Friday, September 28, 2012

Epic Fail

Do you see this gross, disgusting bowl of dirty water?  I am super ashamed to admit that this is what happened after I cleaned my hallway walls from the bottom half down for the first time in, oh, as long as I can seriously remember, so at least 5+ years.  Disgusting.

And then the wall was looking brilliant and fabulous, like I had just given it a new dose of paint, and what do I decide to do?  Try to free-form paint a pattern on the wall in black because it might just turn out cool and give me what I was looking for down the hall.

Here is what happened:

The smudges are because I got seriously ticked off at how ug to the ly it looked, and in my frustration I decided to graffiti my already crappy wall.  Owen, sweet boy that he is, tried desperately to tell me that it "looked pretty good except for the messy, smudged parts".

And now because his momma is a  m.o.r.o.n   I have to repaint the hallway for real, which definitely isn't happening today, and Chris is going to freak out when he comes home.  I am thinking about emailing him to give him a fair warning because he probably would go into convulsions if he came home and saw it immediately upon entering the house and not even I will be able to somehow convince him that it is abstract or something equally artsy along those lines.

Why can't I leave things alone?  I am pretty sure when he asked me last night what our weekend plans were he wasn't expecting me to say paint.  And now, instead of doing something in the glorious outdoors, I have to quick rack my brains on what I want to do with the hallway, because I am not going to repaint and turn around and decide that I want to stencil.  So actually, when I think about it, I need time to decide what to do, so the wall will be around for at least a week.  Brilliant, hubs will love that.  (sarcasm, sarcasm, drip, drip, dripping)

It's a good thing Chris is pretty easy-going, but even this may tax him just a smidge.  Or two.

PS: Totally different subject but I just finished season 2 of Downton Abbey and am insanely jealous that the Brits have already started season 3 but it's not coming to the US until January 3rd.  I am actually so pathetic that I found some British blogs that have reviewed it so I can know what is happening.  I totally recognize that this is like jumping and reading the end of the book, but I don't care.  It will still be fabulous when I finally get to see it.  Do you know how far away January 3rd is?  Like forever.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Well, Ava started public school today.  I know I said that I was going to give it the rest of the week, but after another 2+ hour math morning I made the decision, and I think it was the right one.

We met her teacher today who seems very lovely and I had a list of everything that we have done thus far and she seemed pleased and confident that Ava isn't really behind.  Good to know.  Apparently, Ava will be the talk of the day because every little kid was talking in the hallways about how Ava was back.  I told her to be prepared to have to tell everyone today why she came back.  She told me she had three words for them to explain "brother, sister, annoying".  I told her that would work.

Hopefully, I will be able to blog somewhat regularly now that I have a lot more time.  Plus my laundry will get done and my house will be cleaner now that I am not devoting 3-5 hours a day teaching school.  I have to admit that after we came home I looked at the kidlets and wondered what in the world we were going to do all morning.

Let's see, on another note I read an article in Town and Country about narcissism.  (doesn't that just strike you funny and ironic?!)  Probably I should give the definition of narcissism: Excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one's physical appearance. It made me laugh, mostly because I agreed with almost everything they said about it.  I have lamented my disdain of Facebook before, and in the article they said "There are, or course, the plentiful and inane facebook status updates...It's nearly a cliche to say this now, but these frequent missives, taken together, offer a vast send up of the good life; they are more often tiny wishes sent into cyberspace then they are details culled from our lives."  Seems to be fairly accurate.  And then there was this statement "Then there is the confusing use of Twitter.  Is it meant to be a marketing tool?  A life coach?  A cry for help?"  Not a user of twitter, I have often wondered this myself.

social media narcissism

And then we get to this one "And there are the ever multiplying blogs, assuring us that there will never be a single moment of unnarrated life out there".  Okay, so that one struck home a little more seeing that I, do in fact, blog.  But I hadn't really thought about it like that before.  Originally we started it as a journey of our adoption, and then that came and went and I kept going.  I haven't given much thought to why, although I do enjoy writing things down and use it almost like a journal, albeit it one that others can read.  And I would definitely agree that it can lead to narcissistic thought, especially if one is extremely concerned with comments and things like that.  But I do not write it to hope that others like me or what I have to say.  Mostly I think it is a good way to let family and friends know what is going on in life, and I have to say that it is fun to be able to talk about what I like/dislike in a public way that puts me in touch with others who may feel the same and I otherwise may have not been able to reach.  Perhaps I will have to ponder narcissism and my life for awhile"!

Now I should probably figure out what to do with my extra 4 hours of time today.  Probably laundry, as I truly believe that I have about 6 loads waiting to be done....

Monday, September 24, 2012

Homeschool Update 2

Well, things were getting along much better and then double digit multiplication entered the picture.  Today we spent 2+ hours doing this.

Mostly this is because all of the miserable little triplets (my new nickname for them- triplets, not the miserable part, except for today) decided to essentially go crazy.  Yelling and screaming and clinging, to me, and to Ava.  Which in turn caused both Ava and me to yell and become befuddled and basically halt all learning capabilities.

And here is my conclusion:  I am 90% sure I will be enrolling her back into public school.  I am giving myself to the end of this week to come to a decision so I don't do something stupid because of a bad day.  What it boils down to is that while I like teaching Ava, and she does well with pretty much everything, unless it is a tough math concept she hasn't done before, the fact that the triplets wander around the home and cause all sorts of mayhem, plus the humongous distraction they are, coupled with the fact that unlike in reading where Ava can read and then do, in math I actually have to teach all these new concepts like division and fractions and word problems, etc. it is simply too much with the age of the littles.

Unfortunately, you cannot reason with two 2 year olds and a 1 year old.  I have tried having them do constructive things while I teach Ava and they eat the crayons or throw them.  Truitt mostly eats them and then decides to go and play in the toilet.  While funny if it is not your own children, it absolutely sucks when you are being teacher and you have to pause the lesson to disinfect your child.

