Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Our turkey just came off the grill - for the first time ever!  Randy has been wanting to try this for several years.  It looks soooo yummy.  I would post a picture, but I can't seem to find my camera.  Anyway, we are basically having a mini Thanksgiving dinner, since my husband can't eat turkey without stuffing and green bean casserole.  We also had some appetizers this afternoon; chips with guacamole, mini wieners in a special sauce, cheese curds, and baby pigs in a blanket which Kaleigh helped to make - her first successful cooking attempt :).

Our dinner will be enjoyed with a family movie, and the kids will ring in the new year with sparkling grape juice at 10 p.m. before hitting the pillows.  Randy and I will then enjoy the grown up movie with a few grown up snacks (crab cakes and stuffed mushrooms) and will ring in the new year at midnight with grown up sparkling juice (aka Asti) ;-). 

Tomorrow we'll head to my mom's for brunch and then homemade Chinese food later on in the day with my cousin and her family.

I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year's Eve and New Year's Day!

Good bye, 2010!

Hello, 2011!  May you bring happiness and good changes for all!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Parent Frustration

My ten year old has made some poor decisions in the last few days.  He turned his TV on in his bedroom after he was put to bed.  He cheated on his science homework.  He lied to my face twice in less than twenty-four hours.

And because of his past hurts, he cuts himself off from the emotional repercussions of consequences, so that nothing I take away from him does anything to affect his behavior.

So yesterday, after the cheating and the second lie, I took a page from a friend's book (thanks, Laura), and had him write a verse about lying 50 times.  

Okay, we are all sinners, we all make wrong decisions from time to time, and kids are (definitely) no exception.  So yes, my kids are going to do things they shouldn't, even things they know they shouldn't.  I sometimes do things I know I shouldn't.  So I can forgive him and we can move on.  

But that doesn't mean I can just say, "Oh well, everyone sins.  No big deal," and let him think that it doesn't matter that he tells a lie once in awhile, or disobeys his parents, or cheats on his homework because he's too lazy to look for the answers.  Or anything else that he knows he shouldn't do.  My job as a parent is to teach them how to overcome, with God's help, the temptation to sin, and to right their wrongs when they do sin.  That is why it is important to me to choose consequences that are effective in changing behavior rather than simply punishments for the wrongdoing.  

I also believe that the lying is a habit for avoiding getting into trouble for other wrongdoings.  Not that that is an excuse or makes it okay, but I believe it needs to be treated as a habit to be broken rather than an issue of a hard heart or pre-planned decision to lie.  Of course, there is still a heart issue to deal with, since in order to break the habit he needs to believe that it is wrong to tell a lie.  So I've decided that the verse-writing will be the consequence of choice for awhile, in addition to losing privileges.

The frustrating part is when it seems like nothing works.  Some days I feel like a horrible parent because I must be doing something wrong if he is not learning or does not care about doing what is right.  But I realized last night that all I can do is pray for him and be consistent.  God has to do the rest. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Family Christmas 2010

The Shan Clan had a wonderful Christmas.  We hope your family did as well!

The kids - and grown-ups - all enjoyed their gifts.  (Okay, fine, there was one gift that sort of had to be... um... shall we say, graciously accepted.)  The grandmas and grandpas all followed the rules about gift-giving, which I have to say really took the majority of my stress out of the day.  I really enjoy shopping for others, so I was quite pleased that everyone - kids and adults alike - was happy with their gifts.  Randy and I decided not to shop for each other (except for gifts from the kids) this year.  We're going to go shopping in a month or two, after we recover, and buy our gifts to each other together.

Of course, the day was not just about gifts!  We also had great food, yummy treats, and fun games.  The best part of the day was being able to just relax with family and enjoy being together while celebrating Christ's birth.

I hope you all had a blessed day and were able to spend it celebrating with friends and family, and that the remainder of your 2010 is fun and memorable. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The (Second) Best Christmas Gift

Randy and I were reflecting the other day on where we were one year ago.  We were sitting down with our kids' great-grandparents and both of our lawyers to discuss a schedule of when they were going to see the kids.  We were so afraid that we wouldn't be able to come to an agreement and would end up going back to court to see what the judge would decide on.  But God showered us with grace and mercy and rewarded our faith by leading us in His will; we came to an agreement that we all could live with, and to top it off, were able to cap it at six months with a follow-up discussion between ourselves at that point.  (That has since come and gone, and things continue to go well.)

And so, after six+ long months of court hearings and stress and exhaustive scheduling, the judge granted the TPR and we got the best Christmas present we ever could have hoped for: our children.

But I have to argue that THIS year we have our best Christmas present.  Our children are truly ours now, having finalized adoption in February.  They have a full family - a mom, dad, brother, and a consistent, permanent home, three sets of involved grandparents/great-grandparents who love them, aunts and uncles, great aunts and uncles, even great-great aunts and uncles, cousins and second cousins.  I'm looking forward to watching them enjoy their first "normal" (for lack of a better word) Christmas.  

And of course, I'm looking forward to enjoying it as well.


I hope you all have a wonderful, safe,and happy Christmas and holiday season and enjoy spending time with friends and family, wherever you may be.  And may you always remember the true meaning of Christmas and the very best Christmas gift any of us have ever received! =)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Funday

I woke up this morning feeling like we needed a fun day.  Especially since I was starting to feel crabby, I think because I haven't slept much at all in the last four(+) nights.  In any case, we needed to do some fun things.

Our day started with a standoff on the interstate, not far from here.  Long story, but around 4 a.m. two people in a stolen car ran out of gas by the side of the road and when cops approached, refused to get out of the car, eventually waving a gun magazine out the window and telling them he would shoot them if they came near the car.  There were city police, county sheriffs, SWAT, and a canine unit at the scene; the entire freeway was shut down in both directions, and people who had been sitting in traffic for 2-1/2 hours were finally turned around and rerouted to the other interstate.  The whole thing didn't end until after ten, and we were pretty much glued to Channel 4 news until then.

After that excitement, I got Hunter started on his school work, and I got out the Christmas tree.  Kaleigh and I put up and decorated the tree, and Hunter finished up a health assignment and took his math and spelling tests.  (Okay, school work isn't necessarily fun, but he needed to take those tests and the fun part was that I didn't make him do every subject!)  Then we made a yummy lunch - something relatively new (similar to another dish that I make, but put together a little differently, which the kids loved).  We had a little quiet time, then headed over to the mall.  We did some shopping, saw some kids playing in an orchestra concert in the rotunda, and headed over to pick Ryan up from swimming.  When we got home, Kaleigh opted to work on some of her craft gifts (Christmas presents for relatives), but Hunter chose to play with toys instead.  (Fine by me - as long as he was having fun!) 

