living the life. enjoying the journey

Now that the kids are back to school (except Sifan...she has another week off), I am starting to miss the kids (a weee bit). With 4 little ones who need attention in a short period of time before bed; we needed something new. I flopped on the couch stumbled upon something; everyday I hit my midday slump around 4. Unfortunately this coincides with when the kids get home from school. As I snuggled up on the couch with my giant Bubba keg of  tea,  Wubitu snuggled up against me to read a book and tell me about her day. Light bulb flashing brightly....each kid got a turn with mommy all by themselves where we went through their papers, read a book, and talked about anything they wanted for 15-20 minutes. By the end  my mind and body were restored to their former caffeinated state where making dinner was a possibility without feeling like curling in a little ball on the floor between stirring various pots. The level of calm in the house has increased exponentially. Wubitu was even "nice" to Sifan without prompting on the way to Zumba afterward :) (usually she is ALL ABOUT Wubitu and being first or getting the most) The combination of everyone getting time away at school and individual time with mom at home has helped to provide a much needed buffer that was lacking over the summer as their personalities grated against one another.  Plus, I feel like I did my "mommy job" and know what is going on in their lives.  Now keeping tea from shooting out of my nose dealing with what I hear in mommy conferences is another story ;)

I should have known when one of the first things translated to me from Sifan in Ethiopia is that she wanted to buy high heeled shoes... She is a true fashion diva. She stands in front of the mirror after 5 outfit changes critiquing her reflection from multiple angles. Sometimes finding the "right" outfit according to Sifan can take a full hour and might involve Sifan's personal alteration like a pony tail holder in the back of the shirt to hold her t-shirt tight against her tummy so that her sparkly pink belt can show. Many times she has complete melt downs reminiscent of a teenager if she can't get her appearance to exactly match her own standard of beauty. After one such fit I asked her what she wanted them to look like and why she was pulling her shirt in so tight and sucking her tummy in. In tears she took me to her new back pack that had Sleeping Beauty on it and told me that she wanted her shirt to be like Sleeping Beauty's. (for the record Sleeping Beauty wears a pink dress with a fitted bodice...this is what she was trying to achieve...the fitted bodice with a t-shirt) It hit me then that she was using Disney Princesses for fashion ideals. She even told me about the discussion she had with Carter about whether the other princesses had long loosly attached sleeves or long gloves and high heels. She was paying close attention to those princesses. So while the big kids are at school all day; we did a special project of going through the Sunday ads to find the outfits she liked, cut them out, and pasted them in her "Fashion Journal". Hopefully this will help her to be more comfortable with the clothes they sell in stores circa 2010 ;)

It has been a very very very long time since I have last blogged. The truth is I had to take a step out of the cyber adoption world to find ME again. I ceased looking at message boards, blogs, yahoo groups, etc. for the entire summer and honestly it was much needed. The online adoption world is a wealth of information that I am sooo very thankful for. Without it I would have been lost and anxious about so many facets of adoption: travel, paperwork, citizenship, attachment, ethics, transition, PADS, etc. However with it can come drama, in the form of passionate discussions on message boards, or scathing comments on blogs and intense personal messages on facebook or sent through emails. After 3 1/2 years I needed to take a step back from what had become an addiction; something that took over a larger portion of my life than I could afford to forfeit. That is not to say that I am turning a blind eye to the continuing issues of Ethiopian adoption but that I am content to get the cliff notes version from the many close cyber friends I have made in this journey. So while I am bowing out of the "drama" I am greatful that I get to keep these precious relationships that have been a life line for me through this incredible season in my life.

So in giving up my cyber drama I was able to replace it with an old friend, a good book. I have been voraciously tearing through series after series this summer. Concentrating on saucy vampires and valient fauns has done wonders in helping me to purge all of the anxiety, anger, and fear that was pent up from our last adoption.

I also developed a pretty intense affinity for Zumba. Monday, Thursday, and Friday I enjoy getting my groove on; for sure my hips have learned a few new tricks and I can shake a booty like nobody's business :). I always leave with a smile on my face and return home to some ice for the knees...(old lady). Redirecting my anxiety from food and computer potatoedom to books and exercise has helped me to find my old pre-adoption body too. Losing the 25 lbs. of adoption weight, I am thankful that I can now fit back into my old clothes. Jeans!!! The cookie pants have now been retired...hopefully for good.

