Friday, December 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Please read this!

Please read this great post about what NOT to say to adoptive families!

http://www.danoah.com/2010/09/how-much-did-your-kid-cost.html

Friday, November 26, 2010

Father's Day 2010

I Love Daddy Father's Day 5x7 folded card
Unique party invitations and announcements by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Crazy back to school


It has been a crazy month trying to get into the back to school groove. Faith has been challenging - all those tween emotional highs and lows, plus increased homework and less time from mom and day. Sleep has been precious - the baby is sleeping through the night, but I'm having problems trying to get it all done in the waking hours! I hope that soon we'll be in a routine and things will even out - or that Christmas break comes quickly!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thanks for the put-up Connie!

Go here to read a great article about teachers!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Span

You know you have a large age difference between your children when you are buying bras for one and diapers for the other at the same time!

So far Joy is liking daycare and Faith is liking 4th grade. Hopefully, this will continue for both of them beyond the first week of school! It's too soon to really have a good idea about my class this year - everyone is always on best behavior at first.

I'm feeling ok about being back - but it's hard knowing I'm operating at maybe 90% so far. Or maybe I'm at 100% but I'm too used to being at 110% that it feels like I'm slacking. But all I can do is do my best.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to School

Well I didn't meet my goal this year of having my room done before inservice started. It's the first time in about 8 years though. Gee, I wonder what was going on nine school years ago that kept me from meeting that goal?

Oh, yeah, the big one was a teeny, tiny baby going to daycare for the first time and I didn't want to stay a minute longer than I had too at work!

The little one had a great first day though - hope it keeps up!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Danger Will Robinson!


Note to self - do not leave the camera out where the 9 yo has access to it. Especially when you're tired.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

OOPS!!

See the whole article at Yahoo News!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Rolling over!

Joy rolled from her back to her belly in her crib today! She's done this before with some assistance, but this one was solo because she did it while she was going down for a nap. She was so surprised she started yelling like a banshee! She's growing up so fast.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Growing Up

I've had to face the tough reality that Faith is growing up. She's interested in different things, has ever so fun mood swings, is getting zits, really should be wearing a cami and showing daily, plus so much more.

The latest reality for me was her planning on how she could get a job to earn some money. She's going to ask our neighbor if she can help her in the garden for $0.50/hour. Then again, I guess she is still a kid in some ways!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

20 Things You Will Never Hear Me Say

With thanks to Chris at Notes From the Trenches for the idea - and #8!

20 Things You Will Never Hear Me Say

1. “I have too many books. I really should never buy another.”

2. “I love how I look in that photo – the camera really does take off ten pounds!”

3. “I don’t think my children watch enough television or DVDs.”

4. “I wish my kids would learn to ignore me and stop doing everything I ask them to - the first time they are asked!”

5. “My house is too clean. You truly could eat off the floor.”

6. “Tween-age girl emotional swings are a piece of cake – nothing to them!”

7. “Of course – clean laundry stays in the basket and dirty laundry goes on the floor. How logical!”

8. “I love getting my period. I wish it came more often.”

9. “How shall we spend the extra money we have this month after we’ve paid the bills?”

10. “I love cooking from scratch.”

11. “I can’t wait to go swimsuit shopping! Make sure to bring the camera!”

12. “I am completely caught up on grading papers and planning lessons.”

13. “The only thing I love more than spending time in the car with my children is running errands with a tired baby and a cranky tween. I think I love that the most!”

14. “The bank statement came today and I just finished balancing the checkbook to the penny.”

15. “I have a great idea… let’s go to Build-A-Bear! I don’t think you have enough stuffed animals!”

16. “Please turn the channel to Nickelodeon and put the volume up as high as it will go.”

17. “I am just too thin!”

18. “Of course you can have a cell phone, a laptop, a DS, an ipod, and any other electronic device you want. We ARE made of money after all!”

19. “I wish it were even more humid in Wisconsin.”

20. “I love exercising. I wish there were more hours in the day so I could exercise longer.”

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

20 Things You Will Never ...

Check out Chris's post here - hysterically funny!

I will think about and post my own list soon ...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Back to School Anxiety

Well as it is now several days past the 4th of July, I am officially in back to school gear up mode. I am starting to look around at my house and see all of my "do this summer" projects that are still in process or not even begun. My reading pile has barely shrunk because for every book I read, I seem to add one or two more to the pile.

