Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Adoption Education – Part IV

My husband and I have always known that the creation of our family has been inspired by God. We became pregnant with Miss M earlier into our marriage than we had planned, but we had no complaints. It was an easy pregnancy and she was such a good baby. We knew we wanted to have more kids, close in age if possible, but we were not able to conceive again after Miss M. We decided that she was a special little miracle; God’s way of giving us a taste of parenting. Because of our little girl, we knew we were meant to have more children, even if we couldn’t make them ourselves.

By the time our “baby” was four, we had made the decision to adopt a child. It was not a difficult decision. Indeed, we both felt that it was what we were meant to do all along. Miss M was the medical marvel that made us want more kids, and adoption was our destiny. This belief was further validated by the fact that Big D’s transition into our family was perfect. So perfect, in fact, that we applied for a second adoption as soon as we could. We were surprised (and thrilled) to learn about C.B. the week after we sent in our application. The process with his adoption was even quicker and smoother than Big D’s.

Our two boys, who were only sixteen months apart, kept us very busy. But we longed for another little girl. Jumping right back into the adoption process, we specifically asked for a baby girl this time around. We waited longer for our little girl, but the Banana was another perfect fit into our family. Furthermore, it seemed to us that having our two boys and two girls was just right for our family. We finally felt complete.

And then one day THIS HAPPENED…

And we were so shocked that we needed a “do-over”.

Even after two positive tests, there’s a fair amount of disbelief in our minds. I mean, it has been 10 years since Miss M was born so it’s a little unbelievable. However, the OB/GYN has assured us that if the pregnancy tests are positive, we’re having a baby. We are still pretty shocked, but extremely excited about another addition to the family. As are the kids, the grandparents, the aunts, the uncles, the cousins, the friends, etc.

So the “Adoption Education” is mine this time, and here’s what I learned. I learned that we are not in charge. My husband and I felt like we were in control of the growth of our family through adoption. Since we made the decision not to adopt any more children, naturally our family was complete. Well, I learned that God has His own plan for us, and that we are NOT in control. And that’s just fine with me.

I also learned that God has a sense of humor.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I’m Finally Finished!

Using a family party as motivation, I finally finished the kids’ rooms. Hooray!! I feel like I have been painting for nearly two straight months, but it’s been worth it. All three rooms look great, and the kids are very happy in them. Here’s a pictorial peek at the finished products:




Whew!! Now I just need to get all the paints, tools, and other supplies put back in all the right places. Most of it has been stashed in my room during this process, which is why there are no pictures of my bedroom posted here. And why the door stays closed. All the time.

Another Cake

I almost forgot to post a picture of my latest cake. It was a couples’ shower for a girl baby. It was a big cake (serving 50 people) and it took a lot of icing to cover it. It was supposed to look like a baby blanket. What do you think?

My husband said I should post pictures of Miss M’s birthday cake as well. We made an ice cream cake that turned out pretty fancy…and darned yummy too!

Click here to see all my cakes. Click here for more information about ordering one. Thanks!

Monday, August 20, 2007

I Think I Cheated

Last week a mom whose blog I like to read wrote a post about her son’s first day of school. She described herself as “a sniffling, quivering mess of snot” the morning she dropped him off. A couple of days later I got an e-mail from my sister-in-law about how difficult her first-day experience was. She asked us, “Why didn’t you more experienced moms tell me how much I would be affected by the first day of Kindergarten?” She apparently had a hard time sleeping the night before and had a huge headache. Her e-mail went on to explain that she really had to do some persuading to get her son onto the bus. “He successfully (with quite a bit of nudging) got on the bus and I guess he’s doing fine as I have not had any phone calls from the teacher yet.” Feeling badly that I had not adequately warned her, I called her that afternoon to make sure she was doing OK.

Over the last few weeks I had been tearing up a little bit whenever I thought about sending Big D off to “big school”. I talked to him a couple of times last week about his feelings regarding school, and if he had any questions. I told him that C.B. and Banana and I would miss him during the day. He said he would miss us too. Then he remembered that his first day of school was a half day. “It’s good that it's only a half day Mom”, he told me. “We will only have to miss each other for a little bit that first day and after that we will be alright.” Thankfully I was driving and he was in the backseat so he didn’t see my tears.

I easily made the decision NOT to go along to drop him off on the first day. Our routine is for Dad to drive Big D and Miss M in the mornings before he goes to work. We both thought it would be best to keep the same routine. He went to the same school last year for preschool, and the drop-off process is the same as last year. Surely he would wonder why I was there since he already knew what he was doing.

