MicroBlog Mondays: The last of the paperwork

Today we send off the last of the paperwork for Pumpkin’s adoption finalization (a piece of paper stating that we’ve received medical/social information from MsV). Last week our medical records, HIV and TB test results (both negative), and a check were sent to the social worker.

Our paperwork will be turned into the court in 8 days or so…then we just wait for a finalization date (we’re guessing sometime in August). I’m looking forward to this part of the process being over.

*******

In other news, Pumpkin is mobile now…he started crawling this weekend. It’s a whole new world…

 

 

Don’t know what Microblog Monday is? Go here!

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Categories: Adoption, Pumpkin | 6 Comments

The nitty gritty

***Note, this post contains some adult-related topics. If any of my readers are underage or uncomfortable with that, please click away. Also, this post should not be construed as professional marital advice. In addition, any opinions in this post are entirely mine and haven’t been solicited. ***

I’ve mentioned several times that my marriage has been vastly improved over the last several months. But, I’ve really struggled with how to write about why. I’ve struggled because some of what has helped has been a different approach to intimacy, and I’m not sure how honest to be with that. Several of you know me in real life. A few of you are even my closest friends, and I don’t want to make you uncomfortable with knowing about what happens in this aspect of my life.

However, the change has been so dramatic…so profound…so positive…so overwhelmingly different, that I feel odd not sharing it. So, here we go. Warning, it’s going to be a long post. So, grab some tea and settle in.

McRuger and I didn’t know each other particularly well when we got married. From first meeting to marriage was 365 days. Which, at the time, didn’t seem rushed or hurried at all. And, from marriage to TTC (trying to conceive) was only about 6 months. And then it was into the roller coaster of IF and all of the hardship of that.

The first few years of our marriage were riddled with the highest of highs…coupled with the lowest of lows. I struggled with what my place was in our new city, my new life, and how to navigate living with another person full time. My anxiety, heightened by our IF and the meds which accompanied it, only worsened over time…and added a layer of complication to our new marriage. Not to mention, the stresses of being foster parents…

McRuger and I fought, not a lot…but enough. We couldn’t find the words to communicate and often our fights or miscommunications would roll over into the bedroom…not the best thing for TTC or a newish marriage. To our friends and family, we presented as if we were a perfectly in-love couple. Nothing felt profoundly wrong. It wasn’t enough for either one of us to leave or threaten divorce. Just a very low hum of discord.

Cadet’s first year was a real low-point for us. We were struggling with all the challenges new parents face…plus navigating adoption/MsJ’s issues/Cadet’s health. We had some good weeks, but they never lasted. Our s.ex life was practically non-exsistant. McRuger and I agree… we were on autopilot. We didn’t even know how to talk about what was bothering us. I don’t think we could even have verbalized it. In the back of my mind, I just thought this was what all new parents went through. To be clear, neither McRuger or I ever felt things were that bad. I thought McRuger was a good dad and husband…and he thought the same of me.

Once Cadet really started sleeping through the night (about 15-18 months) things started to get a little better,. although we were just starting down the road of “potential autism”. We started to talk more, and fight less. We also started having more conversations about our relationship. We even started having se.x more (yay!). But, there was still this low drone in the back of our relationship that something wasn’t quite right. We weren’t connecting as we had when we first were together. We spent a lot of time lamenting those “easy days” when we were first together. Even going on dates nights could be a challenge. We just didn’t know how to be a couple who was in love anymore. Even when doing stuff we both loved, we weren’t firing on all cylinders.

When we really started delving into Adoption #2, we talked about how we’d just have to accept that we’d have a hard time connecting until both kids were older. We’d put our marriage in the backseat for the kids. It didn’t sit well with either of us, but we didn’t know what else to do. We thought about counseling several times, but our problems didn’t seem big enough to warrant outside intervention. No one was cheating, or chronically ill, or abusive, or even particularly distant…our problems seemed small. Every couple has highs and lows, right?

It was during Cadet’s second year of life that I started seeing a lot of marriages failing. In the space of 12 months, I had 3 friends get divorced from their spouses…marriages that had seemed so strong, but had fallen apart, seemingly overnight. I also had several friends with marriages that were in rocky places due to various factors: money, addiction, infidelity, and parenting differences. These friends with troubled marriages just seemed to affirm that McRuger and I were in a low spot, but it wasn’t anything serious. We were loving and friendly to each other…just vaguely dissatisfied.

Things stayed like that until the middle of last year. Once Pumpkin was born, things got bad again. We were stressed, snippy, and generally unhappy. We weren’t fighting, but we were just surviving. It was a combination of lack of sleep, the stress of Cadet adjusting, and a lack of support from friends/family.

In the early mornings, while feeding Pumpkin, I started to read: books, blogs, really anything about marriage. How could we get back those feelings back that we had in the beginning? What was I (or McRuger) doing wrong? What was going on? Most of the books and blogs I read had the same suggestions: “go on date night”, “spend time doing fun things together”, “really talk about what you’re feeling”…and so on. Well, yes, thank you…we’ve been trying to do that, and it’s not working. Nothing really struck a chord with me. I think over the course of a month, I read 3 or 4 “marriage self-help” books, and the essential messages were the same…and unhelpful.

Sometime in December, I was having a really bad night of sleep. McRuger and I had been grumpy all day, and I was mulling our relationship over in my head. Just like those old days of IF, I hopped on my iPad and went down the rabbit hole of the internet…just looking for something. After a long click-fest of random blogs, book excerpts, and forums…I found a book that I hadn’t heard of called: The Surrendered Wife. It looked intriguing, so I did a little more reading about it. And, after not much more looking…I purchased the book for my Kind.le app and began to read. What I read shocked me.

Let me pause here. This book (and the so-called “movement” it created) has a good deal of controversy around it. When I discussed the premise of this book with various female friends, most of them looked at me as if I’d grown another eyeball. But, all that being said, the core principals of the book are:

Quoting from Wikipedia:

The “Surrendered Wives” movement is centered around six basic principles:

  1. a wife relinquishes control of her husband’s life
  2. she respects his decisions for his life
  3. she practices good self-care (she does at least three things a day for her own enjoyment)
  4. she also practices receiving compliments and gifts graciously
  5. she practices expressing gratitude (thanking her husband for the things he does)
  6. a surrendered wife is not afraid to show her vulnerability and take the feminine approach

Continuing in an abusive, alcoholic, or adulterous relationship is not promoted or condoned.

You can read the critiques/praises of this book all on your own. This post is about my experience with it.

Anyway, I was shocked by what this book suggested. Give up control of McRuger’s life? I’d always been the social secretary, wardrobe consultant, and primary planner. If I didn’t tell him about his doctor’s appointment, he wouldn’t remember…right? I needed to micromanage, because he wasn’t managing at all. I couldn’t just give those roles up! Our life would fall into chaos…wouldn’t it? And, what if I don’t respect his choices in life? What if I really disagree with a choice he’s making….shouldn’t I speak up? Isn’t this my life too?

