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Keeping the “coo coo” out of the cocoon… (AND a few more FIRSTS!)

Whether adopting or you just have little kids–many of us stay-at-home moms with little ones find ourselves at home for much of the day. The question is–how to be HEALTHY and keep the “coo coo” out of the cocoon when you are at home with little ones! I have by NO MEANS mastered it…we’re only 1 month in to the official cocooning (I wouldn’t call us official though because we do regularly cheat to remain sain:)…but I will happily share what we have learned SO FAR as with 4 kids 5 and under we’ve been in nap mode for awhile! Here are a few things that are REALLY helping…

1. No matter how hot, cold or terrible the weather is–I GET everyone outside for fresh air at least once a day! For me, this is no easy task with a 11 month old, 20 month old, 4 year old and 5 year old. SO…I lock the backyard gate and they run around…and they really don’t NEED anything out there…so don’t feel like you HAVE to have some grand great things in your yard to entertain them! We have no playset or playhouse or pool…just good ole grass and it’s good for everyone…and I think my kids have amazingly wild imaginations because of it. We also do lots of picnics when we can…I wish I could say they all look like this……but my sweet neighbor (thank you Liz!) did this one for me last week…which brings me to…

2. Give someone else your superwoman cape for awhile. No matter how capable I feel…or no matter how much I don’t want people to do things for me (my weakness!)…I am really trying to graciously accept offers for help…food, laundry, helping with the older ones…whatever…and I’m trying to do a better job about asking loved ones and close friends to help—Remember they love you and want to…but they don’t know if you don’t share your need! I am horrible at this–but I’m getting better for the sake and sanity of my family:-). This ALSO includes…if you can’t get the help you might need–know when to budget for hired help! Richard is a traveler–so there have been days that I hired a babysitter to come play with the older kids so I could just nap when the babies napped to recover from the previous night so I can be a good mommy for the rest of the day and not get worn out before my week is even halfway over. (You might not require sleep but you haven’t seen clean clothes in awhile–so know when to drop off all your laundry at a cleaners with a folding service or to hire a cleaning service. I hate cleaning for the cleaning people–so babysitters for the older kids are my recoup treat. You ALSO need to know what it’s OKAY to LET GO OF! For us, it’s no longer having a clean house…and we’re happy when it’s just tidy:)…which these days…is VERY rare–and we’re okay with that:). It’s also helpful for me and the older ones to have a social outlet with people outside our family unit, so we also make sure we have playdates and friends over about twice a week. I need it as much as they need it! And some times–a good social playdate is all the help you need! (But more visitors? Oh, but your cocoon plan said to limit visitors…which brings me to number 3…).

3. We are okay with altering our cocoon plan when necessary:). Our cocoon/coming home/attachment plan is not the Bible–it is our goal and a guide. If you feel you are welcoming the unwelcomed feelings of “coo coo” into your cocoon…then it’s time to alter your plan or deviate just a bit. We are still limiting visitors and outings—but we have definitely gotten out a bit more this past weekend as Isaac Temesgen has done GREAT getting out…and it’s been good for the other children too. AND by getting out…we’ve been able to do some MORE firsts!

4. Set goals. Having a purpose and goals in what I want my purpose to be helps me remain focused and remember the value in staying home. I’m a former teacher and know the importance of naps and good rest for brain building–so, I have a goal for each child’s appropriate nap and rest time for healthy brain development. I set achieveable goals for each child’s character and spiritual building and understanding (this is more so with the older ones), physical achievements (this is more so with the babies) and educational growth. Doing this helps me think of what crafts we will do and how we will spend our time at home…it gets me motivated and purposeful about our time together.

But before we share some more FIRST of ITY…the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF KEEPING A SOUND MIND IS…

5. Rest in and rely on the Lord. Remembering that God has called me to do this as a mom…spending time alone with Him—and remembering that I can still worship Him every day from my cocoon. THIS has been the BIGGEST thing to keep me from feeling isolated or a little coocoo;). When putting the kids down for bed, instead of singing them their normal good-night songs, I’ve been including some worship songs. The lights are off–they can’t see my face really…and I just close my eyes and worship the Lord. It’s been some of the sweetest time in the cocoon and a reminder to me why we are cocooning…why we are growing our family…why we must be willing to die to ourselves and put others first. If I didn’t spend time reflecting on this–spend time reading–spend time praying and spend time worshiping…then I would be tempted to feel sorry for myself or think there was actually something better that I could be doing. When REALLY–we are connecting as a family and growing closer…and these days will be some of my sweetest memories ever:)

Here are some SWEET firsts from our weekend!!! (you have to excuse the photo quality…taken with my iPhone:)

Isaac’s FIRST breakfast out…(we are documenting them all!)

