Friday, September 30, 2011

Field Trip


I decided to end our autumn vacation with a field trip to the zoo. We hadn't been there in ages and the weather was supposed to cooperate, so I thought, why not? I asked my mom to come as chaperone and we had a good time. We saw the elephants and the tigers. They have a fun little petting zoo, so we lavished attention on all sorts of exotic sheep and goats. The lady in there was telling me all about them, and I probably would have been interested if I hadn't been so busy trying to corral 4 kids. "Don't step on the poop, Cee-cee", "Duh-duh, she said to pet the goats, they're more friendly than the sheep", "Cee-cee, there's poop there, don't step in it!" We also saw these adorable little kitties. They looked like kitties and were the size of kitties, though they had the most beautiful spotted coats. They were some sort of wild-cat, but the smallest ones in the world. They only weighed about 2 pounds. They had the most beautiful faces. I wanted to pet them, but I think they would have scratched my eyes out. The kids went to Sting-Ray Bay and I paid a buck each for them to pet sting-rays. At first they were hesitant, but I made them stay until we got our money's worth. After the zoo we had lunch in the park. The park in which the zoo is located is one of Fresno's oldest. It's a very nice park, really. Has a lot of very old large trees, but it's in a horrible part of town. And, actually, the park itself isn't the place you want to go after dark. But, it wasn't bad during the day. Not many people were there, so it was quiet and peaceful. We stayed for lunch and then when the kids got bored and Missie Lou got hysterical because she fell and said Duh-duh jumped on her and she had a horrible headache, we left. I think both Missie Lou and Bubba must be coming down with something, either that or they're just dehydrated because they don't really feel that great this afternoon. Oh well. We had a good morning.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Potty Training...

This is my fourth go-round with potty training. I am so thrilled to be doing this again. Really. I am. Not. It's not like it's that big a deal, but it does take a lot of time and can tend to get gross. I don't know how many pairs of underwear I threw away trying to potty train Duh-duh. I would say the most interesting child was Bubba. He was my first attempt. We got this nifty little potty chair, but he was afraid to use it. We'd set him on it, wait a while, he'd get up and pee two-seconds later. So, one night we got him a pile of books and about a gallon of Tang. He loves sweet drinks. So, we had him look at books and drink Tang until he couldn't hold it anymore and he used the potty and.... voila. Of course there were a few accidents after that, but that was pretty much it. Now getting him to poop was a little more complex. Once again, he was afraid to do it in the potty. He'd run off to his room and hide in the closet and squat and use his diaper. By the time I'd realize he was gone the deed was done. But one day... one day I got him. He was just heading off to the closet and I grabbed him, ripped off the diaper and set him on the potty and he went. In the potty. Woohoo. We celebrated. And that was it for him. Duh-duh took forever. Remind me to tell you about the poop in the playstructure at McDonald's incident sometime. Oh mercy!! I was so glad when he was finally out of diapers. And then... Missie Lou. She was over three years old. She just refused. She can be a stubborn little thing. But then, one Sunday I was at the computer, she was sitting on my lap in a pull-up and all the sudden my lap was wet. That was it. I'd had it. The next day she was in underwear and nothing else. Didn't take her long to figure out what she needed to do. I think that today's diapers make it too comfortable for kids. They don't feel the wetness, so why interupt playtime when you can just go where you are? Anyhow, today's Cee-cee's first day in underwear. She's very comfortable using the potty and did have an accident this morning, but she really really doesn't like being wet, so I'm hoping that she's not too hard to train. At least I have about a year and a half before I have to go to it with Baby.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Just Being There.