A few nights later, after reading about ⅓ of the book, I talked to McRuger about everything I had read. I thought the author was totally batty…insane…off base… How in the world did she expect a modern (feminist) woman to “surrender” to her husband? Women have been fighting for generations to break the glass ceiling…gaining equal pay…the right to vote, and this author was asking me to back down. I was indignant. How could any woman think this book had anything decent to say? This isn’t the 1950’s! I’m not a Stepford Wife! I wasn’t surrendering to anyone!

McRuger listened, then he began to talk. McRuger and I had a very long discussion that night. He and I remember it slightly differently, but the realization we came to was that we were both struggling for control in the relationship. He often felt micromanaged and disrespected by my attempts to manage our lives. And I felt like McRuger often didn’t step up enough to help make decisions. We often found ourselves in these endless mazes of decision-making…ending up with fights and power struggles. Those power-struggles, we finally understood,  were killing us…slowly, softly…in the background. No matter what, we couldn’t both be in charge.

The part that really gutted me was the fact that McRuger didn’t feel respected. Huh. Really? My husband, whom I love and adore, was feeling disrespected by my behavior? That’s not okay. Suddenly, the book made a bit more sense to me. I was micromanaging and controlling…and what was that getting me? An unhappy husband, and I wasn’t thrilled either. So, could I try surrendering some control? Would it really help?

Our conversation continued, and it turned to our s.ex. life…which neither of us were happy with. While, I won’t go into the details, McRuger told me that he felt hurt and pushed away when I backed away from his sexual advances. And, I often felt like he didn’t give me enough attention to warrant any intimate contact. I asked him about a section of the book which suggests that a wife should be open to all sexual advances from her husband (allowing for her wishes to be known and being open about any issues you might be having). That was something I wasn’t doing. I was probably shutting him down 50% of the time, citing the fact that I was tired, or needed alone time, or wasn’t “in the mood”. McRuger then shared that often wouldn’t even try to touch me or kiss me. He simply didn’t want to be “shut down” and hurt by my rejection. Wow. Mind blown. Really? It was alarming to me that my behavior, especially in this arena, were impacting him so profoundly.

Over the next few days, we kept talking. We opened up, we asked questions…. And, within days of our initial, amazing conversation, McRuger and I made some very conscious changes in our relationship. These changes aren’t taken directly from the book…but more like they are inspired by it.

1) First of all, McRuger is allowed to touch me in an intimate way whenever he wants (barring my being sick or other circumstances). No shutting him down if I’m tired or feel “blah”. This doesn’t mean we are going to have se.x, but that he can kiss me or massage my shoulders or grope me without me pushing him away… If I’m genuinely not in a place (emotionally or physically) to accept his attentions, the onus is on me to make that clear, but to also make sure McRuger doesn’t feel rejected. This more “welcoming” attitude has made both of us feel much less pressured about se.x and intimacy in general. This doesn’t mean he’s sucking on my ear lobe while we’re at a restaurant, but it does mean that he touches me much more frequently (which I love and crave). Just a hand at the small of my back or a small kiss as he passes me feeding Pumpkin…so nice.

2)  We have fewer conflicts over choices, because first we agree on who is going to be the final “decider” in decisions we’re making (usually, that’s McRuger), and then we both provide input. When all the input has been given, it’s up to the decision maker to actually make the choice (the other party withdraws the right to fight that choice). This has worked out surprisingly well.

3) We are both cultivating a deep sense of gratitude for the other person and what they do. If McRuger happens to do the dishes, I thank him for his generosity of time. If I take the time to empty the diaper bin, McRuger thanks me for doing the icky task. We thank each other for doing our normal duties…Just remembering to say thanks and express heartfelt appreciation to the other person has been very profound. It reminds me how much McRuger does around the house and for the family.

4) We also try to be aware of and encourage our gender differences. This has been an interesting aspect of this whole journey. For me, it’s meant remembering my inherent femininity and enjoying that. I love wearing dresses (I have since I was a child), McRuger loves me in dresses and skirts…so now, you’ll often find me wearing a dress around the house. I feel more “put together” and motherly in my dresses, and McRuger has noticed that even the boys love playing in my skirts. I’m not wearing hoops or corsets, but lovely, tailored cotton dresses which are very practical in our warm climate. I also encourage (in my own way) McRuger to handle the bigger, more physical tasks. Putting together Pumpkin’s new crib or moving larger items out for our garage sale are ways of McRuger feeling more “manly”. Encouraging these gender differences has also pulled into focus how controlling I used to be.

Those four things, plus a lot of unconscious attitude shifts, have made the last several months probably the most extraordinary of our entire relationship. McRuger feels stronger, more respected/confident/grounded, and happier than he has in our entire relationship. I feel completely respected, loved, provided for, and safe (a big trigger for me). Our intimate life has never been more fulfilling for both of us (which feeds the positivity in the rest of the relationship). In fact, we both agree that we feel this deep sense of awe in how well we work…we just fit together insanely well in so many aspects of our relationship.

While we still have the occasional fight, they generally don’t last as long as they used to and lead to more productive conversations about how we can do better. We end fights feeling actually close…not in some uneasy truce. We talk quite a bit about our relationship these days too (often initiated by McRuger). On a weekly basis, we (either consciously or not) end up talking about how we’re feeling about this or that aspect of our relationship. There’s no hidden corners of anger or disappointment that we haven’t touched on. Everything is out in the open. And, yes, I still get angry at times at McRuger, but not as often. Because I generally feel so close to him, I’m able to push aside my anger or frustration much more easily.

McRuger has read most of the Surrendered Wife of his own accord. We talk about what we agree with or don’t (much of it has rung VERY true for both of us). There are some aspects of this book which don’t apply to us or we have ignored. But, overall, we both feel like this book holds quite a bit of wisdom. More than any other self-help book I’ve ever read, this one focuses 100% on what YOU can do differently, regardless of what your partner is doing. You can’t control or change other people…but you can control/change yourself! We both feel that this book focuses on the micro-levels of a relationship, rather than the “big view”, which makes changes easier to implement.

Now, before you go thinking that I’m some uber-submissive wife, who meekly fixes dinner and then scrubs the floor while McRuger games all night….yeah, NO. This isn’t about submitting to McRuger and giving away my voice. This is about creating a better way of being together. I have my sphere of influence in the marriage and McRuger has his. Instead of fighting for control over each other, we have control over ourselves. Does that make sense?

Now, this book does have one big blindspot….children. The author’s expectations of how to handle certain situations when children are in the relationship are often a bit unrealistic. You have to remember, this book is about marriage, about the primary relationship between the spouses. But, both McRuger and I have noticed that even with the stress of two kids, we are more attentive/loving/patient with them since this shift in our relationship.

