Monday, October 31, 2011

Solo Halloween

 For the very first time ever, I was on my own for Halloween this year.  Daniel had to work.  We took the kids, in costume, to the pumpkin patch together on his day off.  That was a muddy experience.  But the actual night of Halloween was just me and the kids.

It went good for the main part of the night.  We went up and down a few blocks collecting candy.  "Happy" was not so happy, though.  She rode in the wagon and cried when I took 
her out and cried when I didn't take her out. 
We also changed her costume at the last minute.  She just kept losing the overly large purple princess skirt.  So we put her in a fluffy white dress and called her a bride.  The other kids were an artist, two rock stars, a 50's girl, a pilot, Super Girl, a Pizza Hut delivery guy, and "outer space".  Then we went home for a pit stop because Super Katie had to pee super badly and "Happy" had a 10 pound diaper.

Well, we walked in the door, I was trying to change "Happy" in the living room, the doorbell rang with trick or treaters crowding the doorway, my older kids were fighting over who got to be first to hand out candy and just then Katie started shrieking at the top of her lungs.

She'd had an accident right in the entry way.  And joy of joys, my neighbors were gaping from the door way at our chaos.  Oh yeah.  I could see the "Mother of the Year" trophy being handed out right then.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fishy Birthday

It's official! My Glo Worm has reached double digits!  Gloria wanted a swimming party with an aquarium theme for her 10th birthday this year.  We rented a room at a local rec center and invited several of her friends to come swim with us and then come to our house for a sleep over.

We bought one of those inserts for a fish tank that goes along the back wall to make it look like the ocean.  We hung it on the wall and let Gloria and her friends take pictures in front of it making fish faces.  That was a hit.  She also loved her cake and helped pick out the decorations.  The rocks at the bottom of the "fish tank" are actually chocolate!  Then we added Swedish Fish and gummy octopi.

We were all happy that our former foster daughter, "Junie B.", got to come, too.  The girls played a silly "Truth or Dare" card game down in the basement and ate junk food and pizza until they were ready to pass out from a sugar coma.  Gloria declared it one of her best birthdays ever!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Happy 11th, Lina!

 Selina was our foster daughter from October of 2008 to July of 2009.  We had really hoped that we would get to adopt her and her older sister, Molly.  They arrived just weeks after Brianna and Shane came to us and left just weeks before we adopted them.  Fortunately, their dad has allowed us to remain a part of their lives.  So, each year since then, we've tried to do something special for Lina's birthday.  We also try to help out in any way they'll let us.  This year, we had cake and presents at a McDonald's playland and then
 went to the Children's Museum.

The lady at the desk questioned our using our family membership with 11 kids, but in my heart, Lina and Molly will always be our daughters, too. We recently learned that 15 year old Molly (16 in December) is expecting her first child.  We're going to be grandparents!  Somehow I didn't expect that to happen in my early 30's...

 Molly has asked us to take a larger role in her life now, so we get to take her to prenatal appointments and help her get set up with WIC and hopefully Medicaid soon, too.  She's such an amazing young woman.  She's always been a peer mentor at school and excels in all her classes.  She's a natural artist and constantly smiling.  Her nick name is "Smily" among those who know her.  I'm so proud of her for accepting responsibility and deciding to raise her daughter.  Molly is half Cambodian.  She told me that the Cambodian word for Grandma is "Yay".  That means everytime my grandbaby comes to see me she's going to yell "Yay!"  I love it!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vaseline and Toddlers Don't Mix

I would never buy Vaseline.  I have no use for it.  But my girls' former foster mom apparently thought they needed it because she packed an almost full jar with their things.  When I was unpacking their bags I simply stored the jar under my bathroom counter.  Much to my surprise, I learned that our 2 year old, "Happy", knows exactly what Vaseline is for.  It's to lock moisture into African American hair.  She proved her knowledge by sneaking into my room, entering the master bathroom, removing the jar from under the counter, opening it, and then applying large goopy handfuls of the disgustingly slimy substance to her hair and face.  Oh... and some on the floor and the counter and the cabinets and the side of the tub and the bathroom rug...

Daniel was horrified.  I grabbed the camera.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Super Katie at Chuck E. Cheese

We wanted to go to the Denver Art Museum, but we didn't realize that it was closed.  Then we ended up having to drop off some last minute paperwork at the Children and Family Services building down in Arapahoe County.  In the end, all we had time for was an hour or two at Chuck E. Cheese.  Thanks to the modern wonder of IPhones, we were able to pull up an image of a coupon and just show it to the ticket person.  For about $25 we were able to entertain 8 kids and 1 Super Katie at a brand new Chuck E. Cheese that we'd never been to before.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Punkin' Head"

I call this the pumpkin style, because the lines remind me of a pumpkin viewed from above.  It's the fastest style I know for "Happy's" hair.  I just divide it into fourths and then divide each fourth in half again.  It's very nice for those times when we're in a hurry and she just won't sit still.  It's become my fall back or "go to" style.  And she looks pretty darn cute, to boot!  I call her my "Punkin' Head" when her hair is like this and Katie has started calling her that, too.

Most of the styles I'm doing come from a very creative mom at "Chocolate Hair, Vanilla Care" a blog for moms of African American daughters.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Beads and Braids

 I ordered a whole bunch of different styles and colors of beads online and a useful little tool to put the beads on with.  So far, I've managed to break two of the plastic beaders, so I may try another method.  I learned that the trick is to make the braids very small.  When I try using the beader with a braid that's too thick, it jams inside the beads and then breaks when I pull.

I've also learned a few different ways to do the "veil style" shown in the second photo.  There are other names for this style, but I like thinking of it like a bridal veil.  The beads came out really cute, but it took for-EVER.  I have "Hoops" put the next set of beads onto one beader while I'm using another to put the beads onto a braid.  I also let her watch episodes of "The Cosby Show" on

Netflix while I'm working on her hair.  It really helps to alleviate the boredom.  Daniel says he thinks "Hoops" keeps intentionally taking so long to wash her hair each week that I end up doing her hair right at bedtime.  He says she likes getting that one on one time with me after the other kids are in bed.  I originally planned to wash hair on Friday nights and style it on Saturdays.  Instead we've ended up doing it all on Sunday nights.  I'm hoping to back it up to Saturdays eventually.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Secret Keeper Girls PJ Party!

 My oldest four girls and I went to the Secret Keeper Girls Pajama Party about an hour South of here back in October.  We also brought Gloria's friend, Julia, along.  Danya and Gloria are the only ones who have been working their way through "8 Great Dates for Moms and Daughters" with me.  We're stuck waiting for date six, which will be a group date organized by another mom with several other families.

It was a really fun night.  I got my girls matching PJs for the event and we received a lot of compliments and comments about how cute they looked.  There was a lot of dancing, some praying, and some seriously funny moments.  The girls learned about modesty, but more importantly, they learned to appreciate their unique God-given beauty.

There was a request, at one point, for all the adopted girls in the auditorium to raise their hands.  It was about a quarter of the crowd!  "Hoops" raised her hand and grinned at me, as if to say "I will be soon!"  And she and Brianna seemed to share a bonding moment right then because they both became a part of our family through the adoption process.

The absolute best moment of the night?  "Hoops" decided to give her life to Christ!  We were all so happy!  I told her that she had just become my sister (in Christ) before officially becoming my daughter!  I noticed a change in her heart and attitude in the days after and have felt like we can connect on a much deeper level.  She's asking me lots of questions about the bible and heaven.  The only bad moment of the night was when we were leaving.  Gloria took a tumble down a few steps and twisted her ankle.  We feared at first that she'd broken it.  I called Daniel, who was waiting outside in the van by then, and he came inside to carry her out to the van.  We all prayed for her in the van and laid hands on her.  She was able to walk into the house by the time we got home an hour later.  I went to bed that night thankful to God for many reasons!

