push and push and the babies comes out.

Noah:  Oh.  Okay.

Then the kid looked at me.  He seemed satisfied with that answer and ran off.  Then I heard him yell to his sister, "Sadie!  Mom says when you are a grown up girl you have to go to the hospital and POOP and a baby will come out!  Gross!"

I'm chalking the whole thing up as one of my finest parenting conversations to date.  In fact, I'm including it on my application for mother of the year.  I'm also adding "poops babies" to my list of super powers.

September 14, 2011

Plugging Along

I thought I was going to have gobs and gobs of time to do an endless array of things when I finally had all three kids in school.  The reality is completely different.  They are all three at three different schools which all start and end at three different times.  What this means is that I now have a million different alarms set on my phone reminding me when to go and pick which one up and when to get one ready to go and when to go out and meet the bus and in all honesty, I don't have any more time that I had when they were all home!  Add to that that I am STILL dealing with with the demonic dizziness known as vertigo and well- you can understand why I'm a bit on the cranky side!

When I had Noah, I was sick continuously for 8 1/2 months.  During that time, my body got really good at expelling whatever it didn't want in dramatic fashion.  After that, my body's "go to" reflex is to puke whenever I get even the slightest bit "off".  So this continuous dizziness has me hugging the toilet every time I bend over to pick up toys or roll over too fast in bed.  For the record, I've taken about a billion pregnancy tests since anything that stays this sick for this long, in my opinion, has to be pregnant. They are all negative- including the one that my doctor made me take in her office before she would give me any meds since she didn't believe me that the 4 billion sticks I'd peed on were all negative. 

So I'm plugging along, trying to live our normal life while we get used to this new phase where all the kids have somewhere to be all the time.  We are trying to squeeze the most out of the last few days of summer by playing with the water hose whenever possible.


Wielding the water hose gives Noah a power trip!



The great part about all the different schedules is that I am getting more one on one time with each of the boys, which is really fun.  It also makes me realize that I never appreciated how easy it was to just have one child!  Noah and I spend our mornings reading books about dinosaurs and playing board games.  Miles always wants to go to Target on his "special time".  Miles is cracking us up with his synopsis of school.  He gets off the bus every single day and says, "I have good day skoo.  I eat ceweo and meok (cereal and milk)."  And that is all that we know about his days at school.  That cereal must make a major impact because it is the only part of his day that he remembers.  We can ask if he played with friends and did games in his classroom and he just looks at me like I have four heads.  But the minute I bring up cereal and milk at school he can't stop talking about how much cereal he eats there.  He must be going for the world record for Cheerios consumption.

And speaking of food at school... I'm about to defriend all the people I know on facebook who have posted pictures of their kids' lunches that include things like homemade hummus that they got up at 4am to make and cottage cheese with garden tomatoes that they picked out of their garden in the dark of the morning while the rest of the world is still asleep.  Seriously.  I puke a little in my mouth just thinking about it.  My philosophy on school lunches is this:  you get whatever is leftover from dinner the night before or a sandwich on bread that I bought on sale at the grocery store that probably has enriched flour in it.  I have come up with this philosophy that if you give a kid enough preservatives that they will be preserved forever and I will get to keep them around till they are 640 years old.  Not really, but I just know I'm never going to be that mom that has it together enough to send those kinds of lunches to school or have hours and hours of time to volunteer in the school library or other such good mom tasks. 

For now, I think I'll just stick with spraying my kids in the butt with the water hose and playing another 40 rounds of Candy Land.  In my book, that's way more fun that making homemade hummus any day!       
 

September 10, 2011

Catching Up

Wouldn't life be so much easier if moms got sick days?  I think that I got a total of only 5 sick hours over the last two weeks while dizziness and nausea took over my body- which is probably why it's taking me so long to get over it!  In addition, we've had a whole lot going on over the last few weeks!  These children are hitting all kinds of milestones!

Miles had his first day of headstart preschool.  He LOVES school.  I mean, he REALLY loves school.  He wakes up clapping and begging to go to school.  He thinks that riding the bus is the best thing that has ever happened to him.  It has caused an insane amount of regression at home, but I'm hoping that once he gets adjusted that he will go back to "normal".  I wanted him to go desperately.  He needs to be in situations where he can practice being around other children without seeing them as competition and he needs to be given opportunities to see that mommy always comes back even if I'm gone for a couple of hours.  Plus- in all seriousness, this kid is just as high maintenance as he is cute and I NEED the three hours a day that he's at school to keep my sanity.  He has a great IEP and awesome therapists and teachers so I have high hopes that this whole things will turn out great...eventually.



Noah also started preschool.  He has his same super sweet teacher that he had last year and his three best friends are in his class as well.  I should say, his three best girl friends.  He spent twenty minutes gelling and fixing his hair for the first day.  And yes, he has a puppy dog binder.  I'm just letting him be himself and he's totally into that puppy dog binder (and hair gel). 

A certain little girl lost another tooth and got her gold belt in tae kwon do!


The mister and I celebrated nine years of marriage this week.  We went to celebrate at a fondue restaurant because nothing spells romance like dipping stuff into chocolate. 


And to top off the week, our tiny town had our fall festival.  We rode our bikes to the festival and reveled in how awesome small town living is.  Then we went to the fall parade.  The front of our neighborhood is right at the beginning of the parade route.  What this means is that all the little children who have bags of candy to throw out are over eager and my children come home with more candy than on Halloween.  This also means that they are wound up and cranky and I'm thinking of making them go to bed before dinner because I just can't take the sugar crash craziness any longer!  Maybe someone will put me to bed early as well!  A girl can dream can't she? 



September 06, 2011

A little update

No- I haven't died!  I'm dealing with a terrible bout of vertigo that makes the room turn sideways and spin to the left until I'm so disoriented, I end up heaving in the bathroom! (Like you really wanted to know that!) I'll liken it to drinking 4 margaritas and then jumping into bed only to find that the bed spins around all Exorcist style.  Not good at all!  It is typically made worse by staring at the computer.  The last time this happened to me, it lasted about 10 days.  So hopefully it won't last too much longer!  Until then, I am on a self imposed blogging break!  I haven't read a blog or kept up with Facebook or Twitter at all in well over a week, so I feel like I'm living in a bubble where no information can travel in or out!  It's a little cuh-razy!  Here's to hoping this bout ends soon! 

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