Infertility, TTC, adoption, parenting and life in general can make things challenging for couples. Marriage is hard, and knowing how to handle the everyday stresses/changes is not easy, let alone the “bigger” stuff. And, that’s why I shared this. Of course this book isn’t for everyone. But, it’s a starting point. And, it was a powerful starting place for us. There are some of you out there who are struggling with your relationship. Struggling to find intimacy or connection or a sense of “what now”. I get that. I’ve been there. Marriage and intimacy don’t have to go on the back burner for kids/school/work. I know that this book has helped McRuger and I find that connection/spark that we felt early in our relationship and has helped that connection grow.

Trust me, I know how this post sounds. It sounds almost insane, right? Like I’ve joined some cult and had a good deal of the Kool-Aid. Or McRuger has been brainwashing me in my sleep. How can one book make such a difference? I honestly don’t know. Perhaps McRuger and I were ready for a deep conversation and this book happened along a the right time. Or the ideas are just that profound. Both McRuger and I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop…when will we go back to feeling that low hum of “not right”. It hasn’t happened yet…and we’re going almost 6 months of feeling very confident in our relationship. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

I don’t really know how to end this post. I hope that this speaks to one (or more) of you. That maybe this book (or others) helps you find the way back to a connection.

Categories: Choices, Marriage, McRuger | Tags: | 9 Comments

Father’s Day and a garage sale…

On Saturday was our garage sale. It started at 9, but we had people showing up as early as 7am. We made our first sale by 8…and it continued on until about 12:30. All told, we made about $370 in profit, which was a lot more than we had thought. McRuger guessed we’d only make $150. I was convinced it be a least $200. AE (who was here helping) said $175. So…yay for more money!

We got to meet several of our neighbors and we all had some lovely interactions with our customers. Of course, we had the odd interactions too…like the guy who wanted to buy all our DVDs for $20…hahahaha. At the end of the day, we still had a good amount of stuff left over, so we divided that into two piles: “Free” and “Sell”. The “Free” pile was just in our yard with a lot of “FREE” signs…and ended being mostly small toys, some books, and a few household items…plus two old (fake) Christmas trees. 90% of the “Free” pile was gone by the next day…the rest we donated. The “Sell” pile are things I’ll try to sell in various groups over the next few weeks.

Father’s Day was rather low-key. McRuger had some very specific ideas for what he wanted for dinner…which means I had to go shopping. He wanted: steak, potatoes with bacon, corn/pepper salad, and strawberries/cream for dessert. We don’t do steak (or meat for that matter) very often, so I happily agreed to make him his meal. We did the grocery shopping as a family, which is always a treat and came home for naps/quiet time. McRuger got cards from the boys, my parents, and me. Plus two presents he’s really wanted: a digital picture frame for his office and a book about science experiments to run with kids. We also decided to use the garage sale money to buy a grill.

I spent most of the afternoon in the kitchen getting prep done for dinner. Cooking bacon, chopping peppers, cooking potatoes, prepping the steaks….it’s all work that I love doing, but it was hot and the boys were grumpy that I wasn’t playing with them. Dinner was awesome. Cadet, who hasn’t had much steak in his life, really enjoyed every bite. Pumpkin was content to be held the entire meal by papa!

And, thankfully, every one slept well. I actually got an insane amount of sleep (close to 7 hours).

How was your weekend?

Categories: Other Stuff | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Just some early morning thoughts to get out of my head…

It’s been a while, I know, since I’ve written. Sorry. Just the last two weeks have been a bit busy.

  1. Pumpkin’s teething continues, and without much sleep for anyone. Some nights he’s up every hour. And, he’s rarely napping these days. So, we’re all a bit fried. But, he’s pretty sweet…despite it all!
  2. Speaking of Pumpkin…he’s a rolling fool these days. He’s rolling every which way….it’s adorable to watch.
  3. McRuger was gone all last week. I missed him terribly.
  4. My MIL was here “helping” while McRuger was gone. She did her best, but it was basically a week of no sleep for me. Pumpkin decided that he wasn’t going to take a bottle from anyone but me (or McRuger)…so I was doing feeds around the clock.
  5. We had to fire Verbena…for theft. She stole $500 dollars off the counter that I was taking to the bank later that day. She swears she didn’t take it, but there’s no other explanation as to why it went missing. It was the the last straw, and a big one at that. Thankfully, I have a friend who is willing to help over the summer. But, after August, the search is on.
  6. We had a massive heat wave come through…it was miserable.
  7. Cadet is doing really well. Seriously. The kid is awesome. Good days are more frequent than bad days and he’s learning a ton. Ask him to tell you about the planets and how they rotate around the sun…he’s all over that.
  8. I’ve taken up the task of learning how to use watercolors. Crazy, I know. But, I needed a craft that didn’t involve needles (felting/sewing), make too much noise (typing on my keyboard), or require a lot of interesting technology. I used to love to draw when I was a child. I wasn’t particularly good at it, but I enjoyed it. It’s been nice to use that part of my brain again.
  9. My homeschooling planning/implementation is going really well. I recently gave Cadet an “assessment” of his skills. It wasn’t anything serious, just some gentle probing into what foundational skills he might need to work on. I was pleasantly surprised at where he was. Tay, the SLP, has also given her own assessments and is very pleased with his results on those tests.
  10. Pumpkin and I took a trip to my old stomping grounds for a lunch with a few of my old teaching buddies. I had a great time! I miss them all, but it sounds like politics at the school haven’t improved much since I left. In fact, it’s sounds worse than when I first started (that time period became known as the Civil War…to give you a point of reference). I certainly don’t miss that aspect of teaching.
  11. On the advice of DrM (OT), we had Cadet’s vision tested. She was occasionally seeing a mid-line hitch as he was scanning. She wanted to make sure that it wasn’t a physical/eye issue. So, yesterday, I left Pumpkin with the babysitter, and took Cadet in for the 2 hour appointment. After a traumatic time getting some eye drops in (dilation drops), the eye doctor tested him. Nope, no problem with his eyes. In fact, the kid has AMAZING eye sight. The eye doctor (an ophthalmologist) said that she had never seen such a perfect reading from the tests (both the automated tests and the ones she performed to confirm). She said that he can see better than pretty much any kid she’s seen, and the likelihood that he’ll have eye issues in the next 3 years is very close to 0%. Yay for Cadet!
  12. This weekend, we’re having a blow-out garage sale. We need to clear out our garage. AE is coming to help and we’re prepping hard. We honestly don’t care how much we make…so long as we just get rid of stuff.
  13. Our new sitter, Iggy, is amazing. She’s my age, has a kid of her own, and we’ve been casual friends for years. It just happens that she needed some extra money this summer to help with some expenses before her new job starts up in August. I feel totally comfortable leaving both kids with her, which I would never have done with Verbena. And, when Iggy has a moment….she cleans (one of her other part time jobs is cleaning houses). I came back from the eye appointment with Cadet to find the dishes done, bottles washed, toys put away, and the table cleared….most importantly, Pumpkin was totally happy! It was awesome. We also share very similar parenting styles, which helps when I’m trying to communicate some of Cadet’s more particular needs. All this is to say that McRuger and I can have actual DATES again! Sure, they will be in the afternoon…but we can go out and see a movie or have a meal. We have two dates planned over the next two weeks.  We just can’t be gone more than four hours, because Pumpkin is being particular about his feeds.
  14. Cadet and Pumpkin are having a great time together. Cadet LOVES making Pumpkin laugh (currently by pretending to be bitten by Pumpkin and yelling “ouch” or by tearing up paper). And Pumpkin clearly is fascinated by Cadet. When Cadet’s not in the room…Pumpkin searches for him and his face lights up when Cadet come back. Seriously, Pumpkin can watch Cadet for hours and Cadet loves being involved in taking care of Pumpkin. I’m saving up these memories!!
  15. I’m cutting this off now. It’s been three days since I’ve started this post….lol…
Categories: Cadet, Family, health, Homeschool, Other Stuff, Pumpkin | 3 Comments

