Showing posts from August, 2015


I wanted to share a little personal achievement with all of you, but first you need some backstory to fully appreciate it.

I have never been terribly athletic. It was the combination of not being able to do something well the first time and little natural interest. (Equestrian sports aside, of course. For those I have both aptitude and interest.) I was the child who hated PE. The child who was always one of the last to finish that dang 600 m. run. (Oh, how I loathed the 600.) The child who preferred sitting and reading to just about anything else. It was a good thing I was also blessed with a fairly high metabolism to make up for my sedentary preferences.

Fast forward to a body who gave birth to a set of large and full-term twins combined with heading rapidly towards age 50. (For those of you a little ahead of me, you know exactly what's coming, don't you?) You see, it seems that as we age our metabolism can slow down a bit. Okay, a lot. It also seems that at the same time our…

Poor little girls

G. and L. (and K. and H. to some extent) have had a hard day. This morning, J. (along with some littles) helped B. move into the house he is sharing for the school year. At one point, J. looks and sees G. sitting on a tree root, looking extremely glum. B. spent some time holding her before J. took everyone home.

Life has been hard and things have not been good today for people. Life has also been loud since little people are having difficulty regulating their emotions. The low point came when J. headed up to the little girls' room to sort out the aftermath of a World War III scale battle between the two of them over doll clothes. When he gets there, he sees G. sitting on her bed with her little bottom lip quivering and L. curled up in a fetal position on the floor. When he says, "It's really hard to say good-bye to A. and B., isn't it?" The flood gates open and he has sobbing girls on his hands.

So it turns out to be a very good thing that we are not trying to st…

Moving In

Today was move-in day for freshmen and so we piled into the van along with all of A.'s stuff (which wasn't a whole lot) and took her to school. We will miss her a lot, but she is oh, so ready for this next new adventure.

Her dorm
Unloading the van
Does she look a little excited?
With all the stuff piled in the little, bitty room, before any organizing or sorting took place.
B. with L., G., and K. standing in the hallway. (No room inside the room for everyone.)
Bunking the beds. (B. is handy to have around and M. is on the other side, you just can't see her.)
Really, they knew each other before this. (Both also have parents who teach at the university.)
The requisite family picture. We're missing M. She stopped by a couple of times to see the progress, but had to go back to work before we organized a picture. (It's really handy when you're entire family all works at or attends the same university.)
This is what the room looked like when we left t…

Drowning in books

Normally this would be a good thing. Right now, though, having put off my homeschool planning for the coming school year, it means feeling a little overwhelmed. From past experience, I know this is a passing feeling and as that I sit and look at them and sort and re-sort them into piles, the important ones (for us, for this year) will rise to the surface and I will begin to make sense of it all. The trouble is, I usually allow a couple of weeks for this sorting process and I really need to be done in a few days.

Part of the difficulty is that we have moved along to the Renaissance in our cyclical cycle of history. As we get closer to our own time, the breadth of things to learn about increases dramatically. It's pretty easy to take the resources for Ancient Egypt, fit them in a school calendar and have it be all nice and tidy. Not so much with the Renaissance. I could make any one aspect of the era take up an entire semester (or year!), so trying to fit the whole thing in just goe…

National Dog Day

What would I do without Facebook? How else would I know that today is National Dog Day? Thank goodness I have been saved from missing out on this major holiday. In honor of the occasion, I present you with a brief poem in honor of Gretel, completely and totally stolen from a meme I saw on, you guessed it, Facebook. Without further ado...

We were brave.

We were fierce.

We were wild.

We roamed free.

And then we discovered you had couches.

And now we are 12

One of the things about older child adoption is that you just never know what age your child is going to be. Now I don't mean that the paperwork is wrong and you're not sure if it is correct, though that certainly is a very real thing. No, I'm talking about what age your child is going to be on any given day, or at any given moment. It's a moving target.
As I wrote about earlier, H. has been going through some emotionally younger ages recently, which even though it's hard, is a very good thing. Every child needs to move through these developmental stages to reach full health and maturity, and for adopted children with a trauma history, their past did not allow for them to do this work at the optimal time and so they do it later. 
What I find to be the trickiest thing, though, is that while they are doing this younger work, they are also continuing to do the work of their chronological age. This is also healthy and appropriate. It is also the cause of a bit of pare…

The trouble with being too young

P. loves animals. Not only does she love animals, they also love her. She has quite a knack with them. She's calm, respectful, and has absolutely no fear. (And that's even when faced with a horse who would rather take a bite out of her rather than be tacked-up every week.) Because she is not yet 16, and can't get an animal-related job, she thought she would look into volunteering at an animal shelter. I thought this was a great idea and that she would be a great addition to any volunteer team. I mean, who wouldn't want a calm, responsible, hard-working young woman who was willing to work for free?

