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Monday, March 30, 2009

Caesarean Section!

So, Ellas adorable 7 year old friend comes over. Her name is Meggie. She says "when I was born I was so big my mom had to have a Csection." I said "Yeah Andrew was 9lbs 7oz and I had to have a csection too." She looks at me totally serious and says..."Did you have a csection with Ella too?" HA! Then she caught herself and said "oh yeah she was adopted."

We Survived!

You know that STAPLES commercial where the guy is pushing the shopping cart singing "Its the most wonderful time of the year..." because his kids have gone back to school? That is us....we are just so relieved to finally be in the regular routine again. But while we were off we (as you know) went to florida, Andrew helped to create 3 blogs and now owns his own .com called Basics to pro.. He also somehow learned how to decode and write HTML (don't ask me how he learned)...he was also asked to author some other blogging tips articles online..I actually had to edit it because although the content was excellent his writing is that of an 11 year old. I punctuated and spelled checked for him. Ella insisted on making ginger tea every day of vacation and was worried about how I would survive today without her in school. Jared had a wiggly tooth this morning (his first) and we received a note from school to let us know he handed the teacher his tooth...'here teacher is my tooth." And Grace had many sleep overs but forgot some of her math and reading over vacation because she procrastinated on her homework and we didn't push....So, all is good...we are praying for God to provide because work is slow this year and we are just leaning on God but loving our family and life...

Crudite!


So Matea looks at me today after I picked her up from pre school and said "mom what is crudite?" I said "Where did you hear that word?" She said "On Snow White." I said "Oh okay..crudite means vegetables..." Then she said "Mom what does 'impressed' mean?" I said "Impressed means proud." She then said "Mom are you impressed when I eat my crudite?" HA!!!! LOL...She just turned 4 a couple of weeks ago...but she is soooooo funny....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ella makes CHI!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Good Orphanage and Never Never Land!

It has been so interesting being a mother to all of my children but especially my 3 children from Africa because they constantly challenge me to look at things from a different perspective. I guess before going to Africa I had a very cinematic view of how children perceive their orphanage experience and their life in an "underdeveloped country" (using quotes because that is how many people will view Africa). All I can say is that I have learned that we place our judgment on their lives totally from a capitalistic vantage point. I believed that my kids would be extremely grateful and anxious to be taken out of their poverty and difficult surroundings and catapulted into a life of luxury and civility. But what I have learned is that my kids totally never viewed their life situation as poor or less than perfect. Even with their parents passing away they adjusted quite well to their orphanage and never thought their life before that was anything but great. For example, we were swimming in Florida and Grace was remembering her swimming experience in Africa very fondly ...she said they would wash their clothes in the water, the animals would be washed and they would swim. She said it was really fun. Now my mind automatically goes to the place of "EW but the animals could be going to the bathroom and you could get sick." But because she had never studied science and never been told about GERMS per se she only remembers the fun time swimming. Her Florida swimming experience in a fully chlorinated pool on the beach with inflated pool toys didn't necessarily rank higher than her Africa (pool hole) experience.

So, also recently we have noticed that Jared is just now starting to grieve and feel a sense of loss not of his mother, father or parents but of the orphanage that he lived at for 18months. Again, one would think "but now you have a family . Isn't that great?" If you were a 3 year old boy and slept in a room with 8 other 3 year old boys, were fed with those boys, played with 100 other kids everyday and got to run freely in a safe compound having a life situation where you have to make play dates can grow exhausting to you. We are tracked out from school for 3 weeks and Jared is constantly saying "i want to go back to etiopia and don't want family." He has been here a year and hasn't expressed his feelings like this. We ask what he misses and he says he misses the kids at Layla House and the pancakes and injera....So, the lesson learned and important info to impart to adoptive parents is to realize that what you perceive to be a 'better life" may take awhile to translate into their little hearts. Also, if we are being honest there were some amazing aspects of living in the countryside of Africa that they miss. They were able to just leave their house and come home by sunset. Not the case here. They could be outside all the time. Not the case here either. Every sunday all of the kids in the village would play while the families would create a sunday meal. We do the same but not to the same extent with an entire village of people...So, we are dealing with Jared's grief and likening it to Peter Pan in never never land. When Jared can't play with multitude of friends because they are busy he freaks out. When he has to abide by a rule or recognize that being in a family means having some responsibilities it isn't so easy.....still we know better that life in a place like never never land or in a good orphanage can also take its toll as you start to watch all of your friends move on to their forever families....He knows now that things at Layla are not the same as when he was there because the children are mostly in new homes in american and he wouldn't know the new kids. Still, he grieves for a little moment in time that he holds fondly as the first home he really really remembers and we are grateful that our agency Adoption Advocates International did such a good job in making our kids wish that their lives would always be about being surrounded by good friends living in a place inside 4 walls where the world couldn't cause them any more harm than they had already experienced..THANKS AAI...

