January 31, 2012

The View From The Kitchen Table (a foster care update)

This is what my kitchen table looks like this morning:

We are now completely entrenched in our journey of becoming foster parents in hopes of adopting through foster care.  Y'all, this is only about 1/6 of the paperwork I'm working on.  And I kinda LOVE it!  I like forms.  I like the way that print looks on a page and I love how when I get done with one of these babies that I put a little check next to that item on my checklist and I'm that much closer to having another daughter in my home.

But more than that, I LOVE that this time my husband and I are in this together.  With our first adoption, I drug him kicking and screaming the whole way.  I filled out every single stitch of paperwork by myself and just had him sign on the dotted line.  It was all me. This is a tactic that I don't at all recommend.  I'd be lying if I made it out to sound like this fourth child is all his idea.  It's not.  It is still overwhelmingly me who is wanting to add to our family this time as well.  (That and our older children begging for a sister.)  But this time, well, this time we are doing the whole thing (paperwork and all!) together and it just feels so much more "right".  We came to the decision jointly that if adoption was how our family was going to grow that foster care seemed the most right for our current needs and for the children that we already have.  It was not me strong arming all the way and having done it now both ways, this is a way more enjoyable process!  Going to these classes and learning together and being forced to do surveys on one another's parenting techniques has been (dare I say it) fun.

We are on coming up on week 3 of our ten weeks of foster parent training.  This stuff is just fascinating to me.  In Kentucky, when we chose to do an international adoption, we were not required in any way to do any kind of classes, watch any kind of videos or got through ANY kind of preparation whatsoever to bring a child into our home.  We were sorely wrong to be under the assumption that babies and toddlers "never had any psychological problems".  We knew about attachment issues and had read some books, but we'd never listened to a lecture on why trauma affects children the way it does and how that related to development and a child's ability to form meaningful relationships. We thought that if we just didn't bring in a teenager with severe sexual abuse, we would be on smooth sailing.  Boy, were we naive.  In short- we were grossly unprepared.

Going through these foster parent preparation classes is so eye-opening for me.  It is all information that we had to learn when we suddenly found ourselves with a son with severe PTSD and attachment issues, but it is so awesome to have a refresher and hear it presented in a new and unique way. I wish wish wish that we had taken something like this before we brought Miles home.  It would have eased so much frustration in our home and in many ways I feel like we failed our son in those early days because of how unprepared we were.  The good thing about making mistakes, though, is that you don't have to make them twice.  We are going into this one with our eyes wide open and find that we leave challenged from every single class.  

In working through this mountain of paperwork, I've discovered so many  new things about our family and my husband.  It's making us talk about aspects of parenting that we've never talked about before.  And this is going to be beneficial to all of our children, not just the new one that will come to live with us.  So in a weird way, I'm kind of grateful to the state of Kentucky for now being so up in my biz-nass.    

In other news, our case worker is a blog reader and recruited us to foster care that way.  (Holla, Shelley!)  How do you think that's going to play into our homestudy?  If I read through my homestudy and find a blurb in there about my desire to complete Christine's sex challenge or how I get nekkid in front of strangers in the Congo, or how my kids tell their teachers that I've been in jail, I may have a bone to pick. (Just kidding, Shel!) 

If I suddenly go missing, look for me under the stack of papers.  If I'm not there, the children were probably being psychotic and I'm hiding from them in the bathroom.   

Week One Check-In

My first week on Nutrisystem was a smashing success.  The first week on any new kind of eating plan is always tough getting adjusted to, but this one was not too bad!

The first day was a little rocky.  The premise behind Nutrisystem is that they send you all of your meals and dessert (oh the desserts!), but you add in your own vegetables, fruits and snacks.  I wasn't quite sure what to add in and when to do it, so that first day, so I don't think that I ate all of the food that I was supposed to and I felt a little hungry.  By the second day, I found my groove.  I was armed with tons of fresh fruits, roasted nuts, and veggies and I felt like my body was at that perfect point of being satisfied without feeling hungry or overly stuffed.  After being overly stuffed nearly every day for a year, this was a HUGE change for me. 

I used the handy dandy Nutrisystem app (which is my new phone obsession) to help me track what I was eating and when I should be eating it.  For example, Nutrisystem has it down to a science, what times of the day it's better for you to have a snack full of protein and what time it's better to eat fruits to keep your body feeling full and satisfied and giving it exactly what it needs when you need it.

I have to say that my favorite part of the Nutrisystem plan so far is the protein shakes.  I've been having one of these mid morning every day.  Before this, I'd never in my life had a protein shake, but I've got to say- the creamy chocolate protein shakes are rocking my world!  It's like drinking melted ice cream.  And the best part?  It's in addition to your meals- not a replacement for your meals.  I'm not a drink your meals kind of girl, so this plan is perfect for me.  I get the protein supplement and my regular meals.  Score!

