Thursday, September 27, 2012

I write journal entries for animals. . .

I'm really going to try to keep the fragments short today, you know to achieve actual fragments rather than paragraphs that I just call fragments, but nobody hold their breath!


The dog keeps going out in the backyard and carrying bricks with her when she comes back to the door.  We have no idea where she is getting these bricks!  Is she disassembling our house?


Another dog mystery.  The dog seems to be getting a bit overweight.  I'm not sure if this is due to us allowing our 5 year old to feed her the breakfast meal and his ability to estimate two-thirds of a cup of dog food is lacking or if it's due to incidents like tonight when my husband said, "Did the dog get fed dinner?"  I didn't know so he said, "Okay, well, I'll just give her some more food."


We've made it to Friday and have managed so far to not lose either one of the classroom mascots we are hosting for the week.  They are stuffed animals, I do realize my life would be much more chaotic if they were real animals!  Thankfully schools no longer send home the live classroom guinea pig or at least they don't send it to our house (perhaps the fragment above is explanation enough about why that would be a bad idea). 


AND I've even remembered to take the camera along to document some of our adventures for the class journal.  My favorite has got to be the allergy shot photoshoot.  My 7 year old daughter was due for her once-a-month shot this week and perhaps I sunk to a new low using it as an activity for the bunny and the penguin, but hey it was part of our week!

The nurses totally thought I was nuts taking pictures of my daughter right after she'd gotten a shot!  I tried to explain to them that the stuffed animals were classroom mascots we were hosting for the week, but the more I explained the crazier it all sounded so finally we just bolted out of there!


There's a new Ethiopian restaurant that just opened in our area, I'm thinking we have to take the bunny and the penguin to eat Ethiopian food while they are with us!


You may hear some gleeful cheering come Monday morning when I get to send those furry little friends back to school all ready for their adventures AT SOMEONE ELSE's house!


But not before I pull an all-nighter writing up the bunny journal (at least my 7 year old can do her own penguin journal!) with the stories of our week.  A friend I have who had a child in that same preschool class a few years ago and I were laughing so hard this week when I told her we had the bunny and she confessed to staying up until 3am finishing up her daughter's journal!  

No really, I'm not doing that.  That was my friend's FIRST child and now she has 3 and can't believe how nuts she was to stress so much about that bunny journal.  This is my FOURTH child.  There will be no scrapbook supplies used in the making of our journal entry, that much I can guarantee.

And we are the first journal entry of the year in the bunny book so I'm considering it my personal gift to all the other mothers who will host Benjamin Bunny after us.  I intend to set the bar really, really low!


I feel certain that writing journal entries for stuffed animals was not in my mom job description! 


Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It's Not My Battle

Do you ever feel like that's you?

Arms outstretched above your head, holding up a bridge you were never meant to carry?

On any given day I think you could find me there underneath various bridges, exhausted at the effort of it.

The bridges I'm attempting to hold up change as life changes.

Hopefully, finally I'll realize I can't do it and cry out to God, and He will say, "You don't need to be holding up that load, I've got it.  It's my battle, not yours."

Jehoshaphat was really smart in 2 Chronicles 20:12 and said, "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you."

To which God replied at the very end of 2 Chronicles 20:15, "the battle is not yours but God's." and 2 Chronicles 20:17, "You will not need to fight in this battle.  Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.  Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed.  Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you."

I love the comfort of that last part, "the Lord will be with you."

And I really like how the story ends, 2 Chronicles 20:12, "And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moabl and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed."

God didn't want them to fight that battle.  He already had that problem all taken care of.  By Himself!  All God wanted from them was to sing and praise!

Oh, at the bridges and battles I need to let go of and just praise Him!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Date with My Daughter

I'm re-posting this from 2.5 years ago. That little 4 year old girl is now 7 years old and I'm so, so thankful for the precious dates we had when she was 4! We still go on dates now, too.  A recent one:

 (No, it's not coffee, more like a chocolate shake.)

 My husband and I make it a point to trade-off and get special one-on-one outings with each of our kids.   With 4 kids now, it's hard but so, so worth it!

Originally posted April 27, 2010:

My 4 year old daughter and I go on a date every Tuesday. What do our mother-daughter dates look like? Well, that picture was today.

