Saturday, August 31, 2013


Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlor is a landmark around these parts. World famous, it offers desserts, that, quite literally, come in a kitchen sink. My parents excited my ice-cream-loving Isaac during his first few days here with a promise of a trip to Jaxson's. He reminded them daily. I called Jaxson's to get assurance on what flavors were eggless.
A few weeks ago, Papa and Grama Di took the three oldest grandchildren TO Jaxson's. Isaac was a bit disappointed because Chareligh and Sidge ordered "cotton candy" ice cream, and the waitress could not be sure of its egg content. Therefore Isaac was "left out" and had to pick something else.
He opted for strawberry with strawberries on top. My parents said that when the ice cream arrived, any sadness he had was completely put out of its misery.

Sidge and Charleigh were also, far from disappointed!

Cow Licks Kids Salon

Yesterday, I swallowed every thing within me that was screaming, "Don't do it!!!" and took the boys to get hair cuts. I had every excuse in the book that would have given me a free out. I am hugely and uncomfortably pregnant, contracting regularly. Daddy would be here in a few days. "Just wait!" the voice was yelling. "You deserve a free pass!"
All this drama surrounding hair cuts?
Once upon a time, hair cuts were no big deal in our house. I found this old blog post detailing Isaac's second hair cut: Isaac's hair cut. JB did them, and Isaac sat willingly for them.
And then somewhere along the line, the peace and tranquility of a haircut, went out the window. Isaac decided that these cuts were the worst idea ever. Sidge came along and concurred. And suddenly, great waling and gnashing of teeth would result anytime a hair cut was even suggested. (Check out this video here for some very tame proof: Isaac getting his hair cut.) That was shot in Turkey, right after Abigail was born.
We tried having JB stop doing the cuts. I took them to a Turkish barber.
It ... was ... a ... disaster.
They tried cutting the boys hair at the same time, and both of them screamed like banshees the entire time. Back to letting JB do it. Movies, ice cream, it didn't matter. Great sadness ensued.
I mean, the boys are 4.5 and 5 now! They sit in a dentist chair without crying. But they cry when getting their hair cut? Give me a break!
So despite knowing what needed to be done, I did NOT want to take them to get their cuts yesterday. (But I also didn't want to give JB a huge to do list as soon as he exits the airplane on Sunday). So, I asked my brother-in-law Ray for a recommendation. He suggested:Cow Lick Kids Salon which is just a few miles from my parents' home in Coconut Creek.
Cow Lick Kids Salon ROCKS! It was amazing. I paid a few more dollars for a cut than I might have paid at a Supercuts. (Supercuts quoted me at $13. This was $20.)
But it was worth every penny.
As soon as we walked in the door, all three kids (yes, Abigail came along too but did not get a hair cut) went running toward the cool trucks and/or cars they could sit in while they got their cuts. There were movies at each station complete with an array of choices for them to make. A play area was available. Lollipops were given out like ... well ... candy.
The women who cut their hair were not only very good at what they did, but incredibly nice. Neither boy shed one tear! In fact, during the hair cut, Sidge actually told the woman, "You are giving me a very good hair cut." He also said to me, "Hey Mom?" Yeah. "I love you."

I don't know that this will totally eliminate all drama in the future as we have to return to the Azores where our only choice is to take them to the on-Base barber or let JB do it at home. But any time we are back in South Florida, we will go here! It ... was ... awesome.

P.S. Here's a fun video of the Boys styling Joni's hair while we waited for Abigail to be born in Germany.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Yes, sometimes I think I am crazy too

Isaac (5), me (37 weeks pregnant), Sidge (4.5) and Abigail (2)

We had to drive to Target in two cars.

Me. Three kids. My Dad. My Mom.

That equals six.

Cars only hold five.

Dad probably would have stayed home, but we were going to go to Boston Market after the stop at Target to take advantage of a "Kid's Eat Free" coupon, and we needed him. Well, he needs food. And with one adult per child on the coupons, we needed him too.

So I randomly picked two kids to go in the back of my mom's car. My father willingly scooped up the leftover boy and put him in the back of his car, and off we went.

