Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Out of the Fog

I think I'm finally feeling like we're getting rid of some of the fogginess associated with transitioning a new kiddo into your home. We have had three nights in a row where everyone was slept in their own room from bedtime until 6:30 or so. That is making a huge difference for me. (Unfortunately, I've got some funky allergy stuff going on so I'm not reaping the full benefis just yet. And I'm hoping I haven't jinxed it by writing about it.)

I think the hardest part of adopting a child who is not a baby is the tendancy to forget how much like a baby this child needs to become. People on the outside looking in probably don't get it. It's hard to be mindful of not pushing for your three year old to be potty trained...because all the other three year olds around you are. It's hard to feel hyper aware of every move your child makes in regards to other grownups, hoping that they aren't doing something that puts them too close to another grown up, too close for your comfort...and watching as other three year olds snuggle in with their grandmas or family friends. It's hard to resist that urge to let them dress themselves, feed themselves, play by themselves...because most other three year olds are engaged in their own private struggles for independence....while your little one needs more time being dependent on a grown up.

What people don't realize is that it's a conscience choice to parent your child in a way that you feel promotes healing. It's an intensely private choice where you find yourself researching and asking questions of others and then still feel hopelessly adrift in the parenting sea, wondering if you've got it right. I suppose it's a lot like other intensely private parenting choices like breastfeeding vs formula or staying at home vs working. But I think what hangs over you head is a deep seeded concern that if you don't get it right, there's a real chance your child might be unable to form healthy relationships with ANYONE. I'm not saying that I live in that place a lot. Just that I visit it from time to time.

So what promotes healing, especially when you are adjusting and where life is spinning in this eerie way to fast, but way too slow time warp? I have found myself being very thoughtful in regards to a few things.

-I've been listening to Karyn Purvis online. She has some great video clips available now. They aren't earth shattering or anything that I didn't already know. They are just quick reminders of what my child has experienced and what she needs. They make me refocus and adjust my thinking when it starts to get frustrated and out of whack. Watching a clip every now and then while the kids are napping has just helped me keep the needs of my kids at the forefront of my parenting. Quick and easy pick me ups, I guess.

- I've been trying really hard to fight the urge to leave Conleigh to her own devices. What I mean by that is that it's really tempting to take a child who is tantruming or disobedient and just put them in time out and leave them there. Or to continue to put off an overly clingy child's requests for attention. I have been really trying to follow time outs (which I still do) with rocking or cuddling. And sometimes a bottle. And I've got my sling back out and am obliging Conleigh's requests for carrying. They usually start at 5:30 or so when she's tired and hungry and really probably ready for bed due to her odd sleeping habits. Those are all things I did with Kenson but for some reason, it's been harder to do with Conleigh. (Maybe because there's another child involved?)

-I've also been trying to create some one on one time with Conleigh and myself. This includes having Kenson go to the babysitter's for a couple mornings a week. I wasn't sure if this was a good choice because I was worried about Kenson feeling like we were just trying to send him away. But it has been good for all of us. Plus, on the mornings when he goes, D takes him on the way to school and often they stop for doughnuts first. It gives Kenson some one on one Papa time that he has not really gotten. In general, I find that with two kiddos, they play together so much that I honestly feel like there are times where I haven't spent any time playing face to face with them.

I certainly don't pretend to have it all together. But I have found myself using some of these things as anchors in my parenting. It's about having some core values/strategies that help center my reactions.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Locs, month 7

We are now on month 7 of locs. I would say they are really pretty much completely grown together, except for the ones around his face. Those on the hairline are made up of finer hair that just seems to want to come undone more. Our routine is really simple now. I cowash with Aubrey Organics conditioner once every 3-5 days. I spray it with water in the morning or Taliah Wajiid's bodifying mist and then top that off with some coconut oil. Sometimes I do that at night too. I've stopped using the shea butter moisturizer just because it's so heavy. From what I've read, locs can accumulate product build up since they are so dense. So I've switched over to clearer, less heavy products with the exception of my conditioner. I've been retwisting/tightening it about every 5-6 weeks now. That takes about 1 1/2 hours to do. In the first picture below, if you look along his hair line, you can see the new growth and how it is not locked. This is before I retwisted it. The second picture is just a shot of the back after I retwisted it. It's really getting long. Over 4 inches in some places. We just got our first compliment on them from a black man. He was working at Mcdonald's and wanted to know who did the hair. It was quite fun to say "I did" and watch him be surprised.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Adventures from Yesterday

Yes, the culprit is literally standing behind her handiwork.

