Sunday, September 27, 2009


Graduate school is a lot more work than I anticipated. I am happy to say that I am keeping up so far but it is not easy. I can see myself getting into serious trouble if I don't stay on top of everything. This is a list of what is due this week.

-Read 5 chapters from textbooks.
-Read 8 chapters from a novel.
-A 2 page paper on what I read.
-A 2 page paper on what I did at my internship.
-A 9 page paper on what I need to learn this school year.
-A 15 minute presentation on my family's social history.

I have everything finished except 1 1/2 textbook chapters due on Tuesday. Then I can start on next weeks assignments. I have one less paper and don't have to do a presentation but need to start working on future papers and presentations. If you have been wondering why we have been quiet lately and not around much, now you know. The kids are watching cartoons and I am writing papers. With occassional breaks for a great game of Candy Land or a walk around the block.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Jacob!

Jacob is 4 years old! I cannot believe that the baby I brought home two and a half years ago is now a preschooler. I am proud but also a little sad about how fast he is growing up. Here is a little about who he is becoming.

- He is now 40 inches tall. This is 12 inches taller than when he came home.
- He weighs about 33 lbs. Yes he is skinny but he definitelly has a healthy appetite also.
- He can ride a 16 inch bike.
- He knows the entire alphabet.
- He can spell and write his first name. He can spell part of his last name.
- He can read a handful of letters including his name.
- He can count to 16.
- He still loves trucks and cars.
- His favorite toys are Little People Toys.
- He still loves swimming.
- He really wants to play baseball.
- He still adores his grandpa.

I cannot wait to see what the next year has in store for us. Jacob is growing so fast and amazes me more every day.

We celebrated his birthday a little bit last night since I have class tonight. Jacob loved getting a cake and having everyone sing to him. He giggled the entire time. He is having a small party tonight with family while I am at school. His big party isn't for a couple weeks due to my school and work schedule. I didn't have my camera last night so I don't have any pictures. I will post some after his party though.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

School Update

Jacob and I are well into our new school year. It has been an adjustment for all of us. Jacob felt like he was under a lot of pressure at the beginning of the year. Jacob is the oldest child in his class and is repeating the 3-year-old program so that he will be in the same class as the other kids who will be starting kindergarten with him. His teacher wanted to help him feel special by emphasizing that he knows more than the other kids and that he is her big helper. Instead of inspiring him, it made him feel like he had to be perfect and he quickly became frustrated. His behavior deteriorated to the point that I was receiving notes and emails from his teacher about his behavior.

I spoke to the school and the director about his behavior. It was actually the director who realized how much pressure his teacher was putting on him. She spoke to his teacher and the problem was corrected. He is now doing wonderful and is very happy to be slightly ahead of the other kids in the room. He didn't need adults to tell him how he was doing. He could see it for himself without the pressure.

I started my internship on September 2 and started classes last week. I don't really see the kids on Tuesdays because of my class schedule. I drop them off at daycare at 6:15 AM, my parents pick them up after daycare and watch them until I get home around 11. It is a very difficult day for all of us. I am really hoping that we will adjust to it but I know it will be difficult. I am hopeful that this is the only semester we will have a day like that. The other days I have class the kids stay with a sitter near the university and I get to spend time with them before class.

I only have class two nights a week and every other Saturday. It is not an easy schedule but much better than some of the other universities (closer to our house) with class four nights a week and Saturdays. We will adjust and pretty soon this will just be a memory. I just keep reminding myself that this degree will get me a career I enjoy and a better working schedule. That means a happier mom with more time for the kids in just a couple years.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Where are all the men?

I begin taking classes for my master's degree in social work tonight. It is a five semester program so I should graduate in August 2011. Just one month before my precious little boy starts kindergarten!

I currently work in law enforcement where it is very male dominated. Think stereotypical male macho attitudes and that is what I hear and see daily from some of my co-workers. Don't get me wrong. They are all great guys that do a great job but they are definitelly very conservative and into the typical male activities such as weight lifting, hunting and motorcycling. They often joke about who is the toughest, strongest, etc...

Now, take my new career. I have just started to get involved but can already see a huge culture shock (and welcomed culture shock) coming. I was able to see the class roster for all of my courses today. There is one guy in my program as a first year student. One. At my internship, I have met a few but not nearly as many men as women. The textbooks are all clearly more liberal than conservative so I am guessing the professors will be as well.

It will be a whole new experience for me. A world I have not been involved in much for the past 10 years or so. And a world I miss. I may not be as liberal as some of the people I have met but I am definitelly not as conservative as some of the people I work with now. And very few men! That will be a change by itself. I am ready for change though and very excited.

So tonight I am one step closer to my new career. Although, I probably won't be meeting any future husbands while attending class...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Educating About Ethiopia

I believe very strongly that Jacob has the right to know as much as possible about Ethiopia. I know I can't teach him about Ethiopian culture the same way an Ethiopian can but I do what I can from our mid-west home. Yesterday was a great opportunity to teach Jacob to have pride in his birth culture as well as teaching some area children about Ethiopia as well.

Jacob had a great time at school yesterday. His teacher talked to the children about Ethiopian New Year and Jacob proudly told his classmates about the holiday. They shared a special treat in the afternoon.

