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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween-y fun!

Zachula, the Dracula. Puppy Kayli and Civil War Soldier Matthew

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! That’s right: WHILE I type this we’re in the midst of the sugar-frenzied fun times.  Mike just departed with the kiddos to go trick-or-treating with some of our new neighbor friends.  Meanwhile, I’m sipping a glass ‘o red, sneaking the occasional candy bar and also manning candy passing out duty.  (I also plan on filling out my ballot and voting when I’m done with this post). Is it weird that I’m getting all teary about this being our first Halloween here?! I also think it’s strange that – despite constantly knowing and expecting the doorbell to ring any moment – I jump about a foot and nearly pee my pants out of surprise every time it does.


Mike insisted that we get the full-size candy bars this year.  We distinctly remember doing that for our first Halloween at our old house.  It’s like he wants to make a good impression on the trick-or-treaters in the ‘hood.  I even said things like, “Tell your friends: we’re the COOL house!”  Anyway, our first trick-or-treating group tonight was a herd of pre-teenaged boys.  There were at least five of them.  I don’t know if it was the sight of the big candy bars, but they were the politest group of young men!  One handed me our newspaper that he picked up in the driveway and said all cheeky, “I’ll trade you your newspaper for a candy bar!”  Then, when I held out the bowl, instead of plowing in like crazy sugar-starved crazies, they all immediately started complimenting our decorations, our jack-o-lanterns and then, yes, our candy selection. After carefully – and patiently – making their choices, they called out numerous thank you’s as they walked away.  I heard one kid say, “Ahhh, yee-ah! We hit the jackpot with that one!”


Well, the last group of boys was not quite so polite and not all in costumes either.  I wish I had some brussel sprouts to drop in their bags instead.


Pictures of our people to come…(once Mike returns with the camera), but here's a few from last weekend's parties and Kayli's photo shoot.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

kids say the darndest things!

The boys have had a couple of great lines lately:


With Matthew’s teacher living just down the street from us, he’s excited at the prospect of trick-or-treating at her house.  “I wonder what she passes out on Halloween…I sure hope she doesn’t pass out homework!!” (he nearly added his own drum bu-dum-dum riff at the end of that).

* * * * *


Zachary, the other day, while doing his reading practice next to me on the couch, suddenly leaned in really close and inspected my face. “What are all those lines on your forehead?” He asked.


“Those would be wrinkles.”


“Why do you have them?”


“Because I’m getting older and you get wrinkles as you get older.”  Then, feeling a tad defensive, I added, “You’re getting older too, you know.”


“What?!” he sqeeeked in alarm.


“It’s true, every day, you’re one day older.”


“I don’t believe you,” he retorted.


I explained that, you know, each day, you’re one day closer to your next birthday.  He pondered on this for a while, then came up to me in the kitchen, about twenty minutes later.  He wrapped his arms around me and said, “But I don’t WANT you to get old.  I want you to live forever.”

* * * * *


At church on Sunday, I was following Matthew in line for communion.  Because we sit in the back for Kayli’s sake, in what I call the “party room,” we are some of the last people to get to the front for Eucharist.  After receiving the Host (bread), we headed over to the chalice for the consecrated wine.  Apparently supply was getting really low and Mike, walking in front of Matthew, had been forced to finish it off (there was only a drop left for him).  So, Deacon Jack, put the cloth on top to cover the cup and stepped back a little.  Never having experienced this before, Matthew followed him.  Deacon Jack kind of shook his head and said quietly, “Sorry.”  I quickly whispered to Matthew that it was all gone, and rather loudly he exclaimed, “Darn!!”

* * * * *


I’m SO happy to report that sleep training bootcamp has paid off and Kayliana is sleeping SO much better (and therefore so are we)!  Thank you, Jesus!  Seriously, nearly three months of not-consistently decent sleep?!  I’d like to apologize to everyone that I came in contact with as I doubt I was neither competent nor pleasant. 


It seems that the solid sleep (and the fact that she’ll be two in a few weeks), has flipped the switch of talking and vocabulary in her brain.  Just within the last week, she’s really started talking.  Like, REALLY.  She’ll parrot what we say and for the most part is very clear and understandable.  Then, there’s the word slipper.


She insists (with some determination and aggression should you press her on it) that slippers are called, “Fwupee.”  Last night, I was in hysterics as I listened to Mike over and over trying to get her to say “slipper.”


“S-L-I-P-P-E-R.” (Not spelled out, just said, VERY slowly).












