Back to School -Noooooo!

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Now we have my regular back to school weepy post.

I really can’t believe that summer is over. I sobbed all the way home after dropping them off today. My husband suggested maybe I need to try homeschooling since this is so upsetting to me. I tried to explain that I don’t want to homeschool. I just want it to always be summer.

Is that really too much to ask??

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We all know that our kids grow up too fast, but there are some days that you can almost witness it happening. The first day of school always hits me like that, and it is almost too much to bear.

Both Zac and Kaitlyn are hitting me hard this year. This is officially Zac’s last year of his elementary years before he moves to middle school years. He is right on the edge of a huge turning point. I can’t help but wonder if this is the last summer that he will want to play with me in the pool, or snuggle up with me to read at night.

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And for Kaitlyn, she is moving on from her preschool to the big kid school that her brothers go to. She is going from half day to full day school days. I keep wondering if this is the year that she is going to move past her love of princesses. Or finding joy in dresses that twirl. She will definitely finish first grade as a different child than she is now, and I’m not such a big fan of losing my “little” girl.

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I had an older mom once tell me that every single age is fun, and not to let anyone ever tell me that it isn’t. So far I have found that to be true. I know the future should be no different. I just love them so much though, and some days I just want to keep them bottled up just the way they are.

So, I am missing my little people. I think the first day of school is my least favorite day of the year. Soon we will be in a hectic and chaotic routine, and our afternoons will be full of homework, soccer, tennis, and swimming.

We will have fun, we always do. But I will keep missing summer until next summer…

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Hannah in Kindergarten

Today was a big milestone for miss Hannah. It was her first day of kindergarten.

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Hannah is starting at a new school, all by herself. That is so hard for me. All of my other kids did a half day kindergarten at the preschool that they attended. Half day kindergarten was good for my heart, and I think my children had exactly the experience that I wanted them to have. They had lots of time to play and still be little.

Two years ago, however, a new school opened in our neighborhood. It is a language immersion school that includes a Mandarin tract.

Initially, I was so excited.  Did I mention that this charter school is IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD??  It seemed like such an incredible opportunity.

But then I had to do some real deep soul thinking. I considered what it would mean to have her at a school without her older siblings. Would she eventually feel resentment that I separated her? Would this make her feel more “different” in our family?

I went back and forth with so many emotional possibilities. Then I talked to some of my favorite adult adoptees to get their opinions. They said 100 percent that if I could give her the chance to be fluent in her native language to give it to her! They all expressed regret that they did not have that same opportunity.

So, after many many conversations we decided we would apply to this school for Hannah, and also for Kaitlyn. The languages start in kindergarten, so we knew it could be difficult for Kaitlyn to start a year behind, but other children do it, so we thought we would give it a try.

Then on lottery night Hannah got it. :) And Kaitlyn didn’t. :(

More conversation. More concern about my little girl’s heart.

Finally we decided to take the opportunity for Hannah, despite having to separate the girls.

Today was her first day. She has half of her day taught completely in Mandarin, and the other half in English. Her teacher is amazing, and told me today that Hannah’s assistant teacher is from her same hometown!!!!!!!!! I need to get more information there considering Hannah is from a very small town.

I shed some tears leaving her, of course, but I also felt so good about where she is. Hannah has teachers that look like her. She has children in her class that look like her. By the time she finishes eight grade she will be completely fluent in her native language, which will open up so many opportunities for her. I feel so good that it is not only up to me to introduce Hannah to Chinese culture, because I know that despite my best intentions, I will always fall short.

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At the end of the day she came bouncing into the car, announcing that her favorite part of the day was the playground. She made some new friends, even if she can’t remember any of their names,  and seemed very happy. And I feel so good. I feel so incredibly lucky that she has the opportunity to attend this school. And two years from now Kai will join her too, and she will really have the chance to be the “big sister.” It is all good.

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Summer is my happy place

I love summer.I really really really love summer. Some people complain about the heat. I don’t mind it. It is a small price to pay for the freedom from so many responsibilities. It is a small price to pay for a lower pace and more time to relax. A small price to pay to have my kids home.

I am still slightly in denial that summer is ending, so this is not yet my regular end of summer weepy post. Right now I am just reflecting on this summer and thinking about all the things I loved about it.

