Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Great Expectations and other fantasies

(Picture: lovedaylemon)

Thank you so much for your encouraging comments on my last post. It's so cool to send something out on the web and have other people respond; it makes my day!! Thank you!

My mind has been racing making plans for the time S and C come stay with us.

I have such GREAT expectations for their time in our home. Here is a list of what I want to do:

-Set up routines: morning, after school, bedtime

-Cook together

-Let them choose a couple recipes each month to make.

-Give them household responsibilities appropriate for their ages (5 and 7).

-Read aloud a chapter per day from a chapter book most days of the week.

-Read them a bedtime story each night.

-Watch very little tv.

-Pray with them everyday.

-Learn about God every day.

-Feed them healthy foods for the majority of their meals with us (I'm expecting there to be a pizza night or two...or three).

-Engage them in some sort of physical activity most days of the week--walks around town, trips to the park, tossing a ball any ideas for me??

-Encourage their creativity and their desire to learn (this is a bit vague...I need some concrete strategies).

-Listen to them.

-Chill out and enjoy them.

I feel somewhat hesitant to share all this with anyone because I hear parents so often say things like, "You'll see when you have kids of your own, " and giving the impression that its foolish to have expectations of doing much more than shoving food in mouths and playing chauffeur. I don't want to resign myself to the idea that there will be no time to have fun (like the kids in the picture above are having)!

Do I need a reality check? Do you have some advice or wisdom regarding day-to-day life with kids? I need it!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

God is good: Or "Seeing his hand in the crazy times"

(Picture by caity sparkles via Flickr)

So you see that last post, there? Where I talk about what a great weekend we had with some precious little girls? Yeah, that one. I wrote it last Monday and had it set to auto-post Tuesday morning. Ummm...

Those little girls may be coming to live with us for the next few months.

Their mommy broke her leg Monday evening. She is also Hub's mom and single mom to these two girls she has adopted from within the family.

When she got to the hospital she found out she was diabetic.

Surgery to put a plate and pins in the leg on Tuesday evening went very well. But they didn't like how fast her heart was beating. So Thursday they sent her to the bigger hospital nearby for a heart catheterization.

Friday during the heart cath they found blockage in the heart and immediately sent her in for emergency triple bypass surgery.

Her birthday was Saturday (see festive picture above).

She is doing very well. She got to talk to her girls by phone yesterday for the first time since that eventful Monday night.

When a leg is broken the patient walks using crutches or a walker, putting much of the weight on the arms and none of the weight on the broken leg for 8 weeks.

When a patient has their chest opened up for surgery they cannot put more than 5 pounds of weight on their arms for 6 weeks.

Her unbroken left leg needs to seize the day and really come through for her. I'm believing in YOU, left leg!!

Thankfully my God is a very big God, way bigger than the problem of figuring out rehab with only one weight-bearing limb.

My God takes the very bad situation of a broken leg and uses it to help doctors find diabetes and heart disease lying in wait, undetected, ready to do their worst when least expected.

My God prepared hubs and I for the possibility of taking care of two of the cutest little girls you'll ever see. I was driven to find out ways to make their weekend stay the best it could be. Now I know who was the Driver.

My mother-in-law, Hubs and I have been surrounded by love and support from our friends and family. So many people have been to the hospital to see her or wait with us during surgery. More people than we can count are praying for her. She'll need every prayer she can get.

She'll need a lot of fight in her to get through the coming weeks. But she can do it. Her God is bigger than everything she's about to face.

Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." I see God working the crazy things that have happened these last few days to Mom-in-law's good because she has given her life to him, put her trust in him, and she loves him.

So the girls might be staying with us until their mom can take care of them again by herself.
By the way, yesterday I discovered snot wiped on the wall of my pink guest bedroom right next to the futon bed where the girls slept...the futon that has a full box of tissues on the arm next to where their heads were. Bless their hearts; I will be discussing with them how that will never happen ever again.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Close Encounters of the Kid Kind

S and C in their Easter dresses April 2009. Picture by me.

Be warned: this post is definitely of the rambling discussion/analysis type.

This past weekend Hub's little sisters came to stay with us: S is 7 and C is 5. It has been over a year since they stayed last, and that last visit was more of a battle than a fun time with cute little girls. I was determined that this visit would be better.

I did my homework. We really like Supernanny Jo Frost, and we take notes for the future when watching her show; we used her house rules, naughty seat and bedtime routine. I went online and found some strategies for getting kids to eat food that is good for them. I also wanted to spend more time with them than I did last time, so I decided to involve them in whatever I was doing: meal prep, chores etc. I felt armed and ready.

And the weekend was great!

We went over the house rules as soon as we got home on Friday, and I only had to remind them once or twice about the rules the rest of the weekend. No one had to sit on the naughty seat all weekend. The bedtime routine worked very well, though I think I'd like to have a very small nightlight in their room next time and an option for separating them if they won't settle down and go to sleep.

When it came to mealtimes I used the philosophy I found in a comment on this Momversations blog post: We (the adults) decide what and when, they (the kids) decide if and how much. I also resolved to have them as involved as possible in making our meals because I know my palette expanded once I started working with ingredients and cooking for myself.

We made black bean and cheese quesadillas, hummus and pasta salad chock full of veggies. They helped cook on the stove top, practiced their cutting skills (supervised of course), used the microwave, used the food processor, tasted the ingredients. They were excited to be involved, and I was glad we could spend time together in a way that made all of us happy (I have forgotten how to enjoy the fine art of playing dolls, so a lot of time spent that way would be very hard on me).

