We are celebrating Tuba's 13th birthday tonight. We are going to my mom's house for dinner. Wed. is the real day and of course we will celebrate then too:)
I have a teenager!!!!!!!!!!!! How did that happen? I once heard the best quote about raising kids..."The days are long and the years are short". So true.
Tuba is a beautiful happy fun smart energetic enthusiastic affectionate and caring boy. I wouldn't change anything about him. Not his special needs....nope. He is a perfect gift from God and I rejoice in his birth and that God entrusted him to us.
Happy Birthday Tuba, may God grant you many, many more.
I'm up on my soapbox....that's your warning;) Baby George here is just expressing how I'm feeling.
What's the difference between a snack and a treat? I think there is a difference. To me a snack is a healthy small meal and a treat is sugar or carbs that you don't really need but like to indulge in from time to time.
My issue is with the amount of treats given to kids (mine included) after activities/sports. I first noticed it a few years ago when Mr. P began soccer. After each game (30 minute) the players were given a "snack" and a drink. The premise was that they needed something after expending so much energy. Huh? Each parent signed up for a week and was responsible to bring the team snack. Some parents did do healthy but most of it was sugary juice and processed stuff.
Now that we have gone through soccer, t-ball, gymnastics and swimming I'm really getting perplexed by the amount of junk food as a reward for physical activity. Each of the previous listed activities ends with a treat being given. Swimming at least was only given on the last session. But....I just don't like all this junk and treats. Shouldn't the "reward" be the fun time they had playing...the great job they did?
In a nation that is FAT and getting FATTER all the time...should this be a trend we want to hang on to? Think back to your childhood...did you get a treat after each game or activity? I know I didn't...and I didn't miss it either. I would rather bring my child a bottle of water and give them a healthy snack as I see fit when and if they are hungry...not treats as rewards.
It's finally gone...Mr. P's first lost tooth is out! It was loose for about a month and yesterday he twisted it until it popped out. Tooth Fairy brought mini finger size skate boards. Busy Guy appreciated that there were TWO of them;)
It's been almost 13 years since I became a parent. I have learned so much...and yet I know I have much more to learn. I have parented lots of babies and a few toddlers and pre-schoolers but have yet to embark upon the grade school years...or dare I say teenage years! Of course Tuba is chronologically becoming a teenager but in his development he is still a toddler or pre-schooler in most areas. Now, mix in hormones that will be coming with the teens...YIKES!
Last week we went to visit our friends' church. Fr. Tom is an Orthodox priest and has the loveliest wife, Pat. We love to visit their parish. As we were visiting with them Pat asked us, "So, tell me two things you have learned this last year". We had been talking about the kids and how busy it is with Cam in Grad school. I thought for a minute and replied with these two things:
1. I've learned (or striving to learn) to live in the moment. Don't worry about dinner, or the calendar of tomorrow, or next month. Focus on the task at hand, or enjoy the moment I'm in with the kids...or on the flip side...when babies are crabby and things are falling apart...just stay in the moment...this too shall pass:)
2. Hmmm...I don't even remember the second thing I said....thinking....thinking...hmmmm...I don't know???? Well, I'll just add lib here. If I had to say something else that I've learned about parenting I would say to have a routine. I of course LOVE routine so this is easy for me. But, I really see the value of it. It makes kids happy...and Moms too.
I then asked Pat to answer the same question. She is a Super Mom and teacher, excellent priest's wife and leader in their parish. I knew what she would have to say would be great!
Fr. Tom and Pat have a teenage daughter and a college age son. Her two things are:
1. Find a balance between being strict and having a good relationship with your kids.
2. Find time to spend one-on-one with your kids. She said Fr. Tom does "office hours" with his kids. He pops into their bedroom on occasion and asks if they have time for office hours. Then he sits with them and chats. I loved what she had to say. When I got into the car I wrote it down so I could remember it. Maybe I should have written down what I said:)
I would love to hear what other parents have to say...So, what are two things you have learned about parenting? Leave it in the comments or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll compile them all and post to my blog.
I received the latest Sponsorship Newsletter from our adoption agency AAI this week. I was so moved by the stories in the newsletter that I wanted to share them here on my blog. Cam and I sponsor kids in Ethiopia and I encourage everyone to do the same. The difference we can all make in a child's life is amazing. Even in this tough economy I believe most of us can afford to get involved. As Americans we have so much.
