Sunday, January 18, 2015


For starters, here is a sweet follow-up article that appeared in the local paper.  The author was very kind, and we enjoyed the interview very much.

A friend asked me today about my experience as a new mama: if I had prepared enough, how I should have prepared differently, and what my expectations were beforehand.  Philip and I have a pretty firm rule about expectations: we purposefully avoid them.  I mean, really, what's the point?  They only set you up for disappointment.  That being said, I've certainly had some surprises about Mama-hood.

Before my kiddos came home, no one warned me about the little things that would accost me every day.  There is no real way to prepare for small helicopters in my shower, tiny trucks in my cracker box, a twig in my bed, or a stray pink sock in my kitchen.  No one told me!!!

In my "normal" world, these things do not happen.  This life in Mama-Land isn't "normal", though.  A short time ago, I took pictures of what all I found throughout the day.  Mostly, this is for my own amusement, but also for the education of all who have not yet lived in Mama-Land.  Beware: you will find unusual and scary things here.

Where else would you ever find....

....a child this adorable rockin' oatmeal on her nose?  (and a pile of clean laundry in the background that has been there a while?)

....a green lego block on your toilet paper??

...a bowl of turtle soup??!

...a sweet snuggle before nap?

...or an incredibly wiggly diaper change?

And, who ever would have thought that...

...books could be glued back together 18 times after they mysteriously self-destruct? (This is a great author, by the way.  I totally recommend his books.  They are beautiful and super interactive.  My kids love them...  a bit too much.)

...stuffed sock-monkeys had to pee?

....there would be an eternal supply of crumbs under my table that I swore would never be there

...I would have a naked doll by my kitchen sink and her coffee-stained outfit drying on my soap dispenser?

....a child could disappear so completely under blankets....

.....a drawing time could be so precious

....a handprint so sweet

....or a son be so content next to his daddy

Yup, this Mama-Land is a strange place.  It's things like these that help me realize that "adoption" is a past event in the kids' lives.  It's not who they are.  Adoption happened to them, but does not define them.  Now they are just normal kiddos.  Well, as "normal" as two adorably cute, crazy two-year-olds can be.

Here are a random smattering of pics from the last few weeks.  Wow, I love these kiddos!

Anya's hair is getting SO long.  It's about 6 inches now.
She does notappreciate my playing with it.

Wearing her brother's hat

Curled up on the couch like Mama, drawing.
Jayce prefers a pen to a crayon.

Jayce reading the Bible story book with Grandma Bee

Giggling with my Baby Girl tonight

Doing paperwork, like Mama

They now have matching footed jammies.

"Does she ever stop smiling?" "Not really."

This nutty Mama

Philip got Jayce up in the middle of the
night to take him potty, and he sorta
was still asleep.
He's SUCH a cute bundle!

My amazing husband that I am crazy-in-love with

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Welcome 2015: Becoming "Normal" (or something)

Welcome, 2015!  Welcome, all you folks that are just reading my blog for the first time, and welcome returning friends.

If you are new to my blog, here are a few links you might enjoy:

This article by Ellen Spitaleri appeared in the Clackamas Review in April 2013 while I was fundraising for our adoption.

From my blog:

2014 was a year of excitement, boredom, and survival for us.  There are so many thing I have learned, and so many people I'm grateful to for helping me survive it.

Things I have learned this year about life and parenting:
  • There is not enough coffee in the world. Period.
  • Never turn down help, especially if it involves someone else making you food
  • My 2-year-olds often have more compassion and kindness than I do
  • 6 months can make a world of difference in the life of a child
  • Months of seemingly pointless waiting (January-June) can turn me into a not-so-nice person
  • Best friends can make it all better, and they forgive you for being a... not-so-nice person
    BFF reunion in June: these girls are the best!
  • Interacting with my children helps me realize truths about God
  • God's timing is not my timing, but that's ok
  • My children respond best to consistent discipline
  • They are utterly and completely precious.  God knew what He was doing when He added them to our family
  • Not giving birth to a child doesn't diminish the "ours"-ness of him or her
  • My kids will mimic my bad habits, but also my good ones.  It's nice to see the latter.
  • I love my husband more and more every day
  • These kids grow up before my eyes
  • Just because life sometimes stinks doesn't mean that God isn't working or doesn't care

Things I will focus on in 2015:
  • My time with God.  It's been so tough to spend time with Him since the kids have been home
  • Being consistently content with my place and role as a servant of God.  I serve Him and my job is to bring Him pleasure.  I cannot be discontent when I feel taken for granted by others.
  • Asking for help.  I do not do this well.  I feel burdensome and needy when I request help, instead of realizing that others enjoy serving the same way that I do.  
  • Living with less stuff.  I am beginning to feel claustrophobic with the amount of possessions I have, and need to clear out/give away/sell some of it.  I also need to be more purposeful in what I do purchase.

