Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sled dog races

A couple of weeks ago we went to the sled dog races held on the mountain.  It's so fun to see the dogs and their handlers, some even kids!

  We got to see a sport call skijoring where a person on skiis is pulled by a dog or dogs.  Not only were adults skijoring but kids were too.  We recently added a golden retriever to the family and have great plans for him.  ;)

We even saw our dog's groomer.  "Hi Mariah, we didn't know you were a skijorner with your HUGE doberman!"

 The highlight every year is sledding down a hill next to the dogs and mushers.  The kids can sled and watch the races at the same time.  The kids and Daddy were tuckered out by the end of the afternoon. 

My sweet baby Isaac was even in on the action, well he had no choice in the matter really

I did my part and made sure all faceplants in the snow were tended to immediately. 

We ended our afternoon of snow, sledding and stinky wet dogs with a special trip to Starbucks where everyone had a kid's vanilla steamer or kid's hot chocolate.  I'd say it was quite a lovely day. : )

Friday, February 19, 2010

Gotcha Day - a new view

Yesterday was Nate's gotcha day. Two years ago in an orphanage in Tianjin, China my baby's life was changed forever. He was handed over by a crying nanny, to a crying mom(me), and proceeded to shut down for several hours. When he awoke from his shut down, "what the he*l is going on here," nap he pulled out his very well polished survival skill of charm. The poor little guy smiled and did tricks for us, had zero boundaries, and basically was in survival mode for well, 2 years.

My heart broke for him. I had read about all of this but feeling it first hand was way different than reading about it. I don't think traumatic even comes close to describing what happened on that day .

How does this fit in with "Gotcha Day" for my post theme? I guess I just feel like something is not quite right about celebrating such a traumatic event. I know the "correct" thing to do in the adoption world is to celebrate that day, but we are rethinking it.

I was adopted, my 3 siblings were all adopted, and we never once celebrated the day we joined our family. Did I feel like my parents didn't love me or respect the fact that I was adopted, "No." Did I feel like we were not being mindful enough of the sacrifice my birth mother made , "No." Did we celebrate the heck out of our BIRTHDAYS, "Yes." Did we constantly pray for our birth parents especially the sacrifice our birth mothers had made, especially on the day of our birth, "Yes."

I guess I think about it like this. If my parents had been able to have biological children, which they never did, and every year we celebrated the day I joined the family it would be a reminder that I was different. I would know they loved me and that they were happy to have me as part of their family. I probably even would enjoy the gotcha day celebration but that single act would be a way to separate me from the bio siblings.

Every single day we work very hard to help heal Nate's little heart. We try very hard to pull him in to the family as one of us. We absolutley acknowledge he was adopted and acknowledge the huge sacrifice his birth mom made. Do we need to celebrate being abandoned? Being abandoned is a horrible terrible thing. What mixed messages are we giving him "You were abandoned, it's terrible but we are so glad you were!" What the heck!

Some might say it all depends on the spin you put on gotcha day. If you are positive and happy, celebrating the awesome event that it was, then that is how it will be viewed. Or if it is celebrated with a thankful state of mind for the sacrifice his birth mom made then that is the feeling it will have. I say it's all celebrating the differences and really a sad sad day, for him.

I do not want my son growing up feeling and being reminded he is different than his parents and siblings, it's already an obvious fact.

I do want my son to grow up knowing that we rejoice and delight in him as a part of our family just the same as the rest of his siblings.

This is a subject we are struggling with. We don't have an answer. For our family the answer may be to not celebrate gotcha day, for other families the answer may be to celebrate that day. Not judging, just thinking really hard about this one.

Until we figure it out though we will continue to observe that very awesome and tough day with a Chinese dinner, lots of hugs and kisses and many prayers of thanks to God for bringing little Nate into our family.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bob and his girls

My husband loves his children. He has that special ability to seek each child's heart, find the essence of who they are, and nurture that uniqueness. His relationship with his children is high priority.

One special way he tends to the relationship with his girls is the yearly Father Daughter Sweetheart Dance held by one of our local dance schools.

They look forward to it all year and even though it's quite a girly event, I know he secretly looks forward to it too. ; )

Every year I get the girls all dolled up in pretty dresses, hairdos, a wee bit of make-up and send them out the door with their handsome father who also dons his sports coat, which is usually taken out for only the most special of occasions, and gives each a wrist corsage.

The first stop, a nice dinner in a nice restaurant. This is a big deal because with 6 kids we never, I mean never go out to dinner. How nice they get to learn how to act like little ladies with a gentleman.

The next stop, the dance where they rock out all night long, eat total junk, and get their picture taken (reminiscent of bad high school prom photos and backdrops) but sweet, sweet, sweet.

Bob dances with each girl and loves to see their smiling faces. He talks about it for days after and laughs at how cute they are.

I thank God for a husband who is willing to step out of his comfort zone. I just wish I could be a fly on the wall and see him dance with his special little ladies.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Hug

It was quick

It was solid

It was on my right leg

It was at preschool , last week on Thursday

It was the moment I've been waiting for for almost 2 years

Truly I almost missed it, almost. You see, my leg is used to being hugged by kids, a quick hug as they run passed me in the kitchen, a quick one on the way out the door to play, but my leg had NOT been hugged by one very cute albeit frustrating little Chinese boy.

I was picking him up at preschool ready for the usual brush off that my big smile usually meets but that day something magical happened and my smile was met with a hug. I was in shock, but trying to play it cool. I didn't want to make a big deal of it, but it is a BIG DEAL!!

It hasn't happened since but it will. His wall is breaking down, he's letting me into his heart inch by painful inch.

Maybe, if I''m lucky, he'll give me a kiss on Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 1, 2010

4 month recap

Sheesh, I can't believe it's already the first of February. We've been quite busy around here remodeling our house. Last August we had the basement gutted and they just finished with that remodel. At the same time we decided to have 3 bathrooms, the kitchen and the family room redone too. Basically we're nuts. I skitzed out last week but seem to have pulled it together this week, my husband is ecstatic! I haven't had a proper yell at my kids since August and boy are they due. ; ) Nothin' like a bunch of carpenters, electricians, contractors and various other angels sent by God to fix up my house to keep my attitude and tone of voice in check!

On other family news, we've celebrated 6 birthdays since October including my baby's 1st birthday. That along with all of the holidays and homeschooling and remodeling have sufficiently kicked this momma's butt, Oh, and we added a puppy to the mix a week ago. When we do things around here we go big, or go home! :)

Nate has been doing great in speech therapy. He had a little burst in his language development about a month ago, thank goodness, and right along with that we noticed a definite turn for the better in his behavior, PRAISE JESUS! We came upon yet another book that we LOVE and I so wish I'd read it before we started on this journey. The name is Coming to Grips with Attachment by Katharine Leslie . She is a PhD and has 3 or 4 children that are all adopted and have attachment disorders. Let me tell you how wonderful it is reading from someone who has been through what we have been through. I'm tired of authors who are well intentioned but have no clue what they are talking about. I passed it on to our therapist to read and tomorrow we'll see what she thinks.

I'll try to attach our Christmas photo. Next year we need to try and get our dogs in too.