Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring Break

Spring is here and so is Spring Break. My spring break at the university was actuall school and my internship programming was running, I really didn't take much of a break. We really haven't had a lot of down time this spring and it has been very difficult. I work an intership 3 evenings a week and have class another night so really only spend a lot of time with the kids on weekends. Thankfully, I changed jobs last year so that I now have weekends off.

The kids and I have been doing pretty well considering that I have been extremely overwhelmed between work and school. The kids just go with the flow and enjoy spending extra time with my parents and friend. Last week was really the first time I have seen any real signs of stress from the kids and that was just some extra clingy behavior that I don't usually see out of them.

I decided to take most of this week off work. I have to go in 2 days this week when I am on call and there is some paperwork I am hoping to complete but I didn't schedule any home visits or meetings. I also have a paper due Wednesday night and class so I will have to make sure I get those things finished but I am sure that won't be too difficult.

My plan is to take three days to just focus on the kids and enjoy them. I haven't figured out what we are going to do all of those days. I received a request to go to the zoo one of the days if the weather is nice and hope to do that on Monday. We may just take a day to relax at home and ride bikes around the neighborhood. Mostly we just need to spend time together as a family.

Life has been hectic and very stressful lately so this week will be a nice chance to just relax and reconnect. Even if that means just laying in bed and watching cartoons on a Saturday morning. As long as we are together and slowing down, it will be a great week.

Friday, March 16, 2012

5 Years!

I can't believe my sweet little boy came to me 5 years ago this week. It was 5 years ago today that Jacob and I boarded an airplane bound for America. Jacob has some very vague memories of his time in Ethiopia but he still has a curiosity and love for it that only an Ethiopian-American can have.

I will admit I found myself getting emotional a few times this week as I look back at that magical week five years ago think about how far we have come. Jacob was ready to leave Ethiopia and the care center. He never really looked back and made it very clear he didn't want to return. He became very uncomfortable when anyone would speak Amharic to him and would come running to me. He attached to me very quickly and that attachment has only grown since then.

Jacob is now 6 years old. He is in kindergarten. He is no longer the baby that I fell in love with. He is a rapidly growing boy who I love even more now than I did that day. Every day he amazes me with his resilience, intelligence and friendly easy going personality.

Five years ago I had a lot of fear and anxiety as I began my life as a single parent. I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to do it or that I would hate it. I can now say that I don't parent alone. Sure, I'm the only adult living in the home but that doesn't mean I'm alone. I have great family and friends that are more than willing to help me out. Being able to call a friend or family member for help at any time of the day is a great blessing and gift that I will forever be thankful for. I no longer fear being a single parent. I know I can do it. I also know I love it.

Our lives changed forever five years ago. Jacob has touched me in a way no one else ever could have. He has taught me what a mother's love really is. He has taught me what it is like to lay awake at night worrying about if I am making the right decision. I have learned what it is like to lay next to a sleepiong child with a fever and worry about him. I have also learned the joy of hearing your child say I love you and You are my mom for the first time. I have learned the joy of watching your chid grow and learn at amazing speeds. I have learned to appreciate life and see every day as a blessing.

Becoming a mom was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I have Jacob to thank for helping me begin along that path. It's been five years that went by too fast. I am looking forward to many more years of loving him, parenting him and just enjoying spending time with him. Jacob, happy family day and may you continue to grow and find peace and happiness.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Day Of Research

Today has been a day of research. Of course, I only got a fraction of what I need to do completed but at least I got a start on it.

I started the day with my normal Sunday morning quiet time with the newspaper. I found a program guide for the school district's recreation department. They had summer camp information in it. I had been looking into some different child care options for Jacob this summer but they were all about the same price as his day care. The school district's program is only a fraction of the price ($105 a week less). They have frequent field trips, weekly swimming lessons and literacy and math activities. Everything I was looking for in a program. The only draw back is that the program is only 9 weeks and there is no camp available for the first week of break. That shouldn't be a problem though. I can take a week of vacation in June (I didn't take vacation last year so I have a lot of time to use) and there is a very fun 2 week program at the end of summer with trips to a Brewers game and water parks.

I also completed research for my internship. The community center received a grant to develop a program for teen girls. Part of the grant is to implement a curriculum on pregnancy prevention for at-risk girls as well as one for teen moms. I actually found evidence based programs for both target populations. I don't know if they are exactly what the center was looking for but at least it is something I can suggest at the meeting next week.

I still have an application to complete for my research project which I hope to finish early this week if not later tonight. Then I can start on some of my homework for this weekend that I never got to. Ugh! I will be so happy when this semester is over. At least spring break is in just a couple of weeks.

On a more fun note, Matthew is continuing to amaze me. I received an email from his 4K teacher describing how he has become a real leader in his classroom and she has no concerns about his social skills or behaviors. She states he has made huge progress this year and she now has him helping her in the classroom and demonstrating good behavior for the other kids. What a difference from his first few weeks there. Tonight he was sounding out words and writing them the way they sounded. I was truly amazed. He won't be 5 until May but is well on his way to succeeding in school. I do admit I am relieved that school is going so well for both of my kids.