Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Vision Test, linked post

Please go check out this blog post. I wholeheartedly concur with her.

A Vision Test, by Amie Sexton

When your adopted minority child looks in the mirror he/she sees black, brown, peach, yellow, tan, etc. skin looking back. For that child to hear us say that our love is “colorblind” can be far more hurtful than any of us would dream. What we mean is that our love for them transcends color and ethnicity. But what they often hear is “I don’t see part of you.” We so desperately want to affirm our children in the security of our unconditional love that we miss the point. What if Tara came to me tomorrow and said, “Amie, I’m going to overlook the fact that you are a red-headed freckle factory and continue loving you anyway”? Besides how completely ironic that would be given our shared features, it would also hurt me deeply because the very nature of such a statement implies that my traits are unbecoming and undesirable and something to be overlooked in order to find me acceptable. Our children want to be accepted because of who they are –inside and out- not in spite of it.

Love that overlooks is belittling. Love that acknowledges is accepting.


indian in another life perhaps

See, I love curry. I love Indian food... and, shockingly, I'm also moderately good at making it at home, yippee for me. :) Of course, no one else I know (except Ellen) would attempt to make Indian food at home, for the most part. Me, I like beans, lentils/dal, and all kinds of curried veggies.

Tonight I made a great cauliflower/potato curry with basmati rice. YUM. It wasn't perfect, but it was definitely good enough for a 2nd bowl. hehe. :D

Perhaps I was Indian in another life? Naaah. ;-)


3 medium potatoes,
fresh head of cauliflower broken up 2" florets,
1 can of chicken broth,
1.5 tsp curry, 1 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp ground coriander,
dash celery seed,
1/4 tsp all spice, pepper, salt,
half onion coarsley chopped,
1/4 tsp onion powder and garlic powder.

coarse chop potatoes (2" cubes), put in spices and chicken broth into cooker. cook 3 minute, quick release (taste test and see how the spicing is coming along... modify if necessary)

after opening, add broken cauliflower on top of potatoes, 1 cup of water, and onion. cook 3 more minutes, quick release. Add red pepper to taste... mild, add none, medium add 1/8tsp or so.

Then i put it in the slower cooker mode for 2 hours to marry the flavors better, but that was because i didn't have the amounts right during the PC part. should be better next time.

Oh, and I'm in love with a machine... my Pressure Cooker, that is. :) Speedy little devil! LOL I'm loving the options I have now to cook fun meals quickly .... that taste half way decent to divine.

Now, if I could only figure out some GOOD homemade Chinese food... easy, quick, authentic... that's my next goal.


Friday, July 23, 2010

wax not so eloquently

Last night I could.not.sleep. Perhaps, it was due to the fact that I went to bed early the night before and slept all night...

I've started reading yet another new book, ha, that has do to with Parenting... and this one is about Parenting Transracially Adopted Children from 1 year to 18 years of life... This is after I just finished reading the Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control... both of which have similar, albeit not the same, perspective on children and their behaviors after coming into a family via foster or adoption... they both discuss brain development in-utero and with each subsequent move from first mom to orphanage (many caregivers) or foster parent to final placement (in the case of adoption) and how this impacts even our youngest adopted children.

This particular book looks at this development, or lack thereof, in specific parts of the brain and encourages parents to be proactive in their actions with their children, at first and throughout their development. To be detectives to try to sleuth out what might be going on emotionally with our children before they react... so we don't have to 'react'. We can be proactive.

This is sort of similar to the other book... the approach is similar, but the underlying reasons behind 'why' we should be proactive are different. The BCL&C book specifically directs all actions to two base feelings... Love or Fear. This book hasn't really spelled out the fear part as much, yet, but it does touch on it. It tries to get you to look at things the way our CHILDREN see them...

So far, I am really enjoying this book, too. But it didn't help me sleep, lol. It actually made me think of when we came home and the first year when I didn't know how to react to Lil M's crying... like at dinner, if she wouldn't eat or something... I'd get upset. Mommy wasn't always so nice... and I'm sure that didn't help her in some ways... but, so far, we're doing really great, and now that she can talk (and talk and talk and talk)... our communication is good.

I wonder how many parents, though, don't realize the affect they, themselves, can have on their child's brain development? Especially, after their child comes to them traumatized from something/someone else... or multiple someone elses...

We need to be a refuge for our children's hearts and souls ...and brains. We need to help them heal.

