Friday, July 30, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday {#6}

1.)  I got sunburned yesterday at the lake.  (Reservoir, actually, but "lake" just sounds better.)  Big-time.  Especially on my feet and ankles.  Why do I do this to myself every single summer?  For some reason I just assume I WON'T get sunburned, and not for any logical reason, but "just because."  How ridiculous is that?  Other than my painful ankles and feet, we had a lot of fun.  My kids played in the sand and splashed in the water with their sweet little cousins.  I brought a shade tent thingy for Mary Lu and overall, she did really well.  (She did get pretty fussy a few times--the bright sun combined with missed naps did not a happy baby make.  But we managed.)  Colorado, as you can imagine, has some fantastic state parks.  This particular one is actually not terribly far from my house.  I love that I live in the city but can be in the beautiful wilderness within thirty minutes or so.

2.)  We went to Costco on Wednesday and (among other things, most of which were purchased in bulk) I bought a bathroom scale.  Interestingly, we did not own one and I wanted to be able to track Mary's weight on my own over the next few weeks.  This scale has thus far brought much amusement and entertainment to our home.  Who knew that weighing yourself, weighing your baby, weighing yourself before nursing said baby and then weighing yourself afterwards to see how much milk she had, could be so darn fun?  It's hilarious.  We are addicted to using this scale.  All of us.  It's the little things.

3.)  On the same Costco trip I had a coupon for some bottled iced tea.  This seemed like it had the potential to be a good purchase--we do a lot of picnic park days and I thought I could procure a fun drink to bring along.  Yesterday I took one to the lake...and took a drink...and oh my goodness, WHY are they mass-producing this vile stuff?  YUCK!  SO gross!  I'm not a picky eater, I like most things, I love green iced tea (or any iced tea, really)...but this was disgusting.  And I now have a HUGE case of it in my basement.  I am not a wasteful person.  I know myself well enough to know that I probably won't be able to just dump the stuff in the garbage.  Which means I'll have to drink it.  Ew.  Because I can't just offload it onto naive guests who come to my house.  That would just be too, too mean.  It has caffeine in it, so I really can't even pawn it off on my unsuspecting children.  Which is the normal protocol for food we buy that we don't end up liking.  (Yet another benefit to having kids.)  Shoot. 

4.)  This morning I read an article from a British medical journal that declared home births to be "harmful", associated with a much higher incidence of maternal and fetal death.  Hmmm.  I'm thinking this article did not distinguish between midwife-assisted home births, high-risk pregnancies, etc.  Personally I think home births are fantastic.  Not that I've ever had one, but my labors are fast and uncomplicated, and I think I'd maybe like to have a baby at home someday.  I do believe pain is better managed at home, it's a much more restful environment, and it has the potential to be such a meaningful experience.  Not to mention, and this might be the biggest benefit of all, the midwife model of care is preferable to me.  By the time Mary was born, I'd HAD it with the standard "pregnancy is a medical condition that needs careful monitoring and so we're going to scare you at every single turn" paradigm that my OB was operating under.  It was, by far, the most difficult aspect of the pregnancy.  Placenta previa, Trisomy 18, and transverse breech were all things I was "threatened with."  Two out of the three would have necessitated a C-Section, and one of them would have resulted in the baby's death.  Talk about sucking the joy out of something that is supposed to be a happy, NATURAL, momentous process.  Mary Lu was born roughly two or three hours from the start of active labor, no drugs, healthy as can be.  The doctor and nurses joked about how they loved how "easy" I was.  I was also told by my OB that I "do pregnancy very well."  If that is the case, why the scare tactics?  Why were we worrying about where the placenta was when I was just 20 weeks along?  Or about the cysts on Mary's brain when time and time again that has been found to be a typical part of development?  Why worry about the baby's position when it's not time for her to be born yet?  I know why.  Liability issues.  I was even offered an amniocentesis to see if Mary had Trisomy 18.  Really????  She showed no heart defects, no kidney problems, she was growing...and they offered me a risky procedure.  Ugh.  So, yes, I get a little riled up when the powers-that-be try to say that we ladies NEED doctors and hospitals to do something that women the world over have been doing for millenia.  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for being grateful for the medical care we have access to in our fine country (not to mention all three of my babes have been born in hospitals under the care of a doctor), but the C-Section rate in the Western world is HORRIBLE and I think a shift TOWARDS a midwife/homebirth model would be a good thing.  Regardless of what the British say.

5.)  My breakfast selections for my kids are seasonal--is that weird?  They eat oatmeal and fruit Fall through Spring, rain (well, snow) or shine.  In the summer though, we've been doing bagels and cream cheese with our fruit.  I think it's because it's just way too hot--yes, even by breakfast-time--to even THINK about oatmeal.  They also eat eggs a couple of times a week, with whatever else they're having.  But yeah, no oatmeal in the summer.

6.)  I ordered some homeschool materials online weeks ago and they STILL have not showed up at my door.  Every day I get so excited at the prospect of them coming, and still they don't come.  I'm such an impatient person (and, let's face it, I'm excited about what I ordered!  The thing is, I ordered them off of, and so they're shipped "media mail", which can take a bit of time.)  I bought Story of the World Vol. I and then the activity book too.  I really am so excited about these, and about studying ancient history this year with my kiddos.  I have big plans to do a field trip to a Denver museum and see some real mummies when we're studying King Tut.  So fun!  (The museums here have free days for Colorado residents periodically.  Pretty sweet.)  Hard to believe, but I am so looking forward to this upcoming school year!

7.)  I'm also gearing up to buy another annual family pass to the Denver Zoo.  We bought one our first year here, then last year didn't renew it, but I think we'll get it going again this year.  I love the zoo, and my kids love it too.  Such a fun place to go kill time and there are some great animals there.  I wonder how old kids are when they stop liking the zoo?  Do they EVER stop liking it?  I'm an adult, and I like it.  At any rate I think we'll do the zoo again this year.  For our family, the pass pays for itself in about two visits.  :) 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Just dropping in to say hi

Blogging has been light this week.  It seems I've hardly had the time or energy, between park days and swimming at the pool and grocery shopping and going to the movies and organizing some of my kitchen cupboards.

Today we're off to a state park to go swimming at a beach with my sister-in-law and her mom and my nieces.  Summer is so much fun, and so very busy.  A good reprieve from the school-year routine (yes even us homeschoolers have a routine!) but it also makes me appreciate our days spent at home with things to learn and do.  I suppose that is what I love about seasons in general--change, variety, and how they make you appreciate and anticipate each different one.  Oh how we looked forward to Summer when the snow was falling, and now I look forward to Fall and school and all that it will bring.  While still loving Summer, of course--it's hard to beat! 

