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Category Archives: Family Stuff

New Year!

New Year’s Eve.

How do you celebrate? Do you party like a rock star? Stay home and snuggle in to watch the ball drop? Stay home and sleep while the world celebrates?

I don’t really believe in New Year’s Resolutions per se. Well not the kind like I am going to lose 423 pounds this year. Or I am going to eat cabbage every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No not those kind. I still like to set goals for myself. Things like I am going to take better care of me this year. Or I am going to try harder to be more patient with my kids. Things like that, to me, are not so much resolutions as self-care.

In evaluating how I can better take care of me I am trying to eliminate things that drain my energy. No I am not voting any of my children off our family island – although one in particular really really drains my energy! I don’t want to be a slave to doing something that I don’t love. Unfortunately, the first thing that came to mind was blogging. Gosh, it’s kind of weird to say that. I never thought I would feel like it was a chore – I have always really loved writing and blogging was my outlet. I have been blogging now for four years. I started over here at Bringing Home Kobe in 2007 to chronicle our adoption journey. I totally thought I was ahead of the game and was the only person on the planet who would think to blog about their adoption. The 457 million (give or take) other adoption blogs I used to read daily prove, I was not and am not ahead of any game. When it was time to bring Kobe home  we suddenly, one week later, found ourselves parents to not just Kobe but two other kids. The two other kids were our niece and nephew and they were in foster care with us. We had failed several times at trying to gain custody of our nephew pretty much from his birth so we were cautious and rightfully so. I blogged privately for several months. My close friends knew about the two other additions to our family but the general blog reading public did not know. Then finally, I opened up my private blog and eventually moved over here to word press and home of Our Fab Five. Some of the random blog reading public was confused. I had many questions and confusion about our sudden family growth. It was kind of funny actually.

Not too long ago someone said to me that ‘they’ sometimes laugh at us and how we adopted three kids at once. I know my response was uncensored because I feel like I have to laugh at myself sometimes. But it kind of hurts because I wonder if we are those people who have no idea what we are doing as parents, that people just kind of point and laugh at the weird circus family. I feel like we live a one ring tiny isolated circus. There is no beating around the bush two of our kids have major needs. Major Major Major needs. Would I do it again with these two -abso-freakin’-lutely- I love my kids. Would I do it again knowing what I know now? No. It is not ok to me that a mother (and father) can give birth to child after child and then neglect them. Hurt them. Abuse them. Emotionally abandon them. It is not ok to me. There is nothing that lights a fire in me more than watching a person do this over and over and over. I am left, we are left – to pick up the broken pieces and mend them together again. Some things cannot be fixed. Nobody can fix the way a brain is hardwired from so much neglect and abandonment at birth. It is not ok to enable another to hurt children over and over and over. It is not ok! These are human lives at stake.

By nature I am an honest person, to a fault. I don’t really hide things or beat around the bush. It’s just not me. Love it or hate it, take me or leave me. Something I have learned through this journey, especially the part with blogging and being open to criticism, is not to judge others. Nobody knows the pain we endure behind closed doors. Everyone has an opinion. We have lost some of our greatest friends because of this strange parenting journey we are on. But we have also been encouraged by our true friends. The ones who stick by us and give us a pat on the back when things are going well and who will cheer us on when things are not going so well. Having true friends who will stick with you through thick and thin is really the greatest thing of all.

So for this New Year I want to be a more loving and giving person. To judge others less. To take care of myself more. To be patient and kind when I would rather be snappy and rude. I want to focus on my relationships with my kids and husband. I want to make sure I nurture my kids while they are little. I want to use my precious me time for things I love.

Maybe I will miss blogging so much I will come back. Maybe I will keep this blog or maybe I will start a new one. It could be public or private or non-existent. I have no idea.  I will leave you with this sweet little quote from my all time favorite poet and poem.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.”

Robert FrostThe Road Not Taken

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I have always considered myself creative.

I have never considered myself crafty.

Tonight I consider myself both. I am so pleased with how my Homemade Vanilla Extract came out. I will post a teaser picture now and give you the tell all tomorrow!!

Making Bouncy Balls

One weekend when Nate was gone hunting the kids and I made bouncy balls. It was a simple project I found on Pinterest. The recipe is here.

The project went very smooth because I had it all set up and organized before the kids were allowed to enter the kitchen!

They rolled and squished and smothered their little globs of yuck unti they started to stick together and become a ball.