Big D was excited and got out of bed pretty easily for school this morning. He got dressed in his uniform, having only a little bit of trouble with his belt. He looked sharp. We took a picture of him and Miss M on the front porch.

He left with a wave and a smile, and I didn’t shed a single tear. When I picked him up that afternoon, his smile was even bigger.

He told me all about his first day, and how much fun he had. He asked if he got to go back again in the morning and cheered when I said yes. I think I made the right decision by not going. It definitely kept my emotions in check. But after reading about other moms’ experiences, I feel like I may have cheated.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

As Time Goes By

I really don’t mean to go an entire week between posts, but it just seems to keep happening that way. Maybe when school starts I will have more time to write. Maybe. I did cross a couple more things off my list this week, but there’s still plenty left to do. Unfortunately there were even more things added to the list that weren’t there last week.

On Sunday night I finished painting the walls in the boys’ room. Hallelujah!! Praise the Lord. I am taking a break from painting for a while. After I finish the doors and trim, that is. OK, maybe my praises were premature.

On Monday I unpacked all of the boxes from my mother-in-law’s house. I found space in a kitchen cabinet for some of our appliances we haven't used in nearly a year. I decided to donate an old waffle iron, a blender, and a 4-cup coffee maker since I was able to buy a BUNN for my birthday last year. I also found our family photos we had packed away 10 months ago when we were trying to de-clutter and de-personalize our house in order to sell it. It is nice to have pictures of our kids out again. It is looking like our home again.

On Monday night I went to visit with a good friend of mine and tell her good-bye. She is moving to Texas in less than a week, and it will surely be a while before we see one another again. She was my roommate before I got married. I never had a roommate before or since (unless you count my husband). She and I made good roommates and we each have fond memories of our apartment all those years ago. She has been my hairdresser since our apartment days and my good friend always. Our lives have changed a lot, and our relationship has grown up along with ourselves. I will miss her a lot.

On Tuesday I organized all of the children’s clothes in my house. Somehow I have become the “Keeper of the Clothes” for our extended family and I am trying to retire. I had 18 Rubbermaid totes, a cardboard box and a plastic bag full of kids’ clothes and shoes in my garage when I was finished. I sent out an e-mail to my sisters-in-law to come and get any clothes they would like, and the rest are being donated to charity. There are shoes of all sizes, and you wouldn't believe the amount of clothes. There are clothes for boys ranging from newborn to 5T and clothes for girls from newborn to 2T. I won’t be donating the bigger girls’ clothes until the Banana has been through those. By the way, this is my garage:

I was able to do some running on Wednesday. Big D had an appointment with the pediatrician to get his Kindergarten physical (nothing like waiting until the last minute, huh?) He then graciously went with me to run some other errands while the other kids stayed at Grandmas. Life has gotten a little bit easier for me since Target started stocking some of the basic grocery items. Wednesday night our new furniture was delivered, but none of the hardware to put it together was on the truck. Miss M has a mess of bed parts in her room but nowhere to sleep but on the floor. By Friday evening we should have everything together…I hope.

We spent Thursday at the Country House with some friends. With so many things on my list I wasn’t sure I would be able to relax and enjoy this last hurrah before school started, but I pulled it off. It was another hot day, and we spent most of it in the lake. I was really excited to see Banana actually using her water wings to stay afloat. She was floating on her stomach and on her back, kicking her feet and getting her head wet. She was really swimming and it was fun to watch. We got out of the water just in time for a storm to hit, but we beat the rain home. Big D was even able to get in his first soccer practice before the rain started here.

Both Kindergarten and Preschool Orientation were Thursday night. Since we have both a Kindergartener and a Preschooler, my husband and I each took an orientation meeting. C.B. will have the same teachers in preschool as last year, but Big D will have a new one since he’s hitting the big time this year. She is as sweet as a Kindergarten teacher should be and I have heard nothing but wonderful things about her from parents and kids alike. I think both boys will have a great year. And Miss M is super excited about her teacher this year too. However, all this talk of school is reminding me of my uncompleted list. I think I should get going.

Friday, August 10, 2007

“I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!”

I can’t believe it has been a week since I have posted anything. I guess I have been even busier than I thought. I started a list of things I would like to get accomplished before school starts next Monday, and I am wondering if I am being too ambitious. Lists like these can be daunting; like a written reminder of my inadequacy. Perhaps I could use some Daily Affirmations With Stuart Smalley. Or perhaps I should just focus on the things I did accomplish this week, rather than that darn list.

