Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Strep Throat (Again)

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is: getting everyone infected with strep throat. Just kidding. That would suck. And make Elf a whole lot less fun of a movie.

But we did visit the doctor at 7:45 on Friday morning, and Owen was the fastest positive they have ever had. When he told me that his throat hurt that morning I would normally have been the "buck it up and we will see how it develops." But because we have hit our deductable and it wasn't going to cost us anything, we went in, and boom, strep. Right before we were heading out of town to spend time with millions of other family members.

We weren't scheduled to arrive until after his 24 hours on antibiotics happened and he was therefore no longer contagious. But the rest of us are still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Fingers crossed.

Christmas was fairly uneventful at our house. Moyz and Kembia were so not into the presents. Although Kembia did clap for herself when she ripped the paper on her present and looked at us like she thought she did the coolest thing in the world.

Still, they loved playing with the things that we got them, and it once again made me think about how different their lives were in so short a time. Made me hold them extra tight and long if they would allow it!

Oh, and we got Moyz's green card finally! Only took 5 months to get. Oh well, at least it came even if it wasn't necessary. Now I just need to get their social security numbers and we can be set for taxes. Here's hoping they wont audit everyone who adopted and finalized in 2011! Or it will be next fall before we get our money. Anybody thinking of Jerry Maguire and "show me the money!" That sounds very materialistic and earthy of me, but it would be nice to have money once again in our savings account. You know, for emergencies. Like our fridge that has been dying since we bought the house. Okay, maybe dying isn't quite the correct word, but it only cools to about 42 degrees and the microbiologist in me cringes that this is 2 degrees higher than what is considered the warmest it should be. I can just imagine all the bacteria growing waiting to strike the Nelson's with food poisoning, and by Nelsons I mean me. Everyone else in my family apparently has a stomach made out of steel.

Geesh, I gotta git a grip. Anyway, hope Christmas was wonderful at your joint!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oreo Cookie Bark

This is the perfect recipe for that last-minute-going-somewhere-I-should-probably-bring-something event.

There are 3 ingredients. Yep, that's it.

The recipe is as follows:

Oreo Bark
Ingredients:
12 oz. milk chocolate
6 oz. white chocolate
15 Oreos

Directions:
Put the oreos into a large ziploc bag and crush them until they are in small, bite-sized pieces.
Melt the milk chocolate in a double boiler.
When chocolate is melted and smooth, carefully stir in Oreo pieces.
Spread the mixture onto a foil covered cookie sheet, trying to keep the cookies in an even layer.
Melt white chocolate in microwave and drizzle it on top. Use a knife to swirl.
Let cool & harden (I put the tray in the refrigerator to speed things up). Break into bite sized pieces.

I wouldn't recommend using Double Stuff because then you don't get very much of the bark. Or you could use them but then double all of the other chocolate.

It's heaven, I promise you. I made some for this weekend and it was so good my hubby said we should put it in the deep freeze downstairs until then so we don't eat it all in the mean time! Enjoy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas is almost here!

Did you know that Christmas is December 25th? Somehow, it creeps up on me every year, even though it never changes. And especially this year the time has flown. I still have the Christmas wreath I meant to hang on my front door upstairs in my living room in the wreath box right next to the tree. It didn't quite make it there, and truth be told, I am not going to hang it now only to turn around and take it down in a week.

I did, however, get stockings made for everyone in the family. Here they are:



I decided to make some because we just had a mish-mash of ugly ones. Ava had a white one back from when we thought she would be an only child. (Can you hear me snorting?!) And then we bought some more from the thrift store for all the new kidlets and I felt even worse about them. So I headed to JoAnn's and bought fabric and came up with those. I am pretty proud of them if I do say so myself. I just winged it. No pattern, examples or anything. And I noticed that the stockings spell out A OK because of the order of our kids' names. Funny. Chris and I have them too, but since we have no fireplace and this mirror only has 5 hooks they are resting on a chair.

Totally finished with my shopping, although I still have lots of my homemade gifts left to finish. It felt so weird to be shopping for our children knowing that last Christmas they had nothing, and now how their lives are permanently different now that they are with us.

We never go all out at Christmas and really try to keep the focus on Jesus. We don't do Santa which has led to lots of interesting things when out in public. Like our kids telling other kids that there isn't a Santa and horrifying both them and their parents. And then our kids wondering why other parents would lie to their children. I read on a blog called Gus and Lula (don't know how to link, sorry) that they are using the jingle that goes like this:

"Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read"

I thought that was clever, and practical, but still allows for something you "want" and for it to seem magical. I think Chris and I are going to put this into play next year. And just to be clear, that is still 4 presents for each kid, which in our case would be a combo of 20 presents total, but we aren't talking expensive presents. My kids love those fancy toothbrushes with characters on them, which we don't normally get, and you can find those at the dollar store, thus fulfilling the something you need category. We will sit down with the kids and share the little jingle above and how we are applying that for our family. I will admit that Owen thinks if you put something on your wish list that you are going to get it. We're still working on that!

Anyway, hope you are able to find some time during this mad, crazy rush of a week leading up to Christmas to reflect on Jesus' birth here on this earth and everything set into motion because of that. He loves each and everyone of us and this seems especially fitting this year. Just as Kembia and Moyz were adopted into our family, we can be adopted into Jesus'.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pinterest, Rap Music and Locked Pantry

Finally figured out how to use Pinterest. I had really been interested in it, but everytime I went there it just seemed so overwhelming to set up everything and figure out how to use it. Kind of like when you go into a Marshalls or TJ Maxx- you need to be in the mood to dig, and Pinterest was like that for me. Now that my friend helped me sort it out, I am sure it will be another excellent way to waste time, kind of like my blog reading habit....

Owen thinks that rapping is a "different language". And he wonders how they do it. I love rap music, but really can't listen to too much of it because of wording and content, so the rare rap song without all the nasties is a huge thing for me. He really loves the beats and takes after his momma in that respect. Everything else is Chris. Ever heard of a rap loving fisherman? Me neither, he may just be the first.

Yesterday Owen locked the food pantry. The lock happens to be on the inside of the door and we have never had a key for it. Apparently after almost 5 years of life he noticed it for the first time and decided to turn it. Chris was still out of town and all I had to feed everyone was frozen waffles and whatever wasn't rotten in the fridge from our being gone. We went over to a friends for a play date already arranged and luckily were fed lunch. When we got home I spent a good 20 minutes taking the hinges off the door to be able to access our food. Fun times here at our home!

And now we are hoping to avoid Christmas day flu. We went over to a friend's house to play, one that we haven't been at for quite awhile given that we are generally hermits, and after a serious morning of the kids all playing hard, her daughter threw up on the couch. Haven't had a round of barfing yet since the kidlets have been home. Seriously hoping it stays that way.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bad Blogger

Haven't posted in a while because the kids and I have been at my parents house. Chris had to work out of town for a week and I wasn't feeling up to being a single parent of 5 for that length of time. We even let Ava miss some school which she thought was awesome and I felt slightly guilty about. That would be the nerd in me.

Today we got back after the car ride from hell, which in the end, turned out to be 100% my fault. Kembia sits in the back with Ava and Owen, Moyz and Truitt are in the middle section. Kembia started crying and yelling and making a ton of noise about 1 hour into the ride. It was right at nap time and so I figured she was just extremely exhausted from a crazy few days and so I basically ignored her.

Of course, she continued to do this on and off the whole way home. I asked Ava if she thought she had pooped but Ava said she couldn't smell anything, and with Kembia you can always smell. Then the last hour before we made it home, Moyz decided to join in the yelling. He truly didn't have a reason other than his sister was doing it and those two feed off of each other in a big way. Owen was whining because he was exhausted and spent a lot of time around his cousin who happens to be a fairly decent whiner himself, and Ava was whining because everyone around her was in a bad mood.

We finally get home and I get all the kids inside only to find out that Kembia had peed completely through her clothes and down her jeans into her shoes. I'm thinking that this must have happened around the time she initially started whining and so this makes me an exceptionally crappy parent for the day. Next time I will ask Ava if she smells any poop or if Kembia's clothes are wet.

