...because we all have our motley moments!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Breaking News: Jesus Releases Heaven's Best Loved List

Well, maybe it isn't breaking news, but I have uncovered an interview between Jesus and his disciples from over 2000 years ago. We join the group as the disciples are questioning Jesus.

D: Who will be the greatest (your best friends, your peeps, your posse) in the kingdom of Heaven?

J: (Taking a little child to stand beside him) Whoever welcomes this little child in my name, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me. I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

(Paraphrased from Matthew 18:2 and Luke 9:48)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday Treats and Traditions: Polar Express Hot Chocolate

This weekend we broke out our holiday books and movies, including a family favorite: The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg. Both the book and the movie feature the one drink I could never go cold turkey on - hot chocolate as rich and smooth as melted chocolate bars.

In fact, as the kids donned their pajamas and settled in to watch the movie, I snuck into the kitchen and whipped up a batch of melted chocolate...a bag of semi-sweet morsels melted in the double boiler, 1/2 cup of heavy cream, and milk (enough to achieve desired chocolate consistency/color), and a dash of cinnamon whisked smooth.

I delivered the steaming mugs of melted chocolate just as the dancing waiters presented the pajama-clad Polar Express passengers with their hot chocolate. Everyone declared it the BEST hot chocolate in the WORLD...even my husband, who only likes "good chocolate."

 It's definitely a tradition that bears repeating...several more times this Christmas season. As we read the book together this morning, our 3-year-old noted at the hot chocolate scene, "Hey, that's just like us, Mommy! We had hot chocolate, too!"


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Homemade Christmas- Monogram plate gift

Here is one of the hostess gifts I made this year!

Monogram Fabric-backed Plates:

Here is what you will need:
a clear glass plate
fabric (enough to cover you plate)
Scrapbook paper (enough for your monogram)
Xacto Knife
Mod Podge and bush

1.) Make your monogram. I free handed my "N" but you could print a letter off of your computer on the back of your paper using the Mirror Image Printing option. I also traced around the bottom of my plate to know how big to make the letter. 2.) Cut out your letter using an Xacto Knife.

Optional: I distressed my letter with some brown ink. 3.) Cut a piece fabric in a square that is about an inch bigger on each of the sides of the plate. (I know the plate is hard to see but it is clear) 4.) Place your plate on a cup with the bottom facing up. I found it was easier to work with this way!

5.) Brush on a coat of Mod Podge. on the inner circle only for now.

6.) Place your monogram upside down on the Mod Podge.

7.) Brush on Mod Podge over your monogram. Make sure the keep the monogram flat and to press out any bubbles. Now- let dry (Have a sandwhich or something)

8.) When it is dry, bush on more mod Podge all over the whole plate... Be generous with it

9.) Place the fabric over your plate and flatten out any bubbles.

10.) Brush on more Mod Podge all over the top of the fabric. Let dry... this can take a while so just put it off to the side. Or, you can do what I did and check on it every 10 minutes or so... is it done yet?- nope... is it done yet?- nope....

11.) When it is FINALLY dry cut off the extra fabric by cutting around the plate as close as you can. If you are worried about the edges frying you can brush a little more Mod Podge around the edge.

12.) Flip it over! Very Cool!
Wouldn't this be so great as a hostess gift? You can bring it with cookies, bars, or other sweets on top of it and they get to keep the plate!
I also think that it could make a very cool Grandparent gift if you print a picture of your kids or family and put it in the place of the monogram.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Crafts and Fun Stuff

My kids are really excited to try some of these Thanksgiving crafts we found online over at FamilyFun.com (and just so you know, I am not being paid to promote them, I just find a lot of cute stuff there. It's my "go to" spot for holiday crafts and ideas.):

These Pilgrim hats are cute and easy

And the Turkey Hats will get you in the mood to "gobble" up your Thanksgiving dinner!

The Mayflower Toppers are the cutest ship chapeaus I've ever seen.

We're thinking we'll make a 3-D version of the Mayflower as a table centerpiece to hold our "I'm thankful for..." notes. KID 1 is a pro at folding paper into boats, thanks to Curious George Rides a Bike!

The Marshmallow Pilgrim Hats look easy and delicious...but maybe a bit messy for little ones, both making and eating.

