SugarHouse Mama

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Maui

For our Christmas present, my mom took us all over to Maui. We stayed in an amazing resort and went on a whale tour boat. The only downer - it wasn't long enough. We all loved it and agreed that an additional day or two would have made it the bees knees. Not that it wasn't the bees knees, because it was. It would have been even more bees knees - bigger bees knees.

We stopped by the Maui Aquarium because we had some time before check-in. It was good, but I like the one on Oahu just as well and it's cheaper. Robert and Adjoa were posing for a picture and the woman next to us told her son she wanted to take his picture too. He said "OK!" and then ran over and joined Adjoa and Robert. It was so funny. The mom was totally embarrassed. So if you see a random boy with Robert and Adjoa at the aquarium, you'll know who it is.

Our whale tour was with the Pacific Whale Foundation. There was a TON of awesome activity during our trip out. We saw a mom and baby do a double breech, lots of surface activity like flipper slaps and tail slaps and a whale breached about 30 yards from the boat. We were right in front and had an awesome view. A co-tourist got it on vid, so I'll post that. You can hear me screaming and Nana and Pa talking. It's pretty cool. Not that we are talking - the whale part of it is what's cool. I did get some fun pictures of the whale, and I got a vid of one that was further away.

After the breach that was in front of our boat, every time we saw something Adjoa would say, "It wasn't big enough, mommy!"

A funny story - one evening Robert and I went out to walk along the beach and I told Adjoa she needed to brush her teeth while we were gone. I told her she needed to be ready for bed when we got back. {She stayed behind in the suite with Nana and Pa} Pa was in the shower and she kept trying to go into the bathroom. Nana kept getting after her, telling Adjoa she needed to wait until Pa was done. Adjoa kept saying something, but Nana didn't catch it. Finally, Adjoa broke down - Nana asked when she was getting so upset.

She said, "I'm going to be in big, big trouble."
"Why?" asked Nana.
"Because mommy told me to do something. I have to brush my teeth or I'm going to be in big-big trouble."

Funny girl. At least she understands that she need to do what she's been asked.



Slide show of Maui


Vid of Big Whale Breach



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Whale activity further away.



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Really cool Banyan Tree near the docks


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Secret Vid of Pa doing a funny dance to entertain Adjoa.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Another Christmas

When we arrived, Nana and Pa had a few Christmas presents for Adjoa. She was starting to get the hang of it and it was cute to watch her.

The first couple days were spent relaxing with minimal sight seeing. Just as Robert requested.

We visited the Birthing Stones - they are right in the middle of a sugar cane field. The sign at this site says chiefs and chiefesses came to this site for the birth of their children. A child born here was assured high-ranking status.

My mom has the Oahu Revealed guidebook {it's excellent, by the way} and here's what it says about these stones:

Royal birthing procedures were different from what commoners went through. When the time came, the woman would arrive at what was then a secret spot, and in the presence of 36 male chiefs she would position herself at certain stones
Lei offering at Oahu Birthing stones
and in certain ways to give birth while they watched. (Gee, that must have created quite the awkward moment…) Within minutes of birth the child was taken away, and the mother would not see her child again until it was grown. This was to ensure that the child would not be murdered. Infanticide in high-ranking families was common among rival chiefs.

My mom wanted me to sit on the stones so she could take a picture. There were quite a few people around and I was a little embarrassed, so my dad did. She asked me again, and I declined. So Robert, my kind, considerate, loving husband yells, "Get on the birthin' stones, Jessica!" I was embarrassed - mortified, really - but finally decided it would be better than another public humiliation.

I also took a couple pictures of a nice, vibrant sunset on the beach.


Friday, December 25, 2009

A {Quick} Christmas


We had a very quick Christmas and then headed off to Hawaii to visit Nana and Pa. Adjoa opened a few presents and I managed to snap a pic and take a vid before it blazed by.

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Aren't her Christmas Eve jammies the cutest??? They were called Partridge in a Pear Tree. She loved them and insisted on taking them to Hawaii. She'll be soooo hot, but oh well!

I thought I might be able to sneak by this year without really doing all the Christmas stuff - it's easier when your child has never experienced Christmas.

Our Thanksgiving week in Seattle killed that hope. Rus put up the tree and the kids got to help - Adjoa was so excited and enthralled by the beauty of the tree, I felt obligated to decorate at our house too. And of course, a tree isn't a tree without some presents underneath! I Wrapped up a few things I had purchased prior, and I made a quick dash to the store after I got home from Ghana.

It was fun - but what was MORE fun??? Hoping on a plane and heading to Hawaii.

We all decided it would be ok with us if Nana and Pa stayed in Hawaii. It doesn't seem so lavish when you say you are going to visit your parents!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas from Ghana!

I took this sweet vid of some school children practicing Christmas songs. I think it's such an appropriate image of Christmas: endearing little voices in Africa singing about the birth of the Savior of the world, asking us all to adore Him.

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Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

News from Ghana

Lois and I went to Ghana for a couple weeks - it was AMAZING. We got so much accomplished and there has been so much growth and development at Luckyhill and the school since I was there last.

