Saturday, August 30, 2008

Daily Routine

Another school year has started and I already feel like I am running in a marathon race. Which is wild because if you ever saw me you would surely know that I have never "run" anything a day in my life!

We have just finished the second week and it isn't the schoolwork that has us all tired out, it is all the extra-curricular activities that for some reason have to start the same time as the school year. We start school the 2nd week of August here. It still seems strange to me, as I am from California originally and we didn't start school out there until after Labor day. It has something to do with having extra time to add snow days, or something Midwestern like that.

The good thing about that is that the girls get to start school in their summer clothes, and I can wait for the fall clothes to go on sale! I do a lot of clothes shopping in my basement. I have it all divided and all of the girls clothes go into plastic tubs that are labeled first with the size and season of the clothes (ie; 2T - Summer) and then under that I have a label with the child's name and year it was last worn, repeating this every time one of my girls wears the clothes in this particular tub. (ie; Madyson - 2006) I also let my friend Lorraine "shop" with us as her daughter Olivia is wearing the same clothes as Madyson wore and seems to be following the same seasonal "track" that Madyson did. This works out great for both of us as she returns the clothes in beautiful condition, often adding some new things that were gifts to Olivia. My little Ava Marie is next in line for these. And then Lorraine is expecting another baby girl so she will be next after Ava. As will our new baby Olivia Grace.

I spend the bulk of my clothing budget on shoes and jackets in the winter time. It is pretty cold here for about 8 months, off and on, and Katy is always cold, even in the summer. So I tend to buy new jackets, and I like to get each girl a nice big winter jacket, 2 - 3 lighter weight polar fleece and zip up jackets, and for Katy a quilted vest. Shoes are really hard to hand down. Katy's feet are long and narrow, she is already wearing a size 4 womans. Mackenzie is only wearing a 12 childrens and Madyson is wearing an 11 1/2 childrens. I think Madyson will pass Mackenzie in the next year.

So, back to our schedule and all of the extra-curricular activities. Here is a pretty typical day in the life of ....

5am - I am up pretty early so I can get in a quick shower and get dressed. Then I go downstairs, flip on my computer and make a cup of coffee while I am waiting for the computer to pop on. I sit down to open my emails and try to answer as many as I can. I usually have about an hour of this which also includes pouring the girls orange juice, setting out some fresh fruit and making the baby a bottle. Sometime between and 6 and 6:30 the baby will wake up and I will have to head back upstairs to get her.

6:30am - I get the baby up, bring her into my room to change her and give her the first bottle. This is our snuggle time. Sometimes I let her lay on my bed with pillows behind her and her legs draped over mine while I fold laundry. Most of the time I hold her and snuggle her neck. She always smells so good. Then we put on her clothes for the day, let the cats out of their room (they sleep in the laundry room that is next to my room. Oh yes, I have the best designed house in the world! My laundry room has a door to the hallway right next to the door to my bedroom. You can enter from the hallway, or you can go into my room, make a left into my master bathroom, keep on walking into my master closet, then turn left again and walk from the closet into my laundry room! It makes a perfect circle! Oh yeah! I love this house!!) move clothes from washer to dryer, put another load of laundry in to wash.

7am - We wake up the other girls, get them dressed in clothes that we pick the night before. I have little baskets on their dressers that have their clothes in them. In the morning there is no arguing about clothes, it is already decided the night before! And then their pajamas go into the baskets for the day. I have all their hair stuff in the linen closet, so I get that done upstairs before they go down to breakfast.

7:20am - Downstairs for breakfast, I make weekly menus that I put on the refrigerator, so again it is already decided what we are having and the girls don't whine about it (too much). I like them to have something different every day, so we always have OJ and a fresh fruit, then toast, cold cereal, yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, pancakes or waffles. I have a couple of other items I add sometimes, but usually we stick to these. Since I always make pancakes on Saturdays, I double or triple the recipe and freeze leftovers for during the week, same with the waffles.

7:40am - Brush teeth, pack the babies things in her diaper bag, another bottle for the road, and into the van by 8am.

8am - I drive over to the school to drop off Katy and Mackenzie. Then we stop at the bank to do a deposit, Madyson loves to go through the drive-thru here and watch as the little yellow cylinder with my deposit whooshes up in the clear pipe to the lady inside the bank. Then we drive to Madyson's school to drop her off. She attends Kids-R-Kids and really loves this place. In fact, Ava will be starting there this Tuesday, up until now I have been driving her to another care center that is run by a friend of mine, but it adds another 20 minutes to my drop-off and pick-up routine, so I decided to move her.

