Friday, May 29, 2009

What do you do all day?

6:00 Mom pray Kids asleep
6:30 Mom dress
7:00 Kids rise. All do morning chores.
8:00 breakfast (journal)
8:30 Family prayer and circle time
9:00 Moms teaches preschool, WB does independent work
9:30 Outside
10:00 Jophus does rotations (30 minutes in different activities) while WB does lessons
11:30 I make lunch
12:00 lunch (journal) and story
12:30 rest-- Pookie naps, Jophus listers to audio books, WB reads for 30 minutes then can listen to audio books, finish school, or play quietly for a while, I have computer time or read.
1:30 Weekly Cleaning
2:00 outside
3:00 snack (journal)
3:30 Afternoon activities like go to the gym, swim, library or gymnastics
5:30 Make dinner, kids do before dinner chores the can watch television
6:30 dinner (journal)
7:00 put Pookie to bed, boys do after dinner chores
7:30 prayers and stories
8:00 bed

Homeschool Solution-- Dawdling

Wonder Boy is a, well--er, wonderful boy. However, he is a somewhat challenging child. He's not one to take the easy way. He becomes obsessed with certain ideas. For example, he loves comic book/ superhero characters. If you tell him the name of one, you'd better know his whole life story, his superpowers, and the villains he fights. Then Wonder Boy will want to see pictures and ask if there is video on youtube. (You get the idea.) He has a bright and active mind, is prone to temper outburst, and can be socially immature. (Actually, some of these are characteristics of a gifted child.)

He is also a dawdler, and I've had enough! It's one thing to spend the day homeschooling because you child is working and learning. It's quite another to waste the day waiting for you child to get it in gear and finally work.

Solution-- Assign a reasonable time limit then anything left over gets done during free time. For us, this is during play or television tine. In our house the television is pretty limited, so its a pretty hot commodity. I hope this will take the responsibility of finishing work away from me and give it to Wonder Boy.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Getting Real

I have gained a lot of weight. After Pookie was born I joined Weight Watchers and lost 18 pounds and had about 10 more to go. Then I stopped losing. Then I quit going altogether. Since then I have gained all that back. I have racked my brains trying to figure out what went wrong. I have read book about nutrition and weight loss, none of which were very helpful.

This gain is very painful and humiliating. I don't want to be "mommy shaped." I don't want people to think "She's really let herself go. (She must be really busy.)" I want to be the cute, fit, "Wow, she's really got it together" mom. I respect myself lees because of what I see as a weakness in me. I see the failure I've had so far and fear it will never end.

Why? Why do I keep doing this to myself? I think one reason is that I saw losing weight after Pookie was born as a "diet"-- that is a short term change to get me back on track. The fact of the matter was I was overweight before she was born, so I really needed to completely overhaul how and what I was eating. Like an alcoholic who denies has a drinking problem because he never drinks before noon, I could not admit the extent of the problem. I wasn't 250 pounds, so things were OK. I just needed to lose the baby weight. This denial crippled me and my efforts.

So here in public (OK, semi-public), at the risk of humiliating myself, I admit I have to relearn how to eat in a healthy way. I don't want to be overweight and have to change permanently to to be thin.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

About Face

Since the last MOE Blacklist came out, we are trying to figure out how to proceed. Our case worker, Jeny, has been talking to facilitators in Russia, representatives from other agencies, and our homestudy agency. Then, last night, we got a small miracle. We have been given permission by Ekat (our region) to send in our dossier because the missing PPR has been received in Russia.

We're on our way again!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Laugh it up, Mom!

Today I threatened Wonder Boy that if he didn't pay attention and do X, I would take away his book for the rest of the day. I can hear my mother laughing now. Boy, what goes around, comes around!

(I am a voracious reader. I read in the bath. I read while blow drying my hair. I read while nursing. I read while riding in the car. I also remember, at one point when I was a child, my mom refusing to buy any more books.)


