Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanks Birthday!!

I have so much to be thankful for on this day of gratitude. I have been blessed beyond measure and today one of my blessings turns 2! Sara Lily is 2!! It's hard to believe that Sara has been home for over a year now and that my baby is no longer a baby. When we first committed to adopt Sara our goal was to have her home before her first birthday. We did it! Although it wasn't quite the grandiose celebration I had envisioned in my mind we were at least able to be by her side to celebrate her first year of life! (She had croup last year and was not well enough to have the "grand" party I had hoped for.) Today I am grateful that we can celebrate her life once again, her journey and the pure joy she has brought to our family. And this time she will be surrounded by many who love her and she will get the "grand" party that she deserves. Complete with a "grand" meal and tasty treats! (Sure wish her birthday would fall on Thanksgiving every year. It sure makes it easy to plan!)

This past year Sara has learned so much and has really become. She no longer curls up in rolly polly mode when Liam approaches her. She no longer clasps her hands in fear and for comfort. She no longer stares at her hands out of habit because that was one of the few things she had to look at when she was lying in a crib in the orphanage. She makes eye contact. She babbles, signs, laughs, cries for attention. She's walking and has been for almost 2 months. She holds her own now when Liam attacks her. She and Liam laugh and play together. She drinks from a straw. She self feeds finger foods and just this week fed herself yogurt from a spoon. She's learning how to drink from a big cup. She has graduated from her crib and is in a big bed. She runs at the mention of food and bath. She can climb out of the bath. She can brush her hair and her teeth. She can climb up on furniture. She can climb our 12 stairs (still working on the coming down part.) She helps when she's getting dressed by putting her hands and arms through the sleeves. She can wear teeny tiny pig tails. (I have said before that she truly belongs in our family because of her slow hair growth.) She can see straight and no longer has googlie eyes. She blows kisses and waves hi and bye! She dances and LOVES it! She is simply amazing and has come a really long way from the first time we met her. Remember, she couldn't even roll over at the age of 10 months. She is one smart cookie! A stubborn, feisty cookie but very sweet 99% of the time.

Time is funny because unless I stop and really take note of all the happenings of a year it really doesn't seem like it has been a year at all. I guess it's because we're all growing up and old together that I don't see the changes until I look at pictures from a year ago then I realize how much has taken place. With Sara too, it just feels like she has always been a part of our lives so unless I stop and remind myself that we spent 4 months paper chasing and fundraising, traveled over 6000 miles to rescue her, spent 40 days in her country, and brought her home at the age of 11 months, I forget that we've ever been apart.

Today is a special day! It is a day of celebration for Sara but it is also a day of Thanksgiving! I am grateful for all of my beautiful children. I am grateful for my husband who loves me for me and is willing to open his heart and love all of his children, even the ones who aren't of his flesh and blood. I am grateful for the gift of adoption! I am grateful for 2 women who gave birth to 2 of my children and allowed me to be their mom. I am grateful that my heart allows me to love and that I am able to live the life that I could have only dreamed of!! I am grateful to my Lord and Savior who has made all of this possible. Happy Thanks Birthday!!

Sneak peek of our family pics taken October 2013 in Midway Utah.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Greatest Show On Earth

I have said many times that life is like a circus. By definition a circus is a traveling company of acrobats, trained animals, and clowns that give performances. So minus the traveling part, my life is definitely a circus. I no doubt have a 5 ring circus including acrobats (Liam), trained animals (all 5), and clowns (Beck). My husband and I often say that we're raising a bunch of animals so it all makes sense. I am the lion tamer and my brood are my cubs! For the most part my job and circus is entertaining and enjoyable but some days it's very disappointing. Most days I have my lions under control but other days I am one step closer to being mauled. This past week was one of those "Heaven Help Me" weeks. Nothing major, traumatic, or serious happened, just the little things that added up and made me ROAR! 

It's the little things like my acrobat constantly climbing, hitting, throwing, chasing everyone with objects in hand ready to chuck it at them. Or him taking off his diaper constantly and peeing all over!! (He's 3, I know he should be potty trained, and I know that him taking his diaper off is a sign he may be ready, but I'm not sure I'm ready. It's almost easier to keep him in a diaper so I can at least contain some of his mess.) Then he undresses several times a day when he hears the shower, bath or running water, then gets in the shower, bath, or running water. (Since he has a feeding tube, I still put a dressing/guaze sponge around his stoma so his skin doesn't get irritated. So every time he actually gets in the bath or shower after he's already been dressed, it means I have to redo his dressing too.) 

