Wednesday, December 31, 2014

An Almost Chinese American New Year

Chinese New Year isn't until February and quite honestly, we don't do a lot of celebrating holidays specific to Haiti or China, but I thought this was a catchy title for a meal that was almost Chinese dim sum on New Year's Eve.  It was kind of one of those meals that was problematic all around.  I had made Char Siu  (Chinese barbequed pork) in the crockpot a few months back and knew that at some point, I wanted to make bao with it.  (Bao are Chinese filled, usually steamed, dumplings.)  But dumplings are time consuming and I don't own a steamer so I'd been putting it off.  Fast forward to today and I figured that this week, when D was off from work, would be a good time to try out a new, time consuming recipe.  I found a couple of dough recipes online that I thought might work for us.  Both baked the dumplings instead of steamed, and the first used a bread machine to mix up the dough.  I thawed out the char siu and made a bit of extra gravy following David Soo-Hoo's recipe.  I opted for the bread machine version, with plans to start the dough around 3 in order to give myself enough time for it to raise and to roll out and fill the dumplings.  I ended up starting about 3:30 so I was already feeling pressed for time.  My plain was to have the kids help me roll out the dough and assemble the dumplings around 5 so we could eat around 5:45 or 6.  About 4:50, I decided to double check everything only to realize that the dumplings have to rise again after they are stuffed.  That second rise takes 45 minutes.  No way I could make those for supper tonight with that second rise.  So I went ahead and had the kids make them, figuring I would let them rise while we ate and then bake them after supper with plans to eat them the next day.  The bread machine recipe didn't have you roll them out like I thought they ought to be so I switched over to recipe number two for the rolling out part.  I followed that plan pretty well until I pulled them out of the oven and realized that I forgot to put the egg wash on them.  Oh well...they were still super tasty!  I had to sample one tonight just to be sure.  The dough was super light and fluffy.  Not exactly the steamed dumplings most are used to but still yummy.  Given the number of times I said opps while making it and the number of recipes I consulted, I'm just amazed that it's not a big nasty glob of dough.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Pics

Nothing says Christmas like a baby in reindeer ears
Best part of going to Grandma's?  Empty ice cream containers that usually hold toys.
They can be drums for a band.
Or drums for a solo act.
And they make awesome hats.
All the big kids got a kids Kurio tablet.
What have they enjoyed the most about their new tablets?
Taking photos, making videos, and recording their voices as stories.
Kai was big enough this year to actually get the hang of opening gifts.
Our resident ocean expert scored quite a few ocean gifts, including this game.

And a giant stuffed manta ray.

And two shark t shirts embellished by Grandma.

Conleigh got not one but three Barbies.

And some crazy glittery cowboy boots.  (But she says they are cowgirl boots, not cowboy.)

Kenson was super excited to open this huge gift.  It was an inflatable kickboxing trainer.  Something he had always/never wanted, but in the moment it was definitely something he always wanted.  =)

My mom was very thoughtful in her book selection for each kid.  Kenson received this book on Haiti, Conleigh received a book about girls and friendship, and Zeke received a book on China.

Kai was of course captivated by the boxes.  

Still enjoying the cardboard.

Playing Headbandz with the cousins.
No Pitch since Travis and Michelle were sick...well mostly since Michelle was sick and she's really a fierce Pitch player.

Yes, that's my cousin squashing my husband.

So many lovely gifts this year including a plastic parakeet to memorialize a dead bird that my aunt once stored in her freezer and some fake boogers.  But none could top the plastic containers of Flarp aka Fart in a Can.  You push your fingers in and it makes a very flatulent sound.  The kids loved it.  As did the grown ups.  In fact, my three spent 30 minutes playing with it in a bedroom on Christmas night.  Which then resulted in fart getting tossed around.  So we had fart on the sheets, fart on the clothes, and fart in someone's hair.  It was slightly funny, a bit annoying, and of course messy.  Thanks, Aunt Sheree!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Snowman Candy Bars

The kids made their teacher gifts yesterday.  If it's possible and doesn't make me too crazy, I try to have the kids give something that they have some sort of investment in.  This year, we opted for snowman wrapped candy bars.  Easy peasy.  The big kids did almost all of it themselves.  Zeke cut all of the noses for his, glued that hat together, added the buttons, drew his faces, and wrote his name. He may or may not have made one that has a mustache.  However, his smile is a bit squiggly so I'm not sure the recipient will know that's what it is.
Looking serious