In addition to the awesome food and protein shakes, I also tried to get moving this week.  For starters it was only two days this week ( a long walk with my mom and a bike ride with the kids).  But that's two more days than I did the week before and I'm going to try to keep building on it. Small steps!

Now it's time for the big reveal... this week's total weight loss is... -5.2 pounds.  Whoop Whoop!  I know that I can't expect it to be that drastic every week, but I'm looking forward to seeing that number continue to trend downward as I get my health back in order!

If you'd like to do this Nutrisystem journey along side of me, check out how to get started on their website!

Disclaimer: As compensation for sharing my journey with Nutrisystem, I am provided all meals and support services free of charge.  However, all opinions about the program are entirely my own.

January 29, 2012

How to repel a man

I don't know if you guys are as big of a fanatic about old episodes of Friends as I am, but do you remember the episode when Joey has to get a new roommate and he picks a hot girl name Janine (Elle McPherson) to live with him? 

Joey wanted to date his new live in hottie soooo badly, but the rest of the gang finally made him realize that it was not a good move to date his roommate.  However, he was afraid that his natural charm would seduce Janine anyway and so he asked Chandler (always awkward and unlucky in love) for advice on how to repel women. 

This episode played over and over in my mind over the last few days as I became a man/husband/human repeller.  In case you want to know how to repel a man, this is it...

Do I look good or what?  (And all the peanut gallery screams "or what!")  I have had a God awful cold this weekend.  Not just a little cold.  A really big bad cold that makes you think that all of the fluid in your whole body is going to run right out your nose.  We went to visit the in-laws in St. Louis for the weekend and I spent all 5.5 hours in the car like this.  I've never felt more beautiful in my whole life.  *insert sarcasm here*

Last night, I had to double up and put a plug of tissues up both nostrils.  I lay there in bed with my two nose holes plugged up, my earplugs sticking out of each ear and a tampon where those are supposed to go.  Nothing at all was entering my body. I was sealed up like Fort Knox.  I guess technically something could have gotten in, but come on. If you are laying there with toilet paper shoved where there should be no toilet paper, no one is ever going to want to inquire about the other points of entry.

Ladies, this is how you make certain that your husband will ask you for nothing in the bedroom.  Forget faking the headache.  Forget pretending to be asleep when you are really wide awake.  Just get you some tampons, earplugs, and some wads of TP and start shoving these supplies wherever they will fit.  I can guarantee no one will want to even look at you, much less crawl in bed with you. 

And this, dear friends, is how you repel a man.  You can thank me later for this free advice.  You are welcome.

January 26, 2012

A Few Of My Favorite Things

A few things I am totally loving right now:

Favorite Books:
Like everyone else in America, I devoured The Hunger Games Trilogy.  If you liked those (and seriously, who didn't?) I'd recommend the Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie.  They have that same ruling society thing going on which is just fascinating to me.

Favorite Movies I've Seen Lately
In Theatres:  Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.  Holy moly, this was a good one.  And a tear jerker- take a tissue.
On DVD:  Dolphin Tale- this is such a great inspirational family movie- no bad words and a great message.  It's one of those rare movies that grown ups will love just as much as the kids.

Favorite Thing I've Seen On Pinterest:
You can find the pin that leads to the tutorial HERE.

I made this little gem of a gift for my husband last week and gave it to him for the 12th anniversary of the day we met.  Since I am NOT crafty in the least little bit, it took me well over six hours to make and I was totally buzzed off of the rubber cement, but the look on his face as he was reading it was well worth it. (or almost worth it!)

Favorite New Thing on TV:
Infested on Animal Planet: a show about people's crazy bug infestations.  It totally gives me the creepy crawlies, but is fun to watch with the kids.  It airs on Friday nights.
* And of course I'm always watching: Modern Family, Big Bang Theory, Teen Mom 2 and Tori and Dean Home Sweet Hollywood.  I love me some Tori Spelling!

Favorite Blogs:
For Style Ideas (that I will probably never use but like to look at) The Pleated Poppy
On Marriage and Family: Kingdom Twindom +1
About Adoption: Never A Dull Moment
When I Need  A Good Giggle: Flower Patch Farm Girl
On Special Needs:  Noah's Dad

Favorite Article Of Clothing:
I usually stick to blacks, browns and grays, but I decided to bust out of my comfort zone a little and buy a bright cardigan (not that a cardigan will allow you to go super far out of your comfort zone, but still.) I'm loving this pale purple cardi that I got on sale at Target.