And we got a dog. Our pug mix, Bella, had been staying with my folks since we traveled to pick up Conleigh. About 3-4 weeks ago, she ran off from their house and ended up getting in a dog fight that she didn't win. So we've been dogless for a while. Bo, the Bassett Hound, was a freebie. Neutered, housebroken, and good with kids. So far he has done well aside from a little whining at his new surroundings/loss of an owner. I've been trying to decide if I was crazy to add a dog to the mix but the magic word "free" managed to get the best of me.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Parenting with God's Word

Sounds like a daunting task, doesn't it? It's a simple concept: God's word and His truth is what will convict children's hearts so parents should use it to instruct their children. We can use it when we need to remind children of how to behave, that God has a standard for behavior and that we should be striving to do our best for God. We can use it when kids are struggling and need to be encouraged about who they are and who they were created to be. I think for some Christians the thought is new; I'm not sure how many people had parents who tried to incorporate God's word into their parenting. I think for some Christians it seems impossible. Like it requires memorizing so much Scripture or like you must have a Scripture filled answer for every moment of the day that you interact with your children.

We have been deliberate in working with our kids on Bible verses at bedtime. I just went through my Bible and wrote down verses that I thought presented the Gospel or provided truths for daily living. I shortened them to 3 or 4 words and then wrote them on index cards. What's been amazing has been the series of verses we've been working on since Conleigh came home. By randomly choosing an index card for the week, we have spent the last month and a half on 1 Corinthians 13. This section of scripture has proven to be so timley as our family has transitioned from three family members to four. Truths like "love is patient, love is kind, love does not envy, love always trusts' have been a part of our nightly routine. My kids have heard the Biblical model for what love looks like and it's been easy to remind them of these things when they are not acting in love or when they react in positive ways that demonstrate love.

And as I was thinking about this section of Scripture, I couldn't help but be thankful for the way these verses popped into our life as well as for thinking of how easily these verses translate to parenting. They are short and often repeated in Christian circles. I bet a lot of us have these verses halfway memorized already just from hearing them at other times. And very easy to pull out of your hat through out the day. This section of Scripture has just been so applicable yet not daunting or overwhelming. What a great starting point for parenting with something other than "Children, obey your parents." (Don't all parents just love that verse. Ha! That's the one that gets pulled out a lot around here. Although it usually gets translated in Mamaspeak to "God says you need to obey your Mama and Papa.") I love hearing Kenson telling me how he was patient or how he was protecting someone. He doesn't always have it right; sometimes his version of protecting is a bit off. But it is so good to hear him trying to apply God's truth to his life.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Homecomings and birthday

Getting ready to party....
We didn't get a chance to celebrate Conleigh's third birthday because that was the day she was released to our custody in Miami. (Which is an amazing God story as both of our kids share connections to our family via their birthdays. Kenson's as born on my birthday and we started praying about Haiti one day after Kenson was born. Conleigh then came home on her birthday.) Her true birthday is in February. But we didn't want to do a party right after her arrival. So we waited a bit and kind of a did a combined homecoming/birthday party for many family members who had not yet met her.

My folks, my brother, my grandma, D's dad and step mom, my aunt, uncle, and 3 cousins, and my deceased mother-in-law's dear friend, Mary and her 2 grandkids joined us for soup and cake after lunch. We ended up with a two year old, 2 three year olds, 2 7 year olds, and a ten year old who played so well together. The cake was shaped like a fish because I knew that would be something she would recognize. Birthdays aren't a new thing to her as her orphanage tried hard to celebrate each child's birthday with a fancy cake and presents. She came home knowing how to sing "Happy Birthday" and as the last few days have progressed often started singing "Appy irtday do you. Appy irt day....Conleigh!" She also knows about presents and wanted to open my folks' gift last night when they arrived. We distracted her with the Easter clothes that my mom brought for her and Kenson. (Which she loved and we then had to hide because she kept wanting to put her dress on.) Here's a few pictures from the day....

The Easter clothes...a preview of the spring collection...

