About Me

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WE HAVE MOVED TO A NEW SITE!!! http://www.mommyhood-shivonne-costa.squarespace.com/ As of June 18, 2015, this is our new location. Please come join us!! I started blogging the week I got married. I thought it would be nice to blog the full first year, you know, to cherish those memories and share them with my family and friends. Little did I know, it was going to be my greatest coping skill for the craziness that comes with marriage! I found writing to be a fantastic way to reframe an ugly marital spat into a humorous event, allowing me to smile at the situation by the end of the post. And now, I am honored to share my struggles and joys of fostering, adopting, birthing, and raising 4 beautiful children. It's my hope that others gain laughter and new ways to see their own frustrating life situation through my writing. Because I love to write! PS, look for me on Facebook - "Mommyhood-Shivonne Costa"

Monday, December 31, 2012

Catch Up!

     As I'm sure you've noticed, I'm terrible at blogging during the holiday season. I'm sorry for not filling you in on our first Christmas together as a family, Tay's 5th birthday, and the cute new things baby Isaac is up to these days.... but when there are gifts to be wrapped, trips to be taken to see my family out of state, and the flu bug overtaking our home, blogging just didn't make the cut. BUT I'm back in time for New Year's! (Proving that I can handle the simple task of typing during at least one holiday.) To catch you up, here are a few fun facts from the last 2 weeks!
     1) Cameron and Taylor abhor creamed spinach. I only despise it, so I was ok with making them finish the small helping they were given for dinner. Taylor spent about 20 minutes chewing... that's it... just chewing on spinach. I told her to swallow it, but she kept saying that "it wasn't ready". And Cameron's gag reflux was activated twice, which, had he actually thrown up, it would've looked exactly like creamed spinach anyways. (They needn't know that I threw my helping away after they went to bed....)
     2) Cameron and I had the flu. To put it poetically, our bottoms were shooting with more force than a power washer. However, one of us had enough control to make it to the bathroom in the middle of the night, whereas my the other one of us proved this to be impossible... twice. Cameron also proved it impossible to clean himself off in the middle of the night without getting gooey pooey on everything he touched (shower walls, 2 wash cloths (his sister was NOT pleased), the back of the toilet, the cupboard door, and the toilet paper dispenser). Needless to say, cleaning up someone else's runny stool when you have the flu does NOT bode well. My silver lining is the 7 pounds I lost during my illness... which I'm determined to find again as I sit here eating pounds of Christmas mini-snickers.
     3) Baby boy has turned into a tv-watching butterball of giggles and hand-sucking! This kid has lost all interest in me, apparently, because if the television is on in the room, that's all he wants to look at! Luckily, he's not picky about what's on and is content watching Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives... probably because he loves food just as much as I do. (OH!! I could really go for an episode on how to make mini-snickers right now!) And if I had known he had such a talent for putting his entire fist in his mouth, I would've enrolled him in the Infant Circus. But his giggles... Oooh, the giggles! Could this kid make me smile anymore inside? I'm pretty sure he could not!
     4) Taylor is willing to trade us all in for going to live with my Grandmother in Michigan. Why, you may ask? Because Grandma has a toilet paper dispenser that plays Christmas carols when you unroll the tissue. That's all.... so anyone wondering if she really has an attachment issue can rest assured that she does indeed!
     5) Trips to Michigan should ALWAYS involve individual sets of headphones and some sort of gaming/music device, especially when snow storms, diaper changes, and your husband's pea-sized bladder make your 5 hour trip last 8 hours. Cameron was blessedly quiet and Taylor couldn't even annoy him because he couldn't hear her through the head phones... which meant that she would just burst out into random songs about reindeer, baby Jesus, and the days of the week.... I'm pretty sure she included all three into one song somewhere in the middle of Ohio. On the bright side, she finally learned that Thursday and Friday are, in fact, part of the seven days of the week (which we've been working on for about 7 months). She'll probably forget by the time school resumes, but I'll be sure to send a note in to her teacher about it, just in case.
     6) My husband decided to try out a new pick-up line while we vacationed... "The baby's still sleeping and there's not really anything else to do... you wanna?" Needless to say, my heart did NOT skip a beat, and butterflies literally committed suicide after he said it. But, he was right. There really wasn't anything else to do....
     7) Taylor turned 5-years-old just two days after Christmas. She was bummed to learn that she wouldn't grow bigger that day... so I reminded her that's what the creamed spinach is for. She's now ok with staying short. Sadly, her big Make-Over birthday bash had to be rescheduled for this weekend, due to a freak snow storm, accompanied by the just as freakish flu. But, as quickly as she was saddened that the party was canceled, she remembered that she had new boots to play outside in, and happiness once again reigned in the Costa house.
     8) And finally, I've never been more excited for Christmas to get here, nor have I been more excited to see Christmas leave, as I have been this year. Finding time to decorate, buy presents, wrap presents, attend holiday parties, and engage in classic holiday crafts and traditions that all kids should experience during childhood left me ready for a vacation on the psych ward. I am one tuckered Mommy and was close to losing my mind on several occasions... particularly when I was unable to locate a bag of gifts for the kid's (never to be seen or heard from again... not even a post card....). I am soooo ready to get my house back in order and resume a normal schedule! But, despite my eagerness to end it all (the holiday, not my life... just clarifying), I have the most amazing memories of this Christmas. It's incredible how having children changes your view of this season. I loved watching their faces as they opened gifts, seeing them sled ride, and getting to spend entire days just playing with them and having meaningful conversations about their favorite things. I was so blessed by this Christmas and am thoroughly looking forward to what next Christmas will hold... in another 358 days (and not a moment sooner).

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Family Portrait Day

     Today was Family Portrait Day / Let's Fight The Entire Way To Get Our Lovely Family Portrait Taken Day. Maybe it's just our family, but it seems the only thing that we all agree on is that each of us will have a unified melt down whenever we have to actually get ready and get out the door for an event. Church? Let the screams begin! Holidays? Someone's throwing a tantrum. Family Portrait Day? Little sisters end up with pinch marks from big brothers (along with the previously mentioned screams and tantrums). For starters, Cameron didn't have a single shirt that wasn't stained with mud, spaghetti, or jelly. Taylor insisted on trying to convince the family that an all-pink family portrait was the way to go. And I couldn't find anything that didn't make me look like a Christmas ham. That's why I was beyond grateful when I finally settled on a color theme and my husband didn't complain about the fact that he was asked/forced to wear a cream-colored, cable-knit sweater with a plaid shirt underneath (5 years ago, I would've been banished from his presence for asking such a clothing favor!). Surprisingly enough, we were ON TIME for our photo sitting. This occurrence is nothing short of miraculous and needs to be noted, preferably with fireworks and a bronzed statue of the bite marks.
     In order to keep the children occupied on our trip, we had them practice saying words that they struggle with....
     "Taylor, say Ravioli."
     "Ra-vi-o-li, Taylor."
     "Closer. Cam, say Car Seat."
     "Saw Seat."
     "C... C... Car seat."
     "C... C... Caw seat."
     "Taylor, say Interrupted."
     "Seriously, Taylor? Are you even listening?"
     But once we got into the studio, after fighting through the thousands of people there for holiday photos (WHY didn't I think about that before scheduling family photos RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS??), the kids did marvelously. Isaac slept through the entire first half of the shoot, so we have a floppy-headed baby being supported by massive jowls in our group pictures. Then, Taylor sat for her school photos (since Head Start doesn't do these pictures and we needed a matching 8x10 to hang next to Cameron's beaming photo in our living room).... and my little Diva ate that camera up! She posed, tilted, and grinned her way through the shoot, pausing to sneeze directly on the camera lady (but in her defense, she was told to keep her arms crossed on her shoulders, so she thought that meant that she couldn't cover her mouth with her hands). First time she tries to be obedient and it results in an undeserving camera gal getting a brand new cold!
     Lastly, we had infant shots taken of little Bug. He finally woke up when we stripped him down to his diaper and a Santa hat (....which sounds awfully inappropriate, but he looked super adorable!). So, with wide eyes, pouty lips, and pinchable cheeks, I decided that my baby looks like a shorter, paler version of Gary Coleman (in a Santa hat). Even now, as I look at the prints, I feel the uncontrollable urge to ad captions like, "What you talkin' about Willis?" to each shot. Ah, but he didn't cry, so I'll take the chubby scowl any day! Isaac did get quite the talking to after I took him to the bathroom directly following his photo shoot to change his diaper, where he decided to smile and giggle his head off on the changing table. It was almost as if he was intentionally holding it in until there was no possible way to capture his cuteness on camera. (The little stinkpot.) Overall, though, I'd say it was a successful outing. JC Penny is still standing, we spent under $200 (dear Lord....), and no one cried, puked, or tantrumed during the shoot (although Taylor and Cameron both completely toppled over during a sibling shot... which actually made my day, but I didn't tell them so!). And on top of that, we received $50 off our next Family Portrait Day.... that is, if we can work up the energy to do this again next year!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hashbrowns and Onions

