Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Toddler life

did you know that i do not like toddlers?

i'm a baby person. i love babies. i love the weird way they look. i tolerate the weird way they smell.  i love the way they do NOTHING and can do NOTHING for themselves. i love that! i don't mind doing everything for them. changing their disgusting diapers. feeding them. burping them. wiping up their spit up. putting them to bed a million times a day. i love it all. unless they are cry babies. then that's a deal breaker.

toddlers think they are the opposite of babies, and that's why i don't like them. they usually look better as toddlers than they did as babies, and they usually smell less foul than their younger counterparts, but they think they can do EVERYTHING. by themselves. with no help. but in fact, they can still do NOTHING (right) and they cry about EVERYTHING, which i mentioned was a deal breaker for me.

but here is the absolute, positively worst thing about toddlers- they bring out the ugliest part of me. the. ugliest.

a good friend of mine told me long time ago that the most successful relationships were ones where each member brought out the best in each other.

case in point- chris and i. we honestly have an incredible relationship that i praise Jesus for daily. sure we disagree on stuff and occasionally annoy each other, but seriously, our relationship is so great. sometimes i feel like the world's best wife- selfless, serving, all that good stuff. but the more i inspect my soul these days, i find very little that is good, pure, and Christ-like in there. my love is not unconditional. it is heavily laden with conditions, rules, and stipulations.

chris works so dang hard, he loves his job, and he is really really good at it. but he loves his family more than anything in this world- more than money, more than football- and that's saying A LOT. chris also happens to adore me, and i know this despite the fact he is not a big words-of-affirmation kind of guy. i feel so secure in our relationship, and he really pushes me to be the best mom, wife, daughter, friend, aunt, foster mom, that i can be. i am a good wife cause he is the best husband!

then you have my kids. namely the toddlers. oh for the love. where do i begin... they make me feel... so inadequate. for example- i have been a mom for over seven years now. sure Lily and Topher occasionally throw me for a loop, but for the most part i know how to deal with them. Mia still has moments that make me question the kind of mom that i am and that i thought i was. i know every child is unique and you can't even parent your children- who are genetically identical, identically. i know this from having had Lily and Topher so close together, and i know this cause Mia is so different from Lily, and Topher, and LilyandTopher. she has suddenly become a not very good sleeper, and is becoming a pickier eater with every passing day. i have moments when i just want to quit, and then Mia says something so sincere, so simple, like: "mom, thanks for making me breakfast" or "mom, thank you for buying me that striped shirt that one time" and then i smother her with kisses and cuddles and chocolates. she's cute, and that's why she's still alive.

and then there's little miss J. we hit the foster kid jackpot with this one- and i am not saying this with a hint of sarcasm. she doesn't have any signs of neglect or abuse, though she has moments when i think it would be appropriate to get 'thug life' tattooed on her neck, but even those moments are so rare now that's she's been here for over three months. the only thing that seems to be 'wrong' with her, is her age. between still getting teeth, and learning to communicate, we've had a couple of rough days and weeks. and by rough, i mostly just mean annoying. this girl can throw a tantrum with the best of them, and whining is a very special talent she has as well. sometimes she just screams in my face and i want to scream back at her: "YOU'RE NOT INVITED TO MY BIRTHDAY PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" like i said- these kids aren't bringing out the best in me. they are bringing out the toddler in me.

but the scary thing to think about is- if they don't bring out the best in me- what if i am not bringing out the best in these kids??!?!??

that's the stuff nightmares are made of folks.

 there's a verse that gets to me, and gives me much hope. it's from lamentations 3:22-23, and it goes a little something like this:

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."

something that kids do, that i as an adult-who-acts-like-a-child does not do, is that they forgive and forget very easily. i can yell and carry on like a complete lunatic (aka toddler), and the kids can scream back and cry and all that, and all seems lost, and then someone farts and there is much laughter. no laughter from me, but from the kids. even if i think it's funny too, i don't let myself laugh. cause i'm mad. i feel disrespected, or unappreciated, or both. and i want to hold a grudge. but these kids are so unintelligent- they don't even know how to hold a grudge for pete's sake. 

so, i'm trying not to teach my kids to be like me. i'm trying to teach them to be like Jesus, but the more i hang out with them, the more i realize they have a steadfast and unconditional love much akin to my Savior, and in that respect, maybe i should let my inner toddler out more. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

welcome to crazy town.

