Saturday, January 29, 2011

Winter Fun

I admit that I absolutely dread winter every year. It's not the snow or even the ice. It's the cold. I hate being stuck inside all the time but I also really don't like being outside and freezing. That is why I am always very happy to see the end of winter come.

Today was in the upper 20s and low 30s so it wasn't so cold it was miserable outside. It was actually very enjoyable. I took Jacob, M and P sledding. Something I had been promising to do all winter but it has either been too cold or not enough snow. Today we finally had snow and warmer weather so we all went to the hill.

The hill near our home wasn't very busy which was a really nice surprise. The boys had a great time whizzing down the hill and Matt really loved it. He had to be coaxed back to the car by a promise that I would pull him on the sled as fast I could until we got back to the car. I also took the kids down to the edge of the lake and let them walk on the ice which they thought was really neat. P tried to see through the ice to find some fish but of course the ice is just too thick.

I don't mind this time of the year. For winter, this is my favorite part. Warmer temperatures and the promise of spring. Ground hogs day is coming and whether Jimmy sees his shadow or not, I hope for an early spring. Baseball, picnics, flowers and green grass all sound really nice right now. Along with a new job that will allow us to enjoy it more. I can't wait.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Another Surgery Appointment

Today was another appointment at the surgery center. Jacob had another laser treatment on his port wine stain. He also had a minor procedure done to take care of another dermatology problem but that was very minor and really wouldn't have required anesthesia.

Jacob did great as usual. These days are always much harder on me than him. He actually enjoys going and tells me he misses the doctors and nurses. Today was no different. He happily told everyone at day care that he was going to "the face doctor" and would not be there today. He played contently and watched movies during the 2 hours we waited for our turn.

I am not as good as Jacob is at these appointments. I know he is fine and never worry about how he will handle it emotionally. I also know that he has always done well under anesthesia so I don't get extremely worried. I do get a little anxious. Especially when the appointments take longer that normal.

Today was one of those days where it took longer to get me. He usually wakes up and immediately starts crying. A nurse usually comes and gets me within a couple minutes to help settle him down and comfort him. Today I waited about half an hour after the doctor said he was finished and finally asked if I could see him yet.

The receptionist called back and someone came and got me. I walked back with the nurse who didn't say anything. I didn't hear anything and began to worry. What was going on that she wasn't talking and Jacob was crying? I rounded the corner and saw four nurses gathered around his room. He was in there sitting up, eating a popcicle and talking to everyone. He is always the star of the center and he was entertaining everyone with his humor again. The nurses quickly parted so I could see Jacob and he assured me he was fine. It was no big deal and oh, by the way, "May I please have some juice?"

I have to say. I was very proud of him. Another sign that he is growing up way too fast.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Life Is About To Get Chaotic

Between my new job and the new school semester, I beleive life is going to get very busy very fast around here. Both of the boys had some major changes at day care with M's being the most noticeable. The day care decided to do one of their big moves and moved a large number of children around. Jacob got a few new kids in his class and everyone in M's class moved except for him. I have definitelly seen a change in behavior as they have adjusted to their new friends and classes. More tantrums, less patience and definitely needing earlier bedtimes. I know it will get better but whew! The last few days have been tough.

My school semester starts next week. I still don't have a start date for my new job but I'm working hard to get as much done as I can before the school semester starts. Both of my instructors have published their syllabus for the semester and invited us to get an early start. I have accepted that invitation and just submitted my first assignment. Both classes are going to be very interesting but the one on mental illness will be the most useful in my new career.

Still on my list to do. I need to shop for some new clothes. I have worn uniforms for the past 13 years and have never had to worry about casual dress or dress clothes. I have a few things but not nearly enough for a 40 hour a week job. Three outfits just won't work. I have a few weeks to get that done but it doesn't hurt to start watching for good deals now. I also want to get everyone haircuts and get the animals to the vet so I won't have those things to worry about.

Lots to do but an exciting time. Life is good.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Reason To Celebrate

I finally have a reason to celebrate in the job search. My job search is over. People who know me well know that I have been working hard for the past couple of years to change careers. I want to begin a career as a social worker in child welfare. I also didn't want to leave the county I work for now. Leaving would mean I would lose my longevity, vacation, sick and comp time. The benefits are great and I just was not in a hurry to lose any of that and start completely over.

At 9:06 Tuesday night, I received a phone call offering me a position in the county I work for. Of course, I accepted the offer. I don't have a start date yet but it will be within the next few weeks. Other than being the job I want and believe I will enjoy, it is a much better work schedule for single parents. I will no longer have to work weekends or holidays unless there is an emergency. I can attend local community events and take advantage of the many free things to do and see around town on weekends. I am excited. My children are excited. This will be a great thing for all of us.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Packers or Bears

Packers of course! I just received an email today from our church regarding the big game on Sunday. They are asking everyone to wear their team jerseys on Sunday. I have a sweatshirt but the boys will both be in their Packer jerseys. It should be a fun service and game. Better if the Packers can win!

Monday, January 17, 2011


Last week was a week of calm. I know some families that are really good about having nice quiet evenings at home but my family is not one of them. It seems like things are always moving too fast and I am always struggling to keep up. The past couple of weeks haven't felt like that and it has been really nice.

Monday Jacob had his second basketball class. While the excitement of a new sport has worn off slightly, he did really enjoy the class. He wishes he could "play in the big game" but understands the class is to learn how to play basketball and he will have a chance to play in "big games" next year when he is in kindergarten. M decided he wanted to watch his brother play so he stayed with me for about 15 minutes before deciding to go to child watch and play. He also wants his brother to play in a game "so I can cheer really loud for him."

Tuesday M and Jacob had swimming lessons. I am really proud of M. He has a new teacher this session and while he has done some testing such as walking on the bottom of the pool when he discovered he can now touch, he has done much less testing than he normally does for new teachers and care givers. Jacob and M are doing really well this session in swimming. Whether they pass their levels or not (Jacob actually can't pass his until he turns 6 or gets a little more coordinated), they are having fun, showing very good social skills (something I think every preschooler can struggle with) and getting better at swimming. M is really close to being able to swim short distances with a swim belt which is my goal for him. Jacob can already swim about 25 feet without a swim vest.

Wednesday we had dinner with a friend. It was nice to just get out of the house and relax without having a lot of things I know I should be doing.

Thursday the boys stayed home with one of the best baby sitters we have ever had and I went on a date. The date was with a man I have been friends with for years so I don't know where this relationship is headed. We had a nice dinner and then went to my house for awhile where the boys were very excited to see him.

Friday was another day to just relax and go with the flow. I have P on Friday evenings so we went to a local pizza restaurant where the kids could play games. I also ordered my textbooks for next semester.

Saturday we celebrated my mom's birthday before going to a single parents by choice meeting and church. It was a busy day but another one where we really weren't rushed. Saturday was probably the most stressful day just because we did have a schedule that was a little tighter but it still wasn't too bad.

Sunday I went back to work and am trying to get a jump start on my courses for this semester. I am taking a diversity course on cultural competence and a course on mental illness. Both should be very interesting but I am really looking forward to the mental health course. I have worked with many people with mild to severe forms of mental illness and I am fascinated by the field. It will be a busy semester but fun.

Today is a holiday at my job so I am making holiday pay and earning a day off to use in the future. Day care is closed so the kids are with my dad. They have a day of cooking and sledding planned. Dad told the boys he was going to sleep in but they quickly told him it was not an option and they are ready to play. Poor Dad. I hope they take it easy on him today.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Weekend Celebrations and Reflection

This weekend marked the last of our Christmas celebrations. I will probably take the Christmas tree down this week (or risk having it up for Valentine's Day). It's always one of my favorite seasons. A chance to reconnect with family and friends, people in a giving mood and of course the reminder that Jesus came to teach us how to live as Christians and led us by example.

This year was a little more stressful than past years and I could tell that my enthusiasm was dappened because of it. I am really hopeful that 2011 will bring some much needed good news and success. As Jacob told me today, "You just have to keep trying Mom." Where did he learn to be so smart?

Friday was Genna and we celebrated as a family. The boys each received a new outfit Friday morning and took treats to school. Jacob had an eye appointment with another specialist who stated his glasses are working and he doesn't need patching (yay!). I had another job interview that went well but I'm not holding my breath. It's frustrating to continue to be one of the top 3 applicants for positions and not be picked. I'll find out this week if I was chosen this time.

After my job interview, I went to work for 2 hours and 15 minutes. It was pretty much uneventful and I was happy to pick my boys up from school and continue our Genna celebrations. I picked up our friend, P, and then made a turkey breast, stuffing, cranberries and rice and broccoli for dinner. We finished the meal with cupcakes which we also took to my parents' house to share. Overall it was a good day with a taste of Ethiopian culture (since my kids no longer want to eat Ethiopian food), a good doctor appointment and a good interview (no matter what the results are).

I took this weekend off work so the boys could be part of the church Christmas program. The program was originally snowed out in Decemeber and I was glad it was rescheduled for a day we could attend. M had trouble during practice yesterday and had to spend most of it sitting out. Jacob did well and was really excited to perform.

The boys woke up this morning and I started to get us all ready for the program. M stated that he didn't think he could be quiet that long and behave if he couldn't color. He stated he didn't want to try. I told him that was fine and I would rather have him sit out than misbehave. I was glad he recognized his limits and was honest about it. I am sure he will be able to participate next year when he is 4.

Jacob did great in the program. He sang loudly and paid attention. He also spent time waving wildly to me and my parents which everyone thought was really cute. I also enjoyed the kisses he blew to me. It really was a cute performance and all of the kids did wonderful.

Now that Christmas is over and I beginning to work on my projects for the new year. Jacob and I have started to clean out the toys in the playroom and move them to the basement. He and I are hoping to transform the room into a bedroom for him. We have a long way to go but we did get a good start on it today. He actually worked on it by himself for awhile which was really nice to see.

Tomorrow I head back to work and the boys head back to school. I will finish washing their nap things tonight and Jacob will finish the worksheets he missed while he was at the doctor Friday. It has been a good weekend and hopefully we will have many more to come.

Merry Christmas and Happy Genna to everyone. May 2011 be full of blessings for all of you.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas Photos

We spent Christmas at my parents' house with my brother. Everyone had a great time and it was a very nice day. M had so much fun with his new toys that he decided to stay home and play while Jacob and I saw Yogi Bear at the movie theater. Even two weeks later, M and Jacob are still playing with their toys and asking to stay home from school to play more. Their favorite toys are a motorcycle from our neighbor, a remote controlled crane and a garbage truck. Fireman Sam movies were also a hit.

Dreams Coming True

I think if every mother and father of young children and babies have dreams of what they will do with their children some day. One of the dreams I have had for years is watching my children play sports. I'll admit that I have somewhat pushed Jacob towards sports the past couple of years. He was interested but not nearly as much as I was. I would have been fine if he told me not to sign him up but I did really hope he would learn to love sports.

Jacob seems to be finally really falling in love with sports. I think he is just finally getting old enough to begin to enjoy competition and challenge and learning how to deal with frustration and challenges. Jacob really started to show his new interest towards the end of the t-ball season. He suddenly started paying more attention to the game and playing in the dirt less. He began looking forward to when his next game was and would get really disappointed if a game was rained out.

As the t-ball season came to an end, Jacob began begging to play soccer. I really didn't plan to sign him up for soccer because he didn't seem to enjoy it last year. While I dream of watching him play sports, I don't want him to play if he doesn't enjoy it. I reluctantly signed him up and waited to have to struggle to get him to play. It never happened. Jacob not only played hard he had a great time.

Jacob's next request was football but flag football in our part of town doesn't start until kindergarten so he has one year to wait. We took the fall off sports but Jacob's interest hasn't lessened. He is still begging to play flag football. I promised him I would continue to watch for sports that fit into our schedule.

We looked at the sports for preschoolers at the Y over Christmas break and found basketball. Jacob was very excited. He told his teacher and all of his friends he was going to play basketball. He had his first class last night and spent the entire class learning to dribble. He has some work to do but he had fun and was improving. I promised to try to find a basketball so he can practice at home. Mostly I was just glad to see him smile throughout the class.

This spring will be bringing soccer and t-ball. Then he will enter kindergarten and I know that he will be asking to play flag football at the Y. Thankfully, the Y is reasonably priced and near our house. It should be a good spring and I am really loving having a 5 year old. M will start playing more sports next year also. I think I am really going to enjoy watching my kids over the next few years.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Perfect Start to 2011

I will admit that I haven't written my New Year's Resolutions. I have started to think about them but haven't decided exactly what they will be. For example, I want to set some financial goals (ie: what debt to retire, how much to save, etc) but haven't figured out exactly what those goals will be. I also like to set more personal goals such as behavior changes and other personal improvements that are far too personal to post on a public website. I will write them out eventually and might even share some of the less personal ones here. I just haven't found the time to sit and think and write yet. Maybe later this week. My last post shared some of my hopes for the next year and some of those dreams will be included in my resolutions just in slightly different forms.