Friday, March 20, 2009

How to Throw a Kid's Birthday Party for $10!








So, I was working through the budget for Matea's party and realized i could have done it for $10. I spent around $40. Here is the agenda first.

8 kids (plus 2 more of mine and 5 adults=15)
party was Thursday from 3:30-5. With older kids you can't do this because of school etc. Also, I think maybe 1:30-3 is better. That way you can have lunch first on your own and then have guests come for dessert/coffee (this was a little too close for dinner).

So, kids arrive decorate bags I was given for free. I had them only put names on it but they could put stickers and sparkly stuff.

Next...hot potato or hot stuffed animal. I bought 8 stuffed toys ($1 each at Dollar tree) and then each time a kids was out they got to keep the stuffed toy and help the other kids turn the music off for next round.

next-pin the tail on the donkey ($1 from dollar tree)..it was really 'pin the tail on daniel's lion". More $1 party favors but I would also recycle something in the house like chocolate that we were given in the house from Christmas ---still not expired.

Paper products (cheap from dollar tree) but I would have loved to have organized a proper tea party like my friend Teresa George did using China...saves money and is really fancy for the little girls in their dresses.

Milar balloons-$1 each at dollar tree....

So you have two games and then you have cake-we had cookie cake because I had made a cake the night before for her real birthday. But this could be done spending about 3 for cake mix and frosting etc.

Drinks -coffee, frozen lemonade for pitcher and one bottle ($1) of orange soda.

Our intention was to hand out bubbles on the way out but forgot...party was over before 5 and kids had fun and it was organized and quick.

I used to get excited when I would spend $150 only on a party in NYC or $10 each kids at a play place...I really prefer the at home parties ..they are more personal and the kids aren't as stressed. I also recommend keeping young children's parties on the smaller side. My older kids have always freaked out when they were little at their parties. One year I had to hold Sam during her entire party because she was overwhelmed......

If you use your own China or plates and linens, recycle stuff for party favors, use evite invitations, and bake from a box and use frozen lemonade the party is $9 if you throw in two bags of noise makers (4 in a package from dollar tree)...

Back to Motherhood In Real Time...

I phone in the toilet...


dropped my iphone in the toilet this week . This is the second time I have done this in 3 years..I keep it in my back pocket and then forget...take off my pants to go to bathroom...hear a splash and look before I sit down and the phone is drowning..I grabbed the phone out of the toilet but it was too late...I have only had it a few months...so now I have a new one because it ruined the last one..here is a pic of the new phone and toilet (couldn't take a pick of the one in a toilet because I didn't want to leave it there in case it could have been saved)....so here is a visual that will give you a general idea of an iphone in a toilet...

deanna

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Matea's birthday Video! and MOTHERHOOD IN REAL TIME



Here is a video that Matea and the girls spontaneously created when I wasn't watching at first....I am starting to get the website for my book together which is essentially a blog called http://www.motherhoodinrealtime.com . I will be publishing videos of my abortion experience along with encouragement for pregnant teens/young women...as well as funny parenting tip...I will let you all know when it is officially launched because this blog will then be part of that one...but I do have some video up now..but don't expect the full launch until July.