     So, good news! First, Cameron's mother is signing over her rights tomorrow.... meaning we will be able to adopt him in February sometime (which happens to be his birthday, so a great gift for him as well as for us!). His daily question of, "When is it my turn to be adopted?" will finally be answered! Although, we are waiting to tell him once she signs those papers... because I don't trust that some unexpected quirk will develop. But I'm dying to tell him so that he can feel a semblance of peace and excitement:) Secondly, Isaac slept through the night TWO nights in a row! Seven hours the first night, and six hours last night, meaning our household is more rested than it has been in six weeks. (Hallelujah Chorus, anyone?) The bad news is that baby boy continues to fuss and scream into the evening like a crazy banshee. It got so bad the other night that I was forced to call the doctor at 11:30pm. We were told to get him to the ER due to his odd behavior; not calming when fed, some spitting up, cold and clammy skin, then hot and sweaty skin... and finally he began to move his head back and forth like a small, chubby Stevie Wonder, and he wouldn't make eye contact with anyone. That officially freaked the crap out of me, because I've never seen an infant's head move like that! Apparently he had a fever seizure (which is the body's way of breaking a fever... I'd never heard of it before, but apparently it happens), he had air in his belly, and traces of blood in his stool.
     The doctor had us change his formula for the 4th time to a medicated brand that deals with baby food allergies. You know how regular formula has that semi-sweet, baby-like aroma? Well, now our little guy smells constantly of day old hash browns and onions... I still can't decide if he makes me hungry or nauseous. His belly does appear less swollen; however, I can't figure out why he's still screaming! Even now, my husband has him in the other room and he's belting it out as if he were practicing for the murder scene in a movie. I'm so grateful for the sleeping through the night, but I'd love to have some time with my baby where he isn't flailing and beat red from exasperated tears. Thus, this post is forced to be short so I can relieve my husband from his duties. Afterall, I'm on first shift for the night and he gets the rest of the late-night whimpers. Time for the ear plugs!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Liar, Liar, Antlers On Fire

     What to do with a child that lies perpetually... They should really teach a class on these things! In fact, if lying were an occupation, both of my kids could drop out of school right now and make more money than professional athletes (all of them combined). I suppose I should encourage them down a path of used car salesmen... or politics. OR I could figure out how to change this nasty behavior in them without wanting to knock them into next Tuesday! But so far, I am at a total loss.
     My mother had this great idea (and even supplied the goodies!) for my husband and I to do the Twelve Days Of Christmas with the kids... meaning that we would put a small gift in a holiday bag and hang it on their bedroom door knobs for them to find in the morning. We will do this for the 12 days leading up to when we will leave for Michigan to celebrate Christmas. Today was Day 2 and it included a pair of reindeer antler headbands that I picked up to accompany my mom's gift. Cameron was awake before Taylor this morning and he was so excited to see the antlers! I could hear him pitter-pattering around in the hallway outside of the bathroom while I was getting ready. Moments later, Taylor (in full-on tear mode) walked in with broken antlers. She told me that they were in her bag that way, which I knew that they weren't. Just as I was getting ready to confront her about this, I noticed something.... they were Cameron's brown antlers instead of Taylor's white ones.
     I knew exactly what had happened. I could actually see it play out in my mind... gift bag on the door, super impulsive child, Taylor still sleeping (none the wiser), the ole' switcheroo... So I called Cameron into the bathroom.
     "Cam, the broken antlers that your sister has.... they're yours aren't they."
     "No, they're not! I swear!"
     "Honey, yes they are. I gave you the brown ones and Taylor the white ones."
     "Nah uh! Santa must have switched them!"
     "Nice try, Cam, but you know that those are from me and Dad, not from Santa.... be honest. Did you break them and then switch them with Taylor's?"
     "No! She's lying!!" (Said as defiant tears streaked his cheeks.)
     "No, Cameron, you're the one who's not telling the truth. Did you break them on accident?"
     "She broke mine, I didn't break hers!"
     "At this point, buddy, you're just hurting my feelings... it's time to be honest. Did you snap them while trying to get them out of the bag? Or did the bag shut in the door, you realized they broke, so you gave them to Taylor while she was still sleeping? Because I know both antlers were in one piece moments before you found them."
     "You're a liar! I hate you and this dumb house!" (Storms out of the bathroom.)
     Ah, just another wonderful morning in the Costa home! After giving Taylor the rightful antlers, finishing my make-up, and getting ready to head out to work, I stopped back at Cameron's room. He was hiding under his bed after having broken several of his toys. He screamed that everyone in our house hates him, and that he wants to go to another foster home where they don't lie.
     "Cameron, you can wish that all you want... but the fact is you're here. And in this house, we tell the truth.... always. You can act mad at me, but you're really mad at yourself. You're upset that you broke your new toy, and you're upset that you got caught cheating your sister out of hers.... but I think you're even more upset that you have something inside of your heart that keeps making you lie." Tears...but less defiant ones. "Buddy, you need to spend some time up here thinking about what's going on inside of you. Pray and ask Jesus to help you stop lying, because until you do, you're going to be a very unhappy little boy and you're always going to feel disappointed with yourself. I love you, even when you're being a snot-face." Slight grin, but then remembered he was mad at me.
     "I'm not going to buy you anything at Santa's Workshop today," he said quietly.
     "Cam, it's my money you're using to buy the gifts anyways. But if that's how you want to be, then you have more to pray about than I realized. I'd start right away if I were you." And then I left for work.
     I came home to Cameron holding three presents out to me in a shiny bag... all of which he accidentally spilled the beans about within the first hour of me being home. (So maybe he shouldn't be a politician afterall...) I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this kid (and the other one) are going to lie to me again (probably by the time I'm done writing this post), but I'm hoping and praying that SOMETHING is sinking in? Anything! A small, tiny nugget of conscience is perhaps taking root? Only time will tell. But until then, suggestions on this lying issue are totally welcome!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mommy's Wish List

     You know you're old when you spend your date night at Best Buy. You know you're a mother when you spend your time at Best Buy lusting over a beautiful stainless steel refrigerator instead of pricing a new lap top (which, by the way, has Windows 8... and it's completely scary that I no longer have ANY idea how technology works.). Now, I need a new computer. Afterall, it's hard to blog when I have to keep finding moments that my husband isn't glued to his laptop, moments where the kids aren't yelling in my ear, and moments when I'm actually awake enough to form sentences. It's also necessary for me to do my banking, research online (eh, shopping?), and of course, Facebook. I know that I need a new computer in my head, but my checkbook can't seem to muster up the courage to fork out a few hundred dollars for something that I could suffer without.
     However, a new fridge would be a gift for everyone, wouldn't it? I mean, think of all the SPACE! (I wonder if they make walk-in refrigerators...or is that just called Antarctica?) The fridge's shiny exterior, the roomy interior, the hidden compartments for every food group, a stackable freezer, a water and ice machine in the door... that ALONE would keep my kids occupied for hours! (And it would totally encourage them to drink far more water... so, I propose that we need a new refrigerator for the health of our children. Who can argue with that?)
     Well, my husband can. Because no matter how hard I tried to show him the beautiful appliances that could completely change our lives, he didn't seem to bite. I think he was just jealous, personally... afterall, it's hard to find time for loving when there's a new baby... and the way I was looking at the fridge probably hurt his feelings just a bit.
     So, we ended up compromising and we didn't buy anything. That's fair, right? And in the end, it was our checkbook that beat us both... which is probably for the best. But just for the record, if the fridge had been a new tractor, I would've been considered the crazy one for not falling all over myself drooling. Just sayin'.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Kitty Farewell

     This has been a year of new experiences. The funny thing about new experiences is that they're, well, new... meaning my husband and I don't have the slightest idea of how to handle them and we spend most of our time simply flying by the seat of our pants! Today, we had the burden of a particularly sad new experience that we did our best to muster through and explain to the children... the death of our family cat.
     Now, let me explain the existence of this cat. First of all, this feline, belovedly named Battle Cat, came to live with my husband and his grandmother years before we got married. They had no idea how old she was then, but since she's been here for at least 8 years, it's safe to say she was pretty old when she passed today. You may wonder why our family friend is named Battle Cat. Simply put, she was a mean old cuss that would attack anything that moved. Seriously. When my dog, Milo, was just a pup on a chain out in the back yard, she stalked and then chased him until he was completely wound around the base of a tree... and then she went for his face. Cruel, heartless, hairy, prone to biting, and grumpy as all get out... kind of like Taylor, but with less charm.
     As Battle Cat aged, she grew calmer and more timid. Don't get me wrong, she'd still scratch the crap out of you if you petted her too far down her backside, or if you looked her directly in the eye... or if you simply went downstairs to do laundry, invading her terrain. But she had a sweeter side, too. A side that would purr and rub your ankles with her bony face... A side that would follow you from washer to dryer and back again as you transferred a load of clothes over. However, as she got older, she also grew more frail. And then she started eating less. And she got very thin... everywhere except for the bulges in her belly that kept growing by the day, causing her to walk poorly and bite when she was touched. Battle Cat has littered with tumors (don't call me insensitive... it was a great pun, and you know it).
     So, last night, we told the kids that their sweet kitty was sick and in pain, and that she was going to be put to sleep tomorrow. We did NOT tell her that Daddy was going to shoot her instead of taking that lean, mean, biting machine to the vet... I'm pretty sure she would've had a heart attack before ever getting inside the building if we had tried! So we let the kids say their goodbyes and spend a few last moments with her. Cameron dissolved into a tearful puddle, saying that he will miss Battle Cat and that he loves her. Taylor responded by telling Cameron that he was a baby and that it was time to kill the cat. Yes. My daughter is scary weird and truly uncaring... however, I think that Battle Cat was somehow honored by her callousness, as it appeared to be a tribute to the way that mean cat lived her own life.
     So tonight, we say one final farewell to our precious kitty. She will be missed (by at least most of our family), but we are happy that she's not longer in pain. See you in Heaven, Kitty.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Kiddy Weddings

Cameron came home from school today and announced that he is now married.....

