Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fall fun!

The twins' preschool had a field trip yesterday to Vala's pumpkin patch. They didn't know what a pumpkin patch was, but they were very excited to go. Our local "pumpkin patch" is a rather elaborate autumn destination with many attractions as well as acres of pumpkins to choose from... right off the vine.

Sarah and Candace posing in one of the zillions of fall scenes

Chosen from the audience to pick a winner in the Pigtucky Derby. Darn, team purple came in second.

Making corn angels. It's Nebraska.


Choosing just the right pumpkin

Riding the John Deere train... what a fun day!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Things we struggle with, part 2


Candace and Sarah are great sleepers... once they fall asleep. From day one at home, however, we have struggled with bedtime. Sometimes we have had out and out tantrums. Sometimes we have struggles getting the routine started. Usually we have multiple trips downstairs after tuck-in and ALWAYS we have resistance of some kind.

We've done all the normal things. We have a well-defined bedtime routine.

The one thing I didn't do was lay down with them until they fell asleep. I have never done that with any of my kids; I have always been one of those moms who wants her kids to be able to fall asleep on their own, and until now that has worked out well.

Until now.

One night after going through the usual rigamarole, I just climbed on Emily's bed and brought the twins up with me, one on each side. Candace pulled the bottom of my shirt up, laid her cheek on my stomach and was asleep in five minutes. Sarah snuggled into the crook of my arm and quickly followed her twin into dreamland. I put them each into their own beds and we were done for the night.

We snuggle like this every night now after Daddy finishes reading a story. I'm giving up twenty or thirty minutes of my precious alone time in the evening, but I'm gaining an amazing feeling of closeness with Candace and Sarah. Okay, they aren't soothing themselves to sleep... probably someday they will. Right now I feel like we are bonding in a way similar to the bond I had with my older kids when they were nursing babies. It's nice and I like it.

The moral of the story is that many of the strategies used to parent my bio kids need to be modified some to work with these girls. And also... you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Things we struggle with, part 1

Getting along with dogs.

We have pets. Lots of pets. Three Boston terriers and two cats, to be exact. Currently, that's "all." I've been wheedling for a goat, horse or miniature donkey for awhile, but I don't think it's happening anytime soon. But I digress.

In the above photo, Candace is with Bridget, her preferred dog.

Both of the twins have had trouble adjusting to the pets, particularly the dogs, and particularly Candace. Sarah actually seems to be okay with having a dog sit with her on the couch now, but Candace still acts like they are carriers of the dreaded cooties. She especially has trouble getting along in a friendly fashion with Bruno, our mature dog who has an unquenchable interest in the game of fetch. Candace has been known to throw his toys away or outside in order to get him to stop bringing them to her. Today I found one in the toilet. This was all kind of funny except that she was starting to be physically aggressive with Bruno, and we were afraid that either she would hurt him or he would bite her. She didn't understand that dogs can't speak or understand human language. We have been encouraging her to try to be nice to them several times a day.

Here she wanted me to take her picture with Bruno... he doesn't really trust her yet and was beating a hasty retreat... but progress is being made.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

October snow... first snow!

When I woke up this morning, I saw this:

Candace and Sarah were very excited and couldn't wait to go outside. Luckily I was able to scrounge up two pairs of kid-sized gloves and a couple of hats... no boots, though. I guess I better get on that, and they need snowsuits too. I wasn't expecting to need them quite this early, however!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Four months

Candace and Sarah have been home with us for four months now. Really, the anniversary was yesterday, but I was too tired to write anything. Too tired physically and exhausted emotionally. I love those little girls so much that sometimes my heart hurts. Sometimes I just gaze at them and think about God's miracle that placed them in our family. They are so cute and so smart and so resilient. Those are the good parts. But sometimes they have so much anger and sadness and other hard emotions... I just feel drained. I try so hard to be the comforting mom, the one who can make things better, but sometimes I just don't feel like I can stand one more minute of the demands of emotionally needy five year olds or the needs of the equally emotionally needy teenage siblings. So a lot of days end up with me being the tired and impatient mom who wishes her husband was less busy with his new job and that everyone could deal without me for just one darn day! And then of course, guilty Mom rears her ugly head.

I guess I know that I can't fix the past for the twins even though I wish I could. On the plus side, although grieving issues have intensified, day to day living is easier than it was two or three months ago. The girls love preschool and gymnastics and can communicate well enough to participate in both. We still have issues with bedtime, but there are far fewer tantrums. The sense of entitlement seems to have diminished and both girls act more appreciative of the things they have.

Step by step, I guess. We'll make it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

AGHS Homecoming

Last weekend while we were visiting Emily in Ames, Anna stayed home for her homecoming dance. She looks so grown up these days... here she is with her boyfriend Ethan, his brother and a friend.

And here she is with Ethan before the dance. Thank you big brother Kenneth for taking good care of Anna. I felt bad that I couldn't be in two places at once last weekend!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cyclone family weekend

Last weekend was family weekend at Iowa State. Tom, the twins and I went to Ames on Saturday and stayed all night to visit with Emily. We had a tailgate dinner with her roommate Maggie's family before the game... which we did not attend, as the twins don't actually appreciate football much. The next morning, we took Emily and Maggie out for brunch and then toured the campus with Emily. We rounded off our too-short visit by making some fun crafts at the Memorial Union.

Candace, Sarah and Emily in the dorm.

Tom and Emily

Me with my beautiful oldest daughter.