First Day of Kindergarten; First Day of Preschool

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Brae and Sienna each started kindergarten and preschool, respectively, last week.

Brae has been excited all summer to ride the school bus, get a new backpack, eat lunch at school, and play outside during recess. I also loved school (so much that I stayed in it for 19 years straight!). In fact, when the school supplies list came out, I could almost smell the aroma of freshly-sharpened pencils. A natural high.

Sienna’s preschool is at the same location as her daycare, so the excitement was not as high for her. I tried to get her pumped by getting her some back-to-school clothes, and telling her that even though she was still at the same building, she was now a pre-schooler and not just a day-care attendee. I’m not sure she bought it.

The night before kindergarten, we sprinkled some glitter on each of the kids’ heads (courtesy of the kindergarten teacher), said a special prayer (that I cried during), and went to bed early. Brae even wore his entire first-day-of-school outfit (shoes included) to bed. (Yes, I did that too… maybe even beyond just kindergarten).

The next morning, Brae was up bright and early, ready to take the bus. We drove to the bus stop (about 100 yards away), and Sienna and Graem and I waited in the car as we watched him board the bus.

Then, I followed the bus.

In my car.

About 5 blocks, to school.

I was that mom.

Sienna, Graem, and I then greeted Brae off the bus and walked him to his class. He did not even hesitate walking through that pivotal door, barely mustering a “good-bye” as he skipped into his teacher’s arms.

Then, things went south.

That first day, the school bus was early dropping him off, and I had not yet arrived at the stop to meet him. So (I guess thankfully), they kept him on the bus, driving around, until I could gather my frantic wits enough to call the school, who called the bus barn, who radioed to the driver to bring Brae back.

Then, the second day of school, the teachers forgot to put him on the bus. So, there I stood, at the stop, eager to greet him only to realize he was not on the bus. Another frantic phone call.

Then, the third day of school, I waited at the stop for him, and again he did not get off the bus. This time, however, he was on the bus, but completely unaware of when/where he had to get off. Poor little guy. So, I boarded the bus and found him blissfully in space, surprised to see me on his bus, beckoning him off.

All of this made me wonder whether kindergartners should even be allowed to ride school buses at all. In fact, I was about ready to pack the whole thing in and ship him off to private school where there are no school buses.

But, no, I said, he has to do this. For him.

It is my job as his parent to protect him (of course), but also to instill self-confidence in him. I’m not raising a child; I’m raising a man. If the purpose of childhood is to equip my son with the tools needed to bravely face this challenging world, then allowing him to take the school bus is one big giant step in that direction.

It is a new week, and he’s taking the bus again.

And I’m still following it in my car.

Sienna: 18 month stats

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Little Miss continues to enjoy the larger side of life (I say that with the utmost affection). I’m starting to think basketball, volleyball, modeling (!) may be in her future. I’ve long since known I would be the shortest of the bunch. However, now it seems that Brae may be joining me there (sorry, buddy).

There is an old wives’ tale that for boys, you double their height at age 2.5 to see how tall they will be as an adult. Brae is “supposed” to be 5’10”. Not super tall, but not short, either. Right smack at average.

For girls, you are supposed to double it at age 2, because they grow faster than boys. Little Miss just needs a little over an inch to grow in the next six months before she will be 3 feet tall, and thus, 6 feet tall as an adult. Seeing as how she grew more than an inch just in the last three months, I think it could be a safe bet she will be at least 3 feet tall by her second birthday. (She has always been at least 2 inches taller than Brae at his same milestone).

Here’s her stats:

1) Height: 34 5/8 inches. Off the charts. Again.

2) Weight: 27.2 lbs. Scaled down to the 80th percentile.

Doctor reported that her 18 month checkup showed no signs of autism. She is generally growing and functioning at a typical age/rate. She is feisty and fearless.

And I love her.
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Not an itchy birthday

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Seven years ago today, I married. It was the day before my 26th birthday.