I'm starting to wonder about class lists, and am figuring out how to get into school at least once per week to work without my children tagging along. I am wondering about tweaking my reading class once again and exactly how different our new social studies text will be. And this will be the year that I sit down with the 8th grade SS teacher and we figure out how we will teach US history so as not to both cover the same small bits to death!

I'm hoping I can convince Joy that taking naps in her crib is a good idea before she will have to at daycare this fall. I would like Faith to read a little more and watch tv a little less. I'm wondering how will we afford everything this fall - especially since I don't want to take away EVERY activity my former only child has participated in.

I wish I could feel that exercise is a priority and that it is fun to do. I wish ice cream had no calories and a full serving of fruits and vegetables. I wish I had all the time to do everything I want to do.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sounds of Summer Silence

Just a quick note - right now I am enjoying the silence. Both girls are taking naps. It doesn't happen often, but Faith had a sleepover at a friend's last night and she is exhausted. Joy is finally getting on a bit of a schedule regarding napping - if she would just stop knocking her nuk out of her mouth we'd be good!

Joy rolled from her tummy to her back today - YEAH!

Ebay sales are quite interesting when you are the seller - making some decent $$ though. Might have enough to pay for one week of daycare at the end of the summer but we'll have a lot more space in our closets!

Every reading teacher should read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. It's reinspired me to try Readers' Workshop again.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Thankful -

My wonderful choir friends held a picnic/baby shower for us today. It was such a fun time to visit and socialize - the kids played and we ate - joyous! They surprised us with some gifts for Joy - totally not expected, but oh so nice. It makes me feel so loved to be part of such a great community.

And then a blogging friend directed me here and I realize that I am even more blessed. Pay it forward if you can.

Happy Independence Day!

I am so thankful as I sit here to have the independence of our country that so many people have fought for and defended over the years. It makes me appreciate all that I have!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Humane Society

Everyone kept telling me that it wasn't a good idea to sign up my animal loving daughter for a week long summer camp at the local Humane Society. They kept saying that she would be bugging us for a pet continually. My family laughed and laughed because they know my oldest well and they know me even better.

Day 4 of camp is today. She's been begging for "her" dog all week - an Alaskan husky. When we finally convinced her that he was not a good choice for our family, she started begging for "her friend's" dog - a chocolate lab. We finally had to break down and tell her that we WILL NOT be adopting a dog from the shelter this week - no matter how cute they are or how friendly they are or how much fun they would have in our backyard or how much they would keep our oldest from being BORED. Nope, no dog. Now if I had my way, maybe a cat would come home...

But Dan says NO pets - at least not until the baby is two. Then we shall see!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Here's to supper daddy! He helped with the oldest's sleepover on Friday - Saturday. Bless him, he not only heard them "Let me teach you how to make scrambled eggs!" but got up to make sure they didn't burn the house down. Then he took her swimming for special Daddy-Daughter time today so that I could try to deal with the cranky little one. I know - this picture is the only time she smiled all day I think! Can babies start teething at 2 months old? 'Cuz I think I feel a tooth breaking through.

Monday, June 7, 2010

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Random thoughts.

1. This is going to be a long summer vacation. It's day 4 and already Faith is bored.

2. I'm proud of myself for going to the mall and into several stores -some with incredible sales - and we only bought one container of Claire's ear cleanser and one Japanese eraser.

3. I wish the baby would figure out how to sleep other places than on me. I love her but I don't always want to be wearing her.

4. I have to watch my couponing and only print the coupons for things we actually buy - too much wasted ink and paper. And ink cartridges for the new printer cost an arm and a leg.

5. I love friends who work at American Girl and bring you along to the employee sale!

6. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of produce my "deluxe produce assortment" from SHARE Wisconsin will be - I have have to dig out some recipes for unusual items.

7. We have Fall DAYCARE!

8. Now we have to figure out how to pay for it - gulp!

9. Faith mouthpiece tested for band and will be playing the trumpet. She did best with French Horn but they said that is not a good instrument to start with.

10. I'm a little bit sad she won't be dancing next year - too much $$.

11. I have to stop staying up extra late "because the baby will just be getting up soon" - last night that didn't happen until 5 am - got to get some real sleep!

12. My life is pretty boring.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Daycare Dilemma

I started calling for daycares today for this fall. I know it seems crazy but finding infant childcare is nutso. First I eliminated all places that were not state certified. Then I had to start cold calling - I broke out into a sweat. I hate making cold calls. I never know what I should say! But all is good, I have two home cares with opening and two "interviews" within the next week. Hopefully one of them will be wonderful!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Something to think about....

