June 26, 2013

Then Three Became Five

Finally. A quiet moment. A rare thing these days.

Three kids in the house. One calls me Mommy. The other two call me Miss Cole. Our life has gone from a walk to a gallop literally overnight.

Let me tell you a little about our new additions. We weren't expecting to take in two kids, but you know how God has other plans sometimes... this brother and sister are very close and we didn't feel right splitting them up. So we now have a 7 year old girl and a 3 year old boy staying with us, at least through the next month.

B, the girl, is the little artist. My fridge is covered with her drawings. We made her an art wall in her room last week, so she could have a larger space to display her stuff. She is strong-willed and stubborn as the day is long, but underneath that is a very sweet spirit that looks out for others and wants to take care of everyone. She loves animals (including bugs). She caught a snake in our backyard yesterday and then found herself a pet worm. She begged and begged me to let her keep it in the house, but there are some lines I won't cross. No bugs (or snakes) in the house!

J, the boy, is adorable. That is the word for him. Even his pout and "angry face" are cute. It's hard not to laugh when we put him on time-out. He tries so hard to keep up with the big kids, but his little legs make tag and water fights kinda hard. He loves anything Cars. He also loves airplanes. He gets so excited when the navy planes fly overhead. He jumps up and down and shakes his little fist at the sky, shouting "Good work, airplane!"

Caleb is handling siblings better than we thought he would. He gets overwhelmed at times, but we make sure he gets alone time every day so he can process. Since we've talked to him over the last year about the possibility of a little brother, he now calls B and J his little brother and sister. Oops. We tried telling him that these are friends, that they probably aren't staying forever, but the nicknames have stuck and B and J don't seem to mind. B corrects him, though, because she is actually older. But Caleb is taller. So I guess the literal meaning of "little" sister works!

At least once a day, Caleb asks me when the kids are going home. But ten minutes later, he's happily playing tag with them, and alls well. I suppose everyone feels that way about siblings sometimes? Wishing they would just go away? I'm out of my element here, being an only child. This whole multiple dynamic is new ground for me. But we are finding our way.

After a week, I think my ears are finally adjusting to the new volume level in the house. And my throat has stopped hurting from all the extra talking I do! Three littles asking questions, needing re-direction, needing discipline, needing reassurance.

I have come to deeply respect the sanctity of Bedtime.

I also do dishes and laundry twice as often as I used to.

Details about these kiddos are confidential, but I don't imagine they will stay with us permanently. Long term, maybe, but my hope is that they will be reunited with their family. I am seeing firsthand what it looks like when a family gets ripped apart. It hurts my heart. It hurts these precious children even more. My prayer is that God will do what is best for these kids. Whatever that may be.

My quiet moment is nearly over. I have an overtired three year old who won't nap and a Caleb who is antagonizing him. Oy. :)

I'll keep ya'll posted on our adventures! Keep us in your prayers!

June 3, 2013

When Zombies Come to Visit

You know it's a good day when Lego zombies arrive in the mail all the way from England. Thank you, Ebay! We spent a pretty penny on this couple to bring them across the pond.

The Lego set they belong to was recently retired. Much to our dismay. Caleb has been collecting these Monster Fighters sets since last year, but we hadn't added the zombie one to our library yet. Now it's gone. Unless you want to spend $200 for it on Ebay.

No thank you, Ebay.

While you can no longer buy it from Lego directly, the Lego website does still have instructions for building it. Which may be downloaded for free. Last week I took a closer look at said instructions. And realized we already owned most of the pieces to this set. Borrowing from other sets, we made our own Zombie Graveyard.
(With Caleb-embellishments, of course. Note the giant hammer to the right. And the catapult with missile attachements on the roof). We bought a few special pieces off Ebay that we couldn't fudge ourselves, like the zombie moonstone and the mini figures. But for the most part, we built it using what we already had. And I'm mighty proud of that.
This is my favorite part of the set. It's a coffin.
And inside? The Zombie Groom! Ready to rise and meet his Bride under the shadow of the graveyard crypt. They must defend their moonstone, after all. The Monster Fighters are after it.
See? This poor fellow wandered too close. Betcha he won't make that mistake again!

May 30, 2013

Tied Fabric Garlands

This was my rainy afternoon project:

Strips of cloth, twisted cord, and some handy knot-tying skills (ha, not really).
Oooo, the picture on Pinterest wasn't lying. This is looking pretty good!

Ta-dah! A tied fabric strip garland! Made four of these, start to finish, in about two hours. Gonna use them as decorations for a Jane Austen murder mystery party in July. Thank you, Pinterest!
Here's the actual pin, in case you want to see. There are some other great garland ideas on this site!

May 26, 2013

On the Brink of Something New

"We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly."

