Sunday, September 30, 2007

Got Energy! THEY DO!!!!

I really have to say that people sometimes think I have a lot of energy…but really I just wish I could have ½ of the energy of my children (accept for Adrian when someone turns on the TV that doesn’t count in the picture).

The kids played outside all afternoon (noon to 6:30 pm). Basically Eric got another dose of “my life” which usually revolves around popsicles, and water, and potting, and pushing someone on the swing and keeping Melea from loving Eliza a little harder than she should. Actually he was wonderful at watching them and being outside with them while I got a lot of “mom” stuff done…laundry, bills, cleaning, moving / exchanging clothes, cooking dinner and working on my Princess Grumpy books. But I can say this really isn’t easy….and he sure made it look like it was. (course I brought the popsicles, and the snacks, and ran interference with Grumpy for him)

I really still can’t believe how dirty the kids can get in that amount of time. Colin, Eliza and Melea looked like advertisements for “save the children” Eric and I bathed them all again….took them up for our big Sunday dinner….and we ate a great evening meal and no crying!!! What is up with that!!!

What a night so far…no screaming at dinner, no plates hit the floor and nothing spilled…I need to play the lottery after an evening meal like this! Then comes my favorite time….CLEAN UP! It is so nice to have a group of children and a husband who usually like to help without too much coaxing!!! Sometimes I know it would be faster if they didn’t help …but I know that time will come sooner than later…but tonight it was just plain fun….

Everyone brought their plates over and scraped them off. Miranda tried to crawl DOWN the steps by squeezing under the gate….she is getting so mobile…. I am soexcited. And them my favorite thing started.

Melea starts running around the island in the kitchen….running and giggling. Eliza starts to chase her dragging the “Chester cheetah” tail behind her.She is finally really running, but just like Colin it is flat footed like "Slappy the Duck".

A few minutes later Colin decided to join in and it looks like three little spinning tops in a pinball game. Colin & Melea soon lap Eliza and then all of a sudden Colin and Melea reverse direction….course they forget to tell Eliza and she looks a little puzzled and then she just turns around and joins in the chase again!!!

Adrian finally gives up and joins in and Melea keeps stopping by me and trying to get Miranda to follow her (Miranda is on my lap) and for this time it is not her nystagmus making her eyes dart back and forth she really is trying to follow what is going on and just can't seem to keep her eyes in one spot.

Finally Colin picks her up and carries her a lap around the island…. But he brings her back a few minutes later. This seemed to go on for about 15 minutes…… and they all collapse on the floor in a giggling pile….. and I smile to myself... cause there is my family, my children, happily laying on the not so clean floor in a heap!

they love each other, they play together, have so much fun together and will be together forever……. I just wish I had their energy!

Colin sacked out

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Jelly Beans!!!!!!

Last night was a really sad event for all the kids and MOM!!! We opened the last bag of starburst jelly beans till next Easter. (One would have thought that 65 bags would have been enough to get to March…BUT NO!!!...) I have rationed and counted them and hid them …but they just love to eat them and they are just so good.

In reality it is just a jelly beans, but you have to realize what these little pieces of sugar and food coloring have brought us. Besides the pure delight of eating them they have brought us lots of learning activities…we count them, we separate them by color, we increase our fine motor skills with pincer grasps, (we smush them for them for Miranda & Eliza so no choking!); Physical science: the power of gravity, and great sharing and trading skills (Adrian doesn’t like red).

It would seem like this would not be that big of a problem. But there really aren’t any great jelly beans this time of year! There are the generic candy bags
at Wal-Mart or Schnucks…we have tried them….they are just not the same. Basically the kids just spit them out and I will tell you that jelly bean spit & candy is as hard to clean out of white carpet as kool aide!

I tried sticking a few in at a time with the others; I just got back a cup full of partially chewed muck! They do not like any but these. We tried the smuckers, and the lifesavers ones at Easter…but they really love the starburst ones.

We have been eating about a bag or two a week. … They would eat a bag or two a day if I let them. And Jelly Belly’s are just too expensive to feed five kids, a mom and occasionally dad.

With all the things we have learned or do with the jelly beans…. these little drops of heaven have made Colin put two real words together …he actually says “jellllllla beeen”. Those two beautiful words make me smile every night! Colin and Melea have made complex plans on how to steal them…getting magnets, moving stools, opening locked doors, getting bags open, cups to put them in and all the time spent picking them up off the floor. I will miss this….and the beans too.

So last night we had a little ceremony to open the last bag, and as I reminded Melea that Jordan does not eat “jelly beans”. Colin turned to the high chair and pointed “Jellllllie beeeeean”. He was pointing at Jordan. He was so excited and smiling and then giggled and said it again!

So last night we nick named our littlest one Jelly Bean!!!!! Because I know he can teach so many of the same skills to the kids. I just hope Eliza doesn’t bite him and skittles, runts, & the fruit chews are huge choking issues for us.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dinner at home

Short Story: Dinner at our home can be one of the greatest and best events in my day….but I get surprised at how quickly it can dissolve into chaos…to become a therapeutic lesson for one and then a great family moment for all….

Long Story: I really try for us to eat dinner at a table every night (Preferably our dinner table). Never in my life did I actually think such a simple thing as dinner could be so many things to so many people.

I love to cook and my kids love to eat sounds like a perfect match…but they don’t always want to eat what I am cooking. I actually think it is not possible for me to cook one meal in which everyone will eat or try piece of everything. I actually pondered it for a while this morning and can not come up with anything….got a bunch where it is close 4 out 5 children, but never 5 of 5.

The closest meal I could come up with that all five of the kids might eat would include the following: pizza, French fries, rolls, ketchup and ultra butter crème chocolate pie. Glaring at you is the lack of real vegetables (though I think ketchup should be included as one for as much as we eat them)

For dinner last evening, we had meatloaf, tater tots, ginger carrots, a five grain bread loaf and milk or water to drink. Oh and I forgot the most important ingredient…. ketchup….. It makes a meal go better, the kids eat more and I hate the smell and cleaning it off the table! I really do believe that Eliza would eat anything if I put ketchup on it!

I also have learned it is a waste of time to ask Melea what she wants to eat. It is always the same answer! P-I-Z-Z-A!!!!! I think besides really liking pizza, this is a word she just loves the sound of and she says it as often as she can.