The Power of a Letter
For many children in the sponsorship program, nothing shows support like a letter from their sponsors. So many of the children are orphaned, with no extended family and tackle life’s every day challenges completely alone. To receive a letter from someone on another continent away, helps these children to feel less alone. For some, it gives them the inspiration to persevere and continue with their educational goals. Aseresahagn Geze is an older boy who has been in our sponsorship program since 2006. He lives alone in a small, mud, plastered house and has faced a lot of hard ships in his life. Aseresahgn is presently in the 10th grade and will be taking the Ethiopian National Exam which will determine whether or not he gets into University. Aseresahgn hopes to one day be an agriculturist and has a strong passion for the sciences. Most recently his sponsor got in touch with me and asked if there was anything ‘extra’ she could do for him. I agreed on my next trip to take some small gifts for him and in the end she elected to purchase some science text books for him to help with his studies. I forgot how heavy text books can be, and in my final days of getting ready for my trip, I found myself packing and unpacking my suit cases to make sure they were the proper weight and debating on what I needed to leave behind so I could get the text books to Aseresahagn. I’m glad I decided to hand carry the lightest of the books, because when I came into the office one morning, I had a very uplifting email waiting for me. Miriam, one of our social workers. This is what Miriam wrote, “I was able to meet Aseresahagn Geze last Monday and have delivered the books that were sent from his sponsoring family. He was very happy to have them. He told me that it will help him on his studies and so he is very happy. He has sent his warm thanks and greetings for the sponsoring family. Aseresahagn felt very loved and wanted as he got these books, so blushed with smile and was a bit nervous saying there is really some one who cares about me. He is very grateful about the concern that the family has shown him.” All letters can be sent care of me to our Port Angeles office and I will forward them to Ethiopia. Small gifts such as t-shirts, cd’s, friendship bracelets and the like can also be sent over.
Help Fix Aster's Home
Aster is a very independent young lady who has been in our sponsorship program since March of 2005. She lives alone and has no family support system, but manages to overcome her challenges as best she can. Aster lives in a very small, run down house on the side of the road to a place called Mekansia in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Aster works hard at her schooling and is presently getting ready to take her 8th grade exams. She gets distracted from her studies due to her poor living conditions and the lack of support in her life. She reports that she is often very lonely. Aster knows that her schooling is very important, but sometimes gets frustrated as the only income she receives is the monthly allotment from sponsorship, which does not cover all of her living expenses. She does not have the time to go to school and work, and has been considering leaving school to work. At the advice of our social workers, she keeps persevering. She now has to deal with the fact her home is in desperate need of repair, and with the rainy season around the corner, she worries about her living conditions. One of our handymen at Layla House has visited Aster's home to evaluate the repairs she needs to protect her from the torrential downpours that will begin in June. He estimates the cost to be about 12,000 Ethiopian birr, which equates roughly to $1070 U.S. To date, we still need to raise $630 to help with the repairs of Aster’s home. You can donate via http://cts.vresp.com/c/?AdoptionAdvocatesInt/4d56936bcc/0eaabe1308/300dc24a3a and just click on the donate now button, make sure to specify that your donation is for Aster,. You can also donate via Facebook by following this link, http://cts.vresp.com/c/?AdoptionAdvocatesInt/4d56936bcc/0eaabe1308/2212833ed4/m=17855d80
I am also pleased to announce that we will be commencing sponsorship for children at Opportunity House. It is often more challenging to find adoptive families for these children and many children are housed there for extended periods of time and require around the clock care due to their disabilities. The children at Opportunity House have a variety of special needs including autism, blindness, deafness, and developmental delays. The cost to sponsor a child with special needs will be $35 a month. Regular updates and reports will be sent when available and until the child find a “forever family”. In the case of sponsored children being adopted, you can opt to cancel your sponsorship or be assigned a new child in the program.
Meet Bilen. She is 8 years old with semi-paralysis of her hand and leg. She may also have a type of intellectual disability, but is a fast learner and can write some words, play games and complete puzzles with one hand. Bilen shows remarkable achievements in her schooling and is cheerful and understands what is being told to her. If you would like to sponsors Bilen and learn more about her, please contact me at email@example.com.
Baby George had a great 1st Birthday. He loved his cupcake and presents...and all the love and attention showered on him.
It was a Curious George theme party...how cute is Curious George?!
Patiently waiting for cake....mmmmm
I thought he'd rip right into his cake but he quietly waited while we sang to him.
Slow to get going on eating. I had to take George off the cake and give it to him to lick the frosting....Yum...double vanilla cupcake with vanilla cream cheese frosting...and sprinkles.
Uh-oh....Mommy forgot to take the paper off the cupcake and BG REALLY got mad when I momentarily took it away to remove....Yikes, should have let him eat the paper! He did recover quickly and enjoyed eating the rest.