Hopefully you too are enjoying your months of sunshine and water and otterpops out in the backyard.  We sure are!  And I am planning to get back into the blogging routine ASAP.  More to come soon!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My little peanut

Mary just had her nine month well-check Thursday morning.  Well-checks around here are usually pretty boring.  None of my children currently have any medical conditions, so these appointments usually amount to me chatting with our pediatrician (who's actually a personal friend) while he examines Mary.  He's a great doctor, and super thorough.  

Anyway, I was really nervous going into this well-check because I suspected that Mary has not been gaining much, if any, weight.  She is TINY.  Anna was small too, but Mary is REALLY small.  Anyway, on my way out the door I quickly glanced at her stats from her 6 month checkup, so I'd know right when they weighed her if she'd made any gains.  Thirteen pounds, six ounces.  (I told you she is small.)  I made a mental note and hurried to the car.

I set Mary on the scale in the little room, and watched with complete and utter dismay as the digital numbers settled on...thirteen pounds, six ounces.  The medical assistant actually re-weighed her, just to make sure.  Still it remained.

And so we waited for the doctor to come in.  I fidgeted, and tried not to worry, but my chest felt tight.  What was the doctor going to say?  Was he going to freak out?  Did I wait too long to start solids?  Is my baby girl completely undernourished?  Am I the world's worst mom?  Is my daughter sick?  I picked up a book from the basket with some bugs on the front, titled "Think Big",  for Mary to look at.  As my friend the doctor came through the door, he greeted us and noted the title of the book, and said encouragingly, "That's what you gotta do, Mary!  Think big!"

My fears that the doctor was going to report me to CPS immediately vanished.  I quickly told him that I was concerned, and not sure what was going on, and that maybe she hadn't been getting enough or something, although she hadn't seemed dissatisfied...but he assured me that it wasn't anything I did wrong, and that there are all sorts of potential reasons why she hasn't gained, and said that he wants me to up her caloric intake and that she'll come back in for a weight check in three weeks.  He doesn't expect her to make any huge gains in that time, but even just an ounce or two would show that she's able to put on the weight.  If there ISN'T a change, then he'll order some labwork to see if she has some sort of disorder or developmental issue.

They did check her iron levels at this appointment, and they were excellent.  She's not anemic or anything, and that is good. 

She's meeting developmental milestones.  That is good too.

I know in my head that:

we just recently began solids
Mary began crawling about four months ago
Mary stopped nursing at night within the last three months

and that all of those things could contribute to this.  I ALSO know that Kaitlyn completely fell off her growth curve at six months old as well--she actually LOST twelve ounces (!)--but she was a huge baby so, while it was strange, it wasn't as big a deal.

But my mommy heart worries. 

Over the past several days we've gotten into a routine of solids three times per day, lots of nursing of course, and the consumption of many calories.  The doctor has me adding olive oil and butter to the veggies and legumes that Mary is eating.  She's having yogurt (made from whole milk) and I'm trying to convince her that cottage cheese is a good thing.  She's gobbling it all up and whether she has a disorder or not, I think she was not getting enough calories just from breastmilk as of late.  I'm hoping that's all it is.  If it's not, well, Mary Lu is happy and sweet and truly a gift.  We'll get it figured out.  Nobody wishes for something to be less than pefect with their child, but life is less than perfect, and all I have to do is look at Mary's chubby toes or big ol' lopsided smile to see that she is just as she should be, no matter what.  "Perfect" is relative anyhow.

All of the staff at our pediatrician's office are super sweet.  There's one assistant in particular who is just in love with Mary.  She calls her "peanut" because, well...Mary is roughly the size of a peanut.  :)  This woman is always so over-the-top excited to see Mary Lu.  "Hi peanut!"  she'll say.  And as she was loving on Mary this particular day, I felt comfort knowing that my baby girl is right where she should be.  I don't like having doubts and questions and concerns about my little ones, but it's also a great reality check to remember who is really in control (God), who is the giver of all good things (God), and how much of a blessing a child is no matter what they may face in this life.

Most likely Mary is just fine.  Maybe she's not.  Maybe none of it matters when she's giggling, grabbing for my food, or zipping around on her hands and knees chasing after her siblings.  She's got a whole lot of sweetness packed into her little nine-month-old-self.  And for a mama, that's what counts--because who doesn't love a cute little peanut?

Friday, July 23, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday {#6}

Better late than never, right?  You can do your own and link up at Conversion Diary!

1.)  I was on an elevator yesterday and immediately knew what my first Quick Take would be for the week.  See here's the thing about me and elevators: when I get on, and the elevator starts going up, or down, and the doors eventually open...I get off.  Doesn't matter if it's not my destination yet and the doors are only opening for someone ELSE to get on or off.  I just leave.  I walk right through those doors.  And of course once I realize my mistake, I'm way too embarrassed to hop right back on with the rest of the people I just left.  So I pretend that I'm actually supposed to be on that floor, and then go back and wait for the elevator to take me where I'm actually supposed to go.  Something is really wrong with me, I know. 

2.)  Yesterday morning I was flipping around the radio stations in the car and landed on one where two DJs on a Christian station were ARGUING.  Yes, arguing!  I guess a song had just played where the lyrics talked about how great God is, and the one DJ said he didn't like it--that it was real arrogant, and taunting people who didn't believe in God.  The OTHER DJ was sooooo flabbergasted by this and immediately began throwing scriptures around, saying the song was Biblical...oh my goodness it was hilARious.  So funny.  The way the one DJ was defending the song lyrics, you'd think he was concerned about the other DJ's salvation.  Maybe he was.  The whole thing just made me chuckle because mainstream evangelical Christian culture is seriously hysterical sometimes.  Really, really funny.  ALSO on the Christian station, they talked about how some publication just reported that some secret drawings of the brain stem were discovered in Michelangelo's work.  THEN the DJ went on to talk about how much of Michelangelo's art is risque, but the station's website had some of his SAFE art to look at, that even the kids could see.  Um...REALLY??!!  It's Michelangelo!  It's classic art!  We all have bodies.  Have we really not moved past, oh, I don't know, 8th grade?  Oh man.  I got a good laugh out of this as well.  (And yes, I do regularly laugh at the K-LOVE DJs.  I am a terrible person.)

3.) I just started reading Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years at the recommendation of a friend.  I'm LOVING it!  It's my first Donald Miller book I've read, though I did skim parts of Blue Like Jazz (which SEEMED perhaps a bit overhyped for what the content was).  Anyway, the book is great so far.  I love the idea of life as a story, of God entrusting each of us with a unique and potentially amazing story to live, but that a good story will involve facing and overcoming great conflict.  And, the author makes me laugh.  He's pretty funny.

