2

LEGO my EGO

One of the things I have been able to take advantage of, are the classes offered on adoption, behavior and various coping skills that we can teach to our children and replace the old coping methods that no longer serve them. Recently I added a new tool to my toolbox of ‘Mom games’ that masquerades as really fun ‘regular games’.

When I first started to play, I thought “No way am I going to be able to create anything cool/interesting with these LEGO’s (this was my first lesson).  Everyone sat down with a ‘kit’ in front of them, this was not a regular LEGO kit. This kit contained webs, ladders, people, flowers, money, and various other traditional blocks (unfortunately they are not for sale. But, I am sure they would be very easy to put one together from a LEGO store). The play helps kids to express feelings and creativity and gain important skills that can be transferred to a classroom. This is how the game is played:

Choose an attitude, perspective or feeling you would like to work on or explore, (it can also work well with something as simple as ‘create a robot’ or a ‘make-believe bug’ etc…) Now, by using the LEGO-kit translate that into a LEGO model. After 5 minutes, everyone shares their model.  There are rules to sharing:

Here are the rules:

  1. Everyone shares.
  2. When done sharing the listeners say “Thank you for sharing’ (I found this to be the most difficult because I really wanted to compliment the models).
  3. Do not touch anyone else’s model.
  4. Do not touch your model while other’s are talking
  5. Questions about what is on the base plate ONLY.
  6. Do not compliment.
  7. Do not interrupt someone else’s story.
  8. If they say its an XX it is an XX

Here is my “Bug”- It’s a Momma bug and the netting is helping to protect her babies in her pouch. The tools that this bug has to help her babies include (from L-R) , The first tool pictured is a flower to add love and creativity to her children’s lives, next is a phone that represents communication with her children, the brush represents the care and grooming she needs to give to her children and  a magic wand to make all the boo-boo’s and sadness disappear……..I know you want to compliment my rockin’ model…but it’s against the rules!

422

 

 

 

Advertisements
4

Hello, Pity Party of One…

BusySuperMom

 I lost it. It was one of those days. or should I say one of those weeks leading up to one of those days.

Over ten years ago, I had my thyroid removed… completely removed. Because of a combination of procrastination, chaos and yes five kids…I had gone 2 days without my medication. I stopped by the pharmacy to renew it and they said, “Oh it’s on auto-refill for tomorrow. why don’t you just come back then’  oh ok, whatever, never mind I was already 2 days late and this would make a third day, but what the hell. It just makes me tired, cranky and irritable.  When I was feeling the full-effects of withdrawal and went back to pick it up yesterday, they said they had no record of it and to come back later, citing a glitch in their computer system.

 

On to the next errand,a simple trip to fill up the gas tank. My card was declined. WHAT??  I made a detour in my errands and dragged the kids into the calm serenity of the bank…calm until my little terrorizing tribe showed up. With a few taps on the computer keyboard the teller informed me that there had been an accidental hold on my account, just a glitch! So, let’s back up a little bit.

Last week we had a second diagnosis for PTSD in our house. It didn’t surprise me, but it did make me reflective and sad. It also explains the defiant unmanageable behavior we have been dealing with for the last 8-9 months.  Then there is my job. I am a freelance marketing consultant and I am extremely grateful that my job allows me the flexibility to put my kids first, and still earn an income. But, this  last week was particularly busy, and I was on-boarding several new clients. Georges is a College Art Professor and his job does not offer the same flexibility. As a mater of fact, he works Monday-Thursday leaving at 7:30am and not returning to after 8:00 pm.  This creates a ‘single parent atmosphere’ 4 days/nights a week for me.

target-happy

 So that brings us to yesterday morning at Target. Which one of my friends mentioned, when trying to console me…”Oh I am sorry,Target should be your happy place” It should but all odds were stacked against me. By the time we began cruising down those Target isles we could add that the baby was 2 hours past her nap time, and I could not console her consistent screaming! I heard a loud crash, turned around and saw that Bug had reached  out  of the cart and brought down an entire shelf. That was the moment that I just began to cry. I found my limit for patience, tiredness and an overwhelming feeling of self-pity set in!

download

Yep…underneath our superhero capes, mommas are real people too! We have our breaking points, and we all need a little support on these shitty days!

2

What is “Good Hair ” Anyway?

020

I subscribe to The Root, The Root is an online newspaper that describes themselves like this:

The Root is the premier news, opinion and culture site for African-American influencers.  Founded in 2008, under the leadership of Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., The Root provides smart, timely coverage of breaking news, thought-provoking commentary and gives voice to a changing, more diverse America. 

I like to stay in touch with the pulse of the African American community since three of my five kids are black, and I was raised and live in a predominantly white and hispanic community.  Today, I came across an article:  Are ‘A Whole Bunch of White People’ Adopting Black Kids? The article was written in response to A black Alabama lawmaker’s challenge to state residents regarding the adoption of black children into white families. I found it refreshing that they chose to  focus on Adoptee Stacey Patton, and her insight into the positive side of transracial adoption. They have even omitted the lawmakers name, as not to given him/her further attention.