Finally, they were done and could play with their new bouncy balls!

Jaylean Rae Is A Superstar

You read that right. Jaylean Rae is my little superstar princess. She is doing amazing. She is doing awesome. She is doing fantastic. She has not had an excessive meltdown in over a week. Probably the longest she has gone at home since the honeymoon phase. Her eyes are brighter. She is happier. She is cooperative. She is a joy to be around. It appears that her moods may be more organized and cyclical pointing toward Bipolar or it could be that she is really working very hard on her anger and emotions and doing her very best to accept our love and our help. Or there is no answer for it. We are enjoying the ride while it lasts. We are proud of her.

We are enjoying her. We always love her but right now she is easier to love. She is so important to us. It makes my heart swell to see her happy. To give her a good night kiss that she wants and to hear her say she loves me. To feel her hug where she wraps her arms around my neck and really squeezes. Delightful. It’s like eating dessert before dinner – it’s that good. We as a family have so much more energy and fun without having to fight battles every night with her. We as a family are doing better. Right at this moment I feel like we are all going to be ok. I need this moment. I need to feel ok. I need to feel love for my daughter and feel my own attachment to my daughter. Attachment is a two way street and I would be lying if I said it was only her lack of attachment that is the problem. It’s as much MY lack of attachment to her as it is HER lack of attachment to me. We struggle, she and I. Not a mother daughter struggle but a true relational struggle. It’s painful for me to love on her and hug on her. It comes naturally for me with the boys, I don’t know why. With her it is hard. She needs love and deserves love and sometimes I have to pull up my big girl panties and let them snap, and I have to hug Jaylean when I don’t want to hug her and I need to say “I love you” when I don’t want to say “I love you” – sometimes I just have to do it. Even when I get kicked, spit at, and hit in return. But right now we are good. We are well. We are healthy. We are loving. We feel normal. I am so proud of her. I am so proud of me. I am so proud of Nate and the boys. I am proud of our family.

At this moment, I can say, Jaylean Rae is going to be alright. I hope it sticks.

Let’s Talk About an Allergy Treatment Plan

I really know how to whip you into a frenzy with a post title like that, eh?

Last week Javien visited the town Allergist. Not the Ear, Nose, and Throat guy nor the Family Physician but the real deal. I have to say he was fantastic! Both Javien and the Allergist. After reviewing about a million and two questions the good Doctor and I decided it was best to do a full skin test of allergies on Javien. Oh my gracious. I had no idea how badly I would want to rip the little allergy scrapers out of the nurse’s hot little hand and throw them at her! Here’s the play by play: first Javien took off his shirt and the nurse cleaned his back off with alcohol. Next she marked his back with a grid according to the list of things she would test him for. He was very anxious about this and so I made up a little letter that she was writing on his back to relax him and make him giggle. I said something along the lines of “Dear Javien I think you are the coolest kid ever, you are the nicest boy in the world, you have the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen…” The nurse was even laughing and told Javien his mom is a keeper.

Next came the hard part, she started poking and pricking him with all the little allergy scraper things. They were plastic tipped but Javien was in some amount of pain. He squeaked and squealed for every little poke. I held his hand. I told him to take deep breaths and squeeze my hand as hard as he wanted. What I really wanted to do was pull a wrestling/football move on the nurse and grab my boy and run out of the office. We made it through and once that part was over the pain was gone. Javien described it as little pinches. Can you imagine? There were like 40+ of them on his back. Javien was a pro. Really he was so brave.

Finally, I think Javien would say this was the hardest part. He had to lay still for 15 minutes while the allergy spots reacted. Oh and boy did those spots react, he was so itchy. I felt so bad for him. He had to just lay there and be itchy! For 15 minutes!! Yowza. I did take pictures of the whole thing but he is feeling self conscious of the whole experience and doesn’t want anyone to see them. He has given permission for a select few and those few have received the pictures. If he changes his mind I will post pictures but I feel like since he is 8 years old he really deserves to have a say of what I post about him on the world wide web. I respect that. {He did give me full reign on posting “words” though}

It was pretty dang obvious that he has some severe allergies going on. His back was covered in welts, the peanut allergen was huge! His biggest welts were peanuts, grass, cottonwood, and dog hair/dander. Besides those four things he was severely allergic to 11 other things for a total of 15 pretty big allergies. The good news is it is less than I expected. He had no new food allergies and isn’t expected to ever have any new food allergies. The best news is he gets to do it again in a year – wait for it – that is good news because (!!!) the doctor thinks he may not be allergic to all tree nuts in the future. The peanut allergy is for life but the tree nuts have significantly reduced since the last time we did this – soooooo….YAY! That would be a huge huge huge blessing.