4.) My kids didn't attend VBS this summer.  I think I feel a little guilty about it.  But they went last year, and we received some extremely offensive and awkward comments about our family size, and our adopted sons, from the people putting on the VBS, so I didn't want to go back there...and our neighborhood VBS is really expensive.  (Honestly, I think charging money for VBS is ridiculous.  I know materials cost money, but please don't call it "outreach" when it is no less than $20 per child.)  So, no VBS.  I'm moving past the guilt though because my goodness, we can't do it all.  I find that there are just so many opportunities for activities and we really have to cut out what isn't essential for us.  Apparently this summer, that was VBS.  (And swim lessons.  More guilt.)  Maybe next year we can get back into it.

5.)  My kids have been playing happily, looking at books, coloring, and jumping on the trampoline all morning.  It is really nice to have a day at home.  It's been a busy summer--filled with great things--but we seem to all go sideways if we don't have a handful of stay-at-home-days in there too.  Some of this is for my own sanity.  I'm a hermit an introverted homebody and during the winter, I will go days at a time without leaving my house.  This does not bother me in the least.  I have no trouble staying busy with five children to raise, a home to keep, books to read, and a computer to use.  I'm just one of those people who doesn't get bored.  This may be the strangest thing about me--if not, it's definitely up there.  I don't know why exactly I'm like this, but some of it probably has to do with growing up out in the country and not constantly going places.  I never took dance (well that's not ENTIRELY true, I did do a two-week dance program through city rec once and I was awful, but hey I had a good time), or karate, or sports (I'm not athletic at ALL, so this was probably for the best.)  I found other stuff to do, read a lot, spent time with family and friends, came up with imaginative play, and I loved Barbies.  I also swam a lot at the community pool.  All of that to say, I never developed a need to be entertained and I have a low threshold for fun, meaning I am amused quite easily.  This probably helps explain why, when we receive our year-end breakdown of spending on our credit card statement, the "entertainment" category shows pretty much zero dollars.  (I apparently married someone like this too.)

6.)  I was reading through old blogposts today and I have to say, I miss when my kids were smaller.  The days when Anna was 3, and Kaitlyn was a baby, and Yosef and Biniam were 2, oh my goodness those were some crazy and fun times.  I refuse to be that person who claims the past was better, but oh how I miss it all.  Well, I miss MOST of it.  (Three children in diapers wasn't always the most fun.)  And yet, getting to know my kids more and more as they grow and mature is pretty amazing too.  Time just keeps marching on and things change each day, even if it is so gradual that you can't see it.  I have loved each stage of my kids' lives, but there was something really magical about life with three toddlers, and then three toddlers and a baby.

7.)  We were up WAY too late last night watching a {certain} show on DVD from the library.  We are working our way through the series (which is not being made anymore).  No, I'm not telling you what show it is, because I'm afraid someone will spoil it for me.  (Apparently I have trust issues.)  But suffice it to say that we are completely hooked on and addicted to this show!  I'm always thinking about it, and wondering how it will all end, what else we will discover, etc.  So today I'm sleepy, but it was worth it for sure, because Breyer's cookies-and-cream ice cream and watching ______ with my husband makes for a great evening.  (And yes we continue our tradition of not really seeing any current TV shows.  I seriously think most of what is on TV is ridiculous.  Back when I had mono (nearly two years ago) I watched a lot of TV and it killed me how lame most of it was.  It helps pass the time I suppose (especially when you're too weak and tired to do anything else), but I am consistently amazed at how many shows are on and the sheer number of people who watch them.  Especially the random, trashy comedy-type shows.  Or any of the shows on the CW or WB or whatever that station is called now.  All these teen shows about vampires and scantily-clad girls who gossip.  PUH-LEASE.  And YES I am aware that I'm eighty years old at heart.  Grumpy and disapproving of pop culture and all that it stands for.  Oh and we don't pay for cable or satellite, we just have an antennae we set up sometimes.  Yet another reason I'm actually an elderly person in disguise: we don't keep up with new technology!  If you're up for a game of shuffleboard, you should come on by.)   

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kitchen re-do

I wanted to update you on our kitchen cabinet re-do.  I feel funny posting pictures of my home, as if it's so grand and exciting that it needs to be seen.  Because it's really, really not.  That being said, I'm excited about how the cabinets turned out, and I think that if you're looking for an inexpensive alternative to a remodel, painting is a great way to go.  (Note that I did not paint them, Kevin did.  It was my idea though.  While I'm not good at painting, I'm great at coming up with project ideas for my husband.)

So, without further ado,



We used Behr's "Beluga" from Home Depot, and sanded the cabinets and drawers a bit first.  The project took several hours but I am so, so happy with the results.  Our backsplash and counters look so much better, too, against the black.  (The "before" photo was actually taken before we even BOUGHT this house, so I'd already painted, we obviously have different furniture, and our appliances are stainless steel now.  We also no longer have that flying-saucer-ish light fixture above our dining room table, although now with the popularity of mid-century modern, I'm kinda wishing I'd kept it and spray-painted it a fun color.  Oh well.)

I'm really glad we didn't opt to remodel the entire kitchen (there are much better uses for that much money), or even resurface the cabinets.  I'm also happy that we went with black instead of white, which had been my other idea.  I'm still wanting to paint the kitchen orange (to match the dining area) instead of the bluish gray I originally painted in there.  But for now I'm just so happy to have black cabinets!

Mary Lu and I are quite thrilled here.  Oh okay, I am quite thrilled, and Mary doesn't really care all that much.  Because she's just a baby.  But someday, she too might move into an old house with some quirky issues that need desperate attention.  And then she'll be pleased as punch when, little by little, her diamond in the rough starts living up to its potential.  There's something really neat about making improvements to your home especially when your husband does most of the work.  A big thank you to Kevin for his mad painting skills and for humoring me in yet another "let's do this to our house, and by let's I mean you" endeavor.

Now for the next project: closet doors and window treatments for our bedroom!  No, we do not currently have doors on our closet.  At all.  And no, our current blinds in that room do not work properly and the cords are a tangled mess because they're broken.  And they're horribly ugly.  Yes, we've been living here for 2+ years.  But these things take time, and we have five kids, and we HAVE done a ton of work already.  So we live with random less-than-ideal-nesses.  It's kind of like a brotherhood you're initiated into when you live in Denver.  Everyone is working on SOMEthing in their home.  Home Depot and Lowes are like old friends.  Nobody bats an eye when your basement is in shambles or, in this case, when your closet has no doors. 

But I have my cabinets now.  So it's all good.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

True love

I have shared before about my love for soda.  Diet Coke, Root Beer and Dr. Pepper are my favorites.  Yum. 

In the past, soda was a take-it-or-leave-it thing for me.  I actually went a few years without having any, really.  Then I got pregnant with Anna, and craved Root Beer like there was no tomorrow.  Over the years, my little love affair with the carbonated goodness continued, and during my most recent pregnancy, with Mary, things really got kicked up a notch.