Well, it's been almost a month that we've had the girls with us. Wow. That long already? The dust is starting to settle. I had one of my regular morning devotions this morning. Haven't done that since the day before we got the girls. That means I can now get up early enough to spend the amount of time that I want to in the Word. I tried a new recipe last night. Haven't done that in a while. It was a keeper, too. It was Apple Something-or-Other Roast Pork. Yummy. Used sparkling cider. That was new. So, things are starting to be more like normal. The little girls are settling in, too. Baby, well, she's had no trouble. I think that's one reason why people prefer to adopt younger children because they do not have the issues in adjusting to a new life like older kids do. She's sleeping through the night now and is such a good natured little thing. Very little disturbs her. Except for an empty belly and maybe being tired. Cee-cee is taking her time getting used to life here. She's the oldest one we've ever adopted. We don't have much information about her past life. There's been a few bumps. But, I know that she needs to learn how to trust us. She doesn't know us and for all she knows, this could just be a temporary placement. Not her home forever. Or at least until some worthy young man asks for her hand in marriage. So, we're working at building that trust and that comes in the form of just being here for her. I'm not really doing anything special because I don't think these things can be rushed. I prefer them to take their natural course. So, I'm there to comfort her when she needs it. I make sure I'm as consistent as possible in the way I interact with her, both when she's happy and when she's having a tantrum. I make sure I always respond when she calls. I was listening to a radio program yesterday about parenting and the speaker was saying that with children, it's all about the quantity of time spent. Yes, quality is good, but it doesn't make up for just being there. Just spending time together, working side-by-side. So, that's my plan with Cee-cee. We're just going to be there for her. So she can learn to trust us and know that she's part of our family, too!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Puttin' in the Winter Garden!

We're having vacation this week. One of the nice things about homeschooling is the ability to make my own schedule. Generally, we have about 8-9 weeks of school and then one week off. Then, we factor in Thanksgiving Vacation and Christmas Vacation, too. I prefer to have shorter but more frequent vacations, rather than one big long summer vacation. I think the kids do, too. I tend to get more done this way and things don't get too crazy. The kids get bored pretty easily. So, we're doing vacation this week. Hubby took the day off today and got my winter garden prepped. Didn't he do a great job? He left my basil which has gone to seed. I really need to cut that thing back. Maybe I'll get one more crop before it freezes.
He also left some cherry tomatoes. I'm not a huge fan of cherry tomatoes, but they just keep producing until it freezes and they're a whole lot better than the junk you buy in the supermarket. Our peppers aren't quite done either. I learned something new about peppers. Green peppers will turn colors if you just leave them on the plant long enough. And I mean long enough. Months it takes. Until you're just about ready to give up. These have been hanging there for a long time and they're still good. Oh yeah, and then we've had a nice crop of firetrucks, too. Sparky thinks Hubby did a great job, too. All that nice fresh dirt to dig in.There you go, Sparky. Just did yourself a nice little hole and make yourself comfortable. I'll be planting wonderful things like lettuce (which will hopefully survive. Last year my lettuce got trampled by the Thanksgiving Day Soccer Game in the back yard.) and peas (both sugar snap and snow peas) and spinach and carrots and fennel. I don't know what my experimental crop will be. Last year it was broccoli. It never got harvested. Broccoli apparently has a short harvesting window. I looked at it in the morning and decided it could wait another day and by afternoon it had bolted. Well, maybe not that fast, but it did go to seed very quickly and we never got a chance to sample it. So, that's that's the plan for the garden. It'll definitely have a fence around it to keep the Sparkster from digging more holes. I can't wait to get the seeds in. I love this time of year!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Family Vacation!

Whew! I am tired. Why is it that when moms go on vacation they always have to come home and rest up from it. Well, we went on our annual trip to Hume Lake this weekend. We rent a cabin every year and stay for a couple of days. It's a great place to go and the kids always seem to have a good time. This year was a little crazy because we had the girls with us. My brain's been a little mushy these past several weeks, trying to adjust to five kids instead of just three, so trying to get ready for this trip was not easy. I had the boys pack their own clothes in their duffle bag, but then the bag got shoved behind the chair by the fireplace and when Hubby was packing the car he didn't see it and it got left behind. So, basically, the boys had the clothes on their backs for the whole weekend. Fortunately, they both had their sweatshirts in the car, so at least they had something warm to wear and I bought them each a t-shirt at the camp store. They had left-over shirts from camp for $5 each, though even the small sizes were waaaay too big for the boys. And I hand-washed their underwear last night, so they had a "clean" pair to wear today. But that was really the only tragedy. The kids played in the water... And caught these cute little frogs.... took a boat ride.... And basically just goofed around. Friday afternoon there were off and on rainshowers, which kind of put a damper on things, but we still had a good time. This afternoon we cleaned up the cabin and left around noon and headed for Grant's Grove and Panoramic Point. Panoramic Point has the most gorgeous view of the High Sierras and we hike up there every chance we get. You can walk along the ridge for a while, actually all the way out to the fire look-out, but we only went about a quarter of a mile or so. There were rocks the kids played on...
and we picked up sticks and looked at squirrels. And then we turned around and went back to the car.
The girls all fell asleep on the drive home and we got home mid-afternoon. It was really a great weekend. Always is!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hand Sanitizer? What's that?