But back to the story….cooking dinner last night was not really that difficult (I wait till ground beef on sale, buy 10-15 pounds and make about 10 -12 meat loafs at a time. I freeze them and then on really busy (out of house activity days) I pop it in the oven and either set the timer or tell Eric when to start it. It only takes about 45 seconds (if I am not having any help from one of the magic 12 little hands in my life) to get the tater tot bag, open it, line the pan with foil and spray it, and put it into the oven, then 20 minutes to heat them. The carrots are just stir fried in the wok with a ginger sesame dressing from Audi’s. I am told they are amazing, but I STILL HATE CARROTTS (unless I am pregnant) so here is one person not wanting to eat something. Meat loaf is Colin and Daddy’s favorite “regular” food

Usually while I am preparing dinner, some of the children are watching “Signing Times” or a “Wiggles” DVD, Miranda sit in the chair at the table or is bear crawling around the kitchen, Eliza is trying to help me by setting and resetting the table (I get s few plates out and she runs around the island and then puts them on the table, runs around some more then grabs the plates and starts all over again. Jordan is either in the swing or the high chair….but I have to be in sight…..cause if I am out of his visual field he starts to scream!

Some days I am lucky (or unlucky) if they want to help me….Melea really loves stirring and the mixer and Colin loves spraying things (cleaner, spray oil, water…). Either on e or bit of them will want to help me cook…usually it can be a lot of fun but I have learned that the more they see me do the more they are willing to try on their own….this is really scary sometimes.

After the dinner is cooked, the table is sort of set, it is time to round up the children for dinner. I usually end up with Miranda sitting at the table (if she didn’t get put there on her on…likely Colin did it)…but she is always ready for food no matter what. So I am then trying to get four of my five “table” kids into the kitchen. This can be a long or short process. I think it closely reminds me of one of those old hand games with “mercury” in them. I get a bunch then the circle “breaks” and a few run off in another direction. And all the time Miranda is sitting “somewhat patiently” making little noises or banging her cup going “Hurry up I want MY FOOD”.

Last night all but Adrian made it to the table quickly, (I think it was because Eric was here to start with). Adrian needed a personal invite (OK several of them)…finally she shoes up after I have passed out the meatloaf and the carrots. (I always pass out or time the tatter tots/French fries to get done about 10 minutes after they start eating the other stuff or we might forget the other stuff!

Miranda always eats her food…all of it….she has a tendency to still eat everything like it was first birthday cake….all at once. Now she can use her fork and spoon (if she chooses) but I think she feels like why should I…. I can do it faster with my fingers.

Eliza wants to eat….but…I think she is still having a battle of wills with eating with silverware or her hands ….and this girl is so fast she could beat superman. If she gets mad a plate can get thrown so quick that you haven’t even had time to blink. (This little idiosyncrasy of hers did disappear for a while…but it is back if she is angry! please oh please do not move her cup or have another little one touch her stuff cause next thing you know that plate will go flying) Actutally last night she wanted mommy to feed her, which is what I figured out that she wanted….

Melea starts on way into the kitchen but for some reason stops and drops to the ground wailing….and for the life of me I can not figure out what she wants….except PIZZA. And I go through the litany of things that we think my have made her mad. I try to get her to help me feed Jordan…no luck….I try to get her to drink…even her second favorite food…BREAD…doesn’t work. SO I just let her sit and wail.

Colin is so excited when he heard meatloaf that he came running so fast he slipped on the tile and feel to the floor. This however was not enough to even make a dent in his persistence to get to his plate as he jumps up and then slides into the table and his chair like a baseball player. If he could talk he would be screaming MEAT LOAF, MEAT LOAF, MEAT LOAF!!!! He is so excited.

Well I feed Jordan, Melea is screaming, Eric dishes out tater tots, Adrian is counting them out load as she puts ketchup on each one…it can’t go on her plate only on each tot. Miranda keeps trying to get to Melea’s plate, Eliza is “honking” for more ketchup ….FOR HER CARROTS…and Colin looks like he is in heaven with his meatloaf and then he sees the tater tots! His face beams he jumps up, holds his plate out and then gets a puzzled look on his face.

I interpret this to be “I want some” but he is trying to figure out how to ask since “more” is not the right word…so he just settles for poking daddy with plate over and over.

In all this Melea is still wailing and I finally figure out what is wrong…she wanted a sippy cup lid! Before Eliza came to be with us…we were done with lids and etc but since Eliza can whiz a plate when she is mad so fast and without any warning we all went back to lids! (To save on the clean up). I had planned on Melea sitting at the big table, so I hadn’t put a lid on it. Even funnier yesterday she screamed at breakfast because the cup had a lid. (I think I am in training for her teenage years)

When Melea finally calms down, Adrian in all sincerity pipes up with “mom, mom….hey mom….you know what?” I really just want to finish the meal without anything hitting the floor or another screaming fit, and I am worried at what is coming next. “You know why you made meat loaf tonight?” I am not really sure where this is going….”Ok, Adrian why did I make meatloaf tonight?” much more sardonic than I meant to. “You made us meat loaf because you know Colin loves it and he loves you and me and Melea, and Liza, and Baby (Miranda) and Jellybean (Jordan)…we are a family….and you love us!”

I sort of sit there stunned…I wonder if she realizes what she is saying…she then says “You are our mom and we are you kids no matter what” And she implies by her tone that we are a family so you better get used to this!. I am awed by her sincerity and the clarity which she is seeing this whole chaotic meal take place. I am awed that after this moment there is no more screaming and crying and fussing, just happy giggling and eating, and I am awed at how a profound statement completely out of the blue makes me realize that this is what most family dinners are probably like.

Norman Rockwell we are not, and most of the time there is more food on the floor than I think went in there mouths (accept Miranda… she is like Mikey from the life commercial).

But I sit back and smile and drink my tea, watch Colin trying to trade his carrots to Eliza and I am awed at how much Colin will do to get more meat loaf.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Another busy day!!!

I have such a busy day today. Most people do….and I probably wouldn’t know what to do if I did not (see Diane I can actually admit that). It is 10 am ish cst and I decided to tell you all about what I / we have done and still have to do yet!

So far I have managed to bathed, brushed teeth & hair and dressed or at least attempted to make sure they matched…. and didn’t wear two different shoes (sorry Colin you can’t wear a red one and a black one) on five of children…feed them breakfast…got four of them on two different buses after writing in four notebooks, packing two snacks and filling out a few forms (I swear they send some everyday just to make me feel bad if I don’t have time or forget to do them)…walk /run for 38 minutes and 2 miles, nurse Jordan, & got him to take a nap, then took a shower, unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, started a load of laundry and hung another one up (this is a constant battle at our house), and started my cathartic (word? Who knows I don’t got time to check) writings for me by typing this and drinking my iced coffee ….YES I discovered COFFE while pregnant with Jordan!!! How did I ever get anything done before that legal stimulant!

