Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Introducing My Son!

Matthew Stertz (M) was adopted today. He is now my son. I am no longer his foster parent. I am now his mom. I am happy to see this journey come to an end and will cherish this day forever.

Becoming A Family

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sick Kids

There is nothing worse than having a sick kid. M has been sick for 3 days. I am pretty sure it is the flu and I really hope he feels better tomorrow for Easter. It has been 7 hours since I gave him ibuprofen and so far the fever has stayed away. He came in my room a few minutes ago and announced, "Mom, I feel better now." I hope that's true. Poor kid. The doctor ran out of the flu vaccine last fall and I never followed up. I have never had the flu before and didn't realize how miserable it really is. I can guarantee everyone he will be getting the flu shot from now on. Thankfully, Jacob had an appointment for his well child check up last September during the last flu clinic and he was able to get vaccinated so maybe he won't get sick. Fingers crossed.

Having sick kids is always a good reminder of how blessed I am. My parents were able to step in the past 2 days and watch M will I worked. I have a job that is much more flexible than my last job and was able to leave work long enough to take M to the doctor without having to plan ahead and wait for someone to replace me. I could also flex my time and stop home in the middle of the day Thursday and Friday to check on M and make sure he was doing okay.

I am also very aware of how blessed I am to live in this country when my children are sick. I could run to the grocery store and have several medications to choose from, a variety of sports drinks and juices to pick out and lots of food choices that might be easier to eat.

In the past hour M has started eating, is fighting with Jacob and is back to his old energetic self. Now I just need to see if it lasts but either way it is a good sign. Maybe he will feel okay for Easter tomorrow.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Thinking About Spring

It's hard to believe spring is here and has been for awhile. The weather outside is a very cold rain and there is even some talk of snow showers later today. Yuck! Not the 50s and 60s it is suppose to be this time of year. Tomorrow is suppose to be back in the 50s so I am focusing on the positive. Spring is here and last couple of weeks prove it. It just took a two day vacation.

Two weeks ago Jacob had his first t-ball practice. He was suppose to get his uniform today but it's really not baseball weather today. Soccer started last week for Jacob and M. I ended up coaching Jacob's team which I really enjoyed. I would prefer he had a coach who knows more about soccer but I really did have a lot of fun.

Last Saturday Jacob, M, P and I went to the zoo. It was a nice day with a high in the upper 50s and the animals were really enjoying it. The bears were more active than I have seen them in a long time. The baby lion hasn't made his debut yet so we will have to return soon for that.

The weather is suppose to be nice again tomorrow (or at least nicer) so I will be heading to the soccer field again. I love this part of parenting. When I dreamed of being a mom it was always watching my kids play sports and reading to them at night. I love that I get to do both now.

11 Days!

11 days until a huge family announcement! That's right. Our family is growing and the announcement is coming in 11 days!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Disappearing Act

It amazes me to think that my readers out there must think I have fallen off the face of the earth at a time when I feel like I have to be everywhere at once. That was especially true Thursday evening. I had three meetings at work at the same time in three different cities while I was receiving text messages from my dad about evening plans and how early could I get home while a group of my fellow students was patiently waiting for me in a city almost two hours away and the doctor's office was calling wanting me to go in and see them as soon as possible. To say I was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated is an understatement. Yet somehow I managed to juggle everything with minimal effects on othe people. I know some of them were a little annoyed (okay one was actually angry) that I couldn't be in 5 different places at the same moment in time, it all worked out okay in the end.

It can be hard to meet all of my responsiblities at the same time. It is during these very busy times that I seem to drop off the face of the earth to many people, not just my readers.I begin getting emails and phone calls from friends wondering why I have been so quiet and wouldn't I like to spend some time with them? Of course I do and I will. Just maybe not this week.

So how do I juggle the responsiblities of a demanding job, children (who are sometimes demanding and should be), school and family obligations? I prioritize. I can say I have gotten pretty good at prioritizing and time management in the past two years. People often ask how I get everything done and the answer is time management, prioritizing responsiblities and remembering to take care of myself and my own needs.

