Wednesday, September 17

Drawing on

I'm counting this as fan art

Whenever Jaimie asks me if I have any kid stories, I draw a total blank. So let me just tell you what they're into right now:

Watching My Little Pony together.

Playing Humpty Dumpty on the guest room bed. (Which I think involves sitting on the footboard and then falling back onto the bed. It's loud and if I actually witnessed it, I'd probably tell them to stop. Which is why they choose to play this when I am watching Ani elsewhere.)

Having gum in the van. (They each get a pack and can have a piece every day when I pick them up from school.)

Walking to school.


Besides eating small bits of food, Ani's pastimes include pushing on my legs until I'll sit down and put her in my lap to bounce her, exploring board books in the crib and not flipping out on the sidewalk anymore.


Monday, September 15

Bikes and birthdays

When Patsy said they’d pick up all kids last Friday, I immediately texted Jaimie to ask if there was a Taco Night that evening. And there was. Man, do I love crashing Taco Night.

I got to ask Cookie why she hasn’t watched the second season of My Mad Fat Diary yet (and warn her that it’s quite the emotional ride) and laugh so hard at a Facebook Messenger Emoticon foible with Jimmy. Ah, good times.

The weather was nice on Saturday and our supper club buddies were beachside, so we decided Today Is the Day. The day we discover whether our kids have any vested interested in learning how to ride their bikes. (The verdict 20 minutes in: NO. The final verdict: Yes.)


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I pushed Ani in the stroller and the big kids had to take turns between Ben’s bike that is a little too big and Zoe’s bike that is a little too small. (Cash’s trike was impossibly small and had a flat tire to boot.)

I like how looking at the photos, it just seems like a great family outing. You can’t hear any of the times one of us had a Total Meltdown. (And I think by adventure’s end, we each had a turn.)

It was my turn to be on Skating Rink Birthday Party Detail on Sunday afternoon. I was exhausted by evening, though.

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PARENTING. YOU ARE SO TIRING. (And ultimately very rewarding. There is that. Must never forget that.)

At one point over the weekend, I was eating a sandwich. Kris was eating something. The big kids were playing. And Ani was in the high chair, using her PINCER GRASP to FEED HERSELF some Cheerios.

Kris was excited, like LOOK AT THIS.

And I was all “nope, I don’t want to look right now. I will get all emotional. I want to eat my sandwich.”

Because. Life, y’know? SO BIG and made up of MANY SMALL THINGS. And also, eat to maintain your blood sugar right? You don’t want to be mean because you’re hungry. (CHILDREN. Don’t get up so early and maybe you wouldn’t be cranky! Don’t skip breakfast and perhaps you’d be in a better mood!)

Ani had her first trip to the dentist today. No cavities!

Thursday, September 11

Bite by bite

I feel like I should make a progress post just so we'll have it in the future.

On Friday, Ani ate a chicken nugget (Kris pulled it into little strips). On Sunday, I pulled the crust off my sandwich and offered her the bread.

See, we've been putting her in a high chair for every meal we have at a table. So it's easy to offer something while we eat. But usually, she would just push our hand away. Or maybe take a lick and then push our hand away. And if we put food on the tray, she'd just sweep it onto the floor. (Which is why smearing peanut butter on the top worked.)

Anyway, she licked the bread and it stuck to her tongue, so she ate it. I offered her a strawberry the same way and she was not interested.

Tuesday night, we had hot dogs (at Cash's request). I pulled off some of my bun and offered it to her the same way. She ate it! Kris pulled apart some hot dog and she ate that, too!

Last night, we had spaghetti. I made garlic bread out of the leftover hot dog buns and though the flavor and texture was different, Ani still ate some. She also licked some of the sauce out of my bowl. (Oh, and bonus was that for some of the pieces of bread, she took it out of Kris' hand and fed herself!)

This is not Big Eating, of course, bits of bread. But it is Huge Improvement over where we were when she came home.

I can see how her interest in food has increased. That is intrigued by these new flavors and smells. But it wars with her aversion to textures and touch. Sometimes, the aversion wins. But not always anymore. The therapy is slow going, but it works.

Monday, September 8

Nugget date

Untitled First stroller walk Here at last

Friday night, Carol had some ladies over to help with wedding crafts (this just in: I am NO GOOD at crafting) and some of these ladies decided the evening should double as a bachelorette shindig. Carol had a VERY GOOD sense of humor about a lot of, um, novelty items.

While I was over at the bungalow, the boys were with Dad and Patsy and Kris was on a date with our little ladies. He let Zoe pick the location (she chose Chick-Fil-A and to come home and watch Frozen). I got happy texts from Kris that Ani ate a chicken nugget and clapped for herself.
Yay, Ani!

On Saturday morning, Kris cleaned up the stroller and we went on a family walk. That stroller has now been through all four siblings!

After nap, we got a call from Ben’s new friend… who is either named Seth or David. Ben calls him David. His mom calls him Seth. I’ve yet to make it to the bottom of this mystery.

