Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Adoption contemplation

How do you go from this?

A picture on a computer screen saying, "This is your child..."
To a scared little boy getting off an elevator with the only "mommy" he's ever known and a little bag of crackers in his hand that are his only comfort in the world...
To saying "Hi, I'm your mommy..."
"And your daddy"...

Don't worry, we're just going to take you on an airplane, fly you half way across the world to a place where they don't speak your language and most of them don't look like you.
We're going to put some cute new clothes on you, give you a brother, a sister, a dog, 4 loving grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and even a great grandmother whom you've yet to meet.
To this. An amazingly happy, well adjusted, American kid. Who fits so perfectly into our family, sleeps well, is healthy as an ox (even if he won't eat a fruit or vegetable to save his life) and who will melt your heart with his smile.
Quinn came home 8 weeks today. He's been an American 2 short months and he ACTUALLY feels like my kid. It is absolutely amazing how God as rigged this thing that a picture on a computer kid turns into your flesh and blood in one short year.
October 30th is the one year anniversary of Quinn's referral coming to our family. The mad scramble and prayer to decide if we would say "Yes, we'll take him." It seems like so much water is under that bridge, and yet it's only been 8 piddly weeks. One short year. Our lives (all 5 of us) have been radically changed, for the better.
Words can't even describe how warm my heart is toward this boy. The other day I was driving somewhere and I glanced back and he grinned at me. The same boy who was such a mess on Gotcha Day, clinging to his caregiver, fearing me. I teared up at the grin. HE IS MY SON. I am amazed. And thankful.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No news is good news, so they say.

I'm sitting down to write a post and I'm afraid I got nothin'. I thought about writing about the gong show that nap time has been around here the past couple of days. But that's nothing new. Nor exciting. Wah wah wah. Poor Elizabeth doesn't get her hour to herself.

My spinning class was good. I sweat my butt off. But really, that's not exactly news. NEWS would be that I went to spinning class and it was hard (yada yada yada) but I have reached maximum physical potential and today DID NOT sweat nor wanted to die. But if that is the barometer for news, no news here.

I just finished making tonight's dinner (it's only 2:15, oh, sorry, is that bragging?) but that's because a friend of mine from church has been sick for a week and I thought I'd help them out by bringing dinner. Because I have to go to the quackopractor for an adjustment this afternoon, I had to have dinner ready in time to take it to her before I go to my appointment. Maybe I should have a deadline like that everyday so that dinner makes it on the table in a timely fashion.

Speaking of the chiropractor, I get a free adjustment today because it's customer appreciation day. They ought to appreciate me. I have single handedly put this guy's kid through college! I have to bring some canned goods and I get a free session. Why is it whenever I donate canned goods I get rid of what WE don't like? Hopefully some underprivileged folks like beets, creamed corn and butter beans. Which really begs the question, why do we have those things and did I ACTUALLY buy them at one time? (I probably got them for free once at CVS and don't remember.) Yeah, like CVS is giving away beets. Razors? yes. Beets? notsomuch.

Anyhow. Now that the season of More To Love is over, I have nothing to look forward to on Tuesday nights. So, pretty much, its 2:15, I'm hearing the pitter patter of feet running from room to room upstairs, dinner is made, my pantry is de-cluttered of all useless canned goods and my back will be fixed once again. I'm calling this one a day. Hopefully, Wednesday brings a more exciting post. For your sake and mine.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Trials and Triumphs

I'm gonna start with my triumph of the day. Why? Because I want to and that's all I'm sayin'. It's been a few weeks (like the 8 since Quinn has been home) since I've really scored at CVS. Mostly because I have not taken the time to strategize. Also because CVS just hasn't thrilled me. But this week... I'm BACK.

ps. It doesn't hurt that the plague descended upon our house the past week and a half and I'm swimming in CVS gift cards. So I got all of this for nothing. Nada. Not one red cent. PLUS I made myself 24 ECBs AND I still have nearly $11 on a CVS gift card. Some of the products you may not be able to see are the Dawn liquid soap, the Vaseline lotion and the Aveeno shampoo. Not to mention the clearance Princess lunchbox and some Tide stain release that I L.O.V.E. With coupons and my ECBs and the gift cards, I walked out like a bandit... making money! Ahhh.. Its good to be back.
Now on to the trial... I took my three kids to Kroger for my weekly shopping trip. It was a bit challenging. But shoot, its only three kids three and under, I can do this!