Here are the ground rules I have made for myself:

1) My children come first. No, they don't get to have everything they want and they do sacrifice some time away from me but I work hard to make those sacrifices as few as possible.

2) Work is a priority right after my children's well-being. My former employer has often stated that work comes before children and family but I have always refused to go along with that. It created tension at times but that is just the way it is. Thankfully, my new employer is much better about this juggling act and agrees children come first.

3) My children's social activities are probably my next priority. The reason is that their activities relate back to rule #1. I am a strong believer in having children in sports or other age appropriate activities. It helps build self-confidence, teaches social skills and is known to help prevent more serious problems such as drug abuse and school problems as the children get older.

4) School is my next priority. I only have a limited amount of free time so I have to spend it on school work. Especially as the school semester enters the final six weeks. It is this time of year that I feel like I need to clone myself to get all of the papers and projects done. It is also this time of year when I begin questioning whether or not I am really capable of meeting all of my responsibilities.

5) Sleep. I will get at least 7 hours of sleep most nights preferably 8. I will also allow myself a nap on weekends if I am feeling tired and overwhelmed. I don't see this as a waste of time. It is needed for mental and physicla health.

6) My own health and needs. I had some medical problems the past few weeks that have resulted in several doctor appointments and some extra time in bed. I will have several more appointments in the next few weeks but things should hopefully be improving now. It has been a good reminder that I won't be able to meet all of my responsibilities if I don't take care of myself and my own needs.

7) Relationships. This goes back to meeting my own needs. While I can't spend as much time as I would like with friends, I make sure I see them occassionally and talk to them regularly. I don't want to suddenly come to summer and fewer school responsibilities and find I don't have anyone to relax with. Plus those friends are supports during the crazy times (like right now).

So for those of you who keep asking, how does she do it? There is a short answer. That and with help from friends and family (including wonderful babysitters and day care). Now, back to the four major assignments due this week and kids who are asking for breakfast.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Is Near!

There are a few signs of Spring that I watch for every year. MLB opening day (Go Cubs and Brewers!), tulips growing, snow melting and warmer temperatures. I also look forward to the start of spring t-ball and soccer. Soccer starts next week and Jacob has a t-ball picnic today to get the season started. His first practice is in 2 weeks and his first game is in May.

I am really looking forward to spring. The past two weeks have been full of ups and downs. I have been preparing an adoption party and looking for the perfect adoption announcement (more to come soon on this). I thought I was going to be able to announce a new baby later this year but that didn't turn out as I had hoped. Maybe next time will have better results.

Work is going really well. My supervisor says she is pleased with the work I have been doing and is shortening my training schedule. She's been very supportive as I have dealt with some minor health issues and even reminded me it's okay to call in sick to work if I need to. Yesterday she and two other supervisors threw a pizza party and make cake and pie for all of the workers to enjoy. It was a great treat and so nice to work for a supportive supervisor.

Jacob and M have started at a new babysitter that seems to be going well so far. M has grown up so much this year. He turns 4 in May and I can really see him beginning to mature and leave the toddler years behind him. Two months ago I wasn't really sure he was ready socially or emotionally to start 4K in the fall but that has since changed. I am now sure that not only is he ready but he will do great.

Jacob had his first sleepover last night. We have had some of his friends spend the night here before but this is the first time he has spent the night away from me since he came home from Ethiopia. He spent the night at his friend, Grace's, house. Jacob was a little nervous going over there and I promised him he could come home at anytime if he wanted. I got an email this morning that not only did he not want to come home but he stayed up until 11! I am still waiting for him to come home so he must still be having fun. I miss him but am very proud of him. He is growing up and becoming much more independant.

For the most part the past two weeks have been full of medical appointments, training at work and just trying to keep up with lives that seem a little too busy right now. This weekend will be much more relaxing with not nearly as many scheduled activities. I plan to spend it on laundry, homework and just hanging around the house and neighborhood.