What I personally suggest is (and believe you mean, I do not have all the answers):

1. LET GO of the expectations of how they *should* behave or should be the first few months (even years) home. Be open-minded.

2. Start slow. Figure out your routine. This might be wildly different than what the child has experienced before. Be gentle.

3. Focus on THEM and where they are RIGHT NOW. Don't worry about them getting up to speed age-wise. Focus on meeting every single one of their needs right here and right now. Just meet their need. Even if this child is older... stop all extraneous activities outside the home for awhile. Stay in. Focus on them. Watch them. See how they are reacting to you and the rest of the family. And be proactive... show them the routine. Show them a calm, consistent parent. Maybe they've never had that before. They may struggle with that concept. Be patient.

4. Don't let life pull you too far away. Make sure you have ample family time every single day... Cancel appointments. Slow down at work (or take time off, or make sure you are off time at a decent time each and every day.) Do everything for your child... feed them, bathe them, dress them, cuddle them. Get on the floor and play with them. When you get on their level, you aren't as threatening. Be on their level.

5. Make sure you are your child's *everything* as long as possible. Some people say don't let others feed your child or change them for one month after coming home. It was a rarity for me to let others feed or change Lil M even at almost 2 years... (besides the daycare). I tried to be number one ALL THE TIME... to reinforce that I AM MOMMY. She knows this... but to think that only after one month that she'd really believe that I'm Mommy... well, I wasn't so convinced. So, I say think that you should go with your gut. Be his/her most important person.

The biggest thing that encouraged me through these readings is to parent in Love. That, is of course, a no brainer... but, If you consciously parent out of love, responding to their needs and issues feels different. It doesn't feel as much like a chore or a 'have to'... it's a 'get to'!! (not that i have ever, ever thought that about parenting Lil M or even T. i love that i 'get to' parent!!!) .... I"m just saying that I don't think that all parents remember that during the tough times.

Oh, and one other reminder I had... we as parents of traumatized children should try our best (this one is hard) to NOT take things personally when our child acts out or lashes out at us. They are processing a previous hurt... and you are the one there. Try to identify with them. Bring them closer and stay calm. It's not about us. It is about them, and their hurts. In order to help fix the hurts (later), we have to try to understand them first... and to do that we have to put down our own preconceived notions and LISTEN to them... just listen. meet them where they are at... and sympathize with their pain. hold them... or cry with them... sit with them. When they are going through the pain, we must listen. Later, when they are calm,.... we can try to help them through it.

Enough with the waxing. ;-)


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

RADically Challenged: great video

Found this on another great blog... this is a GREAT little video. Goes along with what I wrote about earlier about parenting through behaviors/fears.

--------------------RADically Challenged-------------------: Sometimes you just need to laugh! I love this woma...: "I love this woman! Last week Mr. J was in an oppositional defiant mode. He wasn't listening or responding to daddy and having a break down...."


WFMW - Beyond Consequences

There's a great book called "Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control". It talks about there being two states of emotion that under gird everything we do: Love and Fear.

When our children act out in anger, defiance and other negative ways... they are doing so out of FEAR. We need to meet our children where they are at, and parent them through Love. This means that instead of always giving a consequence for a behavior we need to look at WHY the behavior is occurring and see if we can meet our child in their pain.

Look past their behavior and see their fear.

For example, my foster daughter can't handle being yelled at. It immediately sends her into a stressed state that I can see. And, then she starts to get angry, really angry... I haven't yelled at her pretty much the entire time she's been with me, but I did see someone else yell at her and her response wasn't pretty. The thing is, that she was reacting out of fear. What this means is that instead of getting mad at her for reacting like she did, I stayed calm and just walked with her. I stayed beside her and spoke softly and calmly.

If your child is fighting you to go to bed at night, for example... maybe they are afraid of the dark. Did you ask them? Maybe they are afraid you won't be there in the morning. You should reassure them. Maybe where they were before you always had the door closed and that memory alone causes them fear... This is instead of giving them a consequence for not listening to you or yelling at them. Try it to see if maybe there is something ELSE going on instead of just being defiant. You just might be surprised to see that there is.

When our children are in a state of fear, we need to be in a state of calm. The calmer person can help the stressed person calm down. Don't worry about talking during the actual situation... try to diffuse it. Then, LATER once they are calm... ask them about it.

This works for Lil M and I, too. If she gets upset, she won't talk. She freezes. I can see 'that' look in her eye... she's shut down for the moment. So, I do what I can to stay calm (which I am not perfect at) and after a few minutes she will calm down. After an hour or more, sometimes I can get her to tell me what the problem was. It's a work in progress.

