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.