2 cupcakes, 1 glass of milk with 2 straws, 2 hours alone with just my girl

It redefines priceless!

There is this magical, blessed bit of time every Tuesday because she gets out of preschool at noon, her big brother is at elementary school until 3pm and her little brother is at Mother's Day Out the same place she has preschool until 2pm. So from noon to 2pm it is just us girls! I have the option of letting her stay at school until 2pm for "stay & play", most of the kids stay, but she doesn't. Because she's mine, all mine during that time!

Granted Tuesdays are tiring because it means 3 different school pick-ups in addition to her ballet/tap class later in the afternoon (or swimming this time of year), but it is so worth it to have precious time alone with my sweet middle child.

A wise lady told me when I became pregnant with my 3rd child, "If you go out of your way to give attention to your middle child, you'll probably end up just about right." I've found her advice so true. The oldest automatically gets a lot of attention because everything they are doing is new and exciting. The littlest automatically gets attention because they are the baby (and in my 3rd-born's case, because they demand it, loudly!).

Find more Works for Me Wednesday here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Entertaining a Bunny and a Penguin!

This week there is the stress excitement of hosting not 1 but 2 classroom stuffed animal mascots! 

My 3 year old's preschool class bunny and my 7 year old's 2nd grade class penguin. Both were a surprise and came home quite unexpectedly today. So, I will spend the week attempting to entertain the bunny and the penguin while praying we do not lose them (in a typical week I feel successful just going places with my 4 kids and returning with all 4, now there are the 2 animals, too) and the dog does not chew them up.  All so my girls can turn in journals complete with photos of all the animal's adventures staying with us for a week! 

Still, praising God for these First World problems.

Find more Wordful Wednesday here.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Important Health Information for Parents of Ethiopian Children

I know there are several people who follow this blog who have adopted children from Ethiopia or are in the process, so I want to pass on this link to an article from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the dangers of codeine use in children following surgery to remove tonsils or adenoids, particularly Ethiopian children.  Certain ethnic groups are more likely to have DNA variations that cause the body to have dangerous reactions to codeine.

There is a table in the article that shows the Ethiopian population is at greatest risk with 29% of Ethiopian children having a genetic issue that can cause life-threatening side-effects with use of codeine for pain relief.

This is compared to 1.2% of the Asian population and 3.6% of the Caucasian population.

Here's a link to the article: FDA Drug Safety Communication: Codeine use in certain children after tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy may lead to rare, but life-threatening adverse events or death

I consider the FDA a very reliable source and was particularly thankful to have found this information recently, as our Little Girl, adopted from Ethiopia, has some symptoms we are currently seeing an ENT for and she may need her adenoids removed in the futureI printed the article to show her doctor.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Just Imagine!

Little Girl is nearly fluent in English now, but she, like all 3 year olds, doesn't quite grasp the social norms of our language, which combined with her loudness, leads to some embarrassing moments.  This week when the air conditioner repairman came to our house, he was a heavy-set man and she asked me WAY too loudly as he climbed up to our 2nd floor, "MOMMY, is that BIG BOY going upstairs?"  

I know her reference to him as a "big boy" had nothing to do with his weight but more the fact that he was not a little boy, like the boys in her class at school.  I explained the terms "grown-up" and "adult" and "man", one of which she will hopefully substitute in the future.  Just imagine her calling a lady a "big girl"!


My oldest child is 9 years old, and it is amazing how much baby stuff has changed since I first bought it. This may make me seem really old, but I do remember a time when if you were out running errands with your baby and the baby got fussy in the stroller, your only choices were to try to continue your shopping while carrying said baby or call it quits and head home. Now, parents apparently have this:
The "Baby Beehavin' Stroller Tablet" so that an iPad screen full of entertainment can be secured right in front of that baby!  Wow, can you just imagine?!

 Did I tell you guys about the time over the summer when I ran into another mom I know at the car wash?  She went on and on about all the various activities and camps her children were doing over the summer and then she asked about what my kids were doing.  I motioned over to the couch inside the car wash where all 4 of my children were seated and was like, "Um, this is pretty much it."  I'm sure you can imagine the look on her face!

