Saturday, July 31, 2010

School Supplies

I have almost finished buying school supplies for the boys for the new school year. It really wasn't too bad although they are only in 3-year-old preschool and 4K. Jacob needed the most since he is in an actual school curriculum this year. There lists were reasonable and I didn't have anything to complain about.

That was until I got curious and picked up the school supply list for the kindergarten year at the nearby elementary school. I was curious to see what Jacob would need next year and thought it would give me a glimpse into what M would need as well. While the list is reasonable, I do have to question why I am being asked to by dry erase markers for the teacher.

I was considering this request (I see it as a request not a requirement. They have to educate my son whether he brings the teacher markers or not)when I began reading the newspaper about an hour later. There in the local section was an article about the materials fee that they are requiring for kindergartners next year. I am sure it will apply to 4K kids as well. The article quoted the school district as stating that the money goes to buy crayons and other supplies the children will use. The supplies they mentioned are the same ones on the school supply list and seems to cover the whole year. Or at least that is why I assume each child needs 30 glue sticks on the first day of school.

So my question is this. If I am buying the materials for my child to use plus buying the dry erase markers for the teacher to use, exactly what does the material fee go for? I think I'm confused.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Another Cavity

I have heard that poor nutrition during pregnancy and early infancy can lead to teeth problems. I also know that Jacob had some malnutrition issues when he was six months old so probably was malnuritioned from the very beginning. Thankfully, Jacob has not had the problems with his teeth that some children have but any problems is too much for this mama.

Jacob received his first filling last filling last February and I was hoping it was just a fluke. I was wrong. We went in for his 6 month check up today and the poor kid has a huge caviity. I knew he had been complaining lately about it hurting when he eats certain foods so I thought we might get bad news. I wasn't expecting to have the dentist find the huge hole that he found. The dentist is hopeful they can fix it with just a filling but warned me it might take a crown. Yikes! I don't even have a crown yet! It's in his back molar so one that he will have for awhile (I hope) so I want them to fix it well.

Jacob won't be able to get in to have it fixed until October. Until then, he says he will just eat on the other side. If it gets too bad, I will call back and demand they try to get him in sooner. I guess we will be making another trip to the toy store after he gets his tooth fixed. Anything to make the day a little better for him and me.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Week Recap

My internet is out at home again. Ugh! This time I know I can only blame myself. The cable company told me several weeks ago to exchange my old modem for a new one. I just never seem to get around to actually making the time to go over and do it. Now it is out again and I still haven't found the motivation to fix it. The problem is that I really only use it for blogging and entertainment during the summer. I would probably get rid of it at home and just use the library computer and my parents if it wasn't for the school year. I'll have to get the modem replaced before September, I'm just not sure when.

Here is a recap of the events around our house during the past few days:

- I spent the first part of the week fighting what I thought was just a little virus. Now it has turned into an actual cold and I really had very little energy last night. Actually, a lot of the week was spent sitting rather than doing things. They boys have not been happy that I haven't been my usual energetic self. They have been bouncing off the walls and a little less patient with my desire to just sit the past couple of days. Hopefully, I will get over this cold quickly and we can go back to jam packed days again.

- I played softball again Monday and the kids played with a bunch of other kids from the church. They had a great time playing baseball and playing on the playground. M and Jacob have been fighting with each other a lot lately so they did both get in trouble for that but mostly just had fun.

- Tuesday was a day off work so I took the boys out of day care and we went to the zoo. It was fun and we enjoyed the animals and playground. M seemed to be having a bad day again mostly because he was starting fights with Jacob and constantly in trouble. He also was whiny which makes me think he may have had a touch of whatever I am fighting. His cold symptoms are much milder though so hopefully he isn't getting it quite as bad as I did.

- Wednesday was the day I really wasn't feeling well. I was mostly just tired and cranky in the morning. I decided M needed a break from the boredom of hanging out with Jacob and me. He asked to go to school and I thought it would really help if he got away from Jacob for a few hours. With the exception of 3 hours Monday morning, the boys had spent all of their time together since Saturday.