Here is what I have left to do…..go to Wal-Mart and exchange some pants I bought…my but is bigger than I thought …hence a new dedication to exercising again., get some $$$$ (Wal-Mart is actually cheaper than an ATM fee)…buy a new plunger (who knew there were different types or that they make great swords). I also need to get some yogurt and graham crackers so Melea has something to eat on the days she refuses to eat her school hot lunch, take the yogurt to school drop it off and at the same time pick Colin up to go to a Dr appointment at ENT and visit the orthotics lady (maybe he will participate today LOL). I am also taking Miranda to the audiologist/ENT to check her hearing …it hasn’t been working as well as it used to… or at least it wasn’t when I made the appointment, but now that she has lost her tube and is having a lot of drainage it is doing much better in my opinion.

Then come back home…try to unplug the lower toilet…Adrian flushed something down there…boy who would have ever thought a four year old would be so obsessed with toilets. Then we will eat dinner (dad is responsible to stick the meat loaf it in at 4 pm at 375 degrees) and then practice our letters…writing and reading….course the kids think the flash cards are better for throwing over the deck or down the stairs…get ready for bed will read the next chapter in James and the Giant Peach. Then I will likely nurse the baby and then start to clean up the house so the nice women who come to clean my house tomorrow don’t think the piggy family lives at our house. Then I hope to finish the story I am trying to edit about Princess Grumpy that I promised to send to a great illustrator/cartoonist LAST WEEK…and if I am lucky I can watched the TIVO soaps I missed and the new drama CANE (cause I know Law & Order will be on in repeats forever!) … and maybe so some aerobics.

And I appreciate and respect all that you do for us and our family….you have taught me the true meaning of love, loyalty and responsibility. I thank you for all the meetings, IEP's, IFSP's, drs appointments, surgeries, the times you put the kids on the bus, field trips and days like today that you are there to back up me up. I won the "lottery" for the first time when I married you. Eric, you are a great support and the rock in my hectic life. (though sometime you do add to it) Thanks of being you and being there for all of us!

But please don’t me pleading to hurry home cause Princess Grumpy is driving you nuts and has started a new chemistry mess in the bathroom BECAUSE it is your turn!!!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

What My Children have Taught Me (Part 6) - Jordan

Short Story: Both parent and child can sometimes learn the same thing at the same time....patience.

Long Story: Since the day I saw Jordan's heart beat on the monitor...I knew that both of us would need to learn patience. at that time I was a mom of four. Our family was scheduled to grow again through adoption and our precious Eliza was supposed to be arriving in less than a month. This adoption had been well planed in advance of this surprise.

It took a while for it to sink in....that I was going to be a mom of six children in a little more than 6 months from that date. All I could think of was the possible need for a straight jacket that evening since a stiff margarita was definitely out for a long while!

Well a year has passed since that appointment with Dr. H. And our little Jordan turned six months old last week, it sort of came and went without the usual fanfare. I actually think it was unnoticed by anyone but me. I really hope this is not how Jordan spends the rest of his life....being unnoticed.

Actually I really doubt that would be even possible...not With Adrian (the cruise director) and Melea (his second mother). Jordan has dimples and smiles and is always happy when someone is playing with him (or protecting him from all of Melea's hugs and kisses). His personality is emerging and changing and together we seem to be learning patience.

From the day he was born we have been working on this skill together. He was impatient to get here, and I made him wait till our furniture was delivered and I made lunch for the other children while having contractions. He was actually born about 1 1/2 hours after getting to the hospital.

Since getting here Jordan has been a challenge in many ways. Like most infants he wants what he wants "RIGHT NOW" . I had all the brilliant ideas of nursing and bonding before getting the others up and he would sleep while I got them ready for school. It actually never ever worked that way.

Basically if he was awake he wanted me! If hungry he wanted to eat now whether I had five little ones to bathe for school or not. I had a great plan and schedule to get every one taken care of and make sure they all got attention...only one problem ... he never read it....let alone seemed interested in following it after several months of trying to get him on it!

It was funny after having spent almost ten months waiting for him to get here and be a separate person from me...I had days I wished I were still was easier...he hated the sling, he hated the swing, he hated the bouncy chair all he wanted was me and his food source! It really made it difficult for all of us. Basically Jordan's job for the first four months was to teach me and the whole family patience!

I had to wait to sleep (I am thinking I might get some in the year 2025). Patience for me meant not screaming when I had to change him. It seemed that I could change him every 30 minutes and he would still pee through 4-5 outfits a day! We jokingly refer to him as"Sir Pees Alot". I am amazed at his ability to teleport urine our of his diaper(not get it wet) but completely ruin an outfit.

It meant that Eric had to help more with bedtime and get up time, and all the Kids had to learn to wait a little longer and help a little more. Either I needed to learn to cook while breastfeeding or we were going to eat a lot of take out (since Applebee's would be out now cause he won't do a blanket).
We all had to patient! It took time but Jordan became less clingy and I got used to hearing a baby cry for longer than 10-20 seconds before I could respond! (Of course there is that cry you know...I have to answer right now... I can't describe it other than you know it when you hear it!)

It was so much different with Jordan than with Miranda. All my other children wanted to help and hold and snuggle him. They are bigger, more mobile and in some ways much scarier to a mom of a little one! Well we have worked through that and we have learned and are practicing every day!

I found ways to have the kids help me safely and Jordan has sort of gotten used to a sister with one volume who"Pops up" out of nowhere and tries to "hug you" to death, a little friend who looks like she is going to bite you every time she really wants to kiss you (she actually ends up licking the baby); a big brother who signs your name upside down and wants you to play cars now! and a mom who can't believe how much have changed our lives already.

I know as a family, we have so much more to learn from Jordan. I hope patience is something all of us can keep learning. However when Jordan and I have accomplished this skill I am planning on letting him instruct Melea and Adrian.

I really can't wait to watch him grow and mature into a toddler...oh yeah will come soon enough.

What My Children Have Taught Me (Part 5) Miranda

Short Story: It doesn't really mater how long it takes to complete a taks as long as you end up in the same place & do it with attitude.

Long Story: I sat outside with my computer today watching my five beautiful children play in the back yard (thanks Jeff the Rainbow Guy!) and have fun on this beautiful fall day!. I watched my little Miranda playing in the wading pool...she sat and splashed and batted her toys around for almost an hour.

All the children came over and played with her. Sometimes they took turns and other times all five of them piled into the little pool. It was a site to see. They later " dragged" her over to the sand box.

These children are so determined for Miranda to play with them to run with them and to do everything they do that it is scary. They are forever trying to make her, to drag her or to show her how to walk that it sometimes makes her so angry and frustrated. I feel bad because I know how much she wants to do this but has yet been unable.

