Sunday, February 28, 2010

Intentionally Color-conscious

People notice color. Even young kids.

A couple weeks ago, we introduced Andrew and Jadon to some wonderful family friends with young children of their own. I remember as the kids played on the floor, their three-year-old looked right at Jadon and said, "You're brown." After identifiying all the colors of all the skin on little arms and legs, play continued joyfully.

On the playground at recess, Andrew and Ethan have had classmates at school inform them that they can't be brothers. Because they don't match.

Nanny, Gramps, and Auntie Jenn joined us for dinner the other night. As we finished up our meal, Ethan was working out the order of birthdays for everyone at the table. Jadon, who was sitting on Nanny's lap, must have overheard that Nanny was in line for a birthday. He leaned in and whispered into her ear, "For your birthday, you can ask for brown skin!"

As a multi-hued family, I am sure we will have many anecdotes--alternatively funny, sad, productive, and maddening--of people's responses to skin color. I did read this blog post recently and REALLY encourage you to read it, too, because it isn't hard to notice the differences around us...but sometimes we're not really sure what to do about it...or maybe it's simply that we haven't been intentional about it. For my family's sake...for your family's sake...take the time.

If you say, "Hey, that's none of my business," will that get you off the hook? Someone is watching you closely, you know—Someone not impressed with weak excuses. Psalm 24:12

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Birthday Boy (At least, sort of!)

Officially, Andrew's birth certificate suggests that he would turn six today. While we are still working to nail down an appropriate age/birthdate for our biggest boy and refrained from any big family celebration today (we're thinking summer!), Andrew was in no way deterred from being incredibly enthusiastic about his "school birthday" celebration.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

No Pain, No Gain

This morning, the boys joined me for a circuit training regimen. Squats, push-ups, lunges, shadow boxing--the whole works. It was funny to watch them check their arms every few minutes to see if their muscles were growing yet.

Today's lessons: Patience and Discipline.

Tomorrow's lesson: Endurance through suffering!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Snow Painting

"When it snows, you have two choices: shovel or make snow angels." -- Author unknown
Well, we're really past the point of either shoveling or making snow angels in our crusty, white we came up with a little food coloring project to help busy bodies enjoy the sunshine after school today.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New and Improved

In hopes of reducing the occurrence of this:
...we're going with this!

Have you ever seen a more handsome little man?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sillies of the Superficial Variety

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV

So maybe my kids aren't quite beyond the outward appearance-thing yet...

  • A few nights ago, Jadon's bedtime prayer went something like this...

    "Thank you God for Gramma and Pappy. Thank you for Pappy having a beard. Thank you for Gramma no having a beard..."

  • I had the following conversation today. Abby, Jadon, and I were walking to the bus stop to get the big boys after school. As we passed by our neighbor's house, their small terrier rushed out to the full length of his (her?) leash and began barking incessantly. Obviously reassured by the restraining leash, Jadon was intrigued. "Why he do that?" he asked. I answered, "Well, I think he knows this is his house, and he wants to ask us what we're doing here." There was a pause during which I figured the children were processing my answer. Then Abby piped up, "I think he was saying he really likes my shoes!"

...but they sure do make me laugh!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More Happy Things (in the Mom Life of a Canadian, Adoptive, Multiracial Family)

1) My Super-Capacity Washing Machine
I don't think I need to say any more.

2) Expressions of Beauty
I have noticed that Abby, who loves to color and has a distinctive appreciation for all things beautiful and fancy, often chooses darker skin tones in her pictures. Poet Maya Angelou has said, "It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength." While I've never explicitly told Abby that her pictures would be especially beautiful if they contained a variety of skin colors, I am so pleased to see her reflecting this belief through her own creative expressions!

3) The Gift of Community
Last weekend, we spent some time in Mike's hometown for its "Winter Carnival." This event included community meals, entertainment by Junkyard Symphony, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and a community hockey game that pitted dozens of youngsters against three good-natured high school students. The big boys participated in the game and were super-excited to come home with a win and their own medals! Spending quality time with friends and family is such a precious thing.

4) Fun and Motivational Organizational Strategies
I love to borrow great ideas. This particular one I got from a fellow adoptive mom's blog, although I've adapted it slightly for our own needs. Our "5-finger mornings" help the kids to take responsibility for getting themselves ready in the morning. They need to do the four fingers, then the thumb, and then they are free to play (if they have any time before it is time to catch the bus!) Abby says, "It's easy to remember because it's on the wall, and it has the fingers. I can do it everyday!" ...and Mom says, "Less nagging makes me happy."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fun with Books

Given my relative inexperience as a mother of four, I still find it all too easy to become ridiculously overwhelmed at the thought of all I must do. I find that the best method of releasing myself from this state of motherly paralysis (or glorified grumpiness) is to engage in a purposefully playful activity. Among my favorite resources toward the pursuit of this lightheartedness are books.

For example, “The Mitten” by Jan Brett has provided us considerable opportunity for cuddles and chortles over the last couple days. To try this yourself (and perhaps with a child participant?), all you need is a copy of the book, a blanket, several stuffed animals, and your sense of adventure. Simply act out the story, using the blanket as your “mitten” and your own animals (plus you) as the story’s characters!

We have also utilized some masks to get into character with our favorite books. “Library Lion” provides the chance for the practicing of tiptoeing, ear twitching (which, in our family, demands the use of fingers), and, of course, ROARING! “Ellison the Elephant” also draws giggles with its encouragement of “tooting” (the musical kind!).
How about you? Any suggestions for book fun?