I have never been one of those over-the-top, carry-hand-santizer-wherever-I-go type of mom. Yes, I believe in germs. But, I'm not terrified of them. And I always say that's why my kids are never sick. They have very healthy immune systems. In fact, their doctor once commented on how thin their files are at the doctor's office. I bring them in basically once a year for their physical. When Duh-duh was little, like 3 years old, he'd play outside and was always sporting a mud goatee. He'd eat dirt, snails, what-have-you.(This picture was taken right after I told Duh-duh to take whatever it was he had in his mouth out of his mouth.)
(The contents of his mouth are there in his hand)Yes, Bubba, I agree. It's pretty gross to have a live snail in your mouth.I guess it's good I hadn't planted the digitalis in my flower beds at that time in life. Poisonous plants wouldn't be good for children who put everything in their mouths. Anyhow, today the social worker was here for a visit. We have tons of social workers. In fact, when you adopt through foster care, you'd better just get used to lots and lots of people invading your life. Anyhow, this social worker was the one from our foster agency. We are with a private foster agency. It's a great agency and has an excellent reputation. We love it, but they do require a lot of visits and a lot of paperwork. Anyhow, so D is here doing his social worker thing talking to me and Baby is crawling around on the floor. Which is a good thing. Babies need to crawl around. They need to explore their environment and build their muscles. But, then I look down and she's putting Cheerios in her mouth. From off the floor. I casually say, "Oh, that's all right. We make sure we sweep every day so whatever she eats is fresh!" After D left I'm kind of wondering what he was thinking. This woman lets her baby eat food from off the floor, and we've placed children with her? What were we thinking? But then, as I processed these thoughts (it's always a good idea to process thoughts instead of just taking them at face value) I came to the following conclusions: a) It is our floor and our germs. It's not like she's eating food from off the ground at the park. And b) She crawls on the floor with her hands. Then she puts her hands in her mouth. What's the difference between that and putting a Cheerio in her mouth? So, my options are these: a) she could spend all her time in the play pen or the high chair so she doesn't get her hands dirty; b) I could spend all my time wiping down her hands with wet wipes; or c) I could just let her do what she's doing and not worry about it. I decided that "c" was the best answer. It's worked with all my other kids and they're pretty healthy. And honestly, I don't think our social worker minded. Especially when he looked down at her and she had a big ol' grin on her face as she held up a Cheerio for his appraisal. She'll melt your heart with her big ol' grin!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

First Trip to Target!