One of the things we like to do is sail. When Charlie and I were dating, one of the most frequent dates was to go sailing at the university sailing club. One of the first major purchases we mad as a married couple was a sailboat. After the kids were born we didn't use it much. Wonder Boy and Jophus (pronounced Jo-fus) are very close in age, only twenty-one months apart. By the time Wonder Boy was old enough to be on the boat, Jophus was too little.

Last year we joined a yacht club, which sounds very snobby and ritzy, but is not. At any rate now we can sail a lot more. Today the weather was perfect-- clear, warm, nice wind. Even though I really didn't want to go because was tired and have a little cold, I sucked it up and did because I knew once we were out there it would be great. And it was! Probably the best sail we've had as a family. (Last summer Pookie didn't like it much, mostly I think because her PFD was uncomfortable.)

We had a picnic there and after the sail the boys swam at the beach even though the water was cold enough to make your toes a little numb. What a great way to end the day!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Imagine That!

(CNN) -- For years, Candace Eloph searched for her half-brother, who was given up for adoption in 1977. She found him -- living across the street.
"I never thought it would happen like this. Never. Ever," Eloph of Shreveport, Louisiana, told CNN television affiliate KTBS.
Three decades ago, Eloph's mother gave birth to a boy at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. She was 16 and gave him up for adoption.
"They took him from me," said Eloph's mother, Joellen Cottrell. "I only got to hold him for a split second."
Cottrell searched for her son over the years, without success.
She eventually left Louisiana and had other children. But she did not keep her son a secret.
"My girls always knew they had a brother," she told KTBS. "I always told them. They knew it from the very beginning. And I've always looked for him."
Fast forward three decades.
Eloph moved into a house in Shreveport. Across the street lived a 32-year-old man named Jamie Wheat.
"We were sitting one day, talking, and she said, 'You know what? I had a brother born January 27, 1977, that was adopted,'" Wheat said. "I was like, I'm adopted."
Surprised, Eloph mentioned that her mother was 16 at the time. His mother was 16, too, Wheat replied.
All the details fit, and Cottrell and Wheat decided to take a DNA test.
The results: There's a 99.995 percent probability that the two are related. Watch family open DNA results for first time »
Wheat's adoptive parents are excited about this new stage in their son's life.
"It just almost knocked me out for the joy," Wheat's adoptive mother, Ann, told KTBS.
Added his adoptive father, Ted Wheat: "It was just surprising that they lived across the street from us for two-and-a-half years. When they told us, we said, 'This is the greatest news it could be.'"
Reunited with his birth mother, Jamie Wheat plans to make up for lost time.
"I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me," he said. "I can move forward. Like a new beginning."

A Major Setback

We've been a holding pattern for the past few weeks in regards to sending in the paperwork for Sweet Pea because our homestudy agency is on the Ministry of Education's list of agencies with delinquent post placement report (MOE blacklist). The agency said everything was sent in and they were just waiting to hear from Russia. That hopefully it would be "soon." I just knew that all we had to do was wait until the next list was released. The new list was released yesterday and our agency was still on it.

My heart cracked a little.

I have lost faith in the agency and their ability to resolve this issue in a timely manner or to be honest and upfront about what they are doing. Our communications have gotten less friendly and have been full of butt covering lawyer-speak (sorry, sister of mine, but no one can use so many words and say so little as a lawyer.)

We are going to pursue getting our homestudy transferred to another agency. Then we'll have to redo everything that has expired (for the second time). Maybe then we'll be back on track.

Is this a test to see if we are really committed to this child? Maybe God and Russia really want to see if we mean it. We do. I thought briefly about changing regions or countries after my placing agency said we could if we want to. No. If we did that, for the rest of my life I would feel like I had abandoned my child. I am committed to Sweet Pea, not Ekat (the region-- city really), not Russia, but to her.

I pray everyday to the Holy Mother to intercede for us, as one mother to another. I pray that our path will be cleared and we will be able to bring this little girl home. I pray that we will be strengthened so that we can surmount the obstacles in front of us. I guess I will just have to keep praying.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Reason 999 we homeschool

You can do it anywhere! And we do. We school at gymnastics classes. We school outside on the patio. I'm going to take them to Greenfield Village and let the kids do their lessons in the one room schoolhouse tomorrow.

