Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Seven weeks down.


So I didn't really mean to go AWOL there for so long. It's been almost a month since my last post. Yowza.

But then again, someone handed me two kids practically overnight, so I'd say that's a pretty good excuse for the last seven weeks.

For those of you wondering what our life is like now, here's the skinny. And I'm not going to sugarcoat it so you think my life is like the Donna Reed Show, all shiny and happy 100% of the time. (Are any of you out there in BlogLand like me -- honestly a tad sick of reading so many of these blogs where it looks like Martha Stewart threw up in their house, Mother Theresa was obviously their lifecoach, and every detail of their life is peachy keen with an extra cherry on top? Please tell me you haven't lumped my little ol' blog into that category. I'll have to slap you back to reality if that's the case, after you've come in my house, tripped over my messes in every room, and picked yourself up off my floor that hasn't had a good mopping in weeks.)

I'll be kickin' it to ya' Clint Eastwood-style...

The Good:

*All three brothas are still really getting along 95% of the time. To say they love each other is an understatement. They loooooooooooooove each other. This revelation has honestly blown all of our expectations out of the water.

*The transition, in terms of a typical state adoption of older kids, has been phenomenal and off-the-charts. Any person that would see our family on the streets would probably assume we'd been together forever, or at least I hope they would.

*We're two homestudies down towards the finalization of the adoption. (I think we've got four more to go.) Easy-peasy process so far.

*Three kids = three people to help with housework! ;)

*It's been pointed out to me that I'm a lucky woman having three boys because generally speaking, boys love their mama's quite fiercely. And so far, I think that's pretty true. I feel pretty loved most of the time.

*I love how well they've transitioned to our church, too. Going from once-or-twice a year attending church to every blessed Sunday can't be easy, but they seem to love it already, and we are thankful.

*Three boys + good weather = boys spending time playing outside & extra free time for the mama. God bless the backyard, the mini-penitentiary of my dreams.

*My husband has majorly stepped up in helping me. Although yes, they are with me more than my husband which means a good chunk of the responsibility is on my shoulders, he has not left me in the trenches by myself. When I discipline, he backs it up immediately. When I am tired and overwhelmed and it is apparent to all involved that I might need to step away to cool off for a moment or two, he immediately grabs the reins and takes over. He is a good example to all three boys in many ways, including making me feel special and making sure they understand they need to do the same for their mama. I am very blessed.

*For the most part, I am feeling more and more like their mama and not merely their legal guardian. As you can imagine, if someone handed you two children ages 5 and 10, it might take a little bit getting used to going from feeling like their new babysitter to feeling like their forever mama. We're closer to the "forever mama" end of the spectrum these days.

*I love school. Public education has afforded me 7-8 hours every day of peace and tranquility in my home while the boys are (hopefully) gaining some wisdom and knowledge, and I suppose a little bit of street smarts. And it's free.

*They're potty-trained. You may think that's a dumb thing to add to the "Good" list, but since potty-training was on my list of worst things ever, I am not taking it for granted. Ha!

*85% of the time I feel like the luckiest woman in the world.

The Bad:

*I'm tired. All the time. Ha. And I go to bed a lot earlier every night than I used to.

*Fourth-grade homework stinks. Bigtime. I am not a fan.

*Driving to two different schools every morning and every evening. Thank goodness that ends in another month.

*I've never seen so many pairs of jeans with holes in both knees. Which means I will never be buying so many pairs of jeans at Gap Kids again.

*Boys are messy. Dirty. Stinky. Gross. Take this times three. (Although I could also argue that these qualities make them so endearing all at the same time. Boys are truly a whole different species from girls, and it makes life fun at our house, that's for sure!)

*Let's just say that the new bathroom rule in our house is that everyone sits. I'm guessing you've caught on to this...

*Stepping on Legos with your bare feet -- good times.

*Three messy boys + one messy mama who is trying to reform her ways and be a better example = lots of work. Keeping the house picked up has never felt so daunting. I have a long ways to go before this is overcome.

*He said VERSUS He said VERSUS He said. This is the very reason I implemented Rule #1 in our house: no tattling whatsoever (unless, of course, someone is injured or in danger or about to be one of the two). If you tattle, all three of you will be in trouble. No question.
Best rule ever, by the way.

*Daily reminders to myself and the boys:
I am not a maid.
I am not a short-order cook.
I am not a dictionary/thesaurus/encyclopedia/Cliff's Notes for getting homework done. (I help, but I am not going to give you the answers right out. I'm here to guide you to solve your own homework, etc.)
I am not a referee (well, technically I am, but don't tell them that, as I am making them learn to work problems out themselves). I am not merely offering up suggestions, but rather I am telling you what to do. Yes, I am your parent.
I only have two hands. I cannot do ten things at once, so get in line.
I am new at this, and they don't come with instruction books. ;)
Although I may feel like it a lot, I am not the Fun-Sucker. (*see "The Ugly")
I don't have to listen to whining. (Here's the only other major rule that I've implemented from Day One. Rule #2: NO whining. Period. You whine, you lose a privilege. It's great.)

