Sunday, December 28, 2014


Two Christmases down, one to go. My family is today with Grandpa Bob Bob and Grandma Jean Jean. So over the river literally and on the slab (Tom’s reference to the highway leading to my parent’s community about 40 minutes away) we go. Having a day off in between Christmas Day and today was a necessary coincidence. After the excitement of Christmas Eve with Tom’s family and our own family Christmas, Sidney was able to unwind a bit. That is until she realized the next day she was seeing her cousin Finn. 

This year she created gifts for everyone. I watched her making pictures out of all of her art supplies. When I was looking away, massive quantities of scotch tape were used in the construction of these masterpieces. I went to find some decorative fabric ribbon for Sunday School gifts. The new rolls I bought mysteriously went missing. One time around the wrapped package isn’t enough according to what I found later when it was too late. Double it up around the package. Note to self. Keep my eye on her craft supply intake.

If only fake facial hair were real facial hair.

This occasion is one of a couple over this particular holiday that I’ve had to maintain an extreme level of patience. She is on sensory overload. There is an official term for what she is doing, but Tom and I call it spinning. Flighty, from one activity to the next without much focus, cranky behavior, easier meltdowns. Eli on the other hand is in heaven. No amount of relaxation is enough. And when your aunt has supplied movies for gifts and a friend has given you candy for the class exchange, well that’s about all a boy needs. Factor in the cell phone received for a gift, and you have a recipe for a happy tween. I could go on for hours about all the discussions Tom and I had before making this purchase. Should we get him one? Should we wait? Is it really necessary? Can he continue to use my phone while we are gone despite the fact that it is inconvenient, because I can’t immediately email my clients back which I insist upon doing if at all possible. In the end, the practical decision was for him to have a phone.

My friend wrote a great contract for her son when he received his phone. It includes things like the phone being on the counter in the kitchen in the same spot by 9PM every night plugged in. Parents have ultimate control, meaning it can be taken away at any time. Having the phone is a privilege. In addition, we thought it completely unnecessary for him to have a smartphone. He has a tablet he earned a couple of summers ago working off the money for me doing chores. Tom and I discussed how frightening the internet truly can be, factoring in access anytime over a phone with a 12 year old. The phone and text is necessary in our daily lives. Internet access for a tween anytime is not.

Okay, time to start another day! 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Musings of Trees

We went out for our Christmas tree. Tom grew up with fake trees. He has been over ruled since Eli was born. No fake trees. So we set out to find the perfect tree. 

We tromped all over looking the perfect fraser fir. Total cost $25. We found a great little place for half the cost of the dog and pony show we used to go to. Now Tom needs to stop telling people about it before they raise their prices. Even Eli in his tween rejection of all things uncool was excited and on board for the event. So I decided to attempt a family photo to record the event. 

As any normal family knows these events can soon turn into something entirely different. Am I actually gnashing my teeth in the photo? Anyway, this picture already makes me laugh, so I am including it in the post. Just keeping it real.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Turkeys By My Turkey

I posted this last Sunday but am finally sharing. Our church starts Christmas program rehearsal the week before Thanksgiving. I asked Sidney how it went driving home from church. "We practiced for the show mom. I'm a wise man,and I have to be stinky." Okay then. Sometimes it's better not to ask. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

"So much to say, so much to say..."

Settle in. This is a long one...

I sat at lunch with Sidney yesterday hardly recognizing the girl wolfing down a hot ham and cheese. I liked observing her routine during this particular part of the day. I was pleasantly surprised the kindergarten and first grade teachers watch over them, standing there making sure they are eating while maintaining a quiet environment until they are done. This might sound a bit overbearing, however this is exactly the environment Sidney needs to focus on eating. 

As I sat with seven first graders, I was moved to heights of popularity. “Are you supposed to stay quiet the whole time you eat,” I asked in stunned silence, looking at them move through the motions. 20 minutes isn’t long when you’re in first grade. “We can talk if we have a visitor,” I was advised. Throughout lunch I was quizzed on math facts and given the rundown of how many kids knew Tom (if you are new to our story - my husband). It seems when you are a heating and cooling person in a small town, most people have had you in their house at one point or another.
So thankful for people like my dad who are veterans. Sidney made this at school. 
As Sidney ate her lunch, I realized it was the second time this week I had seen an area where she has grown. Sometimes we refer to Sidney as an, “old soul.” I should explain first, Sidney is a very happy girl. I think school in many ways has taught her to be a kid. That being said, a child who experiences serious neglect in the first part of their life, in survival mode for extended periods, has a very serious side. It comes out when she is triggered emotionally. This is the face I’m talking about below where she is feeling overwhelmed.

Fueling the machine....Eli is a size 12 shoe and about an inch away from passing me in height. How can this be happening?
She read part of a prayer on Thursday during the schools morning church service. She was allowed to come say hi after the service. I can honestly say it's the widest she has ever smiled at me. It was the most wonderful gift. When I watched her earlier in the front, it was the first time in a while I wondered what her birth parents would think of her. I think of them constantly. But could they comprehend her life and what is available to her?
Tom made the most awesome chicken soup....
And as I read back through this blog a week after I originally wrote it, I can't believe the timing. Out of nowhere the other day Sidney looked outside and said, "It's night time in China right now Mom. Don't ask me how I know. I just do." I continued with a conversation about time and it being a different day in China. "I have a China mom, and I don't know who she is. I don't even know her name." 

I don't know why, but whenever this stuff comes up I become completely calm and am able to talk about it without feeling upset or becoming emotional. I think it's what I know I have to do for her to deal with the situation best as she grows up.

"Yes Sidney,  but God knows her name. He knows her, and he watches over her." "I know Mom." It's those moments that snap me back into the reality of why I speak so openingly about her adoption, about her story, about what goes on in this part of the world. 

 I talked with my adoptive moms from our travel group on Facebook. They are amazing. We are immediately able to understand one another in that moment. We are all walking the same road. It's in those moments I am entirely thankful for social media. Within minutes of sharing, my message indicator lit up. And they were so encouraging, letting me know this is so positive. She is talking about it.

I could go on forever, but I will share more in the coming weeks. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

And the award for best costume is...

Trick or treating was spent chasing behind two first graders. My niece in the middle and Sidney were almost at a dead run until we slowed them down. Tom is from a town small enough you can go door to door. This was only after Sidney and I  completed our downtown. Let's say it was a relief to see her with her cousin carefree. Too much noise and excess energy are not always easy for Sidney.

I was grateful it was Friday night and I didn't have to get her up early the next day. That is until construction across the street resumed at 7:40am. Our previous neighbors moved and the house was torn down making way for new construction.
Eli seemed to take it okay that he was not going to be able to take part in the festivities and instead sat with Grandpa Rich watching some kind of wilderness survival reality show. I tell Tom I need way too many creature comforts and critique why anyone might want to endure such hardship while he tries to drown out my voice.
I want to mention Orphan Sunday despite the fact that I am late.  Children anywhere without a family are a heartache. I sometimes grow weary of people's lack of attention and treating the situation no matter where the child as something completely off the radar.  We can at least pray. I am climbing of my soapbox. 
20 minutes to bedtime. The days are entirely too fast.

Friday, October 24, 2014

August Rewind

I had to rewind a bit to August and a weekend with cousin Finn staying at Grandma Jeans house for the weekened.  Eli is such a good sport with his cousin. What other 12 year old will put on a blindfold and participate in his cousin's 5 year old birthday party game. Especially a 12 year old that is only a couple of inches away from being as tall as his 5 ft 9 mother.