Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Negotiator

Bronco's quiet time is deemed a success on three criteria; dry undies, he's quiet, and doesn't wake up Shelby. Lately I've been able to work with him by negotiating stickers. 
One Month Old Bronco

"If you're quiet buddy you can get one sticker, if you're quiet and your undies are dry you get TWO stickers!" The thought of two stickers was like winning the lottery to this kid.

Lately he's upped his game a little. I say my usual pre-quiet time spat about stickers and he adds to it.

"Ok, Bronco gets TWO stickers a sucker AND hot chocolate."  He always seems so proud of his new terms.
"How about THREE stickers and a hug?" I retort.

"How about a lot of stickers and hot chocolate?"  He's clever this one.

"How about one sticker and hot coco?" I have obviously won.

"No, Bronco gets 2 stickers, a sucker and a hug?" He says, with his arms open wide.

"Deal" I say, swooping in to hug my little negotiator. 

I'm pretty sure the only sucker in the house is me...a big sucker for my kiddos and free hugs!

Today's negotian?? 

A Gatorade, two stickers and mommy reads him a book. That seemed like a pretty dang good deal too. ;)

I can't believe he's already 3. My how the time has flown with each of our babies. It's exciting and scary to know it'd 15 years and he's on his own. Nevertheless, I'm holding onto now and the special moments he gives me.
3 Year old Bronco

Monday, November 18, 2013

My Oh My!

So after being sick for nearly two weeks Abigail had a week off. She is now sick again and seems to be a little annoyed by the whole thing.  Despite being sick she has started to really explore the house. She wants to stand on Bronco's timeout stool and feel the stove, the sink, the counters and cupboards. It's really exciting to see her learning and growing in ways we thought wouldn't come for a few more years.
This is not a smokey eye attempt on my part...it's a sleptinmymakefupanditworks look.
This girl has been so cuddly and cute despite being sick!
We had her stand on the stool at the sink and we filled it with water. She loved splashing and feeling the water pour from the faucet. It was super cute and exciting to watch. However, now anytime she hears the water running in the kitchen she walks to the kitchen (yes walks! no crawling!) and demands we pick her up so she can play with the water. Needless to say this is extra motivation to get ALL the dishes done every night so she can go exploring. :)
Shelby loves her big sister.
She's always trying to follow her and do what she's doing. 

Bronco has really started talking more eloquently lately.  Jon was brushing his teeth and rummaging through drawers. Bronco came up to me and said, "Oh mom. What is dad looking for? His clothes?" I was amazed at all the words he fit into his question and how much attention he was paying to Jon's morning routine.
We were just taking picture this morning. :)
such a stud like daddy!
He's also started dressing himself, (best gift ever!), keeping his undies dry all day (and on occasion all night!) and doing his chores without being asked. I credit all this to his brilliance and his sticker chart.
So simple it works!
This little chart I threw together in minutes has been a life saver. I see posts of all these super cute crafts for kids' charts and thought mine had to be cute. But we picked 5 easy categories for him. Anytime he meets one he gets a sticker. When he gets all his stickers each week he gets a reward. Last week he got a Jr Frosty date with mom at Wendy's. His two week goal?? He's earning stickers to buy batteries for his remote control McQueen car. :) He wanted candy at first but when his car wasn't working I told him the batteries were dead. And a light clicked on! I said, "Bronco you can get batteries for McQueen when you get all your stickers". Now he always tells me, "Mom Bronco's earning stickers to get batteries for McQueen, so he's not dead anymore!" LOVE IT! There isn't anything he does that isn't followed by him saying, "See mom, Bronco's earning stickers! It's so exciting!".

Shelby has demanded she get a sticker chart too. So I drew a giant heart with her name above it. After she's done eating we give her a sticker.She thinks she is the coolest girl ever putting them on her chart. She's so active and chatty! If she's not bringing out all of her "babies" (every stuffed animal in their room) and telling me all about them (wish I knew what she was saying), then she's walking around the house pointing and chatting about everything she sees. She recently started eating with a spoon and fork like champ. Which has eliminated 80% of dinner clean up! If she decides to go face first in her bowl of spaghetti than I just sit her inn the sink. :) 
She also has a VERY unique method of drinking out of her sippy.
She only uses one when she's playing.
This chick is expert at drinking out of cups.