- While M was at school, I took Jacob to visit a woman I have not seen since high school. She has a son M's age and an infant daughter. It was fun reconnecting and I hope to see her again soon.

- I was right about just separating M and Jacob for awhile. By the time I picked M up after naps yesterday, he and Jacob were ready to be best friends again. I was really beginning to feel poorly and decided I just couldn't handle sitting in the heat. M and Jacob were very disappointed we weren't going for our usual bike ride/walk but quickly got over it. We stayed inside and the boys played together well for the most part. The plus side of the evening was that everyone went to bed on time for once since I wasn't feeling well and we didn't get involved in any fun projects/activities. I am hoping that translates to a good day for both kids today.

Jacob was upset that we did not have time to go window shopping yesterday. He loves to shop and just look around even if we don't buy anything. I promised him we would go later this week or next week on my days off.

This morning I woke up feeling slightly better than yesterday. Hopefully, I am on the mend. I am still tired but hoping that the worst is behind me. I have a trauma informed parenting class (for foster care and social work training) tonight that will keep me up a little bit later. I am hoping we can get back to our energetic and fast paced lives tomorrow.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

No Place Better (except home)

I have to work all weekend. Jacob and M are use to this and usually go to a great babysitter. This weekend my babysitter is out of town leaving me without child care. My parents graciously stepped in to watch the boys. I told the boys yesterday that they would spend the next two days over there. This morning M woke up and came running to find me. Here is the conversation.

M: Are we going to Grandpa's today?
Me: Yes.
M: Yay! (He then stands there smiling for about 2 minutes.
Me: Let me go get our stuff and your brother.
M: Can I wait in the car? (still smiling ear to ear)

Poor M could barely contain himself. When we got to Grandpa's he couldn't stop smiling, laughing and moving. He ended up getting in trouble within five minutes and told to settle down on his own or he would have to go sit until he could control himself. He stopped throwing his body around but really didn't slow to even a fast walk. While I know it can be challenging for adults when he is this excited, I also know it is wonderful that he loves his Grandma and Grandpa this much.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Imaginary Friend

Jacob announced he has a new invisible friend. Here was the conversation:

J: I have an invisible friend.
Me: You do!
J: Yes. He's a new friend today.
Me: Where is he?
J: You can't see him. He's invisible. Only I can see him.
Me: Is he here now?
J: No. He's still on the airplane. He's coming from California. He won't be here until later.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Summer Of Fun

I can't believe July is 2/3 over already! This summer has been one of the most fun we have had in a very long time. We have spent a lot of time outside just enjoying ourselves. One of the things I love about Summer is that there are a lot of very cheap activities I can do with the boys that we all love and enjoy. Here are some of the highlights so far.

- We have received a personal tour of fire station as well as been able to climb in fire trucks at two local events. For my children, there is nothing more special than sitting in a fire truck and talking to our local heros.

- We made it to the Memorial Day parade and the Fourth of July fireworks. With my work schedule, I wasn't sure we would see either. We did though and they both were a lot of fun.

- We have been swimming A LOT. We have swam in three different swimming pools and often have a tough time deciding which pool to visit. Our favorites are still the YMCA pools. That is one membership we really use a lot and really enjoy.

- We have visited a state park about an hour from here once as a family. The boys also went once with their grandparents. We have another trip scheduled for 2 weeks from now but I may have to try to get there again before that.

- Jacob began learning to ride a 2-wheeler. He asked to have his training wheels put back on a few days later but at least he tried. I will take them off again when he is ready.

- M has just been a complete joy this summer. He found the courage to swim with a life jacket without holding onto me. He was soon jumping in by himself and keeps talking about taking swimming lessons this fall.

- M went on his first field trip on a school bus. He loved it! He goes on another one tomorrow to a local children's amusement park. I hope to join him on a field trip next month.

- We have walked to the park a few times, taken numerous walks around the neighborhood and spent hours outside playing and grilling. I have gone through more charcoal this summer than I usually go through in 2 years. We still have a lot more grilling to do before the season ends.

- We took a weekend trip to Mehaber in Minnesota and enjoyed the trip greatly.

- We attended the local county fair last week. The boys were both tall enough for rides and really enjoyed it.