I had promised the boys a $10 superhero toy if they reached a swimming goal. I thought it would take them most of the summer but gosh darn it they hadn't accomplished their goal already: snagged a ring from the four foot mark (Isaac); swam across the deep end (Elijah).

So off to Target we went.

In our two cars.

I waddled into Target with my huge belly and my three small children, instantly thankful for the presence of my parents. We were used to a military Base Exchange on a tiny island. A place that had one half of an aisle of toys to look at. A place that I didn't worry if the kids went missing on another aisle for a second. (Not that they'd want to move to the next aisle since it had dog food on it.)

Super Target in South Florida?

Not even on the same planet.

The extra eyes were invaluable as each boy changed their mind seventeen times while my little lady opted to go and find something much more pink in nature. During the negotiations (they have no idea what $10 actually is so I must keep saying "that's too much. pick something else.") one child had to go to the bathroom. Another pulled a whole ream of superheroes off the rack.

I feel the stares.

I often feel like I should be wearing a t-shirt that says: "I'm not that woman." Or maybe one that says: "Wait! You don't know the whole story."

Ten years of marriage. Five years of infertility. Five failed IUI's. Four failed IVF's. Adoption. Pregnancy. Pregnancy again. A return for some of our IVF embryos. Pregnant again on the last try.

And so here I waddle into Target with three other children in tow.

On our little military base, this is no big deal. People are used to seeing me. I am used to the people. We know each other. They know my story. And it's the military (where I have found larger families to be the norm.)

But leave the confines of the Base and suddenly all bets are off.

So is the edit button people's mouths.

On the way out of Target, a man was "helping" me get the two randomly chosen children into my mother's backseat. By "helping" I mean he was trying to get me to hurry up so that I could shut the backdoor of the car, and he could get into his car. He said, and I quote: "I'm trying to figure out why you have that belly when you already have these two children in the backseat."

(And he didn't even know about third child going into my dad's car.)

Another woman asked me: "Are all of these yours?" at the park. When I replied yes and saw her expression, I playfully quipped: "God's plans are not our plans." She replied: "Well, I am glad you are choosing to look at it so positively and with such a good attitude. I wouldn't be."


And when asked my due date by another woman, I told her that I had a C-section scheduled for September 4th. She said, "Aren't you gonna try to have a natural delivery?"

Note: Maybe I need to wear another shirt that says: "Was in labor 1.5 days. Tried to push my first kid out for three hours before being taken back for a stat C-section."

Geezie peezie.

I've been out of the country for three, going on four years. Husband stationed in Turkey for two years. Now in Portugal for going on year four.

I forgot how brazenly honest Americans can be. People in Europe don't ask such personal questions or make such obnoxious statements so readily. I get that. I am remembering that.

I remember when Isaac was little. He was pigeon toed. Still is a bit. This woman stopped me and said, "Oh my gosh. He has the parrot feet." I didn't even try to correct her by explaining that the correct expression is pigeon toed. "Have you had the doctor look at them?"


And I've heard, "Oh my gosh is she tall," more times this trip than I have heard it in the three years I have been gone.

Okay, a bit of a tangent. Rude, obnoxious Americans is a whole 'nother post for another day.

But the stares and comments about my brood. The looks that scream, "You are pregnant? With three little kids?"

Well, let me address that once and for all right now. I'm just going to write this here now so I can say it once and not feel like I need to say it again and again.

Yes, sometimes I think I am crazy too.

I ask myself:
  • How did I go from a barren womb to a family of six (seven if you count the dog) in just five years?
  • God, do you really think I am capable of this?
  • How do I do this?
I think to myself:
  • I'm tired.
  • This is hard.
I wonder of myself:
  • If I am really capable.
  • If I will fail.
  • How I will manage when this little girl is on the outside.
I am learning that truly, the only way to do this is to trust. To trust God. To put it in His hands. That's it. That's all there has to be.

(And to ignore ignorant Americans who make stupid statements just because they can't keep their mouths shut!)

