Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Break recap

Spring Break was wonderful, but exhausting. We spent the first few days at home, running errands and playing outside.
Olivia learned to pedal her bike. She was so cute and confident in her abilities. I see some skinned knees in her future, but she did really well for her first time out.

On Wednesday, we took a road trip to visit cousins. Olivia tried her hand at tee ball.

After a couple of fun and exhausting days with cousins, we met up with Daddy and did some family stuff. First was the Children's Museum, where Olivia discovered all sorts of exciting things.
She discovered her passion for scooping ice cream in a pint-sized ice cream shoppe.

Then she arranged some blown "glass" into her own little sculpture.

We all spent Friday night in a hotel. Olivia decided to brush her hair and Mommy's. This was the result. Mommy's hair fared a little better under the brush than Olivia's did.

Saturday we went to the "animal zoo," as Olivia calls it. Here is the "shark petting" area.

And the baby giraffe.

And the elephant.

We were all exhausted when we got home. Olivia slept 13 hours on Saturday night and then took a long nap on Sunday. After her nap, we painted eggs. Holy Week is pretty busy around here, so we colored our eggs this weekend and will store them in the fridge until next week.
As it turns out, egg painting is a good activity for a 2-year-old. She LOVED it and was pretty good at keeping the paint where it belonged. She is looking forward to showing off her creations to Grandparents later in the week.

In the midst of all this Spring Break fun, we also managed to mulch all of our flower beds and get some cleaning done in the house. So, I guess it was productive and fun...just not all that relaxing.

We start to get back to normal tomorrow. We have half of the babysitting crew back this week (the other half is still on Spring Break for another week).

Happy Holy Week!

Friday, March 26, 2010

This one brought to you from the road...

We are on Spring break this week...a benefit of babysitting teachers' kids. In an effort to squeeze all the kid fun we could into one week, we went on a roadtrip to visit the cousins. Then today we did a children's museum and tomorrow we'll go to the zoo.

In other news, kids don't sleep as well away from home and off their regular schedule. So I'm tired. Go figure.

And I'm updating from my husband's ipod, so the full update will have to wait until next week. Happy weekend to you!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ides of March

Here's 15 thoughts for March 15:

1. I'm giving you (my elusive readers) the benefit of the doubt and assuming that all my readers have given up reading blogs for Lent. Or maybe the content here is just so dull that they don't come here often. At any rate, no one (except my husband) commented on my last post. So no resurrection eggs for you!

2. It's high time I put a few random updates in here. Olivia grows and changes so fast, and I don't want to forget this years from now.

3. A couple of weeks ago, I realized that Olivia was waking up dry with some consistency, so I decided to start a potty chart to put up in Olivia's bathroom. The big stickers at the beginning of a line indicate that she was dry overnight. The little smiley stickers indicate each time she peed on the potty. The puffy pink glittery stickers (only two so far) indicate when she pooped on the potty. The X is a wet diaper and the * is a poopy diaper. So, we are doing better, but still consistently inconsistent with the potty.

4. It's been a rough sleep year so far, but we recently had something like three consecutive weeks of great midnight wake-ups for any reason. But last week, Olivia's mind fabricated new monsters that live in her closet, so we are back to rough sleep. I hate closet monsters.

5. Actually, she's imagining monsters anytime she's scared, but she's trying to convince herself that they don't exist. The other day we were in a public restroom, where the toilets flush forcefully and usually scare her. She went to flush the toilet and said with confidence, "There aren't any monsters in the potty, Mommy. It's just loud." And then she ran, wide-eyed, to my side as soon as the scary flushy sounds started...and laughed at herself for doing it.

6. Our driveway is cracking up because of the weather and the fact that the contractors who built the house took huge shortcuts in pouring it. So we had a concrete guy come out on Saturday to give us an estimate on re-pouring part of our driveway. He is known around here as the "Concrete Cowboy" and wears a cowboy hat a lot. We went outside to wait for him and play with sidewalk chalk, and we told Olivia that "Cowboy" was coming over. So when he got out of his truck, Olivia greeting him with a shy, "Hi, Cowboy." She warmed up to him quickly, and soon she was ramming her baby stroller into the front of his truck and shouting "Can you move this truck Cowboy? CowBOY!" Needless to say, she completely charmed him and his wife.

