Monday, March 30, 2009

Adoption Stuff-Language

People ask us all the time how Kenson's language is coming. So D and I sat down the other night and tried count all the words we have heard Kenson use correctly without prompting. We got past 50, including some phrases. He sort of counts to 3. (To make hair brushing not a cry fest, I started counting the brush strokes and taking turns letting him do 5 or so and then me doing 5 or so. From that, he has figured out that it goes 1, 2, 3. He doesn't really get what you're doing, that you're counting but he likes to say the numbers.) He knows some color words and that they go with colors but he doesn't use them correctly yet. He often says things are yellow. He sometimes says they are blue.

He is also figuring some of the correct context in which to use certain words. He came to us being easily frustrated and generally responded to those situation with tears or throwing whatever was making him mad. He now often says "help." And if he doesn't, a quick reminder of "Use your words" usually stops the negative behavior. To change that behavior, whenever the tears or angry stuff came, I made him stop. Then I told him what to say. I often would mimic whatever he was doing and put the word "no" in front of it. "No aaaaah oooooh!" I'm sure he wondered what I was doing at times but it just seemed silly to say "No crying" to him. Then I would say, "Use your words. Say help."

He has also figured out the jist of the words "Sorry" and "Thank you." Sorry just came naturally out of us making him say sorry when he hurt someone either intentionally or accidentally. Thank you took quite a while for him to grasp. I didn't make him say or sign "thank you" every time he received things, just occasionally. But he just didn't get it and often refused to say or sign anything. D though often made him say "Thank you Mama" at mealtime when I brought out his food. Then just this week he started saying "thank you" when someone would give him something. It's been a favorite word over the past few days.

It's interesting to watch his language develop. Some of it is things we've have taught him directly, like the colors. We've done activities with that and practiced saying them. And some are things that he's just picked up all on his own. We try to tell him every meal the names of the things on his plate. And I try to ask him lots of questions and then answer it with complete sentences. (ie "Kenson, what are we doing? Playing. Kenson is playing with his cars.") We also try to force him to use words. We allow gesturing or sign but we make him tell us what he wants. If he doesn't know the words to use, we tell him what to say and try to get him to say it back to us. Sometimes, he'll say it. Sometimes, not.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

Cabbage Patch Soup
Italian bread

Sesame Chicken
California Blend
Fresh fruit

Runza Casserole (Brown 1-2 pounds ground beef. Add to skillet 4 cups shredded cabbage and 1 medium diced onion; cook until cabbage is tender. Mix in 1 can of cheddar cheese soup and 4-6 ounces diced Velveeta cheese. Spread into a greased 9 x 13 pan and top with one can of refrigerated cresent rolls. You can press the rolls together to make a rectangle or you can put them on top in the triangle shapes they come in and leave space in between a bit like a lattice pie. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
Mixed vegetables
Fresh fruit

Mushroomy Meatballs over egg noodles, green beans

Sweet and Tangy Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
Jello salad with fruit
Mixed veggies

Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Vegetable Soup

Busy Weeks

These past weeks the weather was wonderful. Kenson and I worked outside a lot. We have a fenced lawn so I can basically work while he plays. He has loved exploring all of the things outside and playing the slide, his garden tools, and the soccer goal he got for Christmas. He has gotten a chance to see some new things like dirt and leaves and worms all up close.

I've been working on doing some edging in the garden with bricks. And I've been trying to get my garden planted. I did get my potatoes in with Kenson's help. I want to get in some peas and lettuce too but I'm going to wait just a few more weeks just in case we get a real good freeze yet.

The soccer season is in full swing and games just started within these last few weeks. Last
Saturday, we went to a soccer tourneyment to scout the teams that D would be playing the following week. And as a bonus, a family that has adopted a little boy from Kenson's orphanage was there watching their daughter play. Luckily, the mom had emailed me a bit before the game and just by chance, we figured out they would be traveling to the tourneyment so we stayed to watch the girls' games. Kenson had a great time sharing treats and playing soccer with their little boy who is about a year older. Tuesday and Thursday, D had soccer games. The Tuesday game started too late but we went to Beatrice on Thursday to the game. D is supposed to host a tourneyment this weekend but I'm not sure if the weather is going to cooperate or not. They were predicting 1-3 inches of snow earlier this week but I think that forecast has changed a bit.

