Monday, June 23, 2014

Tooth Fairies

Last August, Andy started kindergarten. Not even 2 months into school, one of his friends lost their first tooth and it quickly became a kindergarten trend for the cool kids. Lose a tooth, join the club! Peer pressure at its finest. Andy's two, top incisors were a little loose and wiggly, so for almost 2 entire weeks, and various times when a classmate would lose a tooth, he'd pray each night to lose a tooth. Then, his cousins began to lose teeth and he was just beside himself hoping to lose his teeth! He wiggled them. He ate crunchy foods. And nothing happened! As a parent, it was kind of hilarious to watch his obsession with losing teeth.

About 2 weeks ago, I noticed a bottom tooth had a little more wiggle than his top incisors. His focus immediately shifted to the bottom incisor, UNTIL it began to hurt when he ate. For 2 full days, his tooth was so lose he could have sneezed and it would have hit the wall across the room. I finally talked him into letting me feel how loose it was. Then, I finally talked him into letting me try to pull it out. It took two tries (first one, slippery tooth, second with a washrag) and it came right out! He was ecstatic; not even concerned about the mild blood! First tooth lost June 18th, 2014!
We promptly texted family and began prepping for a visit from the tooth fairy. He kept piling on more and more questions and requests for the tooth fairy, so I finally told him to just write a  note. With sheer exasperation, he looked at me and exclaimed, "MOM! I can't write a letter! I am just too excited! LOOK AT ME!." Point taken. Point to the kid.
This little boy has a heart of gold. He wanted to leave some tapioca pudding for the tooth fairy, just in case he was tired and hungry (his rationale: Teeth are so BIG for a little fairy to pack around all night. So are quarters. He probably gets hungry!). He also wanted to make sure the tooth fairy gave Olivia a kiss so she wouldn't feel left out. Heart. of. Gold.

The tooth fairy did, in deed, come and left some smoochy sparkles on Olivia's cheek, a WHOLE dollar in quarters (in a cute little envelope), a T.F. written letter, and ate his/her tapioca. According to Andy, he can't WAIT to lose ALL his teeth!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Continue On in Faith, Miracles WILL Happen!

Do you have faith enough NOT to be healed?
As I watched this video today, lessons I've learned in the past (and are and will be applicable as we submit our adoption papers again) came rushing from my memory.

Once upon a time, I knelt, angry and heart broken that I could not conceive my children and adoption just wasn't working. I begged, pleaded, wept bitterly, tried bargaining, and eventually angrily demanded that Heavenly Father hear me, heal me, or help me become a mother. I felt vindicated; I was a good person, asking a for a wonderful blessing. And everybody else, even people that I judged and deemed "unworthy" of the blessing of motherhood and child birth, were having babies and adopting children. Then, I crossed the line and demanded. Looking back, I find it ironic, of COURSE He heard me! But, I had doubted and demanded. Looking back, I'm sure I sounded like a spoiled child throwing a fit for a cookie NOW, while they are still baking in the oven!

Eventually, with time, experience, and a growth of understanding, I realized that I needed to have faith in Heavenly Father enough to NOT be healed. I am infertile, and while I still long for the blessing of carrying a child, I have faith enough to not be healed. Unwavering faith. I had to choose to trust Heavenly Father's will and timing and put my own will and timetable aside. Maybe there will come a time in this life that I am allowed that beautiful blessing, but if not, I still believe and continue on in faith. Coming to this point was often painful and oh, so hard! Sometimes, I STILL have re-surfacing rough days. It sucks sometimes for this control freak, that not knowing what will happen. But, when I look back, I see those times that I continued on with faith, and miracles happened. It wasn't how I wanted and thought they would happen, they happened way AFTER I would have chosen, and they often required patience, perseverance through many bumps in the road, but they came. Miracles do come.

"Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven, but for those that embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, THEY COME." ~Jeffrey R. Holland

So, for the time that is not so long in coming, a little note to remind myself:

Sheyann,
Continue on, in steadfast faith, trusting in His timing, and remember Heavenly Father's promise, "I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." Doctrine and Covenants 82:10. Continue on in faith, miracles WILL happen.

Love,
Me/You


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fathers!