Favorite Accessory: 
A few months ago, I won a gift card from an auction to The Vintage Pearl.  I ordered a hand stamped necklace with all my kiddos names on it.  I'm a little bit addicted to wearing it.  I love the way it jingles.  I get so many compliments on how cool and unique this necklace is.  It may just be my favorite necklace I've ever had.

Favorite Ethnic Hair Products:

For a long time, we've been exclusively using Miss Jessie's Baby Buttercream for a daily hair moisturizer. It is worth the price. The 8 oz. tub last us about 6 months. If your kiddos have really damaged hair or have just come home and their hair is needing a little extra TLC, Miss Jessie's Rapid Recovery Treatment is amazing.

Favorite Ethnic Skin Products:
After trying just about every single lotion and body cream on the market, I ordered some of Kiara's homemade organic body butter. It has been a lifesaver for Miles' thirsty skin. The moisture lasts all day and leaves his skin with a beautiful sheen and it smells delicious. Our favorite scent is the sweet orange. We've been using this body butter for almost a year now and I wouldn't put anything else on my little one's skin. It absolutely is the best thing I found to fight dry skin.

Favorite Thing On My Wishlist:
I have a birthday coming up in the spring and I only put one thing on my list:  classic black shoes from Tom's.  And yes, I have already mailed the link on how to order them to my husband's work email. 

Favorite Quick Family Meal:
I've discovered this awesome soap mix (Bear Creek Potato Soup Mix) that is out of this world.  Serve it with a crusty bread and you've got a hearty meal that only takes about 3 minutes of prep time. 

Favorite Child To Advocate For:

Eva is an adorable 1 year old from Wisconsin with what is believed to be a near fatal form of sickle cell.  She needs a very special family to love her despite her uncertain health prognosis  Homestudy ready families can check out her profile HERE.

Always My Fave:
These three little hooligans who call me mom (and who also can't EVER all three look at the camera at the same time!)

What are you loving right now?  Anything out there that's super cool that I should be aware of????

January 24, 2012

Big Giant Photo Dump

As I exported all the photos off my phone, I realized that there are tons that I haven't shared!  One day, I'll have a fancy phone that actually has a flash, until then, I apologize for the crummy quality :-)

Pedicure Time!  I take pride in raising metrosexuals.

"Mom.  Take my picture.  I can make my foot touch my nose.  And I can tell you that my foot smells terrible!"
Chillin' at the dentist.  No cavities!

Papaw Johnny's Birthday dinner at Waffle House. 
Because nothing says you are special and we love you quite like eating eggs and grits at the diner counter.

Papaw Johnny and Miles.  Ladies, he is single (my dad, not Miles)  I'm just sayin'.  I'll hook you up.
*my dad will DIE of embarrassment when he reads this* but I'm totally SERIOUS!

I love this boy.
I found this at the bottom of Sadie's backpack.  I'm assuming that the mean mom on the right is me. 
Aunt Kennethia's birthday dinner!

Kamron's chicken was shaped just like Africa.  He was not amuzed when I stopped him mid-cut to take a picture.
Miles and GranMary

Lazy Saturday morning pancakes.

I saw this truck at the grocery store and it horrified me. 
And then made me feel sorry for this guy's wife. 
Noah and Phil.

January 23, 2012

Riding the Attachment Roller Coaster- On and On and On and...

I've been a little absent from this blog lately.  Parenting has been a pretty much 24 hour a day job for the last 2-3 weeks.  I mean, I get that it's always "supposed" to be a 24 hour a day job, but HELLO! Sometimes we get used to our cozy lives and click it into autopilot for a while.  Those times are nice every now and then- those times when you can stop pedaling and just coast down the hill for a little while.

I always find it's those times when you are coasting and think that you've totally got this mothering thing down, that's when the wheels fall off.  Our wheels are teetering right now with Miles.  He's been riding the attachment roller coaster since he came home almost two years ago. (Dude- do they ever let us off of this ride?!?!) For the last 4 or 5 months, we'd been in an absolutely awesome place with him.  He was doing well at school.  He was loving.  He was making and maintaining appropriate boundaries and relationships.  The boy was firing on all cylinders.  Then...  well, then it all went to hell.  Sometimes I struggle with writing about our attachment insecurity.  I don't want to seem disparaging to my son.  I don't want to put all of his private feelings out on the Internet.  But at the same time, writing about it helps me to make sense of it.  And reading other families' experiences with the same things has helped me on this journey tremendously.  So for better or worse, I'm writing through it.