It wasn’t the article that made me go “hmmmmm”, but the 500+ comments from the mostly African-American community that posted. This was a great peek inside the black community to witness and read how our family may be viewed.

For the most part it was one of acceptance. There were a few comments that noted that if you have not adopted, don’t bother commenting! Of course there were the ridiculous haters that mentioned such things as “…To raise an army of completely brain-washed Black People who will allow them to touch their hair, take their organs or be able to tell Racist jokes and say, “I’m not racist, I have a Black daughter’….What I’M wondering is WHY don’t white ‘people’ want their OWN white children? I mean, there are MILLIONS of white kids without parents, why not adopt them?!

Then there were the children who grew up in a white home, or hoped for a forever home and instead just “aged-out” of the system like Daryl: ,  “unless you are going to adopt them “Watch Ya Mouth & Mind Ya Bizness” growing up in an orphanage is NO JOKE, being turned out into the world ALL ALONE at 18 is NO JOKE – having NO FAMILY is NO JOKE”

The biggest ‘take-away’ I got from the comments was it was ok, just teach them their culture and learn to do their hair, “The only problem that I have with it, is a very small one, and doesn’t negate my overall opinion that it’s a good thing. I just wish that when people choose to adopt black children, they would learn how to maintain their hair. Too many times I’ve seen black children looking a complete MESS because the parents (of another race) have just given up.”

Here are my thoughts on that final comment;  Hair.  Wow, in the community I grew up in, with the hair I have hair was never a ‘thing’. Growing up, the biggest question was “bangs or no bangs?.” and since it was the 1980’s…”how big are those bangs going to be?”. I have five nieces that I babysat often. They had straight blond hair. I could not even brush their hair into a basic pony-tail, nevermind any ‘fishtails’ or anything fancy like that. Poor girls looked a mess when they came to stay with Aunt Carrie.  I remember a picture of their special ‘Brownie Bridging Ceremony” and I couldn’t do anything with their hair, so I just left their hair a stringy mess for their special day. My sister would have styled it real cute, but that is the price they had to pay for me babysitting. Fast-forward 20 years and I am the Mami to two beautiful African-American girls with hair I have never even touched, let alone  styled or taken care of.

download

The first thing I did, was reach out to some friends that have experience with  black-natural hair, then I went  to Target and browsed the aisle of African-American hair products, and just asked some black women that were also shopping the isle. The next thing I did was rent Chris Rock’s “Good Hair”.  I have come a long way since that first styling of Bug’s hair, and I have improved my skills (didn’t say I mastered this). I know I have a long way to go, but here’s my throw back at all those Naysayers: As Moms I think we are all doing our best, don’t assume that us white Moms aren’t even trying. I can speak for myself anyway and say that I am not only trying, that I actually stress about this more than I should. As a white mother, I didn’t grow up with this texture of hair, I didn’t have all these years of practice I didn’t have Moms, Aunts or Sisters teaching me the tricks and tips that have been lovingly handed down from generation to generation. I also know that even the black moms that have stopped perming their hair or their children’s hair struggle with it at times.

april-June 2013 287

What I do know is that I love my girls more than life itself, that I would do anything for them. That I tell them how beautiful their hair is, and how beautiful they are. I have never mentioned whether they have “good hair” or not, because I don’t know the difference, and maybe that is just as well. So next time you see a white mami and her baby girl, (whether biological or adopted) tell them they are doing a good job, and know that they are probably already criticizing themselves enough for both of you!

999391_10201700143611551_457496964_n

 

0

What Does Mom Want for Mother’s Day?….WINE!

5535_110229281658_5028916_n

 

I was working in Marketing for Whole Foods Market during my first Mother’s Day. I was on a marketing conference call with about a dozen other marketing people when we began Mother’s Day planning. The question came up “What does Mom want for Mother’s Day?” We were also tasked with polling other moms and finding out what they really wanted.

My first thought was, Wine! I have a habit of my thoughts becoming words before I have a chance to catch them. There was a bit of laughter, and I defended my answer with…”Really, I don’t want chocolate, that will just make me feel bloated and frumpier than I already feel, I don’t want flowers, because those just die, and any potted plant would be one more thing for me to take care of and keep alive.

About a month before Mother’s day, I was informed that they would be using my image and quote for Mother’s Day.  Across the United States in every Whole Foods Market, The image of “Wine-O Mom” hung in the windows, wine department, and on counters.  There was even a life-size cut-out of this mommy-juice sipping lady.

5535_110229286658_1530757_n

So to all the hard working Moms out there, I raise my glass ‘Salud’, May your ‘Mommy-glass’ runneth over!

 

0

A Place for Kids to be Kids!

When I was growing. up, one of my favorite activities was making ‘tamales’ from palm leaves and sand. I guess you could call it the California version of mud pies. My childhood was spent out doors.  I spent hours in what is now being called ‘free play’. Our children’s play tends to be so organized and monitored, that we now have a term for letting them just play.

