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"

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Easter Funny

     There was something magical about this pleasant weekend.... a weekend where there wasn't any stress, bickering was at a minimum, and we were able to have quality family fun. It just so happens we were also celebrating the Easter season AND Cameron and Taylor's 1 year anniversary with us. Usually, holidays or special events lead to terrible acting out and chaos in our home. However, this weekend was entirely different. I decided not to do household chores, leaving me time to just lounge with the kids (thankfully, my mother-in-law decided my chores still needed to be done, so she cleaned my lower level for me while I was at work, freeing up my weekend tremendously!). I spent time reading books to the kids, going to the movies together, shopping and allowing them to finally use their Christmas and birthday money, and letting them play with friends. But most importantly, we spent time talking about the story of Easter in words they understood and explaining why doing the right thing instead of the wrong thing shows respect to the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.
     Cameron, my tender-hearted child, immediately wanted to pray and thank Jesus for dying for him. (My heart melted.) And then he vowed to try to do the right thing from then on. Taylor, my goon, informed me that she's not going to lie anymore because she doesn't want to "have to go up to Core where the bad man will fire her." (Ummm, come again?) It took me a while to realize that she is calling Hell by the name of "Core" and that she thought the bad man (the devil) was going to light her on fire. I realized that she was still struggling with the concepts a bit (and that nightmares were in her future) so I re-explained to her that she won't be lit on fire for lying.... and then she promptly said, "Phew! I guess I get to keep lying then!" I'm starting to think I should've let the Core thing play out for at least a week....
     Cameron came up to me later in the day with a look of panic on his face. "Mommy, I said a lie and I forgot what I'm supposed to do to make that black stuff get off my heart!" I reminded him that when we pray and ask for forgiveness, Jesus takes his big eraser and wipes away the black sin that covers our hearts, making them bright and clean again. Cameron immediately closed his eyes (in the lobby of the movie theater), put his hand over his heart, and rubbed his chest as if he were holding a big eraser. He smiled real big, opened his eyes, and then announced, "Jesus fixed me up. Let's watch this movie already." So we did. And both kids cuddled up with me as we ate movie theater popcorn (the entire tub.... and yes, we all had diarrhea for the rest of the day). And we smiled, and we laughed (well, except for when were were in the bathroom).
     On our way home, Taylor said, "You were really good today, Mommy!" Ouch. Humbled, I was, by the 5-year-old in the booster seat behind me. How awful do I seem to my children on a regular basis when I get told that I've finally had a good day? So I said to her, "Thanks, Tay, you were good, too. What does it mean that I did good today?"
     "You didn't even fart once, Mom!"
 And we're back. Happy Easter, Mommies!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