Its all about the strategy. Olivia pushed her own cart and only hit the backs of my heels twice, causing them to bleed just a *little.*
Turner and Quinn started out in the car part of the cart, but when slapping, pinching and jabbing of the eyes began, I moved to the separation strategy. Since Turner was the culprit of all such behavior, he was removed from the driver's seat and was forced to sit where mommy could keep an eye on things.
The biggest challenge with Quinn is keeping his shoes on. Pretty much every where we go, his shoes are off... immediately. Its frustrating, but at least he stayed put.

Who knew there would be entertainment at the store? But we hit the seafood department and the lady behind the counter let all three of the kids touch the octopus. A bit gross if you ask me but it got them to all quiet down for a moment. Turner was the only one who cried. I nearly did too.
Then it was off to the sample department. We filled our faces, checked out and headed home. Oh, pretty much I didn't save a dime because the goal of this trip was not to save but to survive. Sometimes that is a good enough goal.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Something to smile about

Life has finally taken a turn for the better this week. I have to say, being healthy can really change your perspective on just about everything. 'Cuz my kid is still wailing in his bed when he's suppose to be sleeping right now. Olivia came home from school and was every one's worst nightmare. Turner still walks by Quinn and slaps him upside the head just for fun. The dog ate the newspaper for no apparent reason this afternoon. It's time to wash the slip cover, AGAIN. But I am smiling. I am chipper. I have hope.

Maybe it takes a few days of being so sick and so tired that you wish you could run away to make you appreciate your health and your family when you finally DO feel good.

Maybe its the date that Steve and I had last night to celebrate his birthday (which is tomorrow). We got a babysitter and went out BEFORE all the kids were tucked in for the night. (We hadn't dared such an event yet since Quinn came home.) And it went super smooth. Yessss... we're back! We had a tremendous dinner at Brio (I had the pan seared tuna that I would HIGHLY recommend) and ended our date at Kroger. But not just any Kroger. It's our new Kroger Freshfare, and Steve hadn't been there yet. So we had dessert on the samples set out for us at the bakery. We could have stayed longer; Survivor was being shown on the Plasma big-screen in the 'Cafe' there, but that would have been too lame, even for us!

Maybe its because I got to go to Zumba this morning. And I totally rocked it, if I do say so myself. (And I can only say that because none of you were there to actually see me!)

Maybe its because I got these super cute clogs from the Hanna Anderson catalogue in the mail today and I really love them.

Maybe its because I started reading Boundaries for Kids by Henry Cloud this week and I feel like I am gaining control over myself and my kids once again.

Maybe its because its Friday. And I love Friday. Especially a Friday that we are going to spend with some friends at a company picnic, which I usually hate, but since having kids, kinda actually look forward to.

Who knows what the real reason is for the spring in my step. I just thought I'd give you a few reasons for why I'm smiling today. I'd love to know what's making YOU smile today.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

This American house

Coming to live in America is complicated. Lots of new sights, sounds, smells and outfit options.
This week hit the point of no return for Quinn's hair. Unfortunately due to the mermaid head band that Olivia put on him, you can't get the full effect of the dreadfully long sideburns this kid was sporting, but trust me... they were there!

When Quinn arrived in our arms on Gothcha Day, the orphanage decided they would "help us out" by giving him a new haircut. It was a poorly done crew cut. And when you have a head this big, a crew cut is NOT necessarily a good idea! So *finally* after 7 weeks home, the hair on top of his head was ready for a trim (although the sideburns had been ready for weeks.)
This was the result. (Too bad I can't use the excuse of a mermaid headband for the bad shot of the hair. This one is just my poor photography skills!) He looks like a real American now. Not just some Chinese kid wearing cute Gymboree clothes.

But this cute cut did not come without some blood sweat and tears in the form of a good 'ole marital spat. Steve didn't understand why we couldn't just "take him to a barber."
Why? So he could come out looking like he just got his hair cut at a Chinese orphanage?

Okay, that makes me sound prejudice against Barbers (or Chinese orphanages). Maybe I am, to both! All I know is, this kid's hair was B.A.D. and he needed a stylist to work some magic. So, I took him over to my rock star kid hair cutter, Mandy, and she worked it! He only cried a minute when the electric sheers hit his neck (probably a flash back to the orphanage haircut nightmare... poor kid!) And we celebrated his new American look by an all-American lunch from McDonald's.
Here are his brother and sister celebrating the new look as well. Can't you just read the enthusiasm on their faces?! At least they scored some cheeseburgers and french fries out of the deal too!

All for one and one for all around here. That's pretty much our motto.

