Thursday, November 26, 2009

Our New Train

Our friend Heather gave us a train her son has outgrown. I got it after class on Saturday. Jacob climed into the back of the van to look for something and saw it behind the seat. All I heard was "Train!" Thanks for thinking of us Heather!

A Huge Blessing This Thanksgiving

I received a phone call yesterday that allows me to truly believe M will be here forever. He is still a foster child and I cannot post his picture or the news but it was big. I finished his photo montage of his journey through foster care today. Since the final court order may not come for 2 years, I wanted to officially welcome him into the family and recoginize it. If you know us personally and live near us, ask to see it next time we get together. Everyone else will just have to wait another year or so until it is official. Of course, every child that enters my home is a part of the family while he/she is here and M has definitely felt like he is my son for a very long time.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What I Am Thankful For

I cannot believe it is Thanksgiving already. It seems like I was just outside taking the kids for long walks and swimming. Now it is colder and winter is only moments away (some say snow later this week). I wish the world would slow down and that time was going so quickly. Yet, I have a lot to be thankful for. Here are a few things I am thankful for.

1) My boys. Both of them. I love being their mom and spending time with them. Even on bad days.

2)That my sons no longer have to worry about getting enough food. We haven't had any gorging or other food related issues in over a year.

3) My loving and supportive family. I could never succeed at graduate school without their help.

4) Graduate school. I am very thankful that I was admitted and am succeeding. It is a ticket to a better life for all of us.

5) My internship. I love it. What more can I say.

6) Adoption. It gave me one son and someday might give me another one.

7) Foster parents. The good ones who truly love the kids and help them heal from their past traumas.

8) My children's teachers. They work hard each day to teach my kids and help them. I can see the results in the pride and joy my children have when they show me their latest art project or share their new knowledge.

9)My job. It's no secret that I am preparing to change careers in a couple years (or sooner) but I am still grateful for it. Good and bad days it pays the bills.

10) Food. We live in a country with an abundance of it. I have been in countries where it is scarce and will never be able to take it for granted again.

11) Clean water. It kind of goes with 10. When you have seen people struggling without clean drinking water it makes you realize how good you have it. And chuckle when inmates complain they want soft water and not hard water.

12) For all of those people who are positive role models for me and my kids. Most of you know who you are. We may not say thanks enough but we are always grateful.

There are so many other things I am thankful for. These are just a few. Please take a moment and think about your blessings. I recently saw a sign on a church in Rosendale, WI instructing people to "Count your blessings. Not your problems." Life really does look differently when we stop to realize how blessed we are no matter what challenges we may be facing. Watching my children smile and hearing them laugh are everyday reminders that what is truly important are the people around you not how many possessions you have, what kind of car you drive or how much money is in your wallet.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Beauty Salon

How children see the world continues to amaze me. One of my favorite things about being a mom is watching my children learn and explore the world. Even simple things like playing rhyming games brings me joy. Last night the boys decided my hair needed combing and styling (sorry no pictures). Here is what each boy said as he combed my hair.

Jacob: Put your head down and hold still. This might hurt a lot but it's something we have to do. Don't move so it doesn't hurt as much. (He then gently combed my hair.)

M: (As he violently combs my hair quickly and hard) This going to hurt. This going to hurt. This going to hurt.

M would then back up and check out his work. When I would ask if it was beautiful he would sadly shake his head and comb some more. After about 4 tries he announced that I was finally beautiful. Maybe he will be a hair stylist when he grows up.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Update On School

Jacob, M and I continue to work hard at school. I am just finishing watching a 3 hour movie and answering questions. Earlier today I finished an 8 page paper and Tuesday I gave a presentation on social work values and adopting children with special needs. I also finished writing my field log for this week and read about 70 pages in a novel. I still have 3 chapters in my text books to read and write a two page reflection paper. If I have time, I need to start working on my next research paper as well as work on two more presentations that are due at the end of this month. Just thinking about it makes my head spin. I find I really need to write down what I will do each day and then work ahead if I get done early.

While getting all of the above work done, I am still working at my normal job and raising my boys. How am I doing it? Well, I'm not really sure but I know I am doing it. My boys are thriving and I am surviving. There are things that get lost in the shuffle of our lives. An example is Jacob's order form for his school pictures butfor the most part we are making it.

Jacob is really making great progress academically. I have no doubt he could test into kindergarten in the fall but I don't want him to be the youngest so he will wait another year. Here are his most recent progress.

-He can now recognize all of the letters in the alphabet.
-Reading familiar words. He can read mom, his name and the names of all of his classmates. He amazed me by quickly reading his friend's names on an attendance chart at school and moving their names to the correct chart depending on if they are at school or home.
-Able to add and subtract up to 5 and sometimes higher. We had some cows watching us while we were near a farm today. There were four cows at the fence when 3 more walked up. Jacob quickly stated "Mom there were 4 cows watching us. Now there are 3 more so there are 7 now."
-He can spell and write his first and last name.

I am completely amazed at Jacob's progress and hope that it continues. I am also relieved that the boys are doing well with our new schedules.