Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Eden Joy

I have seasons as a mother where I tend to enjoy a child more when they are asleep because they are somewhat contained, you know? They aren't getting into anything, they aren't being sassy - they are just being! Obviously I am referring to Eden right now. We are just in this strangely difficult season right now. I love her beyond belief! After the day is over and I can sit without her climbing all over me I can focus on all the cute things throughout the day, get a bit of perspective and gear up for the next day.

Problem is.....,she has been giving me lots of problems during the night so I have to gear myself up for the night and hope I make it to the next morning with energy for the day. For about 2 months now she has been awake anywhere for 1-2 hours. On average three nights a week. Awake, alert, standing next to our bed with a grin on her face all ready for the ensuing battle. I walk her back to her room, return to bed, doze off and about 15 minutes later she is standing next to the bed again with the same grin. Oh.......she knows how to get under my skin in a heartbeat. Last night a little over an hour into the "fun" she had to pee. Then she wanted to brush her teeth (um...NO), said she had to poop (I doubt it), needed a name it she thought of it! She amazes me in her ability to stick with a fight. Sound familiar? Kind of like her older brother Shane?

She really does remind us of Shane a lot! Same incredibly sweet heart and same incredibly stubborn tendencies! Her and Shane are somewhat inseparable. They are together most of the time and get along so well!

She definitely gets into things way more than the boys ever did. If she is quiet for more than 2 minutes there is a problem. If you say, "Eden. What are you doing?" You hear a quick, "Nothing!" followed by frantic feet rushing from the scene of a crime. It is sometimes lotion, sometimes soap, sometimes in Heidi's bed, sometimes in the refrigerator. She is so quick.

I also have never had a child try to get away with things like she does. It is almost humorous! Case in point: two weeks ago I couldn't find her. I was walking through the house calling her name. I found a little chair next to the kitchen counter with an empty gum wrapper. She had asked me for a piece of gum a few minutes prior and I had told her no. The evidence was fairly incriminating. The problem was I couldn't seem to find her anywhere. Walking through the house, calling her name, looking outside wondering how a child can disappear in 2 minutes time. I walked through the living room again and I don't recall if I saw the cushion on the couch move or if she made a noise. Either way I found her wedged behind the cushion on the couch with a piece of gum in her mouth. I very kindly removed the gum from her mouth. Little stinker!

I look at her so often and am so incredibly grateful that God brought her to us!! I have learned so much from her and God has done a deep work in our hearts through her and our journey to her. Something has begun to happen in our relationship that was missing before. She feels like my daughter!! We still have a ways to go but there is a connection that is happening that is running much deeper. I am more aware of the areas of attachment that need more attention and I believe that bond will only deepen.

I love her sparkly eyes, her bouncy self, her giggle, her hugs, her singing, her tenacity, her vivaciousness and her larger than life personality.

I could write so much more about our recent struggles but this post has been plenty long enough. I will bare my soul a bit someday soon and see if anyone can relate to some of the things we have been struggling with.

It is now 10:30 and I should haul myself off to bed since I never know what the night will bring. Well....I am usually fairly confident that the night will bring lack of sleep but I am beginning to think sleep is way, way overrated!!

Love Abounds

And in this moment the mom who happens to look out the window realizes that they do indeed love each other! There are moments of toleration and there are moments of genuine love and enjoyment of each other!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Compassion Being Formed

About a year ago, I made a photo book on snapfish of the first few months of Eden being in our family. I don't have a baby book for her so I put the referral pictures we received from our agency, pictures of us meeting her, pictures of get the idea. On the second page there is a close up picture of her face after being placed in my arms. She isn't crying but looks sad with tears in her eyes. You can't tell I am holding her though. Fast forward to today. I hear Tristan crying as he walked out towards the living room from Eden's bedroom. He was holding the book and just sobbing. I sat down with him and asked him what was wrong. He pointed to the picture of Eden (you can see it if you look closely) and said, "She is sad." I tried to assure him and tell him she was okay. That it was Eden when she was a baby but she was okay now. He stopped crying and I thought we had processed everything and were good. About 5 minutes later I hear these gut wrenching sobs. I am talking grieving sobs. I found him again with the book on the couch and the sobs coming out of him sounded like his heart was breaking. I am not exaggerating. I don't know that I have ever heard those kinds of sobbing cries from my children. Again I asked him what was wrong and he pointed to that same picture. He said, "She needs her momma. She is sad."