Pumpkin at 7 months…

Time really does fly. Today Pumpkin is 7 months old. He’s such a cutie, with chubby cheeks and bright eyes. Seriously, I can’t stop kissing and hugging him. So, here’s a bit more about this handsome little man.

  • Yesterday, early in the morning, his first tooth popped through. I felt it as he was gumming on my finger while I heated a bottle. We knew he was teething, but I didn’t know the tooth was that close to the surface. It was his bottom left (his left) tooth, and look like the bottom right isn’t far behind.
  • Of course, teething isn’t fun, and my normally calm and peaceful babe has been having a rough time of it. Pumpkin doesn’t do much crying without a reason, and he’s pretty laid back, but the last few days have been punctuated with much crying and clinginess. Can’t say I blame the poor guy. I can’t imagine how rough teething must be on babies!
  • And, obviously, with the teething has come lots of sleep disruption. Oh joy!
  • While he’s technically “rolled over”, he doesn’t show much interest in doing it on a regular basis. In fact, he’s only done a few times. I have spoken to both Dr. Smiles and Dr. M (our OT) and neither are particularly concerned. Both have said that some kids aren’t really interested in rolling, but crawling is sort of a must in terms of meeting “appropriate developmental stages”. Since he loves tummy time (and is already trying to “army crawl”), is very active, and is clearly very physically strong…it’s just part of his process.
  • Despite the not rolling over, Pumpkin is sitting up quite well for long periods of time. I place pillows around him, because he often loses his balance when trying to reach for something.
  • For the last three weeks, Pumpkin has had a strange rash. It started out looking like some dry skin or eczema, and then it started to really look pimply, red and inflamed. This was all around his neck, but mostly on his chin/front of his neck. At first, I thought it was a saliva rash (since…there’s been a LOT of that recently). But, keeping the area dry/protected did nothing. I took him in to see a pediatrician (Dr. Smiles was out), who claimed it was a fungal infection and prescribed a anti-fungal cream. I was pretty skeptical about that diagnosis, but tried the cream for a few days. The rash continued to spread, despite trying pretty much everything. Thankfully, it never seemed to bother Pumpkin. But, after the anti fungal cream did nothing, I made an appointment with a dermatologist. She took one long look at it, and gave us a diagnosis of Lichen Nitidus (a non-harmful, non-contageous rash) and told us there’s no treatment except hydrocortisone cream if it starts to bother Pumpkin. While, I’m not terribly confident that diagnosis is correct, the rash finally seems to be doing a bit better. I will say, now it looks a lot like Grayscale from Game of Thrones. 
  • Solid foods are still a no-go for Pumpkin. I put new foods mostly on hold while dealing with the rash, we’re back to trying things. He’s just NOT interested in textures or foods in his mouth. I’ve tried carrots, butternut squash, apple, and avocado…nada. He just has this look of betrayal on his face…clearly thinking I’m just horrible for trying to feed him.  He’s on his own pace, and I need to respect that.
  • I have no idea where Pumpkin is with his weight/height stats. His last real measurements were a month ago. But, I can tell you that he’s in 9-12 month clothing with no problem. And has the fattest cheeks and thighs you’ve ever seen!
  • Personality-wise, Pumpkin is very relaxed and happy. He loves to smile and laugh! He’ll “chat” with folks, but rarely does it if there’s something more interesting going on…which he will observe with an intensity that is impressive. He recently learned “a-dah, a-dah” and he’ll chant that over and over…clearly excited about his new skill! Basically the motto that Pumpkin had from his earliest days, is still true today: so long as he’s being held (or is around people)…Pumpkin is happy.
  • Pumpkin is in love with Cadet. Thankfully, Cadet mostly feels the same way. They love to watch each other and learn new things. It melts my heart when they are just chilling together on the playmat and Cadet is explaining something to Pumpkin. Yesterday, Cadet took a good 10 minutes to explain why some dinosaurs eat plants…
  • Since he’s 7 months old and teething, Pumpkin is in that stage where everything goes in his mouth…everything. And he’s quick. Forks, especially, seem to grab his attention… sigh…
  • Pumpkin still loves being outside. We have a new hammock in the back yard, and he’s pretty happy to be sitting it in with McRuger or me…just taking in the world and watching Cadet play.
  • Pumpkin’s umbilical hernia is continuing to “heal”…although it looks quite normal now, it’s going through some more changes, which is a good thing.
  • Pumpkin has a TON of hair…except right on the back of his head…where he sleeps. It’s much tighter and more fine than Cadet’s hair, and it locs very easily. Keeping it moisturized is a bit of a challenge, but shea butter and coconut oil seem to be a pretty good combination.
  • We’re no longer in daily contact with MsV. Contact has slowed to every few days, by mutual agreement. It happened because both MsV and I are getting busier as the days get warmer (kids want to be outside all the time!).Technically, our Post Placement Communication Agreement stipulates that (at a minimum) we be in weekly contact the first month of life, monthly contact for the first year, and then bi-yearly for the next 18 years. It’s such a worthless document, because that’s not what an open adoption is. I have no interest in doing just the bare minimum, and MsV is on-board with that as well. I try to send her more videos these days, as Pumpkin is quite animated at times. And, once a month, I send a nice card with some pictures, sometimes more often…depending on how much sleep I happen to be getting.

So, that’s life with Pumpkin at 7 months!!

