Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Hello Darlin'

Nice to see you.  It's been a long tiiiiiiiiime...

Any Conway fans?

Ahem.  Is this thing on?

Oh hey!  Well it's been about a year, but luckily we are your average joes and the only significant thing you really missed was that we manufactured another sweet little baby boy!  I know what you're thinking.

Poor Lakey.

At first she was iffy about another brother, I'll admit.  Her enthusiasm was definitely lacking.  On more than one occasion she said to me, "Well, I wish it was a sister but I know it's not." 

But then one day she realized that she's got a captive audience, and let me tell you.  She is thriving under these circumstances!  Singing and dancing her way into Hayes' heart, no doubt.

And speaking of Hayes, let me formally introduce you!
What!?  You didn't receive Hayes' birth announcement?  That's because I was in a cloud of my own vainglory for actually getting professional newborn photos and announcements done this time around (none of my other kids had them).  I hastily sent the announcements to roughly a third of my list before we left for vacation, and then I completely forgot to send the rest!  #momfail  At this point it just seems like, why?  Social media really kills the anticipation of these anymore anyways.  Oh well.  I have a whole box to keep for posterity I guess.  You're welcome, kids. 

Life as a family of six is pretty wonderful.  And while it's a full on circus little bit chaotic around here, we are definitely smitten with our little lovey boy.  Every day my heart swells with thanksgiving as I hear little voices saying things like, "I love you Hayes-boy to the moooooon and back," or "Who's a good boy?  Hayes is a good boy!"

And then I hear Lakey's sentiments in her sweetest voice, "Hayes you're hard to have, but we do it!"

I'm sure she means it in the best possible way.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lakey: Four

As I mentioned, Lakey turned four a couple of weeks ago.

She woke up to some new books from her bros.  Please note her bangs - she found some scissors the other day...

Then, we were off to get donuts.

Knox insisted on getting Lakey her very own Hello Kitty water dispenser.  Unconventional, but right on the money.

She also got some big girl upgrades in her room.  No more toddler bed!
This was Lakey's first birthday to have a party where she got to invite all her friends from school.  She teetered back and forth for weeks on what kind of theme she wanted, and almost every idea involved a Frozen element.  At one point I think a firetruck party with Princess Anna pancakes was mentioned.  Somebody punch me. 
Thankfully, I finally realized that she didn't really care as long as she had pink cupcakes.  That was the common thread with every new idea.  So I ran across this adorable invitation on Etsy a few weeks before the party.  Then, I did what any good mother would do.  I convinced Lakey that flamingos were her most favorite animal on earth.  Was it manipulative?  Yes.  Did I want to throw an adult tantrum if we had to have one more Frozen moment in our lives?  No.  The choice was clear.
I always make the cupcakes because, 1.)  My kids always want cupcakes on their birthdays, 2.) They are easy to make, and 3.) Kids don't care what they taste like and I rarely offer them to the grown-ups; therefore, my dignity stays intact along with my wallet. 
For some diversity though, I whipped these up also.
JUST kidding!  I could never.  These were truly works of art, and they tasted wonderful too.  I still prefer yours though, Mom.  With yours, I can eat as many as I want without seeing a calculator in my mind tallying up how many dollars I'm putting in my mouth.  And yours taste just as good too.  These were definitely a wow factor though, and I'm sure I'll splurge again some day, but probably not on a bunch of four year olds.   
Lakey's party was at the new rec center in town.  It has an indoor water park with a great section for younger kiddos.  I think everyone had a great time.


Back at home, Lakey opened her presents and we enjoyed more cookies.


Lakey's little personality continues to shine.  She becomes more independent every day, and with that definitely comes the sass.  We keep working on that, but I'm sure it will be a long road.  She's sweet (when she's sleeping), she's bossy, she's sarcastic, and she's quite witty actually.  Recently, Miles came out of her room crying.  When Jeremy asked him what was wrong, he said, "Lakey threw a book at me so hard."  She was quick to defend herself, "No I didn't, it was an iPad."  She's a mess for sure!