I haven't written in two months. no wait. more (i started this post a long time ago...) I didn't die. I didn't change residences. Lots has happened, and I have taken lots of great pictures, but my computer REALLY sucks, and I cannot upload pictures to my blog anymore. but that's ok, cause I am now in this strange place in my life where I can't take a ton of pictures and share them. have we re-entered the witness protection program? no. we have embarked on this very strange and wonderful and painful journey, and I want to invite you on this journey with us. but again- there will be no pictures. just lots of words. lots and lots of words. and some feelings. and probably a good amount of whining.


but before I tell you where we are going together, let me tell you how we got here:


a few years ago during the holidays I read a ton of annoying articles about these annoying families that wouldn't celebrate thanksgiving in the traditional way of gorging themselves and then going black Friday shopping (one of my favorite holidays!) instead, these crazy families would wake up at the buttcrack of dawn and make like a million sandwiches and vats of hot chocolate and then distribute them to the homeless and downtrodden of their city. and I read an absurd number of heart-breaking/warming articles about kids who had battled (and beat!) cancer and other life-threatening diseases and so they spent the bulk of their holidays in hospitals blessing other kids and families. but what was i to do? our family is healthy and i had too many little kids to be considering feeding AND fellowshiping with the homeless. so i prayed for God to give our family a mission. not for us to go to africa, but to make a difference in our community, and something that would help my kids to see how privileged and downright LUCKY they are, as well as to have an opportunity to serve alongside Chris and i.


fast forward a bunch of months. maybe even a year. no wait. i think it was about a year exactly cause i started reading those articles before thanksgiving and we had this epiphany right before thanksgiving... anyway, we decided to grow our family. i did not want to have another baby for the longest time, but Mia was already one (i guess for normal folks, contemplating having another baby when your baby turns 1 is not a LONG time, but remember i got pregnant with Topher when Lily was FOUR MONTHS OLD!!!) and she was such a FANTASTICAL little chubby baby. i felt prepared to try to recreate some of that magic! but God's sense of humor took over, and instead of preparing us to have one of our own babies, He was preparing us to have one of His babies. no, not like that. as in a ward of the state, aka a foster kid.

oh man, you should have seen me try to back pedal out of this corner!:
"what Lord? i don't want any more kids. yes Lord, i love you and would do anything for you. but not that. and still don't send me to africa. i did ask for a mission for my whole family to be involved in, but 'how bout we revisit that serving sandwiches on thanksgiving option again? i'll even do it twice a year!!! Lord? Lord????''

Chris felt CALLED. he was the driving force behind this train(wreck). we went to a 1 hour orientation, which lead to a 6 hour saturday all-day orientation type thing, which lead to us picking an agency (Christian Family Care Agency- and we ADORE them), which lead to 10 3-hour long thursday evening classes, which lead to more mandatory (and necessary) hoop-jumping, which led us to get licensed in June. whew.

the 10 week classes were actually pretty enjoyable because we had the two best instructors in the universe. they both work for our agency and one is an adoption specialist who has a foster-turned adopted grandson, and the other was the sweetest lady who had fostered for about 15 years and had over 30 kids live in her home over that period of time. their wealth of knowledge and experience was incredible. one thing that the adoption specialist said that stuck with me was this: "some of you are called to just foster. some of you are called to just adopt. some of you are called to foster and then adopt. and some of you are called to none of the above." (admittedly i hoped i was in the last category! fingers crossed...) but then he continued: "but you are all here, and i want you to make it through the whole ten weeks and see what God is calling you to do, and even if it isn't to do any of the three situations, EVERYONE has a role in the foster syster." oh man. by the end of the 10 weeks i, along with Chris, felt an overwhelming burden to become foster parents.

the reason i am blogging about this is cause we need your help. we need you to pray for us. often. and twice on sundays.