Last night we took our friend, P, to an Ethiopian restaurant. This was the first time that P had ever had Ethiopian food. She enjoyed the mamoosa as well as the different dishes we had purchased and shared. Jacob was very happy to see the owner of the restaurant and tell him that he was born in Ethiopia. He told the owner he liked doro wat in Ethiopia but did not like injera. This is a story that Jacob has heard many times in the past couple of years and he always follows it up with how much he likes injera now.

It was a lot of fun to watch Jacob learning more about his birth culture and beginning to be able to teach his friends about it. I also enjoyed seeing the pride in his face as he told people stories about his life in Ethiopia. We don't have many stories but we do have a few that I make sure he hears whenever we discuss his life in Ethiopia and his birth family (which we discuss often).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Happy New Year!

No. I didn't hit my head and forget what the date is or the time of the year. It is the Ethiopian New Year and a holiday in our house. Jacob and M took green, yellow and red (Ethiopia's colors) to school today to share with their friends. I spoke to Jacob's teacher earlier this week and they will be making an art project in honor of Ethiopia and talking about the holiday during group time today. Tonight, we will be eating at a local Ethiopian restaurant and enjoying some great food. We are taking our friend, P, with us and letting her learn a little about the culture as well.

So to all of our family and friends from Ethiopia or touched forever by Ethiopia, happy new year! May 2002 be a great year for all of you. May it be full of happiness, health and prosperity.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Our Weekend In Pictures

A trip to the zoo, time at the park, a new bike and lots of time with family. It was a great last weekend of Summer.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Our Last Completely Free Weekend

This is our last completely free weekend until at least Christmas. I will have some weekend days free in the next few months but not whole weekends. My internship has already started, I am still working full-time and classes start in one week. One of my best friends is getting married next weekend and of course, I am working both days.

I told Jacob that he wouldn't have any babysitters for the next three days. He immediately grinned and said, "So you get to spend time with your kids!" Yes. I get to spend three wonderful days with my children. I have big plans for the next three days but they are subject to change upon our whims. Here is a tentative agenda.


-We went swimming at the Y again. I love that pool! I am able to get both of my kids in under my membership until Jacob turns 5. Then it is just a little more money each month for a single-parent family membership.

-After we left the pool, we headed to Toys R Us. Jacob has been talking for about a month about his new Dora bike he would be getting for his birthday. He was set on it until he saw another little boy on a Cars bike and the matching Cars helmet. It was love on first sight. I agreed that it could be his birthday present. We are buying it early so that he has a little more time to enjoy it before the cold winter weather arrives.


-This morning we are spending a relaxing morning at home. I plan to get some cleaning and laundry done. I hired a woman to come in and clean every two weeks but the house starts getting pretty bad by the end of the two weeks if I don't do some touch ups during the two-weeks. Mostly just picking up whatever the kids and dogs get out to play with.

-After (hopefully long) naps, we will be heading to Toys R Us to pick up Jacob's new bike. I realize I have been horrible about posting (and taking) pictures lately but I promise to take some of Jacob on his new bike. It is a huge moment in our house. Jacob's first new big kid bike.

-Tonight is church. I love the contemporary Saturday night service so we attend even when we will be home on Sunday mornings. We have been attending this church for just over a year and are finally starting to really feel comfortable there.


-What's better than going to the taste of the city downtown this weekend. It should be great. I'm a little nervous about taking the kids down there when it will be so busy but it should be fun. There will be live music, lots of good food and hopefully fun.


-What should we do on our last free day of Summer? This is the day I really don't know what to do about. I haven't taken the boys to the Milwaukee zoo and I really want to. That is a possibility. Or I might just take them to our local zoo. It is a tough decision and one I am very grateful to have to make.

Tuesday I go back to work and then start to juggle work, school and parenting. That I'm not looking forward to but it will be worth it in the end. Hopefully more options for my children.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A New Routine

I started my internship today! It was a great first day and I learned a lot. I am now exhausted but feel great after getting home. The boys did really well too. Our new schedule has them staying at daycare until about 5:15 PM on the days I do my field work. When I work my normal paying job I usually run some errands and pick them up between 4 and 4:15 so it is a change for them.

Jacob and M handled the change well. They enjoyed having an extra hour with me in the morning while we got ready for the day. I told them both I would be a little late picking them up but not to worry. They didn't. Jacob was reading books with his teacher and was upset that he had to leave. M was wrestling with his teacher and appeared to be winning :) I found him jumping on top of her and both of them laughing and giggling. He didn't stop until I said I was leaving. I think he would have stayed all night if I would have let him. He also gave his teacher a hug good-bye which I have never seen him do before.

We got home tonight and I made an easy dinner. We ended up eating about 45 minutes later than normal. I then folded and put away a load of laundry, started another load, did a load of dishes and started the dishwasher. The boys are playing happily and we will start our bedtime routine in just a few minutes.

Not bad for a first day and a change to our routine. I go back to work tomorrow and then hope to have a four day weekend. I'll find out tomorrow if I got Friday off work but it looks good. Then it is back to work until Wednesday when I hope to be able to go to my internship. Again, I won't know for sure until Tuesday but it looks promising. Wednesday I am scheduled to attend a couple of meetings that I really don't want to miss. My paying job has to come first though so we will see what happens.

The new school year is off to a great start. Classes start September 14 so we are able to slowly adjust to our busier lives. I think it will go well though.