Finished products.  I should have added a bit of blush to the cheeks for added cuteness but I forgot.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Toe to Finger Transfer, Take Two

The Monday before Thanksgiving, Zeke had an appointment at Mayo to remove his cast.  This followed the revision done on his new finger since it was healing incorrectly and had to be repositioned and then recast.  Just like before, the x rays said it was healed and aligned well.  But this time, Mayo make Zeke a custom splint from orthoplast to help protect the new finger during recess and rough play as well as during sleep.  We're now a few weeks past the cast removal and so far, so good.  He seems to have more mobility in it than he did last time.  He's still pretty limited in it's function but he's had a few "aha" type moments.  At Walmart last week, he had his hands in his pockets and as we were walking down the aisle, he suddenly exclaimed, "Hey!  My thumb just touched my new finger!"  (It's hard for him to make them come all the way together on their own, without some extra help from his other hand so this was a spontaneous event, where they touched all on their own.)  Then at snacktime the other day, I encouraged him to try to use his finger while eating his pretzels.  He didn't pinch the finger to his thumb to grip, but kind of used the new finger to "help" the other fingers as he ate.  That was probably the first time where he saw his new finger as a functional part of his body.  His body still has a lot to do in terms of healing and nerve regeneration.  I would feel a whole lot better if I knew for sure that this new digit were working 100%.  (Already called the hand surgeon once for a "talk me down from the edge" type call.  An x ray said all was well.)  So wait, and wait, and wait some more, I guess.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Flat Twist Mohawk with Locs

Photo bombed by the Basset...this is how she wore the back on Sunday.  I talked her into letting me braid the ponytail into piggyback braids on Monday so she now has a braid running down the center instead of the ponytail.  I think you could do several treatments of the ponytail like curling it with pipe cleaners so it was super curly or mini buns, maybe even some type of knot.

The flat twists up the sides actually look really really good.  So proud of myself.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Mom's Amazing Timer

My kids lost their tablet privileges this week.  No tablet until Wednesday for anyone.  As fate would have it, I was starting to cook supper when this decision was made.  As I reached over to start the oven timer, Kenson heard the beep and looked alarmed.  "What are you doing?  Setting the timer for Wednesday?"  I probably ruined a great thing by telling him no and ruining the delusion, that yes, Mom has an amazing timer that keeps track of things for days.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


It is not a neatly packaged present, a perfectly square box, wrapped in striped gift wrap, with a matching bow, symmetrically placed across the top.  Nope.  Adoption is a gift and a blessing, a burden and a wound, all at the same time.

If it feels that way for me, I can only imagine what it must feel like for my kids.

I'm a grown up and I don't know what to do with my own feelings.  There's the news today that reeks of coercion or at the very least, a large sin of omission.   It's news that seems to indicate that one of my children's birth parents thought her child would return to Haiti at 18.  There's news about the absent father and his fate that is hard to sugar coat.  There's no news from another birth mom, no news that creates a void for one child. There's another birth family whose very existence is a huge question mark.  And a foster family who was most certainly crushed by the departure of their foster son but yet chose not to parent him.

Real people drug into complex, hard situations.  Single moms feeling all alone and without options.    Perhaps a birth family scared to death to parent a child who looked different, unaware of how smart and adaptable that same child would grow to be.  Complex cultural situations that are hard for an outsider to understand.  Who knows the comments each family was influenced by?  Comments about adoption giving their kid a better life.  Questions about their abilities to feed and clothe and provide for their child.  Words from other family members, from friends, from well meaning orphanage staff. 

And so they all chose a choice that really wasn't a choice.  Because for so many birth families, it is simply the only choice they feel like they have.  Now their child is oceans away, safe and sound, loved and adored, but oceans away.  

I am not a guilty party in that.  I did nothing to cause these situations.  Yet, my heart is guilty.  Guilty of being the mom they could not be and will not get to be.  

That knowledge breaks me a bit.  It for sure humbles me since I will probably never face such situations.  But mostly it grieves my heart because it's very possible that tonight , three other moms may be missing and longing for the very children I've just tucked into bed.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Skydiving and Zeke

"Mom, I really, really, really want to go sky diving sometime."

"You do?   That would make me worry about you since it's kind of scary."

"Well, maybe I'll wait until I'm bigger."


"Yeah, like maybe when I'm ten."

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas is up!