     On many days, I regret making the choice to become a parent. (And yes, I am well aware how awful that sounds.) But you have to understand... when you unexpectedly get pregnant, there's no turning back. There's rarely the moment where you say to yourself, "Hmmm, should we keep him/her or just do this as a trial run and then decide if we like this little person?" So, when those mom's have a bad day, they don't have themselves to blame. When I have a bad day with the kids (which tends to turn into bad weeks, and even months), I have that voice that rings in my ear saying, "You did this to yourself... You can't blame nature, your husband, or even God... you made the choice to take these kids, so you have no right to hate your life now!"
     Sadly, when those bad days have turned into bad months, that's exactly how I feel. However, my husband and I were referred to a lovely man named Jim.... our good friend suggested we talk to him and try to get our bearings back, vent, and allow someone to deal with my issues of begrudging motherhood so often! Jim, after spending a matter of minutes with me, said, "Oh Darlin', I hope you don't expect that you're actually going to be able to change your kids' behaviors..." As the blood drained from my face and the lump in my throat became too large to swallow back, he added, "There's nothing you can do to change these kids. It's not your job, it's God's. The only thing required of you is to rest... and that's obviously something you're not doing. When you rest, you feel content. And when there's rest and contentment together, you know what happens?" I shook my head 'no', lump still preventing me from speaking. "Joy, that's what happens."
     Well, didn't Jim just hit the nail on the head! For the last several months, I know I've smiled on occasion, and allowed myself momentary glimpses at happiness.... but joy? That's not even been in the foreseeable future for me! So, unless Jim has himself some sort of Holy Binoculars, I don't see how I'm going to get to joy!! But since joy seems unobtainable, I need to go back to square one.... Rest. If I rest, then I can I find contentment, and then I can venture into joy.
     I gotta say, resting is freaking hard work! But why in the WORLD am I trying to think that I'm big enough to do God's job? Getting angry at the kids for breaking my things is not resting. Screaming at them for lying to my face is not resting. Feeling frazzled at work because I'm a disaster at home is not resting! Barking at my husband for lashing out on one of the kids (when I just did the same thing myself not 5 minutes before) is not resting!! No Rest = No Joy.... no wonder I feel exhausted, depressed, and ready to blow my top all the time! Their actions towards me are just actions, and I'm not accountable for those. But what I am accountable for are my REactions to their actions. And I've decided that I really don't wanna face my God one day and tell him that I know he's super awesome and all, but that I just couldn't get past my kids' behaviors enough to trust him and rest. "Thanks for the dying on the cross thing and raising from the dead, but I just don't think you can handle Taylor and Cameron...." I don't know if God calls people 'idiots' or not, but my guess is that if He does, my name tag will have a capital 'I' printed on it in bold type.
     Living off the premise that I need to rest, I have to say, I haven't regretted becoming a mother in 2 full days! (That may seem ridiculous to some, but when you're starting to question your sanity, 2 days of rest feels like a month on a tropical island!) Have the kids behaviors been perfect? Uh, not a chance. (Someone got into my hair gel, which is now missing, leaving me looking like a hot mess for work today.... who in their right mind messes with a frizzy-haired woman's gel??) But both of them have made efforts towards improvement, which is no thanks to my fantastic mothering (sarcasm...sarcasm...) but complete thanks to resting in God's ability to keep me from turning into the uni-bomber. There are no guarantees what tomorrow will hold... I'm pretty sure that my kids will push most of my buttons before 8 am rolls around, and I'm positive that I'll mess up at least a dozen or so times before I've even had my morning coffee. But one thing that I AM guaranteed is that I can choose to rest. (Can I get an Amen from the Mommy section of the choir?)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sir Isaac Droolton

     After a rather "eventful" week, filled with out-of-control behavior (we have actually resorted to setting booby traps in our house.... if you visit, please, for your own safety, do not use our upstairs restroom), poor sleep, and the beginnings of a family-sized sinus infection for each of us, I am sad to report that baby Isaac is fully teething. Yes, that's right. Teething. Naturally, the only child that doesn't cause me daily migraines and pains in the ulcer is now drooling, chewing, weeping, inconsolably agitated, and needing to be held for about 23 hours of the day. Not that holding him matters... he still does all of the aforementioned actions, it's just that he does them with less force while being held. And it also gives the holder a fantastic arm and back workout (silver lining, glass half-full, eternal optimist- take your pick).
     Speaking of benefits to holding a teething baby, I'm going to do some research into the effects of baby drool on one's skin... although sticky at first, I noticed that my skin is incredibly soft after I wipe away the goo. Perhaps we've been holding the actual Fountain of Droolth for the past 5 months and didn't even know it! I think I'll attach small jars to his jowls (like saddle bags) and bottle up this skin-softening stuff.... Avon or even Clinique would probably pay top dollar for such a product (you can take your pick from Formula Scented and Chunky Vomit... bet you can guess which one exfoliates.) But right now, my chubbylicious little cherub is finally sleeping peacefully next to me (a dose of infant tylenol and two teething tablets later) and there's a puddle of the good stuff all over my freshly-washed sheets just to the side of his face. Like throwing money down the toilet, really.
     I was told by several parents that once the gums start aching, life will be rough for quite some time.... Mommies, say it ain't so! Tell me what your experiences have been and how long this stage generally lasts. But more importantly, what you do to make your little one more comfortable during this obviously terrible era for them? My little goober has moments of big smiles and laughs, but you can see it in his eyes that he's a little down in the mouth (ba-dum ching!). Any words of advice to make this Mommy's days and nights a little more tolerable and my little guy's gums a little less sore?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Inner Workings Of A Five Year Old's Mind

     If any of you have met my daughter, you are aware at her propensity to chatter.... incessantly. Now, I'm pretty sure that this is common for most little girls, as I myself was quite the talker in my days (so I'm told... but they lack the proof to back it up). Common or not, I find myself utterly baffled as I listen to the steady stream of insanities that fly from her mouth like a verbal sprinkler. Every now and again something makes sense, but I definitely think she she talks just for the exercise.... and sadly, while we're in the car, she has a captive audience....

