Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Who Needs a Pumpkin Farm?

I don't know about you all but
around here, we have been really busy.
No time for a pumpkin farm?
Who needs a pumpkin farm
when you have this?
$3.99 Pumpkins at Kroger, baby!
The kids had fun picking their own "perfect one."

Who needs a hay ride (that makes me sneeze)
when you can have this?
Hold on tight kids as we caravan our carts through the spooky isles.

No seriously, I do enjoy pumpkin farms and fall activities.
On the other hand, I have come to realize that...
I very much do not
enjoy Halloween.
 (Shhh!  Don't tell the kids.)

It is too dark and cold outside.
It is a bit of a nightmare in terms of peanut and tree nut risks.
Each of our kids go at very different speeds
and we have WAY more kids than adults in our house to keep up with.
Not to mention, I don't love seeing little kids covered in scabs and blood
carrying fake weapons.

I know!  I am a total Halloweenie,
I dive right in with my kids...
 And we have fun anyways!
 I love to see them dress up and
be imaginative.
I also love to sneak a few of those nut-filled treats
that Porter can't have into my purse for later.

Snickers are my favorite.
How about you?

Probable trick or treating pictures to follow later.
Happy Halloween.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Stitch in Time

A long football practice was over.
Kids were all showered.
The three littlests were in bed.
Leah and Porter had 3 minutes before they were off to bed too.
The Hubs sat on the floor assembling Julia's bike for her birthday as
I prepared for the next day of school, a birthday celebration, and work for both of us.
The house was quiet!!
And then it wasn't.
 Do you see the actual tear running down his face? :'(

Porter was throwing a ball to himself in
a relatively open space in the basement.
Then he fell into the back of our couch
and somehow cut open his mouth,

He screamed!
It didn't look too bad, so I cleaned him
up and slowed the bleeding.
Then I noticed his mouth was opening a bit too widely.
The Hubs came over and I signaled to him that Porter
probably needed stitches.
Then, the "calm me" became "very light headed me."
I slowly lowered to the floor and put my head down.
Yep, I was getting ready to pass out!

I actually did it twice before
I conceded that I was not the right parent
to drive our son safely to the ER.

Those who know me well know that my issue is not really with blood or even
emergencies.  It is more about anticipating a procedure, and fear of my own or someone else's pain.
I do fairly well until the dust settles a bit and my mind,
against my will, imagines the pain.

I have a history of  passing out for this reason and have
a concussion in my medical record to prove it.
Embarrassing, YES!
Sissy, YES!

Three stitches later, he was good as new.
Numbing gel and an iPad made the experience "no big deal."

$100 ER co-pay (or more)
$5 Neosporin
$25 co-pay for removal of stitches
and the kicker...
 This lovely chap stick size scar reducing cream is
$21.99 for 0.07oz.

This stuff better work
because this little face
is priceless to me.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Oh Candy Corn

Today is Julia's Fall party at preschool.
Since I can't be there, I 
volunteered to bring the snack.

I traveled back to DEAL's to
buy some peanut/tree nut free
candy corn.
(Thank you Sunrise brand!)

I have planned for the kids to have vanilla
pudding cups and to add a 
few candy corn to the top for fun.

I put all of the items in a plastic bag,
tied it up,
and quietly put it in Julia's backpack to take to school 
with her yesterday.

While at work,  I get a call from the Hubs.
He was informing me that Grandma called and reported
that Julia secretly made it to her room with her

and opened the plastic bag...
and opened the bag of candy corn...
and ate 1/4-1/2 of the bag.

The good thing is that I had stashed an extra bag of candy corn in the pantry and
Grandma quickly took care of the whole thing.

The silver lining...
Julia shared with Maryn.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What a Difference a Year Can Make!

Some of you might remember when
 I posted about our littlest girls and their matching pajamas. 