This went on and on.  The best part was the look on her face and the tone in her voice.  She was looking at him like he was the biggest moron.  ‘Dad, what is your damage?!  I’m saying slipper!’


At one point he tried just, “Sli…sli…”


She humored him for a second and said, “Sli…fwupee!”


Matthew had “funjunjun” (fire engine).  Zachary, who didn’t say much until he turned two, and then when he did it was as clear as a little old English professor, insisted that yogurt was “gahonk” and breakfast was “brefext” for about four years.  So, if you ask me, Kayliana can go ahead and wear “fwupees” on her feet.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

House-y Progress!

Early morning double rainbow -- taken from dining room window.
Early morning visitor -- see his baby antlers?!  He's not quite as impressive as Sir Hoofington -- the deer who always visited us on one of our camping trips this summer.  (Sir Hoof had a manly full rack, but this guy'll get there.)

The kitchen!

We finally got blinds up (and valance) in the kitchen and nook.

The powder room -- I call this color "Apricot Medley."  It is yet another custom color.  (I had a snaffoo trying to doctor up the really bright peachy-pink from the laundry room at the old house and basically turned into Peptobismol pink, but the paint dude at Lowe's was able to tone it and orange it down for me).

The family room!  Note the quilt on the back of the loveseat (it matches the new kitchen window valance): it was a gift from my honey and I refuse to share it with anyone!

Looking through the "cut-out" (as we call it).  The door on the right is the powder room.  The door frame on the left is the laundry room which leads out to the garage.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


A sleeping beast has been awoken from deep down inside of me.  I’m almost ashamed to admit it because I’ve denied its existence for so long now.  The beast is: Crafty.  As in craftiness, as in crafts.  As in artsy-fartsy making stuff that you could just buy for sometimes the same price if not less, but instead you MAKE for the joy of the process.  For years now, I’ve poo-pooed craftiness (particularly scrap-booking which, at one point, became the bane of my existence when I lamely attempted it).  It’s not that I don’t appreciate crafty-skills in others.  I admire them greatly!  I just never ever thought that I could qualify as crafty.  I even bragged about just how NON-crafty I was.   But I can’t deny it any longer.


Yes, the stupid-yet-wonderful time-sucking obsession that is a website called Pinterest is partially to blame.  It didn’t wake the beast, it’s just helped feed it.  Especially with settling into a new home in mind, Pinterest provides an endless supply of home improvement, “diy,” crafty projects.  A couple of my crafty ideas (particularly for the garden) have come from Pinterest.  But, if anything, looking on Pinterest and at other people’s creative ideas has encouraged me to come up with my own.  The juices are a-flowin’.  I mean, if everybody just puts ALL of their ideas on Pinterest, there will be no more original ideas!  I’ll admit I’ve even checked Pinterest to see if one of my craft plans was on there – I was thrilled that it turned up no hits.  Yes! Finally, I – the anti-crafty – came up with a do-it-yourself, crafty-craft that 368 people haven’t already “pinned” on to a Pinterest board.  Am I perhaps, somewhat original in this day and age of everything-is-already-somewher-online or in an app??   But my next thought was, if I do a good job with my craft, I WILL take a picture of it.  I WILL post it here, and then what if someone snags it to put on Pinterest??  OK, at that point, I’ll still just be so surprised with my own craftiness, I’d be honored and probably wouldn’t stop bragging about my ‘pinability.’  But, still, the whole thing: my new found love of certain craft projects, the amount of craft ideas out there, the amount of time one can spend looking at craft projects for your home on-line…the whole thing has kind of become obsessive and time-sucking, really. 


I’ve slowly been evolving into this craftiness but have been in denial.  I’ve painted furniture – the blackboard kitchen table has been a plan of mine for a long time (pre-Pinterest, thank ya very much).  Painting our last house in way more bold and bright colors than most people deem normal and appropriate.  The tile table and mosaic that the boys and I did a couple of years ago were probably my main gateway drug into the adult crafting world.  Before that, I’d dabbled in pottery painting (with a bit of a success, but that just wasn’t practical and was too expensive – which defeats the point of craftiness, if you ask me!).  I tried knitting and successfully knocked out a few scarves that were mediocre at best.  Back in my youth, my craftiness came out in the form of jewelry making.  Now, I’d say, my craftiness is definitely specific: I like crafts that can beautify my home, yard, or act as a nice (and doesn’t look like a 2 year old made it) accessory for me and/or others.  Quite frankly, I have all these plans for doing homemade craft-type Christmas gifts for people, but I just don’t know if I’m quite there yet.  I enjoy the fact that I have children though and can always give them credit (or blame!) if my attempt DOES look completely juvenile.  Or if it’s really bad, I might go so far as to say it was created and purchased from a blind and limbless craft-creating animal of some sort.  I’m sure those are out there.  I’ll look for some on-line.