8:30am - Drop Ava Marie off at Kids Town Academy and drive to post office.

9am - Return home. Make second cup of coffee, take dry clothes out of dryer, move clothes from washer to dryer and put in yet another load of clothes into the washer.

9:15am - Sit down to work in my office. I won't go into my work day, except to say that I work in my office, surrounded by pictures of my children, steps away from my wonderful kitchen if I should need a snack, with a wall of windows that looks west over my backyard. Our swingset is right out my window, because during Tax Season, when I have to work all of the time, weekends included, I like to be able to watch the children outside playing and having fun. While I would like to be out there with them, it also serves to remind me of why I work so hard and even during Tax Season it lifts my spirits to see them swinging away in full joy! My children are my inspiration. I also love having this big wall of windows because I worked for more than 10 years in offices without any windows at all, which I think is actually a very cruel thing to do to a person. We are living organisms, just like trees and flowers, and we need to breathe fresh air and feel the sun and have lots of light!

3:30pm - Drive to pick up Katy and Mackenzie. They get out at 3:40pm, most of the parents line up in front of the school around 3:15, but I get a little repreive here. I purchased one of our schools 2 front row parking spaces at our little fundraiser auction last year. I have my own parking space...right in the front...with my name on it! It is quite the luxury! It affords me at least 15 minutes of extra work time each day, which works out to 1 hour and 15 minutes every week, which equals 45 hours each school year. Not to mention the wild perk of not having to fight the crowds at open house, kindergarten round up, Sneak-A Peek back to school night, Kindergarten Musical, 3rd Grade Musical, etc, etc. Of course this does not always work out, sometimes...just a few, people who are not me have parked in my space!! This makes me very angry and since I have waited until the last minute to arrive, causes us to be late and stressed from trying to find another parking space. BUT...I have rectified this recently. If I arrive and someone has parked in MY space, I simply park right behind them, right up behind the back of their car, so there is no way for them to get out until I come back to my car, which is often way after the event has ended!! Sometimes, like on the first day of school, I just park my own self on a bench in the front of the school and watch the person as they try to figure out where I am and how they are going to get out of there. They are usually mortified that they have been caught, but you know...I paid good money, quite a bit of good money for that spot...and they should be ashamed of themselves. Oh well, it doesn't happen too often.

4pm - Home to have a snack and get ready for the next activity. If we have time, the girls start homework right away. If not, then we change, jump back into the car and off to soccer practice, Ballet class, or whatever. Katy has Soccer on Mondays, Ballet on Tuesdays & Thursdays. We don't have anything on Wednesdays right now, but soon will have Brownies and Daisies every other week and Fridays we often have something to attend like a concert or movie or dinner with friends. Typically, during the week we are done by 5:30pm.

5:30pm - Pick up Ava Marie.

6pm - Pick up Madyson.

6:30pm - Home to cook supper or serve it if I was smart and made something in the crock pot. We are slow eaters, I talk a lot and so do my girls. I like to relax at dinner, talk about our day, ask them questions about their friends and what was the best thing that happened to them. My daughters are also very good eaters, though you wouldn't know it to look at their skinny selves! So there is a lot of eating going on between talking.

7:30pm - I take Madyson and Mackenzie up to take their baths in my big bath. The baby likes to play on the floor with their pajamas and towels. I wash Mackenzie's hair most every night. Madyson's only needs to be done every 2 - 3 weeks. Katy reads at the table for 30 minutes.

8pm - Katy comes up to take her bath and I do a bath for the baby in her little pink baby bathtub.

8:15pm - Settle down on Mom's bed for reading. I like to read to the girls, we are reading Little House on the Prairie right now, we just finished Little House in the Big Woods. The girls listen and relax. Madyson sometimes walks around a little, maybe going through a book of her own, she isn't really ready to sit quietly and listen that long. Ava is actually a great listener, she will stare at the book, even if there are no pictures. I think she will become a wonderful reader some day.

8:45pm - Tuck the kids in bed and lights out. Katy and Mackenzie share a room, they have a bunk bed. Madyson has a bed in the room next door along with Ava's crib. But Madyson doesn't ever like to sleep there. She sleeps most every night on the floor in her sister's room. I have ordered a trundle to go under the bottom bunk for her, I hate that she always sleeps on the floor, but she absolutely won't sleep in her own room! Oh well, I am going to take her bed out of there and put in another crib for Olivia Grace.