Light Saber in church!

Okay...so it was raining yesterday and half way into church from the parking lot I noticed Jared had a light saber in his hand. I had 6 kids with me and to run back to the car in the rain didn't appeal to me...SOOOO...I walked into the church HOLDING THE LIGHT SABER...the usher in the suit and holding the bulletins said "Deanna, I am happy to see you have brought your saber with you to church." HA! I then had to carry it into church with it halfway protruding through my purse..toooo funny...I will post later but if you have heard of Bridezilla Matea is birthdayzilla...at 4 she is milking her birthday and abusing everyone in her path....

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Matea and Mommy!

video

Eventually we are morphing our blogs together to our book website that will be launched when we release TO BE A MOTHER. I just wanted to get my feet wet with the video thing so I hope you guys don't mind my using you guys as guinea pigs. Book is set to be edited starting next week. Then into production and then I hope to be out promoting the book....New website/blog (which will include this one and Reviving mothers-only with a facelife) will follow . So probably looking at the summer.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Grace and Ellas Video Debut!!!

We are experimenting with our computer. Actually, Ella and Grace discovered this on their laptop....so here they are the next DISNeY Stars...Ella and Grace...
video

Clothing God's Children!



Matthew 25: 36 36I needed clothes and you clothed me

So, prior to bringing my kids home I was wondering how I was going to clothe 6 kids. I was concerned about having enough money to buy jeans and dresses. Many of my friends stepped forward and gave us clothes. Now I am swimming in clothing and having a hard time sorting and moving the clothing on to the good will or into the younger siblings drawers. In the meantime, here are two pictures of post vacation laundry (btw i came home with all of the clothing cleaned because of a laundry visit on vacation)...Still, my system is brilliand (lol) ..the clean clothes go to a corner on the upstairs landing that the girls sort out. So the picture of the clothes on the floor are the clean clothes before being folded. The other is a picture of the clothes that are waiting in line to be cleaned.... I am determined now just to give each child 2 pair of jeans 6 tshirts and a couple of dress clothes....

Breakfast of Champions!



I am just noticing that my kids eat like an army. When we were at Denny's on our trip down to Florida they ate everything on their plates. I thought it was amazing because all of the plates (with the exception of mine) were totally clean and Andrew was looking for more food. At Disney, same thing. 5 kids pizzas with grapes and cookies on the side...ALLLLLL GONE...So this morning the kids seemed hungry. They started with cereal. Then they said they were still hungry. So i made bacon, eggs and french toast. All the eggs were gone (a dozen) as well as the bacon. The french toast didn't go over that well. Matea and Ella said 'oohhh gross". They thought it was regular toast until they bit into it.

Mark and I are so grateful to have these children in our lives. Only 4 years ago we had 2 children and our family has grown exponentially since 2005 when Matea came home from Guatemala. It was this scripture and a vision I had that convicted us to adopt.

Matthew 25:34-36 (New International Version)

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

At the time it was clear that the Lord had called us to adopt. I ignored the call for a long time until I couldn't take it anymore and then had a vision of God where He looked me in the eye and said "I wanted you to do this one thing for me and you ignored my call." I was frozen solid realizing that the burden in my heart wasn't imaginary but had been placed there from above. Now our lives are filled with feeding His children and boy can they eat....!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Adventure Blog Awards

There is an Adventure Blog awards that Injera Guacamole Hotdog is participating in. This is free and the winner gets a lot of awards for their blog. Here is the link in case you want your blog to participate... the sign ups started today so we were the first ones...

adventureawards.wordpress.com

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Disney Revisited!

