Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lucy's First Tree

Christmas tree decorating is all about seeing the ornaments the kids have made over the years. Like many families the canvas handprints, felt stocking photo frames and Kindergarten projects are the most treasured adornments on our tree. I have a box in the basement that reads "Very Fragile! Ornaments to use when youngest is 6!" Not sure when that box will be dusted off:)

The kids know that our hope is to present each of them with a box of Christmas Ornaments for a wedding gift (Or other life commitment!) that have been made and collected over the years.

This year we painted ornaments and I made Lucy's first Christmas spangle. A tiny pink baby carriage.

L's first Christmas!

Our tree of handmade ornaments

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cooked Birds and Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing everyone a wonderful day full of good eats, laughter and family. Markie is not so sure about the whole Turkey thing. "Are you sure we need to say thank you and eat a dead cooked bird at the same time?" We will see how that goes over.

Lots of love from our house to yours!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Date Night

The W Hotel is certainly glam and Manny's has beef. We went to a dinner in honor of my Dad and we had a babysitter on a school night, unheard of! I recently read a wonderful book by Melissa Faye Greene , No Biking In The House Without a Helmet. Greene has a story of getting ready for a holiday party that touched home. The rituals children get to share when mom and dad get ready to go out. For the Greene's Dad had cuff links, for us Dad has to trip over 101 Polly Pockets in order to dig out a dress shirt from the little girl's closet. His pants that had been spot cleaned with a baby wipe and were hanging in the shower were soaked inevitably by some basketball player decided to shower. My steam system now requires a toss in the dryer where John left a piece of bread in his sweatshirt. The pants in question are now out of the question and another trip past the world of Polly is required. For the Greene's mom has her mothers pearls, for us mom debates if she can actually walk in those heals that match the fabulous thrift store dress she scored. The part that touched home in Greene's account was how sweet and excited the children were. Seeing mom and dad step outside life as caretakers and have a night out. The kids lined up on the bed giving opinion to clothes wanting a dab of after shave or perfume. And of course crowding at the top of the stairs when we come in to see how it went, if we had as much fun as our clothes promised.

The night out was fun, coming home to a cozy house full of kids who were waiting to kiss us goodnight was the best part. Mickey told us before he drifted off to sleep "I love to see you so beautiful and Dad so handsome, you guys should go out more often I really like watching a movie on a school night!" :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Duggars did not consult us on number 20

I am surprised, although I shouldn't be, that the Duggars having number 20 has set up camp in conversations I have had in the past week. My take on the Duggars is that they could benefit from a NFP class, or ecological breast feeding  but that they are a self sustaining brood who have some great ideas. Awesome recipe for Tater Tot Casserole. That said we are not hoping to make it past nine, I think we both were excited and surprised along the way to put it mildly, but adore our big brood. Interestingly, having a large family has pushed us into a minority position. Comments, being ridiculed, being yelled at in front of the children "Stop over populating the earth!" It has made us a stronger family and honestly more tolerant of difference. Usually the comments now are kind and I am so grateful about that.

We receive much praise and admiration for our large family. Yes each of those kind comments after church does in fact make our day:) And now that the kids are starting to be a bit older they are receiving praise in their own right for the choices and accomplishments that they own. I adore our friends with two kids, we have oodles of them and I learn something from them as often as they do from me. I do not judge a families desire to have children as long as the children are lovingly cared for, educated well and able to have a rich full life. I talked to one amazing inner city foster mom who said that the real tragedy was the kids without a place to go, with out  love and faith of any kind. It could be argued that the Duggars could adopt, walk the talk about blessings and children being flowers. Well amen! Bring a few lost flowers into your fold. I agree hands down. That said I will try now and always not to judge, not to proclaim our way, your way or their way the best.

