Showing posts from October, 2016

Lots of pictures of pumpkins

Everyone carved pumpkins yesterday and we got to watch our new daughters have another 'first'. It was both Y. and R.'s first time making a Jack-o-Lantern and while they enjoyed it, I also think it was one of those rather odd things that their new family does.

This is K. working in L.'s mad scientist studio. This little venture deserves its own post, so I'll describe it more later.

And the finished products. (I promised I would credit D. with the photos.)

H.'s (she wasn't feeling as though she wanted to be in the picture right then.)


R. (P. carved it for her.)

L.'s, who initially didn't want her picture taken...

and then decided she did.

Adoption 101: Chronological and emotional/developmental ages don't always match

Children who have been deprived of normal developmental experiences still keep growing, but they age while missing key milestones. Without those milestones, they will have difficulty becoming a mature and functioning adult. One of the things which often surprised new adoptive parents is that their new child will very likely seem much younger than the age on their paperwork. Some parents panic at this and think something is severely wrong. Nothing is wrong. Well, nothing is wrong with the child. The child is behaving in a way that makes sense if you factor in a less-than-ideal background. Given the proper support, these children will go back and pick-up the experiences and developmental/emotional work they missed the first time around. But this work must be done for a healthy child to develop.

This is why for the past week we have been living with an eleven year old 2 year old.

When a child experiences safety and consistency and love and support, that child is finally able to start to …

Parking adventures... or why we ended up looking at Iranian movie posters from the 1950's

Things always sound so good on paper, don't they. This morning, I needed to head to the South Loop to pick-up a few things from my sister-in-law. I thought that since we would be heading that way, we could make an event out of it, and swing by the Art Institute to both see the lions with Cubs hats on (for the first time!) and to do a quick visit to the museum. There is great street parking behind the museum that makes it easy to park the van and since we were right there and the weather was good, we were all set to go.
Now, anyone who lives in a city and uses a car knows that the parking of that car takes up no small amount of time and effort. This is doubly true if you drive a very large van. Most parking garages are out for me because they are either too short or the turns too tight for it to fit. I have even called places to find out exactly how tall the parking garage is. This is not always successful as people do not always know. Knowing I could park on the street behind the…

My little known super power

I'd really like my super power to be something cool and useful like controlling the weather or becoming invisible. No, my super power, I've discovered, is not even close to those, and I am not quite sure of its usefulness. You want to know what my super power is? It is the ability to stop any conversation cold with one sentence. When I utter this sentence, all conversation seems to stop, even if I thought it was an interesting one. This one sentence also seems to have the power to make people look at me as if I suddenly grew an extra head.

I bet by now, you are really wondering what this sentence is. Ready? It is...

I have twelve children.

When I utter this sentence, there are a couple of usual responses. One is the total jaw drop. Yes, people have stood there staring at me with their mouth literally hanging open. Another is to laugh, as if I just told the best joke ever, and then say, "No, really, how many children do you have?" They usually then move on to the firs…

Maybe these bullet points will become a weekly occurance

I have still to teach piano lessons to K. and Y., as well as go over TM's schoolwork before I run out in the car to collect P. from the stable, so this will have to be short. (Hey, your sigh of relief doesn't have to be quite so loud.) And, since bullet points proved to be so popular the last time (over 1000 hits so far... really?), I will resort to them once again.

My nutty children are playing outside. This doesn't sound too unusual except for the fact it is raining and 48 degrees outside. At least they are helpfully refilling our bird feeders in addition to getting wet and muddy.Just when you think your children are not paying too much attention to what you read to them in school, they prove you wrong. G. and L. had created some huge imaginary play this morning. I was informed that they were in George Washington's camp and they were soldiers. I think it was Valley Forge because the third floor was a wee bit chilly.A. is going to be going on a mission trip with her un…

STEM, schmem

You've all heard the acronym, STEM, by now, right? If by some chance you missed it, it stands for Science Technology Engineering and Math. And whenever I read it or hear it, it always sounds a bit like this to my ear: IF WE DON'T TEACH OUR CHILDREN THESE INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT THINGS STARTING WHILE THEY ARE STILL GESTATING BECAUSE WAITING UNTIL THEY ARE THREE IS TOO LATE THEN WE WILL RUIN OUR CHILDREN AND THEY WON'T SUCCEED IN COLLEGE AND LIFE AS WE KNOW IT WILL END!

With all this screaming in my ears, you can understand why I find the acronym and the hype surrounding it to be a wee bit annoying. Because hype is really what it is. Why do we need to push our children to do things as early as possible? What is the ultimate purpose? My sneaking suspicion is that if we really get down to it, the root of it all is that every parent wants to be special, and the best way to be special is to have special children. No, not the special that means behind the curve, but the special whic…

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

Yesterday was gorgeous. Warm (oddly warm for mid-October) and sunny and just beautiful. The kind of day where you have to spend it outside. So many of us decided to take a walk to a nearby park.

Our walk took us right by a favorite spot, the neighborhood Little Free Library. It was a banner day because yesterday it was filled with children's schlock. Princesses... pretty ponies... TV characters. It was so difficult for the younger set to choose.

And when you have new books, you must look at them, whether you are on a walk or not.

Seven blocks later, we made it to the park.

One of the highlights of this park, other than its size, is that it is right on the lake and there are plenty of rocks (otherwise known as blocks of concrete) to climb on.

More book reading.

See what a beautiful day it was? Looking south you can see the Chicago skyline,

and looking north you can see Northwestern.

Kenzie got to come along as well. He was very well behaved. Well, except for the barking at other d…

Puzzles and games

I thought I would show you a little bit of the Big Ugly House that I think you've never seen, and it will give me a chance to talk about game and puzzle storage. Is this a never ending battle at your house as much as it is in mine? Homes for the games and keeping the games in their homes and returning the instructions to the proper games. Ugh, the instructions! It's as if my children purposefully go about removing game instructions and putting them as far away from the game as possible.

Many of our nicer, older people games live on the top of the armoire in the front living room.

It stays looking like this for a while, but then the games never quite go back as nicely as they were before and I will have to come along, empty it, and stack them all up nicely again. If the games could live in shorter piles, it would make the whole thing easier, but they can't, so we deal with it.

Small games or games that live in plastic bags because their boxes were lost or games that have si…