So i am finally recovered from our Disney trip yesterday and able to blog about it. It was so fantastic I don't even know where to begin. First off, as many of you know I worked at Disney from the age of 18-20 as a KID OF THE KINGDOM...(think teenage mouseketeer/cheerleader with dancing Disney characters around me). I was very very very happy working as a singer/dancer at Disney and left after I had an abortion during my time there in Orlando and couldn't cope with my post abortion stress. So, years later I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl...When my daughter Sam was 5, I visit there for the first time since i left 15 years earlier there grieved and depressed after the abortion of what I believed was a baby girl. So, in 1996 I took my 5 year old girl to Disney and Mark and I had a great day. When we left Disney to head back to NY I was so grateful to the Lord for His amazing blessing with Samantha and our time in Orlando. I felt like we had come full circle in having visited with my real live daughter hand in hand through the streets of the Magic Kingdom and in the same town I had aborted years prior. Six weeks later after we return to NY I discover that I conceived my son Andrew while there on my first visit back to the place where I had aborted my daughter 15 years prior. So, God was incredible in creating a miracle in my life....flash forward to yesterday. I had finally reconnected with some of my Disney friends in the past year. Yesterday, one of my Disney friends got Mark, myself and 5 kids into Disney on a park hopper for the day for free. I had some mixed feelings about being concerned and sad about being there remembering things etc. But i honestly only felt JOY JOY JOY!!!! There I was with 5 of my 6 children ( 4 of whom have not visited). The weather was 80 but comfortable, the lines were short and I found myself in happy happy tears many times. We watched the Kids of the Kingdom in front of the castle. We heard one of my vocals that I had recorded years ago over the loud speakers during one of the shows. We traveled through SMALL WORLD and found the dolls from Africa and Guatemala (Ella said the African angel doll was her mother). The kids were well behaved and elated. Jared and Ella both were arbitrarily picked to be in the High School Musical 3 performance. We laughed, there was very little whining (a miracle in a big family).

All I could think of was the GRACE of God. I know the economy stinks, business is slow, finances are tight but i can't help but be overwhelmed by God's extravagance on my life. I had aborted my baby years ago at Disney because of the fear of losing my job and the joy I had felt when i was singing there. Post abortion I lost my job (quitting because of deep depression) and the joy that I thought I was trying to save by having an abortion in the first place. And then years later my joy is returned to me and multiplied via my husband and kids. And not only that but I can watch and sing along to the happy Disney tunes and really remember the happiness and appreciate Disney as a part of my history in a positive way. I know at times in life our happiest and saddest times can somehow collide in the same time frame but I also know now that I can be happy of my time there and glad to have been able to sing happy songs in one of my favorite places ever. I love this scripture and find it very DISNEY although we know it is from the bible:

Isaiah 61:3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

Cinderella was working in the ashes and became the beloved Princess, finding her Prince Charming. She had been given the glass slippers to dance, she was taken out of her dire and sad situation and identified by the Prince to be worthy to be adorned in a beautiful gown and moved from sleeping with the mice to living with the King and Queen as their new daughter. The entire community wanted a glimpse at her and avoided condemning her because they knew that the Prince saw her as a valuable prize.......I am in awe at how we can be embraced and given a "garment of praise" by our true beloved in spite of His knowing where we come from . To Him we are worthy of dancing and singing in front of castles and being truly a KID of the KINGDOM of Heaven forever leaving our grief and mourning behind as we glow with the oil of gladness wearing a crown of glory just like sweet Cinderella....I am truly living the dream my heart made years ago and I praise God for it.....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sound Bites of the week so far!


I am so tired. Just got back from Disney. My friend Sam got my family into the park for one day park hoppers. We went to EPCOT, Magic Kingdom and DISNEY HOLLYWOOD..I LOVE DISNEY they really know how to entertain. I will go more in depth when I wake up totally. I just wanted to get a few amazing conversations with my kids this week.

When driving into St. Pete's Beach Ella says:
"Mom, Mommy mommy mommy....this is the BESTEST day of my life." Then I said "What about the day we picked you up in Ethiopia"...then she said with much less enthusiasm "Oh yeah..that too"

Today there were two hysterically funny ones though:
So we go to see Goofy at EPCOT. Then we are all walking down one of the EPCOT streets. I am walking hand in hand with Matea and then Jared and Ella are behind me and Grace, Andrew, Mark are behind them. I hear Ella say to Jared"Goofy is the tallest person in the world" Jared says "He isn't taller than Jesus. Jesus is the tallest ever." Ella then says "Yeah, Jesus could KILL Goofy."