As for me, I was diagnosed with Tonsillitis yesterday. Got myself a "Z-pack" and ANOTHER $25 gift card to CVS. I'm feeling about 75% better today, which puts a whole lotta things in perspective.
When mama ain't feelin good, ain't nobody feelin good! Can I get an amen?!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dear life,

I'm calling in sick. That's right, I need a sick day. But guess what? Mom's don't get a sick day. I tried last week when I had the revenge of the guacamole. And although Steve was a great help and went above and beyond, there's just something about mommy "being around" that doesn't allow for a true sick day.

Starting on Saturday night I began to feel it *coming on*. I got the achies and then the chills and then a fever and headache. Too bad for me because the show must go on. Plus I'm an idiot to boot and I don't like to call things off. Like our house church for example. We hosted 9 adults and 5 kids on Sunday night. Then after putting the kids to bed, I cleaned up the mess and got out round two (which included brownie sundaes) for several college students from 8:30-10pm. By the end I was curled up in a little ball under a blanket with a 101.7 degree fever.

Yesterday I felt good in the morning and went to Pilates (dummy!) I figured it got us out and moving and maybe that would help me fight the bug. Then it was on to our third Pediatrician's appointment in one week during my regularly appointed babysitting time that I get each Monday to give me some "time to myself". I guess it worked out well because I'd rather take 1 kid to the doctors office than 3 any day. I pretty much ran myself into the ground yesterday and paid the price by last night as I was once again in a ball on the couch WITH A FEVER and now add a SORE THROAT for good measure.

So today I've had it. But its not exactly a sick day. (I pretty much envision my throat closing and me being unable to breath within the next 6 hours, but I'm pressing on) Since I couldn't deal with the noise and the fighting, I loaded up the boys and we went to Target. I pretty much had to drag myself down the aisles but it beat breaking up the fights and such around here. I picked up McDonald's so I didn't have to fix lunch. Got Olivia from school and popped in a movie. All that pretty much earnes me a nomination for mommy of the year, I know. But a sick mommy's gotta do what she's gotta do! I'm waiting for Steve to come home so I can make my 1:45 doctor's appointment, where hopefully he'll prescribe me a miracle drug to release me from my illness.

If that sounds like a calling in to life sick day to you, then I'm doing it. I may go to my doctor's appointment and never come back. Hooky from motherhood is sounding good right now. Or at least sneaking up to my bedroom unannounced and grabbing a short nap would do. If this post was too whiny for your taste, sorry. Here's the positive note: assuming I DO get prescribed a wonder drug today, I will have made $100 in CVS gift cards in the last 7 days. Now that's a silver lining if there ever was one! I just hope I feel up to spending in the near future~!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mean Girls

Okay, I'm a girl and I know how things in the girlie world work. A lot of days, life in that world is dreamy and wonderful and others, its down right cruel. But does it really need to start in PRE-SCHOOL? C'mon now!

I'm only able to get bits and pieces of O's day out of her. I found out today that she learned about "not cutting in line." Okay, I'd prefer she come home and announce that she can now read a book or something, but no cutting is a vital social skill to acquire (unless of course, you live in China... but that's a different blog for a different time) so I can live with that.

But as Olivia and I were driving by ourselves home from a friends' house last Friday night some crucial pre-school drama leaked out and I just wanted to cry (and then march right over to O's playground and kick some three year old arse.)

O has been talking about a girl named Rain since day one. And then a girl named Nanaya entered the picture. It sounds like the three of them spend significant time together doing whatever 3, 4 and 5 year olds do at pre-school. But on Friday, Olivia informed me that Rain said she didn't want to play with her. So, naturally I tried to get the details. What was I smokin? Girl is on lock down with any kind of school details, unless she volunteers them first herself. Finally, I asked her if she *asked* them if she could play with them rather than just joining in. She said, "No, I just played with them." I told her that sometimes people like to be asked and maybe she should try that.

O has a tendency to latch on to people and dare I say *smother* them. So I also let her know that sometimes people need a break and maybe she could find some other friends. "But I don't need a break." Gulp. I really had to fight the tears. So I went through the long list of friends that she's had for a quite a while that love to play with her. And then I finally added, "If I was a girl in your class, I'd play with you all the time because I think you are super fun." She broke out in a wide grin. And that seemed to satisfy. Oh, if only that would last a lifetime. But I'm pretty confidant that answer will not heal the wound when she's 13.

Today when I picked her up she said that Rain and Nanaya played with her today but Nanaya told her they won't be her friends tomorrow and won't play with her then. We had a long talk about the kind of friend to look for and how she needs to let Nanaya know that what she says is not kind and it hurts her feelings. And then she needs to go and make new friends. "But those are the friends I want."

