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Archive for the ‘Mothering’ Category

or TOTs as we like to call them.  I found a blog I think will become a great resource for you and……I will be writing for it as well.  This new blog is the creation of Carisa, homeschooling mom to two boys, one of them a tot, over at 1+1+1=1.  She has gathered together some moms with “expertise” in specific areas to create this blog focused on tots. 

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At Totally Tots, you will find spiritual encouragement (Get Real with God), ideas for teaching tots from the Bible (Bible Bites), funny stories and pictures submitted from other moms just like you (Giggle Time), simple crafts to do with your tots (Crafty Corner), health and nutrition tips for you and your toddler (Did You Know), homeschooling ideas and tools that are easy and simple to make for your tot (Simply Made), and tips from real moms on what is working for them (Totally Working for Me).  You should be able to find resource for all areas of you mothering life and even somethings just to encourage you as a person…imagine that …..we aren’t just mothers?!?!

Anyway, go check it out… currently there are some great resources for making February, the Love Month, fun and meaningful for your kiddos.  Also, take the time to submit one of the great things I know you are doing with your children.  I am always looking for new things to try and knowing that another mom with kids my age has tried it and it worked is always helpful. 

Look for me under, Get Real with God (encouragement for moms).  I am sharing the writing duties for this section with another mom named Heather ,who is taking the first several post.  I am busy now cooking up some posts on expectation and giving ourselves the grace that our Father gives us. 

I hope you will go check it out, add yourself as a follower and get connected with other moms and ideas that will encourage and inspire you as you grow as a mom. 

Post a comment here and let me know that you went and checked it out.  I would love to hear what you think.

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Rather than try to give you excuses again to why I have been gone so long, I will just tell you what we have done since my last post.

1.Moved from our basement dwelling into our new home (10 days before Christmas). This required us to rent a UHaul load and unload our boxes stored in a friend’s garage (just the two of us), move all of our furniture from a storage unit, move the rest of our stuff from the basement.  Clean the basement. I think this is the hardest move we have made yet.  Thanks to our friends who helped us out.

2.Set up house…you know what that involves…unpacking, unpacking and more unpacking…as well as… organizing, moving more boxes.

3.Decorated for Christmas, finished buying and wrapping presents, and baked fun Christmas treats.

4.Huge snow storm.  Started the day we began our move.  Couldn’t move our cars for two weeks.  Snow was over our bumpers.  Thank goodness Brandon’s office is only 4 blocks away.

5.Had Christmas, my parents came, my brother and sis-in-law came.

6.Turned 34…Brandon threw me a surprise party in our new house.

7.Eyob turned 2….we threw him a party.  Since he was only home a month before his first birthday we didn’t have a party last year.

8.Brandon turned 35….I took him out for a surprise dinner. I was so excited to actually surprise him for once.

9.Lots of baking and cooking going on. Making up for the months with no oven.

10.Lots of enjoying our own home and the wood heat.  What is it with men and their wood supply.  Brandon is seriously obsessed about how much wood we have in our wood shed.  There isn’t enough ever.  He even came home early tonight to chop some wood. 

11.Started some new crochet projects…had my mom teach me how to read a pattern. 

12.Made four New Year’s resolutions… 1. Keep it simple…..in keeping with that 2. Floss my teeth….3. Wash my face….4.Above all keep it simple…Doing pretty good so far.

13.Stayed at home more in the last 6 weeks than I have in I can’t remember how long.  I am actually loving it.

14.Started walking in the morning again.  This neighborhood is a little sketchy in the dark so I carry my mace, but also pray my way around it for 45 minutes.  So glad to be back into that routine. 

15.Read a couple of new books in front of my woodstove.

16.Enjoying having dvr again…you know recording shows to watch later.  So glad to be done with the commercials.

17.Had our first family movie night last night….watched Kung Fu Panda…ate popcorn and candy curled up together on the livingroom floor. Yes, we used our new big pillows mom!  I can’t believe we haven’t done this before.  It was so much fun.  Can’t get “Kung Fu Fighting” out of my head now though.

18.Brandon’s parents visited this past weekend.  We had a blast. So good to see you both.

19.Made 3 dozen muffins, 15 dozen cookies, 2 dozen granola bars, and five dinners today. How’s that for a big day.  Oh yah and did a boat load of laundry that I need to go fold.  Found some great recipes that I will post soon.