Thank goodness for McDonalds, and their $1 large sodas.  I have indulged in this treat many a time in the last several months.  (Soda is soooo much better from a fountain.)  Oh and I know, I know, we're all supposed to hate McDonalds...and their mass marketing of junk food to small, impressionable children...and their adding random meat flavoring to their french fries...and the fact that their food is chemically engineered in a laboratory by scientists.  I get that.  But where else can you get a HUGE fountain drink for $1 while your kids play on an indoor playground?  AND, their sweet tea is super yummy too.  LOVE IT.

See, here I am enjoying some Dr. Pepper on a nice sunny afternoon. 

Look how happy I am!  How can McDonalds be so wrong when it feels so right?

Soda, friends, is not good for you.  It contains copious amounts of sugar, and chemicals, and leaches calcium from your bones.  It dehydrates you and rots your teeth.


{It makes me happy.} 

The thought of an ice-cold fountain drink is enough to get me through the morning when I know I have one waiting for me in the afternoon.  Is this pathetic?  Maybe.  Absolutely.  Whatever.  Sometimes the simplest of pleasures in life are the best.  I really don't have any vices...except for soda.  Which I consume, on average, probably twice per week.

Perhaps one day I'll bid farewell to this particular indulgence in the name of health, but for now, I'm okay with it.  Oh alright, I'm MORE than okay with it.  

I love soda.

And sweet tea.

Love, love, love.

I'm lovin' it.

And I'm putting it out there on my blog for the world to see. 

Because I refuse to be ashamed that, at age 29, I am hopelessly in love with fountain drinks.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

City blooming

We have a big peach tree in our backyard.  It's not usually much to look at, but every other year (yes, just every other year for some reason) it bears the most glorious peaches.  I love it.

My kids love it too.  They shimmy up the little trunk, perch in the branches, and look out over...well...the alley.  And the street.  Maybe not much of a view, but they're kids, so they think it's really neat anyhow.

When I was a little girl my dad built us a ranch-style home on a ten-acre almond orchard.  I can remember climbing my share of trees and taking cool evening walks on our property, filling cups and buckets with the almonds we'd pick.  My childhood was spent, for the most part, living in rural California with lots of trees and space to play and dream.

As for my own children, well, they have yet to live on more than what amounts to a city lot.  They have spent their time between two homes: one in a new tract-housing development in California, and now our current home which is in an old Denver neighborhood.  (My boys of course lived in an orphanage too, but I'm not counting that.)  Sometimes I really wish we owned some acreage, that we had a creek to play in or an old tire swing to swing on.  I think about lazy summer afternoons where my kids could just fall out the front door and run around to their hearts' content.  No traffic or sirens at night.  Just lots of quiet.

We actually used to imagine ourselves buying a place out in the country.  But then we decided we'd rather do the city thing for now.  So, here we are.

Sometimes I look at my city-living children and think about their childhoods.  I try to compare them to mine.  (Which I LOVED.)  To figure out what is really best.  But all I really see is that my kids are having tons of fun.  No creek on our corner lot, true, but the little people in my home LOVE riding their bicycles down the shady tree-lined streets, greeting people and dogs as they pass.  We don't have a tire swing, but we have a great time walking down South Pearl Street for a treat on a warm summer's day.  And chatting with the Ethiopian man who works at the 7-11 where we buy our powdered donuts and chocolate milk.  Then we often find ourselves eagerly sifting through treasures at the yard sales spilling onto the sidewalks each and every weekend.

I have to tell you that there were also times as I was growing up when we lived "in town"--while my dad was building the house my parents live in now.  And, quite frankly, I loved those years too.  Riding my bike, walking with my mom to get a donut or to browse around KMart, listening for the ice cream man...yes, those were special times too.

{And I discovered something when we uprooted our family and moved to Denver and pretty much started over two-plus years ago.  It was that home is, well, where we are.  We can thrive anywhere.  My children don't need any one particular thing to be happy.  They make their own fun.  Kevin and I are apparently the same way.}

It seems there are pros and cons to pretty much any living situation.  Just last night I was talking to a friend on the phone who said she'd love to live several different lives--so many options for where to live, what kind of lifestyle to lead.  She wished she could do all of them, and I kind of do too.  Because part of me really would like to live out in the middle of nowhere and have a huge vegetable garden (okay, in all likelihood I would probably kill all the veggies within about a week, but I can dream) and wide open spaces for my kids to run around.  But the other part of me loves where we live, and the community that we have, and the fact that my kids adore our neighbors (even though we don't even know them super well).  I can walk to a cute coffeeshop, Safeway, Starbucks, lots of restaurants, a park, a library.

Childhood has the potential to be magical, no matter where it is spent.  Wherever we live, I want to do it well--taking advantage of where God has us at this very time in our lives.  That's not hard to do when you love where you're at, and for now anyway I totally do.  In part because I love having convenient access to things.  AND, we are easily less than an hour from majestic mountain trails and rural outdoorsy stuff for times when we want to get away.  Seriously, I am convinced that some of the most amazing beauty in the world is here in Colorado.  If you don't believe me, then you simply have to see it for yourself.  The Rocky Mountains and surrounding areas and state parks are stunning.  And we've barely touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of exploring them for ourselves!

But either way, we have a peach tree in our backyard.  Which is pretty great, because even if we spend the next twenty years here in the city--and we very well might, because I do love the city--my kids will have fond memories of climbing a tree, scraping their elbows on said tree, and tasting the sweet, juicy fruit of a freshly picked peach.  They may be city kids by default, but they've got some country in 'em too.  They're climbing trees, just like I used to. 

Only difference is, they see an alley when they get to the top.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Life with a not-officially-diagnosed-but-definitely-showing-signs-of-ADHD son

It's been some time since I've shared anything about my son Biniam and his ADHD.  (Well, until I accidentally hit the "publish post" button and posted this when it wasn't done yet.  Oops!)

I did mention that, at Biniam's well-check, the doctor didn't believe me or even remotely entertain the notion that Biniam has ADHD.  Not for any good reason, but simply because he claims that five-year-old boys are all somehow on the ADHD spectrum.  I understand his reluctance to slap a label on a defenseless child--I'm not a fan of labels myself--but sometimes, a label serves as helpful.  Validating.  I felt a HUGE sense of relief when I finally was able to pinpoint what was going on with my son who, while never ever EVER defiant, couldn't seem to follow through on some really specific tasks.  (In addition to a slew of other random symptoms.)  The doctor also made some really lame, offensive comments about how once Biniam is in school in a more structured environment, he'll thrive, because he knows how to push my buttons at home.  Um, excuse me?  It has nothing to do with pushing my buttons.  It's not that type of problematic behavior in the least.  I do maintain a structured-but-flexible, simple routine at home, and if this man knows ANYthing about ADHD (which, apparently, he does not), he knows that a classroom environment with 25+ 5-year-olds running around is NOT an ideal setting for a child with ADHD.  Not to mention, the impulsivity that I see is not limited to home-life.  It's exacerbated, in fact, when there is lots of noise, or lots and lots of other children (church, for example).  Classic ADHD.  (I will hereby add that this doctor doing the well-check is NOT our pediatrician, just the person in that day, and he has no children of his own.)