The purple fish cake with edible glass candy water...2 round cakes, one cut to make the tail and fins, decorated with Sixlets candies and a marshmallow eye (which was the piece Kenson wanted to eat)

After being on a wild tear for a good 3 hours, she finally crashed around 4 (before our guests left). She was very eager to see everyone initially by right before this picture was taken, she was refusing to go into the living room where everyone was sitting. She had just had enough of people and need to retreat.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bedtime sweet you'll want to eat it up

Tonight at bed, as Kenson and I were rocking, he smiled and asked if he was Mama's baby boy. And if Conleigh was Mama's baby girl. That was sweet enough but as we continued to talk, I reminded him of how God made him special and that there are so many things about him that are unique. That his pointy eyebrows are like his Mama Juislene's. And that he is big and tall like his Papa Jameson. And that God made his skin and eyes and hair brown like chocolate.

And then I shared that while Mama and Papa don't look the same as him, that we have other things that are the same. Like five fingers on each hand. That my skin isn't chocolate but that God connected my heart to Kenson's in a special way. To which he promptly said, "And I have a chocolate heart!"

Wonder how long the boy will go before he realizes hearts aren't made out of sweet edible confections?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Speech Bubbles

The last few days have left me feeling not very motherly. They've left me feeling like I've got a gigantic speech bubble attached to my head that says, "I'm not sure I'm cut out for this." Under the guise of catharatic writing, I'll give you a few of the hard things about two three year olds, one who is pretty well settled in but has had his world turned upside down, and one who is still trying to figure out if she's coming or going.

1. One child who has slept through the night only a few times since coming home + one child who
is wigging out over the attention the other child gets in the middle of the night when she wakes up which leads him to try to find ways to get that same attention, also in the middle of the night=1 tired Mama who has not gotten enough sleep and doesn't handle the daytime drama very well

2. The tears....over everything. Everyone overreacts with great drama to everything. We cry all day long. (Sometimes that includes the Mama...sometimes not...)

3. Dealing with repeated deliberate disobediences and defiance...from both children. The newest one has no qualms about disobeying and will not stop even dangerous behavior like touching a hot pan or the hot stove. So much of a house and a family is "new" to her. Despite being in a small orphanage, it's a totally different thing to come home and be basically unfettered and allowed access to so much stuff. Even if she's seen it before, it's still new because of the change in environment. In some ways it's like having an 18 month old in a bigger, more mobile body. The other little guy is a very complicit child who would never have dreamed of telling me no before. But he's seen someone else do it and now is wanting to try. (I've been charging him kisses for every no I hear and that seems to be working. We start with five kisses for the first no and increase for everyone thereafter during that day.)

4. Getting a bit lost in the hurts of two little kids who have lost much in their little lives. While looking at orphanage pictures this week, Kenson said he didn't want to have to lay down in his orphanage bed again. And when talking with Conleigh about her initial experiences in Miami which involved being separated from the orphanage director overnight, watching her face perk up with understanding when I talked about Melinda going bye bye while Conleigh was sleeping and that it was probably scary (peh). And then hearing her talk about her friend and say "Julie too!" How scary to be three and wake up with your familiar faces gone, replaced by complete strangers.

But the flipside is today is a new day. From the Message (Psalms 32), "Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be-you get a fresh start, your slate is wiped clean." Today is a new day with new challenges but with a chance for new feelings and new actions. So here's to a new speech bubble that say's, "Today's a new day. Love covers a multitude of mistakes."

Today is a new day to see and hear....

1. Two kiddos who are so eager to see each other in the morning that they often ask first thing where the other one is.
2. The way neither one of them can say the "kuh" sound; it's really charming to hear one little voice calling for the other one with "Tenson"or "Tonleigh".
3. Watching them play and entertain each other with cars and babies and bikes and balls and whatever else they can find.
4. A little girl with a deep throaty laugh and a constant twinkle in her eyes (when she's not mad!)
5. A little boy whose smile electrifies his entire face
6. and to feel amazement at how much their hearts and minds have and will change as they adapt to a new life in a family, as they let themselves believe that this family deal is a special deal, unlike nothing they have ever had before

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chicken Wonderful

Every once in a while you get a recipe that is so good it is worthy of the word "wonderful." Here's my newest recipe that's been christened "wonderful." My wonderful chica, Lisa, brought us this last week. It's fabulous!