They say that in the 7th year of marriage, people get “itchy.” They get restless. They start looking for a way out. They get divorced.

The U.S. census in 2011 cites the average length of marriage is 8 years. Couples seem to file for divorce around the 7 year mark, and then complete their divorce in the 8th year.

Why?

Statistics say that around 7 years is when people are burnt out on caring for young children, there are burgeoning financial pressures, and there is an accumulation of negative experiences or incidences that come to a boiling point.

People who are unhappy in their marriages generally know that within the first few years, and then take a few more years to get to the state of divorcing.

I am the product of divorce. I know how painful it is. Divorce is an epidemic in my family. Each of my grandmothers was married three times.

My parents survived the 7 year itch, only to get divorced at the 10 year mark. But, they each re-married and have been remarried for over 20 years. I have great stepparents as a result.

Tygh’s parents have been married for over 35 years.

I have no shame in saying that Tygh and I do not have a perfect marriage. But, we have a very good marriage. We are teammates. We genuinely enjoy one another. We “get” each other.

So, on this milestone anniversary, and the day before my 33rd birthday, Tygh, I salute you:

“You are my rock. You are my touchstone. You keep me grounded. You support me. You love me, and all my idiosyncricies. It’s been quite a journey to get where we are now, and I’m genuinely very excited for what lies ahead. We have been so blessed. We have two amazing, beautiful children. We have a roof over our head, food on the table, and careers we enjoy. We have family that love us, and friends that stand beside us.

I love you.”

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Sienna’s 15-month-stats

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I love this photo of my daughter. It captures one of my favorite aspects to her personality – her feistiness.

15-month-stats:

1) Head circumference: 65th percentile Larger than Brae at this age
2) Weight: 25 lb. 90z: 80th percentile Larger than Brae at this age
3) Height: 33 1/4 inches: Off the charts. Again. Larger than Brae at this age. At this rate, she could be 6 feet tall or more!

The doctor also noted that it’s clear she has an older brother. The girl can hold her own (kind of like a honey badger!). I think she slaps everyone she meets. Out of pure love, of course!

Her blond hair is also getting quite blond, and a little long. Let’s face it, it was a mullet. We had our first haircut this weekend (yes, I saved it!). She has this little ringlet curls that melt me. With her aqua eyes, she’s quite the beauty.

Sienna,

My darling daughter. I love you more than you can possibly know. I love your spirited personality. You inspire me. You make me want to be a better person. I love how you are your own independent woman, even at the tender age where I still refer to your age in months, not years. If I had my prediction, you are either going to be President, an astronaut, or a boxer. Whichever path you choose, baby girl, know that I will always love you, and always try to put bows in your hair. Thank you for calling me, “Mommy.”

PS — for those of you who don’t know already, I’ll be posting on here in a few weeks some very exciting news! (No, not a pregnancy announcement — but equally as exciting for us!)

WHAT A DIFFERENCE THREE YEARS MAKES

September 17th marks the 3rd anniversary of our embryo transfer and the first time we saw Grant and Maria as tiny embryos, plumped up and ready for a new life out of the freezer. I remember much about the day including resting in bed with my legs up the wall as we hung out in our hotel and playing a game called Pig Out that we picked up at Target the night before. I prayed for those three little beings and hoped for a long life for each of them. God called one home while Grant and Maria nestled in for the next seven months.

I’m still amazed at their lives and thankful for the opportunity to be their mom. They make me laugh and sometimes cry and even though some days nap and bedtime can’t come quick enough, I wouldn’t trade the path that we’ve taken.

I pray for all the families who will be receiving donated embryos this week and the staff of the NEDC. May God prepare them for whatever the outcome and bless them for taking a leap of faith and honoring these tiny lives.