May God bless and keep your family whatever size it may be.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Sheff using a child for resistance training, an entry into the world of sports.
Sports. I have entered the world of youth sports head on, rather like being catapulted into it. I really have no knowledge of sports. I love dancing, walking, even running. Understanding the rules of sports is where I am hopeless. I refer to a goal in basketball and a touchdown in soccer. I encourage the boys to pass down court when we are on a field and to shoot when they have a football. Hopefully they love me and my snacks enough to forgive such transgressions. Sheff loves sports. I was not aware of just how much until we had kids. He really, really enjoys throwing and catching things. We have 4 playing basketball this season, with Sheff coaching or assistant coaching 3 of the players, and will have 6 playing next basketball season. Football was blissfully light with only 3 in gear. Baseball is our highest level of participation. So far Daisy dances, I am better at this lingo. I should probably get a 101 book on each sport. But then I might care too much. Right now I fully buy into the idea of enjoying the game, having fun, being a good sport. If I understand the ins and outs I might start sounding like the parents who actually know what they are talking about and the kids might miss excited slightly confused mom on the field/court/rink.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Adoption, biology & respect


Being an adoptive parent as well as a biological parent is an interesting balance. I'd say the best gift adoption has given me is the commitment to see each of our children as unique individuals. For example, one of my adoptive children is flat out awesome at Math. I take no credit for that so I really shouldn't take credit for one of my bio kids abilities artistically. Being open and excited about each child apart from my own or Sheff's abilities allows them to create themselves with out judgment. We have very high expectations for each of our children, morally, academically and athletically. Our expectations are not based on any preconceived notion of ability or genetics.

We spent a lot of time traveling when I was growing up and I would buy parenting magazines from around the world. Italy, France, Spain, Cambodia and Mexico all have different top 10 names, different baby foods. It created a global sense of family in me and a desire for adoption. As a mother now I am reminded of my early desire to teach myself about different cultures. It is very easy to slide into a framework of knowing best. Of believing what your own child eats is normal. Of thinking one way of sleeping or potty training is the end all and be all.

It is a privilege to be a mother to both adopted and biological children. It is an awesome (on all counts of definition) job. I hope I can instill a respect for things that are different from us in our children. I hope that we as parents can raise hard working, peaceful and accepting adults. I hope that our kids are fired up by the thought of the unknown and strive to find knowledge about things rather than rebuke them. I hope we can raise kids who are open to adoption and biology in their own families someday.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I love Mondays

A few years before I took on Mondays with zeal
In fourth grade we had a camping trip, all you Waldorf kids remember these, they were fun and a bit haphazard:) I remember we had these Garfield Dixie cups and there was a cartoon about Monday. It was along the lines of terrible, horrible, nothing good occurs on a Monday. In my tiny feisty Deirdre self I remember thinking "Well then! I am going to make Monday my very favorite day!" And ever since I have been a practiced fan of the start of a new week.

At my wedding one of my closest friends gave a speech that spoke to the fact I am never very complacent when something is amiss. If I am late taking a route to work I will google the heck out that route and find a better way, if I gain weight I will read books on healthy eating from around the globe to get motivated, if my brain felt dull I would rent foreign language tapes to at least be able to have a taxi cab conversation. I can say "How many kids do you have and what are their names?" in a lot of languages. Some things are just in me:)

Monday to me represents the start of the mundane. The beginning of another week, well wait! Why not spice that up a bit. Create new patterns, new goals, new excitement about that day. It can be the beginning of a new way to do the old, just better!

Yes I am drinking coffee, but really I do like Mondays that much. I hope something mundane in your life can be turned upside down, inside out and made into a fresh start.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cozy Moments

M 2, N 3, D 1 :) Sweet Jammies

Today was a good day.