Yes, Conleigh is holding a random sticker set.  No, I don't know why.  The tree is up and out if Kai's reach as is the nativity.  Lowe's had poinsettias for .99 so I couldn't pass them up despite their poisonous nature.  A few things I love:1.  We started getting each kid an ornament each year to represent something important from that year.  From ornaments where my kids wrote their own names to learning to ride a bike to having a new sibling, I write the why behind each ornament on the back and read this to each kid as he puts his ornament on.  We also have picture ornaments of family members who have passed away and two awesome hand made garlands made from gum wrappers and paper clips.  2.  My mother in kaw's vintage sled and 3.  The vintage stuffed Santas that were a part if my husband's childhood.  My kids cart them all over the house, playing who knows what with the Santas.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Life Managed

When I was in college, my piano professor, Mr. Miller, had a handwritten sign in his office.  It read "The same God who protects you from the flames of Hell ought to be able to handle this week's worries."  I liked it so much at the time that I wrote it in the front of my Bible.  And I still like those thoughts today.

The last week or so has been jam packed with things to worry about.  Zeke had an appointment at Mayo to take off his cast which required an overnight stay and figuring out life for the rest of the cew while I was a away.  Thursday was Thanksgiving, which we hosted.  We decided we had just been gone too much and our kids needed us to stay home.  So we invited others instead.  My mom did a lot of the heavy duty cooking and others brought food to share but it still required a bit of thought and energy.  We've decided that we need to finish a bedroom in our basement in order to solve the current issue of three big kids in one small bedroom.  The current sleeping arrangements are somewhat like stacking cordwood, with Conleigh on a trundle in the boys' room and zero walking room once that trundle is out.  Conleigh really needs her on space and we are hoping that having her own room will help with some of her finicky sleep habits.   However, we only decided this in the last 2 weeks or so and the guy who is doing the work for us is going to be ready to start on Monday.  (As in tomorrow.  As in we needed to do some major reorganizing of the basement so that there was room to work.  As in we needed to have a plan in place for exactly how much of the basement we would finish, what supplies we would need, etc..  As in I found myself at Menards on Black Friday trying to order supplies for an actual construction project while hordes of others were hurrying to buy cheap gloves, toys, and cooking pots.)  Since our Christmas decor is currently stored in the basement, it also seemed pressing that we get it all out and get it up.  (Lest you think I'm pulling off some amazing Martha-esque stuff-we have a very small tree this year, our nativity, three live poinsettias, and another predecorated tree on the porch.)  Last, I've  been sweating a bit about Zeke's finger.  He is now castless and has a splint to wear when he plays and sleeps.  But I am paranoid that it is starting to drift off to the side again.  The cast has been off less than a week after 8 weeks of being casted.  It should be just fine.  But I can't help looking at it and feeling like it is not quite right.  I don't know if the scar creates the illusion of being slanted or if it really is starting to drift again.  I  will be calling Mayo and sending pictures tomorrow but until I know for sure that this silly little finger is doing just what it is supposed to, it stresses me.  Oh and did I mention that our car registration is up and it would not let me do it online so I now have to head to the courthouse to get that taken care of?  Thankfully it's not like a big city where it can take hours but it's just one more thing I have to get accomplished tomorrow.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the to do list for tomorrow.  Oh how my mind can fixate on the amount of stuff.  It gets stuck, turning over each item despite knowing that this accomplishes nothing.  Fretting and worrying are easy to slide into because fretting and worry are really just control dressed up in a fancy gown.  Feeling like you have things under control is a soothing thing.  Babies like pacifiers; grown ups like control.   So the moment things start to slide, when the facade of control starts to crack a bit, it's easy to try harder to grab a bit more control or to just melt into the moment and cry.

But God's got it.  He's already conquered huge, amazing stuff in the spiritual realm.  Our pastor's Sunday message on Isaiah 53 need to echo a bit more in my ears.  

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

God's plan of salvation for the world laid out through the cross-the piercing of His son, a movement of heaven and earth for me to be near my Creator.  A crazy plan that turns death and the natural order of things on its head.  The Godman steps down into my world and quite literally makes Himself a bridge, trampled on by many, worn down with each step, pushed down by our clamoring to get to the Father, but still a solid place to set your foot.  Pierced, crushed, afflicted, punished, dead.  But not finished.  If He somehow manages to throw off death, if He somehow manages to cover my bare naked soul with His sacrifice, if He manages that, then He can surely handle the chaotic days of life on earth.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Zeke on Shadows

"Ya know, you can't run away from your shadow?"