Anyway, he’s having a joint-belated-birthday party with his sister next weekend, but his actual birthday was this weekend, so he got to invite a friend to The Factory.

Cash and Zoe were so bummed that they didn’t have a play date. Them’s the breaks, kids. My littles growing up and going separate ways! (Cash wanted to know when he could have a play date with Emily. He misses his FBC buds.)

Ani also had a little bread on Sunday. S.l.o.w.l.y. P.r.o.g.r.e.s.s.i.n.g.

She had back-to-back therapy appointments today (speech and vision), so we expect her to be CRANKY this evening.


Wednesday, September 3

Isla and the Happily Ever After fanmix

Listen on 8tracks (on Tumblr here)

It’s magazine season, so while I worked on Gather packages last week, I listened to Isla and the Happily Ever After fanmixes. I’d hear a song and think “yes! but I’d use it for the opening track” or “yes! but I’d put it toward the end of the mix” or “yes! I forgot about that song!”

So over Labor Day weekend, I made an Isla mix.

1. “New York” by Urban Cone (hat tip: izzyodair)

Because fair New York is where we lay our scene. (Also, it references being shy which Isla is.)

2. “Shelter Song” by Temples

Trippy & psychedelic — the feel for their evening. Isla is loopy on painkillers; Josh is caught up by this unexpected connection. He sketches her while she zones out then walks her home in the rain.

One night, you came on over to me
Late night, we shared a drink or three
We take shelter where we can

3. “Saint-Laurent” by Cœur de pirate

And we’re back in France. (Cœur de pirate is on my Anna mix.)

4. “Because I Do” by Pearl & The Puppets (hat tip: ggdarcy)

I saw you the other day
You were dreaming and that's okay
Because I do like you
I do like you today

Isla has been crushing on Josh for FOREVER. She's thinks he's out of her league. The thing is, he likes her, too. But he thought her best friend (a guy named Kurt) was her boyfriend. Once they get that squared away, dating commences!

5. "Celeste" by Les Enfants

I like the way you're calling to me,
Your spell upon me
You're something out of a dream
And I like it

This song also mentions pine trees and New Year's, which are pivotal to the tale.

"Your eyes remind me of pine trees," Josh tells Isla. "I like pine trees. A lot." (They remind him of a cabin where he had happy times with his parents.)

6. "The Writer" by Ellie Goulding (Ellie Goulding is on both my Anna & Lola mixes. A trifecta!)

Why don't you be the artist?
And make me out of clay?

Josh is an artist. Isla sees herself as a blank canvas. This will be problematic for the couple later on.

7. "Hideaway" by Kiesza

Isla and Josh want to take their relationship to The Next Level and so they sneak off to Barcelona for a day. They are ecstatic to be together, so I wanted a happy track for this. I thought "what was that video where they girl was dancing around in the red suspenders?" THAT happy.

It was Kiesza's "Hideaway" and hey, whaddayaknow, the lyrics are appropriate, too. "Bringing me higher than I've ever been before" and "hide away with me some more."

8. "Big Bad World" by Kodaline

We go out on our own
It’s a big bad world outside
Carrying’ our dreams and all that they mean
Trying to make it all worthwhile.

On the heels of MUCHOS HAPPY comes MUCHOS SADNESS for our couple. Leaving the country is the final straw for all of Josh's bad behavior at school — he's expelled. (Hermione level gasp!) So Josh will have to go back to America while Isla stays in France.

(There is also a small mention of atheism in this song, as in the book.)

9. "You Are Enough" by Sleeping At Last (hat tip: lvbug09)

you’re enough
I promise you’re enough
I promise you’re enough, I promise you

It's about two months before the couple is reunited and during that time, Isla has gotten to read the work-in-progress that is Josh's autobiographical comic book. And her seeds of doubt grow into a whole plant of insecurity.

"I know it takes months for you to draw them, but... eight pages. I was only eight pages."

Josh assures her that she'll be in it more. But Isla has decided that he does not love her the way she loves him. She breaks up with him on the spur of the moment to avoid the even bigger heartbreak to have him break up with her later.

10. "Goodbye Girl" by The Civil Wars (hat tip: ggdarcy)

Say goodbye and don’t look back
So long to happy every after
You are my goodbye
Goodbye girl

Sad Josh. Sad Isla. Sad duet.

11. "Use It For Good" by Fallulah

Breaks, we both have survived
I have made you scared with all my goodbyes
I'm gonna take it and use it for good
I'm gonna take it and put it
Exactly where you think I should

Isla is back in France. She uses the time for good: mending broken friendships, striking out on her own adventures. And she decides to attend the school that he suggested to her: Dartmouth.

12. "New York" by Snow Patrol

There’s distance and there’s silence, your words have never left me
They’re the prayer that I say every day
I miss it all from the love to the lightning
And the lack of it snaps me in two

This song starts off suuupppper sad. (Which is why it never made the cut for a playlist made during our adoption wait.) But it's more hopeful at the end. Which is PERFECT for Josh as he works alone on his graphic memoir but plans a trip to France to give the revised version to Isla.

