Silver linings

Gus was sick last week. An ear infection in both ears.

As any mom knows, having a sick kid is not a fun thing. But, lots of my fellow adoptive moms have mentioned how it can be a healing thing. I first noticed this when Reed broke his leg. Not something I’d want to go through again, of course, but it was the only time he ever had to rely on me for everything. All of a sudden, he was taken back to the stage before walking, where he required a parent to carry him all places and help him with lots of tasks that had been routine– getting dressed, going potty, etc..
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By the time his cast came off, our relationship was much better for it. Silver linings.

So, back to the recent past and Gus. He spends some afternoons with Amanda, our babysitter. Last week, she brought me a very unhappy child and told me he’d been saying “I want mama” for a half hour. Poor Gus… and poor Amanda.
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But, as an adoptive parent, those words are so nice to hear. Amanda is wonderful and all of the kids adore her, no question. So, the fact that, in his time of feeling really crummy, he turns to me, tells me that no matter how much he loves her and enjoys his time with her, I’m still his number one, the one he needs. This seems like simple stuff for most parents– for a three year old, his mom hung the moon. But as an adoptive parent, a strong, healthy attachment is a valid concern. And, this little sign is huge.

He spent the rest of the evening not letting me out of his sight. And the next day, until his antibiotics kicked in, glued to my side.
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So, while I won’t ever enjoy him being sick, it’s nice to be reminded that he’s still my baby. Love that kid.

If You Want to Feel Small

… spend an evening looking at the stars. And the beautiful blood moon, too.
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The lunar eclipse last night was beautiful. I know it was cloudy for most of the US, but the clouds went away just in time for us to enjoy it. Of course, I had my camera out.
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This is a composite of 15 minute intervals… and the center photo is a composite of both sides of the moon, but both properly exposed. The blood moon side is so much darker than the regular moon side, so it would be impossible to expose properly for both sides at once, which is why it has to be a composite.

 

Since it was 3am here, I didn’t wake the kids up for it, but they were excited to see my photos today.

Who else enjoyed the eclipse?

Not for the Faint of Heart

Maybe you saw my photo on Instagram last week?
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Oh my goodness, you guys. I just looked over, and there he was. Not at his normal petite stature, but nearly eye-level.
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How, you ask?
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This kid. He’s a climber. And a talker… While up there, he had a conversation with our neighbor, calling her “Ben” (not even close to her real name).

He’s at this adorably ridiculous stage where he talks to everyone and everything. Constantly. We were stopped at a red light on a four-lane street the other day, windows down. And he proceeded to talk to the people in the car next to us!

Oh, Gus.

Princess Picnic

Lena has a new friend. Brenya is a couple of years younger than Lena, which is perfect. Lena is glad for the chance to be a helper and is also glowing, having a younger friend look up to her. Plus, this two just play very well together.

Anyways, Lena has been wanting to have a picnic. She’s decided it’s perfect weather for it, and she’s right. She had one with her babysitter the other day, but I forgot to give them a picnic basket, so it was not exactly the vision in her head. That same day, we got together with her new friend and they decided that they wanted to be princesses together. Then, I found the beautiful light and open field where I took the photos of Lena from yesterday’s post. And, everything came together.
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The picnic was really her idea, and I tried to give her as much control over the execution as possible, helping me with the choices for food and making sure we brought all the picnic necessities– a blanket, napkins, PB&J sandwiches, potato chips and carrots. She helped me pick out the dress, and I did her hair. She was so excited.

Meet her friend Brenya.
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Can you tell that these two just adore each other? Late in the evening, I heard Brenya say, “I love you.” And Lena immediately replied, “I love you, too!”
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It was perfect. On our walk home, Lena raved about what a wonderful time she’d had. I loved that. Not sadness that it was over, but joy that her night went just as she wanted.
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At Six Years Old

My dear Lena,

I look at these photos, and they seem to be the very essence of you, at six years old.

Happiness and wonder.
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Sensitivity and gentleness. 2014-04-09_0008
Joy and excitement.
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Enthusiasm and beauty.2014-04-09_0004
Peace and big dreams.
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Kids always seem to be in a rush to grow up. I remember being a kid and thinking that there was some great secret only adults knew.
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Truth: there’s no grown-up secret. We definitely don’t have it all figured out.
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But, girl, I think that maybe you do.
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Excess

[Imperfect Fridays are the day I take out of the week to peel back the polished layer of the blogosphere and get real with you.]

I’d like to not be vulnerable right now. I’d like to not share what I’m about to share. But, that’s exactly why I need to share it.

I’ve struggled with my weight for a long time. I was never a rail-thin kid– I always had that tummy. The one that’s adorable on kids who aren’t me, but of course, I hated on myself. When I quit swimming after 6th grade, I gained weight even more easily, all the while hitting that age where self-esteem really tanks.
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And, so began my love/hate/addiction relationship with food. And, my hate relationship with my body.