"Well, only if you turn off the lights."

Thursday, November 13, 2014

15 Months

Finally got around to trimming up Kai's hair since the very little on the top and lots on the side was resulting in a weird Bozo the Clown meets Donald Trump look.  He looks a lot older, I think.  I had been putting it off for quite a while despite having talked about it with D and the kids just because I wasn't up for trying to hit a moving target with a sharp object.  In fact, I had said to them, "Well it can wait because no one wants to chase a baby around with scissors."  After coming home yesterday and seeing the hair cut, Kenson remembered those words and was quite taken aback.  "Mom!  You really chased him around with scissors!?!"

Kai will be 15 months on the 28th and is busy, buys, busy.  He rarely sits sit and loves to keep up with the big kids.  He can climb on chairs, barstools, and all of the kids' beds.  (Which means he is able to "jump" on the beds by bouncing a bit on his feet and then plopping down on his bottom.)  He has progressed from sliding down the slide to trying to walk down it.  He waves hi and bye.  He signs all done, more, and eat.  But he does none of those on command, only when he feels like doing it.  He has said words that sound like mama, Kenson, Conleigh, dog, all done, hello, hello buddy, and hi.  He still loves baths but also loves cheese, yogurt, grapes, green beans, peas, mixed vegetables, and suckers.  (He tried a dum dum sucker at Halloween and now knows that if the big kids are eating something with a white stick, that he wants one too.)  He hates getting out of the bath and napping.  He also "dances" pretty much anytime he hears a catchy tune.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Easy Peasy Fall Banner

When I was teaching fourth grade, my fellow teacher, Kelly, did this awesome Martha Stewart craft with her class as a collaborative project.  She had each child bring in nature items and they then used those to construct a nature collage that read "Happy Thanksgiving."  I loved it so much I copied it when I taught first grade.  I loved the year one of my first grade boys collected the shells of a bunch of different beetles.  Creepy but beautiful at the same time.

With the big kids gone at school and the cast limiting us, Zeke's been a bit hard to entertain this fall.  So I remembered this project and had him help me make it.   Super easy and as long as you can stand copious amounts of Elmer's glue, it's a no fail project.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Hard and Glorious Adoption

For a bit now, I have wanted to write a post about some of the hard and glorious things about adoption.  Maybe because we're dealing with some hard stuff right now with one of mine.  A pretty certain post traumatic stress diagnosis has left me feeling sad for my child, a bit overwhelmed by the need for healing, and a bit wore out because of the day to day grind of behaviors that come from anxiety and a heart hurt by trauma.

But I just didn't really have the right words.  Then I read this.  Someone beat me to it.  Adoption is hard and glorious and hard and sacred and hard and joy filled.  The words of this sum up so much of what it is really like to be an an adoptive parent.  So many of the hard parts of healing that she writes about, I have experienced.  And yet I've been witness to so much of the joyful parts too.

We as adoptive parents enter that journey of redemption with them, we take on their pain, we take on their grief…..
We sit with them when they are crying and grieving
We watch them glaze over or shut down when there may be too many people around, or they have too much stimulation. 
We take them off the playground because some other child has startled them so badly its reminded them of being in the orphanage and they can’t stop crying
We sit with them during night terrors, not allowed to touch because that will set them off even more.
We sit through pediatric, dentist, ENT, cardiac, orthopedic, and so many other specialist doctor appointments while our child flails and cries and yells because their only experience with doctors has been rough and hurtful, and without compassion..
We fill out form after form that serves as a constant reminder our child was once an orphan because we don’t have the answers for family medical history
We get to hear “they are so lucky to be in your family” when when we know nothing about their past wast was lucky….
We find we can’t put footed pajamas on our child because our child was restrained at some point in the orphanage and this triggers terror 
We get asked question after question about their “real parents” 
We get asked what’s wrong with our kids feet, or eyes, hands, or head
We hear them yell “don’t leave me mommy” when we leave to run an errand, knowing they remember being left by their birth mom
We get stares and second glances and questions about how much our kids “cost”
We have to go to their rooms to see if they have woken up in the morning because they have learned not to cry upon waking, because no one comes
We find food under their pillows, stashed away in their rooms because the fear of running out of food is still so fresh in their little minds
We sit with them when they cry that cry that takes our breath away
We love them through the screams and tantrums and screams of “you’re not my mommy”
We see them regress and shutter at the sound at someone speaking Mandarin or their native language to them.
We rub our hands on the back of their sweet heads, so flat from being left in crib for hours on end – a reminder for life that they were left alone, left too long….