I love to sit outside with the kids and do Wonder Boy's lessons with him. The other two kiddos can ride scooters or bikes, play in the sandbox, or go on the slide. It's so nice to be outside in the sun and fresh air and not cooped up at a desk. It also give me a chance to get in the gardens or read a book.

We are getting close to the end of the year. Only about three weeks left to go. You know, I think that one of the reasons that the end of the school year is so tough is that the teachers are so burned out, as well as the kids. Once school is done we will be so ready to veg out this summer. We are looking forward to swimming lessons and other fun things we can't do during the summer because we are too busy.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Two Things I Hate

At the grocery store on Friday a nice little old Italian lady saw me with the kids and said, "You were so smart. you had two boys and then tried again and had a girl. Me, I said, I'm not going to try again, and risk having another boy. Boys are nice, but girls . . . " Oh my goodness, my boys are standing right there! I mean, they are short, but not deaf. Nor are my kids stupid. They are going to get the implication that they are not as cute, lovable, or valuable as girls.

This attitude is one I have run up against again and again since Pookie was born. "Decided to try again and see if you got a girl this time?" "Got your girl, so you're done now, huh?" For all I complain about things my kids do (and I do, we all do) I like having boys. I like the energy. I like the straightforwardness. I like how boys get right in the thick of things. I like camping, toads and skinned knees. A boy will never wonder if they should go play or not because they might get dirty. A boy will never come crying to you because someone "won't let me apologize." In conclusion, my first two children were not place holder or consolation prizes that I got until I received what I really wanted. (Told you I really hate this.)

The second thing I hate is when strangers see me out with the kids (I'm a really bad stay-at-home mom) and say, "Boy, are you busy!" Why would you say that? I never look at someone in a store who doesn't have kids and say, "Boy, you look like you watch soap operas and eat bonbons all day." I just don't get it. Are they saying, "Look, crazy lady, your kids are out of control." Have they compared themselves to me and found me lacking. Are they jealous that not only do I have a girl, but two boys, too? Do they know how dirty my house is, and want me to clean it? What are they trying to say?!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Spring is Here!

OK, spring has been here for a few weeks but I didn't have the pictures to back me up. I've been working in the yard, and have been fairly pleased with the results. I always get an itch to garden at this time of the year, but usually only succeed in spending lots of money and then killing everything. Last year we started on our Mary garden and this year things are really growing in nicely. Featured in this garden are bleeding hearts (symbol of Jesus's suffering), marigolds, lamb's ears (symbol of Jesus as the Lamb of God), columbines (symbol of the Holy Spirit), and lilies (symbol of Mary's purity).

I also started an herb and vegetable garden. Herbs because we cook a lot with them and they are expensive. They are also hard to kill which is a bonus for me. I wanted vegetable so the kids could see how vegetables grow. In another flower bed we have lilies, black eyed susans, and garden phlox. Our newest addition to that bed is Siberian iris in honor of Sweet Pea.

I hope you enjoy the photos!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Jophus is a Gymnast

About two years ago Jophus started taking gymnastics lessons. I'd like to say that decision was motivated by the desire to be a great parent-- to get him involved in an activity that he enjoys and that will teach in to be healthy and exercise. Those are great reasons, but I signed him up for lesson to save the couch. Jophus is a BOY and being so he jumps, bounces, twists, stands on, launches off of, and generally misuses all the furniture. All I really wanted was to save us the purchase of a new sofa and maybe a trip to the emergency room.

He's doing great, and is becoming very strong. His teacher is amazing! Jamie loves her work and the kids. She also doesn't let him get away with anything, which is very important with my kiddos who define "give and inch, take a mile."
At the end of every tweleve week session, I always ask Jophus if he wants to try something new, but he always want s to take more classes because "I'm going to be a gymnast!"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wonder Boy lost another tooth at dinner!

