Let the Spankings Commence

Around here, the spankings usually begin around 6:30 P.M. Keith typically gets home between 5:30 and 6:00. The first order of business each evening, after doling out some much needed affection first, is taking care of business. Doling out the remaining consequences for the day's infractions. I deal with disobedience as I encounter it all the livelong day, but sometimes one still needs a heart to heart with Daddy or another Time Out. Then it's "To the table!"

After we've all had dinner together as one big happy family, Keith and I take turns tag teaming the kitchen and the kids. The one thing I ask during these times, as well as when I'm cooking, is that the kids stay out of the kitchen. Out! Out! Out! If not, here's what happens: kids get stepped on (Oops!), I get burned (Dang!), my foot is impaled by teeny tiny lego structures (Ouch!), my toes are involved in a collision with trains (Seriously?!!!), the mess continues to grow faster than I can clean it up (Sheesh!).

It is during this activity that I see a little something in my peripheral vision, dancing on the edge of the kitchen. I know what he wants. You know what he wants. We've all seen kids who just beg for spankings, right? Well, if I don't respond to the dance, he will continue the episode by throwing various limbs or his entire body across the "boundary line." That's it! Time for a spanking. Before I know it, the other two are asking for one. Shoving a booty at me or pointing to it as if I need assistance in locating the thing. Soon my hand isn't enough and someone, usually Ivan, asks for the spoon. Where is Keith during this madness? Right there in the middle of it, going at them as well. The kids aren't the only ones getting spanked. That wouldn't be fair now. We are outnumbered and, therefore, easily ambushed. Two nights ago Keith had bent over to retrieve an item from the floor and got a good one. From me. With the wooden spoon. The only family member who escapes this charade of corporal punishment is Simon, although I do chase him with the spoon and give him a nudge if ever close enough.

These episodes, full of piercing screams, laughter and other types of affection, remind me of when Avery would beg: "Please, don't eat me!" Oh, those arms were so squishy and delicious. She would giggle and squeal as I devoured her. See post: Man Eater.

I had mentally prepared myself for 6 months of hell while adjusting to life with the changes in our family with not 1 but 2 additions of not babies but children with personalities and strong wills. And, God could have given me more sweet demur girls, but He instead chose boys...loud, quick, active boys. Apparently that's just what we needed around here. Go figure. God works for our best. Plus, it's only been 5 months and look how super positive I am. Yes, there are days. No more days like Memorial Day 2011, but definitely days. About 10 days ago I believe all 3 kids secretly conspired in the hallway during the middle of the night to declare a slow and steady ambush on Mom the following day. I survived. I'm not even sure I broke a sweat, although I did want to cuss. Cuss, cuss, cuss. I didn't just want to scream these obscenities, I wanted to hurl them at my children. All of them. But, you know me. I refrained.

It's times like this one that I need my high school friend Kristi to verbalize this frustration for me...via profanity. What? You see, Kristi would help me vent those emotions, whether angry, upset or mad, by picking just the right expletive when the situation called for one. That's right. If she knew something made me mad, she would cuss for me. Such a good friend.

There aren't many days I need Kristi. For those of you who have made adjustments to life with a newborn, you know there are certain milestones. Points at which some glorious advance was made, like sleeping 12 hours at night. Praise God! Other points weren't necessarily marked by anything in particular, but there was an unmistakable improvement from previous months.

That's kind of how it's gone around here. One day I realized I could take them into public by myself, unafraid. And the next time I thought about it, I no longer needed restraints on a daily basis, or even the belt in the car. Forget keeping a child in a carseat. I don't even want it as a tool for spanking.

Besides, my kids beg for the wooden spoon.

Kids practicing gymnastics. The boys joined Avery's class last month. They are obviously naturals.

Here we are at the courthouse, getting the boys' names legally changed. Remember that fancy shmancy document I threw in "the trash"? See Dumpster Diving for a refresher. That was about an hour after this photo was taken.

Awaiting our turn. Luckily, someone had the forethought to pack activities to busy mischievous hands and unruly feet.

Our first family vaca.

They are all so proud to have their own suitcases. And, since I am learning to let them have some control, I let them do most of the packing. Yay, me!