We also started on potty training. Not something I intended but all last week Kenson hounded me to use our big toilet. So what the heck, we'll try. He started out really excited but that's starting to fade now. He goes almost every time you put him on the little potty we bought him but has yet to actually say he has to go potty. (Except at nap time where he asks to go potty so he won't have to go to sleep.) And now he's getting to the point where he has started saying no when you ask him if he wants to sit on the potty. So we may take a break from that. We'll see...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Universal Language of Play

Just in case anyone was wondering...

Boys around the world are the same. Wheels and machines and turning parts are of endless fascination. And playing with your food is a daily activity.

This week at supper Kenson combined them both. He chewed off part of his sandwich, put it on the table, and proudly announced, "Machine!" Then he made some fantastic car noise and drove it off the edge of the table. Lovely!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

From the doctor's office to you

We adored the tropical fish in the doctor's office aquarium. No adoration was had for the multiple shots or the nurse who administered them. We have spent lots of time in Mama's lap cuddling and lots of time showing Mama all the owies we got today.

Global Food Crisis

A few weeks ago, the Christian radio station, KLOVE, partnered with Compassion International to raise awareness of the current global food situation. As they shared various stories on air about poverty and hunger, they encouraged people to go to the Compassion website so that they could see the face of the global food crisis.

I couldn't help but think, "Or just look at a picture of my kids. My kids are the face of global hunger." In fact, I've been asked by another adoptive mom who did a domestic adoption how often we just looked at Kenson in wonder at the whole situation and the joy that we have claimed because of him. When she asked me that, I knew what I should have said. (Um, yes, all the time.) But the truth is while we are full of joy because of this little guy, the look in my eyes, the awe that shocks me and scares me and fills me is because of the fact that my little boy is ALIVE.

Without the care of the orphanage, my son could have been one of those faces you see on the sponsor a kid websites. My child. The one so many of you love. It could have been his sunken cheeks, his chicken bone arms, his starvation bloated belly.

But he's none of those things. He's full of life with fat cheeks and a wonderfully round tummy. March 11 was the day officially set aside to encourage people to give towards finding solutions to the global food crisis. I'm a little behind, I know. But take the time to ask, what am I doing to keep kids like Kenson and Conleigh alive? I'm not saying you have to give to Haiti. But choose to do something. KLOVE has a link explaining the Compassion ministry. My side bar is full of ministries operating in Haiti. Do something. Choose to be a part of the solution, even if it's just a small part.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Confessions of my inner slob

I'm considering doing away with my vacuuming duties. Between the dogs who eat all the crumbs and the 2 year old boy who slides all over the floors and collects the dirt and fuzzies better than a regular mop, perhaps I should give it a try. (Now if I could just find a way out of the Groundhog Day phenonemon of laundry and dishes....I swear that's all I do and there's only 3 of us. Those of you with big families, I have no idea how you get anything else accomplished!)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More firsts

In the last week or so Kenson has...

-Intentionally petted our dogs.

-Fell asleep in his room upstairs by himself, knowing that Mama and Papa were downstairs not just right down the hall

-When frustrated at something not working right, said "help" rather than just getting mad and crying.

-Attended a high school boys soccer game and watched Papa coach.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rainbows and Color Theory Fun

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, the last two weeks, we've spent some time doing things with colors and rainbows. (Because you all know that my 2 1/2 year old understands exactly what St. Patrick's Day is all about and totally embraces the holiday. More like, we like to do fun stuff and we need to work on saying the names of the colors. But I digress...)

Anyway, the first activity I found at Family Fun. Red and blue and yellow jello overlap and then mix for great color theory experiements. Like an ever changing stained glass window. (Click on the link for the complete instructions.) Not only is it a color activity, but it does help with sensory issues. (You can feel the squishy gelatin without actually touching the squishy gelatin.) And it's really fun to smash it up into little bits and then watch them run together as you hold the bag upside down.