Sometimes, I look back at pictures of 15 year old me, or 17 year old me, or 21 year old me, and I just want to reach through the screen and say “Girl, you are alright. Don’t worry about your weight… yet.”
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But, I could never have convinced myself of that at any of those ages, because I just didn’t believe it about myself. I’m slowly learning is that there’s no point in trying to fix the weight issue(belief or legitimate), until I fix that heart issue.

I will never stop struggling with my weight until I stop struggling with food. Until, I come to terms with my body and come to terms with food.

Maybe that makes no sense. But, here’s the story. Between the two adoptions, I got into weight loss and exercise and eating right. I was probably at my strongest and healthiest (although not thinnest) ever. IMG_2130

Now, almost 3 years later, I’m at my heaviest. I gained it all back, and then some. Yes, that’s what you always hear about fad diets, but that wasn’t me. I was eating well– not diet food, but real food. I was going to the gym– and running and working out at home. I knew and still know what foods are healthy and what foods aren’t. I know my ideal caloric intake in a day, approximately how many calories are in most foods, the calorie deficient needed to drop a pound, and so on. I love knowledge.

So, where’s the problem?

The problem is, I’m also a food junkie. I dealt with my weight issues, not with my heart. Not my motivation to eat or my honest opinions on the person in the mirror.  Are you following?

I had the discipline to cut my calories and work out regularly, but I still didn’t like myself anymore. I still didn’t find a different way to handle my problems than “eating my feelings”. And, so when things got hard, when I felt more stressed than ever(hello, second adoption), I had nothing to fall back on. No better crisis management than my deal old friend carbs. There was no better reward or comfort than the one I found in food.

It’s a miserable cycle– have you noticed? Stress = excess eating = excess weight. Excess weight = more stress = excess eating.

Why am I sharing this? Have I figured it out?

Nope, sorry, guys, this is Imperfect Friday. This is where I air my dirty laundry and try to be a bit more real with you all. I don’t have to figure it out to share, do I?

Tonight, we spent time with some new friends and this sweet mom, a photographer, said, “do you want me to take a picture of you with Lena?” First, my brain said “NO WAY!”, but then it said “Embrace the camera. Save this moment for Lena. She doesn’t think you’re fat. She thinks you’re beautiful.” “Yes,” I told her and passed my camera off.

And, when I flipped back through my photos later in the night, I had the reaction I knew I’d have. It’s the same reaction I had when I saw our beautiful family photos in October. That deep sinking feeling most women, most people, know. “I really look like that?!”
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And now, I shared it with you guys anyways. Part of me believes that the first step to healing is to rip off the band-aid.

Not the step to dropping pounds, but the step to reconciling my body and my heart. My biggest motivation of all is that I don’t want to pass this body hatred along to Lena. Whether she’s always lean or whether she’s 300lbs, I want her to get that she’s okay… and she’s beautiful. At 6 years old, she proclaims she is beautiful. I absolutely believe that to be true. And, she frequently tells me I am. But when will she begin to see through my “thank you!” and notice I don’t quite believe it? When will she start to comprehend society’s millions of messages that thin = beautiful and look to my example for truth? And what kind of example can I be for her, at any size, if I don’t truly believe that all people are beautiful, myself included?

No answers, just more questions.

Search Engine Terms: Boy on a Rock, a Moose’s Birthday and Tomato Jokes

I look at my Site Stats from time to time and last week, I took a couple of minutes to look through the search engine terms that bring people to my blog. Oh my goodness. There are some really awesome ones. We hate to disappoint, so we figured that maybe we should start creating our blog content based off of these terms.

“Little Boy Sitting on Rock”

Take your pick. Please.
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“What does a moose like for his birthday?”

 

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What a great question! I’ve never been quite sure what to get my moose, so I asked my kids for advice.

Reed: A carrot.

Lena: Cake

Gus: Yogurt.

…additionally, there are 2 things to be noticed from this picture:

  1. Never trust a moose’s font choices.
  2. The only reason why this isn’t the Crappy Pictures Blog is because that was already taken.

 

“Faucet Tomato Joke” (or any variation)

Well, okay, I ACTUALLY blogged about this a couple of years ago, but I still thought it would be worth asking my kids for their best Faucet Tomato Joke.

Reed: What did the faucet do to the tomato? Answer: The faucet washes the tomato so that you can eat it.

Lena: What did the faucet do to the tomato? Answer: The tomato go inside and wash he’s hair.

Gus: Nos [the plural of no].

The real joke is: “What happened between in the race between the tomato, the faucet and lettuce?”
Answer: “The lettuce was ahead, the faucet was running, the tomato couldn’t ketchup.”


 

Feeling enlightened? Still wondering where the answer to your question is? Tune in next week as we address issues such as “lost tooth on toilet” and “wht do you like your favorite toy”.