Friday, December 31, 2010
Mom--to go to bed earlier
Dad--pay off a bunch of bills
K-- not available for comment
Abby--be able to do the splits
Ian--Do a back hand-spring "I'm already talented in many ways, and soon I will be able to do back hand-springs." Well, nothing wrong with that child's self-esteem. May have to work on humility...
Marina--Be able to do cartwheels
Randy--Ride my bike without training wheels, and do tricks on my skateboard.
Cara--to get on the potty by myself. Ahem, I think the big sisters regularly sent to do this chore may have prompted her "resolution."
And since I'd like to get going on my resolution....Goodnight!
Thursday, December 30, 2010
The master, Abby, and Cara are on their way back from Houston. Master had his prosthetic greased and oiled and Cara had her three month check-up. She's doing great! She is 25% in height and 50% in weight. That's her round little belly. I could just eat it up! Abby went along as bathroom escort and official keep-Daddy-from-dozing-off side-kick.
Since the master was on his way south long before dawn, I had to open the daycare at 5:30. Then, I spent the better part of the day entering tax information for my daycare parents. I hate paperwork. Hence, I have a terrible headache.
Randy is tracking ants (Will we never be rid of them??!!)
Ian read me a bedtime story.
Marina is tucked in tight.
K is taking a shower.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
How wonderful that she came to that conclusion on her own. I see now how wise M____ (adoptive mom) was to allow her freedom to choose what role her birthmother would play.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
And speaking of Cara, lookie what we can do now. BRAIDS!! So adorable. It makes it hard to decide whether to trim it again into the precious "Dora" cut, or let it grow so we can do more styles. This picture was taken right before we went to Grandma's birthday party. Her shirt has Christmas cookies and gumdrops and reads, "Sweet as Grandma's lovin'"
We revived an old family tradition and made the Nachitoches Christmas Lights Festival for the first time in five or six years. Mom, Dad, sisters, and 12 children on a riverbank for ten hours and we still enjoyed our day. Pretty amazing. And, as is obvious from K's expression, the fireworks were AWESOME!
That brings us up to the first weekend in December. What a crazy time of year!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The master: Well, did you talk with your mom about that?
S: We talked about maybe calling her Aunt _________, but that's weird 'cause she's not my aunt. Then my mom said I should just call her what feels natural.
The master: What feels natural?
After she left, the master wondered if that had hurt M_____ to hear S ______ say that. I didn't think so. S_______ calls me mom all the time, and I've heard her use that name with several other women in the church. I've never been comfortable with it, knowing what I do about attachment, but hadn't the heart to ask her to stop. Especially since she would view it as a rejection. At any rate, the "mommy shopping" behaviors, don't seem to bother M__________, so I doubted she would be overly hurt by the comment. But I knew I would if my child said that to me. It would cut me to the quick. I secretly even hope that my kids will not grow up and call their mother-in-laws 'mom.' I grabbed the first child that came into arms reach--Marina--in a bear hug and half-jokingly cried, "But don't ever let me catch one of you calling someone else 'mom' You hear me? I'm your one and only." I wasn't thinking about Marina being adopted. I would have said the same thing to any of them. But she looked up and said, "Well, there is my birthmother."
Me: Thinking, well, duh, Jessica. But you know sometimes I really do forget. Yes, but you don't have to worry about what to call her. She is your 'birthmother.' only term we have used, with the exception of telling her that she does have her birthmother's name.
Marina: But what will I call her when we go to Russia and I meet her? this blew me away because Marina came up with this idea on her own and remains smiling and relaxed in my arms. She does not seem threatened at all. Up until recently, we couldn't mention the possibility of traveling to Russia without a complete shut down.
Me: Please don't think I am cruel for my next words. I have to tell her the truth as hard as it is. Marina, remember? Your birthmother was very, very sick. The kind of sickness doctors don't know how to make better. She most likely did not live much longer.
Marina: Is that why I was left at the orphanage? I am totally amazed at this point because this is the first time ever that she has seemed to grasp that
1). The orphanage was a place she lived in--as opposed to a lousy daycare where she spent an unpleasant visit and
2) I DID NOT LEAVE HER THERE.
