Friday, March 29, 2013

RIP Google Reader

If you're like me, and follow all of your blogs through Google Reader, you are also very saddened by the news that after July 1, Google Reader will no longer be available.  And you are also like me in that we have to find a new way to organize and follow blogs.  I don't know if you have a plan of action yet, but if not, BlogLovin' is the same idea as Google Reader in that it collects and organizes all of the blogs you follow in one place (it's where I have moved over to).

Should you choose to use this site, here is the obligatory link to my blog should you like to continue following  :)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Simple Joys

Lately, the boys have been completely entertained by sliding down our stairway on their stomaches.  It requires no toys, gear or equipment, yet they can do it and have fun over and over and over.  I know it's pretty cliche, but most of the time it's true, kids are oftentimes more interested in the simple elements of something (like the box) more than anything else.  And if it doesn't require my participation and I get another load of laundry done while they're at it, even better!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Making the Best Of It

It's no secret, I am totally over winter.  I am more than ready to put the winter gear away, play in warm weather, and be outside more.  Unfortunately, Michigan is still covered in white and instead of moping about the house, we decided to get out in it.  So my mother-in-law and I took the boys sledding.  We were out for about an hour, which is pretty much the perfect amount of time.  The boys had a blast and there were just a few tears when snow ended up on faces.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Much Longer Cleaning List

One of the main reasons that blogging has become a lot more difficult lately is because after we moved, my cleaning list got a whole lot longer.  The last house we lived in was a duplex, so we were essentially living in a two bedroom apartment.  The cleaning list was short, but the amount of space we had was very, very limited.  Now, in our new place there is a bunch more space, but with this new space also comes more places to keep clean.  We have gone from two bedrooms to four and from one bathroom to two and a half.  Thankfully my school load is minimal this semester so the transition to more housework hasn't been too difficult.

One thing that I am finding that really helps is having a cleaning schedule.  I have tweaked it over the last couple of months, but I pretty much have it down now.  Each day I do or clean certain things.  For example, Mondays is laundry day, Tuesday is floor washing day, Thursday is bathroom cleaning day and Friday is vacuum/sweep the whole house day.  There are obviously more things on each day's list, but those are the main things I work at getting done.  I try to keep the weekends as housework-free as possible since we are usually pretty busy and it's always nice to have a break.

I feel a little 1950's housewife-esque with my strict schedule but honestly, I think my stress level would be so much higher without it.  It helps me keep up with all of the housework, I spend less time thinking about how dirty my house is (or how dirty I think it is), and I get overwhelmed less often because I don't try to do everything at once.

How do you do it?  Keep your house clean, I mean.  Are you an everything in one day a week person, or do you spread it out?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Not So Happy First Day of Spring

It's the first day of spring, but mother nature decided that Michigan was going to look more like the tundra.  What makes this weather harder to accept is that a week ago most of the snow was melted, there were birds chirping in the morning and sun shining all day.  I guess she just wants us to really appreciate spring when it gets here, eventually.

Hope your first day of spring is a little less winter-y.  We're off to bundle up and make the trek to the car.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lets Talk About Hair

I do not and will not claim to know much about doing black hair.  What I do know I have learned from other adoptive moms, nice women at the beauty supply house up the street, the boys' barber and Baxter's new hair stylist.  I am eager to learn yet am alright with having professionals take care of my boys' hair.  This is the reality of being a white mother of two black children (and a woman who can barely do her own hair most days).

It is a reality that Eric and I talked about before the boys ever came home; the importance of maintaining their hair, and the price tag that inevitably goes along with it.  I could use hair clippers myself, and I could not worry about cleaning up their hair lines, but I know that it's important.

At age 1, they each had their very first haircut.  Our barber was recommended to us by a wonderful women who works at our gym.  At first the boys would see him once a month, but now they are going every other week.  They look forward to going.  They even have a catchphrase with him.  What could take a grand total of 15 minutes takes more like 45 because they hang out and talk with the him and the other people in the barber shop.  They are becoming apart at that barber shop's community.  I love it.  And I say "they" because I don't go anymore, except on rare occasions.  It's become a father-son outing.