Older kids might enjoy making these Pilgrim and Native American tube people to decorate the Thanksgiving table. They're adorable and could be saved and reused each year.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Our Top Ten Favorite Holiday Traditions, from Pat

1. My children each have an advent calendar. They can open one pocket each day. It's just something small (barrettes, a coin, earrings, etc.) but they look forward to it each day.

2. Each day for 16 days the children and I bake a different kind of cookie. On the 17th day, we organize the cookies onto plates that we then give away to everyone who helps us throughout the year from the librarian to the garbage collector, as well as to all our friends.

3. The children and I make all the Christmas cards that we send to friends and family. (Often while the cookies are baking!)

4. We read a different Christmas story for bedtime each night starting on Dec. 1st. We always read Silent Night, In the Manger and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve.

5. We put the tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving. There is a picture ornament for each christmas since the children were born. There's also an ornament for every trip we've taken. They always bring out the stories of "...remember when....". Last we tie a red ribbon on the tree and remember all our loved ones that passed on during the year.

6. Each year, each child picks out a new ornament for the tree that represents something from their life that year to add to the family tree.

7. As often as possible, we sit together as a family in the evenings before bed and sing Christmas songs while Mother plays the piano.

8. In the evening on Dec. 5th, we put our shoes out for St. Nikolas filled with apples and oats for his donkey. We tell the story of St. Nikolas. The next morning, it's been replaced with small gifts from him.

9. We spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my husband's family. We always go to the Christmas Eve service at the church together with his parents, brothers and their families.

10. We put up the Nativity set each year and tell the story of Jesus birth as we unwrap each piece. The children have a plastic version they can play with and retell the story over and over again.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Homemade Christmas - Placemat Apron

Here is my first holiday tutorial for you! We are going to start out simple! If you have a sewing machine and can sew a straight line you can do this!
**The place mat apron is not my original idea... But I have adapted it to make it my own... this is how I make it.***
Here is what you will need:
A place mat
A water soluble pencil
Sewing machine (with sewing tools such as scissors, thread, pins etc...)
1.) Fold the top corners down on the WRONG side of the place mat and pin.
2.) sew a 1 to 1 1/2 inch seam on the folder side of the corner. You are making a casing for your ribbon. Repeat on the other corner

3.) Flip the place mat over to the RIGHT side and fold up the bottom edge about 4 inches and pin. (I sewed ribbon on the bottom edge -the back side so that when I folded it up you could see it)

4.) With a water soluble pencil (or something washable) make vertical lines at 2 inches, 4 inches, 8 inches and 10 inches. This is to make our pocket with little slots to hold our utensils. (click on the picture to see it better.)

5.) Top sew your pocket on the edges and on the lines that you marked.
I also sewed ribbon across the top part of the apron for a little extra decoration... this is optional!
6.) Cut your ribbon long enough to go over the head and be able to tie about the back, I cut mine about 4.5 feet. Attach a safety pin to one of the ends
7.) feed the safety pin into your casing.
up and out of the top and back down the other side.

Fill it with some baking utensils and you have a CUUUUUTE gift! Use Bryssy's Freezer Paper Stencil tutorial to personalize it!

This is going to a VERY special little girl!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Swine Flu