9pm - I am back to work in my office until around 12 midnight - 1am. Depending how much I have to get done and whether or not Top Chef or Jon & Kate Plus Eight is on!

It's not the actual activites we do each day that makes me so tired, because Lord knows I am not kicking any of those soccer balls! I think it is all of the driving around I do. I spend at least 3 hours a day in the car! And the weekends aren't much better as that is when the little girls have their ballet and Katy has her actual soccer games, and then on Sunday we have church and then Childrens Choir. Oh well, years ago I tried to cut back on all of the extra-curricular stuff, but I just started to fill the days back up again with new activities. I think we are just one of those go-go families!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dreaming of relaxing!

Ohh to have a relaxing weekend! I am dreaming of it, but then if I really wanted to relax on the weekends or at night for that matter, I wouldn't have all of these children. I don't really like peace and quiet's very overrated!

Yesterday we ran errands. We started out at Church, I had to attend the Baptism class because all of the girls are going to be baptized in November. I know it seems like I've waited a long time, but after Katy and Madyson's adoption, when I originally planned to baptize them, we were still in the middle of Mackenzie's adoption and she would have felt so left out if we went ahead without her. And since Ava Marie's adoption is right around the corner now, I just wanted to have them all done on the same day.

After that we stopped by WalMart to drop off the girls new fall jackets. Every year I pick them up these wonderful polar fleece jackets at Dick's Sporting Goods. They come in a variety of colors and so I pick a new color each year for all of them to wear. Last year it was a light blue aqua, this year it is a dark pink. And since Macvkenzie and Madyson wear the same size I have their names embroidered on them so we know which is which. And Katy's too just because it looks so pretty. I think when people see them, they think the kids are on some kind of team. Of course they are...they are part of Team Werner!

Then we went to Costco to pick up diapers and wipes and have hot dogs for lunch. We love Costco hot dogs! And I picked up 4 new winter sleepers for Ava. They are adorable, one has little pink monkeys all over it with pink bows in the hair, so sweet!

After that we went home and the girls all played, Ava napped and I cooked as we were having my dear friend Lorraine and her daughter Olivia over for dinner. Lorraine and I worked together when I still worked in an office. (The old days...when I commuted 40 minutes each way to work. Now my commute lasts 1-2 minutes...depending if the cats are laying in the way or not! Oh, I am so lucky!!)

I made Bar-B-Que Chicken with roasted potatoes and veggies. I was going to pick up a pie, but I we didn't eat dessert. But we talked and the kids played and played and we watched the Olympics! Go Dara Torres!! If they call her old one more time....she's only old compared to those Chinese Gymnasts!

It was a fun night! And today we are planning on going to a big party at a park in Leawood. They'll have lots of things for the kids to do, then tonight they have a Jazz Concert in their amphitheater. I am bringing deli sandwiches, potatoe salad, sliced watermelon, lemon bar cookies and grapes. I am planning on running these children into the ground tonight! I want them good and tired! This is our last weekend without Childrens Choir which practices at our church on Sunday evenings from next Sunday through Christmas weekend. So it is the last weekend I can truly just do whatever I want to!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Kindergarten News

Mackenzie started Kindergarten yesterday! She has been soooooo excited all summer long. Telling anyone who will listen that she is going into Kindergarten and will be attending the same "big girl" school as her older sister!

Then, yesterday morning, she was scared and acting not at all like herself. She told me at breakfast that she might want to wait another week to start Kindergarten. "But you have to start with all of the other kids, honey." I told her. "Oh..." she gulped and then the tears started. She is afraid of the teacher, she might get lost, no one will like her...and some more that I couldn't understand because by now she is sobbing into my shoulder.

All of the sisters plus Mommy gave her a group hug. We have this special way we all stand and hold each others hands while linking arms, this is how we pray at night and sing a song. So we did this and prayed for a good day for Mackenzie and then all hugged again and then it was time to wash off the tears and take that First Day of School picture on the front porch with our new backpacks. And then off to drop off the little ones first so I could walk Mackenzie into her room and take pictures at her desk. (Pictures will follow. I still have a regular 35mm, no digital...I know, I am really old fashioned, but it takes phenomenal pictures and I don't trust those digital ones!)