Probably if they were two 4 year olds and a 3 year old, I would think this would be much better suited to us.  But I really don't think it is going to work.  I feel bad about this for several reasons.

1.  I don't mind it other than the crazy kids running amok, I actually really enjoy teaching her and as sadly, learning a lot of things I forgot.
2.  I think it is a bad example to let Ava go back to school after she begged for years to be homeschooled (and now wants to go back, by the way), it is a much better lesson to make her stay until the end of first semester to drive home the point that you asked for this, so you need to see it through (sort of), but the benefits of this lesson aren't going to outweigh the negatives which is general craziness, a child upset because she can't concentrate, a mom upset because she can't teach, or really be with the babies, high levels of stress, and the fact that Ava may get behind in her fourth grade year
3.  I look like a wuss for stopping.  But I know that's just pride so I should probably nip that in the bud immediately.

Plus, I really want to punch Mario, who I talked to around 5 times and told him about our situation, the kids' ages, etc. to make sure the program would work well for us.  He assured us it would because "4th grade is the year where the kids really work independently".  Maybe if their name is Einstein.  Not to mention that everyone I know who has done the program before said this year there are lots of crappy changes and requirements that have really messed with the program.

So, that's the update.  Part of me really wanted it to work, and maybe it still will, although looking back I feel like I have already made up my mind about it and it's not even friday yet.  But who knows, I could change, and Lord knows it's crazy enough all around for that to happen!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dancing Kids

So because I am exhausted from last night, too much catching up on Downtown Abbey to be ready for Season 3, and the fact that Moyz and Truitt found a packet of fish seasoning on the table and dumped it all over the floor and themselves and then smeared it around as far and wide as it could go, plus the fact that today I have to clean my entire upstairs because we are having friends over for supper (on top of homeschool until noon), and tomorrow we are going to be out of town all day, but then at 7 tomorrow night I am having a 31 party for a friend who is starting her business, I present to you the dancing Nelson children.  I am thinking that I may have shared a clip of them dancing to On the Floor before, but they just love that song, and there aren't any swear words in it, and there is the line "put your drinks up" but I am positive she was talking about juice boxes and kool-aid or at least that's what I tell my kids.

Oh, and I just realized after I uploaded it that I taped the whole thing sideways, so you will have to watch my kids dance with your head cocked to the side.  And I am not smart enough with computers to know if there was a way to turn it to prevent neck damage in people.  Sorry about that.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Nursemaids Elbow and Roasted Tomatoes

So tonight Ava and Owen came in from outside with a screaming Moyz.  As he is always prone to dramatics I essentially told him to buck up.  And then I noticed that he wasn't moving his left wrist and kept screaming like crazy any time it got touched.  So off to the ER we went.

They ended up putting him in urgent care since there were no bones sticking through, and they bumped him to the front of the line which was a humongous blessing and something I wasn't expecting.  We saw a very nice physician's assistant who tried to adjust his elbow and heard a pop, but then he continued to highly favor his wrist so off to x-ray we went.  They turned out perfect and so I spent the next 15 minutes trying to cajole him into using his left arm.  No go.  So she went and got a regular Doctor who came in and Moyz immediately started screaming.  I would have too.  Keep in mind he just got 4 shots about 3 weeks ago, so the kid does not have a good memory of the doctors.

This doctor took his arm and twisted and manipulated the crap out of him, I have his mouth covered to help with they yelling and he's teaching the PA how to really adjust and that "sometimes you really have to put some force into it".  And Moyz was instantly better after the doc did his maneuvering.  We are so thankful that it wasn't broken.

And we got to return home to the awesome roasted tomatoes I had made for the supper that unfortunately didn't get made.  Here is the recipe.  I promise you will love it and you will get to use up all of those tomatoes from your garden that came into ripeness all at one time and are now rotting in the fridge.

Tomato; Tomatoes; Recipe; How To Roast Tomatoes; How To; vegetable; oil; olive oil; garlic; spices; herbs; Spicie Foodie; Yellow; Grape tomatoe; cherry tomatoe; Roasted tomatoes; oven roasted; raw; fresh; organic; cooking; Recipe; tomato recipes

1.  Cut tomatoes in half
2.  Take out as much of the seeds as you can
3.  Place in bowl and drizzle lots of olive oil, stir to coat
4.  Put on aluminum foil lined pan cup side up
5.  Spice them with salt, pepper, garlic powder (or fresh garlic but I was lazy), thyme, oregano and basil, no specific amounts, just eye-ball it to your own perfection
6.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes
7.  Check and if they still don't look cooked down enough, smash with a fork
8.  Bake for 15 minutes longer
9.  Take out, cool down, and eat up!


PS- Hopefully today will be much less eventful, minus the fact that Moyz and Kembia ate 1/4 bag of prunes they "discovered" on top of the table and then proceeded to eat in secret until Mom found the empty wrapper under the table.  Today should be awesome.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Is Your Closet a 10?