We didn't get to spend much time at the school - we had meetings and appointments in Accra nearly every day, and I regret not being able to spend more time with the children, but we made huge strides in their future well-being and the development of the community. After the first of the year, I will be busy writing proposals for various non-profit organizations at work in Ghana, hopefully persuading them to come out and work at the school and community. The next couple years are going to be very exciting for Luckyhill!

The school now provides regular, full-time employment to about 20 people in the community, and we had the opportunity to meet with many other members of the community who do periodic work or construction work there. It is such a blessing in my life to work for a cause that makes a difference to so many lives. The school is truly a blessing for the entire community.

Here are a couple projects in the works {because I know you are dying to know}:

Here's some land near the school we have picked out. We want to buy it and start a community garden. It's large enough we also plan to have space for some animals to be kept. The garden and animals will greatly improve the nutrition of many members of the community - decreasing disease and lowering the high death rate. Excess products from the garden and animals will be sold, creating more family income for many of the impoverished families in the area. We hope to start the project with 30-50 families from the community, and then eventually spread it across the entire area, including as many families as we can.


Before:


{Almost} After:

Thanks to the generous work of two amazing men, the toilet situation at the school has vastly improved. Previously, all the children would just potty on the ground {note the pee spots surrounding the model in the first picture}. This is pretty typical in Ghana, as in most third-world countries. For obvious reasons, this is highly unsanitary - especially since most children don't own {or wear} shoes. We had two wonderful men work together with a Ghanaian engineer and his firm in Ghana to install two biofil digesters. They are pretty amazing. After about 3 years, they just scoop out the toilet and can use the nutrient-rich sand to help fertilize. We didn't get to see them finished, but the firm was hard at work installing them while we were there.


We have a major goal this year to begin providing a free lunch to all the school children {about 300}. Nearly all the families that attend the school are destitute, and the only meal the children receive is at school. Currently, many of the children are able to eat for free {determined by the school on who is in the most need} but we'd like to make sure every child has the opportunity to eat and is not expected to pay. All the families could certainly use the lunch money for other things - like providing dinner for the child too. We have also begun a scholarship program for deserving students whose parents cannot afford tuition (less than $50 a year). The program has begun to take off, and we have been able to provide many students with education they would not otherwise receive.


We are having additional running-water showers and toilets built for the children's home that is adjacent to the school. This is a home for school children who are orphaned, abandoned, or their families are so destitute they can no longer support the children. We have about 20 children who stay here, and 6-7 adults who provide full-time care and supervision. It's an amazing opportunity that keeps these older children off the street and in school. They learn valuable skills and get lots of English-speaking practice. Our greatest desire is to aide and assist these children - the children who will never have any other home - so they can eventually go out into the world and work and provide for their own families in the future.


So. That's what we were working on during our two weeks in Ghana. There are more projects and ideas, of course, but that's just a taste of what is to come!

So here's my unabashed plug for financial assistance:

If you would like to be a part of the growth and development of a little school and community in Ghana, please visit the Luckyhill International Foundation, Inc. website


and donate today. Currently, we are taking donations for the scholarship program and the nutrition program. If you'd like to donate to one of the other projects mentioned above, or would like to donate a different amount than listed on the website, you can send a check to:

Luckyhill International Foundation, Inc.
PO Box 521896
Salt Lake City, UT 84152


Thank you to everyone who has assisted in the growth of Luckyhill and the school this past year! It has been amazing!

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Week of Thanksgiving

We spent the week of Thanksgiving in Seattle with Robert's sibs. It was a blast! We had so much fun being around {a portion of} the family. Adjoa LOVED it. She had so many cousins to play with every day and she fit right in.

She took to all the people and attention and even chaos like a duck to water. It was amazing. She's amazing, really. I hope she always feels that natural and easy around people.

Anyway, the highlights were captured by Rus and Kristy, and feature in the slide show below.

Keep your eyes out for the very popular {for Adjoa, anyway} Cinderella dress {I'm pretty sure she wore it every day}, moments after Adjoa bit her tongue for the umpteenth time, the new{!} baby, hard core gamers, hard core rock banders, Adjoa's first Christmas Tree, the ever popular Olivia {or as Adjoa has taken to calling her - "the little one". As opposed to Eliana who is the big one I guess} and of course, a very yummy dinner!



We had a blast Seattle!

I want to move.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Adjoa's School Work

I've been saving up a few of Adjoa's school pictures. They always draw pictures of what they talked about at school that day. It's a great way for me to get information out of her. Without the pictures I'm left with conversations that go something like this:

M: What did you do at school today?
A: We took a nap. We ate lunch. We played outside all the time. And we sang songs. {She says this as she counts each item on her fingers. Like she made a point to remember her list and she's making sure she gets them all. Such dedication for so little information.}

So the pictures help a great deal.

Here's what she's been learning about lately:

Snow!



I got a lot of info on this one. Adjoa demonstrated how penguins walk. She went into great detail about how they slide around and how they catch goldfish to eat. She talked about their eggs and babies. And she was so excited to educate me on the fact that they live in the snow. She thought they were so lucky - playing in the snow all day. What a treat!



Mayflower. I particularly love the waves.