I can pinpoint the exact moment the shift happened in him.  Our friends lost their sweet adopted son to leukemia a few weeks ago.  Many families from our Congo adoption group were in town to attend the service and we all met for lunch with our children.  9 families.  Lots and lots and lots of cute, little brown children everywhere.  That's when Miles shut down.  I could see it in his eyes.  Surrounded by all those Congolese children, in his mind, Miles was right back in the orphanage.  He has black children in his class.  We have black friends, but for some reason, being in a room full of Congolese children is just different for him.  He goes through this every time we have a reunion, get together, etc.  Every time I think that this time is going to be different and it isn't. 

Two years ago, this little incident would have resulted in continuous raging from Miles: tantrums, violence, screaming and aggression at levels that weren't normal for a two year old.  We've figured out ways to tame the tantrums.  In fact, it's been about a year since he's even had one.  However, he's crossed right over to the other extreme of the insecure attachment spectrum: complete shut down.

It was almost like something in Miles just died inside and he wasn't sure how to make sense of it.  He became physically frozen many times- almost like he couldn't remember that the next step was to move his leg or his arm.  Two years ago, he was stuck in complete fight.  Now he's stuck in complete fright (which is the third thing that I would add to fight or flight.  Psychologists need to add fright in there.  I'm just sayin').  There is a fear that has just taken over him.  He's often been afraid to talk, sometimes becoming mute for hours on end or only muttering incoherent babble while he looks like he's in a trance.

He's gone back to hoarding his food.  People, if you've never deal with a child who has suffered from extreme malnutrition, you just have no idea how often food issues arise.  Two years without adequate nutrition (remember he was 2 years old and only 13.5 pounds) not only does a number on a kid physically, but damages them psychologically for years to come.  Even though we've worked so hard for years to teach Miles that food will always be available, when he gets trapped in fright mode, he forgets that.  He's been throwing up his dinner every single night as a result of anxiety and over stuffing his food.

He forgets how to do his everyday tasks like throwing something in the garbage.  He walks in the kitchen and stops and stares.  He stares at the garbage in his hand.  He'll stare at the garbage can.  He'll ask if the garbage is supposed to go on the chair or in the sink.  When we redirect him to the garbage can, he then looks at it like he can't figure out how to open it even though he's done it a hundred times before.  Same with hand washing. (You mean water comes out of the faucet?) Or putting on shoes (Do these go on my hands?) Or picking out clothes. (He'll get two shirts and no pants)  I understand why he does this.  I get the brain science behind it.  I get the emotional trigger behind it.  I get that he sometimes needs to test us and his boundaries to make sure that we will still love him.  But it still is so frustrating!!!!  I find myself screaming in my head, "Just put on the damn shoes!"  and it makes me angry at myself.

And then there are the weird little things that happen.  Like my mom popping over and Miles telling her over and over again that she needs to leave because she's going to steal his stuff.  My mom handles these kinds of things like a champ.  She and I both calmly reminded him that he is safe in his house and no one will ever steal his things here.  I get that he knows that she doesn't live here and he's protecting his territory, but he adores my  mother and spends lots and lots of time with her and it was a little heartbreaking to see the whole thing play out.

Heartbreaking.  That's a good word to sum the whole thing up.  Heartbreaking and full of suckage.  As much as I wish that I was always patient and loving in response to all the craziness, I'm just not.  I try to give myself some slack and grace when I need it.  After all, how can I give it to my son, if I don't believe in grace for myself.  But holy moly!  When my dinner gets interrupted for the fourth night in a row because the table just got puked on, I *may* just lose it.  (and for the record, we are now giving him one bite at a time and praising him when the whole thing is swallowed and not hoarded) Sometimes it just too easy to get really mad when he's speaking gibberish or not speaking at all when I know that he has words in there and knows how to use them!  Sometimes I wish that I didn't have to put Miles in his room for a break when I know that what he probably needs is some one on one cuddle time with mom.  Sometimes parenting him makes me feel so inadequate.    Sometimes it just reminds me that life isn't fair and that kids shouldn't have to go through abuse and trauma and all the other crap that people do to their kids. 

No one is perfect at this "game".  I screw up with my biological children all the time too.  But for some reason, I don't give myself the same room to mess it all up with Miles.  I feel like he's already been through too much and that he deserves only perfection from me.  I know that it's not realistic.  But for some reason, that's just how I feel. I can't help it.  With Miles, I always wonder if I'm doing the right thing.  I always wonder if I'm doing exactly what he needs or if my attempts at being therapeutic are just screwing him up worse. I'm working on letting that go and realizing that we all screw up our all of our children, no matter how they came to us.   After all, what will they say in therapy when they are older if they couldn't talk about how their mother's screwed them up?  :-) 

I can feel this cycle coming to a close.  He's back to using words 90% of the time.  He's back to interacting appropriately.  He's slowly coming back to that place where he doesn't magically "forget" how to put on his shoes, walk, eat, chew, open his mouth without drooling.  He's sleeping well, and basically get back to himself.  It's a process- and one that takes time and sometimes just has to run it's course.