This is probably a very sensitive subject, but I've decided to start a discussion about it here anyway. I am really not worried about swine flu (or H1N1, if you want to be PC for pigs), as it doesn't seem to be any worse than the regular flu and I try not to get swayed by media hype, but I got my kids inoculated against it anyway. In fact, I called and called the pediatrician's office for weeks to see if they had yet received any vaccinations. My kids got colds over the weekend and Ethan had goopy eyes, so I had to take him in and luckily, they didn't have fevers and were able to get the H1N1 vax. The next night, I took them to tae kwon do for Ethan's class and I was talking to a guy I know there and mentioned the pinkeye and the flu mist my kids received. "You got your kids the swine flu vaccination?" he asked, appalled. "Yeah," I said testily. "1976 - same thing happened - lots of people got Guillaine-Barre syndrome from it and DIED," he responded. Now, first of all, I don't like it when people question the decisions I make for my children. I am an educated person and I researched the new swine flu vaccine as well as the one for seasonal flu and I also trust my pediatrician. However, I was scared. I came home and read all I could on the subject. And here are some things I learned:
1. Yes, it seems that some people have developed Guillaine-Barre syndrome from flu vaccines. It's rare and although no cases have (yet) been linked to the H1N1 vax, it has been linked to the shot from 1976 and the seasonal flu vaccine. Do you know what else causes Guillaine-Barre, though? The flu. Mono. Surgery. AIDS. Most commonly, it's food poisoning. And sometimes they have no idea what causes it. These "causes" are merely educated guesses by doctors.
2. The flu mist that my children received doesn't have any preservatives in it. I don't believe that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism or anything else, for that matter, but even so, it's not in the flu mist. And there's so little in the injection that you're more likely to get mercury poisoning from eating fish than from a vaccine.
3. This was the most interesting to me: When we are bombarded with facts and opinions about an issue, our brains aren't wired to make logical decisions about risk vs. benefit. We have definitely been bombarded with this swine flu stuff and a lot of us (myself included) are panicky about whether or not we should "subject" our kids to such a "risky" vaccine. But what about other health risks? If you suspected you had appendicitis, you'd go to the hospital, right? You wouldn't worry about the too-high rates of post-operative infection or medical errors. You'd have that sucker cut out of you before it burst and killed you, because you understand that the benefit outweighs the risk. Same with seat belts. People have been killed by seat belts in car accidents. However, you'd just be outright stupid if you didn't put one on every time you get in a vehicle, because you know more people have been saved by seat belts and, again, the benefit outweighs the risk.
Let's face it: life is risky. And my philosophy is, don't worry about stuff, but protect yourself and your kids the best you can. For me and my family, that means vaccines. I read an article in a health magazine years ago that listed the 10 best things to do for your health. #1 was childhood immunizations. #1! It beat out exercise, eating a lot of vegetables, giving blood, and whatever else was on that list. So I don't see the need to have a "chicken pox party" when my kids can get a simple shot and avoid that illness (and, possibly, shingles later) altogether.
My friend at tae kwon do has his own views about the H1N1 vaccine. He's a smart guy, he's done his research, and he's decided it's not the best thing for his family. I can respect that. My point is not to blast anyone who doesn't get their kids the swine flu vax because, honestly, it's probably not that big of a deal and it's none of my business. My point is this: research it. Read reputable sources. Base decisions on facts and what you think is best for your family, not what politicians or conspiracy theorists or homeopathic medicine vendors or windbags on the internet (myself included) say.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Word of Advice from Donna

Paul and I learned a hard lesson this week, one that I hope you can avoid. Here's what happened:

Last month, our son developed a watery, itchy red eye over the weekend. We took him to the pediatrician on Monday and our suspicions were confirmed: it was pinkeye. He couldn't go back to school until he had at least 24 hour's worth of antibiotic eye drops. The doctor also mentioned that we should go ahead and use these drops on our daughter as needed, since pinkeye is extremely contagious.

His pinkeye cleared up in a couple of days, but he kept complaining that his eye was very sensitive to light. Hmm. I read all the fine print of side effects from the Tobramycin eye drops, but didn't remember seeing light sensitivity as one of them. I assumed it was from the pinkeye and would eventually go away.

No one else in the family ever developed pinkeye (although I was hyper-aware of every little itch in my eyes for days...sort of like when I was teaching and one of my students would have headlice and I couldn't stop scratching my head, sure that I had bugs crawling on my head, too.)

Well, the pinkeye came back in full force on Monday this week, as we made the two-hour drive to the space coast to see the Space Shuttle Atlantis lift off. By the time we parked our car and found a good spot on the river in Titusville to watch it, KID 1 could barely even open his sore eye. The good news is it was bright and sunny, a perfect day for a launch. It went up without a hitch and was an awesome sight to see!

When we got back home that night, I got out the Tobramycin drops and dosed his sore eye and his good eye (that's what you do for pinkeye) and sent him to bed. Paul and I decided that we should take him to our family eye doctor this time, worried that this could be some horrible deep-socket infection doing damage to our son's vision. I need to stop watching House.