This one cracks me up. The brown and black arches are the bear's cave. The green is the grass. So what is the black circle around the bear???? I assumed it was the cave. Nope. Adjoa informed me that is a blanket for the bear to sleep on! Of course. What was I thinking?


A very fat chipmunk. With a very tiny head and lots of colorful splotches surrounding him.

Friday, November 13, 2009

On Account of it Being National Adoption Month

I scanned these pictures a while ago and just realized I never posted them. Shame on me. Oh well, it makes for a great November post. November is National Adoption Month, so to commemorate adoption and Adjoa's family, I'll share these pictures.

Adjoa wanted to draw a picture for her uncle (birth-father's brother) and her aunt (birth-mother's sister) and send them to "Ah-free-cuh" Once they were drawn, it also became necessary to paint them in a really colorful manner. Because when something is really super colorful, it's always better.

Here's the picture she drew for her aunt.

Her aunt in making fu-fu. It was very important to make sure her aunt had shoes - critical, actually. She also wrote {with a little help from me} I LOVE YOU! It was also necessary to draw "lots of houses on the street". "Lots" turned into just two. There is also a chicken - can you see it? It's in the red blob area.

Anyway. the chicken is also very important. Adjoa told me a story about the chicken as she was drawing it. Once, it bit her finger and she cried and cried. But her uncle was there and he held her and gave her hugs and it was all better. That's pretty much exactly how the story went. lol. Sometimes it amazes me that she remembers some things. I hope she always remembers, even though I know it's not really possible. I just hope one day, when she returns to Ghana, she will feel at home there and love it the way I do.

Here's her uncle's picture. She drew herself in this one. His house was there and she felt it was necessary to make sure there was a door so he could go inside. She also wanted to include the big truck that he drives - complete with the exhaust pipe that she assured me is where the beep-beep noise comes from. She insisted that it wouldn't be able to make the noise if she didn't draw it. Funny girl. This on says I LIKE TO GIVE YOU HUGS. I'm pretty sure she wanted to say that because of the chicken story.


They are pretty cute pictures and I was so proud of her for what she remembered and that she was thinking of them. She is so sweet and she really loves her family still in Ghana.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance? Shoot. Adjoa KNOWS She Can

One of my fav shows is SYTYCD I've watched it religiously for years. And I have to admit sometimes I miss the days when people messed up, or fell, or forgot the dance. The dancer's caliber is so much higher now than in years passed, a major screw up hasn't happened forever.

Of course, it's also getting harder to wow everyone when all the routines are great.

Even though it's one of my favorites, I haven't blogged about it recently like I used to. Mostly because we have Adjoa now, so it cuts into my blogging, but also because instead of blogging about the routines, I have to watch them a second time. I get too caught up in watching Adjoa.

I had some terrific vids from Season 5, but they were lost in the great Memory Card Erasure at the end of the Hawaii trip this summer.

I'll post a few vids from the fall season so far.

Warning, this might only be cute and adorable and funny to mommy and grandparents.


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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary!

I get a kick out of this picture every time I see it. lol.

I think it's pretty clear who gets in trouble all the time. Not that he cares. I'm pretty sure he loves to rile me up.

Monday, November 2, 2009

It's a Good Thing Kids are so Cute... and that they know when you've reached your limit and they turn on the charm and melt your heart

After just over 2 hours of trying to get Adjoa to go to bed - I was at the end of my rope.

There had been lots of crying and lots of insisting "But I'm not tired!" and lots of ignoring, cajoling, begging, promising, bribing, threatening, etc. on our part. lol.

So. just over 2 hours into it, I'm in her room gritting my teeth, asking her to pretty please go to sleep.

"I'm not tired." She insists simply.

"Adjoa, it's WAY passed your bed time. It's soooo late. You need to go to sleep."

"I'm not tired."

"Ok. Just lay there then. You don't have to sleep, just lay there and relax."

"I don't want to relax."

"Fine. But no playing. No singing. No talking. Everyone else is tired and trying to sleep. You need to be quiet."

"I will sit. I'm not tired. I don't want to lay. I don't want to relax."

"Sit. Just don't make any noise."

About 5 minutes later, I'm amazed that she is actually being quiet finally. I peek in her room to see this:


I think she fell asleep sitting up - probably seconds after I left her room. Her bum was sticking up in the air so far I started laughing out loud. I couldn't really get a good angle to show the height - but you get the idea.

I straightened her body out, covered her up, tucked her in, kissed her, and by then I had forgotten all about how frustrated I had been with this stubborn child who 'was not tired'.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too!

Or just tiger.

Adjoa looked really cute in her Halloween costume and she had a blast. She's at such a fun age to be experiencing all these things for the first time. S he's old enough to get what's going on, and young enough to be ridiculously excited about it. And of course, it's all new to her - her absolute first time for everything.

I loved how excited she got about pumpkins - and then when she discovered that we get to cut them all up and make funny faces with them, she about died from excitement.

We went costume shopping and she insisted on the tiger, because "tigers are scary! Rrraar!!!" Even though she was way more cute than scary, we let her think she was absolutely terrifying.

The week was full of fun for her - she got to wear her costume to school and participated in a Halloween party there. Costumes were encouraged for her music class the next day, and she got to go Trick-or-Treating at Robert's work. She had a pumpkin-bucket full of candy before Halloween even got here!