Now we have stuffed crust pizzas in the oven, and the kids are picking out their movie for tonight.

In all honesty, it wasn't the day I had in mind.  I originally envisioned more craft time, a game, a little more time out of the house.  But the kids didn't seem to mind.  Hunter's eyes when I told him he was done with school for the day, and Kaleigh's facial expression when I turned on the Christmas lights....  they made today a fun day for me.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Frustration

Don't get me wrong here.  I'm grateful that the process of keeping my kids in touch with their Great Grandparents has been relatively smooth and not fraught with bitterness and resentment.  And I'm very thankful for the grace God has given me in having to deal with them on a regular basis.

But I am still frustrated with their behavior.

They have been told repeatedly they are not to give the children things unless it is a birthday or a holiday, and even on those times, they are given a spending limit and we have to approve their gifts before they are given.

Lest you think we are cold-hearted and controlling, take a moment to imagine a nine year old knowing he is going to get a Play*station 3 for Christmas simply because "My Grandpa asked me what I wanted and that is what I told him, so that's how I know what I'm getting."  Imagine a two year old who wants her brother's DS and refuses to leave him alone when he is playing it, and so because she wants one "so badly," her Great Grandparents buy her one of her own.  Imagine two children returning home after six hours with said Great Grandparents, hauling enough stuff to fit into EIGHT garbage bags, and then not missing the two-thirds of it that is subsequently given away to charity.

These are just a few of the reasons we have rules about gift-giving.  I also believe that is the right and privilege of the parents to buy the children their most "extravagant" gifts, and I do not think it is right for parents to be upstaged by other family members (if they don't want to be).  Don't take that the wrong way; it's just that these particular Grandparents are like dealing with ex-spouses: they use gift giving as an attempt to buy the children's love, and since I have the power to stop it (unlike with exes), I'm going to exercise that power.

Back to the issue at hand.  Even though they have been told - not just once or twice or even six times - numerous times not to buy things for the children, they continue to do it.  "Oh, I had 30% off at Kohl's and I just couldn't resist."  "Oh I just saw this and I knew s/he wanted one."  "This was so cute I just couldn't pass it up."  

IT'S
GETTING
OLD

For Hunter's birthday, they were told to spend no more than $35, and I strongly suggested a Lego set, since there are some decent ones for around that range.   What did they show up with?  A $100+ Lego set.  "Livid" does not begin to describe it.  We confronted them then and there, but didn't feel that we could tell Hunter he wasn't getting the gift, since he had already seen it.  We did, however, tell them that if that ever happened again, they would not be allowed to give the gifts.  We also prepped Hunter for the possibility of that happening at Christmas.  (I explained to him that his Grandparents are allowed to get him one gift, just like all his other relatives, and that if they don't follow the rules, they will be returning the gifts.)  This was important for two reasons: 1) the possibility of disappointment if they showed up with a bunch of gifts and he thought he would be keeping them, and 2) he is notorious for asking them for tons of things because he knows they will buy whatever he asks for.

Earlier this week, it happened again, this time with Kaleigh.  I show up to pick up the kids; I am met with a PILE of clothes on the couch - oh and by the way, these clothes were shown to me THREE WEEKS AGO and I told her to give a few of them (told her specifically which ones) to Kaleigh for Christmas and return the others to the store.  Now she is showing them to me again, asking me YET AGAIN "Can Kaleigh take these home?"  It was all I could do not to explode.  And to top it off, half the clothes she picks out are either just plain U.G.L.Y. or so grown up I wouldn't let a fourteen year old wear them, let alone a four year old.

The Great Grandparents wanted to know if they were going to get the kids for their own "Christmas" like they did last year.

"Last year was a different situation!" I wanted to scream.  We are a FAMILY now.  They don't go separately to separate extended family's houses and have a whole bunch of Christmases.  They have Christmas on Christmas Day with US and all of their family who chooses to spend Christmas with us. 

I am beside myself as we get ready for Christmas.  These people still don't get it that these are OUR children. They live at OUR house.  They do not have multiple parents; they do not have multiple houses.  They have the mindset of a divorcee who still has rights to her children and a separate home where the children live part of the time and have different rules and belongings and behaviors.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.  That is not the situation we have here!!!!!!!!  Why do they not get that WE. ARE. IN. CHARGE.???????

Sorry.  Almost had a meltdown there for a second.

Seriously, though.  I don't know how to deal with it anymore.  I'm tired of saying "I don't want you buying things for the children anymore," and being met with the oh-I-was-just-trying-to-do-something-nice eyes.  Because it's not because they want to do something nice.  It's because they still want to believe THEY are parenting and controlling these children (not that I believe for a second the two go hand in hand, but in their case, it did).

Because I swear before God and all of you as witnesses, if they cross the boundaries of what I told them to buy for Christmas, they will lose their gift-giving privileges across the entire board.  I am truly at that point.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Changes

At the risk of seeming silly, I am going to share something here that probably no one is going to care about.  But I feel I need to put it down in a place where I can feel I am being held accountable. Anyone else have trouble holding themselves accountable for their goals?  Anyone?  No?  I'm the only one?  Okay then.

I am, by nature, a creature of habit.  Okay, I know a lot of people are.  But prior to having children, I was very habit- and routine-driven.  Having a routine and knowing what is going to happen each day makes me feel... more secure.  (Humanly speaking, of course.  This security of which I speak is in no way related to a spiritual security or the daily security I have in knowing that God takes care of me all the time, no matter what routine I do or do not create).  I like having order and being organized and teaching my children to be organized.  Let's face it: being scattered and disorganized leads to chaos and usually a lack of getting things accomplished.  At least for most people.  And I am most definitely one of them.  And my children spent their early years in this type of environment - especially my son, who was back and forth between chaotic and disorganized homes for years before being settled into one of them.  And then he lived with a constant inconsistency until we came along.  So I think it is important for them to learn that life doesn't have to be that way.