So, so thankful that when I called Nana and Papa to ask if they could come they packed their bags and were able to celebrate some firsts with us…and give the older ones some TLC too…

What is Frank thinking while he waits on breakfast???

And THEN…Saturday night we all went out AGAIN for ice cream! What a day of TREATS! I didn’t have a camera with me for this–but I did find my hand Flip video and was able to get Isaac’s first ice cream cone!

Don’t you LOVE his faces?! The funny part is later he begged for more! Just takes him awhile to warm up to new things I guess! And COLD is one of them! I guess you don’t get much COLD in Ethiopia do you?!

And now for our week ahead! We all went out to the bookstore and Isaac had his first Barnes and Noble experience. We bought a book on gross motor skills as we get ready to start physical therapy next week. Without leg and arm muscles, our little guy is VERY flexible. I will one day miss his limberness…We are going to start some exercises next week here at home to get strong before we start physical therapy. Our first appointment isn’t until the NEXT week on August 6th…so I thought I’d do some homework and get a headstart:).

Hope you all have a great week!

Shannon - July 26, 2010 - 2:17 am

Love his face with the ice cream! Too cute!Thank you for your tips for cocooning and I will definitely be referring back to these posts someday:)Praying for his Isaacs night sleep:)

Becca Harley - July 26, 2010 - 6:59 am

oh, his face is priceless with the ice cream!!! Love it!

april - July 26, 2010 - 7:25 am

love the post, especially the one about setting goals! I love how you keep your children in mind and where they are at growing to know what craft or thing to do! how neat! LOVE LOVE LOVE Isaac’s face while he is eating icecream! adorable!

Megan - July 26, 2010 - 12:48 pm

My husband and son really enjoyed that little video too! Thanks for the tips on cocooning….I’m really nervous for that part. But I loved hearing from someone that if you are feelign crazy its okay to change the plan as needed….I tend to be an all or nothing girl so that is wonderful to here. =)

Amber - July 26, 2010 - 1:35 pm

So glad you are keeping from going “coo coo” during your cocooning! Ice cream – yummy. So fun that Isaac was asking for more later! AND, I can NOT get over how much Frank looks like your dad. Goodness!!! Same facial expressions, too. He must be one proud papa!

cris - July 26, 2010 - 3:45 pm

My…how you are growing. I am proud of you for being flexible and trying to do the best for your family. Wish I could be there for you to bring you a meal and take your laundry.

Like I said…transition is HARD. Like a whole new level of hard.


Alison - July 26, 2010 - 5:43 pm

Good advice on the cocooning stage! I don’t think I am going to do well with this! I go crazy staying in the house…we are always out and about! This will be a big adjustment, for sure! Will have to look back at these tips! 🙂

Kelli Ross - July 26, 2010 - 8:27 pm

Your title cracks me up. Good tips!!! Sweet, sweet pictures.

marci - July 26, 2010 - 8:48 pm

Have been out of town and loving catching up with Isaac Temesgen ! I tried to write a couple of week ago and the computer ate up all the words…He is sooooo precious,beautiful and adorable …we continue to lift your family in prayer.

Shannon - July 26, 2010 - 8:55 pm

Ya- the ‘flexibility’ in those low toned bodies. I’ll never forget the first time I brought T into a conveinence store and let him walk. within 30 seconds he was squeeling and looking back and forth, front and back so fast his feet couldn’t keep up with where his eyes were headed… he started and turned and did a split right there in the middle of the store. Lesson learned by momma.

kristi johnson - July 26, 2010 - 11:54 pm

too adorable…I always got out..i guess you knew that…I never stayed home much at all..just wore LL ALL the time while out…she was happy, i was happy, my 4 littles were happy…and I’d go Coo Coo staying home every day…Staying home all day every day makes me crazy!! :)loved the video, kj