Thursday, December 31, 2009

Kids Say the Funniest Things

I really have to start writing down some of this stuff! Here are a few of the comments I've heard just in the last day or two:

Nora while driving in the car: "I saw two cows eating with their heads close together."
Ruby: "Maybe they are true loves."
Nora: "Ruby, don't be silly. Cows don't have a true love."

Ruby to Elizabeth: "Elizabeth, why do you keep talking and talking and saying so many words?" Oh, that is such a good question.

Nora to me while spelling a word: "Mommy, you thought I was going to say "y" but I said the correct letter." How many 5-year-olds use the word "correct"?

Nora after a visit to see Mason, our new grandson: "Mommy, when I grow up and get big and everything I'm going to be pregnant." Again, how many 5-year-olds use the word "pregnant"?
Elizabeth, following the previous comment: "And then I'm going to tickle you."
Nora: "OK, but that's not what makes babies come out."

Nora: "Mommy, when baby Mason come over to my house he can't play with my guitar because he might bite all the strings off." He's only nine days old.

Nora: "Mommy, I can't remember what's that one animal called that lives in trees and eats leaves and is nocturnal like bats and owls?" Again, 5-years old (she was trying to think of a koala)...

Me: "Nora, you're saying your "s" sounds really well."
Nora: "I know, Mommy. I persevered." It's so funny to hear the word persevere come out of her cute little mouth.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Derrek

As my son embarks on his life with his wife and baby son, I can't help but think of the days when he was a tiny baby. This picture of me dancing with Derrek at his wedding will always be one of my favorite pictures.
You know how you watch your little baby's fingers wrap around one of your own? I've been watching that with Derrek and Samantha's son -- my amazing, little grandson. But baby boys grow and change and turn into men. My son has turned into a man I'm so very proud of. I look at this picture -- one of my forever favorites -- and I see his very large hand in my small hand (what a change from when he was a baby), and I see our eyes locked together, and I know we share a bond that will never be broken. There is something very special between a mother and a son. I love Derrek so much, and it's such a gift to watch him with his newborn son.

Oh how they have changed!

As 2009 comes to a close, I can't help but reflect on how much Ruby, Nora, and Elizabeth have changed and grown.

When we ended 2008, Ruby and Elizabeth were still sort of getting their "bearings" in this new life of theirs. Nora was still settling into the role of being a sister. Now, as we end 2009, they have truly settled in and become accustomed to their new home and life. I know that for many adoptive parents, the first year of adjustment can be really difficult, especially with "older" children. We have certainly had our moments, but I can't say it has really been terribly challenging. Maybe we were just prepared and expected the rough spots, or maybe our girls just did especially well (all three of them) with the transition, bonding, and attachment.

The hardest adjustment was probably my own in that I had to adjust to 1) the demands of three children who are all young and close to the same age 2) juggling grocery shopping, doctor appointments, etc. with three kids and 3) beginning homeschooling with three kids. What I didn't really understand when I was "working" is that being a stay-at-home mom is REALLY WORKING. At my job as a business analyst, I set yearly goals that were measured at my performance review every year. Now I have one goal, and it doesn't change from year to year: to be the best wife, mother, and teacher I can be. Some days I perform my job really well, and some days I need to take a deep breath and a step back. I measure my performance not once per year, but every day when I look at my home and family. I will never get a promotion, but it's still the most rewarding job in the world (and there's always room for improvement).

Here are a few pictures of the girls and how much they have changed.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Dust is Finally Settling

It's been a wild week, but the dust is finally settling...and I mean that literally. You could write your name in the dust on my shelves. When I pick up the nativity set I have on display you'll still be able to see where each and every wise man was standing. I just haven't had time to keep up with housework. Guess I better make some time now.

Our grandson, Mason, was born on December 22 and came home from the hospital on the 26th. He is doing great now and is a beautiful, healthy baby. Derrek and Samantha are so proud of him and such great parents. This baby will be very blessed, as we are all blessed by his birth. Here's a picture of a VERY proud grandma and grandpa holding Mason.
And then there was Christmas! We all had an awesome Christmas. The girls got so many nice gifts from so many generous and loving family members and friends. And they learned about the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus. They each made an ornament for everyone on our Christmas list, and let me tell you that added up to a LOT of ornaments when you multiply by three! But, I hope it helped them learn about the spirit of giving.