Robert took her out to some neighbor's houses while I stayed home to hand out treats. She had a blast! They took Eden as they walked around, and Eden was
very worried every time Adjoa went up to knock on someone's door. Cute how concerned she was for her little buddy.

All in all, it was a fun holiday and it's making me really excited for all the upcoming celebrations!

Here's a picture of our adorable -


uh, I mean scary - tiger!


After a long, fun week of Halloween Adjoa was still all smiles! {Probably because mommy had LOTS of candy left over}



Thursday, October 29, 2009

Food Issues Update

Ok. So I spent 4 days allowing Adjoa to eat however much she desired. Just to see.

I wrote down everything she ate - to make my list easier for blogging purposes, instead of stating 1/2 an apple in the morning, and then 1/2 an apple in the evening, I'll just write 1 apple. So, the list won't be in order and exact quantities as eaten, but a daily total. Does that make sense? {If I have to explain it, I should probably just write it out as eaten! But alas, 'tis too late for that}

She also had water, milk, soy milk, and a bit of juice throughout the day that I didn't really track.

Day 1
  • 6 pieces of french toast {as in 6 slices of bread made up to be french toast}
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 cup soup
  • 1 slice of wheat bread w/cheese
  • 1 cup peaches
  • Baked potato with vegetarian chili and cheese
  • 4-5 bites of apple pie
Day 2
  • 3 whole wheat, blueberry pancakes with applesauce. {She doesn't like it when I put blueberries in the pancakes. This even resulted in a tantrum. That said, she still ate 3. I had 2 and Robert had 3}
  • Apple
  • Whole turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread
  • 5 baby carrots
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup soup
  • 2 cups peaches
Day 3
  • 6 or 7 pancakes {I lost track at one point}
  • 6 crackers with peanut butter
  • 1 whole tuna sandwich on whole wheat bread
  • 5 carrots
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup vegetarian chili
  • 1 hard boiled egg
Day 4
  • 1 bowl Cheerios
  • 1/2 apple
  • Crackers with hummus
  • Quesadilla with salsa
  • Whole tuna sandwich and whole wheat bread
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 brownie
  • 2 cups of applesauce
That being said, there were many times throughout the day she would come and tell me she was hungry and I would give her a drink and send her away. Often, I was sure she stopped eating only because the food was gone. Especially if she really likes the food.

So you see, back when I cut her off at three pancakes, I was really cutting her off from 6 or 7, not just 4.

Thoughts?

That's a lot of food, right? And this is pretty normal for her if I don't cut her off. She doesn't really go in waves or anything that correlates with growth spurts. Actually, she probably eats even more and begs for food more often and cries and throws fits {in relation to food} more frequently when she's about ready to grow a bunch.

When I took her to her pediatrician a while back - when school was starting - she wasn't overweight or anything and the Dr said she was healthy. When she wakes up in the morning her stomach is flat and normal looking. As she starts eating, it balloons out.

It's weird. I went back to controlling her portions for her.

Anyway, let me know your thoughts!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

My book club was scheduled to read March in a couple months and I had nothing, at the moment, in hand to read. So I moseyed over to the library and peeked about for March. It was not available. But Year of Wonders was.

The subtitle: A Novel of the Plague was just too irresistible. Plus I liked the font used for the title. It's also a pretty thin book, so I didn't feel like I was really committing a whole lot in case my spontaneity and impetuous book selection didn't pan out.

But then I loved it.

Based on a small village, Eyam, Brooks encountered in England, the novel is about the so-called "plague" town and what happened when the town was infected with the bubonic plague. In 1666, they willingly shut themselves off from all contact with outsiders until the plague ran it's course. Which ended up taking about a year.

I really liked the book. I thought it was well written and had some nice everyday-type moments that helped the reader really get a feel for the time and place. It's one of those blessed books that comes along and makes you think you could read everything the author has written and like it all. It made me VERY excited to read March and I added Book of the People to my list. {I didn't even put it at the bottom. I snuck it in closer to the top and am right now, several months and many books later, considering it as my next. I wonder how long the hold line is at the library?}

Onward. After all that you are now going to be surprised. I hated the ending. I will not spoil it, but it was terrible. Came-from-left-field-forced sort of ending. Which was sad. But the rest of the book was delicious enough to ignore the ending. It was simple; I just sort of re-wrote the ending in my head. I promise I held true to the character.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Prepare to be inundated with book reviews as I go through my list of the things I've read in the last few months and blog.

I read this one several months back, so I don't know how much I'll remember - for instance, I can't remember why I even picked it up, but I think it was because of some-thing I read some-where on some-one's blog. Or maybe I was at the library for some other purpose {all books should be treated with purpose} and saw it and thought, "oh yeah! I remember wanting to read this at some point and never got around to it and looky here, it's checked in and everything and *insert whatever other book I had intentions for here* isn't. So I'll just get this one." But probably a little bit of both.

Plus. There's something about the fashion from this time period that makes me tingle. Or rather, the fashion of the ludicrously wealthy, and I'm certain the fashion of the time dictates the literary quality of the stories gleaned from said era.