As I think over the last 2-3 weeks where we've been in this "rut" I'm extremely grateful that we don't visit this place very often anymore.  That this is now more of the exception than the rule.

For my own benefit, I'm just going to take a minute to list a few of the things that I love about Miles.  Do you ever do this?  I think it is great free therapy and an awesome way to get our brains out of focusing on the negative and creating a space for the positive to flood in. (This also works awesome for times when our husbands are being butt heads!)

Miles great qualities:
He is adventurous and loves to go out and try new things and meet new people.
He gives good hugs.
He looks adorable with his backpack on when he's ready to go to school.
He tries to do everything his brother and sister do.  Which drives them crazy, but makes me happy to see him look up to them so much.
He loves his daddy and pounces on him the moment he comes home from work.
He tries to make funny jokes and laughs at himself all the time.
He's athletic and is not afraid to push his body to it's limits.
He never meets a stranger and is friendly to everyone he meets.  He makes a lot of people's days.
Oh, and he's just so darn cute I wanna sqeeze him. 

January 20, 2012

My New Gig

I've got a new "gig" that I am so excited about.  After treating my body like a human garbage disposal for the last 18 months, I'm proud to be Nutrisystem's newest blogger!

All my life, I've been a dieter.  And not a good dieter.  I've done just about every unhealthy thing imaginable to get my weight under control.  As a very young adult, I thought that I was "fat" at 125 pounds.  I'd kinda like to slap that girl now, but she's long gone.  Over the years, my weight has gone up and down and fluctuated with pregnancy, extreme dieting, stress, depression and pretty much everything else that can affect a person's body.  I've suffered from body image and self esteem issues my whole life. 

But now... ahhhh, now...now I'm in a good place.  For the first time in my life, I feel good about ME.  I feel good about the path that I'm on.  I feel good about my marriage.  I feel good about my children.  I feel like I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing with my life.  So now that things on the inside are feeling good, it's time to make the outsides match.

For the last year and a half, I've put nothing but garbage inside my body.  I'd like to give a list of reasons for why this is, but basically, they'd just be empty excuses.  It all boils down to the fact that I just haven't made myself a priority or honored my body in the way it deserves to be honored. There are some days when I get in bed and realize that I've not put a drop of water in my body that wasn't in a carbonated form.  Or had anything green.  Or any fruit.  Or anything of any substance what so ever.  My body has completely revolted.  Weight aside (because I do think you can be healthy at pretty much ANY weight) my body just hasn't felt good.   In the last 8 months, I've had to be scanned twice for suspected cancer.  I've not had very much energy.  I've not been able to sleep as well because the extra weight is causing me to snore.  What I've been putting in my body has directly contributed to the decline of my overall health.  I'm a vibrant and happy 30 year old and my body and unhealthy habits are holding me back!

I've proved to myself that I can't make the lifestyle changes I need to get my health back on track on my own.  Isn't that the first step?  Admitting you are powerless and can't do it on your own?  So when Nutrisystem came a callin' I jumped on that wagon as fast as I could.

You know that I don't use my blog to promote products very often.  Or ever, actually.  But, well, this is my space and this is what I need to get my body back to a healthy place.  I've finally come to the conclusion that I am worthy of dedicating some of this space that I've carved out on the Internet to my journey back to health.

Nutrisystem is going to be my intervention.  Part of my first shipment of food arrived today and here's why I love it:

1. It's easy.  The plan is all laid out and so simple to follow. I'm a busy gal.  And while I want to be mindful of what I'm putting in my mouth, I also don't want to have to obsess over it.  The food obsession is NOT good for me and Nutrisystem's plan allows me to be mindful without constantly having to worry about what I am or am not going to eat next.

2. My consultant allowed me to customize my meals.  (they do this for everyone!)  In my life, I've never felt more healthy and had more energy that when I was a vegetarian.  So I've customized all of my meals to have plenty of protein without actual meat.

3. With cancer being rampant in my family, I've read enough stuff to know that some of the things that we put into our bodies don't help with prevention.  With Nutrisystem, I'm able to take chemicals and preservatives out of pretty much all of my food because their entrees are flash frozen, instead of canned or processed and laden with preservatives.

4. The meals just look so darn tasty.  And lets face it- if it doesn't taste good, lifestyle changes are never going to stick!

Nutrisystem Vegetarian Black Bean Tortilla Soup-
 otherwise know as what I'm dying to have for lunch this week!  Yummo!
I'm inviting all of you to follow along with me as I reclaim my health.  I'll be posting a weekly update with how I'm feeling, how the plan is going and how much excess weight is coming off a result of actually putting good stuff in my body instead of junk.  I'm super excited about it!