20.Got involved in a new blog project that will launch tomorrow. So check back for details.

Pictures to come soon.

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Said I would post everyday so here it is a post.  It is 11:59 pm…… sorry not very interesting… more later. 

**UPDATE**  Looks like it didn’t post on Dec. 5th… my computer clock must be one minute late. But hey it was the effort that counts right?

What we did today-  got up, had coffee (me), played and ate cereal (boys), Brandon went to work, peeled potatoes and started crockpot potato soup (you will want recipe…so good), went and checked out the house we will be moving into in a week (yeah!), came home, played some more (boys), each of the boys ate a whole PBJ sandwich, chips (yes I feed my boys chips) and a banana (only mention this because they NEVER eat that much), they pretended to nap, I uploaded pictures to the site where I am making some photo Christmas presents, it took forever so I was able to teach myself how to crochet in a round….putting into use my recently learned mad double crochet skills, boys wouldn’t nap but stayed in their room until they finally fell asleep 45 minutes before I needed them to get up so we could leave.  Went to our friend’s, Mike and Charity’s, for dinner (ate above mentioned potato soup), put boys to bed, watched Fred Clause (fun movie), hit a cat, came home, posted.  That was our day…. How was yours? 

See you tomorrow.

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WfmwbannerThis will be my first post for Works For Me Wednesday.  After reading through the awesome ideas for the last few months, I thought I would give it a try.  So……. here goes…..

This may be a “duh” idea, but for me as a mother of 3 small boys I crave alone time and don’t get much of it.  And I mean alone…. not alone with kiddos playing in the next room or with kids in bed and hubby and I watching tv, but really alone.   

To create this time for myself, I have found that getting up a 1/2 hour earlier everyday (my kids get up early) and going for a walk is just what I need.  I get to start out my day ALONE in a quiet, prayerful way, I get excercise, and I get to think about and plan my day.  My husband and I have worked out that he will get up with the kids, change diapers, etc. and I can have that time to get out and go for a walk.  I love this time and while some mornings I am tired and don’t want to get out of bed, all I have to do is remember how much better I feel physically, emotionally and spiritually after spending that time alone and with my Father and I am out the door in a flash.  I keep my clothes in a convenient, easy access spot, a waterbottle full next to the sink, and sleep with my watch on so I don’t have to think about anything.  I usually go for about 45 minutes and come back refreshed and ready to go.  It also helps with the extra pounds those boys have given me.

So that’s what works for me.  For more great ideas check out Works For Me Wednesdays at Rocks In My Dryer.

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I can still remember, like it was yesterday, the day I loaded up our suburban (with the help of my parents) said goodbye to a house we had just built, my best friends, and a town I had lived in for 17 years, the place I had spent the first 10 years of my marriage and had my first two babies… a place I never really thought I would leave.. and set off down the road on a “great adventure” to Utah, a place I had only driven through, where my husband had been for the last three months, and what would be my new home.  I never expected to like it here, but I knew that I was going to give it a good shot.  I had a chance to “reinvent” myself, a new start and I wanted to make the most of it, even though my heart felt like it was going to break and I couldn’t imagine ever feeling better.

We new that we were supossed to come here.  We needed to get away and to make it on our own as a family.  Utah has been a refuge for us. After an intense time of struggle with our church back home, it was been a safe haven for us. A place to rest, refresh, and transform.  I have learned so much being out here on “my own” away from family and all I had known for 17 years.  God has changed me, molded me and refined me into a person that is much more what I should have been and want to be.  I am so thankful for the people who have come along side me here.  Who have been my family for the last two years and who have allowed me to be who God wants me to be… so it is with much sadness (two years ago I never would have believed I would say this) I say good-bye.

Looking back on my time here, I can see how God has strategically placed people and events in my life that have radically changed who I am today.  I remember my friend Jenn told me when I left Shelton that in the first two weeks of being in Utah, I had to find a MOPs group and join.  So I did and there I met a wonderful girl named Heather (as well as lots of other great friends) who invited me to the Draper MOMS club and there I made some wonderful friends who invited me over, introduced me to fun places around the valley, had a wonderful baby shower for Eyob, brought us dinners when we got home from Ethiopia, and who continue to be a source of encouragement to me.