Repost from April 2013:

I believe one of the most important choices we make as a human being is the choice of our mate... the person we marry, spend our lives with, etc. I am continually fascinated by societal trends (love anthropological studies). An couple of articles I read months ago keep floating around in my mind recently, probably because I'm doing the "single mom" thing while my husband works in another state (until the kids and I can get moved into our new house with him). One was an article on the marriage trends since 2000, comparing them to now, the other, an article about the role of "father" disappearing from the American household. Both articles caused my heart to ache. Marriage is becoming less important, as is the role of fatherhood.
The first article states: "For all U.S. adults, 57 percent were married in 2000, but that dropped to 52 percent in 2009 -- the lowest percentage recorded since information on marital status was first collected by the U.S. Census Bureau about 100 years ago, the analysis says. In the mid-1960s about 80 percent of U.S. men and women ages 25-34 were married, but starting in the 1970s, the marriage rate began to decline as divorces rose, more women joined the workforce, more women attained education and delayed marriage, and cohabitation gained favor, the analysts say. From 2000 to 2009, U.S. adults ages 25-34 who are married dropped from 55 percent to 45 percent, the study authors say. However, the marriage gap has reversed -- prior to the 1990s, marriage rates among those who graduated or dropped out of high school were higher than those with a four-year college degree, the analysis says. However, today higher proportions of young, highly educated adults marry, while fewer with a high-school degree and less education get hitched."

How interesting! Now young, educated adults are beginning to realize the benefits of marriage. However, less and less with a high school degree are realizing the importance of marriage.

"In every state, the portion of families where children have two parents, rather than one, has dropped significantly over the past decade. Even as the country added 160,000 families with children, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million. Fifteen million U.S. children, or 1 in 3, live without a father, and nearly 5 million live without a mother. In 1960, just 11 percent of American children lived in homes without fathers. 

America is awash in poverty, crime, drugs and other problems, but more than perhaps anything else, it all comes down to this, said Vincent DiCaro, vice president of the National Fatherhood Initiative: Deal with absent fathers, and the rest follows.

People “look at a child in need, in poverty or failing in school, and ask, ‘What can we do to help?’ But what we do is ask, ‘Why does that child need help in the first place?’ And the answer is often it’s because [the child lacks] a responsible and involved father,” he said. 
The spiral continues each year. Married couples with children have an average income of $80,000, compared with $24,000 for single mothers.
We have one class that thinks marriage and fatherhood is important, and another which doesn’t, and it’s causing that gap, income inequality, to get wider,” Mr. DiCaro said.
The predilection among men to walk away from their babies is concentrated in the inner cities. In Baltimore, 38 percent of families have two parents, and in St. Louis the portion is 40 percent....Something has to be done about it, and it starts with the culture and reversing the attitude that marriage is not important."

I get it.

After 2 1/2 weeks as a single mother (1 1/2 more to go), my eyes have been opened to how much I rely on JJ for his friendship in our marriage, his listening ear, moral support during (and after) tough parenting issues with the kids, how much much he helps with the kids, housework, and shares every day tasks, and more. Millions more. Also clear to me is how influential he is to both Andy and Libby. Before JJ went to Utah, Olivia thought my cell phone was a chew toy. Now, any time I pull my phone out, she sees me talking on the phone, or I'm on my laptop, she immediately starts jabbering, "Da-da" and flapping her arms, wanting to talk on the phone or Skype with JJ.

Yesterday, my Mom came up to help (the days are growing rougher and rougher). After she left, Andy sat down with an overly dramatic sigh and started crying softly. Half annoyed and half concerned I asked, "What's up, Dooder?" "I haven't been rough-housed in YEARS, Mom. I keep waiting a
nd waiting for my Dad to come back each morning and he never does! Now who is going to rough house me?" Still half annoyed (this is a conversation we have at LEAST three times a day) and still concerned, I replied, "Son, we will be with Daddy soon, when we finish packing the house and move down to Utah to be with him.... in 12 days!!! Besides, I rough housed and then snuggled with you just last night!"

"Yeah, Mom. It just isn't the same."

Today in Walmart, we passed a balding man with glasses and Olivia squealed, her first HUGE squeal, and said her favorite word... Dadadadada. As we rounded the corner and the man left our view, all hell broke loose. Andy, wondering if it was Dad, jumps out of the cart and runs after him. Olivia starts thrashing (probably thinking it is Daddy and she is getting left out) and crying. So, Andy reaches the man, sees it isn't Dad (and the man was clearly annoyed with our ruckus), and I'm about in tears watching both kids and missing JJ.... whew. Kick to the gut!