The history of craftiness: 
Matthew's bday party last year -- note the sneaky craft lurking in the background.
Our mosaic table happily chillin' in its new home. (The deck underneath is now the same dark red as the vertical posts).

Tuesday, October 09, 2012


I’ll be the first to tell you, that when it comes to public speaking, I think I’m pretty darn good.  It’s a bit of a gift.  Growing up doing musical theater, performing in choirs, participating in music competitions definitely helped my self-confidence when it comes to standing in front of a crowd.  I still get a little nervous but nothing uncontrollable.  Mike has even gotten quite natural in front of a group.  No, he’ll never be the ham that I am – and he better not! There’s no way I’m sharing too much of the spotlight – but considering that on our Engaged Encounter retreats he can share personal stories in front of 70 people, it is pretty impressive.


Last night, we got to go to Amara, our adoption agency, and share our story and answer questions at one of the Information nights.  This is the first thing that you do when considering adopting through Amara.  I was SO looking forward to it.  We even got to bring the kiddos – who THOROUGHLY enjoyed the play room, honestly it looked like 20 kids had played back there, but no, it was just our three. 


The social worker introduced us to the group --  probably 20 people – and we introduced the kids who then ran out of the room (literally) to get back to playing.  We shared our story – why we chose to adopt, why we went with an Open Adoption (continuing contact with the birth mom), what were some of our fears, what have the struggles been, the joys etc.  I feel like we did a decent job presenting the information.  We answered all the questions moderately well and thoroughly, but honestly, I just can’t shake the feeling that I blew it.  The second we walked out of the room I was full of regret: thinking of things that I said that I probably shouldn’t have and thinking of things that I’d wanted to say but forgot.  I was SO disappointed with how I did.  And, I’ll admit, with my healthy self-confidence, I’m not used to feeling that way after a public speaking sort of event. 


My two biggest regrets: I bragged WAY too much about how awesome Mia is.  We did try to put it in a “we know that this doesn’t always work out this way, but…” sort of way, but I still feel like I came off as all sorts of our-birth-mom-is-better-than-the-one-you’ll-get-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah! But it IS TRUE, we did luck out/get immensenly blessed with a birth mom who’s fun and pretty darn down-to-earth, put-together, etc.  But I certainly didn’t need to go on and on about her awesomeness as much as I did.


My second HUGE regret: I didn’t share my favorite story of pretty much all time.  The story that will permanently be etched in my memory, that I usually can’t tell without getting choked up.  That would be: the night we’d brought Kayliana home from the hospital, the boys sat in the rocking chair and held her, rocked her, and sang her lullabies.  (We even got a great photo of the moment – it’s framed and on the wall in the upstairs hallway).  Matthew looked up at me at me and said, “I like her MORE than love, like I don’t even know the word for it.”  I immediately wrote it down – not that I ever could’ve forgotten that moment.  But, yet, I forgot to share it last night! What’s wrong with me??!  How could I NOT think to share that with a group of people trying to decide whether or not they’re going to adopt a child??  Are you kidding me?!! ARGH. 


I suppose I could’ve told them that Kayliana is just like any other child – we love her like the boys (but also differently, just like you do with each individual child).  She is a perfectly ‘normal’ toddler…although she is interesting in how she expresses her rage.  Once, she tried to angrily throw my left butt cheek.  Yesterday, out of anger, she ANGRILY climbed into the washing machine.  Really?  You’re mad, so you’re going to climb into the washer?  Makes tons of sense.  Last night, for the 2nd night in a row (thanks to the Ferber sleep techniques that we’ve been using), she slept through the night!!! But then has been nothing but cranky this morning – pushing me when I went into her room, she dumped her entire bowl of cereal on the floor and then smacked me on the head when I was down cleaning it up.  Deep breath.  Yep, we love her like she’s ours…because she is. 


We did have a pretty funny moment last night: the kids were out playing in the playroom and Kayli suddenly realized that we weren’t there.  We could hear her little voice, “Mommy?  Mommy?”  Not concerned, just curious as to my whereabouts.  The “mommy” got louder and then she stood in the doorway, “Mommy?”  And then she saw me, “Mommy!!!”  She came running into my arms.  We couldn’t have planned that any better, really.  I picked her up, sat her on my lap, she looked out at the crowd, smiled coyly and burped.  Yep, our little princess!