I digress.  Because while I do still strive to maintain routine and structure, I've felt lately that this area has been sorely lacking since having children.  And yes, having children changes everything.  As well it should.  And I have NO desire to be one of those rigid parents who has a routine down to every minute of the day and it's posted on the wall for everyone to see and no one dare stray from the routine or God-forbid do anything to put the schedule behind by even thirty seconds let alone two minutes.  No, that is definitely NOT who I am. But my children do know that we get up and get dressed, we eat breakfast and do devotions, we do morning chores and then start on school work.  We have a snack mid-morning, and usually finish school work by lunch time, although we are flexible enough to continue after lunch if we need to.  After lunch, we have quiet time.  Throughout the day, Mom is doing her own school work, helping the kids with theirs, and doing house work.  After quiet time, we do afternoon chores and then have play time, either inside or out depending on weather.  Mom starts dinner, and kids have free time until dinner.  After dinner, Kaleigh goes to bed while Hunter does his bed time chores and then reads until his bed time.  Mom and Dad have a little time to catch up at the end of the day, sometimes Mom is finishing up house work.  Lights go out and the day is over, only to start it all over again tomorrow.

Weekends do not go nearly so smoothly.

This is becoming a bit of a tangential post.  I never realized I had so much to say about routine.

Anyway, while we have a "household" routine, I have become a bit... slack... in a personal routine.  Especially since we have all been sick for about two weeks now.  But still.  I miss having the personal routine.  Instead of getting up at the same time each morning and getting ready for the day, sometimes I get up and laze around for an hour or so until it's time to get the kids up.  Sometimes I sleep until it's time to get the kids up.  Sometimes I oversleep, and the kids get to sleep in.  Usually I make breakfast, but sometimes I just don't feel like it and the kids eat cold cereal (which, by the way, they do not mind).  Sometimes I shower before the kids get up, sometimes I wait until they are working on their school work.  Sometimes I do something with my hair; but many times, especially if I know I don't have to leave the house that day, I just pull it back into a ponytail or messy bun and leave it.  

All this to say, without a personal routine, I have begun to feel lazy.  And I don't like the feeling of being lazy.  Even if I would look at another person doing the exact same things and say, "Wow, you're not lazy at all!  You get a lot done each day, and who cares if sometimes you shower at 10 a.m.?  You deserve a break, and it doesn't hurt anyone no matter what time you shower."  I still feel lazy.  So I am revamping my personal schedule and routine.

For starters, it's been a few weeks, due to illness and holidays and sleeplessness and a host of other factors, since we have been to the Y.  Randy rarely gets to go except on weekends because of his drive.  So we are changing that.  We are going to start meeting there in the evenings when he gets off work, and having family time at the Y.  The kids have groups they can go with, and I won't feel like my whole morning is taken up with it.  Secondly, my  morning routine is changing.  I'm going to get up with Randy (as I often do anyway), and get ready for the day as I used to when I was going to work.  Yoga pants and ponytails and no makeup are all going to become the occasional rather than the everyday.

I am going to make myself a list of what I need to get done every day.  Wait - already did that.  Okay, I am going to stick to that list.  Seriously.  For real this time.  HA.  Actually I am going to need to revamp that list to include some non-household items, such as writing.  I want writing to become a part of my daily routine.  Not just "well, I feel like writing now, so too bad the floors aren't swept yet," but actually part of my "job."

This is probably going to come across as rigid to some.  But I mean it to be a flexible outline for myself, rather than solid walls that cannot be bended or changed or rescheduled when needed.  It's just something I need for me. 

Lessons



One thing every parent knows is that we not only teach our children, but we also learn from them.  I think that I sometimes miss these lessons because I am too caught up in whatever I happen to be doing at the time.  And believe me, there is never a dull moment around here, and I always seem to be in the middle of something.  But I have been really trying to be more aware of the little things and what I can learn from them.

The other day, the kids and I went out to the car to run over to JoAnn's for some scrapbooking supplies.  We got out into the 12-degree outside, opened the car doors, and - Lo and Behold - Kaleigh's carseat was not there.  Daddy had forgotten to take it out of his car the night before when he got home from picking the kids up at Grandma's house.  Thankfully, I had an extra, in the garage.  Not-so-thankfully, said extra had moldy straps.  Thankfully, Kaleigh no longer has to wear the straps, as she is old enough for just a booster seat.  Not-so-thankfully, it was still 12 degrees outside.  

Rather than haul the kids back inside and try to wrestle with the seat in the narrow hallway (can't wait to move out of our tiny house!), I decided to just take the straps out right there, outside, and be done with it.  I'm nothing if not efficient.

So there I am, in the bitter freezing cold, trying to get the stupid straps and all their buckles through the many holes in the plastic seat and its fabric covering, cursing the cold weather and wondering why winter can't just be from December 23 to January 3 and why my husband can't just remember to take the stupid carseat out of his car as soon as he gets home instead of waiting til morning and then forgetting it EVERY SINGLE TIME.  In my head, all I am doing is basically complaining and grumbling and working myself into a bad mood.

And my daughter, standing off to the side and seemingly oblivious to the frigid air, is singing.

In my crabby mood, I almost told her to be quiet.  The Holy Spirit (there's no way I can take credit by calling it self-control) stopped me.  How dare I tell her to stop singing just because I am unhappy with my current circumstances?!

My heart was softened, and I took the moment to remind myself that even though I cannot control what happens to me and around me, I CAN control how I respond to it.  I took a deep breath, wrenched the last buckle out of the seat, tossed the whole moldy contraption into the trash (I'll never need it again anyway), and apologized to my kids for my grouchiness.  I silently apologized to my husband (who never knew how upset I was with him at that moment, since he didn't answer his phone when I called to ream him out for leaving the carseat in his car - anyone see how hard the Holy Spirit was working that morning???), and asked God to help me have a better attitude.

And to remember that no matter what my circumstances are, I can still have a song in my heart.  Even in 12 degree weather.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This and That

There is a nasty bug going around these parts, and it has infested our home.  Randy and Kaleigh got the respiratory part of it; Ryan got the stomach part of it; Hunter and I have not gotten any of it yet.  I, however, appear to have a bit of a sinus infection.  I'm doing my best to fight it with vitamins, juice, tea, and my Neti pot.  

My final project - a group project - is due in tonight's class.  My final project for the other class is due next week.  My last class period for tonight's class is next week, and the take home final exam is due the week after that.  It is so nice to be within sight of the end of the semester.  It is really hard to believe how quickly the semester has gone, especially when I think back to the first day of class, when I drove to campus literally in tears over the amount of work and seriously considering dropping my classes.  That level of freak-out-ness was one I hadn't experienced in about seven years.  Now that it's almost done, it doesn't seem like nearly as much work as it looked like on paper three months ago.