The drama involved in our first appointment with the eye doctor was exasperating, but he eventually allowed the nurse to put drops in his eye (while I held his head back and restrained his arms...he managed to kick me in the shins several times before I got my leg wrapped over his leg the way the pediatrician's nurse does when we take him for shots. I wish I didn't have to know the best way to put a full body lock on my child, but there you go.) Everyone was assuming it was an infection until the doctor finally put the blacklight magnifier over his eye and said, "Oh, yeah. There's a foreign body in there." My heart clenched and I tried not to panic.

He allowed me to look through the magnifier and, sure enough, there was a spot on his iris, right at the lower edge. Turns out he had metal in his eye for over a month. The metal had come out, but it left rust in his eye which was preventing his eye from healing properly, leaving him susceptible to infection. We had to come back in the afternoon when another doctor was there who could remove the rust ring from our son's eye.

Really?! Rust in his eye?! We have to do all this again?! We went back and met with the second doctor who gave our son several doses of numbing drops, allowed him to feel the tiny brush he would use to brush away the rust in his eye, and then waited patiently for our son to cooperate while he stuck this little brush in his eye while holding absolutely still. After several threats and a bribe ("We'll have to hold you down and pry your eye open," "We'll have to take you to the hospital and give you gas to make you sleep so we can open your eye and remove the rust," "We won't be able to go camping next week if you have to have eye surgery,"...it was awful, to say the least), he eventually did cooperate, and it took all of two seconds (literally) to remove the rust.

He cried afterward but told us it didn't hurt. He just had to release some of that stress. Poor kid had dealt with this foreign object in his eye for over a month...I'm trying not to feel the heavy weight of guilt that is pressing on my mind. Why didn't I bring him in for a check when he kept complaining about light sensitivity?

Rachel and I were discussing this yesterday after it was all taken care of. We decided that we tend to want to believe that our kids are fine, since most of the time they are. We don't like to act like hypochondriacs...it doesn't go over well at the pediatrician's office. But in the end, no one else is going to be my child's advocate. If I end up with a reputation, so what? I will know that my child is healthy, with no broken bones or metal in his eye.

My advice to you:

1. Even if you know for sure it's pinkeye, go to the eye doctor. The pediatrician doesn't have the necessary equipment to see into the eye for a thorough examination. I'm not blaming our pediatrician. I just wish I had taken our son to the eye doctor in the first place.

2. Listen to your gut instinct, especially when it comes to your kids' health. If you think something is not quite right, have it checked. If it all turns out fine, your mind will be at ease. Who cares if the pediatrician's staff thinks you're a hypochondriac? You're single-handedly keeping them in business!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Taking a Day Off

I'm taking the day off today. OK, so what I'm actually doing is taking the morning while my little guy is at school and not going to exercise class. Don't get me wrong, exercise is important to me, and I do enjoy going, but it's such a rush to get him to school and then get me to the gym before all of the good weights are gone, and then I'm rushing afterward to run errands before he is dismissed, and it's a pretty hectic morning. Today, I'm going to finish my coffee (that almost never happens), run my errands in jeans instead of spandex, and take a few minutes to smell the metaphorical roses. I'll go back to class tomorrow, and probably every day for the rest of my life, but today I'm just gonna chill for a while.

Isn't it funny how the simplest things in life can make us feel so much better? What do you do when you have a few stolen moments for yourself? Give us some ideas, and then go do something for yourself today--you have the MM stamp of approval!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Granola Bars

"Mother-love is not inevitable. The good mother is a great artist ever creating beauty out of chaos."
~ Alice Randall

This afternoon, Alex and I were making some homemade granola bars for him to take to school for snacks. I had visions of him helping me measure and poor, and toast and coat, but the reality was a little different than I pictured. Still, we do have granola bars, we did spend time in the same room, and we did not argue. We have success!

Alex "helping" me in the kitchen.

The granola bars are pretty easy, and I got the recipe from joyfulabode.com. I have tried a few other recipes from her site, and they are delicious.

As usual, I didn't have exactly all of the ingredients in her recipe, so I improvised. I toasted:
2 cups oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup pecans
A handful or more of coconut flakes

Her recipe calls for wheat germ, which I have never used and do not keep on hand. I have made these bars twice without it, and they still taste great! She recommends toasting the dry ingredients at 400 degrees. I, of course, almost burnt mine while I was getting the sauce together, so I turned the oven down to 350.

