Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ken Doll Shopping

I was in Wal-Mart with the kids a couple of days ago. Havensong was being a little fussy so we were feeding her some Gerber Puffs while we shopped. Eating solid food is new to her and I guess we were giving her too much because she threw up in the toy aisle. She had just had a bottle so you can imagine the mess. At the same time Autumn and Hannah were trying to pick out a new Ken Doll for Hannah's little sister, Ellie. I didn't think it would become such an ordeal, but it was one tough decision.

 I was kneeling down cleaning up the mess and listening to them pick Ken apart. The first one was out of the question because he wasn't cute enough. I reached up and grabbed him and asked,

"What's wrong with him? He's fine."

Autumn told me he didn't have real hair, so no way. Wow...I survived childhood, and all of my Ken Dolls had plastic hair.

The next one was pretty amazing. It was called the Sweet Talking Ken Doll. He talks, but you control his words.


It reminded me of the quote from Bill Cosby.

"Women don't want to hear what you think. Women want to hear what they think - in a deeper voice."

The girls liked him, but he was too expensive so he was shelved.

They had now narrowed it down to three. They were discussing their features and the styles of their haircuts. They even criticized clothing and bone structure. This one dressed too girlie.

This guy was almost the winner with his dark hair and blue eyes but his smile was sort of creepy, in their opinion.

Finally they chose the winner. He had all of the good qualities that Ken should possess. But most of all, they felt that he looked just like Kyle, Tayler's boyfriend. I finally agreed on him, but that is only because he was in a swim suit, so he only cost $5.00.

By now the throw up was gone, and Ken was in the cart on his way to the check out stand. I must say, I was glad to see Ken getting a little scrutiny for once. It's tough looking perfect all of the time and I think Ken has flown under the radar for far too long.

Mission Complete. And Barbie was thrilled to have a date for the movie that night. I even caught her running her fingers through his real hair.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Favorite: Fix, Freeze, Feast

I hug this cookbook at least once a month. I would hug it more often but I only see it monthly because I only NEED it monthly.

 It is a wonderful batch cooking tool. I have tried other cook books that promote this concept, and most ended in total disaster. I remember one time, I found myself hobbling around the kitchen at 2 am, with my pants rolled up to my ankles, tip toeing around broken glass and surrounded by piles of chopped food, near tears, and imagining what I would do to the author of that cookbook if she happend to walk into the room at that moment. (Remember Cassie?) Not to mention, the end result produced dinners the kids didn't even like. The recipes in this cook book, however, are full of dinners your whole family will enjoy.

 This book is so user friendly and compliments your Costco shopping perfectly. I usually shop one day and cook the next. It takes me about three hours to make 16 dinners. If I was a good blogger I would even have the price break down for you. But I am a word girl, not a number girl, so just trust  me when I tell you it is WAY more cost effective to cook this way, AND it eliminates those daily store runs which hurt the pocketbook.

The favorites around here are:
Mozzarella Meatballs
Pecan Crusted Chicken
Curry Chicken
Balsamic Pork Chops
Party Enchiladas

It is a wonderful thing to just open your freezer and pull dinner out each day. This method of cooking hands you back your evening, tied with a pretty little no fuss bow. The recipes are healthy and from scratch. You won't feel like you are eating TV dinners, I promise.

Kati Neville and Linday Tkacsik, the authors of the cookbook also keep a blog called The Forklift. http://www.fixfreezefeast.com/index.php?pg=fl

There you will find notes on recipes and all of the new things they are up to.

Well, I am off to make 120 meatballs. That will give me five dinners. Once I get the kids rolling them, we finish in no time.

Try it out and just see if it doesn't make your day a little easier. Then when you see me, you can hug me.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Petey Pie Farms

Hair clips for little girls are all the rage right now. I have had so much fun finding bows, head bands, and clips for Havensong! They don't even need hair to enjoy most of these fun items. The alligator clips will go on headbands and crocheted hats. It's a great way to show off their little personality and will always garnish a smile from those around them.

My cousin Alison is one of the cutest people I know, so it makes sense she sells the cutest hair clips. They are embroidered felt, cut into whimsical shapes. How can you resist this elephant?
And I cannot WAIT to have Havensong sport these Valentine clips.

And Come ON.....this little chicken clip??! She can wear this with her little rubber boots...
Check out her shop and find something that fits your little girl just right. You better hurry if you want something for Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chicken Chat...

I have been so busy with new baby I haven't talked much about my chickens, or lack thereof. I don't really understand why I have had such a hard time with this. I can't find anyone else who has experienced this problem. Most people have to kill their chickens to get them to die.

 I used to get lots of questions from people about what they should do with their chickens. I was starting to get a name for myself.  People now ask what not to do.