And still she is relaxed and making eye contact.
Me: Yes, she was too sick to take care of a baby--any baby. Even one as beautiful and wonderful as you. Picking her up and smothering her face and neck with kisses.
She lets a giggle escape and skips off. I watch her go, thinking that this has been the least painful of our adoption talks. Then I look at the master and his eyes are filled with tears.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
And tomorrow I will feel ashamed for my crappy attitude about it all. But not today. Today I am going to bed.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Abby was more upset than I have ever seen her. She was simply devastated. When I asked her if she was sad because her rabbit was dead or if she was upset because she was partly responsible for its death, she sobbed, "Because I killed her." The next morning I found this note. And for the record, I did not read my daughter's diary. She put it on top of a stack of her art work in plain view. I also checked with her about re-posting it on my blog.
I give you permission to smile or even chuckle at this note. I did. I couldn't help myself. I'm sure--many years from now--Abby will be able to see the humorous side to this tragedy, too.
I truly regret that Lollipop died, and any time your child hurts like that, you hurt as well, but I'm glad Abby is learning this hard lesson now--at the age of nine with a pet rabbit--as opposed to later, when human lives and relationships are depending on her. When you don't take care of your responsibilities, others suffer.
Because of me a poor rabbit is dead. I am the one to blame. Everyday I should have fed it and petted it for at least 30 minutes. But I didn't. So now in a rabbit cage there lays a stiff as stone rabbit, eyes closed and not breathing. I disspear (she means despair) greatly. I will not get another pet until I'm grown. Some people don't know how bad it feels when you cause a heart to stop beating. Right now my hand and the ground around me is splashed with my tears. I'm afraid the more I write, the more guilt I feel. So, I'm gong to stop now. But remember, take care of your pet, because I didn't, and she died.
Because of me, Lollipop is dead.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
The master--Well, the master is continuing to settle into life as a bi-vocational pastor. He's been working for two months, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, in a friend's vending machine business (a job he knows all to well) and Wednesday and Friday at the office. But that really wasn't working for our family and it doesn't pay squat. When we figured out that we pay our employees at the daycare better, we decided to make a switch. Starting next week, he will work mornings 8-12 in the church office and the afternoons at S*nnyside. He is also looking at returning to seminary in the spring, changing his masters to Children's Education as opposed to Divinity. Makes sense with us running a daycare and all.
K--Still basking in the glow of last week's trip to Washington DC. He attended a week long leadership conference, flying up there and back on his own. Big steps for my big boy. He came back to the love of his life--football. His team is undefeated and headed to the playoffs. We are considering--for the first time ever--moving him up in grades. He is not impressed at all with middle school and he is way beyond the subject matter. Basically, he spends his time tutoring other children.
Abby--Went back to ballet this fall after a year and a half absence. It seems to be kinda a snooty studio, but it is the only one around that teaches classic ballet as opposed to jazz and contemporary. I know if we stick with it, we will eventually be accepted as "in," but it sure does chaff to pay good money and be given the cold shoulder.
Ian--Did I tell you Ian accepted Christ last month? Well, if I didn't he did! Just before his eighth birthday. I remember because he was baptised on his birthday. Both Ian and Marina started gymnastics, and Ian was moved up to the advanced class after the first lesson.
Marina--It is the change of the seasons so not really fun times with Marina at present. She never does well with the clothing problems that arrive with the cooler temperatures (and again with the warmer temperatures in the spring). I keep hoping she will grow out of it, but days like today I envision her at sixteen still unable to deduct that 45 degree temperatures warrant more than a tank top and sandals--and then dissolving into total melt down when I demand she make a different wardrobe choice.
Randy--Living life large. Four is such a cute age. It's also the age for information. You can really tell that he is sorting out how the world works--from why we have special clothes for church to how to make an apple pie--topics we've covered today alone.