"Spaces... breaks... to contemplate things... to figure out what's important."

13. "Up To You" by Echosmith (hat tip: lvbug09)

I wear my heart on my sleeve
It's just what I do
But if there's too much to leave
Won't hold it against you

Isla still loves Josh. But is his asking her to come meet his friends and the manuscript a final goodbye or the start of them getting back together? (Duh. What do you think?)

14. "Oh, It Is Love" by Hellogoodbye

It's been hardly three days
And I'm longing to feel your embrace.
There are several days
Until I can see your sweet face.

Oh say, wouldn't you like to be older and married with me?
Oh say, wouldn't it be nice to know right now that we'll be

The story ends at Kismet, the cafe where it began, the cafe that was playing a folk song. This is kinda folksy, right? My Anna mix ends kinda folksy, too. I have a Thing about Parallels. :)

Monday, September 1

Littlest of the littles


Favorite moment of Labor Day so far: sitting in the kitchen with Kris and Ani, Kris lying down on the floor, tired from weeding the beds.

"Ani," I said, taking her arm and pointing to Kris. "Go get Daddy!"

She walked over to him and JUMPED onto his chest. I mean, caught air and everything. And then she laughed.

The big kids spent the night with Kris' parents. I stayed home to wash my hair while he went to pick them up. I had just turned on the flat iron when I heard them all bustle inside.

Cash was singing his ABCs. Five is big kid, but it's still so little.

Darth Vader is tuckered out

Monday, August 25

Six months of Ani


Miss Bo-Bani, we’ve been your parents for SIX MONTHS now.

Took you to a feeding clinic this morning. And learned that before we can approach feeding, we have to focus more on the desensitization and sensory stuff. New therapy homework again! (Acquiring a weighted vest, creating a plastic bin of rice to place you in, etc.)

Of course I don’t want to hear that because you spent 21 months sensory-deprived that it may take 21 months to “re-wire” you, but also? It helps to know that.

While WE have never met other kids with these pronounced types of sensory issues, the therapists have. And as they ask us questions, we get an idea of Things We Should Be Grateful For.

“Are you able to take her into crowded or loud places at all?”

Um, yeah. No problemo. How loud are childrens’ birthday parties, amiright? “We have an Ergo, so I just put her in that and she’s fine.”

“Is she okay with vacuuming, the dishwasher…”

Uh, yep. Sounds are fine. And then it hits me like, DUH! Of course, if there are sensory issues, SOUND could be one. But for Ani, it doesn’t seem to create any problems.

“What do you do to comfort her?”

That gave me pause. And for a moment, I’m like “are we horrible people?” Because I couldn’t think of anything we do to comfort her!

“Well, she’s... really the only times she gets upset is during the stuff she doesn’t like. She HATES the bath, but as soon as it’s over, she’s fine. And she HATES to have her teeth brushed, but once it’s done, she’s okay.”

The thing is... all the aversions aside? I think Ani really is a laid-back, go-with-the-flow type kid.


We are amassing Ani toys at the house. (I bought New toys for her at WalMart weeks ago. Those, of course, are the least faves. But we’ve made a few thrift store runs since then and we pick out toys for her each time and all that stuff… like $15 worth max has yielded SO MUCH PLAY. I am absolutely ruined of retail, I tell ya.)

We had a family Asahi-Thrift Store date on Friday (sans Cash who was having a Grandparent Birthday outing), and while Ben and Zoe picked out their finds, I found a plastic ball that you push a button and it lights up and plays music. We got that for Ani.

Once we were home, Zoe wanted to play with it. And because we are old and easily irked, we often tell the big kids to leave Ani’s toys alone. Like, if she is gonna mosey over and push a button on the pirate ship, fine. She’s learning. But don’t you do it. (Gah, toys that play music. BANE of my ears.)

So Zoe would say “Ani, your music stopped!” And Ani would dutifully leave what she was doing, come back to Zoe and push the button to start the music and then return to her own play.
Kris and I were like “did you just see that?!?”

Of a similar vein, Ani wore a long-sleeved shirt on Friday (it is SO cute but she is growing so fast, I can’t wait until fall) with the sleeves rolled up. If a sleeve unrolled, I’d fix it for her. She slept in it and on Saturday morning, she walked over to me and held her arm out. A sleeve had unrolled.

“Why, let me fix that for you!”

These are small things. But they hint at big changes within her world. Namely, that she is integrating into ours.

She does this thing now where she’ll put her hand under my chin and lift it up. I’m supposed to go “ahhh.” Ben came over to hug her legs at church on Sunday and she did the chin thing to him. It’s her version of giving affection.

So, six months and I’d say there’s been a shift. At Asahi, I gave her pieces of graham cracker, which isn’t new. But she let me put the pieces in her mouth and THAT is new. At Cash’s party on Saturday, I let her try the Chex mix. Two kinds, she flung to the floor. But the third kind? She ate. THAT is new.

I’m guessing she might get kind of ornery tonight. Therapy days tend to get to her. But hey, I know this. BECAUSE SHE’S MY KID.

Happy six months, kiddo.