- Jacob and I enjoyed going on a scavenger hunt and seeing butterflies at the local gardens. We ate ice cream for lunch afterwards. Yum!

Not too bad for two months. Now to figure out a way to cram in as much fun as possible for the next month. If the weather stays nice, we should have a lot of fun!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Funny Things Kids Say

Someone told me recently to make sure I write down all of the cute and funny things my kids say. Jacob often asks why I am laughing and I have to tell him it is because he is funny and I love him. Here are some recent quotes.


- Running from the bathroom looking very concerned, "Mom! My teeth are not white enough! I need that crystal toothpaste!"

- At the grocery store, "We need to buy Fruit Loops. They have 3 grams of fiber!"

- After a bible lesson at daycare, "Did you know God is holding 2 jobs for me? He's going to let me be a fire fighter and a police officer. I'm going to be very busy."


- "I'm going to be big and tall like Santa Clause!"

- "When I'm big. I fly to the moon!"

- "I'm going to drive the ambulance and Jacob is going to ride in the back!" I really hope he meant as another EMT.

- "Thank you." After I give him a hug and tell him I love him in one of those made for movie quiet moments.

I wish I could remember more. I spend so much time just laughing at the things my boys say and do. Sure we have our bad days but lately we have had many more good days. We have recovered and healed from so much of the past trauma in their lives and are now just enjoying life.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day Care Schedule and Field Trips

One of the things I absolutely love about the boys' new day care is the structured fun they have every week. They also have monthly field trips all year. Last month the boys went to a dairy farm. Today Jacob is at an amusement park designed for younger kids and M goes next week. Next month M goes to a petting farm and Jacob goes to the zoo. Parents are welcome to attend and I went last month with Jacob. I hope to go with M next month. I always attend any time I am off work and absolutely love in sharing these special times with the boys. It is a chance to watch them with their friends, see their teachers in action and for the boys to show me all the cool things they do every day.

Here is the weekly routine this summer for the boys.


Tue- Water play in sprinklers.
Wed- Bike Day
Thur- Water play
Fri- Popcicles and chocolate milk


Wed- Water Play
Fri- Water Play, popcicles and chocolate milk

M also does other fun activiites but they vary every week. For example, one day they make home made ice cream and another week they make s'mores.

Jacob is in the 4K room so he gets to do a few more things than M in the 3 year old preschool room. Both boys are in the rooms they will be in during the school year next year so they won't have to transition when many of the other kids move in September. Since they just started in June, I like that they will be able to stay with the same teachers and a few of the same kids.

Bad Mommy!

I feel like a horrible mother. I forgot that it is bike day for M today and left his bike at home. The school has some bikes he can borrow but he was very upset he couldn't bring his own bike and helmet. I didn't have time to go home to get it and my parents aren't available today to take it to him. Bike day is important to him. He only had one this month while Jacob gets to take his bike every week. I really hope I can find a way to make it up to him. Maybe his teacher can do bike day again.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

No Training Wheels!

Jacob asked me to take his training wheels off his bike. We rode it a few times tonight and he is starting to get the hang of it. He can ride about six feet before he loses his balance and falls off. I offered to put the training wheels back on for bike day at school tomorrow but he insisted that I leave them off. He wants to keep practicing at school. My only question is when did he get so big? It seems like just yesterday I was meeting him in Ethiopia and watching him enjoy "riding" a bike with no pedals. Now he is learning to ride without training wheels and just seems to be growing faster each day. I'm not ready for my baby to grow up but it appears he is ready to spread his wings a little farther. As any good mother does, I have to choke back a tear and watch him explore and grow. It is mainly a tear of pride at the young man I see him becoming and only a very small part missing the baby he once was. Today he loses his training wheels, in a few months he will begin to lose his baby teeth and in a year he is off to kindergarten. He is growing up and I couldn't be more proud of him. I miss the baby but I really love the boy he has become. I know I will love the man he will be way too soon for this mom's heart.

