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Archive for the ‘Parenting’ 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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So I didn’t get a post in for two days but I must say I am doing much better than the previous months, right?

Saturday I got to go out  shopping (had a few free item coupons at Bath and Body Works, and we hit the huge Scholastic Books warehouse sale, and took back a few things I bought black friday) with a friend of mine, who, by the way, is adopting from Ethiopia, through the same agency. Her little girl will even be from the same orphanage.  I am so excited that we will have another family in our little town with a child from Ethiopia.  Check out her blog ….her baby girl has a court date in Ethiopia today (they are 11 hours ahead).  This court appearance will make her officially their child and they will soon know when they can go pick her up.  Things have been changing in the Ethiopian adoption system, the government has added a few other steps and papers to the process, and so some families are not making it through courts the first time around.  So pray with Amy and her family that their sweet little baby girl would make it through court and be unite with her family soon.  The waiting is so hard.

Also, on Saturday we went to Brandon’s office Christmas party… it was fun… stayed out way too late.  Luckily, the boys were at our friends house who were also at the party, being watched by their daughter… who got them to bed and asleep by 8, so we just stayed the night there.

All in all it was a fun and busy weekend.  Brandon is out picking up some bunk beds and mattresses that I found on Craigslist.  This is our first time buying anything off of the site so keep your fingers crossed with us that it is successful.  The boys are so excited to get the bunk beds (we won’t set them up until next week when we move into our house) but Sloan has already asked if we can put Christmas lights around the bed….He said that it would be awesome if we could.  Yes, he used the word awesome….

Here are a couple pics of the boys…

november-081  Our little cheeseball.  Before hair cut.

november-109 Post haircut… if you ask Eyob where his hair is, he will say, “Heather did it!”  We cut his hair on a long awaited visit down in the Portland area with one of the couples we traveled with to Ethiopa.  They adopted a little boy one month younger then Eyob.  While we were there we decided that dealing with his hair and all the pain and stress it causes between us was not worth the cute hair do.  So Heather shaved it off.  Thanks Heather!  It has been a wonderful relief to not have the nightly screaming as I tried to comb through his hair. 

november-111  It has been so fun to see these two really start to get along.  They are so close in age that for a while there I was concerned they would spend the rest of their lives  driving each other and us crazy with their fighting, but as Eyob really begins to settle in and become part of the family, Sean is becoming so much more accepting of him.  We have been talking to him a lot about how he is Eyob’s big brother and it is his job to take care of him and protect him… all the things that we have said and still say to Sloan about Sean and Eyob. Many times over the last few weeks, Sean has referred to Eyob as his special little brother….Seany is so loving and stinky at the same time.  We have prayed and continue to pray that the Father will bind our boys together for life.  What a force they will be for Him.

november-123  Sean and Canyon Paul (my brother Brad’s son)on Thanksgiving.  They are about 4 months apart and look so much a like to me.  Both of them have the cutest shaggy hair and boy are they mischevious. 

november-115 We had 4 boys 4 and under at our little Thanksgiving partyand I’ll be honest we did resort to a little Veggie Tales that day.  We needed a little quite.

november-128

november-127 And we can’t forget the little lady of the year….Sage.  Isn’t she a doll.  Not sure why Seany is in so many of these pics… it’s weird.. although he is so darn cute I could just eat him…those cheeks….yum..

november-095 These are all the kiddos from Thanksgiving with Brandon’s family.  At one point they were all running a loop from the livingroom and around through the kitchen. I don’t know if they were playing tag or just acting crazy, but one by one, they got “hot” and took their shirts off.  Arent’ they cute. 6 boys 6 and under. 

Well, I’ll let you to… till tomorrow.

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Sometimes I really hate making decisions…… it seems like that is all I do.  I make decisions for myself, for each of the boys, often times for Brandon and many times a day for the family.  By the end of the day I am pretty much done in, so when Brandon asks me what I want to watch on TV, I think I must just look at him with a blank look on my face.  I imagine myself… eyes glazed over, mouth open, and staring at who knows what…..so this past week and a half as we have made some huge decisions about our future, I find myself at the end of this week needing a bib and a vacation.  A bib to collect the droll that must be coming out of my mouth as I sit almost comatose before the computer and a vacation to recuperate from these last 6 months.