Categories: Pumpkin | 3 Comments

The end of an era

Two weeks ago, Cadet’s speech therapist gave her notice. She’s moving back to her home state to be near her family. She’ll be with us through the end of July. It’s a sad thing. I love Tay. She started out as this young thing, right out of grad school. But, in the last 18 months, she’s really grown into her own as a speech therapist and as an advocate for her clients. She’s easily one of Cadet’s favorite people.

I remember meeting Tay for the first time and thinking that there was no way she could help us. She was too young, too new, or too peppy. And it took us several months to find the right balance with her and Cadet. But, when we found it…things clicked.

When she first met Cadet, he was barely talking. He couldn’t say “mama” or “ball”. At 2, he didn’t have much speech at all, it’s hard to recall that time without a deep sense of sadness. I remember being on the verge of tears when I told her that he couldn’t say “mama” anymore. And, to her credit, she told me that we’d get that back. Even if she didn’t know it was true…she knew enough to tell me that for some hope.

Now, Cadet is talking up a storm. Sure, we have some concepts we’re working on: plurals and pronouns, currently. We also work on slowing down his speech when he’s excited and not stumbling over words. He’s speaking so much now, that it’s really a matter of getting him interested in something…and the lesson just takes off from there.

Tay has been amazing at supporting my homeschooling efforts. She prints interesting ideas or lessons and brings them to me or she e-mails good articles about speech. Most amazingly, she does the lessons at our home (the only client she does that for). She says she loves working around whatever we happen to be doing that day (baking, outdoor play, or taking a walk). I found out a while ago that life can’t stop because of a therapy session, and sometimes you just need to work therapy into whatever happens to be going on. Thankfully, Tay agrees.

When Tay announced she was leaving, we had a long discussion about Cadet’s future in speech. He’s really hitting on all cylinders these days and according to her latest round of testing: he’s “at or above” his age range for 90% of skills. And he still has some skills that are in the “gifted” range. Since we had talked about tapering off her sessions at the beginning of the year, her leaving falls naturally into that timeframe. She feels confident that Cadet’s in a good space to be leaving speech therapy, and I agree.

But, despite it being the “right” time for speech to be ending, I admit I’m nervous about it. Tay is my sounding board for all things speech-related. Is this “normal” or “should” he be doing that? I’ll miss hearing her reassuring “yeah, that’s totally normal”. She is also my barometer for Cadet’s progress. If I have ever felt there was a setback or something he wasn’t doing that he was a week ago…I could ask and she’d watch for it or do a little probing to come up with an answer. She’s always telling me that Cadet is doing wonderfully. And that working with Cadet has been so reassuring to her about her profession.

We haven’t told Cadet yet about Tay’s eventual departure. We’ll tell him two or three weeks before she’s due to leave, giving him plenty of time to ask questions and adjust to the idea. I can tell that Tay’s going to miss Cadet. At our session this week she asked me if it was okay to just have a “play day”…and I gave the go-ahead. Play days in speech therapy, are just that…a day to play. Tay and Cadet blew bubbles on the patio, played with cars, danced, rolled the hula hoop, and were generally silly together. They didn’t work on anything…just played and laughed and sang. She occasionally would make notes if she heard a new word or phrase, but it was all just play. At the end of the session, she had tears in her eyes when she told me she’s really going to miss Cadet.

Once Tay leaves, Cadet will be down to his weekly OT appointment and nothing else. And, even that will be starting to phase out over the next several months.  In just 7 months, we’ve gone from several therapy appointments a week…to one. It’s a startling change to have such open weeks. But, I know it’s because Cadet is doing so well.

Tay and I reminisced at the end of the session. It’s really quite amazing how far Cadet has come. I thanked Tay for all her hard work. She smiled, and told me that it’s all Cadet’s doing. As most people have told me (and I know)…he’s a very strong and determined young man. Tay told me that he deserves the credit for his progress. Just at that moment, Cadet came over and said: “I love you Mama. Are you happy?” I told I was happy. He gave me a hug and shouted with his arms flung wide: “Mama, I’m very, very, very happy!!!” and then wandered off to blow some more bubbles. My heart melted…

 

Categories: Cadet, speech | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

“Depriving” my child?

Recently, Cadet was invited to a birthday party for a little boy who is turning two. Cadet has met this boy on a few occasions, and his mother and I are casual friends through a local mom-swap group. We won’t be able to go to the party, since we already have another event to go to. However, this mother and I got into a very serious discussion when we last met…and it’s been lingering. It’s about children and TV.

You see, Cadet doesn’t watch much TV. He has relatively no experience with commercial TV, and just a little experience watching streaming shows like “Dinosaur Train” via Netflix. He’s watched only two movies in his entire life….”Cars” and “Wall-E” (to be honest, he’s watched those several times during the beginning of this year). My MIL let him watch about half hour of “UP” before I found a way to redirect him. He watches “videos” on my phone occasionally, mostly of animals at my parent’s farm…or little videos I’ve taken of Cadet around the house.

And, McRuger and I don’t watch that much TV either. We have a few shows we enjoy: Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, a few cooking shows, and one reality show (if you haven’t discovered Married at First Sight, we highly recommend it). Over the course of a week, we maybe watch 4 hours total of TV, sometimes more…but usually much less.

Anyway, this mother said that she thought I was “depriving” Cadet because we don’t let him watch TV or “Disney movies”. She was frankly shocked that Cadet didn’t know Mickey Mouse and that he hasn’t seen “Frozen”. She started to tell me how much her child enjoyed sitting down and watching a few Disney movies (in one day). And how, parking him in front of the TV for several hours a day was the ONLY way she was able to function as a mother.

I heard this from another mom recently, a mom I met in the park. She was saying how she has to keep the TV going for several hours a day (“usually around 6-8 hours”…direct quote), just so she didn’t “go nuts” with the demands of her 4 year old. At first I thought she meant that she had it on as “background noise” while folding laundry or something…she didn’t. She meant that she lets her son watch up to 8 hours of TV a day. She wanted to “know my secret” for not going crazy while being a mom. She was shocked that we don’t watch a lot of TV in our home.

As I’m writing this, Cadet is jumping on his trampoline…running to the side yard…screeching at the raven which is sitting in the tree there…and running back to his trampoline…just to do it all over again. Earlier he was playing with his trains in the water and before that we were playing with his soccer ball in the front yard. And just since finishing this last paragraph, Cadet has gotten out his trains, tow truck, and tractor…and they are having a playdate (apparently, it’s lots of fun, as Cadet keeps telling me). Pumpkin is either napping or hanging with us (he’s a very “zen” baby). It’s been a rough start to the day…Cadet has been dysregulated all morning, and we don’t know why. But, even then…. I’ve had time to do some organization, start menu planning for next week, write a letter to MsV, water the garden, get some laundry started, started mapping out some lessons, and have spent some time on Instagram and Facebook (during quiet time). At what point this morning did I need a TV?