tomorrow is our three month anniversary of non-stop having a ward of the state living with us. we started off providing respite for another foster family by watching their little 2 year old boy for 5 days, which actually over-lapped with our watching our cousins' 6 year old foster daughter for 8 days by 2 days, and then we got our little girl, J, who is now 20 months old; we got her on a monday, and our cousins' foster daughter left the following day, so there were three days altogether when we had two foster kids living in our house! it was amazing madness! there are lots of moments of GREATNESS and wonder and unspeakable joy. chris and i feel such peace knowing we are right in the middle of where God wants us to be right now. BUT there are also LOTS of moments of tears and sadness and madness and loneliness and insanity. we are blessed, but man, we are also tired.

so, dear friend, when you think about it, please pray for us. we have a pretty phenomenal group of people who have helped us out SO VERY VERY VERY much over the last three months (no wait, longer than that.) but if God puts it on your heart to join our group- let me know! you want to watch the kids? great! you want to bring me a coffee? do it! you want to tell me that you prayed for me once and plan on doing it again- bring it on! there's room for you here at crazy town :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mister Topher is 6

Our precious son turned 6 a few weeks ago. (A LOT of weeks ago! my computer keeps shutting down as I get ready to post! oh I hate technology sometimes!!! ok. I just figured out that I cannot add pictures to this post is I actually want it to upload....)


And if I was a little awesomer I would have blogged about that closer to when it happened, but alas, not only did 2013 kick my blogging butt, but so did February, March, and now April of 2014.




Back to my boy. Topher really grew from a sweet little 5 year old, to a more mature, though still pretty nutty little 6.




We just had his 6  year old well-check and he is weighing in at a whopping 40 lbs and 4 oz (which puts him at the 15th percentile) and he is standing tall at three feet and 7 inches, which also puts him at the 15th percentile. I was impressed that he wasn't lower on the charts, but Chris was not as impressed as I was. That's ok, cause everything else about Topher's personality and brain and spirit impress both Chris and I.




So, Topher just learned how to ride his two wheel bike a few days before he turned 6. Lily actually learned how to ride her two wheel bike just a few weeks before she turned 7, which I realize is kind of late for both of them, but we don't challenge Topher enough physically, and I knew he could ride a two wheeler if we just made him. so we went outside with a balance bike, and a two wheel Spiderman bike that one of Chris' co-workers gave to him. and we tried to get Topher to balance on the balance bike, which went...ok... and then we got back on the two-wheel bike, and I hit Topher with his ultimate incentive- MONEY! I told him I would give him ONE DOLLAR if he could pedal 5 times on his bicycle. and guess what? he learned how to ride a bike that day!




On to way more important and awesome things- on February 16th, Topher accepted Jesus into his heart. it was just a lovely Sunday at the Watson house, and we had just come home from church and Topher was just full of questions about Jesus. We sat down and read this handy little book that our church gives out to the kids called 'How to say 'YES' to Jesus.' We read it, and Topher said that he wanted to say YES to Jesus! We prayed about it and invited Jesus into his heart. It was so beautiful. I was so proud of my precious sweet boy.




Topher at the age of 6 still loves Star Wars, and LEGOs, and Lego Star Wars, and is reading little chapter books, and writing hilarious little stories. He is SO AMAZING! the other day he was sitting at the table reading a book for school and he said: "look mom! this book is the same author and illustrator as the 'No, David, No!' books!" so I went over and picked up the book he was reading and I looked through all the pages to see where it said that. and I couldn't find anything. so I asked him how he knew that and he just pointed to the author's name on the front cover and said: "see? it says David Shannon." he just remembered the author and illustrator of the other book! he's so smart.


so, we had his birthday party on his birthday, right after school. it was a pretty small event at Peter Piper Pizza. it was pretty much all of his cousins and our next door neighbors- in other words- lots and lots of blond and blue eyed kids!




we are so blessed to be surrounded by so much awesome family, and friends, and to have such a phenomenal little boy as our son. Love you Topher Loafer!!!!