And then I finally got my hair stuff for Moyz I ordered last week. His hair is the driest I have ever felt in my entire life. I have tried a fair amount of things to help it maintain its moisture and wasn't being successful at all. So I spent a bazillion dollars buying some Miss Jessie's Baby Buttercreme, buy one get one free hoping that it will do him some good. Seriously, this stuff is expensive, I spent $72 with shipping and handling. I still can't believe I spent that amount of money, but I am desperate and was finding a lot of good reviews on it. Of course, since then, I have found a lot of bad reviews and now I am feeling a little bit panicky that my costs-an-arm-and-a-leg-hair-cream will be all for naught. Cause seriously, we don't exactly have the money to be buying expensive hair creams for 15 month olds. Or adults for that matter. Anyone have any tips/products for me? We have tried: Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil shampoo which works well for washing, and Pink. People generally rave about the coconut oil, but it doesn't seem to do anything for him. I have had someone suggest vaseline and then someone tell me not to, as well as people who say they just use whatever and it doesn't matter. His hair is so dry it really feels horrible to touch. I am tempted to cut it and start over with less damage, but then I still need to find something that works. The problem is, buying all of these items in the hope that we find something is getting a little bit expensive. Regardless of how well it works, Moyz and Kembia will be Baby Buttercremed up until that stuff is gone!




Thursday, December 8, 2011

Getting my inner Ma Ingalls On

This is how I feel about doing laundry:



And with 5 kids, I do a lot of it, both laundry and the laundry crying. You know what hubby's advice is? "Do a little every day and then it won't be so overwhelming." Well, let me tell you (and him) that at 30 years old, I do, in fact, know how to do laundry. But that doesn't mean I like it.

I dislike it for several reasons: I hate folding it and putting it away, it kind of seems a worthless step since we go through it so fast, and I hate how much that stinkin' laundry soap costs. We use Purex, which used to be like $6 per bottle and is now $9. More kids, more laundry, more laundry soap, more money. I can't imagine how much it would cost if I used Tide, which by the way is my favorite laundry smell, but I can't bring myself to buy it because it costs so much....

So I got the genius idea to google laundry soap recipes. And I found one which seemed good. Here it is:

LAUNDRY DETERGENT
• 1 bar bath soap, grated (your favorite brand, fels naptha is great)
• 1 cup arm & hammer super washing soda laundry detergent (a laundry booster)
• 1/2 cup borax
• hot water
Directions:
Place grated soap in a pot.
Cover with water and simmer over medium heat until all soap is melted, stirring occasionally.
Pour into 5 gallon bucket.
Add washing soda and borax.
Add enough hot water to fill the bucket.
Stir (I use a long measuring stick, but any long stick will work).
Let sit overnight to gel.
Use 1 cup per load.

Everything you need is in the laundry aisle at your local Walmart. The soap was $.97, washing soda $3.27 for 55 oz. and the Borax I already had but I think it's like $3 a box. The hardest thing about this recipe is grating the soap, which isn't that hard at all, although I did have to keep Kembia and Moyz from trying to eat the yellow pieces that shot out of the bowl and onto the floor. I stirred it up with an actual stick from my yard. And sure enough, it gelled right up.

This morning I did a load to see how it went, and it's worth noting if you try this that it does not bubble up in the machine. I waited for it to do this when I poured it in, and then I decided I better wait to put the clothes in until it starts to agitate to see if it bubbles, it never bubbles so don't let that alarm you. After it was done, I did the "Sniff Test". You should all instinctively know what this test is, but if you are wondering what the heck I am talking about, grab something that would normally smell bad, socks, underwear, and smell it to see if it is clean. So I did. And they were. Clean that is.

The recipe makes 5 gallons of soap, at probably around just over a dollar for 5 gallons. This is much cheaper than any store bought soap you can get. Of course, the gel is kind of gross looking and no pretty bubbles to make you feel good about it, but considering how much money you save and how fast it is, I have doubts that I will ever go back to store bought soap.

I was feeling very 1800's as I stirred my homemade soap with my stick. Very Ma Ingalls- ish to me! And probably the recipe would be considered "green" if you are in to that thing. I didn't make it for that reason, I made it solely to save money, but the greenness is a bonus.

Quick update: I just did another load using warm water and this time it did bubble. I also scooped a little lower where it wasn't so gel-ish. Bubbles or not, it's getting my clothes clean.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Things I'm Lovin' Right Now

Thought I would make a list of all the things that I am in love with right now, just for kicks.

1. McDonald's Peppermint Mocha. But at $3.21 after tax, I don't want to drink one every day, cause it's not exactly cheap. Or healthy for that matter, I googled it and there are a whopping 340 calories in a medium. But I think I found a good alternative. When Chris and I had our night away, I dumped some Junior Mints into my coffee, and I think it's pretty darn close, especially if you add whip cream.

2. The Hunger Games trilogy. Usually I am up on new books that come out because I am a giant nerd. However, I totally missed this, given the fact that there is a movie coming out on book one this coming March. I read all three books in 3 days, and yes, I swear I was still a decent mom to my kids! They are a very fast paced read and just good. Check them out.

3. Our new 43" plasma tv that was a gift to us for Christmas. I know, you are thinking about all the times that I have written that we don't watch tv. What has changed? Well, 5 kids changes a lot, and sometimes, I love it that I can turn PBS on and feel not so guilty about it. Plus I cannot believe how amazing the picture is. After 8 1/2 years of no tv shows ever, minus the winter Olympic games the time before last, and watching Obama walk down the road when he became president, even though I didn't vote for him, we have not watched a television show at our house. That has changed in the last two weeks. I still only let them watch 1 maybe 2 PBS shows in a row before I get all panicky feeling inside and have to shut it off, but they genuinely enjoy it. Owen loves Zoboomafoo, and Word World. And I have yet to watch any other type of channel. It is permanently on PBS so I still have no idea about all the latest hot shows. Although, if I was completely honest with you, I would love to get HGTV which I watch at my parents house when we visit. But it's probably a good thing I don't have it, because it would be insane to spend that type of money to get one channel, and I probably would never get anything done around my house and gain a million pounds because I would watch it all day long.

4. Adele. I love her voice. Every time I hear her sing, I pretend that it's me belting out the tunes and everyone is so impressed with me. Because I can't exactly carry a tune outside the alto range. And really I am not that good in it.

5. Christopher Paolini's Inheritance series. The last book just came out in November. I started it but then got distracted by the Hunger Games. Chris finds my love of books with dragons, etc. in them bizarre. But I love this type of stuff. After 3 months of not reading a thing, it is nice to feel like I have the time to do this again. I also read the Steig Larsson girl with the dragon tattoo series, but I have mixed feelings about them. They are quite graphic in books one and two, and I just don't like that at all. Book 3 was much better. I kept reading all these reviews about them that were so amazing and I wanted to see for myself. They were okay. But I will definitely not be seeing the movie. I just don't need to visualize some of the things that were in the book. If anyone has read anything good lately and wants to share, that would be great. I read almost anything.

Think I'll stop at 5 since my "list" turned into giant paragraphs.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

First Night Away

On Friday, Chris' company had their Christmas party. They always do an amazing job, good food and music and it really is an all around enjoyable evening. This year, he surprised me by booking a hotel room at the Crowne Plaza where the party was. We were on the 20th floor right next to the Presidential Suite, and had an amazing view over the river.

I was completely surprised by it and so excited. We have not had a night away from the kids since Truitt was born 4 months ago.

Truth be told, I was a little nervous about what it might do to Moyz. We have made such amazing strides with him and I did not want to set him back at all. We left at 4 on Friday evening and didn't get back until about 12:30 Saturday afternoon. When we came home the kids were eating and they excitedly said "daddy" (because I am apparently chopped liver!) and babbled to us and then continued on with their lunch. Everything went great, no regressive behavior or bad attitudes toward us. It was a much needed break, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Of course, we were all glammed up looking hot and I did not even get one picture of us together. Isn't that the way it goes?

Friday, December 2, 2011

America's Newest Citizens

Presenting America's two newest citizens!

Monday, November 28, 2011

First Family Picture



It is super pathetic that the kids have been home for 4 months and this is the first family picture we have. I have zero good excuses, but lots of bad ones. However, we finally got one, and this is the best of the bunch, and therefore will be our Christmas card picture as well.

I hate to admit how many shots it took along with several people yelling the kids' names so they would hopefully all look at the camera at the same time.

Without further ado, here is the updated Nelson clan pic:



We also put up the Christmas tree yesterday. This went okay. Ava and Owen loved it and had a good time, Kembia pretty much ignored what was going on and Moyz cried almost the entire time because we kept having to take breakable ornaments away from him, and then the one soft ornament I gave to him to play with, Owen took and hung on the tree. Poor Moyz, he came crying to me and talking in the saddest voice ever and when I saw his little ornament on the tree and gave it back to him he quit crying immediately. They do seem to like it all lit up though.

