Wednesday, August 28, 2013


On Friday, August 23rd, Lucy's adoption was finalized! She is officially and completely ours!

She came into our lives almost exactly nine months ago. There were no complications to her case, so all the waiting was just the nature of the process.

Lucy's adoption was finalized two years (almost to the day) after this post was written, where we announced that we were starting the process of becoming foster parents. Crazy, huh? 

Lucy's name means as of light. Ever since she came into our lives, one of my prayers for her is that she would bring light to all who meet her. She certainly does bring light to everyone she meets - she is so sweet and makes everyone smile. She is quick to giggle and she has an infectious belly laugh.

The boys are totally taken by her. They showed her a lot of attention when she first came home, but I always wondered if they would lose interest at some point. To the contrary, they have only grown in their love and attention to her. They read stories to her, hold her hands while she toddles around, hoist her into her highchair for mealtimes, play peek-a-boo... a dozen times a day my heart smiles as I watch my big kids loving on their little sister. We call them 'Bo-Bo' to her, which evolved from "brother".

Listening to the judge go over the finalization procedure.

All finalized!

The adoption announcent we made to send out to family and friends.

Over the next few weeks, we will be working on updating our adoption home study so we can be put back on the matching list to adopt another little one. It will probably be a few months until our home study is completed, and then a few months (at best) after that until we are matched again. Keep us in your prayers, and be praying for the next little one who will one day be ours.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Back to (Home)School

We started school on Monday of this week. Our town doesn't start until Thursday of next week, but it's always around this time that I'm growing tired of our open-ended days and start yearning for some structure. Plus, I love starting so early so we can be spontaneous enough to take days off during the rest of the year and still finish school in mid-May.

This is my first year officially schooling two kids (Tommy for 2nd grade and Ben for kindergarten). Last year Ben had lots of freedom to either join us or not for school, and he usually opted not to join us in favor of doing a craft nearby or just playing in another room. 

I had some apprehension about schooling two kids. I wondered how in the world it would work, since both kids are young enough to need me to be very hands-on. Well, it's only been a week, but so far it's been smooth-sailing with two. We'll see how things go the rest of the year.

Another reason I was nervous about starting school this year was because of almost constant power struggles between me and my oldest. Last year was difficult for us at times (okay, it was really difficult at many times). It took me until almost the end of last schoolyear to figure out that:

a) I was pushing him too hard and making him do what I thought was a good amount of work, instead of what was a good amount of work for him. Now my goal is to get his "focused attention" on a given subject and to get his best work. I stop him after he produces a few perfect letter F's (for handwriting) or he masters his math concept for the day, instead of expecting a whole page of F's or two pages of math problems. It is better that he gives me his best work rather than get frustrated trying to produce a large quantity of work.

 b) he needs to know what the flow of the day is. He constantly asked questions like "What's happening after this? and then after that? And when is such-and--such happening?", which took up a lot of our time and my patience. 

c) he needs to have control over his own schedule. He had a hard time last year being told what to do all the time ("Okay, now it's time for math.... and now it's time for reading....") and not having any say over what came next.

To resolve both of these last issues for this year, I laminated our schedule posted it on the wall. He is able to choose the order in which he wants to do things. He gets a lot of satisfaction from checking off each subject as he completes it.

Our school room. Pretty much the same as last year, except that we added a piano and another bookcase to house our ever-increasing collection!

The books we are working on, in addition to the 3Rs. We are using the Charlotte Mason method which focuses a lot on learning through reading really good books. 

First day special breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes. The boys received boxes full of new school supplies as their back-to-school gift.

I am optimistic about this school year! I just need to remember to focus on my relationship with my children, rather than making sure we check all the subjects off the schedule and all the days off the calendar. I need to remind myself that the reason they are being educated at home is so we can learn to love each other and live as a family, not just so they can just have a different teacher.

This article below is from a blog that I find very encouraging. The author's posts have helped me a lot lately, in letting go of a lot of my uptightness (is that even a word?). I especially love this post, on letting go of our schedule and just being with your child:

Friday, August 2, 2013

July in Our House

I cannot believe how quickly this last month flew by. It seems like Lucy just turned one the other day, and now it's August already!

I've been trying to make the most of our summer days. We plan to adopt again within the next year, so this is likely our last summer of being (relatively) free and mobile for the next few years. Things will change once we have a toddler (Lucy) and another little one. 

Hiking at Uvas Canyon. We plan to come here at least once a season. It is so beautiful here. There is a creek that runs along the path and waterfalls all over the place. The boys loved scurrying over the rocks along the creek. They did the full loop hike, which was much further than they'd ever gone before. I was very proud of them.

Making blackberry jam. We made lots of jams and preserves with the abundant berries we had this year. I used to be afraid of canning/preserving, but I found that it's easy once I got the hang of it. 

At the beach with friends on a cold day. I've decided that my children are crazy, because they kept going in the water even though it was only about 60 degrees and the water was freezing. They had a great time though. Lucy even went crawling through the shallow water.

Family outing to Point Lobos, one of my favorite places. We saw lots of crabs, anemones, fish, sea stars, and other tide pool creatures. And these boys look like they are posing for a senior photo, don't they? I didn't ask them to pose, I just said, "Hey boys, get together so I can take a picture" and this is what they did.

Backyard summer fun.

Mom-and-boy fun at Gilroy Gardens. I was able to leave Lucy at home with Grandma while the boys and I spent the day at Gilroy Gardens. Going places alone with them is a rare treat these days. It was a most pleasant day: perfect weather and the place was so empty that we walked on most of the rides without any waiting.

Lucy found our tomato plant and it was her favorite outdoor destination for a while. She picked and ate tomatoes to her heart's content.

Mark and I were given two of his dad's old mountain bikes this month. We spent a day getting them in working order and have been doing family bike rides a few times a week ever since. It has been so much fun to bike around with the boys and with Lucy in the trailer. 

One of our favorite places to go is our local bike trail. It has a lot of fun places to stop along the way, like a creek, a pond, and even a model airplane skypark. We usually pack up a meal to eat along the way and go exploring (it means less time in the kitchen for me!). One day we even went early in the morning and ate our breakfast while watching people fly their airplanes. 

This isn't a major event, but she's so cute she had to make an appearance here. :)

School starts in just a few days. I'm excited to begin school, but a little bit sad that summer is over already. Did I mention that it went by too quickly? I plan to ease in to school over the next month; we'll do school most days, but will take a day off here and there to go to the beach or go hiking. After spending almost my whole life on the east coast, I feel so blessed to live in such a beautiful climate where we can enjoy the outdoors year round!