Here are some of Lakey's favorites today:

  • Pink and Purple - even on her bagels in the morning.  She wants one half covered in strawberry cream cheese and the other half in blueberry (which is the color purple).
  • Dresses - she rarely chooses anything else, and she wants them to twirl whenever possible.
  • Noodles - of the Asian variety
  • Uptown Funk - and anything from the Frozen soundtrack
  • Ariel and Rapunzel - they've made significant strides up her list.  Watch out Anna and Elsa!
  • Starburst - apparently.  She's been asking for them nearly every day.  Monday, I found a pile of wrappers on the far side of the bed in the guest room.  All pink.  She's sneaky, but not that sneaky.
  • Olive - We got a puppy a few months ago.  Lakey was terrified at first like she is with all dogs, but now Olive has a shadow.
  • Me - she's the first to compliment my outfits, my hair, my jewelry, my nails.  Today she asked me if she could have the dress I am wearing when she is bigger because she loves it.
We are really blessed and thankful for this one.  Can't wait to see what is in store for her life!


Miles Files: Teach Them Well

Lately, when Miles says something mean or acts a certain way and then realizes that he is going to get in trouble, he quickly delivers the classic line, "It's a JOKE!  I'm just joking!"

Yesterday, Lakey and Knox wanted to watch Yo Gabba Gabba in the car.  Miles heaved a big sigh, "Nooooo!  I hate Yo Gabba Gabba!  It's the stupidest show I've ever seen.  Blah, blah, Knox and Lakey ALWAYS get to choose!  This show is for babies!  Even though!"  (Even though is a common phrase in Miles' vernacular - equivalent to the usage of whatever in my day.)

Now admittedly, Yo Gabba Gabba is a very annoying preschool show that makes every parent I know want to cuss.  But almost every youngster I know loves it, including Miles.  Literally, three days ago he was in the back of the car watching it with a big smile on his face.  And now, he was acting like it was suddenly beneath him.

We went ahead and started the DVD, and of course a few moments later I hear Miles laugh and say, "Knox, this is my favorite part."  I sarcastically replied, "Oh no Miles, you better cover your eyes.  You hate this show, remember?"  And of course he said, "Ugh, I was just teasing!  It was a joke!"

At this point Jeremy launches into a lecture about how it's fine to joke, but you can't say certain things and then tell people it was a joke only because you are realize you shouldn't have said it or after you realize you didn't really mean what you said.  It's not sincere, it's not nice, you were just trying to make Knox and Lakey feel like babies, etc, etc, et cetera (it was a good message, but not the most concise maybe).  I briefly faded out and then tuned back in when I heard Jeremy say, "Do you understand Bubba?"

Miles, totally glazed over too, refocused and said, "So, you mean... people are the future?"

And Jeremy, "Well yes.  I believe the children are our future."

Help us.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Birthday Post That Almost Was

I swear it was just yesterday that Knox turned four.  And the day before that, Miles was four.  And now my littlest - four!  Time keeps rushing right on past, as usual.

The night before Lakey's big day, the boys and I curled up on her bed to talk about her birthday.  It's something I've been doing with Miles and Knox for the last few years.  I recount the moments from each one's actual day of birth and the days leading up to it.  They laugh as I tell them how hard they were kicking me in the stomach or how tired I was because they were taking all my nutrients for themselves.  We get out their birthday books and I add color commentary to all the photographs.  It's the best time for them.  Kids love to be told stories about things they said and did as babies.

This was the first time I'd done it with Lakey on her birthday.  It's tricky because I don't know anything about her birth story to tell.  I don't know if she was born on a sunny day or a cloudy one.  I don't know if she was born in a hospital or in some one's home or otherwise.  Was she a content baby or did she cry a lot?  Was she born with lots of hair or very little?  Was anyone there to hold her close right away?  I have reports that say she weighed less than four pounds when she was found at the gate of the orphanage on July 11th.  Following a brief medical examination, she was assigned a date of birth.  July 8th.  She was wearing a yellow, cotton suit.