Miranda tires out really easily. More so in the last few months that previous ones...but I think part of that has to do with her trying so hard to walk. She also has had pneumonia four times since July. But today...with all of the kids pushing and pulling and making her "bear walk" and being dragged around the pool and sand box she "stood up" without braces, with out a hand hold, nothing to grab but her big brother (he was about 8 to 10 inches away). And stood there...she looked like she would fall any second.... but....

In all the hub a baloo and the fight that was going on between Melea and Eliza over a toy...Miranda took three steps...not a lunge or a coordinated fall but THREE STEPS toward the quieter side of the sand box and then she just plopped down away from the rest of them and just smiled at me and then pretty much fell over onto the side of the box and fell asleep!

Unusual...yes....she is almost 32 months old, she doesn't walk on her own safely and just really started walking holding hands about 10-15 days ago. But today was the day, I think she had had enough of the others and just wanted peace and quiet and she was going to get it!

Becoming a parent isn't easy no matter how it is done. Birth, adoption, blended families...all present different joys and challenges to building a family. However somehow I had a little dream always named Miranda in the back of my head! A very little persistent dream that became a reality in February of 2005.

Many people seem to have this wonderful ability to tell me (an a lot of parents) all the things their children may never do, or that it will take so much longer for them to do things or don't be to disappointed when..... (fill in the blank). Well Miranda loves to prove all of them wrong. She has been doing it since she got here. "Oh she will have trouble eating cause of her heart...she might not use a bottle....oh it will be a while till she gets out of the hospital...." Well she surprised all of with that NG tube faster than ever expected, small weight gains but consistent.

I will never forget how many EKG leads she pulled off after her heart surgery, or how no one could really see how sick she was on the inside cause she was doing great at masking it on the out side! SHE is the poster child for perseverance.

Miranda reminds me of the fable of the turtle and the hare. Just like the turtle she make such slow progress...some days / weeks it is very slow almost non existent. THEN A HUGE LEAP and we are in front of a new skill! Being Miranda's mom has made me realize that it really is true that .....slow and steady will complete the race. She constantly reminds me that it is not winning but finishing with the right attitude that makes you a success. So with that in mind I know that Miranda is going to be a "winner" cause baby does she have attitude!!!!!!

Together we have been through a few hospitalizations, a cardiac catheterization, open heart surgery, ear infections, pink eye, three sets of ear tubes, a sleep study, adenoid removal, glasses, a ton of therapies and MORE SNOT than you would think anyone can make....but she just keeps plodding along to the beat of her own drummer. Miranda seems to exude perseverance and she does it with attitude.

She hasn't been feeling as well lately and it has been really hard to see her being so sick (four pneumonias since July isn't a great sign) but through it all I see that "Miranda" attitude! She wants to be healthy, she wants to play and she wants to chase those siblings of hers (and heaven help her mother when she can) and what I have learned from being her mother that she will do all of this and more...just in her time.
Miranda didn't read anu of those developmental books yet! I am sure she will though ...and we will laugh at them together. She doesn't know that she is "running" late for any developmental milestone (ds or not), she seems to do everything at her own speed. All Miranda is aware of at this time is that she wants to be "running" after her big brother and sisters...and to be chasing the Jordan....and if today proves anything to me....she will be there soon than later!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

What My Children Have Taught Me (part 4) Eliza

Short Story: Trust is something that has to be mutually earned.

Long Story:

Eliza is a beautiful and energetic little angel with 47 pieces. She came to us in a somewhat similar as all our our adoptions to date. I got an email from our agency (they new we were looking to expand again), but instead of an infant and and agency adoption with them. I could call CPS for information and see if we could put "family" hat in the ring for Eliza.

This was a really scary though for me, but those eyes....they just lead me to call, and call and leave messages and call again. I was told to be persistent ...I was so persistent that I am sure it was actually annoying....but I knew this little princess was supposed to be part of our family. SO I had to keep it up! We were picked, and then the waiting just took longer.

All I can say is this adoption has been our hardest to date. When one thinks about how many children are in foster care, you would think it might be a little easier to adopt them. This was the first time I realized how much "trust" I put in a system- our government to do the right thing for Eliza and for us. Basically our emotional roller coaster started the day we were matched. Everything took longer than anyone anticipated and longer than we all felt it should have.

Eric & I flew to Houston to visit her. She still couldn't come home yet. The minute we met Eliza (almost 3 months after being matched and 5 months after seeing those beautiful and expressive eyes in my morning email) was a wonderful moment. All of our other three adopted children were places as infants between 3-9 weeks of age, We had never adopted an older child.

She immediately feel into Eric's arms and gave him a close snuggle and a squeeze. I was lucky enough to get one look and then back to making over her new daddy. He got what we now term a "butt wiggle". I really can't describe it any other terms other than a cross between a wonderful full body hug/squeeze and a all over giggle and then she buries her head in your chest and kisses you! After about two hours with her and the SW Eric and I went back to the hotel. I was sort of sad...all the paperwork...all the phone calls...all the waiting...she didn't even like me at all.

I realized that all these months I had fallen in love with a little girl that "didn't really exist" She was a picture and not the little girl in front of me. I thought she would love me at 2 1/2 years just like my other children did. BOY WAY I WRONG. Eliza had her own plans and her own mind and her own way of doing things.

Second visit wasn't much better for her and me. Eliza bit me so hard that I cried...I don't even think my horse ever bit me that hard!) But she loved and smiled and twisted my husband around every one of her fingers. She was so immediately bonding with him that I had to "trust" that she was supposed to be with us, I had to "trust" Eric when he said he was confident Eliza was meant for our family and he was sure she liked me...still no but wiggle or even a big hug just a bunch of glances at me which I realize now were her way of sizing me up!

Her foster mom was wonderful, she was awesome with all the children in her care, great with us and I could not have asked for better. That said that after all the visits that weekend It was still so hard for Eric and I to return her foster family and return to our home without her. Eliza really liked her and loved being in her house, but I had tears in my eyes when we left cause again I had to "trust" that Eliza would be OK and safe till she came to be with us forever.

It wasn't supposed to be to long....but you know how best laid plans go. Twenty days turned into another sixty seven! To get Eliza home I had to "trust" so many people to do there jobs and push that paperwork along that I actually thought I was going to get an ulcer waiting.

You would think that a mother of four children with down syndrome could be patient....but NO I really am not a patient person! I wanted her home before the had even turned two. I just kept wanting her to be with us! I had to wait and I had to "trust" people to do their jobs.