The thing is, those birds have a palace back there. Fresh water, good food, comfy beds... But it doesn't matter. They still die. I recently took one of the sick chickens to see Dr. Berry. He was so puzzled. He told me in all his years as a vet, he has never seen the likes of it. He said that if one got sick, then they would generally all get sick. Not me, I have one die every six weeks. No matter what. I haven't mentioned Chick Magnet 2 because, well, he died. I found him laying by the feeding dish. I just can't get a Chick Magnet 3 until I figure this thing out. I suggested we do testing on the sick bird to see what was going on. He said he could rule out ten or fifteen things, and it could still be a dozens other reasons why they are sick. The only option would be to send a live bird off to be tested for $600. We both agreed that "knowing" wasn't worth that much. So I brought my hen home and she died shortly after. We have three left out of twenty. None of them were laying eggs until the other day. I swear they overheard me talking about doing them in. They all three started laying. But who wants to eat eggs from future sick chickens!?

A few people have joked that we must have built the hen house on an ancient chicken burial ground.  Very funny, I would tell them. Now it sounds like the only logical solution. That must be it. There is just no reason why this should be happening. To think, I saved four chickens from the slaughter house, only to subject them to a slow death. I still have one of the original birds from two years ago. She is a trooper. She's going to be the last hen standing, I just know it. The sad thing is, they all have to go before I get new ones or the crazy cycle will just continue. Dr Berry said time should take care of everything. I don't have the heart to chop their sweet little heads off so he said he would take care of them for me nicely.

Before I left his office he told me to follow him out back because he wanted to show me something. When I got Chick Magnet 2 I also got a little stunt double in case I lost him. We had speaking engagements to attend, so I had to have a back up! I couldn't have two roosters so I gave one to Dr. Berry to raise for me. He said if my Chick Magnet died I could have that one. But evidently he is attached to him. And he doesn't want to send him to an early death. I rounded to corner and behind the building and there he was. He was so beautiful! And he lived alone behind a little fence with a dog house to retire in. But he was alive. And he looked happy. I was glad I had sent him there because I knew if I hadn't he would be in a little shallow grave in the woods behind our hen house.

So here is the plan. I depopulate by March. I let things sit until May, then get some laying hens. I cannot do the baby chick thing again. If I do, I have to wait for next fall to get eggs. I don't even want to know how many hundreds of dollars we have into this little venture. But I can't stop now.

If all goes well, by May, I can collect eggs. It really shouldn't be this difficult.....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Please Hum, Mum...

Havensong will go to sleep on her own in her crib just fine. It was hard for me to get used to because I always sleep with my babies next to me. I tried one time to put Tayler in her crib. She woke up to nurse, and I sat there holding her, freezing cold and tired. I remember clearly looking over to my pillow and blankets and climbing back in with her, and saying, "Forget that!"

 I always parented from my gut, not from the latest book. For hundreds of years parents had slept with their kids, so far be it from me to change things up at this point in history....besides, I love my sleep. And those moments of cuddling all night were sacred to me...and will always stand out in my mind as precious. Besides, I am sure they loved my drool on the top of their velvety little heads.

I got all of the comments from people about what a mistake I was making, and I would just think,

 "Well, it sure is working well, and it's a beautiful mistake."

And guess what? Beau does not beg to sleep in my bed, he is very happy on his own. As is Tayler and Chase. So I didn't mess them up. (Ummm, I left Autumn out, because she would be thrilled to have me drool on her head still. I guess I did throw her off. But I am SURE by the time she is ready to move out or get married, she won't be sneaking into my bed still....maybe.)

So, when Havensong arrived, I had mixed feelings. Why would I mother her any differently than the others? So I tried to let her sleep next to me. I was all ready for that cozy little girl to be under my white fluffy covers...but she was not. She fussed and tossed and turned. If she awoke and she was next to me she got upset. Maybe it is because she just doesn't know me well enough, but whatever the reason, it didn't make her happy.

So into her cozy crib she went with her white "fuffy."

 But not until I rocked her.
And sang to her.

 I wanted to at least have that. So I rock her until she is allllllmooosst alseep and then tuck her in. She is still a bit awake, but the last thing she remembers, is being sung to sleep by me. And in the morning, I drag her right into bed when she wakes up and we cuddle and play. She's fine with that...

Here is what I sang to the others, and I also sing it to her.

