Summer reading

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I always look forward to summer reading, the relaxed pace, the lounging about with a good book.  I always look forward to that, but that never happens.  Since I am a mother of three with one on the way, my summers are not that relaxing, and I don’t lounge around with my favorite book.  I read when the moment comes that I can.  I read at the park in between pushing kids on the swing, at the library while they are looking for books, at the occasional outing for myself and before bed, for about 5 mins before I fall asleep.

As much as I think I want to be the kind of person that reads one book at a time, I have come to accept that I am not.  I always have at least two books going at any given time, and usually more.  This summer I am reading books from four different genres.  This summer my genres are; parenting, adoption, cooking and fun reads.

Parenting books:

This summer I am revisiting a series of books that I read when Ewan was younger.  They are great books and I go to them when ever I feel that I need tip on how to handle behaviors or just want to feel normal about what my child is or is not doing.  The author is Louise Bates Ames and here are a few pics of what the books look like.

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These books start at the age of 1 year and go up the book “Your ten-fourteen year old”.  All of the books are layed out very similarly if not the same which is helpful for navigation.  They are older books but I find the information relevent and useful.

 

Adoption books:

I have a lot of books in this genres.  I always find them useful and insightful but I also find them overwhelming too.  They are packed with information and often times tough subject matter, which can be hard to slog through.  This summer I am tackling two books; “The Connected Child” by Karyn Purvis and “Brothers and Sisters in Adoption” by Arleta James.

 

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Cookbooks:

This is a fun genres and I love cooking so for me it is really fun.  Cookbooks are great reading because there is no story to follow and there is no pressure to understand or finish the book.  You can pick it up for 5 minutes or 45 minutes and it doesn’t affect your experience much.  Cookbooks are a great escape, a great motivation and a challenge to experience something new.  They can also provide freedom, especially in the case of a specialized diet or food allergies.

 

The cookbooks I am reading this summer have a lot to do with my gluten free/dairy free lifestyle but also the Vegan/Vegetarian lifestyle of which I have recently entered.  I will say that I am choosing to eat vegetarian because my body does not seem to handle meat protein very well and I feel 100 times better when I eliminate it from my diet.  Vegan cookbooks offer great recipes for even those who are not totally vegan but perhaps vegetarian and dairy free, like me.  Here’s what I am reading:  Mark Bittman’s “The Food Matters Cook Book” and “Kitchen Express”.  Terry Walter’s “Clean Food”, “Learn to Bake Allergen-Free” by Colette Martin  and Kim Barnouin’s “Skinny Bitch, Ultimate Everyday Cookbook”.

 

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Fun Reads:

 

I have only one fun read lined up for the summer, I am hoping that will change but so far my fun read is getting little attention.  Here is it, Patrick Taylor’s “An Irish Country Doctor”.

 

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There you have it, my summer reads, at least that is the plan!

What’s on your summer reading schedule????

 

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Welcome to my Esty shop!!

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Check it out!!! Adorable handmade hair clips and barrettes for the fashionable little and not so little girls in your life.   I also have Ethiopian inspired handmade cards.  Some of my hair clips are made with vintage fabric and many are vintage inspired, all of them are cute.

Anwen and her little sister (who is in our hearts but not yet in our arms) were my inspiration.   Anwen always looks so cute when she wears clips in her hair, and I can only imagine her sister will rock the clips just as well!

The handmade cards were inspired by Esuyawkal, I wanted to make something to celebrate Ethiopia, something that I would have looked for as I waited for him to come home.  Here is a sample of one of my cards:

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This is part of the series of cards that depict Tukuls, the traditional homes in Ethiopia.

The vintage aspect of my shop is in process.  As many of you know I am a great lover of vintage goods and my goal is to offer up some of my excellent finds in my shop.  I’ll be sure to let you know once I have a few things posted.

While I have been searching for a way to sell some of my handmade goods, this shop came into existence in part to help fund our adoption.  At this time all proceeds from Prolifika will go towards our adoption, which I hope will cause you to feel even better about recommending my shop or purchasing for yourself.

Here we go again!

The Grant family is adopting again!!! We are very please to announce that God has lead us to another adoption and we are pleased to be in the early stages of the process.  We are returning to Ethiopia as this is where Esuyawkal is from and If one of us is Ethiopian than all of us are Ethiopian!