If you have had a doctor invalidate your motherly intuition, you know it is NOT fun.  In the least.  I'd wanted help, or hope, or a packet of pills that would make Biniam's brain slow down a bit.  Medicating children with ADHD is controversial for sure, but I'd reached a place where I felt like I was at my wit's end.  I was certain that one of us needed meds--either him or me!  But after I got shut down at the doctor's office, I knew I needed to regroup and figure out our next step.  At one point I was going to call back and specifically request an ADHD screening appointment.

That never happened though, and I don't remember why.  I guess deep down I would prefer to put off medicating for as long as I can.  Biniam is a generally well-behaved child and he's actually been doing really well lately.  In making the decision to forgo further testing (and therefore medication) for now, I have had to adjust my expectations.

My expectations.  Ouch.  I have a lot of those.

See, the ADHD-ish behaviors are things that drive me NUTS.  But they don't usually affect Biniam at all, only insomuch as it can affect how I relate to him.  For example, his impulsivity leads to him doing random things without thinking.  Or how he kinda flits around sometimes or does funny things with his hands.  Always moving, all the time.  Allllll of those behaviors drive me up the wall, but he's happy as a clam.  (He's not even what I would classify as a super active boy however.  It's more subtle.  Even the moving around.  He's not a rough child by any means.)  That's the thing about this kid: he's happy go lucky pretty much all the time.  He lives in the moment.  So far, he functions quite well, makes tons of friends wherever we go, and is well-liked by both kids and adults.  My medicating him at this point would be, in a nutshell, for me.  And my sanity.

Let me now interrupt this broadcast to say that one can NOT underestimate the value of a mother's sanity.  Honestly, there is a reason for the saying "If Mama ain't happy, ain't NObody happy."  I will not sacrifice my relationship with my little boy to avoid medication.  That is ridiculous.

That being tweaking my attitude a bit, and in adjusting my thoughts and response to him, I can--at this stage of the game--avoid putting him on medication.  He is happy, thriving, and being that he'll be homeschooled, he'll have the ability to learn at a pace and in a context suitable for him (taking lots of little breaks for example, doing times tables while jumping on the trampoline, etc.)   Biniam is a quirky little fellow, no doubt about it, but he is so full of fun and enthusiasm for life.  He has a sweet heart. 

As time goes on, we'll of course reevaluate.  There may come a day when medication is the right choice for us.  Not now though.  It would not be fair to him.  We need to try dealing with it in positive ways first, and I'm not even necessarily talking about behavior modification techniques.  I simply mean that we need to accept who he is, ADHD and all, and learn how to live well with that.  I need to set achievable goals for him, one at a time, instead of just expecting him to figure out how to keep track of his shoes...and not to push past people in his excitement to get on to the next thing...and not to exasperate his sister...overnight, all at the same time.  I cannot expect him to be wired differently than he is. 

So far I'd say things are going a bit better.  I'm making a point to have lots of positive interaction with Biniam and not getting so frustrated about certain things.  Not sure if it's like this for you, but when you're feeling happy, positive things towards your child in general, you can handle so.much.more.  You can deal with their misbehavior and issues, and it doesn't drag you down.  This is huge for me.  I'm (more than) a little nervous about homeschooling this year--I can totally see myself getting impatient and there are going to be some challenges.  BUT, we're taking it one day at a time.  And I'm seeing quite clearly the reason behind God's telling us to believe the best about others.  Why is that especially hard to do when it comes to our own children?  Maybe because it's especially IMPORTANT when it comes to our own children.

Everyone thinks they know what ADHD is.  Everyone has a picture in their mind of how it looks, what it means, how it should feel.  Well, I'm telling you that it's different from what I expected.  It's not excessive hyperactivity, chaos, or loud noise.  It's not rude and disrespectful behavior.  In my home it comes in the form of a sweet, small five year old boy who, yes, struggles with some things, like remembering names, keeping track of his ____ (insert any and every personal belonging he owns), telling the truth from time to time, or asking tons of questions.  It also comes in the form of enthusiasm, fun, a quickness to forgive, and a joy not always so easily seen in life.  Biniam most certainly has ADHD, yes.  Some days I want to swap his situation for something else that surely would feel more manageable to me than this.

But other days...other days I wonder what my home would be like without that beaming smile, or what our family of introverts would do without Biniam's sociability.  I can't really, truly seperate ADHD from who my son is, because so many of his good, amazing, unique qualities fall along that spectrum.  Just like the more challenging ones do.

In the end I know that my son is precisely who God made him to be.  He may learn to read differently, or have quirky, fidgety mannerisms, or have a harder time focusing in and listening to me in a noisy crowd...but...he's my son.  I love him.  And it's all part of life, I'm learning.  Things not always turning out the way you may have imagined, or the way you may have chosen.  I choose to believe that they're turning out the way that they are supposed to.  Imperfect, but also somehow good, and in line with what God has for me and my family.

Because really, having a child who comes up with the idea to jump on the trampoline with his sister--wearing clothes hampers on their heads--well, it doesn't get much better than that.

Friday, July 16, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday {#5}

7 Quick Takes.  Conversion Diary.  Just like last week.  :)

1.)  I need to clean my home.  Big-time.  It's a disaster in pretty much every single room.  This always seems to happen in summertime...I'm out of my normal routine and we're going a lot.  Playdates, free movies, picnics, and other assorted activities are far more fun than mopping and scrubbing.  I'm trying to be okay with a little clutter and mess here and there all in the name of summer, but it's at a point where I am comPLETEly stressed out.  Must clean.  Soon.

2.)  Is there any better drink than Thai Iced Tea?  I didn't think so.  I had an AMAZING one Wednesday night when we went out for my birthday.  We were originally going to have Indian food (which I LOVE), but then decided to save that for another time and went to a Thai place instead.  In part so I could get the tea.  It's a good thing they don't do free refills on those because you wouldn't be able to get me out of the restaurant. 

3.)  Across from this particular restaurant is a bar-type-place where there were tons of people sitting on the balcony loudly laughing and talking and having a merry old time.  It made me smile to think of how different my life must be from theirs.  Happy hour on a Wednesday night is not typically where you'll find me--scrambling to get dinner on the table for a family of seven, that is much more my speed.  The people all seemed to be enjoying themselves...but I'm glad for the quiet little life that I lead.  (Not that I would MIND an occasional happy hour out.)

