Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Potty Training Party!

We are a potty training household, once again!
I have to preface that statement by telling you a few things about myself.

#1 - I hate potty training.

#2 - Pull-ups are of the devil

#3 - People who have potty trained a child should be able to put that as a job skill on their resume.

#4 - Bribery is perfectly acceptable when potty training.

#5 - After doing this with three children (and countless other little people while working in childcare), I've developed a few theories and I just know you'd love to hear all about them (that's why you're reading my blog, right?)! One of those theories is that small children (like 18 months to 2 years) have a window of opportunity in which they are open and excited about using the toilet. Miss that window and you have to wait a while for it to open again, or you simply forge ahead with it and fight your child every step of the way.

With our first daughter, I missed that window by a couple of weeks. I was pregnant, busy and thought it didn't really matter when I potty trained her. We started with great intentions, only putting her in underwear. After we had gone through ALL the underwear (about 20 pairs) in a matter of hours, I thought to myself, "Pull-ups are a lovely invention! Why not save myself some frustration and laundry?" Oh. My. Gosh. That was a thought from the pit of hell that drug on the misery of potty training for nine horrible months. And I can't blame my poor child for it either. I was the one who kept switching her back and forth from underwear to a diaper that had stretchy sides and made a horrendous mess when filled with fecal matter. Ugh. I told my friend Becca I was losing my faith over potty training. Wasn't joking; I meant it. Every time I took my little girl potty, I fervently prayed, "Please Lord, let her poop in the potty!" When our time in the bathroom yielded no results, only to have her fill her pants about 5 minutes later, it was enough to seriously question the existence of God.

Second time around, I had heard about the "potty training in a day" method. I've never actually read the book, I just talked with several people who had used it, so some of my methods may not actually line up with the experts, mostly because I'm too cheap to buy the book. Essentially, you pick a day to start potty training, make a big deal with your child about how they are not wearing diapers any more and will now wear underwear. And then (here's the kicker) ... you NEVER go back. EVER. The only exception is that diapers are still acceptable during sleeping times until they start waking up dry, but I think that the die-hards still recommend underwear even then. So when our second daughter, Trina starting showing some of the signs of being interested and ready, we went for it. She was only about 17 months old and tiny for her age, so the panties barely stayed on her little bottom. The first few days we holed up in our house and had many more accidents than successes. But she was getting it! After the first 3 days, I would put plastic underwear over her panties if we had to go anywhere and carried a whole suitcase of extra clothes with us. Within a week and a half, she was pretty good in public and rarely had accidents.

I got a little cocky and stopped making her wear the plastic pants when we ran errands. One afternoon I had to go to the bank to make a quick deposit. There was a long line at the counter, so I took Trina potty before we got in line as a precaution. When it was my turn, the girls stood behind me, happily munching on their suckers that are prevalent at every banking institution. Suddenly, I hear Trina say, "Mommy? Poopy?" She had a terrified look on her face. Diarreha was running down her legs and pooling on the rug. The lobby instantly smelled like something had died...about 15 days earlier. I looked over at Asia, because she is very quick to gag when something smells bad. Sure enough, she was gagging and very near emptying the entire contents of her stomach on the same rug. I got her to a chair in the back of the lobby, and then turned to the teller. What's the diplomatic thing to say in that situation? I'm still not sure, because all I heard myself blurt out was, "Um...my daughter just pooped on your rug!" Nice. I figured I probably better find myself a new bank. The teller graciously said, "Just roll the rug up and put it in the corner. The cleaners will take it and clean it tonight."

Really? Wow! I quickly rolled up the rug, got my offensive smelling child cleaned up as much as possible, and skulked out of the bank, so embarrassed that I think I used the drive-thru for at least a month after that (come to think of it, I still avoid that teller). But then I got to thinking about how fortunate that whole incident turned out to be. If it would have happened somewhere else, like my mini-van, I couldn't have just rolled up the mess and sent it to the cleaners, could I?

All those rambling stories are to tell you that we are now potty training child #3, and I did the same thing with Moses that I did with Trina. The only difference is that this time, I was introduced to thick, training underwear by my sister-in-law, Jen. This underwear is thick enough that it keeps accidents from puddling all over the floor, which is a huge plus and eliminates alot of frustration on my part. Moses is doing fantastic, and after about 5 days, he started telling me every time he needs to use the potty. I feel like celebrating with everyone!

How you doing, Heidi?

Fabulous! My son just pooped in the potty!

Nice...that's really... nice.