"Mom, who made bodies?"
"Like human bodies? God did."
"Did he use glue?"
"No, he used bone and muscles and veins."
"Yeah, but how does my foot stay on?"
"We weren't cut and pasted, he hooked all our parts together on the inside."
"But how did he glue them together?"
"There was no glue involved... skin wraps up our insides so that we don't spill out all over the place."
"Like a present." (her)
"Like a present." (me)
(a few seconds later)
"Did God make privates?"
"Yep, he made all of our parts."
"Ew. God's gross."
"Honey, it's not gross... if we didn't have privates, we wouldn't be able to go to the bathroom."
"And then we would fill up with poop!"
"Exactly... so God gave our poop an escape route through our privates."
(long pause)
"Did God put the holes in our privates?"
"Yes, Taylor."
"So they're supposed to have holes... it's not broken, right?"
"So we don't need to put anything in it to fix it right?"
"NO!! Absolutely NOT!!"
"Not glue, right?"
"Taylor, please do NOT put glue in your privates... it's not broken, the holes are supposed to be there, and.... wait, did you use glue today at school?"
"Yep, we made people and glued them together!"
(Dear God, I sincerely hope she didn't make her art project anatomically correct... holes and all!)

     At gymnastics, Taylor whacked her face clumsily off of the trampoline, leaving a large red splotch on her face. I informed her that she will probably have a black eye in the morning. This is where her brain took her....

"Mom, will you do my hair like Maleeyah's tomorrow?"
"No, honey, your hair won't do the same thing that Maleeyah's does."
"Because Maleeyah's hair is very curly and can make an afro... yours cant."
"Can you put it in all the little braids with beads on them?"
"Taylor, you are very, very white... your hair is incredibly slippery and straight. Your hair wouldn't hold the braids the way you're thinking."
"But you SAID tomorrow I would be black!"
"Remember? When I hit my eye at gymnastics???"
"Oh my gosh, Taylor, I said you would have a black eye, not that you would become a black person."
"So can I have braids?"
"No... and I'm definitely starting to get concerned about the bump you took to the head."

     And then I tucked my African American, glued-together daughter into bed and she starts to crack up out of nowhere....

"What's so funny?"
"Oh, I was just thinking about how weird you are, Mommy!"
"Well, ok then. Thanks, I guess!"
"Mommy, do you think other mommies fart as much as you do?"
"Honey, I certainly hope not."
"Goodnight, stinky butt!"
"Goodnight, Booger Lynn."

Friday, March 1, 2013

Time To Bloom

     It was a long-awaited, much anticipated moment, but Cameron David Costa was finally adopted into our family as of 9:30am yesterday! Leading up to the day was such an emotionally distressing time for Cameron and our family, anxiety being this little boy's kryptonite. Even at the adoption hearing, Cam was nervous, bashful, and very concerned about all the people at the courthouse that day. He even described himself as feeling "shy"; when asked what that meant, he admitted that he had no idea, but it seemed a fairly accurate statement for his behavior!
     We went out for a celebratory lunch at a hibachi restaurant, which was an interesting adventure in and of itself with the kids... Baby Isaac was thoroughly mesmerized by the Asian man tossing the knives around, Taylor was focused on when her food would be done, and Cameron, although terrified of the flames on the hibachi, was far more interested in the mechanics of the table instead of the man's obvious skills with cutlery. We realized rather quickly that we would have to hide all of our knives for at least the next 6 months, just in case anyone got any "creative" ideas!
     Later that evening, I heard Cameron talking in his room (to whom, I wasn't sure!), so I peaked in without him realizing I was there. That's when I saw that Cameron was not talking to himself, but that he was talking to his stuffed animals. I stood there   watching as my son introduced himself to his teddy bears as Cameron David Costa. It was so sweet to watch him feel settled in his new name; a name that will hopefully begin to wash away the stigma, negative memories, and anxiety associated with his previous name. When Cameron realized that he was being watched, his shyness returned. I asked what he was up to, and he said, "Nothin'... I'm just practicing my new name for school tomorrow."
     "What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet... but I have a hard time believing that a rose would smell the same if it were called a thistle or a skunk cabbage." (Anne of Green Gables... my favorite character of all time!) Cameron will always be Cameron... sweet, quirky, helpful, mischevious (especially the last one). But my prayer is that this name change that he felt important enough to practice, will be a turning point for his life, one that causes him to see himself in a new way. Cameron, you are no longer the thistle that others have deemed you, nor are you the skunk cabbage that you view yourself as. You are part of our family and you WILL NOT be seen as a weed that needs to be plucked. Cameron, you are our rose. It's time to bloom, Son.