Here's BG's feet...you know you're eating something good when you have to brace yourself! He always does this at mealtime...so funny:)
The baby is One today!!! Happy Birthday sweet Baby George.
Precious baby boy.
We always do pancakes with a birthday candle on the morning of birthdays. BG ripped the non-lit candle out before I could snap the photo. Then he grabbed the craisins and undid the #1. You can't stop a hungry birthday boy:)
A smile now that he's eaten a bit.
His party with cake is on Sunday...so more photos later. We plan to go to the park today. It's a beautiful day to celebrate our beautiful boy's birth.
Tuba is seizure FREE!!!! I haven't seen any seizures for over a week. Such good news. I think the new seizure drug he is taking is making the difference...or the VNS started to work...I don't know...and won't know for sure. This can be frustrating to me...me who likes to know the whys of everything! It's an important reminder for me to put trust and faith in God and let go. I will enjoy this relief from the seizures. Thanks be to God.
One year ago today Cam and Lydia came home from Ethiopia. It was a wonderful day...finally getting to hold my daughter in my arms. We were now a family of 6...soon to be 7. Baby George is even in the photo...you just can't see him under all that tummy :0)
Today we had the re-adoption here in our state. By coincidence it was booked on this special anniversary. Now it's a double celebration day:) We got all spiffed up and went to the court house to appear before a judge. After the ceremony we went out for lunch to celebrate. Tuba is seated WAY off to the side because he liked sitting there and we knew if we made him move and stand up that it could turn UGLY! So...it is what it is! Here's our beautiful family...we are gorgeous;)
We had a great time on the 4th of July. The weather was HOT! The kids loved the parade and really loved the fireworks. We were all pooped and ready for bed when the fireworks were done at 10:30 pm....except Sis who was running around the grass in the dark having a hoot of a time! Everyone but Cam crashed and slept on the way home. I tried to keep my eyes open to see some more fireworks but I was too tired.
Since it was so hot we sat down to wait for the parade and enjoyed some snow cones.
Snow cones hit the spot!
Busy Guy was stuck to Vern like glue...held his hand...walked with him...sat by him...and used his pockets to collect his parade candy in.
Everyone enjoyed candy from the parade. Baby George kept running his sucker up and down the concrete and then putting it back into his mouth....Mmmmmm yummy. This is because he is the 5th child....no way would that have flown with Tuba;)
Lovin' on my boys.
One seriously happy kid with candy!
And...the aftermath of candy....and perhaps why she was still running full steam at 10:30 pm!!!
Tuba loved the fireworks. He didn't come to the parade...not really his favorite thing. He stayed at the house with Cheryl. He whooped and hollered and danced all through the firework show.
The 4th of July is my favorite holiday! It doesn't require weeks of preparation and work. It's fun and festive and I love to watch my kids enjoy the day.
The kids all have red/white/blue outfits to wear....call me nutty but I love that. We are going to a small town parade and over to our friend's house for dinner and fireworks. All the Dads have a great time putting on the firework show while us gals sit on the deck and enjoy. On our drive home we get to enjoy a second firework show. It's about a 25 mile drive and the entire way the sky will be lit with fireworks. The kids are always asleep and Cam and I enjoy the silence and the beauty in the sky. Kind of like a mini date:)
It's fun to reflect back to the previous year. Last year I went with Tuba, Mr. P and Busy Guy. I was HUGE pregnant...due in mere days and Cam was in Ethiopia. I was very emotional and greatly missing my husband and ever anxious to meet my daughter. I'm so thankful to have all my kids and my wonderful husband with me this year.
Why is it that with each additional child I have to install more child-proof locks in the house??? Is it because each child is increasingly more curious and busier???? OR, is it that with each additional child I have less eyes and ears to see and hear what is happening??? Hmmm...I don't know the answer but bright and early this morning I had out the drill and the cabinet locks and was installing a few more locks. The junk drawer and the bread/snack drawer were emptied one too many times. Sis took out the English muffins this morning while I was in the other room...and proceeded to rip the bag open with her teeth an then left a bread crumb trail all over the house:) Yes, I had already fed her breakfast! While I was cleaning up the bread she took out the junk from my NEWLY cleaned and organized junk drawer....grrrrrr. Next I'll be locking the drawer with the sandwich bags, foil, plastic wrap...etc. I came home one day last week and Cam had it all piled on the counter because he was tired of picking it all up. I had already re-rolled 75 feet of foil and waxed paper. Let me tell you that it does NOT re-roll into a nice neat roll again! It is now a big fat wad of a wrinkled roll. Also, baggies on the floor....very slippery!