I just had my daughter take my before picture.  I figured that today was as good a day as any since I actually had on real clothes and makeup after having coffee out with a pal today.  I'm posting the picture, but I'm not quite ready to claim my weight or my jeans size publicly yet.  I know that I am more than just a number on a scale or a number printed on a label in my pants, so perhaps one day I'll be brave enough to announce my starting weight to the world.  For now, though, I'm just happy to be on the road to wellness with Nutrisystem!  Stay tuned for my transformation...

My before photo
Disclaimer: As compensation for sharing my journey with Nutrisystem, I am provided all meals and support services free of charge.  However, all opinions about the program are entirely my own.

January 19, 2012

The Bar Scene- Then and Now

I went to a bar last weekend.  Well, not really so much a bar, but a pizza place with a bar kind of attached to it.  The kind with a bathroom that looks like a construction zone that has things like "Call Katie for a good time" written on the stall wall.  Totally not my scene.  But my husband's band was playing there and in my effort to be a better wife in 2012 I went out to support him.  I had a friend meet me there- and she brought a friend named Davey Crockett.  No lie.  An actual decedent of the Davey Crockett.  Only in Kentucky, y'all.

I walked up to the bar to order some drinks for my friends.  I sat down in an empty chair and waited for the bartender to come and take my order.  I felt a little tap on my shoulder.  I turned my head to see who had tapped my shoulder and heard a voice that sounded like it was straight out of that bus scene on Forest Gump.  "I'm sorry, you can't sit here," said a semi-attractive man who looked at me like I couldn't get out of the seat fast enough.  I told him that I was just ordering a drink and I would be gone in a flash.  But seriously!  The nerve!  He said that he was saving the seat for someone who was supposed to meet him.  30 minutes later, that seat next to him was still vacant, and I couldn't help but take it personally!  (And *maybe* be secretly happy that perhaps the seat police jerk had been stood up?!?)

I flashed back to my early bar going days where random people would actually ask me to sit down next to them, not tell me to get up!  It got me thinking about how different it is for me to go to a bar now, in my 30's as opposed to going when I was 19.  And yes- I was going underage.  Dating the guitar player in the band had certain perks.  As in- you got to carry enough heavy equipment that the bar owners would never ever ask you to put it all down and actually show your ID.  For the record- I am NOT proud of my 19 year old self.   But oh-my-gawd, we had some fun back in the day!  And if my daughter ever dreams of acting this way when she's 19, I will lock her in the tower (cause, ya' know- I have a tower) and throw away the key.  

Here's a little rundown of how the bar scene is different now that I'm a lame
@ss 30 year old:
(click on a pic to enlarge it)

The Lead-up:

Getting Ready:

The Shoes:

The Drinking:

The Dancing:

The Leaving:

The Thing That's The Same:

Yes, this hot guitar player in the leather pants circa 2001...

... who has thankfully traded in his leather pants for a nice blue suit. 
Thank you God that we are NOT 19 anymore!

January 12, 2012

Big Wheels Keep On Turnin'

I would give about a million dollars to remember what it feels like to be bored.  Someone in our tiny town hit the lottery last night for a cool mil.  My mom told me about it this morning and for a split second I truly thought that maybe it was me.  And then I remembered that I didn't buy a ticket.  But seriously- can someone deliver a chill pill or a sedative to my door STAT?  It feels like we have been bombarded lately with more than our fair share of bad news, busyness and other crap.