As you may know we have spent the last six months, not only getting to know a new son and trying to figure out how to be a parents to three little boys and how to run a family of five, but also taking a new direction with Brandon’s job.  There have been many ups and downs along the way.  We take a few steps forward with our boys and then seem to find ourselves many feet back. With the job situation it seems like we have walked through many open doors only to find a wall at the end of the hallway.  At this point our plans were to be settled into Brandon’s new “job,” to feel stable as a family of five and well into working our way through the adoption of an older child we met while in Ethiopia (we were just waiting for our six month transition period to end).  But it seems like God has other plans.  One week before our 6 month mark, another family stepped in to adopt this child that we so felt like God was calling to be our child.  We had been praying for her the whole time and imagining her as part of our family.  At the same time many of the opportunities Brandon was “running,” down over the last six months are being met with closed doors, which leads us to a week of huge decisions needing to be made. 

In the last week, we have bought a cheaper car (ever heard of a micro-van?), done numerous around the house fix-it projects, put our house up for sale, interviewed many moving companies and made the decision to pursue a job back in Washington. So there it is….in a strange twist of events…we are headed back to the Northwest. 

I am not sure how I feel about all of this except to say I am in a daze.  Things have happened so fast and so unexpectedly and not at all like we had planned that I don’t quite know what end is up.  I do know that we have risked a lot following the path that we feel God has led us down these last few months and I am tired. Risk is scary and learning to trust in the Lord is hard work… maybe I have made it hard work because I want to hold on to so much of the control.  I do know that so much in the last few months has been uncertain and so to have some certainty before us will be a refreshing change.  Yet leaving is always hard. 

 

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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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Eyob, Traci

No, I’m not falling in love with another man (love me some Brandon), but actually with a little boy named Eyob.

 I had a moment today that I wanted to share.  We got a call from the drs. today and I wasn’t home (we were all taking a walk in the beautiful Utah sunshine) and so the nurse left a message.  First of all, no giardia so while that is actually good news, she also asked me when I was planning on bringing in Eyob for to redo his HIV/Hep B screening and then she asked me to call her.  Anyway, for some reason, even though we had planned to redo the screening on the advice of the infectious disease dr. we saw regarding the giardia,  I heard the nurse connecting the two.  Being lunch time at the drs. office I couldn’t call back for clarification. So I just went up stairs with a very tired little Eyob to put him down for a nap.  As I was holding him close and feeding him his bottle it hit me…..  I love this little boy and if something were to be “really” wrong with him I would be soooo sad.  It was such a great moment to realize that he has gone from “someone elses” child to my child in my heart.  For the last few weeks, as I have begun to change the way I talk about him and the way I relate to him, I have felt subtle changes in my heart, so today was just that moment of awakening for me.  I think that I have been holding him at a distance, afraid to be rejected by him over and over and it is such a relief to not be worried about that any more.  I am not worried about that with Sloan and Sean and I am no longer worried about that with Eyob.  He is just one of my boys.  Praise the Lord!  I know that there will continue to be hard times with him and that I will have to continually give my attitude to the Lord.  This is just a testament to how changing your actions first can change your heart.

PS…. I did call the doctor back and they were not linking the tests with Eyob’s current poop problem, they just wanted to make sure the order was there when I brought him in.  Actually, Eyob still has the giardia antigens and so we are working on getting to the bottom of that, but the rest of the fam is free and clear.  I feel confident and so does my pediatrician that the HIV/Hep B tests done in Ethiopia before we brought Eyob home are correct and reliable, but it is always a good idea to have a local lab redo them.  So… don’t worry for us in that area.

On another note… I wanted to make a disclaimer…….  Brandon was concerned when he read my last post that people would think that I am endorsing the book A New Earth and I wanted to make it clear that I am not.  I have not read it yet and infact, I am reading it with a heart open to hear from the Lord.  I actually, went to Brandon before I bought the book to ask him if he thought it was ok for me to read.  I have always been hesitant to read things that I am afraid might be in conflict with my faith in God.  I think part of that is my need to be the “good” christian girl and follow a certian set of rules. However, while I don’t want to compromise my faith, I do feel like I have a discerning heart and that God will show me what is right.  I am mostly interested in reading this book because it is causing a stir in the “world” and I know that many of my fellow MOPS moms and other friends will be reading it and I want to be ready to answer questions or point people to the truth.  I already have a page full of questions in my journal that I will be asking myself and God while I read it.  So that being said….. I am NOT at this point encouraging anyone to read this book, but will discuss it on my blog after I have begun reading.  How was that for a disclaimer?

Also, watch, tomorrow, for my first chapter synopsis of Henri Nouwen’s book, Turn My Mourning into Dancing.  This is definetly a book I feel confident recommending….. especially if you are struggling with some loss or grief in your life right now, no matter how small.  I started writing the post last night, but I need to shorten it down a little.  I may be a little long for some of you readers.

Anyway….. I am encouraged today, by answered prayers and I hope that all of you who have been praying for me will be encouraged as well.

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