For the sauce:
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix these ingredients and cook over medium heat until they simmer. Well, this time, I only had about 1/4 cup of honey, so I used all of that and a full cup of brown sugar. Again, this worked for our bars.

Resulting chaos

She recommends adding dried fruit to the bars, which would be delicious. Since I didn't have any dried fruit, I did what any good mom would do. I added marshmallows and miniature Hershey Kisses! I think Alex's teacher will be really glad snack time is at the very end of the day.

Finally, some help with the granola bars.

I must say I feel a little like the little red hen! He is cute though. It reminds me of a line from one of my husband's favorite movies, Blazing Saddles. BTW, if you haven't ever watched the movie, you must know it is unbelievably crude - not a kid's movie.

"Y'know, Nietzsche says 'Out of chaos comes order.'"

~ Howard Johnson

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Your Holiday Treats and Traditions: Happy Thanksmas!

Bryssy submitted this fun holiday tradition that I think makes a lot of sense!

We have Thanks-mas at our house. What is Thanks-mas, you ask? After Thanksgiving dinner we give each other items that will be useful for the holidays (specifically before the holidays). The kids get a Christmas t-shirt, hat, or necklace that they can wear plus a special book for our Christmas collection (I make sure I pick up some good ones 75% off right after Christmas for the next year). Adults get things they can use…I’ve been given a platter I can use for our Sunday School Christmas party or a table runner. Not everyone gets something, just those who need and can use something. I do give spirit box prompts to everyone (so that everyone gets something). This way we can enjoy our holiday-themed gifts throughout the holiday season and don't have to put it away for a year before we ever get to use it.

Happy Thanksmas!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Homemade Christmas In Kentucky

Growing up we would always listen to Kenny Roger's Christmas album (first the record then, the cassette) while decorating the house for Christmas. Any time I hear one of the songs, it is like I am a little girl again singing around our tree.

One of the songs is Homemade Christmas in Kentucky. It is about a man who is laid off and can not afford to buy gifts for his family, so he decides to make gifts. He is heartbroken that he can not buy the store made gifts that his kids really want, but knows that for a Merry Christmas you need family and God's love.

here is the chorus:
It's just another homemade Christmas in Kentucky
Just odds and ends I fashioned with my heart and with my hands
It's just another homemade Christmas in Kentucky
Our fine and fancy homemade love, God's precious gift from up above
Make up the homemade Christmas of this poor Kentucky man

I love how the "fine and fancy homemade love and God's precious gift from up above" make up his Christmas. I think a lot of people can relate to this song now-a-days.

I thank God that My Hubby still has his job, but we are still trying to save some money around the holidays so I am thinking of having myself a homemade Christmas in Minnesota! I am going to give some "odds and ends I fashion with my heart and with my hands"

I know it will be a lot of work but I am excited about it all the same!

Would any one be interested in tutorials on what I make?

What kinds of homemade gifts are you giving this year?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Risky Business, or Why I Can No Longer Shower Unless My Child Is Asleep

I've been thinking about how my life has changed since I became a mom. There are things that just don't bother me. For instance, I don't mind that my formal living room is now a playroom or that every time I go in the bathroom, the seat is up, there's pee in the toilet, and the hand towel is on the floor. I don't even mind that my family can't have a meal without someone crying or that I now do laundry 4 times a week instead of once. However, I do miss a few things. Going to the bathroom without an audience, for one, and being unable to take a shower unless the kids are asleep is another. Usually I shower when Micah naps because I can put Ethan in front of the TV and he's pretty trustworthy. Friday, though, I had to go to the dentist in the morning and I wasted too much time on Facebook while Todd was here, so I had to shower while both the kids were awake. I'm soaping up my arms when Ethan comes in the bathroom. "Hey, Mom, Micah's doin' somethin'." "What's he doing?" He pulls back the shower curtain. "He got the Tiger and he's on the little couch that's not the big couch." A little background here - Tiger is one of Ethan's special 4 animals that he takes everywhere with him and Micah had been stealing the animals all morning. "Oh, okay," I said to Ethan, closed the curtain, and resumed showering. I began to get a sinking feeling. Why would he come tell me Micah has Tiger? Ethan's a tattletale, but surely he would just yell at Micah and grab Tiger back, especially if Tiger was on the chair (the little couch that's not the big couch, that is), wouldn't he? I dried off and ran into the den stark naked to find Micah holding the bottle of hand sanitizer. Apparently Ethan didn't say Micah had Tiger, he said Micah had hand saniTIZER. He was covered in it and it was all over the chair/little couch that's not the big couch. I started remembering all the things I've read and heard lately about children drinking hand sanitizer and being poisoned. "Micah! Did you eat the sanitizer?" He nodded with a big grin. Of course, he probably would've given me the same response if I asked him if he liked sardines. "Ethan! Did Micah eat the hand sanitizer?" "Yeah." I cleaned him up and watched him for signs of poisoning or, at the very least, drunkenness. He seemed all right to me. And just so you know, the sanitizer was up on a shelf about 5 feet high. He climbed up on the chair/little couch that's not the big couch to get it. He also unscrewed the top of the bottle. So, yeah. Needless to say, I have to keep my eyes on the little guy at all times now. No showering for me unless Micah's asleep or Todd's home. So if you're around me and I'm smelling a little gamey, I'm sorry. At least I have a good reason!