So I got to thinking about this after I read this post  at Young House Love.  I have talked about how I love this blog so, so much.  At first, I was all like "how could you love everything in your closet and rank them all 10s?  That is so impossible".  And then it gnawed on me for a lot of the afternoon in between the times where I was gnawing about how frustrating and not teacher-like Ava's "teacher assigned to her aside from me" is.  (But that is a whole other post)

And so I wandered back to my closet and flung open the doors to this pretty site:

A sort-of-organized area.  I looked at my stuff and looked at my stuff and then started taking stuff down and really scrutinizing it.  I have a penchant for t-shirts.  I tend to always wear them under a cardigan.  It is like a sickness.  But I noticed that a lot of my shirts aren't nice.  And some of them are waaaayyy outdated.  Not to mention that I have three sweatshirts from when I was in tennis in high school.  Do you know how old they are?  They are from 1997, 1998 and 1999.  But yet I cannot make myself part with them because I don't have any other sweatshirt options.  And that my friends, is my problem.  Yes, I have tons of clothes and I don't end up wearing them as much as I should.  I have the classic "I don't have anything to wear" syndrome as I stand in front of the closet with 14 t-shirts and 12 cardigans.  (which thankfully still fit, unlike my jeans)

And then the beauty of the "10" closet really struck me.  My biggest problem is that most of the clothes I have are not "10s".  Most of them fall into the "they are okay" category, which probably would be equivalent to a 6 or 7.  And so I skip over a lot of them and hardly ever wear them in favor for stuff that I like more.  Imagine if I liked my entire wardrobe.  I cannot even fathom.

The second part of this is that I do not have the money to just get rid of everything and only buy things I love.  Unfortunately, I tend to have champagne taste and let me tell you, the Nelson family is definitely on a beer budget.  So I tend to hold onto things.  (I think I can hear the faint whispering of "hoarder, hoarder" in the background)

I have resolved to start getting rid of things that I don't really like, and if that makes me end up with 4 shirts, then I will rotate those 4 shirts until I can slowly and affordably get new stuff.  Plus I think this will help me with all of the "stuff" anxiety I have been having about my house in general.  It is a small way to help me feel like I have more control over my life.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Weight Loss Update

It's the weight loss update that wasn't.  Specifically, I haven't lost anything.  I am starting to wonder if I seriously have a thyroid problem which runs rampant on both sides of my family.  So, in a last-ditch effort before I go and have everything all checked out by an appointment that requires blood being drawn, which would be super fun with 5 kids in tow, I present you my last hope:

Paleo-Diet-Flowchart2. funny and clear.

Here's hoping it works, because I would really, really like to be able to button my jeans now that it is for real fall.

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Personality Test Results

Someone in my circle (can't remember who!) recently said they like personality tests, and seeing as I have to pack up all my kids plus Chris to head north for hunting tomorrow, and myself plus Owen to Iowa tomorrow for a last minute mother-son retreat (seriously last minute, I made the decision about 1 hour ago and we leave tomorrow, oh and I wrote this Thursday night just in case you are as thoroughly confused about times and dates as I am.), I thought, "self, you have nothing on your agenda right now wink, wink, why don't you stop what you are doing and take a personality test?"

Specifically this one:  Personality Test

It only takes a couple of minutes to answer 72 questions, so do it, because it is so much fun!

Here are my results:  ENFP

Which means that I am an: Extrovert, Intuition, Feeling and Perception type of person

This is what I have been my whole entire life, but it is still fun to take these and read about yourself.  Because you never know if you have changed.  Chris has.  (When I met him he was a bonified introvert.  But his job over the last 10 years has demanded a lot from him in terms of public speaking, and I think he would now be considered an extrovert, albeit more towards the introvert type of extrovert.)  And I have to admit, it is spot on.  Which is kind of freaky and fun all at the same time.  And I even answered some questions that I would have probably answered differently when I was younger and I still ended up the same way.  How consistent of me!

Here are some traits about myself according to psychological experts.

I primarily take things in intuitionally.  I am very bright and full of potential.  I am good at most things that interest me, however, to many people I may look directionless because I move from thing to thing alarmingly fast.  I am constantly aware and somewhat fearful of losing touch with my true self.  I need to specifically take time on focusing and finishing my projects (can I just say how much this particular one is true!).  I start a million projects and then only finish very few of them. Unlike the other extroverts, I need time by myself (big amen to this one!).  I place no importance on detailed, maintenance-type tasks, and will frequently remain oblivous to these types of concerns, and this can be frustrated for anyone married to one.  I think I can hear Chris nodding his head through space!  Remember my pictures of crap all over any free space in my house?  Because they are so alert and sensitive, constantly scanning their environments, ENFPs often suffer from muscle tension- and I do complain about this a lot to Chris, but I have never linked it to the fact that I may be slightly hypervigilant. They have a strong need to be independent, and resist being controlled or labelled. ENFPs are charming, ingenuous, risk-taking, sensitive, people-oriented individuals with capabilities ranging across a broad spectrum.  We are only about 3-4% of the population.  Is it bad to say I like that?  

And here is a giant list of things attributed to ENFPs:

outgoing, social, disorganized, easily talked into doing silly things, spontaneous, wild and crazy, acts without thinking, good at getting people to have fun, pleasure seeking, irresponsible, physically affectionate, risk taker, thrill seeker, likely to have or want a tattoo, adventurous, unprepared, attention seeking, hyperactive, irrational, loves crowds, rule breaker, prone to losing things, seductive, easily distracted, open, revealing, comfortable in unfamiliar situations, attracted to strange things, non punctual, likes to stand out, likes to try new things, fun seeker, unconventional, energetic, impulsive, empathetic, dangerous, loving, attachment prone, prone to fantasy

I will not mention how many of the above characteristics I think accurately describe me.  I will however, mention that it is most of them.

And then there is the down side to us:  An ENFP who has "gone wrong" may be quite manipulative and very good it.  See below.  Plus, we can be fun parents, but often confusing to our kids because they don't always understand where our rules come from and how we function.  Hmm.  Maybe that is why Owen is so absolute about rules?

Here are some examples of famous ENFPs

Dr. Seuss (can't remember his real name)
Bill Cosby 
Meg Ryan
Sandra Bullock
Ellen DeGeneres
Robert Downey Jr.
Will Smith
Ralph Nader (leader of the Green Party in case you're like who?)