And then, when we were decorating, Truitt decides to do this:



And since Owen dropped the busted soap squirter down the tub drain and the tub now backs up anytime someone uses it and we haven't had a chance to disconnect it from the basement to pull it out, we had to clean him up in the kitchen sink. Somehow baby poop seems less gross than say, Kembia and Moyz poop. Still, I am not a fan of cleaning up poop in the area that food is. Of course, with three kids in diapers, pretty much every area in our house is a poop area!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Green Card

Moyz's green card has been annoying to me to say the least. It hasn't come in the 4 months since he has been home and we have had many calls to USCIS and opened up a couple of formal inquiries into the matter. None of this has helped at all, and they always say call back in 30 days if you don't hear anything. So I do, and they never know anything different.

The last time I called they suggested to make an InfoPass appt. at the closest USCIS center to my house, which happens to be about 70 miles away. We had our appt. yesterday, and I was hoping to finally put an end to all of the questions. (We did, but first I want to talk about the experience).

Anyway, Chris took off a couple hours over lunch to come with because I figured if I hauled 4 kids to an official meeting with a division of the govt. they wouldn't exactly appreciate it, so he and Owen, Truitt and Kembia stayed in the car while Moyz and I went in.

You have to go through security just like at the airport. There was one scanner for you to walk through, and one belt for you to put your stuff on and them to look at it in their little machine, but there were 6 cops available to help. It made no sense at all. Four of them just sat at the back of the room and watched the other two work. I kept beeping so I had to get wanded and which point one of the sitting 4 got up to do that. I had to put Moyz down on the floor so they could go over me and he clinged to my legs and just stared at the guy.

Then we had to go downstairs, where I kid you not, there was another cop whose job it appears, is to stand outside the door where you go in for information. I have no idea how she handles standing in one spot all day, or really what her purpose is because there are 6 cops upstairs, but I would probably shoot myself with my own gun if I had to just stand by a door all day. Meanwhile I am thinking that it appears quite excessive and a giant waste of tax payers money to have all of these people employed just standing around and doing nothing. Plus, there was another cop in a different part of the building who sat in a chair all day. No computer, book, nothing. Just sitting in a chair. I sincerely hope that their pay and benefits are good because how else you could handle a job like that all day, every day for your life? Meanwhile, most of me is thinking no wonder our country is in such huge debt, here at this one center alone they have 6 extra people we are paying for that aren't necessary...

Oh, I also forgot to say that I had a camera in my ginormous baby bag I wasn't aware of, so when they found it in the scanner I had to go back outside to put it away and stand at the back of the line to go through security again.

Anyway, I am getting side tracked. When we finally got to meet with the agent, he said that he can find no reason for Moyz not to have gotten his green card. There is nothing in the system to show any concern at all. He was going to open up yet another inquiry to try and find out what was going on. I asked if there was someone I could talk to at the Texas Center who deals with green cards, and he said no, that they do things so different that there wasn't really anyone to talk to. For real? Maybe they should let one of the 6 sitting cops go and hire someone who could help...

Right as we are leaving he asks if we are in the process of readopting. I told him that we have court soon. To which he tells me that once we readopt we don't need the green card anyway to apply for the cert. of citizenship, so in essence, we don't need the green card at all.

Why couldn't someone have told us this at the beginning? you know before we wasted countless time on the phone, driving 140 miles round trip and Chris taking time off work all for nothing? At least I had an answer to the long green card saga, but it did little to bolster my confidence in our govt. More things have been botched in our paperwork with the govt. then I care to admit. If you are in the middle of an adoption, or even considering it, make sure you follow your paper trail and know how things are going at all times. One full year after we switched from Ethiopia to DRC, the visa center still had us registered as adopting from Ethiopia, we were trying to set an embassy date in Kinshasa, and they said they didn't have any Nelson's adopting from DRC with our name. even though I was holding in my hand while on the phone with them the confirmation that showed us switching countries over a year ago. This took a LONG time to straighten out, and we wasted several weeks with this. Then the embassy said our fingerprints had expired, they had but we had also renewed them like a month prior to this.

I guess the good news is, is that our kids are home and doing well. And it is amazing how quickly you forget all of the things that caused pain or were problems, and this is definitely a good thing! Still, I am not sure how families can do the whole adoption process again and again, one time for us was enough stress to last us a million lifetimes!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Snow :(

Okay, I knew it was coming, it's not like you can avoid it here in the North. But somehow I had convinced myself that perhaps this year we wouldn't get any snow. Fat chance.

Last week it had briefly snowed but not enough to accumulate and only for a few minutes. Kembia and Moyz saw it and went ballistic about it thinking it was awesome and all that. And then yesterday we actually got a couple of inches so we put all of their gear on to take them outside in it.

Well, Chris put all of their gear on them and I left with Truitt to have an afternoon to myself that was sorely needed or I was going to bang my head against a wall.

Anyway, today we bundled them up again and I have determined that I am never going to get anywhere on time. Maybe if I start preparing an hour before I even have to leave I might just make it. Moyz looked at us like we were crazy when we tried to put mittens on him. he was not a happy child and threw himself onto the floor to complain. I don't imagine it will take too many cold days before he realizes that mom and dad know what they are doing when we cram his hands into a tiny confined space and now he can no longer grab everything and stick it into his mouth. By the way, I totally forgot that kids try and eat everything when they are little. That kid puts the dumbest things into his mouth but nothing seems to faze him.

Kembia is taking it all in stride for the most part. She is doing remarkably well. Her favorite thing to do right now is when I ask her for a kiss she gives me the cutest look ever and then turns her head away and giggles in this semi-evil sounding voice that she has whenever she thinks she is being exceptionally funny. She is actually doing that right now as she puts popcorn in her hair. I have no idea why she does this, but Moyz thinks it rocks too because every time he sees her do it he has to put some up there to. I would pay big bucks to know what those two are thinking.

Anyway, I hope to be better about posting pictures of the kids, but I have been lazy/crazy because I either take them and then can't find my camera after I misplace it for the millionth time, or forget to take pictures and then kick myself. Maybe that will be my New Year's resolution because I know that a blog is way more fun with pictures. Especially when the kids are as cute as mine!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Braving Playlands

We have mostly stayed away from restaurant playlands of any type since the kidlets have gotten home. There are several reasons for this.

1. They could only sit for the longest time and a child that can only sit in a playland with all of the other crazy children running around is a child who will get clobbered.

2. They resemble orphanages with all of the kids and adults around.

3. It was just too stressful for me

But yesterday some girlfriends and I went to the local Burger King playland. And we had a blast, Kembia and Moyz as well. I was definitely worried about how it would go with Moyz considering his penchant for just going to random women whenever he wants, but he did awesome. He played and every time he needed something or wanted some extra love he came to me. Every. single. time. He would bypass all of the other women who were closer to him and come to get his Momma.

Sometimes I feel like 4 months is forever and that he should just attach, darn it all, and then I realize how short of a time that is, and realize that he is doing pretty darn amazing for only being with us that long. There really isn't anyway to be totally prepared for dealing with attachment. You can read all of the books and watch seminars and meet with people who have experienced it, but when it is with your kids in your home, things are just different. A lot of times you don't even recognize what something was until you are passed it and can look back and go, oh yeah, that's what was happening.

And then I had my first experience with someone who assumed that I had a daycare. I took 4 of the 5 kids to Kohls to try and do some Christmas shopping, and when I got in one of the women who was at the front said "Oh, you brought your day care with you." I looked at her sweetly and said "Nope, they are all mine." She didn't really respond back. I have to admit that I was probably more bugged by this than I should have been. Actually, we have probably been quite fortunate with peoples responses to our family given that we don't exactly live in the most diverse town. I can think of 6 other black people. That's it. There may be more, but I only know 6.

Anyway, this was the first time that someone assumed they weren't my kids. Other people have asked if they were all mine, but no one has assumed that they weren't and said it out loud to me. I know, this is probably my issue and I will need to deal with it, and I am positive that it won't be the last time, or even the worst thing that will be said. But it still bugged me. Perhaps because I would never say something that out loud to someone. I may do what others have done and ask if they were all mine, but would never assume that they weren't. Oh well, have to get over it.

And to top it all off, Kembia had her first diaper yeast infection. I will be completely honest with you, I had no idea what it was. Cause guess what, they look totally different on black kids than what they looked like on my white ones. On Ava, Owen and Truitt a yeast infection was bright red, and had bumps all over, on my poor Kembia it was a pale pink on her lovely chocolate skin and I couldn't understand it. Plus a few of them had popped and I got way concerned. I even started googling herpes to see if it was possible that she had gotten it from her birth mom when she was born, since we had no health info. on her birth mom. First of all, never google health stuff. I don't know why I never learn my lesson. And second of all, if you do, and if you are looking for pictures to help you diagnose, they are all of white people and not any help at all. Plus, you probably should just stay away from googling herpes in general. Not pleasant.

