Currently

How’s this for a random blog post? (Idea stolen from here).

Reading: A few things – The Gospel Centered Woman (I love this!), The Explosive Child (enough said), Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (The boys are loving this and it makes me soooo happy)

Searching for online: Christmas decorations (mostly on Pinterest). I unpacked my stuff this year and was underwhelmed. In reality, I think I’m going to have to pick up some stuff after the holidays on clearance so I don’t find myself in this spot again next year.

Eating: Poorly. I was great in September and October. I don’t know what happened. January is a good time to start this.

Watching: My favorite shows this fall has by far been The Good Wife (even over my beloved Parenthood) and Parks & Recreation. I really don’t think enough people are watching TGW. D and I love it and this season has not disappointed me a bit. And P&R just keeps getting better and better each season. I had no hope for that show when it started but I think it is amazing now. Oooo and The Sing-Off. The Sing-Off just makes me happy!

Wearing: The Sweetheart Skinny Jeans in Black. I cannot believe I like a pair of Old Navy jeans this much but they are a perfect fit.

Wishing: I didn’t have to spend so much time cleaning my kitchen. Not a real problem, I know.

Drinking: Trader Joe’s Wake Up Blend made with my Aeropress

Cooking: We’re in eat down mode. Money seems to be flying out the window. I’m not into grocery shopping right now. So, we’re eating what is currently in the pantry and fridge.

Making: Rainbow Loom bracelets. A is obsessed with this thing and, I must admit, it is strangely addictive. I’m mostly starting and finishing bracelets that he is making for friends.

Smiling: At my funny kids. Best line recently from A: “I never see my butt.” Said with genuine disappointment

Hoping: To get some time to pull together a special gift we are planning for the boys.

Enjoying: The fact that the Spartans are headed to the Rose Bowl and that, in a house of Go Blue fans, my team is victorious.

Listening: Lord, I Need You and All the Poor and Powerless on repeat.

Doing: Advent readings with the kids from The Jesus Storybook Bible. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of this book.

Planning: Mostly just in my mind right now, but a going-away party for friends moving out of state 🙁

Obsessing: Aztec print. I can’t get enough of it. Really wishing I would have snagged this sweater before it disappeared.

Little Sister

Our sweet girl was born on January 2, 2012. We’re settling in as a family of five (!). The boys have done so well in their big brother roles. I’m so proud of them and their ability to roll with the changes. The entire time I was pregnant I had a hard time picturing what she would look like and she has surprised us all with a head-full of dark hair, making her look more like her brothers than either of her parents.

Mystery Box Memories

We are nine days away from when this little girl is supposed to arrive. Who knows when she will decide to grace us with her presence but, for now, we are packing in the fun and getting ready to celebrate Christmas.

My parents started a tradition when we were kids that I knew I wanted to do when we had kids as well (actually , I wanted to do it before we had kids but D would not cooperate). Each year, each member of the family picks a special person and together we put together a box of goodies for that person. One night before Christmas, we hop in the van when it is dark out, drive to that person’s house, ring the doorbell and then run to hide. Inside the box is a poem/song, with hints about our identity.

This started last week on Thursday since the friend that DIB picked was headed for vacation the next day. I gave his friend’s mom a little warning that they might have a surprise on their doorstep that evening. DIB was so excited to drop off his mystery box and loved hiding in bushes while he heard his friend open the door and find the surprise. Just a few minutes after we left, his friend called him (he has guessed it was DIB from the clues) and DIB was so excited to talk on the phone, he even introduced himself by stating his full name.

The next evening, the rest of us got to deliver our boxes. It was getting late and the boys were happy to find parents in a crunch for time so they got to each McDonald’s chicken nuggets in the car as we drove to our first destination. AIB’s friend wasn’t home but a few hours later we got a message from him and his mom. It was a recording of them opening the box and his friend guessing AIB as the “Secret Santa” who had left the box of goodies. D picked his mom as his special person and the boys’ were thrilled to get to ring Grandma Nan’s doorbell and run away. She guessed pretty quickly who is was from since D’s song included the line, “I’m sorry that I was born huge” (kind of a giveaway that the box was from her largest child – nine pounds a birth)! We stopped in for a quick visit with Papa and Grandma Nan before we headed out to our final spot. I picked my friend, Meredith, and wrote a little song to the tune of Breath of Heaven (much trickier than I had anticipated). It was fun to get her message later that night saying she had figured it out and enjoyed the surprise.

Last year, the boys had only been in our home for about four weeks at Christmas time and I couldn’t pull this off last year. We were still in “getting-to-know-you” mode. One year in, I can say we know these guys pretty well. We have good and bad days but we all love each other and are definitely a family.

Yesterday, the boys sang in church (with the rest of the kids). They did this last year as well but this year was different because instead of looking totally confused and a bit annoyed, AIB actually sang! Last year he cracked us up with his serious expression and lack of enthusiasm. This year, he chimed in with the rest of the group to sing Jesus Loves Me and Hallelujah (which he continued to sing the rest of the day).