There were zero mealtime battles this weekend. They were given a plate containing one or two bites of each of the foods we were having with the meal and told that they could eat if and what they wanted to, but anyone wanting seconds of anything had to present a clean plate. And there was no bribing with dessert because there was no way we were subjecting ourselves to those little cuties hopped up on sugar. They had about 3 ounces of chocolate milk Sunday morning and that was it for the sweet stuff.

Last night when we met Hub's mom to hand them over she said, "Kimberly, why are they wearing mismatched clothes!!" I told her that was one area I left to them; we were so strict otherwise we had to at least let them decide what to wear. And we were strict as far as I (a women who has no children of her own) can tell, but the boundaries resulted in a fun weekend in which they knew what was expected of them, and we were all free to enjoy each other.

Was it a perfect weekend? Goodness, no. Someone (I'm pretty sure I know who) drew on the car seat with white crayon; someone blew her nose on Hub's towel (after being told repeatedly to use a tissue, not her bare finger), lied about it and only admitted to it after a very calm, yet serious, heart-to-heart about trust and responsibility (as in once you blow your nose on someone's towel you need to put it in the clothes hamper and get them a new towel); they poked and bothered each other etc. Basically they were 5 and 7-year-old kids.

Was I perfect? Goodness, no. The one time when the naughty seat was not an option and the situation was particularly intense I threatened spankings on bare behinds unlike any spankings they had ever previously received. Hubs let me know later he thought that was a bit extreme. I agreed. I was very calm and spoke in even, measured tones when delivering this threat and thankfully they did not test me, but I'm sure I can come up with a better alternative should that particular situation come up again.

I told Hubs that while they have certainly matured since we last spent a lot of time with them, I'm pretty sure I have changed more than they have which was key to us having an enjoyable weekend.

As enjoyable as it was Hubs and I were definitely beat when it was all over...glad to see 'em come and glad to see 'em go :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Baby Pictures

I've mentioned my brother before. He's a pretty good guy and doesn't deserve what I'm about to do. But am I going to let that stop me?

While in Arizona last month my grandma scanned a few of her pictures for me:

There's little bro with dad and me. That wrinkled forehead tells me he's thinking away on something important. Maybe the formula for world peace.

See that woven couch we're sitting on? When I was little I loved to take my safety scissors and cut threads and pull them out of the woven pattern. It did not occur to me that I was vandalizing property. It was just something fun to do! Right along with the scratches little bro and I put on the hood of car using metal poles (I have no idea what they were from) to scrape off the ice one winter...we just knew we were being the most helpful children ever.

Brother's face here says, "Oh god, grandma...why are you standing there taking pictures? This maniac you left me alone with put a bow on my head. Save me...please...for the love of all that is good". Circumstantial evidence points to me planting the bow, but that bow looks way too perfect to have been made by a 6-year-old...could there have been Mom-involvement here?

"Mom, I know I'm just a fat little baby boy and I can't talk yet, but please tell me you see the desperation in my eyes. She's making me look at her jewelry!! I should not be subjected to this torture just because I can't walk away." You can see just to the left of my arm a section of upholstery that had an encounter with me and my safety scissors.

And here he is some 21 years later, graduating college. So proud of you bro!
I am very blessed that we are close. I guess he forgave me for the hair bows and the jewelry and that time I dressed him up in my dance class outfit...he was just the prettiest little 3-year-old in that ruffly skirt, I couldn't resist. :D

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A little of this, a little of that

I'm here today with a meandering post of pictures taken with my phone.

Here we have Oscar. He is an at-least-6-year-old dachshund (we got him from a shelter and couldn't be sure of his age then and people are always saying he looks older, so maybe he is). Here is Oscar's morning routine:

-Get out of little dog bed beside people bed
-Follow Kimberly to see if food will be immediately served.
-Sit and stare at Kimberly to see if this will induce her to immediately serve food
-Give up; find the softest possible place on the couch
-Move only when food is served

When he's really full of himself he likes to make a small complaining "uhhhhh" sound just under his breath if you disturb him when he is in such a state. Like, if you ever so softly stroke his silken ears...he goes "uhhhhhhh...uhhhhhhh...." with each breath to make it clear that you are surely causing him mental and emotional, if not actual physical, pain. He is spoiled, and its a mystery to me how he got that way.

I love me some Oscar.

We saw this product in a store that was going out of business. Anything look strange to you?

How about the 4-year-old with the mustache? Maybe he's in some sort of a costume, but that isn't readily apparant to me, so I rate this picture "Weird".

My favorite colors as a little girl were pink and purple. Can you imagine the hyperventilating had I seen this car way back when? (On the right just behind The Pink and Purple Wonder you can see the front quarter panel of my beloved light blue Blazer. Aren't you glad I told you?)

This was enjoyed by Walt and me this past Saturday at the delectable Grits and Groceries. This is:
Miss Linda's Scallops: Pan Seared in a Lemon Caper Sauce with Cheese Grits, Mushrooms and Chopped Bacon.
Yes, all those words need to be capitalized in order to convey the delicious-ness of Miss Linda's Scallops. They were preceded by Hattie Mae's Tomato Pie and followed by a slice of chocolate chess pie. Can I please go back next Saturday and every Saturday after that??