4.)  The state of Colorado requires some crazy number of face-to-face training hours for an international adoption.  So our homestudy agency has these trainings that go from 9:30-2:30 on Saturdays, one per month.  There are four total that keep cycling.  We have had a horrible time lining up childcare (for four kids, all day on a Saturday, who would have thought?!) and therefore blew off the last two trainings.  (We've made it two so far.)  I'm so over it.  It's ridiculous.  The training is something you only have to do once, but this is our first adoption living in Colorado.  SO, even though we adopted two children nearly five years ago, but in California, we still have to go and sit and listen about Ethiopian culture, travel tips etc.  It is maddening.  I think the agency does a great job with their trainings, in that they provide good information for new adoptive parents, but for us it is just highly impractical.  And giving up an entire Saturday with your kids doesn't seem like great attachment parenting, but that's just me.  It's held at a library in a conference room and I cannot FATHOM why they don't offer childcare in another room there...just put on a couple of movies for goodness' sakes!  If it was just my THREE oldest kids, I MIGHT consider sticking them right outside the room with a laptop to quietly watch some movies, but Kaitlyn, at three years old, is a bit of a wild card and would probably disrupt the training.  Or break the laptop.  (Because she's done that before.)  Awesome.  Soooo, here's hoping we can get people lined up for the next ones, in the fall.  (OR, let's hope that our social worker takes pity on me after the email I sent her and decides to let us off the hook for some of the hours.)

4.)  I bought the kids some homeschool supplies Wednesday at Target.  (Colored pencils, crayons, erasers, gluesticks, etc.)  Just being in that section makes me want to pick up my own supplies and go back to school!  I have always, always loved school supplies.  Every year, as a kid, I'd get SO excited to go choose pencils and pens and a new binder and divider tabs.  It makes me downright giddy.  Interesting, because I never actually liked school that much.  But apparently buying the supplies made it all tolerable.

5.)  Does it drive anyone else crazy that Costco doesn't open for the normal members until 11 am???  I seriously feel like a second-class citizen, knowing they won't let me into the store until 11 because I don't have the "special" card.  There are some other funny things about Costco, too.  Like the fact that if you, heaven forbid, FORGET your membership card and leave it at home, you have to get a whole NEW card at customer service!  What in the world?!  What kind of archaic business practice is this?  How hard would it be for them to just put in your phone number or something to check you out?  I also have to admit that it irks me that I have to PAY to BUY THINGS.  A Costco membership, even the lowly, you-can't-get-in-until-11 one, is $50 per year.  I'm be able to pay for groceries there.  Suddenly this is making very little sense to me.  Hmmmm.  (I also feel like a criminal having to SHOW my card to get in.  But Anna loves to be the one to do it, so I'll let that one slide.)

6.)  Everyone is talking about this oil spill.  I feel a little guilty because I don't know much of what is going on with it.  The photos of birds, fish and ducks are horrific, but I don't know that I fully grasp the implications of what this means for the environment, the Gulf Coast, etc.  I don't follow why President Obama somehow did something wrong, or why this must be an example of why big corporations are bad.  Some days the news just seems really overwhelming for me.  Sometimes I feel so completely overstimulated that I like to pretty much circle the wagons and not read any news.  Part of me hates this, but part of me thinks it's healthy.  So I guess my official viewpoint is, I'm really sad this oil spill happened because the devastation seems wide-spread, to say the least, and horrible for the environment.  (Incidentally, my maiden name begins with a "P", so my initials used to be BP.  There was a new BP gas station in town and a friend of mine in high school started calling me BP, because he thought it was cool that my initials were on a big sign.  SO, I may be the only person in the United States today who, upon hearing "BP", feels a twinge of happiness.)

7.)  My kids are so incredibly clueless when it comes to pop-culture. CLUELESS.  Tuesday we saw the movie "Kit Kittredge" at the theater.  When I told my six-year-old daughter the name of the movie, she wrinkled up her nose and said, "That sounds like a tongue twister to me!"  She has no idea what an American Girl doll is.  None.  (She really enjoyed the movie though.)  Then recently someone was talking about their ipod.  "What's an ipod?" my kids all wanted to know.  Ha!  They don't really know any music artists by name, or classic cars.  They know people in the Bible, some Disney/Pixar characters and literary figures, but that's pretty much it.  I never really set out to raise super sheltered kids, but somehow it has happened.  (They DO, on the other hand, know all about a country in East Africa called Ethiopia, they know what HIV is, how to change a diaper, about birth and adoption and about infant care.  They can also all sing the Doxology.  So there's that.)  I'm sure this will change as they get older and therefore gain more exposure to various things, but in the meantime, it's pretty hilarious. 

Well that's it for this week.  I had a hard time coming up with seven things for some reason!  Hopefully I'm not losing my knack for random musings--because I just don't know how I would survive!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Latest passion

No, it's not taking pictures of my kids in mundane, unexpected places like Costco (although I did do that this week.)

Nope, not scheming up a way to raise the funds to go to this conference in October (but I assure you I'm definitely thinking about it.)

Nah, not eagerly checking the mail each day in order to see if my Story of the World books have come (though you can bet I'm doing that too.)

What is it, you ask?  What is plaguing my thoughts and churning in my heart and captivating my spirit these days? 

Reece's Rainbow.  An organization devoted to the adoption of waiting children with Down Syndrome in other countries (and a few other special needs too.)  I honestly don't know how or when I first discovered them, but I have not been able to get the whole matter out of my mind.  (Reading Simply Surrender has not helped either.)

Adoption is, without question, a strange journey.  Just sooooo much to think about.  Foster adoption...healthy vs. special many variables.  Well, for us anyhow.  Because we don't really have a plan anymore.  Our plan was to adopt two specific children (with medical needs) who had been waiting quite some time for a family.  Nearly five years, to be exact.  And while we're not doing that now, we still want to do some sort of special needs/medical needs adoption.  NO clue what that will look like.  We're pretty much open to whatever.  (Apparently we're flexible like that.)  Though we are committed to Ethiopia, because we've already invested a bit of money into the program.

As we explore our options and consider what we believe we can handle and what God wants from and for our family, I am compelled by the children represented by Reece's Rainbow.  Sweet, precious little ones who need families more than ever both because of their present needs, and because of their lack of a future as developmentally disabled children living in an institution.  The world, our nation, even the church...everyone says with either words or actions (sometimes both) that these children just.plain.don't.matter.  (An entire blogpost of its own could, and should, be devoted to this, when you consider the fact that over 90% of babies with Down Syndrome are aborted in the United States.  This is so horribly tragic, I just cannot imagine how God must weep when He sees the sorry state of the world that He made.  When He considers the sweet little ones cast aside each day.  Another blogpost for another time, for sure.)