What I am involved in is Baxter's new venture into dreadlocked hair.  Or at least the very beginnings of dreadlocks.  We had our very first appointment last weekend, and so began the 6 month to year long process of locking his hair.  What an adventure this will be and I am super excited for it, although I'm a little paranoid that they might all come undone before they lock in for good.  We have another appointment next weekend to have them re-twisted and tightened.  So far, the hardest part is not getting his hair wet.

He did such a great job.  He did not like getting his hair shampooed and squirmed when certain areas were combed, but with a sucker and an iPad, the kid was pretty much golden.  And hopefully it will become easier and easier from here on out.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Vroom Vroom

I should really be ashamed.  I have seriously neglected by dslr for many months, and therefore haven't taken any quality photos of my kids in that long.  I love using my phone, a little too much probably.  It's just so easy to take a photo and share it.  I will cherish those photos because they capture our day to day, but I also need to make more of an effort to take higher quality photos of my kids.  I feel that this is just as important as capturing our daily life.  And so, while Eric and the boys build tracks and raced hot wheels cars the other day, I got out our camera.

Eric brought the tracks home from his parents house.  They used to belong to him and his brothers.  I cannot even begin to explain how excited the boys were and how much fun they had.  Some mornings, before Eric heads to work, one of them will ask if they can "play cars" when he gets home, and you can bet that the first thing they say to him when he walks in the door is, "let's play cars now!"

I absolutely love watching the relationship Eric has with our boys.  It's such a beautiful thing.  They admire him so much, and he's such a great example for them.  I have no doubts that they will grow up to be great men with such an incredible dad to lead them.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Celebrating Africa

The whole reason for our weekend getaway was to attend a party that our adoption agency hosts every year.  This was the first time we've ever attending, because this is the first year I thought the boys would really like going.  It's called Celebrating Africa and it is an entire afternoon listening to African music, eating ethnic food, making ethnic crafts and watching an African dance group.  

When we arrived there was a man and woman singing and playing drums as people mingled.  Atticus was immediately drawn to them both and just stood there watching them for so long.  After the majority of the guests had arrived, which was probably upwards of 150, the man and woman got out small drums and spent some time teaching the kids a song to sing and play on the drums.  The boys are still singing it on a daily basis.

Towards the end of the party, an African dance group was introduced and performed several different dancers, and once they were done, took the rest of the time to teach the children a welcome dance.  Unfortunately, the party took place right over nap time, so by the end of the event, both boys were pretty worn out and ready to head home.  

But one of the best parts of the entire party was seeing our agent again along with our Congolese lawyer, who was also the woman who escorted Baxter and Atticus home.  This was the first time any of us had seen her since that day at the airport over two years ago.  I won't lie, I teared up a bit upon seeing her.  She's just tied to so many emotional memories, it's hard not to get a little emotional.  It also was hard to not get emotional as I saw my kids play with so many other kids of the same heritage as them.  I definitely think that this is something that we are going to make an annual tradition.  It's just too important not to.

And if pictures aren't enough, Eric put together a little montage on his phone of our trip.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Monday, March 11, 2013

Chicago Adventure

Eric's parents needed a ride to the airport in Chicago, and we saw an opportunity for a mini family vacation.  Eric only worked a half day on Thursday so we headed to Chicago Thursday afternoon.  After dropping his parents off at the airport we went straight to our hotel.  It was pretty late and we knew that the boys had a pretty busy day ahead of them on Friday.  

Our first stop of Friday was Shedd Aquarium.  We weren't sure how much the boys would like it, but it turned out to be very kid friendly with a life-size submarine, climbing rocks and slides, and an entire room of water tables.  Needless to say we had to practically drag them out.  Yes, there was a lot of fish, but for $16 it was well worth the 3+ hours we spent there.

After the aquarium, we headed out to lunch but chose a place that required some public transportation.  Both boys were beyond excited to ride the L train.  At every platform they were bursting with anticipation.  If the aquarium wasn't so awesome, we probably could have just ridden the L all day long.  Both Eric and I were really impressed with how well they did being so busy, walking so much and going without naps.  It was definitely encouraging and I am actually looking forward to going on another trip soon.