Friday Funnies

This morning, Abigail pooped on the potty. I have no plans to potty train her right now, but when I saw her squatting in the corner and asked her if she wanted to go and she said yes and agreed to sit on the potty, who I am to argue. So she did. We did the "dance of joy" and praised her and petted her and cheered for her something crazy. Then I gave her a cookie. She took the cookie, looking confused, and promptly walked into the bathroom and threw it in the toilet. With her poopy. I explained this was for her to eat, and she smiled, and I gave her another one, which she ate!
Isaac asked Joni why she ate smarties. "Is it so you can be smarter?" he asked her.
When playing ping pong with Joni in Vermont, she complimented him on his abilities. "Yeah, I'm winning a 62-year-old," he said.
Sidge: "Did you know Earth is a planet?"
Me: "Yep."
Sidge: "Then why isn't it dark outside?"

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Doctor Update

Saw my doctor in office for the last time today.

This time next week, we will have met our little baby girl.

He said that, no big surprise, the contractions are not causing any cervical change. This was exactly how things went with Abigail if you remember. (They shipped me out to Germany at 31 weeks and she came on her scheduled C-section date at 39 weeks.)

I am having contractions very frequently. A "bout" of them usually lasts around 1-3 hours. Sometimes they are intense. Sometimes they are just annoying. But often they leave me having to be on the couch and wait them out.

It is hard to admit that you are in need. The Lord has brought me to this point many times during this pregnancy. I could not do this without the family we have around. My father and mother, in-laws, and Joni are ALL-STAR GRANDPARENTS. 

My parents have put their lives on hold and opened up their home to us. As soon as they get home from work, they dive right in to helping me. In the morning, they help with anything I need before they go to work. In addition, my mom is ready at a moment's notice to head home if I need her.

Mom and Dad K. are no different. Mom K. doesn't work and so she is often over at my parents house or, tonight, she had the boys over to her house for a sleepover. Joni hasn't been in town a lot, but when she is, she is helping! Ray and Gabbi have watched the kids too. Everyone has been willing to help me make this work.

Today I admitted, I can no longer do it. I am too fatigued, sleeping too poorly, and having too many contractions to watch all three by myself. And I don't have to. I hate to admit I need help. But I do.

It is hard to be in need. But I am. And my needs are met thank you Lord.

Our Apricot IVF Baby

My boys love to color.
So when it comes to colors, it is not surprising to me that they think in crayon colors.
When they talk about the color of their own skin, they often say, "I am apricot."
When Elijah referred to an African American boy at the pool, it was therefore not surprising that he would describe the child as, "That little brown boy."
Brown is a crayon color after all.
Do you remember, when we were children, that apricot (the crayon) was called "flesh."
Today, if they had a flesh colored crayon, it would look a little differently. Maybe something like the photo below:
Keeping this in mind, it didn't surprise me, but definitely made me chuckle, when Sidge asked me the other day about the baby that is due to pop out of me at any moment.

"Do you think the baby will be brown or apricot?" he asked.

I loved that his childhood naiveté sees color as nothing but just a fact. I love that when my parents have had visitors to the house, my daughter Abigail has seemed most comfortable around people with brown flesh. (I mean my shy girl actually hugged their friend Michelle, an African American male, of her own accord!) That she doesn't immediately gravitate to apricot simply because that is what her family is makes me happy!

However, my husband and I did share a long distance chuckle when I told him about Sidge's question regarding the new baby. Since this child is a product of IVF, if she were to come out brown it would not state something about me but about Mayo Clinic. JB forgot about this and said to me, "Well, if the child is brown, you have some explaining to do."

"No," I laughed. "Mayo Clinic does!"

Even though we joked about this, I have to say, it has crossed my mind a few times. I have no way of guaranteeing that this embryo they implanted is actually our's -- no way of knowing for sure that there wasn't a mistake made. It will only be when I see this little one, that I will know for sure.

That's not something "normal" parents have to worry about.

But our journey to parenthood has been far from normal. Adoption, two surprises, and now one baby through IVF.

Most likely ... an apricot baby!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Isaac is home!

Here's a video of the reunion with big brother Isaac!

Isaac and "Pa"

Isaac and "Pa"
Today he comes home.

But yesterday he got to meet "Pa."