When you've got kids, (plural, more than one) generally you only shop at places with shopping carts. And places you know very well, so you don't have to hunt around for what you need. This is why Target is my favorite place to shop. Oh yeah, and then you only go with a list. There are two reasons to only go with a list. Reason A is.... if you think you're going to remember what you need, you are fooling yourself. Once you walk through that door everything on your mind goes blank. Reason B is... no browsing is allowed. You just grab what's on your list as you walk down the aisles saying things like, "Put that down!", "Stop hitting your brother", "You are supposed to walk on this side of the shopping cart!", "Put that down!". When Missie Lou was an infant and couldn't sit up in the shopping cart I'd hide stuff under the car seat like shampoo and stuff so the kid sitting in the basket couldn't reach it and open it up. Of course, in the madness of check-out, I'd often forget about what was there and when I got to the car and got 2 boys buckled in I'd find it. Now, there's no way I was going to un-buckle the boys and walk all the way back into the store and try to convince them that I didn't pay for something so I'd just take it home and the next time I'd go to Target I'd say, "Run that shampoo through twice, please. Last time I didn't pay for it!" and then the clerk would look at me like I was nuts. It's just crazy. It really is.
Well, today I went to Target for the first time with all five kids. I got tons of "Are they all yours?" looks from the fellow shoppers, but I give my kids credit for reasonably good behaviour. Got Missie Lou a new outfit for church. Like I said before, no browsing allowed, so I saw something I thought was cute, grabbed it, asked Missie Lou if she'd wear it, her eyes lit up and I threw it in the shopping cart. No, it wasn't on sale. I'm sorry. That's not like me, but.... I just couldn't manage it this time. It's a cute little dress with leggings to go with it. She loves it. Then, I was steering through the baby section looking for some blanket sleepers for Baby and I'm telling you, they have those racks so close together you can't even push a cart through. I did some rearranging for Target. I hope they don't mind.
So, I got everything on my list and I even paid for everything. Nobody had a meltdown (for which I was thankful) and we made it back to the car in one piece. Mission Accomplished!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Makin' Raisins!


September is raisin making time in our part of the country. It's still pretty warm and hopefully still dry (although we occasionally get rain in September) and early in the month is when the grapes go down to dry into raisins. Raisins are generally made out of Thompson seedless grapes. We have a couple of Thompson vines in our backyard and those grapes don't really turn me on as table grapes, so we make raisins out of them. First, you have to stem the grapes. Last year we got lazy and didn't stem them and that was a disaster. They still made good raisins, but it's really a pain in the neck when you're in the middle of making cinnamon rolls and you want to put the raisins in and then you see that you have to pick the stems off them all. So, we stemmed the grapes first this time. Works a lot better that way. Stemming grapes isn't the most fun job in the world. You encounter some rotten ones, a little mildew at times, tiny spiders and other critters...

and your hands get all sticky. But, it's also a good time to sit and visit with the one you love, which is what Hubby and I did when we stemmed our grapes. So, you get them stemmed and you wash them.... and then you put them in the sun somewhere away from traffic and dogs and small children. Our grapes dry on top of our arbor. It's a great place to dry them, although it's only accessible by ladder. Which means Hubby's in charge of them. Hubby put some screening on top of them to keep the birds from eating them.

And then you just wait until they're dry. Depending on the weather it only takes a couple of days. When they're dry we take them in, rinse them off really good, roll them up in a towel to dry and stick them in the freezer and they're ready to eat. It takes a lot of grapes to make only a small amount of raisins and we didn't get a ton, but enough to put in cinnamon rolls and zucchini bread and whatever else I may bake that calls for raisins. But, it's a lot of fun to do it yourself and know that we made those raisins!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Art Class

I have never been much of an artist. Actually, I have never been any kind of an artist. Even in first grade my hand writing got poor grades. I never did a very good job coloring. And it just hasn't gotten any better. I have artistic talent in my genes. My grandma was an artist. Never professionally, but she painted quite well. I have a couple of her paintings in my home. My uncle is a professional artist. I wish I could afford to have a couple of his paintings in my home. But me... I'm horrible. When I was teaching school I tried to draw a picture of a cow on the whiteboard. The class burst out laughing. Anyhow, we do have art class in our little homeschool. We're using a curriculum called "Artistic Pursuits". It's actually very good for someone like me because it's pretty open and go. We observe a work of art, the curriculum has some comments about it and questions for the kids. Then, the kids do their own art work. We had been doing a highly recommended program called "Drawing With Children" which actually was supposed to teach the kids technique, but I am so bad at any kind of drawing that I was completely unable to teach the curriculum. And Duh-duh cried every time we did art. He's completely inept at art, too. His is a fine motor skill issue, though. So, hopefully he'll grow out of his problems. I have no such excuse.
Today we did art with water color crayons. You draw pictures with a pencil and then color them in with these special crayons. Here's Missie Lou's picture. Bubba has been very much into drawing dragons and dinosaurs lately.
And here's my truck boy's picture.
When you're done coloring in your picture, you then brush over it with water.
And it turns kind of smeary like water colors. It's pretty cool actually. I think it's a technique that could use some practice, though.
The kids had a good time and each made a couple of pictures. I'm glad they enjoyed themselves. Even Duh-duh seemed to have a good time. No tears from him. So, I'm pleased with this curriculum. We've been in school for a month and a half now and are only completing the second lesson, so you can see how much we've been able to do, but I'm hoping we can do art a little more often. I know Bubba really likes it and it's a good addition to our curriculum.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Two Different Kinds of Boy!