I completed my NaNo on Tuesday night with an extra 400+ words and two hours to spare.  It was the first time since beginning the annual challenge that I have not still been pounding frantically on my keyboard at 11:58 p.m. on November 30.  It was also the first year I worked on two novels simultaneously, which I think helped a lot with my writer's block issues (they are common and frequent).  It also leaves me with a lot more to work on in the next few months, but I am actually looking forward to it.  I am very pleased with the way both storylines are going right now, and I feel good about the ideas I chose this year.

Hunter also participated this year, in the NaNo Young Writer's Program.  He also reached his goal of 3000 words, with a few extra words as well.  He also completed his story.  Next week, we will spend some time together editing it, during which time I will get to read it for the very first time.  I am very excited about that.  He gets a free printed copy of his little novel, which he and I both think is pretty awesome.

Speaking of school - oh, wait, I really wasn't speaking of school.  Well, Hunter's novel was part of his school for the month of November.  There, I mentioned it.  Now speaking of school, Hunter is doing very well.  His math still leaves room for improvement, but it is improving, which is good.  Everything else is also improving, and it is obvious to everyone that he is quite intelligent.  In fact, this writing project makes it even more obvious.

My brother and sister-in-law are here, and because of our illnesses, I haven't been able to see them yet.  Tomorrow night, we are having Christmas with them at my mom's house.  I am very excited about giving them their gifts from us.  And nervous.  I hope they like them.  Speaking of which, I still have one of them to finish up today - and maybe tomorrow; we'll see how today goes.

My mom is so wonderful that she is going to take my kiddos today a couple of hours early.  She usually comes to our house on Thursdays to watch them while I go to class.  Today she asked if I could meet her with them and she could take them to her house, since my brother and sister-in-law are here.  Of course I didn't mind a bit, and since I'm not feeling well - and just generally need a little time to myself - she offered to take them early so I could have that.  She is such a great mom - all the time and in lots of ways, but this is just one of the ways she proves it.

Love you, Mom :).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday Preparation

Well, the kids and I have been continuing our morning devotions, but I have been so busy of late that I haven't had the chance to type them up as posts.  We haven't even been to the Y in the last couple of weeks, because we've had so much to do that I worry about not having that extra two hours every morning to stay on top of things.  I'm hoping after next week (my brother and sister-in-law are coming for an early Christmas), we will be able to get back into the swing of things.

Because of the values we want to teach our children about Christmas and gifts, we decided to put some guidelines on the adult gift-giving as well.  We always put a limit out there (some are better at following it than others.  Just sayin'.), but this year we also added a "creativity" caveat.  Now, some of us will be better at following that than others, too.  Some of us are having a lot of fun with that, too.

Yesterday, the kids and I went to Michael's to search for Thanksgiving crafts.  (Wait til you see what we came out with.)  And of course, in traditional Michael's style, the first aisle (the main aisle, the aisle you have to walk down to get to all other aisles) was fully stocked with a variety of Christmas crafts.  So, after retrieving the supplies for our Thanksgiving crafts, we returned to the main aisle and each of the kids hunted down a project they could make for the members of their extended family (4 calling grandparents, 3 French uncles, and an aunt in a pear tree.  Or, maybe not.).  Anyway, they had a blast; they've never picked out individual gifts to give people before (last year, Christmas was a little...  weird.  And stressed.  Very stressed.)  I'm hoping they will learn something about giving this year, rather than focusing on "what I'm getting."  

In other holiday preparation, I have to say that while I was feeling guilty about being glad that my mother basically ordered me not to make a single thing for Thanksgiving dinner, I am completely over that now.  She assured me that she wants to make it all, and I assured her that I am more than happy to not have to worry about it this year.  Also, I bought a box's worth of assorted wines as my offering to the festivities, so that certainly didn't hurt in helping to assuage my guilt.  

Ryan will not be with us this year for Thanksgiving; we get him every other year, and this is not our year.  In the past, when he has been with us, he has spent time at my mom's house during the day or two before the big day, helping to prepare the big feast.  Last year, he spent two nights, making his brother very jealous.  Well, this year is Hunter's turn.  Tomorrow, he gets to go to Grandma's house and spend the night, helping her with all the cooking and baking.  He's very excited.  I'm rather excited myself.  I wonder if I can find anyone to take the other little monster.

Just kidding.  Sort of.

Actually, she and her daddy are going to spend some much-needed time together while I camp out at the bookstore and catch up on the writing that I've gotten sorely behind on this week.

Well, I guess that's all there is to share on the holiday prep stuff, at least for now.  There actually is a lot more that I really really want to share, but can't, since it would spoil the fun for a few of you.  You know who - oh, wait, no you don't know who you are.  Buahuahahahahahahaha.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Little Visits - Following the Leader

Yesterday was a bit of a... chaotic day.  Hunter and I started NaNoWriMo, which was exciting enough in itself.  Then we also took my car into Best Buy to get the MP3 jack put in (which took an hour and a half), and ran to Walmart for a few necessities to get us by until our next big monthly trip.  By the time we got home, it was dinner time; and then I had the first hour I had had to myself all day, so I took advantage of it and got some scrapping done :).  On top of all that, one of Randy's employees passed away yesterday morning, and my entire day was spent in prayer.  All of that to say, I didn't get here to talk about our devotions from the morning :).

The devotional story was about kids playing follow the leader, who went through some places that made it difficult for the children to follow at times.  Then we talked about how it's our responsibility to follow God where He leads us, even when it is difficult to follow.  It was so relevant and really spoke to me.  It also got me thinking about this past year and all the places God led us that really were difficult to follow Him through.  

For those of you who didn't read my adoption blog last year, the path with the kids started off rocky, with a fight from their great grandparents almost right out of the gates.  When the workers prepared to move the kids into our house for post-adoption foster care, a distant relative, who had professed to have no interest in adopting the children in the past, interjected themselves into the picture.  To avoid long drawn-out court proceedings trying to fight it, the DA opted to pursue that family, and we were told over the phone that we had "lost" the kids.  After two days of crying, wrestling, and bringing ourselves back to the realization that God was in control, we received another phone call telling us that the family, when told they would be pursued as an adoptive family, had backed out.  We took another two days to pray for God's will, and knew without a doubt where He was leading.

The next seven months were punctuated with court hearing after court hearing as the great grandparents continued to fight. 

