Battle of the wills

Gabriel is a stubborn child.


This face says it all

My labor to deliver G was 14 hours long. Not as long as some, but long enough. I sat dialated with him for 3 cm for 3 weeks. With labor, all was going well, but G just wouldn’t turn his little body from back to front. Once he did and made up his mind, he was out in no time!

That’s pretty much how life goes with G. If it isn’t his idea, it is going to be a struggle to get it to happen. Now that he’s turned 4, he seems to have taken on a new level of stubbornness.

Gabriel got a whole mess of Ironman toys, books, shirts, soap, action figures, disc shooters, accessories, etc for his 4th birthday. He adores them and Ironman himself. He has been not acting like a 4 year old in the toilet training department for quite some time, and J and I have run out of ideas how to combat this. The problem he is having is not one of not understanding or physiological control, it is one of being stubborn and hoping that J and I won’t notice. He is 4 now, and will be going to preschool in the fall. This cannot be happening.  He knows how to do it right, but only does when it’s his idea or when it’s overly convenient.  My latest (and last) idea of how to get him to see the light was to take away all of his new Ironman things, and he can earn them back one by one each time he does it ‘right’. I am not a parent to use bribery, trickery, or any other kind of coercion, but honestly we have tried everything except digging a hole in the yard! If he can’t make up his mind to do it right, we are going to have issues.

Man was he mad! We had a long talk about what was going to happen and why. G helped me pack up all his things and place them in a bag next to the bathroom, where they will remind him to go potty. Everytime he does it right, he gets to pick something out of the bag and have it back. If he decides to turn back and relapse into being a stubborn little man, a toy goes back into the bag for holding. Simple enough.

I am happy to say that after 12 hrs of implementing this new plan, G has earned 2 of his prized toys back and has not had to place any in the bag.

We will see how the next 12 hours go.

Must be something about turning 4. G had speech therapy this morning and when I returned to pick him up, his speech therapist reluctantly informed me that he did not do any work for her today. He was uncooperative, did not listen, and was being silly the entire time. She tried numerous things to motivate him or get him involved, but nothing worked. She thought he might actually wait her out for the 40 mins. Awesome. What a way to make another (therapist) mommy proud. G obeyed like an angel when we left (of course). Upon getting in the car, G and I had a long talk all the way from Muscatine to Tipton about his behavior and my disappointment in his ability to act like the big 4 year old that he is. I told him I was unhappy with his actions, or should I say lack of actions.

I had to take him and L next to a lead testing date, which simply involves the quick prick of the finger for a blood test. No biggie, he’s had it done numerous times before since we live in an older home. He went first and I almost wished I had a straight jacket to assist. Screaming, crying, protesting….nothing worked. He reluctantly picked out a Spiderman sticker when he was through and sulked in the chair. L climbs into my lap, watches the nurse prick her finger and blot the blood. She never cries, winces, or fights. She happily picks out a princess sticker and we go on our way. Complete. Opposites.  For other thoughts on this, see my post Opposites.

After this we were at the library, and knowing that all answers to life are in a book (*note sarcasm*) I promptly checked out “The New Strong Willed Child” by Dr James Dobson  which seems to be written on Christian principles, and “Parenting Preschoolers with a Purpose” by Jolene Roehlkepartain. I love reading parenting books and contemplating different strategies, views, and discussions of the best way to raise a child. Some have been very helpful, some have not. We will see how these read.

G has and always will be a delight of a boy. He is strong willed, to say the least….he sat the other night for 45 minutes refusing to do a single task before going to bed. (Side note: J and I did not give in and he DID complete the task before going to bed. Score Parents:1, G:395.) We have a long way to go with parenting him, but I feel like we have done a decent job so far. He is going to give us a run for our money. My aunt has said since he was born that “He has that twinkle in his eye…”.  I agree. There is something about him that is so fun-loving, lovable, cute and fun to be with, and also something that is so mischevious and hard-headed.

He does enjoy waterslides! (after he decided it was HIS idea)

He does enjoy waterslides! (after he decided it was HIS idea)


I know that some of the his character traits that we struggle to parent will turn out to be great assets to him as a grown individual, if we can teach him how to harness them. We don’t want to change the person that he is or his personality, but to teach him how to channel this into a constructive part of his being.

Easy enough, right?


Super G with his Ironman cake

Super G with his Ironman cake


HA! I’ll let you know how it goes.

