Fall Pinterest Challenge

The Pinterest Challenge is back from some of my favorite bloggers. The whole goal is to actually make something that you have pinned. I have my eye on one of these two DIY mobiles.

Now I just need to decide which one.

Quick Update from our house…

Baby Update: Baby Girl is good and we have just nine weeks to go (maybe ten, but hopefully not eleven).  Her butt is right up at the bottom of my ribs where it is supposed to be according to my midwife. This is a fact that makes both boys giggle.

DIB Update: The good news is he is learning and getting better writing his name and letter sounds. The bad news is that he is very easily distracted by the things around him (specifically 25 other classmates) making it hard to demonstrate his skills. I’m very thankful for his teacher right now who is on top of things, loves him and is helping us figure out some stuff together.

AIB Update: The kid still loves school. He loves going and playing with the other kids and he is a delight to his teachers. Something he doesn’t love? Eating anything with nutritional value. Mealtimes are no fun right now.

D & K Update: We have a new goal to accomplish one task/project per night. Some are big and some are small. Last night we went through the chaos that is the basement/toy room and got rid of a lot and organized what remained. I am happy to say that Mr. Potato Head, his friends and all their parts are in two plastic bins now rather than dispersed around the floor of the basement.

Francis Chan on Marriage

I posted about these messages from Francis & Lisa Chan a long time ago but then a friend of mine recently linked to Francis Chan’s message “Don’t Focus on the Family” (love the title) and these popped up on YouTube.

Part 1

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihRmM0aVADU&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PLAA767529E3BBBF13]

Part 2

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gankzqrIipQ&feature=BFa&list=PLAA767529E3BBBF13&lf=results_main]

Part 3

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3YNawuuizM&feature=BFa&list=PLAA767529E3BBBF13&lf=results_main]

I need to listen to all three messages again (and probably at least once a year wouldn’t hurt). It is worth three hours of your time.

Life Update

I hate titling blog posts. I might just stop and leave them title-less.

Not much is new around here except that every morning I wake up larger than the day before and someone literally has their foot in my ribs. It is an odd feeling.

On Thursdays, our schedule usually allows both D and I to go pick up the boys at school. The boys have termed this “a double.” Both the schools are in our neighborhood and end at nearly the same time so it is always a bit of a scramble to get to DIB’s school. Thankfully, our neighbor is always willing to wait with him for a minute or two if we are late. It usually works out that we are walking up just as his class gets released.

Last night, we had a potluck at AIB’s preschool and needed to pick up our assigned item so we headed to Trader Joe’s right after school. Since D was with me, I agreed to let both the boys use the child size carts for our groceries thinking that surely two adults could manage two kids. After a few warnings to be careful, DIB ended up loosing his cart after he nearly took out an elderly woman in the frozen food aisle. He went straight into the ugly cry (seriously, it is awful) and since the cart was full of food we actually needed that left AIB and me to finish the shopping while D dealt with the ugly-crier. This means I (a very pregnant looking adult woman) was left to push a miniature shopping cart around. The thing about being consistent in discipline is that you end up doing things you really don’t want to do sometimes.

We got to the potluck at AIB’s school and ate a very random dinner. AIB loves school…a lot. He was so proud to show us his classroom especially the class gerbil and the orange line where they line up. He assigned himself “line leader” (there was only the four of us there) and led us to the science room. We enjoyed dinner but it was a bit to hectic to converse with the other families. It was loud and there were so many kids (it is a very large preschool). We do love how diverse the school is and I’m very happy with how happy AIB is at this school. I think he would be happy anywhere but it is proving to be such a great experience for him.

This weekend, I’m headed to a Mom-2-Mom sale to pick up some stuff for Baby Girl and probably a few things for the boys, if there is anything good. Finding used clothes for boys this age is challenging because most clothes do not survive the activity level of a five year old boy. We also have a visit with M & T and their mom planned. We haven’t seen them since early summer. We often see little girls at AIB’s school who remind us of M a lot. We are really looking forward to being able to visit with them.

