Sunday, November 25, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bed Buddies

This might explain why Kenson has seemed to be really over tired the last few days.  He's been saying that Zeke crawls in bed with him in the morning but we've never really caught him.  But tonight when I went in to check on them, this is what I found.  If Zeke weren't such a crazy sleeper, it might not be too bad but the kid seriously rotates in a full circle while he sleeps.  It definitely looks like Kenson is getting the raw end of the deal...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pipe Cleaner Curls and Conleigh's Locs

We had family pictures today and Conleigh's hair really could have used a good shaping but I didn't have time to do that.   It looks a little scraggly, like we just let it grow and have paid no attention to it.  (Which is what we did.)  Really, I think some layering in a bob style would help but that's for another day.  Not wanting the scraggly look in our photos, I needed to figure out an alternative.  So I decided we'd try pipe cleaner curls.  Really, people have been doing similar things for years.  From the old foam rollers to straw sets, people have twisted their wet or damp hair around an object to give it a corkscrew shape.  

I used the tutorial available at Naptural Journey but really, I don't know that you need a tutorial.  You fold a pipe cleaner in half and twist it, leaving an "eye" at the top.  Then you thread the ends of the hair through the eye and coil it up on the pipe cleaner until you get to the scalp.  Fold the pipe cleaner on the scalp end over to secure it and you're done.  Then repeat about 200 times.  I did it on freshly cowashed hair and used Darcy Botanicals Twisting Cream to help give the curls some staying power.  It took me about two hours to get them all in.  (I did not do every loc as a separate curl.  I did up to four locs together on on pipe cleaner.)  Conleigh slept in the pipe cleaners and the hair dried overnight.  (You do want the hair to be thoroughly dry as even slightly damp hair will not hold the curls like it ought to.)  While she was eating breakfst, I took the pipe cleaners out.  Then I separated the locs so the curls were not clumped together.  She really liked it.  I'm hoping that she will be gentle with them and they will last all week...we'll see.

7 English words...We're on our Way!

I know you are all dying to know but Zeke can now say "bye bye", "ball", "shoe", "gentle", "please", "bath" and "Bo" in English.  He also uses sign for "more", "eat", drink", "all done" and "sleep."  He understands so much more than that though.  (Language development usually follows a pretty predictable pattern so this mirrors what most babies do when they are learning to talk.  They understand words before they can speak them.)   He is quick to pick up when someone tells him to pick up the toys.  He hurries to get his shoes when told to get his shoes.  He crawls up in his booster seat if someone tells him that it's time to eat.  He does say a few things in Mandarin but we've honestly heard him say very few things that we understood in Mandarin (which isn't saying much because our Mandarin is non existant).  Lots of animal names due to an Android app.  (Gow for dog, sheen wah for frog, nineyo for cow, maa for horse, etc..)  He chatters all the time but who knows what he is actually saying.  For all we know he could be telling us we stink like bad cheese.  I digress...

 Realistically, he is probably at the point where he may be able to recognize some Mandarin but it is fast slipping away from him.  It's sad.  I would love for my kids to not have that loss but unless you have the ability to converse frequently with your child in their first language, they are going to lose it.  Honestly, I think the loss of language is right after loss of first family in a list of adoptive losses.  It's one of those things that if they chose to return to their birth country, that they will instantly miss and feel big feelings over as they will be unable to communicate with birth families and others from their birth countries.  They will probably find themselves frustrated because while in country, many will expect them to speak the language.  It's one of those things that it is expected for a Chinese person to speak Mandarin or a Haitian to speak Creole.  (Other parts related to culture are a little more flexible as they are determined by the family unit living within the culture.)  In all three of kids' situations, there just isn't a good local resource available.  You can't take Mandarin or Creole in high school or or go to culture school.  There is an Asian culture center about 30 minutes away and I know they sponsored a native speaker speaking contest but that's more to help preserve the languages for kids growing up in homes that speak an Asian language.

No Hands But Ours has a great read on language and international adoptions; it's worth the read as it shares research in an easy to read format.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Kid Play Space-Completed!