And here we go for the "bad" ENFPs

Fidel Castro, Cuba
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran
Muammar Gaddafi, Libya

Have to admit that is a group of ENFPs gone bad if I ever did see one.  But I promise that when I run my own country I will not turn into a tyrannical, oppressive dictator leader.  Also, Che Guevera is an ENFP but I don't know enough about history to know if he belongs on the good list with Dr. Seuss or the bad list with Ahmadinejad.

The funny thing is that I thought I read some where that ENFPs are usually more often women, but in the examples that I could find their were way more men then females.  By lots and lots and lots.  Hmmm. 

Anyway, that's a fun note to end my week on.  What are you?

PS- I made Chris look at this last night as well as take the test too, and he got a ESTJ, but the E was almost I.  Did I call it or what?  Completely opposite, and totally spot on.  It was fun to read all of his left-brained, analyze the crap out of everything, not in touch with his feelings stuff.  Also, he thought the first paragraph about "me" was spot on, but that the giant list of stuff was a little sensationalized even though he also thought it was mostly right.  And for the record, Chris didn't have any dictators that fell into his personality.  He had Billy Graham, and another evangelist.  
(Most of his people I didn't recognize, but he also had Hillary Clinton and Michele Obama.) He gets two really well-rounded people and I get dictators.  I am slightly alarmed at what this means for me.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why Is It........?

Today as I eat my oatmeal with craisins, I've got nothing but a bunch of why is its, so I decided to just run with that.

Why Is It....

1. That after a considerable amount of time debating whether or not to get a heavy set of bangs and finally going in last night to do it, my hairdresser doesn't think it will be a good idea because of a very severe cowlick right down the middle which would forever split the bangs and make them look ridiculous?

2.  That the only word Truitt knows is "no", and must say it all the time?

3.  That Kembia and Moyz have decided the best way to interact with each other is to hit and bite?

4.  That I can't fit into my jeans, and all my attempts at losing weight are being thwarted?

5.  That my entire wardrobe sucks.

6.  That I don't have the money to buy a new wardrobe.  :(

7.  That I have decorating ADD and must change things all the time?  Seriously, how do people stay with stuff so long?

8.  That I  love Ava's Spanish class at home?  Seriously, her Spanish class rocks.  You get to play games and have an Avatar that you get to redesign with money you earn when completing sections of the class.  Trust me, if Spanish had been like this in school, I would be fluent at this point.  Heck, this program would have worked with Russian in college as long as the clothes were designer and you could spend money on dream vacations!

9.  That it's only September and Christmas decorations have appeared in our local store?

10.  That it is only September and I am already dreading the chaos the kids will give to the Christmas tree?

11.  That Truitt has decided to spit out every food we give to him and then think he is so super cute?

12.  That Kembia can ask to sit on the toilet and literally force the tiniest bit of pee out of her to get a chocolate chip whenever she randomly wants to, but will not tell me when she has to go to the bathroom the rest of the day?

13.  That my allergies are still going strong?

14.  That I have become addicted to McDonald's mochas?  (This may be contributing to number 4 and the fact that I have severe muffin top over my jeans)

15.  That we have had our adoption tax refund for almost two months and have not bought anything superfluous and excessive with the money?  I think it is burning a hole in my brain, not my pocket!!

16.  And the last one, because it is never good to end when people would expect it, like with number 15, why is it that as I currently am writing this, Truitt is playing in the garbage can and Moyz is playing with the dustpan?  Can't I for once have the kids who don't like gross things?!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Getting Our Adopted Toddler to Sleep Through The Night

So I titled it that way instead of "getting Moyz to sleep through the night" in the hopes that a desperate parent like we were could possibly find this, and perhaps how we did it may work for them.  There is not a lot out there, even on the wide world web on getting your adopted toddler to sleep through the night.

Here's the deal.  Moyz has been getting up twice a night since he could walk at 15 months, so for the last 11 months this has been going on.  Usually at 11 as well as 2, sometimes a half an hour or so each way, but just about guaranteed those two times, sometimes more, but never less.

We were tired, exhausted, cranky.  Plus, for much of that time I also had a brand new infant who was getting up whenever he wanted, which was usually between 3-4 times per night in addition to Moyz.  Generally, I would take care of Truitt because I was breastfeeding, and Chris would handle Moyz.

Pretty much we decided that we couldn't take it anymore when Moyz started getting up in the night and then crawling into or throwing toys into Truitt's crib.  (That coupled with my own sheer exhaustion during the day threw us over and beyond the edge!)  All three boys are in a room together until we can complete another bedroom in the basement, which, unfortunately, hasn't happened yet.  Waking up your other siblings by throwing heavy toys on them is just not acceptable.  And now instead of one child up, we have two.  Thank goodness that Owen can pretty much sleep through anything!

Now, here's the deal.  As an adoptive parent I have done tons of research on attachment disorders and what to do when your adopted child comes home to foster that bond and relationship between a parent and a child when a child has no idea what that is and is used to doing whatever is cute to get attention.  We even saw an attachment specialist when Moyz was first home, and he did display signs of a child who wasn't exactly keen on a close relationship.  For example, we had to trick him to look us into the eyes by looking into a mirror.  He never made a peep, even when he tipped over and couldn't get back up (the silent type, I am sure you have heard of it), and when suggested by our team of specialists to help with his lack of core development and thus physical delays, to toss him into the air and catch him, he was terrified for the first 4 months he was home.  That is how long it took before we tossed him up into the air and he smiled.  Thus we were very cautious with both of our children.  Not even grandparents could hold them, with rare exceptions until they had been home almost 6 months.  Ditto with friends, neighbors, even Ava and Owen were not allowed to feed them, give them a bottle, anything to do with bed or taking care of their needs the first 3 months or so.  Mostly we did this because Moyz would go to any woman for attention, he would even go to a man if he resembled a woman and cling to his/her legs and look all cute.