In pregnancy related news, we signed up for our child-birth class which means we are actually going to do this whole “having a baby thing.” I may have to live-Tweet/blog/Facebook the whole thing because I think D is going to be hilarious (intentionally and unintentionally) as we sit through a full-day class taught by a doula in a fairly crunchy near-by town.

Hungry Lady

I had a pretty minimal appetite in my first trimester and a normal one in my second. I was hoping that would stay the same but in the last week I have found myself really hungry. I was priding myself a bit on not being the “eating-all-the-time-pregnant-lady” so I’ve been humbled. It goes back to that not wanting to be a cliché thing. It is stupid, I know.

This recipe is known as “Cheryl’s Muffins” among my friends but Cheryl says the original recipe is from Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet. Sometimes for those of us who are “intestinal-ly challenged”, it can be hard to find tasty recipes but I love these. Even though I’ve had the muffins a few times, this is the first time I made them. I was looking for a high-fiber, high-protein, gluten-free option to curb my appetitie.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Nut Muffins

  • 5 cups ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 5 eggs
  • *1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • *1 tsp. cinnamon
  • *1/2 bag mini-chocolate chips
  • *1/4 cup ground flax seed

*these are Cheryl’s additions to the original recipe

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (they brown quickly so keep an eye on them…they may need less time).

I bought the almond meal at Trader Joe’s ($3.99 per bag, there are about 4 cups per bag). Others have bought bulk almonds at Costco and ground them up into meal in their food processor but my mini-prep won’t do that and I’m too lazy to add the extra step anyway.  I also used flax seed that also included ground blueberries since it was all Trader Joe’s had when I was buying the ingredients (you can’t taste the blueberries at all). I am planning to add some pureed carrots and/or spinach next time.

I think they are delicious and they make a very filling breakfast.  D liked them (he added a little butter and drank them with a glass of milk). They are not low in calories but they are full of stuff that is good for you.

Twelve more weeks to go!

And Just Like That…

We are back down to a family of four (well, five, if you want to count Baby Girl and, six, if you want to count our dog, Piper, which I do).

G moved in with her long-term foster family Wednesday (where she can be with her brother). She has known she would be going there so the transition was not too difficult especially because she already knows them and has seen them multiple times in the last few weeks. AIB said he wanted her to stay with us. It reminded me to talk to him again about how some kids only live with us for a little bit but he and his brother were going to stay with us forever.

G was very cute and I am glad she was able to stay with us for a bit. She was probably the most traumatized kid we have cared for yet. I can’t get into all the details of her situation (obviously) but she was very verbal and expressive about her situation. In fact, she seemed totally preoccupied with what she had gone though (not that you can blame her). I submitted a request to the agency that she be able to meet with one of the therapists there and I am hoping she continues to do well in school even though her mind seems like it is in a different place. Please pray for her if you think about it.

This weeks also marks the beginning of my third trimester of pregnancy. I’m feeling rather “large & in-charge” these days even though my midwife says I am on totally on track for weight gain and belly size for 26+ weeks. You know what is weird? Having someone take a measuring tape to your stomach. My last visit was the first time she had done this and it made me feel like a home improvement project.

I am probably one of the pickiest  most particular people I know, which honestly, is annoying to myself. What would be simple would be to find some baby bedding that I like in the store. But I can’t find anything I like except some curtains at Urban Outfitters that are back-ordered until November. This has left me with one crazy looking mess of a “getting ready for baby” pinboard.

Baby Girl will wear the John Stewart onesie.

I also liked some of the Missoni for Target baby stuff but, I’m not sure if you heard or not, but it all sold out and crashed Target’s website. I blame Rachel Zoe.

Twice as Good

Last year this weekend, we woke up one morning and took our two kiddos home to their family. We miss M & T every day but are in contact with their mom so often that we know they are doing so well and so is she. The steps she has taken to be a great mother to them in the past year never fail to impress me. She is amazing.