I think it is interesting that little brother Sidge saw this picture and said, "That wooks wike Woy." (i.e. That looks like Roy.)

Yep. Pa is Roy's Dad. You won't see any family resemblance to Isaac since Isaac's birth mother, Bri, was also adopted. But this is still his birth great grandfather! And he got to meet him! Way cool.

It may be difficult for people who are not adoptive parents to understand that this excites me. When Isaac gets to spend time with his birth mother Bri's family, I am blessed by this. My heart is happy that he will always know the truth of his birth. He will feel included. He will feel loved by extra people.
"Perhaps an adoptive parent faces sooner what every parent must face eventually: Our children are not ours; they belong to themselves. What will keep them visiting us joyfully when they are grown is the quality of our relationship, not biology." -- Judy Rader
But now, I am just anxiously awaiting his return to my arms! We have really missed Isaac around here. Time to come home big brudder!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sunday, August 25, 2013

10 Ways to be a Happier Mom

Just saw this article by Ann Voskamp that I wanted to share: 10 Ways to be a Happier Mom.

I feel like it goes perfectly with a little local fodder I wanted to share. My childhood friend Kelly is the mother of five children. She is also a self-professed perfectionist struggling to figure out how to parent five kids and be a perfectionist at the same time. Her mother sent her an email with 10 tips that I thought were just good solid wisdom. I've known Nancy my whole life so I am taking the advice to heart too.

A Mother's Wisdom

  1. SLEEP
  2. EAT WELL!
  3. Shut brain off and quit worrying about housework (QUIT thinking so much!!)
  4. ENJOY your family!
  5. Don't worry about anything in the FUTURE! LIVE IN THE MOMENT and DO NOT WORRY about that either!
  6. Let GOD be in charge! HE'S so much better at it!!!
  7. Do not value yourself according to what you get accomplished!
  8. Tell your husband you love him, EVERYDAY! ( I just threw that in bcause everyone needs to feel valued!)
  9. Enjoy the little moments with each of your kiddos (I think you already do this! :)
  10. PRAY EVERY night for each one of your children, and for your husband! Don't forget!!!!!! :):)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Did I miss the memo?!

I see the Facebook posts featuring children at their "month celebrations." They all have these stickers on their chest. What are they? When did they become possible? Do I have to use them? Have I been living under a rock (or in another country) or something? I just feel very behind ... about to have our little girl and I don't have any stickers. Do I have to get them?

Family ...

It's been missing.
And now it's not.
Before kids, honestly, I did not care that much about living away from family. But I realize that since having my children, I crave that connection. I miss it. I want it. I need it.
Isaac headed to Vermont on Wednesday. Sidge was not excited to see his brother leave. "I'm willy gonna miss my brudder," he told me through those big blue eyes that fill up with tears because he won't blink when he's crying. ("Sometimes my eyes get wet," he has often told me.)
Later that evening, Sidge went to bed by himself. But in the middle of the night, I found him weeping outside of the bathroom door. I asked him what was wrong. "My brudder," he said. "I can't find my brudder Isaac." I reminded him that Isaac went to Vermont. Sidge nodded and set his chin. "Oh. That's right. I forgot." Only the second night he has ever spent not sharing a room with his Isaac.
I'm not sure how our little Elijah would be handling his big brudder being gone if it wasn't for a fun weekend with his Uncle Matt and Aunt Danielle on the horizon. Honestly, I'm not sure that I've seen my middle man so excited about anything before. He woke up in the morning begging to leave! He couldn't wait.
Danielle has been so great to send me pictures periodically this weekend so I could see what he's been up to. Check 'em out:
Uncle Matt bought him a spider man fishing pole! How cool is that?
And look, he caught his first fish! How cool is that?
They made their own pizzas for dinner. Danielle said that Sidge (who is always Daddy's "shoe" chef) wanted to be the head chef on this particular evening.
Look at that fort! (And they rented Kung Fu Panda to boot!)
The next day, they went to Flamingo Gardens:

I actually haven't talked to Sidge yet to hear all about his fun times. Last I heard, he was heading to Grama's to spend the next night at her house.

I did, however, talk to Isaac. He was having the time of his life, and he was eagerly giving me every detail.

I am so blessed both of my boys are getting to be with people who love them as much as I do. What an incredible blessing of which I am eternally grateful. I realize that for most of their life, we've been away from family. I miss our families being able to spoil my kids. It feels really nice.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Children’s Place: great deal!

The Children’s Place: 25% off + free shipping = Kid’s Jeans for as low as $7.50 shipped

I just ordered four pairs of jeans for my boys for 30 bucks! This includes shipping! I always try to buy used clothing but jeans and little boys are a deadly combination! Wanted to share this great deal. Now just hoping I picked good sizes and styles.

Abigail talking to Daddy

We've been apart a long time. Daddy sure does miss his little girl. He talks to her almost every day. I finally recorded what she looks like while she is talking to Daddy on the phone so he can see what she is doing. She has to sit down (or stand with her legs crossed). She gets very serious. This conversation, in particular, was a serious one because both her brothers are gone. Isaac is in Vermont, but we just dropped off Sidge to spend the weekend with his Uncle Matt and Aunt Danielle, and little lady is none too thrilled about having both her brothers gone. Anyways, a video of Abigail talking to her Daddy (whom she'll get to see in just over a week!)

Reader Question:

I have a doggy question for you. Do you have any tips for managing dog hair and shedding (as many of our 4 legged family members do) and little ones?  

Great question with unfortunately, not a good answer. Our Dalmatian sheds like a MAD MAN! It is terrible, and quite honestly, probably the reason I don't want another indoor dog. It is soooo much hair. There is so much. My tips are not incredibly helpful (and probably fairly obvious), but here they are nonetheless:
  • Vacuum frequently.
  • Have rooms that are off-limits to the dog if you want to keep some places hair free. (My husband's office is one of these as it has our nice Turkish rug in it.)
  • Brush the dog frequently. (Outside!)
  • Vacuum the dog. (I kid you not! My husband does this!)
Any other readers have any other tips to share?

Friday Funnies

With Isaac out of town, enjoy Sidge's humorous view of the world! I have to be honest and brag for a moment. This kid is funny. Not try-to-be-funny" but just says-things-that-make-you-laugh-without-trying-funny.

I suppose JB has, at some time, taught Sidge the word "googol" at some point in the past: number that is equal to 1 followed by 100 zeros and expressed as 10 100  . Here was the conversation we had in the car:
Sidge: "Can I drive?"
Me: "Not until you turn 16."
Sidge: "16 or 4 and a half? Either one?"
Me: "No. Just sixteen. You have to be sixteen."
Sidge: "I can be sixteen or a googol. Right Mommy? A googol is a very big number."
When a little girl at my mom's Bible Study didn't understand how to build something, my Mom said, "Maybe Sidge can show you how to build it?" Sidge replied, "I absolutely can ... not."
Sidge got a watch from Chik-Fil-A which he likes to look at, tell me the numbers, and ask me how to say what the time is. So he's become a little obsessive about the time. In the car the other day, he asked me what time it was. I told him, "7:52." He then asked me, "Will that be sooner or later?" Huh?
While discussing the ten commandments the following conversation ensued:
Grama Di: "Have you ever wanted something that someone else had?"
Sidge: "Just one time."
Grama Di: "And what happened?"
Sidge: "It was Cousin Nate's toy. And he gave it to me."
When meeting a British four-year-old at my parent's Bible Study, Sidge said: "Why does she speak like that?" She was the same little girl who kept saying that the music, "Was making my feet dance." She also was aghast that Abigail would eat without her fork. "She's using her hands!"
Sidge saw a picture of Daddy on Papa's computer. He said, "Mommy! That's Daddy! I can't wait to see him! I'm gonna hug him first!"
I told the kids we were going to go to Wendy's for lunch. Sidge said, "I'm just gonna tell Abigail we are just going to Mama's since she doesn't understand what Wendy's is."
On Friday, Sidge woke up, so excited that it was the day he got to spend at his Uncle Matt & Aunt Danielle's. I told him we weren't going to go, however, until after lunch. "I ate lunch," he said. "So let's go." (He had eaten breakfast.)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ten Commandment Crowns

My parents host a "Home Group" Bible Study each Wednesday at their house. Generally, it is a stretch for my kids to participate as they go to bed around 7 or 7:30 and the meeting starts at 7:00. But last night, they stayed up. They had a great time making "10 Commandment Crowns" with their Grama Di.
This new smile Abigail is doing is just cracking me up! Notice Abigail is wearing an undecorated crown and decorating an unworn one.

Sidge really got into this crown thing. Very fun!
Juanita was the other little girl there last night. She cracked me up. She is British and so "dignified." She was aghast that Abigail ate her fruit without using a fork, and when I put on some VBS music she said, "The music is making my feet dance." You could tell she wasn't used to an Abigail (who for some reason has been into hugging other kids lately.) She was like, "Get this unrefined child off of me, please!"

*This activity is on my Pinterest board.

Dedicated to all my teammates

To all those girls who played basketball with me at Western Kentucky University, I present you with a floating around Facebook post. You can see the entire parade of humor by clicking here.
By the way, my favorite one is the first one. I still vividly remember attending an "optional" pick-up game. We played three games, and it was my turn to sit out for the last one since we had 12 gals there. I decided to head back to my dorm to get started on a research paper only to see my answering machine light blinking as I walked into my dorm room. A message from my coach. Why wasn't I at the "optional" pick-up game (that he wasn't supposed to be watching.) Still cracks me up!
Thank you to all my teammates for supporting me during four long, wonderful years at WKU.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Off to Vermont

He's off to Vermont! Man is it weird to not have him here. Sidge started crying as Joni and Isaac drove away and said, "I'm gonna willy miss my Brudder." Me too little man. I'd love to say that he was sad to leave me, but he wasn't. He was thrilled for the day we have talked about to finally be here! Here are some pictures of Isaac. Love you little man! See you in a week.
With his Papa Coach

At some fun fountains by the beach.
With a magnatile creation he made (with Papa) to show and take a picture for Daddy.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lovin' her some Aunt Danielle

During the last week, Abigail has been ... challenging ... to say the least. Do I know why? I do not. I am claiming that it is because she is getting in her two-year molars. Do I know this for sure? No, I do not. But blaming her fussy little britches on something is way better than having nothing to blame it on.

Truthfully, we are guessing that a lot of this is just stress from being away from home, away from Daddy, and preparing to welcome a little sister. Surely none of this is lost on her little brain and feelings and emotions.
Early on, she was doing okay when I left her with grandparents for doctors appointments or a quick run to the store. But then, she started losing her mind when Mommy wasn't present ... not a great thing when you know you are going to be gone for a number of days having a C-section.
But while she is still sportin' a 'tude, she has fallen head-over-heels in love with her Aunt Danielle. Aunt Danielle can do no wrong little Abigail's book. I honestly think she'd choose her over Mommy (and that is saying something!)
Here they are showin' off Abigail's new smile (observe the squinty face) and the fact that I've resorted to letting have her pacifier in other places besides her bed simply because it is one of the only things, outside of mom, that has stopped her tears lately. I am claiming I am giving it to her because her teeth hurt her. True? Maybe. I don't know.
Aunt Danielle asked her if she wanted to get her nails painted. The kid sat down and laid her hands out like she has done this every day. (She hasn't! This was her first time!) She got pink fingernails and a combination of blue and pink toenails.

Another view of the squinty smile. A bit blurry, but you get the idea.

And why not do lip gloss too?!

Isn't she only two?! Lordy what in the world is her jock-of-a-mother going to do. Move Danielle in full time? Perhaps!

She even went to find Danielle to get help getting her food! Seriously?! Who is this miracle worker Danielle?

Time to sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to 26-year-old Danielle. She is married to the 5th Kitsteiner: JB's younger brother Matt. That's big cousin Grace behind Danielle. Grace is pretty popular with Abigail too.

Time to blow out the candles!

With Grace, her pacifier, her squinty face, and her baby dolls.

Wearing the new high heels Aunt Gabbi gave her -- and doing the pacifier smile.

Trying to pop Aunt Danielle's bubbles.