Here's a picture of my 2 youngest kids on one of our "summer outings".  To get the oil changed.  Hey, before you go feeling all sorry for my kids, they got to see all kinds of cool things through that glass door, like the guy that gets down in the hole underneath the car, we had a very educational discussion about oil and windshield wiper fluid, AND they got free popcorn!  Like I said, better than summer camp.


Happy Friday, Friends!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What it's really like baking with kids . . .

Recently I stumbled across these pictures from 4 years ago:

And I wonder why there is always so much chaos.  I was baking with my 5, 3, and 1 year olds!

Those babies are 9,7, and 5 now.  That squishy little guy eating the spilled sugar started kindergarten a few weeks ago!

The chaos?  Often drives me crazy.  

It did then, it still does now.  

But as much as I long for less mess and less noise, I'd never trade those things for less LIFE!

Find more Thankful Thursday here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Happy Helpers

A certain household creature desperately needed a bath, thankfully I had some happy helpers!
 There was a little dog hair stylin'

Madeline the dog says, "Well, this is ridiculous!"

Not sure if this last picture shows off the doggie Mohawk or our dog's best impersonation of an iguana!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Effects of an Adoption on Biological Children, Part 2

I wrote this post about the effects of an adoption on biological children almost exactly a year ago, before we'd even brought home our new little girl (now home almost 9 months).

So, what's it like now that reality has more than set in?

Today I have an update to that post from a year ago, kind of a snapshot that reveals a tangible result in the life of our oldest child because our family pursued adoption.  My 4th grade son's new teacher is really encouraging creative writing this year.  My son wrote the following over the weekend, no prompting, it wasn't even assigned, just free writing.  He brought it to me and asked if I thought it was any good.

Free Writing by my 9 year old son:

A little tiger
lost in the woods.
Where is his mother
he doesn't know.
All other animals
do not know.
Then a kangaroo spoke,
"Where is your mother?"
When he said, "I don't know."
Then she said, "I'll take care
of you.  I'll wash your clothes.
I'll give you a warm
place to sleep."

This is adoption and if everybody does this the world will be a better place.

"Um.  Yeah, it's good!  Really?  You wrote that?  And just that fast?!" 

So, did we ruin his life by adopting his littlest sister?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

When In Doubt Throw It Out

Here's a good question my husband asked me recently, "Why do we only have 4 Christmas spoons left?"

"Christmas spoons" are from our fancier set of silverware but since our every day set is also mysteriously dwindling, the "good" set is often recruited into daily use.

So, where exactly does our silverware disappear to???!!!

I suspect that my training the children to "clear their own spots" at the table results in not just trash but occasionally silverware getting thrown away.

'Course if the silverware continues to disappear after all the children grow up and move out, I'll have to come up with a new theory!


Another random household mystery I'd like to solve: why is it that when I get down towards the bottom of the pump lotion bottle (you know the point where the pump no longer works, but there is still good lotion to be used) that last little bit lasts forever???

My husband insists I should just throw it away once the pump can no longer pump, but I can't do it.  I mean it's not empty, there is perfectly good lotion still in there!  But, man I miss the convenience of the pump!


I made it through my week of 3 different school open house nights where parents hear from the teachers about what to expect from the year!  I feel like I went to school more than my children this week!  And don't even talk to me about how many more years I will have 3 children in this elementary school!

Tonight at the kindergarten parent's night, my son's kindergarten teacher suggested that we could check out our child's bin to get a glimpse into their personalities.  She said, "Like for instance they got a box of 12 crayons at the beginning of the year (3 weeks ago) and some kids will have all 12 crayons there, neatly stored in the bin inside the cardboard crayon box with the pointed ends all facing up.  And then some kids will have the crayons all rolling free inside their bins and have already lost 2 or 3 of them!"

My son?  As I expected his crayons were rolling free in his bin rather than being stored neatly in the original cardboard crayon box.  The crayons were all there, but I noticed his crayon box was missing.  I asked my son about it when I got home and he was all, "Oh yeah.  The crayons wouldn't stay in it, they kept coming out, so I threw the box away in the trash can."