D goes back to work next week which means he has been off for over a month.  I am so grateful that his employer lets him take paid leave; most dads don't get to do that.  And I am so grateful that he chooses to do that; a lot of dads don't do that.  Lest you think it's all roses and sunshine where I sit around and just sing his praises, I also am grateful he's been home to finish up a bunch of projects!
Like our backyard.  He hauled mulch and put in our gravel dig pit this week.  (The swing set and play structure were put up right after we moved in.  We actually paid the fence company to sink the posts for the play structure which was definitely the best $70 I've ever spent on a construction related project.)  Our kid space is now complete and I love it as do the actual children. 
Things I like best: 
1.  The swing set because it was free  - My friend, Kelly, was getting rid of it because her daughter had outgrown it.  It's a bit faded from the sun but still sturdy and well used.
2.  The stump balance beam because it was also free - The corner of the yard where we put in the play area actually had a medium size spruce.  (The variety that eventually take over the whole yard)  So we cut it down but we kept the stumps to use for this.  It's great for balancing or for sitting.
3.  The gravel dig pit because I'm pretty sure we will get hours of entertainment out of it.  I opted for gravel over sand for several reasons.  I was wanting to avoid problems with alley cats.  I was wanting to avoid sand in shoes; I think I would rather deal with gravel.  I was wanting to avoid sand in the hair.  Between playing trucks and digging with shovels, the kids have had a great time.
4.  Communication tubes made from plumbing supplies - I have no idea what the actual name of this product is.  But it's cheap and it works.  Zeke thinks it is so much fun to yell into them and I've enjoyed watching him.
We still have some major landscaping in the back, front, and side yards but I'm definitely glad to have a kid friend space.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pencil Bags: An A Ha Moment

Thank you, Pinterest!  Someone, somewhere pinned a link to a very smart mom who created activity books for her kids using binders and pencil bags.  I was really looking for ideas of quick and easy things to entertain my kids during the sermon on Sundays and while I'm cooking supper and what I found was the post on using pencil bags to organize activities.  So clever!  They zipper shut but durable.  They have grommetted holes so you can put them in a three ring binder.  Multiple bags can fit in one binder so you get multiple activities organized into one compact space.  Because there is a clear plastic front, you can see what is in them.  And the time committment to get it organized is however long it takes you to check out at Walmart or dig through your box of unused school supplies.  Pure genius, I tell you! 

I made a binder for each kid, with three pencil bags in each binder.  I also put a clear page protector in each binder so that I could put in coloring sheets, word finds, mazes, etc..  The activities for the pencil bags require minimal planning on my part.  Things like flashcards, wiki sticks, a small notepad with crayons and stickers, and several popsicle stick activities (matching number names to the numbers, popsicle sticks with velcro on the ends for building, matching color names to the color, etc.).  After church on Sunday, I take all the used papers out and change out the activities if needed.  Really, I usually just change one activity each week so two of them stay the same.  Again, it requires minimal work on my part. 

I had an extra bag so I decided I would use that in my diaper bag as a toy bag for Zeke.  Right now, that bag currently has Hot Wheels in it.  Any small toys will fit though.  While I like the binders, I am actually more impressed with the one I use in my diaper bag.  It keeps all the little toys together.  It doesn't get lost in the bag because the clear plastic is sturdy enough to keep it upright.  It doesn't get trashed by being shoved in my bag or tossed on the floor and stepped on or chewed on.   And the zipper is something Zeke can open by himself.

So many possibilities for these since they will hold items that are not necessarily flat.  Maybe organizing all those stupid little parts that go to stuff around your house that you don't need but don't want to lose.  (Like screws to a crib you no longer use or the handful of extra cabinet knobs you have laying around just in case.)   Or as a way to organize desk supplies with bags for thumbtacks, binder clips, envelopes, etc..  I know I'm way too excited about this...just love it when someone points out to me an alternate, practical use for an item.  Just thought I'd share!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cardinal Nuptials

Our backyard has been such a blessing to us.  Our lot is next to three empty lots:  two are owned by a developer who plans to put in duplexes (bummer) and one is an afalfa field.  We see all sorts of animals.  From deer who like to nibble on the apples from the apple tree in one of the lots to a groundhog that lives under our neighboor's shed to a variety of birds like bluebirds, finches, and cardinals.  Today, I noticed that there was a pair of cardinals sitting in our tree, trying to eat at our birdfeeder.  The red male was on the ground and the tan female was in the branches.  I pointed this out to the kids who then wanted to look.  I asked Kenson if he had seen them both and pointed out again that they were in different locations.  His response?  "Yes, I see both the girl and the boy."  Then he paused, "Are they married?"  Ah sweetness!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Random Lunch Conversation #432

Conleigh:  I'm going to die tomorrow.

Me:  Oh really.  Why would you say that?

Conleigh:  Because Jesus is going to come back tomorrow and take me with Him.

Me:  Oh really.  How do you know that?

Conleigh:  Because I'm very smart.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Why Not?

Boys become kings and girls become queens...when they are loved with hearts that say "Why not?  We can do that!"

For some reason, people think we are amazing, extra special, almost super heroes. 

Because we've adopted three kids. 

We are not amazing. 

We are not extra special. 

And we're not super hereos. 

We are regular people who did not say "That seems impossible.  That seems too hard."  We are regular people who instead said "Why not?  We can do that!"

Why not?  Why not you?  Why not choose that girl?  That boy?  That queen?  That king?