Chicken Wonderful

Put everything into a crockpot in this order:

3 frozen chicken breasts
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
1 medium onion, diced (or minced onion to taste)
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chilis
1 can black beans
1 can canelli (or any white) beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can vegetarian baked beans
1 can kernel corn

For soup, don't drain any liquid from the beans. For burritoes, drain about half of the liquid from the canned beans before adding. Do not stir. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Take chicken out and shred with two forks and add to tortillas or serve as soup.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The phrases

Peanut butter sandwiches with Papa at school for lunch

Suessical the Musical, performed by the high school kids-we crashed a special elementary only performance because we can't make a regular performance over the weekend

No naps

SUNSHINE!!! Finally something that resembles springtime.

Outside play followed by outside pooping...I'll spare you the details. The clothes are still lying in my bathtub.

Multiple crying fits over meaningless things like if Conleigh's onsie belongs to Kenson, if a baby doll must be buckled in once toy baby carrier is on the back or if the doll should be buckled in before it is placed on the back, and if a tricycle is positioned so that it's back wheels are completely flush with the back deck.

Homemade cornbread to go with our vegetable soup, made while children were outside playing. Aahh, sweet freedom!

Waiting for Papa to get home for child asleep on the couch. Probably will regret that later on.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wadda know?

Well, I don't think anyone in our house slept through the night last night but for some odd reason, this morning we finally had a tear free, fight free morning. No crying fits, no fighting, no temper tantrums. First morning and probably the longest such stretch since we've had Conleigh home. (Other than when we're in public; for some reason, we do better in public.) This afternoon we of course have had some spats and the little miss has been a crabby mess because she was awake for at least an hour or two in the middle of the night. But in general, the morning was exceptional. D and I even got a couple of cat naps while the kids happily played together.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Slowly but surely....

we will get this family thing figured out.

-My folks came down last night and spent the day with us. Conleigh was warm and interacted with them wonderfully. (Considering the last time she saw them, she pretended to be asleep the entire time.) She even let my dad push her and Kenson in the cart at Wal-mart and be separated from me. She was a bit nervous at first but soon realized that I wasn't going anywhere. When they left, she got the paper doll people that we made of all of our family and picked out Grandma and Grandpa and started telling them, "See you later!"

-We have decided to have Kenson spend a few mornings a week at a friend's house just to give us all a break. With D working long hours, usually around 12 hours a day, Conleigh, Kenson, and I are spending all day together. Kenson constantly plays with Conleigh (which is great) but I think he needs a break. We are still having lots of tears and tantrums during those twelve hour days and the ones on Kenson's part are almost always about playing with Conleigh. (Sharing, trying to boss her around, trying to keep her out of trouble) He said a few times last week that he wants her to go back to Haiti. (Too bad our verse for the week is "Love always perseveres." Can't send her back because we're it!) The amount of crying is enough to make me crazy on some days. And I am spending most of my time with both kids in discipline mode. I also rarely get any one on one time with Conleigh. So having Kenson spend a few hours a day with our babysitter and her boys seems to be a good thing for all of us. Plus on those mornings Kenson gets to ride in to town with Papa all by himself which is a special treat.

-Conleigh is still struggling with obedience. But it is improving. She has finally figured out that I will do what I say and that crying and throwing a fit will not change my mind. So we're getting less behavior related tantrums. She has also started saying "thank you" and "I love you" unprompted. (She tells lots of things "I love you" including cups and the television so we won't get too excited about that but the "thank you" is very genuine.) She is also much more smiley and cuddly with me. She seems to be enjoying her time with me rather than tolerating it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


The part I like least about about parenthoood is pretty easy to identify. It's not diapers or temper tantrums or even vomit. (Can you believe I've actually avoided cleaning up vomit at home thus far in my parenting life? Amazing, but that's another story. Once it happens, I might be changing my mind.) Seriously the thing I despise is how parenthood magnifies your flaws. It takes all these not so lovely traits and exposes them. For some reason, it's as if things like impatience and selfishness and anger and complaining are lying dormant inside me and parenthood forces them out of dormancy and into full fledged blossoming and thriving flowers. (Or perhaps I should say weeds.) I am probably being a bit too generous with myself. Those traits weren't actually dormant; they've been in my life all along. I just could hide them better or I just didn't think about them as much as I do now that I feel the pressure of setting an example for my children.

