Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Yes, that's me.  The Worst.Blogger.Ever.

Someone please find me about 10 more hours per day.

My job is insane right now with tax time coming, year end things that had to be done, budget for 2013, and not to mention all of the clients who are now hiring an attorney with their shiny new tax refund dollars.  

David is having some lovely behavior lately, which has prompted us to return to OT for a little refresher.  If you've never hung out with an almost 9 year old child with sensory issues, Tourette's, and the first indications of a tween attitude, let me tell you that you're really missing out.  Good times people.  Good times.

I feel like I'm constantly stretched too thin, which leaves me feeling like I am giving NOTHING 100%.  Not a great feeling.  I would normally just get up earlier.  Um, if I get up earlier than 4 a.m., I've officially only taken a nap.  That's ridiculous.  

I don't want my blog to be a whiney blog, but I'm feeling whiney right now.  I have a ton of stuff to do and not enough hours in the day.  I've made myself a big to-do list for tomorrow and hopefully will knock out a lot of it so I have time for fun things, like blogging or sewing or working out or sleeping.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Menu Planning Monday

I'm really trying to plan out our meals, including breakfast and lunches, on Sundays.  This makes it so much easier for me to stick to our food budget, as well as not having to rush every morning to get lunches and breakfast together or get a text at 4:30 from Chris every afternoon that reads, "Any ideas for dinner?"  I use a printable weekly calendar from TomKat Studio which you can find here.

This week our dinners will be:

Sunday:  Birthday party leftovers

Monday:  Balsamic pork chops, wild rice, broccoli

Tuesday:  Ribeye steaks with tomato corn salsa (I'm not making the salsa), sweet potato fries, sliced cucumbers

Wednesday:  Crustless ham and cheese quiche, sliced apples.

Thursday:  Marinated chicken tenderloins, rice, carrots

Friday:  Breakfast for dinner.  Turkey bacon, scrambled eggs, waffles, yogurt

Saturday:  Stir fry Italian sausage and sliced veggies

Some of our breakfasts will include banana bread muffins, blueberry muffins, waffles, scrambled eggs, and biscuits and sausage.  (I have a protein shake for breakfast, every day.)

Lunches are always a little chaotic.  Henry and Katie buy generally 3-5 days a week at school, depending on what's on the menu.  David and I bring our lunches every day.  Jack goes to school two days a week and likes to bring his lunch.  Chris eats at home every day.  David is a very selective eater.  I pack his lunch in a Bento box, and it's usually a mixture of just whatever we've got that he likes.  Henry and Katie will eat pretty much anything so their lunches are easy to pack.  Jack gets a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every.single.day for lunch.  I bring mine and like to bring salad a few times a week, leftovers from dinner, soups, sliced veggies and hummus...You can see why lunches are a little chaotic!  I pack as much as I can the night before (if it's a work/school night) and lay out what I'll need to make breakfast and finish packing lunches.  Needless to say, I love days off from school to give me a break from the lunchboxes!

What's to eat at your house this week?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Happy Birthday Jack!

My sweet baby Jack turned five yesterday.
That makes me want to cry.
He wanted a Lord of the Rings party. . . there's not a whole lot of Lord of the Rings party stuff available.  Like, none.  And what exactly do you do at a Lord of the Rings party?  We had invitations with a Lord of the Rings character and a Lord of the Rings cake.  Everyone wanted to just play in our playroom anyway, so it worked out perfectly.

When I was at WalMart getting things for the party, I saw a photo booth kit for $6.00.  Yes please.  It had a polka dot backdrop and several props already assembled.  

It's possible that the adults liked the photo booth more than the children ....

Love that my dad tried to look at that photo of us on the camera after we took it.  And he used his "glasses" to look at it.

How cute are my parents?

Jack loved his cake.

I'm thrilled, because it is probably the worst one I've ever made.  OK, maybe Henry's huge blue H was worse (which was his special request - a blue H with "the same blue" polka dots).

After the party we went to the park.

David and Henry played pirates with some other kids at the park.

Is he five or twenty?

Katie worked so hard to climb this!

There's no way she would have done this by herself six months ago.

Jack was quite unhappy when it was time to leave.

He got to choose dinner - Pizza!

Happy birthday sweet boy.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Eight Months Home

Today is eight months home for Miss Katie.

She's gone from this...

To this...

She has changed so, so much in eight months.

She's gained eight pounds, grown three inches, and her feet have grown two shoe sizes.

She goes to school five days a week, can read her name, can pick her name out of a list of words, and can identify the individual letters of her name.  She knows how old she is and if you ask her will say with a lot of pride, "KK FIVE!" and hold up five fingers.

She loves cheese and deli meat, chocolate and bananas, apple juice and ice cream, our dogs Max and Georgia, taking a bath, reading books, playing outside, going to school, jumping on the trampoline (or bed...), swimming, snuggling with Henry, singing, playing on the iPad, going to the park, watching Spongebob or Dora, and running around with her brothers.

Sounds like a normal five year old to me.