The second thing we did was to make rainbows. I used a mirrored candle plate as a prism to refract sunlight onto the floor and walls. Kenson loved it. The rainbows moved over the floor, onto the wall, onto his hand...very interesting if you're two. Then we made a musical inspired rainbow toy, to wave when we listened to music. (Kenson loved shaking it and waving it when he watched Barney in Concert in the afternoon.) We tied lengths of rainbow colored ribbon onto a canning jar lid. I think I stole that idea from someplace online but I can't find the orginal site. (The idea behind this would also make great ponytail holders if you've got a girl. Just tie the ribbon onto a plain elastic ponytail holder.)

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Tale of a Two Year Old's Cracker

3:00 p.m. in cup

3:01 in boy's mouth

3:15 p.m. outside with boy and mother

3:20 on dirty table on deck

3:30 in snow shovel

3:40 in toy shovel

3:45 on deck

3:50 in dog's water bowl (no water, phew!)

3:55 in dog's water bowl, sliding down the slide
4:00 in boy's mouth

4:05 back inside

4:06 on kitchen floor, next to dust bunnies and small pieces of who knows what

4:10 in boy's mouth

4:11 out of crackers

Menu Planning Monday

Baked Bean Sloppy Joes (Brown hamburger. Add to 1 or 2 cans of canned baked beans. Add ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, Worchestershire, and dried onion to taste. Serve on buns. Easiest sloppy joes ever!)
Fresh fruit
Mixed veggies

Easy cheesy hashbrowns (Mix 30 oz. frozen hashbrowns with 1 cup shredded cheese and a few dried chopped onions. Put 1/2 in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Add a layer of shredded cheese. Add the remaining potatoes. Top with 1 cup of sour cream mixed with 1 can cream of chicken soup and more cheese. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or so.)
Tuna Patties (1 can of tuna, drained, 1 egg, chopped celery and onion, and breadcumbs. Form into patties and cook in a large skillet.)
Green beans

Chilli (Just a dump recipe using tomato juice, kidney beans, chilli beans, chopped steak, onion, celery, water, beef boullion, and chilli poweder, all in the slow cooker for the day.)
Garlic bread

BBQ chicken sandwiches
Glazed cooked carrots
Green beans

Cabbage patch soup
Garlic bread

Corned beef and cabbage with potatoes

Corned beef hash (Haven't ever made this before. I'm going to combine my leftover corned beef with thawed frozen potatoes, onion, carrots, and maybe some leftover cabbage. Then I'll brown it in a skillet with some butter.)
Fresh fruit

Saturday, March 14, 2009

God and Me-The Needed Thing

I'm reading Blue Like Jazz right now which is a book I've been wanting to read for quite awhile. I'm also reading through Colossians as that's what Gregg is preaching on. I'd rather read Blue Like Jazz. I hate that I look at reading through Colossians as a have to, not a want to. Blue Like Jazz and the book I just finished, Martha to Max, have both pointed out how performance based life usually is. I so often do things because I should do it or because I need to do it, with all the shoulds and needs coming from somewhere deep in my brain that wants to keep from disappointing or doing the wrong thing. And half the time I don't think I even know who or what I'm worried about disappointing. I am a "driven" person and I think that's part of that personality trait. Anyway, Blue Like Jazz and Martha to the Max have both cut to the point of what is needed in life and that needed thing is often not even closely related to the thoughts that swirl around in my mind. (And gasp! Reading Colossians so I can proudly say I'm in step with our minister or so I can check it off my to do list for God is not what is needed!)

The truth is we live in a fallen world where people when left to their own devices are selfish, where people choose to do things that serve their own needs be it overt and obvious like being closefisted with our money or simply subconscious desires like not wanting to disappoint. And at the same time, our hearts are intertwined with God's. Somehow, because we are His creation, He chooses to love us and wants us to be close to Him. And that's the needed thing: to recognize our brokenness and be close to God.

As Christians we complicate it. To be honest, more than other groups at times, Christians can be really good at missing the needed thing and focusing on everything else. Our humanness gets obsessed with the details both in our own individual relationships with God and in the relationships we see that others have with God. In our own relationships, we over analyze and try to figure God out. Why does bad stuff happen? Can you really prove God exists? What will happen if Jesus comes back right now? And when we look at others, we think and say things like "I'm not sure they really mean it when they say they want to be a Christian." or "I'm sure they must have done something very sinful to be in that situation. (To be homeless, to have AIDS, to have 3 kids and be unmarried, etc.)