Ahem. Back to the book.

Not particularly historically accurate throughout, but I didn't want to read a history book and I warrant a certain about of poetic license is what makes historical fiction good and fun to read {i.e. NOT a history book}.

Centered on Mary Boleyn, the story swirls around her and her family's experience in the court of Henry VIII. I had mixed feelings about Mary. I felt sorry for her most of the time, but there were also many times I felt she just let things happen. Of course, the sixteenth century didn't offer much of a voice to women - especially women who stood against their family.

Some historical hearsay was taken as pretty literal in the story, which left me a little uncomfortable, but it also made for a more interesting read on the characters, too. Considering the length of the book, it was a quick read and quite engrossing.

I think I'd chalk it up to more entertaining than literary, but there is certainly enough there to have a good, fun book club discussion. Which makes sense. I'm pretty sure this is a wildly popular book club book.

That's all I really remember about it at the moment. I'd recommend it to most people.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

RE: My Mantra and The Terrible Three and One-Thirds

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who posted comments so far - I should have turned to my blogging friends sooner! We've spent weeks in chaos and turmoil lately and I have a sneaking suspicion some of it could have been avoided! Well, maybe I would just be a little more sane, but still, that's huge.

I really like the bean idea. I like being able to take away a bean as discipline. Because, knowing Adjoa, there will be times when giving up a chance to put a sticker on the board will not really make a difference to her, but losing a bean would. I also like that I can carry beans around with me and reward her even if we are not at home, etc. It makes for more immediate consequences, and in my ahem dog training experience immediate reward/discipline is always best.

Sadly, I did just admit that most of my parenting techniques come from what I learned training dogs - and most specifically, a crazy, hyper Weimaraner. lol.

Behavior modification is behavior modification, right?

I'm going to keep a food record for Adjoa. I'll spend a few days putting it together and then post the results on the blog. There is definately something going on with her and food right now, and I can't quite figure it out. It started a few weeks ago and at first I thought she was just prepping for a big growing spurt, but it's gotten very nearly out of control lately and I'm not sure what's behind it all.

It seems late {9 months!} for her to be worried about being hungry like she was in Ghana. I assumed she had figured out long ago that there's no shortage of food here. She never really went through it when she came home, so maybe it's just a little delayed... I don't know.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Mantra Yesterday: I Love My Child, I Love My Child, I Love My Child

There are no words for yesterday. Or even the last few days in general.

I can't bear to go into detail, so I will be forced to paint large strokes for you and you will need to use your imaginations. Ok, medium strokes. Large strokes aren't that much fun. You need a little detail.



Adjoa was mad because I told her 4 pancakes was too many and she would be sick {I need to post about the food issues we have been experiencing as well}. I caved a little, and cut one in half so she ate 3 1/2 pancakes. I had two. Robert ate three. Really, she should have been full. But she was mad. She ate the half pancake and wanted more. I explained again that she would be sick if she ate more. She started licking her plate.

I asked her to stop and explained that it's bad manners and "gross" to lick your plate like that. I took the plate away and set it down. She glared at me. Pick up the plate. And started licking again.

Adjoa, I asked you not to do that.

I took the plate away again and set it down. She glared. She picked it up. She licked it.

Adjoa! I said no.

So I took the plate away and put it in the dishwasher. I turn around and she is glaring at me, licking her knife and fork. I take them away and put them in the dishwasher. I turn around and she is glaring at me, licking her cup.

Robert is aghast. This is pretty much the first time he witnessed her deliberately disobeying me.

~~~~~~~~~~

It was time to take out Adjoa's hair and re-do it. The day before, I really talked it up. Told her we could watch princess movies and she would get beads and braids and all that jazz. She was excited.

I put her in the tub {much easier to take out the old 'do when the hair is wet}. She starts with being silly. Then it morphs into obnoxious. And suddenly, I have this child who refuses to cooperate with me. I warn her that she won't get to play in her bubble bath while I take out her hair if she keeps it up. She keeps it up.

I drain the tub. She stops the drain.

I ask her to get out of the tub. She lays down.

I had my fill. I pick her up, sopping wet, and carry her to her room. I was holding her away from me because I didn't want to get wet. She started fighting me. She was so slippery. I dropped her. I felt terrible. She was mad at me. She began again with her fit-throwing.

I left the room and told her I would come back when she was ready for me to do her hair. I few minutes later I hear her in the bathroom. I walk in and she has this totally guilty look on her face. I figure it's because I caught her out of her room. I pick her up and carry her back to her room and begin taking her hair out. She had cut off two of her little ponies clear down to the elastic!!!

I was horrified! 9 months of growing her hair out wasted! The hair is like 1/4 inch long! The section is 1 inch wide, and 2 inches long. I wanted to cry. I was beyond words. She had school pictures the next day.

I think we are going to have to basically shave her head. 9 months! No more cute beads. No more braids. We are back to headbands. I am distraught.

~~~~~~~~~~

More fits, crying, fighting me while I try to do her hair. She refuses to talk to me. She just suddenly starts crying and stomping around. 20 minutes of tantrums.

