Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Well, I do disagree with the hand-smacking. I personally believe that developmentally they need to feel free to explore, which is why baby-proofing is such a great thing. I think hitting can stifle that creativity. I also am pro-choice. Anyway, I respect your parenting choices and support you in them. I love your blog and think you're an amazing person, wife, and mother.
Hi Katie. I appreciate your comment but wanted to get back to you with a couple of thoughts. Smacking the back of the hand when a child is getting into something they shouldn't be is not stifling their creativity. It is teaching children at a young age that there are boundaries and some things are off limits. As adults we are not allowed to go onto other people's property without permission, or go into certain areas of a store, or open people's medicine cabinets in their home. I believe that putting a lock on every cupboard is actually stifling their creativity by making everything off limits. By me teaching that only certain things are off limits, Dennis is able to go and explore all he wants in the safe areas I have made accessible to him.
As far as pro-choice, your comment compelled me to share. Besides thinking of the child who was never given a chance to live, I am totally against abortion because of what a woman goes through after she has had one. Can one even imagine what a woman feels after having her child sucked from her body and thrown in a trash can? The guilt, the sadness, the change in hormones, the inability to forgive themselves.... what about the woman afterwards? So many women walk around with this burden on their shoulders for the rest of their lives..... many live in this deep dark well of secrecy. Abortion may seem like the right choice at the time, but I know in my heart that it is not.... no matter what. Abortion kills the most innocent in the world.
Disclaimer: Please take a moment and click on the green links. I ask that you watch all the way through. Please.
The Kaysers said...
I do have an opinion for you about Dennis. I agree with how you are consistent the way you are raising him and disciplining him. I used to say the things that you say like "good boy" when they make good choices. Then we watched a training video related to our adoption and it opened my eyes to this. I no longer tell my kids they are "good boys/girl" when they obey or make good choices. I simply and happily tell them "good choice". They are good no matter what, because I will love them even when they disobey. This is the point the video made and it made sense to me. It is supposed to convey unconditional love.
I completely agree with you when it comes to an older child (because they need to know that making a bad choice does not make them a bad person), but at age two, I know that Dennis can easily understand "good boy" vs. "You made a good choice." Many mothers not too long ago grew up praising their kids with "good boys" and they turned out all right. ;) To me, this is more a play on words. I know my heart, they know my heart, frankly, I think actions speak louder than words.
How irresponsible to take your child out of school to be your unpaid babysitter, especially when she's only 10 years old. Unbelievable.
Oh, give me a big fat break. I know I am quite the contrary. In a new town, I have not had time to interview babysitters, and frankly, I just don't fee comfortable leaving Dennis with just anyone yet. I know he is in good hands with one of his "older" siblings and he loves and trusts them. I believe in teaching family togetherness, and encouraging a sense of loyalty to each other by helping each other out. Seriously, I might be too emotional, you might mistake me for a loud fire engine on occasion, and I have been known to drive my kids nuts with my silly songs and bugging, but I am not an irresponsible parent. If you would like to submit your resume, I will peruse it my earliest convenience to let you know whether or not you got the job.
Update: I am sorry that I forgot to metntion that Julia didn't stay home with the boys when I went to the dentist. She was in the waiting room there watching them. I won't even let my 13 year old son stay by himself for longer than 20 minutes (yet.)
I'm not sure what is black and white about daycare... unless we are talking about institutional care which we know involves deprivation and neglect. There have been many studies looking at daycare and its impact on children and results find no detrimental effect.