When we got to the Magic Kingdom the first thing you see is this white entrance to the train station. This was only about 20 minutes after the Goofy comment. So Jared looks at the train station entrance and says to Mark "Hey Obamas house."

Off to bed. Will post my thoughts tomorrow after I make chocolate pancakes....

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Camp Rock, Ghosts, Prostitutes and a cranky MOMMY!



So, we are on our vacation now....Yesterday we drove about 10 hours to Ocala. We are now comfortable in st. Petersburg at a motel on the beach ..No prob..the kids were great on the way down. Amazing how miraculous 5 headphones and a DVD player can be. Each time a video would end I would cringe because I would hear screams and fighting again. We are seriously on a budget these days. Half way down on the trip Andrew took a picture out the window and caught the picture of a ghost in a field of either a hunter with a rabbit or an Indian with a rabbit or the ghost of a prisoner who had been cleaning garbage died and roams the highway with a yellow construction cap and a garbage bag in one hand and road kill in another.....

We ate sandwhiches for lunch that I had packed, chips and ALDI oreo counterfeits. So by the time it was 7ish we decided to stop for dinner and hotel. First we made it to Denny's. I don't think they see many families like ours in OCALA. We were stared at. If you look in the background of the Denny's picture you can see the area wasn't exactly diverse. We ordered 2.89cent kids meals and I had a pseudo iceberg salad with over fried chicken pieces and fat free ranch that tasted like watery glue. So, Friday night we decide that we are going to try to get one room for all of us the night before we can check into our one week time share that starts on Saturday. First we check out red roof inn. We decide ahead of time that we won't lie about how many kids in our PARTY. BUt we also will only tell them IF they ask us. So, Mark goes into red roof inn..it is $99 but includes breakfast. We needed a room with a fridge and two beds..They didn't have one. So we go across the street to the TRAVEL LODGE. This is a place that can't even afford to get a logo. Andrew says to me (remember he is the one who saw and took a picture of a ghost earlier), I think we better go stay at the RED ROOF INN..this place is really really creepy. If you know me you know that my greatest gift and curse is my optimistic rosy happy attitude. I have taken friends into some really creepy places and totally overlooked and literally not seen the guy following me because i am so excited to be looking at the decor of the chairs. Or I will notice the creepy guy and say "oh but he is probably just lonely...bless his heart." So we go to TRAVEL LODGE..Mark is inside. The kids lock the doors and there is no lighting outside the place with the exception of a ready to pop flouresent bulb in the ceiling of the plaster of the roof that is supposed to protect our car. So, Andrew says with a totally freaked out and scary voice about ready to cry..."Mommy this place is scary lets go back across the street." I say "Oh honey ( can you hear the bluebirds singing) it is fine....we are all going to have a fantastic night." Mark comes out "It is 65 and breakfast is free for all seven of us." I am thinking "Can't beat that." We get into the room which is all the way in the back facing a truck stop. We file out and Andrew runs into the room and says "Hurry up!" My African kids are oblivious and jared says "Cool a refridgerator." And then we inflate our air mattress....kids are crazy...I make microwave popcorn which I try not to set on fire like the time I was in Myrtle Beach. The kids turn on CAMP ROCK on the Disney Channel. I start to hear shouting next door by two testosterone driven truck drivers using the F word. The kids don't hear it. Grace comes to the bed puts her hand on the bedspread and says "ooh mommy something slimy." I notice the blankets a little crusty and pull them off..(It is hot and Florida so just sheets are okay...they look somewhat clean). No one wanted to leave the room anyhow because it was getting late...I went into the bathroom and found one of those 2 foot (okay 2 inches) black cockroaches that you know would sound like one of those popper firecrackers if you stepped on it. I screamed....OH also we all decided to not unpack with the exception of toothbrushes and the airmattress(and our sheets)...so we all slept in our underwear. Camp Rock was over and the lights went out because the kids were literally jumping over and on top of eachother. So we turned out the lights. The kids fell right out at 10pm. Even Mark was snoring. Then the real show began. Doors slamming...truck drivers yelling, and women making deals for 20 minutes OF SOMETHING....I am hearing men chasing the women who have somehow made the guys mad and then what in my mind sounds like METH deals going on as my Disney kids are sleeping dreaming about Nick Jonas...I couldn't sleep. I had just gone to a meeting where our prophetic pastor preached on intercessory prayer. I was praying all kinds of prayers. Eventually around 2am...I fall out. And then at 5:30 the kids wake up so happy "zip a dee doo dah'....and I am ticked off when each of them start to tap on me and laugh and shout. I don't do well with no sleep especially in a drug infested, hotel of ill repute..so I tell the kids repeatedly to be quiet until 7:30...This went on a million times. Eventually, when Jared jumped on Ella (who is just like me and can't function without sleep) and she screamed..I said (after the last warning) you four (Grace, Andrew, Matea, and Jared) will have no swimming today. They immediately stopped the hand jam and cotton eyed joe...they were doing and started to all cry. I said "When mommy is not happy because she hasn't had her sleep NO ONE IS HAPPY!" So, today we finally made it to St. Pete's. I was so cranky all day....I held my own through a million negotiating sessions with the kids and it is now 8:39 (they think it is 9:39 because we moved the clocks ahead at 7pm) and they had to watch today as Ella swam in the pool......Once I unpacked, had a shower and realized I would have my own room with my husband and there are no roaches to be seen (yet)..I was happy. I did have a problem though when the pan I was using to boil the pasta in started to burn and smell up the place so that we had to turn on the ceiling fan. Just about the time this happend the manager MARGARET came in when the room smelled similar to marijuana (that is what burnt pasta smells like). We needed extra pillows...I reassured her it was not what it smelled like but just that I didn't have an appropriate pan to boil the noodles in and that is what she is smelling...right now Jared is asleep but still is suspicous that Darth Maul is going to make his way in our living room from the Star Wars movie an ill informed baby sitter let him see. Mark told him he killed Darth Maul. I told Him that we shouted Jesus' name at him and he died....So far the vacation hasn't been very relaxing but I am hoping day 2 will be the real vacation....tomorrow is the day Mark's family comes to meet the kids FOR THE FIRST TIME.....