Some Easy Recipes We Like

Sausage Rice Casserole

1 pound sausage
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
3 3/4 cups chicken broth (I have used the College Inn white wine and herb flavor broth and don't have to add any seasoning...and it contains no MSG)

Brown sausage and drain off grease. Saute the onions and celery. Grease a large, covered casserole* and put all ingredients in it. Stir to combine.
Bake covered at 350 F for about an hour, until liquid is absorbed.

*I use my dutch oven so I can brown ingredients and bake all in one pot...love that! I might experiment with adding greens of some sort. Fresh spinach leaves could certainly be added after removing casserole from the oven. Replace the lid for a few minutes to allow the spinach to steam.

Turkey In a Bag (a.k.a. The Most Awesome, Tenderest Turkey We've Ever Tasted!)

My mother-in-law has been baking the Thanksgiving turkey this way as long as my husband can remember and it's always delicious!

Butter entire inside of a large brown paper grocery bag. Slide your prepared bird in and staple the bag shut. Bake at 325 F 1 hour for every 6 lbs.
No basting...Yea!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Your Kitchen Tips for the Holidays

This weekend I made a huge batch of chili, and when it wasn't eaten completely I was faced with a dilemma--eat chili every day this week or freeze it for later and hope that I remember it's there. Bryssy told me to freeze the chili in sandwich bags so I could just heat it up one bowl at a time, and I'm convinced she is a genius. It's easier to defrost that way, we can eat it whenever we want, and it easily replaces the canned stuff. So, holiday kitchen tip #1, thanks to Bryssy, is:

1. Freeze individual portions of leftovers so that they can be used as single meals later when you're too busy to cook.

Now, back to the chili. Liz graciously gave me her White Chicken Chili recipe, and that is what I made. It is amazing! What's even better is that when I defrosted my baggie today for lunch, I realized that it would make a great burrito filling, too. Really, any chili is great for eating as is, filling burritos and tacos, and making yummy Mexican lasagnas. Holiday kitchen tip #2 is:

2. Chili is your friend and is very versatile. If your family likes it, keep it on hand to make a variety of dishes.

Kitchen tip #3 is up to you, and so is #4, #5, etc. How do you make meals easier during the hectic rush of the holiday season? Do you have any favorite go-to meals or ingredients? Let's hear them!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Half Full or Half Empty

So many parenting situations can leave us scratching our head wondering if that really did just happen to us and why didn't anyone warn us it could happen. At some point, we must decide do we yet again take the high road and look at all of our wonderful blessings, or do we lay down in a pile of slobber, pooh, dirty clothes and crunched up Froot Loops and give up. Here are some of the situations I have been pondering over coffee this week.