Oh, girlfriend! It's gonna be a long life on the playground. And I just don't know how to navigate this one. I didn't think I'd be having "How to pick good friends" talks at age 3. But I guess you can never start too young. I never knew that being a mommy would be so excruciatingly painful and glorious all at the same time. Sigh. Wish me luck, its gonna be a long 18 years!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Toddlers and Tiaras...

Here we come! I know that I posted pics after last week's ballet class. And who knows, I just might post 'em EVERY weeks so be ready. I realized last week there were no close ups of my super star. So this is for all of you Olivia ballet fans (insert BeBe and Grandma here!)
I have to say, I could hardly resist this Old Navy sweater/jacket when I saw it at the consignment shop a month or so ago. It seemed like it would be forever until she would wear it. But this morning was chilly enough and it was so perfect for a ballet morning. She is just so super cute.
I don't get a lot out of her after class. She would demonstrate for me how they curtsy at the end of class. It was sweet, but I want more!!!
I had scheduled a phone date with my good friend Karen this morning during class (partially to keep me from peeping through the forbidden window). It was hard to see a handful of other moms bending in to catch a glimpse. But I used every ounce of self control (and mobile minutes) to keep my nosey self outta there. She's already asking when she gets to go back. I think she's hooked.

Don't blame me, I live in Ohio!

And because of that, there just isn't a lot of hip and trendy stuff to do... therefore, we go to festivals. A lot of them. And we eat fried stuff. Lots of it. (And then we sweat it when we weigh in at Weight Watchers each month. Which I did this morning, by the way, and I came in well under my goal. Whew!)
I took the kids over to my friend Sally's after naps yesterday. This is our new plan. Play date after naps every Friday afternoon (unless one of us is out of town or sick or dying or something.) For me, this is the hardest push-thru of the week and I thought if I can have a play date each week until the husbands come home from work, we've got it made in the shade. So, I packed up the kids and off we went yesterday. And an added bonus, there was a festival going on ACROSS THE STREET from Sally's house. So when the husbands got off of work, we all met up at their house and walked there for fun and dinner. It was a gorgeous evening and super fun to spend it with our good friends.
Olivia and Ava are bestest buds. I absolutely LOVE to listen to them play but most of all, chat. Their conversations are innocent and sweet and I could eavesdrop all day long.
Olivia is officially addicted to face painting and we've now got Ava hooked as well. I did manage to convince them to just get their hands painted since we were minutes away from bed time and hated to pay a whole dollar just to wash it off, but I could live with going to bed with a painted hand.(Don't ya know after one potty trip and a wash of the hands we had to deal with a washed away unicorn. At least it was proof of a good post-potty hand wash.)
As is true of all hillbilly carnivals, this one came with some sketchy (at best) little kid rides. But a promise is a promise and the kids spotted this train ride when we first arrived at the festival.
It was one of the saddest moments when all 5 kids got ready to board the train and the 19 year old carni informed us the train wasn't working. Steve asked if there was anyone coming to fix it in the near future. The pimple faced kid held up a piece of sandpaper and said, "Yeah, I'm workin' on it." Ummmm... kids, time to find another ride.
So, even though these cars were CLEARLY the second choice, there were a *few* tears as we left the train, they fully enjoyed their TWO DOLLAR a kid 5 minute ride. Are you kidding me? I'm quite sure, 'back when I was a kid' it only cost a quarter to ride a death trap like this. But who am a to deprive my kids a moment of death-defying fun???
Seriously, it was a highlight of my week watching my three and little Ava go round and round, giggling with delight. I could have stayed there all night, allowing them to ride 'till they barfed. But bedtime was calling.
Growing up my mom always said one of her greatest joys in life was watching me have fun. Hello, lamo! (At least that's what I USED to think.) Oh my what a blast to hear my kids giggle and enjoy simple things in life. And to do it with good friends, what could be better?!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Breaking up is hard to do

You may remember a certain incident earlier this month involving dinner w/ a friend, a veggie wrap and a public toilet? Well, me and my relationship with guacamole is officially over! In the toilet, some may say. You would think I would have learned my lesson, but maybe my experience with the vicious veggie wrap was a lot like giving birth... you forget the pain and are willing to revisit the scene of the crime all too quickly once time has healed all wounds.

I was on campus yesterday. I look forward to my weekly visit to campus for LOTS of reasons. Shamefully, one of them being my "treat" of eating in the student union cafeteria. Its not that the food is all that good (although, its not all that bad) but it really is the love of someone else making me lunch that gets me excited each week. I did a quick scan of my options (and the lunch time crowds that seem to hit the same time I make my debut in the union each week) and noted a chicken burrito that seemed *interesting*.

