Sunday, July 24, 2011

Vacation, Readoption and Birthdays, Oh My

It has been a very busy couple of months. We went to Florida the beginning of May. I got to go to the opening for my sister's solo show. My mom did face painting, and I got to vamp it up with my sisters. Oh, if only they lived closer! We went to the beach with my cousin and her sons (I love you, Cherie!). Thankfully, no one drowned, although Child #3 did her best to go face first into every wave, and Child #4 ate everything. Seriously, I pulled a rusty bottlecap out of her mouth, and she actually chewed a shell before I was able to fish it out. She pooped sand for three days afterward. We went to the Playmobil Fun Park, only $1 per child, and you can play with all the toys! It is still one of our favorite Florida spots. Then we went to the west coast and had a family reunion with my side of the family. I met my new niece, and everyone else met our newest child. We also had a blast at Busch Gardens. I highly recommend the Sheikra, funnest ride I have ever been on. Make sure to sit in the front row. We had tons of fun, but half of us had raging fevers/coughing by the time we drove the 18 hours home. Thankfully, everyone got better fairly quickly once we were home.

Soon after returning home, Child #2 graduated kindergarten. Generally I think graduation for anything less than high school is silly, but once I started homeschooling, I celebrate those kindergarten graduations.

Then the week after that, we did Child #4's readoption. If she had come to the U.S. on an IR3 visa, all we would have had to do was a recognition of foreign adoption, but since she came home on an IR4 visa, we had to do a readoption. We just recieved the TX birth certificate, and it was very exciting for us.

The week after that, we celebrated Child #4's 2nd birthday and Child #3's 4th birthday. I actually spent four days straight baking three different cakes and wrapping oodles of presents. I treated Child #4's birthday more like a first birthday, and made her a little square splat cake to dig into. She mostly poked it with her fork and ate the frosting off the top. Out of all the gifts we gave her, I think the thing she liked most was a pair of gold sandals my mom got her. She refused to take them off and wore them to bed.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why Mothers Don't Nap...

Because their kids don't...

Actually, child #4 does nap. But this is the work of Child #3, capable of doing more disaster in five minutes than all the other children combined throughout a full day. What you don't see in the photo is that she also painted the walls, the windows (apparently taking the time to lift the shades, paint the glass, then politely put the shades back down), and dripped all over the carpet. I'm not entirely sure how she did that without painting the shades themselves. I was able to remove the paint from the shelf, the windows, and the carpet, but the upholstery has me stumped. Any suggestions?

So to recap, fifteen minute nap = four hours cleaning up (and still not done yet).

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ethiopian Cabbage Recipe

I had some vegetables to use up in my fridge, and I decided that tonight was the night that I would finally work up my courage to try out an Ethiopian dish and crack open some of my berbere. I used this recipe. I used baby carrots, potatos, one onion, and a half a head of cabbage. Instead of the spices listed, I used salt to taste and a teaspoon of berbere. It was a big pot, but I could have used half that amount of berbere! I served chicken and egg noodles with it which balanced out the heat a little, but it tasted great! And my house smells like an Ethiopian kitchen, which brought back all my memories. Now that I've taken the plunge, I am going to find some injera (or make my own sad version with buttermilk flenjses) to serve with it next time. Child #4 loved dinner tonight. She does not go for bland foods. She loves spicy sausage too :). (Child #1 also loved it, but Child #2 and 3 only wanted noodles and chicken. Sigh.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

With us longer than...

the time she spent in orphanages. She was in orphanages for four and a half months (which is a blessedly short amount of time compared to most orphans), and she has now been home longer than that! She is usually quiet, unless she wants food, but lately she is babbling more during playtime. I am really glad to see her trying to talk to the pets and her brothers and sister now. I think for a long time she was fascinated by how very loud and verbal they all are, and she was content to just listen. I can see she has been very busy learning. She defenitely understands what we tell her. I tell her to put things back or bring something to me or shut the door, and she understands all of it. I am constantly amazed.
And by the way, this week has been MUCH better than last week.

Monday, January 17, 2011

4+ Months Home...

Yes, I forgot I had a blog. My bad.
I could say it's because I have been crazy busy and overwhelmed and exhausted at the end of every day, and that would all be true. But it's mostly that my brain just hasn't had enough cells to work with for writing anything worth reading. That may still be true, but I'll give it a try anyway.