Honestly, I don't think God really cares all that much about any of that stuff. He wants us to choose what is needed: to be living in an intimate way with Him. I'm not saying God doesn't care about the second coming or that it's bad to work through why life is sometimes really rotten. And I'm not saying that people shouldn't have changed lives once they encounter God. But so much of that peripheral stuff is just that: it's stuff that is on the outlying edges of life. It is not what is needed and not where our focus should lie. So I think God has been at work in me reminding me about what is needed. Less real time commentary and deep thinking on God's involvement in the things of this world and more abiding, being at rest in His presence. Less worrying about what so and so is doing and how they are living, less wanting to change that person and their actions, and more praying for them (and myself) to continually know God's presence in their hearts.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Laughs from the week

From Kenson's lips...We've been trying to get Kenson to not push the buttons on our electonics. (I know, it's probably a loosing battle but we've got so much stuff with buttons that can't be toddler proofed so I'm going to try.) Anyway, I was in another room when I heard the tv being turned off. Then I heard Kenson saying "no, no, no" and watched as he sat himself down on the stairs for a time out.

From my lips..."Next time kiss me without food in your mouth." (That was said to Kenson, not D, just in case you're wondering.)

From D's lips...Regarding the medicated spray we've been using to treat ringoworm, "I get to grafitti my child every night! This is great!" We used up the first can so I quickly grabbed some at Walmart and grabbed the powdered spray rather than the regular spray. Powdered spray on a black child? Um, well, it's white when it comes out and it stays white for quite a while when you spray it on. I think you see what D meant. If only Kenson were a bit bigger, then we could really do some impressive work! Maybe spell out names or special dates or something.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sleep deprivation and other sleep related unpleasantries

After over a month of sleeping through the night, Kenson has been waking up in the middle of the night. He usually comes into our bedroom. No tears, no noise except the sound of little footprints. I just picked him up and put him in bed next to us when this first started. But then it started happening every night. And it would get earlier every night with Kenson spending less and less time in his own bed and more and more time in our bed. (And Mama and Papa got less and less sleep as they tried to share their bed with a toddler.)

Situations like that bring to the forefront what I think is one of the biggest issues adoptive parents deal with: why is my child doing this? Is it related to emotions related to adoption? Or is just a kid being a kid? It's important to know the difference because it may make a difference in how you parent at that moment in time.

I tried a couple of different things once it got noticeably worse. I tried rocking him back to sleep. I tried laying on the air mattress in his room with him in his crib. I tried just putting him back in his crib and walking away. None of it worked. He would wake up as soon as I put him down and then refuse to go back to sleep. He would sleep but then crawl onto the air mattress with me if I fell asleep. He would cry for a few minutes and then lie awake for an hour of more once I was back in my room.

So onto plan h. My friend, Heather, has always had a wake up spot in her room for any one of her kids who happen to wake up during the night. So that's my new plan. I took our two oversized floor cushions and put our crib mattress pad and a sheet over them and laid them on the floor, at the foot of our bed. So when he came in last night, I put him on the floor and all three of us were back to sleep in no time. I'm hoping this solves the problem. I can live with him needing to be near us if he wakes up. I can't live with him needing to be on me if he wakes up!

The other unpleasantries? Stupid, stupid time change! Okay, I love that it's not dark by suppertime but trying to convince your two year old to fall asleep an hour earlier is just plain stinky. (Not to mention that it makes me have to get up a whole hour earlier.) Kenson laid in bed for almost an hour tonight before he fell asleep. He wasn't being naughty; he just couldn't fall asleep because his body still thinks it's too early. Poor little guy!

Monday, March 9, 2009

So Much to Learn

Kenson has learned so much in the last 4-5 weeks.
He enjoys taking baths and loves the water. (No more crying and refusing to take his clothes off. We have to tell him to keep them on until we're ready for him.)

Kenson has a love-hate relationship with our dogs rather than just a hate filled one. (More like, it was a fear filled one.) He often holds out his hand and says "Veni Tutu!" which means "Come, puppy!" Then when they get close, he giggles and runs to one of us. It's like a constant game of "come here, come here", "get away, get away."