But I do know that this works for me. It's much better than always getting riled up and giving consequences. Sometimes Mommy needs to walk away and give herself a time-out. Or sometimes Mommy needs to bring the child CLOSER to her for a time-in.

The most important thing is to parent out of Love.

Also, sometimes, we have our own fears that are brought up by the behaviors of our children. Think about that. Maybe something happened to you when you were a child and now every time they scream in the shower you immediately get mad. Why? We need to deal with our own fears so we can help our children through theirs. I love this book and looking at parenting from that place has been good for me and our family, I think.

Go here to see what works for other families.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Figuring it out...

Today, T came to me and said... what are you going to do with Lil M when I go into labor? I said... we will figure something out. I'll call my dear friends E or MK or Sis... she's like... well, you've GOT to be there!

... ah, a good moment. :) I pray that continues. I want her to want me to be there. I want to be there, too.

So, I said, of course I'll be there... we will figure it out! :)

Yesterday, she realized we'll need two car seats... and won't be able to have anyone else really ride in the car. I hope these types of conversations really means she wants to stay after the baby comes. I pray she finishes high school and goes on to college.

She and her BF had a somewhat rough time yesterday...and so she didn't call him today. I told her I was proud of her for that (I think it was a responsible reaction to his behavior). She also didn't want to go to her home visit this weekend... We got a little shopping done yesterday and only went to the grocery for a few things today. We were going to dinner with our friends tonight, but when I walked in the door a migraine came on extremely fast. That sucked. So, we stayed in...

Lil M has been very lovey this weekend... I can't believe she'll be 4 next month!! Gotta figure out what to do for her birthday. The only birthday we've celebrated this summer was my own (and Sis', of course)... gotta get everyone else settled. :) It's been a bit of a strange summer for our little family....

But, we're figuring it out... so far. Still praying for us all. :D And by that, I'm including my friends/family who also are having difficulties with health, jobs and family issues... Please, Lord, Please...


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kitchen and Camp

My new kitchen love is my electronic Pressure Cooker. I've cooked in it 3 times now, and I love it. I've made

red beans and rice - turned out perfect
a whole chicken 3.3 lbs and it turned out great too
curried chickpeas and potatoes with basmati rice and green peas

I'm really liking this new toy. It's electronic, and it cooks super speedy. I think this will help me get some more good, healthy meals on the table this summer... unlike the slow cooker counterpart, the pressure cooker can cook a whole meal in a jif and i don't have to have it all planned out in the morning. :D

The red beans were kidney beans that had NOT been soaked. They were perfect in 40 minutes. The chickpeas were partly soaked and were perfect in about 25 minutes. I love my beans...what I did like just as well, though, was the chicken! It was cooked in 36 minutes (was just a tiny bit of ice still on it, but 99% defrosted). Apparently, you can cook frozen chicken breasts (not a whole frozen chicken) in it... which, I'm going to have to try. I have some other Indian dishes I'm anxious to make now, too. Oh, and hummus. :)

Better yet, it keeps the kitchen cool.

I got Sis turned onto it, too. :D I have a feeling this is going to be a very well used kitchen gadget in my kitchen from now on...I hope so, anyway.

In other news, T and Lil M and I went walking around the mall today. Got T some shoes for school and a couple of rings for her piercings... we also got her a band (not a bella band, but something similar) to go around her belly so she can still wear her pants for awhile longer. I'm a bit hesitant to buy too many shorts, since she'll be biggest when it's colder out.

Last, but not least, here are a couple of pics from basketball camp.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

13th week

T had her 2nd doctor appt this morning, with the Nurse Midwife... she is 13 weeks and 4 days along today. We listened to the little heartbeat that went 170 bpm. T is O positive. We need to find out what Scrunch is...

T seems excited some days. She doesn't seem as stressed as I think she should be, lol. She and Scrunch hope the baby is a boy. I keep telling her it could be a girl. We'll find out in about 8 more weeks.

I asked her today how she was going to deal with the baby screaming. She said that it might bother her when she has to get up in the morning. I asked her if she wanted me to help her, and she said she doesn't expect me to get up in the middle of the night with the baby. We shall see.

My prayer is that she stays with me until she graduates next June. The baby is due in January. It's going to be somewhat rough, I'm afraid... but I pray she finishes school and goes onto college like we've talked about. I'm trying to work on those seeds...