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Our hearts will forever be in love with this amazing country, it’s beautiful people and it’s rich, vibrant culture.

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We will be rounding out our family with a little girl between 3-4 years of age.  Ewan, Anwen and Esu are very excited about having a little sister, their understanding of why we are adopting is not always sound but it is always cute!  The children though are not the only ones that are giddy about adding a member to the family, Brian and I are also quite thrilled!

We were so impressed with our agencies Adoption Advocates International and Adoption Link (for the homestudy) when we adopted Esu that we are using them again.  It has been nice to be back in touch with people that helped us along the way when we were in process with Esu.  It’s like talking to an old friend, or that labor and delivery nurse that was awesome and you will never forget, it just makes you feel good to see them or talk with them again!

So, there you have it, our big news!  Three cheers for adoption!!!!

Important health warning for children of Ethiopian/Abyssinian/Eritrean decent!

Our agency had a little blurb about this in their newsletter and I was pretty alarmed, alarmed in that dodged a bullet kind of way.  Here is a condensed version of the article from the FDA with a link to the larger, more in-depth article.

An article by the FDA exploring the link between children of certain ethnic groups and an increased risk of experiencing life-threatening or even fatal side effects from taking codeine for pain relief was recently brought to my attention, as children of Ethiopian descent may be the most at risk. From the FDA’s website:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing reports of children who developed serious adverse effects or died after taking codeine for pain relief after tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Recently, three pediatric deaths and one non-fatal but life-threatening case of respiratory depression were documented in the medical literature. These children (ages two to five) had evidence of an inherited (genetic) ability to convert codeine into life-threatening or fatal amounts of morphine in the body. All children had received doses of codeine that were within the typical dose range.

Parents and caregivers

who observe unusual sleepiness, confusion, or difficult or noisy breathing in their child should stop giving their child codeine and seek medical attention immediately, as these are signs of overdose.

FDA will update the public with more information once it has completed its review. 

 

Additional Information for Parents and Caregivers

Certain children may be at risk for life-threatening side effects, such as breathing difficulty, or death when taking codeine for pain relief after tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy. This can occur even with use of codeine at recommended doses.

Codeine is usually prescribed on an “AS NEEDED” basis. Do not administer codeine to the child on a regular basis UNLESS the child requires the drug. Do not administer more than six (6) doses per day.

Signs of serious side effects of codeine in children can include unusual sleepiness, confusion, and difficult or noisy breathing. If your child shows these signs, stop giving your child codeine and seek medical attention immediately by taking your child to the emergency room or calling 911.

 

 

 

To see the full article please visit

http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm313631.htm

 

Catching you up

A lot has happened since my last post which was on Thanksgiving, so this post is to catch you up on what has been going on in the Grant Clan.

-Brian and I got away for a night and visited the New Glarus Brewery, and stayed in a super cute B&B.  Brian had a ton of fun sampling the beers at the brewery, I was prohibited from drinking due to all of the gluten in beer but I really enjoyed watching Brian have fun.

-We saw Santa:

 

Ewan really wanted to visit Santa so we met a friend at the local mall and the kids sat on Santa’s lap.  Shortly after our Santa visit, in fact we were still at the mall, Ewan started to ask questions as to the legitimacy of the mall santa.  He came to the conclusion that the mall santa was a man dressed up, and personally I also thought he was kind of creepy too.  Later that afternoon we were at our home school group Christmas party and the kids started debating over whether santa was real or not.  A mom came to me to warn me of the conversation in case I was a die-hard santa person, which I am not.  I figure my kids will find naturally and I am a-ok with that.  Later that night as we moved furniture around to make room for our Christmas tree Ewan started to ask the direct questions as to whether santa was real, in fact he asked me straight up if Santa was real.  I stop sweeping, and since I was not facing him at time allowed myself to panic quietly for a moment before turning to answer his question.  I have always been of the mind that if my child asks me something directly I will not lie to them.  So, I told him that santa was not real and we talked about St. Nicholas, the conversation went really well, until he started asking about the Easter Bunny, at that point I told him to talk to Daddy.

