Thursday, January 29, 2009

A few months is a long time to a little kid...

We took the plunge and told Jellybean and Peanut that their little brother is at "The Pink House". Our boys have always referred to the care center in Ghana as "The Pink House"...though we don't really know why they call it that. They just do. Over the past year, we've been talking about how all of their friends from The Pink House have now come to live in America with their new families. We've looked at photos of their friends on their families' blogs and looked at maps to show them where in America they all live. They love that their friends now live "here" and they always laugh when they see photos of them doing funny things or when they see photos of them with their new brothers & sisters or pets. What I didn't know was that all these conversations had lead Peanut to believe that no one lived at The Pink House anymore. So when I told him that (hmm...what did we decide his nickname was going to be on here - Twinkie) Twinkie was at The Pink House, he got a very worried look on his face.

"Who will take care of him?"
"Who will he play with?"
"Who will make him breakfast?"

I had to explain to him that the aunties who took care of him would also take care of Twinkie. And that there were other kids who came to The Pink House after they left who Twinkie can play with. There are lots of people at The Pink House who will love Twinkie and will take care of Twinkie. And...I explained to Peanut that the same clothes that he used to wear were now being worn by Twinkie and other kids at The Pink House. We even have some photographic evidence to prove it.

He seemed relieved by this news....but his worry for his little brother has continued.

We've also told the boys that we are going to TRY to bring Twinkie home so he can live with us and be a member of our family. This news was received with great excitement. There was a big discussion about where he would sleep, what clothes he would wear, what toys he could play with, and what color his toothbrush should be. Of course...we then also had to explain that this process was going to take a LONG time. And that they didn't need to worry about any of those details yet. We'll get it all figured out long before Twinkie comes to live with us.

Its all pretty complicated for a 5 year old to understand. Peanut regularly wakes up these days telling me he "have a dream" about The Pink House and about Twinkie. Yesterday, he said he "have a bad dream about The Pink House"...because Twinkie was there and when he woke up, he missed him.

These next few months are going to feel like FOREVER to little Peanut.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Yes, you can cook a whole chicken in the crock pot

Over the weekend, I spent some time searching online for some great crock pot recipes. You know, because I'm hoping that I can make some nutritious (and delicious) dinners for my family even though I'm working all day and don't have time to cook in the evenings. Its only Tuesday, but I've already used the crock pot twice this week. Yesterday I cooked a whole chicken (with potatoes, onions, and carrots) and it turned out great! And today I made Polish sausage and cabbage soup. I've been somewhat surprised at how much the boys like cabbage (if its cooked). Both of them ate tonight's soup just fine (and Jellybean even wanted seconds).

So...I just added two more recipes to my recipe box.

Tomorrow I'm putting Z in charge of dinner. I wonder what we're gonna have?!?!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Diary of a Working Mother

Now that I am working full time, I have really begun to realize just how precious those early months with my boys were. Z and I were really lucky to be able to schedule our work time so that one of us could be home with the boys at all times for the first couple of months that the boys were here. After that, I went back to work during regular work hours just 2-3 days a week, so they were only in daycare during those days. I truly believe that their transition was so smooth (relatively speaking) because of the time that I was able to spend at home with them.

Since I started my new job, I've come to live the life of the working mom. Dropping Jellybean off at school at 8:00am (while Z takes Peanut to daycare), heading to work, being at work until 5:00-5:30pm, driving back to our new town to pick Jellybean up at his after-school program, getting home around 6:00pm, scrambling to get some (reasonably healthy) dinner on the table, spend a couple hours with the boys, bathtime, bedtime for the boys, and then the grown-ups in the house collapse.

These days I get to spend just a couple of hours of quality time with the boys each day. Its a bit of a shock. I find myself missing them terribly...especially if during those couple of hours one (or both) of them is crabby or needing some constant re-direction. I went from feeling like their mom to feeling like I'm just the lady who sleeps in the same house they do.

I know eventually things will start to feel routine...our lives will settle in to this new normal and it will all be fine. But for now I feel a bit guilty. I feel like I'm missing out on major pieces of their lives. I feel like I'm not really a REAL mom. I feel a bit sad about missing so much of their day.

But the truth is...this new life is normal for most families. We were just really blessed to have that time. It was difficult to juggle sometimes (and we had no money), but it was nice to have that time with the boys. I wouldn't give it up for anything. But I also know that I need to work. Its good for me...and its good for our family. And, Jellybean is in school most of the day anyway. Peanut will start school in the fall and then both of them will be in school most of the day.

The upside, is that my new job gives me free time in June and July. I will get two months with my boys!! And that is something I can really look forward to.

But in the meantime, I've come to realize that I really need to utilize a particular small appliance in my kitchen. Its time to dust off the crock pot and put it to good use. Coming up with a meal that doesn't take an hour to cook when I get home after a long day is challenging at times. So...if any of you moms out there have a great crock pot recipe to share, I'd love to have it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Different this time around...

In the midst of all the transitions life has thrown at us these past couple of months, Z and I have also quietly been working on paperwork. Filling out applications, collecting past year's tax information, making more copies of our birth certificates and marriage license, printing off family photos, and stressing out a bit about where we're going to get the money we need for little boy #3.

That's right. The great paperchase has officially begun.

And it feels different this time around.

Different because we know what we are getting into this time. We know how the process works and we know at least what the basic steps are. We know that without a doubt all the stress and worry and waiting will pay off in the end the minute we hold that little boy in our arms for the first time. We know that things won't be easy but that we can do it. We CAN handle this.

The first time around, we weren't parents yet. We didn't know how this whole adoption process worked, or more importantly, how it felt. We were excited, anxious, nervous, and impatient...

This time things are different. We aren't doing things the "normal" way (even in the world of adoption). We aren't putting in an application and waiting in line for a referral. Instead...we already know who little boy #3 is.

And he's precious. And perfect. Just the way he is.

He's already a part of this family; and he will always be a part of this family even if he never comes to live with us. He's our sons' little brother.

So here we are, in the midst of the paperchase. Excited, anxious, nervous, and impatient.

Its different this time....and yet the same, too.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Its Finally My Birthday!!!

Poor Peanut. A year ago...just 3 days after arriving in the United States, Peanut turned 4 years old. But, things were a little overwhelming during those early days, so Z and I decided to keep the birthday very low-key. We had a small gift for each of the boys, we talked about what a birthday was (the boys didn't understand it), and we ate some cupcakes. After a few months rolled by and Jellybean's birthday came around, little Peanut started feeling like we forgot about his birthday. Who could blame him...I'm sure it felt like FOREVER for his birthday to come. Well...last week, his birthday FINALLY arrived! He was so excited to bring mini cupcakes to his babysitter's house, pick out a big birthday cake, have a birthday party, and open presents. I think at the end of the day, he decided that birthdays are pretty cool.

I can't believe he's already 5 years old. Where does the time go?!?!


I know...I'm a little, umm, behind on the blog. But I wanted to assure you that we did indeed celebrate Christmas around here. We were in the middle of moving to our new place, but we took a break and spent a wonderful couple of days at Z's parents' house to celebrate the holiday. I assured the boys that I sent Santa an email letting him know we'd be at Grandma and Grandpa's house for Christmas Eve. And boy did Santa deliver! The boys had a great time opening gifts and spending time with the family. And the next was back to moving!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Call For Help

There are hungry kids who need help now. Please go HERE to learn about them and do what you can.