And the constant pull of parenting seems to leave me feel overexposed, like the big uglies in my life have lives of their own. Yelling when I'm frustrated makes me feel better. Complaining to my husband about his long hours makes me feel like if I can just convince him of what life is like at home as a "single parent" then I can control his work schedule. Throwing a pity party because I am absorbed in my own thoughts regarding the aggrevation of loud crying lets me put my own desires for peace and quiet ahead of someone else's needs.

I find myself often measuring myself up to a person (who I'm not sure, but some person who apparently never yells at her kids, never wishes the kids would quickly fall asleep so she can watch a television show uninterupted, never sticks in a video to get away from the child induced drama, and never complains about things). And of course that's not who I am so I resolve and pray about trying harder. And there's nothing wrong with examining your life and trying to be the person God created you to be, to be dilegent in avoiding sin or seeking forgiviness. But I think I've been living in two extremes: the place of letting those small bad habits get the best of me and the place of feeling badly because of it. I am who I am, created by a loving God. My flaws are part of who I am too. And while I don't want to let those flaws run my life and dictate my personality, I have lately been finding myself feeling very overexposed, as if my less than perfect life is taking center stage in my thoughts.

Overexposed, yet completely hidden. Isn't that how sin makes us feel? Vunerable yet fiercly independent. Weak yet stone faced and unflinching around others. That I hate, how my personal junk is no different than anyone else's personal junk but how I someone get lost in perfectionism and willing myself to do better. I hate how parenting points out weaknesses I thought I had basically conquered, weaknesses that I am much more adept at hiding from the regular people who I see but weaknesses that rear their heads when I have to deal with the people I love the most like my kids and husband. And I hate that feeling of being picked clean, clear down to the bone, as if God is constantly pulling and peeling layers of callous off of my heart. It's not that peeling and pulling is bad; it's just that it's uncomfortable. And those times where God does a little tidying up in my heart are often so private that I'm left with just my own thoughts rattling around in my head. Being left to rattle privately is sometimes not a good thing.

So that's it. I despise parenthood for the way it strips me of not just an outer of sanctimony and perfection (let's face it, it's hard to keep up your facade when you're still in your pajamas at 4 p.m.) but also for the way it lays bear my heart, the way it exposes my flaws and coaxes my heart and brain into some cat and mouse game of sin and guilt that hopefully ends with grace and redemption.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I is for Ice

A couple of ice related activities...

Ice painting using powdered drink mix

Dip an ice cube in powdered drink mix and watch as the ice melts a bit and creates a watercolor type picture. (Use unsweetened drink mix so you don't end up with sticky pictures.) The results? Fruity smelling and colorful.

And of course, making ice cream...

We followed this recipe for ice cream in a bag. It worked great. Took less than ten minutes to set up. We sat in a circle on the floor and squished and shook and pounded and stomped gently. My only criticism was that one bag made a pretty small amount by the time you squeezed it out of the bag but my kids loved it.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Can't Live Without Em...

I had just been thinking about doing a post on a new book/DVD I got and then someone else was talking about not being able to get their newly adopted kiddo to sit and watch tv. So I thought I'd share some of my favorite resources, ones that my kids have loved, or ones that I love. And yes, I probably could live with out them, but they certainly make my life easier or bring joy into the lives of my kids.

The Wiggles videos/DVDs: For newly adopted kids, I think movies or tv shows that have plots are overwhelming. It's all about words and they don't know the language well enough to process what's happening so those shows bore them. Kenson would not watch tv for anything when he first came home. And there were times when I needed a break, where I needed him to sit quietly by himself. Plus a little tv time has served as a transition time to our nap time. The Wiggles came to our rescue. All songs, almost all about relevent vocabulary, not at lot of overstimulating graphics, plus they are generally catchy and not annoying to an adult.

Please, Puppy, Please by Spike Lee: This book has been loved by both of our kids. Simple rhythmic language as two black or biracial kids play with their puppy all day. He also has written Please, Baby, Please which is similar. Another book that is illustrated by the same illustrator (Kadir Nelson) is He's Got the Whole World in His Hands. Kenson loved that one too.

MagnaDoodle: Whoever invented this toy is a genius. An attached pen that is had to lose, something too big to easily be dropped, no little parts (other than stampers if yours comes with those). It's great for plane trips, car trips, church, and just playing at home. Lots of ages can use it and it is flexible enough for every kid to really get something out of it.