Okay, so I guess I can't say that they went the whole day without naps.  Once we were back in the car it took them a whopping 60 seconds to fall asleep.  From there, we headed further south to Indianapolis for a party that our adoption agency was throwing.  More on that very soon.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Adventures in Potty Training 2.0

2.0 represents the fact that this is the second time I've attempted to potty train the same toddler and that this time around, I'm potty training both boys simultaneously.  Last summer Baxter showed a real interest in the potty, despite being barely two years old.  I figured he was telling me he was ready and we went for it.  That turned out to be a bad idea.  I ended up giving in and putting him back in diapers.

It was hard, but looking back now, it was a good decision.  This time around with him has been pretty much a breeze.  He holds it for quite a while and will either tell me or just go on his own.  Atticus on the other hand has been a little more difficult.  Everything started out great, but as of late he has been struggling with accidents.  We are powering through but it does discourage me from leaving the house very often.

All in all it wasn't as horrifying or traumatizing as I had anticipated (for myself).  And although cleaning up puddles of pee isn't my most favorite thing, its nice to practically lose the diaper bag all together.  Now, it's just getting them to stay dry while sleeping.  But I'll take my small victory as I move on to the next challenge.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Going a Little Postal

Yes, I mean I am going a little crazy.  About what you ask?  The postal system, what else!  Specifically, our mail carrier.  Be warned, the following is a little rant.

At our last house, I loved every mail carrier we had.  The boys and I would be sitting out front most warm days when the mail would be delivered, so we became familiar with the different people who delivered it.

At our house now, our mail carrier only delivers our mail when the conditions are perfect.  I first discovered this when I didn't shovel our front steps for a few days.  We had just moved in and never used the front door.  During those days our mail was never delivered, then, once we finally shoveled and our mail was finally delivered there were notes with lots of exclamation marks and underlines informing us that the steps weren't shoveled and it was dangerous (I won't get into the ridiculous thought process of writing notes you don't deliver until after the thing you want done is already done).  But something even worse happened just the other day.  We had a snow storm, and I worked all day at Eric's office so nothing was shoveled and our mail wasn't delivered (I wasn't surprised).  The next day I shoveled our steps and salted the sidewalk.  I didn't have time to shovel the sidewalks too, but it was pretty warm and I thought salt was help a lot.  Our mail was delivered with a note about the sidewalks (let me just say that people walk up and down our street all day without any incidents).  The following day I was going to shovel, but our mail carrier came much earlier than usual so I hadn't done it yet.

I watched him pull up in front of our house, get out, walk down our sidewalk but did not deliver our mail.  So, apparently our sidewalk wasn't too treacherous to walk on, but he doesn't like having to walk  on snowy sidewalks so our consequence was having our mail withheld.

So, it looks like my mail carrier is either a crotchety man or a child throwing a tantrum.  It's a hard choice.

Rant over.

Monday, March 4, 2013


If by lately, you think of the entire 2013 calendar year up until this point, then you and I are on the same page.  Life has been busy, as it always is, but for some reason blogging has taken a big blow in the recent months.  Life got way to crazy during the holidays, which caused me to get out of the habit of blogging regularly, which made it pretty hard to get back in the saddle.  In short, I started to not care and get lazy. I know I said it before, and honestly, I meant it then and I mean it now, I am going to work hard getting back into the habit.

It will not be every day, and it may not be on a consistent basis, but I really want to make an effort.

So, keeping it as short as possible, here is what's happened in the last couple month.

We had a killer New Years Eve party.

My brother got married.

Dealt with Are still dealing with the unfortunate season of winter.

Potty trained.

Celebrated Valentines day.

Took a weekend trip to Chicago.

Attending a celebrating Africa party with a bunch of other adoptive families.

Oh, and I chopped all my hair off.

Alright, I think that's pretty much the long and the short of it.  Not that you needed a photo summary of my year so far, you just got one :)