It was a hard time for us when we had to say goodbye to them even though we were happy to help a family come back together. I could not help but think of all our friends & family who have supported us through the last couple of years since we started doing foster care. I had to play this song a few times this week and think of each of you. Thank you!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2K_QXxJ8yU]

when I am down and need to cry till morning
I know just where I am going
when I’m in need of sweet commiseration
to speak out loud

raise a glass to friendship and to knowing
you don’t have to go alone
we’ll raise our hearts to share each others burdens
on this road

with every burden I have carried
with every joy it’s understood
life with you is half as hard
and twice as good

with my good news your dancing on the table
babies born to celebration
the joy of life oh what a sweet communion
shared with you

I know we’re growing older
can you imagine what that will bring
it’s all a mystery to me now
but this one thing

will be half as hard, and twice as good

First Week of Preschool

AIB started preschool on Monday. He was very, very excited. It was hard for him to watch DIB & G go off to school last week so when his turn came he was more than ready.

It was very hard to get him to hold still for pictures. He was jumping and moving all over the place.

D and I walked him to school, hung up his back pack and went into the classroom. He went straight for the trucks. We sort of looked at each other. He obviously did not need us there so we told him we were going to leave. He looked up and said, “Why?” And I said, “Parents don’t stay for preschool.” To which he replied, “Okay” and turned around to get back to his playing with the trucks. He has eagerly gone each day this week and the only complaint he had was that they served salad on Thursday for lunch. I am so glad he likes it and is feeling like a “big kid” these days.

A Pregnancy Post

I have not really written much about being pregnant. If you are not into this sort of post, feel free to skip it. I totally understand.

I think I started realizing about last week that I really am actually pregnant. I know that sounds kind of crazy since I am 25 weeks but it has been fairly easy to forget with two (well, three, right now) other kiddos running around. I was nauseous but never sick really early on and that went away quickly. I have not had any strange cravings or been ravenously hungry. The only thing that has changed about my diet is that I don’t really like chicken anymore.

According to some websites, I’m in my third trimester. I divided 40 weeks by 3 and got 13.33 weeks makes a trimester. According to that, I have a couple more weeks to go until my third trimester which makes me feel a bit better because then I feel like I have more time until she arrives. But I know, I really don’t, and I’ve started reading a couple books to get me prepared for labor and delivery (this one & this one). Tonight, I am going to a meet & greet with the doulas and midwives from the hospital where we are planning to have the baby. We have not hired a doula (although, I am sure they are worth it the fee is expensive and not covered by insurance).

Last week, I found The Longest Shortest Time the way I find all good things (via random link on Twitter). Since then, I have listened to every episode and probably should have spaced them out a bit more since some of the stories are sad or a bit scary. But, truly, it is a great podcast/blog and I highly recommend it. Also, I may or may not have read every birth story I can find on the internet. We’ve had a newborn but I’ve never been through labor. I feel prepared for somethings and totally unprepared for others.

After a cool week last week, the temperature went back up Monday and, to me, it felt like it was the hottest day ever. I was doing the school pick-up (preschool > kindergarten > other neighborhood to get G off the bus) and was so angry at how hot it was. I am totally over summer. It can go far, far away for all I care. We are doing a lot these days and my energy level is not what I would like it to be and I have suddenly realized that I actually do have some physical limitations now (I mean, not that I was running marathons or anything before). A very kind neighbor of mine offered to help me last week and then, even better, came over and said, “Seriously. Let me help.” Sometimes you just need that.

Emotionally, I am dealing with mom guilt, mostly which is completely irrational. I have guilt that this little girl will grow up with us from day one. That I get to feel her kick me. That we will see her do all her firsts. I feel guilty for missing all this with the boys and I know that makes no sense because missing out on that with them has nothing to do with me. Adoption is joyful and wonderful but also full of loss. Pregnancy is highlighting that a bit for me right now but I am trying to focus on what I do get to do with these boys and remember every hilarious thing that they do (or at least write it down for when I can’t remember).

Two Kindergartners & a Preschooler

We received a call from our agency early last week asking us if a little girl, G (age 5), could come stay with us for a few weeks. It is a long story but she has a long-term placement with her brother that is not available until the middle of the month. Since that foster family lives in our city, by staying with us she is able to start kindergarten next week (hopefully) without having to change again when she moves in with them. It has been a little crazy getting all the details worked out but it seems to be coming together.  I asked the boys how they felt about it and, DIB said, “Mom, I will not hit her.” Thanks, buddy. Both DIB and AIB understand that kids come to stay with us from time to time. It has not seemed to affect them much yet but G will be a little different since she is closer to their age than the babies we have cared for in respite. So far, it has been going well. DIB has been especially sweet and kind to her.