He is willing to try just about any kind of food and has eaten cookies, all sorts of soups, lasagna, and pizza. He tried a cheeseburger too. And he even ate an apple wedge the other day. (But of course wouldn't let me cut off the peel so he was constantly spitting out the red stuff onto his plate.)

He says at least 15-20 English words like no more, upstairs, shoes, outside, books, more, bath, eat, drink, brush teeth, cat, squirrel, puppy, baby, diaper, garbage, and downstairs. He understands a lot more English phrases like pick your toys up, wait, go in the car, put on your pajamas, watch tv, that's mama's, throw the ball, etc..
He's also started testing the waters when someone tells him no. (Usually Mama since D's at work.) He doesn't always stop when you tell him no. (Surprise, surprise!) When he first came home, the word no was enough. Now he's starting to wonder if we mean it and what the consequences will be for not listening. (Our time out spot, the stairs, have been well used this week.)

Menu Planning Monday

Cheesy potato soup
Fresh fruit

Blueberry French Toast Bake
Fresh fruit

Japlapeno and Apple Baked Beans
Corn Dog Muffins
(Held over from last week so if you want the recipe, look there.)

Bean and Cheese Burritos
Fresh fruit

Homemade macaroni and cheese with tuna fish and peas (I add Velveeta, milk, and shredded cheese to cooked pasta. Then I put in drained canned tuna fish and cooked frozen peas. Just a dump recipe.)
Jello with fruit

Grilled steak
Mashed sweet potatoes
Green beans

Head over the Menu Planning Monday host site for lots more recipes.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Week in Review

The lifespan of a cardboard box, when loved by a two year old is actually longer than one week! Who would have thought? It's great for riding in, hiding things in, climbing on, pulling and pushing, and just about anything else you can think of. (Or perhaps, the box is part of a fashion statement called Corregated Silky Athletic Chic? Don't you think the satin belt neck tie is magnificent when paired with red Adidas shoes?)

We also talked about stocking hats this week. We looked at pictures of lots of hats and looked at Kenson's hats and Mama's hat. We talked about the parts of a hat including the band and the pom pom and then made our own hats by cutting a paper plate in half and adding a band and a pom pom. These hats lasted a very short time! I'm lucky I even got them assembled; Kenson really wanted to destroy them before we even got them put together. (Note the doubling up of hats in photo one; we're starting a new trend.) This also meant that for a few days Kenson wanted to wear his stocking hat everywhere.

Enjoying some peanut butter/cream cheese from a pudding dessert...yummy!

We went to Lincoln on Friday since D had the day off from school and did some major shopping. Plus we played on a gigantic playground at Antelope Park. (Wonderful park with equipment big enough for grown ups to be on so we could go down lots of bigger and winding slides with Kenson. Also the site of Kenson's first pout session over having to stop playing.) Saturday we went to Norfolk to see D's grandma and Sunday was church.

That's it! That's the week!

Friday, March 6, 2009

My Life as a Widow has now Begun

Can you hear the blue haired woman dressed in polyester playing the organ? Soccer season is now in full swing. Just call me a soccer widow. D supervises a before school study hall for his boys and then has practices after school so he gets home a lot later now. Next week is their pre game scrimmage and then we'll have 1-2 games every week. It gets crazy and there are definitely times where I wish D were home more. But, my husband loves it. And I love it too in some ways.
We get to interact with a whole new age level: high school boys. And a lot of those boys were kids we taught in elementary so it's fun to be back around them. And with our school, the soccer team is about so much more than soccer. It's one of the few truly multicultural extra curriculars so D's had to teach about teamwork and community building. And our team is full of kids who don't have many expectations for their future. They think things like "Finish high school. Find a job." The soccer team is really about creating a culture of developing your potential rather than settling for the minimum. It really is a ministry opportunity for us. Each year, we find ourselves a little deeper into relationships with the group of boys before us. With the addition of Kenson, the boys seem to be very interested in being around us as a family and checking him out. Hopefully, we'll have some more opportunities as a family to interact with the team.