Even though this particular mom is judging me, I try not to judge her and the others like them that I know. Motherhood can be rough and you got to do what you can to just make it through. But, I think it’s pretty harsh to say that I’m “depriving” my son of his childhood because he doesn’t watch much TV. Of course, some days we need TV. Some days Cadet gets to watch 15-30 minutes of Dinosaur Train while I’m finishing dinner, or have a phone call I must return, or Pumpkin is having a rough time napping. But, I draw the line at sitting Cadet down for hours to watch something. I draw the line at him knowing more about a TV show than the world around him. I draw the line at Cadet demanding to watch TV over other activities like painting, playing, or just being outside.

I know how powerful TV can be. I see Cadet latching on to characters on TV. Even with his limited access, he knows about “Buddy” and can sing the DT theme song. He can also recite lines from Cars…after just watching it a few times. It’s amazing how fast he catches on…scary actually.

A cousin of mine told me once that her daughter demanded to watch TV and would scream for hours on end unless she could “veg out” for a few hours every day. Her daughter at the time was 3, and my cousin gave in… I was floored at that statement. Because, I believe to a certain extent, you are raising the child you create. I’m not talking about their personalities or inherent self-hood. I’m talking about the things we do as parents having a direct impact on how our children see the world. If you give in to the screaming child who wants to only eat cheese crackers at every meal, power over the situation…they see that as permission to act that way in different scenarios. McRuger likens it to negotiating with terrorists…something you just shouldn’t do for various reasons. We give Cadet choices in every situation we can, but we draw the line at demanding. If he asks nicely, we’ll consider/discuss it with him, but demanding/throwing a tantrum/crying won’t get him very far. A few weeks ago, Cadet wasn’t feeling well and asked if he could watch some Dinosaur Train (actually, he said: “Mama, I’m not feeling okay. Can I please watch a little bit of Dinosaur Train on the couch?”). Done. He got to sit on the couch and veg out for a while. About halfway through an episode, he told me he’d like to go back outside and play with bubbles.

I never want to get to the point with TV that Cadet prefers it to being outside or playing. That apparently is something these other moms have lost out on. On the few occasions (like earlier this year) when watching TV became something he was demanding, I just redirect him: let’s play with some flashcards, or hey…let’s going outside for a while…or let’s whip up some cookies. And, usually that works. If it doesn’t, then I bring in the “big guns”….the bubble machine! Yes, there were a few tantrums. Yes, screaming was involved. But, in the end, he played outside, happily.

McRuger and I have discussed our TV watching policies many times, and we don’t see them changing any time soon. There’s simply no reason for Cadet to watch TV…unless I need the time for something. Or, as was the case last weekend, McRuger and I really wanted to watch our favorite cooking show (New Scandinavian Cooking…OMG…it’s AWESOME!), and Pumpkin was sleeping. Cadet was having a bit of a hard time waking up from his nap, so we let him watch the 20 minute show with us. Cadet enjoyed the quiet time and asked a ton of questions about cooking. It was a choice we made in the moment, but at the end of 20 minutes it was over…and there was no advertising.

My parents were here this weekend for a very short visit (dropping off some stuff). My mom and I had a long conversation about how refreshing it is to walk into a home with children, and not see “brands” and “rampant consumerism”. She said it was nice to see that Cadet didn’t want to “go shopping” as his source of  fun. She also said (for the zillionth time) how she’s proud of me for not always having the TV on in our house. I know that she was referring to my nieces and their friends.

I’ll admit, I have a certain amount of pride knowing that Cadet doesn’t know…and doesn’t care…about Disney (short-hand for all the mass marketing media aimed at children). I am happy that I have managed to steer clear of the pressure for children to have some sort of “cultural knowledge” about media. And, I plan to keep it that way for a while. I want his imagination to be open and uninhibited for as long as possible. I want his pretend play to come from him, his life, and the world around us…not from the mind of some producer in LA. I want Cadet to be a kid. And, I really fail to see how that’s depriving him of anything.

If you’d like to do more reading on the subject of media and children, I’d highly recommend:  Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Last Child in the Woods, and Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys. 

 

 

Categories: Choices, Family, Motherhood | 16 Comments

It’s like college…but way more intense!

It’s 9pm. I’ve got a bowl of cheese crackers in my lap, a cup of water, 5 books on 3 different educational methods spread out on the bed in front of me, 12 tabs are open on my laptop, and my notebook is open, with several pens just hanging around. There’s a few highlighters too, a calendar, and even a few printouts of things I don’t want to forget. It’s a real party here. I really should be sleeping, but I’m planning the next 6 months of our homeschooling. Holy heck…I feel like I’m back in college cramming for some exam. Except, of course, the exam is my son’s education. Right…no pressure.

Things are starting to really “get real” with homeschooling around here. Funnily enough, it started with the name. We have an official name of our homeschool…which I won’t share here, but it’s awesome. We didn’t go with “The Nutty Goose” (a random reference to a particular pillow in our house) or “Dark Elven Academy” (“Dark Elven” is a very partial anagram of all of our first names) or even “Don’t Panic Mama: School for the Perpetually Tired”. In actuality, McRuger and I have been discussing names for a while…and we just happened to figure it out one morning last week.

After I had the name, I started to fiddle with mottos…just for fun. I’m still working on that. But, it got me thinking, that I really should have a plan. Up to this point, “homeschooling” has been all about some hastily put-together plan a few days ahead of schedule and gathering materials the night before. Frankly, it was stressing me out not to have a plan. I have been so used to hearing the Waldorf-y folks telling me to “don’t worry about anything until the child is 6….” I thought I didn’t need to plan. That planning was bad somehow. But, I am just not that easy-going. I need a plan. And then I remembered…I used to do this for a living. Like…this was my job…coming up with a curriculum and implementing it. And I was pretty darn good at it. Turns out, I still am.

I don’t want homeschool to be like an actual school day for Cadet. It should be fun, with lots of movement and time for play. In fact, it should feel like playing most of the time, that doesn’t mean learning can’t be happening. At the same time, I want to have a clear understanding of where Cadet is and where we should be headed with his education. When I talk about “curriculum”, “plans”, and “goals”, keep in mind that I am using those to keep my sanity…so Cadet can have as much fun as possible. I want him to have this time to be a child. Actual “academics” will be very light. McRuger and I have decided that we’ll be delaying learning (more) of the alphabet and reading…unless Cadet shows a strong to desire to learn. He has plenty of time to learn to read, and every study/book I’ve read says that pushing early reading is actually harmful (or at least not beneficial) to a child’s lifelong learning. And, as I keep reminding people who ask why he isn’t writing or reading yet…he’s only 3.5!

Over the last several days, I have created a general outline of goals for the 2015/16 homeschooling year for Cadet. Some goals are for Cadet, some are for me. Goals like: “Incorporate Bill (Cadet’s doll) into more activities to encourage imaginative play” or  “Cadet will learn to put events in a story in order”. These aren’t lofty goals (most of them are simple things…small changes that I hope will have an impact), and Cadet has already begun to master a few. I have 40 goals spread out over 6 subject areas.