People...I was flabbergasted. Have you ever had a moment where you felt like God was touching and shaping the heart of your child? I am confident that my son's heart was being touched deeply. I prayed quietly, asked God to take the compassion deep and seal it on his heart. I again assured him that Eden was fine and was with her momma now. I don't know what all went on internally in him today but I know it was something amazing and I am thankful that I got to be with him to hold him, assure him and experience it with him.

And this is what Eden thought while Tristan was crying. Big joke!
And batman's apprentice flew into our living room the other day. She is pretty cute and working on her flying skills.
Heidi and her dear brother Shane who helped her into her disguise. Look how big she is! I had her to the doctor for her 6 month check and she weighed in at 17 pounds! She has great rolls!! She is rolling both ways and is starting to pull her knees up under her to scoot around. It amazes me that we are to this point already. She is such a sweety!

Monday, October 12, 2009

On to my man Tristan

Funny how my random name drawing has resulted in the three boys going before the girls. Funny stories first. Tristan has just been through potty training and is somewhat obsessed with the new appendage that is now a bit more accessible than before. At our house we do not do code names for body parts - we teach them the real names. One evening I overheard Tristan and Eden talking about who was a boy and who was a girl. They seemed a bit uninformed or either confused so I decided to help set them straight. I said to Tristan, "Honey. Eden is a girl and you are a boy. What do boys have?" To which he replied, "A penis." So I said, "And what does a Eden have?" Keep in mind we have not ventured into the technical terms for girls yet. Tristan said to me, "Eden has a butt." Followed by "God needs to work on her penis." Uh....honey....God did work on her and she has everything she will ever have. I laughed for a long time and still get a good chuckle when I think about how serious he was.

I know I have said before that he kind of gets stuck on certain things and that is all he thinks about. He gets stuck on things like balloons and alphabet letters. Recently his obsession has been gum and a game called Hullabaloo. The game is made by Cranium and he just loves it!! It has different shapes and colors of pads that have pictures of animals, instruments or food on them. There is a battery operated instruction thingy (for lack of a better term) that plays music and gives instructions. Like...stomp to a circle, spin to a food, jump to a square, give high fives to as many players as you can reach, crawl to a blue, freeze!!! If you are standing on the drums you are a winner! a victory dance! Well, Tristan has been playing this game for days now for hours at a time. When he wins he shouts out "I'm a winner!!" But he gets so frustrated when he doesn't win. Now, instead of spreading out the pads he keeps them in a pile, sits on them and proclaims he is a winner every time. It is so blasted cute!!

I have seen a transition happen and I am not sure when it all transpired. He is one of the boys now. Judah and Shane have always loved him and been patient with him. But he is now included in a lot of their play. I love watching the friendships form since I have always wondered if he would feel like the odd man out being younger than them.

Some of my favorite things about him are his goofy humor, listening to him as he plays and snuggling with him in bed if he gets up before I have to bail out of bed. We used to snuggle almost every morning and now it is rare but so treasured! Some of his favorite things are streaking through the house after going to the bathroom with me in pursuit, watching Thomas the Tank Engine, reading stories and snuggling.

One of my other favorite things is hearing him yelling at Eden. Somehow we started calling Eden "E". Not all the time obviously but it is kind of our endearing name for her. I was always Matilda, Missy, pumpkin....just typical endearments. She has become E. Suits her. The greatest part about it though is when Tristan is frustrated with her. You hear this piercing "EEEE" and then her little feet running away from him as fast as possible. Oh! She loves to antagonize.

He is a delight and not a night goes by that I don't fall deeper in love with him when I kiss him on my way to bed. He is an all out sleeper - sprawled out everywhere. And he always wants a cup of water with ice when he climbs in bed. He is sweetness for sure.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Fruit Farm

Today we took the kids to the local fruit farm for their fall festival. I have always loved the fruit farm (as we affectionately call it). The folks who own the farm go to our church and their daughter, son-in-law and grand kids are becoming fast friends of ours. We have had a few fun times getting our families together so we told them we would make sure to get out for the festival. I have not been to the festival for a few years and my goodness!!! It was crazy! People everywhere! There were lots of little vendors selling their specialties, kettle corn being freshly made, the smell of french fries, apple name it! The kids enjoyed it a lot - all except Heidi. No big surprise but I thought since she was in the front pack she would just fall asleep. Oh...the danger of assumption!