We made some more progress in Miss M’s room on Monday. We put some white trim around her closet door and her windows, we painted the trim that will go on the rest of the walls, and we hung her curtains. We also moved the other kids into their new rooms that day. Banana now resides in what used to be the boys’ room, and Big D and C.B. are in the girls’ old room. Thankfully, everyone seems happy in their new spaces.

On Tuesday we went furniture shopping. We have never purchased a single piece of new furniture for any of our children. Any of the kids’ furniture in our house has been given to us or we bought it used. Some of it still looks fine and may even work pretty well. Other things are in pretty bad shape. One thing in particular is even being held together with duct tape. We decided that the boys really needed dressers. They have been using one small dresser for both of their clothes. It's probably too small for even one boy’s clothes, and their clothes just continue to get bigger. We chose a dresser and a chest of drawers for their room, and then Miss M spotted the pretty little girl beds. She hinted at how she would like to have a new bed, reminding us that it once belonged to a friend of mine when she was Miss M’s age (making it approximately 25 years old.) She kindly did not mention, however, that her bed is the piece of furniture I mentioned previously that is being held together with duct tape. Needless to say, we also ended up purchasing a set of white bunk beds that we will use separately in Miss M’s and Banana’s rooms. The salesman actually congratulated Miss M on such a “smooth move”, although it wasn’t really difficult to get us to replace her old bed.

Miss M and I spent the whole day Wednesday at Six Flags with some friends. Yes, it was hot, but it didn’t bother us too much. The lines were not long, except for in the water park area. As a result, we spent most of our time on the major attractions in the amusement park. We braved the Superman Tower of Power, but it was a ride I felt only needed to be done once. Miss M disagreed. She got in one more ride before the park closed. Yikes! I’ll take the Screamin’ Eagle any day. Long live the classics!! We had a great day and I’m actually looking forward to doing it again next summer. By then Big D should be old enough to join us.

My one-year-old nephew spent the day with us on Thursday. His mom and dad and big brothers went on a float trip that day. We explained to the kids that he wouldn’t have had any fun on a float trip so he came to play with us instead. He and Banana had some cute moments together, like BIG hugs; and they had some other kinds of moments, like bashing each other on the head with a toy or pulling hair. Is that cousin-ly love or what?

Today I started painting in the boys’ room. We decided to go with a Star Wars theme, mostly because we already have several large posters and other memorabilia that may be used to decorate in there. The color we chose is called “Silver Charm”, and it’s going to look great with Yoda’s skin tone and Leia’s hair color. The only time I had to paint today was during Banana’s naptime, so I only got the edgework done. It is coming along, though, slowly but surely. The boys are just excited that the pretty purple flowers on the wall are finally gone.

Wow! When I look at all that I have just written, that feeling of inadequacy is starting to diminish. I guess I don’t need to call Stuart Smalley after all.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Still Moving

I feel like we have been pretty disorganized since we decided to move back into our house. We have plenty of things that were stored in our parents’ basements that need to get put away, but it’s been slow going. Partly because there are things we want to fix or paint before moving everything back in; partly because we have four kids and other responsibilities in our lives.

Miss M was gone for a couple of days at Girl Scout camp. I thought it would be fun to surprise her while she was gone and paint her new room and get her bed moved in there. She probably would have been surprised if C.B. had not spilled the beans on the way home from camp. She did appreciate it though, and she likes the new colors and her new bedspread.

We still have some work to do in there. We plan to hang a white picture rail at the point where the two paint colors meet, and we’d like to frame the closet doors and the windows with white woodworking as well. Miss M is happy to have a room of her own, and has been enjoying spending quiet time in there.

I also finally finished painting our “Thinking Room”. It really looks sharp with all of the white furniture in there. Again, this room needs some finishing touches like pictures on the walls, but the kids are enjoying this new space as well. It seems like it has already gotten more use as a Thinking Room as it did during its four years as a Dining Room.

Our garage is full of boxes and other things that have been at our parents’ for so long. We can’t pull even one car into the garage anymore, and there are still things we have to pick up and bring home. I really do feel like we are moving in all over again. And since we already have all of our necessities it is taking even longer to get the other things back in here - things that haven’t been missed for almost a year I might add. We hope to be semi-organized by the time school starts. Unfortunately, that only gives us two weeks. I better get a move on!