I admit.  If I dwell for too long on the above I get emotional.  The hard truth about adoption is that it begins with loss, and Lakey's birthday reminds me.  A mother lost her child, and that is the single, worst thing I can imagine having to endure.  Maybe she chose to walk away, sure.  Perhaps her government or family pressured her to do it, or maybe she felt she couldn't provide but wanted her baby to have a loving family.  No matter the circumstance, it must have been heart wrenching for her to give up her child. 

Lakey also lost something in those first few days of her life.  She lost every tie to her biological family - people of her own bloodline who at the very least might have offered medical history knowledge or insight into her background and ancestry.  Surely there will come a day when Lakey has questions about what makes her, well her.  I'm not sure how I will be able to help her when that day arrives, but I trust that wisdom will come when it needs to.

Lately, I've been thinking about the importance of knowing about the stock from which I come.  I like knowing that I resemble my dad.  I look like him, I lose things like him, and I zone out like him.  Hey, I have a lot of imperfections and it's comforting to know they come from somewhere (love you Dad - I'm certain I gained a few of your best qualities too).  It's also fun to know that my musical ability (however slight), my sweet tooth (as deep as the Marianas trench), and my attention to task related detail resembles my mom. 

But I can't put my finger on why it matters to me.  I mean, it's not imperative that I am able to relate my traits to anyone else in my family.  I would still go on living the same life God has set before me regardless of whether or not I know that my eyes were like my Mema's (so she used to tell me).  Certainly, it's helpful to know what medical issues I might be predisposed to and what not, but as a friend who had cancer once said (and with no family link to it), "I guess family history starts with someone, right?" 

So then, if I decide that these things don't really matter, it must be that it's important to me simply for the reason that I find comfort in knowing I belong

We all want to belong - I think it's human nature.  Most people try to find a sense of it by joining a country club, or a political party, or a church.  But I'm not talking about some organization that you can easily join or disjoin.  You only find belonging in those groups as long as you are like-minded, or adhere to a specific doctrine, or pay your dues, or attend a membership class or whatever.  It's conditional.  I am talking about belonging, as in, having a permanent position IN something.  I belong IN the human race, not to some political party or country club.  I belong IN the Body of Christ, not to a religious organization.  I belong IN my family, not because our eyes are all brown or because we all eat cottage cheese under our beans (truth).  I belong here simply because that is where God, the Placer, has placed me.

And that is the truth which leads me out of the initial sadness I feel when I reflect on Lakey's birthday and into the joy and complete celebration of this sweet girl.  I hope it is something that she will hold true in her heart one day too.  Though there is grief on one side of the coin, the other side can be joy because the Placer has grafted her into this family.  Therefore, she belongs here as much as any of the rest of us.

**I meant for this to be an entry to document Lakey's fourth birthday - what she's doing now, what she likes, doesn't like, etc.  Clearly, I got lost in thought.  Another trait I can blame thank my dad for.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Once Upon A Time There Were Two Dragons

One graduated from day school and was on his way to kindergarten...

 ...while the other was found worthy of first grade.

Both could use some help with their picture smiles...
...and neither could make their momma more proud.

Congratulations Miles and Knox!  The Lord has blessed us beyond measure with the two of you!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Let It Go

I wrote this post exactly one year ago, and thankfully, I forgot about it.  Re-reading it was good for a laugh though as I realize how important it is for me to write retroactively.  You know, after the chill pill has worked its magic, though it seems it was starting to take effect by the end of the post. I think this rant came from a place in me that wishes our kiddos would stay little forever.  There is something in a child's innocence that helps mend the sprains, cracks, and sometimes the breaks we adults have sustained on the road to maturity and self awareness. I already know that time is passing at lightening speed, and graduation ceremonies scrape the bottom of my "Favorites" list because they remind me all too well that our children are here today and gone tomorrow.  Nevertheless, I hope I can go with the flow a little more gracefully than this during tonight's graduation (already another for Knox!).  Still, this excerpt reminded me that I need to relax and just make the most of these moments while they're here.

