Thursday, December 27, 2012


Making honey caramels for Atty, had some great little helpers to wrap them up. :)

Christmas jammies! All snuggly and ready for bed on Christmas eve.

Waiting patiently Christmas morning. :)

Lala loved her snail, she called it a unicorn snail, ha ha!

Stockings are the best part. :)

pillow cases make great reusable wrapping for the bigger stuff. :)

The hubby snapped this one of me in my snuggly jammies... having my chai tea.   Watching the kids  emptying out their stockings.

Treats and toys, so fun! Oh and don't forget the new toothbrushes. ;)

I love her. Sometimes she's so cute I just want to gobble her up!

One of the big hits were these head lamps, they loved them! Now they can read in bed in style. :)

I caught a butterfly fairy.

Loves her new Strawberry Shortcake doll.

My mom got us some funny shirts for Christmas. :)

Another hit, Lincoln logs! They built this with their daddy. :)

And finally, the best way to spend the day after Christmas... A snuggly kitty, a great book,  by the fireplace with a yummy cup of chai tea {or two}. Blanket and pillow included. :) I figured after all the work of getting ready for Christmas, and then cleaning up after Christmas, putting new toys away, reorganizing, and cooking non-stop I deserved a day of reading. :) It was beautiful. Only thing that would have made it better would have been if I could have snuck a bath in there too. :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas movies and the deeper issues in life...

Wow,  It's really hitting home right now how many movies {especially Christmas movies} deal with orphans and adoption... I guess I'm a bit toucher about it because one of mine is a heart child but it either gets me crying or irritates me because I don't like how they are portraying it. Not to mention the many questions it creates now with all of my children. Mostly I have to explain over and over again that his birthparents were NOT evil or they DIDN'T die, because those seem to be the only two scenarios covered in movies. I can only imagine how disturbing that would be to a child. {And I know it's true for some children, but not mine, and I don't want to upset him that way!} Then I have to delicately explain a very sad and complicated birth story in an age appropriate way to four little children, over and over again. Sigh. I think I'm going to start being even more selective on the movies over here. Adoption has always been an open topic around here, but this is just getting exhausting! Plus there is always the added worry that I'm not doing it right, not sure that ever goes away. No matter how many book I read... :)

I often forget that I didn't carry him in my own womb. Then it hits me with a raw clarity at moments when I am explaining things to them and it makes me feel a longing and a sadness. I wish I could tell him birth stories like I do with the other ones. I wish I could tell my other children their birth stories with out worrying that it might be upsetting my heart child. I try to tell his birth story too, in the best way I can. But I don't know it well, and it's hard to tell without the sad parts. I smile and try to make it sound beautiful the way I do with the others, but it feels really fake, and I cringe some times inside hoping he doesn't pick up on that. He's old enough now that he's well aware that he grew in his birth mothers tummy and not mine. It's hard to hear him say that. It's hard to be the adoptive mom. It's hard to know that the special part of carrying him inside me will never be mine. My heart breaks for him birth mom, but at the same time I selfishly want the story of my heart child to be all mine.

He came to our home when he was a sweet tiny six day old baby and I often pick up the story there, telling him all about how adorable I thought he was. {On a side note I still think he's adorable, ha ha!} How I snuggled him all night long and carried him on my body in a sling every moment of the day. I was five months pregnant at the time so he likes it when I tell him he was snuggling with Spike from the moment he came home. They use to sleep next to each other all the time and would snuggle up in the sweetest ways. I always tell them that they have been doing that even when Spike was still in my tummy, my heart child on the outside curled up in a sling, and Spike in the inside curled up in my womb... listening to each others heartbeats.