You can check it out HERE.
Arm and arm my girls smiled and looked so loving.
I referred to Josie and Julia as "best frienemies."
The truth is...
I was worried at that time.
Exhausted to be exact.
Our family was having growing pains.
There was a lot of love, but
these girls were at each other's throats a lot.
My heart ached and pleaded for a glimpse into the future when the
blending of our family and the transition
would be better. 
More loving. 
I re-read what I posted on October 27, 2011, and it made me cry.
It is titled, I am Alive...For Now
and I wasn't kidding.
I still remember my worries.
I still remember praying for each of my children,
and for us, their parents.
I remember being overwhelmed
and feeling very inadequate.
I remember praying and crying.
I remember being angry sometimes.
It can be so hard to be honest about
difficulties as a parent,
whether you are a foster parent,
adoptive parent,
or birth parent.
It is hard to be honest with yourself,
much less with others
about the ugly times yet be respectful of
your spouse or childrens' privacy.
I am so glad that I wrote about it.
I feel blessed to be able to read those words,
and come back to you one year later
and say,
what a difference one year can make!
Just the other day, Josie's teacher wrote this on
her progress note...
"I love watching her say goodbye to her sister (Julia) in the hallway.
She gives her a kiss in her hand and tells her to save it for later.
Melts my heart!"

Oh my goodness!
My heart melted too.
I smiled ear to ear when I read this.
Finally, I got my glimpse into the future of an easier time.
Finally, perspective.
These two girls were close to
scratching each others eyes out not too long ago
and now they are sitting together on the bus
(although one has actually slapped the other in the face on the bus)
and loving each other
when I am not looking!
Our kids still bicker,
and fight,
and hit sometimes.
They, now, also play together!
They love to dress alike
and sometimes I find them holding hands.
Mostly, all five of them really enjoy teaming up against ME!

We are still working to not only ensure that Julia
develops a strong bond to each of us,
but also for each of us
bond to one another.
 Thanks for sharing this crazy
ride with us.

Note from January 2013:
If you are here from Kelly's Korner, WELCOME!!
Take a look around!
I'd love to hear from you over at my Facebook page.
I'd also love to hear more about your adoption journey.
Good luck!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Black Hair for The White Mom: "Fro"

In case you just joined us,
you should know that I am a very white woman
raising beautiful children of different shades.
I wrote about Black Hair for the White Mom earlier this year.
Check it out HERE.

I want Maryn to have "free hair" for a little while .
This translates into a really cute "fro."
I washed,
and protected it in her night cap.
I was trying to prevent having her wake up with a,
as we affectionately call it.

Then I took it off  in the morning and found this...

and this...

Um, is that a helmet you are wearing my sweet girl?

My below average photography does not do this very tightly smooshed hair justice.
It is shaped a bit like a baby's head post natural delivery.

Of course, we were also in a hurry so I had to work quickly.
I grabbed the spray bottle of water and moisturizer and fluffed and separated her curls,
and hoped for the best.

Not so bad, if I do say so myself,
but honestly, Maryn could make any hairstyle work.
I also love to add a "fro-bow."

Thank goodness for the website,
and friends like "G"
for being a great resource.

It is funny how much thought and effort goes into all my kids' hair and mine
is often washed (or unwashed) and thrown up into a ponytail, wet or dry.
When I am feeling a bit crazy,
I might go the extra mile and add a little pizazz with a headband.

Somedays something has to give, and it is usually
personal hygiene ;)
Am I right moms?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Spook-takular 4th Birthday Party