Penny Pinching Ideas-Part 2

Here are my list of strategies that I'm going specifically going to try to get my grocery budget down.
-I intend to stretch my food budget by trying to do more with cheaper foods like beans, rice, pasta, and cheaper cuts of meat. When we were first married and had no money, we ate all sorts of cheap things like Ramen and frozen pizza and frozen french fries. We've of course evolved and usually eat chicken a couple of times a week which isn't exactly the cheapest thing to do. I catagorized all my recipes by protein source and really when I got down to it, I have a lot of meatless choices so we're going to be eating less chicken and pork and more meatless or beef entres. (My parents give us beef from their cattle so beef is basically free.)

-I think Kristi also suggested using the bread outlet stores. I'm going to start doing that and freezing the bread so I will get all my bread once a month or so. My aunt Sheree bakes all of her bread from scratch using her bread machine to do the kneading. (Not something I'm opposed to and something I may get around to; we'll see.)

-I'm going to do more stocking up on basic grocery items when they are on sale, especially aound the holidays. Due to limited pantry space and laziness, I usually buy canned vegetables, cereals, breads, etc. only when I am out and only a few at a time. But I think if I would be very deliberate about taking advantage of rock bottom sales, I could save money. Especially on soda. I'm not ready to give up my soda habit and I usually end up paying full price for soda. That's silly. It would be very easy to get it on sale. I also think that about household items like cleaning supplies and tolietries. Shopko and Walgreens often have rebates or special offers on this items and I think if I am intentional about stocking up during these sales, I can save money.

-I am going to create a price list of pantry staples to help me gauge sale prices. Often, I think sale prices are great steals and then think that I should stock up. But I find it so hard to remember what the "real price" of an item is and if I'm stocking up just because I think it's a good deal, that may not be a great strategy. Shopping at Walmart is especially tricky because they often post advertising that sticks out from the shelf, making it look like an item is on sale. But then when you look, it's the always low price.

-And lastly, I'm going to start the envelope and calculator method of shopping. (You know, where you get cash for the amount you have to spend and take only that cash with you into the store. And then you use your calculator to make sure you don't go over.) I hate shopping like that but I think it will help me decide if I really can afford to buy the ice cream bars or not. (I shopped like that when we were first married so it's not like I've never done it before. But in recent years, I have a grocery budget but didn't get too worried if I went over. )

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Penny Pinching Ideas-Part 1

Thanks to those of you who left comments for me on ways to cut my grocery bill. I got lots of great ideas plus there were personal opinions on if certain things really do work to save money. Exactly what I needed. I'm guessing most of you have enough to do already and don't spend your time constantly monitoring the comment section of my posts, so I thought I'd summarize what people mentioned plus share some of my own findings/brainstorming.

-The concensus among most people was that Sam's Club did not seem to save them more money. (I thought that this perhaps might be true but didn't know for sure so I'm glad others affirmed it.) No one said anything about trying to hit multiple stores which is something that is often suggested but to me seemed to be a bit crazy. (Is it really worth the .50 off a can of soup if you have to drive to another store to get it?) A lot of people vouched for Walmart's bargains.

-Jenny left me a mail order diaper website that seems to be comparable and sometimes even cheaper than purchasing in the store, especially if you prefer a name brand diaper. I didn't look through all the brands and I need to do a bit more investigating but I think I may order through them. Another plus is that they are delivered to your house so you don't have to try to haul a bulky diaper box through the store and to your house. (And it's free shipping on orders of $49 or more which is quite easy to do.) They also have other baby products which might be worth looking into.

-Kristi left some good information on two non profits, Food Net and Angel Food Ministries, that are trying to help people afford groceries. Food Net is a food distribution group that provides free food while Angel Food Ministries provides discounted foods. Neither have income restrictions and I appreciate that both of them follow a Biblical model for community where you receive when you are in need but then have opportunities for giving to the group as you can. There are two Angel Food locations close to me and I signed up for several things from them in March. It is advertised as food at 50% off normal grocery story pricing. It looks to me like their basic box is especially true of this. The fruit box I'm not so sure about but I signed up for one anyway.

-Natalie said she cuts out all snacks except for Goldfish crackers and popcorn. Nothing else fru fru.

-Natalie also offerred me the use of some old cloth diapers she has. I know cloth can be a real money saver; I'm just not ready to make that committment when hopefully we'll be out of diapers fairly soon. (Thanks though, you're a peach, Natalie!)