 I will be forever grateful and full of thanks that I have been blessed with such a special child, and that all of my children are so close. Because the boys were so young when my heart child came there was never a moment where he stood out and didn't just blend right in. At least for us, I did get lots of comments from strangers. Everything has always felt natural and meant to be for us. That's not to say there haven't been hard times, but they've all been worth it. I feel sure that there will be rough times in the future too, maybe in the form of an insensitive comment from a kid. {Or an adult, that happens a lot actually, but my heart child hasn't noticed yet.} I've read stories about the things people have said to adopted kids, hurtful mean things or insensitive things and my heart breaks. One comment I've read over and over again is "well that's not your mom then" in reference to the adoptive mom. Or "why didn't your mom want you?" Different things like that. I wonder how to prepare him for the possibility. Without making a big issue out of it. But I'm not sure that is possible. There might be some hard questions in the future as well, or a want to get to know his parents that is hard to fill. Or a disappointment or sadness when he does meet them. There is the worry on my part that he will want to spend time with one or the other of his birthparents as a teenager and they will be a negative influence on him. But I must push those aside and deal with them if need be. Focus on raising him up with a healthy self esteem, so that he may deal resiliently with any difficulty headed his way.  I feel like we have a good start with that, he has shown himself to be a Very Resilient Child in all the challenges that have faced him so far. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I just might lose the joy of blogging...

I'm so frustrated because I've apparently reached my photo max and can't post photos on my blog anymore unless I pay for extra storage!?! Does anyone have any suggestions, I really don't want to pay money, this was suppose to be a free way to express myself, but not being able to post pictures sort of takes the fun out of blogging for me... the last couple times I've deleted photo in the Picasa web album I order to post more photos to my blog, but it's a long process and I think it then deletes those photos from my older blog posts...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

~Autumn beauty~

After that last depressing post I thought I'd post some pictures of what I treasure most in this world...

There's the ups and then there's the downs...

I got in an accident with the kids last Friday. I still can't really even process it, words sort of fail me. I know that I feel really angry... with myself. And I think there is some depression, sadness, humiliation, anxiety, and irritability mixed in. My body hurts, my head hurts and my heart hurts. I ran into the back of a Ford F150, so technically it's my fault, but it was more complicated then that. Still my fault though. I let my guard down for a moment, was a little less hyper vigilant and Bam! It's hard to not take it as a personal blow to what kind of a mother I am. I try so very hard to keep my kids safe and not let bad things happen to them. I take that sooooo seriously. And I'm a perfectionist. I hold myself to a higher standard then everyone else and I hold the people in my life to a pretty high standard.  So in other words I am very hard on myself.  I know this. But damn it right now I feel like shit! Sorry, for the vulgarity. But worse words have been swimming through my head lately then that...
I am so very thankful that none of the kids were hurt. That the man in the truck wasn't hurt. Everything could have been a lot worse. People keep telling me this and I keep telling myself this, but it doesn't seem to be taking away the anger that I feel towards myself. I've never felt this before. I've been very angry with people who have hurt the ones I love, or hurt me, but I've never felt anger inside of me like this before that just churns around and has no where to go. It's an awful feeling. Besides feeling awful about the accident I've also added some serious stress to our lives financially. My husband has been so kind about it all which actually in some ways just makes me feel even worse. If that makes any sense... Because I know it's not okay, and I know that I've created a real problem for us, on top of what we were already struggling with. The van is totaled, there is no fixing it. So now once everything gets figured out insurance wise {and we won't be getting any money to help with a new vehicle because of the loan we recently took out on it} we have to try and figure out a new vehicle that we can all fit into... and afford. Sigh. We just put a bunch of money into the van too, to keep it running and make sure we made it to Montana and back. Have I mentioned I'm really angry with myself?
The night of the accident, after my husband got home, I went into emotional shock. It's a real thing apparently, google it. It was terrifying. I know enough about shock from my first aid/CPR classes to know that I was going into shock but I didn't know why. I didn't feel like I had internal injuries or anything. I started hyperventilating, my heart was racing and skipping beats, my body keep getting colder and colder and then started to tingle in the arms and legs, I started dry heaving and sobbing. My head felt like it was going to explode! My husband said I looked pale and green at the same time... The scariest part was that I didn't seem able to stop it, my body just took over. I hate feeling out of control, the accident triggered that awful out of control feeling in me and then my own body betrayed me further by going into shock and feeling even more out of control. It all spiraled wildly out of hand from there.  My husband was on the phone with a holistic doctor we know and he asked us some questions and gave us some suggestions. We were very close to going to the ER, but tried his suggestions first and they worked with in 20 minutes, the man is a genius. :) He has saved us a few times now. My poor husband was really worried about me, but so caring as always. At one point he told me to do my pregnancy breathing, and he sounded so sweet and desperate that it helped snap me out a bit. Since then I've had a few panicky moments, but nothing so severe. I honestly don't know if I'm going to be able to drive again any time soon though. I know that's not very realistic with our busy lives... but the very idea gets my heart racing and that panicky feeling starts settling down in the pit of my stomach. It's going to be rough for a while I fear.