Then there was a time almost exactly a year ago, when we felt so discouraged by the way things were going in court with the kids' situation.  We left one court hearing where things went in the complete opposite direction of what everyone - even the lawyers - was expecting, and we seriously considered calling our case worker and telling her we were done.  But after praying about it and realizing all that God had already brought us through, we knew He was still leading us forward.  We wouldn't be the ones to walk away; we would wait for God to shut the door.

Obviously, God knew where we would eventually end up, if we only followed Him.  We adopted our children in February of this year, and not a day goes by that I don't thank God for giving us the faith and strength to follow Him over the difficult paths.

Today's (yesterday's) verse: Ephesians 5:1 "Be followers of God, as His dear children." 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Little Visits

So the kids and I have started something new.  I really should have started doing this a long time ago, but to be honest, it never crossed my mind.  I'm a bad Mommy.

We are doing devotions together over breakfast each morning.  One thing about it that's really special is that we are using a children's devotional book that my aunt had when she was little, and I had when I was little.  It's called "Little Visits with God."  It's beat up and the binding is taped together and the intro and first story are missing, but I think that makes it even more special.  I don't know for sure if I'll be able to write about it every day, but I'm going to try.

Today we talked about how everything we own belongs to God, not to us.  We talked about some of the things that we think of as "ours," but are really God's, because He gave them to us and lets us use them.  It's a concept I've always known of course, but don't think about every single day.  Since having so many blessings come into my life over the past few years - my husband and children to name a few - I've tried hard not to take anything for granted.  But I still fail at that every single day.  

For example, I sometimes think of things as "mine" and I don't want to share them.  And that is the complete opposite attitude of the one that I should have.  We are expected to use what we have to help others, to show them Christ.  The last thing we are supposed to do with what God has given us is keep it to ourselves.  What good are our treasures here on earth except if we can use them for the good of people and souls?

Also, we are planning to move in the spring.  In all honesty, we are sorely in need of a bigger house.  The house we are in now was perfect for a married couple and a half-time kid, but is nowhere near enough room for a family of five, let alone a family of five-hoping-to-be-six.  God has really been gracious and merciful in laying out the path for our family, in guiding us in the directions He has for us, and in closing doors on the directions He does not have for us.  But lately, I have been thinking a lot lately that I just can't wait to find our new home and move into it.  Now, I know it's not wrong to be excited and eager for some positive changes for our family, and I'm certainly not trying to "rush" God.  I'm simply ready to get out of our tiny space and into something better suited for our growing family and extended family.  But, our devotions this morning were a reminder to me not to take what I do have for granted.  Even our tiny house with its tiny bedrooms and tiny kitchen and tiny yard was given to us by God, and we are by all means grateful to have it.

My hope after today's devotion is to be a better example for my kids, so that they can understand these concepts as we study and learn them, and so that they can see what it means to truly live in Christ.

Today's verse: Psalm 24:1 "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Random Thoughts and Updates

Oops - it's been more than a month since the last time that I wrote.  I've actually thought about posting a number of times this month, but sometimes I sit here and stare at the blank page thinking that whatever I write will sound mundane and dull.

Homeschooling is going really well.  Hunter is now working at fifth grade level in every subject except math.  We went back to basics in math, and he has been memorizing his basic multiplication facts (I still can't get over the fact that in fourth grade, he wasn't memorizing the single digit multiplication facts - in fact, he was still doing addition and subtraction).  He's doing very well with that though, and I have no doubts that he will be doing fifth grade math very soon.  In reading and spelling, he has been doing fifth grade work since the beginning of the year, and while we had a rocky start, he is now plowing ahead and doing well at both subjects.  

In fact, last week we did his second spelling test.  He had gotten 10 out of 20 words right on his first spelling test two weeks before.  The second week, we devoted extra time to the words he missed, and on a second test he got them all right.  Last week when we did his second spelling test, he only missed 2 words!

In social studies, we are working on a United States nation notebook this semester.  Next semester we will pick another country to do a notebook on.  Hunter is enjoying this project because he gets to use the computer.  I like it because it doubles as typing class and he doesn't even realize he's having a second class!  Although we are going to find some typing games to help him continue to sharpen those skills.

Now that it is the first week of October, we will begin the pre-work on his novel for November's National Novel Writing Month challenge - sketching a rough plot outline, characters, etc.  This is where the typing games will come in, so that he can be fully prepared to meet the goals he sets for himself.  In the Young Writer's Program, the participants get to choose their own word count goal before beginning their novels.  We received our supplies this week for the challenge - buttons, progress chart, stickers - and I think that if we meet our halfway goals, I will reward us with NaNoWriMo t-shirts.  I have wanted to get one ever since I started in 2006.  I'm really looking forward to sharing this project with Hunter; I hope he enjoys it every bit as much as I have.

Our Bible curriculum finally came last week, so we'll begin that this week.  Hunter has been working on his verses for Awana for Bible, so I think we'll alternate that with the Bible workbook.


Last week was a rough week all around.  Randy had surgery on Wednesday, and Kaleigh and I had upper respiratory infections all week and are still getting over them.  My mom was kind enough to take the kids on Friday and Saturday so that I could spend the days at the hospital with Randy.  He's doing well, and we're hoping he'll be coming home this week.

I've started on Christmas presents this week.  We're doing something a little different with the adults this year; we set a price limit and a "rule" that we have to be creative.  I can't say here what I'm doing for that, but I can say I'm pretty excited about it.

I guess that's about all the update for now.  I'll try to keep up a little more often from now on.  But no promises...  ;-)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy First Day of School!

Well, today is our first second day of homeschooling!  So far, so good.  I even got my own homework done, a day early.

Now I will proceed to tell you about our FIRST day.

We started off the morning with breakfast, as usual, and then had a bit of a casual morning since I got only two hours of sleep the night before.  After I got things together and the kids had had a little while to wake up and get used to the idea of starting school again, we discussed the year overall and what we hope to accomplish and learn.  Hunter had the opportunity to put in some input on studies and field trips, and we talked about how homeschooling will be different from his public school.  

Then we got in and did some review.  Since our textbooks aren't here yet, I'll just be winging it for a few days; I'm pretty sure I won't have a hard time connecting summer school with new school year, since I made up his entire summer school curriculum myself too.  