Okay, so that is sort of our background on Moyz.  Moving forward, we can honestly say that his attachment rocks.  He is a loving boy, that truly is part of his nature, but for the longest time we didn't know if it was orphanage stuff, or who he was.  That is one of the hardest things with your kids, trying to know if it is "them" or "orphanage history" rearing its head.  He always comes to us when he is scared/hurt, etc. and has no extra love for people he doesn't know.  He does not indiscriminately walk around and try to chat with people he doesn't know.  But even knowing this, I was terrified of doing something to help him through the night and mess him up.  Because if there is one thing an adoptive parent is afraid of, it is accidentally doing something wrong and then your kid cannot function in society when they are older.

With Moyz, we couldn't find a reason for his nighttime jaunts.  He would get out of bed, walk into our room and always come to my side and stare at me.  He never woke up from a scary dream, he didn't seem to particularly want anything.  We tried water, food, cuddling for a minute or two, everything that we could think of.  So we started doing what the experts advise.  Take him back to bed, don't punish him, just lay him down and walk away.  Didn't work.  Then we had Chris sleep in the bed with him, didn't work.  he would still get up out of bed and walk into our bedroom.  Now I am sure that some of you are immediately going, just have a family bed.  And while I have nothing personal against that, it is not something that Chris and I want for our family.  From our experience with other children occasionally in the bed, we never slept.  It was a long and sleepless night and didn't do anything to bolster us as a family.  If our kids had a bad dream, we would talk to them and comfort them, pray with them, and lay them back down to sleep.  Plus, I do tend to think that the bed should be a place for parents to have with each other.  But again, if the family bed is what you want then perhaps that would solve the problems of your night walker.  However, given the fact that if one of us slept with Moyz in his bed just to see what happened, he would still get up.  We also tried spanking him, not hard, but on his bottom to see if that helped, nope.

Desperate enough after nothing working after 10 months, I went to an adoption group of parents who have adopted out of Congo and either used our agency One World (which I do NOT recommend, email me if you need further info.), or had moved on to adopt independently.  I desperately asked for thoughts and advice from those who have already adopted and gone through this, which I think is absolutely key when you are looking for advice.  As helpful as they can be, if a parent has not gone through it, then I tend to think that while well-meaning, their advice is pretty much crap as it relates to adoption things.

I got several things, quite a few people mentioned melatonin be given to Moyz at night, several also mentioned magnesium oil.  Both of these are sleep aids to help Moyz get through the fact that he wakes up at the same time every night.  In essence, a politically correct version of giving your child Benadryl and hoping they make it through the witching hour.

And then I got an email from a woman who has adopted several children.  Let me tell you, her email saved my life.  What she said was basically this, that Moyz fell into "patterning", which basically you can deduce from the fact that he gets up at the same times each night.  It is now the pattern of how his night goes.  His body is basically making this an official clock time for him, similar to how adults wake up every morning at 6 without an alarm to get ready for work.  He is so used to this that it is tough to break.  She also said this, which I so desperately needed to hear:  That unless Moyz exhibits some serious attachment issues after being home for 14 months, it is okay to leave him alone at night and have him get over it.  I had to bold that part because it was so good to hear someone else tell me what I was already thinking but was too afraid to try.  Chris and I truly felt that his attachment was great, and that we were ready to try letting him deal with it.  And by deal with it I mean shut the door and not let him out.

So we tried it.  But we had to get one of those things that slip over the door so he couldn't turn it since he can open the door.  We also took Owen and Truitt out.  The first night he cried at the door for about half an hour.  So Chris went back in and put him to bed.  The second night he banged on the door with a little bit of crying.  And then it got silent.  We thought he went back to bed but he only flipped on the lights and started playing with toys.  The third night we took the lightbulbs out so he couldn't turn on the light.  We thought we licked that problem, but he spent a good 5 minutes turning the light on and off to see if it eventually would turn back on.  When it didn't, he just started playing with toys by moonlight.  The fourth night we took all the toys out to see what would happen.  He dropped down by the crack in the door and started yelling at us.  But eventually he went back to his bed and went to sleep.  The fifth night he discovered a container of shea butter which he promptly spread all over his bunk bed.  The sixth night- nothing.  No waking up, no yelling, no trying to turn lights on, nothing but sleep.  After about a week of this, he no longer wakes up at night and tries to get into our room.  We still leave the thing on the door, but he doesn't pound on it, cry or try to turn the lights on.  HE IS SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT!  Can't you see the clouds parting and the angels singing?!

It wasn't necessarily as simple as that.  Every day I spent fretting and obsessively watching his behavior to see if he was showing any signs of regression or acting differently or that somehow by us making him stay in his room at night we were harming him.  I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about my decisions as they relate to parenting Moyz and Kembia vs. how I parented Ava and Owen, and now Truitt.  And I think you will find that most adoptive parents feel this way.

Now, I know that there are probably parents who think what we did was horrible, totally the antithesis to everything attachment specialists say and think.  But here is what it boils down to:  We are better parents if we are not up all night.  My ability to parent my children in a loving manner, in the way I want to be a parent, was directly affected by being up multiple times a night.  And my parenting is not just about Moyz and Kembia, it is all of my children- Ava, Owen, Kembia, Moyz and Truitt.  In my history of being an adoptive parent I have learned that attachment isn't always about what is best for the child.  Sometimes, you have to do what is best for the parent to get at what is best for the child.  And it seems that they don't teach that to you when you take all of those classes and read all of those books.  Would I have done this when he got home, or even 6 months ago?  No.  But I know my son and his behavior, I know when he cues that he is nervous or upset, and I know that he could handle being in his room at night, even if I was to afraid to try, and that is why I am so thankful that someone told me it is okay for adopted to kids to be alone when there are no big worries about attachment.