As for the kids, they seem just fine. No injuries. Although I'd like to get them into the chiropractor for some adjustments, as well as myself... but how to do that with out a vehicle, I'm just not sure. To them this all seemed as if it was one wild adventure. They were so excited to have their best friends come pick them up after the accident that they quickly forgot what had just happened. They were bouncy happy little kids that got to watch too much TV for the rest of the day, the rest of the weekend really. Their Neenee {my mom} came over for a surprise visit {my husband called her when I was freaking out, and she drove over an hour to come help out}, and it just doesn't get much better then that in their eyes.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Another school year is in full swing...

Which is why it has taken me so long to blog about it. :) I'm actually glad I didn't get around to it in the very beginning because it would not have been very positive. Just like last year I was once again very overwhelmed with the start of the school year. Unlike last year I had even more to squeeze into one day and I seriously thought I was going to break. I was fantasizing about putting my kids into a Waldorf school, except we can't afford it. It even crossed my mind a couple times that I might not care anymore if they were to go to public school... except I do. So I bawled hard at the end of the first week, door closed, head under covers, big gulping sobs... Then I got up and took a shower, cried some more, a little less intensely, and then I got dress and went and made dinner. And that was that. I changed the schedule around a few times and by the end of week two I felt a whole lot better. :) 
In all honestly this year is way harder with a first grader and two kindergarteners that are on totally different levels/learning styles. Plus two kids to do preschool with, my littlest plus the kid I nanny for. Oh and then there is the puppy. What was I thinking!?! Some times we are doing schoolwork up until bed time just to get it all in! But those are the hard days, and thankfully they seem to be few and far between. Most day the boys are done by about 3:30 pm. {Although I do more preschool with the little ones after our pm snack for about 20-30 minutes} I've given up my mid day break and we do school work through the little ones quiet time. So we usually start around 8:30am and I work with the kids one on one and in pairs until about 11 or 11:30am. Then we break for out door playtime {most days, unless it's way too nasty out} and I start cleaning and making lunch. I'm trying to get lunch on the table by noon and then it's quiet time. During that time I do school work with the three older ones. Then we all do afternoon chores together and have a snack. And there you have it, if all went well we are done... if not we start up again around 4:30  and work some more. So all told it's about 6 hours of teaching time  a  day for me {give or take}. 6 hours less for me to get done what I use to do, and I thought I had no time then... Life is funny that way. 
I have come to realize that I can squeeze school in at different times, and do it in a way that suits us best. It doesn't have to be a rigid schedule. When I began to allow for this the stress level went way down. I wanted to follow the curriculum program to a tee, but even the program guide says that you can custom fit to suit your family. So for example I can do read aloud portions while they are eating at breakfast or lunch time {or even dinner if need be}. We can read ahead if the kids are really into a certain subject or chapter book. This gives us a little more wiggle room on other days. We can get caught up on subject on the weekend if need be. I don't have to stress out if Atty can't stay at the same level as Spike in the workbooks, they can each have their own pace. And the biggest help of all, I don't have to do school work in the school area, I can move it to the dinning room table if need be. :) That way I can help them and work in the the kitchen when they don't need as much help, plus there are less distractions from the other kids. For some reason I was so stuck on all the school work being done in a certain area that it took me a moment to realize that this truly wasn't necessary. Spike flies through his school work, even when I give him extra, so he usually gets more play time then the rest of them. Atty has less of an overall work load, he does a much simpler program, but some days it takes a while to get it done. If he is struggling too much I just end on a good note and we finish the subject the next day. No since in beating our heads against a brick wall, and I find that when I do this he rapidly understands the next day what he couldn't grasp before. Bubu by far has the longest school day, which he really isn't fond of. He would much rather play or color, or even clean, then do school work. Unless I'm reading to him, then he's all ears. History for example is mostly sitting and listening to stories and looking at pictures, and having discussions, and that he loves. :) 