-- 1Corinthians 13, The Message

Words. Refreshing, revealing, relate-able words from Corinthians that echo through my own thoughts. Realizing, perhaps for the first time, how vast is this God whom I believe in. So unknowable, so mysterious. So utterly beyond the box I've constructed for him all my life. So much beyond, my mind cannot hold him. Even his Spirit, just his Spirit, is enough to overwhelm me some days.

I reach through the mist toward a dream. An old dream. I can't touch it yet, but I'm getting close. I can't see the details but it's taking shape. We're on the brink of something new. My fingers push impatiently at the next few days, eager to meet this new that is coming. But my feet are firmly planted in the present and I can move through time no faster than anyone else.

So I wait. As I have waited. As I was told to. Maybe, just maybe, the waiting is almost over.

I guess we'll have to wait and see.

May 23, 2013

Just Beachy

I was mighty grouchy this morning. So was a certain little boy.
So we took ourselves to the beach after lunch.

We found our happy.

May 22, 2013

Down the Rabbit Hole or Medication, pt. 2

Step into my house. Time is measured differently here.

He doesn't eat during the day. A banana here, a waffle there, perhaps a small bag of fruit snacks if I coax him. That's all.

Until magic hour.

Meds wear off just after dinner time. Then he's HUNGRY. Like a bear coming out of hibernation. All the meals he's missed, all the calories he hasn't had, he makes up for in one three-hour binge. Watermelon, chips, chicken nuggets, yogurt, popcorn, cantelope, toast, cereal, chocolate milk. He eats and eats and eats and I'm left wondering where he's putting it all. But we keep the courses coming until he has his fill. Only then do my mommy worries settle a bit as I mentally add up calories and realize with relief that he's not going to starve.

That's our life on medication. A daily routine of feast and famine.

He's lost a little weight since the meds. Nothing to worry about, the doctor assures me. All the same, the little boy who used to eat constantly night and day is no more and I'm still trying to adjust.

"Are the meds helping?" the doctor asked me yesterday at his check-up.
"Yes, they are . . . " I trailed off, watching my son bounce off the walls in the exam room. He always bounces off the walls in exam rooms. It's one of the constants in life.
"They haven't solved all our problems, " I explained. "But then, we weren't expecting them to."

True. The meds have helped. School work comes easier. Social situations are better navigated. Restaurants are no longer on my list of Places to Avoid. Even listening and following directions seems to happen more often.

But the medication has not fixed everything. Caleb is still a highly energetic boy with sensory needs. He still struggles to function in a classroom setting, even with me right by his side. I still refuse to enter the black hole that is Shopping with the Boy. And he doesn't sleep much.

In fact, some days I wonder if the meds are doing enough.

But I should note here, and thankfully so, what medication has not done. It has not changed my son. He is not a zombie, staring off into space, out of sync with the world while evil pharmeceuticals run unchecked through his veins. He is still Caleb, creator of monsters, builder of legos, player of computer games. He's still in love with the beach, all things related to Halloween, and is the most recent Dr. Who convert in the house. He still tells me stories. He is my little boy. Meds and all.

May 15, 2013

I Dreamed of Green

I always wanted to live some place green.

I remember the day I decided my favorite color was green, because there was so precious little of it in the desert. I stood on the roofless playhouse my dad had built, looking out over the endless miles of dirt and Joshua trees. I promised myself when I grew up, I would live some place green.

By the time I was twelve, I was convinced I had a black thumb.

My parents had given me have a little plot of dirt in a corner of the backyard for my very own. It was a sunny, happy little plot, under an apricot tree. And I was determined to have an herb garden. I marked it off with a little wire picket fence. I painstakingly drew grids on graph paper and planned where every plant would go, taking into account amount of sunshine and water each needed, how big each plant would get, etc. I even put a patio chair in the corner, so I would have a place to sit and enjoy my garden. And over the next few years, I attempted to grow every herb you could think of.

First I tried growing them from seed (yeah, that didn't work).

So then I tried buying the actual plants: dill, basil, oregano, mint, thyme, sage. Everything herb-like that Wal-Mart stocked in their garden department.

I dumped months of allowance and babysitting money into my little plot. I planned, I planted, I watered.

And they died. One by one. The dill couldn't take the heat. Neither could the basil. I over-watered the aloe vera, rotting the roots. The sage shriveled up under the intense sunlight.

The one and only plant that survived my years of black thumb-dom was a lavender bush I planted under the apricot tree. Maybe the shade made the difference. Or maybe the water didn't leech away so readily. Whatever the reason, that one lavender bush took hold of the desert soil with abandon and within a few years, grew to a monstrous size.

Oh, how I loved that bush! Every spring I could look forward to a profusion of little purple flowers and a scent that captured my heart like no other. More than that, it proved I could grow things. My thumb wasn't black; the gritty desert soil simply conspired against me. The lavender gave me hope and when I moved away for college, I was sorry to leave it behind. Actually considered several (ill-advised) plans for taking it with me.