So basically, some kids operate inside the box, some outside the box and my 3rd child?  Well, he's like, "What's the point of the box?  Who needs it?!"


Happy Friday Everyone!


Happy Friday, Friends!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Could you say "no" to that?

Now that her English is so good, there have been more conversations lately with our 3 year old daughter adopted from Ethiopia 8 months ago about her past, her life before she came to our family.

Last week she and I had a really good, deep conversation in the middle of Costco when she suddenly started asking me some questions.  There was no information that was new news to her, but for some reason certain things seemed to resonate more with her at that time. Then about 2 days later she had this exchange with my husband in our playroom:

The 3 year old:  "Daddy, can we play another game?"

My husband:  "No, we already played games, that's enough for now."

The 3 year old (with a pouty face):  "I used to live in an orphanage."

Do you think she got to play some more games?  You bet!  And as my husband relayed the story to me he said, "I could never refuse that!"

My husband doesn't think she was intentionally manipulating him but, I'm not so sure.  She's one smart cookie and she's good.  She's really good!  And we are in big trouble!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What My Chidren Need to Know About September 11th

Thinking again about this, especially today, repeating words I wrote a year ago that still apply. . .

It seems really odd to me that my children will never really understand September 11th.

That infamous, tragic September 11th was 11 years ago, my children were not alive yet. I know this logically, but conceptually it's just hard to imagine people who don't know what that day was like because they didn't live it. People who can learn about the facts but it will be without the memories of their own personal horror and fear and sorrow and experience that day.

I think of what I, now as a parent, want my children to know about September 11th, but more deeply I think of how I want to parent my children knowing their generation may have their own September 11th.

Would my children as young men and women have the courage to run up the stairs of those burning buildings?

What if my daughters as grown women, married with 2 children and a 3rd on the way were suddenly widowed?

What if my children came face to face with an evil so strong it threatened many, many lives?

How would they respond?

What would be their strength? their peace? their comfort? their hope?

And am I doing enough today to teach them about the only God who will never leave them, who loves them with an everlasting love, who can slay giants, who can save and redeem their lives so that they're ready if and when their world is rocked to the core one beautiful, sunny day?

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs." Zeph. 3:17

Monday, September 10, 2012

I'm Not That Parent

I went to my son's 4th grade parent's night at the elementary school tonight (not to be confused with the 2nd grade parent's night I get to go to tomorrow night or the kindergarten parent's night I get to go to on Thursday).  It really is informative to hear the teachers share about what to expect for the school year, so honestly I'm not complaining (whining maybe).

I had a couple thoughts while sitting in my son's desk listening to the teacher along with all the other parents.

The first was, "Man, this desk is uncomfortable!  Aren't 4th graders bigger than this?  When do they get full-sized people chairs?  I'm not a big person and this desk is way too small for me."

Can you tell I was paying close attention to the teacher?

The second thought, or really question, came after the teacher said, "I really ask that if your child leaves their homework at home, you do NOT bring it up to school.  They are old enough now at 4th grade to be responsible for their own work and suffer the consequences of forgetting it."  So my alarmed question was, "WHAT?  Do parents actually do that?!!  And if now's the right time to stop bringing forgotten homework up to school, is it wrong that my oldest kid is in 4th grade and I've NEVER brought forgotten homework up to school before?  Am I a terrible mother?  Should I have done that for him as a 1st, 2nd and 3rd grader?  There has not been a lot of forgotten homework, but there has been some.  I have a chance to do something different with my younger kids, but taking forgotten homework up to school?  Nope, can't see myself ever doing that.  Sorry, kids!  But, someday you'll thank me for allowing you to learn early to manage your own stuff."

There was also a funny moment after I got home when my 9 year old asked, "What did my teacher say?" and I told him several things including the part about her not wanting parents to bring forgotten homework up to school for their kids when he had a look on his face that was like, "WHAT?  I didn't know some parents did that!"

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It's always random on Fridays

It's the end of the 2nd week of school for us, and it hit me just today, my oldest is a fourth grader!

And along with that thought, I immediately had to tell my husband about my two friends, one who is a 5th grade teacher and one who is a 4th grade teacher (both at different schools than my kids attend).  My upper elementary teacher friends have stories about how terrible their classrooms smell when the kids come back in after recess and about how every year they beg the school nurse to come give the "your bodies are starting to change and now you need to wear deodorant" lecture to the class or at least send home a note to the parents! 