It's the older animals who complain when they have to do any sort of job. "But I did the dishwasher yesterday." "Did you use a bowl and spoon for breakfast, a plate and cup for lunch, and a fork for dinner? Then yes I know you just did it yesterday because we use dishes EVERY day." Or when they don't want to clean the play room after a mess they just made. (First of all we have way too many toys so this issue will be resolved when I secretly make a run to the DI with a bag full of toys. It's time for a toy clean out anyway because as Christmas approaches Santa won't bring new toys unless we donate old ones.) But if you make a mess, you clean it up. Or I love it when I am told, "That's not my job, I'm not doing it." "Well when you need a ride to soccer, hockey or dance, I'm not doing it either."

Or the ones who say "I didn't hear you." After I have only said or asked a dozen times.

Or it's the backpacks, jackets, and shoes that get left right in the middle of the floor the minute the kids come in from school when we have hooks right behind the door they just came through to hang their stuff and a shoe basket 50 feet away.

Then there is my clown who is constantly smacking my bum, or teasing the others with a look of "Huh! That wasn't me."

With Halloween just passing, I have picked up more candy wrappers than I can count. It drives me nuts when the kids eat outside the kitchen because they know the table is the only place for food. And I know that we've all been taught to not cry over spilled milk, but after several cups (even sippie cups) of spilled milk, I'm gonna cry!

So you see, a lot of these things are just typical, life with 5 kids stuff, but for some reason last week the accumulation of all these things made me want to quit my job! But the real truth is, I really should have been fired the way I handled these things. I know could have handled these situations a lot better than I did and knowing this made me feel like I was not cut out to be a lion tamer mom. That is the real, underlying reason I was so discouraged. It's not that I am not cut out to be a mom or don't want to be a mom, it's that I am not being the mom that I want to be. I don't want to be a shouty mom who roars back. I want to be calm yet firm, kind yet serious mom. I want to be a more patient mom and want my kids to know I am in charge. I want to have fun but teach hard work too! I just want them to have a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T and at the same time give and teach them the respect that they deserve. A few days ago I posted a picture of me on Facebook looking perturbed and mentioned this very thing, that I sometimes feel I am not cut out to be a mom. I didn't post it to get reinforcement that I am a great mom. I wasn't looking for compliments. I just wanted to get a few "Amens" from other moms to know that I am not alone. I got several and I appreciate the support because truly it does make a difference to know that even the best moms can feel like the worst moms. One friend mentioned that as long as my kids feel loved then that's all that matters!

I am pretty sure my kids feel loved and I realize that they're only little and are just testing their boundaries and learning. So I hope that I can set those boundaries and do a better job at reinforcing positive behavior. I too am a work in progress and am still learning how to be the best lion tamer I can be. I have to understand that my days of cleaning up their cages aren't over and won't be for a while. And that when I chose to be a mom of 5 kids, it IS my job and I have to do my best. I have to stick to my word when I say "I am not giving you a ride to soccer." And actually follow through with consequences given. I have to give up the distractions (phone, internet, etc.) when my kids need me and schedule my day more productively so I am not adding more stress. Most importantly I just have to sit back and enjoy the show and have confidence in my little lions. Because even though they are animals, they really are trained. And you know, one day I'm going to miss the sticky handprints on the walls and tripping over shoes and toys. I'm going to miss the screams and cries when they are all grown up and wish that I can drive them to soccer, hockey, or dance one more time. So as annoying as these things are some days, these are the things that make a house a home.

We just had parent teacher conferences this past week and report cards sent home and they all did fantastic. Their teachers and peers commented on how kind and helpful they are so I think they are going to be just fine. Someone once told me that you know you're kids are great kids when they act better away from you than when they are with you. With that said, I know they will be just fine. "Perfection is a road, not a destination." "When you aim for perfection you discover it's a moving target. "I may not be perfect but when I look at my children I know that I got something in my life perfectly right." My life may be a crazy circus but it really is THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH.