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Showing posts from March, 2014

Happy 8th Birthday, K.!

K. turns 8 today. If you happen to know him in real life, you already know this because he has been telling everyone he meets that today is his birthday. He has been telling us today is his birthday as well. In case we forget, you know. K. is just a little bit excited about his birthday. He is also convinced that today is forecast to be the first really nice day of spring because it is his birthday. To celebrate... everything... he is wearing shorts. (I'm not. I'll believe the forecast when I feel it.) Sadly, though, we are not taking the day off of work for him. I've already broken the bad news that math will happen today. It only slowed him down momentarily and then he went back to skipping around the room. (He didn't earn his family nickname of 'Skippy' for nothing.)

I honestly cannot believe he is 8 years old today. Has it really been almost 6 years since we brought him home? Watching this child blossom before our eyes has been sheer joy. He can do so much …

Seeing with new eyes

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We went to the library yesterday and is was woefully lacking in any interesting stories. (I can often count on at least one interesting conversation while I'm there. This time? Nada.) But because it was so calm, I was able to leave the littles playing in the play area watched over by the very capable A., and went upstairs to the stacks to browse. Oh, how I love to just browse in a library! I have come across the most interesting books just wandering past the shelves. And they're free... any book I want to read I can take home.

Ahem.

What was I talking about?

Oh, yes, the interesting book I found while I was wandering.

I happened to be in front of the home decorating books, which I sometimes find interesting, though, admittedly they are not usually healthy for me to look at. I find shelter-type books to be particularly good at creating envy and discontent and try to be careful with them. A huge one struck my interest, though, so I picked it up. It's called, The Way We Live:…

Back to advocating

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When you live in the world of adoption, you become aware of children who need homes. For those of us who have adopted, I think these needs strike us just a little more forcefully than for those who haven't. You see, our sons and daughters are former orphans. We have seen the transformation which happens when a child is loved and has a place of belonging in the world. We have been in institutions and seen face after face of children who long for this love and belonging. We have learned that these are real children, individual children, flesh and blood children, and not just some name on a list and a collections of diagnoses. They are so much more. Sometimes we are asked if are going to adopt every orphan in the world, as if the desire to is somehow wrong. And you know what? If I could, I would. If it were in my power to give every one of these children a home I would.

Sometimes there is one child out of the dozens and dozens I read about that strikes a chord with me. I don't kn…

Just curious

Since I was writing about comments that we receive (or don't receive) about our family yesterday, it got me to thinking about other sorts of comments, the ones we receive about our choice to homeschool. I will say that of all the family choices we have made, our decision to homeschool still receives far more comment than anything else. (Family size comes next.) It's not the fact our choice to homeschool receives comment that I find interesting, but it's the type of comments it receives that I've been interested in. I'm a little curious if other people have noticed the same thing as well.

When we first started homeschooling, lo these many years ago, homeschooling was just picking up in popularity. There were plenty of people homeschooling, but it was still pretty fringe. While some of the general public had met an actual homeschooler or knew of one, it was far more common that some people I came across had never even heard of such a thing. It was a little 'out t…

Inconspicuosly conspicuous

I had someone ask me if we would take H. out as the skin expanders got larger. The question took me by surprise because I hadn't really supposed we would do anything different than we already do. H. loves to go out and it seems as though it would be adding insult to injury to say she had to stay home because her face looks different. It looks different all the time and I'm not really sure how we would manage keeping one well child at home for over a month.

But the question did give me cause to think about the whole thing, though. I can understand the point of the question. Is it fair to the child to add the comments and stares that will inevitably happen on top of the general yuckiness of the whole endeavor? One certainly doesn't want to add to a child's discomfort.

At least in our situation, I have come to the conclusion that by taking H. out and about with us, we are not really adding to her discomfort. The first reason is that while she does receive some stares here…

Be adventurous

Over the years as I've been part of the adoption community, I've come across an attitude that just baffles me. I'm not actually sure what to call this attitude, so I'll have to describe it. It is the unwillingness to venture out of ones comfort zone to explore and experience the new child's birth culture. (Obviously I'm writing about intercountry adoption here.) I've seen more than one parent comment, almost proudly, when asked what they did while they were in country that they only saw the inside of the hotel and the local McDonalds (or Kentucky Fried Chicken, depending on city.) It is an attitude that I find a little mysterious and disturbing.

To be clear, if you were a parent who only saw the inside of the hotel because your child was sick or would bolt the moment a door was open or for any other reason that made it not wise to venture out, I'm not talking to you. Adoption travel is different from any other travel out there and it is no pleasure trip…

So he wasn't really just making a mess

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Our first day back to school after such a long break means that extended time for blogging doesn't exist this morning. So, I will do a little show-and-tell of K.'s most recent art work. I've mentioned he loves firetrucks, and he also loves to cut paper and use glue and tape. More than once I've come across him making little tiny scraps with scissors and construction paper, thinking he was just enjoying cutting and making a mess and wasn't really making anything. More than once I've had to stifle my initial response which is to tell him to stop and clean up the scraps, but then remember it's not hurting anything and I can let him cut to his heart's content. And more than once a few minutes later, he shows me something amazing that he has whipped together with all those little pieces that I had thought were just scraps. Such as this firetruck. (You may need to click on the picture to get a better view... it's quite detailed.)