*10% of the time we look at each other and wonder what in the world we were thinking??? ;)

The Ugly:

*Did I mention fourth-grade homework?

*The middle name I jokingly gave myself years ago as a mama has definitely not been as much of a joke these last six weeks. As the chief disciplinarian (since the kids are with me more than my husband, but not to confuse since he also is a strong force in this area), I jokingly call myself "The Fun-Sucker" since it probably appears to my charges that I seem to suck the fun out of life when discipline comes into play. So take that times three now and you've got a mama that feels unfortunately like the uninvited guest at a party. I'm the Fun-Sucker a lot these days. Laying down the law, keepin' the peace -- I know I'm truly the good guy in all of this since it will make my children better citizens of the world (we hope), but I know to all three of my children that unfortunately more often than not, I'm appearing as the villain in their life story. It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it...

*Fourth-grade attitude and stare-down's. I must admit, my eldest guy is not near as naughty as some of the other 10-year-old's out there, so this is pretty minor, but dang, when he does get in trouble, I'm not a fan of the attitude. Quite different from dealing with kindergarten attitude. But *we're* all working on it.

*Laundry. Oh heavens.

*Cooking for five. (Remember, eating out costs a heckuva lot more for our family than it used to, which means not only am I cooking for five now, but I am cooking much more often for five as well.)

*We will have a third driver in the family in five short years. Heaven help us.

*Time for sewing, quilting, blogging, TV-watching -- hmmmm, it's pretty much flown out the window. But the good news is it will be making a return soon. Slowly but surely I'm getting a grasp on this larger-family-business.

*Summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime. You know what this means?

79 days of me + three boys.
Lots of togetherness.
LOTS of togetherness.
Dang, I've got to come up with some sort of a plan.

*5% of the time I've got my bags packed and ready to move to a convent in Europe somewhere...

So there you have it. Two not-so-perfect parents raising three not-so-perfect little boys but with the help of a perfect God, we're hoping to do a pretty decent job of it...


cssolomon said...

Valerie, you're doing an awesome job. 3 BOYS can't be the easiest sometimes, but I've seen you parent and it takes a tough cookie like yourself to manage all that testosterone :)

Tricia said...

I've been wondering how you guys have been handling it all. Thanks for sharing. Now I know how to pray for you too! As for the summer - I would definitely take advantage of all the parks and public pools around town. And have you checked out the Tulsa Children's Museum without Walls? It looks like they have a few fun activities coming up. And the Tulsa Zoo is always entertaining! Good luck!

~Michelle~ said...

"God bless the backyard, the mini-penitentiary of my dreams." - that made me truly LOL. Well, I think it sounds like you're doing quite well, considering you had a 200% increase in kids in a very compressed time period. An oh, what a scary thought - another driver in a mere 5 years! Now that is bananas - keep him stuck in the mini-penitentiary as long as possible!

The Busters said...

It is so good to see an update on how things are going. I think of you guys often! And thank you for the good, the bad and the ugly! I always appreciate it when people are honest about life with kids! It is certainly not Martha Stewart or Mother Theresa around here!!! :)

Lisa said...

Love this post! I feel a lot of the same, and yet I only have TWO boys! ;) But know you aren't alone - I'm about to implement the "everyone sits" in our house too - we are currently a "if you are a boy living in our house, you are responsible for cleaning toilets" kind of family. YUCK! :)

Lisa said...

Great Blog today Val! Your Goods and Bads are echo'd over here. Wanted to remind you of all our awesome splashpads/parks and the most awesome thing...summer free movies. AMC/cinamark and riverwalk all have free movies for kids. Plus we will be bowling 2 free games per kid. Gotta love (our town). God Bless your family. Challenges never go away but it's really worth every struggle. I too am the antimartha for sure. Your kids won't remember how clean your house is..they will remember least that's my viewpoint.

Jason & Kizzy said...

Love it! I totally get you with the all boys thing; however, only 2 of mine use the potty right now. what is it with wanting to stand up to go? although, i do let them do that at public restrooms-- less germs, it would seem. this year has been the worst about holes in jeans for everett. don't know if he is falling more or the quality of clothing is going down? i'm thinking swimsuits for the summer will be our daily staple clothing! and, i'm thinking my 5-year old boy's attitude is pretty sassy these days...