Who knew that that first visit would lead to me becoming one of the coordinators for our churches two MOPS groups and meeting some of my truly favorite people here in Utah.  Women who have walked beside me these last 6 months encouraging me and praying for me all while we served together. Thank you MOPS friends.  I am truly going to miss you this coming year and you will be in my prayers.

Through South Mountain Community Church, I have gone on a wonderful women’s “wild” weekend, participated in 4 life changing Bible studies and made some wonderful life long friends.  Friends who have challenged me.  Cassie and Susan I am so thankful that God brought us together that first study.  I am going to miss you sisters.

Driving away from Shelton two years ago, I never would have imagined that I would connect to a place and to the people so much in such a short amount of time, but I have and I will always be greatful for this stop in Utah along the path the Father has laid out before us.

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So Brandon and I are finally back in our own room and bed at night…..

“Where have you been sleeping?” you ask.  For the last 2 months we have been sleeping on the couch in our livingroom.  We actually found it pretty comical at first… you know we have this huge king size tempurpedic bed and instead of sleeping there we are sleeping on the couch… Brandon on one end and me on the other, while our youngest sleeps in a tiny pack-n-play next to our bed.  I say we found it funny at first…. that is until we woke up a few mornings with strange kinks in our backs and bruises from the foot of the other person on our legs or backside.  But we were finally getting to sleep through the night and that was worth all of the bruises and soreness.  It was so worth it that we let it continue for over 2 months.  Let me back up a bit…….

As far as kid sleeping goes, Brandon and are pretty much let them put themselves to sleep parents.  This is a controversial topic and so I am just saying what has worked for us.   We were definetly anti the family bed after the first few weeks (for us, no judgement for others who love it)  and were big proponents of not nursing or rocking our kids to sleep.  It worked for us.  Sloan was a breeze and slept through the night from about 8 weeks on, took good naps, and still loves to get into his bed.  Sean was a little more difficult and it took him until about 6 months to really sleep good through the night.  He’s a different kid and I’ll be honest, I didn’t do some of the same things I did with Sloan and actually regret that I didn’t. 

 Anyway, when we started the adoption process and began reading about bonding and attachment, I started thinking about ways we could help our new son connect with us and from the beginning we agreed that we would start out having him sleep in our bed with us as a means for bonding.  We knew that things would be different for him then the other boys and were ready to make the necesary changes.  So when we brought our very sick and scared little Eyob home (we were sick and scared too!) we started out with him sleeping in our bed and nobody slept.  He was restless and clingy to the point where one or both of us was awake all night trying to get him asleep or with him draped across our faces or stomachs or where ever he decided to finally pass out.  For the first week or two he didn’t really have a nap time, he would just fall asleep in our arms because he never wanted to be put down.  Needless to say, we were all tired and grumpy.  Our first step to getting Eyob on a schedule was to put him down for actual naps.  At first, he slept on us in our room, then we put him in the pack-n-play next to our bed and then sat with him through the whole thing in case he woke up.  At night we started by feeding him to sleep and then laying him down… all the while praying he wouldn’t wake up.  Most often he would wake up shortly after we came to bed and then realizing we were in the room would yell and scream until we picked him up.  Still none of us were sleeping.  By the way, we were going on almost a month and a half of no real sleep.  This was not working for me…. I felt like we were doing a disservice to him by not helping him learn to put himself to sleep and by not helping him get good sleep at night and naps. I dreaded going to bed at night, literally would stay up as long as I could so I would not have to be in the room with him and fight him to go to sleep.  I began to get angry at the situation and if I am being completely honest, angry at Eyob.  I knew something needed to change, however, all the adoption books that I read said don’t let your adopted child cry, answer their every need…etc.etc.  I was afraid that if I tried to do some of the things we did with the other boys that we would ruin him for life.  I had this huge check in my spirit that what we were doing wasn’t right either, but instead of listening to my gut and to God, I listened to the “experts.”  All of this is to say, that the experts are right a lot of the time, but they don’t know me and they don’t know my kid.  Finally a girlfriend of mine, who has an adopted child as well, said to me, “Traci, God gave you this child.  He is your son and you need to parent him the way God tells you to.”  Hearing her say that gave me such freedom.  I needed to be reminded that I was the parent and that I was an experienced, loving parent, whom God was still speaking to……