It's been nice having Chase here this week. He's doing well, so far. I can't believe it is Wednesday already!!! He was so excited to go to the library last night. We might go again tomorrow. I'd like to do something for his missed birthday... haven't figured out what yet.


Monday, July 12, 2010


Things here have been fairly uneventful this past week... T has been good, and we're getting along well right now. Lil M is great and she's slept with me a couple of nights this week... Nephew is here for the week to go to basketball camp and he seems excited.

Let's see... I put a twin bed in Lil M's room so they could share a room this week. I got my room cleaned up (i'm notorious for putting my clothes ON the dresser and not hanging them up, so they are all hung up and put away!)... all beds changed and made. T helped by cleaning the bathroom, Eisenswine's bed and vacuuming... we all pitched in on laundry (well, not nephew, he wasn't here yet).

I made turkey burgers and turkey hotdogs on the grill the night before last and that's what we had for dinner last night, too. Tonight is Lil M's dance class, so we'll wing it. Maybe leftover spaghetti. I need to get the chicken cooked... maybe after dance class, even if it is for tomorrow.

T has a Dr. appt this week. Then we'll see how often she actually needs to go. That morning will be interesting... early. egad. But it's got to be done.

My friend Ellen is doing better and I hope that continues. My other friend MK had a birthday on Friday... so, we need to celebrate with her this week!!


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

4th of July and Dance class

We had a very nice 4th of July weekend (except for the part that my friend was in the hospital), and I hope that you did, too. My friend Ellen is out of the hospital now, thank God. And I pray that she continues to feel better. I'm praying for you Ellen and the decision you might need to make.

On Saturday evening, while T was at her BF's house, Lil M and I went to a neighboring town to walk around and see their fireworks. They were running a little late, so we didn't really stay for the show, but we did have strawberry "ice cream" (really crushed ice slushy thing where you put the syrup on yourself, and we did have strawberry, but Lil M called it ice cream). She and I really enjoyed that part. :) And our time together...

Sunday, T had a family visit, which she chose to cut a little short. Meanwhile, I went and picked up her friend Jessica who was spending the night with us over the 4th. She is also a foster and it gave her FM a night of respite. :) After that, we all just hung out for a bit and then got ourselves ready for the big fireworks.

T got ALL dressed up in red, white and blue. She wore a red shirt, jean shorts and white shoes... with blue and red beads and blue and white ribbons in her hair. Even glittered her face... and Lil M's and Jessica's. :) Lil M had red shorts on with a white shirt and i had a red shirt and jean shorts... Jessica also wore a red shirt. T wore her hair in pigtails! Lil M and I just wore ours up normal.

We went to see the local outdoor symphony play... and they had some 'family fun time' scheduled before the concert and fireworks. Lil M and T got their faces painted... along with my nephew!! They painted a 'fireworks' on their faces and Lil M and C also got a flag. We did temporary tattoos, coloring, making instruments... even Sis and I got temporary tattoos.

At the concert were other friends of mine/ours, too... the MK's and their family came... we also saw Carol and her daughter, too!! I had a great time. :)

We listened to the concert, which was nice. But it was very, very hot we had lots of water and pop to drink...and snacks. Once the sun went down it was much better! After the concert, they did a fireworks show...that was AMAZING. It was right over us and the fireworks were so close they were enormous!!! Best fireworks I've seen in years! So, it made all the heat worth it. :)

Lil M loved the fireworks. She did cover MY ears, though, when it got loud... She doesn't really like loud stuff like that, but she's protective of Mommy... she did really great. :)

Monday, we did a TON of laundry and cleaning to get caught up. Then, we went to Lil M's first-ever dance class. This class has ballet, tumbling and tap dancing. It is a 4-5 YO class, and yes i know she is 3. But she turns 4 next month (wow!)... and they said she could do this one. She's in it with her friend MK2. They both did so well and are certifiably CUTE! MK2 has had dance class before, and was just rocking it! (well, except when she was bummed she didn't have her tap shoes yet) I love how bold and body-assured she is, and she's really good at it, too! I'm hoping Lil M learns some of that. :)

We lucked out that we were able to get some used ballet shoes for free... and the tap shoes from MK. MK wasn't so lucky in finding tap shoes for MK2... but she will. :)

So, again, other than the hospital scare (and, man, did i pray!!!) ... the weekend was a success. I loved spending the time with my family, friends and the girls.