Having grown up in daycare and then becoming a latch-key kid, the daycare issue is black or white for me. But that's for me--- right now, and that doesn't mean that I can't support another family who chooses something else for their family. But yes, having experienced first-hand what it was like not having my mother around because she had to work all the time, I choose to stay home with my kids and be home after school when they walk in the door. What amazes me is how some people think that a child needs their mother most when they are very young....yes this may be in part true, but I feel that a child needs their mother the most when they are in their teens. This is when they are spreading their wings, experimenting, making their own decisions, and they need a parent there to guide them, and provide supervision so that they are not left to their own devices. If only I had someone to hold me more accountable... I wouldn't have done half the stuff I did. Now I realize that this may offend some readers, but again these are my feelings, for my family, from my own experience, where I am sharing on my blog. I am not putting anyone else down, because I do know that a child can grow up in daycare and turn out fine.... I did. I just want to be able to be there and provide for my kids the things that I feel I didn't get as a result of having my own mother work. I want to prevent some of the heart ache I went through growing up, and shelter my kids from experiencing the stuff that I did at least until they are eighteen. I know I can't do this 100%, but I do know that by me being home, I will have more of an influence on my kids than if I was preoccupied with work.
Totally off topic but I would love to hear what your family have been/is/plan to do to off set the rising cost of EVERYTHING. I am curious in case there is something you are doing that I could start doing. I saw where someone posted this on a ttc site. A few ideas have been helpful. You seem to really have it together.
Costs are rising? Hmm, hadn't noticed. LOL. Just kidding. Honestly, we haven't felt it too much because I am really a penny pincher. We do without many things that other people don't bat an eyelash when they purchase it. Seriously, I am very frugal. From switching our debt from promotional rate to promotional rate early on in our marriage to save on interest charges, to calling and getting a credit when our Internet is out for a few hours, to finishing up a deodorant that is broken by molding it back into shape each time I use it, to not buying expensive greeting cards, to always buying Suave shampoo, to wearing hand me downs, and buying generic brands, to washing the dogs myself, to cutting my kids' hair myself, I have managed to keep our budget in check. But honestly, ever since we began tithing, and realized that God is the best manager of our money, we have always been able to have ends meet. We have both found that God does such a better job of handling our finances than we do.
How did it go getting 15 kids to church??
It went well thank you.
What a delightful little personality Dennis is developing into - lively, curious, active, sweet-natured and affectionate. He's a great little boy.I wonder if some sort of soft patch might help protect his eye and allow him more freedom to rip and romp without fear of injury, until he can have the corrective surgeries (I can just see him as Dennis, the Toddler-Pirate! ;-)).
We wondered the same thing. Actually an eye patch would end up rubbing his membranes and cause more discomfort. Plus, he would just pull it off.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Needless to say my whole head hurt by the end of it....... even my eyelids were a bit numb.
Dennis is fascinated with glasses. He is always trying to put on these protective goggles and finally I bent them to fit around his ears. I had to hold his hand long enough for Anna to take a picture before he pulled them off only to try to put them back on. What a turkey!
Dennis is so stinkin' spoiled, it isn't funny........ but it is cute. The girls regularly take turns feeding him little pieces of crushed ice.
Wait a minute? Am I seeing right? Is that Annalyn changing a poopy diaper? Well, yes it is, and it is her very first one. With a little more practice, I think she will have Diaper Changing 101 down. While I do not in any way feel that it is any of my daughters' jobs to change their brother's diapers, I do believe that it is important for them to know how to, even at this age. It is the very beginnings of preparing them for motherhood someday right along with learning to cuddle him, feed him, get him dressed, and make him laugh. They all are great big sisters!
I made a huge pan of brownies the other day. William waited patiently with napkin in hand, for them to come out of the oven. Seriously.
Swim season is almost over, but when we have lots of company over, the kids don't mind the cold as much. Even John got in and had a great time with the kids.
Over the weekend, we made beef kebabs. They were simple and turned out great. MMmmm, yummy.
My friend Denise (and her kids) joined us for church Sunday morning and stayed for dinner. What's five more mouths to feed?
How crazy! Adam tried to transfer Caleb from his back to Joey's. I can't remember if they were successful or not, but no one got hurt.
One of the kids gave Dennis this hat. He loved wearing it until he tore it up.