-The {growing} Costello’s

Gabriel is 4!

Happy 4th birthday to our Gabriel today! 4 years ago Gabriel was born after a massive thunderstorm, and we were forever changed as a family.

39 weeks pregnant with G. Oh baby!

5am. In labor. IV antibiotics. Lovely.

Even at a few hours old he was so alert!

First family photo!

Baptized at 10 days old.

Then he started to grow…

And grow….

And grow…

And grow….

And grow…

And grow….

And grow!!!!

And grow!!!!

Gabriel has really blossomed into a young boy who is such a great person to know and love. G, G-force, G-man, Gabriel, whatever you call him, he’s a great kid. G is completely obsessed with Ironman, Batman, Superman, Spiderman, any kind of ‘save the day’ guy.  He sleeps in said pajamas with additional mask next to him in bed. He thoroughly enjoys doing anything and everything like his Daddy and Papa. He is curious, mischevious, compassionate, and concerned. He LOVES to be outside and prefers to sleep and live there. He spends more time in his sandbox and riding his bike than he does sleeping. He is an extrovert and enjoys his time in Sunday School, speech, Vacation Bible School, and will begin preschool this fall. He doesn’t care much for greens, sleep, showers, or getting his picture taken. His feelings are hurt easily and has needs help finding a constructive outlet for his energy sometimes. He loves popsicles, puzzles, going to work with Daddy, the park, and the bears living in his room named ‘Blue’ and ‘Mike’. He is a great kid!

G has grown so much over the past year. I wrote a blog post just after his birthday last year, when he turned 3 titled Trying 3’s.   He has grown, changed, and matured so much since then. He is becoming increasingly independent and prefers to do things on his own (which usually means shoes on the wrong feet, shirt on backwards and shorts inside out!).

We are really excited for G as he continues to grow up. I am so sad that my *baby* is no longer a baby (and has not been for awhile). He is an awesome person and I can’t wait to see where life leads him.

Happy 4th birthday, G!!!!!

-The {growing} Costello’s

Going Big

Since we discovered Baby C #3 is on the way, things have been getting bigger. Not only is my belly growing, but so is my list of to-dos and things to figure out before baby arrives! Yeah, yeah, I know I still have lots of time, but I am what you call a *planner*, and my darling husband is not. We have some logistics to figure out, a few select things to buy, and some decisions to make. You would think by #3 there would not be much left to decide, but apparently there is!

It seems to me that having 1 or 2 kids is the norm for much of America, as the world seems to be designed for families of 4-ish people. When you add 1, 2, 3, or more to the bunch, things start to get a little more complicated. No longer does a 5 person car do the trick. No longer does a 3 bedroom house mean no kids have to share sleeping quarters. No longer will family 4-pack deals work for tickets. And no longer do I have just the average one boy and one girl.

So, being the planner that I am, I/we have been thinking BIG. We want/need a bigger home. Right now with Jeremiah starting a new job soon and all of the other changes going on, that is probably not going to become a reality for a little while. G and L are going to share one room which has always been the ‘nursery’, and Baby C#3 will move into G’s room which is much smaller than the others. We have an extra twin bed and bed set, so it will all work out. My main concern is how much talking and playing the kids are going to do at night after bedtime!

We originally thought we would be able to get away with using the vehicles that we have, even after Baby C #3 arrives. G was 6 months old when we bought my car, and adding L to it was no big deal, just moved G over. Jeremiah’s vehicles have always seated the 2 kids comfortably. However, tonight I wanted to test out the car seat hypothesis. After trying to fit 2 front facing carseats and 1 infant carrier into the backseat of my car, we are re-thinking this idea.

TIGHT fit.

L tries to figure out which of the 3 seats is hers. TIGHT fit.

So we are accepting the fact that we may actually need TWO different new (to us) cars. After all, I can’t allow my husband to do this much longer…

Lumber strapped to the top of the 'burb. In the words of my dad: "Sarah, the guy really needs a TRUCK"

Lumber strapped to the top of the ‘burb. In the words of my dad: “Sarah, the guy really needs a real TRUCK”

So we have been trying to decide what we want to test drive and compare. I would like something like this:

Ford Flex

GMC Acadia

Ford Expedition

J thinks we need something like this:

Ford 12 passenger Econoline

Ford Excursion

Nope. Not kidding. J thinks a 12 passenger van is the answer. I’m not so sure I agree with that. Cruising around in that would feel like I’m driving a school bus. Not a fan. Whatever we end up with, we need something with a 3rd row and ability to seat more than 5. We frequently have extra people riding with us and the extra seats would be a great addition. Not to mention that child car seats are anything but small.