If I could live in a place where I made up the rules and called all the shots, everyone would eat iced cookies for breakfast and grow lollipops in their backyard.  The trees would bloom with Valentine Gobstoppers and the pool be full of bubbles. You know the kind. I would call this place, Lindsayland.   In Lindsayland, there would be exactly zero graduation ceremonies until at least high school, but maybe never.

Wouldn't it be nice?

But this is the real world people.  And in my world, I'm lucky if I can snag a mushy, black banana on my mad dash out the door each morning.  Furthermore, if anything grows in my backyard besides grass in the flower beds and weeds in the grass, then I don't know about it.  

Did you know, that in this wonderful world of ours, your kids now attend a graduation ceremony for pre-kindergarten?  I guess a high-five and a trip to the sno-cone stand isn't a sufficient accolade for four year olds these days.  Then of course the next year, your child puts on the white robe and unknowingly marches their little selves out of kindergarten and into the beginning of what will be twelve years of torture.  Congratulations kids!  Enter the gates and discover the world of homework!  Team projects!  Peer pressure!  Physical awkwardness!  Mean girls!  You've earned it loves!

Well as fate would have it, all three of our kids will attend pre-k once and kindergarten twice.  That's three graduations per child (Lord willing).  Three children.  Nine graduations before high school. 


So let's get on with the documentation of #2 and #3, shall we?

You definitely get a heaping spoonful of cuteness at these things.  That's the one thing.  Look at these little sweethearts with their wardrobe a step above athletic shorts and t-shirts!  That alone is worth celebrating.  I think Knox has a look of uncertainty as to whether or not he will be receiving his diploma.  Like maybe he never saw the results of that last make-you-or-break-you test, and he's hanging onto a hope and a prayer?  Perhaps some of you can relate.

But alas!  At age four, Knox graduated from pre-k!

His teacher is Miss McKinney, and she occupies the top spot on his love interest list.  She is by far and away the best teacher any of our kids have had up to this point.  We have been so impressed by her, and we are thrilled that she will be the private kindergarten teacher next year!  So, Knox will have her again! 

He says she is his best friend and he wants to marry her.  Look at him holding her sister's baby for goodness' sake!  A boy that's good with children will take down any girl.  He's got game.

Like every other graduating class in America, Knox's class song was Let It Go, from the hit Disney movie Frozen.  He had the lyrics memorized long before he had to sing them in front of a crowd.  As you can see, he was not afraid to bring it.

He was so excited to be graduating this year!  His eyes were always on us there in the front row.  He was so proud of himself and he wanted to make sure we were watching his every step.

Front and center, soaking it all in.  I hope he waves to me from the stage like that when he graduates from high school.

And here was his sentiment when it was all said and done.  Looks like a kid who may have charmed his way to the next level if you ask me.  #suckas 

Miles conquered his test round of kindergarten!  With his birthday falling so late in the summer, Jeremy and I made the decision a while back that we would hold onto him an extra year before officially starting him in school.  We talked to several friends and family members who are school teachers or counselors, and it was their unanimous recommendation to give him that extra year of maturity.  He will repeat kindergarten in the public system this coming school year.

Miles' teacher for this first go around was Mrs. Kaiser, and she was the perfect teacher for him.  She really helped him (and us) work through some issues that I think will leave him much better prepared for school this year. 

Miles is not one for being in front of a crowd, and during his class song (something made up to the tune of the Adams Family) he hid behind another boy the whole time.  Luckily, I was able to catch a couple of shots of his shining face when he got his diploma.

Though it's never fun to be reminded that time is marching on despite my efforts to slow it down, I am incredibly proud of these two precious souls.  And truth be told, I would attend a hundred graduations for the chance to sit and soak them in a little bit more.