I let Hunter choose his first assignment to review writing and spelling, and he chose to write a paragraph (which, I will admit, stunned me just slightly).  The words he struggled with spelling, we used as this week's spelling words, and he proceed to do spelling.  Then we organized our school supplies, took a break for a snack and chores, Hunter did a handwriting assignment, and we all took a little walk outside in the beautiful weather.  While on our walk, we talked about measurements - cups, pints, quarts, gallons - and figured out some math in relation to that.  We also talked about safety when we're away from home, and had the chance to discuss respecting others and their personal property.  Then we came home and had lunch and quiet time, where Hunter did his reading. 

Today we'll add health class to the mix - since that textbook just arrived in the mail! - and tomorrow, we'll get back to the Y for morning P.E.  One thing I need to do is find some additional organizing tools for our school supplies.  Haven't decided on what to use for that yet, since I don't have room for another book shelf anywhere in this house.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Busy... and Not so Busy

So it's been kind of busy around here.  I spent a lot of time this week writing: editing the current novel, reading excerpts of other people's novels, and writing query letters, not to mention doing a bit of setup for the next novel, the writing of which begins in November.  There is much cleaning to get done around here, as we will be having guests for two days this Labor Day weekend: a friend of mine from college and her daughter.  Much fun is planned.  I love reunions, almost as much as I love having guests!

Today I ordered Hunter's school books for this year.  I had a lot of fun researching and selecting books for Reading Comprehension, Health, Science, Spelling, and Bible.  I am also having fun planning my own curricula for Math, Literature, and Social Studies.  I'm sure that as we work our way through the year, our plans will bend and in some cases take paths other than what we originally planned - but that's a HUGE benefit to homeschooling.  I'm really excited about the idea of creating our learning as we go.

And in the midst of the busy-ness around here, I've been giving the kids a week to just relax and not worry about too many responsibilities, as a sort of break before starting school next week.  It's mostly Hunter who is affected by this, as Kaleigh, at the age of four, has few household responsibilities and won't be held to any formal academics this year.  I think they are both enjoying the chance to relax and recharge though.

I guess that's it for now.  More to come as we begin our big adventure next week! 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

No Baby Yet...

We are a family waiting for a baby.  Sometimes, I liken us to a family where the Mom (that's me) is pregnant, and we are all anxiously and eagerly waiting for the day when the baby is born.

Except with the possibility of a much longer labor period, and without the big belly and over-the-top emotion swings. 

This week, I almost went into labor early.  Except without all the incubators and ventilators and feeding tubes and not being able to hold the baby.  When Randy and I were away, we got a phone call for a 2-week-old baby girl.  She had to be placed right away, and since we weren't home, she had to go somewhere else.

It was a little disappointing, but honestly, only a little.  Because I know that since it didn't work out, she wasn't our baby.  God will deliver our baby when the time is right.  Not when I think it's right, but when He knows it's right.

And anyway, my due date's not until November.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Mishmash

It seems my motivation from this week wasn't missing - it was just hiding.  And compounding.  And planning to hit me unawares, apparently.  Today I got hit with a burst of energy and a side of compulsion.  Or was it the other way around?  Hmmm, yeah, come to think of it: strike that; reverse it.  Anyway, I did six loads of laundry, changed the sheets on three out of four beds, and somehow in between all that, got our bedroom cleaned from top to bottom.  I had additional plans on the docket, but I won't complain (out loud).

Hunter had what I would almost call a breakthrough week in his summer school work.  His cursive writing has started to noticeably improve; he came up (last week) with his own method to improve reading comprehension and used it all week with the book he read this week; and he is working really hard to get his basic multiplication facts memorized.  Today I made the decision, and told him, that if he does really well on next week's work, we will be done with summer school 2010.  I think we will start the fall semester the day after Labor Day, so he needs three weeks off before then.  This also sets a good stage for us to take a 9 week on, 3 week off, pattern of study for the 2010-2011 year, which we are considering as an alternative to the traditional schedule of 9 months on, 3 months off.

My mom comes home on Thursday, and while I know she is very much enjoying her time away, I have to admit I can't wait for her to come home.  And not because I need a babysitter, because I don't - I just miss my mom!

In the last two weeks, I have taken the kids to visit their Great Grandparents twice, and I have another day already planned for next week.  As silly as it may seem, I am actually quite proud of myself for this.  I still get nervous when I leave them there, but so far it has gone well.  The kids are well established in their routine and behaviors, so I am proud of them for that; they have been behaving themselves very well at their GG's house.  It has been really good for me too, because it gives me a whole day to myself - which I need anyway - and I have been able to get a lot of work done on the novel.

Well, it's 10 p.m. and the kids just finished their movie, so I'm off to tuck them in.  Then I'm going to start my quiet and relaxing weekend by curling up in bed with my hubby and watching a little T.V. before going to sleep.  Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Progress

Well, the summer is progressing without a whole lot of excitement to speak of. 

I mean, we have our daily household excitements, but other people would probably not find them very exciting at all.

For example, yesterday the kids spent several hours with their Great Grandparents, and I had several sweet hours all to myself.  I found that pretty darn exciting.  I have been working like crazy on my book for the last month or so since I finished the ending.  Actually, reworking might be a better term when it comes to some parts.  As I started the first edit of the first draft, I realized I needed to move some things around and add some additional content.  Boring.  But, you know, exciting for me.

Hunter's new diet and herbal regimen seems to be helping.  I had a thought last night, and it's starting to make more sense to me the more I think about it.  I believe the first week of this test he did well because he still had his stimulant medication in his system.  Then the second week (last week), it suddenly seemed like the treatment wasn't working at all, because his brain and body were dealing with a bit of shock-type withdrawal to losing the medication.  Yesterday, it was like a switch was flipped.  He did things he was supposed to without being told.  At bedtime, when I commended him on his responsibility and encouraged him to remember what that felt like, he said, "That's my goal."  Just like that.  "That's my goal."  From a child who has never said the word "goal" to me in his life.  (Or in the last year and a half, as the case may be.)  Time will tell, certainly, but I have to tell you, it was music to a mother's ears.

P.S. He just finished his handwriting for today, and it is B.E.A.yootiful!  See?  Not so exciting for others, but extremely exciting for me.

Kaleigh is working on writing "sticks and circles" for her schoolwork, in preparation for learning to write.  I am also working with her on activities and exercises to strengthen her fine motor skills.  And she enjoys a fair amount of time playing.  Because she's four.