Thus came the move to the couch.  We had a crib set up in Sean’s room that we had intended for Eyob, but we were not confident enough that Seany would be able to sleep through all that was going to have to go on over the next couple of weeks.  So we moved to the couch.  Brandon slept at one end and I slept at the other.  It was pretty hilarious.  We had this complicated system for laying out the blankets and for positioning our bodies so that noone would get a foot in places that a foot should not be.  We would feed Eyob his bottle (at HH ET he was fed to sleep everytime) and then lay him in his bed.  Sometimes he would be asleep and other times we would lay him down awake and he would cry.  We would leave, set a timer, plug our ears and just pray that he would fall asleep.  Let me jut say that this boy can cry… and scream…. and after a few days we began to realize that his cries were different… and I began to feel like his parent.. someone that still had some control of the situation and after about 3 days he began to sleep.  If it weren’t for the giardia he would have slept straight through.  Darn that poop!  And thus, after about 2 months of no real sleep we got some rest and were not about to change it.  Which is why we continued to sleep on the couch…

Until last Sunday when we decided that it was beyond the point of ridiculous and we put him in his crib in Sean’s room.  It is going pretty good.  Sean is transitioning really well, much better than I expected, they actually seem to take some comfort from each other and fall asleep pretty well.   Eyob is waking up in the middle of the night and having trouble getting back to sleep so I am SuperNannying it…. and we are tired again, but now I know there is hope and like anything with children……this too shall pass.

I hope in reading this post any of you fellow moms and dads of adopted kids will trust your instincts and trust your experience and trust God with your adopted kiddos.  The experts are a good place to start, but they aren’t all that is available.  If we are students of our kids… all of them…. God will show us what to do and walk with us.  As with all of my boys, I have to do my best and then trust God to take care of them… the end result is in his hands.

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Sometimes you can be rescued by the oddest things.  Since Brandon has gone back to work our bedtime routine has been in much need of an overhaul.  Because of our poop problems each boy has to take a seperate bath, Sloan likes a story and singing before bed and can handle staying up a little later, Sean likes singing but can’t hold still at that time of night to read a complete story, and Eyob is completely DONE after his bath. Eyob needs some good bonding time as I put him to bed, Sloan needs a little mommy time with our special songs and Sean needs fifty cups of appy juice (apple juice) at bedtime. 

As I get cups of appy juice and bottles ready before we head up stairs everynight, I steel myself for the torture that is to come.  I start Eyob in the bath while I try to keep Sean and Sloan from destroying Sloan’s room, I drain the tub spray it down and undress Sean all the while trying to keep a diaperless Eyob from peeing on the floor.  I get Sean in the tub, lube up Eyob with lotion, keeping an close eye on Sean who likes to enter and exit the tub at random.  Once Eyob is jammied up it is into the bathroom to soap up Sean and the routine continues until Sloan is properlly jammied and everyone is ready for bed.  It was much simpler when they were all contained in the tub at the same time.  Curse that giardia!  Then I would put Sloan and Sean into Sloan’s room while I sped through feeding Eyob and getting him down all the while wondering what kind of chaos Sean is creating because he is so ready for bed and alone with his brother.  Needless to say I have felt stretched beyond my flexibility and find myself frustrated and dreading bedtime every night, instead of looking forward to the quiet time it could give me with each of the boys. 

So last night I gave up another one of the expectations I had on myself to do it all without help and I cried out for Diego to rescue me!  I allowed the TV to babysit my kids for a half hour while I quietly put a much more satisfied Eyob to bed.  Because the older two boys were bathed and quietly watching an educational show (I might add for all of you judging me right now) I was able to even lay down on the bed with Eyob, stroke his face and sing him to sleep.  Then when I came downstairs to the other two, who were entranced with the African Safari, Seany crawled onto my lap and sat with me until it was over.  Because his touch tank was a little more full, he was much easier to put down and then I was able to read and sing to Sloan who put his arms around me and told me he loved to read and sing with me. 

Sometimes as moms we have to let go of what we think makes us a “good” mom and embrace the help around us, be it Diego or something else.  Often, I am so trapped by my own expectations that I cause myself more pain and in turn deprive my boys of the best I can be. So as Seany says, “Go Giego Go!  Giego mama Giego mama!  Which translated means, “Go Diego Go!  Vamos Diego Vamos!” 

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