Next, I’ve begun to work on various themes that would fit naturally into the various months. We have themes like: “What’s Cooking”, “Heading to the Ocean”, and “The Five Senses”. Some themes are a little less exciting, like “Earthquakes” (because, we do live in earthquake country), “Helping Around the House”, or “My Emotions”. Now, I’m going through our extensive children’s book collection to find books that match themes and figuring out what goals can be met most naturally with with themes. And then what activities/trips/games can be used for each goal. I’ve noted all the holidays we’re planning on celebrating, trips we’re planning on making, and the important local days (fairs, free-museum days, etc…), and tailored various themes to them. Even McRuger, after looking through my notes, said that it’s the kind of schooling he wished he had. And I’m glad, because, I want this to be FUN for Cadet (and Pumpkin too). The “themes” just help me keep organized and to help keep things fresh and new for Cadet. I keep reminding myself that this isn’t high school. For Cadet, it’s the process that’s important, far more so than results.

I have a notebook which is filled with notes that I’ve taken from the 12+ books and lectures I’ve read on homeschooling methods. It’s helped me organize the ideas and passions I want to pass on…or things I need to talk to McRuger about. Every day, I’ve been taking 5-10 minutes to journal about how the process is going for me. Because, someday, I know it’s going to be hysterical to look back on how much I’m studying for this.

A great book that I’ve discovered recently is Tinkerlab by Rachelle Doorley. It’s a book about how to help/allow/encourage the natural instinct children have to tinker with things. And she has “10 Habits of Mind” that I’ve been trying to follow as I go through this planning stage. They are:

  1. Make room for creativity
  2. Encourage questions
  3. Listen actively
  4. Be curious
  5. See mistakes as gifts
  6. Embrace a good mess
  7. Accept boredom as a tool for self-discovery
  8. Step back and enjoy the flow (this is one that I struggle with…clearly)
  9. Spend time outdoors
  10. Think of everything as an experiment.

I’m viewing the next 6-12 months as an experiment and expect there’s going to be a steep learning curve. I’m doing a lot of planning and taking Cadet’s interests into account. But, I fully expect that I am going to (probably many times) fail at this “homeschooling mom” business. I expect that Cadet is going to look at me funny many times as we go down this path…as if to ask “are you sure you want to teach me how to do this?”.

Technically, in California, there is legally nothing I have to do with Cadet’s education until age 6. That’s 2.5 years away. That’s a LONG time to practice how to do all of this planning, keep Cadet interested, and meet goals that are supposed to be met.

My mom asked me why I’m even bothering to plan since Cadet is so young, and the answer is complex. Basically, I need the plan for my sanity. Even if the plan is to “do nothing”, I need to have that in place. But, since I want to make the days/weeks/months ahead interesting and fun for Cadet…”do nothing” isn’t really an option. He’s increasingly curious and loves doing new things. I want to embrace that energy. Have fun with it and see where it takes us. And that’s what this planning is aimed toward…

It’s late now. I’m supposed to be in bed.

 

 

Categories: Cadet, Homeschool, thoughts | Tags: | 3 Comments

Reflections on the past week or so…

Well, we’re definitely in a groove here and a good one at that.

  • Pumpkin is sleeping 5-6 hours at a stretch most nights, which is awesome. He’s moved to a 4-hour schedule and is eating like a champ. I’ve started introducing solid foods, which he isn’t fond of. We tried carrots first…and OH THE BETRAYAL. His face was one of horror when he looked at me…”what are you feeding me, mom????”. We then moved on to apricots…and again, he’s not a fan. So, I’ll take a break and re-try in a week or two. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before he gets that “real food” is so much more tasty than formula.
  • Cadet, after a very long stretch of not napping, is finally napping again. Actually, it’s not really napping. We call it “quiet time”. Every day from 1-2pm, Cadet needs to be in his room and quiet. He can have his toys, books, his cup of water, and be awake or asleep…but he must be doing something quietly. It’s been a rocky transition, but a good one. He really needs a nap. And, I can’t have him falling asleep every time we’re in the car…so Quiet Time was the answer.
  • McRuger is ramping up for his busy time. From now until the middle of July…he’ll be in more meetings and have more work. It means that there’s a little more on my plate, but at least I know the craziness will have an end.
  • My friend Rose and I took the boys to the beach last week and had a blast! It was Pumpkin’s first introduction to the ocean, and he liked it until we put his toes in the cold water/sand. Cadet was a bit reluctant at first (the noise of the breakers bothers him), but soon he was up and dancing around in the warm sand. I had purchased a sun-shade and cooler for the trip…and now feel very well armed to go on the next beach outing. Thanks Rose! I can’t wait until our next trip!!
  • My love affair with Waldorf education is waning further. I’ve had two interactions with people in the Waldorf community about race…and they weren’t pleasant. In fact, one person I talked to was downright racist. I know that two people aren’t indicative of an entire educational movement, but it was enough to get me out of a singular mindset, and on to other things. I’m starting to feel more confident about my place as a homeschooling mom, something that I never felt while dealing with the Waldorf community (lots of perfectionism there). So…while I still love some of the principles of the methodology, I am slowly removing myself from the various online communities.
  • AE has finally moved! She found an apartment she loves, and she’s now just 45 minutes away from me. It’s a heady feeling to have my BFF that close, and living in a community McRuger and I have often thought about moving to. Today was her first day in her new job, so send her lots of positive thoughts.
  • After 6 months of not having the energy or time, I have finally brought back my Monday tradition of baking bread. It’s something that Cadet and I used to do together, and I think he was missing it. We use the Tassajara method and it comes out amazing each time…soft, flavorful, and delightfully fragrant. It’s the same bread recipe my father used to make when I was a child…with some small and delicious tweaks.
  • I’ve been very impressed with Cadet’s eating recently. While he’s never been a particularly fussy eater, he’s been on a “I’ll try anything and most likely eat everything” kick of late. Beef and broccoli with brown rice? Oh yeah! Quinoa and baked tomatoes with goat cheese? Yes, please! Slightly spicy pulled pork sliders? More! Enchilada casserole? Can’t stop. With the exception of raw beets, he’s eaten everything I’ve put in front of him for the past month or so. Sure, he loves french fries and Cheerios, but he’s not a stickler.
  • Also impressing me about Cadet right now is his vocabulary, especially his “emotion words”. A few nights ago, as I was rubbing some shea butter into his hair, he asked me to stop. When I asked why, he looked at me and told me he was frustrated it was taking so long. Long pause!  How awesome is that?? My son is expressing an emotion, and instead of having a tantrum…he told me what he was feeling. I stopped rubbing his head, he thanked me, and turned to have a conversation with McRuger.  Now, don’t get me wrong…tantrums can be an everyday occurrence around here…but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
  • I got my eyes checked last week. I’ve been wearing glasses since 5th grade, and getting yearly check ups for most of that time. This was the first time that the doctor found something slightly concerning. Apparently, the pressure in my eyes is a bit high, which can be a sign of glaucoma or macular degeneration. She scanned my eyes pretty well, and didn’t see anything else concerning, but advised me to get checked again in a year. As for my new glasses, they are a departure for me. For the last few years, I’ve been wearing black frames. McRuger has never liked seeing that much black on my face. He wanted color…I still liked the black. So we compromised, I got a light tortoiseshell frame, which actually looks really good. He wanted the bright purple one…which I vetoed pretty quickly. McRuger is going to get his eyes checked next week. He’s been having a harder time looking at screens recently (sadly, that’s part of his job…).
  • McRuger surprised me last week by informing me that he had purchased me an iWatch. We had discussed the possibility of buying one for me (he’ll be likely given one by his employer due to the nature of his job), but had never gotten around to finishing the conversation. But, McRuger in his generous way, just did it anyway. He also (on the same day!) ordered me a new Kind.le! My eyes were getting strained reading on my iPad (and my old Kindl.le had long ago been lost to a friend who borrowed it and then lost it), so he went ahead and purchased another one. He loves surprising me, and it seems he’s been on a streak of it! Gotta say, I love the new Kind.le, and I’m reading every day!
  • How are McRuger and I doing? Well, really well. I really want to write a post about the changes we’ve made, but it also seems really personal. Sufficed to say, both of us are feeling very good about how our marriage is going. Sure, we’ve had a few fights, but they have been resolved relatively easily…and the aftermath is much less confusing. And those nights of passion we had before we had kids? Yeah, those are back…and then some!
  • Of course, life isn’t all sunshine and roses. Grams is having a rough time. She’s fighting the staff at the place she lives. She won’t let them help her shower or go to the bathroom…and she needs the help. After several long meetings, the family and staff have agreed that she needs to be given anti-anxiety medications…which Grams hates. This also means that they might be moving up her level of care in the next few months, which she won’t like either.
  • My aunt, who was diagnosed with uterine cancer earlier this year, isn’t doing so well. Her recovery from the initial surgery has been very rough and her doctors have had to postponed the chemo treatments (which she really needs) several times. My aunt hasn’t allowed me to visit because she’s worried I’ll carry “kid germs” with me. So, I’m getting all my reports from my parents. Apparently, she’s going into the hospital  this week to start “intensive chemo treatments”. Please be thinking positive thoughts.
  • My father (my aunt’s brother) has been shouldering much of the emotional burden of the family over my aunt’s cancer diagnosis. He’s tired, worn down, and anxious about the cancer deaths in his family. He recently took the step to contact a local university hospital and ask about cancer screenings. And next week, he’ll be getting quite a few tests looking for genetic markers for cancer. I am proud of him for taking that step, and I’m quite interested in the findings.
  • My homeschooling planning is going poorly. I love to plan things out! But, it’s so complex to plan out our homeschooling half or full year. Most curriculums or homeschooling moms suggest planning out your year…but I just have no way of doing that with where Cadet’s at. And, I want to get into the swing of planning out stuff. So, I’ve cheated and am planning a month in advance. Doing a ton of reading…but sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the choices and ideas out there!