So we took her in today and the doctor said yeast infection. To which I was happy because I laid in bed last night stressing about what my poor sweetie might have and didn't get a lot of sleep. Shouldn't be too hard to take care of.

That's what is new with us. Fun fun fun!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

So I think that it is official. Moyz is definitely starting to attach. This is a wonderful thing. For the last two weeks he has been extremely needy of me in the evenings. Both Chris and I have noticed it and kind of wondered what was going on. We sort of assumed it was all of the teeth he is getting. But over the last week he has been almost frantic to get to me throughout the day. Very similar behavior to what Kembia initially did.

I am trying to muster up the patience necessary to deal with several months of him possibly never wanting me to leave his sight, although I don't think that it will be quite like that. He has the ability to walk into whatever room I am in and find me. We spend a lot of time just holding each other, and when he feels like he has recharged enough he will get up and go and play again. Sometimes he will play for awhile and sometimes he will leave and come back right away.

I was starting to regret spending so much money on the Ergo, but we have busted it our full force again, as I end up wearing him in the evenings as I prepare supper and things like that. Or just walk around the house with him on my back. Yesterday he fell asleep in it while I was folding clothes and all that jazz.

Of course, now that I know why he is exhibiting his behavior it makes me feel slightly guilty that I didn't have the patience for Kembia. But I can't change that, only go forward from here, I will admit that sometimes it is hard to be loving and patient when your children are crying and desperate to get to you and won't leave you alone even to go to the bathroom. Sometimes it drives me crazy that between breastfeeding and holding other kids I never have my body to myself. I really am not necessarily a touchy type person to begin with, so to have someone almost always melded to me has been a challenge all in its own.

But that being said, I am so thankful that he finally is getting the idea that I am permanent, someone that loves him and he is beginning to love too.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Attachment Therapist round 2

Yesterday we took Moyz to his appt. at the U with the attachment therapist. Overall it went well and we were not surprised by her concerns and what she said.

When Moyz first got home, he was one of the silent kids that you hear about. He could only sit up on his own so if he tipped over he could not get himself back up into sitting, but he also wouldn't make a sound to let us know he had fallen. The type who you didn't know was awake in the morning or from naps because he didn't make a peep. We were dealing so much with Kembia because she was much more vocal and I was gong to go insane if we somehow couldn't help her with her issues. Moyz would sit in the living room and play by himself essentially for what could have been forever. And he never fussed.

He is NOT this way now. He very vocally lets us know when he is awake, when he wants to be held and when he wants something. He runs all over the house and looks for us when he needs extra time and love. But he still does go to almost any other woman which I have mentioned before, and that was why we decided to take him in to the therapist just to make sure we were doing everything we could for him.

Basically she said that she probably would have classified him when he first came home with an attachment disorder. She does NOT think that he has this now. She placed him on the relationship line where he is learning that I am mom and how to have a relationship with a parent. Incidentally, Kembia is also on this line, just much further along.

Our goal with Moyz is to help draw him out when he closes in and starts to do his lip sucking, and stomach rubbing. He does this when he is stressed, feels like he isn't getting enough attention and other reasons. We are going to focus on interacting with him to draw him out. It is as easy with him as taking a car and driving it up him and tickling him. He laughs and jumps up into our arms and starts talking and interacting a ton.

We also are going to keep going from the therapists suggestion, on not letting anyone hold him or feed him besides Chris and I and the kids in a pinch if we need it. Nobody else should hug him or kiss him as well. Another big thing is to protect him when we are out in public. Now I realize that I am his mom, and perhaps partial, but the therapist said it too so it hopefully won't look so vain! But Moyz is quite a good looking child, and thus people are always coming up to him (Kembia too) in public and talking to him and touching his hand and all that stuff. We are going to try and keep this from happening as much as possible. He may not understand that it's because he is so darned cute, but he does understand that if he flashes a smile or reaches out to strangers they will in turn give him the attention that he sought in the orphanage. Mostly we will do this by my wearing him in the Ergo on the front. I figure people will be less likely to put their face down by him and engage him when he is hanging on my chest. At least I hope so!

The therapist is very happy with his progress, he clearly prefers me to anyone and has shown much improvement. She thinks that he will progress very quickly like Kembia has. But that we should expect some behavior similair to Kembia's as he begins to understand that yes, he does love us and doesn't like to be away from us. we were definitely happy to talk to a professional and basically what she told us is what we had gathered from our own research, but it's things like protecting him more in public that I may not have thought about on my own.

I would definitely recommend a visit with an attachment therapist even if you think that everything is okay. It's much better to go before there are problems, then after.

I can honestly say that both of our kids have shown tons of improvement in the 4 months that they have been home. That really isn't all that long of time and they are already doing so much better.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Family Trip Take 2

Well we went back up to my parents house for the 2nd time since the kids have been home, and it went much, much better than the time before.

While there we got to meet with another family from my hometown who adopted from Congo, funny how small the world really is. The mom used to have my grandma for a second grade teacher, and had recently met my uncle at a dog rescue while he was getting a girlfriend for his dog Mac and they were getting another dog for their family. Plus the dad of the family is a teacher and had one of my brothers for sure, and possibly another. I even recognized him from when I went through the school system! Bizarre I know.

The kids had a great time. This family has one bio child, 2 from Ethiopia and one from Congo. Our town isn't exactly what you would call diverse, and our kids have not spent a lot of time around kids who look like them. They loved it. In fact when we were done, Kembia cried and held her arms out to the little girl who had been playing with her. It was pretty cute in a break your heart type of way. Hopefully we will be able to visit them again, even though their kids are much older than Kembia and Moyz, they are right in line with Ava and Owen and everyone had a blast.

Owen's tubes went in this morning. The whole procedure took about 15 minutes, it was super quick. And then on the way home he threw up into his special blanket from when he was a baby. Apparently this is pretty common but the hospital forgot to mention it to us and so we weren't prepared. Fun times.

But hey, the sun is shining and Chris took the day off for Owen and we are going to enjoy it!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Moyz and attachment

Moyz is an interesting one. While he shows good attachment to Chris and me, he will still go to almost any woman. He will walk to us when he is upset and actively seeks us out. Lots of amazing eye contact and kisses and everything else in that department seems to be going well. Whenever he encounters a man and isn't in my arms he shows good attachment and fear of strangers. But women, he loves them all.

Today at the clinic he walked out of the room, saw the RN who is a male, and made the fastest turn ever and ran right back into my arms. I am happy for that response, but wish that he would do that with women he encounters.

I am not super stressed about it, but am trying to balance all of my researching with a healthy dose of reality and am glad that we are meeting with the therapist next week for him. I figure it is better to be proactive then reactive.

Has anyone had this experience at all? I am assuming that he will go to any woman because of his time in the orphanage and all of his caretakers were women there. I am trying to get thoughts on other things we can do to further the attachment process with Moyz. We still do not allow others to hold him or feed him outside of Chris and I and the older kids, who rarely give him any food. I am not quite sure how to help him be appropriately reserved with people he doesn't know who are female.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

You know how you are just too tired to do anything with meaning? yeah, that is where I am right now. After last weeks everyday go to a doctor, one yesterday, one today and one tomorrow, not to mention a 4 hour car ride coming up and ear tubes next week, I am running on a lot of caffeine. But not too much or it interferes with Truitt eating.

I don't even know how to balance my caffeine intake to not affect Truitt. Basically when he is fussing while eating I realize that I probably should lay off the caffeine. Not real good in practicality. I suppose the point would be to not get to that point, but no such luck.

Anyway, I digress.

Today we went and saw the attachment psychologist at the U. Not because I felt that we needed to see her, but just to check and make sure she felt that things were going well. It went great. We were only able to talk about Kembia because they have you do a lot of stuff while you are there, so we go back next week to talk about Moyz. But she said that Kembia is doing amazing, and that she doesn't see any attachment disorders. She said that she is impressed with how well Kembia lets me know when she wants to do things and that coming from an orphanage she would not expect her to be at that level yet. We talked a little bit about how she could see that transitions are hard for her, both on how we did things in her office and stories that I told her about. So our goal is to try and make transitions easier. It's a little vague, because almost everything is a transition, but if we are getting ready to leave the house, allow her some extra time and talk it through about what is going to happen, maybe have an animal or toy that she takes with when we go in the car. Another example is when it is time to clean up the toys, when I said lets clean up now she started crying, but when I asked her to hug the dolls and then put them in the basket she did it no problem, and then later cleaned up when asked without a fuss or the need to hug and make it easier.

