Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Family Bed

Over Christmas break we went to a teddy bear celebration.


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.  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 passed 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.  

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Life Before Adoption

Our adopted kids had a life before our family, which thankfully included people they loved.  It is so important to keep those connections strong, even though it can be difficult.  Not only is the relationship important, but having someone else who SHARES and REALLY KNOWS what life was like is a comfort for my children--both the positive and negative realities of life before adoption.

There were many blessed and beautiful times together in 2016 with foster siblings, orphanage friends, and crib mates.  My hope is that we will continue to find more connections in the coming year.  A friend is planning a big reunion of Guangzhou kids next year which is sure to be filled with the gamut of emotions.  

Some of the beautiful memories from 2016 included Vu having a reunion with one of his "babies" from the Vietnamese orphanage, getting together with Vu's good friend C, and Lan Lan meeting up with her foster sister and friends from China.  












Sadly, Mei Mei doesn't have many connections from China.  We keep in touch with people from our travel group and the social workers associated with our adoption, but we haven't been able to find any children she grew up with.





The reality of having several children who joined our family through adoption is that there is heartache in the loss of not having solid history.  Some of our kids have no baby pictures, no knowledge of the circumstances surrounding their relinquishment and birth family, no way to find their birth parents should they desire. Every time we go back to a birth country we try to get more information--sometimes we are successful and even the tiniest bit helps, but the grief remains. Adoption is born out of loss, and the loss is profound.

And that makes keeping those connections to pre-adoption loved ones even more important.


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.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Celebrations

Lots of celebrations going on at the CrazyForKids house.

First, Happy Birthday to our little girl!  You might be 20 now, but you will always be our baby!  You are full of life and joy, sweet and spicy!, always ready for adventure and fun.  I love spending time with you and your sweet family and look forward to a lifetime of crazy times together!


Kim's birthday was on Superbowl Sunday!  It included lunch at a fav--Red Robin, and then presents at our house.  Baby K got fussy so Kim headed home and we forgot the cake, but no worries! Facetime is a wonderful thing!  We lit the candles and had several willing participants blow them out. Fun times!  We later delivered dessert to her door.

Then we watched my husband coach the Falcons.  Can you spell doppelganger?


Somehow Coach Quinn/Hubby made it home before the game was over for photos--maybe that's how they lost?  Funny how girls and boys do photos differently.



In other celebratory news there was Chinese/Vietnamese New Year.  Always fun!  We went to a celebration downtown and baby K LOVED the lion dance.  We ate too much, found green tea Pocky Sticks, and practiced calligraphy.





 We also had good times at home with lots of Chinese and Vietnamese take-out and then games.



Hubby made his traditional giant Valentine's Day cookies.  Baby K REALLY enjoyed his first, and a box was sent to Sweetpea and Baby B.  Oh my!  They are growing up fast!





February has included ever more basketball games, Patrick had a solo in the jazz festival, Lan Lan went to Winter Formal with friends, and we took advantage of a rare sunny day with a trip to the zoo







Is it any wonder that today I am having a mental health day, and I'm staying home blogging!!!