I guess we won’t be reaching any conclusions overnight. If you have a brood of kids and a vehicle you love, we are open to suggestions! In the meantime, I’ll keep on growing that baby belly. 🙂

Last weekend at 12 wks!

Last weekend at 12 wks!

Have a great week!

-The {growing} Costello’s


Three’s Company: Ending and Beginnings

Good evening from Spiderman (AKA Gabriel)

Good evening from Spiderman (AKA Gabriel)

We had our last PS-MAPP class on Tuesday night, the end of 10 weeks. It was sad, yet exciting. The class was appropriately titled ‘Endings and Beginnings’. For us, this is end of our adoption journey for the time being and the beginning of our journey with Baby C #3.  Many (most) of the families in our class will be licensed to adopt or foster by mid-August. They are very excited! We are sad to see the end of our class, but yet very excited for what is to come and to see how God intends our family to grow. We had to fill out a drop-out form (they had a nicer name for it) that stated why we were not pursuing licensing at this time and what our plans were. We have 18 months from the first day of our PS-MAPP class to re-apply for adoption. By then, Baby C #3 will only be around 9 months old. After that we will have to go through the home study and licensing process, which can take a good deal of time. Hopefully after that we will be given an adoption placement and Baby C #3 will be a bit older. We will probably look for a child that is 0-6 years old by then, so they are not older than our G. I’m excited to see how this all unfolds!

Tuesday night was a potluck, and we had everything from a sheet cake to chicken tacos to meatballs to cheerio bars. Yummy! We did a few activities of talking about support for foster and adoptive parents and why it is important to access it.  We also filled out some final paperwork and gave feedback to the instructors, who were great. We got a list of all of our classmates and their addresses and emails so we can keep in touch.

Gabriel competed in his first kid’s triathlon over the weekend at the Muscatine YMCA. This mama could not be prouder! The triathlon consisted of a ‘swim’ of slip’n’slides and sprinklers; a ‘bike’ of riding trikes and big wheels down a paved path; and a ‘run’ consisting of an obstacle course of climbing over hay bales, through mud and water pools.  G loved it all and was in heat 2 of 9; there were 100+ kids there. He did a great job of racing, except for the whole part of going around the ‘swim’ portion of the race. Other than that he killed it! He passed at least 4 kids on the ‘bike’ and zipped right through the ‘run’.  L watched from my backpack and took notes for next year. She did get her feet wet a bit at the end, but the hay bales were too ‘oww’ for her. After all the kids went through once, the kids could go through again, and G took full advantage of this, with another 3 rounds. Our little triathlete in training!

Couldn't go through, had to go around, I guess

Couldn’t go through, had to go around, I guess

Passing on the trike!

Passing on the trike!

Just beginning the 'run'

Just beginning the ‘run’

L helps G cross the finish line :)

L helps G cross the finish line 🙂


We finished the afternoon with ice cream, a graduation party, and a trip to Wildwood for dinner. What better motivation to run fast?!


Too much triathlon?

Too much triathlon?

A humorous end to the weekend: L and I took a nap on Sunday. I woke up to the following pictures on my camera. The explanation from J? “Sarah, I needed a 42″ post hole. I now know that G is 42″ tall!”

G the measuring stick

G the measuring stick

Not quite deep enough, Dad!

Not quite deep enough, Dad!

Have a great week!

-The {growing} Costello’s

3rd pregnancy musings

They say each pregnancy is different. So far with Baby C #3 some things have been different and some have been the same compared to G and L’s pregnancies. One thing is a little different; I/we have a lot going on this time around. 2 preschool kids, working full time (for now), J just graduating and in the process of securing a job, and having just a lot of ‘life’ going on….to say the least, things have been busy.

I’m sure there are many other moms of littles out there that can totally relate.

With that being said, here are a few of my reflections from Baby C #3’s pregnancy thus far:

-When you are pregnant with Baby C #3, you develop a love for Jacked Doritos: Ranch Dipped Hot Wings. Don’t ask why, but they are one of the few things that sounded good the first few months. I have to limit my intake. To make matters even better, my midwife suggested eating potato chips for morning sickness, as one of the recent studies she read had shown a positive effect on pregnancy induced nausea. Guess what–they work! You also thoroughly enjoy cottage cheese (like 3 tubs per week!), Greek yogurt, fudge popsicles, roasted red pepper hummus, milk, and did I mention cottage cheese? I can hardly even look at a vegetable right now….