If you didn't catch my last post,
Julia just turned 4!
We couldn't help but celebrate
with a few of her friends.
Here is how it all came together to make for a spook-tacular boo-thday!
Isn't my Peter Pan cute?
This is what you do during a two hour football practice.
You make mummies out of Hershey bars.
Voila...Chocolate mummies!
Original idea from Pinterest here.
Goofy word play...ALL MINE!
Note, I didn't glue eyes onto cardboard.
I simply wrapped and twisted streamer around the bar and
secured with tape. 
 I glued eyes directly to the streamers.
Then I added the streamers to old candles and mummify them as well.
I pinned this onto my Holiday board Pinterest HERE,
but I can't seem to follow it to a blog.
Candy corn in a glass, add pumpkin PEEPS on skewers, and you get another centerpiece.
The ghost PEEPS would have made it even better.
Maybe next time.
NOTE PEANUT/TREE NUT FAMILIES...After much searching...Deals stores carry this brand of safe candy corn
since Brach's is not peanut/tree nut free.  It also looked like Meijer's brand candy corn was safe too, fyi.
Caramel "crack corn"
This is so easy and addictive.
The recipe is HERE.
Pillsbury break apart pumpkin cookies. 
Can't get much easier.
Funfetti cupcakes with Wilton bat and pumpkin sugar pieces.
I just added sprinkles from Target's dollar ($2.50 actually) bin...aka. "financial death trap."
Since Julia's party was a costume party, Josie came up with a clever idea. 
 She was Tinker Bell,
Julia was Peter Pan,
Maryn was a pirate!
The older guys didn't decide on a costume until last minute.
Leah is, Porter.  She is in his football gear.
Porter insisted on being a pumpkin and is sporting a toddler size costume.
We had simple, no glue, crafts in the basement where the
older kids took charge. 
We had some fun
and sugar overload as well.
Anyone else have good small kid
friendly Halloween party tips to share?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Julia is 4!!

Julia is 4!
I can't believe it!
She has lived with us for just over one year
and as a family, we have come so far.
Here are some things that Julia wants you to know about her...
I love...
" the color purple,
 sausage for breakfast,
to play outside,
to put lipstick on,
going to preschool,
Mama and Grandma."
(Insert a happy sniffle from mama.)
Here are some things that I want Julia to know about herself...
My Julia, you are a strong girl
 In just one year, you have had to experience so many changes. 
You have learned how to love and to be loved by a new family,
 lived in not one but two new houses with us,
grown used to being surrounded by four siblings, two parents, and a dog,
helped choose your new name,
had to deal with missing people that you love and love you,
learned how to ride a bike and draw the letter "J",
and so much more.
God has his hand on you.
He loves you even more than I do.
We know that things can be confusing sometimes but we
want you to know that
we love you so much and will
never leave you.
You are our girl forever and we are so happy
that you are a part of this family.
You are learning new things everyday. 
You are a beautiful girl with an infectious laugh, gorgeous smile, and
the softest skin ever!
You are growing closer to us with each hug, kiss, giggle, and memory we make together.
We have some catching up to do.
I look forward to seeing how your wonderful future unfolds
and walking with you each step of the way.
You are loved by so many people...
to the Moon and Back!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"A" is for Afro Circus!

I took the girls into my work with me
the other day.
They came home with some treasures...
Dress up props that my boss was looking to give away.
Julia with her clown wig.
Josie with a green boa.
Maryn with a pirate hat.
Julia's wig has sparked a new love for Madagascar 3's song regarding
the polka dotted Afro-circus.
Picture source: 
Josie is now requesting that I dress Julia up in a zebra costume to wear
with the wig for Halloween.
I think that she wants an excuse to go around singing about the polka dotted afro-circus.
The hubs and I can't help but laugh a little bit.
We have one daughter that is currently rockin' a super cute afro.
We love the fro.
But we think it might be a little much for two very white parents to
dress their beautiful black daughter up in a costume that
will spark others to sing/shout "Afro-circus."
Seems a little much, don't ya think?
Ironically, I just realized that Maryn is wearing a zebra print dress while sporting her fro
for preschool picture day!  Weird.
Julia can't decide between wanting to be a clown, Dora, Peter Pan, or a princess.
We're gonna let her decide :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Julia Shares Her Dessert

Take a minute my friends to eavesdrop on my little girls wacky conversation...

Julia whispers, "Wanna have my mint?"

Josie smiles and says excitedly, "Mom, Julia is giving me her mint too!"

"Julia, that is nice of you.  Where is it?," I ask.

"In my belly.," Julia answers.

Josie quickly proclaims, "We'll I'm not going to eat it now 'cuz on other end 
it is called POOP!"

Very true my girl.  Very true.
I will never look at an Andes mint the same way again.