With any of the parables, we look for the central message. It does not help to seek meaning in all the little details - that is not how the Jews would read them or how Jesus intended it. He would want to convey one main lesson, as in the parable of the talents. Here you have three men with different gifts. A talent was originally a coin or a weight, but through this parable it acquired the general meaning of a gift or an aptitude with which each of us is endowed. Some have more gifts than others - that is obvious. People have different temperaments, some more optimistic than others, a more or less attractive personality, more or less brains, a stronger or sicklier body, more or less beautiful hair, skin, face, body, and so on. Jesus is saying: Use everything you are given. Live your life to the full. Do not hide away the gifts the Lord gave you, whether of personality or of brains or whatever. The biggest tragedy is a life unlived. The fact that you are endowed in a different way from your brother or sister or parents or friends, does not mean that you should hide away the abilities and personality you have. Use it to the full for other people. The central message is the real explanation: use everything you are given.

from sacredspace.ie

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Mother's Day Reflection

As I sit here holding Joy and working on the computer, I've been pondering her birthmother. With the way that Joy was placed for adoption, we will realistically never have any contact with her. We will never be able to send her some pictures, talk on the phone, or have her visit. In many ways this makes me profoundly sad. The woman who gave me one of the greatest gifts of my life, will never know how wonderful her gift was and how amazing her daughter has become.

So what can we do as parents to acknowledge Joy's birthmother and help Joy to understand just how much she did love her?

I've been thinking about getting involved with Elizabeth House. It's an organization for pregnant women who want to either parent or place for adoption. I think it might just be a way to honor Joy's birthmother. It seems the least I can do.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The phone call - adoption story pt. 2

I was at work on a normal Tuesday in April. I'd just finished eating my lunch and had just 10 minutes before my fifth graders were due back inside from recess. I walked into my classroom to a ringing telephone - I thought great - someone's sick and ran to grab it.

It was our social worker. Her first words were - Do you have some time? and You might want to sit down. She told me about a little girl who had been born just two days previously and her birthmother wanted to place her for adoption, but did not want to choose the family. We were the longest waiting family with our agency in the entire state - if we wanted her, she would be ours. She told us a little bit more information - the baby was caucasian, full term, and birthmom had been drug and alcohol free throughout her pregnancy.

I said I would call her back after I talked to Dan. One quick phone call to him - one call back to her and we were going to be parents again!

The baby was being brought from her birth county to ours that afternoon and her social worker would like to meet us at the bridge care foster family's house when she brought the baby. That would be about three hours after the first phone call.

I told lots of people at work about our new after school plans, but waited to tell Faith until the school day was actually over otherwise she would have gotten nothing done - you're welcome Mrs. H! When she came down to my classroom after school I was talking with a friend of ours (she's a sub in our building and the mom of one of Faith's best friends). I told Faith to come over and sit down and my friend said, I'll shut the door on my way out.

Faith's first words were "Am I in trouble?" - finding out she was going to be a big sister was WAAAY better than getting in trouble!

Mother's Day 2010


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Adoption Story part one

Some of you have asked about Joy's arrival. We were quite surprised to say the least! Here's a little back story.

My pregnancy with Faith was complicated and I was told by my wonderful ob-gyn that most of my complications would like be repeated in further pregnancies. At the time, we weren't thinking of more children we were just enjoying the one we had. As she grew, we came to realize that we wanted another child. Dan and I both have siblings and love that relationship. Neither one of us was looking forward to another experience of Julie being pregnant but thought we'd try to get pregnant AND explore adoption.

We had heard great things about our agency from other families and went to an orientation meeting. They went through the process for both international and domestic. We talked and chose domestic - only problem was that so many people wanted to adopt domestically that our agency used a lottery system to determine which families could join the program. We entered the lottery and weren't chosen. We kept this up for four more attempts, six months apart for each. Finally on our fifth attempt we were the alternate family!

As the alternate family, we were guaranteed a start in January 2006 or sooner if one of regular families opted out or was screened out. So we kept on waiting. That January we attended adoption classes and completed tons of paperwork. By March of 2006 we were paperwork ready - our portfolio was done and birthmothers could start looking at our family as a possible forever family for her child.