Martin Luther King Jr's I Have A Dream

I am sitting on my couch on a rare evening with time to relax. These evenings don't come often so I am always grateful when they do. I ran across some reruns of The Cosby Show and decided to watch. They just played part of MLK's I Have A Dream Speach. I a where am always moved by the part where he talks of "black children and white children will hold hands as brothers." That happens all the time in my family and I admit it is a beautiful sight.

Race doesn't often enter into our thoughts. Occassionally something will happen that will make us think about it. Jacob sometimes talking about wanting a family member with brown skin like his. We have friends from many different races and live in a very diverse community. Despite all of these blessings, Martin Luther King Jr's words still remind me how far our country has come and how blessed we all are to live here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Blogging Rules For Me

I am not sure why I read the comments on the newspages and new websites. They always irritate me as people show how uneducated they are or just plain insensitive. At the same time that I read these and get irritated, I also know that often the person writing them is just writing them to get a reaction. Some people love conflict. I also appreciate the educated and rational people that respond to these irresponsible comments but yet know that they person writing them is only reading them to pick them apart and antagonize the person who wrote them. These same people who like to get reactions on these websites often find people's blogs and try to pick them apart as well. I am sure most of you know blogs that were shut down because of these comments. So far I haven't gotten any of these overly negative comments and to be honest wouldn't publish them if I did. I don't mind comments that debate something I said but anything hateful or just plain insensitive that may hurt my family or someone reading this will never be published.

To protect my family I have some ground rules I follow and I thought I would list them here. I don't expect anyone to read them and follow them. They work for my family but not all families. I know that many people who read this blog will never meet us in person and yet many do. I have been stopped at adoption gatherings, while shopping at Target and in other areas of the community by someone that recognizes us from our blog. It is a public blog and people who read it regularly will be able to figure out a lot about us. That is fine. I hope that most people see us as positive role models and a source of support and entertainment for their own journeys through parenthood and adoption. This is our story and here are my rules.

1) I will never post things that I believe will embarrass my children when they are older. It is a public blog and I don't want their potty training mishap or pictures of them on the toilet to be used against them when they are in high school. I'll save the embarrassing photos for their first date (just kidding).

2) I don't post our last names or our address and try not to post when we are leaving town. Some people can still figure out who we are and that is fine but it makes it more difficult.

3) I won't publish pictures of any foster children until they are legally adopted. I also won't ever publish information about their birth families or their past.

4) I write about our daily struggles that I don't mind being public. I think it helps other families and single moms to read about our struggles and know it isn't always perfect. I won't use this forum as a place to publicly humiliate or intimidate others though.

5) I keep my own private journal that I write my most private thoughts. That's where I vent about things that I don't want to be public. It's also where I work out challenges and problems that I'm not ready to share with others yet.

So those are my rules. I'm not sure why I am posting them except I want to. And that's my final rule. This is my blog so sometimes the posts are just my thoughts. No real reason why I want to post. I just do.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Double Header

I played in my first double header softball game yesterday. The games went well and I had a lot of fun. I played all of the first game and half of the second game including making a pretty good catch on a pop up foul ball at catcher in the first game. We didn't win either game and the second game was pretty ugly but it was fun none the less. I am a little sore since I am defintitelly not use to playing that much catcher today but it is a good sore. One that I will gald take after a fun night with friends and a chance to just take a break for awhile.

The softball team I am on is bilingual. It is a church team and about half the members are from the English speaking services and half from the Spanish speaking services. It has taken awhile for everyone to get to know each other but the friendships are building and the team spirit is definitely there now. As an added benefit, I am getting a lot of practice listening to Spanish and my skills appear to be improving. Or at least, I didn't have to concentrate as hard to understand what was being said around me.

It has been a fun season. We have one month left and I am looking forward to it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Lemonade, Root Beer and Fireworks

What was going to be a simple evening with my two wonderful boys turned into a fun evening with teenagers and lot of friends. I love the Fourth Of July celebration.

Every year people flock to our church lawn to watch the fireworks. About seventeen years ago, when I was a member of the youth group, I suggested that the church sell lemonade to the people on the lawn. After all, we have to clean up after them so we might as well make some money also. The lemonade stand was a hit and has now grown to popcorn, root beer floats and other items. I look forward to eating root beer floats on the church lawn every year and supporting the Senior High Youth Group at the same time.