Our first few weeks were the hardest, but even at the hardest, it wasn't unbearable. Child #4 was almost fifteen months old when she joined our family, and she only weighed 16 pounds. She attached to me right away, and those first few weeks she didn't like to be set down. She had a fairly easy time adjusting to sleep schedules, and she took two naps a day for a month or two, like she had to catch up. Now she takes one nap in the afternoon. She was sleeping in our room at first, but we moved her to Child #3's bedroom a couple months ago. I think it has been better for both of them. Instead of competing for my attention, they can team up being mischevious. One of the harder parts for my husband was that she liked him holding her in the very beginning, but then within a week, she developed a major aversion for him. It was to the point that she wouldn't be in a room with him if I wasn't holding her. She liked him okay if it was morning and he was the only one awake to feed her. It felt like a really long time (really just a couple months) before she liked having him hold her. Now of course, she runs to greet him when he walks in the door and loves having him pick her up and make her giggle. Even our daily routine has gone way better than planned. The chaos level is not near what I was expecting. The hardest part has been dealing with her daily moods, some days she's cheerful and smiley, other days she is whiny and cranky. On the bad days she has to be held most of the day. She has had about six teeth come in since coming home, four of them molars. One of those is not quite out yet. I'm hoping that is what the bulk of her cranky days stems from. She is nineteen months old now and she weighs about twenty pounds. (Other kids are Child #1: 8 1/2 yob, Child #2: 6 yob, Child #3: 3 1/2 yog). Most of our days are chock full of food, noise, playing, learning, food, laundry, food, noise and sleeping, not nessacarily in that order. That is also where all my energy goes. I'm just thankful that I usually get a couple of hours at night to watch Hulu or read a book. I think I would be cross eyed and slightly unstable if I didn't have a little time at night to collect my wits. My good days are when everything on my list gets done AND my children all listened to me without debating or talking back AND my husband came home in a good mood AND I actually cooked a home made dinner before 6:30 pm AND I get a compliment. I might have that kind of day once a week, and it's what keeps me going. My average day has about two out of five of those elements. I also usually get about one or two BAD days a week, and I wash those days out my hair because they are far too demoralizing. And since I know you all love hearing about the bad days ;), they usually include at least three of these elements -

  • I have to strip and change Child #3's bed because that nighttime cup of water was one too many.
  • I spend the entire day looking for Child #2's favorite book (currently Wacky Wednesday) and listening to him ask me if I've found it yet "No, I'm still looking". (This specific scenario went on for three weeks daily to the point where I was debating between getting it off Ebay or Amazon. Then it appeared today, under Child #1's bed, where I'd already checked twice!)
  • Child #1 decides to assert his #1 status by questioning the legitimacy of school work, cleaning and getting out of pajamas. He may carry this on all day and into a second or third day, thereby losing electronic priveleges and being periodically banished to his room. All of which is my fault for making it "the WORST day ever". Oh, you know it!
  • I have to strip and change Child #4's bedding because she figured out to get out of her clothes again. That is the number one factor when deciding what she will wear, "Can she figure out how to take this off?" And it always has to been when she pooped because she just loves to spread that crap around. So we do spontaneous bathtimes for that too. Everyone in the house is on alert for it now. If someone hears Child #4 awake, they peak in and it is either, "MOMMY, She's only wearing A DIAPER." (level orange alert) or "MOMMY, SHE TOOK ALL HER CLOTHES OFF." (level red alert).
  • I spend an hour working on dinner only to find out that an integral ingredient in the recipe is missing or is unuseable. Thankfully, I have a lot of experience in adapting recipes. I get better at improv cooking every year.
  • My husband walks in the door, sees seven things on the floor and three dishes in the sink and some school books still on the table and wonders what I did all day. This means he is in a bad mood and he will spend the evening being dissatisfied and possibly vacumning and doing dishes. I love it when he cleans, but it's usually because he's cranky. Not a great trade off.
  • Somebody has a fever, stomach flu, or nasty cough, thereby cancelling all activities for the next few days, like cub scouts or Bible study, and turning us into groundhogs.

Since I'm fairly used to the elements of a bad day, it makes the good parts of those days shine all the brighter. Compliments are sweet nectar to my ears and obedience honey to my heart. If you can't tell, today was a bad day. Yesterday was too, which is unusual. But that puts the odds in my favor for a super day tomorrow! Thank you Lord for the gift of optimism, I couldn't be a stay at home mom without it. So let me know if you spot any typos or mistakes because I'm too tired to proofread this, plus if I don't get in the shower now, my next chance won't be for another 22 hours.