Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Ramen Noodle Topping (1 stick margarine, 1/2 cup almonds, 2 oz. sesame seeds, 6 oz. broken Ramen noodles: Saute until golden. Drain on paper towels.)
Dressing (3 T. sugar/Splenda, 2 T. soy sauce, 4 1/2 t. vinegar, 2 1/4 t. water, 2 1/4 t. oil, seasoning packet from Ramen noodles: Place all ingredients together and shake or stir until well mixed.)
Homemade pizza with Garlic/Herb Crust
Freebie vegetable soup (After meals, I freeze any leftover vegetables. Even if there are only a couple tablespoons left. Then I add tomato juice, beef broth, some meat if I want, and you have instant soup.
Naan (Indian flat bread) Time consuming but so worth it.
Hot dogs with baked beans or kraut
Pudding parfaits (Layer your favorite pudding with crushed up cookies, cool whip, marshmallows and bananas)
The elastics I bought at Walgreens totally stink! They were constantly breaking once I got them in. Grrr!
I don't think I did them quite right because it felt like the twists were setting on top of his head rather than actually "in" the head. I think that has to do with twisting/braiding method (underhand vs overhand). His hair is really short right now so I have a hard time telling if I'm doing it right just because I have to have my hands so smooshed up when I'm working on it. Somebody who knows what they're doing, please chime in on this!
His hair is a bit shorter than 3 inches when stretched out and is a bit short, especially for someone who really didn't know what they were doing. The flat twists did not last long and are already out today. I'm not 100% sure why. It could be a bunch of things: the way I twisted made the twists sit on the head rather than in the hair, I used a lighter weight styling lotion which I didn't think held very well, maybe his hair is too short.
It's also kind of a girly looking style. I didn't do his whole head which would have been less girly. I wasn't sure I wanted to spend the time on the style if I messed it up and it fell out. Plus, the back of his head has shorter hair so I wasn't sure it would be long enough. Still, it looked okay. I did see a little boy in Omaha a few weeks back who had flat twist on the front with box braids in the back. Still, around here, it seems like most black boys don't have their hair "done."
Even if it didn't last as long as I would have liked, it is still good to prove to myself that I can do it and to get some practice in with experimenting with different styles. Part of my motivation with Kenson's head is to get some practice for Conleigh's head.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Not to worry this isn't the only time we play like we're visiting Daniel. Here's a few photos of Kenson using his toy airplane to make the trip.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
While I know there is good in Haiti, my mind automatically focuses on the negatives. I see the lack of health care, the lack of schooling, the existance of substandard housing and sanitation, and can't help but be thankful my child will be free from that. I can vividly picture the naked toddlers standing beside their brightly painted tin and concrete huts, feet covered in chalky dirt. I can't help but notice the one dark electrical wire servicing a bare bulb inside of that house, the lack of running water, the lack of a proper toliet. And I can't help but see the old men who probably aren't nearly as old as they look, leaning on some ancient piece of farm equipment, trying to break the soil with mules, grinning toothless smiles and waving calloused hands. These men certainly mirror what my child would have probably become. And again, I can't help but feel grateful that my child will probably avoid these hardships.
To some degree, I struggle with that gratitude. It's not that I don't believe those things, because I do. But believing those things can also mean that I don't value the way Kenson's Haitian family would have raised him, perhaps that I am a bit too proud of my American life. I don't want to be that person, the one who believes I'm a better mom just because I have more resources at my disposal, that my child will live a better life just because he lives here. It's just so hard to not get caught up in the negativity of it all.
When I see Kenson standing on our lush grass (okay grass and weeds), kicking the soccer ball with D, I can't help but think how there isn't any grass to even stand on in PAP, let alone some to kick a ball in. And when I see Kenson jamming out to The Wiggles, smacking the bejebbers out of a container he is using for a drum, I can't help but think how if he were in PAP, he might not even have electricity in his house let alone a television and a children's movie. And seeing him take advantage of all the opportunities we have in American like public swimming pools and parks makes me think how if he were still in Haiti, he would never giggle with joy as he stood under the umbrella sprayer at the pool or asked for more as he slid down the slide.