I called Robert and asked him to come home early from work.

~~~~~~~~~~

I Love My Child. I Love My Child. I Love My Child.

When are those scholastic books going to get here????

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Terrible Three and One-Thirds

You know what I'm talking about, right? You've all experienced this, right? Your sweet little two year old who is so obedient and cheery suddenly turns about 3 1/3 and it's like waking up to a nightmare.

The fits.

The scowls.

The power struggles.

I spend 3/4 of my day with a child who is either crying or deliberately defying me on some level, 1/4 wondering where my sweet little girl went and who {or what} has taken her place, and about 20 minutes of sheer joy {or rather, what used to be her normal behavior}.

Remember this incident? Great. Occasionally since then, Adjoa was naughty and when presented with her discipline options {no TV show today, or Time-Out} she would always request a "beating". {I want to be perfectly clear, here. By "beating" we are meaning a swat on the behind. Ghana lingo for any discipline of a physical nature is "beating"; they even use that term when one child hits another}

Anyway, she likes it quick and dirty, I suppose, and sometimes I totally understand. It's like ripping off a band aid. Sure it hurts, but doing it quick and getting it over with is better than sitting in a chair quietly for 3 WHOLE MINUTES or forgoing your TV show for the day.

Disciplining a child who spent most of her life with nothing {and who received far harsher punishment I could ever dish out under much more strict rules} is hard. Sometimes I think it's impossible.

I tried taking away toys. She doesn't care. She can play and play for hours without a single toy. When she is in Time-Out she just sits there and sings and sings and doesn't care. She can sit still FOREVER. I thought about taking away school for serious infractions because she loves it so much, but that punishes me too and I don't think that's fair!

Sometimes I think a swat will at least make me feel like she was disciplined. Yeash.

I'm going to try a new thing. {Thanks to input from my mom and my lovely neighbor Amy}

Like pretty much every three year old on the planet, Adjoa loves stickers. So I got a blank job chart and some stickers. She will get to put a sticker on the chart when she makes a good choice. Like obeying mommy when she doesn't want to, or choosing to not throw a fit, etc. I ordered a whole bunch of books from Scholastic - about $3 or $4 each. When she gets to the goal line, she will be able to choose a new story. I'm hoping it works. She loves books and stickers. She really feels good when she does things that make mom and dad happy. Plus, I think it will start to teach her that attitude is a choice.

At least that is my hope. The books should be arriving soon {I'm counting down the days}. I thought it would be important for her to see the books so she knows what she's working towards. Any input there? Do I just get going on it, or is it best for her to actually see the stories, etc.?

Also, I'm wondering if I should have a smaller goal line too - about halfway to the book line, where she can choose a simple prize or a treat.

Thoughts? Suggestions? I'm desperate and open to just about anything.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Handy Mommy

Sew I've been busy.... Get it?!?!?! Because I've been busy sewing. {hmm, maybe I've had too much codine-laced cough syrup lately. I've been really sick recently too.}

Anyway, when my mom was here {weeks and weeks ago for a short visit from the not-so-main-land} we had our usual sewing get together with the ladies. I picked up a couple new patterns and some fun fabric and began whipping this little number up. It was super simple, but really quite fun.

I really stepped out of my comfort zone here. For some reason, clothes scare me to death. I don't understand half of what the directions direct, so I usually abandon the pattern shortly after reading through it. I had lots of help nearby this time. Thanks to mom, Auntie Jill, and Auntie Cathy I finally finished my first attempt at clothes.

Now if the snow will hold off long enough for Adjoa to wear it a little, that would be truly awesome!


Here's a close-up of the apple on the little apron. I loved the cute "A". 'A' for apple, and of course, 'A' for Adjoa!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Visiting Gam

So weeks and weeks ago when my mom was here for a visit we went up to see family in Ogden. I took this picture of Adjoa and my grandma, aka Gam. It's pretty cute.


Adjoa found a jump rope and was practicing. It was so cute, I had to take a quick video. My mom was talking on the phone, so you might just want to turn your sound off or something. It's just background noise and if I knew super fancy tricks on my computer I'd just edit out the sound anyway. But, sadly, I know not these super fancy tricks, so you will either have to A) suffer or B) turn your sound off. Your choice. Enjoy.


video

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Three-Year-Old's Reivew of Conference


Saturday went well. I think Adjoa even lasted through all the sessions. Sunday proved to be a bit much. As you can see, she fell asleep during the opening song. {every time the choir started singing, she raced to find a hymn book so she could 'sing along'. nevermind she didn't know any of the words! she's so funny!}

A Landscape Composed by Adjoa

Adjoa was asked to draw a picture of her family at church last week. This is what came home.

I added labels to explain everything she drew.


She had some help with drawing the chuck-it Robert is holding and the ball {this is a fetch toy we use when playing with Eden}

I love that we have Monster as part of our family. That's his name, by the way, Monster. He plays with Adjoa all the time. I'm not sure if this is a Halloween thing or if our child is nuts. Probably a little of both. Don't worry. He's not a scary monster. Just a monster who growls and chases and occasionally possesses our child.

You can't really tell, but apparently she drew herself trying to go inside the house, but the door was locked and they key is somewhere by the cars. I wasn't really clear on what exactly was the key.

