Thursday, April 30, 2009

Potty Signs

Infant potty training is not the same as toddler potty training. When you begin training a speaking child, you are considered successful in potty training when you child tells you prior making a mess, "I need to go potty!"

With infant potty training, you are considered successful when you learn to read you child's natural signals at get them to the potty quickly. For example, if you ask your toddler to dance and instead she squats and turns away from you, you don't assume she's being stubborn but instead put down the camera and rush her to the potty.
Amanda is using hand signals more frequently to tell me if she needs to go, but I still rely heavily on reading her other cues.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Trampoline Accident

A friend of ours found out why trampolines are so dangerous for little kids and mulitply kids at one time.
This little boy is just three. He was on a tramp with other children who were "bouncing" him. Well, a three-year-old flops around like a rag doll only he's not and he breaks. Poor kid!


Daddy started this little tradition of counting the spindles on her crib before getting out. Very cute!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Adoption and Attachment

Attachment is a word used frequently in adoption. The question was asked, "How am I fostering a strong attachment with Amanda?" Well, besides adoptive nursing, babywearing, and infant potty training, I follow this simple bit of advice: "When you are working, never send your child off to play."

I have kept this proverb in the front of my mind for the last year and a half. When Amanda was awake, she was either eating with me, playing with me, or "helping" me with a chore. I have been very creative in figuring out ways that she could help or just keep busy near me. Often this means hand-over-hand guidance and everything takes a long time, but if I wasn't training her to do a chore, I would have to be chasing her out of my cupboards.

This morning she helped me mix up the pancakes. I helped her add the salt, baking soda, sugar and cinnamon. She enjoyed stirring the eggs, helping me mix the batter and I helped her pour the first batch of pancakes on the griddle. Then we moved her helping chair* to the sink and she spent time filling that little green cup with water- one teaspoon at a time.

*helping chair- one of our captain's chairs. The side arms give her a bit more security so she doesn't step off the edge. There used to be two boat cushions behind her so she wouldn't fall backwards, too.

Now, whenever she sees or hears me in the kitchen, she rushes in to see if she can help. If I don't put her to work, she starts rummaging in the cupboards and doing her own kitchen work.

Here's a handy tip for seasoning meats: Allow your child to add seasonings to the clean dry roasting pan or dish before adding the meat. Then when they want to taste the herbs after they've been added, you can let them. Once, I poured a 1/4 teaspoon of celery seeds into Amanda's hand for her to dump in the pan. Instead, she popped the whole handful in her mouth. "Mm mm," she said.

For me, attachment is defined by a child who is happy, secure, obedient, creative, trusting and helpful. My parenting choices are based more on developing moral character and spiritual health than simply the vague notion of attachment. Because of my commitment to this moral training, I want to spend as much time as possible with Amanda so that I can train her. Once I have been successful in training her to do something, like using the potty, I want to allow her to keep practicing that skill. This means we have rarely left her with babysitters.

The key to keeping my sanity while spending some much time with Amanda has been to be vigilant about bedtimes and nap times. When it's bedtime, she goes to bed- usually.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sweet Visions

This was such a beautiful sight out my kitchen window. My sweet baby girl hanging out with her Daddy. I should have been working on dinner like I was supposed to be doing instead of snapping pictures. But who could resist?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Historical Evidence for Jesus

My cousin just called to warn me that Mckmama put up a link to my blog after my comment about the historical accuracy of Jesus. Too late! Over 600 people have already popped over to check us out.

This site is mostly about my sweet little girl but I'm happy to share where I learned that I could trust the story of Jesus and not check my intellect at the door.

Greg Boyd's Letters to A Skeptic I was first introduced to Greg Boyd when I heard a taped sermon of his in the Cities. He points out that the Gospels have the ring of truth which means they were written by humans being humans and not some one trying to fabricate a story. In John's Gospel he boasts in an indirect way that Jesus loved him best and that he out ran Peter to the tomb. That always makes me laugh when I think of it.

Don Beirle's Surprised by Faith Don's book contains a graph of the number of ancient manuscripts of various historical and literary works from history. The number of New Testament manuscripts is staggering compared to the number of manuscripts from Plato's writings. Mind blowing.

I also love Dr. Bierle's work on creation evidence. Realizing that evolution requires just as much faith, if not more than believing the Bible, helped me completely trust in the Bible.