Hard stuff to think about. Another adoptive mom recently posted on this too. I had written this post and left it in my draft file but reading her post made me want to get this post up and running. Heather has a great poem about the "What Ifs." She also had a wonderful link to some beautiful Haiti pictures, from Cite Soliel, one of the worst areas to live in the entire world. Photos by Jan Sochor
Cite Soliel is an area of Port Au Prince, not where Kenson or Conleigh was born but definitely not the far removed. There are also more photos of Haiti here, by the same artists. You might have to scroll through the different photo essays to find the Haitian ones. These photos do wonderful job capturing poverty and beauty, hopelessness and hope. They also capture just about everything I have seen while traveling in Haiti.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Case in point...
Tonight, D had summer league soccer so Kenson and I went and got groceries and then came back and watched the boys finish playing. On the way across the soccer field, he reminded me to "Atch out Mia poop!" We then situated ourselves on a blanket in the poopless grass and got out our animal crackers to enjoy. About 15 minutes later, he grabs an animal cracker by the head, points its posterior to the grass, and proudly tells me "Poop!" Um, is your animal cracker pooping? You bet your bottom dollar he is. That was followed by Kenson eating the animal cracker and telling me "Eat. Poop." Yummy! I'm pretty sure girls don't play this way. Maybe I'm wrong. But it's just a hunch.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
After talking with D about it, he and I both agreed that while we respected the social worker's opinion, we thought she had overreacted a bit to the situation. Yes, Kenson has been reluctant to stay in the church nursery. But my gut was saying that it wasn't based in a fear of abandonment. Rather, it seemed to me a fear of allowing someone else to take care of him as if he didn't trust that anyone other than Mama or Papa could take care of him. We also felt like the drama that was involved was indicative of all of his recent behavior. He has been doing a lot more 2 year old type tantrums when he doesn't get his way. Nothing major but he is definitely showing his true colors more when he is not allowed to do what he wants. And us leaving him in nursery has been just that: Kenson not getting his way.
Other than the nursery, we have seen nothing but positive signs of attachment. He has longed for eye contact and nurturing from day one. He only chooses us for comfort. He does not hoard food or fear going to sleep on his own. He is content to play in one room while we are in other spaces. He follows simple directions (most of the time) and seems eager to please. He enjoys recipricating care, often wanting to put lotion on us at bedtime or asking about our owies.
There have been a few areas where I think spending his first years away from us have influenced his behavior, but these things are not major concerns for me. For example, Kenson loves to be babied. He likes us to feed him. He has been most reluctant to dress himself. He will even take our hands and use his sippy cup like a bottle so we can feed him. Unusual perhaps for a 2 year old and perhaps a sign that he is trying to soak in those baby moments that he missed out on.
That said, I was overjoyed these past weeks as we celebrated two successes in solidifying our belief that Kenson's nursery issues are more normal kid stuff than attachment based. Two weekends ago, D and I attend an FCA Marriage Enrichment Weekend. We spent two nights away from home while my mom watched Kenson in our home. I was a bit anxious about leaving him, mostly because I wasn't sure how he would feel. (Plus, I haven't spent more than a few hours away from him since he came home so it was a bit emotional in that respect as well.) We spent about a month talking about Grandma coming and staying. And since I believed that his nursery fears were related to his anxiety over who would take care of him, we talked about all things Grandma would do while Mama and Papa were away. We talked about Grandma getting him breakfast and playing with him and kissing him goodnight. When the time came for Grandma to stay at our house, we had some "helps" thought out just in case we had issues. (A count down sheet to our homecoming and a favorite song/book we could read over the phone at bedtime.) D and I did a quick goodbye. Kenson had some sad eyes but no real tears. I really wanted to call home that night at bedtime but D thought that if we hadn't gotten a phone call saying there were problems that our call might create problems. So we didn't call until after Kenson's bedtime. He had done great. We talked to him on the phone Saturday morning and it was so funny to hear his surprised voice when he realized it was us on the phone. He did great all weekend long. And when we returned, he was glad to see us and separated from Grandma just fine. Aah, joy!
Then, this last weekend, I took Kenson to church by myself as D had a soccer game to attend. He started fussing before we even got out of the sanctuary. As we walked upstairs, I talked to him about how he would be taken care of and what kinds of things the teacher would do to take care of him. He had stopped fussing by the time we got upstairs but still wanted me to stay. I stayed but only on the outside of the door. He soon was distracted by a teacher but usually my leaving means he stops what he is doing and throws a fit. This time, it didn't. I told him I was going, reminded him of how he stayed with Grandma while Mama went bye-bye, and gave him my watch to hold until I came back. And we parted without incident. Double joy! I am hoping that continues next Sunday. (Knowing toddler/pre schoolers, I am doubtful.) But it reassured me that he is heading down the right path. It also made me wonder if maybe that visit with my mom was just the medicine he needed, a boost of confidence for him in the way that other people, not just Mama and Papa, will take care of him.
So joys this week on the attachment front. That said, I believe attachment is not a straight line drawn on a contiuum where once a child reaches a certain peak on the graph, life is all roses. Instead, I think that kids will continually deal with attachment related emotions all of their lives; as different situations arise, kids and the adults adopted kids become will find themselves facing all sorts of feelings about their birth and adopted families. I'm more of a Pollyanna personality so I try to remind myself that my children's view of adoption will be different than my own; that for them, their adoption into our family represents a trauma in their life. How deeply they hold on to that trauma is another story, but it is trauma nonetheless.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
"While I'm on a rant here, how 'bout dreadlocks! I mean seriously people! It really gets on my nerves to see these young, otherwise attractive white kids that come from upper middle class families sporting something that originated in third world countries. Do you really think it's cool to not wash your hair for months on end just so you can tr yto a statement that your a conservationist? Come on, you're not fooling anyone with your nappy headed, java expresso drinkin', foreign cigarette smokin' facade. Tell you what to do if you're one of the above mentioned people and you really feel the need to wear 'dreads' as they call them. Take yourself a trip to a third world country and spend about 30 years livin' there broke as a joke and doin' volunteer work with poor indigent people. Then when you come back home to Nebraska, you will have earned the right to wear such a nasty mop on your head. But until such a time as you return, cut that junk off and join the rest of civilized society."
In all fairness, the column was titled Deadlines, Dreadlocks, and Deadbeats so the focus was not just on hairstyles. And I do understand the jist of what he is saying: that some people look ridiculous in certain hairstyles and that often making a choice to do something like dreadlocks does not give you an identity as someone who believes certain things and then lives out those beliefs. (Although I'm not really sure why we should care too much about what hairstyle someone has and why it matters if we think it looks ridiculous because it's not our hair.)
That said, I found most of the writing offensive and uneducated. Although it was written about white kids, the writing had this underlying hint of racism and classism that I found unsettling. The impression I was left with was the dreadlocks are a result of some destitute third world country and are not appropriate or desirable because of this. This to me comes off as an insult to those who live in third world countries, that anything that comes from a place such as that is not worthy. The words "nappy headed" and "nasty mop" also left me feeling out sorts. Technically nappy refers to heavily textured hair, not just dreadlocks so is this man saying that anyone with heavily textured hair has a gross hair or that hair like that is unattractive and nasty? The writer also acts as if he is oblivious or ambivelent about the use of a word like "nappy" which often has racial conotations. While I am not the type of person to jump on every word uttered as full of racial significance, I can't help but wonder if his use of the word was deliberately rude or just woefully ignorant. (Granted, we've been thinking about locing Kenson's hair so maybe I am a bit more sensitive than others might be. Even so, if it had been written about another hairstyle, I think I would have still felt offended.)