I got to my table and my friend, Liz, joined me for our weekly appointment. As I bit in and inspected the innards, I realized there was guac in it. A distant thought of caution ran through my mind, or was it more of a repulsion? But because I like to live on the edge, I pushed onward and finished my lunch. It wasn't 10 minutes after polishing off the burrito that I realized I had made a terrible mistake!!!

Guacamole's revenge. It was total deja vu! I got that same knot in my stomach and that same dreaded feeling. I quickly called off the rest of my appointments for the day, high tailed it to my car, crawled into bed and "fought it" for the next three hours and then; guess what?

Guacamole: 2, Elizabeth: 0!

I spent the next 4 hours barfing and VOWING to NEVER, EVER eat the green stuff again!!!

So, I don't know... am I a complete head case and now it's all in my mind? Or can I really have some kind of aversion to guac that causes me to instantly throw up??? Whatev.... I'm unwilling to take this experiment any further! Let the mystery live on, but guacamole... let the world know, you are dead to me!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Treading water

Sorry about the delay in between posts lately. I feel like I'm just trying to keep my head above water these days. Life if full and busy and good. With O in school every day, my job back on campus in full swing (albeit very part time, but keeping me crazy nonetheless) house cleaning, doctors appointments for kids, mom in the hospital, dad under the weather, workouts and the season finale of More to Love to catch... I can just barely stay afloat. (which may have to be a whole other post in and of itself.) Don't hear me complaining, its more like justifying my infrequent blog activity.

Which is sad for me. I love to blog. It helps me stay sane. It helps me make sense of the tantrums, the disobedience, the clutter, the rusharoundness that is my life. It makes me feel like I have something to say more than, "No, you can't have ANOTHER cookie." "Don't hit your brother." "Time out!" "Do you want an ear flick?" and other stuff like that.

Throughout my day it occurs to me, "That would make a good post." But recently, by the time 8 pm rolls around (or nap time) I find I have a list of a million other things to do (or dare I confess, watch on tv?) that I have been putting blogging to the side.

Or some days I think, do people (and by people I mean you dozen or so who read this thing) really want to read about another mundane day at my house? Another failed attempt at eating well? Another festival we've attended? But I think my mom does, right Bebe?!

So, I'm back at it. Blogging, hopefully, helps me keep my sense of humor at the simple things that seem to be my life these days. As I look forward to the next month of life, I take in a deep breath and hope that my treading is strong enough to keep my head above water for a few more weeks. Coming up we've got a student retreat, Steve's birthday, Quinn's second birthday (but such a significant one and I really want to make it special) more doctors appointments for Quinn, parent teacher conferences at Olivia's school and then Quinn's big surgery. Gulp. Thankfully, Jesus goes before me and Steve goes next to me. And hopefully YOU will be along for the journey as well.

Just be patient as I try to keep up with it all and a have bit of fun along the way.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Festival mania

I don't know about where you live, but here in our neck of the woods, it was a fabulous weekend. A picture perfect late summer/ early fall weekend. With festivals to boot.

Growing up, my parents were festival goers. I remember attending just about every ethnic festival in our city. I'm pretty sure my love for other cultures and foods is a direct result of the festival hopping we did growing up.

Mostly I remember sweating my butt off in the blazing hot sun as we stood in long lines for food I didn't like (at the time) and listening to weird music... but the depth of my cultural appreciation took years to refine... what can I say?
Well, Steve and I didn't exactly make it to any culturally enriching festivals this weekend. But we did make it to our neighborhood street fair, where Olivia got her face painted. We waited for more than a half hour for this butterfly face.

I'm pretty sure Olivia would say it was worth the wait. I had to make a Kroger run right after the face paint was dry and boy did she milk all the attention from the old ladies oooing and ahhhhing over the butterfly beauty. Gimme a break. It was rather freaky if you ask me, but I'm not a 3 year old girl (or an 80 year old granny for that matter.)
Later that evening our friends Erin and Nick came over. While all we did was grill our hamburgers and let the kids run loose in the yard, Nick proved to be a one man festival. My kids LOVED playing with Nick and Erin and it was so fun to watch our friends love our kids.