Well, that's about it for now.  I know my mom is enjoying her time away, but we are (selfishly) anxious for her return, as we miss her very much.  And because I miss the excuse to get out of the house for a day once in awhile.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer... So Far


Well, the Shanahan summer is going swimmingly so far.  
Get it?  Swimmingly? 



Okay, fine, don't laugh at my joke.  The kids think it's great (the pool, anyway).  As you can see...



Besides swimming, we have been using the summer to try some new things for our family, in the hopes of creating a little more healthy lifestyle for all of us.

First of all, we are doing some summer school work at home, mostly to catch Hunter up to the fifth grade level before he starts school in the fall; but also to get Kaleigh started on some preschool work.  I'm not a big believer in formal preschool, so Kaleigh won't be going "to school" in the fall, but we will be doing some things here at home.  There's a high probability that Hunter will also be home-schooling in the fall, for multiple reasons, the main one being that I did not feel his teachers were putting much effort into helping him catch up to grade level.  They seem to be doing just enough with him to show improvement (I would even use the term "drastic improvement" compared to his former school), but not enough to fully catch him up.  As he does not have any learning disabilities, and he simply got behind several years ago, there is no reason for him not to begin to achieve at grade level, with the right support.  However, the minute a student is deemed "special education" and given an IEP, the public school system receives a larger amount of funding.  And who in their right mind would give up free money?  So what if it means labeling our kids and putting them behind the 8 ball for possibly the rest of their school-age lives, if not longer?  It's money!  (/rant)

Anyway, so we've gotten a head start on the home-schooling, and Hunter is doing pretty well so far.  His printing is improving, he's learning handwriting, and his math skills have grown by leaps and bounds as he quickly learns the new problem-solving techniques set before him.  The only thing I am still trying to figure out how to help him with is reading comprehension.  We're going with the trial and error approach, so I'm sure one of these days something will click into place.

Another change, which after several weeks of research we are just starting this week, is that we are trying something with Hunter's AD/HD treatment.  We are weaning him off his meds and onto a daily herbal regimen; in addition, we have pulled a few things out of his diet that often cause problems in AD/HD kids, like dairy and red and yellow food colorings.  We are less than a week into the treatment, so no results to report yet.

The last major change, which more directly impacts the entire family, is that I have been slowly transitioning our foods into whole foods, including more whole grains.  I am happy to report that this change has become final in the last couple of weeks, as my pantry is now stocked with whole-grain pastas and rices and other yummy things, and the cereal and snack cupboards are stocked with seeds and nuts and homemade granola and trail mix, as well as Triscuits.  My fresh fruit basket on the counter is (almost) always full, and my fridge is overflowing with fresh veggies.

Here are the kids, enjoying their afternoon snack of apples and trail mix:


I had to stop after taking three pictures, walk away from the window, and occupy myself with something else, before I had an anxiety attack about my daughter's apple sitting on the ground.  I'm trying not to be "that mom" (or at least, not TOO much of "that mom").


Friday, June 25, 2010

June Update


On second thought, maybe a monthly update is the key...

We've had a great month so far.  I started it off with a new haircut and highlights, both of which I am loving.  We also met with a mortgage specialist through our credit union, who hooked us up with an independent broker.  He has been very helpful, and we have spent the month doing paperwork and making phone calls and gathering information, and are getting ready to fill out a pre-approval application.  I am both excited and wary, and very prayerful; our family needs more space, and I know that God will continue to meet our needs as He always has.

Ryan was finally released from wearing the boot on the foot he fractured in Kansas.  After eight weeks, the fracture was finally healed!

The second week of June, we were blessed with a three-day visit from my best friend Shannon!  We enjoyed every minute of her visit, and the kids can't wait to see Aunt Shannon again :).  The day Shannon left, Hunter got out of school, and a bunch of my mom's family arrived for a mini-family reunion and to celebrate my cousin's graduation from high school.  It was a very busy five days, with lots of driving, lots of food, and lots of fun with family.  While they were here, Kaleigh turned 4, and it was fun to have so many family members here to help celebrate!

We took a week off from school and visitors to relax and chill.  Then we started summer school at home.  This was our first week, and it went well.  Hunter read his first book in three days, and is learning to spell words twice as long as the words he was given by his fourth grade special ed teacher.  He is also learning some new math techniques, which I believe will help him better understand numbers and his own mathematic ability, which development has heretofore been neglected.

Yesterday we drove up to Sheboygan to visit my cousin and see her new house.  We all had fun, and it was great to visit with her.  Then we booked it down to my mom's house for my Pampered Chef party.  Today we are holding our first day of summer school cooking class; in the interest of starting off learning about simple and healthy snacks, we are heading down to a natural foods store to pick out the ingredients to make our own trail mix.  I'm not sure who's more excited - the kids, or me!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Random



Well, this will never do.  Once a month is just not going to cut it!  I guess I have just had enough going on lately that it pushes motivation to write in the blog to one of the rear burners.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Since my last post...

Hunter has turned 10.  My first child is a decade old, only a year after meeting him!  It gives me a brain-ache.

Kaleigh has readjusted to having Mommy to herself during the days.  She was just getting used to the setup when the other foster children came here.  After taking our first family vacation and returning home to move the kids to a long-term foster home, it was almost like starting over from the beginning with Kaleigh.  It was a rough few weeks, exacerbated by weekend visits with her overly indulgent grandparents, during which she needed to re-learn the boundaries and expectations.  She has done well though, and this week I've finally begun to feel that she - and I - are balanced again, each of us individually and together.

I celebrated my first Mother's Day as a Mommy.  It was wonderful to have my whole family, including my AF Pilot brother and sister-in-law home from New Jersey for an extended weekend.  We were able to give my mom a few nice surprises for Mother's Day, and my entire family contributed to making my first Mother's Day a very sweet one!

As per our original agreement at the time of adoption, we sat down with the grandparents last week to discuss visitation after May and going forward.  We were a little concerned that they would try to fight our decision, which was to go to a non-formal type of visitation, the traditional type of relationship children would have with their grandparents.  We don't want a scheduled visit "once a month," and we don't want a monthly overnight visit.  We told them we were committed to making sure they see the kids at least twice a month, sometimes more, but that we wanted it to be more of a traditional relationship, where they might come to family get-togethers and activities and holidays, where the kids might come and spend a Saturday once in awhile, and where there might occasionally be a special situation where the kids will spend the night.  To our pleased surprise, and in merciful answer to our prayers, the grandparents agreed.  So after this weekend, we can hope to continue to further the kids' understanding and experience of what a real family is.

