Tuesday, January 31, 2012

~*Dalton's Birthday Party*~

In early January, we made sure that a cake was ordered for Dalton's birthday.  I was so blessed to open my email this morning and find these wonderful pictures and a video!  

~*Happy Birthday*~  Dalton!  
I love you, though, I've never met you.
I adore you, from afar, and cannot wait to bring you and Analina home!

video

The whole crew anxiously awaiting the cake on the table....Dalton on far left in blue coat.

Dalton's smiley face on left!

Dalton and friends!

That cake is just gorgeous! 

Adding the candles! 



Lovely cake and handsome boy! 


Cutting the first piece! 


He's so proud! 



A customary dot of frosting on the nose! 

Yummy cake! 

He's so happy!

Friends eating cake!


His smile just steals my heart! 



This is a very special treat for them! 

Concentrating on getting all the crumbs.
  ~*Happy Birthday*~
Dalton! 

We love you! 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

~*Happy Birthday Dalton*~

~*Happy Birthday*~ 
Dalton!  
My sweet boy is now 5!  

When your birthday came and went last year I had hoped we would have you in our arms for this birthday, well, things didn't go that way and we must wait a bit longer to bring you home!  

I love you my sweet boy and cannot wait to hold you tight!  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

~*4:59*~

What happens when 4:59 pm rolls around at your house?  
source
Do you stare into the refrigerator and rifle through the cupboards looking for something you can pull together at the last second?
Its humorous that dinner happens every single day yet the "what to make for dinner" dance is just as consistent.  
I don't know about you but I prefer being prepared for it...Come on!  It happens every single day so why aren't we prepared ahead of time?
Menu-planning happens on a very regular basis here.  I make up a two week menu plan and then write the grocery list.  
I'm very random about the menu; trying new recipes regularly, basing meals off of the weather (chili & soup vs. salad & light fare), allowing my children to choose meals.  We are consistently inconsistent; which makes it quite fun!

What kind of menu-planner are you?

Once a month cooker?
Random; trying something new all the time?
Scheduler? (Meatless Monday, Pizza Friday, Italian every Wednesday, etc?)

Sales shopper; basing your menu off what you can buy on sale?

Rotating menu; a 4 or 6 week rotating menu?


What is your menu planning style?

Don't be late for dinner again!  (Source)
  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

~*Chinese New Year 2012*~

It is the desire of this mama's heart to honor the different cultures that represent my children. With such a varied array of cultures in our home we do our best!  

I think we have to be very careful, though, as there is a fine line between honoring culture and following the traditions of men.  Many traditions of men are based upon superstitions and stories of old.  

As a Christian mama I found it difficult to lie to my children regarding silly traditions and stories such as Santa Claus, Easter Bunny (seriously, a bunny?), and the Tooth Fairy.
  
~Shudder~

I seriously get this full body shiver when it comes to teeth...once they are out I get all grossed out!  Why on earth would we want to pretend that some magical fairy scoops them up and leaves money?  Am I the only one finding this strange?
 
Let me make the connection now between magical fairies and the upcoming Chinese* New* Year*.  The traditions of this holiday are based upon superstitions and as a Christian I cannot support that.  

What then can I do to celebrate and honor my children's Chinese* culture without embracing the traditions of men that do not necessarily honor God?  

~Do what *DOES* honor God~  

Since many of the traditions are based upon lore, superstitions and the like what should we do to honor their culture?  

Red Envelopes- Ang Pows: red envelopes containing money given to children, grandparents, and others.  It is acceptable and honorable to give a gift of money to those we love and desire to show our respect to.  If we keep the focus off material wealth and we keep the focus on the love we put into the gift.  (Deuteronomy 8:18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.)

Treasuring Family:  
It is tradition to visit family during the Spring Festival and that tradition is honorable and one that we should continue.  Family is right below the Lord in our priority list and we do all we can to spend time together!

Many of the other traditions are based upon stories and I will tell my children the stories behind the dragon and lions dances, behind the giving of gifts, etc.  We can share the stories with them without making them out to be "real" like most Americans have done with Santa Claus and Easter Wabbit and Creepy Fairy of Teeth!  

So, ~*Happy Chinese New Year*~  


Our schedule this year has been thrown off and we will celebrate with a feast on Friday night...the holiday will last upwards of 15 days in China so we're good still! 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

~*Menu*~

I spend approximately $150-$175 every two weeks on food for our family.  This includes lots of greens because we need it and I am a vegetarian.  We, also, are accommodating a child with multiple food allergies.  Because of those food allergies most of what we consume is homemade, including all baked goods.  