Cara--About to be featured in her very first modeling job! A bill-board for an up and coming daycare in town ;0) See her cover-girl shot below. She is talking non-stop now and even sings her A-B-C's. She loves to start singing--ABC's, Wheels on the Bus, Six Little Ducks, etc.--when we are out in public. Of course, people are very impressed with a child as small as she knowing her alphabet (Which she doesn't. She just memorized the song), and she loves to soak up the attention. Funny, but she is the only one of my children to really "perform" for strangers. I remember C.C. saying that in school she always sang in the choir and had a nice alto voice, so I wonder if she gets her enthusiasm from song from her.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
You start out as a little baby (Crying baby, bottle, and paci at bottom of page)
Then you turn into a wobbling toddler (slightly larger stick figure with the words "Ma-ma." Da-da written above.)
And before you know it, your a preschooler, and then starting school. (Little girl with backpack)
As you age, you become more advanced, with new abilities and responses. (boy playing basketball.)
And then it seems in no time at all, you're a teen. Thinking you're smarter than your parents. Having a girlfriend and learning to text. That's what's gonna happen next. (Shows made up face of girl)
Time flies. You're now grown-up. Stressing with bills. Worrying about your children. Working a job, having troubles. Yep you're an adult. (Shows financial tally sheet, a family of stick figures, a stick figure pushing a grocery cart. Side note--makes me a little sad that the adult portion is portrayed as such a drag.)
Then your children move out, and you think you are free. Now you are old you see! (shows man and woman using walker and cane moving toward a sign that reads 'Nursing Home')
Your life has flown by. From young baby to old person--what a life!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
K was disappointed in today's student council elections. He had thought he was a shoe-in but lost by sixteen points. "Mom. There are only 19 kids in my class." Apparently, his opponent brought candy. In the middle school classroom, candy talks. But his spirits were cheered by fashioning an enormous pipe from foil. (Should I be concerned????)
Ian showing off his new "pet" newt. He discovered it in his room this afternoon. We will be releasing him in the wild soon (as in after dinner).
Monday, August 23, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
1. Where were you the last time that someone welcomed you back?
In my front yard. No, wait, that's not right. I went to a teacher conference last week, and when I went back into the daycare that afternoon, I was welcomed back by MANY small people.
2. Tell us who is you favorite non-family member to hang out with?
Gosh, that is a tough one. Can't say for sure about one particular person, it varies so widely depending on my mood and the circumstances, but I was thinking the other day, how I would love to slip back in time to college and spend a few days lounging on the beds in the dorm rooms of Merle Bruce, brushing each others' hair, talking and laughing...those were some good times.
3. What was the last thing that happened to anger you?
See prior two posts.
4. What was the last thing that you saw that was shocking to see?
Usually it is something I hear about that shocks me. Not something I see. I guess the last thing I first-person saw that truly shocked me was meeting Cara's birth mother two years ago. What drugs and degredation had done to the body, mind, and spirit of what had been a beautiful young woman was so disturbing, I still wake in the night and cry over that memory.
5. What is your favorite thing to do on Saturday besides Saturday 9?
6. Have you had your summer vacation yet? If yes tell us about it.
Besides weekend getaways to the lake house, we haven't had a vacation this year.
7. Pick out one of your cousins and tell us about them.
My cousin Karen is five years older than me. She and her sister inherited all the beautiful Native American features--high cheekbones, almond-shaped eyes, and jet black hair. (My sisters and I got the shaft.) She is HILARIOUS. She just had her first baby in April. It's been fun and...wierd...to read her new mommy posts on facebook, because I always looked up to her as a kid and now I think, "Oh, yeah, been there. Done that."
8. Do you have any special plans for next week?
Kids go back to school.
9. At what age will you consider yourself old and why?
I think 72. Not sure why that number just popped into my head.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Thank you all for your prayers. There was no visible ugly last night.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
What it has boiled down ('up?' because I've no doubt that the fires of hell itself has fueled it) to is a vote of no confidence in the master tomorrow night. He has the support of a majority of the church--if it had been otherwise, he would have resigned months ago--but, according to the by-laws of the congregation, the vote must be carried by 75%. That is a rather high percentage, and we know that the people who are opposing him have been on a phone campaign and will undoubtedly bring as many members as they can dig up to the vote tomorrow night.