Watching TV and holding on to backpacks, which now seem to be needed for everything that we do.

Tomorrow is DIB’s first day of school. We’ve been getting ready by taking tours of the classroom, having a home visit from his teacher and meeting a few new friends. He has been fairly shy at first but I can tell he is already warming up to his teachers since he has met them twice now. The way our district starts for kids in kindergarten is that eight kids from the class go on Tuesday, another eight on Wednesday and another eight on Thursday. On Friday, they will all be there for their first full day as a full class. I’m not sure yet when G will start (her long-term foster family is in the process of getting her enrolled and set up).

AIB starts preschool in a little over a week and I think he is looking forward to it. I’m anticipating some shyness and reluctance from him at first but I think he is going to have a great time. It will be good for him to establish some independence from his brother.

It is safe to say that the person having the hardest time with the boys starting school is me. D just told me earlier today that we will have to drop DIB off and likely won’t be able to walk him into the classroom (he talked to our neighbor and another friend about it and apparently this is how it is done). When he told me this, I said, “No. That is not how it works.” He said, “I’m pretty sure that is how it goes. Are you going to be alright?” My response was, “I don’t want to talk about it” followed by a little crying. I’m weepy; I’m pregnant. I can’t help it. I know DIB is five years old but he has only be here nine months. It is like sending my nine month old to kindergarten in a way. So, yeah, I’m having a bit of a hard time. But we will all make it.

It is possible that G will be our last respite placement before the baby arrives in December. Fall means that D starts school two evenings per week, I head into a busy season at work, and we have a few home renovation projects going on that are going to make life pretty interesting. Never a dull moment at our house. Even though we are tired (okay, maybe, I’m just the one who is tired), I would not change a thing. I absolutely love our life.

Saturday Seven

1. D and I are up north without kiddos this weekend! We have generous friends who have let us borrow their vacation home and we are relaxing. D is out golfing and I’m sitting in our friends’ lovely home, drinking coffee (decaf!), and watching Project Runway.

2. Even though we are not doing a ton of sight-seeing while we are up north this time, we keep thinking of all the things we want to do with the kids next summer (and in future summers to come). You hear a lot of negativity about Michigan (specifically, Detroit) in the news but Michigan is a beautiful place! The Sleeping Bear Dunes were just named America’s Most Beautiful Place by Good Morning America.

3. Our dear friends happen to be up north as well this week so we met up for dinner last night in Charlevoix. After dinner, I discovered a new favorite ice cream flavor: Charlevoix Mud (vanilla ice cream swirled with caramel and dark chocolate flecks).

4. I love to shop (and sell) on Craigslist and this week I found my best find yet: an UPPAbaby Vista stroller. When we found out we were pregnant, my mom bought me Baby Bargains and this is the best rated stroller according to them. But the price tag is very, very high! I didn’t even consider it as an option but then saw one listed on Craigslist for a fraction of the new price and with multiple accessories included. We picked it up before we headed up north. The woman who sold it to be had taken such good care of it so it looks brand new. I’m so excited about it and, at the same time, so aware of how un-cool that makes me.

5. I saw The Help last week and was pleasantly surprised. I loved the book so much and thought the trailers for the movie looked so silly. But I was still curious and I’m glad I went to see it. Besides Viola Davis, who played Aibileen, my favorite character was Celia Foote (played by Jessica Chastain). She was so genuine and imperfect.

6. DIB & AIB went maternity clothes shopping with me on Wednesday. What a couple of troopers! There is no way that can be fun for them and I made sure to reward them with Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and time in the play-place at the mall. AIB got a big kick out of wearing the fake bump they have in the changing room in the maternity clothes store. He almost left with it on.

7. D is back from golf and we are off to eat somewhere in the cute little downtown nearby. I’m so thankful for quality time with my favorite person.