It is a choice, you do have to choose which to believe. If I'm wrong and there is no heaven and I'm just going to rot in the ground when I die, what have I lost? I'd have spent my days blissfully loving others around me and not worrying about getting my share. Oh, well.

But if you are wrong, what will you lose?

Snapaholics- Our First Order

We placed our first order with Snapaholics. There is definitely a learning curve to using and ordering these little fun bits of magic. The shipping is the same no matter what you order so order a bunch to make it worth your while. Also, order at least to packs of each color you want. We only ordered one per color and I can tell already there won't be enough to do the braids small enough so they will fit into the little clips. Then there's the whole thing about getting Amanda to sit still for that many little braids.

My first attempt was a bunch of tiny little twists. I love the twists because they are so cute, but they didn't stay tights and looked messy shortly. Next I tried a few clips in the front after a bath with the rest of the hair free and curly. I loved that look, too, but it takes even less time to become unbearably tangled.

We seem to have the best luck with multiply ponies. They are easy to redo when they start to slip out. We just added some of the snaps on the ends for fun. I pulled them out before naptime because they weren't secure enough to be safe.

After nap, I added even more! As you can see, Amanda likes her new pretties! I'm enjoying them, too. The pictures and videos just don't show how much fun it is to watch Amanda running with these cute little snaps on her head.

What do you think? Too much?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

And We're Active!

We became active with American Adoptions this week. It is a national organization the works with birth parents across the country. You can see our profile online here.

Now that we are active, we could receive a call at anytime telling us that we have been matched and the baby is either already born or ready to be born. At which point, we have agreed to travel and arrive to meet the baby within 24 hours. Crazy and exciting! How do you plan to travel somewhere for up to two weeks when you don't know where or when you will be going?

Last week I made some preparations. I packed mostly gender neutral clothing for the baby and a special bag if we know it's a girl. I packed summer clothes for Amanda and I. We won't be needing them here for a while so they can afford to be packed away. I sterilized and packed the feeding supplies including bottles and the Lact-Aids. I packed some cloth diapers in case we are staying some place where I can do laundry. I tested to see of I could fit two car seats into the big hockey bag Mike bought last fall. I can! And I started to prepared for adoptive nursing this next baby, but I'll write more about that in my nursing journal.

I need to write done the numbers of the airlines that fly out of the Cities, pack a copy of Amanda birth certificate so we don't have to buy a seat for her (that is assuming we travel before she's two), and write down phones of people who will be caring for our boys.

The boys will probably go to friends or neighbors until our parents can come get them. Tyler has driver's training in June and Tony has baseball May-July so it will be challenging if we have to leave then, but it will all work itself out.

When we began applying for adoption, I wondered if we should leave Amanda here, but two weeks was a long time to leave her for the first time. Thankfully, when I shared my concerns with Mike, he said without hesitation, "We'll just take her with us." It will make things a bit more difficult to say the least, but I'm glad she'll be with us.

Any more ideas about what I can do to prepare for such an expected yet unexpected trip?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ahhh! Park Season!

We are really looking forward to this summer with Amanda. She loves to be outside and there are so many fun places to explore.She's is really beginning to enjoy the parks. She used to be afraid because she could see the ground through the holes in the platforms and so she'd only crawl tentatively. But she's getting past that and trying new things each time we visit.
She also loves to just run and there's nothing cuter!
Run, Baby, Run! The basketball hoops are a long ways from the playground and she's running to be with her brothers.
The boys had a great time at the park, too. I love to pack our van full of kids and go to the park. There's so much to do! The first game was a type of tag on the jungle gym. One person is on the ground and tries to tag the people on the gym with the ball. The people on the gym can't touch the ground in order to avoid being hit. I played along with this game. This school park is perfect for this game. The girls in my sixth grade class used to play this at recess with a huge ball.
Next was this shoe game on the merry-go-round. The boys take off their shoes and deposit them randomly around the circle. Then some one gets the thing spinning really fast. On "GO!" everyone tries grab as many shoes as possible. Obviously the person with the most shoes wins!

The other shoe game involves kicking their shoes off from the swings. Whoever get their shoes to fly the farthest wins.

Then there's good old kickball. Amanda and I joined in this game. I loved kickball in grade school.