"My congratulations to you and the missus. Do I know your wife?" - Me
"Yep, it's Rylee." - Cam
"Ahh, sweet girl... but can she tie her shoes, is the question." - Me
"She can! I seen her!" - Cam
"Cam, I have to say, I'm very disappointed in you." - Me
(Big sigh.) "Ugh, because I'm too young to get married?" - Cam
"No, Cameron. Because I wasn't invited to the wedding." - Me
"Ha, you can come to my next wedding!" - Cam
"Um, how many are you planning on having, there, kiddo?" - Me
 "A lot!" - Cam
"Well, at least you have a plan... where are you two gonna live, now that you're man and wife?" - Me
"I'm gonna live in my room..." - Cam (said with confusion)
"Where's she gonna live, then?" - Me
"Oh, maybe she can live in the backyard?" - Cam
"You really know how to treat a lady." - Me
"Yup." - Cam
"You're gonna get a job now, I suppose? But you're not allowed to be a first grade drop-out." - Me
"Can I still do cub scouts if my grades get good?" - Cam
"Sorry.... no girls allowed at cub scouts. It's the rules." - Me
"I have a wife and his name is Aiden!" - Taylor, naturally having to chime in.
"TAYLOR! Stop copying me!!" - Cam
"Taylor, stop copying Cameron. And Aiden can't be your wife, just your husband." - Me
"You don't even know what a husband is, Taylor!" - Cam
"Yuh huh! It means I get to sleep in the same bed AND get changed in the same room!" - Tay
"Well, there's just a wee bit more than that, Taylor..." - Me
(Insert sly smile.) "I also get to lick his tongue..." - Tay
"That's it. I'm sending a note to both of your teachers and you're getting your marriages annulled in the morning!" - Me
"What's nulled?" - Tay
"It means no licking Aiden.... ever."- Me
"So, we can't lick our friends, just ourselves..." - Tay
"Taylor Lynn... just keep your tongue in your mouth!"
(Exasperated sigh.) "FINE!"

Good Lord, help me.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Castles and Babbles

     I thought that a good bonding experience with my daughter would be to include her in a girl's night out. This, however, did not go over well with my 6-year-old son, who felt that it was quite unfair to exclude boys from this event. So, I promised him a trip to the pet shop, just me and him, in order to stop his tears. Meanwhile, Little Miss Rub-It-In almost lost her special night by teasing her brother with the fact that he wasn't a girl and therefore couldn't come (well, that and the fact that she got into my hair products and decided that she'd put just about all of them into the back of her hair.... and then have the nerve to tell me that her hair "accidentally dragged in the spaghetti". Um, the BACK of your head dragged into a meal that we didn't even eat that day?? Very interesting.)
     But, after some much needed room time (for both of us), we left for our girl's night out, accompanied by one of my good friends. The three of us gals went to a castle for dinner.... because, let's be honest, what little kid wouldn't like to feel like they were in Cinderella's home, right? WRONG. My kid couldn't have cared less about armored knights, high ceilings, or gargoyle door knobs... What did Taylor like? The "cute baby high chairs" and the "magical bathroom". Obviously this bathroom does not have special powers.... but it absolutely made her night to be able to utilize the automatic flusher on the toilet (over and over and over) and to experience the luxuries of the automatic paper towel dispenser. In fact, I'm thinking of installing one in my own home... anything that will remind her to actually wash her hands after she pees is something worth the investment.
     Thoroughly worn out from her joyful bathroom experience, coloring on the kid's menu, and filling up on her spaghetti and french fries (yes, she finally got that mystery spaghetti I heard tell about), we arrived at home and I gratefully tucked two sleepy children into bed before beginning my evening routine with the little guy. Although I'm generally beat like a rug by this time of my day, I adore the fact that Isaac is wide awake and anxious to stare at my face, play with his limbs, and give me an occasional smile (you gotta work for these smiles, by the way... this kid don't give them away for free, that's for sure!). But this night, I was in for something special. Because Buggie is only 5 weeks old, he doesn't do a whole lot of talking yet (you know what I mean: babbling... it's not like I'm expecting Shakespearean monologues or anything). So, when I get the random coo from him, my heart skips a beat! That's why I spend a lot of our time together talking to him and using silly sounds to get his attention. I decided to take his hands and put them on his cheeks while saying "Isaac"... and then I would take his hands and rub them on my cheeks and say "Mama". I did this about 10 times with him, just staring into his little face, him staring back at me in full amusement. I completed this new game one last time, saying "Isaac" and putting his hands on his cheeks.... and just as I put his hands on my face, baby boy tightened up his body and belted out a very distinctive "MA!"
     Now, my head completely understands that, as a 5-week-old, my baby has no understanding of what he just said... but my heart TOTALLY didn't care. I jumped up so quickly that I startled him and almost made him cry (assuring that he will probably never do this again, due to my impulsive and accidental negative reinforcement!). But I was just so excited! And I decided that even though he probably doesn't register me as having a name or even being a person, just that crazy figure that talks weirdly to him and gives him food, I still think he's smart as the dickens for being able to mimic my language. However, my joy was short-lived, as Isaac promptly took a crap that required BOTH of us to need a bath... but the memory of him saying "Ma" will get me through even the crappiest of moments.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ode To Odors

     To those lovely Mommies out there that offered so many suggestions on how to deal with a gassy and colicky baby, I am so appreciative. Thank you all! But a question to those of you that mentioned using gripe water.... WHY DOES MY BABY NOW SMELL LIKE SULFURIC ACID!?!? My house smells like a science experience that went awry! I come home from work and the odor hits me with a force that could knock me into the next county. And the results are almost instantaneous... in goes the gripe water, out comes the rotten eggs. I feel that the creators of this product should also come out with a line of air freshener that acts as a neutralizer when it encounters gripe-butt-odor. Now, that being said, Isaac slept for over 4 hours straight last night... no gas, no fussing. So, explosive smells or not, I'm hooked. (Not that the fussing is completely gone, but I'm not one to knock improvement when I see it!)
     Speaking of smells... how about that flu, huh? You know the one... it's effecting roughly 98% of the region right now and is accompanied by the glorious aromas of vomit, diarrhea, and potent air that explosively leaves one's rectum (AKA, the fart). Not only have myself and my husband experienced a variety of these symptoms within he last week, but the children have had their fair share of "explosive" moments as well. First, there was the incident of Isaac projectile vomiting all over me... WHILE I was wearing him in the baby carrier. His puke literally bounced off of my chest and flung back at him, covering his entire face and head with goo (not to mention the large quantities that leaked all the way down my shirt AND inside of my pants).
     And then there was Cameron. This morning, he informed me that his stomach was a little upset. So, I told him to lay back down for a few minutes in his bed.... only to hear him gagging over his garbage can moments later. (Yummy.) Then, this evening, Cameron said to me, "Hey Shivonne! I went to the bathroom and it looks like water!" "That's good, Cam. When your pee is clear, it means you're drinking enough water," I said. "No, not my PEE! My POOP looks like water!" he explained. (Ouch. Double yummy.)
     Finally, Taylor's need to take the cake at all times emerged while we were in the bathroom this evening getting ready for her bath. She began telling me that her butt was hurting her where she poops. I asked her if it hurt when she went to the bathroom, and she said yes. (Oh great, a hemorrhoid, I thought.) Being the good mother that I'm trying to be, I told her I'd take a look (against my better judgement). She bent over, spread her cheeks, and just as I was leaning down to take a look, she farted directly in my face. Awesome. She stood up and covered her mouth, eyes big, as she squeaked out an "Excuse me!" But I suppose it could've been worse. Afterall, at least she isn't taking the gripe water!

Monday, November 26, 2012


     After a brief hiatus from writing, I am happy to announce that I'm back...and feeling a good deal saner, too! It truly was a rough couple of weeks. Without going into all the woe-is-me's, let me just say that lack of sleep, an increase in kids' negative behaviors, getting sick, and having a broken computer (not to mention prepping for the holidays) was a bit more than this Mommy could handle! So, as to avoid bringing down the mood of all you other lovely mommies out there, I decided that I would suffer in silence until the dark cloud passed. (And by suffer in silence, I mean roar like a raging lion at my husband, children, and all those near me for about 2 weeks straight.)
     So, when my parents came out from Michigan to help us manage life (oh, and to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday... I suppose that was the actual reason they came out, wasn't it?...), it gave me a bit of time to pull back and yell less.... less. Then, my father had a novel idea. He suggested that I try to be calm with the children. Is this man out of his precious mind? I thought. He's been with these rascals all weekend and seen how taxing they are! But he reminded me that being reactionary makes me feel worse instead of getting my point across to unruly kids. (Duh... this is therapy 101, but because I'm currently living on the crazy farm these days, I've lost all sense entirely.) I decided to try my dad's plan. So, this evening, I calmly told the children to clean up their rooms... I had to calmly tell them about 40 times, but I did it calmly nevertheless. Then, I calmly informed Taylor that she could refuse to get her potties out before bed, but that I would then wake her every 10 minutes throughout the night until she peed for me. Finally, I calmly reminded the kids that their constant squabbling over minute matters breaks Jesus' heart... and that we now have three children, so that means we have a spare if one of them would happen to, say, disappear in the middle of the night and never be heard from again. Both Cameron and Taylor looked at me with slight grins... because they were PRETTY sure I was kidding, but they weren't positive, so they figured they'd better behave.
     On a different note, I'd like to request some advice from you Mommies (and Daddies) out there. Let's say your baby were to scream for hours on end, no matter what you tried to do to calm him... and let's say that your baby ALSO has gas pretty ferocious all day long. Could these screams be due to gas pains? And if your baby were getting gas drops regularly but not feeling any relief at all, what would you do? Because MY baby would never be like this at all.... (I'm just asking for a friend of a friend....) And if your baby were to have consistently green and yellow soft-serve-ish poos that cause his diaper to rival your Thanksgiving turkey in weight, would you be concerned? Isaac... I mean, my "friend's" baby, Shmisaac... is completely fine for many hours during the day, but then he cries constantly, and even food won't calm him, which is COMPLETELY abnormal for this little chunker. Anyways, I'd love to pass on your advice to my friend, so please, let your Mommy juices start flowing and help this gal problem-solve!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

No Brains

     Our baby apparently has no brains.... according to our 4-year-old. I tried to tell her otherwise, but she just insisted that our baby is brainless. This all started when Taylor, Isaac, and myself went to her gymnastics class last night. I decided to take the baby with us because he has turned into our sweet little bundle of colic (or whatever the heck is making him cry for hours at a time) and we needed to give Daddy a bit of a break. Plus, this is the only time of the day that I get to see him while he and I are both awake (well, him more than me these days!). So, we arrived at gymnastics, 4-year-old, 3-week-old, purse, diaper bag, gymnastics gear, and baby carrier in tow... all of this, naturally, had to be carried to the top floor of the building (because athletes don't believe in elevators... these people are all too "fit" and "perky" to be weighed down by an extra 20 lbs and kid crap in a slippery stairwell).
     Taylor's gymnastics coach was ready to greet us at the top of the stairs (bless her heart... she took half of my luggage as I gasped for breath.... these kids are turning me into an asthmatic, I tell you). Miss Dawn immediately began to coo at the baby, giving the perfunctory ooo's and aahhh's. Taylor, Miss Show-Off herself, proudly told her coach all about baby Isaac.
     "He's MY baby and I'm the big sister." (Taylor)
     "And I bet you make the best big sister in the whole world!" (Miss Dawn)
     "Yup... I help take care of the baby... I feed him, and I help change him, and I hold him...." (Taylor)
     Um, in what universe?? That must be in those imaginary times between being sent to your room for bending his arms the wrong way and trying to pinch his nose closed....
     "Wow, you're such a big help! You must know a lot about babies now." (Miss Dawn)

     "Yeah, like you can't push on the baby's head in the center." (Taylor)
     "That's right! Very good, Taylor. We never push on a baby's soft spot." (Miss Dawn)
     "Yep, because he don't have any brains in there yet." (Taylor)
     Hmmm... I remember explaining this very differently to her...
     " Well, honey, it's not because he doesn't have brains..." (Miss Dawn)

     "Uh huh....that's why baby Isaac's not smart." (Taylor)
     "Taylor, Isaac is smart... we don't push on the soft spot because we don't want to hurt him, not because he doesn't have brains." (Me, finally interjecting)
     "I don't think so." (Taylor)
     "Oh no? Because even baby Isaac is smart enough to know that his big sister will be grounded if she continues to talk back...." (Me)
     "Fine. He has brains." (Score 1 for the Mama)

     And while Taylor was attempting to do handstands and cartwheels, I received the phone message that I'd been desperately waiting for all afternoon. Grasping my phone with the two fingers I could spare as I balanced Isaac, his bottle, and the binky, I received the news that my brother's first baby was born. I am a new Aunt! Konner Isaiah was delivered 6-weeks early by emergency C-section. And he's already a champ! Healthy, alert, and happy... all that you could ask for in a sweet little baby boy!
     When Taylor came out of her class, I had tears in my eyes as I showed her the first pictures of Konner.
     "Aww, he's pretty! And I won't even touch him on his soft spot. Hey, can we get ice cream?"
     And with that, she moved on with her life as if nothing had happened... but it's obviously Isaac that doesn't have any brains.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wolf Bait

This post contains a less-than flowery depiction of children ranging from ages 4-6.
Two children, ages 4-6.
(Will take best offer)
(...or free to a good home)

     Every few weeks or so it seems that I get re-bitten by the Bipolar bug. Thoughts begin to run through my mind such as, "I wonder why God chose to populate the earth by using such crazy things as children?", and "I think it's about time I get that hysterectomy... ya know, just to be safe.", and "Hey! Let's hire a sitter for the night and then... move away! (We'll send the kids a post card, without a return address.)"
     These regular cycles of actually liking and disliking the short people that live in my home are akin to those associated with menstruation.... except that children don't make me bloat, and PMS doesn't make me homicidal. But my favorite part of this parenting experience is the large number of people that tell you, "Oh, what your kid is doing is totally normal." Oh my gosh, really?? If that's the case, why in the WORLD are people still having sex? It's a wonder that word hasn't spread like wildfire : BEWARE! CHILDREN ARE ROTTEN! USE ABSTINENCE!!! I mean, seriously, in the animal kingdom, it's survival of the fittest. If you're the obnoxious, tattling, argumentative young in the animal pack that's drawing the attention of a predator, you'd quickly become wolf-bait. "Charlie was a sweet squirrel, but he just wouldn't stop whining... so we had to let him go." And the rest of the squirrels would understand!
     Now, I'm not saying I would feed my kids to a pack of wolves just because they're being disobedient little stinkers.... wait, am I saying that?? Regardless, it truly is amazing that our nation is as over-populated as it is. You can almost see where China is coming from, regulating the number of children each couple can have. It's not because the country doesn't have the room for these kids, it's just that they don't have the tolerance to put up with them outnumbering the parents and, thus, causing them to go insane!
     Well, obviously, my Bipolar swing is in full force (it has been all weekend, hence my lack of blogging for a few days. I didn't feel that it was very Christian of me to subject you all to more than one day of this horrid attitude that has overtaken my insides!). My usual self-help remedies and coping skills to manage these drastic mood swings have become virtually impossible while caring for a newborn. Sadly, the baby is the only one NOT driving me utterly bonkers... but have you ever tried playing the piano while holding a screaming infant? Or doing yoga while trying to keep a bottle in his mouth? Or talk on the phone to a friend while the baby wails into the receiver, as you try to hold it against your ear with your shoulder, causing it to slip right out and shatter into 3 pieces on your kitchen floor??? Yeah, how's THAT for stress-relief!
     But my "medication" is finally kicking in.... I was able to go to church and get my worship on (blessedly the baby slept the entire time and my husband kept the kids' incessant demands to a minimum) and we heard an awesome message. I was also able to spend some time yesterday and today with friends (my husband, ever the saint, returned home from work and took the kids for 3 hours, giving me some much-needed time away!). And now, I've got a sleeping baby beside me, two larger versions sleeping just down the hall, and dogs cuddled at my feet. Here in this moment, it's hard to believe that I was stressed at all. However, I do not let myself forget that in a matter of hours, everyone will awaken, full of renewed energy and mischievousness, and the work week will be in full swing, and I will once again consider the wolves.... but for now, I'm going to rest and enjoy the peace that is finally in my home.... well, as soon as I change this last diaper... or get the septic tank pumped, whichever the case may be.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Rationality Is For The Childless

     People in my house may start dying if I have to wipe crusted chunks of toothpaste off my sink, faucet, mirror, or counter top one more time! Of course that's not a rational statement, but since when does rationality have anything to do with being a mother? But seriously, I'm going to hire a sniper to sit behind the shower curtain and take out the responsible party and/or parties each time they try to do a spit-and-run. I just don't understand it.... toothpaste gets squeezed out of the tube, onto the toothbrush, and then the toothbrush gets put into the mouth. Only spit should be coming back out, not entire chunks of toothpaste.... especially when I know that I've watched the kids brush their teeth for at least the length of the ABCs and it's STILL coming out chunky. And why in God's name is it on my mirror?!?!? I feel like this actually takes effort and a well-thought out plan to achieve, particularly because my kids can't even REACH the mirror without being lifted up. I haven't seen a ladder or a set of stilts, so unless they're climbing onto each other's shoulders to smear the glittery, sea-green paste onto my lovely mirror, I'm completely baffled.
     This is a conversation that we've had repeatedly in our home. If you make a mess in the bathroom, you MUST clean it up. Toothpaste, pee, toilet paper, toilet flushing, used tissues, soap drippings, and all dirty clothes must be promptly taken care of BY THE PERSON WHO MADE THE MESS. So, because my daughter is choosing today to be obedient, I came home and went into the half-bath after a full day of "holding it in". Just as I'm about to sit down, I notice that there is liquid.... everywhere. As I did a bare-bottomed hover over the seat, I contemplated the source and consistency of this mystery fluid. The options were narrowed down to 1) water, and 2) urine. (Please be 1, please be 1...) Naturally, I did what any mother would do... I dipped a few fingers into the liquid, held it to my nose, and took a deep sniff. Relief. It's just water, I told myself. I began wiping up the water, which was all over the toilet seat, toilet lid, toilet tank, floor, rug, mirror, and counter top. I finished my business, washed my hands, and.... It was then that I noticed the hand towel and kids' wash cloth for cleaning faces were also wet. Then the thought occurred to me.... Is this sink water or toilet water???
     I exited the bathroom and questioned the first person I found.... my husband. He laughed as he explained to me that he had no idea where the water came from, but that Taylor was "cleaning" the bathroom for us earlier. My daughter beamed innocently and proudly as she told me that she washed the toilet and counter with the face rag and then dried the toilet and counter with the hand towel.... the towel that I just dried my hands on after I used the restroom.... the face rag the children had used to wash up with after their craft. Awesome. But don't worry... to get even I just cleaned up the toothpaste situation with Taylor's wash cloth. No, no I am definitely NOT rational... but it's just so hard to find a good sniper these days.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Plead The Fifth