Pooh in the Back-Pack
Last week, my dear, sweet son had an accident at school. There are several down sides to this story. It was his first solid accident at school. His teacher was at a conference, so he had a sub. I am still not exactly sure why or how it happened, but the dirty underwear came home to us with pooh in tow!!! Let me just tell you, it was a BIG accident. After doing some extensive research, I have sadly found that a very few people think it is acceptable to send everything home in accidents like these. After several meetings at the school to discuss the accident from several different angles, I am ready to look at this as the cup is half full, and here is why. Alex refused to let a stranger clean him up. (This fact alone caused most of my meetings.) Alex has never met a stranger, and is very friendly. I often worry about him walking off with the next person that offers him candy. At the end of the week, I was thankful that he does have boundaries.

I'm so Alone
For the last four years, I have spent almost every waking moment (and many sleeping ones too) with my dear son. I have tried to spend enough time with him so that I could send him off to school and not wonder where his childhood went. Now that he is in school, I am alone for five hours every week day. I have so much alone time that I have had really scary thoughts, like maybe I should get a job. I'm going to have to look at this new phase in my life as half full too. Even though I don't yet know what I am going to do with my time, I am lucky to have so many options ahead of me.

Raking Leaves
The weather last week was super nice here; our highs were in the mid 60s. It was sunny and warm, so I spent several days outside raking the leaves from our yard. Our town doesn't have a leaf drop off area, so to get rid of the leaves, we must burn them. We have actually never burnt leaves before, but we found it to be great fun! We made the back end of our driveway the designated burn pile, so all of the leaves needed to be drug, dropped or raked there. My husband is big and strong, so he chose to load the leaves in a box and carry them to the fire. When I was home alone, I was working out a method to move the entire pile like a large snowball. Since we skipped fall last year, I had forgotten a few facts about leaf raking. First, whether you have a cat or even see a cat, you will at some point find cat pooh in your leaves. You will usually find it by stepping in it. I found mine while I was in the middle of my giant pile. After some emotional exercising and hem hawing, I have decided to look at leaf raking as half full too. On the one hand, pooh stinks no matter where you find it. On the other hand, we all had so much fun jumping in the leaves and even watching them burn. I was also very thankful that I didn't have to worry about snakes in the leaves because it is so cold where we live.

So what has life handed you this week, and can you see it as half full or half empty?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gotcha Day

Nov. 5th was our Little King's Gotcha day! The day we tell our son that "We Gotcha!" and the day that he "gotcha" us too! Nov 5th was the day that we actually took custody of our son and brought him home for good!

The week working up to his Gotcha day we had been spending remembering our Little King's delivery into our family.

Here is the story:

On Oct 29th we went to the airport and flew to Korea (an 1 hour flight to Chicago and a 12 hour flight to Korea)

Here we are BEFORE we left. The was BEFORE we became parents. Don't we look well rested.
On Oct. 31st we had our first meeting in our son. It lasted for 1 hour and we got to spend 20 minutes alone with him. He was very happy to play with me and my hubby. We got our first family shot:

Our second meeting with our Little King was on Nov. 3rd, he was not so happy this meeting. He was pretty crabby... but it was because he missed his nap and he was tired. My Hubby worked his "baby whisper" magic and calmed our son down.
He passed our son off to me, and our little king fell asleep in my arms. This is one of my all time favorite pictures!
On Nov. 5th, we got up early to start our journey home. The President of the Korean agency says a prayer for every child that leaves his care. He prayed for our little king and we were ushered into the van to bring us to the airport. It was only once we were in the van with the doors about the close that our son's foster mom handed him over to me. It was AMAZING the calm spirit that took over me. All morning I had been a nervous wreak! But once my Little King was in my arms... everything was right.
We drove to the airport, got on the plane to fly home to the USA (a 14 hour flight to Chicago- than an hour and a half lay over and another hour flight to Minneapolis - all with a 9 month old)
Our son was a GREAT traveler... better than his mama most of the time. (I get motion sick in cars, planes, boats... I am a gem to travel with) He loved the turbulence, he was laughing while I as laying down praying for it to stop!

Here is our son in his car seat for the first time, on the way home from the airport.
Finally home after 21 + hours of traveling by van, plane, and car!
To celebrate our Gotcha Day we went to a Korean restaurant and spent time looking at pictures and telling the story of our Little kings Journey home. I made our Little King a crown to wear for his special day.
The crown says "Today is my Gotcha Day! Nov. 5th 2008"

Here he is happy at the restaurant with his daddy!
It is amazing to remember our trip to Korea to get our son. I cannot image our life without him!