I guess today was a time where I felt myself want to go into Mama Bear mode a bit, where I wondered how reading something like that would make my kids feel once they were school aged or teenagers. My husband was less offended than I. He could put aside some of the parts of the op ed piece that were a bit out there and see the big picture of what the man was writing about: conformity disguised as alternative living disguised as someone who has a social conscience but has never actually done anything meaningful with their life. What say you?
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Last weekend, D and I attend a Coaches Marriage Enrichment Weekend put on by the Nebraska Fellowship of Christian Athletes. We were gone Friday afternoon, all day Saturday, and until noon on Sunday. My mom came and stayed with Kenson all by herself the whole time. I was a little worried about leaving, especially since Kenson has not been doing well at separating from us during Sunday school at church. He did great! A few sad eyes and tears when we left but no tears any other time. He was happy to see us again and we had no major behavior problems when we got back that might indicate he was/had been anxious about our being gone. D and I stayed in a luxury hotel, had all of our meals paid for, got to listen to speakers and do worship without being interupted by a toddler, and enjoyed adult conversation.
Monday we had a house inspection for a house we have been thinking about buying. It was such an interesting event I won't share the details right now. We're still processing what it all means. We also showed our house to a prospective buyer on Monday.
I helped in the nursery doing child care Monday through Thursday while our church had Vacation Bible School. It was a good reminder that child care/nursery duty is not my giftedness. I will serve if that is what is needed but man, am I out of my comfort zone in doing so.
Kenson was sick Monday-Tuesday with a fairly high fever but no other symptoms.
Friday was my cousin's wedding in Omaha so we spent the evening there and got back late. We did get to see a good portion of my family and visit/play with them.
This weekend is Cornhusker State Games, an Olympic style gaming event with contests in everything from volleyball to racewalking to horsehoes. Of course, there is soccer. D's boys have a team so we went today to watch them play 2 games. D isn't coaching so we had no responsibilities; we just got to sit and watch. Tomorrow, they play at 9 but I think just D is going to make the trip to Lincoln.
I think next week is going to feel much the same. We have several things during the week and are possibly going to visit D's grandma sometime during the week as well.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
If we would talk less and pray more about them, things would be better than they are in the world: at least, we should be better enabled to bear them. -- John Owen
Believe your beliefs and doubt your doubts.-- F. F. Bosworth
Friday, July 10, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
My latest hopes are to make some satin lined fleece hats for winter time, perfect for keeping hair frizz free, especially if you've got a kiddo with heavily textured hair or a hair style you'd like to keep looking nice. I've made two so far and am working out the kinks; hopefully I'll have some ready to go by the time fall rolls around.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
The highlight of the day was the 45 minute long parade complete with fire trucks, horses, bands, candy falling from the sky, all sorts of NEENONEENO noises, and other miscellaneous loudness. Kenson loved watching all of the excitement and delighted in being able to point and tell us what was coming down the street.
We then went back to Lisa and Daniel's house for supper and the annual "smash a watermelon with a bat" event. (My friend, Lisa, is a bit crazy, but in a good way.) The general idea is just as it sounds. Why be civiled and enjoy a slice of watermelon when you can enjoy smashed watermelon? How to play, you might ask? Place a large watermelon on a blanket. Blindfold the first contestant. Spin them around a stick/bat. Have them hunt the watermelon while blindfolded and then swing. Of course, yelling false directions and being distracting and non helpful are encouraged. By the time we were done, the neighbors had stopped their celebration, pulled up stools, and were watching us. Kenson even tried. I didn't think he would want to be blindfolded but he did and tried it with gusto. (I'm sure after being told not to hit people and dogs and babies and just about everything else, being given permission to hit a watermelon with a stick was quite liberating.)