Now I walk the green grass in my front yard, delighting in all the little growing things that call it home. A newly planted daisy bush. Phlox that is coming back to life for its third year. Tiny nastursium leaves popping up out of the soil in yellow pots. Sweet pea seeds, planted but not yet sprouted. Lavender growing both in pots and in the ground. My yard will be a riot of color and beauty this summer. I have finally found a place where I can grow things.

I finally live some place green.

May 3, 2013

Welcome Sunshine

It's don't-leave-chocolate-in-your-car kind of weather.

It's a beach-towel-hanging-over-the-deck-railing-to-dry kind of day.

It's a sand-between-your-toes afternoon.

This is August in May.

Summer weather already? Yes please, and thank you!

Beachy days make me so happy.

Laughing, shrieking children. Jeans rolled up. Sports-brella providing shade.

Friendly conversations under an unbelievable blue sky.

I'd forgotten the world could be this beautiful. Five months of misty gray will do that to your memory.

I can feel myself waking up. The world is waking up with me.

It's going to be a beautiful summer. Made all the more special because it's come early.

It's the sand-collecting-in-my-trunk season. And I aim to enjoy every single minute.

April 12, 2013

Pillow Talk

He comes into my room this morning, jumps up on to the bed. Without preamble, he says:
“Mommy, why you not making waffles?”
Well, good morning to you too little boy. Only it probably came out my mouth like "Nuuuh, ughh."
Then the questions start.
“Uh, Mommy? What’s a mirage?”
“How you make a heart with your fingers?”
“What are rumors?”
“Does Daddy sleep on this side of the bed?”
And then finally, “Mommy? What about Santa Claus?”
“What about Santa Claus, Caleb?” At this point, coffee is sounding pretty good.
“Is he real?”
“No, he isn’t real.”
“He’s not real???” (We had this conversation multiple times last Christmas. This revelation really shouldn’t come as a shock).
“Well, he was a real person who lived a long time ago. But he’s dead now.”
“He’s extinct like the dinosaurs?”
At which point, the laughter overtakes me and I am unable to answer any more questions.
Hard to believe three years ago, we wondered if Caleb would ever be verbal. He’s come so far. I watch old home videos of him, when all he could say was “more” and “thank-welcome.” He’s adorable and blonde and oh-so-little. I remember my worries, the burden of uncertainty I carried around about his future.
Now I quote Shrek to people who comment on how chatty Caleb is.
“Yeah, it’s getting him to shut up that’s the trick!”
(No, I don’t say shut-up to my son. Sheesh people, keep your shirts on!)
He’s growing up, this little boy of mine. At an inch past four feet tall, he’s not exactly little anymore. My mom says he looks like a seven or eight year old, and I have to agree. The new hair cut might have something to do with it. We finally gave up the page boy/bowl look and let the stylist buzz it. Now he’s just a boy. No more “little.”
And I’ll admit that makes me just a teensy bit sad.

While we're on the topic of things hard to believe, we're still homeschooling. :) This new adventure hasn't been easy. I nearly quit a time or two (or twenty). But after some rookie mistakes, numerous adjustments, and a curriculum change, I'm pleased to say we finally found a routine that works for us. We only have two months left of kindergarten (!!!) and I'm actually looking forward to first grade next year.
We're also still adventuring through the land of Foster Care. We received our license in February; now we're just waiting for our first placement. Caleb is super-excited to be a big brother. We talk often about his "little brother", what toys he might like, what he might be doing today. We pray for him, too. Whoever he is, wherever he is, we pray he is safe and loved and taken care of. We pray God would prepare our hearts to welcome him into our family. We pray God would bring him soon.
Waiting is, without a doubt, the hardest part. I'm a girl of action. Give me a plan, point me in the right direction, and I will go go go until I either collapse or achieve the goal. But waiting? Waiting is so . . . unproductive. The Lord keeps reminding me that I wait for His timing, and through this waiting I learn patience. Which sounds way more way more philosophical than it actually is!
So that's a little of what we've been up to lately! I have catching up to do with my fellow bloggers, but I hope you're all enjoying a lovely spring and making plans for summer. :)

January 25, 2013

Brave First Steps

We took our first step into a brave new world today.

Nothing dramatic occurred to mark this day as different or special. We ran errands this morning. Ate lunch around the computer. Played World of Warcraft together. In a little while, I'll close the lap top, venture into the kitcehn, and make a double batch of waffles to put in the freezer. Oh the excitement!

But whether out of the ordinary or no, today is worth noting.

Today, Caleb started on ADHD medication.

This day has been a long time coming. Even as I picked up the prescription last night, I wondered.

Are we doing the right thing? It's a mother's perogative to worry about her child. Isn't it also a mother's perogative to want the very best for him?

That's where I am. Torn. Between worry and determination. Lord help me.

I guess only time will tell.