In that spirit- there will be no coherent blogging today other than some bullet points.  Here goes:
  • Noah left his coat outside overnight a few nights ago.  In a mud puddle.  Which then froze into a mud/coat/leaves and grass popsicle of fabric.  I tossed it in the washer and dryer and threw it on him in time for school.  Luckily we noticed that my pair of giant, big lady, pull-up-to-your-boobs drawers were stuck to the velcro before I sent him out the door.  It broke my heart a little bit that my knickers stretched all the way down his coat and covered three whole strips of velcro.  Also- I just said knickers. Boo.
  • We had one afternoon of really nice weather and we needed a break in the worst way, so we ate dinner out (at the ripe ol' time of 3:45 pm because we roll like old people) and then stopped at the park for about an hour to soak up the sunshine.  It was really good for the soul.
  • Our classes to become foster parents (in hopes of adopting through foster care) began this week.  It is a ton of paperwork and another ton of information but I kinda like it.  It's the logical progression toward some more estrogen in this house.  I am super pumped. 
  • We are all still madly in love with Phil- our new guinea pig.  He is the best pet we've ever had.  He sits on the kids' laps for hours and loves to watch tv.  If I would have known how great of a pet a guinea pig is, we'd have gotten one a long time ago.  The kids are actually eager to take care of him and feed him every day.  They even clean out his cage without having to be asked.  Sadie has been begging (read: whining incessantly) for days and days for me to bring him to school so that she could show him off.  Her teacher agreed to let him come and Sadie took Phil to 2nd grade.  She got in front of her class and talked to them all about caring for guinea pigs.  I was so proud of her :-)  She's going to be a great teacher one day!  That is, if she lives to be an adult.  I'm convinced that 8 is the new 13.  Can I get an amen? 
  • They are calling for a whopping 1 inch of snow here, which means that we had to make a run last night for milk and new sleds.  The boys have discovered that sleds are a lot of fun on the stairs.  Shoot me now.
  • We also took a little trip to the bookstore so that Sadie and Kamron could spend some of the giftcards they got for Christmas.  Bookstores are like crack for my kids.  They love 'em.  And I love seeing them get so pumped about reading.  Noah is very into the I-Spy series.  Miles will only read/play/watch/wear/look at things that have Lightning McQueen or Mater on them.  Sadie is reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  Have you read that one?  We are loving it.  It's a great read aloud.  Last night we all curled up in bed and Sadie read it to us.  She now officially reads faster than her father- who hates to read with a passion.  Don't tell him I said that.
  • Noah's our little illogical child.  As we were grocery shopping he said, "Mom.  Did you know that bigfoot exists?"  "Really?" I said, "How do you know?"  Noah replied, "Well, are foxes real, right?"  I told him that foxes were in fact real.  "Then that means that bigfoot is real."  Ummmm, not sure how that relates, but he was convinced.  Perhaps we have a future attorney in our midst?
  • I've become obsessed with reruns of The Big Bang Theory.  At night when I'm trying to turn off my brain, it seems to be the perfect thing. 
  • In addition to sliding down the steps on top of sleds, blankets, each other, etc., the boys have also discovered wraslin'.  This is one of those things that no one warned me about when we brought a second boy into our family.  They will beat the absolute crap out of one another and laugh the entire time.  And somehow, Miles always ends up with his pants pulled down and his crack hanging out.  I consider the exposed crack to be part of his wrestling uniform.  I'm in full agreement that it is better than the unitard high school wrestlers wear, so I'm all for it.  Also- he is on an underwear boycott.  (I have some big lady undies he could have) 
  • And the other thing... they have decided that climbing into Phil's cage is super fun.  Does anybody want to buy some boys?  I'm not joking.  A dollar?  A quarter?  Free?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller? 

January 11, 2012


I've been really struggling to put my fingers to the keyboard and share what's in my heart.  Our little Congolese adoption community was rocked last week with the passing of little baby Theo.  Theo came to the US about 10 months ago.  Within a few weeks of coming home to be with his sweet family, Theo was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.  He passed away after a hard fought battle.  Another one of our dear friends also lost their baby this week.  Two little precious lives lost in one week.  It's one of those things that I will never understand.

I attended my first funeral service for a child and with that, my emotions are all over the place. I'm having some tough conversations with God.  If I were to write about all of it and share my feelings about the unfairness of life sometimes, it would not be pretty.  I just can't seem to make sense of any of it.  Perhaps soon I'll be ready to talk about it, but not yet.  In the mean time, could you all go and leave Theo's family some love today?  They have been a pillar of strength, but I'm sure they could use all of the prayers and words of encouragement from strangers that they can get. 


January 09, 2012

Tiny romantic

Noah:  "Mom.  Can you hang this leaf from the fan so I can pretend it's a disco ball while I dance under it?"
He turns on Don't Stop Believin' in the background. 
"Mom!  Come dance with me!" 
That boy is going to be a hopeless romantic one day.

January 04, 2012

Eye Update

It's been a little over a month since Miles had his first eye surgery and about 2 1/2 weeks since his second one.  We are SO pleased with how his eyes are healing.  I was terrified of having this done, but two eye doctors told us he could have permanent vision loss as a result from how droopy his lids were.  I was afraid that he would come out looking like Micky Roarke or some other plastic surgery disaster.  I was afraid that he wouldn't look like my same little sleepy eyed boy.  But I also didn't want him to go blind or have further difficulty with his eyes.  This is just a little update on how our little man is doing.

Here he is before the surgery- with no crease in his lid at all.  He had to tilt his head back to see most things out from under his lids.  I promise, we did not allow him to smoke a doobie before we took this picture.