7. Olivia has become more manageable on shopping trips. It's still a challenge to keep her in the cart, but if I give her a piece of paper, she has her own "list". It gives her a sense of purpose. The things you'll find most often on her list? "Cake, mac & cheese and pepperoni!" Sounds like a balanced diet to me.

8. Olivia's restaurant behavior is also much improved. We met Daddy and a priest friend for dinner one night last week, and Olivia behaved herself for the entire 90 + minutes that we were there. AND she ate all of her food. She's growing up.

9. During the last couple of weeks, I've been making several trips to the lab for my hormone series. Step one of "project diagnosis" is underway.

10. Next week is our Spring Break. (The benefits of watching teachers' kids...) We have planned some fun stuff like visiting cousins and a zoo and a children's museum. It's all stuff that is near-ish, so we won't have to spend much money, but we also won't be sitting at home all week staring at each other. I'm very, very excited about this.

11. Although it's a bit gloomy today, last week offered a few warm and sunny days for outside play. The kids LOVED it. I'm looking forward to more of the same. It's also easier now than it was last Fall...the kids are bigger and more skilled and I'm not constantly afraid they are going to fall off of things.

12. We are seriously thinking of replacing all of our carpet with laminate flooring and I am very excited about this possibility. No more goldfish crushed into the carpet. Very exciting.

13. Daylight savings time has, for the first time ever, seriously thrown us into a tailspin. We slept luxuriously late yesterday. We had to wake Olivia up at 8:30, and she never ever sleeps that late. AND she was going on 11.5 hours of sleep (which is also rare). We ate a leisurely breakfast, got cleaned up and headed to Church only to find that *gasp* all the people were coming out of the doors, not going in. Yep, we forgot to change our clocks. I found an evening Mass to attend (bilingual, but still), but the whole thing just really screwed with our day. Add to that the circumstances (late wake-up and the time change) that led to a late and short nap, and today I'm dealing with an unreasonably grumpy 2-year-old. And 4 other unreasonably grumpy children. And naptime had better be long!!

14. I have discovered that Olivia can be a holy terror if she is tired because of schedule disruptions. She had to sit in time-out for a long, long time today because she kept going back and doing exactly what she got in trouble for doing in the first place. And nothing but a nap can cure it. So, yeah, my morning was a LOT of fun.

15. But she's so cute, it's hard to stay upset with her for long.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The mid-Lent giveaway Post

The sun is out, the temperatures are up and we are thinking Spring!

We spent most of the weekend outside enjoying the weather. This time of year reminds me of why I love our yard so much. It is just the right size to provide lots of fun play space. And grilling...oh, how I missed grilling. And using our screened-in porch for more than just storage. And standing in the backyard talking to neighbors. I'm just so happy to see the light at the end of the winter tunnel.

It's still early, but I'm already thinking about what flowers to buy and how pretty everything will look in a few weeks when everything starts blooming and everything seems to come alive again.

My brain is also full of Spring projects. There's Spring cleaning, of course. Soon it will be time to throw open the windows and air out the house while we declutter all of the mess that has piled up during those slow winter months when we lack the energy to really organize anything. This year, we are going to be pricing flooring in hopes of replacing much of our carpet. I really, really hope we can pull that off this year because there are days when I feel like we are swimming in filth with all these kids running around, dropping stuff and grinding it into the carpet.

Spring-ish weather has me thinking about Easter, and while we still have a good bit of Lent left, I can't help but think ahead to this wonderful liturgical season of Easter. The Holy Week triduum is my favorite liturgy of the year, and I love the entire season of Easter. So happy! So joyful! So Spring!

The sun has made me so happy that I just want to give you something. A giveaway! I have a set of resurrection eggs for one lucky commenter. They are a great Easter tradition for kids and tell the story of Easter in a tangible sort of way. I'll announce the winner in next week's post (Monday, 3/15), so get your comments in before then.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Adoption-related thoughts

My husband gave a presentation at a father/son program this weekend, and served on a panel of fathers at the end. It is similar to a program I'm involved in (mother/daughter) where we explain development to pubescent children in terms that help them understand the changes within the context of God's plan for their bodies.