Sunday, April 6, 2014

conversations lately

i didn't write for topher's birthday yet, so i will get to that. i also played a prank on my kids for april fool's, but it was lame. there weren't even any real tears.
but my kids have been so funny lately so i really need to write this down so i don't forget how funny they are.

conversation that just happened 5 minutes before bedtime:
-lily and topher are ready for bed, but somehow they get on the subject of exercise and topher drops to the ground and starts planking. he's on his elbows for a whole second and a half and then stops.
topher: "that really hurts! but there are good hurts and bad hurts. that was a good hurt."
lily: "i know topher. you already told me that last week."
apparently my son is already an exercise-obsessed little man.

conversation that happened two weeks ago in the car after i picked the kids up from school:
lily: "what if someone joins our family who is a different color than us?"
me: "that's ok because we love everyone no matter what color their skin is."
topher: "just like we love BooBoo (my brother in law James, who is half African-American and half Korean.) And Sungu. (my nephew who is 3/4 Korean and 1/4 African-American)."
me: "yup. just like we love them."
lily: "yeah, the boys in their family are dark, and the girls (my sister and niece) are light. (which was a good observation) but we are all the same in our family."
me: "what?..."
topher: "yeah. we are all the same in our family."
me: "What?? even me and your dad?"

in case you've forgotten what we look like:
that's a weird picture. i am not that bright white... terrible picture to prove my point.

anyway, back to the conversation-
me: "so... i guess i just have dark hair, and daddy has blond hair?"
topher: "you have long hair. lily has long hair. mia has short hair- but she's still a girl. i have short hair, and i am a boy. and daddy has a beard."
i love that my kids cannot tell the difference between their dad and i. 

mia is telling the worst knock knock jokes, because she confuses the main lines with different punch lines.
example:
mia: "knock knock."
me: "who's there?"
mia: "b'nana"
me: "banana who?"
mia: "... stop crying baby!"

lily and topher are working on thank you cards from their birthdays. i am trying REALLY hard to be a better person, and to raise my kids to be better people (than me even!). i wrote a script for each of them, and they surprisingly changed roles- lily who usually sticks to what she is told to do- strayed and wrote sweet thank you notes complete with pictures. topher, who usually is very creative, copied the script down to the underlines i used to denote 'fill in the blank'. 
here's one of my fave cards that i was able to take a picture of:

and she had another one to our sweet friends who got her some adorable pajamas. she wrote: "Thank you for the pajamas. I wore them on March 24th."
in case you were worried that she wasn't going to use the gift you gave her- lily will tell you what day she used it.


my kids. i love them so much! they are so funny and make the tantrums, disobedience, selfishness, and all around madness totally worth it.



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sweet Lily Girl is 7

Today is one of my favorite days to re-live, and celebrate- the birth of my beautiful first born!

it was funny cause this weekend i was talking with my girlfriend Cindy, and we were telling Lily that this weekend, 7 years ago, we were walking around the zoo just waiting for her to fall out! and that didn't happen. cause of Eve. and the need for labor. boo...

anyhoo, so today was lily's birthday and she had the day all planned out: breakfast at IHOP, go to school, get picked up, hang out, have mc donalds for dinner.
admittedly, two days ago, her birthday plan was a little simpler (and cheaper) because she said she wanted Costco pizza for dinner. and that's why i said we could go out for breakfast because her dinner choice was SO CHEAP. and because chris was pretty sure he was going to miss dinner, and he wanted to take his special girl (and the rest of the family) out for at least one meal on her birthday.
fortunately, chris ended up eating just as many meals with lily today as i did.

here's lily at IHOP:


she ordered raspberry blintzes, and they brought out a little ice cream sundae for her afterwards. nothing gets you ready for school like a little ice cream sundae for breakfast!
she really wanted her greatgrandparents to come to breakfast with us, but poor GG has shingles!
we really never go to IHOP without chris' grandparents, and even little mia was looking around for them when we walked in, and sat down.
get better soon grandma!
lily loved her gifts of clothes, toys, and books!
all of which i got on sale and have been hoarding away since post-christmas.

then lily went to school, and then i picked her up and she said she wanted donuts and then to hang out at a park.
if you start off your day with a little ice cream sundae, obviously the next right move is to eat donuts (did i mention she also brought cookies to her class to celebrate her birthday?).
mother of the year right here folks.
it's only your birthday once a year.
and you also only turn 7 once.
and how can you say "no" to this face?:
                                                  that's right. you can't. so donut time it was!