I have two boys. This one's Bubba. He's got energy. Lots of it. He loves soccer and baseball and hates school. Well, he claims he hates school. He's good at math and loves history. And there's this one. This one's Duh-duh. He's my sensitive sweet boy. He loves his family and is very content.
A couple of interesting things have happened in the past weeks that have given me even more insight into their little personalities and how different they really are. We were at Walmart a couple of weeks ago. The boys wanted to spend money, so I told them I'd leave them in the toy department for about 5-10 minutes while I shopped. I hate waiting around for them while they look at everything. They were together and I figured they'd be all right. Well, it took me a little longer than I expected and Duh-duh was a basket case when I got back. Even though his brother was with him (Bubba was completely calm) Duh-duh was sure that I'd forgotten about them and left. Same thing with Awana. We dropped the kids off the first night and Duh-duh was so upset when we came to pick them up. I finally got it out of him after a couple of days that he was afraid we'd leave him there. Poor kid. Bubba, on the other hand, isn't the least bit afraid we would forget about him. Even tonight at soccer practice. I dropped him off and told him to ask his coach whether practice ended at 7:00 or 7:30. He asked a kid on the team who told him 7:30. (Grrr, I told him to ask the coach). Well, it happened to end at 7:00 and so his coach had to call me. But, Bubba wasn't the least bit worried. He knew I'd come. Different kind of kids!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Babies....

I love having a baby again. I never thought I'd say that. I was actually kind of glad to be out of the "baby phase". Don't have to pack a diaper bag to go everywhere. It was so nice to just get the kids in the car and go. And we'd passed out of the five-point-harnass carseats. That was nice. "Buckle yourselves in, kids!" And it was so nice to be able to sleep through the night. (Although, now, it really doesn't matter. If it's not the baby that wakes me up, it's hot flashes. Seriously! Hubby's pulling up the comforter and I'm laying there with the sheet kicked off, sweating!) But, you know, I really wish I could post a picture of the baby because she really is the sweetest baby you've ever seen. She's beautiful. Big brown eyes, wavy black hair, fair skin. And her two bottom teeth are in and she's sprouting her eye-teeth. Yes, I couldn't believe that, either. She's getting her eye-teeth before her front teeth. Whatever. We're a weirdly toothed family. Bubba actually had an extra tooth (super-numery is what the dentist called it. That just means, "one extra") between his two front teeth and had to have that one pulled. So, she's been a little cranky lately. But you know what I love about babies? I love hearing her babble. "Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba" in all different pitches and tones. I love watching her sleep. She grabs her blanket and kind of curls up over it with her rear-end in the air. But what I love most (although it does get a little tiresome) is that I'm the One. I'm the One she wants to be held by. All the time. I'm the One who can make her stop crying just by picking her up. It's a very special position to have, that of Mother. Mommy. Mama. Sometimes I forget. That's why it's nice to have a baby!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Bumps in the Road...