 So once again Bubu is my challenge. Simply because he takes forever to do his work! He is the only kid I'm doing school with until bed time. I have such a hard time being patient with him! He's just such a dreamer. If he were in public school he would have been labeled with ADD for sure by now! It was really, really bad in the beginning of the year. Markably worse then last year. It's been steadily getting worse with him, so much so that people were commenting on it and the hubby and I were getting worried. So on his last doctors visit I brought it up, and told his {wonderful} doctor that we were thinking about putting Bubu on the GAPS diet for awhile. To see if the diet would help with a few things, the attention issue included, and all his allergies. He gave the go ahead, so Bubu has been on the GAPS diet {with a few exception here and there} for the last month. And it really has made a difference! So now that we have cleared everything out I'm going to reintroduce a few things gradually to try and figure out what foods are the culprit. Once again I am amazed by the power of food, the good and the bad. I'm amazed by how seemingly good food can cause such problems for some people. I have a sneaking suspicion that dairy is the problem for him. But only time, and a food journal, and a little bit more of my sanity will tell. ;) 
Any ways the last few weeks have been a lot easier with Bubu and he seems a lot happier because of it. :) That's what was bothering me the most, he knew he was having a hard time concentrating, but didn't seem to be able to really do anything about it! So frustrating for both of us. He would break down in tears a lot. Which would break my heart, and make me feel bad for getting frustrated with him when he was so obviously frustrated with himself. Vicious cycle. He's a lot more positive about learning now, which is great. That's not to say he doesn't still have melt downs sometimes during reading, but lots of kids do when learning to read, so that's not too unusual. The rest of the subjects are mostly a breeze. I still don't quite get why reading is such a struggle for him, I guess I assumed since he has always loved being read to {since he was a tiny baby} that he would pick up on reading easily. But for Bubu the two definitely do not go together. I absolutely adore reading, so I hope there comes a day {soon} where I can see him curled up with a good book and a smile on his face.

 Part of me wanted to organize these shelves before taking a picture, but the reality is that we are busy home schoolers and the shelves often look like this. :) I also have to get use to the various science projects scattered around my house. And the paper clutter, Oh My! I am thankful that the kids love to color, and cut, and glue, and tape, and be crafty is so many different ways, but wow does it make a never ending mess. :) Homeschooling in general is a never ending mess. My playroom, oh my goodness after a morning of school work, the kids not doing work manage to tear the playroom a part bit by bit while I am distracted! And the amount of house work I get behind on now, it's just sickening. My husband has been trying to help a bit more, but when he is working really long days it's hard for him to help like I need him to, so there is a lot that gets left undone. The things that I can't neglect often get done late at night or early in the morning {or on the weekends} so that I have barely a moment to myself. But such is life and it just makes me get creative in order to etch a little bit of me time out now and again. And wow do I treasure those moments. :) Life might not always be so full like it is right now, and that might not necessarily be a good thing. So I will enjoy the craziness and make the best of it.  

Our little reading nook. The kids love it. :)

One other thing I have to figure out this year is what to do with Spike. He is crazy smart. More on a first grade level then Kindergarten. I've already started him in the first grade reading program and now I'm thinking about having him skip into the first grade math, because he often answer the questions faster then Bubu! He seems bored with the math program his doing with Atty. Atty is definitely not ready to move up, so I'm thinking I might start teaching Bubu and Spike at the same level and keep Atty where he is at. I don't want to push Spike to hard, but I also don't want to hold him back if he wants to move forward. Right now I feel like I'm holding him back, and that's no good... The part I like the most about homeschooling is being able to make the work fit for each child. With Atty I am using a completely different reading program that is working wonders. He is much slower in his handwriting book and that's okay, at least he is forming letters! It shows me that all that preprinting practice I did with him last year paid off! He needs lots of one on one, but for some one who has gone through so much he amazes me! He has special needs, but I feel like because of that learning at home is by far the best for him. Because I can make it all work at the level he's at and make him feel good about it. I might look into some extra additional help for him next year, but for now he is rapidly learning and I'm excited about it! He showed no interest at all last year, so I though I was in for a serious struggle! He's really surprised me this year with his eagerness for learning and the effort he is putting into it. :)