Things were quiet for awhile - not unexpected, we were at the end of a line of waiting adoptive families as our agency lists families from longest waiting to newest waiting and operates under a birthmother choice system. Every March we would receive the paperwork to renew our homestudy and update our information. Every March we did. There were a few times that a birthmother selected our family as one of her "short list" to see portfolios but we were never the family she selected as her match. We would get emails from our agency asking if we would be open to a birthmother with this situation or that situation. At the beginning, we were pretty choosy and didn't say yes every time. By the end, we were starting to feel "why not?" since no one seemed to pick us anyway.

In the mean time, nothing was happening in the let's get pregnant option and it seemed like every one we knew was expanded their family. My sister completed two international adoptions in the time we were waiting. My high school friend adopted her son internationally. Another high school friend had her third child. My sister-in-law and her sister both had babies. Another friend married and gained instant step-children. We were starting to feel that maybe we were getting too old, that our family would be complete with just one child. Faith didn't really need to have the sibling relationship - she was super close to her cousins - that's almost the same.

So we were up to our fourth renewal, to start our fifth year of waiting for a child. When the paperwork came, I just put it aside. We weren't ready to think about it. Dan and I talked, and talked, and thought, and prayed, and talked some more. It finally came down to that we weren't quite ready to say with our whole hearts "We are done. Our family is complete." So we sent back the paperwork at the end of March when I had the time to complete it over spring break.

Our social worker knew of our concerns and said she was glad that we had decided to continue. Then came the fateful day of Tuesday, April 13, 2010.

to be continued

Poem

Great poem over at http://www.lssadopt.org/AboutUs/Blog/Posts/mothersday

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Thanks Chris @ http://www.notesfromthetrenches.com/

They Are Lucky They Are Cute

April 29, 2010

handprints3

I went outside this afternoon and saw this scene.

handprints2

I didn’t do it, Mom.

Notice her paint covered hand hanging at her side.

handprints

That isn’t my hand print. That hand doesn’t even have a thumb!

Who doesn’t have a thumb that could have done this?

Well, I don’t know everything!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Joy Emma


born April 11
7 lbs, 5 oz 20 in
Coming home with us soon!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Many are the women of proven worth, but you have excelled them all

I just came home from a funeral of a great lady. Marion was a teacher at my school and just a super person. She lost her battle with cancer after a 23 year fight - which tells you something about her just from that small piece of info!

This was the first reading at her funeral.

Proverbs 31:10-12, 17, 20, 25-31

When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls.
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize.
She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.
She is girt about with strength, and sturdy are her arms.
She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy.
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs at the days to come.
She opens her mouth in wisdom, and on her tongue is kindly counsel.
She watches the conduct of her household, and eats not her food in idleness.
Her children rise up and praise her; her husband too, extols her:
"Many are the women of proven worth, but you have excelled them all."
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; but the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her a reward for her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.


I want to be just like you when I grow up Marion. I know you're up in heaven meeting all those great artists you admired, welcoming all the lost and lonely into your arms, and making it a more beautiful place for all of us when we are privileged to join you there. God bless - you are missed.

http://marionrusso.shutterfly.com/

http://new.madison.com/obit/135959

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Adoption Tax Credit - We Need Your Help

Bet you didn't know there was an adoption tax credit, unless you are in the process of adoption. And even then, bet you didn't know that the credit is due to expire in December 2010.

Click on the link below to see how you can help ensure that more families pursue adoption and help all kids to find their forever families - thanks!


Adoption Tax Credit - We Need Your Help

Posted using ShareThis

Thanks Chris!


Chris, I wish I knew you in person. This is just one example of why I keep coming back to your blog every time - you rock! Notes from the trenches

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Break Creation

Every girl's dream - her own fairy tale cottage! Complete with flower window box, arched windows in the doorway, and built in shelving inside! Gotta love her imagination!

**In case you're curious, it is a tuba box.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Birthday Extravaganza


My girl is nine. Which is a scary thought as those nine years have just whizzed right by! We hosted our first ever sleepover party last weekend - which is truly a misnomer, because I don't think anyone really slept! But a good time was had by all.


We took them all to Build-a-Bear before coming home for pizza, cake & ice cream, movies, create a photo frame, various unplanned activities that parents were not privileged to know, a teeny tiny bit of sleep, doughnuts, egg hunt, piano playing, present opening, and other crazy events!