It did finally happen, all the paperwork was processed and plane tickets were purchased, I cleaned our house, scrubbed the carpets and decorated her room. The day came that she was supposed to arrive, almost 7 1/2 months after deciding we should send in our file, and Eliza and her SW get to the airport in Texas and someone got her ticket for the wrong way (not from Texas to Missouri but the opposite direction!). Here it was again...we had to "trust" that someone on the other end of phone in airport could fix this problem on a long holiday weekend. (they did ....or I would have driven to Houston to get her myself)

Eliza was here. All of her paperwork, her beautiful little suitcase, new clothes and a few special things...but she was here with her family! She seemed to instantly bond with her new siblings... it was like she always was supposed to be with them. I had to "trust" that we received all the right paperwork, that all the legal work really was done correctly, that her medical files would one day show up, that they had given me all the information we needed. It seems funny to say this but the State of Texas had to "trust"me and my husband enough to raise this beautiful little girl (by the way taxpayers of Texas- thanks for the most precious gift of Eliza!!!!!)

For almost six weeks she smiled and touched and played and "honked" at them...but she still didn't really seem to like me...she was always looking mad at me, or perplexed or frustrated. I did't get the hugs that the rest got and I still hadn't gotten a butt wiggle! I started all of her EI paperwork, took her to the doctors, answered questions at evaluations. And I waited...everyday she just tolerated me...she seemed to love my husband...but tolerated me. What did I need to do to gain her "trust".

It seemed to dawn on Eliza and I at the same Late January she had her tonsils & adenoids removed and had to stay overnight at the hospital. (Miranda was also at the hospital overnight at the same time). That 28 hour period was the first time that Eliza wanted me....not her dad...or grandma....ME! As I look back I realize what I did wrong. Nothing!!! accept not realizing we both had to learn to trust each other.

I made her change everything in such a short time period. Where she lived (it was cold here in MO and new allergies, and new environment); I took away her "foster family"; I took away her bottle and made her drink from a sippy cup; I made her eat solid foods and feed herself with a fork or spoon; I made her try to sign (by the way we still fight this battle); I made her brush her teeth & take a bath (found out she had a sensory thing with water after they placed her). I held her head as she got her eyes dilated and later her ear wax cleaned out and I made her play outside!

I wanted her to love and "trust" me and I was the "Evil Mom" in her book who changed and made everything different from before. Why would she have thought that I was any different from all the places she had been before? Heck she isn't even that old and is developmentally disabled, but she knew how to play the "foster game" how to make people think you care about them and get them to do what you want! I don't think she really "trusted" anyone at that point.

In the hospital in pain and Mommy there to help and hold her, I think she realized for the first time I wasn't leaving her. I feed her and hugged her and rocked her. We played and I changed diaper after diaper (anesthia gives her diarrhea something awful). Our relationship changed. She finally let me cuddle her and she hugged me. We fell asleep for the first time together in the hospital chair.

But from the instant we got stuck when that hospital chair split and I couldn't get up and we were stuck! Maybe when she saw the panic in my eyes and my need to pee (being 8 1/2 months pregnant and trapped in this &*^% (fill in the explative) pull out chair for what seemed like forever and really looking at each other eyes...panic can really open them up and Eliza has the most expressive and wonderful deep chocolate brown eyes!

We realized that we needed to "trust" each other!!!!

I guess "trust"ing Eric, Grandma, and all the children was easy! They were not making her do things she didn't want to, she didn't really need to make them "happy" to get her needs met so whatever she could give them was enough! I was a challenge and she seemed to resent everything I tried to make her do.

It actually was so funny...before that day she could have cared less if I was in a room with her and since then I am now her favorite person to see, to full body hug and jump on. When she smiles at me now it is with her whole body! She "trusts" me now like none of my other children do. Because I had to earn it in different way for a different reason .

Friday, September 21, 2007

What My Children Have taught Me (Part 3) - Adrian

Short Story: Ferocity can be a great quality in a daughter and a sister (big or little)!
Long Story:

I was determined to find one word that describes Adrian in all her unique personality traits- so I started by compiling a list of nouns and adjectives that best describe her. (It really was a lot longer than I first thought) They are: anxiety, ardor, concentration, depth, determination, earnestness, energetic, excitement, extreme, fanaticism, fervor, fierce, fire, forceful, frenzy, fury, impetuous, intelligent, intense, magnitude, passionate, power, rage, severity, tenacity, tension, tempestuousness, turbulent, weightiness, wildness, vehemence, vigor, volume and zeal. I started messing around with the thesaurus and determined that there was only one word that related all of the above qualities. That is ferocity.

This is what Adrian has taught me. That probably sounds like a horrible word to describe such a beautiful young girl. But the definition I most like is when it it is used as a noun - the property of being wild or turbulent; "the storm's violence" ferocity. (n.d.). WordNet® 3.0. Retrieved September 21, 2007, from website: Then we have the state or the quality of being fierce. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved September 19, 2007, from website: Ferocious may not a normal word for a four year old princess. However when you add the suffix (-ity) that means the appearance or looking and then put fierce. That word can be used to describe her in that moment when she turns from idyllic Disney Princess to demon spawn with her eyes glowing red and her head spinning counter clockwise when she is sent to spend some quality time in the "THINKING CHAIR"! As well as how she attacks life and goes about her daily activities!

The more I thought about it this mostly negative sounding word is the best description for my first biological child...and she does like to growl and bark occasionally... (not sure if it is a pretend thing or a four year old thing or just and Adrian thing)

Adrian was a complete surprise to Eric and I. We had given up on ever having any biological children...(actually after pregnancy and birth I think the adoption thing has a lot of benefits). Occasionally (no where near as often as before Miranda's adoption) I am still asked - "if you had known it was possible would you have waited longer" or " are you sorry that you adopted the others?" I always try to think they mean that in a "good" way. The answer to that is a huge resounding NO!! Our family is what made and makes Adrian so unique and I am 99.9% sure she wouldn't be here without them (yeah adoptive breast feeding!!! feeling on what helped along with Atkins...but another story)!!!

Again ferocity sound bad- but I see her as attacking every thing with a gusto or a fierceness that is seldom seen in adults let alone children. If you were to run into Adrian out somewhere she would likely introduce herself to you, she would introduce her siblings, She might ask you to shake her hand and make you shake all of theirs (ask the car dealer who sold us our van); She will remember your name; and she would look you in the eye - she looks everyone in the eye (accept when "lying" to mom or dad- she has yet to master this skill), and in that moment size you up and melt your heart, and most likely she would want to hug you before she left. She is a very personable,accepting, intelligent and out going little girl.

Adrian loves to help and to work hard long as Sponge Bob is not on. (she gets into ruts with her viewing habits and we are on Sponge Bob right now) loves and accepts her siblings with a passion that I never remember having for any of mine. She will defend them, translates for them, talks about them, tells people about them. She really loves them and is slowly beginning to understand that there is something different about them compared to her and some of their peers. The beautiful little girl that understands the difference between "Tummy Mummy" and "mommy" and is sometimes jealous cause her mom is both of them to her. She is enthusiastic in every thing she "attacks" and accomplishes! But when she does lazy or unmotivated I believe she can do that with ferocity too!