The kids wanted to ride on the wagon to go and pick a pumpkin in the patch. While we were waiting in line Heidi ramped up the screaming so Mark took the other four by himself on the wagon and out to pick a pumpkin. I had this idea in my mind of taking tons of pictures and documenting everything. Heidi wasn't cooperating at all but I did manage to snap a few pictures. Tristan peeking over the edge of the wagon as they were getting back. It is a bit blurred but I love it still. They picked out a 50 lb pumpkin. I don't know if the kids picked that one or if Mark picked it. Either way we have a whopping pumpkin by our front door.
One of the boys favorite things was the sling-shot. You pay $1 for 3 apples. They use all the bruised apples that are not sell able. Want to see the target?
This pick-up truck parked out in a field.
Shane's turn. I don't think either of the boys hit the truck. They still thought it was great. Creative fun!
Of course Mark had to get in on the fun and he hit the truck every time. He was trying to get an apple through the truck window but didn't. Two funny shots of the kids. They all have such funny fake smiles.
We had a great time! I must say though that on days like today I can't help but get excited thinking about 2 years from now and how much easier things like this will be to do as a family. I tend to have unrealistic expectations when planning days like today. But we actually got out of the house and back again without my stress level getting too high. Miraculous!
Right before we left I was sitting in this nice wooden rocker outside the store at the farm. I was holding Heidi who had finally fell asleep and Eden was standing next to me hanging on my leg. A woman came up to her, bent down and said in Eden's ear, "You are so sweet I could just take you home." Eden just smiled and the woman continued talking to her. I was a little unsure for a moment but started relaxing when her daughter started talking to me. Turns out the daughter has adopted two children from Seoul Korea and she just was a bit curious about Eden. We talked for a bit and they both said, "Wow. You have your hands full!" And that was before Mark came back from buying kettle corn with the three boys. When they saw the rest of the kids their eyes got really wide and they started laughing. They said, "Oh...God bless you!" After we said our good-by's and as we walked to the car I thought to myself, "Yes. God has blessed me." I know they were saying it a bit sarcastically but it reminded me of the truth!
And that was our day!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

On to the next one - Mr. Judah

Judah.....where to start? How about I tell you some of the things he wrote about himself the first week of school. He had to write a word about himself for each letter of his name. Can't for the life of me remember what they are called. I giggled and then laughed out loud upon reading his. Fortunately he wasn't in the room.

J - Joyful
U - Uperman (?)
D - Dad (?)
A - Apple Luver (his spelling)
H - Horsepower (????)

He is so many things on any given day. He gets easily overwhelmed, is dramatic and emotional. He has an infectious giggle and the deepest chocolate eyes. He has gotten himself up every morning for school which has surprised me. He even woke me up this morning after I hit the wrong button on my alarm and fell back to sleep. Fortunately he hasn't found the snooze button on his alarm yet.

Since he operates with such intensity we can clash easily and quickly. I need a lot of emotional reserves to work him through his feelings (which are often untrue) and to be truthful, I don't feel like I have much reserves right now. It has been an interesting season in our relationship. I read something the other day that resonated with me and is causing me to shift my thinking. It was in regards to how you view your children and how you then treat them. So often parents (me included) view their children as a project. Who wants to feel like a project? I had that experience a few years back - I felt like I was someone's project and it felt horrible. You didn't feel respected at all. I do believe that there needs to be a level of mutual respect between parents and their children. They are individuals, have feelings, desire to be heard just like I want those things. I am not saying that it becomes a peer relationship. Far from that. But there are moments of friendship which make the correcting of character and heart issues easier.

I believe Judah needs to know I hear him. Even though his ramblings often are incoherent. He gets himself into an emotional tale spin and everything comes out jumbled. Mark and I look at each other sometimes with big question marks on our faces?

Judah said to me the other day, " are the best mom in the world! Even though we have our problems, you are the best mom!" I said, "Thank you Judah." And I walked away pondering the huge BUT in the middle. Even though we have our problems.........I wonder what he was remembering?