If you're not a parent, you probably won't quite appreciate the magnitude of this event, but if you are a mom or dad I have no doubt that you are celebrating with me in this huge milestone. If you hear whooping and hollering from the direction of Wyoming, you'll know why... :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Moses Turns 2

Well, Mr. Moses, you are finally 2! And what a special day May 27th was! Last year, on your 1st birthday, we had no idea who you were. In fact, you weren't even in the orphanage in Kigali yet (the only orphanage approved for adoption at the time), but you were farther north at a facility in Kibuye. Rwanda had just given us their approval to adopt and we were waiting...and waiting...and waiting to find out who you were. Since we couldn't be with you on your last birthday, I wanted to make sure this one was extra special. I thought the picture above captured it all perfectly; you are fascinated with tractors but nothing can be compared to the way music mesmerizes you. So while your cake was WAY cool, the guitar you got as a present was so much cooler.

Sweet Baboo, how can I even begin to tell you how much I love you? You are my son in every way, conceived and carried in my heart, and now I get to hold you in my arms. You are a living picture of God's faithfulness to me. Daddy and I cannot imagine life without you. Your sweet spirit is such a gift, and the way you pick up on new things so quickly still amazes me. We are so proud of how far you have come and we can't wait to see what God has in store for you.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

African Children's Choir

At the beginning of April, we found out that the African Children’s Choir was going to be in town. We got to see them a few years ago before we had even considered adopting, and we loved their story and performance. To see them now that Moses was home with us seemed to have even more significance.

My only problem was that Justin was in Palestine for two weeks, we had just put our house up for sale and I was feeling the stress of keeping it spotless for showings. Every spare minute outside of my college classes, I was spending at our church getting ready for our Easter play (I got to play a crotchety old beggar woman). Oh, and my purse was stolen a couple of days before. It had been a long week. The kids and I were exhausted and the thought of taking them all to an evening performance where we would all have to be still and quiet seemed like more than I could handle. Beth, my mother-in-law heard about the concert and how much I wanted to go so she volunteered to go with me. (By the way, kudos to all the single parents out there. The way you juggle everything is amazing!)

If you don’t know about the African Children’s Choir, you should really go to their website www.africanchildrenschoir.com and check them out. It was started in 1984 by Ray Barnett with orphaned and underprivileged children from Uganda. Since that time, they’ve branched out to involving children from 6 East African countries, including Rwanda. Nearly all the children are single or double orphans (meaning they’ve lost one or both parents), and they range in age from 7 to 11 years old. The money they raise while on tour in North America and Europe goes directly back into social and educational programs for children of these countries. Mr. Barnett’s vision is to mold the future of Africa by pouring into its children, and he encourages others to do the same.

Maybe it was my stressed emotional state, but as soon as the lights went down and the choir came running out dressed in traditional African outfits and dancing to African drums, I was fighting back tears. I just kept looking at their beautiful faces and thinking that one of those faces could have belonged to my son in just a few short years. But instead, he was sitting on my lap, grooving to the African rhythms with my hands trying to keep his ever-moving feet from kicking the poor man in front of us. I was filled with such overwhelming emotion; thankfulness that he would never again know the pain of being without his parents, gratitude that God had seen fit to pluck him from the old life of loneliness and placed him with us, and a tremendous sense of awe that Moses is indeed my son.

At the very same time, I was experiencing grief that he would never truly know and experience the beauty of his native culture and homeland. I can’t sing to him in Kinyarwandan or explain all the intricacies of what it means to be a son of Rwanda. I can’t even tell him one thing about his birth parents (that’s another post for another time). All of these feelings were swirling around inside of me during the performance and I spent a good deal of time sniffling and wiping my eyes. One of the last songs before the intermission was “He Knows My Name” and the lyrics say, “He (God) knows my name. He knows my every thought. He knows my name, and He hears me when I call.” It was like God was speaking directly to my heart, “I knew Moses from the very beginning. I revealed his name to Asia before you ever knew him, I designed him to be a Limmer, and my plan for him is good.” [Sidenote: When we first started the adoption process, Asia (then 3 years old) told us her baby brother’s name was Moses. Nearly a year later when we got our referral, his name really was Moses!]

Every orphan has a name. Every orphan has significance, and God hears their cries. I want to be willing to hear them too.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Our Day in Court

April 29, 2010 was a big day in the Limmer household. We all got spiffed up and trudged off to the courthouse for a hearing to finalize our readoption. After about 2 minutes of questions from the judge, it was all over and Moses was officially a Limmer.

For those of you who aren't familiar with this process, readoption in the U.S. was necessary for us because of the type of visa that Moses came home on. He traveled on an IR-4 visa which essentially made us his permanent guardians. He still legally went by his Rwandese name on all official documents. Every state has different laws and procedures for readoption, and because international adoption is fairly infrequent in Wyoming there are no international adoption laws. You just have to follow the same procedure as a domestic adoption. So, we had to run a notice in the newspaper, informing Moses' birth parents in Rwanda of the impending hearing (makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?), fill out the appropriate paperwork with our attorney, and wait until we had Moses in our custody for 6 months. Then came the final hearing with the judge.