So overall, things are going well. I wish I had more time to write. It’s taken me three days to get this post published…which seems crazy as I write it. I have so many posts in my head…SO MANY, but I end up settling for updates as the week winds down. Sigh….

Categories: Cadet, Family, Homeschool, Household, Marriage | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Because I slept…

Holy crackers…Pumpkin has been sleeping really well of late. Last night…6.5 hours (with one wake up for his paci). The night before…5.5 hours with no wake up. So, I am actually feeling rested. It’s a strange feeling to feel like I am not a zombie every morning. But, wow…it’s amazing.

This weekend was a nice one. Friday was a bit rough, as we had a gardener here late that night to take out some plants that haven’t been doing well…which contributed to some spectacular tantrums on Cadet’s part. Saturday was mostly about resting and getting a few things done around the house. McRuger had to spend most of the morning replacing a key to my car (it’s a long story that involves a LOT of incompetence on my part).  In the afternoon, we drove about 20 minutes to pick up a new baby carrier I had purchased…it’s really lovely!

Sunday we went to the farmer’s market and got strawberries, blueberries, broccoli, green beans, tomatoes, and olive bread. We then rushed home to get showers done and change. We were meeting up with a old college buddy of McRuger’s and his wife for Korean BBQ. And while we had a decent time, I’m not sure I made a new friend with his wife. I have a sneaky suspicion that they are going through some infertility issues, and being around children seemed hard for her. Despite the fact that we seemed to have a lot in common, she just didn’t seem interested in taking any conversations forward into the future. Oh well…

Cadet’s language is going through yet another spurt…does it ever really end? He’s talking up a storm…seriously. Just last night we had this conversations:

Me: Sweetie, it’s time to head to bed. 

Cadet: Mama, I’m not tired. I want to be awake and play. 

Me: I know you feel like that, but you are really tired. We’ve had a long day. 

Cadet: Long day? No…. The sun’s still up in the sky. 

Me: Yes, but it’s bedtime. You’ll feel better after getting some rest. 

Cadet: No. No. No rest. How about some pizza and Nutella toast?

My son…folks! This kid wasn’t talking just 18 months ago….and now he won’t stop. It’s so wonderful!

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Our sitter, Verbena, seems to be working out better. She and I had a talk about her not being on her cell phone so often, and that cleared up the issue. Cadet loves her and they spend lots of time playing in the yard, reading books, and learning new things together. I have her hear about 9 hours a week, which works out really well for my well-being. I’ve even started doing my felting again!

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I’ve been on a homeschooling-shopping spree of late. I have purchased a few things I wanted to work on with Cadet. Lots of fine motor work. Slowly, ever so slowly, his hand-dominance is starting to emerge…and he’s a lefty (with a hefty dose of his right helping him with drawing and eating)! My dad’s a lefty, and I know how challenging it can be to learn in a right-handed world. So, I’ve been reading quite a bit about how to teach a predominantly left-handed child. If any of you have advice…please share!

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Pumpkin has been doing well and eating like a champ. He’s not yet 6 months, and already in 12-month clothing! Both these boys are going to be tall and solid! He hasn’t really rolled over yet, his pedi isn’t too concerned, given that he’s doing so well on all other metrics. He’s smiling, laughing, making great eye-contact, has great head/neck/trunk control, and all his limbs are moving appropriately.

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So, that’s the update from us.

 

Not sure what Microblog Mondays is…check here for the post that tells you all about it!

Categories: Other Stuff | 5 Comments

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