There are so many connections out there, people who know the kids or Sheff, or I have met once here and there. I am amazed by how much goodness is out there, the kind words in passing the hugs. This world is a good place, even on the hard days. It really is. Babies born, connections made, deals wrangled, diapers washed, scrapes kissed and prayers answered. There are hard days too, of course those I attest to openly and honestly but I am filled with gratitude for how far and few between they fall. Here are some photos that make me feel cozy, family highlight moments. Would love to hear other's family highlights sometime, even if it is in passing:)
Little J, 2 years old with his uncle
Group naps are the best, Daisy was Lucy's age now:)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hard Days Night

It is difficult to recover from a night where I feel like I just couldn't stay on top of everyone's needs. I remember being criticized for having a big family early on, being told I would never be able to keep up with all the homework and activities. I agree with the naysayer! Its true some nights just don't work. Sheff is coaching two teams this season and we are adjusting. He took the wrong vehicle and I couldn't get one to cub scouts. It stunk. Another has a math concept he just can't get. Two hours later I am seeing clocks in every portion of my brain. I managed to make a family favorite Tater Tot casserole and Pumpkin pie. I wish I could bake math problems and teach someone to fly to activities. Sigh. Usually I seem to hold things together. A bit of a vent.

I have a prayer journal I picked up before we were married that has notes through the years. I would flip open the journal, read the prayer and jot down what was going on. Now looking back over the last 11 years I find things like " Hope the adoption paperwork comes through before mothers day! 4-2002" and  "Worried about J learning to write his name" "Want to support Sheff, wish I couple help him more with Urban" " Feeling sick with this pregnancy how I am going to get M potty trained?"and so on. It is such a good reference point for the fact that this too shall pass and the beauty and forgiveness a new day brings.  

Me with little Kintergarden JSO
I think I will make a cup of tea, grab the prayer journal, leave the laundry, leave the mistakes and try to do a little better in the morning. Good night to all.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Markie Quotes

Markie Quotes

"Mom I am turning into a Lion. I knew it would happen. See? I have blond hair on my ears. I know it is small but it will get bigger and then I think I might get my claws."

I was at school to volunteer and saw a green thing streak down the Hallway
"Hey mom! I am the Hulk!"
"Oh my! Are you supposed to be green?"
I see the principle come out of the office to walk him to the bathroom to clean up. I duck sheepishly into another room, Mark winks at me as he walks by. The principle is very patiently explaining that painting oneself green is not, in fact, part of the uniform policy.

The kids get number at school if they have not been listening. He came home last week with a number. I asked what he did. "I was kissing apples" He responded. I look confused so he helps me out, "They were not REAL apples". Huh.

Getting into the bath
"I love hot baths because I am hot stuff." He then does a little dance and pretends his finger sizzles when he touches his tummy. I ask "Hot like temperature?" He guffaws "Mom! Things I say are hot stuff, things I DO are hot stuff. Some choices aren't super hot, but maybe warm. Like hitting is a warm choice" Me: "No hitting would be a cold choice if we are running with this theme". Mom you shouldn't run with stuff, running with scissors would be a cold choice. He then goes back to his hot stuff dance sizzling away.

Last night to Lucy
"I think you should sleep tonight, mom worked real hard getting you out of her tummy so I think it would be  a fair trade to not cry at her tonight" He is a pint size baby whisperer Lucy's fever broke and she slept, ah bliss.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Overstuffed Chicken feeds the Great Pumpkin

Lucy is overstuffed, her nose that is not by the copious amounts of brightly packaged candy that she had fun kicking last night. The kids made a good haul. They had fun with costumes, oodles of coloring pages and finding Library books that were scary enough to warrant digging out an old nightlight. So on to All Saints Day today, Lucy has her first fever, it stinks and Mom is sleep deprived. Still the GREAT PUMPKIN still made it to our abode and ate all the candy. Well almost al the candy. The Great Pumpkin ate a whole stock pot of candy and the children each received a gift. We love this tradition. Hope everyone created some new memories & had a yummy treat to boot. Wish tidings of sleep for this mama pumpkin:)
Mickey's note to the Great Pumpkin and all the gifts left.
The kids all ate their fill before leaving candy for the Great Pumpkin to come eat.
We save a bit for treats and baking the other 75% is donated to food shelf.
Our Bumble Bee Princess