We talked about a lot of stuff, but the overall message was she is doing wonderful, and she thinks she is moving and will continue to move quickly along the attachment process. It was all very good to hear.

Other than that, I continue to change about a million diapers a day. Sometimes it feels like that is all I do.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Moving to cash only

So we have decided to move to a cash only system again. We did this once before we started the adoption process, and then stopped although I don't really remember why we quit. It may have to do with the fact that our bank is 15 minutes away and it seemed annoying to drive to get cash and the fact that it is just so easy to swipe our credit card, even though we always pay off the balance each month.

But we're back on the cash only wagon. I take out cash every two weeks that we need for our living expenses. If we want something but don't have the money, then we don't buy it. I would love to say that we are saving all sorts of extra money, and in a way we are, but we have to pay off medical bills from Truitt's birth, and so while it is good that way, it kind of stinks because our saving account is not getting larger, and I will tell you that I feel much better about everything when we actually have stuff in the savings account!

We originally took a Dave Ramsey class where you move to cash only, get $1000 in the savings account and then pay off all of your debts from that point on. This was around 2009 after all the mass chaos of 2008 happened. But instead of paying off our debts, we fully funded our emergency account in case something happened with the economy. Then we felt called to adopt and when we changed programs, things happened differently then we expected them to and we ended up using almost all of our savings. :(

Now we are in the process of boosting that back up. It will definitely help to get the tax refund this year, but knowing that almost everyone is getting audited and that many did not get their money until the last couple of months, it won't do us any good to know that we are getting thousands back from the IRS when we can't access it.

I tend to be a glass is half empty person, and so when I stop and think about our tiny savings account, it gives me anxiety. Moving to cash only has helped a lot with this, because for some reason that I can't figure out, I hate parting with money from my wallet as opposed to swiping a card. Like today, the kids and I went to the store. Ava needs new snowpants and they happened to be on sale. So we had her try a pair on. Even though I know that winter is coming and that we have snow for like 6 months out of the year, it just about killed me to spend $25 on pants when we don't have snow. But I know what will happen if I wait, they will all be sold out and she will be out of luck. Due to situations like this, moving to cash helps me avoid purchasing things that I don't really need. The other thing that helps me with this is to just stay out of Target. Those two things alone are helping me immensely!

The hardest part about moving to cash only is that first initial using cash. You know that you have to have enough money to pay off last months credit card bill and enough money for your current needs. If you don't already have enough in your savings account, you could be strapped a little tight, as in eating Ramen several nights a week. But once you get past the initial pain, it works really well.

We cheat a little bit, Chris uses the debit card to buy gas, because he likes that he doesn't have to go into the station to pay since he is already so busy going to and from work and this saves him time. And I like to order vitamins and items off Amazon, so I use my Amazon credit card for that. Other than that, we don't use credit cards for anything.

Who knows, maybe all of this will lead to a really large savings account and we can go on that trip to Italy that I have been dreaming of and that it seems like everyone I know has been going to Italy except me! I am a world traveler in my dreams, and to be honest, I have gone to several interesting places, Uganda, Belize (twice), Honduras, Mexico, and Canada (I know you may be thinking that Canada doesn't count but we had such an amazing time there!). But there are so many more places I would love to visit: Italy, Australia, France, Istanbul, Greece. I better stop there because I think I could go on and on. I am hoping that heaven will be an amalgam of the most beautiful nature of all the countries in the world. Of course, it will be more amazing than that, but my mind doesn't work like that, and I can only try to imagine earthly things in that context!



Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bean Burritos

If this is what bean burritos look like going in,




I am not real excited about seeing what they look like coming out.

We aren't cloth diapering Moyz and Kembia. We totally planned to, and then once we got them home and dealt with parasites and the fact that they both poop several times a day, and the fact that cloth diapers are about a bazillion dollars a piece, we opted not to cloth these two.

We do, however, plan to cloth diaper Truitt. I have 18 fuzzibunz and bumgenious diapers all lined up looking so pretty in all the nice colors we picked. But we were given so many disposable diapers as presents that we haven't had a need to use them yet.

I may sound slightly pathetic right now when I confess that I have wanted to just "try one out and see how it goes", but then I think that it probably isn't worth all the effort at this point just to use one and then wait for what still will be quite some time since we still have lots of disposable diapers yet. In my mind, why pay for heat and water if you don't have to?

Now I realize that this makes me sound completely non-earth friendly, but to be honest with you, we are still using paper plates the majority of the time. We don't have a dishwasher and paper plates save me tons of time with dishes, although I did just promise Ava that once we ran out of the current paper plates I would no longer be using paper as our regular plates. She has formed a "save the earth club", probably in direct response to my conspicuous consumption. Of course, the only two people in her club are herself, and her 55 year old great aunt who lives one hour away and will probably not be much help in picking up garbage from the local parks as Ava hopes to do.

Anyway, that is our diapering saga, now the only thing I can think about is that sweet little jingle that goes: "Beans, beans the magical fruit....." (you know you love that song!)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stool test negative

Yep, no parasites on tests number 6 & 7. So, where that leaves us with little (seriously) miss Kembia is that we are just going to watch her. The U said that let's give her until November when we go in again and see if she loses more or gains some. They want to account for a different scale at two clinics, as well as her increase in mobility, even though she isn't walking yet, she crawls like a crazy woman. Which sometimes she is. Like today where she played with herself and the nipple of a bottle in front of a mirror in the living room. She thought she was hilarious, and I thought I should have video taped her.

Other than that, I found the awesomest DIY counter top ever. I realize that it may not be for everyone, but it is for me. Now I have to convince my hubby that we should do it in our bathroom. I think I have shared pictures of it before, blue tub, old fake blue veined marble sink top and tile in the shower, and a remodel is not currently in the Nelson budget, so here is what I found this morning while I wasted time eating breakfast:



I think this is an amazingly awesome idea, and perfect to go over my ugly faux marble sink top. And not all that expensive when you consider the cost of the pennies involved! Although perhaps the epoxy and the rest of it might add up a little bit, but I still think it will be quite cheap.

And for Neil, who I know when Kelly shows you this, will say "not in our house", you better watch out! Someday I may come over and start decorating your place!!

What do you guys think? Chris says that I am a tad bit eccentric, so this probably won't surprise him too much, but we will have to see. These are the types of ideas you find and love when you have a slight decorating problem, but no budget to do it with!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Last week we had a doctors appointment every single day except Friday, and we were supposed to have an appt. that day but it got moved. How tiring. I have a strong suspicion that this is my future life- going to endless doctor appts. with 5 kids in tow. Perhaps that would be my own personal hell, except I know that I am going to heaven, so funny as that thought is, I don't have to worry about that!

And hopefully here when the kidlets catch up with vaccines and everything else we are monitoring, we will significantly reduce the amount of time in the office. Of course, the upshot of last week is that Owen is getting ear tubes. So we now have that to deal with.

Then there was the paramedic that I chatted with at church today. We were talking about Kembia and her weight loss and how she eats like a horse, and he suggested that perhaps she had a tapeworm. That his experience with them, and that has only been with adults, is that they eat and eat and fail to gain weight. Interesting. And disgusting. Has anyone dealt with that before? I am going to call the U on Monday and run it by them and see what they say.

Other than that, I have folded no lie, about 10 loads of laundry since yesterday. I am tired just thinking about it, and I am halfway serious about just gathering up all of the socks in the house and throwing them all and starting fresh. They would all be the same, no pattern, no color, no anything extra. Just all the same, accounting for different sizes and then I would not have to spend hours trying to match them.

The only other thing that I can think of right now through my exhaustion is when I was talking to Chris about the possibility of going to Kingston, Jamaica for a mission trip next spring or summer. And then I discounted it because "Owen would still be on the boob". And then I realized that I said the wrong child, and Chris almost had a heart attack laughing at the thought of me telling people that my 5 year old son was "still on the boob" and that is why I can't go. Does anybody else completely mess up their kids' names? We have so many that I cannot keep them straight. I even called Owen, "Kembia". Although that was the first time I messed up names plus gender.

Somebody put me in a rubber room.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Conferences and more Poop

Ava had her fall conferences last night. I have to admit, I started getting a little embarassed at how much her teacher LOVES her. As in, she must be a teacher's pet because she went on and on about how great she is, and how helpful and sweet and so smart.

Now don't get me wrong, I love it that she is doing so well, but I have never sat before someone who talked about Ava in that way. And most of the time I was thinking "Why isn't she always like this at home?"

