Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Regrets ....Everyone has them.  Some of us have more, some of us have less. 

Just off the top of my head, an example of some of mine:
  • Gaining 65 pounds when pregnant with Lyla
  • Taking four small children to a very long, very boring college graduation
  • That phase of perm meets bangs in college
  • Not making a priority out of spending more time with people I hold dear
  • The last time I told one of my children "if you do that again, we are leaving this fun place RIGHT NOW."  That was really way more punishment for me than for a certain naughty child, who shall remain nameless
  • Posting this last blog post about maybe someday getting a dog...
I showed just the slightest hint of weakness on the dog issue, and my husband pounced.  Twenty minutes after my post, he had Wayside Waifs and The Humane Society pulled up on the computer, and had found some mighty fine looking dogs that "needed homes bad" and would be "perfect for our family."

On that note, I think I need to amend my requirements for the perfect dog:
1) Must eat anything and everything that falls on the floor underneath my babies' highchairs, unless, of course, one of the babies happens to fall down there.  That would be bad.
2) Must be sturdy enough to take a little abuse from toddlers and yet not be able to (or have a desire to) fit their heads in his mouth
3) Must be hairless or, at the very least, the hair must not fall off the dog while indoors
4) Must be at least half as awesome as our beloved Yuri

5) And, of course, the givens:  doesn't chew up stuff, doesn't dig, poo and pee in the yard only, as far away from the house as possible

Okay, take THAT honey!  Now, find us the perfect dog :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another Family Addition?

Lest anyone think I've totally lost my marbles, no I'm not talking about another kid .... 

Ever since we had to put our beloved blue healer, Yuri, to sleep last winter, my children (and husband) have begged, begged, begged for another dog,. I know what you're thinking (cus I've said it about a hundred times)... another mouth to feed and more poop to clean up is exactly what I don't need!  Can I get an amen?

Well, I'm getting desperate (obviously) in how to combat this little urchin, who seems to be gifted in the art of mess-making. If I could have a dog, guaranteed to clean all the food my son throws drops on the floor, perhaps it would be worth it?  It definitely can't be one of those foo-foo, finicky-eating kinda dogs either.  No, this dog needs to be able to chow down meat, fruit, veggies, crackers, chocolate (no worries, my kids get very little chocolate, so it shouldn't be enough to make a dog sick) and lick milk/juice spills dry.  And the dog has to be good with kids, because I have a bunch of those.  Any advice as to the best kind of dog for my needs family? 

Oh, and for those of you who are thinking "that must be a month's worth of crumbs" ... that mess under my rotten darling son, is from ONE MEAL!  Lunch today consisted of sloppy joe, cheeze-its, apple slices and half of a chocolate muffin for dessert (plus a pound of frustration, an ounce of grief and two tubs of soapy water).  Bon appetit!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Flashback

Can you believe this little cutie pie is 2 years-old today?  In some ways, it seems like two lifetimes ago since she was born ... oh wait, it was... her little lifetime and Joseph's little lifetime.  What a busy two years!

In honor of her birthday, I thought I'd do a little flashback to 2+ years ago.  When pregnant with Anna, I started showing signs of active labor when I was only 22 weeks.  It was s.c.a.r.y.  Every week I would check her little survival rates on, and rejoice as her numbers climbed.  At 24 weeks, I was on full-time bedrest with this really fun little monitor that magically zapped my contraction numbers to a nurse 500 miles away.  If my contractions were too frequent, I would have to be admitted to the hospital for a night so they could stop them.  It was t.o.r.t.u.r.e!!!!  I hate hate hate being helpless, asking for help or accepting help in any way.  This was one point in my life when I really didn't have a choice.  We were in the process of building a house, had sold our previous house, and were living in a rental.  The house we were building was behind schedule and we were fighting with a dishonest builder.  Oh, and surprise! the rental house just sold, and your new house won't be ready for three more weeks.  So, we did what any good, red-blooded midwesterner would do, and moved into our camper in our in-laws backyard.  Classy!  But, all's well that ends well.  Our house was eventually finished, we moved in with the help (gulp) of lots of amazing friends and family (nothing will test the patience of an OCD woman more than watching someone else organize her pantry).  Our little Anna made it to 36 weeks (yeahhh). 

September 23, 2008:  I had been having contractions for months, and so it was kind of a fine line when to go to the hospital.  It was only about 20 minutes away, but just so happened to be a time when construction was shutting down the highway at night.  Thus our 20 minute drive was more likely to be an hour+.  I had been dilated to a 5-6 for weeks, so I knew if I happened to show up at the hospital, likely they wouldn't send me home, but rather break my water and "get things going."  But, I really really wanted to "know" I was in labor (hopefully complete with the dramatic breaking of the water in the grocery store aisle), because my two other deliveries had been induced.  Well, wimpy cautious husband really feared having a highway baby (I know, where's his sense of adventure, right?).  He'd never even seen the southern exposure of baby #1 and #2 births, so he wasn't up to the task of personally delivering baby #3 by the side of the road.  When I mentioned contractions were just a hint stronger (but still at least 15 minutes apart), he shouted, begged, pleaded "Go to the hospital!"  So, I did (eventually) and I suppose it was a good thing I did.  We were hearing "It's a Girl" less than an hour later :)  I suppose caution has it's merits.