I guess anyone who adds a new family member experiences bumps in the road to assimilation. It takes a while for everything to settle in and become normal again. "The new normal." You know, I hate that phrase. It's some trendy kind of catch phrase these days and I really hate it. But, I digress. It's Missie Lou that's been having troubles the last couple days. Last night I was putting the baby to bed and Missie Lou was a little down. I asked her what was troubling her and she said, "Mommy, you love the new babies more than you do us. You pay more attention to them!" Well, I was taken aback. Both Hubby and I had been making a concerted effort to pay attention to the three olders and include them in everything. Now, yes, care of babies does take more of my time, but I had hoped that we were able to do all right here. Plus, they're just going to have to get used to it. So, I took her on my lap and let her cry a while. Then, I asked her to sit with me while I fed the baby her bottle and put her to bed. As I was making the bottle it occurred to me that the statement she made was pretty out of the blue. I had even questioned her hoping to get more specific information. Was I forgetting to do things with her? I tried to find out where I was falling short and she had no answer for me. So, as I was feeding Baby, I asked, "Did someone tell you that I didn't love you anymore?" "Yes," she said, "It was L. (a neighbor girl)She said you weren't going to love me anymore. Only the babies." Well, I about blew a gasket. I'm sorry, I know this is not nice, but I do not like L. She's a couple years older than Missie Lou and doesn't treat her very nicely. The older girls on the block manipulate Missie Lou and tease her. So, I told Missie Lou that she is my precious daughter and we love all of our children, and we have enough love in our family for two little girls who need a family. I also told her that L was mean and was a liar. That might not have been necessary, but I really don't want Missie Lou to play with her anymore.

So, life's been hard for my princess. She's getting all bent out of shape because Cee-Cee wants to play with toys that Missie Lou's been ignoring for months. But all the sudden, those doll socks are the most important things in the world and Cee-cee cannot play with them. I've been trying not to be too hard on her, but she's going to have to learn to share and that is something that's not going to come easy.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bonding!

When you adopt children, bonding and attachment are things that tend to be forefront in the mids of most adoptive parents. And with good reason. They are extremely important. For children to be able to have healthy relationships in the future, they must attach when they are babies. In the adoption classes we took several years ago before we adopted the boys, they told us that children who have attached once should have no trouble attaching again. So, if the child has at all developed an attachment to their biological parent or foster parents then, while it will take some time, attachment shouldn't be a huge concern on the part of the adoptive parent. All of our children have attached to us and so we're not at all worried that these girls will make that transition as well. This morning, though, in church, the funniest thing happened, which made me feel like we are making our way down that road to attachment quite well. I teach the older children's Sunday School class, so during the Sunday School hour, while I was teaching, Hubby was with the girls in the nursery. One of the things we are doing to foster that attachment process is to not leave the children in the care of anyone but us for several months. We want them to view us as a permanent fixture in their lives. So, even though we have a fully competent nursery worker, either Hubby or I stay there with the girls. Anyhow, I got done with Sunday School and went to the nursery to get Hubby and the babies to go to the worship service. I walked in there and heard this wailing and it was Baby. So she was crying and Hubby went to pick her up. She was quiet for an instant and then she saw me and started wailing again. Hubby gave her to me and it was like someone flipped a switch. She turned off that cry so fast and got this huge grin on her face. Everyone in there just cracked up. I think that bonding is happening already. Attachment does happen sooner with younger children, I'm thinking. So, we'll just keep working on Cee-cee, although she is definitely shy around people she doesn't know and clingy with us, which is a good sign.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

It's Crazy Season or.... Soccer Has Begun!

