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Life in mammoth…

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Sitting on a porch swing as Spring River lazes through the marsh grass, robins call, ducklings spread their wings and learn to negotiate the take offs and landings in still waters, I’m brought to thinking about life in Mammoth Springs, Arkansas.

This home within a stone’s throw of the falls and the spring head is my history. My mother’s history. My sister and mine. It is how we share the bits and stories that matter. It is who we were, how we came to this place, this moment in time, and who we are today, at this moment, that matters.

I’m about to go help my mama go through papers, pictures, to make lists and plans.

The business end after we buried my grandfather, yesterday.

We love this place, its history, what it means to the eyes of my niece and nephews, my daughters.

This place, and LIFE in Mammoth matters. After all, the little things, the simple things, matter most of all.

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Notes on the Happiest Place on Earth

We’ve just returned from two _______ days at Disneyland!

You fill in the blank:

A. Fun Filled

B. Terrifying

C. Delightful

D. All of the above…

If you answered D, you’re correct!

Fun filled: Disneyland is magical. From the word “go!” — point of fact – we drove up to the in process renovation of the Disneyland Resort Hotel. My dear hubby got the bags out of the car while I sashayed up to check in, girls in tow. With my winning smile firmly in place, I asked the desk clerk if a room upgrade was possible. He frowned at me, glanced at the girls, then suggested that maybe his newest employees could get us a room in the new wing.

Newest employees? That would be great! I grinned. He leaned over the counter and called my daughters back, dressed them in employee vests, and allowed a 6 year old and a four year old to hunt and peck letters of our reservation into the computer. Darned if we didn’t get a brand new room in the renovated Dreams tower, complete with carved wall mural, “A Dream is a Wish” music box, and LED fireworks light show behind the Sleeping Beauty Castle as a night light.

Each girl received a balloon, an autographed picture of the 1950s Disney cast, and entry into the kingdom!

Terrifying? Not for my oldest. Rachel is up for everything, though she has to be reminded to ride the little kid rides, as she calls them. LOVES them while she’s on them, but would rather ride an endless stream of Splash Mountain, Grizzly Rapids, and of course – Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road. Her four year old sister? Chickened out of Splash Mountain at the last possible moment. Again. Perry and I discovered the wonderful world of Parent Passes, which enables one parent to pass of the kid that won’t go, while the other rides, and vice versa.

Ellie wailed on her way out, begging for another go around on the psychadellic trip that is Winnie the Pooh’s Heffalump adventure. She opted for the toddler track, riding Mr. Toad’s wild ride, Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, Small World, Buzz Light Year, and at CA Adventure – King Triton’s Merry Go Round, and the new Toy Story Midway Game. The girls played together at the “Smoke Jumper’s Camp” at Grizzly Bear Country, running up and down rope bridges, swinging on tire swings, and laughing themselves silly.

All was fine and good, until she watched us all “Trading her Off” with increasingly long face. She tried the Soarin’ California and discovered that flying was cool! More fun when we were all together… and “Not dat scawy.”

I convinced her that getting her grandmother onto the Grizzly Rapids ride was her bounden duty. She went to great lengths to encase her grandmother in waterproof capes, and drag her onto the river raft ride. Ellie was the wettest kid on the boat. We laughed until our sides hurt, at how waves crested her head at every drop. She loved it. Loved the attention. The drama! and ultimately decided, at the very end of day two, to brave Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road.

The end result? In her golden haired brilliance, she grins, “Mommy! I weally wike wollah coastahs!”

Ah, if only she’d have decided that before the end of day two!

It’s a delight to see your kids relish new found things. Her boundaries are expanding. Her universe is bigger for having been brave. More than one set of parents and grandparents warned us to not rush this part… soon, they’ll be tromping all over the park calling “Single!” and jumping to the front of the line, staying out until park close, as long as they phone in at regular intervals.

For now, we’re riding roller coasters as a family…and our Disney trips for the next years to come will be all the more full because of it!

Who Needs Sleep?