     Today, I went to vote. Now, don't worry... this is certainly not a political blog, as I am (by far) the least qualified person to discuss such a topic! But while I was in line at the polls (for over an hour.... outside, in the frigid weather, without a jacket... catching my death of a cold, I'm sure... playing Words With Friends and Scramble until my icy fingers cramped up and my battery blinked red), there was a family in front of me. A mother, a father, and two little girls, ages 18 months and 3-years-old. They looked just like their mommy. They were beauties... spunky, energetic, full of laughter, playful. Their high-pitched squeals and silly games kept our frozen crowd entertained for the duration of our voting journey.
     As I watched the family engage with one another, I couldn't help but join in... afterall, I was sleepy, cold, hungry, wishing I had peed before leaving work, and my phone was dead... playing with a stranger's children seemed like the best solution for the time being. The mother looked to be about my age and she turned and asked me the oh-so-frequent question: "Do you have kids?"
     Now, I know it sounds ridiculous, but this question always stumps me. The obvious answer is YES.... I have 3 children. But in a way, I feel like I'm cheating when I give that answer. Primarily, I feel nervous to jinx Cameron's adoption by claiming him as "my child" a moment before the judge himself announces Cameron as a Costa. And then with little Isaac, it seems like I'm not allowed to call him mine, especially since we are no where near talking about adoption. Afterall, I could run into this other Mommy 6 months down the road while at the grocery store and she could ask me how my baby is, and what if I have to answer, "Well.... I don't exactly have him anymore....) It's awkward!! The sweet gal was in line, just making friendly conversation, telling me all about her girls and the silly things they do. And then she asked me, "What were your kids like at this age?"
     "Um.... smaller?" (That seemed like a safe, yet completely idiotic answer.) So, I did the only thing I could do.... I made up a story. "Oh, they were just like yours! Tons of energy, fought like cats and dogs.... but don't worry, they'll grow out of it."
     What the heck was I talking about??? For one, I have NO clue what my kids were like at 18 months and 3-years-old. Worse yet, I gave this poor woman false hope that her children would start getting along better at ages 4 and 6?? It's a wonder lightening didn't strike me down right then and there! But I can't explain it... I felt so much better being able to tell this woman, a stranger, that I have 3 children.... and that I have past memories to attach with them.... and the words "foster" or "adoption" never had to leave my lips during just this one conversation. It was refreshing.
     Other awkward moments include the comment: "There's no way you just had a baby! You look fantastic!" Do you have any idea how badly I want to just smile and say "Thanks!"? First of all, I've never in my life been able to claim that "my body just bounced right back" from anything... (unless it was bouncing because I fell down and the fat in my bottom propelled me back up into the upright position). Secondly, it would just be nice to take the compliment and pretend that we are truly a regular family instead of a foster, pre-adoptive, and adoptive family (all 3 of our kids have different status' right now, so it's not exactly an easy explanation!).
     But then there are the moments that I am HAPPY not to claim these little monsters as mine. For instance, if I've got the kids in the store with me and they start running around, screaming like monkeys being freed into the wild, I can just scream at the top of my lungs, "THEY'RE FOSTER KIDS!!! NO NEED TO LOOK AT ME LIKE I'M A BAD MOTHER... THEY CAME TO ME THIS WAY AND I'M JUST AS ANNOYED AS YOU RIGHT NOW!" Or, if they're being exceptionally bad, I can simply walk down another aisle (as we wait for security to come and escort them from the store) and leave them alone with the elderly man in the wheelchair just trying to reach the Raisin Bran... he's a bran-eating, unsuspecting cripple, but he would be a passable "grandfather figure", right?
     Anyways, all this to say... I enjoyed the moment of normalcy this evening. All I did was get in line to vote. But I ended up following a different political path. I plead the 5th... there was no need to give this woman every detail of our familial journey, and it allowed me to revel in the moment of just being a family. I'm grateful for the opportunity to vote... and I'm grateful for the opportunity to just be normal (well, in the family sense, anyways). 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Returning To Real Life

     I was blessed to have this past week off of work. I, along with my husband, used this time to adjust to having a newborn in our home: figuring out a feeding schedule, attempting to figure our a sleeping schedule, rearranging the house to be more baby friendly, showing Isaac off to everyone we encountered, trying to get a level of sleep that would prevent us from becoming predators from The Walking Dead, practicing outings with Isaac (such as grocery shopping, his first doctor appointment, and participating in church functions), and learning to attend to the needs of the new baby while not neglecting Cameron and Taylor.
     Since we failed at 90% of these adjustments, I've decided to put word out on the black market, advertising some not-so-vital organs in order to make enough money that I can be a stay-at-home mommy.... someone is bound to be looking for a 30-year-old appendix in fairly good condition. I'll even through in a kidney for a reasonable fee (only slightly used, never had a stone...). But, until my new (and extremely illegal) job starts booming, I will be returning to my vocation as a therapist starting tomorrow. I tried not to think about it while I was snuggling with my new little "Bug" (as he's been affectionately dubbed in our home)... I tried not to think about it during the precious few hours I actually got to sleep this week... I tried not to think about it while we were Christmas shopping for the children (exactly where do I find the phone number to the black market?...) and I tried not to think about it while I wasTrick-orTtreating with my kiddos (Side Note: Cowboy Cam and "Strawberry The Cupcake" Tay, accompanied by Tigger Isaac, were cute as pie!... PS, this was Taylor's first Trick-or-Treat and it took her until the last few houses to realize that she is supposed to say "Trick or Treat" before getting the candy, and then "Happy Halloween" after receiving the candy. Poor kid was lost as a blind man in a maze, but she had fun... until the coldness and sleepiness set in... and then she was just insufferable! We came up to a Michael Meyers character that stood silently with his mask, holding a large knife made of tin foil. Cam giggled and tried to lasso him with his cowboy rope. Taylor smiled big and waved happily at him, only to burst into tears moments later, asking "Why won't that boy say 'Hi' to me??"... this is when the tiredness REALLY became apparent! End Side Note.)'
     But alas, the moment is upon me. In 12 hours, I will begin my career as a sleep-deprived Mommy/Mental Health Professional. So, in preparation for this moment, I devised a plan.... and it's name is Caffeine. I've decided to go with my usual bucket of coffee in the morning, but perhaps add another scoop of grounds, just for good measure. Then, around 10 am, I will have a snack of chocolate covered Espresso beans. For lunch, I will need a bit of protein, washed down with a Big Gulp sized diet Coke. Then, around 3 pm, I will teach myself how to install an IV so that I can hook up my Caffeine drip (I was thinking, and I'm pretty sure I can hang the bag from that handle in the backseat that's supposed to be used for hanging clothes... but who in the world ever uses it for that anyways, right?). Then for dinner, I will have an energy bar with a pot of tea, followed by cappuccino ice cream for dessert. And just in case I get a bout of the weepies while I'm working(which I've been prone to experience daily this week.... ok, fine... hourly), I will pack a lunch box filled with Kleenex, midol, chocolate (courtesy of my kids' Halloween candy), and a running slide show playing on my phone with pictures of my kiddos, baby Isaac, and a complete playlist of  pick-me-up favorites such as I Will Survive.
     Eventually, I will get used to the idea of leaving behind my sweet bundle of cuteness... or at least that's what I keep telling myself. But I am comforted with the blessing of having a husband that will take approximately 4 million photos per day and text me with each milestone that I miss. I love you, honey :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Poo Pandemonium

     Today, I had my first real "poop" experience. I knew it was only a matter of time, but for some reason, I thought that I was immune.... afterall, I know how to change a diaper. And I certainly know how to find my way around these silly baby snaps now. But today was the day. My husband and I were co-changing Isaac's diaper (one person holds the binky in, the other one changes the yuckiness... if this is the only reason to get married, it's worth it.) when I realized that we had quite the load on our hands. We were experiencing smells and sights that had not yet been breached with this little guy yet. And, lo and behold, here we were, on the living room floor, trying to keep his squirming to a minimum, when PLOP! In went his foot!! His tootsies were covered in poo and he was rapidly cycling his leg about, making it near impossible to clean him off (and prevent flinging of gunk from his waving limb!). I finally latched hold of his foot, which transfered a big smear of gooey poo onto my hand... Um, gross.
     For whatever reason, Little Man's "smear" would NOT wipe off today. The consistency was different from his norm and it was as if the brown goo was immune to the powers of the baby wipe. The poor fella was wailing his head off as his little body was exposed to the cold air and even colder baby wipes. And the thing about baby screams is that they chill you to the bone. I know in my rational head that no one is dying in that moment. I KNOW that Isaac will survive this diaper change and that he will warm up, calm down, and eventually be the happy boy I've come to love. But that scream.... that SCREAM! It turns on a level of panic inside that says, "Ya know what? Someone MAY actually be dying right now! Hurry, HURRY, HURRY!!! Get that diaper changed NOW!!!" And before I know it, I'm sweating and making silly mistakes and my husband and I are screaming at each other as dogs run for cover.... Shear poo pandemonium, I tell you!
     But the poo was finally wiped off. Baby finally stopped screaming. Heart rates finally returned to normal. Dogs finally came out of hiding. All was righted with the world within a matter of minutes. And then I reminded myself that I was the one that had turned down the baby wipe warmer at the store. And I chose not to wear the latex gloves we purchased for such a time as this. So really, I did this to myself. No one was to blame but me. I realized that I was NOT immune to having a good ole fashion poop experience.... and I was ok with this. Baby Isaac is teaching me that not everything has to be in order, go as planned, or even be sanitary (although, we are certainly striving for sanitary as well as sanity, aren't we, Mommies??). There will always be more poo, more laundry, more dishes, more homework to do with kids.... but childhood is not made up solely of moments to "get through". They are a series of events that come together to create the Beautiful. So, I chose to enjoy the pandemonium and to get it right tomorrow, because today really was beautiful.