Sometimes Adam and Caleb get into these goofy moods where they wrestle each other. Here is Caleb instigating Adam by trying to squish him on the couch. It worked.... enough said, but I broke it up before it got out of hand. For the first time ever, their horsing around ended on a good note, with neither of them getting hurt. I was proud of both of them for showing such self control.
Tonight, Andrew let me wiggle his very first loose tooth. How exciting. Me being overly excited for him to lose his first tooth, I tried to convince him to let me pull it out, but he just didn't think a tooth fairy gift was worth it--- yet. That's okay, he will pull it out or ask me to pull it out when he is ready.
Jonny has two warts on his elbow. Usually Grandma and Grandpa freeze it at their house, with it being no big deal. When I did it a week ago, he screamed and fought me, for no reason. I expressed how sad he made me feel like I was trying to hurt him on purpose. I let him know how I didn't think it was fair that he didn't act that way for Grandma and Grandpa. Well today when I asked if I could do it again, he let me, no problem. He was so brave, and cuddled while he cried a bit afterwards because it does sting to have a wart frozen. "I still love you Mommy, even if you fweeze my wart."
"Thanks Jonny." I let him fall asleep in our bed tonight.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Jen, a wonderful mother in the midst of submitting their dossier to adopt from Ukraine tagged me. Not a huge fan of the typical meme, I was excited to take this walk down memory lane.
15 years ago I was just eighteen years old. During this exact time, I was making some very important decisions about my life. I had just met John, and was trying to break off my relationship to my then boyfriend of five years. My dilemma.... did I want to stay in an emotionally,verbally and sometimes physically abusive relationship or did I want to date a nice, honest, hardworking, family loving, what I then defined to be a total dork of a guy? In a whirlwind romance, I ended up eloping in Tahoe just two and a half months after dating my husband, we became pregnant just eight months later.
10 years ago I was twenty-three years old with three children. Finally a Christian, I was beginning to spread my wings and get involved in our church. I took on the coordinator position of our church's mother's group....... and we broke away from Mops. It was wonderful to be a part of an amazing ministry that is still doing well today.
5 years ago I was twenty-eight years old and very pregnant. Just days away from giving birth in our own home, I am sure I was nesting like crazy.
3 years ago I was thirty years old and the new mother of two Russian daughters, Anna and Sveta. I was experiencing post-adoption depression, my home was in the midst of a major renovation and I felt totally overwhelmed. I remember standing in one of my kids' bedroom where there had been a fair amount of water damage from a rain storm just balling with three of my sisters in Christ hovered around me. Praise God, my depression only lasted a week or two but it will forever be a reminder how easy it is to succumb and slip into a pit of self-pity when things get tough. I now remember to not only go to my Lord when things are bad, but to praise him and express thanks when things are going well.
1 year ago, I was thirty-two years old and the mother of ten wonderful children. It is right around then that we decided to begin the adoption of a little boy from Ukraine. During this time, I also realized that my passion was to help people struggling with adoption issues and began working more and more with families needing help with bonding, discipline, adopting, and or disrupting.
Today, I spent a leisurely Saturday at home with five of my children while my husband took the other six to a water park. For dinner, I took them to McDonald's and we ate off the dollar menu. Later, I enjoyed listening to my kids share what an awesome time they had riding the water slides.
Tomorrow we will take 15 kids to church at 9:30 am----- four of them just friends. I will come home and make lunch and hopefully sneak in a short nap on the couch when Dennis goes down for his. At night, I will sinfully indulge myself and watch the season premiere of Desperate Housewives while hopefully eating a bowl of ice-cream.
I look at this picture and my heart fills with such joy. I didn't have this growing up, my sister and I are eight years apart, and so watching my girls doing things together makes me feel like we are giving them the gift of sisterly bonding. Sure there are days when they can't stand each other, but I know that they all love one another and would stick up for each other if necessary.
I did get to sleep in until 7:34 this morning. As we were all having breakfast Caleb knocked over his bowl of cereal. "This just ruined my day," he said.
"Caleb, try to think of something positive. Don't let this get you in a bad mood."