Wonder Boy Loses a Tooth

Last Week Wonder Boy lost his second tooth! Very exciting for everyone involved. Of course, in true Wonder Boy fashion he did things his own way. Wonder Boy is nothing if not quirky. I don't know what else to call a 6 year old who loves Greek mythology, ancient literature and uses words like uproarious and giddy in everyday conversation. Anyway, the second tooth he lost was not the second bottom tooth like most people, but one of the top ones.

(Cool tooth fact-- Did you know that you can see all the adult teeth in a child's mouth on their x-rays?)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Adoption is an Act of Love

No, I'm not talking about adoptive parents. I'm speaking of birth parents. We don't know anything about Sweet Pea's biological parents. I hope we will someday. The information that we have coupled with some guess work suggests that she has been in the orphanage most if not all of her life. Why is she there? Could her parents not afford to care for a child with special needs? Was there a social stigma surrounding having a child with physical disabilities? Did they not want a child that was not "perfect"? Maybe one day we'll know so that we can help her understand her past when she asks us.

What I do know is that her mother loved her enough to give her life. This gift cannot be understated. Russia currently has one of the highest abortion rates in the world. In 2006 (the most current statistics available) Russia reported 1.5 million births--- and 1.6 million abortions! No matter what we discover, I will always try to remember that abortion in Russia is affordable, common and acceptable. It could have been her. I don't know if Sweet Pea's mother knew about her legs before she was born. Prenatal care is not as common in Russia as it is here. If they did, I count us doubly blessed and doubly thankful that she is alive. Even in the US, where those with physical disabilities have the opportunities to be educated, have jobs, and recreation just like the able bodied, some doctors will still suggest abortion to the parents of those with limb differences.

It would be easy to think poorly of birth parents. Some are drunks and drug users. Some are child abusers or neglect their children. Some simply abandon their children when it gets to be too much. But they chose life, and they didn't have to.

So thank you, and Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Jophus Said

"It's six thirty-six. In six minutes the house will blow up."


I Want My Jamacian Rum!

Most evenings our our family reads aloud from a book, and right now it is Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. In it several children are pretending to be pirates. In one scene the children are drinking the finest Jamaican rum (aka lemonade). Of course, the boys had to start calling lemonade at our house rum, as well. This morning Wonder Boy had said rum confiscated because he was bragging about having lemonade for breakfast when the others did not. The conversation went something like this:

WB: Jophus, guess...
Mom (interrupting) If you brag about it, I'll take your lemonade away.
WB: what I have--rum. (Very smug.)
Mom: Give it to me.
WB: NO! (not so smug now)
Mom: Give it to me now! (taking the cup)
WB: (who is prone to loud and explosive temper tantrums) GIVE ME MY RUM! I HAVE TO HAVE MY RUM! GIVE IT TO ME!

I could not keep from laughing.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Kitties

About a year and a half ago my old kitty Blaze inexplicably got sick and died. It only took a few weeks before I couldn't stand it and began to search for new kittens. The whole family was in on the naming of the new cats and we finally decided on Basil and Cyril (who ironically are important saints in Russia). I was inspired to use saints' names because a character in a series of book I like named her cat after a monk. I thought it would be fun to name them after some obscure saint with a hard to pronounce name. We had all but decided on one of the names until we read the life story of that saint and discovered that he had been martyred. Wonder Boy objected strongly. Apparently saints were okay, but decapitated saints were out!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Wonder Boy was complaining the other day about his phonics/ spelling work. I have to admit it is very in depth and time consuming. If I am honest it is my least favorite subject too. However, Wonder Boy is learning so much from this program and I am really glad at the progress he has made. As a matter of fact, I would be willing to bet that he would test several grade levels ahead. This year he has read several of the Narnia series even though he is only 6.

WB: Why do I have to do this?

Mom: When your grown up and see what they are teaching your kids, you'll be happy you learned this.

WB: On no, Mom, I'm going to homeschool my kids. . . Well my wife will!