The only thing lacking this Christmas was Jonathan and Chris. Tony visited them in the beginning of December, but they were not able to come here around Christmas time due to their jobs. We really, really felt their absence on Christmas day. We miss them so much.
In the midst of all the excitement we had a snow storm! It made for some good sledding and a lot of shoveling and plowing! We also had to move all three car seats to the 4-wheel-drive truck since there was no way my van could even get out of the driveway. Total accumulation wasn't more than 6 inches, but it was blowing and drifting. Every time we cleared off snow, it re-accumulated within hours. There are still areas with snow drifts a few feet deep.
It has been a wonderful week! Now, I better go dust!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Introducing...Mason Lucas Ford!

On Tuesday, December 22nd, my world got even brighter and even more exciting -- if that is possible! My grandson, Mason Lucas, came into this world at 6:49 pm weighing 8 pounds, and he's 21 inches long. I don't think I'm biased when I say he is amazingly beautiful!


Mason's lungs weren't working properly at birth -- air bubbles formed on the outside of his lungs. He has been in the neonatal intensive care unit since birth, but he's improving every day and doing good. Unfortunately, he will not be home for Christmas. He still has an IV and feeding tube. Please pray for my son and his wife and new baby boy as they go through all the joys and worries that the past two days have brought and the next few will bring. I know it will be hard having their baby in the hospital this Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gathering Wood and Music with Family

This has been a very relaxing day! We started the day today helping Daddy with loading and stacking wood. This is one of the girls' favorite outdoor activities. And they actually are a lot of help! It was a cold, sunny, beautiful day. After we cut and loaded wood, we unloaded at home and Tony split the wood and we helped him by stacking it. It's a lot of work, but it feels so good when you're finished and have a big stack of firewood!

Then we ended the day listening to my dad and step-mom and their friends play music. Those of you have known me for a long time know that I grew up like this. My mom and dad had a band for as long as I can remember, and I grew up hanging around jam sessions, practices, and performances at parties. These days they don't play music professionally as much (but still some), but it's still so much fun to listen to them. Ruby, Nora, and Elizabeth absolutely love listening to them too!

These are the days of our lives! I wouldn't trade them for anything!

Friday, December 18, 2009

You think it's cold where you live?

My step-sister and her husband live in Nome, Alaska. The current temperature right now is -22 degrees with a wind chill of -50. How do human beings even live in a climate like that? Wow, I would need about sixteen down parkas just to step out my front door! But they do have some awesome adventures. She posts regularly about things that would seem crazy to most of us. Like recently someone hit a moose and they had to process the meat for their church (with the help of an old Alaskan lady wielding a knife like a ninja). Check out her blog here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's a Wonderful Life

It's impossible to know the impact our words and actions have on the lives of our friends, families, and even casual acquaintances. If only we all had a guardian angel named Clarence! Well, we don't, but even without the benefit of a sneak preview into the world without us, I still believe with all my heart that everything we do affects the world and the people around us. Sometimes even things we don't do have a profound effect.

Please remember this Christmas (and all year long), that you can and do make a difference. Any small act of kindness and selflessness might have a "ripple effect" that changes a life forever. Don't ever think that any act of kindness is too small. And don't ever forget that your life is an example of what you believe in! George Bailey didn't think he was a catalyst for change, but Clarence showed him otherwise!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gobble Gobble

Most people think turkeys "gobble." Technically, only male turkeys gobble. Hens "yelp" but do not "gobble." If you've ever heard your husband practice turkey calls you know these things. And if you live where we live, you can check your front yard to see if it's true!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Timber!

A VERY large (and once beautiful) elm tree in our yard died, sadly. Recently, a large part of a limb blew off in a wind storm, and it has been making us more and more nervous that the dead tree could fall on our house if we had a lot of wind. However, it made me even MORE nervous to think about cutting it down. Look how big it is and how close to the house.

,Many of the men around here have discussed the best way to fell this thing. Everyone had an opinion about which way to fell it, and there were even a few who were in favor involving ropes and trucks. You may remember my blog post from September when our friend, Greg, climbed it and cut off a large branch. Some said fell it to the west, but Tony felt sure he could safely land it to the south. Why not get a tree service to take it down, you ask? Well, around here "real men" take down their own trees. LOL But I got really nervous when Tony told me a few months ago that he was going to do it by himself. He didn't want other people standing around and wanting to do it different ways due to safety concerns. Which is a good point, but what about HIS safety?

So, yesterday was the big day. Little or no wind, no cars parked at the nearby church or kids running around outside, and the chain saw was all gassed up and ready to go. At Tony's request, I actually got the kids out of the house and they all (including my granddaughter) sat in my van at the end of the driveway -- just in case. They thought it was a big adventure. I also had my phone in my pocket just in case I had to call an ambulance.