"At least I didn't pour the milk yet when I knocked it over." Now that is positive, I'd say.
The kids are loaded in the van ready to go and here's Mom lecturing them.
"Don't forget to pick up the trash and put it in the plastic bags I packed. Put on sunscreen. I mean it! Put it on thick and you should be good for the day. Hide your video game under the seat. We wouldn't want anyone to walk by and see it laying on the seat and be tempted to break the window or anything."
Ugh. I remind myself of someone. Thankfully, they just smiled through my speech.
When they left, I got started on cleaning. I vacuumed the blinds and window sills before I had Annalyn sweep. Isn't Dennis an observant little boy?
Like Mama, like son.
I tried the Shark steam mop this morning. It was really simple to put together and even a kid could figure out how to use it..... it's that easy. The first time I used it, I put the pad on dry. I had to go over stuck on food at least 8 times before the mop picked it up. When I went to add more water, I rinsed the pad and put it back on, which made the mopping much easier. This way, I only had to go over the food twice. The mop is really lightweight, but I feel like I might break it when I push down too hard. I think the psychological aspect of using hot steam appeals to me...... it makes me think my floor is getting really clean. I would even go as far as to say, the floor felt cleaner on my bare feet. No tackiness, stickiness, or grit was left behind. Overall, I am happy with the mop and actually look forward to using it next time.
I am a multi-tasker. Here I am reading my email with Dennis asleep in my arms. After 20 minutes, I finally got up to lay him down.
Today, I let the kids take a bath in my big tub. You would think that I bought them a pony or something by how happy they were. The first time I gave Dennis a bath in here, he was very slippery and not at all sure footed. Amazing how much more control he had of his balance in the tub today.
I supervised a bath for Anna and Annalyn. They are getting to the age where they are too old to be taking bath together, yet I know that they are still my little girls. They soaked in the tub until the bubbles disappeared. I love how sweet their hair smelled afterwards.
Lastly, I want to say hi to everyone in Reedley....... especially Sharon. I miss all of you!
Friday, September 26, 2008
Daddy is watching the presidential debate in this picture. Did any of you watch it? I over heard bits and pieces...... at this point my mind is made up. Today, I put in a request to re-register to vote since we live in a new city....... I can't wait..... it will feel so good being able to cast my vote even if it makes no difference in this Democratic state I live in.
Tonight I had some shopping to do. Dog food, underwear, diapers, cleanser, oh and a steam mop. Can you say impulse buy? I could mop the old fashioned way I know, but after watching the Shark demonstration at Costco, I have been very interested in getting one. I am feeling a bit guilty but if my most self indulgent purchase is a mop, I think I am okay. I don't buy make-up, perfume, hair dye.............I don't get massages, do my nails, or get my hair done regularly. I rarely buy Starbucks, go out to eat, or rent movies. But the idea of a clean, sanitary floor seems like such heaven, I splurged. Can you guess what I'll be doing tomorrow?
William is a Lego master. He built this really cool ship. I helped him wrap it up so he could take it to school for show and tell.
We have free tickets to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor tomorrow. I am so thankful that we got them because now the kids have one last thing to do as summer is ending. John and I decided that I would stay home with the younger kids, and he would take the older ones. We are also bringing four of the kids' friends. One of those friends is a 12 year old girl that I helped to find a new family for a year ago. When I met with both families a year ago, I though to myself that this little girl is going to keep her new family very, very busy to say the least. Well after a year, I am just so amazed to see how awesome she is doing. It is a blessing to have her come spend the night and go with my girls to the water park. She is a testimony outside of my girls just how wonderful children can do in another family with love and consistency, and unconditional love forever. I am tickled that my girls are having such a wonderful, fun time with her.
I am really encouraging Rachel to get closer to her since they are the same age and in the same grade and share similar pasts. I have seen my girls make huge progress just be being able to be around other children who have been in the same boat as them. Just like I find comfort in being around other adoptive parents who understand what we go through as a family, I know that they find comfort in each other because they share the common bond of adoption.