Adrian usually does everything with her whole heart and soul, just watch her dancing- cause believe me it is this that makes it precious and unbelievable - not the technique or her ability. Just to see the energy and the excited fervor she brings to her little spontaneous productions. She seems to put 150% into almost anything she does....I do put that qualifier on there cause she is a little kid and she doesn't clean up her room and she has never met a pair of sock that comes off and goes into the laundry hamper. But she makes me proud and I hope that this is a preview of things to come
Adrian has taught me that ferocity is a good thing when wanting an advocate, a friend, a sibling and a daughter! And she is an awesome Princess Grumpy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What My Children Have Taught Me (Part 2) Melea

SHORT STORY: Learning determination in impossible, however it is a state of mind and a lifestyle which can easily be confused with stubbornness or obstinance.


Everyday that I have been privileged to be Melea's mom has been full of surprises for me! I have seen, experienced and been a part of so many adventures that it is amazing. But the thing that Melea has most taught me about life is . DETERMINATION!!! and even though most people think this is a great quality in an employee it may not always be wonderful in a little girl!

From the day we learned about Melea from our favorite adoption agency! I knew that she was one determined little girl! She entered the world with that extra chromosome to complete surprise to all involved! Here she was with all prenatal tests (including an amnio) that said no problems however this was not to be the case. According to her that extra chromosome is basically just extra attitude and boy does she have that in spades! Melea displays this attitude and determination in everything she does.

This goes for eating, and school, and dancing, and playing and of course for temper tantrums! Can this girl throw an all out dramatic screaming fit!! She is determined to do things her way.

Yesterday the children were dismissed from school early, so we had extra time to play in the backyard. Melea had such fun and loved it. She hung upside down, crossed the monkey bars, went on the slides, dragged her younger sister Eliza everywhere and up and down the slides. built a huge sand castle and then tried to bury her brother and she was determined to help Eliza climb up the chain ladder even if it killed her (Eliza).

Melea is adventurous, playful and loves to do "physical" stuff as long as it is her idea. After several hours of playing and eating popsicles she then decided to Run up the back hill / boulders / rock outcrop in our back yard ....they are big for a five year old with or without extra chromosomes and make for the "open" free woods. She really didn't make it far- maybe about 500- 600 feet till she decided that no one was following. She stood there and looked for me....

She was checking to see if I had noticed, she waited and waited for me to move to help her. I waited for her to call me or see if she would turn back and come home. It became a battle of wills... who would break first.... 1 minute....five minutes...10 minutes....I loose because Jordan is crying and call up to her to see if she needs help. No answer.... I start to climb up but I hear....."no momi no momi".... " I cum u momi". This really peeks my interest because Melea doesn't always put that many words together.

So I go get Jordan from the pack in play and come back and proceed to watch Melea slowly descend that beautiful hill. This hill is both beautiful and treacherous...I always seemed to be chasing her when I was pregnant and worried about falling and we have had so many discussions/arguments/time outs because of her ability to wander up it. It has actually been several months since she has even tried this. But I sit there quietly, watching waiting and wondering when she will fall and need me to save her.

Each time she gets to a point where the trail ends or it is too steep or jagged or there is a tree.... she stops and looks and contemplates... what to do... I keep waiting for her to ask for help but no...she pushes on. Slowly this action is drawing the attention of the other children in the yard. Eliza comes over and sits next to me and Jordan and is pointing and honking gleefully at Melea. I here Miranda yelling- it is because she is in the toddler swing and Colin was pushing her. But he has stopped and slowly is moving toward the bottom of the rock outcrop and is pointing at her. Melea responds by exclaiming "no broda, i doooo i dooo".

After a few more minutes and feet go by Adrian joins us to cheer her on and she is telling her how great she has done to get down to the fence and how proud she is of her. I am just holding my breath....realizing it is just the big drop to come and that going up looks so much easier than coming down. A few more steps and another minute pass, Colin starts pacing back and forth at the bottom and pointing worriedly at her.

Melea not sure what to do, she just sits down and just at me....for what seems like forever.... I am not sure what to tell her, I really don't know if she was waiting for me to get her or she has given up, trying to make the moment as dramatic as possible or just to make sure she has as much of my undivided attention as she can get. But when I finally think she has given up....she gets up and slowly moves a large tree branch and finds a new way down the "boulder drop".

In this process she scrapped her leg and got a tiny cut on her shin. But she is not crying and the petrified look that crossed her face a few times is now replaced by such beaming exuberance. She now has proven what only she knew (and I really hoped) ....that she could do it !!! This is just how Melea is and always does everything! Since she entered our lives at age four weeks, it is her way.... she doesn't really do what the book says, or what others do she does it HER WAY (I have thought of rewriting My Way for her).

Melea never really liked being held to much....not even as a baby. She would let me feed her, snuggle and play as long as it was in "her plans". She would let me know when she had enough and she always wanted to get back to her swing (and oh that hasn't changed- Melea still would swing for hours if I could or would push her). Originally she seemed to eat enough just to "survive" for the longest time. Then one day she said- I am going to eat....and that was accomplished- no looking back. We do everything like that

Therapy and early intervention- when and only if she felt like participating and then it was always on her terms- for example I will try to walk in speech therapy, I want to color in Physical therapy (but I won't look at matter what....and if you try to make me do it I will SCREAM). Developmental therapy was a battle of I will do it to make you smile , but it will be the way I want.... you want smallest to largest well Melea gave largest to smallest.

Determination might be thought of as synonymous for obstinate with my daughter! But it is more of a learning style for her. She is determined to do it, she is determined to get it right, she is determined to make sure that everyone knows she is around, and she is determined to be the best at whatever she wants to do! Melea does everything on full volume and with full heart and excitement. Every morning when leaving for school she puts her head down (almost like a football player), grabs her "backpack" and runs out the door to tackle the world.

Melea's attitude, ability to work through and accomplish what she needs to...even if on her terms.... makes me realize all the things she will be able to accomplish in her life, or she will at least find a new way or new path and surprise us all.

I hope that her mom can be as determined about my own life as Melea!

What my children have taught me (part 1) Colin

SHORT STORY- As a parent I was delusional that I would do all the teaching to my children.... but instead I have determined they have taught and will teach me more than I ever could teach them.


I am the a very lucky mom! I chose to be a stay at home mom, and I have a wonderful supportive husband who endeavors to make this possible. I get a lot of the fun (though many days I do miss work so I could just have an adult conversation, but the joys of being with my children so out weigh what I feel I miss.