So, Tony cut out a notch on the south side of the tree. That took a few cuts since this thing is big. Then he went around to the north side and started the cut that would fell it, all the while waiting to hear the tell-tale cracking sound so he could do what all good fallers do -- run away! Do you see him anywhere in this picture?

At about this point in time, Uncle John pulled in the driveway. He knew Tony was cutting the tree down and planned to help him cut it up once it was on the ground. We all watched excitedly as the tree started to fall -- EXACTLY where Tony wanted it to go. Unfortunately, the notch was just a tiny bit too shallow, so it got stuck.

Not for long though. Tony safely felled the tree without incident, the girls hopped out of the van, and we all cheered.

I have to tell you, I said a prayer when he started cutting and my heart was pounding. I was very nervous -- more about his getting hurt than the tree falling on the house --- but Tony did a great job and brought that big tree down without incident. But, don't try this at home kids! Tony is actually an experienced tree-cutter and really did know what he was doing.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baby Mason

It's hard to believe, but our grandson will be here in (hopefully for Samantha) less than two weeks. He could come any day! Summer spent the night with us last night and was making Christmas ornaments. She decided one of them was for her baby brother. How sweet is that? As the time approaches when I will get to hold my grandson in my arms, I'm taken back to that night 4 1/2 years ago when I watched Summer take her first breath. She is an amazing little girl, and one of the loves of my life. I can't wait to experience that all over again with Mason. I am very blessed!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Girls

Little girls are so sweet. They love to hug and kiss each other and hold hands. There's just something so innocent and sweet about them, and it's especially sweet when it's your daughter and granddaughter.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Me, a teacher?

Seriously, maybe I'm not so good at this. Today I'm just so frustrated -- beyond frustrated -- that I feel like throwing in the teaching towel. First of all, I need to find a way to manage 1) the phone 2) the door and 3)Elizabeth. From now on I'm taking the phone off the hook during school hours.

And then there's the question of learning. Ruby and Nora can quickly rattle off words on flash cards, but I discovered today that when you write several words on a page (spaced well apart and written neatly), Ruby takes about 30 seconds (which is really quite a long time) to come up with each word, well most of them. Words that she has known by sight on flash cards for months simply elude her -- even simple words such as "name" and "out" and "are." And then I make it worse by becoming frustrated which makes her nervous. I know...not good. Meanwhile, I'm trying to maintain my patience and helpfulness and the other two girls are in another room misbehaving and so I have to stop with Ruby and go in there and straighten them out -- by yelling which is also not good. And by this point Ruby really can't concentrate.

So now it's 3:30 in the afternoon and my kids have not learned much at school today, I have accomplished nothing, AND I'm in a really crummy mood. I just sent them to the playroom so I can gather my thoughts. Oh, and I can hear them up there arguing, which is not going to help much. Oh, and now the phone is ringing AGAIN, and I just can't answer it at this point. Oh, I didn't answer it so now my mobile is ringing. This is what kept happening this morning. I would let one ring so then the other would start ringing.

What is wrong with me? Do I need antidepressants or something? Or maybe just a stiff drink? I feel like a terrible mom today. Actually, I feel like burying my head under my pillow and waking up tomorrow to start over again.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Seeking Hair Advice

Help! I need advice! Hopefully some of my African American friends can offer some up!

Ruby is very frustrated with her hair. It's getting longer now, and it is super kinky and thick. I usually keep it in corn rows, which looks really cute, but she gets tired of that (mostly of the time it takes to braid and later take down). However, she does like it that once the braids are in we don't have to mess with her hair much for about two weeks. She gets so frustrated when it's time to take down the braids and comb it out that she's about it tears. It's really hard to comb out -- takes a lot of time and hurts her scalp. (I use a great conditioner and then a detangling product and make my own shea mixture for moisturizer.)

So here's my question. Is it OK to relax her hair and let it grow, or would it be better to cut it shorter and leave it natural? I don't want her to think that straight hair is "better." I want her to love the way she looks naturally, but the problem is, right now she doesn't. She really dislikes having curly, tangly hair and is very unhappy with it. I'm not sure how to best handle this in order to make sure she has a great self image. I think she's beautiful just the way she is. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Goats

This week the girls are learning about goats in school. We just finished going through lots of cool facts about goats, and their end of the day reward was a goat coloring sheet. After learning all of their "goat facts" Elizabeth proceeded to color her goat pink and green with a purple beard.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What I Know Now

A friend of mine posted something similar to this and inspired me to come up with my own list! Although I have a 22-year-old son and have gone through "these years" before, it was different. In those days I was not a stay-at-home mom, and now I am -- and I had one son instead of three daughters. Here are some things I have learned in recent years...