We get to see them blow bubbles for the first time
We get to see them slide down a slide and play on a play ground for the first time
We get to see them try a new food for the first time
We get to see them slowly gain trust in us
We get to hear our deaf child say “I love you” after of weeks of hard work and determination to communicate.
We get to see them try cotton candy for the fist time and see the cutest sticky faced grin!
We get to see their hair start to grow, their little ribs not to show so much, and they finally get to be “on” the growth chart at the doctors
We get to see them gain the strength to sit up at 24 months of age, to stand, and to begin to walk.
We get to tell our story to complete strangers and see them smile
We get to see their lips turn pink for the first time in months after their heart surgery
We get to see them light up around their new brothers and sisters, establishing relationships that will last a lifetime! 

We get to experience all their “firsts” through their eyes

For me, these words speak volumes about the realities of adoption and the hopefulness that adoption can bring.  For whatever reason, right now, I've been stuck in a lot of seeing on the reality of a hurt heart.  But there are glimpses of hope and bright dashes of resilience.    

I know this looks like not much to most.  But it's hope and healing, fashioned out of craft foam and Elmer's glue.  See that candy.  That's from a kiddo who values food a lot.  Who picked through her Halloween candy to find a Reece's to put on Papa's because that's his favorite.  Who just asked a question of a counselor last week, who wanted to know if you can get unadopted.  Who was told no.  Who wrote the answer to that on a notecard to bring home to her brothers.  Who then wrote the words "foreaver" next to the words "Dad" and "Mom."  Hope, healing, joy-it's there.  It really is.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

Cooler weather was perfect for Conleigh.
In her words, "The cold doesn't bother me anyway."  (Wink, wink, Frozen fans.)
Happy Halloween, from Spidey, Elsa, Zeke the Shark, and Kai the Penguin

Trick or treating and the dorms at Doane were a perfect way to spend the night.
And Kai learned the best way to eat a chocolate one big bite.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Muddy Pudding Potion

Want to try some Muddy Pudding Potion?
Conleigh is bringing treats to her class Halloween party tomorrow so that's what she is bringing.
She's excited to tell her friends that she brought worms and dirt.
She really wanted doughnuts (surprise, surprise) but Papa told her doughnuts weren't a Halloween treat.
I was game for creating something Halloween related with doughnuts and did find some really cute spiders but then saw pudding dirt cups in an ad and thought they looked less time consuming.
Each kiddo will get a pudding cup and a bag of supplies to make their own potion.
Best part?  Conleigh basically assembled them all by herself!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My No Brainer, Sleep Deprived Mom Moment of the Week

Last week, my kids wanted to write on Zeke's new cast with marker.  They also wanted to play with a large box that we had gotten via UPS.  Against my better judgement, I let them do both at the same time.  That mean I let them have out permanent and water based markers at the same time.

Of course, two of my kids got permanent marker on their clothes.  Normally, I would have just left well enough alone and accepted the fact that those clothes were now stained with marker.  But with the full power of the internet at my disposal, I thought I'd see if I could come up with some homemade remedy to permanent marker.

Hairspray is a great ink remover but I wasn't so sure that it would work on permanent marker.   (It's great on ballpoint ink, though.)  A couple of the websites recommended soaking the affected area in milk.  I was pretty sure I'd seen science projects where milk and ink did interesting things so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Then I saw a website that advised mixing milk with vinegar.  Now, I love vinegar.  It is awesome for a lot of cleaning tasks.  So in my brain, this seemed like the method to try.  I found my favorite retro polka dot bowl, filled it part way with milk, submerged Kenson's yellow shorts, and then poured in my vinegar.  About the time the vinegar hit the milk, I remembered that for baking purposes, vinegar + milk = buttermilk or sour milk.

Um, yes, I just decided to soak my son's shorts in sour milk.

It is now a clumpy, curdled, nasty smelling mess.