Sunday was day 2 of festival mania. And thankfully the Popcorn festival did not disappoint in the fried sweets department. Ahhh... Funnelquest '09, while Weight Watchers wants to shut you down, Southwest Ohio fall festival season does not!
All hail the grand daddy of them all... Fried Snickers, Oreos and Rice Krispy Treats. I've died and gone to Funnelquest utopia.
And speaking of a one person festival, Steve's Aunt Marilyn was in town from Michigan and joined us for the festival fun. Steve's Aunt is a blast and absolutely loves our kids, and the feeling is mutual. Quinn met her for the first time on Sunday and let's just say, he likey some Aunt Marilyn!!!
He also likey sitting in a fire engine.
Which is really funny because Turner is the one crazy for all things big, shiny and on wheels. But he did NOT want to sit in it. (You can't look at it if you're sitting in it.) But Quinn... he likes to sit! (Are you sure we are not blood related? 'Cuz I swear he gets that from me!)
So all in all, it was a really great weekend. In fact, it was the kind of weekend I wish I could bottle up and keep on the shelf for sometime in February. Because I know all too well... Winter, it is a comin'.

Peeping mom

After several months of begging and pleading, we finally broke down and signed Olivia up for dance lessons.

I was kind of against starting my kids in activities so young, but guess what? This is HER doing, not mine. I know every mom thinks their kids is more advanced than any other kids their age. I'm not sure I think that, exactly. But I do know that Olivia has very defined likes and dislikes and dance is a definite like.

So last week we headed off to Target, got her a leotard, tights and ballet slippers, signed her up for 8 weeks of lessons at a local community arts center and then answered a weeks worth of the, "Do I get to go to ballet class today?" question.

We got to her 10:15 Saturday morning class about 20 minutes early partly because I didn't exactly know where I was going and didn't want to be late and partly because I was sick of saying, "NO! It's not time to leave yet." Steve had to do a football chapel so I had to take all 3 kids with me. A real barrel of monkeys, let me tell you.
We got there and it was a vision of pink. So cute. The class if for 3 and 4 year olds. And oh my, it really was sweet. When the instructor, Miss Nancy (who is hard core!) came out and read the names, Olivia marched in and grabbed a hold of that ballet bar like it was serious business.

Then, to my utter sadness, Miss Nancy dismissed all the parents to the hallway and announced that class would be over at 11:00 sharp and we could return to pick up our ballerinas.

Wait a minute. You mean I don't get to stand there and ooo and ahhhh over every brilliant thing she does? I'm paying $55 and don't even get to see what kind of return I'm getting on my investment? Fine, I'm sure that it IS for the best. That way O concentrates on Miss Nancy and not on me.

So, the door was shut and I had to figure out how to entertain 2 hellions in the hallway for the next 10 minutes until Steve came to take the boys home and I would wait for O to be done. He came, they left and then it was me left to my own devices.

The door did have a window, but it had strategically been covered with construction paper. Are you kidding me??? Who did she think we were? Fine. You can keep a mommy out but you can't keep her down. For the next 30 min. me and the other 7 moms waiting took turns bending and contorting, trying to get a glimpse of our girls (who were certainly outshining the other mediocre girls and really should be trying out some other hobby.)

Olivia was in heaven. She finished her class and before we were even in the car, she asked when we get to go back. Sorry, O, the class is only once a week. And so begins my life as chauffeur extraordinaire. Good bye Saturdays, hello, activities.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Breakin the law

I may have mentioned before that in our short 5 weeks home with Quinn we haven't exactly "followed the rules." Which is so odd, because I'm a TOTAL rule follower. Seriously! I was never grounded, not once, growing up. I got one demerit in high school because the teacher could see my boxer shorts underneath my uniform skirt. There was that one time I was about to go toilet papering, but never quite made it. Like I said, pretty much a rule follower.

So when we were preparing to bring home a little guy from China, we were required to go through some international adoption education. Some of it was helpful, some of it was boring but almost all of it scared the socks off of me. They pretty much made it seem like we would be entering about a year of lock down. "Don't let anyone other than you and your husband hold your new kid. Don't put them in child care. DO start using a family bed." Life as i knew it...over.
Well, this rule follower pretty much deviated from the first day. First things first, family bed??? With a 2 year old boy? H_ll no! Not let anyone else hold him? Kid can walk anywhere he wants to go. He was at an outdoor rock concert 3rd night home and jamming! L.O.V.E.S. going to the YMCA childcare while I work out (the workers are marvelling at how much progress he's made in such a short time.)

Don't know what the family bedders would say about cross-dressing for your new Chinese kid (actually, they are probably in favor) but Quinn has a sister who is rather fond of dressing him up like a princess. And he's not arguing.