One last really cool thing about homeschooling is that I can declare a half day just because the sun is shining, or we can take the day off at random times just because. Those surprise breaks make me a hero in the eyes of my children... ;) We don't have early release for parent teacher conferences, or all the other days off that the public schools have for various reasons, so I don't feel the least bit bad about it. I love the freedom of it all. Plus if my kids got behind we would just work into the summer until it was done, the idea of that keeps me on top of their work, because I like my summer breaks. ;)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Another step back to normal...

This was the first year since Atty's seizures started that I didn't have a harvest party planned. 
For the last couple years, instead of going trick or treating or to a Halloween festival, we've had a fun party with friends.  That way I could provide Atty approved treats and not worry about candy and we could still have some fun. This year we have just been so busy, and my very best friend on planet earth moved away to Texas and took my kid's very best friends with her. To say we are bummed is a massive understatement. So maybe I'm sulking but I just couldn't find it in me to host a party without them. I mean if we are being honest they were often the main guests, so it probably wouldn't have been much of a party anyways. This year I just planned on some home made treats for the kids, a fun dinner, maybe a movie and games, while we passed out trinkets {no candy at our house} to the door knockers... but at the last minute I decided, what the heck, lets go trick or treating in the neighborhood after all. There were a few times this summer where Atty was around candy. He even helped to collect some at a parade we attended, and he joined in on a couple pinatas at parties, each time he traded it over for his kind of treats. So I told him if we went out he could trick or treat, but he couldn't eat the candy of course, and when we got back to the house he needed to trade me for his kind of treats. He was fine with that, so away we went. Trick or treating for the first time since Atty's seizures started. You can imagine how excited my other two boys were to get to go trick or treating again, and for my little girl it was the first time she has ever gone. :) 

 The rain stopped for a brief moment {just for us, ha ha!} and out into the neighborhood we trooped. Me and my little bugs. They were so polite and got into the swing of things quickly. They were a bit shy at first as it was all so new, but Bubu and Spike set a good example and the other two quickly followed. 

 We only walked a short bit in our neighborhood, but they still ended up with way too much candy! 
I wish more people handed out trinkets {like stickers, tattoos, cute pencils, little toys, bouncy balls, etc...} instead of candy. Or even healthier treats, Atty still probably wouldn't be able to eat them, but it would be nice for the rest of us. I like the part of taking the kids around the neighborhood, talking to the neighbors, and the kids getting to show off their costumes and practice their manners, gain some confidence in a safe way... but all the junk food, it seriously bothers me. 
It's so bad for us people! 
Okay, I'll get of my soapbox now. ;)

 Crazy bugs! Spike did not wet himself... it was just awful soggy outside. :)
We were all glad to get back to the house and change and warm up again. Then the kids settled in with their candy and Atty traded his for his yummy freezer candies. And some pecan stuffed dates.
I jokingly told the kids that the candy fairy was going to come for the rest of their candy that night, and Lala was not happy about that. The girl did not want to hand over her candy for nobody, not even a fairy. ;)

So the night didn't go exactly as I planned. I had all sorts of healthy Atty approved treats lined up. And chomping down on sugary junk was not in the picture... but all told it really was a blast for them, so no regrets. It struck me as funny though that this year my kids were sitting inside eating their collected candy while I was passing out trinkets to door knockers. Ha ha! Why yes we are eating candy, but no you can't have any, here's a trinket for you... Funny stuff. :)
I'm so proud of Atty for how he handles these situations. He could respond in so many different negative ways, but he tries so hard to make the best of it. I can't imagine being a kid and watching all of your siblings opening up these cute little shiny packages of colorful treats of all kinds, hearing them talking about them, and sharing them, and not being able to participate! He knows that I will figure out a way to make it right for him though, so he puts on a brave face and makes it work for the rest of us. Such an unselfish sweet little boy.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Big Boy Bike Riding! {times two}

Look who finally figured out how to ride his bike without training wheels!!! 