Monday, October 29, 2012


     Why do babies wear clothes? Is it really just because us adults think that those little outfits are "sooo cute!", or is there really a purpose? Because I'm seriously considering taking all of Isaac's new clothes back in exchange for pairs of long socks and a baby Snuggy. This kid poops like it's what all the cool babies are doing and he's desperate to fit in... and as SOON as I change his diaper and get all the snaps done back up on the 45 layers he's required to wear, I hear the familiar gruntings of the second bowel movement begin. At that point, I'd be willing to buy stock in ugly Snuggies just to avoid the hassle of finding said snaps in the dead of night, working by the small glow of the baby monitor. Which brings me to my next point...
     The nurses lied. They should be punished. It's just not right to tell a brand new mother of an infant, "Oh, your baby sleeps through the night like a champ!" Two words, medical professionals of a hospital that shall remain nameless: You Suck. What they should've said? "Your child sleeps through the DAY like a champ... in fact, you'll probably think that he's in a coma, but at night, I'm sorry to tell you, he's going to be wide awake and ready to party." (All are welcome to join for tonight's party... Lord knows I'll be up. BYOB = Bring Your Own Bottle... or boob, depending on your feeding preferences). I brought up two bottles with me, figuring that we'd probably have two feedings in the night and then a couple of diaper changes. Well, I was sorely unprepared when Isaac wanted to eat FOUR times and then pooped continuously throughout the night. And it was also rather unfair that the little nugget refused to look alive at all during the day time, but then wanted to coo and explore and be all cutesy and fun at bedtime... those nurses told me to make nighttime feedings very businesslike... (suit and tie??) no monkeying around, no cooing, no baby-talk. Well, ya know what? That's just not fair, NOR is it possible! I couldn't refuse his cuteness at night anymore than I could wake the sack of logs up during the previous day!
     And so today, poor Cameron and Taylor have a very harried mother on their hands. I smell funny, look greasy, and the house is a disaster (because lets face it... when you drop something while you're holding a baby, it's just way easier to leave it on the floor than to try to pick it up!). So, for tonight, I will bring up FIVE bottles... four filled with Isaac's formula, and one HUGE one filled with espresso for Mommy. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Baby Isaac

     At the exact same time that Taylor was being adopted, baby Isaac was being brought into this world. It's almost poetic how things work out, isn't it? The beginning of two new lives all within the span of a few moments. The adoption went beautifully. Taylor was beyond excited to have everyone in one place specifically for her (the mommy side of me is having to remind the therapist side of me that this is NOT narcissism, but an average 4-year-old complex!). Cameron, however, was less than excited, rightfully speaking. The poor kiddo can't grasp the legal system any better than I can.... "When will it be my turn?", "Why does Taylor get to be adopted first?", "Why can't I be Cameron Costa?", "Does this mean that I'm going back to my old family?" How does a mother answer such questions? I don't truly have an answer for any of them. All I know is, that little boy deserves his moment. He NEEDS to have a day where everyone comes together for HIM... where he is the center of attention and where he gets to feel secure that he never has to leave our home, ever. (Well, until he's out of college, anyways.... THAT will be another conversation.)
     And then there's baby Isaac. It's amazing to have only 1 day to do the whole "nesting" thing. It's even more amazing to feel 100% connected to a child that you only just came to know about, whom you never met, and that may or may not be with you for more than a few months. Yet, here I am. The perfect picture of connectedness. Perhaps this week of adoption and babies being born has done something to my motherly nature, but estrogen is pouring out of me like a waterfall at this point. If I'm not crying over something, I'm checking on the kids as they sleep every few minutes... and the fact that I've turned into a hugging and kissing machine is another issue altogether!
     But, due to numerous legal and court issues (as well as ridiculous drama by all involved in this process), we were unable to see Isaac at the hospital until today. He was born addicted to opiates, so they are keeping him for observation. We were told to expect him home on Wednesday. And then Wednesday came and went, and we were told Thursday was the day. Thursday morning, after we paced the house 50 times, straightened the same towels on the racks for the millionth time, and even made whoopy to kill time (all 6 minutes of it), we received a phone call telling us that he wouldn't be home for 1-3 more days! UGH!!!! The anxiety of waiting was more than we could handle... so I promptly went back to work to distract my racing thoughts and aching heart. No one would give us information on if he was ok, and the hospital was treating us as if WE were the bad guys (because OBVIOUSLY the opiate-abuser in this entire situation is blameless...). Finally, this evening we were able to see him for the first time..... and he is beautiful! The nurses reported that his symptoms are much better and that he is one of the best babies they've had. I'm afraid that I monopolized most of the time with him (sorry, honey!) but we will get to go back tomorrow and spend some more time holding him.
     Things that I've learned in my short period mothering a newborn: 1) Swaddling is a lot harder than it looks. 2) Babies have even more gas than I do, and beating out a girl with IBS is pretty hard to do! 3) Circumcision is gross. 4) Babies smell like Heaven. 5) And I hate having an empty cradle next to my bed.... Hopefully, our new little fellow will be home Sunday.... and hopefully, all of our hearts will be protected as we enter this journey with new baby Isaac.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Family Changes

     An early-morning post is rare for this Mama.... but since I woke up 5:15 am, contemplating life, love, and family, (and since this is the only time my house is still enough to think straight) I decided that I'd send my contemplations out into the internet's abyss.
     Today, we adopt my daughter. MY daughter. It still seems so scary to think that 7 months ago, it was just my husband and I, with our 3 dogs and crazy basement-cat, living our lives and thinking we probably wouldn't have children. And then seconds later, not just one, but TWO children arrived at our home. And it's taken all 7 months (and it will take at least another 7) to figure out how this works.... how to be a family, how to love a stranger fully and completely, how to resolve conflicts with people that are not yet rational and that are short enough to kick your shins. In these 7 months, I have waivered. I have doubted, friends. I've questioned my abilities as a mother, wondered if I was skipped over in God's great handout of maternal instincts, and pondered the permanency of adoption. All of this questioning, wonderment, and pondering has left me at this one place....
     I am happy. Sure, I'm frazzled, forgetful, disorganized, and usually very tired. But peace has settled in the midst of it all. HOPE has found its place in my heart. And love has found its place in my arms. Today, Taylor will become my forever love. Qualified as a mother or not, my fear is being trampled down because this girl is MINE. She's ours. And she's exactly what I need in my life. Her spunky, no-nonsense personality has a way of tip-toeing on my last nerve and breaking down the walls of my heart at the same time. At this very moment, I couldn't be happier.
     Which brings me to the next big change for our home. The next reason that I found myself lying wide awake in the dark of my room, thinking about where to go from here. At this present moment, Cameron and Taylor's mother is being induced to give birth to her fifth baby..... and our family will be the recipient of this precious new creature. There are many details that are still unknown. Paternity testing? If the father is found, will he want the baby? If he doesn't, will his family? Will baby boy's mother get him back just after I've attached to him? Will I attach to him? What if it's not a "him" and I just spent $500 buying things for a "him" after getting the news last night? What if I'm never the same again after meeting him? What if that's a good thing....?
     But, in the middle of my contemplations, I found myself sitting in the shoes of my children's mother. Her shoes have taken her on a difficult path through life. Yet, even through her trials and errors, I believe she loves her babies. And today, she gives me, another Mommy, her only daughter. For keeps, no take backs. The papers will be signed and her role will finally end. On the same day that she's forced to part with one child, she gives birth to another, only to pass that one on as well.
     Over the months, I have felt many things about this woman... but right now, sitting in her shoes, I feel a deep sadness for her loss. So, as we rejoice today in the expansion of our family, I also say a prayer for this Mommy that is grieving. May her memory fade enough to let me in, and may her heart be comforted by the fact that she will always be the first "Mommy" that my children ever loved.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fall Cleaning

     It was a phenomenal weekend. Plain and simple, it was the weekend that I needed to feel like me again. That is, as a woman and a person.... not a wife, not a mother, not an employee, not a taxi-driver. I re-found my soul, the core of who I am, and it felt amazing. With the fellowship of friends and an awesome church service, I was refreshed and rejuvenated. What's better yet? I found my kids to be much more tolerable (dare I say enjoyable??) in the midst of it! Now, it obviously helped that my mother-in-law had the kids for Friday evening and most of Saturday (three cheers for patient relatives, right?).... maybe we all needed some time apart. I sometimes forget that they may get just as sick of me as I sometimes feel of them! My husband always says, "How can I miss you if you never go away??" Maybe he's onto something. (Just don't tell him I said so.)
     I knew it was going to be a great day as soon as I woke up. This has nothing to do with my parental psychic powers and everything to do with the fact that when I came out of my room this morning, my children were cleaning their rooms. (I feel the need to pause for effect to let that set in for a moment....) THEY WERE CLEANING THEIR ROOMS!!! And I'm not just talking about making beds and shoving toys into their closets. Oh, no! When I cautiously peered into the first bedroom, I saw both kids sitting in the middle of the room, adorned in nightgowns (yes, my son wears an over-sized nightshirt to bed half the time... I can't seem to break him of this, but that's a post for another day), garbage can between them, and they were literally spring cleaning!...in the fall. Now, you have to understand, this is truly a big deal. I suffer from borderline OCD (self-diagnosed, yes, but I'm pretty sure there's merit to it... just ask my husband). And with this "mental illness" of mine, I have the tendency to, oh, freak out on occasion when the kids make confetti with their coloring pages and then leave said confetti all over the floor. Or when Cameron insists on keeping garbage in his room because NOTHING can be thrown away without a crying fit. Or when Legos get left in the patterns of the carpet, waiting to shove their grooved tops into unsuspecting tootsies.
     So when my kids smiled at me and said, "Good morning! We're cleaning our rooms and throwing away garbage!", you can imagine the sweet, sweet joy that coursed through my veins. It was like the spike of coffee mixed with the calmness of sleepy-time tea. Exhilaration meets Relief. Euphoria at its finest. But the best part wasn't even that they were cleaning.... but they were HELPING each other clean. There may or may not have been angels singing (I'm pretty sure I heard the opening chords of the Hallelujah chorus coming from under the bed....), but Lord knows I sure was! Well, right up until the part where Taylor decided that her room was clean and that Cameron was more than capable of cleaning his own room without her assistance... you know, since he did such a nice job on hers. I reminded her that it's rude to have someone help you and then not help them in return. So she said it's not that she didn't want to help, it's just that she realized she's still pretty tired. I enthusiastically suggested that a nap after church would be just the ticket for her drowsiness.... and then she decided that she really wasn't too tired to help him afterall. Good choice, little one, good choice.
     They may not be my blood, but I was all too aware when they picked up my bad habits (darn nail-biting and fear of those pesky spiders....). I should've known that the bad, as well as the good habits, can be passed on. Especially when those habits are as neurotic and obsessive as mine. If only this worked on husbands....