1. If you think you have a plan for the day, think again. On most days you will accomplish only about half of what's on the list.

2. If the phone rings and you're having a serious conversation -- especially with your sister -- this is when the noise level will rise and kids will misbehave.

3. The phone always rings at nap time, school time, or shower time. It doesn't mean you have to answer it, and it's OK to take it off the hook!

4. I'm pretty sure there will be a time in my life where the term "shopping" once again brings to mind Ann Taylor and Coach instead of Gymboree and The Children's Place.

5. Little bitty socks in large numbers take a long time to fold, especially when they're inside-out.

6. There is nothing happier than the sound of children's laughter, and there's nothing more disconcerting than their silence -- trouble is usually afoot!

7. It doesn't help to buy three of the same toy. There will still be arguments over it.

8. Little girls might forget their school work once in a while, but they will never, ever forget the name of a princess or the color of the dress she wears.

9. Nothing can lift your spirits more than the smile of a little girl in pigtails.

10. Nothing beats hearing a little girl tell you that you're the most beautiful and best mommy in the whole world.

11. If you want to see the world through a child's eyes, listen to their prayers at night.

12. Every day and every child is a gift from God -- treat it as such. Some days are easy and some are frustrating, but God will never give you more than you can handle.

School Days

When the girls had their school pictures taken I didn't expect much. I was pleasantly surprised -- they turned out great!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

No Television: Day 6

I'm amazed! The first few days without television weren't really hard for the girls, but they did ask about it -- especially cartoons in the morning. Yesterday they didn't even mention TV, and so far today none of them have mentioned it! Just goes to show that watching TV becomes a habit!

Monday, November 2, 2009

No Movies or TV: Day 4

I don't generally allow the girls to watch a whole lot of TV. Tony and I don't watch much TV either. However, we somehow slowly slipped into the routine of watching PBS cartoons in the morning -- every morning. And often (ok, most days) we would watch all or part of a movie -- usually "princess" something -- in the late afternoon or evening.

Well, last week the girls were really struggling to concentrate and remain focused during school hours. And furthermore, they were having bouts of sullenness and moodiness. I started to suspect that the problem was with the TV, so I decided that we would avoid it for a while. I didn't ground the girls from TV or anything. I'm just finding other things for them to do. They've been making cookies, doing jigsaw puzzles, coloring, playing with their toys, and playing outside more (since the rain finally stopped). Today is the fourth day of no TV for them, and they seem to have their behavior back on track. School was great this morning, they have not been bickering, and they didn't even ASK for the cartoons this morning. They woke up and headed directly to the play room.

So...here's my theory. I don't allow my kids to watch anything even remotely inappropriate, so content is not the problem. TV doesn't cause a problem in our house because of what we watch. The reason too much TV is a problem is because it uses up countless hours during the week when kids could be doing something -- anything -- that encourages them to use energy, imagination, innovation, concentration, and creativity. Television is just a big time waster, and it puts kids in an entirely different frame of mind than when they are engaged in active play. It seems to stunt their ability to entertain themselves, and instead makes them feel like they can't find anything to do unless something is suggested or provided for them.

Having said all of that, I also realize there have been and definitely will be times when I just need to turn on the TV and let the kids sit and calm down...or let myself calm down...or just find something more for them to do on a rainy day. I'm not suggesting my girls will no longer watch TV or movies, but I am sure that I'm going to make TV less of a routine or habit in their day. No longer will we wake up and turn on PBS cartoons every morning simply because that is what we do!

And on completely different note... I'm not a very artistic person, but I'm finding that in order to be an effective kindergarten teacher, I really have to stretch in that area. The girls get a kick out of my drawings and like to watch and guess what I'm drawing on the board. Tony thought my dinosaur was a cat when I first started drawing its head, but did say it was pretty good once it was finished. We were all laughing at that one!


And, of course, whatever I draw they draw. They're actually a lot better at drawing than I am!

Part of the lesson was about the unique characteristics of insects -- one being that they have six legs. I think I counted eleven on Nora's ladybug (however, she does have six legs on her other insects). Guess we'll keep working on that part of the lesson. LOL

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick-Or-Treat

Just pictures...






Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fun at the Pumpkin Patch

We went to the local pumpkin patch this morning. It was a beautiful, sunny morning, and we had lots of fun. The only drawback was that Tony wasn't there with us. We had planned to go as a family last Saturday, but ended up taking a rare opportunity for Tony and I to go away overnight alone (for the first time in over two years). The girls stayed with Granny and Pa. So, this morning Pa came along and we found our pumpkins. We'll be carving them later today, but that's another blog post. Ha ha!