The fireman is sitting u…

Books to travel by

We had great success with our recorded books this trip, and I wanted to share a couple with you. The first is The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck. This is set in the time of Queen Victoria and the mice live in and around Buckingham Palace. J. and I found it entertaining and clever. I think this is one of the few times that I will recommend you find the recording and listen to it. The version we listened to was produced by Listening Library and was read by Russ Bain. J. and I think that one of the reasons we enjoyed the book so much was the excellent way the narrator captured each of the British accents. This is something that would be beyond me if I were to read it out loud and it certainly added to our enjoyment of the book. If you are an Anglophile at all, you will appreciate the humor. (The link is for the actual book, I couldn't find the recording on Amazon, so ask your library for it.)

The second book is Whittington by Alan Armstrong. This is a story within …

Brave

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I have a very brave girl. There are not many 11 year olds who could manage the emotional aspect of tissue expansion with the grace and good spirits that H. is showing. This isn't because she is clueless about what is going on. She is highly aware of what is happening and she doesn't like it. At all. And I can't blame her a bit. Even though she doesn't like it, she is cooperative and understands why it is happening. We talk often about why this procedure is being done, what is going to happen, and when the expanders will be removed. I can tell you that no one is looking forward to the end of April more than H. is... even though she will be having major surgery to remove them.

In order to grow as much good skin as possible, the expanders need to be filled as much as possible. At first this was once a week, and I traveled with expander supplies and I filled the expanders twice while we were gone. (Can I just say here that I cannot believe there were NO comments on the egr…

To avoid dealing with the stack of credit card receipts, I'll show you pictures of the Grand Canyon

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On Sunday we left the Phoenix area and headed north to the Grand Canyon. It's about a 4 1/2 hour drive and we planned to get there by lunch and then spend the afternoon. Since we were not feeling pressed for time, we took the slower route that goes through Sedona (where there are beautiful red rock formations) and Oak Creek Canyon. We found a spot by the side of the road and had a snack and a brief rest beside the creek.

This is G., she is trying to smile, but the sun is in her eyes.
Can you believe H. made it up and down this creek bank completely unaided? (No she's not in the picture, this just shows the steepness.)
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We then continued on to the canyon. After Flagstaff, you drive for a little over an hour through open country. The interesting part of this is it doesn't look as though that there is one of the seven wonders of the natural world straight ahead of you. See? This is what it looks like for much of the drive, right until you get to the actual canyon.

Someone m…

Well, that was a later arrival than planned

At least this night's late arrival wasn't due to any vehicular malfunctions. The wind that followed us from Arizona, blowing dust all the way stayed with us, except for a change of pace the dust changed to snow. The first flakes were falling as we were leaving the hotel this morning and continued for nearly the entire trip. The worst was through Nebraska on I-80 when the combination of wind and snow caused nearly white out conditions through much of our time in the state. We could always see a few hundred feet in front of us, but it wasn't a lot of fun. J. has sore muscles from fighting the wind coming from the north which wanted to push us off the road. The only truly frightening moments were when we passed cars in ditches... there were several. The worst was when we passed the three semis which must have had some sort of accident which caused all three trucks to end up off the road. I will say that we were might impressed with the number of plows we passed on the highway…

Not only have we made it to Colorado Springs...

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but we are the proud owners of two brand new trailer tires! I know you are all green with envy over this new development. The new tires also meant that we pulled into our hotel (where we had reservations) very late. It wasn't supposed to be quite this late, but with the not-quite-as-early-as-we-had-hoped start, two hours for dealing with tires, and losing an hour to the time change... well, it got later and later.

We were driving happily along this morning, having driven for maybe an hour (if that), when J. hears a noise, says something along the lines of, "That's not good," pulls over to the side of the road and gets out to see what's happening. It turns out we had lost both the wheel cover to the right tire on the trailer as well as the tread. We have no idea of the cover came off first, thus damaging the tire, or if the tread came off and took the cover with it.

The good news was that we had a spare, nothing else was wrong, we were only 8 miles away from Winsl…

The beginning of the end

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We leave to go home tomorrow morning. M. and B. have it the worst since they have a morning flight and need to be at the airport at 5:30. We will be not much farther behind them. We plan to leave as soon as we can in the morning. That 'soon as we can' thing is fairly flexible because it takes a while to load up 13 people and all their stuff, especially since no one will be wanting to leave. Our vacation has been wonderful and for the children, has been as close to experience Christmas every day as you can get. (I bet you think I'm exaggerating... I'm not.) It's just hard to leave that kind of fun. It's especially hard for some people to leave that kind of fun and I've already taken multiple deep breaths so as to regain my patience, and I'm not even dressed yet. Yes, it will be that kind of day.

I think what I need to do is to focus everyone on the fun ahead of us. We have decided to take an extra day home and spend tomorrow at the Grand Canyon. This is …

H. has been home for two years

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I'm really bad at remembering these anniversaries, but when a friend posted about being home for two years with her two children, I realized that that means H. has been home for two years as well. I think nothing quite describes how far H. has come in these two years than to show some pictures and describe our day yesterday.

One of the things we really like to do when we are here is to take a picnic to Papago Park. There are lots of places to explore and hike around, plus it's just a lovely park.



Here's H. hiking around.
Do you remember our trip to New Hampshire two years ago, right after H. came home? We did a lot of things, one of which being a nice long hike up in the White Mountains. That would be the hike where J. and I literally dragged H. up and down the mountain. It was not a lot of fun and her inability to navigate terrain which did not involve a sidewalk caught me completely off guard. The combination of undiagnosed eye issues and a complete absence of muscles co…