we went to a new park that they built near the new spring-training facilities they just built for the Cubs. it's a gigantic, beautiful, and BUSY park. the kids definitely burnt off all the calories they consumed today. mostly by posing for all these crazy pics: 






and then we went to mc donalds up in Scottsdale so that chris could join us for our last unhealthy meal of the day. we got home, bathed, got ready for bed, and read books until 9:02pm, which is when lily was born, seven crazy years ago.
i know everyone says that time flies by when you have kids. and i didn't believe them at first, especially when lily was a baby- and then i had another babyrightafterthat.
but it is true!
time is flying, i am aging even more rapidly than my kids, i can't remember anything, and i wish i had taken videos of every moment of every day that my kids have been alive.
but alas, that's why i still have my blog, though i write as inconsistently as i do.
i need to remember these days. cause they are so precious, so beautiful, so fleeting.
i can't thank Jesus enough for the wonderful gifts that He has blessed me with, that i do not deserve in the least bit.
today, my favorite blessing, that started off as an innocent 8 lb 3oz (or was it 2oz? it may as well have been 20oz. man she was huge!) though destructive (i had some wine tonight as i remembered birthing her) sweet little baby, is now a sweet, sassy, kind, smart, caring, funny, and beautiful seven year old girl.



love you Lily Jaye Nara Watson.

ps. get ready to eat nothing but celery tomorrow. ;)


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

procrastinator supreme part 3

yeah. when you want to remember everything, but don't take the time to write them down as they occur, you need to write a lot all at once.
here's my third, and hopefully last post for the night.

JANUARY (how was that already last month??!!?)


Mia was all done with her crib. after almost a month of her climbing out a few times, and then sleeping in the pack and play, I took the side off of her crib and made it into a toddler bed. after one night when she fell out twice, we put up a rail. and it only took one day and one spanking and she was good about staying in bed. she is so stinkin awesome.

 lily and barb on barb's horse (I don't remember the horse's name...)
this is what winter in the desert looks like- hot.

we were celebrating Christmas one more time cause Chris' brother Justin finally made it out of Alaska (he was stationed there for the last year or so with the army) and back safely to the hot desert.
here's Wes and Xander.
Xander is 1 and this was the first time we got to meet him. he is so sweet!

mia also learned to drive a tractor.
keep your hands on the wheel young lady!

January also marks a month of crazy birthday celebrations- we went to San Tan Brewery to celebrate Elisa, Todd's and my birthday. (Todd is Chris' cousin, and Elisa is his wife and one of my BFFs :)
Here are the boys.

and here are us girls.
so fun being out! have I mentioned how much I love my family!??!

back to Christmas in January- here's my ridiculously cute girl trying to look like her Nana

and here is my niece Emma, not trying to, but succeeding at looking like her Nana :)
remember I said how great mia is at staying in her bed? well, one day she didn't want to nap and I made the mistake of not closing her door all the way, so she came out looking like this. how am I supposed to be mad at this?!??!?

my birthday this year was SO GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was randomly and thoroughly spoiled by my friends and family, and Joe Johnston and his free food around Gilbert.
I didn't really LOVE my birthday as a kid, and definitely not as an angst ridden teen. but man- my birthday now is SO AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!

here are my nieces Zoe and Sarah.
Zoe just came back from Alaska, and she's a sharp little (not actually little) 4 year old.
Sarah is Josh and Aly's little (actually very little!) 4 month old :)
 

procrastinator supreme part 2

Christmas was so fun that it deserves it's own very belated post.
 
I am very happy to say that I accomplished a fun craft in the midst of the busyness- I re-covered all of the stockings with fabrics that better suited our family members' personalities and interests. more so than the original red velour-ish material they once were.
 
 
this picture perfectly captures our Christmas morning- lily and topher were SO EXCITED! lily is the blur in the pic. mia is sitting, drinking her milk, mad that we woke her up...

 
yup. still grumpy. even after opening some presents. I missed getting a picture of her throwing her toys on the ground in a huff. thankfully most of her gifts came from the dollar section at Target.

 
lily and topher went to the dollar store and got gifts for each member of our family with their own money. it was SO precious. it made my mommy heart so happy.

 
and they even wrapped and decorated the gifts themselves!
they are getting so big and growing up so fast.

 
lily is trying to get her sister excited about her present.

 
we try really hard to remind the kids all through the hustle and bustle of the holidays that the meaning of it all is the birth of Christ.
thank you God for sending your one and only Son to be born among us so that He could eventually give His life for ours.
 
Thank you and Happy Birthday Jesus.