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cry Till You Laugh

     So, I've decided two things. First of all, you mommies and ladies out there rock my face off. Seriously. My "monster day" left me feeling broken and weak.... and then the rallying of encouragement, prayers, and advice that you poured out onto this tired gal was exactly the healing balm that I needed. I once heard it said that if someone gives you their two cents, you should pay them back with a nickel because one should never forget interest or gratuity. Well, you ladies are all worth your weight in nickels and I love you to pieces. Whenever you need someone to be a lending ear, shoulder to drench, or phone to scream into, you just let me know and I'll be there in a heartbeat!
     The second thing that I decided was this.... The next time I need to take a time-out to cry, I'm not going to feel badly. Why, you may ask? Well, because everyone else in my house cries on a daily basis, that's why! This enlightenment hit me tonight somewhere around the third crying fit I was forced to endure, courtesy of the short people that live down the hall.
     "He won't let me pick my own grapes from the bag!!" WAAAAA!
     "But I don't KNOW how to do my homework!" WAAAA!!
     "I have to play by MYSELF?!?!" WAAAA!!!
     "I wanted spaghetti, not chili!" WAAAA!!!!
     "But I changed my underwear last week, I don't WANNA do it again!" WAAAAAA!!!!!!!
      But to think, I felt distressed for sobbin' a little when I had an all-out emotional crisis. Well, at least I was wearing clean underwear when it happened. But I think that tears are a sign of good parenting (bear with me on this one). Afterall, if someone's not crying, then no one's learning a lesson, right? And in this house, education is highly important, so I make sure that we all cry at least 3 times a day... in fact, you can plan your meals around our family's emotional break downs. Sometimes we even throw a 4th one in for good measure at bedtime.... it helps everyone sleep better when they just get the tantrum out of the way. And no, my husband doesn't "cry" per say, but I know him.... I can see it. He's just cryin' on the inside.
     Sometimes (I hate to admit it... scratch that, no I don't), a little part of me feels a teeny bit of satisfaction when they cry. I smile to myself as I say, Ahhh.... I'm not the only one miserable right now....! I guess it's just nice to know we're all equally frustrated, tired, and on the same level of basket-case-ness. In fact, I'm pretty sure the kids wouldn't even fit in with my side of the family if they didn't have any predisposition to tears.... (See? I CAN find something to bond with my children over!) Some people laugh until they cry.... but not this Mama. I plan to cry until I laugh. And I will be laughing soon. Promise.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Mommy-Monster Inside

     When I said that I was going to blog about "Parenting: the good, the bad, and the ugly", well, this is an ugly day. It has nothing to do with missing socks, dirty rooms, or even temper tantrums (well, just mine maybe). But this has everything to do with the fact that I, as a person, fail. And today, I failed. I failed over and over and over again. And do you want to know the worst part? It's not that I let my humanness replace my mommyness. It's that I recognized my failures and got angry at myself instead of fixing them. I sulked, cried, and was belligerent. My entire family watched me be grumpy, irritable, non-responsive, and purely unaffectionate. I am a horrible human being, a terrible mother, and a worthless woman. How's that for brutal honesty, eh?
     Maybe this truly IS a bipolar moment, but there are times when one of the kids raises their arms for me to pick them up, or they hang all over me and I simply want to push them away and say, "Get out of my space! For 5 minutes, let me breathe! You're suffocating me!! Can't you see that I'm impatient and crabby? Stop pawing at me!!!" (No, I won't be winning any mother-of-the-year awards, of this much I'm positive.) And  there are also days when I come home and I want to park my car down the street for 10-20 minutes instead of pulling into the driveway (and if I'm being truly honest, I have). I just want to sit there, in peace, and not be touched, talked to, asked a trillion questions, or have to immediately start in on a chore after 8 hours of work. And then there are the worst kind of days....those are the ones that no matter what the kids do or say, it will simply irk me. No one wins on those days, not even me. Those are the days that I retreat to my room to get in a good cry and prayer so that I can try to make it through the day without losing my mind. And even then, there are no guarantees.
     So, I'm literally repulsed by my own intolerance and I disgust myself on every level. (Self-loathing.... ahh, good for the soul.) I sometimes wonder if this is because they are not my own children. But my biggest fear is that I'm simply a bad mother. What if I'm not cut out to do this for a lifetime? What if I feel like this much of a failure again tomorrow? (And what if I feel it again the day after that....) I know, I know... every mom experiences at least a portion of this from time to time. But at the end of the day, you good Mommies look at your sleeping child and think, "Wow, I am so blessed." If I'm being truly transparent, I can honestly say that sometimes I look in on them after they've drifted off and I think, "Wow.... I still feel so indifferent."
     Do I love my kids? Yes, I do. But there are days when I am going through the motions of what a mother is "supposed to do" and yet I still feel as disconnected from them as the moment they walked into our home. We are 7 days away from adopting Taylor. SEVEN. And this child still feels like someone else's.... and I still live in the shadow of  "the other woman" (or two, as the case may be). Adoption is like signing a life-time contract to babysit another mother's child twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, on weekends, holidays, and an extra day every 4 years in February. I'm with her everyday.... but she still belongs to someone else. Am I fooling myself to think that a piece of legal parchment paper is going to change that? A name-change isn't going to magically bind us together anymore than a net can bind water.
     Even as I sit here, pouring out the raw, disgusting comments that are weighing on my heart this evening, I know that tomorrow morning, in the light of a new day, I will feel a sense of regret for letting the world see the Mommy-Monster that's inside of me. Maybe it's my bronchitis medicine, maybe it's PMS, or maybe it's just me sucking at life. Whatever the case may be, it's real. I feel the need to re-state that I do love these children (is this for my benefit or for yours....?), and I am excited to make us an "official family" next Tuesday. But I'll be honest, I need the support of my other Mommies out there. I gotta know if I'm truly messed up or if anyone has felt like this before. Are there any adoptive or foster Mommies out there that are struggling with attachment issues as well? If I'm way off-base, selfish, and utterly rotten, please feel free to tell me I'm just a bad person. I won't hold it against you (although don't expect a Christmas card.... and you thought that being grumpy meant I didn't have my sense of humor, didn't you?). Remember that I'm new at this Mommyhood thing and that I need your help and support, even if it's tough to hear. I love you all, so much, and I love your vested interest in me and my family. So, with all that said, let me hear your voices, Mommies!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Cowboy Boot Debacle

     After spending several hours at Urgent Care this morning, I decided to brave Walmart. I simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to spread bronchial cheer to the rest of the costume shoppers. (I see a movie in my future...."The Grinch Who Coughed Up A Lung All Over Halloween"; it's wordy, but I really think I'm on to something.) Anyways, It just so happens that Walmart is in the same plaza as Urgent Care. So, despite feeling loopy and having the need to spit like a baseball player every few minutes, I tackled the craziest store in the planet.... on a SATURDAY. It's not that I'm a glutton for punishment or anything like that, it's just that I completely despise wasting gas money. Therefore, if I'm near a store that I've been needing to get to for a few weeks, I go (bronchitis or not)!
     I was in the desperate search for children's cowboy boots to complete Cameron's Halloween costume. However, about 4,000 rows stood between the front door of the store and the shoe section. So, as you can imagine, I ended up with a shopping cart full of useless crap that I have all intentions of returning whenever I can work up the courage to re-enter the store again. Apart from the millions of people in Walmart today (and everyday), the temperature in that place felt like we were situated about 3 feet away from the surface of the sun. There were 3 holidays worth of decorations in every direction, children running wild, and people who didn't look so handicapped blocking entire isles with their Walmart riding buggies. And all I needed was a pair of cowboy boots!!!! Well, and a car charger. And some astringent.... and apparently snow pants for the kids, with matching gloves. And then there were these really cute knee socks for Taylor that had hearts on them, you know, for a good stocking-stuffer 3 holidays from now. Oh, and Cameron needed that new belt AND church shoes to match his recent growth spurt. Plus, the nightlight lighbulbs that we ran out of weeks ago....
     When I emerged from the store, tired-- hungry-- cranky, I literally felt like my mind was in a cloud. Stunned by the sensory overload that is department store shopping, I firmly decided that Walmart is not wise for me even on my best day, let alone when I'm sick as a dog. So, disgusted with myself, I drove home in shame. I left my bags in the trunk and plan to relive my absurd purchases in the light of a new day. This sick Mama is far too tired to deal with the regrets of impulse-shopping right now. But at least Cameron will have his cowboy boots.... did I mention they have camouflage on them? (Because living on a farm in Western PA and being obsessed with tractors isn't hick enough.) Goodnight, fellow mommies.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Beginners' Prayers

     After 6 months of parent-led bedtime prayers, the children finally felt ready to say their own this evening. This completely warmed my heart because I've been explaining to them since they came to us that it's really easy to pray... you just talk to Jesus the way that you would talk to anyone else. And remember to thank him for the things he's done for you, ask him to help you with something you need help with, and then tell him that you love him. Here's how our beginners' prayer went....