Ava is the top reader in her class by a long shot, she has more than double the AR points then the second highest reader. The third grade goal for reading is 30 AR points by the end of the year. Ava has 23.8 and it's only October. Oh, and she reads out loud 201 words per minute.

Aside from that, we are up to our ears in poop. Both Moyz and Kembia are having parasite tests run again. Moyz to make sure they're gone and Kembia to see if she has them and perhaps that is why she isn't gaining weight. This will be her 6th and 7th test.

Ava and Owen don't even bat an eye anymore at poop vials on the counter. When we dropped one off today Owen responded that "they got that one done fast" I still am finding it gross to scoop poop out of a diaper, but hey, diapers are pretty much my life. I cannot wait for them to be potty trained!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Another round of checkups

Kembia and Truitt had checkups today.

Miss Kembia was in for her 15 month check up. She did pretty good. She has finally made it on the regular growth chart, 4% for head circ. and 1% for height, but unfortunately, she lost almost half a pound since the last time we were in and isn't on for weight. I just don't understand it. She eats like a horse. I am amazed at how much food that girl can pack in. Now I know that part of it is because she is moving around so much, but she is only 16 1/2 pounds at 15 months old. Her doctor said the most important thing is to try and make her chubby, but aside from taking her to McDonalds every night for supper, I feel like we are doing good with giving her high calorie foods. We slather butter and peanut butter on just about everything she eats. I would try the cream instead of milk but she still will not drink milk in any form so we do lots of cheese and yogurt. Aside from the weight thing, she is doing really well and her doc. is very happy with her.

Of course, there was the small detail of the fact that she had a double ear infection and pink eye. I swear we had no idea about the ears, she never acted like anything was going on, and the eye we knew was gunky, but it didn't seem too red until we were in the doctors office. At least now we can treat her and pray that pink eye doesn't go to any of the other kids.

Truitt is doing well too. About the 75% across the board. If only there were some way I could alter his eating-every-two-hours-during-the-day schedule. It is exhausting. Oh well, at least I get a 5 hour break at night.

The two kids got a total of 8 shots between the two of them, and Owen and I got our flu shots too. Owen was so proud of himself, he told me that he almost cried but didn't. He wanted to be a good example for his brothers and sister. So then we went and got a donut at the hospital cafeteria which Owen loves. Whenever we are out doing errands he asks if we can have lunch at the hospital. Weird.

Monday, October 17, 2011

5 kids smiling in a photo? No way!

I had the brilliant idea of taking pictures of all 5 kiddos for our Christmas letter in a great, big pile of leaves. Well, it didn't work out so well. It is almost physically impossible to make 5 kids look in the same direction at the same time.

We pretty much dumped all the kids in the leaves and then started taking pictures. You really need a third adult. One to take pictures, one to put kids where they need to be, and one to stand behind the photographer and make silly noises so the kids look at the photographer. We only had two, and thus the following pictures:





We spent forever and a day trying to get a good shot of the kids, didn't happen. I think we are going to have to recruit someone. And now all of the leaves are gone so I guess it will have to be a winter shot, which will kinda suck. Jackets almost always look dumb in winter shots, but you can't exactly go outside in just sweaters for too long, especially with 3 babies.

But I did get the following shots which I think are cute.






Thursday, October 13, 2011

Peer Pressuring my 4 year old

Owen is very particular about his clothes. He has a certain "style" and doesn't fluctuate too far from that.

The other day we were in Target and they had the most awesome polos on sale for $1.98 can't beat that for a brand new shirt! I picked out a couple for him to try on and he told me that "he doesn't like shirt with buttons".

So then I told him about two boys a little bit older than him who go to our church, and that they wear shirts with buttons and always look super cool, hoping that this would sway him to like the shirts.

Nope. He turned to me and said "But Mom, I am a different person"! What? How does a 4 year old not bow to pressure from his mom about two older boys that are pretty cool? I have to admit I started chuckling, and am a fairly proud of him that he stood his own ground.

Then last night, a moth got in the house and he tried to catch it because "He wants it to just live its life and eat and we are starving him in our house". This is also the boy who at 2 told the cable guy when he was burying our internet cable in our backyard that "He didn't think his dad would like what you are doing to our yard"

I so wish that I would have written every single thing this kid says down in a book, I have some of them, but there truly have been some crazy things he has said. My all time favorite/most embarrasing, and I may have shared this before so sorry if you already know it, is when we had our big meeting with the social worker to do our home study for the adoption, and Owen is playing with his pants and says to me and Chris proudly "My penis is the biggest it has ever been! It's huge!" I could have died right there on the spot. Luckily, our social worker was a little older and I am not sure that he heard him, or he was able to do a remarkable job of not letting on that he heard him!

Gotta love that boy!

Monday, October 10, 2011

I Love Noisy Toys

I know, you are all thinking, are you out of your mind? But hear me out.

With our first two kids, noisy toys were the bane of my existence. Once those batteries ran out, oops, the toy "broke". Sorry kiddos, no more noise. I would actually request that people not give us noisy toys. No way Jose.

Then, when kidlets 3,4 and 5 came along, boy did I change my mind. The below toy is from a lady at our church. Her daughter used it several years ago, and she got it from a garage sale, so who knows from what decade it hails. At first when I saw it my very first thought was that it was huge, and in no way was I going to keep that monstrous thing upstairs, I would relegate it to the basement and it could be a playroom toy.



However, this toy has saved my life. It now holds a permanent place upstairs in our living room. It has come in handy more times than I care to count, especially in that first month when Kembia would freak out ALL THE TIME. I once sat and watched her push the same song button over and over again for almost 10 minutes. She has since moved on to all of the other buttons, which is the key part of this toy. Everything on it makes noise, and sings and flashes. It totally rocks. If you ever see this toy at a thrift store or garage sale, fight women out of your way to to get it. You will not regret it. Unless, perhaps, it is for your first child, and then it may just drive you insane.

We also have put to use several other toys.

1. The keyboard.


This one is especially annoying, I mean good for kids, in the fact that there is no off button on the top, and there are a zillion demo songs on it that they can play and rock out to. It also starts songs at top volume. Super fun, but my kids love it. And really, when you have 3 kids under 15 months, what's more sound with the screaming?


2. Musical Turtle.


This was a present when Owen was born. It sings classical music and moves so kids can catch it. It also asks you things like "where is the purple triangle"? Perhaps if it was in French my kidlets would understand it, but for now they like the music and flipping it onto it's back. Poor Turtle.

3. Musical Ball.


This was a present from my brother and his wife for the kidlets. At first, I will admit, I thought it was the dumbest thing ever. This was mostly due to the fact that my kids couldn't figure out how to move the ball and have it make noise. Now, they push it around and rock out to the songs. There are other learning options on the ball like counting and colors, but we're not at that point, so for now we just listen to the same songs over and over again, and the occasional screaming at one another when the other is hogging the bal.

I do often wonder for how long their fascination with noisy things will last. Cause as much as it makes me happy that they are entertained and not freaking out, there are days where if I have to hear one more toy sing I just may need to spend some time in a rubber room!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Green Card!

Well, the post-placement social worker visit went good, exactly like the initial home study- you worry and clean like crazy and then it's very low-key and over before you know it!

Kembia's green card arrived in the mail today. Yeah! I have been wondering where it was. (Moyz's hasn't come yet) We ended up calling USCIS last Friday to figure out what was taking so long and they opened up formal inquiries. Monday we got notice that hers had been issued, but nothing for Moyz. I called again today to see what was going on and they said that they have looked into it, but that it is just talking longer than hers. Don't know why, they haven't requested any more info. so I guess we will have to wait and see.

Have to admit I shed a small tear when I saw her cute little baby face on the card. She has changed so much, and somehow holding that green card seemed to make it feel even more final that they are home and ours, and almost Americans. We hope to go to court for the readoption in late October or November.

Looking at her little picture made me think of her birth mom, whom she looks exactly like. We can look 20 years down the road and see our daughter. It also made me think about how her birth mom sang her the song about having a mommy and a daddy and that she was an American now, when Chris met her in Congo. That still brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it. I wonder how often her birthmom thinks of her and what she is feeling now. I pray that God gives her the peacefulness of knowing that we love her little girl more than we can ever express.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how we will talk to Moyz and Kembia about their birth moms and the decisions that they made. As well as talking to them about their country. Our kids' moms have very different stories and some of it will be hard to share. I know that sharing will come in stages as they mature and are able to handle the information. I wonder if they will want to meet their birth moms, we have their names so it could be possible. I wonder what Congo will be like when they are old enough to go there to try and find them.