Side note: Can we get any more childish? Are we really going to drag His name through the mud before a lost and dying world? Really? How did we come to this?
At this point, I don't know how to pray for this situation. If the minority succeeds in running the master off, it will surely kill the church. The majority who love and support him are also--coincidentally--the ones who actually do the work of ministry. Many will leave if he is forced out. But he has been hurt very badly by these people. It's been ugly. That's the only word for it. Ugly. A 'no' vote would be almost like a release from prison. Permission to shake the dust off our feet and move on.
So just pray for God's will to be done. And especially pray for no more ugly. O.K.?
And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it. Psalms 90:17 emphasis added
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The studious lad who sneaks off to the couch with a good book (Sherlock Holmes is the latest)when he can...
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
"Isn't this Sunday? The Lord's Day?" confused and perplexed
"We aren't going to church?!" aghast
"But I want to go to Sunday School and learn about Jesus!" pleading
What is a mom to do? The good little Baptists had all packed their Sunday clothes, but their mother--the reprobate--had not. I decided I would whip into the old fashioned Wally-world (I bet you didn't even know they still existed) and grab a dress. They did not have any dresses in the ladies department except three marked down on the "plus" size wrack. I looked at the purple glorified moo-moo and shook my head. Certain that the thing would simply swallow me, I grabbed a belt and went to try it on.
I was shocked to find that it didn't swallow me. It did not need a belt. Besides being a little roomy in the bust, It looked like it was made for me. I cried.
I quit my aerobics class months ago--it wasn't feasible with the daycare schedule. And meals had become a matter of catching what I could when I could. Most often that meant high-carb, high fat. In the evenings we were eating out alot. And my daily coca-cola (or two) quickly became my lifesaver and an evening snow-cone run an addiction. Hey, I was working hard, so I deserved it, right?
Notice the use of the past tense? Yes, friends, the master and I and our two oldest children are on a quest to eat right and exercise. Our goal is a BMI in the healthy range (since the master, K and I are considered "obese"--Abby is only "overweight"). For me, that means 30 pounds. Yikes!!! That seems like a huge number. But I can't do plus sizes. They are so NOT "Just My Size"
Monday, June 28, 2010
K: Every rainbow is a sign of God's promise...
Abby: Yes, that He will never again flood the earth with water.
The master: No. Not with water. The next time He will destroy it with fire.
Ian: Oh, snap.
Maybe you would have to know my middle son to truly appreciate the humor of his comment, but trust me, it was hilarious!
Sunday, June 20, 2010
So, I want to thank my daddy for giving me a childhood where that maxim of truth was irrelevant to me. For allowing me the immeasurable gift of ignorance and innocence. By committing to my mother. By providing for our family. By loving me lavishly and unconditionally--and telling me so. By taking us to the Lord's house and in turn, giving Him the place of honor in our home.
Do you have any idea how rare that is?
I am most blessed among children.
And to my husband, thank you for continuing this legacy of unenlightenment. That even though our children--with tender hearts--grieve for their friends and companions when they talk of "divorce," "custody agreements," and "court ordered visits" (and yes, little children know and use these words), it is sorrow mixed with bewilderment. They have no personal experience on which to understand these things. Pray God they never do. Even from the beginning--when you could have so easily walked away--you've stuck by me and been my true helpmate in loving and raising these children.
Do you have any idea how rare that is?
I am most blessed among mothers.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Saturday, June 5, 2010
I guess you know where this is going, huh?
Who threw a fit when the adult in charge told them to put on a life jacket? Who told the adult that they didn't want to wear a life jacket? (AS IF in their whole entire life they have been allowed the luxury of desires and preferences??!!) Who sobbed and pouted and fussed until we were called? Surely not. Surely not my children.
Ian and Marina
Who dropped what she was doing and made the hour long drive to pick up their sorry--and about to become infinitely more sorry--little tooshies?
Sometimes I need a little hole to crawl into.....and if one of you could be so kind as to throw the dirt in on top of me?