On a side note, for months I had been mentally preparing myself for a tiny little preemie.  When she was born, I told the nurse, with tears in my eyes, "Oh, she's so small."  The nurse gave me a "whatever, dummy" look, and then loudly pronounced 8 lbs 3 ounces.  Praise God!!!!

Flash forward:  Today, I can no longer say I have two 1-year-olds.  Now that Anna is 2, I'm sure she will instantly realize she is a big girl and thus communicate with ease (without shrieking), no longer insist on being held all the time and realize pooping in the potty really is the better way to do it.  Easy street here I come.  Someone asked me what I will do with all my free time.  If anyone would like to join me, I'm thinking of spending a whole day relaxing on the couch, basking in the joy of watching my 1 and 2 year-olds play peacefully for the whole day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Haircare/skincare efficiency 101

I'm pretty sure it is a requirement that if you a) blog and b) have adopted trans racially, you are required, at some point, to give a summation of what you do for your adopted kiddo's skincare/haircare.  I've read dozens.  I'm thankful people have taken the time to write everything down; I really am.  But, most of the time, after reading these, I come away thinking ... SERIOUSLY, all that work.  He's a boy!!  And his hair is like 1/2" long!!!  You've got to be kidding me.  I don't spend that much money, time or energy on my hair or my other three kids, combined?

So, here is my completely honest, lazy simple regimen:
1) Baths everyday.  When we first got him home, I was told this was really really bad, and drying to the skin.  So, we only did baths every few days (except when blow-outs made this disgusting impossible).  I really noticed his skin reacting badly when it had been more than a day or two since his last bath.  I believe he has mild to moderate eczema, and experts are changing their tune, and most now recommend daily bathing for kids with eczema.

2) Lotion - baby oil only.  Right after his bath (sometimes while he's still in the tub), I lather him down with baby oil - lots of it!  CAUTION - slippery when wet!  Every once in a while I'll notice his knees getting extra dry and "ashy" so I might apply a small amount of Gold Bond Lotion, only to his lower legs.

3) Soap - I've tried all kinds of moisturizing soap, but what works best for Joseph is just plain ol cheap Dove bar soap.

4) Hair - Aveeno Moisturizing shampoo - almost daily.  I'm not sure this is "recommended" but Joseph has this extremely irritating cute little habit of rubbing all kinds of things (mostly food) on the top of his head. 

5) Moisturizing hair - This is where I get extremely lazy really efficient.  I'm SURE this is probably not recommended, but I have yet to see any ill effects.  When I'm done rubbing baby oil on his body, and I still have a bit left on my hands (not too much), I just rub it on his head.  His hair is very dry, but it's also pretty short, and this seems to work fine.  I've tried more "appropriate" hair products to moisturize, but most of the time cannot stand the smell ... even if it's a good smell.  I just don't like smells on hair/skin products. He has the most beautiful fine, loose curls, which I don't bother to brush.  They're perfect, without me touching them.

Things I have tried, but didn't like for his skin:  Aveeno lotion, Eucerin lotion, Curell lotion, Aquaphor lotion, Triple cream, Gold Bond healing lotion, Johnson's & Johnson's lotion and soap & Dove tanning lotion (oops, that last one was NOT on purpose.  I probably wouldn't have noticed my mistake if I hadn't recognized that tanning lotion smell).  Most of these lotions seemed to irritate his skin, or have a smell I can't stand.

When he first came home, he had a combination of atopic dermatitis (aka eczema) as well as scabies.  We didn't realize this at first, and thought we were just dealing with scabies.  After several treatments (oops) & lots of laundry, I realized the scabies were gone, and really we were just dealing with the dry skin/eczema.  My daily bath/baby oil regimen really seems to be the cure, and he has pretty much been bump-free every since I started this.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lamenting the end of summer

likely the last opportunity this year to play in the hose  :(

"laid back, sippin on gin and juice" ...
why oh why is that song stuck in my head every time I see this picture?
Please believe me when I say they were only sippin a sonic happy hour slushy

(lest anyone be worried about the safety standards around here, Dad has painted a white circle on the trampoline and the babies are trained to stay inside it acts like a force field keeping them away from the edge (disregard above pictures that may be contradictory to said force field)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Four Month Update

“Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him” Psalm 127:3

These updates get harder and harder to write. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but this is the closest I can come- my son is my son is my son. When filling out adoption post-placement forms and talking with our social worker, I was asked to say what I like best about him. Um, he’s my son … nuff said? If you would have told me four months, six months, or a year ago that it would be possible for me to love him this much … I wouldn’t have believed. He is honestly the most charismatic, charming, funny, loving, lovable, affectionate and darn-right handsome little boy the world has ever known (and I believe this to be a completely non-biased opinion of my awesome son). To read my disclaimer about peoples opinions of their own children, click here.