Said the kind kangaroo, oh what shall I do?
If I had a cradle I'd rock it...
but my baby is small, so I think after all,
I'll carry her 'round in my pocket...
(boom, boom)

Bamma taught Tayler that song, and it has been a favorite for all of these years. I did notice one thing tonight. When I was singing it to Havensong, she was fidgety. So I started to hum it instead, and she fell asleep instantly. I wondered if maybe the words were frustrating her, as if she was trying to process it. Scott said while in China, she preferred humming to singing. Makes sense...so much of this is guess work, but we must be guessing correctly, because she is adjusting so beautifully.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Settling In

It's crazy that I have only known Havensong for one week. It's hard to imagine not having her here now. We are starting to see her personality blossom, and she is so adorable.  From what I can gather she is just...SWEET. She is sweet when she plays, when she eats, when she sleeps. She is starting to relax more with me too. I can't say that she allows me to comfort her, she still comforts herself for the most part. But she lets me hold her while she comforts herself, so that is a good start. She loves having a white cloth diaper to hold and cuddle when she is tired or overwhelmed. The nannies at the orphanage told us she had one in her crib at all times. I have affectionately named it her "Fuffy." She tickles her cheek with it as she falls asleep or buries her face in it while its on my shoulder. It now makes me tired if I am holding it!
She will suck her tongue when she gets sleepy and it's extra cute when she smiles while doing it.

She doesn't often prefer me over BEAU yet, but she does prefer me over strangers. And that is a new change. It makes me so happy when she fusses and reaches for me. She seems to be adjusting so well. I can't say I am an expert on attachment, and I plan to read up on it some more, but it feels like things are going well.

Her brothers and sisters have not stopped fighting over her as of yet. It's just not wearing off! I find it funny that I have to act fast in order to change a diaper...will this enthusiasm last? I do find moments for just the two of us.  I scoop her up and take her of to a quiet spot. I usually have to lock the door and I see little toes on the other side, waiting for her to emerge, but I manage...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Finally Home

One week ago I was sitting in this same spot. It was New Year's Eve. I had been invited to many different parties, but declined them all. I usually love a fun party with good friends, but I just needed to be alone. I had  been through a very emotional two weeks. I am thankful to Scott and Beau for doing such an amazing job in China with her, and for bringing her home to her Mommy. I tried to wait as patiently as I could, and I wasn't all that easy to be around, so I apologize to those who had to endure me during that time.

Last week at this time I was a heap of tears. Time was dragging it's feet, so I did the best thing I knew  to do on Saturday to make it pass quickly. I slept in. Sleep was the only thing that worked. Unfortunately that left me scrambling to get things done, but my friends were a huge help to me that day. They made sure the house was perfect for her arrival.

On the way to the airport there was the most amazing sunset. I don't recall seeing this kind of sky in the winter. But I knew it was painted pink just for her, in honor of her homecoming. That's how loving and creative God really is.

We arrived early, something I never do. We paced, and talked, and watched the clock. When they announced the flight had landed from Seattle I covered my face with my hands and began to sob. She was so close. I would see her in mere minutes. The people began to file off of the plane, but no baby. I finally asked a lady if she saw her on the flight. She told me yes and that she had even wiped her little nose. I noticed most of the passengers stayed there to wait for her. They weren't going to miss this. It felt odd to have these strangers in my delivery room, but I soon lost focus on them when I saw my baby girl coming towards me. I had waited so many years for this, and it was happening.

 Before I knew it she was in my arms.
I kissed her forehead and wept.
And she let me.
I can tell you, I instantly loved her. I know that is not always the case. Even when you give birth, I have heard it can take a while to feel bonded. That has never been the case with me. It was always love at first sight, and this was no different. I adored her from the first second. I held her and knew deep in my heart that she was mine. I thought she was the most beautiful baby in the world, and was pretty sure every person near her was thinking the same thing. I wanted to kiss her face off but tried to reserve myself until she was more at ease with me. It wasn't easy....she was a bit stiff in my arms, but relaxed some when I fed her a bottle, which was, by the way, the first bottle I had ever fed to one of my children. I felt like such a novice, and I am sure she thought that too. But she was patient.
I am so thankful to China for giving us this girl. I feel like we pulled off a most amazing feat.  We have a couple feet of paperwork, and five years of waiting to show how much it took, but still, it seems we should have had to do more. I don't know, maybe breathe fire or scale a mountain.
She is just such an amazing gift, and I feel so honored.

It has been a week now and she is doing so well.  Each day I notice her relaxing more and more. She cried the first night from 1-3 am. I held her but she refused to be consoled. I felt helpless, not knowing what she needed. The next night and each night after, she let me rock her to sleep and didn't awake until morning, and always with a big smile.

Today I looked at her with her pink tutu on laughing with Autumn and I got choked up. She's not alone anymore, so far from it. And her little personality is so cute. She is sweet when she's tired, and gives us her little closed-lip smile. She is wild and crazy when she's rested and laughs her head off, and twinkles her eyes at us. Her laugh is like music, and it melts me every time. She lets me kiss her now as much as I want. She gave in, most likely realizing I just wasn't going to stop.

She still prefers Beau and Scott if she gets too overwhelmed, but I can feel her connecting with me. She and I have had many quiet moments, when she is laying in the crook of my arm, holding her feet and looking into my eyes, trying to figure out who I really am.

And I hear her now waking...so off I go.