Friday, December 30, 2011

The day we got "The Call"!

Monday morning I always wake up both full of anticipation that it could be "The Day" and already with a sinking pit thinking that it won't happen.

Monday, December 19th I was full of anticipation and no matter how I tried (yes, I actually tried) I could not get that sinking sensation of it isn't going to happen.

But then the day happened. Morning came and went (way too quickly with a million things going, but with no phone call). I got E home from preschool and down for a nap and it was now almost 2:30 pm EST. I decided to get myself some lunch and watch a Christmas movie during nap and get nothing done (I was a bit sad at this point, but trying to just concentrate on Christmas and not on the lack of phone call). Just as I got my lunch ready and sat down the phone rang. I grabbed it and saw a phone number I didn't recognize. I answered the phone and someone very hesitantly asked for me and in the span of a few seconds I thought
"That sounds like "A", no it can't be, wrong area code, why would she be calling this late? Just wishful thinking".
I said that it was me and she responded more normally with some chatting and I thought

"Oh my, it definitely sounds like A. How sad that I know A's voice so well, I've been talking to her way too much lately, why is she calling?!?"

Then she said "Didn't you get my message?!? I called 2 hours ago and really thought you'd call me back by now" - um, hello phone - what is your deal?!? No missed call, no voice message - what is going on?!? Of all the times for my phone to fail me - aargh!!! Of course I would have called her back immediately! I am GLUED to my phone on Mondays and Tuesdays. How did it not ring?!?

Anyway, she asked me if I was driving and then told me that our referral was sitting in front of her. I was in COMPLETE SHOCK! I don't know how you can be in shock when you hear something that you've been expecting to hear for so many months now, but it's still possible. I could hardly talk, I definitely heard less than half of what she said, but we made plans to have a phone conference the next morning.

I called Brian and told him. The phone rang way too long before he answered, I was worried that he wouldn't answer. I was crying and I had to repeat "It's a boy" about 3 times before he heard (and understood) me. He was definitely happy to hear that it finally happened and we talked for a few minutes, we could barely think straight but we were both quite happy! The amazing news we have waited and waited for! Thank you God that it's finally here!

The hard part was that I wanted to shout it from the roof tops but we hadn't even seen the referral yet so we had to wait. I paced around the house and got nothing done - then the real work began. I had to wake up E from her nap and pick up B from school and tell them NOTHING. That was HARD! I was jumping out of my skin excited and had to act normally.

I honestly only remember parts of the afternoon. I know that I actually had a terrific time with the kids, running a couple of errands, then coming home and playing together, making dinner, and getting packed to leave in 2 days . Brian came home and we had a wonderful evening. We didn't do anything special, but the lightness in the air of knowing that the waiting for referral was finally over just made for an amazing evening! :)

The next morning, bright and early, we'd get to see our new little boy....

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Our Christmas Gift...

In 2003 we had an amazing Christmas gift - our son, B, was born. We saw his face for the first time and it was amazing.

In 2006 we had an amazing Christmas gift - our daughter, G, was born. We saw her face for the first time and it was amazing.

In 2011......we had an amazing Christmas gift!!! Less than a week before Christmas we were able to see our new SON's face for the first time!!! And it's AMAZING! We got our referral!

More to come soon... :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What my child learned on vacation

It's our goal in general (but especially moving from the amazing school district we were in to a state who is 49th out of 50th for education) to supplement our children's education at home. I think that my children learn as much (or more) when they travel as they do in a week of school so even though it goes against the teacher in me, I am learning to be OK with pulling my children out of school once in a while to travel (note: if they get to a point where they are struggling in school I wouldn't do this, but while they're young and able to excel in school despite being absent, I've learned to be OK with it). My husband has no qualms with this but I still struggle. So to justify myself this is what I came up with:

ELA: Reading - signs, brochures, books to his sister, teaching Ella how to read (this is awesome, he's trying to teach her simple signs out in public like EXIT and STOP by showing her how to sound them out, etc.), reading about animals in the zoo, asking us questions about words he sees (this happened a lot this week) and trying to sound out strange looking streets and cities.

Writing - Making lists of things he wants to do, writing down a bit about our trip to keep with pictures as a keepsake

Math - Budgeting - our child saved money for the past couple of months and he spent time counting it, thinking about how he wanted to spend it, checked prices to see if he could afford it and if it was worth the price, came home with almost half of what he brought which showed some good choices.
Time - worked on telling time in general, talked about how long until we'd be places.
Fractions - dividing treats up between 2, 4, or 6 people.
Basic addition and subtraction is something we have him do pretty much all the time in daily life. He even did some multiplication (plus he's done a lot of math with the board games - and while he was home with strep right after our trip we had a lot of fun playing Monopoly and Dominos).