We met Keith's parents at a KOA, a.k.a. a fancy campground, near Nashville for Labor Day weekend. The boys think this campground is where they live...and that it's the best place on earth.

Ivan wanted to clip his toenails, so I let him make an attempt. He later asked me to correct the jagged mess he left behind.

Calvin took Ivan on a walk to a nearby play area in attempt to wear him out. There is no such thing as wearing this one out, and I'm pretty certain all such endeavors have the opposite effect.

Ahh, giant rocks. What more could little boys ask for?

Apparently it can get better, for them. And, worse for me. A dirt covered jumpy thing surrounded by sand and dirt. Do boys like to get dirty? Hmm, I hadn't noticed.

Avery, who never wants to be left out, has foregone her standard of cleanliness for only the 2nd time in 4 and a half years. My little Snow White was the same color as her brothers before I started the scrub down for all 3.

The 7 of us went to a children's museum in Nashville. Lots of fun but not as much as all the hype promised.

We wasted far too much time on this craft.

But look at their masterpieces!

Movie time in the "theater" Avery set up. The seat next to hers was reserved for that stuffed fox. It was quite an ordeal, trying to convince Ivan the seat was taken and that the one next to it was just as good.

I sometimes take pictures of these extravagant structures so that the kids aren't distraught over having it torn down for someone else to play with.

More artwork.

We are not even going to discuss why Ivan is wearing Avery's tunic dress.

Avery and I aren't the only ones with drastic new styles. Keith took the boys for their first hair cuts since coming home. I have to say I loved their little fros but now hope to never let them get that out of control again.


I Love Babies and All Things Related!

We have some big news to share.

Keith's vasectomy was scheduled for September 22nd at 4:30. Oh, I had looked forward to that day for so long.

Why the vasectomy? That is so drastic and permanent for a young couple like yourselves! Yes, I hear you. But, when we began our adoption journey early in 2009, we felt it was a call God had placed on our hearts and soon decided any future children we wanted we would attempt via adoption.

Yep, you got it. No more bio babies for us. And, that's A-okay with me. What's the big deal with having babies anyway? Nearly everyone does it. Oh, "miracle of life." Miracle? That's just the way God does it...makes humans...and pretty much all other species. I'm no scientist, but the creation and delivery of Avery and Simon were pretty much the same. Not to discount those or any creations...I mean, they were created by God...which is some pretty undeniable evidence of His existence. How you can be a witness to any birth and not believe there's a God is beyond me. But it's no Jesus walking on water or turning water into wine.

I know many of you want to come spit in my face for that, or at least never return to this blog, but don't get me wrong. I enjoyed pregnancy with Avery. No complaints...except that I got tired of people only asking me pregnancy and baby related questions. Yoo hoo, I'm still here! Seriously, it was like I disappeared. Plus, people with whom you've only spoken a few words are suddenly your BFFs simply because they too have pro-created. Gasp! A rare commonality.

If you are still reading, don't hate me. If I have friends left, I apologize for not being more concerned with your pregnancy. I do care. But, I would rather talk about you...or me. I honestly forget you are pregnant unless the event has been wretched. I just offered one of my prego girlfriends a glass of chocolate wine piled high with whipped cream...it's so delicious...and she patted her non-existent 4-month bump as her response. Oh, right.

Don't even get me started on babies. Sure, they're cute, squishy, not too heavy. I did enjoy all of Avery's baby-hood. At each stage I kept thinking how fantastic it was and that it wasn't possible to get better, yet it did. Meaning we are now having the best times ever! But, babies are a lot of work. Ugh! The worst part could be having to sit down to feed them. Oh, stinky diapers are nothing compared to having to sit...and wait...on a baby...to eat. Ahh! Some of them are so slow I want to rip my hair out in exasperation. Babies are still welcome in my house. We still have baby gates in place and the pack-n-play is oftentimes set up for a visitor.

Easy breezy 6-month-old Baby Penny hangs out with us all the time, or so it seems to me. That girl takes 45 minutes to eat! I endure it. I love her. Perhaps I endure it because I know she is one of my future daughters-in-law. I'm not just hoping. She is currently betrothed, in all seriousness, to one of our sons. It was the only way to ensure that the 4 of us parents remain bonded for a lifetime. Smart, I know.