My relationship with the girls has been FABULOUS for the most part. We have fallen into a good routine and I have learned how to keep them busy. This is a difficult task because they are not ones who enjoy playing with toys. It seems so wrong by American standards for children but they really enjoy cleaning. If I give them a choice of watching a movie, playing Barbies (brushing their hair), coloring (which they enjoy), or sweeping the dining room floor...they will pick sweeping every single time. This is something they fight over actually, who gets to sweep. So I have let my OCD about cleaning go a bit and let them have at it. They are always so proud when they are done and like to make a game of making sure that the house is clean before Daddy gets home (with absolutely no prompting from me). Seriously, who can complain about the extra help. We have also worked very hard all year teaching the girls to read. I am not one who enjoys playing on the floor with Barbies, and babies so it took awhile to find an activity that was mutually enjoyable. They really like to learn and I really like to teach. We started with letters in October and Sight words in mid-May. Each girls gets 30-40 mintues of uninterrupted mommy time almost every day as we work on reading. Both girls have really flourished. Both can read over 100 words by sight and they can both sound out new words that are 3-4 letters long. They are so proud of their new reading ability and will spend hours reading their books on their own. We also worked on cartwheels and hand stands (yep, I still can do them with long as I can keep my feet away from the ceiling fan). We are still working on round offs, one handed cartwheels and backbends (these make me feel very very old). Though Sifan who had zero strength in her abs, arms, and shoulders last year at homecoming can now hold a back bridge for 2 full minutes :). Sifan is TENACIOUS!!! She is a year younger than Wubitu so things that come easily to Wubitu at age 6 are not so easy for Sifan. However, she makes up for it in resolve. It took Wubitu about 6 hours of practice in one day to learn the cartwheel (remember they don't play with toys or watch tv much so this is what they chose to do...there was endless, mommy watch me requests the entire time). For Sifan it took 3 hours a day for 3 months to learn to do a cartwheel...she NEVER gave up...even when I told her that maybe she should wait until she is 6 like Wubitu to try. I invested in a gym mat because I thought they would pound a hole in the living room floor. On top of the hours of practice at home, everywhere we walked Sifan was trying to turn her cartwheel and her practice finally paid off. Seriously world watch out for this don't want to get in her way :).

Wubitu will be starting Kindergarten in a week along with Carter going into 1st grade and Noah 4th. Wubitu is soooo very excited about being a big girl. Sifan will be going to preschool 5 days a week for half days and the other half we have enrolled her in a YMCA enrichment program because she so very badly wanted to go all day like the other kids. This was our compromise since she wasn't going to Kindergarten :) (trying to keep the girls in separate grades since they are 1 year apart).

So we have reached a new season in our lives, with all of the kids in school all day. Life is so different when you youngest is 5....a very good different. I am glad to be finding me again and shedding the "adoption me" that was so anxious, and scared, worrying about my daughters far away in questionable circumstances and their development here at home. It is good to finally be just about raising 4 fabulous children with an awesome husband who can finally come home every night for dinner :).

This was Sifan's first dance recital :)  She was sooo excited but didn't really understand what we meant by recital  even after her 2nd dance she kept asking when we were going to the recital.....dancing is what she does all the time ;)
Their first routine was a tumbling act to Lion King's "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" 
Next a little "Skipity Do Da".  The girls have been BEGGING to wear this costume.  I had to hide it in my closet.
A little "Get on the Bus" from the Doodlebops show.  This outift reminded me of the CRAZY get up that we had my senior year of Accents (flag corp..whatever people call it).  We had these sequined silver skirts over full spandex suits...and we ripped the skirts off and danced with them...oh public schools...oy).  Anyhow this is called the alien baked potato look.  The girls giggled hysterically when they had to put this on.
The last act was a circus tumbling act.  In the bathroom an older lady told Sifan that she liked her hair.  Sifan looked the lady right in the eye very very seriously and said, "this is not my REAL hair".  She repeated herself several times because she did NOT want anyone to think she would really have hair like this.

It was a bit crazy with 4 costume and 3 hair changes.  We forgot the white tights so T had to run all the way home but by the time he got back I had already borrowed some from some sweet girls in the bathroom (THANK YOU!!!!).  It made the recital go very very fast but we were all sad to miss so many of our friends dance :(. 
Videos to follow later :)

Things have been busy as usual here in the Ehrman house.  Sifan & Carter celebrated their birthday together.  Sifan turned 5 and Carter 7 on April 29th.  They really enjoyed sharing in the celebration.   It really didn't bother either of them to have a party together.  They are the sweetest pair really.

We had planned on having a big backyard barbecue but changed the venue to a gymnastics center because of the rain.  The kids had a fantastic time.  They did an obstacle course, balance beam walks to jump in the foam pit, and trampoline tricks

The boys have taken up Lacrosse
T opted to not go through formal graduation ceremonies.  Instead we went to Applebee's for dinner. 
 A fun trip to the zoo with some friends.

My friend Dee let me have some of her Kinky Curly Curling Custard (KCCC) to try out before I "invested" in it myself.  {DEE YOU ROCK BTW}  Well, I loved it at first but it didn't weigh Wuby's hair down as much as i would have liked!!!  KCCC is a curl definer, it prevents massive shrinkage during drying and leave nice moisturized curls when it air dries. Today I co-washed (washed with conditioner) Wuby & Sifan's hair and brushed the conditioner through. Rinsed the hair and lightly wrung it out.  Then I added the KCCC and brushed it through root to tip.  Then let it air dry.  This is what Wuby's hair looked like 3 hours later (mostly dry).

I missed most of the top of her hair so I rewet with a detangling spray and brushed more KCCC through those parts.  The final result still had a lot more shrinkage than I liked. However, her curls were well defined with minimal frizz.  I like KCCC but Wuby feels 'weird" wearing it this way after wearing it in 1 or 2 ponytails for most of the last year.  I isn't the wonder cream I was hoping for but it does help to have another hairstyle under our belts that is easy and fast without damaging the hair by pulling, heat, or chemicals

Sifan has been begging for "shakies" but we have been too busy and her hair is still rather short.  So for her birthday that is coming up on Thursday we did her first box twists with beads.  She sat very still and watched TV for the first hour and a half.  then she played computer for another hour and a half while I work.  Wuby was a great help in stringing our beaders.