I loved swimming. The pool is a place where I find it so easy just to PLAY with my kids. No other distractions, it is easy just to make up games, and laugh and play.
I loved swim team. Both for myself with my super fun neighbors, and for my kids. I started the summer with only two kids who could swim, and I am ending the summer with 4 swimmers. I love seeing the joy that swim team brought all of my kids, but especially Zac. Zac worked so hard this summer, and he saw it pay off. I saw a new kid emerge as he gained so much confidence in himself. I feel emotional every time I think about how proud he was of himself, and he so deserved to be.
2015-08-10_0007Our littlest guy did NOT love swimming, but he found some ways to enjoy the water. :)2015-08-10_0004I loved watching the kids play tennis. Swimming is my happy place, but watching them enjoy tennis reminds me of my husband, and he is my happiest place.2015-08-10_0009I loved getting to take a last minute vacation with my favorite circus. When Kai got the all clear from the doctor we got in the car for a few days of pure fun.2015-08-10_0011

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This is backtracking a bit, but I loved celebrating the 4th of July with our family in the mountains. We had such a fun time getting ready for the bike parade, and Hannah and Drew took home medals. We had a wonderful day with lots of good food, sparklers, water balloons, and fireworks.2015-08-10_0002 2015-08-10_0001I loved our week of vacation bible school, also in the mountains. 2015-08-10_0006I loved fun times with cousins.

2015-08-10_0014 2015-08-10_0003And I loved plain old fun.
Going to the park.2015-08-10_0019 Making a video at the Childrens’ Museum.2015-08-10_0017 2015-08-10_0018

Just goofing off and being silly.2015-08-10_0005I love summer. I love my kids. I love the memories we make together. I’m trying to savor every minute, but I wish summer would just stay a while longer.

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Kai’s Spinal Surgery

Last March we flew to Columbus Ohio to have a full battery of tests for Kai. One of the things they examined was Kai’s spine because many children who are born with similar colorectal malformations have issues with their spines. At the time the doctors gave us their initial impression that his spine was fine. We were relieved.

Several weeks later, however, we got a phone call from the Columbus neurosurgeon who said that upon further examination of his MRI, he appeared to have what are called “fatty filum”. Basically, the bottom of your spine should be free floating. Unfortunately, however, Kai had fatty deposits on the bottom of his spine that would “tether” his spine as he grew, affecting everything below that point. The doctor recommended surgery.

Sadly after meeting with the local urology surgeon he also stressed that Kai’s spine needed to be addressed first. We met with a second neurosurgeon who also agreed, so we got this surgery on the books.

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We started the day bright and early Monday morning with a very happy boy. I had prepared him the best I could, but he still said he thought it was going to be “really scawey.” Despite those words though, his smiles and confidence show how far he has come in the months since he has been home. He feels safe.2015-07-16_0005He was so sweet as they wheeled him away, but it was hard to let him go. Luckily we had family there to wait with us.2015-07-16_0004He was pretty pitiful for the next 2 days. He had to remain on his stomach, and he was in a lot of pain.2015-07-16_0006 2015-07-16_0002

I tried to be strong for him, but after 2 days and nights of pain, I broke down and cried with him.

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Finally he turned the corner and his happy, sweet personality came back. It was a welcome sight for all of us.

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He has to remain laying flat for another two days. Honestly that part has not been as hard as I was afraid of. He has been happily playing with cars and stickers, and of course he has gotten the rare privilege of having a show to watch all to himself. Every day should be easier from here.

Now we have to wait about six months or so before he will have his next urology surgery. On one hand I am so glad that we have made the first step toward all of the repairs that Kai needs, but at the same time, I am dreading having to go through 2 more surgeries in the next year or so. This was so hard on him, and hard on this mama’s heart.

I am hoping and praying that even though this experience has been difficult for him that he will not take backward steps from all of the progress he has made. I’m hoping that he will be able to just know deeper in his heart what it means to be a family and that we will be there for him always…

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The graduate- 2015

This week Kaitlyn graduated from kindergarten. She will be leaving the school that she has known and loved since she was two years old.

I have said this before, but I always hate it when people remind me to “treasure these moments” or that “time goes so fast!” I already feel acutely aware of these things, so it feels like terrible pressure when people give me these undue reminders. Too much stress!  “Did I treasure them enough?” ” Have I paid close enough attention?” ” Oh no, she will never be 6 years and 2 months and 2 days old again, did I miss something???” No good.

And Kindergarten graduation is sort of a huge banner screaming out all of those reminders about time.

I tried to prepare myself. The well dressed excited kids, the sentimental words, the songs. Oh the songs. It is a lot for a mom’s heart.

I know that everything  will be different now. She will be in school twice as many hours as she is now, which means less time that I get to spend with her. She is leaving a safe, small school where she knows everyone, to a big place where she only really knows her brothers. She is moving on to big kid world with homework and more after school activities. She is leaving her very best friends who she has known her whole life. Oh yeah, that means I also won’t be sharing being a preschool mom with some of my favorite friends anymore. :(

It is almost too much when these huge time markers come up. Kaitlyn is terribly sad. We have had a lot of tears in our house about this huge change, and saying good bye to so many people that she loves. I am trying to be there for her and hold her, but my heart is breaking a little bit too.

Please don’t grow up too fast, sweet girl. I’m trying to treasure the moments but it is so hard when you keep moving so fast!!

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