The role of a father in a child's life is irreplaceable. Mothers have their own sacred roles and responsibilities and as much as they might try.... being BOTH mother and father isn't possible. Kids need their Dad. Dads, be a nice big "PILE" of Dad: Present, Involved, Loving, and an empathetic Example. JJ, you are a fantastic PILE of Dad, the best, in fact! Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Peaking Sunshine and Rainbows

At the top of my "Favorite Things Ever" list is Idaho thunderstorms. From the smell of the crisp, cold rain as it dampens the endless sagebrush to the roaring thunder and rhythmic sound of the rain on my roof. I even love the exciting, yet simultaneously terrifying lightening. However, those aren't my favorite reasons for loving thunderstorms. That honor is reserved for that break in the clouds as rays of sunshine cut through the grey skies, and if I'm super lucky, a rainbow appears. I live for silver linings and seek those peaking rays of shine and rainbows; whether I'm talking about actual meterological thunderstorms or life's metaphorical thunderstorms.
(image credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/earth/3391311/2009-Australian-Weather-Calendar.html?image=8)
One year and one month and one week ago, we moved from Idaho to Utah. Despite the move being, technically, only 4 hours and under 250 miles from our old home, it seemed like a big change to our little family. And for our kids, it was only one change in a series of huge, seemingly unstable changes in a very, very short period of time. Within 2 months of moving, one of the last "big" changes before we were able to find some stability, my happy, loving, kind, beautiful boy began evolving into this child that I didn't know. He was angry, scary, terrified, and spewed mean, loud, hurtful words with the daggers his eyes were shooting during tantrums. In my mind, he was my little thunderstorm; suddenly throwing lightening and booming with thunder, then sunshiny and happy the next minute. At one point, I felt like nothing in my life could just stay calm and unbroken! Needless to say, being Andy was difficult for a while there. Being Andy's mother was difficult there for a while. Even being Andy's kindergarten teacher had a few rough patches as our family and Andy tried to process the changes. Needless to say, it has been a long year with many turbulent storms.

But guess what! Over the past year, slowly, sometimes so slowly we couldn't even see it happening, we've made progress! The thunderstorms have become more mild, less frequent, we've learned how to prepare and recognize the signs of impending storms, and slowly, I've seen the little happy rays of Andy-sunshine and rainbows returning and occurring with increased frequency. The past week, we've really enjoyed spending time together during the day. We've created storybooks, used almost an entire bottle of bubbles and an entire carton of sidewalk chalk, we've had friends over (sucessfully!), we've played in sprinklers outside, and we've climbed trees. I thought those were the highlights, the rainbows, but they weren't. THIS is my rainbow, a book created entirely by my son, independent of any parental supervision or comment.
Do you see what I see? Did you catch it?! 
Andy wrote a book about his family and his adoption and there were no skulls, no death threats, no "I hate Sheyann and JJ" messages, no ninjas to take him back to his birthmother.... 
Not only that, I didn't even post the most special page: 
The page where he said we were the best parents ever and he loves his childhood. 
No kidding.

Yesterday morning, he asked me to read his "Adoption Book." I was a little wary, but we sat and read all about him together. He asked JJ and I to both write him a message. I wrote another message to him from Olivia and had her color all over the message. We sat and snuggled and discussed what he'd written. I took advantage of the situation and brought up his birthmother and asked how he felt about her. We had a wonderful discussion. He was able to vocalize his thoughts and feelings about big, big emotions and complex feelings. Yes, there has definitely been progress. He isn't angry with his birthmother, although, he still feels complex emotions and doesn't quite fully understand the entire situation. He knows he was loved and chosen by us, that we are his family (by HIS choice now too), and we all love each other. He doesn't fight that as much. He is learning to not only accept being an adopted child, but love adoption instead of seeing it as something negative.
No doubt there will still be turbulent and challenging times ahead, such is the life of a parent, but conquering and surviving so many big storms seems to build confidence and reaffirm the worth of the journey, storms and rainbows, doesn't it?! So, I plan to celebrate the peaking sunshine and rainbows when they come!


P.S. We are hoping to adopt! To raise funds for the expensive agency and legal fees associated with adoption, we are making items and selling them in an ETSY shop: ShineyPrints. I made a print today with THIS POST in mind. Check it out here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/192718521/rainbows-and-sunshine-inspirational-hand? Here is a quick preview!

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