Her details crack me up. Like the fact that she drew all those cars parked on our street {pretty accurate, too}. The paper-bark maple we just planted in our yard even has an orange-ish bark. And I don't know if you can tell, but Mom and Adjoa have glittery bows and earrings. Dad was about to get a glittery bow and earring too, but Adjoa was convinced that maybe a tie would be better for daddy. Oh, and Eden has a glitter collar and glitter bone.

Anyway, just thought I'd share. It makes it easier to throw some of these things away when I can scan them and save them here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

One Hot Mama - or in other words, Adjoa created a mixed-media portrait of me at school yesterday

So Adjoa brought this sexy number home from school and proudly {and very excitedly} informed me that it was... wait for it... mommy!

I was touched. I was honored. I was impressed with her natural talent {and very pleased she endowed me with killer long legs instead of the short stubs I walk around on}.

Did you notice the highlights? Love it! Did you noticed she made sure to give me shoes? Did you pick up on the crazed googly eyes? She totally nailed it.

Of course, I don't look particularly "happy" in the picture - my smile is a tad on the straight side. Is she sending me some kind of message that I need to be a happier mommy???

Oh well, at least it's a big mouth, which is also quite accurate.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cute Hair and a Sure Fire Way to Put Your Child to Sleep

Adjoa's hair is finally getting longer {actually, it's grown about an inch every month but when you start with practically nothing, it still takes a while}. I have started experimenting with it.

It's fun, but kind of a lot of pressure. I always do it at night with a movie on. She sits longer, and then if it doesn't turn out, I can just take it out in the morning. I typically end up changing my mind when I start. I've tried to cornrow a couple different times, but I really think I need the hair longer because I'm inexperienced. I'm sure it's long enough to cornrow, but it's not long enough for me to cornrow.

I learned to braid crossing over the top - when you cornrow you bring the hair behind the back. So I pretty much have to re-train my hands. I have to change how I hold the hair and everything. So yeah, I need more hair for that.... Maybe I should practice on one of Adjoa's dolls or something....

I've been doing flat twists instead. It's way easier and has a cornrow-type look.

Anyway, here are some pictures of recent endeavors.


Just some little braids in the front with butterfly beads and clips. I left the back in an afro puff. I really love that look for Adjoa. This is what I ended up doing after one of my failed cornrow attempts. I had done flat twists several times recently and really wanted to try something different and use these new beads I bought. Turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself. And I do.


Finger curls. I liked this look and it held for about a week. All I did was twist and twist and twist the little locs around my finger. It's important to get the twist pretty close to the head so the curls stay in longer. The twists I was lazy about started looked a little sloppy after a couple days. This took FOREVER. Like nearly 3 hours. It's all that twisting. Super easy, but very time consuming. That's why I left them in for a week.

Here's what the twist-out looks like. After the finger curls started to look a little tired, I just split the big curls into about 5 or 6 sections. The spirals stayed intact and looked super cute. This is a great way to naturally relax the curl. Braids work well as natural relaxers of curl too. Robert loves this look. Adjoa grew tired of it after about a day because so many people were touching her hair. By the end of the day she'd had it. It lasted about 3 days, and then the back was looking seriously nappy. It washed out really easily.


Ok. Now as promised, my sure-fire way of putting Adjoa to sleep. Wait for it... NPR. LOL. I'm not kidding. As soon as I turn it on {in the car or at home} she's out in a matter of minutes. It's probably not surprising or original in any way, but if you are longing for your kids to sleep and you want to catch up on some news, flick the radio on and it's as good as done!


P.S. I'm having some technical difficulties with blogger right now, so I hope this post looks right.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Swim Lessons, New Fridge, Blub and a bit of Glee

Adjoa's swim teacher gave us a cute little certificate outlining all Adjoa learned to do in her second swim class this summer.

Just so you all know, Adjoa has successfully completed the following swim skills:
  • Jump off diving board with assistance
  • Back Float with assistance
  • Superman (Streamline)
  • Blowing bubbles under water
  • Circle Arms
  • Flutter Kick
  • Spiderman
And in case you were wondering how cute she looks doing those things, here's a picture to give you an idea. She's so brave! She loves jumping off the diving board, as you can tell. She can even swim unassisted for a little bit.

In other news, our house is determined to destroy us. The garbage disposal went out in the apartment downstairs a little bit ago and the refrigerator died a rather untimely death. Without any warning. So we also had to buy a new fridge. Ugh. If we make it through the fall without a single unexpected expense, it will be a huge blessing.

Our sod was installed (the same day our fridge died) and it's starting to look less soddish and more like grass. Pictures will be posted shortly. I'd like to wait a bit so it's more healthy-looking and not in shock before I show the world our latest landscape development.


There are a couple cute Adjoa sayings I want to make sure I get written down so I don't forget. She used to say "l" for "r" so FROG would be FLOG. As in, "Ma! Look! A Gleen Flog!" It was so cute and endearing. She doesn't do that anymore and sometimes it makes me a little sad. {She also used to call me Ma instead of Mom. I miss that too. Which is a surprise to me because I felt like an old pioneer grandmother when she would say "Ma"}