Today was opening day of soccer season. Ugh! The first games are always when it's so pickin' hot! Duh-duh's game was at 8:00am, and that wasn't quite so bad. His team won and we were really proud of him. He's really done some improving over the year. His team's name is the Junior Manchesters and dumb me, had no idea what on earth that meant. I just thought that was a weird name for a soccer team. Until I found out what soccer team they were named after. According to Wikipedia, the fount of all knowledge, "Manchester United is one of the wealthiest and widely supported football (soccer) clubs in the world." Well, ok then. Dumb American that I am, I had no idea about that.
So, Duh-duh won his game and then Bubba was right after him. Bubba's on the Warriors. They won their game as well. Bubba's got a really good team. His coaches are pretty intense, but Bubba needs that. He needs to be worked hard. We ran into his coach from last year. He decided to coach at the last minute and was hoping that he could get the boys on his team, but they'd already been taken. We were a little bummed. We really liked Gus and were disappointed to hear that he wasn't coaching. Then he changed his mind. Grr! Oh well, we're happy with the coaches the boys got.
By then it was 10:15am and we were getting a little hot and a lot cranky. And Missie Lou's game wasn't till 11:00. So, we just hung out. In the hot. The little girls were good sports, though. And then it was time for Missie Lou's game. They were running about 20 minutes behind. Missy Lou had a great time. This year they don't have co-ed teams and I can see this helped Missy Lou tremendously. She was a lot more assertive and seemed to have a good time.
Well, by about half time the babies were getting plum wore out and the boys were grouchy so Hubby took them all home and I waited for the end of Missie Lou's game and brought her home. Her team won, too. So, we were all happy with the start of soccer season, albeit quite hot, dehydrated and worn out!

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Good Day!

Yesterday was a very bad day. It was just horrible. Most of it centered around Bubba, but my responses to him would definitely not earn me the "Mother of the Year" award. Probably just the opposite. I was relieved when Hubby took him to soccer practice and I had an hour without him. Kind of allowed me to regain my equilibrium. But today was a better day. Much better. We did school (we've been just hittin' the 3 R's this week, trying to stay with our routine, but not put too much pressure on ourselves) and then went through the McDonald's drive-through and had a picnic at the park. You know, five kids aren't really that much harder than three. Especially if the two new ones are fairly low-maintainance. Which these two are. (And you're used to three extremely high-maintainance children, which my three older are.) The baby, she's just happy doin' whatever. As long as she's in the middle of whatever's going on she's smiling and cooing. And the two-year-old (I'm going to have to come up with some blog-names for these girls. Let's see, how about "Cee-cee" for the older one and "Baby" for .... obviously, the baby) is pretty easy going, too. Of course she started crying when I told her she had to get off the swing and go home, but who wouldn't? She was having a great time. It was awfully fun watching them all play together. These two little girls are just thriving having older siblings. Cee-cee is quite capable of keeping up with the older kids and seems to love playing with them. She was going down the slide and loved being pushed on the swing. I kept Baby in the stroller. She wasn't thrilled with that, but I didn't want her crawling around on that filthy playground and she puts everything in her mouth. And then Duh-duh got the great idea to push her around the playground. OK, fine. Great idea! But then he started running while pushing her. I was momentarily concerned, but he wasn't going too fast and she was having a great time. I'm starting to see why the youngest child in a larger family tends to be pretty tough. They get manhandled a lot! So, today was good. I can see the the three older children open up and include their little sisters into their "club". So, in the words of a famous ex-convict "It's a good thing!"

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Coping with Change!

Well, here we are, Day 7 with the little girls. It's been quite a week. One thing I've been trying very hard to do is make sure the transition with our older children goes as smoothly as possible. But, there have been a lot of changes and sometimes you just have to bully your way through them and do the best you can.
Overall the kids have done really well. Duh-duh had been sharing a room with Missie Lou for a year or so now and we had to move him back in with Bubba. That's been a very tough change for him. He and Missie Lou have a very close bond and sharing a room worked out so well for them. He really struggled with the move, but also with his perception that he was going to lose his best friend. Missie Lou was beside herself when we told the kids that "Baby Sister" was finally coming, and that it wasn't just going to be one baby sister, but two. Duh-duh complained of tummy aches and was just very clingy. So, I just made sure he got more "loves" than usual and we indulged him a little more. He seems to be moving on, though. I think he's just getting used to our new family, but he's also getting some good time in with Missie Lou. I think another thing that's helping is that he's finding that he can entertain his new sisters quite well and that makes him happy.
Another person who's been having trouble with the change is Bubba. Bubba has difficulties socially and really has trouble relating to the girls. Well, he has trouble relating to Duh-duh and Missie Lou, but they have learned to put up with him. But, he can't figure out why if he wants to hold the baby, and she doesn't want to be held, why I make him put her down. I'm like, "Bubba, she's screaming. She doesn't want you to hold her!" He's also just been more difficult to manage than usual. He's one of those people who make life hard for themselves. Some people are pretty easy going, they cooperate because they know that it's just easier that way. Duh-duh and Missie Lou are like that. Bubba isn't. Plus, he just really lacks social intuition, which makes things really hard for him. So, all that, plus the added stress have about sent him over the edge. And about sent me over the edge. He spent quite a bit of time in his room today.
But, we're going to make this transition. I liken this change to our lives being a train on a track. We're chugging along in a certain direction and then all the sudden we're forced onto another track. Without one of those nice switchy things they use to change tracks. We just jump off of this one and bungle our way onto the next one. But, we'll get used to this track eventually, too!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Full Disclosure.... well, as much as I can legally disclose!