Spiral Pasta w/salad
Waffles w/fruit
Pancakes w/fruit
Peach French Toast
Homemade Pizza w/breadsticks
Chili w/salad
Chili-Dogs w/chips (see we do eat a bit of junk!)
White Chicken Chili w/garlic bread
Sloppy Jolenes (as my kids call them, vegan version for me)
w/onion rings
Stir-fry w/noodles and spring rolls
Meatball subs w/veggies (spinach balls for mama)
Chicken/Rice Casserole w/veggie
Spinach Casserole
Nachos w/veggies

How do I manage to feed our family of 6 so cheaply?  Homemade; little to no processed food.  Lots of baking at home!

Breakfast is 1 box of cereal as a treat, oatmeal, eggs (limited), toast, baked goods.

Lunch consists of leftovers, sandwiches, crackers/cheese, veggies/dip or hummus, homemade treats.  

What do you spend on groceries?
What tricks do you use to keep the bill down? 
I do not coupon, it just doesn't work out for our family to do that.   

Friday, January 20, 2012

~*Sunshine: Healing!*~

I've been rather quiet recently about our little Sunshine and that, my friends, is a wonderful thing!  

For the past 2 years we have had a predictable pattern to go by with our little man.  This involved 6 really great months and 6 really really rough months (November through May).
 
November is little man's birthday month and the beginning of the holidays, followed by the rest of the birthdays.  It is the perfect storm for a child with anxiety, post traumatic stress, and attachment issues.  

This year, though, we knew we could talk more out with him...help him connect the dots between his emotions and his behaviors a bit more than in years past.  We knew he was maturing a bit and had a little bit more self-control.  

For the most part we were right and we never had any major meltdowns, angry moments, anxiety attacks or the like.  


That right there is a ~*MAJOR*~ breakthrough for him!

~*Praise the Lord above*~  

We still have many more years of healing, teaching and guiding but I can breath a sigh of relief that we saw a major milestone happen with him.  It feels great to be where we are at right now.  It took 2.5 yrs of healing to get to this spot.  


I still pray every single day that this little man will learn self-control, self-regulation and will be able to overcome what overcomes him right now.  


I post the good, the bad and the ugly, not to put my child out there on display but to help and encourage those who have a child who has been traumatized by abuse and neglect.

It screws with every single fiber of their being.
It screws up their ability to self-regulate their emotions and responses to situations.  

It screws up their ability to function on a normal level.  

Just recently, Sunshine, was hyper-excited and showed extremely immature and loud attention seeking behaviors.

Why?
  
Because something in his routine changed and while he was excited about it he was also extremely nervous and his nervousness comes out as loud, immature behavior. 
He cannot self-regulate in certain situations. 

So, what do I do?

 
I have to be the mom that loves my child enough to be the grounding force in his life.  I have to follow through with consequences and that is so hard.

  We'll keep plugging along!
I'll keep praying for him!
In another 2.5 years we'll be light years from where we're at right now!

        

Thursday, January 19, 2012

~*What Works For Us*~

One of the top questions we receive involves the holistic approach we take to treat Sunshine's many challenges.  

It started in the summer of 2009 by simply putting adequate amounts of whole foods in front of this child.  Both our boys put on 5 pounds in the first 10 days they were with us.  With an appropriate amount of the right foods we noticed great improvement in his physical health.  This child will also go right back to highly processed, overly sugary, disgusting junk if left to his own devices.  So, we maintain a pretty open table of healthy options and limit the junk.   

This incredibly chipper child was diagnosed by a board certified Psychiatrist in January of 2009 as ADHD.  This diagnosis could not be further from the truth.  He is certainly ambitious and apt to impulsiveness but hyper-active is not even close.  We knew it was largely environmental and that with proper supervision and maturity he would improve greatly.

It quickly became clear, though, that he was facing far more intricate challenges than immaturity.  We've just begun to understand how RAD, PTSD, Anxiety Disorder and Visual Processing Disorder affect his development, behaviors, coping skills, and decisions.  

We give him the following regimen of naturals.

2400 mg Fish Oil daily*
500 mg Niacin daily
500 mg Magnesium daily
50 mg Zinc 

**I am not a holistic expert and I am not a physician**
This is the regimen that works well for our child.  We have the blessing of our practitioner.  

Also, I know that sounds like an awful lot of fish oil but we have upped him little by little and the difference is HUGE!  He lacks the ability to reason, to comprehend, to focus, etc when not on a high dose. 

We will forever be adjusting things as he grows, adjusts, and changes.  He has matured much in the past 2.5 years.  We are constantly learning how to parent his emotional special needs.  It is challenging, yet, in the end we are the ones that are forever changed.  You can't parent a child with such emotional instability and not come out changed. 

Thank you, Sunshine, for making me a better mom!

 
Now, go clean your room!