I guess Lindsayland will have to wait until Alzheimers sets in.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gotcha Lakey: Two Years

It felt like forever between filling out the first adoption application and the day we met Lakey face to face.  The whole process took one year and two weeks, but the two years since then have absolutely flown by.  Time with kids has a funny way of doing that. 

Gotcha Day is more significant to me than Lakey's birthday.  I feel the same way on this day as I do on Miles and Knox's birthdays.  On their birthdays, I remember all the events leading up to the moment I saw each of them for the very first time.  I tell them about those moments and they laugh so much because they love hearing stories about themselves.  I don't have any of those moments to share on Lakey's birthday.  I don't even know exactly when she was born.  But I do have the memories of the day leading up to the moment when I first saw the stone faced little girl wearing a puffy red coat. 

So, I told Lakey about Gotcha Day today, and we looked through the photo book the orphanage had made for her.  I showed her pictures of where she lived, and we talked about how China Popo took care of her until mommy, daddy, and Miles could come for her.  Miles talked about what he remembered about Gotcha Day - the most prominent memory being that Lakey would eat three or four boiled eggs every morning (I think it was really only one or two) and how he would go back to the breakfast buffet over and over for more bacon (this is accurate).  It's really fun to relive our time in China from his perspective.  His memory is remarkable, and I love realizing what things made the biggest impression on a then four year old.

So in commemoration of Gotcha Day, we ate boiled eggs and bacon for dinner.  And later, Lakey thanked God for,

"...Lakey, Mommy, Daddy, Lakey, Knoxxy, Miles, and for food."


Thursday, February 12, 2015

I'm Bringing Store Bought Back


You know where this is going.

Call it a total failure of modern motherhood if you must, but I bought the kids' valentines at the grocery store.  I'll pause while you say a prayer for our family.

I let each kiddo scrutinize every last terrible, poorly designed, manufactured option on the shelf.  The boys changed their minds no less than three times each.  Captain America!  No, Paws Patrol!  No, the sports balls with flames coming out of them!  Or, are those angel wings?  Lakey zeroed in on her favorite immediately.  I'm certain that her eyes saw a completely empty aisle, save for a single box of Frozen valentines that had to be hers!

Admittedly, I cringed a little during this entire process.  It's a composite of things really. 
1.  Jeremy and I aren't much for the Hallmark holidays.  Though, I do make our economic contribution to the machine in February on Gobstopper and Butterfinger Hearts.
2.  I appreciate one mom's creatively handmade valentine to my child as much as the next mom, and I self inflict pressure on myself to reciprocate sometimes.   However, something about bringing kiddo #3 into our family has alleviated my urge to creatively produce on behalf of my children, except for maybe on their birthdays.  I'm becoming much more okay with enjoying the creativity of others or enabling my kids to do their own thing.  I'm learning.
3.  I know that much of what I am about to purchase is going straight into the garbage.  That's just how it is these days.  The pendulum of my generation is swinging extreme in the direction of natural, organic, gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, dye free, chemical free, fragrance free, etc.  Everything must be free! It's fine.  It's a reaction and possibly an overreaction to the era we were raised where the needle pointed to anything processed or enriched that made life more convenient, and consequently more unhealthy.  So, I get it.  But, until we eat from our own gardens daily again like our great grandparents, I'd like to take it down a notch and rest somewhere in the middle of the madness.

Wait, this post is about valentines!
You know what?  Despite my own inner struggles mentioned above, the kids LOVE their valentines.  They clung proudly to them all the way to the check out aisle.  They worked hard to write their own names on all 36 and sound out the names of their friends if they could.  They woke up yesterday morning THRILLED to take their generic valentines to school and deliver them to their classmates and neighbor friends.  It was so fun to watch them!

So, if a store bought valentine is all you can muster or if you have a surge of energy to create something unique, remember that it is really so simple for kids.  They want to give.  That's where they find their joy, and that's where you'll find yours.

Happy Valentine's Day!