But by golly, it's already done so I'm leaving it overnight...just in case it actually works.
Because my polka dotted bowl was seriously the best part of this whole experience

No Clipping, No Mess Couponing

With one income and 6 people to feed, couponing is a must around here.  I am not a crazy coupon person, not like the ones you see on tv who have huge stockpiles or who dig through the dumpsters looking for coupons.  I also don't have the time to drive to a bigger town and hit the sales at every store.  I price match, clip the weekly coupons from the Sunday paper, and occasionally make a trip to the big city if the price is right on an item I can't price match at our Walmart.  I knew there were some couponing type apps that existed for smart phones but since I was the proud owner of a flip phone, I didn't really know much about them.  I also operate on the belief that if I have to invest too much time or too much gas into saving money, then it's really not saving me money because my time and gas matter.  So I wasn't willing to invest the mental energy into sorting out the apps to see if you could use them without a smart phone.  But then the flip phone died.  I ended up with a smart phone.  About that time, Groupon launched a new couponing app and it seemed like a good time to check out the potential of the apps.

It might seriously be one of the easiest ways to save money.  I have four savings apps installed on my phone.  Each one is pretty easy to use and operates on the same basic idea.  Buy an item.  Log into your app.  If the item you bought has a coupon, select that item.  Scan your receipt.  Have your receipt approved.  Wait until you have accumulated the appropriate amount of money in your account, then cash that money out.  Each one is a bit different in that they might have different dollar amounts before you can cash out or different ways to get you the money.  Ibotta and Saving Star require that you shop at specific stores.   Savings Star does say that while they will not prohibit you from using a paper coupon and an app based coupon on the same item, that does not reflect the intent of most manufacturers.  Several of the apps have ways for you to earn extra money by reading informational articles or by referring friends.  I don't really base my shopping lists off of the coupons that are available on the apps.  But I do peruse each one prior to shopping.  Aside from being an easy way to coupon without actually cutting any coupons out, many of the apps offer coupons for produce and milk, which are things I often do not get in the Sunday coupon inserts.  I like it a lot better than the Target couponing app, Cartwheel which requires you to show the cashier the coupon on your phone.  I like that I can scan my receipt at my convenience, also known as "when my children are not around."

Definitely worth checking out-

Check Out 51
Saving Star

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Zinnias' End

After a glorious summer run, where they stretched way past five feet and were the daily hosts for butterfly after butterfly, my zinnias are finally fading.  Maybe one more bouquet before the end.  Love them!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Magic of Fall

A low hanging sun starbursts through the pines.

Evening hours creep in earlier and earlier each day, those waning hours the backdrop for a million scenes.

Fabric scraps pilfered from mom's sewing stash become flags for a game of flag football, where an 8 year old proclaims that he loves this game because as coach, he gets to boss his sister around.

A garden hose is dragged through the too long grass.  In an instant, it's a fire hose as little hands urgently work together to extinguish some blaze.

Short and fat, tall and long, sticks of all shapes and sizes become this week's treasured objects, useful for training as ninjas and battling dragons.

That is the magic of fall.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Shutter Shelf

It seems like I am forever rearranging things around this joint.  I organize something and then decide that however I had it positioned is not functional.  So I reorganize and then reorganize again.  Case in point:  the boys' dresser.  They've had this dresser in their room forever.  I originally had a few items on the top:  the Haitian wood boat, some Walmart canisters that hold army men and army planes and tanks, and a panting Kenson made.  But the boys kept piling stuff on top of the dresser and everything would get knocked off and it just looked like a mess.  The other issue was that the boys had books in their room on a bookshelf but Grabby McGrabberson aka Kai was creating a disaster with the books.  So plan a was to organize the books and plan b was to organize the treasures that my kids had that we wanted to dispaly.  The books are now in the boxes on top of the dresser.  The army toys are still in their home beside the boxes.  (Seriously one of the best and easiest storage tricks ever.  It's just a Walmart canister that had a white lid.  But I spray painted the lids brown and they just look so much nicer.)  I knew I wanted a shelf of some type to hold the items for display since a shelf would keep the objects out of little hands and free from the danger of being knocked around.  And guess what I found in my garage?  An old shutter and 2 wrought iron fence brackets.  So I made a shelf for zero dollars, which makes my heart happy.  Now the shelf has the Haitian boat, Kenson's painting, two magnet boards for photos of the boys' foster/birth families, the alarm clock (which was forever getting messed with), Zeke's trophy for being an honorary coach at the Shrine game this summer,  and a fish Zeke painted during his hospital stay at Mayo.  I guess I'm now content.  Until I decide to rearrange again.