-I also know several people on here do freezer cooking. I often freeze our leftovers so I'm not throwing away food. My Granny took this to a whole new extreme. (If you are my family members reading this, quit laughing!) She used to keep a jar in her freezer just for food scraps. Anything that was left over and could be made into a soup went in there. Pasta, hamburger, vegetables, and more...she just kept adding to it after every meal. Then when it got full, she'd add some broth or tomato juice and make soup. Not kidding; I've eaten it many a time. (I've never eaten the same soup twice because each time she made it, it had different ingredients but that's another story.) I actually almost started doing that and then my husband talked me out of it.

One website I did like was HillyBilly Housewife. Usually, I think most sites tell me things I already know. (Like buy generic foods, shop the day old bread rack at Walmart, shop thrift stores, leave out expensive spices, etc.) But this one seemed more practical. I also kind of liked the site MommySavers. The articles were a little weak but there is a forum which lets people share and I thought the discussions that were up and going were relevant and helpful.

Monday, March 2, 2009

What's Worked for Us-Nighttime Sleeping

We had decided before Kenson came home that we would not be a co-sleeping family. There is much adoption literature that says that this is good for bonding and advocates this. And I know many families who have done this and done well with it. But it's not for us. Call me selfish if you wish but I need my bedroom to be "my" space to some degree. I need to sleep without having a toddler kick me and moosh me.

We toyed with just having Kenson sleep in a bed in our room but to me that seemed it would be adding just another transition into the mix. So we decided on sleeping on an air mattress on the floor of Kenson's room. We started by letting him fall asleep in between us on the air mattress and then moving him to his crib. We tried to make sure one of us was in the bedroom at all times once he fell asleep just in case he woke up.

He has slept through all but 2 nights since he has been home. (Thank You, Jesus!) So after seeing him sleep so soundly, we decided to not worry so much about being in the room with him once he fell asleep but to instead make sure someone was on the same floor of the house as him. But either way, we slept on the air mattress next to the crib for about a week and half.

One morning, I had gotten up to shower and D was sound asleep on the air mattress. Kenson woke up and for whatever reason didn't crawl up on the mattress next to D. He instead came into the bathroom and found me. We decided then to do a few more days of sleeping on the air mattress and then we would start sleeping in our own bed. (We're only a short walk down the hall from Kenson's room.) We figured that if he was confident enough to get out of bed and come find me in the shower, then he would do the same if we were in our bedroom.

So we continued to put him to sleep on the air mattress, next to us. We would then move him to his crib later that night. And then we would sleep in our bedroom.

Next transition-letting Kenson fall asleep in his crib on his own. Before we moved him to the crib on his own, for several nights, I left chocolate chips on the sheets for him to find as a good night surprise. I wanted him to associate the crib with good things and for him to practice getting in and out of it on his own as he crawled in to get the chocolate chips.

And just recently we have gone to having him fall asleep on his own, without Mom or Dad in the room. I started moving around more during his naptime and he had been falling asleep regardless of where I was in the house during naptime. So, we decided to try it with nighttime sleeping. We still stay upstairs and the first few nights, I wandered in and out of the hallway and his room so he knew I was still around. But he seems to be doing good with falling asleep on his own.

Kenson loves to come upstairs to go to bed. I think that's because he loves the routine of brushing his teeth and putting on pajamas and reading books and rocking. One of our favorites books right now is called "Counting Kisses". It counts down from 10 to 1, with each number representing a unique way of kissing a baby good night. Kenson giggles and giggles at all of the kissing, from 10 kisses on the toes to 2 kisses on sleepy eyes. It's a great book for attachment. We have also really liked the books "Please Puppy" and "Baby, Please" by Spike Lee. They both have simple rhymythic store lines and great African American characters.

Week in Review

We went to story time at the library for the second week in a row. This week, we celebrated Dr. Suess' birthday by listening to some Suess, playing a Suesstastical game, making a Cat in the Hat hat, and eating cupcakes.

We had D's soccer boys over on Sunday for chilli and snacks. The US vs Mexico soccer game (and Kenson) provided entertainment.

We went on a shadow walk since we had some wonderful winter sun. We also made shadow puppets from posterboard and plastic spoons.

We got a welcome home package in the mail from Travis, Michelle, and Ansel. We had to immediately put it on and practice zipping it. (Thanks, guys!)