My main thing that I am working on right now is implementing more understanding, trying to hear him but not necessarily empathize if the feelings are unfounded and just view him as my son. My dear sensitive son! He is growing up far too fast and I think I am starting to wonder how to stay connected to your son when they get big. I know there is a natural withdrawal that will happen in some areas but I don't want them to encroach on the sweet bond we have.

I feel like this post came out more about me in regards to my relationship with Judah than about him. I think that is because I feel a bit unsure of where to go from here.

J - Joyful (Absolutely!)
U - Uperman (he is superman!)
D - Dad (Someday)
A - Apple Luver (Oh...he is definitely an apple lover!)
H - Horsepower (Umm....not sure)

He is my sweet boy who is now 8 1/2. Where has the time gone?! I love Judah to the ends of the earth!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Diversion

Of course I am already deviating from my "spotlighting" of my children. I just need to process and digest my week. I am sitting here on my couch under a blanket on a Friday evening. The three little ones are asleep (which means I need to go to bed) and the older boys are having a movie night with their dad downstairs. Which means I have some moments of solitude. I almost do not know what to do.

This week has been one of the harder ones I have had in a while. Frankly, I think it has been harder because of me. My mindset. My selfishness. My expectations. I posted something on facebook earlier today about a quote I had read once. Something to this effect: without sleep we all become tall two year olds. While this is funny there is so much truth in it. My behaviour becomes so similar to my toddlers when I become extremely tired. My emotional reserves become shallow and I seem to justify my shortness and my frustration. On Sunday Eden started with fever and diarrhea. She went at least 20 times just on Sunday. Almost all of that was in the potty so that made it a bit more manageable. The diarrhea continued on Monday, Tuesday....and is till happening. Not 20 times a day but at least 5. It is horrible. Bringing back memories of the whole giardia experience when we brought her home. I had her to the dr today but they confirmed what I was already suspecting - more than likely viral. The fever only lasted 2 days but the beautiful stench has continued! Tristan also has a touch of it. I am so thankful they both potty trained within the past 3 weeks or we would have gone through tremendous amounts of diapers by now.

Eden has also embarked on something new. Wake fullness in the dead of night. About 3 weeks ago she started waking up in the middle of the night - wide awake and ready to go! She has always been a sound sleeper so this is still confusing to me. This past week she has been awake for at least 2 hours every night except one. Some nights longer than 2 hours. She appears in our room, one of us takes her back to her bed, she reappears 15 minutes later, we take her back to her bed, 15 minutes later - you get the point. For 2-3 hours!! It is brutal! I have had a difficult time functioning this week so I am glad Steffany challenged me to 30 days of thankfulness. I have been waking up not so thankful but have been looking for things throughout the day to keep myself focused on gratefulness! Although I am hoping for some resolution to her sleeplessness soon. Any ideas anyone? I am at a loss as to what to do. Look at this sweet face. Somehow it isn't nearly as sweet at 2:30 in the morning. And look at how beautiful her pearly whites are. Want to see what kind of damage they can inflict on her brother?
She is the first one of our children to be a biter. Again - trying to curb this behaviour. She puts everything in her mouth all the time and when someone is frustrating her she goes in for the kill!! Look at that bite mark! It was horrible!!

And then there is baby girl. Who I hear stirring in her crib. Why? It is nearly 10 o'clock!
A close up of my sweet girl. She is changing so much! The rolls seem to increase daily.
Judah and his girl!
Heidi is still in our room since we do not quite trust Eden. And why do we not trust her you ask? Hmmm....could it be her climbing abilities? As soon as any of the kids hear Heidi on the monitor they ask if they can go talk to her. On this particular day I told Tristan and Eden they could talk to her while I finished putting the lunch dishes in the dishwasher. (And yes ... Tristan is still wearing his jammies after lunch) I soon realized that the noises coming through the monitor were not of them talking to Heidi. I grabbed the camera and this is what I found.
I caught a moment between brothers one day after Judah got home from school. They went outside after having a snack, climbed onto the garage roof (it is pretty low) and were talking. They didn't realize I was taking their picture. I am sure they picked this spot since they have a hard time finding any privacy from the younger ones. I just stood and watched them for a few moments because I found the site so sweet.
The boys and I took a hike on the mountain that is at the back of our property.
And that my friends is a wrap! I am tired and hopeful that tonight may yield better sleep results at the Eveleth house!!