 

We ACCEPTED an OFFER on our CONDO!!!!!!:

 

This has been by far the biggest and best thing that has happen to us since my last post.  It has also been an answer to prayer and completely guided by God, and amazing we can see that happening in the midst of it all.  We accepted the offer a few weeks before Christmas and are slated to close in the next few weeks.  For me the most amazing thing about this whole experience is how God has answered our prayers and given beyond what we have even been praying for.  We have seen his provision and experienced his leading and been able to see his plan for our family unfolding.  I am learning patience in this process and to trust in Gods timing, I am learning that even when it feels like things are not moving, God is.

This Saturday we are looking at a house in our neighborhood (which we really love) for the second time.  At the showing we are meeting woman who owns the house, who was also raised in the house and then purchased the house from her parents and raised her children in the house.  We are praying that she likes us and feels good about possibly selling to us.  We are also praying that God would perfectly orchestrate this for us, which we know he can.  So feel free to talk to God on our behalf if you feel lead.  🙂

 

– I started a group at my church:

This fall I started an adoption support group called Odyssey at my church.  The group was started to meet the needs of the adoptive families in our church and outside of the church as well.  A safe place we can come to talk about things related to adoption, a place to feel supported.  Each month we have had a topic, this months topic is “How do we keep our children connected to their culture”?  I am happy every month when we come together and share our experiences, I am always learning new things from the other parents.  I am also elated that my church is so supportive of adoptive families and of orphan advocacy.

 

-Looking to Ethiopia:

 

With the sale of our condo and the purchase of a house on the horizon we have started teh conversation about possibly adopting again.  We are currently discussing when we might want to start the process again.  I am eager to get to a place in which we are earnestly praying about the next adoption, I can’t wait to see where God leads us.

 

Well I have just about used up my time at the computer, the children are getting restless.  Esu is actually standing on my chair behind me and pulling at my hair, I better wrap up before he pulls too much out. 😉

 

-My last picture is a current one of the kiddos, they are growing so fast I can hardly keep up.

 

 

Bonding

Last week I wrote for the first time in months, and was greeting with many wonderful comments of support, Thank you!!!!  This week I wanted to share what I did to encourage bonding between myself and my son.

The first and I think most important thing I did was voice my heartache to my husband and some close friends.  For a long time I kept my struggle to myself thinking that it would go away if I tried harder.  It didn’t go away.  Talking about the struggles I experienced with bonding helped to free me from the shame that was starting to grow in my heart.  It also showed me I was not alone and that this is a very common issue that adoptive parents deal with.

Once I was free from the silence.  I carefully examined what I was feeling.  This is what I came away with in my time of self-examination:

  • These feelings and this struggle in my life is NOT about love!  I love my baby, there is no question of that!
  • My life is crazy and adding a child in the most ideal of circumstances can be difficult and often is.
  • I am thinking too much!  I was in a terrible habit of over analyzing my feelings, I needed to just be.  I guess I needed to stop catching all of my feeling in my “net” and just let them wash over me.  If they persisted or became a problem then I would “catch” them one at a time and talk about it with Brian or a close friend.
  • Living in a 2 bedroom condo with three children and a husband is a challenge and I would be struggling if my third child had been from my own belly.  Recognizing that some of my frustrations are really space issues and not child issues.

Some of the practical hands on things that I did to encourage bonding were:

  • To be more hands on with Esu.
  • Smelling him, all the time.  I know that may sound funny but for me I knew my older two children’s smell right away, it was familiar and it was comforting.  I needed that with Esu, I needed to know him in that way.
  • I carry him in a sling when ever my back is ok with it.  He wanted to be close to me and I wanted to give that to him, so we carry him in the sling pretty frequently.  We have carried him in the sling since the beginning, and I think that it has been really helpful.
  • New sleep routine.  When Esu came home is was sleep trained and that was totally what we needed at that time.  But, as time went on I realized that I needed to be more apart of his sleep routine, I wanted him to fall asleep win my arms like my other children had done.  So I started rocking him to sleep, it does not happen every night, but I really love it when It does happen. Esu will also sometimes co-sleep with us.  This was something that I had wanted from the beginning but was not something that was working for Esu, so we abandoned the idea.  About 10 months later Esu started showing a great interest in all things attachment; nursing, co-sleeping and being held all the time.  I think that this happened because when he came home at 11 months he was so traumatized by the situation that he just needed things to stay the same.  He needed his old routines to cope with the new people in his life.  As time went by and his comfort, bonding and love grew for us he became able to change things up, and to “ask” for what he needed.  He needed and wanted us!  That was what I needed too, for him to need me!  Wow, I kind of went off on a tangent there.  But I hope a useful one.
  • I gave myself permission to let time do it’s thing and to be patient while it grew us together.
  • I talked to God, a lot.  You know the bible talks about how we were knit together in our mothers wombs, well I think that Esu and I are being knit together.  It is going to take time and I need to be patient and lean on what I know which is that I love him and he loves me and God loves us both!