Judge Park was very kind and I think we were a pleasant diversion for him. I'm sure he has very little occasion for "happy" hearings. He gave Moses a teddy bear that Asia promptly named Mike. When we were leaving, he said, "Come back and see me again, Moses!" I laughed and actually turned back around and said, "No! It won't be a good thing if he comes back here to see you!" If Moses ends up back in that courtroom, he is going to have more to worry about then just going to jail; he's going to have to deal with one upset mama! :)

The day was best summed up by Asia when she said, "Moses turned Limmer today." Yes, he did, sweetie. Yes he did.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy Birthday, Trinity!

Dear Trinity Grace,
I hope that you will forgive me for being over a month late in writing your birthday post. It seems that your mother is incapable of maintaining a blog and going to college at the same time. So even though your birthday was April 3rd, I still want you to know how happy I am that you are 3 years old!
The day before you were born, I went to see my doctor and she said that Mommy’s blood pressure was so high that they had to deliver you right away. You actually weren’t supposed to be born for another 3 weeks! I didn’t have anything ready for you to come home yet; all your clothes and your car seat were still in the attic. Thankfully, Daddy and Grandma Beth came and took care of all of it. We hadn’t even decided on your name yet. Daddy had his favorite name and I had my favorite. About an hour before you were born, I felt like God was whispering to my heart that your Daddy needed to be the one to name you, that it would be important to you later. So you became Trinity Grace, and I am so glad! Now it doesn’t seem like any other name would fit you. You were so very tiny at 5 lbs. 11 oz. and I don’t think you were quite ready to be here, but you were a fighter. You had quite a bit of hair (which was a surprise because your big sister hardly had any hair at all!) with very blond streaks in it. It was like you had already been to the hair salon for highlights.

You’re still my petite little girl, but you are definitely not a baby anymore! I love your silly, sassy, sweet, and stubborn personality (most of the time. I could definitely use a little less of the stubbornness at mealtimes, though). You like to make people laugh, and you think your big sister, Asia is the coolest person in the world.

I know adding your little brother, Moses to our family has not been easy for you, but I am so proud of you for being willing to let him in your life. Even though he is going to be bigger than you very soon (he already wears bigger shoes and weighs the same as you, but you are still taller), you’ll always be his big sister. I know that you and Moses will have a special bond as you get older.

Happy Birthday, sweet Trina Grace!

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Talent

Moses figured this out all on his own, and he was pretty proud of himself. Who knew a pencil has so many uses?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Well, hello everyone! The Limmer family really didn't fall off the face of the earth, I just tend to do things in spurts.:) A lot has happened since I last updated this blog!
Christmas was a fabulous time at our house. We had lots of snow and had the pleasure of getting snowed in at Justin's parents house with some wonderful family members. It made the holiday lovely and relaxing. Moses got his promised drumset, as you can see, and is a very cool drummer. We also got a picture of him with Great Grandma Limmer, who is 93 years old. I am so grateful for her legacy. She still lives on her own, gets down on her knees to scrub her floor and I have to fight her to wash the dishes at family meals. Her years and years of faithful service to Jesus have given our family such an amazing platform, and I know her prayers have impacted our lives tremendously. Because of the snow, we waited until New Year's to celebrate with my family, but it actually made it really nice to spread out the festivities a little. It also happened to be my 30th birthday (gulp!) and I enjoyed spending it with the people who made my birth possible in the first place!

January led us to Nebraska for a conference, which meant we got to stay with the Higgins family! They were in Africa with us picking up their boys Etienne and Ezekiel, and it was so good to be with them again. Aaahh...the refreshment of friends. 7 kids, 4 adults, 1 dog and tons of playing and talking to be had by all.

I started back to college classes a couple of days after we got home. I went back to school when I had Asia, and have been steadily plugging away at my elementary education degree ever since. I sat out this past fall semester, but if I stay on course, I'll graduate in May 2011. It's good to be making progress on that goal again.

We have been bugging Moses' doctor for awhile about the lab results testing him for parasites. Moses had gone through 2 treatments on Flagyl, but I kept saying to the doctor that something still didn't seem right. They finally realized they had misread the lab results and there were 3 more parasites that the Flagyl alone would not treat. So, he's just now finishing a 20-day course of meds that will hopefully be the last. I'd also read some recommendations to do a lactose-free diet after chronic giardia. After looking at our options, I decided to put him on goat's milk, and we saw almost immediate improvement in his stools. He's not 100% yet, but I feel like we're definitely getting there. He also had more bloodwork done at the beginning of the month to retest his lead levels. He originally had a level of 15 (doctor wanted to see it below 10), but this time around it was a 5! He has to have one more test below 10 for the doctor to be satisfied. Moses is also picking up tons of new words and growing like a weed. He says "Hold you" and "up please" when he wants picked up. He used to call both the girls "Asia" but now he calls Trina "eena". He's outgrown all the 18 month clothes we had and his first pair of shoes. He officially wears a bigger size shoe than his big sister. Wow!

I'll work on shortening the time between my blogging spurts, at least by posting pictures. :)