Some ways I would describe my boy:

Explorer: Oh My Goodness … The boy is into everything. You would think that by the time kid #4 rolls around, I would have a rather baby-proof house. Think again! The little Houdini can escape from high chair straps and dismantle a baby gate in 10 seconds flat. The entrepreneur in me is thinking of renting him out to those first time moms who want to check to see if their house is baby proof. It would take him 20 minutes flat to identify all the weak points in your line of defense. I’m thinking his life-saving skills would be worth at least $100/hour. What do you think?

Fearless: This trait mixed with his exploring nature, often times gives this mamma a heart attack. The first time he was near a pool, he ran into the deep end. The first time he was on a playground, he ran down the slide (this one ended in a couple of bruises, poor guy … NOT, that that would stop him from trying it again)

Always the entertainer: With all the trouble he gets in, it is definitely his saving grace that he is so stinking cute and charming. When a crowd gathers, he is pretty sure it is for the sole purpose of admiring him, and so he kicks the charm into high gear. He will spin in circles, laugh, dance, laugh, fall, laugh … anything to get people to laugh at/with him. He. has. the. most. amazing. smile. in. the. world (and he is not afraid to use it). When I spot him doing something naughty, he immediately takes off in a run/giggle. It is his supernatural power to diffuse any anger/annoyance I may have felt, because he seems to find such pure delight in trouble and subsequent escape.

Loves his family: It warms my heart when he…
  • looks for mom or dad for comfort and a kiss after taking a tumble
  • runs to me when I enter the room after church nursery or daycare
  • prefers mom or dad to hold him over anyone else (unless Papa happens to have a Coke or grandma has a brownie – the boy is smart)
  • giggles with delight when “wrestling” his siblings
  • gives nasty, wet, lickery kisses to his sister and makes her squeal
One smart cookie: Developmentally, I would say he is almost caught up with his big sister (who is 9 months older). He signs several words, and says several more. He waves and gives kisses (complete with the ummmmm-mmmmaaa noise). He is pretty much brilliant!

...and, because an Ethiopian adoption update wouldn't be complete without talking about poop, here is TMI on that subject ... Joseph came home with poo that was frequent (6+ per day), very loose, nasty and foul-smelling (not that any poop smells great, but we're talking stink on a new kind of level). The first couple of months, it wasn't uncommon for me to have to wash all of his bedding (sheets, pillows, bumpers) at least 6 times per week. Twice he tested negative to giardia and other intestinal parasites, and so we were baffled. We tried probiotics and a lactose-free diet. I'm not sure if this has finally started working or his intestinal tract has just regulated a bit, but poo is much much less frequent and rarely "blows out" anymore. It's still loose and nasty, but requires much less laundry and baths and for that I am thankful.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Local Tooth Fairy Fired

Yep, if there was a boss or union for tooth fairies, I would be canned.  I. am. horrible. at. this. job.  Why?  I am pretty good at remembering important things and responsibilities.  But, for some reason, I have a mental block when it comes to my tooth fairy duties.  Renny has lost five teeth the natural way (she knocked out her front tooth when she was 3, so we won't count that).  I have forgot or somehow messed up three out of the five opportunities.  So, the first time my poor kiddo came down the stairs bawling her eyes out because the tooth fairy forgot, my excuse was pretty lame.  It happened to be Memorial Day, so I said "well, the tooth fairy must not work on Memorial Day.  Try again tonight."  The next day I did remember, though not until 6:00 a.m.  I ran upstairs, was too afraid I would wake her searching for the tooth, so left her a note that said something like "sorry I didn't come last night.  I was off on National Tooth Fairy Holiday.  So, to reward your patience, you get $1 and you get to keep your tooth.  Love, the Tooth Fairy."  The second and the third time I forgot, I got a little smarter.  As Renny came downstairs crying her eyes out that there was no dollar (thankfully both of these times she couldn't find the tooth either), I skillfully said "oh, really" as I tucked a dollar into my pocket and ran upstairs.  I then reminded her about what a restless sleeper she is, and advised her to look on the floor, behind her bed, under all her (bazillion) stuffed animals, all the while stealthily sneaking the dollar under a teddy bear.  When do kids stop believing in the tooth fairy anyway?  NOT that I am in a hurry for her to grow up, but I admit that I won't be sad when this job passes.