So many questions and wonderings, but nothing with answers. And that's okay.



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Social Worker Cometh...

Tomorrow is Social Worker Day. So for today, that means extremely frantic, running around with your head cut off like a chicken, cleaning day. because my house is a DISASTER. (Still working on the whole cleaning thing...)

It also means hoping that Moyz's nose heals where he fell on the cement and smashed it up pretty good, and hoping that Kembia doesn't have another day like yesterday where she screamed every time she was in the car, around the entire zoo, and if I wasn't holding her. For reals, I bet she spent 3-4 hours screaming yesterday. Super fun. But the moment we got home, she was good, so I guess for whatever reason, it was too much deviance from her normal routine for my little pint size person.

I am also hoping that the social worker doesn't ask our kids too many questions, I can just see it "mom makes us throw away the diapers, and we have to put the pacifier in Truitt's mouth if more than one kid is screaming and she can't get to him." Or the latest one "my mom makes us go down to sleep when the babies go to bed" well, you have school the next day and need a lot of sleep, hence you all go down together. End of story! Hopefully my children will say wonderfully sweet things like "my mom is the best mom ever, and she is totally rocking 5 kids, and always does things correct and awesome!" Okay, that is probably not coming out of their mouths, but I can dream right?

Today clean, tomorrow we will probably spend the majority of the day outside or away from the house so the kids can't mess it up.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Randomness

The title pretty much sums up this post.

I have been pulling together all of the documents needed for readoption in our state. Luckily, we can represent ourselves instead of hiring a lawyer, but it is still going to cost us $320, plus the fees for birth certificate filing and several other fees for paperwork, all told it should end up around $600. Boo. But then we are offically done with money towards our kidlets, and what's a little more when we've already spent as much as we have? For those interested, all told, our adoption set us back about $34,000 for our two babes. That includes an agency switch to get into a Congo program, so we lost about $4,000 there, and massive airline ticket costs, to the tune of about $7,000. Yikes, but if it's God will, the money will be there, cause trust us, money does not grow on trees at the Nelson household.

Should have known that Truitt would have a massive poop blow out this morning, because last night his farting woke me up from sleeping and I was wearing ear plugs! Just as I was trying to dash out the door (dashing is a huge joke, I dash no where with this many kids!) for a docs appt., I go to pick up Truitt and change him into a cute little outfit before he outgrows it next week, and I discover that he has pooped every where. Seriously. My sweet little bundle of love only poops approximately every 3 days, and yes I knew today was "the day", but it usually happens at night. And Kembia was still in her booster chair in her jammies. The good news is, I moved with remarkable mom speed and only left the house 7 minutes late, and got to my appt. only 2 minutes late, and the doc was late anyways so it all worked out.

Ava's reading goal for last week for her third grade homework was 80 minutes. She read 476. Yep, you read that right. She is a bonafide bookworm. I don't know if I should be proud or horrified because she is a reading recluse. But I was EXACTLY like her growing up, and probably would still be reading like a psycho if it wasn't for the small fact that I have 5 children.

I have started using outings to help Owen with his letters since I am not doing that great at home. It goes something like this: by the kidlets a snack at Target so they don't all scream from being in a cart whily Mommy shops, walk around getting what I need and asking Owen to find the letter A, C, R, etc. It is going pretty good. He knows all of the sounds the letters make, but not what the letters are. Did I do that backwards or what?

We got Kembia's adoption report from the U yesterday. She is in the 1.7% for weight, and get this, the .53% for height. Is it really even worth recording a percentage on that scale?! And her weight percentage was after she gained 4 pounds from being home. My MIL joked that they probably would have said she didn't even exist if we had gone before those 4 pounds were gained! Yet somehow she is fitting remarkably well in size 12 month clothing, which leaves me to wonder who decides what sizes are correct if she is smaller than 99% of kids her age?

Moyz has learned the word uh-oh. Only he doesn't really say the words, only makes the sounds like he is saying the words. hilarious. It is also the only word he says. Kembia has 4 words in her repertoire (I don't think I spelled that right), they are: daddy, duck, dog, and stick. All very important words, don't ya think?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pictures


He sort of resembles an elf- in a good way!

They LOVE bath time

See all of those pine needles? The are food, just like the live frog he tried to eat.

My kids' favorite hangout, literally.

She loves the camera

Just like his daddy

I always think that she is going to fall and then we will have a broken arm, or neck.

What do you mean they don't look like their dad?

Monday, September 26, 2011

The dreaded medicine cabinet

So I have a confession to make. When it comes to bathroom products of all the various types (lotions, shampoos, hair clips etc.) I may have a slight problem.

You see, if I get something but absolutely hate it, I end up just tossing it into the cabinet thinking that if I am desparate later I will use it. I found Jergens glitter lotion from COLLEGE, way at the back. I graduated from college in 2003. I put it on to see if it was still glittery, yup, but it smelled disgusting, you know, like 8 year old lotion.

I also found various make-up items in there as well. I buy it thinking that I am going to use it, but then I never do. My daily make-up regimen consists of mascara if what was leftover from the day before isn't still there, and eye liner if I am feeling particularly spunky.

Since the kidlets got home, and Truitt was born, it has hit epic new proportions of disaster when you add in all of there various skin creams and special hair care. Chris has been saying for a long time that we need to clean it out. But I just haven't been up to it. Now that I feel like we are finally hitting our stride (praise Jesus!) I had to have some bigger ambitions then "get dressed for the day"

So yesterday, that was my bigger ambition. clean the medicine cabinet. Shooting high here at the Nelson household. Just to be completely fair, I had two goals yesterday, the medicine cabinet, and getting the sticky hand off the ceiling that my kids threw up there to see how long it would stick. Do you know the type I am talking about? It's a long, sticky thing with a hand on the end that you can whip at things and it will stick there. It's been on my ceiling for the last 4 weeks or so. Because it is hard to drag a chair over to it and get up to pull it down.

Anyway, here is a little glimpse of all the crap that was in the cabinet.



This took me half the day to clean. I kept getting distracted. And then the kidlets kept crawling in to see what I was doing. So Chris finally took all the kids minus Truitt outside to play "deer hunting". this is a game where they pretend to be deer, and Owen climbs a tree and pretends to shoot them with a bow. Moyz and Kembia mostly tried to eat leaves and stuff. I think they probably thought their dad was insane. I know that's what I thought!

Oh, and Kembia has taken 2 steps. It doesn't look normal for such a peanut of a thing to be doing that! I think we will have two walkers pretty soon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Medicine

So Moyz is on his second type of Giardia medicine. Not necessarily because the first one didn't work, but when you spit up most of the doses, it's kind of hard for it to do what it has to do to get rid of the parasite. He literally barfed a dose up the other day. And they even flavored it grape, but both the doctor and the pharmacist warned me that it tastes bad. This has also made it harder to get his iron in him. He sees me coming with the squirter, shuts his mouth and turns his head the other way.

Apparently I am messing with his face area way too much. because now he also pitches a fit when it is time to put his face cream on. Ah, the joys of medicine and children.

And then there is Kembia, who for some bizarre reason doesn't mind the iron. But the ear drops? Better squirt those in there quick or the girl wigs out. Quickiness also applies to diaper changes, be fast or beware the screaming.

I cannot wait until it's time to get the flu vaccine. That will be super fun. Originally I thought I would do them all in one fell swoop. But I think that probably won't work given how they all freak out with shots. Don't exactly have enough arms for 3 screaming babies. Of course, if I do it in shifts then that means loading up all of the kids and traveling twice for shots. And since now I try to avoid going anywhere at all costs (my friends are calling me a hermit, and I keep reminding myself that it's only for a season.....) I don't know what's worse, traveling twice or a bunch of screaming babies that I can't soothe all at one time. Hmm. I will have to think about that one.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Annoying things at my house


I have been working on two big projects here at the Nelson household. Neither of them are very much fun.

The first is cleaning out my pantry. I'll post pictures below, but just to warn year, there might be a couple OSHA violations! I have avoided this job since the kidlets got home. Compounded by the fact that Chris, for who knows what reasons, likes to stick things in plastic walmart and target bags so you have no idea what is in it, it was going to be a tough job.

But since I now realize that I have four things of whole wheat angel hair pasta, and 5 containers of green enchilada sauce, it is about time I clean it out!





The second not fun thing I am doing is going through my clothes and trying to find things that fit me so I don't have to wear maternity anymore. This also really stinks for several reasons 1. my boobs are too big for all of my shirts due to breast feeding, and 2. my hips are too big due to pushing a child out through them, not to mention the weight that I gained.