My children have actually taught me more than I ever learned in school (sorry about that Dr. W & all professors and teachers I ever had). Since I needed to introduce my children to you- I thought I would do it this way!

Everyday my children bring me things- some are way cool like paintings or drawings. I get lots of other tangibles too. I love flowers- usually dandelions and thistle grass which always has to be put in vase and marveled at. However sometimes it is the wadded up diaper that got stuffed down the air vent, or my favorite the molded sippy cup that is stinking the car up. But the best gift they have given me is teaching me about life.
Colin-my oldest son at the time of this post- everyday teaches me (and almost everyone he meets) about laughter and humour! He has been a part of our life since the day I was called from the agency and told about him. I have loved him since that time and the thought of him has always made me smile! I have watched him grow and change over the last six plus years and one thing really stands out! HE LOVES TO GIGGLE!!!! It is infectious, it can make you smile, it can make anyone smile, and he genuinely wants to make people happy and he does this by laughing!

This morning, after rushing to get five kids bathed, showered, hair & teeth brushed, two braids done, orthotics and shoes & socks on each child, then rush to make sure everyone has a glass of milk or juice (gosh I get so frustrated when they don;t want to drink it)- got everybody going to school downstairs (baby is sleeping in his crib still - thank heaven) and Miranda into the play room; checked the bags I packed last night (key to having 6 kids is prepare the night before); fought with Melea about what snacks to pack in her backpack- she keeps putting her raisins in Colin's & trying to take a popsicle; one of them trips and starts screaming, which makes someone else scream cause they don't like the bus is early, the other is late and for some reason I have to carry Melea to the bus this morning- I guess legs don't work after blueberry breakfast bars & milk, and all I really want to do is shove the last two on the bus and go get my coffee....

Colin turns around and signs mommy kiss- he hasn't been doing this on or near the bus lately- we are growing up whether I like it or not. He puts a kiss on my cheek and then raspberries me really loud and pulls away makes a "fart sound" out of his throat and points to me and signs
"stinky" and just giggles, throws his arms around me and body hugs me, steps back, cocks his head to the side and then belly laughs, hugs me one more time and then "prances" gleefully giggling to his seat! He then waves bye out the window and keeps giggling! (I can hear it as the bus leaves)

You know what all the hustle and bustle and tears and frustration are gone, cause I know that he loves me! Colin doesn't care how much money I have or don't have, he doesn't care that I still have 15 lbs to loose after having Jordan, he doesn't care about the fact we were late this morning and rushed, nor that there is now smeared blueberry muck on my dress from clearing Eliza's mouth (side note- I am never buying blueberry breakfast bars again). None of it matters!!!! Not the interest rates, not our 401k ,not the bills for that moment, or building onto our house or any worries that I am thinking about matter right now or all day if I let them.....

His giggle is like my happy thought! If I can keep that sound and the feeling it gives me I can do anything! I love listening to Colin laugh, giggle and watching him smile ..... this laughter and the love or zest for life that it shows allows me to put in perspective the rest of the "my"day and "my" problems.

Seeing his joy at making me smile, hearing that infectious"giggle" and knowing that he and his little joke on me this morning and his wonderful and pure little giggles will brighten so many peoples lives today.

So when I first wanted to be a parent, I thought I would do all the teaching .... but instead I have determined that I still have so much to learn on a daily basis.

This is what I have gained from being Colin's mom! He has taught me the power or laughter, how infectious it is, how we all need to stop and take a look at our lives and whatever is bothering us and just laugh, smile and try to lead our lives so that we help others do this. We will likely never have a bad day and bring joy to others!

Have a wonderful and "giggly" day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Wonderful Gift!

Short Story- Last evening a terrific man and his wife bought us (all 8 of us) dinner. This was not something I asked for and it was very unexpected. but it got me thinking and over thinking a lot! Why? I am not sure, (OK - I really do think I know) but sometimes the moral of the story is that you need to sit back and accept help graciously and where ever it comes from. So I want to say thank you again to the kind people- from the bottom of my heart for making me feel better and sharing with our family

Long Story -Basically the afternoon evening went like this:

Eric came home early (after a demo & meeting he was up way to late for preparing the night before). He brought me the mail!!! Thanks honey- and of course I got a package pick up notice - this always drives me nuts (even if I can't wait for the package) because the mail person doesn't always take the time to drive up here to our home- (way different issue). So we need to go to the post office after 6 pm to get it.

So Colin and Melea get off the bus from school, (they were in such a great mood), Adrian was vegging to Sponge Bob and the girls were sleeping and Jordan in the swing. We went outside to play and eat popsicles. Eric joined us and then we decided to start the arduous process of " going out". You need to realize that this takes finding 6 pairs of shoes, two pairs of sure steps (orthotic smo's), looking for at least one shoe insert that has been thrown out, packing the diaper bag (or checking it) making sure I have a sippy cup, changing five diapers and getting the beautiful faces all into the car in the wonderful car seats! (or the only legal child restraint devices!!!! - I occasionally refer to them as) Believe it or not Eric and I can actually do this in less than 15 minutes (assuming not raining and we don't need coats!). I ask Adrian if she has shoe- she says in the most grumpy whine cause we have interrupted Sponge Bob " has them". Just as we are ready to pull out Adrian says- I want a drink, can you get me water. I told her she would have to wait till we got to the post office! She starts whining! I remember how much I love her and try not scream (it is working still)

Well we take off for the post office, and I go in to get my package!!! (yeah thanks Aunt Maureen!). Eric says lets go for dinner! We stop by the new restaurant in Eureka- I am so excited cause the parking lot is empty- not crowded I think- but alas they are not open on Mondays! Then we decide to go to the all American stand by- Denny's. I dig out my wallet and folder,I am sort of the coupon queen- so I look and realize that Denny's are expired (by one day!urgh!!!); so we head that direction anyways- drive past the Mexican place- this makes Adrian very angry cause she wants Mexican again- and she starts screaming . Sort of the grating/ earsplitting wail that makes me happy she is the way back seat! This makes Melea upset so she takes off her shoe, orthotic and sock and throws them at Adrian to get her to stop which of course cause the opposite effect - More screaming!

We get 1/2 to Denny's and I realize dad isn't that excited about going there either so I say "if you want to turn around and go for Chinese we can" OK I didn't realize how happy this would make him till he U turned the van in gravel!. So again Adrian starts screaming about Mexican and Colin and Melea are squealing with delight and Colin is signing spaghetti- spaghetti-spaghetti!!! (He means lo mein- but I haven't figured out the sign for that). SO WE GO TO CHINA WOK in Eureka! The have exceptionally great food, no sticky floors, bring food to me and a bathroom Dad or I can get into with three kids & diapers- so they are way up in our book.