     Tay: "Dear God, thank you for this day.... your turn, Cameron."
     Me: "Taylor, why don't you say something else to Jesus."
     Tay: "Dear God, thank you for this day. Thank you for giving me lots of money to buy pictures and curtains."
     Cam: "What are curtains?"
     Me: "They're drapes.... don't interrupt your sister, please."
     Tay: "Dear God, thank you for this day. Thank you for yummy food and new clothes that aren't from the dollar store, and for pencils.... and nail polish."
     Me: "That's very specific. Thank you.... now, Tay, do you want to ask Jesus to help you with anything?"
     Tay: "Dear God, thank you for this day...."
     Me: "Taylor, you don't have to start over each time you add something to your prayer."
     Tay: "Um... Help me to have fun."
     Me: "Ok, good job. Cameron, do you want to take a turn?"
     Cam: "Dear God, thank you for this day.... um, what do I say now?"
     Me: "Why don't you tell God what you're thankful for?"
     Cam: "Thanks for my stuff... Now what?"
     Me: "How very NON-specific of you. Would you like to ask Jesus anything?"
     Cam: "Can I have a tractor, God?"
     Me: "Cameron, this is NOT a letter to Santa Claus."
     Cam: "OK! Dear God, help me to be good at school tomorrow and...."
     Tay: "Help me at school, too, God!"
     Cam: "TAYLOR!!! STOP!!!"
     Cam: "Be with my family and help me to have good dreams.... what else do I say?"
     Me: "I have an idea. I'll start this sentence and you finish it.... Jesus, help me to be brave when...."
     Tay: "...I'm under water."
     Cam: "TAYLOR!!!!"
     Me: "Ok, guys, enough! Taylor, stop interrupting your brother. Go ahead, Cam."
     Cam: " Help me to be brave under water, too, God. And help Pappy and Shivonne not to argue about the tablecloth."
     Tay: "And help Shivonne not to smack Pappy's bottom anymore when he makes a mess..." (said through peeking eyes and a mischievous smile.)
     Me: "Alright, alright. Now remember to tell Jesus how much you love him."
     Tay: "Dear God, please love me."
     Me: "He loves you even when you don't ask him too. Pretty cool, huh?"
     Cam: "Yup. Can I have a tractor though, for real?"
     Me: "No, go to bed."
     (Whiny, tired cry inserted here.)
     Me: "Taylor, why are you crying??"
     Tay: "Because I forgot to thank Jesus for strawberriiieeesss!!"
     Me: "Honey, then thank him for the strawberries already!"
     Tay: "Dear God, thank you for this day." (oh my word.) "And thank you for strawberries. Amen."

     It really could've gone worse. Let's just hope Christ finds what was lost in translation...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sleeping Revolution

     I was reading an article over the weekend about children and their sleeping habits. I found it particularly interesting because Cameron, on the one hand, will sleep like a log for 12 straight hours, whereas Taylor will sleep lightly for 8 or 9 (if we're really, really lucky). It also seems that no matter what time we put her to bed, bright and early she awakens. Astonished by this for 6 months, we tried all sorts of bedtimes, ranging from 8pm to 10pm, but always the same thing... the pitter patter of feet begin by 6am without fail. Ugh!
    This leads me back to the article. The writer boasted that pre-school age children through 2nd graders should be getting an average of 13-14 hours of sleep per night. (GASP! That's about what I get in a week!!) THIS new mama was completely baffled, because those hours seem more like periods of hibernation than anything to me. I mean, do the kids have to wake up somewhere in the middle to stock up on food, drink, and to take a potty break? Or, at the very least, run a few laps to make sure their muscles don't start to atrophy?? But just then, my mind began to wander as it made mental lists of all the glorious things that I could accomplish in a day if the children slept for 14 hours.... I didn't even want to breathe for fear of jinxing the data. But, lo and behold, researcher after researcher reported the same thing on other articles that I checked out as well (ya know, just to see if this is really too good to be true).
     So, my question was, How in the world to you make them sleep that long? Clubbing them with a bat is obviously out (obviously), as is giving them Benedryll every night (but maybe some nights....?), and tying them down just seems like way too much work. But the writer KNEW this mama was gonna ask the tough questions and she was prepared. Her answer? Put the children to bed earlier. (Oh yeah, 'cause THAT'S gonna work.... she's never met Taylor, the world's most ridiculous sleeper.) However, the writer insisted that this was the way to go. She explained that when children don't get their 13-14 hours each night, they become sleep deprived. And when sleep deprivation sets in, not only are they crabby (duh), but they sleep restlessly, further adding to the sleeplessness. Hmmmm.... interesting.
     Ok, my curiousity was piqued. I wanted in! I wanted it so much I could almost taste it!! So, that night, we sent the kids to bed at 7:15 instead of their usual 8pm bedtime.... lucky for us, Cameron still refuses to learn how to tell time (there's a natural consequence for ya, buddy... refuse to learn? Go to bed 45 minutes earlier. Sweet satisfaction.) The next morning, both kids awoke at their normal times. Hazah! (Well, if it worked at 7:15.....)
     The next night we moved bedtime to 7:00 pm. (Just to see what would happen... this is purely for scientific purposes... it has nothing to do with the fact that there's a magazine on my nightstand that I'm dying to flip through.) Miracle of miracles, the kids slept a little bit later the following morning! If it weren't for chronic back pain (and shear inability) I would've done a back flip. Now, there may or may not have been an evening where it was 6:50 pm and we were lying in bed reading our nightly story (come on, don't judge! It was already dark out... and rainy AND cold.... and, heck, even I could've fallen asleep in those conditions!). Wouldn't you know it, those little squirts didn't wake up till quarter after 7 in the morning??? Sure, Taylor peed the bed, but the fact of the matter is, she slept! Thank you, sweet research team, for your revolutionary results that have made one mommy very happy (even if my husband DID create a plan for us to eat dinner on our way up the driveway from the school bus stop so that bedtime can be at 5 pm tomorrow.... in the name of research, of course.... Yes. Of course.).

Saturday, October 6, 2012

One Sick Mama

     As I sit here at my husband's computer, typing away with Vix-greased hands, I'm reminded by my whimsical post just two days prior, boasting of how wonderfully productive, serene, and happy I was. Oh, those were the days! Little did I know that a mere 36 hours later, my once clean home would look like a pig's pen, my serenity would be interrupted by phlegm-inducing hacks, and my second "glorious" day home alone would be spent under my covers wearing mismatched pajamas, sipping cough suppressants, and spooning with my nasal spray. But I have my faithful 3 companions, pups Molly, Milo, and Freida, hogging the bed and keeping me company as I try to write notes for work as I sip my honey tea, courtesy of my fella. Meanwhile, Hubby is on kid-duty for the day, as I cannot speak above a whisper to dish out the much-needed hollering that's sure to ensue at some point in the day. I feel for him, really I do.... afterall, he's trying to keep the little one occupied at the bigger one's soccer match. Little One can't seem to understand why she can't play with the other kids on the field, no matter how many times we explain that she's not actually IN soccer. So, I'm sure there will be tears (both hers and the Bigger One's.... he really doesn't seem to enjoy this whole "sports thing"), tantrums, and the usual 45-million-question-car-ride to follow as they travel to the movie theater following the game. Since our last movie experience was such a success (sarcasm, ahoy!), I'm looking forward to the tales of woe that will be making their way to me via text message as soon as the opening credits begin. My only hope is that the novelty of actually finding Nemo in 3-D will be enough to keep their antsy bodies settled. (I tried to convince him to take the benedryll, but he's just a better person than I am.)
     So, to all of you other sick Mommy's out there, I hope that you are able to pass your children off to husbands, relatives, neighbors, or a mostly agreeable-looking stranger long enough for you to take time to rest up and heal. And when all else fails, find yourself a good pair of ear plugs and move the dresser in front of your bedroom door. I promise, they'll only scream until they get bored and unless your kids have super-hero strength, they probably won't come through the wall. (Probably....)

Signing off,

One Sick Mama

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Today's Serenity

     Today marks a momentous occasion. This was the first day in 6 months that I have been alone in my own home. ALONE. Absurd, you say. There's no way you haven't been alone in your own home for half of a year. Now, of course there were the occasional 30-45 minute gaps that presented themselves, usually right after work while I'm unloading my car, relieving myself after holding it for the past 8 hours, and frantically trying to get dinner together, all the while responding to phone calls and texts. Sounds relaxing, right? Just what the doctor ordered, to be sure! But today was different. I had the entire day off, the kids were at school, my husband swore he'd go to the office and not return home till at least 2pm (good man, I tell ya, good man), and I didn't get a single phone call. Productivity was the goal and serenity was the result. It's amazing how being busy for the right reasons can give you such a feeling of peace and calm. (Now THAT'S what the doctor ordered!)
     First, my husband and I went to a meeting with Cameron's teacher at the school (nothing like having to get up at 6:30 on your day off!) and then I cleaned the entire house from top to bottom (which I haven't done in months... and I put more elbow grease into that bathtub than a magic lamp... I don't even remember the last time it was scrubbed.... I know. I'm a sick, sick human being). I also vacuumed out my car, organized the kids' rooms (complete with re-folding all clothes), picked and typed up worship songs for church on Sunday, did laundry, remade beds with fresh sheets, cooked a kick-butt dinner, and attended to my dogs' flea, tick, and heart worm needs. We then met with our caseworker, followed by our adoption specialist. (AND I'm battling what I'm pretty sure is bronchitis... and STILL rocked it out!) After accomplishing more today than I have in months, I can honestly say this was one of the best days of my adult life. (Emotionally, my wedding day trumps this.... but only emotionally....)
     Perhaps the greatest thing about today was that I didn't feel stupid. Not even once. All I felt was serene. There were no ding-bat moments, forgetful times, or feeling out-of-control with my day. I made my own schedule, completed my schedule with time to spare, and actually felt happy when the kids arrived home from school because my life was in order. I forgot what it was like to feel normal and It. Was. Beautiful!!! That frazzled, half-crazed woman that's been inhabiting my body for the last month finally feels healthy, happy, and relaxed. What a concept! So, my biggest prayer in life right now is that God helps me find a way to feel "normal" on a more consistent basis. (Sure, there are always those days of feeling like a total nut case... but I'd like that to NOT be my baseline!)
     In honor of my peace-filled day, I feel compelled to end this post with the serenity prayer. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (cleaning my bathtub- yikes!, the need for a paycheck, parental responsibilities- including all 3 hours of homework given to my kid EVERY NIGHT, church commitments.... and should the need for sleep come into this category??); courage to change the things I can (Ooooo, what to change, Lord, what to change!); and wisdom to know the difference." Amen.