I'm close to making it. Most of my pants I can either squeeze and button the top, or am close to that, but then I have the affectionately called "muffin" top. Wonderful. And lucky me, I think I am as small as I am going to get without trying. My body has this wonderful way of dropping weight pretty quickly and then stalling out forever at about 10 pounds away from where I was. I know, people are saying but he's only 6 weeks old and you are breast feeding. But, my body is a spaz, and this is the way I role. Don't know how I am going to find time to exercise with 5 kids. And new clothes in a bigger size are not in the budget. Guess I will have to bite the bullet and watch what I eat. Pooh. And no, I am not posting pictures of the second undertaking! At least this time around my feet didn't stretch half a size like the other two pregnancies.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

This might help you

Thought I would make a small list of things that the U told us when our kids had their appts. I know some of these things have baffled other families that have adopted out of Congo.

- If your kid had scabies and you treated him, be on the look out for tiny, little pimple type bumps. We noticed these on Moyz and he would scratch at them. They would pop out randomly on his body. What his were/are is proteins leftover from the scabies mite still in his body. So while he doesn't have scabies anymore, until the proteins break down they still irritate him. There's some fancy name for it, but I don't remember what it was.

- I know I mentioned Moyz's impetigo before, but I'll put it here again. If you child comes home and has small blisters that pop and look like craters and he itches at them, take him in right away and get Mupirocin for him. It's an antibiotic cream they prescribe to put on the sores. It's caused by Strep and Staph bacteria. You probably want to put band aids over the sores until you can get them to the clinic.

- Kembia coughs almost every night, most of the time not very bad. She tested negative for Tuberculosis, so we knew it wasn't that. Turns out it's reflux. We're just keeping an eye on it, so no medicine yet. I know several families who's kids ended up with reflux as well. the cough puzzled them and doctors for quite awhile.

- Moyz has what's called atopic skin. Basically what this means is that it is sensitive to the max. He has dermatitis on his face that we are treating, and his legs get so dry they turn grey (I think this is pretty common for darker skin), plus he has these little black circles on his legs. They almost look like freckles. Turns out it's just his sensitive skin. The derm said use CeraVe lotion and aquaphor. These are both fairly impractical. CeraVe is $16 at Target, and if you slather your kids in Aquaphor then they are one giant, greasy mess and they touch everything which in turn becomes greasy. Our awesome doc at the U said she also has atopic skin and uses Curel Intensive lotion, and if she's really bad, then a 1:1 Curel and Aquaphor. This is much more economical. A big giant thing of Curel is only $9 (still expensive for this household!) or she also uses Vanicream which is a little more expensive then Curel, but both are cheaper than CeraVe. Vanicream is sold behind the pharmacy at our local Target, but it's not prescription.

- While at the U, we met the first white person/foreigner ever allowed to adopt out of Congo. They made an exception for her 9 years ago! She had lived and worked in Africa for a long time, and she adopted two little girls that were conjoined twins. They were separated in London, and then went back to Congo to finish their adoption. They are both doing awesome and we got to see pictures ot them. Their mom is one of the docs. at the adoption clinic. It was neat to be able to talk briefly with her. We asked her about hair care and she said straight up Olive Oil and coconut oil, and Carol's products, which are expensive but last a long time.

Anyway, hopefully this will help some of you. All of this medical stuff has been interesting to say the least. I think we are finally on the up-swing! Although we're headed back to the Derm for Moyz's face, poor kid, we're still trying to find the right concotion to help his sensitive face!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

U of M adoption appt.

We had our University of MN adoption appointment today. I have been looking forward to this for quite some time. Usually they like to see families 2-3 weeks after they come home, but due to their business and timing with us, it has been 8 weeks before we could get in!

All in all, it was very reassuring. Both kids are showing good signs of attachment, and they gave us some helpful advice when Kembia freaks out. Moyz is strong, but we need to do some occupational exercises with him at home to help him build up his core and then he will be able to move his muscles a little quicker as far as reflexes. They said this happens a lot with kids from orphanages, and once they are in a family who works with them improvement happens extremely fast. We definitely have seen this with both of the kids, but he needs just a little more help. He gets to do some fun exercises on a bouncy ball that keeps him just off balance and requires his stomach muscles to tone up which in turn will help him with lots of things. And because he modify crawls, he acutally uses different muscles other than his core and kind of doesn't help his situation, but they weren't worried about it, but why not give him help if we can?

He also tested positive for Giardia on the 4th stool sample. So my advice to anyone adopting is if you think they have a parasite, keep testing. The first 3 were negative but we just felt that something didn't seem right with his stomach. It seemed huge and gas filled and he would occasionally have black poop, which a lot of time people mistake for lactose intolerance, which it can be, but it also can be parasites. Fun!

Kembia is "really tiny". Not even on the international growth charts. However, she is close to being on the curve, so we will continue her high calorie diet, and both kids go back in December for some more testing and for a check up. Physically she is only just a little bit behind but doing well, no exercises for her. We also need to go back to sticking formula into anything possible when she eats given that she won't drink milk, even chocolate. Dark skin doesn't absorb Vitamin D very well, and um hello, northern climate so they have two things going against them. So we need to try and get as much into her as we can.

We were so grateful to be able to talk to the crew of people evaluating them and make sure that what we are doing at home is what we should be doing. One thing that I really needed to hear is that during times when Kembia is spazzing (of which there has been GREAT improvement), the doctor told us that it is important that she see us, but she doesn't need to be happy. She then elaborated and said that it doesn't mean that we even need to be holding her during that time, but that what Kembia is afraid of is that she really likes us now, even if she doesn't know that we are "mom" and "dad" and that she is afraid that we may not be there later. As long as she can see us, that is the most important thing, not necessarily that we are holding her, although if we can, that is awesome.

So for example, last week Chris and I were both cutting up veggies for supper, and she really wanted to be held and we couldn't. We were right there in the kitchen with her, around two feet away. She pitched a royal fit. We said comforting things to her like mommy and daddy love you and we are here for you but we can't pick you up right now, and eventually she calmed down. The doctor said that is right on track and life doesn't always allow for us to hold our new kids 24/7. It was good to have someone smart in this area reaffirm this for me so perhaps I can relax a little bit about not being able to hold them all the time and that they are headed for RAD. I also got a couple of really good adoption books that people suggested and that has been helpful too. We pass items back and forth using our mouths and making eye contact, and I will stick a cracker or cheerio just on my lips and she has to grab it from me looking me in the eyes and using her mouth. We do it with Moyz too and he thinks it is just about the funnest thing ever.

I did finally get my Ergo, and I have to admit that I am glad I sprung for it. It still sits a little up high on the kids, I could maybe get an infant insert, but in a couple more weeks I think it will fit both of them perfectly. I absolutely love the way it fits, and they both seem to like it. Funny when they have had enough of it and I put them down on the ground, they never yell and want me to be with them! Apparently, there can be a thing as too much holding for them!

On a side note, I tried to comment back to those of you who liked the pink chandelier, but I am seriously computer stupid, and it said that I wan't allowed to make comments on the blog. I don't know how that is because it is my blog, but I should probably figure it out. So for Verouna who had the lime green kitchen, oh my word I think that we would get along! And Jo, I totally just made the bed for the picture so it didn't look like I was a complete sloth! But that is one of my post- adoption goals, I know, shooting high here. But somehow my bedroom feels so much more clean if the bed is made. So that is my goal, to make the bed every day, we'll see how far I get!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pink Chandelier


Last week I took Ava out on a "date". Mostly we went to thrift stores to find baskets to put diapers and wipes around the house and have them look semi-organized. We also stopped at Home Depot and wandered around for an exceptionally long time. I have been trying to make bracelets out of hardware and bungee cords and things like that.

We wandered into the light section and there was this brass chandelier on sale for $18. I have been scouring second hand stores and goodwills for some time now hoping to find a light that I could redo for our bedroom. 18 bucks is a pretty good deal, espeicalliy since that is what they are sometimes used, so I picked it up along with two cans of pink spray paint.

I know, you're all thinking pink? But I figured it would be a good color to contrast the others in our bedroom, and luckily, my hubby just sort of rolls with the punches. I loooove it. My hubby said that it looked better than he thought it would, but did I know that if we ever move that I would probably have to take it down so when people came to look at the house they weren't freaked out? Since we have zero plans to move currently, and I believe in decorating to make myself happy, the pink stays!

I also have plans to make a light out of two metal plant hangers with that weird fiber stuff in them for the bedroom, so stay tuned for that one!

Here she is in all her glory! (Ava totally wants it when she has a room of her own!)