John has been watching Journey to the Center of the Earth with the kids for a half hour every night this week. He really wants to make traditions that the kids will always remember and talk about when they are all grown up. I can just picture them talking about how Dad made them watch cheesy movies together while eating popcorn.
As for me, shame on me, I always slip away to blog.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Today I had his consult up at Valley Children's. The appointment was at 1pm but because the doctor had an emergency brain tumor surgery we had to wait an extra hour. No biggie, I just hope the child is okay. With an hour to spare I got myself familiar with the hospital.... they have a wonderful playground.
Anyway, I met with the plastic surgeon who was incredibly optimistic. It has been determined by the team that his eye will done first. It will be removed and replaced with a prosthetic eye. The doctor wants to use a local expert in Oculoplastics but he won't talk to him until next week. If he doesn't work out then he has someone else in mind. Now it is just a matter of actually scheduling the surgery--- he estimates that Dennis will most likely be in the hospital two or three days for this first procedure. Next to be done will be the soft tissue surrounding the eye. After that there will be a series of Z-Plasty surgeries depending on the results from each surgery done at the same time Dennis' cleft is repaired. Down the road Dennis will have dental work done by a Maxofacial surgeon including the jaw, possible bone graft, and teeth.
I admit that I was expecting to have more of a detailed plan but I am happy with the plan none the less. Dennis is now so active and active little boys get sweaty and dirty that his eye is constantly crusty and needing to be washed out. I put drops in now twice a day to keep the mucous down. Also he has bumped or poked or scratched his eye already three different times making it more irritated than usual. Not too big a deal, but we are all in agreement that the sooner Dennis can start having his surgeries the better.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Despite Anna being thirsty and hungry she really was a good girl for the whole procedure.
In the waiting room, this funny mirror kept Jonny's attention....... for three minutes.
Anna's MRI went well. Because she is adopted she had to have full body X-Ray to make sure there are no metal objects inside her. I asked what they would do with Dennis once he has his glass eye and they said that if it moves with the help of a magnet then he will not be able to have an MRI. Hmmm, interesting. You learn something new everyday.
I got to quickly drop in and say hi to a friend over in the HR department--- but the boys were hungry so it was really really quick. We grabbed something at the cafeteria--- yikes the food is rather expensive---- I guess I will be packing food when I am here for Dennis' surgeries.
We got to go home a little after 2pm. Within five minutes Jonny, Dennis, and Anna were out like a light. They slept all the way home and allowed me some peace and quiet to think and pray.
It felt nice being able to reconnect with God----- I so selfishly forget to spend time with him everyday and the drive home provided me the opportunity to lift up those I had promised to pray for during the week.
Tonight our church (it feels so nice being able to once again say "our" church) had a kick off dinner for the kids' Wednesday night program. It was really nice. They had really good food and lots of things for the kids to do, and we met so many nice, new people that have went out of their way to come and talk to us. I guess the word has spread pretty quickly that a crazy couple with 11 kids has started attending the church and everyone wants to come and meet us. Ahhhh, just kidding, but I must admit that I sure feel welcome and at home here. Praise God.
Rachel had fun doing the bounce house obstacle course.
So did Julia.
Annalyn somehow hurt her toe and made it bleed. I am sure it hurt Annalyn, and John made sure to give it some lovin' but we knew that we wanted her to attend class as did she so we cleaned up her toe and put her shoe back on. From past experience we have seen Annalyn use little things like this to seek extra attention from complete strangers or least people she doesn't know very well so we instructed her to keep her shoe on (it was tied loosely) until we got home. But, sure enough when John went to get the kids, Annalyn's shoe was off and she was showing off her toe. Still working on this. When we got home I bandaged it up...... I hope I convinced her that she is going to be okay.
Dennis and Daddy had a great game of chase. Dennis actually understood it and had a great time chasing Daddy round and round.
But Dennis' little legs couldn't keep up and soon he tired out.