 And now he's a pro... even turning around on his own. ;) Now that he can ride without training wheels he doesn't want to get off, and bugs me nearly every day to go out riding. Only problem is he waited until the last possible moment to learn how to ride this summer and now... summers over... and the rain has settled in and it's going to be here for some time. Poor disappointed guy. If we had a better place to ride I'd let him ride in the rain {never hurt anybody to get a little wet while riding} but we don't.

This boy of course wanted his training wheels off as soon as he saw Bubu riding without his... and guess what... he figured out how to ride without them in about a half of an hour! Such a determined and competitive little boy!

 And away he goes...

Crash landing! He did many of these, but he was so graceful about it... practically jumping off and just letting the bike fall. He did end up figuring out how to stop in a way that was a little easier on the bike. :)
 Bubu in bike riding bliss. :)

 Right away Spike did not want any more help getting going. He is the only kid I have ever heard ask for a parent to not help, with in minutes of taking the training wheels off! That's Spike though, since he was super tiny, always wants to do everything on his own and be the best at it.

 Then there is super adorable Atty, still content to putts around on his little bike with training wheels, and falling off of that, ha ha! He did ask to get his training wheels off too, but I'm thinking we might just wait until spring for that one, being as the weather has now taken a turn for the worst. We did manage to find another slightly larger bike with training wheels that we are going to transition him to, and after he gets the hang of that then we will talk about the training wheels coming off. :) Lala's got the tricycle down pat, and is sure she's ready for the next step. I on the other hand think she is so stinking adorable riding around on this little red trike that I might be super sad to see it go...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Autumn tidbits

I can't seem to blog anymore, and it frustrates me! There is so much going on and I want to write about it so I can look back and really remember it all, but life is so busy I can't seem to squeeze in the time. And then when I do make the time {as in neglect to do the dishes and choose to blog instead} I'm overwhelmed as to where to start...

I guess I'll start with some yearly pumpkin patch pictures.
I can't believe how grown she is!
My always goofy middle child. :)
Too busy enjoying his apple to give me a real smile... they all were.  Guess I should have made them wait until after pictures, ha ha! This pumpkin farm has an apple orchard and the kids love being able to pick their very own apple,  this was the first year that Atty got to pick his own apple and eat the whole thing! It's the small stuff that makes us happy. :)
I can hardly ever get Bubu to smile for pictures anymore... sigh.  Maybe it's just a boy thing, I remember J being like this at Bubu's age.  He's still determined to grow his hair out for locks of love, and has inspired all of us, including his brothers, to do so as well... I'm thinking it might last until next summer. :)

Me and the kiddos with a stand in scarecrow. :) Bubu is getting so tall!

Now I think I'll throw in some fall colors from the front garden just for fun...

These are the chairs I refurnished from old chairs that use to me my grandmothers, the seats are made out of the salvaged window sills from her house. I sanded, cut boards, screwed stuff together, and stained. First time ever! There's one more by my front door. Ryder barely helped at all, I was super proud of myself. :)

And now for some more random Autumn pictures...

Enjoying some almond flour holiday cut out cookies! They were super good, with some left over paleo chocolate frosting and colored shredded coconut as sprinkles. :)

Radar is growing like a weed, and super sassy right now... wish I could skip to the grown up, potty trained, easy going dog part. :) He is pretty cute though, so all is forgiven most days. :)

Carving the pumpkin we got at the pumpkin patch. The kids did most of the cleaning out on there own this year, and  then we counted the seeds. Oh my goodness... there were 1,274 seeds... never want to do that again. ;) Bubu was super excited about it though and it was good counting practice. Then we roasted the seeds, and ate all 1,274 of them, but not all in one day. :)

The finished pumpkins. We were too impatient to wait until dark so we lit them up in the bathroom with the door shut, ha ha!