Big ole' bag of animal crackers, available at our local Walmart for $1.94: my friend, Natalie, once told me that she makes her snack time easier and cheaper by only offering one snack item at almost every snack. I decided to try this and have our afternoon snack time be animal crackers. I thought my kids would get bored. But not really. Every once in a while we have a piece of cheese or some fruit or chocolate chips, etc.. But mostly it's animal crackers. No fussing over choices, easy to shop for, and the big bag lasts a long time.

Read -n- See DVD Bible: Just got this gem in an attempt to get my kids to be occuppied while I do my quiet time in the morning. It has 40 Bible stories, each one with a story in the book and retold on the DVD with words, picture, and songs. The best part is that it is not just continuous play. The book is divided by stories and the DVD lets you stop after each story which was just what I was looking for. I didn't want a 30-40 minute video, just something about 10-15 minutes in length so I could do my quiet time while they watched the video. Each video section has a memory verse, retells the story with pictures, and then sings a song. We usually watch two stories each day. Not the best video quality as it's just the pictures from the book but for my kids, it works.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Month Home

Here's the general run down:

Conleigh is continuing to do well with allowing D and I to nurture her. She is doing much better at letting Mama in but if she is scared or overwhelmed, and we're both available, she still wants D. She is not doing great sleeping through the night. She is sleeping in her own room by herself and falls asleep with no problems. But she often wakes up in middle of the night still. She is getting better about not laying bed and crying but is coming into our room to crawl in bed with us. She is napping during the day but I wish she were sleeping better at night. She says a handful of English words/phrases including brush your teeth, look, come here, be back, wash your hands, shoes, socks, diaper, crackers, puppy, and good night. She has also started responding to our requests with "why". What newly adopted Haiti baby does that?????? (One with a three year old brother who uses that as his favorite word.) She can sing Old McDonald Had a Farm, Deep and Wide, and Fere Jacques. She likes Curious George on tv and loves the book, Puppy Please by Spike Lee. (It was one of Kenson's favorites when he first came home too.)

Her biggest struggle right now is with boundaries. She is still testing us at most every turn and deliberately does whatever we say no to. This behavior is one of those "push my button" behaviors with kids so I am having to really work at not overreacting to it. I have been really praying that she would come to have a heart that loves goodness and walks humbly with the Lord. (Micah 6:6-8) Last week, my heart was filled with hope as she picked up something she wasn't supposed to have, I told her no and gave her the "I mean business look", she looked back at me, and actually put it back. Usually, she continues in disobedience and it requires some type of physical intervention (ie removing her, removing the object, etc.). I've also really been praying for God to break down language barriers and teach her heart the meaning of "obedience" and "disobedience." I know that sounds silly but for me, having a child who understands those words makes it easier for me to discipline.

Kenson is struggling still. He is emotional and teary a lot. I really think he had just gotten to a point where he felt very confident in himself and Conleigh coming home has made him backtrack in confidence. He had grown so much in the last 3-4 months and I think he is now having to sort out his place once again. We are seeing lots of copying Conleigh as well as some feigned ignorance over simple things like getting a pull up at nap time. He is also asking us to do things for him, things that he knows how to do. So we're back to some babying and doing for him, even though he is capable of doing certain things already. He is also seeing Conleigh's disobedience and now trying some of that himself. He was/is a very compliant child so he's now experimenting with saying no and trying to push the limits. My prayer for him is that he would understand that he is fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who has known him from before he was born (Psalms 139), that he would understand how precious he is to the Lord and to us.

D and I are, well, looking like ducks. I feel like I probably look okay on the surface but my feet are spinning pretty fast underwater. We're still working on a routine and D just went back to work this Monday. Being home all the time can make me feel a bit claustrophobic and I have been fighting some anxiety over being home by myself. I also find myself going between feeling like I'm unsure of how to best parent my kids as they struggle with their emotions/behaviors and then feeling like I can do it. And since life isn't meant to be boring, I also decided to do some major rearranging in our house over the last few weeks. (Partially due to having to clean out our guest room so Conleigh had a bedroom and partially because I wanted to get our toy area moved to one location.) Soccer has also started so we're looking at longer days. Right now, practice is just until 5:30 but we will soon start having much later nights. As to what I pray for myself, um, I find myself having way too many verses that need my attention so I'll spare you and not post them.