I was looking over the agenda to help him figure out which parts he was supposed to cover, and something struck me as odd. And irritating. Under the panel presentation, "Being a Father", there were three speakers, covering three different "types" of fatherhood. The last one, my husband, was given the title of "Adoptive Father" to differentiate him from another speaker who was a "Physical Father".

Knowing the person who created the agenda, I am quite sure that this was done with no intent other than to be overly thorough. But it irritated me. A lot. Because the difference between a "physical father" and an "adoptive father" has absolutely nothing to do with how they ARE as fathers. The act of creating life, from the male perspective, takes only a few moments. BEING a Father involves the act of parenting a child...loving them, disciplining them, caring for them, relating to them.

And I would argue that the act of BEING a father is not affected in the least by how one came to fatherhood.

Oh, many might argue with me. I'm quite certain that there are issues we will face with our child because of the fact that she was adopted...issues that we would not have faced if she shared our genes. But then we'd have issues with a genetically-related child that we would not have with Olivia. Kids are individuals, and individuals have their unique challenges and issues. But I would argue that the way we approach parenting and relating to our child have absolutely nothing to do with her biological origins.

So, designating my husband as an "adoptive" father unnecessarily singled him out (and all the adoptive fathers/sons in the crowd) as "different". Yes, the fact that we adopted our child would have come out in the talk either way, because that is our story. And it is OURS to share, if and when we will. Having it announced on paper told our story before my husband had a chance to share it himself. And I don't like that. I don't think he minded so much, but I do. It's our story to tell, and when she gets old enough, it will be Olivia's. I don't want her singled out as different simply because she was adopted. She will always know her story and, I hope, be freely and proudly willing to share it. But I want it to be HERS to share, and not something that others share for her.

End of rant.


Today we had our state-mandated home visit to complete our homestudy update. It consisted of our social worker sitting at our table and making small talk with us for about a half-hour. She knows us. We've done this before. She didn't NEED to drive all the way out here to make sure we had a roof and running water and electricity. Except that the state requires a visit, so there you go.

During the course of our conversation, we asked how her placements are going. She said that her agency is right on target with the numbers they are used to seeing. My husband, always ready with a quick quip, jokingly said, "So why don't people like us? Why hasn't anyone picked us?" Of course there are many answers to the questions. She said that birthparents are always commenting about how cute Olivia is in our profile book. But, as we already knew, many birthparents tend toward couples with no kids...the "make their dreams come true" mentality. I get it, which is part of the reason I haven't stressed about it much.

And then she said, "Actually, I had a placement last week where the birthmother couldn't make a decision and told me to pick one. In those situations, I present her with the family that has been waiting the longest. And there was one couple waiting longer than you, so they got picked."

So, a few things. First, the fact that we are (now) the couple in her stack that has been waiting longest is kind of encouraging. I mean, it's only been a year. Some people wait for several years before getting a placement. So it is encouraging to know that no one has been waiting longer than a year on her current list.

But, why tell us that we were THIS CLOSE to being chosen for a baby? I mean, really...WHY? It's comforting and also maddening.

And now all those excited, hopeful feelings that I keep pushing to the back of my mind...the kind of warm, fuzzy feelings where you imagine the actual scenario of bringing home a new baby and how wonderful that will feel...well, those are back in full force. I need to find something else to occupy my mind so I don't drive myself crazy.


I started another toddler this week. I KNOW! But her Mom got my name from another family I babysit for, and she was desperate for a new sitter. It seems her poor little girl was getting slapped around at her other sitter' the other kids or the sitter, I'm not sure, but either way it wasn't a good situation. So I decided to take her on a trial basis to see how the other kids would react to her.

So far (today was her first day), it's been fine. The kids all played well together and included her, and she seemed happy to be here. She napped on schedule with the rest and didn't add much to my workload (what's one more toddler, right?). So I think it's going to work out.

At one point this morning, Olivia was going around and patting all the other kids on the back, saying, "This is my brother. This is my sister." And it got me to thinking... We've been hesitant to consider the foster-to-adopt (babies) idea as a way to grow our family because of how it would affect Olivia to have a baby in our home who could eventually be adopted by us or could very well be returned to his family after a few months. Would that screw up her idea of family and permanence? I don't know. I think maybe we don't give her enough credit. She adapts so well to these kids in her house every day. I'm still not sure if we will ever want to go there, but if we do someday, I think she'd be OK.