The good Doctor came up with an aggressive treatment plan to help Javien with his symptoms and get his breathing and reactions back to normal. I am going to share this treatment plan for anyone else who is suffering from allergies, severe or mild.

Prescriptions: EpiPen Jr x 2 for anaphylactic reactions, Nasonex nose spray twice a day, Albuteral inhaler as needed (seldom)

Over the Counter: 60mg Allegra {fexofenadine} twice daily (dosage is an RX), Vanicream applied head to toe twice daily.

Around the house: Keep pets off furniture and out of bedroom (we already do this), HEPA filter air purifier in bedroom and large living spaces

We implemented everything from the treatment plan Friday night and I am happy to say we have seen a drastic improvement in Javien’s skin, breathing, snoring, all that stuff. He does not sound nasal or sniffly at all. The skin on his back and arms was covered in eczema but with the use of the Vanicream his skin feels silky smooth.

If you are interested in getting Vanicream you can find it on Amazon or at WalMart in the pharmacy, I was told they have to special order it but it is just a cream and does not need a prescription.

Mason The Elf

We are having an Elfing good time around here. Seriously, Elfing spectacular. We adopted an Elf on The Shelf from Target The North Pole. The Elf is quite ridiculous actually but it’s a really fun idea. There is a ton of useful and education information on where to hide the Elf for maximum entertainment for the parents kids. For the record, our elf is naughty but does not make gigantic messes that I would have to clean up anyway. The biggest mess Mason has made is tossing a 1/4 of a bag of leftover marshmallows from the camping season. This mama is not a dummy, I knew my kids would eat those marshmallows faster than a dyson could suck them up, and they did. Elfing Crazy I tell you.

To get the Elfing party started the kids woke up on Thanksgiving day to the Elf sitting on the table with a letter and the book – in a Mason jar – hence, the name Mason. He was in the jar because I knew my kids would handle him like no other before I even considered waking up. They would possibly, even fight and rip him into three uneven pieces. That would be an Elfing shame. The letter was as follows:

Dearest Dorcheus Children,
I am an elf sent from Santa in the North Pole to report your behavior before Christmas. I help Santa decide if you will be on the Nice list or the Naughty list. You have all had some very sweet moments.
Jaylean I love your singing voice. Javien I like how you can be so helpful for your mom and dad and teachers at school. Kobe I like how you help your mom out so much.
You also have a few things to work on if you want Santa to stop at your house this year! My lovely Jaylean you need to watch yourself! Your mother and father love you very much I hope that you will be more careful in how you treat them. My sweet Javien my word you can scream loud, my elfing ears were about to pop off! I hope that you will practice some of your calming down tools to help get better control over that. Santa does not like it when children scream at their parents. Oh happy little Kobe, you must be better about listening to your mom and dad. They tell you to do things for a reason you know.
I will be sticking around until Christmas reporting back to Santa every night, so you better watch out and you surely better not shout at your mom and dad. Please never ever touch me. I will lose my magic!
Now take this book I have left for you to your mom or dad and they will read it. Make sure you listen carefully. Elves are under very strict orders from Santa and you must follow each rule perfectly.
Love,
Your Elfing Friend
PS: You may talk to me all you want, and I can pass on some tidbits to Santa you know. But remember you must NEVER touch me.

Since the initiation of Mason into our family. He has shown up on the clock, in Mama’s shoe on the TV, in the Christmas tree with the children’s undies hanging all over it, in Kobe’s piggy bank, on the aerogarden surrounded by herbs and gum, riding on Javien’s stuffed horse on top of the refrigerator, magnetically hanging on the front door with his own little wish list, flying the little people airplane from the ceiling fan, and sitting on the mirror holding the incriminating marshmallow.

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Kobe touched him yesterday. So his magic has drained and he did not move last night. What a sad Elfing day. Kobe will beg him for forgiveness and he will move again tonight, I have a feeling.

Silliness!

I was getting ready to change the baby’s diaper one day and Kobe strategically placed himself where it would make me laugh…

So I did what any mom would do. I diapered him up and made him laugh!