Today I'm meeting some girlfriends for lunch (always such a treat, because I have really amazing friends!) and I'm looking forward to talking through some of these things.  One of these friends is in a similar position, wondering where God might be leading her and her family in their own adoption-process-that-may-turn-out-differently-than-they'd-expected.  I'm anxious to hear her heart and what she is thinking.  How God is moving.

Deep down I'm so grateful that God continues to challenge my assumptions and plans and lead me to unexpected, hard places.  Even if it's tough, and even when I complain like a selfish, spoiled brat.  I feel really "adrift" in this doubt about it...and yet I know that God is working and has something in mind for our family.  (It's really not about me anyway!)  There is, presumably, a precious little one who needs a home that we are equipped to provide.  So incredibly humbling.  A little scary.  Pretty exciting too.

Mostly though, I'm just thinking and dreaming of these sweet little ones, so very precious and just waiting for a mama and daddy to scoop them up and love and kiss them to pieces. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Today I turn {29}.

I find myself dumbfounded that, well, I only have one more year of my twenties left to live (!) 

Not sure why, but I can feel the clock if I'm about to exit the last decade of relative-youth, bound for the '30s and later the '40s and '50s.  I'm becoming an adult or something.  (If having five children doesn't already make you an adult.  Pretty sure it does, although maybe not, since I'm regularly asked if I'm babysitting.  It is, therefore, quite possible that I still haven't achieved adult-status.)

I don't FEEL any older, really, than I ever did.  But somehow 29 sounds much, much older than 26, or even 27.


Life moves so much more quickly when you have little ones to mark the passage of time.  Wasn't it just yesterday when my water broke and I packed up my hospital bag and soaked sat on a bunch of towels on the couch while I waited for Kevin to commute home?  No, I was 22 and about to have our first baby.  That was nearly seven years ago.  Sheesh.

What I think I want to say this July 14th is simply the following: I won't be a woman who bemoans each and every birthday, who complains about her ever-increasing age and who longs for her younger years/pre-baby body/faster metabolism/crows-feet-free-eyes.  Nope, not gonna do that.  For one thing, vanity is a personal pet-peeve of mine.  I work hard to kick it to the curb.  It's yucky.  For another, life ought not belong to the young.  God is present in each and every moment, in the here-and-now, working common miracles in my life and in yours whether we are ten or fifty-four.  What a shame to spend valuable moments of God-given breath wishing for the past and for things that ultimately perish anyway.  We are who God made us to be.  Today. 

To be honest, I don't wish to relive my teen years.  I might like to go back for a day or two though, because they were good years.  (See, frequent trips to the beach and skipping Advanced Placement English class in lieu of eating frozen yogurt at the park, with your very best friend, are pretty darn fun.  So was watching Friends every Thursday night and getting the "Jennifer Anniston haircut" my freshman year of high school.  Let's not kid ourselves.)  But I've experienced so much since then, things I wouldn't trade for the world.  (Not to mention, the haircut, while good, never did make me LOOK like Jennifer.  What is that about?)

I also don't want to go back to my early '20s, save for a couple of days perhaps.  My early years of marriage were great, the early years of parenting were magical, but here I am today with five precious children.  I love my respective relationships with each of them.  They make me laugh.  Basically I just really like where I am. 

Most of the time.

Because all of this is not to say that living in our air-brushed society (and church unfortunately), vanity is easy to overcome.  To be honest I do occasionally (like everyone else...right??!!) struggle with feelings of insecurity, look-at-how-much-more-fashionable-she-is-than-me, and wouldn't my life be so much more interesting and glamorous if I didn't spend  my days grumpily herding cats lovingly tending to five small children up and down the sample-laden aisles of Costco?

And so I ponder the following words:

If nothing so much as motherhood or potential motherhood makes a man respect a woman, this is because it raises her above the category of an object to be possessed and establishes her in that of a subject to be revered.
--Cormac Burke

Age is a gift.  To grow up and quietly, gracefully slip into the role of wife and nurturer and mother is truly remarkable.  I'm choosing to believe this with all that is in me.  I'm reminding myself of this when I feel inadequate.  I'm holding to this as I kiss owies and make PB&J sandwiches and kick vanity to the curb...all for the umpteenth time.

I'm 29.  Committed to loving life and pretty darn excited about all my future holds.  Even if I don't do one little thing this whole next year, and just sit on my couch eating Butterfingers and Candy Cane Joe-Joe's whilst watching Days of Our Lives (of which I may or may not be a fan), my twenties will have been exciting, busy, fulfilling, amazing, and encompassing more love and joy than a lifetime should hold.

A happy birthday indeed!

(And if you think there's any chance that I'll actually spend the next three-hundred-and-sixty-five days in a stationary position, filling my stomach with delectable treats as I escape to Salem and angrily question why Bo and Hope never get along, well, you're wrong.  I'll probably spend an afternoon or two doing that, though.  And if you bring me Dr. Pepper or Diet Coke, I'll let you join me.  I might even share my Butterfinger.)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Queen Mary

These are rare photos of Mary Lu Lu sitting confined in something.

She is always.always.always on the move.  She began crawling months ago.

The thing is, Mary wants so badly to keep up with her siblings.  If they're outside, in the backyard, she makes a beeline for the door.  Sadly she hasn't mastered stairs yet and is therefore unable to navigate her way down onto the deck.  So she'll pause, and sit there and cry, and watch everyone else tearing around on their bikes and digging in the dirt and climbing the peach tree. 

I am actually pretty sure that's what she's doing here.  Watching her siblings play.

It's been interesting seeing Mary becoming more and more involved in the bigger kids' lives.  Ever since she was born, THEY have included HER in their goings-on (playing pretend became way more fun when there was a live baby to use!), but now SHE is finally able to participate a little bit.  Just the other day she sat at Anna's Barbie house and, well, played Barbies.  So cute!

I'm continually amazed by the "plight" of what I shall call "subsequent babies".  You know what I mean, right?  Your first baby kinda becomes your life and your focus.  You think about what they're eating and wearing and doing.  But by child number five, well, they sort of just assimilate into the rest of the family.  When you're not looking.  Because you're distracted by someone throwing a temper tantrum because you said they couldn't have chocolate chips for breakfast.  Some people think this is sad.  If they could spend a day following Mary Lu around, though, they might find out that it's actually pretty awesome.

Four kids begging, "Can we get Mary up?  Can we get Mary up?"
Lots of playing and cuddling on the floor. 
 (After Mommy has properly nursed and changed Mary.  A hungry baby is not so fun.)

