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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How my garden grows

I am throughly enjoying the dirt in my backyard!!  Not even the high temperatures and the beating sun can keep me away from the fulfilling work of growing my own food!  Here are some pictures of what we are doing this year:

The big bushy stuff in the background is our huge raspberry patch. We also have two tomato plants, cilantro, onions and parsley planted here.

Beets, lavender, onions and snap peas are planted here.

The back garden; sorrel, french sorrel, lettuce, jalapeno, thai hot, 2 variety of sweet pepper, onions, chard, green zebra tomato, cherry tomato, borage, blueberries, corn, fingerling potatoes and lemon verbena.

Sorrel

Borage

French sorrel

French Sorrel is absolutely awesome!!  It has a lemony flavor especially when you get to the stem part.  An excellent addition to your salad or to just pick from the garden and munch on.  This is one of Anwen’s favorites, she is always eager for our visitors to have a taste.

Corn

Ewan picked out the corn since we love to eat sweet corn during the summer.  We cook our corn right in the coals of our grill, husk on and not soaked.  It is so yummy that no butter or salt is required!

Fingerling potatoes

This year a bunch of what I am growing is in containers because I did not want to rush to take stuff out of the grow before I knew what it was.  Next year I hope to know what it worth taking out so that I have even more growing space.  Nothing tastes quite like home-grown food!

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!

Potty training update

Amazingly Anwen is potty trained and it started the day after I posted about my frustrations with potty training.  Maybe if I post about my other frustrations and they will magically become resolved. 🙂

So, the day after my original post we were stuck at home because Esuyawkal was sick.   I figured the day would probably suck so why not let Anwen go without a diaper and just allow us a sucky day all around.  So off came the diaper and every 15 minutes I took her into the bathroom and sat her on the potty.  She had a few accidents but for the most part the day went well, (a very welcomed surprise)!  The next day we did the same thing and even ventured to the park for a short time – it was short because she had an accident right when we got there.  I just went with it though, no frustration just a zen attitude.  Ewan on the other hand was really irritated that he only got 10 minutes outside.

For the next several days we put Anwen in real underwear since our experience with pull ups had not been to great.  They are too much like diapers for Anwen, when she is in them outside of night-time she just pees in them.  She reminds me a little of Homer Simpson in that way, like she is too lazy to go into the bathroom and just go on the toilet.  So needless to say pull ups are for night-time only since she is not trained yet to hold it through the night.

Without a ton of effort she got the hang of using the toilet and finally her brain connected that feeling of having to use the bathroom with the act of using the bathroom.  Which is probably the real reason she is potty trained at this point, I imagine it has more to do with her readiness than anything that I did.  I take it though, I love only buying diapers for and changing one child.

I am really thankful that we did not have any complications with Anwen’s toilet training, mostly I am thankful that she is not scared to poop.  I was a little worried about that, thank goodness that worry was for not.

Yeah Anwen!!  You did it baby girl!!

Potty training

With Ewan potty training was a breeze, I was totally zen about the whole thing, it would happen when it would happen, and it did.  I thought I was going to be the same with Anwen but that is not really how it is turning out.  She is taking potty training at a very slow pace with usually 1 step forward and 2 steps back.

Part of the struggle is that Anwen cannot be trusted in the bathroom by herself.  She is a huge mess maker and has also been known to suck down a tube of baby toothpaste from time to time.  Unless Esu is sleeping being in the bathroom with Anwen is risky, the unsupervised baby is the risky part.  If Esu is in the bathroom he is usually finding the most disgusting thing in the bathroom and putting it into his mouth, it makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.  As you can see I don’t get a lot of one on one bathroom time with Anwen which is not helping things along.

Some days I think we are making great progress and then some days all we have are accidents or lets fake mommy out in the middle of Target moments.  You know those moments if you have ever potty trained, the ones where your cart is full and you have not paid and your child tells you in a distressed voice that they have to go potty.  You leave the cart, race to the bathroom and hover over the toilet holding on to your child so they don’t fall in and they do nothing.  Not even a drip, nothing.  That is the easy version too, the hard version is when you have two or more children with you in the bathroom and one is trying to put God knows what in his mouth, something awful from the bathroom floor usually.  In times like those I think, “I don’t care if they are in diapers until college as long as I don’t have to go through this again.”  Of course I do go through it again and again and sometimes she even tinkles a little.

Today Anwen used the potty several times and two times she pooped which is really amazing for her.  What I think is hysterical is that each time she shrieks like it is a total surprise that she just pooped, as if there were no warning at all.  Today she also ran from the bathroom to find me to tells me she had pooped and then proceeded to measure it for me with her hands.  According to Anwen her poop was about 18″ tall, no worries though she was a little off in her measurements, I checked.  🙂  And no she did not actually touch her poop, that would be gross!

I am hoping, hoping, hoping that the fact that she is pooping in the toilet is a good sign and that we will not spend the entire summer potty training, for her sake and mine.  I really don’t want her to miss out on fun summer activities because she is not potty trained and I would like to retain my sanity, for all of our sakes!! 🙂

Gotta go, someone needs to use the bathroom!  🙂

Morning mayhem

Mornings at our house start at 6:00am and sometimes earlier.  Ewan or Anwen awake and wake the other and then come into my room and wake Brian or I and Esu as well. They still have not quite gotten the concept of playing quietly until we wake up.  One of us gets up with the kids and starts breakfast, this morning it was me, Brian had to work late last night.

I stumble into the bathroom to try to get myself awake and then out to the kids who are thankfully not arguing yet.  For about 15 minutes I wonder around our 10×10 kitchen wondering what to make for breakfast.  This is a little ridiculous since we only have three options, oatmeal, eggs or cereal, I am just really tired. I make coffee for myself and clean up a little from the night before, then I start on breakfast.  It is going to be cereal this morning, thank goodness we have milk in the house, which is often not the case.  The kids argue over who gets what chair and who gets what cup and I try my best to ignore it, sometimes I am successful but most of the time I am not.

I serve the kids there cereal and sit down for a little peace while their mouths are full and they cannot talk to me.  It lasts meer minutes and they are done, my kids are speed eaters.  They are once again surrounding me and talking at me about who knows what, as I am still quite tired and only taking in every few words.

I start to make my own breakfast which takes me longer than it should and I am not sure why, I am probably distracted by something.  I get my coffee and toast and I look for a place at the table that is not covered with milk and cereal as well as for a chair that managed to remain untouched by cereal spills.  I sit down and take a breath, I sip my coffee and start eating my toast.  For a second it is quiet and I am sitting in the dining room alone.  Then it starts, the parade of children chasing each other through the entire house dining room and all.  They are squealing, and romping, they are laughing and stomping all around the table that I am sitting at.  I though am sipping my coffee and staring off into space, I am untouched by the mayhem because I am in my breakfast bubble, if only for a few minutes.

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