She sat down next to a cute little girl named Dayna, and they posed for me and then for Dayna's Mother. Katy stood next to me and asked me if I would walk her to her class also. So we kind of stood around with the other parents and then waved to Mackenzie and walked out. Mackenzie was fine by then and waved us off as if she didn't know why we were all standing around staring at her. (That is the Mackenzie I know and love!!)

Out in the hallway were lots of parents trying to get one last glimpse of their new little Kindergartner. In fact there were quite a lot of crying mothers. I kind of snickered to Katy about it. Oh, I know it is hard to see your children grow up and away from you...but give me a break. You won't see me crying at the school while other Mothers watch! (These words will come back to haunt me...keep reading!) I even joked with one of my neighbors who was crying a lot! "Oh, you'll get used to it. Go shopping, do stuff you can't do when the kids are not around...soon you'll be glad to have them all in school!" As am I...right?!

So at 3:30pm I drove back up to the school and walked up to the front area where the kids come out. I knew Katy would know where to meet me, but I wasn't sure how the Kindergartners came out, or where, or even when. Then I saw the line of Kindergarten teachers with their students following behind them. They come out from the side of the building and walk around to the front, following in single file. The teachers are all smiles and happy to be leading their little charges out to their waiting parents.

But the kids...well, most of them looked like they were suffering from shell shock. I couldn't see Mackenzie at first, but when I finally found her, she looked so small and so young standing there with all of the others. She kept looking for me and didn't recognize me at first, then when she saw me her face lit up and at the same time dropped! I gulped, oh are not going to cry...Don't Cry!...I commanded myself. Then Mackenzie started to cry and then I started to cry. I blinked my eyes a hundred times to stop the tears, a small amount of water got out...but no one seemed to notice, Thank God! I picked Mackenzie up and Katy grabbed her hand and kept asking, "Did you have a great day? I saw you at recess, did you see me wave? Is your teacher nice?"

We walked over to the car, waving at friends and past teachers but did not stop to talk to anyone, I was on a get into my car before the tears really started to spill. It didn't help that Mackenzie was still holding onto me for dear life! Maybe she thought I might tell her to go back into the school again, today. Maybe she was just tired and overwhelmed, I'm still not sure what she was crying about. But I knew I was having a hard time keeping it together.

As we drove home Katy seemed to notice I was sniffling, she asked me if I was crying, I said it's just my allergies...and she bought that, yes! After we arrived home, the girls got their folders out of their backpacks to give to me. I sat down to read them and Mackenzie pulled out a poem from her teacher, it was all about how she would take care of our children while they were with her, love them as her own, send them back to us safe and sound, etc. And then Mackenzie handed me a drawing of herself that she had done at school, "So you can look at me if you miss me while I am at school." She said brightly! And the tears poured from my eyes....I grabbed her up and hugged her and let myself cry in her hair. The girls looked a little worried at first, so I told them they were happy tears and they both hugged me.

Sorry I laughed at you Amy. I guess I am just as much of a crying Mommie as you were. I bet we all just takes different things to turn the waterworks on!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Back on the list!!

Ok, I should start this post by saying that I celebrated my birthday on Tuesday. I had a great time. Took most of the day off of work. Katy and Mackenzie were still out of school so they were home with me and Randy didn't start back to school until this morning, so the four of us went out to lunch at one our favorite lunch spots, Mi Ranchita! Oh how I love their Espinaca dip and their fresh chips!

I also did my big grocery shopping trip to Walmart. I have put together my weekly menus through the end of August, so I bought everything I'll need for the next 3 weeks. Of course we'll still need to go back to the store each week for milk, bread and bananas, etc. But the gist of it is purchased and put away! I love to grocery shop, I just don't love to put it away!

I picked up Madyson and Ava at 5pm and then we went to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. It is my favorite all time restaurant and their service is great. And it was my birthday! The girls all gave me some beautiful hand made cards and a necklace and bracelet that they made out of their beads. So cute! Randy gave me a book called "Screenwriting for Dummies" because I am always coming up with ideas for movies and plays. He really wants me to write them down and get one completed so I will know that I have done something I talk about all the time! I told him I would start this week! But I haven't started yet...I will....I just have to squeeze out another hour in my day!

So...that brings me to the list. As a Foster/Adoptive mother, I get to call KVC, the agency where my kiddos all come from when I want to be considered for another child. I had been thinking about calling them when Ava turned 1 or so. But that would mean I wouldn't get another child until the middle of tax season, so......I have been thinking of calling sooner. And then one of my best friends who also has an adoptive daughter from the same agency, called to tell me she had just called to be on the list! I thought about it for another day....and then another....and then yesterday I called and went back on the list! So I should get a call in the next few months!! It's kind of like being pregnant! Except I don't really gain weight, no morning sickness and I know it will be a girl!!