So today wasn't a day where I sat and reflected. Instead I used it as a day to start working on one of the resolutions that I am willing to share publicly. I want to spend more time in 2011 with my children just relaxing. No time lines or deadlines. Fewer activities rushed through so that we can check it off our to do list and move onto something else. Just time to spend enjoying eachother.

I started that resolution today. The boys and I layed around the house watching TV and lounging until about 9:30 this morning. We then got dressed and went to my parents' house. My mom and I took the boys to the mall where we spent about 2 hours just playing on the climbing equipment, playing with trains and reading books in the bookstore and eating lunch.

Around 1:30, we returned to my parents' house where the boys took a nap while I went to the grocery store. My dad fixed pork chops and mashed potatoes for dinner and we watched my beloved Badgers play a good game in the Rose Bowl (even if they did lose). We then watched an episode of Diego to reward M's very good behavior and patience during the football game.

It was 8:00 by the time we got home. I return to work tomorrow for 2 more days before my normal weekend. While I am never ready to leave my kids and go back to work, I am comforted returning after a relaxing and enjoyable day with the kids (and my parents).

Sure. We will still have days that are packed with activities. There will be activities that we have to squeeze in around other activities. But I also am pledging to myself and my children that I will try to have more days where we just relax, throw the schedules out the window, turn off the cell phone and computer and enjoy each other. I also pledge to continue to make spending one-on-one time with each of my children a priority this year. It's time that the kids really enjoy and I think is important for all of our relationships with eachother.

A Look Back and Forward

Last year I made a post about what I was looking foward to in 2010. Of course, many things happened that I would never have predicted and we had challenges and blessings. I wanted to look back and see how I did on my predictions though. So here they are.

1) Finish 2 semesters of grad school. I did this although I decided to only attend part-time this year. A decision that I am glad I made although I do wish I was graduating in August. Oh, well. One more year isn't bad.

2) Finish my internship. I can check that one off. It went well and I miss it.

3) Find a new job. Nope. Not yet. I'm getting closer but haven't been offered one yet. I am still hoping it will happen soon. I printed off another job application today and will apply for the same eligibility list I'm on now.

4) Obtain social work certification. I did this.

5) Complete another adoption home study. Check this one off also.

6) Jacob in 4K. Check. He's doing great.

7) M in 3 year old preschool. Check. He's also doing great at the new daycare.

8) No more diapers. Check. We only use pull-ups at night.

9) Camping. Didn't quite get to this one. I did buy a tent on clearance for cheap so we are getting closer.

10) Passing swimming lessons. Jacob is really close but not quite there yet.

11) Culture camp. Nope but it is on my list of things to do someday.

12) Watching Jacob and M bond as brothers. Check. They are definitelly there.

So here is a look at what I hope 2011 will bring.

1) M's adoption should be finalized sometime very soon. Hopefully this winter or spring. I can't imagine it won't be final by the end of this year.

2) Kindergarten. Jacob will start in the fall.

3) 4K. Hopefully, M will be part of the first 4K class in our district. Otherwise he will be in 4K at the day care he currently attends. It's expensive but very worth every penny. I wish I had taken him there much earlier.

4) Sports. M will be playing soccer and t-ball. Jacob will be playing soccer, basketball, t-ball and football. I guess you can call me a soccer mom now. And I'm proud of it.

5) School and church performances. Jacob has been in them for awhile but he really seems to enjoy them and look forward to them now. It's fun to watch him get so excited and really work hard.

6) Reading. Jacob is very close to being able to read. He can recognize all of the letters and is just starting to sound out words. By the end of this year I am sure I will have a reader on my hands.

7) A new job. I hope this one comes true this year. Right now I am only applying at the county I currently work for so I don't lose seniority and benefits. I am hoping to get a transfer soon but if not I may start to look outside the county.

8) Camping. We will do this one. No excuses. We have a tent now. Jacob is big enough to help me put up the tent and M is big enough to be trusted not to wander away or fall into a campfire (as long as he is supervised). I have friends who have said they will go with us so we really better make our way to the campground.

9) Mehaber. I was able to get off work to go to Mehaber again this year. It should be fun.

10) A party! If M's adoption is finalized we will finally be able to celebrate. I already have the party invitiations picked out and ready to order. I just need a date.

Life is good. Sure there have been challenges such as a very bad day care (the state substantiated my complaint), adoption delays and job seeking disappointments. There will be challenges next year as well (I am pretty sure one of our cats will pass away). Yet overall we are very blessed. We are a family and love each other. We work together, help each other and enjoy each other. I know we are very blessed and hope that 2011 brings even more blessings to my family and yours.