I would suggest if you are going through this to watch your child and really look at the situation.  We did not have to use the melatonin or magnesium oil, but I was going to get some and then he started sleeping through the night so I didn't have to.  Knowledge rocks, but talking to people who have done it before is even better.  If your child has significant attachment issues, then I would not do what we did.  I would seek expert help if your are facing sleep issues and attachment issues.

And of course, I do believe that attachment therapists for the most part are right about techniques for developing a bond with your child when they come home.  But eventually, attachment is going great, and kids need to be held accountable for their behavior.  Yes, that is probably always going to be later then in a situation with your bio kids, but it will happen.  We can't let our fear of wrecking our kids get in the way of helping our kids to lead normal lives.  Whether that is helping them sleep through the night, or working through with them thinking they can just scream at the top of their lungs in Target when they don't want to be in a cart anymore or don't like that they can't have everything they see.  Something we dealt with Kembia around the third or fourth month of her being home.  One lady actually told Chris he was a bad parent in Target.  He pretty much just looked at her and ignored her, which is much more gracious then I would have been.  I am fairly certain I would have spouted something off at her and made myself look like that much greater of a  parent!

Anyway, that's how it worked for us.  Trust your instincts, and definitely find someone who has adopted before to bounce ideas off and help give you some insight.  Eventually, all of those "adoptive needs and situations" we read about and obsess and freak out over become normal life, and you move beyond them.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Kidlet Updates

Thought it was time for a kidlet update considering my parents occasionally follow this blog and probably are wondering where the kid stuff is.  Because I know they would rather see that then anything else.  At this point in life they are in it for the grandkids!

Truitt is officially completely off bottles.  This took me forever.  We had all of our other kids off bottles way before one year (Kembia and Moyz didn't really do bottles).  But I felt bad for him because he was the smallest (no longer) and most neglected and his bottle was just so comforting for him.  But at his one year checkup, which I didn't do until he was 13 months, oops, his pediatrician told me I should probably start parting ways with wonderful, reliable, kid-soother.  At least we still have pacifiers.

Moyz, bless his heart, after extensive nights of trying various things to get him to sleep through the night, FINALLY IS SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT!  I will post on this later as an adoption post, because it's worth chatting about for any that are in the adoption process.  But as a quick reminder, this is a kid who has gotten out of his bed every night at about 11 and 2, sometimes more, but always those times, for just about the last year.  And of course, you worry about attachment issues and all that stuff so you don't do anything to fix it and then you are just extremely tired for one year.  But not longer, praise Jesus.

Kembia I need to teach the difference between a toilet and the tub.  I asked her to put her jammies in the toilet after she leaked in them one night last week, and I cutely watched her walk down the hallway and into the bathroom with them.  Later that day, I went in to go to the bathroom and there they were shoved into the toilet.  Awesome.  And also she now tells Moyz "shame" whenever he does anything wrong, thanks to her grandma who taught her that one.

Owen is loving school.  Finally.  He pretty much dreaded the idea of going until we went and dropped his stuff off in the classroom.  He loves to taunt Ava that she is still going to school when he gets home mid-way through the day like all Kindergartners do.

And Ava.  Ava has asked to go back to public school because she is missing her friends and "wants to show them all of her new clothes".  Which I promptly told her wasn't a good enough reason to go back to public school.  We are still trying to figure out the homeschool thing.  I feel like I was greatly misled by the school about the amount of parent interaction required.  Basically, I was told that 4th graders do much of it by themselves and that they work at their pace.  Um, no.  The only time she does that is when she does Literature and the worksheets for the story.  Otherwise I am teaching her and interacting with her the whole time.  And where are the babies you might ask?  Good question, essentially wandering the house and watching PBS.  This is not a good alternative for them.  For now, I am desperately trying to find ways to interact with the littles and teach Ava.  This is much, much harder now that I have to be with Ava pretty much the whole time.  I should probably be clear that this is a public school done at home, as opposed to traditional home school where you can go at the pace the child goes.  Ava has learned a new math concept every day.  I know for a fact last year they focused on one, maybe two new concepts per week.  I will keep you updated as to what we decided to do.

The good thing about homeschooling is that my days go by super fast, and I don't leave the house and get tempted by all of the goodies at Target that I could be buying, so I can already see how much money this is going to save us!  But having three feral toddlers wasn't exactly on my to do list, so that is a situation that must get better!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Why I Hate Potty Training

I know.  I know what you are thinking.  You are all like, Jess, you should have been one of those moms who says that she potty trained her kid at 12 months with as many kids as you have in diapers.  My response to that would be um, no, the kid isn't potty trained, the parent is.  Unless of course you did this with your kid, and then I would say that your kids is a bowel movement genius.  Hopefully it's catching, like a disease, so how about you bring your genius over to my house and show my midgets how to poop in the toilet.  WHERE IT BELONGS.....

I get it, I really do.  They are only 25 months.  But come on, my first two were both potty trained by this age, and my expendable income is getting literally sucked down the toilet and I can't buy things that I want, like expensive coffee.  For real children, get a clue.  Poop goes in the toilet.  Pee too.  That would be awesome.

I have two kids who like to play in the toilet, not naming names Moyz and Truitt, and one kid who likes to sit on the toilet whenever she sees me do it.  She even claps for me and says "Yay Mommy!"

I think I could maybe convince Kembia to do it if I could ever catch her peeing.  Seriously, the girl pees so little that we had her tested for diabetes, and she is fit as a fiddle.  The kid just doesn't let a lot of liquid volume loose.  She does, however, tell me when she has already pooped.  Pleasant.  And I swear once upon a time when I was pregnant with Ava and actually read books on how to raise children that if your kid can tell you when they have pooped, then they are ready to be potty trained.