Science - Learning about weather in different places - seeing how the mountains we were driving through affected the weather, climate, and landscape of the area. Of course the zoo taught him a lot about natural habitats, he read about eating habits, he LOVES to learn at zoos and museums, he eats up all the info that is posted and will stop to read every sign he sees!

Geography - Map skills - my boy loves maps and he is getting very good at reading them. He figured out where we were going sometimes by himself, other times with help, but I can see how much better he's doing with this over time.

Culture - Going to a different state and comparing and contrasting it with both AZ and the North East. Seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time (and running in the FREEZING cold water - but both kids loved it).

PE - My father-in-law wore a pedometer and measured the steps we took each day. Pretty much each day (other than driving days) we walked at least 20,000 steps. Plus, if you've ever been to the San Diego Z00, you know that MAJOR hills were a part of this trip. We also climbed down and up a cliff overlooking the ocean, and he's just a boy who loves to run, jump, dance, and play! :)

Music - There was actually a lot of live music at Downtown Disney. Plus he loves to sing and play around with music some when it's just silly.

Art - it doesn't take any work to ask my child to be artistic. He drew pictures, created his own maps, colored Christmas pages, studied how people created things out of Legos, created some cool things out of these glow stick connector things (pretty sure he's going to be an engineer when he grows up - figuring out how to make things work right is his passion) and just had fun in any artistic way presented to him.

We also got brochures in German because even though we're not great at keeping his German up he's still fascinated by it and we're trying to nurture that. Plus I got some in Korean so I can practice reading the Korean (even though I don't know what I'm reading...). ;)

Just a portion of the things we did on vacation and I know that this enriches his learning a lot, even though I still feel a bit guilty about taking him out. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

17 months and catch up

We were out off town last week so I'm doing some blog catch up. On Thursday (the 8th) we reached 17 months without HSTK and no referral in sight. It was really good to be out of town last week. I was also essentially off line (one or two emails but that's it) and it was a much needed break. I'm still playing catch up with messages and emails, so forgive me if I haven't gotten back to you. I had so many sweet and caring messages from friends last week and I really appreciate it. This wait is definitely starting to take a toll. I'm hoping that we'll hear good news soon, but I'm praying for God's perfect timing and that our referral will be the child he wants in our family.
I have some fun ideas for posts but right now I'm feeling a bit restless and frustrated so it's hard for me to get it all down. Thanks for bearing with me. Have a great week. Hope you're all enjoying this Christmas season! :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

5 years ago....

I woke up at 4:15 thinking that I was having braxton-hicks because I couldn't possibly wake up out of a dead sleep with contractions that were 2 minutes apart lasting a minute. A glass off water, laid on my left side, then told Brian to get out of bed and grab Ben. I called my friend, Linda, and we were out the door dropping B off at Linda's house. The hospital said that they've never checked someone in so fast, and they didn't think my doctor would make it in - but she did. At 5:39 am (yes, less than an hour and a half labor - I know you hate me, but it was a bit scary, actually) our beautiful GEM was born (don't you love her initials? - oddly, we didn't even figure it out until after she was born! How weird (or slow) is that?).

She continues to shine in our lives and for her birthday we took our princess to Disneyland this year. No, we don't usually do huge birthdays like this, it just worked out that we could take our vacation over the kids' birthdays. But it was a fantastic way to celebrate. Brian's parents are Disney Vacation Club Members and we are so blessed to travel with them. The kids loved having Grandma and Grandpa celebrate with them.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

8 years ago...

I woke up in the morning and realized that our plans for that day had changed. I found my Mom (Brian was in Iraq) and we drove through a snow storm into Syracuse. The nurses asked me questions and guessed that I had hours, but when the doctor saw me she told me I had to get to the hospital NOW! She called ahead and we walked across the street (they wanted me to use a wheelchair but I wanted to keep walking). About 3 1/2 hours later at 1 pm our little pumpkin was born. He didn't have a name until Brian called from Iraq at close to midnight. It drove both of our Moms a bit crazy not knowing his name and it made me laugh. Of course when Brian called we were both so relieved to talk to each other that we forgot to name him. We hung up (I knew he was calling back but our Moms didn't) and they screamed at me "A NAME!" - when Brian called back we discussed it and BHM had his name. What an amazing Christmas gift! Love that boy! Thank you God for bringing him into our family! :)

Today we celebrated at Legoland. What a fun place for an 8 year old boy! There were tons of thing built out of legos which completely fascinated B - I swear he is going to be an engineer one day. He loves creating and figuring out how things work. He's an amazing boy. So happy we were able to celebrate with Grandma and Grandpa as well.