If you're into the family bed concept... more power to you. Forgive my mockery. It's just not the way we roll around here and it certainly wasn't going to start now. There are 16 other hours in the day for me to bond with my new child, and that's working out just fine.
I'd say things in genearl are working out just fine, but the whole inspiration for this post is my screaming bloody murder newest addition who is recently taken to protesting nap time. He'll sleep about 30 minutes and then scream his sweet little head off. I KNOW there would be some people opposed to that. (I'll admit, I'm even having a bit of a hard time with it.) But here in this house, we have a mandatory rest time, even if you don't sleep. Let's just say, mama NEEDS the rest time more than anyone!

The greater mystery (Other than why he won't sleep. Until 4 days ago, he took a fine nap) is how in the world his brother can sleep soundly 5 feet away in the next crib. Amazing! I have to believe it is good for both of them. If you are flipping out at my allowing him to stand in his bed and scream until his head is wringing wet, don't be too alarmed, I did go up there, hug him and kiss him and tell him his nap is not over. I'm not too sure it comforted him a whole lot, but it made me feel better. And isn't that really what parenthood is all about?

I never knew nap time could be so exhausting!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Off the wagon

Okay, I really really don't want to write this post. But I think at this point it might be one of the things that will help me most. Over the past 2 months (basically since right before we went to get Quinn) I've put on 5 lbs. In some of my glory days I could have done that in 2 days. So 2 months doesn't seem so bad (smells like justification, doesn't it?) HOWEVER, that is the limit to what I will allow myself to gain.

And at this point, it is all that Weight Watchers will allow me to gain!

If you are unfamiliar with how WW works, you eventually get to a goal weight. Once you stay at the goal weight for 6 weeks of weighing in, you become a "Lifetime" member. This means that you get to attend meetings for free *as long as* you stay at your goal weight. Weight Watchers is rather generous because they also give you up to 2 lbs. over your goal weight as a little grace coverage. But anything over that, you have to start paying again.

Last September, I reached my Lifetime status. And I've managed to stay roughly 4-5 lbs. UNDER my goal. So with this 5 lb. increase I am back up at my goal weight (I still have the 2 lb. grace weight before I have to pay.) I have to weigh in once a month in order to keep my Lifetime status. My next weigh in is two weeks away. I'd really like to lose a few pounds before I have to weigh in.

So, the point of this post other than to whine, complain, feel sorry for myself and blame these 5 lbs. on Quinn? Really, its to light a fire under my ever expanding buns! I figured if I let you know what's happening, I'd be responsible to give a report on my next weigh in. Here's been my biggest issue, (other than eating whatever I want to dull the ringing in my ears from these deafening children. oh. and Funnelquest '09) I have not been going to meetings. For me, meetings are key! Even though I rarely learn something new (not because I'm so smart or have it all together, but rather, I KNOW what I'm suppose to do- I just do otherwise) it is SO good to be around other people with a similar struggle.

I feel like I have so much on my plate right now. Days are filled morning 'til night. I was able to make it to a meeting from time to time on a Saturday morning but now Olivia starts ballet classes Saturday mornings until November. And honestly, I used to roll my eyes when people said they were too busy to get to a meeting. I used to think, "Quit making excuses, do it for yourself. If you love yourself and want to make an investment in your future, find time to go to a meeting." Ummm... sorry about that!

I HATE that I'm back here again. Pride comes before the fall! The quicker I realize that this will probably always be something I struggle with and I should NEVER eat 1/2 cake, even if my weight is "down", the better! Sigh. So, today, I'm climbing back up onto the wagon, getting out my points calculator and my tracking sheet and am NOT going on a diet, but AM getting back to smart eating.

Hey, if you're looking for me, I'll be in the corner, hunkered down with some Smart Pop (its 0 points after all!)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Our newest chapter


Back in the spring we decided to put Olivia in our Public school system for pre school. A risky decision at best. But one that we've mulled over for years and that I personally have considered long before I had kids.

Which is truly ironic since I never spent one day of my life in a public school.

