Friday, March 17, 2017

Top O' The Mornin To Ya!

St. Patrick's Day is the perfect time to remember a trip last summer when Hubby went on a business to Ireland and Lizzy tagged along.



Highlights were the Cliffs of Moher, Temple Bar, Limerick, Dublin, and the Guinness Factory.





It brings back memories of 2003 when I tagged along with Hubby.


We did have a third wheel--Patrick.



Ahhh, life with ten kids and MANY years of babies!  Did I ever mention that I didn't like to leave my littles?  Patrick started his world travels at a young age.

Ireland!  What a beautiful country!


Friday, March 10, 2017

Birthday Surprise!

Lizzy's boyfriend, KO, organized a surprise birthday party for Lizzy.  What fun!





It was a special week because Lizzy also received an award for her work in the NICU with the preemie babies and their families.




Lizzy, we love having you in our family! I admire your compassion, creativity, work ethic, honesty, and sense of humor.  You are always up for an adventure and make every day fun!  We miss having you live close, but cherish the days we get together.


Love you to the moon and back!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Throwing Candy--With Both Hands

This has been my view this week:


Sick, sick, sick!

I even missed a full week of work which never happens!  Maybe I should get a flu shot next year??? I'm a person who believes it's better to get the flu while young, to build up the immune system.  Not sure I still believe that!

I did read a fair amount, including the pile above.  I've read Spy the Lie before and it's an extremely helpful book, especially if you work in the field of investigation or interview.  It comes in handy with teens too!

I love Maya Angelou and her book with Diego Rivera did not disappoint!  I will say there was some laughter when my fifteen-year-old son happened to walk up behind me as I was viewing a page with a nude woman.  "Mom!  What are you reading!??"

Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist was a sweet surprise.  I enjoy her writing, but I initially felt it was a book I had needed for my younger self.  I was wrong.

I especially loved her chapter on throwing candy--stopping in the midst of the lazerbeam focus of adult craziness to still find the joy and whimsical happiness in life.  Niequist shares the story of being at a lakehouse where the tradition was to throw candy at visiting kayakers "no matter what you're doing, you stop and throw candy . . . because it's fun, because it makes people happy."  She goes on to share how she had lost that part of her life.

In her younger years she would throw candy with glee.  And then she would throw it "as long as nothing else was going on--as long as it didn't get in the way of being responsible."  And then she became the kind of person who made fun of people who threw candy because she was now a grown up with a grown up agenda of lists and responsibilities.  And she realized what a loss this all was. This grown up way of living, being too busy to find all the bits of joy in life.

Life can be hard.  I've learned that all too well.

Photo by Mei Mei--the sun was setting but the beautiful sky was in the east

A couple years ago while going through some incredibly tough circumstances, someone near and dear to me said she would be glad when I found my joy again.  I have.  Mostly.  I had always been a candy thrower, so you wouldn't think it would be difficult to find the lollipops and start flinging.  But life can be hard and sometimes the hard-edge lessons can throw us for such a loop that even in the good times we grasp the handrail for fear of the upcoming storm that's sure to come. Again.

It's harder to throw candy with one hand wrenching down on the handrail.  And it's harder to throw candy when scanning the horizon for a brewing storm.

But I WANT to throw candy despite what's going on.

And I'm not quite sure what it's going to look like, but for Lent I am going to throw a LOT of candy.

With both hands.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Family Bed

Over Christmas break we went to a teddy bear exhibit.


When we came upon all the bears in a large bed, Patrick said, "That's how our house used to be!"

Yes, many, many years of kids climbing into our bed in the middle of the night.

We raised our babies with attachment parenting, which nicely flowed into a positive attachment style with our kids adopted at older ages.  Our babies slept in our room, our toddlers came in the middle of the night, and even our elementary-age kids came and slept in a nest of blankets on the floor when scared. Front packs, back packs, and good-old-fashioned-arms frequently held a young child -- even Vu was carried a LOT when he came home at age six.  William Sears, Tine Thevenin, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, and Deborah Gray's Attaching in Adoption were CrazyForKids best sellers.

Some of my children's favorite stories have been based on co-sleeping:




Co-sleeping is actually the norm in many cultures around the world and in fact, many would find it strange that American parents sleep in separate rooms from their babies.  I will be the first to admit that attachment parenting takes a LOT of work on the front end of parenting, but I truly believe all that time and investment pays off later with trust and security.  Of course I absolutely recognize that co-sleeping isn't for everyone, there is the need for marriage bonds to stay strong, and there are also various thoughts regarding the safety of sleeping with young babies.  Quite honestly, my own husband wasn't always always a fan of the idea, but I am eternally grateful he supported my belief in the importance, and it became an integral part of our parenting.

Co-sleeping looked different for various kids--they usually started out in their own room before coming into ours sometime before dawn.  Our tiny babies slept in a bassinet in our room, we had the "sidecar arrangement" with one child, and a crib mattress that pulled out from under our bed for others.  Of course, the middle of our bed was the #1 choice.  Patrick often landed at the foot, and Vu came into our room for years due to nightmares.  I even have a memory of a teenager, scared in the night, laying on the floor holding my hand draped over the bed as she slept.  When my kids were younger it wasn't unusual for our bed to look something like this by morning.




We are past the years of co-sleeping, but some of my best memories are waking up and seeing a little innocent face near mine, still dreaming. Somehow I've forgotten all those inevitable nights of a kid laying perpendicular kicking my head, the cover hogs, and yes, even the occasionally bed wetter.

One of my first thoughts after we lost Joe was that I was thankful for all the time we had together, including those sweet times with him as a little one, snug as a bug, cuddling between his Daddy and me.

Attachment parenting and co-sleeping are parenting strategies that have served our family well.  I consider it a foundation of our life in parenting, worth the downfalls, a boost to attachment, and a choice that has left us with a plethora of happy memories, for both our children and ourselves.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Mommy Adventures

The rain continues!  I am thinking we might need to build an ark!

In exciting news, we took a Mommy Adventure and finally got a chance to see this bridge covered. The water is usually at least 20 feet below the bridge.  



Mommy Adventures are last-minute let's-go-do-something-crazy days!  I never know how many kiddos I'll be able to entice to come along--sometimes I make it forced family fun--but today's didn't disappoint.  And it included a bonus stop at Walmart to get candy and sweet tea!


Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Rose Garden

It's been a SUPER rainy and snowy winter.  Let's pretend it's summer, shall we?

We love to travel, but there are so many places in our immediate area that we never seem to make time for.  Lan Lan had been wanting to see the Rose Garden forever, so for her birthday we finally took an afternoon and it didn't disappoint!

Beautiful!









Have I ever mentioned that Lan Lan collects ballet photos?  Very cool.  

Please tell me that summer really WILL come again!  Can't wait to take the whole family back to the gardens.  

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Girl Scout Cookie Time!

The time has arrived again!

This year we have s'mores flavor all the way from my niece in California.


And it's the perfect time to remember when I used to write funny posts.  Sometimes I think I need to find my playful funny-bone again.