Right now she says BLUB instead of BLOOD. She bites her lip or tongue several times a week, poor girl, and inevitably, she will stick her tongue out and ask,

Mom! Do I have BLUB?

The blub carries over and she conjugates it well. "Mom, are you blubbing?" lol. We get a kick out of it on a daily basis.

She also seems to think slobbery and strawberry are interchangeable. It makes for some interesting dinner conversations.


On a personal note. I can't believe I haven't posted yet about Glee. Have any of you seen this? I was super excited when we saw the pilot in the spring. I thought for sure it was going to be a summer show. I think the pilot was so popular they decided to wait until fall. Well, it about killed me to wait all summer for this new show. It's on tonight and I'm in 7th heaven.

Perfect line-up. So You Think You Can Dance {yes, I watched that all spring and never once blogged about it. My how things change when you have kids!} and Glee. I think Wednesdays are perfect.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Adjoa Begins Her Own Little Life - Translation: She Started School this Week

Adjoa started Preschool this week. She was so excited I thought she would burst.

Adjoa's first day of school - I love how proud she looks. You can just tell she thinks she's so grown up.

video

It's a surreal feeling when your little one starts off on her own little life. She will have friends and know people Robert and I will never meet. It's exciting. It's heartbreaking. It's hard to let go of that control - especially for a control freak like.... uh, me. {I was going to try to blame that one on Robert, but everyone knows that wouldn't fly}

Speaking of Adjoa making friends we will never meet, she has an imaginary friend now. His name is Eric. As in Prince Eric. Hey, if you are going to go to the trouble of imagining, you might as well go big, right? I think we picked him up in Hawaii because he appeared shortly thereafter. {Pictures, etc. will be posted shortly. We had a memory card meltdown and lost everything on the last day of the trip. My mom had a co-worker take a look at it and he was able to, by some miracle of technology, restore the pictures. I'm waiting on the memory card to arrive in the mail and you will have your pics, etc.}

Anyway, back to Eric. He's a good friend. She got in a little trouble the other day and I was talking to her about it when all of a sudden she says:

"Ariel!" {That's what Eric calls her, of course} "Ariel! Come here!"

"Mom, Eric is calling me. I have to go!"

And she took of running. I was too busy laughing to realize I was in the middle of explaining why she shouldn't do whatever and I let her get away with it. He's a really good friend.

Last night I was watching some TV show and she was supposed to be in bed. She comes in and asks if she can watch TV with me.

"Nope. You are supposed to be in bed and this is a Mommy-show." Meaning I need my personal space, please.

"Let me sit with you?"

"Nope. Because if you sit with me you will watch the show and you are supposed to be in bed and this is a Mommy-show."

She looks at the space on the sofa just to my left.

"But Mom. Eric is sitting with you."

Well played, Adjoa. Well played.

So I did the only thing I could think of.... Wait for it...

"Ariel! Ariel! I'm in your room! It's time for bed!"

"Adjoa! Eric is calling you! Did you hear? He said it's time for bed."


How pathethic is that? I used my daughter's imaginary friend to do what I could not. But hey, I learned it from her.

Monday, July 27, 2009

MIB: Missing In Blogging

Well it has been forever, I know.

We've had the normal business-of-life in the last month, and the icing on the cake has included {but is not limited to}
  • Collecting, planning, and executing the yard/bake sale after weeks and weeks of rain. {It went VERY well, by the way, thanks to everyone!}
  • Working ever so slowly on the front-yard landscape project: getting the yard leveled and terraced, installing sprinklers {which we had to do on our own because the leveling and terracing was nearly double the estimate}
  • Lawn mower breaking. OK. So Robert ran over a very large rock and we had to replace the blade. After replacing the blade he made it once around the yard and it ran out of gas. He filled up the tank and it hasn't worked since. In free moments {when not battling the sprinkler system} he's tried everything he can think of. His newest plan as of a couple days ago is to take it all apart and put it back together again. Heaven have mercy.
  • Adjoa's swim lessons
  • The washer/dryer breaking and needing to be replaced
  • The roof leaking
  • Discovering, as the temperatures rise, that our AC unit is about 1/3 the size it should be {a big thank you to the people who owned the home prior and installed it}. It's only about 4 years old, but it's now running like it's over 15 years old because of the strain of being over-worked.
  • 4th of July
  • During installation of the new dryer, we discovered that when the venting system was installed, it was screwed together. It has fallen apart inside the wall and the inability to properly vent is most likely what ruined the other 2 dryers we've purchased. Robert had to tear into the wall to access the vent and install a new one.
  • I've been super busy with work - which is really good considering the price tag on the above items, but still eats up your time faster than you can blink an eye.
  • I'm a co-presenter for the National Families Supporting Adoption Conference this weekend
  • Adjoa's 3rd Birthday
  • My grandma passed away
  • I was asked to give the eulogy at the funeral
I think there is more, but I'm starting to get a little stressed out just thinking about those things.

Anyway, I have some good pictures and videos to share {I did manage to get out the camera once or twice in the last month} Hopefully I'll be able to get everyone caught up this week. That's my goal. There. I said it. It's in writing. I'm as committed as I can be. Wish me luck!

And just maybe I'll have enough time to check out your blogs too! I've missed out on everyone's life in the last month.