Ryan attended caddying classes and passed the caddy test at the Country Club where he has been wanting to caddy since last summer.  He is hoping for lots of opportunities to caddy this summer so that he can earn enough money to pay for his choir trip to Rome next summer.

I have met several times with our social worker and filled out TONS of paperwork.  That's right - as hard as it is to believe, it has been TWO YEARS since we became licensed foster parents, and it's time to renew our license.  The past month has been filled with meetings and home visits and paperwork, and our license will be renewed by the end of this week.

Tomorrow is our four year wedding anniversary.  I can't believe it's been a whole four years.  And I can't believe it's been only four years.  It seems like we've been together forever.  I have a lot more to say, but I think I will save it for its own post :).  Anyway, I am taking Randy out of town this weekend for our anniversary.  He knows we are going somewhere, but he doesn't have any idea where.  I love surprises (when I am the surpriser, not so much when I am the surprisee).

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I will be homeschooling Hunter this summer.  He has taken summer school every year for the past several years.  Officially, this is because he spends half days in special ed classes.  Unofficially, he is a typically energetic boy, and previous caretakers did not want to put time or energy or thought into finding ways to keep him entertained that did not involve video games.  Anyway, summer school and special ed classes for the last year and a half have not improved his academic standing, and he is a very bright boy who is behind rather than learning impaired.  So we have made a family (parental) decision that I will work with him this summer in the areas where he is behind, and see how much we can get him caught up.  Depending on how things go this summer, we may continue to homeschool him in the fall.  I am already doing some pre-preschool homeschooling with Kaleigh, and plan to continue that this summer, and move into preschool work in the fall.

In the next few weeks, I have a lot of work to do around the house.  We have family coming right after the boys get out of school, and then my Bestie is coming sometime after that (we haven't worked out the details yet).  The house needs to be in MUCH better shape than it is now.  But, I feel this growing into a post of its own, especially since the current post is long enough as it is.

Now, off to study for my final final.

Happy Thursday!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Just a Number


I'm starting to realize something.  I have this weird feeling about the parents of Hunter's friends.  And today, the reason for that hit me.

This is a community in which women began having children when they were my age, or maybe a few years younger.  Even mothers whose oldest is the same age as my youngest are several years or more older than I.  Not one of the mothers in our community had her first child at the age of 19.  Ergo, Hunter's friends' mothers are 5-10 years (or more) older than I.  In a lot of places, that wouldn't matter; but this community happens to be one where it does.  Five to ten years or more makes for a pretty big gap, even in your twenties and thirties.

Of course, it might also be important to note that I have different interests than they do.  I probably also have different values and priorities than most of them.  Granted, you can find that pretty much anywhere, but here it's prevalent rather than occasional.

Which is, of course, one reason we believe finding a church to be important.  Unfortunately, we've been searching since before we were married and still haven't found one to call home.  Which is an entirely different entry altogether.

I realize this post is a bit of a ramble and lacking a central goal or main point.  Its only purpose is really just to express the thought that hit me suddenly and with a bit of a jolt.

The funny (strange, not haha) thing about it is that I don't feel like a "young" mother until I really think about the numbers.  The feeling that my son was born when I was 19 is an odd one, to say the least.  Thankfully, I have more important things to occupy my thoughts these days.  

After all, my eldest is just two days shy of being a decade old!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Little Steam

So, this post is going to be a bit of a vent.  Not a bash of the mainstream school system - after all, I may be a part of it someday.  But right now, I am feeling a bit frustrated, yet wondering at the same time if I am overreacting.

Right before spring break, Hunter's teacher sent home a note stating that they were going to begin working on a project entitled "A Decade of My Life."  They were supposed to bring in pictures from their lives, birth to present, and a list of some important events that have occurred in their lives.

For obvious reasons, this project was more of a challenge for us than for other families.  But getting the pictures together and having few positive events for him to share was not the main issue for me.

I am a scrap-booker.  I am organized (when it comes to the important stuff).  I am also the kind of mom who wants to make sure that her kids always have keepsakes and records of their childhoods, both for themselves and for posterity.  Put all of these together, and I believe it is MY job to do this project with my child.  MY job to gather pictures with him, talk about them, be there for him when he wants to talk about the significant events that have occurred in his life.  It is MY right and MY privilege and MY joy to spend the time putting together scrapbooks for him.  And I do NOT appreciate the school taking that away from me.

Granted, their intention was not to take anything away from parents.  Their intention was to do "something fun as a class."  And for probably 7 out of every 10 of those kids, this will be their first scrapbook of any kind.  But that is not my fault and not my problem, and I don't believe it is the school's place to take something so personal and make it into a group project.

This doesn't even touch on the feelings I have about my son being adopted.  These feelings are solely based on the fact that I don't believe it is right for his school to take on themselves this type of a task.  The fact that this is going to be even more difficult for him as an adoptee is a completely separate issue that even further supports my feelings that this type of project should be done at home with the parent(s).

A lot of things throughout this year have further strengthened my desire to homeschool my children.  I was homeschooled as a child and allowed to choose if and when to be mainstreamed, as were my brothers, and I still see the HUGE benefits of homeschooling over mainstream education; and so I have always wanted to at least consider homeschooling for my own children.  But this project - on the heels of the sex ed unit, I might add - has just added fuel to the fire and may be the straw that has broken the camel's back.

"When I Be a Mom"

Lately, I have been hearing the phrase, "When I grow up and be a Mom" a lot.  Like, dozens of times per day.

Sweet little girl, you will grow up someday.  But please, please don't rush 'someday.'  It will be here far too soon as it is.  Today you have only 60 days left to be 3 years old.  So enjoy 3 while you have it, because once 4 comes, 3 is gone forever.

And remember that no matter how much of a grown up you are, you will always be my little girl.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Proof That I Haved Earned the Title "MOM"

Today we are doing OODLES of laundry and packing for our trip.  In the interest of teaching Kaleigh some fine motor skills and to get more done in less time, I showed her how to fold hand towels and washcloths, and then I let her loose on all of them.


Now, try to visualize a pile of hand towels folded by a three year old.  Now visualize a perfectionist Mommy with an anxiety order plus obsessive compulsive disorder.  When I fold towels, the corners match up perfectly, the folds are pristine, and they stack on top of each other exactly.

These towels...  not so much.

And I...

I did NOT refold them, nor do I plan to.

I think I am now a REAL Mom!