I vaguely remember what it was like to sleep through the night. Or, I should say, I remember waking up feeling refreshed, and less like I was punched in the face. 🙂

I think the difference between adoptive mommies and mommies that went through the biological process is that preperation the Lord gives you with not sleeping before the munchkins arrive. Personally – I slept like a log through R’s entire delivery. Didn’t even know she arrived until 10 hours later. *sigh* I wanted so badly to be there. Consequently, I didnt’ put rachel down or sleep without her for probably 9 months, when she became determined to walk and no longer required a sherpa. HA.

With E, my DH and I drove back and forth to Anaheim 3 times the night of her labor, returned home to sleep once things were settled, then awaited the call – which of course came at 4:30 am that E was rapidly on her way. I was able to help in the delivery room – which was a blessing I’ll never forget. ANOTHER STORY. I’m going to cry – and that’s not the reason for this post.

I’ve also heard about adoptive parents with older kids – who have night terrors or trouble sleeping at all. I can’t imagine what that must be like. To know your baby had such a hard time while you were waiting so desperately to bring them home…

Today, I was mulling over how parents cope with sleep. Do you have a “family bed?” or do you cherish your pillow time and relegate the little ones to their own rooms? R didn’t sleep when she was a baby. That kid would wake up and want to play. She didn’t sleep until I had E around, and then I guess she gave up on waiting for me. Now, she sleeps like an angel – and only rarely appears at my bedside in the night.

E on the other hand is having issues again. She hasn’t wanted to go to sleep without one or both of us in her room. She’s been scared of shadows. She’s been needing water. She’s been coming up with any excuse possible to delay the inevitable. SO, Perry had the brilliant notion this week to tell her — you dont’ have to try to sleep. Just lay back, close your eyes, and think of your favorite things. Sleep will find you. And, IT WORKED. I couldn’t believe it. She stopped wandering the halls. She stopped screaming for me. She actually has slept through the night for three nights in a row.

Is there light at the end of the proverbial tunnel? Of course, we’re going out of town for Labor Day Weekend – so all this hard work will probably be tossed out of the window. *sigh* BUT, I’m hopeful. I’ve slept through the night, and it felt GREAT!

If anyone has any sleep tricks they have to add, please do so!

Popsicle summer

Saturday heralded the official arrival of summertime -There is nothing like seeing the Popsicle smiles on their sweet faces, and enjoying that cool California breeze off the coastline. My girls are getting bigger, learning to swim, and can still strip and run naked through the sprinklers in 5 seconds flat. The video camera is on the fritz, so as soon as I can get it to the geeks at Best Buy, the more video I can capture of that reckless abandon.

The garden is spectacular – the flowers have outdone themselves, even though the heat index has been screwy. And, now we are in construction of our newest Ludwig Family Project…the river. Yes. Perry is constructing a river in the side yard. Complete with trickling fountain, tadpoles to turn into froggies, and fish. I imagine we’ll even find a home for a turtle or two. Lord, I’m going to turn into my sister. There are worse things than that. My sister rocks.

Speaking of sisters – I often wonder how my mom did it with us. Granted. We had more of an age difference between us. Three and a half years instead of 19 months. I am bound and determined to see these little misses lean on one another the way that Paige and I do. To hear them speak about each other once they reach adulthood – the way Paige and I speak about each other. What does a parent have to do to engender that? All I can say is, patience. Fights are not allowed. Hurting feelings on purpose is a definite no-no. Respect. Love. Fun. Play. All of these things are mandatory. Hateful words must be apologized for as much as physical contact. But, you know what? There is something about hearing them play, invent games, giggle in secret, and plan together that makes my heart flop around in my chest.

People ask me, as an adoptive mother – if my girls are related. *CRINGE* first of all. Second, comes the smile that states – you have no idea what you’re asking me, do you? You might as well ask a person who physically bore their children – oh, is your husband the sperm donor for both your kids? But – no, I don’t do that. What I do say is my pad-answer: “God made us a family. We’re not biologically related, but Rachel and Ellie are sisters. I’m their mother…Perry’s their father, and Millie’s our dog.”

Aye-yai-yai… that’s a whole other topic for a later date!

We’re all part of the same gene pool. Jump in and take a swim. After all, it’s summer. And have a Popsicle, while you’re at it.

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