Oh mercy! We have been on a wild ride around here the past two weeks. I'm telling you. Ok, ok, I can tell you are all on the edge of your seats wondering what on earth is going on. Well... I'll tell you tomorrow.

Just kiddin'! Ok, I'll just say it. We've enlarged our family by two. We've gone from a family of five to a family of seven. In just one short week. Aaak! I will share the story over a number of blog posts, just to keep it reasonable to read. I hate reading long things on the computer. So, I'm sure it's common knowledge that we adopted our children. The three that are legally ours at this point. But, we always wanted four children. Two boys and two girls. And after Missie Lou's adoption was finalized we put our names in to adopt another girl. We have adopted all of our children through foster care, too. Why? Oh, lots of reasons. Nothing outstanding. Just what we chose to do. So, we signed up once again with our County agency for "Baby Sister". And we waited. And we waited. And we waited. We waited for a couple of years. This was especially frustrating, as we had placement of our boys within weeks of the completion of our homestudy. And we only waited for 6 months for Missie Lou. Then, after a couple of years we decided to ditch the County and go with a private fost-adopt agency. Again we waited. And waited. And waited. I was getting very very discouraged and thought that maybe God just wanted us to have three children. Well, that was fine, but I was really hoping He would just tell us that instead of having us just keep waiting indefinitely. We had been on the verge of just giving up altogether thoughout the summer, but just never actually threw in the towel, and I'm convinced that was God keeping us in the game because last week (I think it was last week, I'm in a time warp right now... no, it was two weeks ago) we got a call that there were two little girls available. (Let me just say right now that foster parents are legally bound to keep all information regarding the children private, and that includes posting pictures on public blogs and on Facebook. So, unfortunately, for a while I will not be able to post anything specific about them, just vague stuff) Now, we'd gotten calls periodically and nothing ever came of them. I just blew them off basically. Most of the time I never even told Hubby about them. But this time I knew. I just knew in my heart that this would be different. So I started praying and praying. The next day our agency called back and said the girls' social worker wanted to interview us by phone (the girls are not from our county, but are from one that's about 1 1/2 hours away). So, we interviewed and that went well and then a few days later the social worker called and asked if we wanted to meet the girls. Then, it became real. Everything before that was kind of like, "Yeah, right! This will just be another disappointment!" And then the panic set in. I'll write in another post about the whole emotional side of this, but right now I just want to get the facts out. So, last Tuesday we drove down to meet them and just fell in love. The visit went well and Thursday the social worker brought them up for an extended visit. If the visit went well, we could just keep them. And that's what we did.
Here's a little bit about them. They are sisters, ages 2 1/2 years and 11 months (yesterday she turned 11 months). They are the sweetest little things you ever did see. And our plan is to adopt them. So, there's the facts. I will be blogging regularly again. Just couldn't the past week because of all the insanity and since this whole thing was forefront in my mind I couldn't think of anything else to blog about. Sorry about that. But, now that I can tell people about all this, I'll have plenty to blog about!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Times They Are a Changin'!

I know I haven't been blogging much this week. It's been a busy week. Lot's of change for our family. Good change, scary change. But unfortunately, change I cannot share at this very point in time. So, if you will forgive this lapse and check in now and then in the next few days or week, I will do a full-disclosure when it is possible.