Monday, May 24, 2010
"So far today I've been asked, 'Mrs. Jessica, why do you have a mustache?' 'Mrs. Jessica, what is that growing over your eyes?' and just a few minutes ago, that little girl...," pausing to gesture, "wanted to know if I had a baby in my tummy. When I told her 'no' she stared at my stomach and asked, 'Are you sure?' So to answer your question, No. I don't see as how a little--or even a large--pee spot is going to make matters any worse."
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
K made me cinnamon toast (without the sugar) and Abby wrote me a letter. Ian is holding the puppy that I begged the master for because I think children should grow up with a dog. It is my Mother's Day present. Marina did her part to make it a peaceful morning by matching her clothes without a fuss. Randy ate the chocolate candy from the card he made in Sunday School and Cara took my flower from service. Just another Mother's Day morning. Have a blessed one!
Friday, April 30, 2010
It's center time and I hear several cries of, "Ummmmm, you are going to get in trouble," and, "Mrs. Jessica, Mrs. Jessica, look!" and I see that my son has stuck his head under the water in the sand and water table. Sigh.
"Jeremy Randall S____ get your head out of that water! That is an inappropriate use of the center." I can only embrace so much. "You go get a towel in the bathroom and dry off before you lose all center privileges, do you understand me?"
And as he spoke, two enormous bubbles floated out of his mouth. It was like something from the movies. The whole class watched transfixed as they rose in the air and popped on the ceiling. Then we all burst into giggles.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
The master preached tonight at an assisted living prayer service. In an effort to preserve our precious family time, we joined him. As we filed into the community room:
Old lady 1: Oh, my he's brought his family with him.
Old lady 2: That can't be his family. He's brought the children's choir.
Old lady 1:You must be right....1..2..3...4..5...6. Are those children yours?
Me: Yes, ma'm
Old lady 1: All of them?
Me: Yes, ma'm.
Old lady 1: All six of them? Really?
Inwardly, I'm sighing, because if there is one place--no, two places--I expect (hope for?) a little break is with the older generation and brothers and sisters in Christ. It didn't seem as if I was going to get that here, and these folks were both. I mentally prepared a half dozen witty responses, flashed my biggest smile, and braced myself for the worst.
Me: Yes, ma'm all six.
Old lady: Six children! Think of it! Don't you feel selfish having six, when all mine are up and gone away from me?
And looking around at six beautiful faces singing hymns at the nursing home prayer meeting, I did feel mighty selfish indeed.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Abby: with an equal mixture of shock and awe Mom. If it wasn't for adoption, I'd be the only girl in a family of boys.
Me: Yep, you are right.
Abby: now with wholehearted gratitude Thank you, Lord, for adoption!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
But this week, I have had a little breather. Our third full time employee started work on Monday and it has helped the load immensely. Of course, that will all be shot to heck as soon as we open our fourth classroom. The master and my father-in-law began work on the remodel today. The question that is posed to us most frequently these days is this: How is the daycare going?
In case you too are wondering, I'll share. I think you can tell by the infrequency of my posts that it is certainly keeping us busy. We have 36 children enrolled and growing constantly now. We had a dry spell for February and March, but are now averaging three new kids a week. I think in short order, we should come very near our licensed capacity of 58. Few centers, even those with long waiting lists, operate at 100% capacity. As I mentioned, we have three full time employees, plus I teach a class and the master does our after-schoolers.
We had a rather costly plumbing issue at the beginning of February. Something that was bound to happen with pairing a busy daycare with an antiquated septic system, but now that our bathrooms have been tied into our anaerobic system, we don't foresee any huge ($$$$) problems. We may need to put in new air conditioning units in the gym. Right now, the one operating system cools fine, but I'm preparing myself for that not being the case in June and July. After that point, (and this is counting chickens) we should begin making money. Quite a bit of money.