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Don't Underestimate them!

When I brought the kids home a year ago they spoke about 10 words in English. I was told it would take years for them to catch up academically. Half way into the year we visited Ella's teacher and were concerned that she was dyslexic and wanted to know what to do. They told us to be patient. Last night Ella in breakneck speed shouted out the order of all of our birthdays in the year. I had to take a minute and check and sure enough she could point to each person in the family and place them in order as to when their birthdays would come. She is still working to catch up but we are really impressed and no longer worried about learning disabilities (although we would adjust if there were any). Jared is really smart and is spelling everything....Grace same thing...Matea is 3 and spends time with Ella writing and spelling. Andrew and Sam spent half of dinner running through algebraic formulas (Mark and i have to review theorders of operation because we don't know).

I just bring all of this up because it really is true that adopted children make huge strides in the first year and years to come. My kids still have a ways to go to catch up with but the level of advancement is huge. They are remarkable. But patience is a virtue and we are happy with the strides they have made. We have also watched as the kids have grown severalinches and pounds. I know of some people who are where we were a year ago wondering if their kids will learn their ABC's and how to add. They are also wondering if they will ever say "Mommy I love you." I want to encourage them and say "PRAY" and just believe that God can move mountains.....

Imageers!

Andrew started a new blog to showcase his graphic images that he would like to offer to people to use on their blogs... go to http://www.imageers.blogspot.com to view...

Here is todays graphic that he made for me:
He also changed the header to Injera Hotdog....