I am hoping they will call me soon, I am praying about it and I know God will let it happen when He is ready. It is so exciting when you are waiting for another child. I called last year right around this time, and it took until December to get Ava Marie, but she was totally worth the wait!! The girls are really excited too, Randy is happy for us, he said he knew there would be more sisters for him. It's kind of funny, because he acts really cool when people ask him how he likes having 4 sisters, says it's fine as long as they are Mom's responsibility and not his. But he spends a LOT of time with us! He really dotes on Madyson, and Ava responds to him so well! He has taught her to wave and clap her hands. I think deep down he loves them a lot and is really happy to have siblings after all of these years. It is my one and only regret that Randy did not get the chance to have a sibling while he was growing up. He would have loved a brother and at the time I had no idea about fostering and adoption. I am so glad God opened my eyes to this now though!! It's never too late to design your own life!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

And still more summer pictures!

These were those beautiful Lilly Pulitzer dresses. The girls wore them to Starlight for High School Musical.
Madysons hair has now been combed, AGAIN, and braided. If we didn't swim twice a day everyday, this would last for about 2-3 weeks!

All the girls here for Katy's birthday sleepover.

Our family celebration on her actual birthdate. Her cake is chocolate and butter yellow marble with milk-chocolate frosting and we served it with fresh strawberry ice cream. My children also get to ask for their favorite dinner, Katy asked for spaghetti with meat sauce, green beans and garlic bread!

Madyson's Hair Au Natural

This was the day I paid $60 to have her hair combed out. It really looks cute, but will not stay this bouncy and pretty. After she sleeps on it, it will become all matted and stuck to her head. It is the curliest, kinkiest hair. But she loved "wearing it long like mommy's".

You can tell she is so pleased with herself! I told her, "You are a really beautiful girl." And she said, "Oh, I know that Mommy!"

More pictures from summer!

Madyson and Ava Marie sharing a book.

Ava and Phoebe sharing a blanket!

Grandma gets to feed the pretty baby! "No really grandma, you eat it first!"

Random pictures from the summer!

Madyson will do anything for sweets!

This is from our Annual Arbor Creek 4th of July Parade. The baby is asleep in her carrier in the wagon. The beautiful woman with the visor is my Mother, Olivia.

After the parade all of the kids got popsicles.

Ava Marie showing her patriotic spirit!

Mackenzie painting herself red with the popsicle.

Katy's sweet smile!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


So we've been spending as much time in the pool as possible! Katy swims like a fish, and Mackenzie and Madyson are right behind her. Mackenzie has to get out for sunscreen every half an hour or she will burn. She is so very fair! I keep SPF 50 on her, and I use SPF 35 on Katy and Madyson. I only have to reapply on them every hour. Did you know that black skin burns? I didn't before I got the girls, in fact I didn't even use sunscreen on Katy the first year she lived with me. Then one night she was getting in the bath and I saw her tan lines from her bathing suit. I was shocked! I felt like an idiot! So now I am really careful with all of my children and I always warn new parents with bi-racial or AA children, in case they don't know.

I ordered the girls school backpacks from Pottery Barn this year. They came today and they are really cute. Katy's is light blue with light green trim and her name across the front. And Mackenzie's is pink with lavendar trim and her name on the front. I did not order one for Madyson who promptly threw a fit and started crying because her backpack didn't come with the others. So I told her that hers was on "special order" and that gives me time to order one for her too. I hadn't really thought it would be that big of a deal to her, but apparently it is!

It's hard to believe that school will start next week. Katy starts on Thursday with a half day, she will be in 3rd grade. She is excited because on Friday we can go online and see who her teacher is. Then on Monday the 11th our school hosts Sneak-A-Peek, which is the annual first look and introduction for the kids to their teachers. We will bring our school supplies in that evening, and a gift for the teacher, a plant or something for her/his room. Mackenzie starts Kindergarten on Friday at the same school. (Madyson is actually going back to her pre-school on Monday so she technically starts first.)

Mackenzie is extra excited because the Kindergartners at our school are having an Ice Cream Social on Sunday so the kids will have a chance to see each other one last time before school starts. She gets to go with me while her sisters stay home, which is a real thrill for her! And she keeps trying on clothes because she wants to be sure to look really cute at the party!