And finally they played a game of basketball. Are you tired after reading all that? I am!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Caught With Her Hand in the Salad Bowl

How do you get your kids to eat so healthy? Part Two:
Leave health food sitting just out of their reach and they think you don't want them to get it. So, when you're busy trying to get the rest of the meal on the table, they will just help themselves.
Mmmm. Rabbit food.

Yes, we love this dress. It was $.50 cents at a garage sale and came with matching tights. It's from Hanna Andersson and it's the perfect weight for cooler weather. It has kept it's gorgeous color through many washes. I think it may still fit her next winter, too.

Katie Salad

"How do you get your kids to eat so healthy?" I eat really healthy and they are just always taking my food!
This is Amanda's first taste of Katie Salad. It was named by my cousin and her family. They also eat Katie Chicken and Katie Fries. I few years back I had to change my diet to recover from food intolerances. I was given a list of foods I could eat and have had to improvise since Hamburger Helper, Cream of Mushroom Soup and Prego Spaghetti Sauce were not on the list.
Tomatoes, celery, avocados and fresh lime juice were on the list and they are delicious together in this salad. I used to eat this salad with sea salt potato chips but the cost/nutritional value just doesn't fit into the new economy budget.

Do you want some?

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Miracle for Baby Stellan

Baby Stellan is in trouble again. We are praying that his little heart responds to oral medications to avoid a trip across the country to undergo and risky operation.

"Just one more miracle for this little boy, please Lord."

Friday, April 3, 2009

Cabin Fever

The mental affliction which occurs around March or April and makes you think, "40 degrees isn't that cold. Amanda doesn't need a jacket, hat or mittens to go play in the snow on the deck."
Amanda says, "Snow." It sounds more like "Nooooo."
"It's cold!"

Thursday, April 2, 2009

We Need Help!

For the last three months, since our homestudy was completed by Lutheran Social Services of MN, we have been working to get signed up with American Adoptions. They are a national agency that works with birth parents all over the U.S. We chose them because they had a need for families for willing to adopt children with African American heritage and a program to assist with the costs.

However because the birth mother could be from any number of states, they needed to make sure we have met the requirements of all of those states. Our homestudy only met the requirements of Minnesota. It has taken us three months to gather the additional paperwork and documents.

When we were interviewing agencies, the American Adoptions representative told me that in the Agency Assisted Program we would receive help with our profile at no charge. I thought, "Great! Writing the profile is really hard." No, they told us what specific topics to write about and which specific types of pictures to include and they would do the selection and layout. Many of you know that we've had our profile done since January but we had to start over completely! Very little of what we had done fit into their "box."

One of the requirements was for 8-10 pictures of the couple. We had two, maybe three! I thought our profile was supposed to show what it was like to be a kid in our family. So, I took photos of the kids in our family. We were also required to include pictures of our extended families. After some tears of frustration, we took a few new photos and found some that would work. Of course, it's winter here, so they just aren't as warm, fresh and inviting as I would like them to be.

In the meantime, we recieved an email alert from Adoption Consultants, Inc. that Mike really felt we should respond to. So, we also signed up with them and our profile is being shown in California. The process was easier, but not with out its frustrations and technical difficulties. I love our profile but it uses a ton of ink to print!

Last week, we recieved the proof of our profile from American Adoptions and our social worker suggested that we add a picture of all five of us. I have tried really hard to get a family picture this year. I tried in the fall when the leaves were beautiful. Nobody had time. I tried at Thanksgiving when every one was home. It was too cold, Tyler's hair was too long and he wouldn't smile. So, I gave up and put nice individual photos of everyone in our Christmas letter.

When I woke up on Wednesday morning and saw the beautiful snow weighing down all the branches. I thought I'd give it one more try. Amanda and I went out to do some test shots in a few locations. I knew the morning beauty wouldn't last long because every time to wind blew, snow fell from the branches and they were losing their magic.

I did manage to coerce the family into a rushed picture out on the deck, but it won't go into the profile. I'm going to wait until spring and I'm calling a *professional. Using a tripod and a timer just isn't cutting it.
But hopefully we'll have a new baby by then and we'll have a whole new reason for taking a family picture!

*I use the term '"professional" losely. I don't think I'm ready to pay professional prices. I'm hoping I can find a friend or relative willing to spend some time with us in some fun locations around the neighborhood.