The main thing is that as we were all in the car driving home John and I asked all the kids if they like our new church.
All of them screamed yes except William who said, "No it is not better because I didn't win a prize in the raffle."
This is totally something that only William would say.
John answered him, "Did our other church even have a raffle?"
"Well no...... nevermind then." This too is so typical of William. Don't worry though he is over it now and actually likes our new church afterall.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Adam and I both went to the dentist today. Ugh..... I hate going to the dentist. I love the scraping part, it's about as close to a massage as I am going to get, but I dread the possibility of being told, "You have a cavity." And even after being told by the hygienist what beautiful healthy teeth I have..... how do you have the time, I still ended up with a cavity..... two in fact. Double ugh! And Adam owes me 10 bucks. Looks like we'll both be coming back in to see Mr. Drill.
Dennis continues to amaze us everyday. Who knew he could be such a ham....... a turkey....... my little tomato. Honestly, what I would give to know what is going on his mind. He is just so smart and to watch him explore and do so many new things, I shudder to think how he would be exactly the same as when we first met him back on June 23, 2008 had we not brought him home. I guess thinking about that is water under the bridge now... what matters is that he is home.
He thought to stand on this basket so that he could get a better view of the piano keys. He might just be the best two year old pianist I know.
Andrew when given good direction can play and play and play and focus on doing whatever it is that he sets his mind too. I just have to remember to redirect him more or he will quickly turn wild and get into mischief. Christine, make a mental note to self------- have a new activity for Andrew to do everyday and he will not drive you crazy.
Homework is done immediately after school in our home. As soon as the kids get home, I expect all of them to sit down and work on it. Sure, they will have a snack--- yogurt, top ramen, peanuts, or something, but their focus has to stay on homework. Every day I go over everyone's homework and sign progress reports. I often give numerous spelling tests to Rachel and Sveta. I initial all of the younger kids' homework in the upper right hand corner so that the teacher knows I looked it over. I read with Andrew, Sveta, Anna, and sometimes Rachel. We are still learning this school's homework routine, but it is getting easier each day. I like that Anna and William have the same packet. I like when the kids will bring home one packet for the whole week for them to work on a little each day. Now that Wednesday night church is starting, I can have them do that night's homework on Tuesday.
Despite Dennis' cleft palate, he is such a good eater. When we first brought him home he would sit completely still with both hands flat on his highchair tray as if he was trained to do this. It was sad how he didn't even want to try to pick up a spoon or cookie even when we encouraged it. Thankfully this didn't last and now he is feeding himself Vanilla Wafers, graham crackers, Cheerios, and even small Cheetos Puffs. I know I am a bad Mommy for feeding him that junk, but he sees the other kids eating it and wants some too...... is there really any harm? I used to worry about it getting caught in his cleft, but it is actually pretty shallow and small and he sogs up his food real good before he swallows, that all I can say is Dennis is one amazing eater.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Even though Anna just turned 10, I love how she enjoys playing with her younger brothers. I don't think she will ever be too old to spend time with them and if that means doing things that they enjoy for their sake, then she will. Tonight Anna, Dennis, and Jonny were playing veggie stand with my vegetables. Secretly, I bet she wants the grocery cart that we got Dennis for his birthday because it always ends up in her room.
Remember this post? Well Anna still loves pomegranates!
Here are a few of my favorite posts about my little Anna.
Yep, that's my daughter
Something to Treasure
Anna is a Tiger!
Sveta is growing up into such a beautiful and outgoing girl. I love how contagious her laugh is, and her love for animals proves how big her heart is! I feel extra protective of her, and somehow I think she senses that. I look forward to the many years ahead that John and I will have with her long after the rest of the kids have flown the coop. I thank God that he opened our eyes to the beauty that lies within every child---- even a child with special needs.
Sveta loved to dance then (watch the end), but boy does she love to dance now!
Here are some posts worth reading about my Svetichka.
Sveta's 11th birthday
The Trees are Flying