"Chug!" That green ribbon is her pretty necklace.
She won't let me remove it!

All together these three kiddos keep me on my toes. I am happy they're becoming more independent. It's giving me time to write, relax, clean and hope that things will go smoothly once baby Scott arrives in February!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Oh the Holiday Season....

I am beyond excited for this holiday season. Thanksgiving and Christmas had always been a sore spot for me as a child.  They weren't really holiday's but reminders. Reminders of what life my family didn't have, the family dynamic we lacked and the overall feeling of being loved that we missed.

Then, when I felt like I could take no more a miracle happened; my siblings and I were placed in foster care.
Christmas in foster care was always hard.  Our foster parents would give away our gifts or complain that we were only getting gifts because of pity.  Yet, the thing that bothered me most was my family still had no family.

After 18 months in the foster care system parental rights of our biological parents were terminated and we were up for adoption. Instead of being separated and farmed out to various foster homes, the youngest possibly getting adopted, we were given a family.

My parents now, should have retired and moved on with life when their youngest of SEVEN was nearing the end of his senior year of high school. Instead, they decided to expand their family by adding 5 more children; my 4 younger siblings and myself.

I don't recall our first Thanksgiving or Christmas with them. We were not yet adopted and it didn't feel like we were an official family. There was still a chance that this "dream"  could end very abruptly.

After our adoption finalized in 2004 I knew we were a family.  There was no turning back, Kent and Shari Johnson were without a doubt Mom and Dad. They became the mom and dad my family had always deserved. They bought a new house, in a new town and we started fresh as a family.

We spent the summer and early fall working out in the lawn and making it our home.  As much as us kids complained about the work it meant everything to us. Our first Thanksgiving I noticed the beautiful arrangements my mom had put on the table. My brother Karlin and his wife Sonya brought pies and rolls (by far the best rolls I've ever had), Kaylan and Natalie were there also. I watched as she knitted a beautiful afghan. Karalee brought her baby girl Taleena who loved spending time with grandma. Kailee was there, my older sister that I idolized and looked up too. Everyone was making pie crusts, pies, parts of Thanksgiving dinner and the fire was roaring in the living room.

After dinner my mom was excited to put up Christmas decorations. We put the tree up, fluffed it (so there weren't ANY gaps), added all the beautiful made bows, bulbs and ribbons. The decorations for the walls came next. When we bought the Parma house and moved, she also bought an event calendar. Each year we got to hang ornaments according to the day. I tried to act like it wasn't a big deal, after all I was teenager. But each year,  December 24th,  the night before my birthday, was saved for me. I always knew that Christmas Eve's ornament would be waiting in it's box for me to hang up and I looked forward to it every year.

Once Christmas day rolled around we were all up bright and early waiting to open our gifts.  I remember very few of my gifts.  I know that sounds horrible. After all, my parents had put much thought into each child. I remember, though, exactly how I felt on Christmas day. The joy, warmth and love which consumed me never faded through the years...those feelings only grew.  The best gift my parents ever gave me was after our adoption when we were sealed. They don't know how much that day meant to me. Even more so, how it impacted my first Thanksgiving and Christmas as a Johnson.

Now, I have a family of my own. Hanging in our living room is that very event calendar that means so much to me.  I wish more than anything we could go home for Thanksgiving and I could help put up the tree once more. I've missed it for so many years now. However, this year I have the blessing of creating memories with my children and husband. We'll make our own pies, turkey and Thanksgiving happiness. Afterwards we'll put up the tree, decorate it and wait patiently for December 1st. On the eve of December 1st we'll hang up that first ornament on our little calendar. And count down the days until we celebrate the joy, warmth and love that has created and protected our little family.

Mrs Lee