But as a person whose life is completely engulfed in the Christian world (for better and for worse) I thought I would like my children to be exposed to life outside of our Christian bubble. With the understanding that the first time I feel as though she is being "indoctrinated" or bringing home values that go against our own (that we can not talk through) she's outta there.
I sometimes contemplate, if all the Christians put their kids in Christian schools, who are left to be the lights? Now, maybe that should not be the job of this 3 year old... and I am very willing to say I've been wrong and put her into our local Christian school if I find we've made a mistake, but for now we're gonna give this Montessori school a chance (and at $25 for the WHOLE year, them are some good chances.)
I know I'm a *bit* biased, but if you were a preschool teacher, wouldn't you just love having this little thing walk into your classroom?
Steve dropped her off this morning at 7:45 and she was all confidence as she walked out the door. She looked over her shoulder and yelled, "Bye, mom." Apparently she didn't want any help from Steve UNTIL she got out of the car and it was time to walk up to the school. Then things got a bit dicey.
I guess she cried a bit when the teacher came and greeted her. But being the professional that she is, Mrs. S whisked Olivia away and introduced her to another girl in the class named Olivia. Steve snuck out the back and away we went.
My morning was normal, we went to the Y and it was nice just having the two boys. Dare I say quiet? quieter? I did get a bit misty eyed at one point when Turner looked over his shoulder in the van to O's seat, pointed and said, "Sister?" There was definitely an Olivia mouth sized hole in the car!

After getting home from the Y, the boys had about 1/2 hour to play (and I had a 1/2 hour to fold laundry) and then we loaded back up to get O. The boys were a little less than thrilled to be piling back into the van so soon. Well, they better get used to it 'cuz this is the new normal. Nothin' that a few fruit snacks won't cure.

And this is what we found waiting for us. A smiling Olivia. She was pretty proud of herself that she "already ate lunch so I don't need any when the little boys eat, okay mom?" I've been trying to pump her for information all afternoon on what went down at the school. No luck. In fact, as a little after school treat I let her watch a bit of her Barbie movie and when I kept asking her questions about her day she finally looked me dead in the eye and said, "Mom, can you please just let me watch my movie?" Then she got up and moved herself to the sofa where she could hear better. I guess this is all pay back for the years I gave my mom garbage answers about school. Oh well, and the beat goes on.

laboring day

Other than a "wee" bit of a mess at the end of the day to clean up...
(or more accurately, I made the mess and Steve cleaned it up)...
it was a perfectly lovely labor day and "end" to summer. Minus the rain. And the yelling and screaming kids. And the fact that my baby starts 5 day a week pre-school tomorrow. But whatever.
This sweet scene of Olivia and her best bud, Ava, is one I want to ingrain in my mind forever. These two little girlies are pure sweetness.
Their brotherly counterparts are a different story. Because of the aforementioned rain, we kept all 5 kids inside for the afternoon and the Koproski brothers were particularly loud and cranky. And violent. Oh well. Good thing Ava's daddy, Matt, is in on duty here! So although summer is unofficially over and my whites are to be retired, I feel like we might still squeak a bit of summer fun in a little while longer. I'm just not ready to let it go yet. Although, I am itchin for some fall festivals (dare I say FunnelQuest '09 continues???)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Closing out summer

I LOVE holidays. All of 'em. From the big dogs like Christmas to the more forgettable ones like Labor Day (I say forgettable because I'm pretty sure it was just last year that I finally learned Memorial Day is in the Spring and Labor Day is in the fall... right?) But maybe what I love most of all are the 3 day weekends that come with holidays.

Although, I'm realizing that there really is no such thing as a holiday nor a 3 day weekend when you're a mom. Its really just another busy day. But at least Steve is home to share the load.

With Labor Day as the "unofficial end of summer" (isn't that the ugly stepchild of all holidays??) I find it to be a rather depressing holiday. But a good excuse for one last swim, one last picnic and one last funnel cake! (I'm hoping to make it to a festival this weekend and get me one, I hope you do to.)
But this year for us, Labor Day goes down in history books as the weekend Quinn got to meet Bebe and Paw. (Unfortunately, I don't actually have a picture of that event, but here are Bebe and Olivia posing in front of some mums at Giant Eagle because O said to me, "Wouldn't it be nice to have a picture of me with these flowers?" Nice, O!)
The visit couldn't have gone any better. Because of some health set backs for both of my parents, they have been unable to come and visit us since Quinn arrived from China. And we've been a bit reluctant to travel with him so early. Every "expert" says you shouldn't disrupt a newly adopted child's environment too soon. Once again, Quinn has gone against all expectations.
He did amazing!!! He jumped right in at Bebe and Paw's. I'd say he was a bit shy/nervous around the new people for a few hours. But as far as the house/toys, he acted like he'd been there a dozen times. As far as sleeping... like a champ. Honestly, this is one of the most adaptable kids I've ever met. God has really placed within him a security and a bond because he continues to go against all of the warnings. It was a super fun 2 days and honestly, I think we were all sad to leave. (We just wanted to do the 1 night as a test run. Next time, I think we'll stay for 2 nights.) It continues to amaze me how Quinn has fit into our family and I know that is not just "luck." God has placed the lonely in a family. And it is good.