Once we were home, the boys played nicely together and I couldn’t help but be thankful that they have each other. At night, we read a couple of books and when I tucked them into bed, AIB grabbed me around the neck with his little arm and said, “Stay here!” I said, “I can’t, buddy. I have to go do your laundry.” He then said, “Oh, sorry, mom!” I reassured him that I was very happy to take care of his laundry for him (at least for a few more years). We love these boys and can’t believe how far they have come in the past year.

A Sad Kiddo

If you saw us Sunday after church, you know that I had a very sad four-year-old on my hands. He was getting lots of sympathy because he just looked miserable. Why? I have no idea.

We’ve noticed that the way AIB wakes up can have an effect on his whole day and, Sunday, he woke up pretty happy. But not too long after he had gotten ready, he started talking in a whine exclusively. It was work to get him out the door to church since he suddenly forgot how to do things like put on shoes and his coat. He chose not to eat breakfast and right as we walked out the door he told me he was hungry. I suspect this had something to do with his attitude.

His Sunday school teacher said he was fine in class but as soon as I picked him up he went back to being solemn. Crazy kid wouldn’t even eat a chocolate covered donut without coaxing. We had two cars at church and DIB was doing just fine and enjoying the attention of the older kids who kindly play with him (the kids tried to play with AIB too but he was not having it). I told AIB that we could just go home since he was having a rough day and this sent him straight to tears saying that he didn’t want to go home. However, he was in no condition to be with people. He sobbed the whole way walking to the car and the twenty minute drive home. When I asked him what was upsetting him, he just said that he didn’t want to leave or that he wanted to be with his brother (which is his usual response whenever he gets upset). He was over-reacting so much to the situation (we told him that he wasn’t in trouble but that he might need more sleep) and could not pull himself together.

The whole way home, I was thinking, “What is going on with this kid?” He had gotten plenty of sleep and nothing major had happened that day. This was one of those times when I just wonder if there is a hurt so deep in his heart from his early life that neither he nor we can understand or know.

I did the only thing I knew to do when we got home. Pulled him up on the couch with me, cuddled and took a nap. I’ve got a thousand things to do and am not a napper myself (even at 9 months pregnant) but I couldn’t help but think, “This is probably the most important thing for me to do right now.”

There are many things that could have been going on. AIB might have just been overly-tired, he may have been having a bad day, he may have purposefully been acting that way to get attention. He might have been having a time of confusion and frustration at all the changes that have taken place in his life over the past year (and the impending change of becoming a big brother). He can’t articulate any of this to us yet. All he knows was that he was sad and he needed to cry, cuddle and sleep.

This was one of those times as a parent through adoption where I had no clue what was going on. He wasn’t being bad (although, his sadness was making him act rudely). He was just sad and he needed to be comforted, even if he didn’t know why.

Random Snippets

The whole blogging thing is going to be sporadic for a while. Here are a few snippets from the past few weeks…

  • A few weeks ago, we took a full-day birthing class. Honestly, I found the whole thing fascinating and really enjoyed it as well as meeting other couples who were due around the same time. I think D enjoyed the class a lot too. The two doulas who taught the class were funny and kept things moving so it didn’t get too boring. And, the graphic videos and images, were kept to a minimum. This past Friday, we have a private “bonus” class with one of the doulas to get some additional information and I am feeling pretty prepared now. I’ve read a few books but I’ve always learned better by what I hear and see so these classes were a great preparation for me and D. Just before Thanksgiving, we toured the birth center so now we actually know where to go at the hospital when the time comes (four weeks to go)!
  • The woman who taught our class has a six-year-old son and mentioned that she got him the Lego Police Station for Christmas. As soon as she said that, I couldn’t help but think about how much our boys would love something like that. I made the mistake of looking up the police station and fire station on Amazon. In total, they are over 1300 pieces of Legos. After talking to D, we decided to go for it and make this the boys “big” present for Christmas (the storage system might be a gift more for me though).

  • As usual, I’ve done most of my Christmas shopping so far online. I ordered the cutest dress-up police costume for our nephew, Shay. It arrived today and D opened the box. As soon as I could see what was in it, I said, “Don’t show that to AIB.” However, he was right there and really wanted to know. We prefaced letting him look by saying this was a gift for his cousin, not for him. And then we talked about how we need to think about others and how important it is to give gifts to those we love. He shook his head and we let him look inside. Immediately, I could tell what he was thinking. We asked him to pretend like he was Shay opening the gift and told him that if he was really nice to Shay and was a good gift-giver, that sometime Shay would probably share it with him. We have a long way to go on teaching the boys to be generous and self-less.
  • We are getting the house ready to add our fifth family member and it seems like there is no end to the work. I’m trying to make peace with the idea that it might not all be done by the time she arrives. But one thing that is the top of my list is to record a new podcast. We have seriously slacked on this and have lots to share about the boys, our “family-versary” and how they are doing. I have a drafted outline and I am hoping by putting this out there that it will get us motivated to sit down and record an episode ASAP.

That is my quick, not-too-exciting update on life.

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.

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.

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.