I always laughed at these stories, but y'all, now I HAVE a 4th grader!  He is not yet wearing deodorant, but as I asked my husband today, "Is that a party we really want to be late for?"  You know, do we want to wait until he starts stinking to introduce the deodorant or go ahead rally the deodorant troops now?  Moms of older kids, any wisdom here??


There's nothing like a kid and their dog, right?

Actually that was the only 5 minutes of the day the dog was being sweet and good, so clearly we had to take pictures!


Remember this post from last week when I talked about us going to court for the re-adoption of our youngest daughter?

There's a funny back-story.  

We'd driven 3 hours to the courthouse.  I dressed the kids in comfortable clothes for the roadtrip and packed nicer, church clothes for them to change into before we went in for court.  I even packed lunches for everyone so we wouldn't have to stop and get gross, unhealthy fast food.  We ate lunch in the car, the kids lunch included an organic squeeze yogurt tube.  We got to our destination a little early, so before changing we walked around seeing some sights (during which time my 7 year old badly scraped her leg climbing up some rocks and needed 3 band-aids) and then returned to the car to change clothes.  I thought I'd gathered up all the lunch trash way earlier, but wouldn't you know it, literally 3 minutes after my 5 year old son had gotten dressed in his nice clothes, he picked up his squeeze yogurt tube (that was apparently lurking somewhere in the way backseat) and squeezed the entire thing all over his shirt and shorts!

Really?!!  Was all I could think.  It was like we were on a sitcom comedy show.  But, wait, my life often feels like that!

My husband kept saying we'd have to change him back into his other clothes.  Seeing as how his other clothes were gym shorts and a t-shirt I said, "No way!" and began wildly wiping him down with baby wipes.  He was mostly presentable for court but he reeked of strawberry smell!

So when you see the happy, smiling photo of us all in the courtroom, just know the judge is secretly wondering what is that strawberry smell?!!  My 7 year old's leg is all scraped and haphazardly bandaged under her sweet pink dress.  And I am holding down Little Girl's hand to keep her from rubbing the back of the judge's head!

Sometimes I even say it out loud to my people, "It's just too much chaos!"


I'm 10 days into my quest to give up my daily Coke Zero and it's actually going well.  I caved and had one on one day but now I'm doing good with my green tea substitute and feel like I'm back up to the same late afternoon energy level I had after drinking the Coke Zero!  It's not the caffeine I'm trying to get rid of in my diet, just the artificial caramel coloring.


We've done a few other diet-related changes recently which has caused me to become an even bigger label reader than before.  Now I'm a label studier.  Only problem, Little Girl has noticed my attention is not 100% directed on her precious self sitting in the cart's babyseat, so she's taken to yelling from the cart as I'm label reading, "MOM!  Look at me!  You're not looking at me!"  

I finally bribed her with a tic-tac (yes, just one) that she could have at the end of our shopping trip if she stopped screaming at me.  It didn't work, then she just kept yelling, "MOM, can I have tic-tac?!!"  She didn't get that tic-tac and probably good thing considering the artificial coloring in those babies!


Happy Friday, Friends!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

If this is all I get done today . . .

If this is all I get done today, it's an accomplishment at least, right??

We're only 7 days into the new school year and I've already threatened 2 of my children with having to buy the school lunch if they don't start eating the lunch I so lovingly packed for them!

 Nothing highlights the futility of my day quite like the experience of unpacking those same lunches at 3:15pm!

Find more Proud Mommy Moments here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

70 Minutes

I want to say straight up that I consider it an honor and privilege to do my littlest girl's hair.

From this very white (think Casper the Friendly Ghost) mama with super straight hair, my 3 year old's hair is awesome!

I've learned a ton these last 8 months about caring for her hair, and I still have a lot to learn!

That hairstyle took 70 minutes.  

Clearing an entire morning to "do hair" would have at one time seemed crazy to me, but now, it's just life.  My crazy, blessed, sleep caps, shower caps, braids, twists, free-hair, co-washing, hair product-filled life!