This journey is not over for me, I am still finding my way.  I am right there with you, the good the bad and the ugly.

Now here is a little GOOD:

1 year

Yesterday we celebrated our 1 year anniversary with Esuyawkal, one year ago yesterday we first held him in our arms.  It is hard to believe that a year has passed so quickly and that he has changed so much, but it is true, and I am happy for it.

This past year has been a challenging year as well as wonderful, joyous, and spirit filled.  I have experienced things I anticipated about being the mother to three children and I have also had my share of surprises.  I have experienced known and unknown things about adoption, good and not so good.  I have grown a lot, know myself better, and love, love, love my children and husband who has stood beside me as I struggle with the growing pains of being mother to three and a wife with three kids.

The Good:

This year has been full of good and wonderful events, moments, and experiences for me and our family.  The best “event” for me has been finally feeling normal, finally feeling that I know my baby, and finally feeling that I know how to manage three.  This “event” occurred over the entire year and was unchartered territory for me.  I experienced a lot of twists and turns, lows and highs.  Thanks to a supportive family and wonderful friends I was able to struggle openly and freely with the tender topic of “bonding with my baby” which turns out was a lot harder than I thought it would be.

Watching my children play together and love on each other, when they are not arguing has been a joy.  Watching Esuyawkal bond with us and love us and his siblings has been a blessing.  Being apart of a family that is taking shape and learning everyday more about each other has been a wonderful journey. Each of my children have grown this year and I am proud of each one of them for weathering the changes this year brought with grace.

The Not So Good:

The biggest not-so-good part of this year has definitely been my struggle with bonding, which does not mean in any way that I do not love my child!!!  I just want to make that very clear.  What it ment for me was that I had bonded in an effortless way with my first two children and only realized that had been the case when it did not happen effortlessly with Esu.  Some of the things that I had done with Ewan and Anwen, for example breast-feeding and co-sleeping were not working for Esu.  I had anticipated this but for what ever reason did not think it would affect my bonding, it was January before I realized it was.  It was actually a relief to come to a realization about this, I had been feeling so crappy prior that I was happy to see a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.  It did feel a little like I was back at square one, but that was better than were I had been so I started over.  I started looking for other ways to bond with Esu and little by little it worked and what I had been looking for started to take shape, a mother and child bonding!

As a side I want parents to know that if you struggle with bonding you are not alone!  This is pretty common in adoption circles, people are just not talking all that much about it.

Another realization I came to in the spring was that I had fallen in love with an infant (in pictures), but had brought home a baby that was on the cusp of toddlerhood.  We did get a few months of limited movement from Esu but once he learned how to crawl which was soon after he came home everything changed.  Life got a lot more difficult.  Of course I knew all of this logically, I knew Esu was coming home at nearly a year old, and I knew from experience that toddlerhood can be really challenging.  What I did not know was that my condo going to feel like a shoe box once a toddler was running around again.  Which in turn would make me feel crazy.  I also did not realize how much bonding really helps you deal with the challenging behaviors of your child, at least it helps for me.  Thankfully when I had made my most recent realization I was already bonding and the realization was mostly just allowed me to put the pieces together.

Today, I feel grounded and I feel bonded (though everyday I am still working on it with ALL of my children).  I still feel like a crazy woman a lot, but those times pass quickly and I can usually laugh at them by the evening.  I can go to the grocery store alone with my children, all of them and I can survive the trip! Believe me those trip are fewer today then they were a year ago, I will do just about anything to get out a trip to the grocery store with the kids!  🙂  My life feels normal, a little nutty but normal, my kids are my priority and I live my life with that in mind.  I am happy to feel like my life is finally fitting me again, and believe it or not, I might just want to do it all again!

I hope to be writing again regularly but I won’t be promising anything, life is busy with three kids and homeschooling.  I do want to say thought that I really miss my blog and you!

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