This year I decided to invite our teenage friend, J. J asked if her cousin and cousin's nephew could also come. The nephew is 4 years old and just as cute as can be. I gladly told them yes and everyone piled into our van. It was now me with 3 young children and 2 teenagers all on our way to a fun evening.

I bought everyone root beer floats and the teenagers quickly went off to do teenage girl things while they waited for the show to start. Jacob and M played with some kids that we see every year and managed to talk me into buying glow necklaces and lemonade also. What I thought would be a five dollar evening was quickly twenty dollars and worth every cent. I spent the evening talking to adults from the church and just relaxing and watching my children play.

When the fireworks started, the teenagers and all of the kids climbed onto our blanket. We settled in and watched a nice demonstration with the rest of the crowd. After the show, I escorted everyone back to the car and we began driving away. The rain came about ten minutes later and we were all grateful we were able to see the show before the rain started.

I really enjoyed having my house and car full of kids. It was fun to watch them all enjoy each other and just spend time together relaxing. No pressures and no worries. Just fun. It takes a long time for children who have suffered abuse or neglect to settle down but we are finally making it. We are finally able to just have fun as a family.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Learning To Read

We left a day care in February that really stressed literary skills. Jacob could recognize all of the letters of the alphabet, read his friends names quickly, read numbers up to ten and was beginning to figure out adding and subtracting. When we changed to the horror day care we recently left, Jacob had lost a lot of those skills. It seemed he had lost about three months of progress and was closer to where he was in September or October instead of February. I knew it was because no one was working with him on it and was only a little concerned. I knew it would come back to him once he started the four-year-old kindergarten curriculum this fall.

We left that day care almost exactly one month ago. Since that time, Jacob has started reading! No. He can't pick up a book and just read but he has started to site read words and even sound some out. He shocked me last night. I picked up a book I had never read to him before. It was a beginner reading book. I read the first page pointing out the words as I read and sounding some out. As I began to read the second page, Jacob read along with me! He got a couple words wrong but it was obvious he was reading! I began to test him by having him read words without my help and sure enough he did it!

It actually started last week when I was reading a "Biscuit" book to him. He could read all of the "bow wow" "wolf" and "meow" words no matter how they changed them around. Now he is moving on and beginning to be able to read other words as well.

M is also making huge gains. He has begun trying to learn to write and read his name. He is a long ways from being able to do it but this is the first time he has shown any interest in it. He can also count to about 15 and does it regularly. I am sure it won't be long before he starts reading letters and numbers also.

All of these gains after just 1 month in the new center. I couldn't be more pleased. Both boys are just thriving there and making huge gains in a very short time period. Jacob's teacher was actually suprised he was not going to kindergarten in the fall. She thought he was just as prepared as the other children starting in the fall. He won't though. I don't like starting kids early and his birthday isn't until the end of September.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lake Fun!

I really wish I hadn't forgotten my camera today. The kids and I went to a nearby state park for the day and had a great time. We started with some swimming and building sand castles. It was in the low to mid 70s and a perfect day for sitting on the beach watching kids play. Jacob spent about half an hour in a fruitless attempt to catch minnows. He probably would have had more luck with a net.

M wanted me to build a "super huge" sand castle. I built a medium sized sand castle and explained that was all I knew how to do. He was disappointed his mom isn't a master sand castle builder but that was the best I can do.

There is a ferry that takes cars across a river between our house and the park. We rode it there and back. On the way back, M fell asleep before we left the park so Jacob and I were the only ones awake on the ferry trip home. We bought ice cream cones at a stand by the dock and enjoyed the nice cold treat while we stood outside the car and watched the river. Then it was a short half hour drive home.

M woke up just as we pulled up to the house and Jacob never did sleep. The boys seem to still be full of energy. Unfortunately, I am completely out of energy and very content sitting around the living room doing nothing.

Tomorrow I start a new work week and I need to start preparing for our trip to Mehaber next weekend. For now, I will just try to relax and maybe even get a little laundry done tonight.