Emotionally, I suppose it is going better than expected. I knew I would love the kids, and I do. When I am away from the center, I am very glad for the break, but I'm still able to tell the children honestly that, "I missed you!" when I return. My licensing lady is someone that I don't feel is out to ruin me--or worse--so that is a huge relief. She came for her second of three visits last month and stayed for three hours, because she couldn't find anything wrong. YAY!! My biggest doubts were of how we, as a family, would adjust. The house is 10 times messier, and June Cleaver has left our home and may never return, but otherwise we're o.k. Sometimes it really bothers me, and I'll stay up to midnight organizing the pantry or folding 8 loads of laundry, but most of the time, I'm too tired to care.
But I miss all of you. Hopefully, with more hands on deck, I will be able to post more.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Through a set of recent, sad events at church (some of those non-bloggable topics), I’ve learned that a general criticism of our family is that we are “too tough” with our children. I find it ironic, as pastor’s children usually carry the stigma of wild hellions, and pastors have historically been faulted for not exercising better control over their households. You certainly cannot please everyone. The idea is that this carries over into the way I teach the children in my (church) classes and the way the master councils families in crisis. Apparently, we come off as not being mercy givers, full of love and understanding.
I’m trying to shake it off. No one has said anything directly to me, and perhaps that is what is most upsetting. An upfront critique is preferable to hearsay and innuendo. Then again, I don’t know how I would respond should someone accuse me face to face. Probably not as Christ-like as I should.
And, after all, this Great Experiment is still in the works. Who am I to say that my kids will turn out all right when the youngest is still in diapers and the oldest hasn’t hit puberty? Even in my few years of experience, I’ve known children who were buck wild heathens who grew up to be fine upstanding citizens and vice versa. Is there really no rhyme or reason to it? I am set adrift by this idea: all of our careful study, hard work, and heartache…for nothing?
My children do not tell me “no.”
They ask for permission before doing something.
They do not ask again if the answer is no.
We tell them what to do. Once.
Our children are expected to take on responsibilities in their own care, that of their younger siblings, and the running of the household.
They are punished swiftly and firmly for disobedience.
We do not remove natural consequences
We do not offer bribes for our children’s obedience.
We demand respect—including the manner in which we are addressed—from our children and require them to extend it to others
Does this strike you as particularly oppressive? They seem to be healthy, happy children. Are they really just chafing under this “heavy yoke,” waiting for the day they can throw it off in exchange for shame and humiliation? It may sound as though I am being facetious, but truly I am in earnest. Though we have read extensively and incorporated many parenting strategies (particularly in regard to bringing up Marina) that were not used on us as children, for the most part, we parent as we were parented. Among my peers, I always felt (and was told) that I had the “meanest” parents growing up, but I never felt unloved, and never struggled with true rebellion. As a young child, I feared deserved punishment and as a teen I had too great a respect for them. By that point, I was—for lack of a better phrase—in the habit of doing as they asked. My parents have a three of three record and the masters’ a four of four. But is it just a crap shoot in the end?
I remember when we were going through the process of adopting Cara, the agency director, a lady who we greatly respect and admire, made several comments about our parenting style during the time we were having our homestudy and following. Once—when complaining about her grown children not lending a hand when they came to visit—stating, “Of course, I didn’t raise mine the way you are raising yours.” I didn’t know whether to feel complimented or censured. I am uneasy any time this woman, whose career it is, to a large extent, to evaluate how good of a parent a person will make, points us out as odd or unusual. It is as though she, too, is curious to see how our method is going to play out in the end. It all strikes me as grossly unfair; the results only becoming apparent when it is far too late for remedy.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Since the daycare is consuming about 99.9% of my life at present, there isn't much left over to blog about. Actually, over the last two years, more and more non-bloggable themes have crept into my life. I feel as though I am projecting an incomplete, superficial image. If I can't be honest, what is the point?
I think when we start our Ugandan adoption I will open a new blog, but that will be many months (years?) from now. I will still be reading your blogs, friends, when I can, and posting those inconsequential, centimeter deep, updates on facebook.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Here is the S*nnyside snowman. Don't worry, the yellow on his belly is snow paint.
These last two were taken yesterday, before the heavy snow fell. Notice Abby's devilish expression as she pummels her father with a snowball. Probably just as well we live in such a temperate climate.