For the most part, Katie's adjustment into our family has been very easy.  I think a lot of that had to do with our deliberate lack of expectations.  It's very difficult to be disappointed when you set no expectations; there is no bar to reach and nothing to compare against.  We had never adopted a child.  How could we possibly know what to expect?  

Our adjustment has not been without some difficulties, and I sometimes feel like I gloss over the hard things.  I don't do that in any attempt to mislead people, rather I don't feel like I need to dwell on them.  Let's be honest though; nobody who adopts a five year old does so without challenges.  Katie was our fourth child.  She is our only child with Ds, so that in and of itself was new to us, and more importantly to our boys.  They have been amazing with Katie, but I know sometimes David gets embarrassed when she's loud in public or he has to answer questions from other children about why she doesn't speak.  He handles it so well, but I think that's difficult for him.  He also gets frustrated with her when she tickles him or wants to lay all over him or hits him.  Henry has said he feels like he's not special.  He said David is the oldest, Jack is the youngest, and Katie is adopted, the only girl, and has Down syndrome but he's "just normal".  Jack. . . my sweet baby Jack has had the hardest time.  He is so torn between loving Katie to bits and resenting her for the attention she has taken away from him.  His way of demonstrating that frustration is to be the loudest, craziest kid around.  It was the Jack and Daddy show for four years around here, and he's having a tough time sharing the spotlight with a cute Russian.  The boys all, however, fight over who will get to snuggle Katie first, who can give her a piggyback ride, or who can read her a book.  Their relationships with her are all very typical sibling relationships, and for that I am so thankful.  They do not see her as a "new" sister, merely as another child at our house.

And our sweet Katie has had her own difficulties, and continues to do so with some things.  None of her difficulties have been related to Down syndrome.  Down syndrome in this house is an issue only when related to school at this point, and how/what classroom she's in or what she's learning.  Y'all, adoption parenting is hard.  Parenting in general is not easy, but therapeutic parenting is really hard.  Katie was very well taken care of, but not by a family.  She had no idea how to be in a family.  She tests a lot of boundaries, just to see what happens.  She cannot handle someone saying no to her in a stern voice; it terrifies her, which makes me want to cry.  What would happen to her when someone spoke to her like that?   

She has come a looooong way in eight months.  She no longer over stuffs her mouth with food because she's afraid she won't eat for a long time.  She no longer inhales her food because she thinks her plate may get taken away before she's done.  She no longer rocks herself back and forth to put herself to sleep, but she lets us snuggle her and lay with her and read books.  She no longer sleeps with the blankets pulled up all the way over her head so she doesn't have to see or hear what's going on in the room.  She's not afraid of baby dolls.  She doesn't touch every.single.person she sees when we're out in public.  She listens and obeys directions, but not because she's afraid of us, because she understands that we are her parents.  She doesn't keep her tongue hanging out 24/7.  She doesn't suck her tongue with such force it sounds like someone is snapping.

She still has, and I expect will have, lasting difficulties from five years of institutionalization.  She will flail around on the floor when she's upset.  She will slam her body onto the floor so violently that she has popped her leg out of the socket.  She bangs her head on the floor or the wall when she gets upset and can't handle her emotions.  She bites her fingers if she's sad or nervous.  She covers her face and wails if she thinks she did something wrong.  She will occasionally drink from the toilet.  She sometimes bites as a defense mechanism.  She throws things.  She really still doesn't completely know how to play with toys.  All of these things, though, have decreased so significantly.  Has it been easy?  Hell no.  Has it been worth it?  A million times yes.  

Katie is a different person today than she was 8 months ago, without a doubt.  Everyone in our house is.  I can't wait to see what the next 8 months has in store for her.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Weekend Review, the iPhone Edition

In no particular order, pretty much because the blogger app on my phone puts photos in any order it chooses...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

January Goals

So here's the thing about New Year's resolutions. . . I feel like the vast majority of them mine fizzle out because I have no accountability.  I'm changing that this year.  2013 is my year of change.  What better accountability do I have than my plethora of 13 blog readers?  I'm going to handle my resolutions the way I handle things at work:  break them down into manageable bits and do the thing I hate the most first to get it over with.  So, January's goals are:

1.  Do my second Advocare 24 Day Challenge.  

2.  Lose 5 pounds this month.

3.  Work out a minimum of 15 times this month.  I'm tracking it to make sure I hit my goal number.  And I really need to do this, or I'll look like a dumbass at my 5k in March.  There are very few things I hate more than looking like a dumbass!

4.  Make a January budget that is realistic, not what I wish it was.  

5.  Also, open new bank accounts and start moving our direct debit bills.  I hate changing banks, and I've procrastinated a long time about this.

6.  Change our life insurance policies and re-do our wills to establish a special needs trust for Katie.

7.  Drink 100 ounces of water each day.

8. Finish five more spots on my tablecloth.

9.  Get our adoption receipts organized for our taxes.

I think that's plenty for the first month.  Can't wait to start checking things off!