SO we are all in the car we get there- start the shoe, sock, orthotic hunt and start putting them on the right kids. Adrian states"she is not going"; I am not happy at this moment and tell her she can sit on the bench and watch the car for bad guys- OK she changes her mind after pouting for about three minutes! but she then asks the question to which i have n0 answer" Where are my shoes Mom?" Well we missed a pair for her, and for the first time in months- I cleaned the car and took out all extra shoes, sock, sandals, etc when the weather was so cool last week! SO there are no shoes. 4 of six kids are out of seats, in shoes and standing with daddy waiting to go in to eat, so I tell Eric to take them I will come up with something! SO he takes diaper bag, and the four walkers and leaves me with Adrian and Jordan.

I finally get a brilliant idea after finding two no matched socks (cause we have wasted way to much time to load them back up and go home and we are nowhere near walmart) I put on the wonderful #5 red cardinal wrist / elbow bands (or can wrappers) that Colin and Melea got at the Buddy walk and have been playing with as seat belt anti rubbing things on her feet and call them her "hopping" slippers. OK this works and she dries the tears and starts "hopping" into the building!

We decided to try Jordan in a high chair for for the first time. It dawns on me after we get every one seated, that Chinese restaurants aren't know for the food they have for infants (like mashed potatoes or beans or oatmeal, applesauce etc....) CRAP- I don't usually do anything special for Jordan but mash up table food! I send Eric to the car - no luck with finding applesauce or apple juice! Jordan is screaming and I do not have nursing shirt on so no easy access to milk there!! Brilliant idea- I have him bring me Cheerios (I do try not to bring into restaurants anymore that we want to return too - the kids make a huge mess) I mash about 1/2 cup of them with water and low and behold he quits screaming, Adrian is now entertaining herself by breastfeeding her doll, Eliza and Miranda are eating noodles and Colin is trying to get my attention by playing peek a boo with the napkin! or maybe a magic trick with it not quit sure and Melea is busy in the voice that has only one volume "ON"!! "Asking Whatzat? Watzat? Watzat?" But at least no one is screaming

We get the order placed and all is going well- then the bathroom questions start- who would have ever thought that potty training would work, however actually make our lives harder! I almost talk Melea out of going to the bathroom- saved by the arrival of the food. Of course Jordan runs out of Cheerios mush! Got to mash that with him screaming and everyone wanting food cut, distributed, soy sauce- no soy sauce- not to much - then way to much..... I really feel like hiding under the table cause they just keep taking my food - and I don't get any crab Rangoon and they ate the extra egg roll (never have any of them wanted this before) In theory this is a real good thing accept that I AM HUNGRY TOO!! I do love that they try new things! and that they just don't eat hamburgers and fries! (parenting tip #1 : chicken nuggets and sweet and sour chicken are almost the same if you remember to leave off the sauce)

I forgot to ask for sweet and sour on the side so Melea is mad, Colin only wants LoMein, Adrian and the soy sauce bottle are becoming best friends, I can't mash Jordan's O's quick enough to make him happy, Miranda is doing her best Stevie Wonder imitations and singing and smiling cause her food is here (basically she is the only one doing what she is supposed to) and Eliza has grabbed a handful of Lo Mien and is playing with is (again- all I can think of is where is candid camera and boy wouldn't her OT be proud at the sensory progress she has made)

I am afraid that the other two couples in the restaurant want to kill us. I do try to eat out on "non popular nights" or "kids night" or early so not to completely irritate, or annoy or ruin other patrons meals. So Monday is a good day. But I am worried!

Well the meal gets better and we all start using inside voices, and two trips to the bathroom with daddy, and Melea excitingly telling all the patrons and the staff that she PEE PEED at the top of her lungs, Colin is attempting to skip over to the table (Remember this is his interpretation after watching Adrian in the "hoppy" slippers and she is hopping). He looks more like a Frankenstein trying to imitate Monty Python's silly walks .

I open my fortune cookie and it says ......

......"make sure you spend enough time with people that are important....your family!" I just start realizing how lucky we all are to have each other though Adrian is so excited cause her's says she is going to a party!!!!

Eric asks for the bill- and the owner says the nice gentleman and his wife across the restaurant paid for our meal. I just wanted to cry. I was happy, thankful, and scared we looked that pathetic all at one time!

Sometimes I really do forget that we probably are not the "norm" from the perspective of strangers. I forget most kindergartner's don't wear diapers, they aren't so proud as to broad cast they peed in the potty, they don't skip like Frankenstein, they don't ask for booster seats for their imaginary friends, and I realize we are not normal. It scares me. I spend most of my day making sure we do "normal things"- that we go to school, or dance class or t-ball , planning parties.....etc but in that one instance a very nice couple made me realize we are not a"normal" or "typical" family. This was not their intention- but it happened. It mad me very sad.

BUT you know what Eric said in the car - "Jane, i don't know how many times you have said this- but remember typical is way overrated. I also assume so is normal"

So thank you both again for a wonderful gift and I appreciate your generosity and help and hoped we all provided you with a great dinner show.


I have had so many people ask me to blog our good and bad adventures in our parenting life. Though I am not sure where we actually belong. Because when I try to put us into one category I realize we do not fit into just one! We could be informative for people because we are a large family (six children and counting), but we are a special needs family (4 children with down syndrome, and a plethora of other issues), we are also a blended adoptive family (adoptive and bio children) , a racially diverse family (self explanatory), a family with older parents raising younger children (we both turn 40 this year and I feel our children are keeping us young). So you see there actually there are so many categories we fit into that it is funny.

Because when I have to try to put us into one category I realize we do not fit into just one! Except that WE ARE A FAMILY!!!! Albeit different- but we are one none the less. It has been a long process and we have lots of people who have helped us get here! So thanks and read so I feel like I make a contribution to the world!

Basically I am a stay at home mother of 6 beautiful children- four are adopted, two are biological (I try not to use "natural"). Colin is almost seven, Melea will turn six in February, Adrian is four, Eliza is three, Miranda is two and our littlest guy was born in March this year!
**side note who could work with all that laundry! I am married to a wonderful man for fourteen years now! Eric is a wonderful man, an awesome father (from my point) and the children's number one dad! We live in a suburban area near St. Louis Missouri on a few acres, we really are way to typical for what I thought my life would be!

I am also the owner & driver of a 15 passenger van (so I can have 6 car seats) - aka MOM's TAXI who is addicted to Starbucks and I would love / need tips on how to navigate their drive thru's to not scratch it! I

And welcome to our world!!!! Enjoy!!