The night ended with small firework displays in the driveway and lawnchairs turned north to watch the big city run display at the park a few blocks away. By the final big hurrah, Kenson was tired and ended up only watching half of them. He eventually set his head on my shoulder and chilled.
Getting ready for the fireworks
Watching the sky for up, up, boom! (Yes it was cold enough for a cold...weird.)
Not a bad Independence Day for a new American!
It did have some slightly scary dog scenes which were a bit much for him. (Especially since he is still a little scared of dogs in general.) But when it looked like it might be too scary, I took him out into the lobby. He said he wanted to go back when the dogs were all gone. When I asked him if the dogs were real or pretend, he said pretend so he knew that it wasn't really going to hurt him.
Good movie though. Not as fantastic as some reviews have been but still solid with a cute love story woven into the middle of it.
Monday, July 6, 2009
However, the biggest thing for me was that he reveals a lot of truths about how we relate to food and overeating. By the end, he asks you to consider making 3 changes that will hopefully eliminate 100 calories from each day. Losing 100 calories from each day should, in theory, result in eliminating 30 pounds from your life over the course of a year. Now for the cool part. He doesn't tell you what changes to make. He asks you to examine your eating habits, especially in terms of the ideas he has researched. He then asks you to use those habits and select 3 things to change. Next step? Make a chart for each day of the week and those 3 things so that you can check off each day if you have done those 3 things. The 3 things can be worded positively or negatively and could be things like only eat dessert if I've excerised today, drink 1 full calorie soda each day instead of my usual 3, don't eat in the living room while watching tv, or use a dessert plate to put my meals on instead of a dinner plate.
My list is eat only 2 pre-portioned snacks a day, eat only 1/2 portions of dessert, and eat 20% more fruits and vegetables and 20% less starches and proteins. I picked the first one because I am a horrible snacker. I am especially tempted to snack when I am home all day. I could snack all day long. Seriously. I also know that if I pre portion a snack out I am more likely to feel full and not want more. I also have a major sweet tooth. Telling me not to eat dessert is not going to happen. I generally don't buy dessert or have them in my cupboard. But, since I like to cook, if I don't have dessert and am craving something, I'll just make cookies. The thought of cooking sweets but never tasting them, going to a pot luck and not sampling all the sweets or nixing ice cream forever makes me feel faint. But 1/2 portions I can do. The 20% more/less idea is straight from the book. My mom was a big stickler for 2 servings of fruits/vegetables when we were growing up and I usually follow that rule in our house. I always try not to serve two starches in one meal. (If we're having potatoes, no corn or bread as a side, etc..) I also try hard to cook in healthy ways. We use lean meats, cook in canola oil, use skim milk, etc.. So I really do think that most of our meals are fairly heathful. The author recommends dishing yourself out your normal portions of everything but then going back and taking off 20% of the proteins/starches and add on 20% more fruits or vegetables. I've been trying that for a few days but am really going to work on doing it at every meal.
Anyway, that's my plan. I have known for a while that I was just eating whatever I wanted but was too lazy to really do anything about it. I'm hoping that getting my mind headed in that direction will help me get my mind back in the "I need to exercise" mode too. (I always think that; it's the actual exercise that gets me.)
Friday, July 3, 2009
D played soccer with his boys on tonight. Try to act shocked but there was horseplay and rough housing involved. Someone's bottom got smacked. The words, "He got hit on his rectum" were said. And someone else said, "Isn't that a planet?"
(If that makes no sense to you, say all the names of the planets and see if you come up with one that sounds like another name for body part located in your netheregions and then you'll get it.)
Sadly, the boy who made this comment was serious. (And a junior!)
(For those of you who are lost, make sure you read the previous post.)
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Here's a You Tube clip of Wipe Out, just in case you need some gratitutous slapstick humor.
Update-Kenson woke up the Thursday, asking to watch "Ipe Out" and threw a mini fit when D explained to him that it wasn't on tv today. Hmmm...