Tonight we just had dinner out and then presents with mom and dad. Someone had to work on her homework due tomorrow and the late work we found in her desk so it would be turned in before spring break starts after school tomorrow.

Though it looks like we'll finish Harry Potter #5 in a day or two so we should be able to watch the DVD over break!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Still sick ....blech

Ok - so I never got better from the first end of winter cold. Woke up from a lovely Sunday nap with no voice and an incredible sore throat. I went "AHA! I have strep!" so I went to urgent care again.

Oh, no. Not strep according the the rapid test - it's viral laryngitis. Stay home for three days. Gargle. Lots of Tylenol. Lovely.

Almost done with day one and starting to feel a teeny tiny bit better. Going to go to work if I can talk on Tuesday. Urgent Care calls. Apparently my culture turned into strep when they grew it longer.

Make another day of sub plans. Quick run pick up Faith. Drop of plans. Get the last yearbook orders so I can send in the final numbers due that day. Check for the homework from the kid who was gone the entire last week of the quarter so I can try to finish report cards due the next day.

Get the kid home. Start puking. Have a high fever. Feel worse. Keep taking meds as prescibed.
Have her call her dad to come home ASAP.

Barely sleep. Still not feeling great today. Not puking. Low grade fever. Tired of being home. WTF is wrong with me?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Nasty end of winter colds

ICKY - that's what I feel like today. I've got a nasty head cough that morphed into some weird combination of sore throat and dry hacking cough. Ended up in Urgent Care last night after some severe nagging (thank you!) by my co-worker. The drugs are making me feel better today - hope it knocks it out of the park.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust.

This week saw the completion of another big third grade project .... the Saint Report. She did a great job finding her information and typed her report all by herself. She picked all of her own props, decided herself to appropriate the Laura Ingalls Wilder outfit she received for Christmas. She practiced her presentation and assembled it all to take to school. I'm so proud of her!!

May I present to you .... Faith as St. Elizabeth Ann Seton!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sick Days

Ah the joys of being home with a sick child - a child who is too sick to go to school, but not to sick to do fun things! Today we have:

1) slept in
2) finished reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
3) watched the movie of the book three times
4) drunk hot chocolate
5) watched the city replace the mailbox that was taken out by the snowplow
6) read an entire People magazine from cover to cover without interruptions
7) taken a nap

Overall a very good day!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Awesome video!

What a super message for all of us!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Celebrity Look-a-likes

How funny - when I went to find my celebrity look-a-like for my Facebook picture - it kept giving me Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton. I'm not that old!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Little Me

OMG - Faith came out tonight after she was supposed to be in bed for about an hour. Not too big of a deal, this often happens when her music stops playing and it's just enough to wake her up.

But tonight she told me that she had been reading in her bed, under the covers with a flashlight since I had tucked her in over an hour before this. Like mother, like daughter!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ramblings

1. Just found out that our adoption portfolio is being looked at by a birthmom. She asked to see families that have been waiting for a "very long time" - that is certainly us!

2. Faith is showing her mom's logic. They had to pick a saint to research for school. I (knowing what the other parts of the project were) was dreading which saint she selected. She came home and told me that she had chosen St. Elizabeth Ann Seton because she was interesting, she has almost exactly Faith's same middle name, and that we already had a costume that would work for Faith to wear. That's my girl!

3. Stayed up all night on Sunday night reading the final book in Sara Donati's Wilderness Saga. I kept telling myself to go to bed but it was just so darn good! I was able to last the entire next day watching my girlfriend's kids, but then it took three full nights of extra sleep to completely catch up - I think I'm too old for all nighters!

4. I was reminded that any unusual behaviors should be checked out. My friend's mom had been acting off and the family took her to the doctor. They discovered a brain tumor - very large, very fast growing, very malignant. If she hadn't have been checked out, she might have been gone in just a few more days. Now they are hoping for a few more months or years. Hard to wrap your mind around when you've been expecting a few more decades.

5. There really is a change in interests for many boys and girls about age 8. Faith used to play happily with my friend's boys - no issues, no drama. On Monday, she kept talking about American Girl and they kept talking about Go-Go's (no clue). They finally found common ground in snow forts.

6. I am determined to embrace the craziness of Catholic Schools Week this year and NOT let it stress me out and drive me crazy. Hopefully just letting go of the idea that we might accomplish anything and then being impressed when we actually do will make it work this time around - well, and ear plugs for the 8th grade vs. Faculty Volleyball game.