Evidently everyone.

She has spent hours researching various animal shelters looking for someone who would be willing to take her on. With every single one of them, the requirements are essentially the same: must be at least 16 years old and have some parental accompaniment. So, I wrote some emails. I explained that I understood their policy, but then pointed out the reasons w…

I thought I'd never be able to this....

but after

9 monthsover 100 days delay by the stateone state law changedcountless (truly) letters to congressmen, senators, governors, and journaliststwo interventions by our senatorone conference call between DCFS and our two agencies telling me to essentially shut-upone home study agency going belly upapplication paperwork to a second home study agencyone intervention by a friend to release our home studyone RFEone near RFEtwo waits for state approvalfour visits to the Secretary of Statefour visits to the Chinese consulateseveral notary disastersone set of unexpectedly expired passportsseven FedEx envelopes (maybe more, I've lost count)missing paperworkmisdirected paperworkmultiple emails from J., who I dumped the whole nightmare on when I couldn't take it anymorea nervous breakdown or two (or five) and a whole lot of whining I can finally announce that....
That means, we could realistically be looking at travelling to adopt R. and T. …

And so we rock

Well, when the honeymoon ends, it goes out with a bang. For nearly three years, H. has kept her negative emotions pretty bottled up. Everything was fine, everything was happy, everything was good, even in the face of huge change and horrible past experiences. The trouble is, no matter who you are, at some point, all those negative emotions are going to have to be dealt with. Dealing with those feelings... anger, sadness, fear, grief... is not fun and can be pretty scary. You need to feel you are in a safe place in order to do that hard work.

The good news to my story is that I think we have brought H. to such a safe place and given her permission to start to deal with those big feelings. And that really is good news. She needs to do this and there were times I thought perhaps she was too bottled up to ever attempt it. I don't need to worry about that anymore. Not only is she progressing through the developmental work of a three year old, we are now adding the harder, emotional wor…

Klondike or Bust!

I have been reading through a mystery series that is set in Alaska. While the mysteries themselves are nothing spectacular, I have been thoroughly enjoying learning about a slice of life I didn't know much about. The first book is Murder on the Iditarod Trail in this series by Sue Henry. Her books are filled with depictions of life in Alaska, the sport of dog sledding, and history of the Klondike gold rush, which, aside from being able to recite chunks of "The Cremation of Sam McGee," I didn't know a think about. I have been fascinated.

This probably explains why, when I came across the book, Jason's Gold by Will Hobbs, when I was checking out recorded books for our trip last weekend, I grabbed it. It is about a 16 year old boy who goes in search of his brothers who have headed north as part of the Klondike gold rush. There is a lot of history about the time period, but it is well folded within the story and had us all on the edge of our seats. (The reader on the…

Pictures of kittens... or a surprise 50th anniversary party

Our event that I mentioned on Friday was actually a surprise 50th anniversary party for my parents. My dad was in on the secret, but my mom had no idea. My brother and sister-in-law hatched the plan early in the summer and when my parents were here visiting us, we had a small decoy party for them. Little did my mom know that the real party was yet to come. 
Saturday morning we all piled in the van at 7 am and headed off to Iowa. My parents had arrived the day before to visit my brother and were already there. My mom was out with my sister-in-law and niece when we arrived, so we were there when they returned. Now, my mother is very difficult to surprise, but surprise her we did. She was thrilled to have her children and 11 of her 13 grandchildren all together. (M. and my brother's oldest couldn't be there.) 
We had a nice time together and my children loved every second of being on the farm. Some photos.

Here you will start to see a theme running through the pictures... Kitten…

Simplicity 2469 and other randomness

I have had this pattern cut out for the little girls for over a year now. I worked on it a bit last summer and then the pieces sat there, staring at me, taunting me with their unfinishedness. I decided that if I was going to actually finish them, I had to do it soon, or else G. and L. would have outgrown them before they were even finished. We have a shindig this weekend, so it seemed the perfect reason to dig them out and do that last little bits. Here they are:

The fronts
Here is a closeup of the print. It's little frogs.
The back has shirring. 
Now they needed something to wear with it. They both love knit shorts and pants and rarely wear anything else, so wanting them to actually wear the fruits of my labor, I made a couple of pairs of shorts.

They'll get another month or so of wear out of them before the weather starts to turn too cold and they grow too large, but the fabric and pattern is no longer sitting on my sewing table sticking its tongue out at me.

In other random…