If, at any point during the day, I make an attempt to feed/change/cuddle Mary, I will surely have no less than two other children swarming around, making silly faces and noises at her.  This may or may not annoy Mommy.  This may or may not make Mary incredibly happy. 

If the children get wind that I am putting Mary down for the night, there will be much hanging on me and "night night!"s and kissy noises and various small people begging to put her down in her crib.

So, yes, they have somehow begun to initiate their baby sister into their world.  More and more she is becoming "one of them."  Slightly terrifying, because now there will be FIVE of them as opposed to "four of them and a baby."  These kids have a strong bond.  There may be five and a half years between my oldest and my youngest, but oh how I wish you could see Mary's face when Anna changes her diaper. 

I know without a doubt that this is why Mary began crawling when she did.  Neither of my other babies crawled (or reached ANY sort of physical milestone) early.  But she's ready.  To be part of the group.  To shout at the squirrels and play in the backyard playhouse.  To dig for worms.  Mary loves her mommy and daddy, but she lives for sibling interaction.

And I can't say I blame her, because aside from the worm excavations, my kids do some pretty fun stuff.  I do wonder about how her personality will be shaped by all this unconditional sibling love.  Kaitlyn was utterly doted on by her three older siblings...and now pretty much runs our household.  Now there are FOUR kids treating Mary like a queen.  We better watch out!  :)

Truly a joy to sit back and enjoy the relationships between your children and see the dynamics working themselves out.  That's why the above picture makes me smile.  Five kids.  All together.  Including the baby.  Who is, undeniably, the queen.

Monday, July 12, 2010

How do you do it: 5 kids at a well-check

I get asked a lot how I manage various aspects of having five small-ish children.  The honest answer is, I-don't-know, and not-always-very-well.  The other just-as-honest part of my answer is, some things about having five kids so close in age are actually easy.  I'm not gonna lie.  When I say this most people either a) don't believe me, or b) want to canonize me for sainthood.  
That being said...

Some things are NOT as easy. 

Part of our adoption homestudy stipulated every single person in our family have a medical.


All of my kids were due for theirs, so a couple of months ago, I made the appointments.  Which would all fall on the same day.  Two kids in the morning, an hour-and-a-half break for lunch, and two kids in the afternoon.  (Mary had just had one of her baby well-checks the week before so she was simply along for the ride.  She likes being included like that.)

We showed up to the office bright and early, me and my brood.  Anna and Kaitlyn, pictured up at the top in their paper gowns (that they think are sooooo cool), were first. 

There is a lot of waiting at the doctor's office.  Lots and lots of waiting.  Thankfully there was a basket of books in our room.

Mary likes to spread out on the floor.  She had a blast crawling around.

Ideally they would also include long chapter books in the waiting room, because Anna polished off the basket's contents in about fifteen minutes.

Kaitlyn loved looking at books with Mary Lu. 

Now the girls' physicals themselves went just fine.  No issues.  No big deal.  Except, you know, the doctor (NOT our actual pediatrician who we {love} but the doctor who happened to be in that day) now probably thinks something is wrong with Kaitlyn's cognitive abilities.  She WOULD NOT make eye contact with him.  Or speak to him.  Wouldn't answer his questions.  Could not be coerced into hopping like a bunny, or telling him who she likes to play with.  Nothing.  "Does she talk at home?" he asked in a concerned voice.

Yes, she talks at home.

Then, when he was attempting to get a reflex by tapping her knee with his happy little knee-tapper, well, he couldn't get one.  Oh how he tried.  Tap, tap.  Nothing.  Tap, tap, tap.  Still nothing.  He picked up a much heavier medical object and tried it again.  NOTHING.  It was at this point that he started LAUGHING.  "I don't believe it," he said.  "I've never had a child so young do this before!"


SO, he had her clasp her hands together (for some unknown reason she decided to comply.)  He tapped her knee again.  Sure enough, the reflex came.  Because she'd been clasping her hands, and therefore was unable to willfully block the reflex.
Yes folks, my THREE YEAR OLD DAUGHTER was so extremely stubborn that she refused to do the reflext test.  Oh, my.

Oh how happy I was to get out of that office, if even for a mere 90 minutes.  After the knee-jerk fiasco, I was done.  Cooked.  Exhausted.  Amused, yes--don't get me wrong, it was all pretty hilarious, and really where would I be without my sense of humor--but exhausted.  And if you can't tell by the picture, we utilized Taco Bell for our mid-day meal.  We're a real class act, I tell you.  But don't underestimate my sense of accomplishment upon our arrival.  Because my GPS, which I SWEAR has a personal vendetta against me based on the fact that it regularly gives me directions to deserted strip-malls filled with empty warehouses, steered me wrong AND I ended up going the wrong way down a one-way city street.  (That, however, was not the GPS' fault.  That was just me being an idiot.)

{Oh and did you see my swagger wagon in the picture?  It's like it's part of the family or something, posing with the kids for the camera!}

The kids all LOVED dining where I used to work at what I affectionally refer to as T-Bell, and the cashier thought they were all so cute that she gave them free kids' meal toys--you can see Mary with hers.  I think she's rather pleased.

After we got our fill of cleavage-baring 3-D comic book characters on the kids' meal toys burritos and cinnamon twists, we returned to the doctor's office for Yosef and Biniam's appointments.  Where the doctor wouldn't really believe me that Biniam has ADHD.  (It was at this point that I was regretting choosing fast appointments over our regular doctor.  He would have actually listened to me.  He would also have built better rapport with Kaitlyn.  Maybe.)  Of course all the while Biniam is performing strange physical feats and running around in his camoflauge undies with his tongue hanging out.  Riiiiiiight.  He's just a typical five year old boy.  Who can't ever find his shoes and gets distracted at the drop of a hat and blurts things out without thinking and doesn't even know why.  Uh huh.  Sure. 3:15 pm...we left the office for good.  We'd shown up at 9:30 that morning.  And so we were tired.  Bedraggled.  Grumpy.  It was upon walking in the door at home that I received the phone call saying we could not adopt the children we thought we were adopting.  You know, the whole reason for the physicals.


So.  How do I do it?  How do I manage five kids at a doctor's appointment?  Oh, you didn't read earlier? 

I don't know.

Not always very well.

I'm not going to say it's easy though.  Do-able, yes.  Exciting, always.  Worth it just to see Kaitlyn spiting the doctor, absolutely.

See, these are the adventures of being an at-home-mom-to-many.  If you have one sweet little cherub that you pamper and coo at after he/she gets his/her shots, right before you tote him/her over to Whole Foods for your organic wheatberries, well, I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my day at the doctor's office--FYI, no time for tears around here when my kids get poked with a needle.  There's just too darn many of 'em.  But don't worry, they buck right up. 

Because they know we're going to Taco Bell afterwards.

That, friends, is how I do it.


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