MILESTONES AND CURRENT EVENTS

• Grant and Maria are talking up a storm; only about 50% is comprehendible. One major victory with speech was teaching the word “help”. They now say help (sounds more like “hope” from Grant) when they need help. This is a much better alternative to screaming.
• R’s and L’s are still the biggest challenges. Maria calls our dog “Chawie” and has now started saying “NO Chawie” when he gets too close to her food.
• They both like to help getting themselves dressed, and by help I mean they like to do it themselves. If you try to intervene before they ask for help, you get “No mine!” or “No me!” from them.
• They both like to climb in their booster seats and car seats. Again if you try to help we get “No mine!” or “No me!” I resisted this at first, but this skill ended up coming in very handy over the last week.
• On Friday, April 13, we put our house on the market. 8 days later we had a contract on it. I’m thankful for this because keeping a house “show ready” with two two-year olds is nearly impossible. The downside to having it sell so quick was that we had to kick it into high gear when it came to finding a new home. Long story short – this has not been easy. We have had contracts on two houses and threatened to walk from #2. I’m hoping our issues are resolved and we move forward. Living in limbo is no fun.
• I attribute living in limbo and my subsequent indulgence in bad food and caffeine to appendectomy I had last Sunday night. I have a high pain tolerance and after being doubled over for hours and knowing that the immediate care center doc was wrong – I did not have a virus – Jeremy took me to the ER instead of out to dinner as planned. 8 hours later I was home, minus an appendix. Apparently, I had an ovarian cyst explode and hemorrhage, which in turn irritated the bottom of my appendix. I would still argue that my appendix would have been fine, but I also can’t deny how much better I felt after surgery. When I fall off the wagon with food and caffeine, my ovary gets angry. Nothing like surgery to kick my butt back into gear!
• I told my surgery nurse about embryo adoption and that Grant and Maria were frozen for 7 years. I think she thinks it was the medication talking.
• I have a 15 pound lifting restriction for two weeks. Did I mention I have two two-year olds?
• After 8 days, I started lifting them up again. I feel good and am careful not to overdo it.
• Maria weaned. My belly bandages freaked her out and the milk must have tasted bad after all the meds. She doesn’t want to nurse anymore. I had to borrow my sister-in-law’s pump to get relief the 2nd day. That hurt worse than my incision. It was an abrupt end to our nursing relationship, but she seems fine. She still wants to cuddle during her normal nursing times, which is fine by me. 25 months was a good run.
• They both pull up my shirt and point to my incisions and say “uh-oh”.
• Grant peed on the potty yesterday. I’m not sure he really cared, but we still made a big deal of it. He’s more interested in sitting on the potty sans diaper than Maria is. I think we just had good timing yesterday. However, it does give me hope of a diaperless future.
• I hope life calms down soon.

BIRTHDAY BLESSINGS

Yesterday on the radio, I heard a story of a twin that was separated at birth that had looked for her twin for over 30 years and finally found her living a few roads away. What a joyous occasion that must have been, but it made me very sad for them both thinking of all the time together they missed.

Natalie and Julian have loved each other from the start. When they were babies they would look at each other very lovingly. Just recently, when we were all in a small bathroom because of a tornado warning, Julian was rubbing Natalie’s head telling her it was going to be ok as she said how scared she was. Later, Natalie describe that time as Julian being her super hero. A few nights ago it was storming and Natalie wanted me to hold her tight, but she also wanted her fingernails painted, so she decided that I was to get up and get the nail polish, while Julian held her tight. Julian did just that, he held her tight while I went and got the nail polish.

As we celebrate their 4th Birthday today, I do not only celebrate their lives, but their relationship with each other. They are very loving to each other and Brian and I as well. We have been so blessed these four years; words cannot describe how richly our lives have changed. One of those memories will be Natalie wanting to know if I ate her and Julian since they were in my belly. Natalie, does know me well, I do like to eat! I am just so thankful Natalie and Julian will never have to search for each other, but will have precious memories of growing up together and that Brian and I have new meaning to our lives than we did four years ago.

**Photos by Break the Mold Photo**