We recently spent the day at Three Bears Acres. It describes itself as “,,,an outdoor recreational farm”, I describe it as a place for kids to be kids and just free play!

Jumping Pillow

A 68′ x 33′  jumping pillow.

005

 

Graffiti Wall

Kids let their creativity flow on the  graffiti wall!

012

Mud Kitchen

Our gang got nice and messy while they made mud-pies014

Sling Shot

The kids took shots on the sling shot016

Archery

Lola getting her ‘Brave’ on

021

Tree Houses

The kids enjoyed the 100ft bridge that connects to a tree house, slides and swings

037

Toboggan Slides

This was the favorite of the day! The toboggan run is the length of a football field! No

snow needed for this fun ride!

040

Rock n Roll

The kids tumbled and rolled in these, while wearing themselves out, pushing it back to the top

019

If you go…

  1. Bring water bottles (there aren’t any drinking fountains)
  2. Wear clothes you don’t mind getting ruined (also recommend mud boots)
  3. If you plan to spend the afternoon, you can pack a lunch and picnic lakeside
  4. Check their website for seasonal activities
  5. Don’t forget your camera!
0

My Top 10 Disney World Tips

164

 

We received a nice surprise in the mail a few months back. it was a tax refund for the final adoption credit for Lola and Diego. We weren’t expecting it, which makes it all the sweeter.  I quickly began to make a list of the things that need to be fixed around the house, and Georges had other plans; “The kids don’t care about all these little things that need to be fixed, but a trip to Disney World, they will remember forever!” .  He was right, so we began planning our trip to Disney World.

As the days  went on, I felt like I was planning a month long back packing trip through the Amazon.  I was ferociously consuming Disney blogs and pinning like a crazy women. Most of the advice I got, was good.  But what I learned was that there really are not many short-cuts or money saving tips. I found our 3-star hotel on Groupon and got a great deal. It was not part of the ‘Disney Resort’, but we were ok with that. What did I learn?

  1. Water  Bottles: I actually got some cheap BPE-free water bottles and decorated them with kids names and Disney stickers, so that we didn’t have to search for water fountains.
  2. Disney Pins: This was fun for the kids. I went to ebay, and bought 50 Disney pins for $24. I split the pins between the 4 older kids, and this added a second level of excitement to the trip. The kids searched out Disney employees that had pins and traded with them.
  3. Snacks; I made a trip to Trader Joes and stocked up on snacks to bring into the park with us.
  4. Lunch: I packed our lunches everyday. It was easy to find a nice shaded table for us to sit and have our lunch, and the money we saved really added up.
  5. Reservations: If you do want to eat at one of the parks restaurants. Make a reservation TODAY! Many of the restaurants are booked months ahead of time
  6. Fast Pass: You can now book your fast pass before your trip.
  7. Glow in the dark/light up toys: We purchased glow in the dark items at the dollar store, and handed them out before the parade.
  8. If you need to skip a park, and the city you live in has a zoo, then skip the Animal Park. It wasn’t much of a zoo, or an amusement park.
  9. Epcot: This is not the most exciting park for the little ones, so we turned into an educational experience. Make passports ahead of time to get ‘stamped’ in each country, have a map to show where each country is, talk about and point out architecture, and  traditions from each country. We bought food in each country and tasted the local fare. The kids enjoyed this most..
  10. If you are at all tech-savvy, then take advantage of the Disney site. You can research and organize your itineraries here, as well as being able to store your restaurant reservations and fast pass times. You can link your Disney passes to the site, and in case you lose your passes, the numbers are recorded on line and you can have new passes issued quickly.

 

2

The Red Thread of Fate

I am often asked “When did you decide you wanted to adopt?” Truthfully, the answer would be, I always knew. From a young age when other children were playing Mom or Dad to their baby dolls, so was I but all my baby dolls were adopted. I would sometimes change up the scenario and play the older sister that was orphaned and had to take care of her younger siblings.

baby_island

From a young age I was fascinated with anything adoption or having to do with orphans. One of my first books I remembered reading was Baby Island. I loved this book and acted out this scenario of being lost on an Island having to care for a handful of babies.

BoxcarChildren6

The Boxcar Children was also a favorite. I remember once when I was very young, my cousins and I found an abandoned trucking shell. This became our ‘boxcar’. I have such vivid memories of this experience I can still feel the dust in the dirt lot that became our playground for months.

In 1974 I was 7 years old, and a small movie came out titled Mixed Company. I loved this film, it was about a family that adopted several children with various backgrounds. Although I was only 7, and have not heard of the movie since, it has stayed with me.

220px-Mixedcompany1974

When I was in high school I abandoned the idea of having children altogether, it wasn’t until college that started thinking about it and began collecting articles about adoption. When Georges and I got together, we discussed adoption right away (biological children wasn’t out of the picture). We agreed that we would like to adopt at least one child.

I know that adoption was something that I was meant to do. So my answer to the Question “When did you decide you wanted to adopt?” would be answered with a question.”When did you decide to become a biological parent?” I have always known my children were OUT THERE.

redthread

There is a great Chinese Proverb:

 An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break.