Back to the vasectomy. Why didn't we schedule it two and a half years ago when we decided to close up shop? At that time, we felt that surgically prohibiting a chance for more biological children would be like slamming the door in God's face. Plus, I was scared that God's response would be a slap in my face with a positive pregnancy test. Like, I'll show you Who's boss.

For 2 years I have waited. Knowing, hoping, praying: no more babies, yet also facing the scary possibility that we might conceive. Eek! So, Keith was on board with the ole snip-aroo but quickly jumped ship when we decided to wait. He agreed: no more babies but wanted me to be the one to "get fixed." Uh, no. Since then, I have begged and pleaded and used every bargaining tool with Keith in my attempts to change his mind.

Then, August rolled around and I realized something. Gasp! I was pacing the floor, biting my nails, twirling my hair. We had given away all pregnancy and baby paraphernalia. Not one iota left in this house, except for those baby gates and that pack-n-play. The panic ceased when I found out I was anemic, hence the reason for my lack of blogging and picture posting this summer, but not before we had a big, fat pregnancy scare.

Guess what Keith did the very next day. Called a urologist. That's right. We both signed the papers and set that boy up for surgery. Woo hoo! I was ecstatic. Finally, no more worrying about babies, at least not from this womb. Praise God!

Last week, His perfect timing. During a conversation with a woman I deeply respect, the topic came up out of the blue. I received wisdom and counsel from this woman who had been there and done that.

My thoughts since that happenchance conversation?

God is in control of my childbearing. Do I trust Him? That's really the bottom line. But, should I do everything known to man in order to take the reigns in the situation? It would be like saying, "I know what's best for me better than You do." Children, including slow, stinky, high-maintenance babies, are a gift from God. And, Jeremiah 29:11 promises me a hope and a future...that God will prosper me and not harm me...even if He throws another baby at me.

So, what's the big news?

No, I'm not pregnant. Phew. We haven't decided to have more babies. Another good thing. I guess the news is that we cancelled the appointment 2 days prior to the scheduled surgery. Yep, no one is getting fixed right now...or maybe ever. That and also for the first time ever I have no idea what God's direction on my life is...AND I am at peace with not knowing. From the age of 10 I have wanted, demanded, God to lay it all out for me. That seems like the opposite of faith to me. Kind of reminds me of another woman who thought she just had to know everything. You might know her too. Eve.

I'm not driving this boat, so right now I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the ride...as much as I can. The job before me is raising children. He has entrusted to me human beings...3 so far. I guess if He wants to give me another messy, stinky, slow and very small one, I'll more than survive.

If you've stayed with up to this point, please don't come cuss me out. One of my BFFs beat you to the punch. Cussed me out and compared me to the woman on TV who's had 25 babies. I promise not to have 25 kids and endanger the lives of the babies and myself.

Last, if either of us "gets fixed," it will not be motivated by fear of pregnancy.

More pictures? You got it!

Obviously, Avery and I both got all of our hair cut off. I had said I would cut it 6 months after the boys came home...I made it 5.

I'm not sure what's more horrifying here: the broomish looking ends of my hair or my pasty white skin.

People keep asking me if I donated it. Maybe it's because they feel as if they have to say something and don't necessarily like it. They'll get used to it. Yes, all of the hair is being donated. My hair was divided into 4 pony tails...16 inches each. This was long overdue.


After the 8-inch pony tail was cut off.

Here, stylist Mandy Bowley of Salon Serenity works on Avery's hair in her bathroom because it's her day off. I love Mandy. Besides being great at her job, she puts up with a control freak hovering over her shoulder and giving her confusing instructions from the stool.

Although I do love her new do, it wasn't my idea for Avery to cut her hair. She was inspired by my friend Courtney who just cut her short hair even shorter. Miss Courtney might be the most fun mom I know, which is probably the reason Avery loves her so much.

Mandy and her family, including son Cal pictured above, were our neighbors for 4 years. Cal, whom Avery has forced into countless princess dresses and marriage ceremonies, is one of her BFFs.

Ivan taking care of business.

I believe Garris could live on a bicycle.