6 months in the life of a child:

Anya, then....

and now:

Jayce, then....

and now:

I caught a smile!  Doesn't happen super often.
my brooding rock star

I'm feeling as though we are getting to be pretty "normal" as a family.  People will come ask Philip and I (with that concerned tone of voice they would use for a cancer patient) "How are you doing?" as though I'm supposed to reveal some deep, heartfelt needs and struggles regarding adoption and parenting my children.  Ok, sure, I'm tired, worn out, disorganized and air-headed.  I forget simple things, 5 minutes seems like a lifetime ago, I live on coffee, and let the dishes pile up.  That's the state of every mom (except those super-human moms that we shall not speak of (or speak to)).  I really don't feel I have any needs or struggles that other moms don't have.  I'm just a normal mom now.

seeing this lion come creeping toward you....

My kids are pretty "normal" also.  They have almost caught up on anything they previously missed before they came home.  I watch them with other kids, and maybe they are still learning how to "play" with toys or other small folk, but otherwise they seem quite well adjusted.  They have been happy with various baby-sitters, and last night they even spent the night at my mom's house for the first time!  (Evidently they did great, and Philip and I enjoyed the best night's sleep we have had in months.)  They have grown 4 inches in the last 6 months, are almost 30 pounds, ask to eat "bamyahs" (bananas) when they know it's time for nap, prefer pancakes to veggies, and begin each sentence with "Mama!" much to my pseudo-annoyance.  Anya is growing out of clothes that Jayce wore in Ethiopia, and Jayce may or may not be wearing 3T clothing.  I'm in denial.

That silly, goofy daughter of mine.  I think our eyes are similar

They are still the same kids we brought home 6 months ago, but their personalities have begun to shine.  Anya's eyes truly dance when she's happy.  She's happy most of the time.  She gets excited about small things like putting a few coins into the missionary bank, helping mama, being tickled by Daddy, and wearing a pink, frilly dress.  She applauds herself when she takes a bite of food, uses her spoon as a magic wand, and can create never-seen-before disasters.  She is just beginning to develop some creativity and spacial awareness.  I pause often and reflect on the joy she radiates.  She brings a smile to everyone around her.

Bundled in the stroller at the zoo this week

Jayce is a Little Man still.  He is much more serious and thoughtful than his sister.  He is incredibly others-focused, aware and observant.  He will help you any way he can, and he learns quickly by observation.  He smiles less with his mouth and more with his eyes when he is content.  He can be ticklish but still prefers to watch Anya squeal and wiggle with laughter.  He loves cars, trucks, horses, and making things go "crash".  He says please and thank you without being prompted, and says "excuse me, kitty" when the cat is in his way (and doesn't seem too annoyed when the cat ignores him).  He enjoys mimicking sounds, and pointed out that my dishwasher sounds like heavy breathing.  Who knew?!  He is gentle with his hands, and we let him play the guitar occasionally because he is so careful.  Even the cats will come around him since he does not hurt them.

Daddy-son time

Each day begins the cycle of diapers and food preparation, playing blocks and reading "Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed" for the 50th time in a row.  Yes, there really is a book about naked mole rats.  I count the seconds until nap, and wonder how I will ever survive until bed time.  However, somehow, the kids remain alive, dressed, fed, and usually happy.  I also remain alive, caffeinated, and ridiculously in love with my husband (who just put the kids to bed while I was writing this post.  He's so amazing.)

6 months of utter boredom, a flight from hell coming back from Ethiopia, and some radical adjustments to life: I am glad to see 2014 go away.  2015 is a new year ahead, and I think I'm going to enjoy it.  All the best to you and your families in the coming year.  I'll continue to blog as I can.