Here he is mid way through the healing process.  He's messing with me in this picture so it is a little extreme, but it's the only one I took of him mid way through.  But seriously- it was a pretty gruesome looking post surgical site.
And here is my sweet boy now.  My boy who can see!  I think it looks pretty good!  There are still a few stitches left to dissolve on his outer lids (the internal stitches are permanent).  I think he still looks like himself- just a more rested, less stoned version :-)  Oh- and handsome, too!  Yep, I think I could stare at those chocolate brown eyes for the rest of my life.  *sigh*

January 03, 2012

Someone please sentence me to solitary confinement

Two weeks ago, I thought that I was the best mom on the planet.  We were doing Christmas projects, loving on our neighbors, talking about Jesus and loving being all together for Christmas break.  Fast forward to this week and I think someone needs to perform and exorcism on me.  I have been taken over by something awful.  Actually, I think that lots of awful just piled up on me. 

I kept a smile on all through Christmas.  I reveled in it.  It rocked my socks off.  And then the Christmas let down happened.  Kids were tired and cranky.  I was tired and cranky.  Our house was a disaster of the worst kind.  The kind where there are no clean forks for days on end.  And then the thing happened that just pushed me over the edge.  Hubby had surgery 3 days after Christmas.  Yup.  The man had surgery.  Not the "man" surgery (although I'm working on that!) but nose surgery.  Which is about 300 steps closer toward shoot me now than the "man cold".

He tried to be a good patient.  Really, he did.  He picked up 95% of his own grody tissues.  He made his own cups of water after the second day.  But he slept for like 20 hours a day for five straight days. (which was fine.  He needed it.)  But that meant that for over 100 hours I was saying, "Shhhh!  Daddy's sleeping!" which by day two advanced to "Hey! Be quiet.  Do NOT wake up daddy!" to "OH MY GOD!  DO YOU ALL EVER SHUT UP?  DADDY IS STILL SLEEPING. DO NOT MAKE A PEEP OR I WILL PULL YOUR TONGUES OUT!" It was not one of my proudest moments.

I think that because this was the third surgery in a month in our home (2 for Miles and 1 for Kamron) and Sadie had a bout of pneumonia and Noah was diagnosed with childhood migraines, and we threw 4 Christmases in there, I was quite literally  hanging on by a thread.  I think that I was a born caregiver.  But come on.  That is a LOT of caregiving.  I think that I only had 3 days in all of December where I got more than 3 hours of sleep at a stretch.  All the coughing, Tylenol administration, changing of bloody nose bandages and other middle of the night duties had taken it all out of me!  I may have even googled "would I enter a state of catatonic bliss if I take two weeks of antidepressants at one time."  By the way, I didn't because then I'd have to pay for the next bottle out of pocket since insurance wouldn't pay to fill it before the two weeks were up.  I now know that for me the price of happiness is NOT worth the $114 copay!

So... I went from being the very best mom version of me that I could be to being the very worst version in a matter of days.  I went from thinking that I have the very best life in the world to thinking that I am just not cut out for being a stay at home mom and that if my husband ever had a serious illness where he needed to sleep 20 hours a day for the rest of his life that I would probably just need to crawl in a hole and die.  There.  I said it. Yikes.  Go ahead.  Judge me.  I judge myself.  In fact, I'm sentencing myself to at least a month of solitary confinement. (How wonderful does that sound?!)

And then, like magic when I was just at the end of my rope a miracle occured.  Those blinking lights came around the corner at 7:10 this morning (no, not the cops to take me away) The bus came to take 66% of the children in this house to school.  Halle-freakin-lujah!  Then 100% of the husbands that I have went back to work.  Y'all, the balance has been restored. (cue the angels)  I spent the morning in my pj's with one little cutie snuggled up on the couch reading books and watching cartoons.

The bus has already dropped one back off at home.  But because this is all back to normal I was able to laugh it off when Miles screamed, "Noah pulled my pants down and my butt came out!" instead of lose my chit.  Ahhhhh, routine is an amazing thing.  I'm so glad it's back.  I'm going to take that routine and love it and squeeze it and call it George.  Megan + George = True Love.

January 01, 2012

Too Much Wine...A Cautionary Tale

My husband had surgery on Thursday.  ( I know, it feels like all we do in this house is have surgery!) He had a deviated septum repaired and it has NOT been fun for him!  He was back in surgery and recovery for what seemed like FOREVAH.  I decided that I needed to wander out of the waiting room and stretch my legs for a bit.  I'm so glad that I did, because just down the hall, I found this little gem of a statue just waiting for me.

Isn't it a dandy?  I call it "Too much wine will turn your pubes purple".  In case you overindulged a little too much last night on New Year's Eve, perhaps you should take a peek in your pants and make sure that you didn't fall victim. 

I hope that your 2012 is all you hope it will be! 
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