Oh, and I don't want to forget what Julia just told me that she wants for her birthday.
"Um, I want mud, alien poop, and a real dog!"
Well honey, you might be a little disappointed this year.
Where does she come up with this stuff?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

1st Communion Stressors (and a recipe)

At our church, 3rd graders are given their
own Bible and participate in their 1st Communion.
This happens during a simple presentation
after services with all of the children
and their families present.
It is very sweet,
and low stress.
Not really!
It all started days before the event researching
whether the bread
was free of peanut and tree nut ingredients and cross contamination.
Luckily, the gluten free option and the individual cups of juice were safe for him
due to his severe allergy.
Who would have thought that you would need to worry about being allergic to the "Body of Christ?"
The night before Porter's 1st Communion, 7:37pm to be exact, we discover that our
typically very slow growing son has
So I rush off to the stores to buy all of the above before the 9pm closing time.
After purchasing several of each item to ensure that something would fit,
I proceed to Walmart to but the actual food for the family celebration
after church. 
 When I get there, I see this...

So now I feel that I am not only extremely unprepared for tomorrow's 1st communion but also
for the holy holiday of Christmas!
Are you kidding me Walmart?  Christmas is more than 2 months away.
I quickly steer away from any evidence of the holiday season, do my shopping and rush home.
At 10pm, I decide to try to make a new dessert that I had saved on my PINTEREST board.
Check out the version I attempted to follow HERE, but know that I modified it in a few ways...
1. Spray 13x9 pan with cooking oil.
2. Pour in family size brownie mix of your choice (vs. from scratch)
3. Crush up 1 cup of pretzels and sprinkle over the mix before baking.
(If you forget like I did, it still works out after 8-9 minutes of baking when you realize
what you have done wrong.)
4. Bake per box instructions.
5. Melt 1/2 bag of chocolate chips in the microwave and drizzle over the pretzels.

But if your chocolate chips decide to revolt and burn and turn into a large fecal-looking specimen, then...

5. Sprinkle half a bag of chips on top of the warm brownies instead
which looks so yummy.
6. Unwrap 15 caramels and place in a saucepan with 2 Tbsp. of heavy cream and melt.
Stir the whole dang time.

7. Then as if the dessert wasn't rich enough...drizzle the above yummy caramel on top.
8.  Wait at least mouth-watering hour before cutting.
Now back to the stressors...
After cleaning, prepping food, and washing Porter's new clothes we finally made it to bed.
Sunday morning we woke up, prepped the house a little bit, and
got everyone dressed and looking might fine.
We did notice that something was a little off with Porter's hair.

After approximately 427 washings, we could not get all of the red hairspray out of his hair and scalp
from his Reds spirit competition at school (which he won, FYI).
Porter didn't think it was so bad because is was pinkish for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
and a little reddish like the blood of Christ.
After all of that,
we had a wonderful time celebrating as a family with Porter.
He was very proud and even gave me an unsolicited hug in the middle of church!
Look at his cuteness rockin' the lavender shirt and tie.

(Notice Leah and Josie hugging.  It soon got out of hand.  Little twerps!)
He made sure that he drank every last drop after dipping his bread in it not once, but twice!
I am really happy for him and for all of the 3rd graders that participated.
I am thankful to our church for purchasing the Bibles and helping them learn to use them, praying for our kids
and giving a chance to celebrate with them.
I am so thankful to God, for Porter, his awesome future, and for our
ever supportive family.
Stressors...all worth it!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Oreo Moon Pies

The kids were begging for me to make a dessert
but I didn't have much time.
I decided to use what I had in the cupboard
and it turned out to be a crowd pleaser...
NO it is not from Pinterest, this time.
Ingredients included: marshmallow fluff, sprinkles, and Oreos
I spread a small amount of fluff on one Oreo
and topped with another.
Then rolled each sandwich in sprinkles.

The kids approved!

Note: Try to serve immediately because the fluff started to ooze a bit
making the "Oreo Moon Pie"
look a little sad.
(Or I guess you could use less fluff, but who wants to do that?)
Anybody want to suggest some other quick go-to treats?