Honestly, part of the problem is me.  I kind of don't want to deal with teaching two kids to use the bathroom right now on top of everything else in my life, but I am getting slightly sick of the 15 or so diapers I change a day.  Did you know that 13 month old kids can't digest cranberries?  Nope, not even a little bit.  And if you feed that same child taboule, their poop will get all weird and light colored and stink to high heaven, and more likely than not, seep out of their diaper and down their legs soaking into their pants and then onto the parent that is holding them.

Yeah, Kembia I think for sure is probably ready.  Moyz, he is one of those kids who probably is better off with a catheter.  The kid pees all.the.time.  He only has one type of diaper, completely full.  We probably will spend all day just sitting on the toilets reading books because I think that he probably pees in one continuous stream 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I can just see us in the car and I will be constantly saying "you have to pee again?  Can you hold it 10 more minutes".  I bet he becomes proficient at peeing on the side of the road because I am not doing the pee into the bottle method that men like to toss around when they are in groups feeling all macho.

I am totally, 100% against pull ups.  Seriously people, they are just another diaper.  Why is it that so much of the population can't see this?  We went straight to undies for our kiddos.  And it actually worked pretty well.  Once they saw those skivvies and understood that they can't pee all over them and make them yucky we were golden.  This time around though, I am not sure I can handle all the checking up on the kids to make sure their cute undies aren't stained and leaving a trail all around the house because mom didn't get to them fast enough.



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Slipcover Tutorial (finally!)

All right, finally I got all my junk together and got this thing done!  Here is my attempt at a slipcover tutorial.  I googled that phrase a bunch of times on the internet, and found a few of them, but a lot of them were more advanced then what I wanted to do, and then there were some that charged you for an ebook.  This definitely won't be for a perfectionist who wants all of her angles to match up, so I'll get that disclaimer out of the way right now!

I ordered my fabric from  I consistently found this to be cheapest when looking at material for slipcovering, even more then JoAnn's with a coupon.  They have free shipping on orders over $35, free returns, and if it is the first time you use the site, scroll down to the bottom and look for "coupon corner" and there will be a one time use coupon for 10% your order over $40, and if you are slipcovering, it will be.

The fabric that I ordered for both of my slipcovers is Canvas White UR-129, and here is the link to exactly that:  Canvas White  It is approximately 10 oz.  At first I ordered a 7 oz. material but it was much too thin and never would have held up to high traffic couches and I had to return it.  10 oz. is just about perfect because it is heavy duty, but not so heavy that you have to majorly slow down your sewing.  And speaking of sewing, your pretty much can have almost no experience and do this as long as you can sew straight lines.

I ordered this fabric because I saw on a blog that the woman used this.  You want 100% cotton and something that says washable.  There are a ton of fabrics that say dry clean only, which definitely defeats the purpose of bleaching your covers.  I will say that this fabric is not an ice white, it is more leaning towards a warm white, like the color of IKEA's white curtains but a little bit whiter.  But some bleach should take care of that for you, and unless you are super specific about your whites, it should be just fine.

I ordered 15 yards for my couch and had a yard or two left over and I ordered 12 for my loveseat. You may want to take some quick measurements for your couch as mine is a little smaller then a standard size couch.  For both fabrics, which I ordered at separate times, the total was $170 dollars.

Here is what you will need to sew a cover:

1. fabric
2. thread
3. sewing needles
4. pinning needles
5. hand needle for basting
6. colorful thread for basting
7. velcro for cushion covers, or zipper
8. sharp scissor
9. sewing machine

Your fabric will come in the mail on a bolt like this:

Please Note:  Cute kid not included with bolt of fabric.

 The first thing you will want to do is wash and DRY it.  It is super important to do this because your fabric will shrink and if you don't do this, then you will do all of the work, wash it the first time and it will be too small for your couches and you will be extremely upset.  This didn't happen to me but it takes some work and I would be highly irritated if I wasted all that time and money because I didn't wash and dry.

I cut off sections that were twice the length of the couch to wash.  I picked that size because I knew even with shrinkage it would cover the back completely, and any larger and it becomes an unmanageable amount of fabric for the machine.

You will then lay your fabric across the back of the couch like this.

You must remember to put your fabric inside out on the couch, or in other words, pattern side in.  Basically you are sewing the cover inside out and backwards and when you flip it after it is all together what was on the left side will now be on the right.  Got it?  Good.

If you use the same fabric I did because you are going for the "bleach the crap away ease" then don't worry about this at all.  From what I could tell, there was no right side to this fabric.  It was exactly the same to me either way.

The nice thing about this fabric is that it comes hemmed on two sides, so I cheated and put those sides along the bottom as much as I could so I didn't have to hem.

This picture is trying to show you that this edge is hemmed already so that makes less work for me if I place it at the bottom of my slipcover.

Then you will want to tuck the corners in around the front of the edges.  Make sure you tuck under the corners as much as possible,  you want to be able to shove the fabric in there and allow for about 2" of seam.

Another view of the whole thing so far:

Next you are going to do the piece that goes across the bottom under the seat cushions and down to the floor.  Again with this one I put the hemmed part on the bottom in the front so I don't have to deal with a hem later.

 It's hard to tell in this picture, but then you are going to pin the two pieces of fabric together along the whole length that they meet up.  Make sure to allow lots of extra fabric going up the sides where arm fabric will drape down and meet.

Then it is time to do the arms.  Take your fabric and drape from the floor over and down into the cushion.  Again, already finished hem along the bottom of the couch.  I didn't have to hem at all with my covers because of this move.

You will have to do some trimming around the arms to make the fabric fit and join up with the other parts.  It is important to shove the fabric into the arms like you did with the back piece so you can get enough fabric to work with.  You do not want to come up short with this!

 This is a picture of the arm of the couch.  If you look closely you can see 3 tiny little pins on the top of the arm.  I did this so the fabric wouldn't move on me and thus make me sew wonky.  I suggest pinning parts of the fabric to the couch the entire time you make this, it will allow you to keep things in position as you tug other parts to make it fit best.