-When you are pregnant with Baby C #3, you become obsessed with newborn cloth diapers. You spend endless amounts of time on ebay, busy/sell/trade diaper facebook groups, diaper co-op groups, and the like. With G and L, we never cloth diapered until the babes were about 2 weeks old for various reasons, one of which being that the diaper was almost as big as the baby! With some of these new ones I’m acquiring, they are fit just for newborns, anywhere from 4-10lbs. Love! Some of my latest finds (for a running total of 20 diapers


Happy Flute Orange Dots Micro Sueded Fabric One Size Pocket Diapers

-When you are pregnant with Baby C #3, sometimes you just have to eat pizza 5 times in one week. Homemade, leftovers, and take-out. It’s not a crime, it’s just what happens when you don’t feel like eating much else, and for some reason pizza really seems to sit ok in your tumultuous belly. That and Jacked Doritos…… Not sure why my babies crave junk food, but it has been like that 3 times now. At least they are ‘good’ eaters when they come out of the womb and I can return to eating vegetables!

-When you are pregnant with Baby C #3, your house occasionally  frequently  usually looks like the living room pictured below. And guess what, you don’t care too much. Your kids seem to enjoy heaping toys in a pile and making a ‘boat’ out of your couch cushions, so you leave it. If they are happy and entertained, so is your pregnant self. This leaves you more time to browse cloth diaper sales online….;)

Don't judge....

Don’t judge….

-When you are pregnant with Baby C #3, you spend more time on the couch than you ever have in your mommyhood.  You and your kids get caught up on Disney movies, new and old. The Little Mermaid is even better when you are 20 years older than the last time you saw it!

-When you are pregnant with Baby C #3, you feel every Braxton hicks contraction, beginning at about 6wks; – yes they come that early. Forget that most moms-to-be don’t feel them until around 20 weeks, this mama gets the fun of them right away!

-When you are pregnant with Baby C #3, it is necessary to stop running. Running still feels great, but the terrible sickness that I endure for the rest of the day following a good run is just not worth it. I stopped running with G around 16 wks, and with L around 12 wks. Guess Baby C #3 is right on track! Bring on the walking and prenatal exercise videos! 😉

Overall, I actually enjoy being pregnant. Once the nausea subsides and I look more pregnant than full of pizza, life will be even better. 🙂

-The {growing} Costello’s

We’ve been growing around here!


“If you want to hear God laugh, just tell him your plans…”

We’ve got some great news! Jeremiah and I have always wanted a big family. We both come from families of 3 kids and have always known that siblings are where it’s at. Family is important. We love the dynamics, the craziness and the love of big families. And it looks like we are on our way to becoming one of them…..

Baby Costello #3! On the way!

Baby Costello #3! On the way!

Surprise! Are you surprised?! Well we all were! 😉

As most of you know, we have been attending adoption classes in order to obtain our adoption license to adopt through Iowa Kids Net. Well, as apparently frequently happens, we found out that Costello Child #3 has decided to come to us not as an adopted child, but as a biological sibling to G and L! Our instructors said that this is actually a common occurrence of parents attending adoption classes. But our classes were not a waste, and I was not leading you all on. We still very much want to adopt. We are going to complete our classes and we will have a window of a few years in order to obtain the license and then seek a child. Hopefully by then we will be ready to add Costello Child #4 to the clan. 🙂

Baby C #3 is due December 14, 2013. We are so excited! As much of an unexpected blessing as this has been, it has been amazing. G and L have seen their new baby brother/sister via ultrasound several times. They are both excited (right now anyways!) to have a new sibling. And G is always talking about how they will be able to share a room. We are seeing the same midwife who helped catch L, whom we love. (Jeremiah would like to note that HE actually caught L!) She is a Christian, healthcare provider, mother, adoptive mother herself, and an overall wonderful person whom we have faith will help us bring another beautiful baby into the world. I am 12 weeks along and beginning to get a bit of a baby bump already. 🙂

We are all very excited for our family to grow! Now, for the 6 months left of the pregnancy journey….

-The {growing} Costello’s!!!