Friday, October 07, 2011

Wrangling a 2 Year Old

Getting a 2 yr old to sit still for 30 minutes to an hour while you carefully section, comb out, and braid her hair is like trying to get a cat to hold still so you can put nail polish on it's claws.  Every time I'm barely managing to keep a tiny strand of hair between my fingers, she decides to suddenly turn her head to look at something utterly fascinating... like a fly zooming by.

"Happy" has the attention span of a gnat and the curiosity of a mongoose.  She cannot sit still to watch an entire episode of Diego, but she does take the time to check and see how many different types of objects around the house can fit down the toilet.  From toothbrushes to toys, she's an equal opportunity flusher.  She even likes to occasionally dunk her own head in there.  "Happy" may help me to increase my exercise since I spend most of my day chasing after her or panicking when I don't see her in my immediate line of sight.  I know that she's capable of self control, however, because she slips out of her bed at nap time and manages to play extremely quietly in her room for an hour before I discover her.   All I can say, lucky for her she's cute.  It's impossible to be mad about my hair brush in the toilet when she's hugging my neck and saying she loves me.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

First Corn Rows

Believe it or not, this was my first ever attempt at corn rows.  What are corn rows?  Pretty much it's just french braiding, but instead of moving the two outside strands to the middle, you move the middle strand to the outside.  It gives it that raised look.  They came out pretty nice, if I do say so myself.  Then again, it helps having a beautiful (and patient) model.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Lego Obsession

My boys have developed a new obsession for LEGOs in the past few months.  They want LEGOs for their birthday, for Christmas, for rewards, and any other reason they can come up with.  Although I think Kevin's skill level still leans more toward DUPLOs, they now have LEGO kits for several Disney Cars characters and some scenes from Harry Potter.  OH! And don't even get me started on Kevin's obsession with Harry Potter.  I'm starting to regret ever letting him watch any of those movies.  I've only let them see the first four, but Kevin would watch them over and over if I'd let him.  I've been conveniently "losing" movies 2 through 4, so all he gets to watch now is the first one.  Yesterday I was quizzing the boys on digraphs and held up a card with the letters "sp" on it.  They had to pronounce it and then think up words with that letter sound combo in them.  I said, for example, "spell".  Shane grins and says, "Like Harry Potter!" No, Shane, I meant like as in "to spell a word".

Saturday, October 01, 2011

World Drum Ensemble

At Options this year Danya has decided to take a drum class.  While they learn new drum routines and techniques on practice drums, they are all working on making and designing their own personal drums.  Danya has been painting, twisting ropes, stretching goat hide across the top and generally impressing me with all she's learning.  I'll admit.  I rolled my eyes a bit when I heard what class she wanted to take.  A whole YEAR of banging a drum?  But it's turned out to be more of geography/history/music appreciation class.  And she's having a great time, which is what really matters.

TNT Bike Ride

 The older AWANA girls are part of the TNT group which stands for Truth 'n Training.  Their group had an all girl bike ride one beautiful Saturday morning.  Checking and Loading four bikes for our older daughters shouldn't have been too hard, but two of them needed major tire work.  Also, we had to remove the back seats from the van in order to get them to fit.  Daniel was amazing and somehow pulled it all together.

Still, our girls almost missed it.  He pulled the
van up next to a huge group of girls all
casually pedaling along a few blocks from the house we were supposed to have met at.  Daniel unloaded right there and waved as the girls took off trying to catch up.  They had a really good time, but I think "Hoops" had quite a bit of difficulty.  We realized later that her tire had gone mostly flat about half way through the ride.  She thought she was just out of shape, but she was forcing the bike to roll on a flat tire.

Afterwards, they met back at the house and had a picnic lunch of mostly snacks and desserts.  Danya ran around taking photos of herself with her friends.  I picked them up when it was over and all four girls, Danya, Gloria, Hoops and Brianna were sweaty but smiling.