Once you get the fabric shoved into the cracks and cut down to about a 2" seam, this is what it will look like on the inside of your couch in the corners:

You know on Despicable Me where the Minion goes "wwwhat?" after the girls trashed the place with toilet paper and Grule tells him he has to clean it up?  (One of my favorite parts by the way), that is how I felt when I looked at this corner.  But you will get over it, I promise.

This is hands-down the crappiest part of this project.  It doesn't look too bad here, but it is challenging to get 3 different areas of fabric all lined up and pinned.  And the worst part is coming- sewing that crazy corner all together.  I will warn you right now that it sucks.  It's basically just winging it and hoping your stitches close up.  But if they don't, when you turn it the right way, you can look at what is going on and always hand stitch the open areas close.  Don't let this part intimidate you or make you change your mind about sewing a cover.  If you shove enough fabric into the cracks, even if it is terribly wonky, and mine was, you can shove it down far into the corner when it is on the couch and it doesn't matter at all because even the pressure from people sitting on it doesn't pull because you gave yourself enough fabric.

The next part is to do the front of the arms.  Find a smaller piece of fabric to use as the front.  In the picture below you can see a several inch overhang that you want to make sure you leave from the piece that you draped over the arms to sew the front.

Another view of the other arm front:

At this point you should have everything that makes up your slipcover pinned and in place.  My suggestion here is to baste everything together.  I didn't know what that word meant, but basically I took a bright colored thread, blue in my case, and sewed just above the pins to make the seam tighter and for the slipcover to fit better.  You use huge stitches.  It serves two purposes.  1. It holds the fabric together and 2. If your needles fall out when you are sewing you still know where to sew because you basically just go over the basting.  I looked up what that word meant when I was done.  I am so thorough!  And remember, you are using LARGE stitches when basting, you are not hand-sewing the thing shut.  The whole couch should probably only take about 15 minutes to do this.  Otherwise you are either being a perfectionist or are sewing your stitches too close together.

I did not baste the first slipcover and I really regret it.  I had pins falling out all over the place and sometimes wan't sure where I should be sewing.  Yes, it will add time, but I promise in the long run it will be worth it.

Here is a picture where you can see my blue basting it is going around the front of the arm.  Notice the LARGE stitches?

Your next step after this is take the slipcover off, don't forget to take out any pins you put in the actual couch to help hold the fabric in place and sew that thing together!  Take your time, mine took about two bobbins worth of thread to sew the couch slipcover.  Once you are done, put it right side out on the couch and check it over thoroughly wherever the fabric connects, especially in the corners where the seats will rest on and hand sew anything that didn't get completed with the machine.  

After that it is time to do the cushions.  I put two layers of fabric together and just cut out everything it one fell swoop.

You will be cutting and pinning fabric for three sides of the cushions (I'll explain what I did with the fourth in a sec) so it makes the nice seam line and help it look finished.  Here is part of a cushion pinned:

Before you start the cushions you will need to have decided how you want to make them go together, whether you are going to use a zipper or velcro or ties so that you can take the slipcover off the cushions and wash them.  I couldn't find a zipper big enough to go around my cushion, plus I don't even know how to sew a zipper, so I opted for the sew on velcro.  They have sticky stuff but I don't think there is any possible way that it would last.  

This next picture shows the one side of the cushion that is NOT pinned because this is the side where I am going to have my over-lapping fabric with velcro sewn in.  Notice on this side I put the already hemmed sides of the fabric together to save myself time.  I don't have a good picture of it, but on the bottom piece of the fabric in the below picture I sewed one piece of velcro on it on the outside, the side that you see.  And I sewed the other piece of velcro on the top part of the fabric on the inside, the part of the fabric that would touch the cushion so they could meet up and hold the cushion shut.  The top fabric overlaps the bottom fabric to allow closure.  Remember before you start pinning your other sides to line this up correctly if you are going to use velcro.

You will want to wait and sew the velcro to the cushion cover after you have sewn the rest of the cover first and put it on the cushion correctly to make sure everything matches up well and there are no holes.

And finally, here is a picture of the slipcover all done.  This is the loveseat.  It's not as tight as I was hoping, especially around the arms, but I am not sure how to have made the arms tighter as the fabric has to get all away around the arms where they bulge out.  Overall, I am happy with the way it turned out.  And hopefully, I will not be doing this again any time soon!

And just to remind you, here is a picture of the loveseat before.

And then here is an after shot of the big couch.  And I know I have been promising pictures of what this area looks like now after some changes, soon, I tell you.  I am still tweaking some things, especially after all that time spent on that stupid lamp and then it didn't even work.

So there you have it.  Hopefully, a relatively clear idea on how to sew a slipcover.  If something doesn't make sense, leave me a comment and I will try and address it better.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Day of Home School

So I just finished our first day of home school with Ava.  It took 3 hours, but we didn't get to do Spanish because we couldn't access it online.  I am told that 3 hours for our first day minus Spanish is really pretty good.  But I think they might be lying because my girlfriend did her 3 kids in the same amount of time.

And I may or may not have threatened to send Ava back to public school in the first 45 minutes of the day.  That is why when I called Chris to let him know how it was going he said "remember to have lots and lots of patience".

Owen went to his first day of Kindergarten, (at school, not at home) and I had little tears as he got on the bus, but I soon got over it because the babies were all yelling that they were hungry except for Truitt who was yelling because he crapped his pants.

I know I promised the slipcover tutorial today, but I have to break that.  I have all the pictures and it's done, but I need to get them off my camera and into blogger and that will take me awhile now that I am teaching school to a 4th grader.  Who on her very first day of science had to learn all about ecosystems and learned words like biome (which blogger doesn't think is a word) and biosphere.

This is seriously like another job.  I am not sure what I was thinking it was going to be like, but we'll see how it goes.