Monday, August 22, 2016

Art--If You Build It They Will Come

We've spent a fair amount of time at the art museum this summer.  I know, that sounds like we are so cultured, doesn't it?  We spend time at the art museum.  Go ahead, say it with a British accent!










Actually, I've learned a little trick.  And it only took me a generation of kids to learn this.  What a smarty!  Because honestly, some of my kids would rather poke their eye out with a paint brush than go to an art museum.

What I've discovered is that once they get there, they actually DO enjoy it.  At least a little bit.  And some of my kids even invite their friends! (I love that our art museum is free for kids under 18--and many museums have a free/cheap day.)

The trick I've finally learned is to pair something like the museum with something my kids actually LOVE!

Such as ice cream.




I forgot to take photos of our ice cream, so I just used some from when my sister took my kids for ice cream.  I told you, I'm a smarty.

And speaking of art, I bought a bunch of gel pens and markers, put them on the kitchen table, and it's been fun to see ALL my kids get involved in drawing (even if one child drew a bloody sword.  Yuck!).  I couldn't help but think of the line from Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come."

And true confessions, my mom has been cleaning out her storage shed.  I drew the little house above when I was in 3rd grade. Did I trick you?  I've always wanted to have a piece of art in the museum.  So now I guess I do.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bulk Buys

Yep.  It's summer.  Costco is my hero.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Summer Fun

I was going through photos and realized a huge part of my feeling so unorganized is we've been gone so much.  Which is awesome!  It's been an FULL and FUN summer!  I feel so very, very blessed and I know I feel especially thankful because there have been times in my life where I thought we would never have this much happiness again.

Praising God and relishing the good times!

Sun River.  This place never gets old!  We will return again and again every summer.  Our days included lots of biking, eating, swimming, golfing, art, puzzles, and Starbucks. Oh, and Pokemon hunting--tons of Pikachus!


















And then my sister and her family came.  It's always a party and we enjoyed a mini amusement park, the science museum, and a make-your-own pancake place.





















Friday, August 19, 2016

Three Minutes Late For Band Camp

Unlike most of the world, my kids haven't started school yet.  Believe it or not, this year I'm looking forward to getting back on schedule.  Somehow, at the beginning of summer, I thought we were going to RELAX all summer.

Hmmmm.  Not so much.

We've had a great summer, but it's been a SUPER BUSY summer.  And the only relaxing seems to be in terms of kids "forgetting" to do their chores and our whole family forgetting how to keep things organized, prioritized, and streamlined.

I'm not even sure I know what those words mean anymore.

This week has been especially busy with tons of appointments, swimming lessons, camps, and work.
As  a positive, Lan Lan got her driver's permit.  Watch out world and pray for us all!




But this week I also realized that life was over-the-top when I was rushing my butt off, going from one thing to another, trying to fit too much in, and I made Patrick three minutes late for his first day of high school band camp.

Happier times.  
Unlike the day his mother made him late to Band Camp.

Now this may not seem like a tragedy to some people.  But you don't know my Patrick.  He was texting me in a panic two hours before camp with me replying things like, "no worries," and "Chill, I'll be home."

I wasn't.  And he was understandably upset.  I'm a loser mom.

I feel discombobulated and disorganized.  I'm now reading The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.  And time to re-read some of my previous posts.  I'm so out-of-sorts it will be like reading from a stranger--

 going way back to when my kids were so small, and designating days of the week and  more here.  And then reminding myself about setting goals and prioritizing, and procrastination, paperwork, and medical/dental organization.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Our Shining LIght: Part 2

Continuing . . .

In the days before we lost Joe I wondered if we would still be allowed to adopt Vu.  There was no question at this point that we still wanted to bring him home.  Would our agency let us?

Unless you have adopted, it might be hard to imagine the connection between pre-adoptive parents and their child.  The only way I can describe it is to compare the connection between a pregnant mother and her unborn baby.  Even though she hasn't officially "met" the baby, she imagines the child's presence in her family; she feels a constant physical, emotional, and spiritual connection; and she fiercely loves and protects her child.

We loved Vu.  He was already our son.  And if I had been pregnant when Joe died, I would have still wanted to give birth to that unborn baby, bring him home, love him and raise him.  Vu wasn't yet physically in our family, but he was ours.  

I remember so clearly two days before we lost Joe.  I was at my sister-in-law's taking a shower and trying to nap.  The hospital only had chairs in the waiting room and we had already spent several nights trying to pretzel sleep.  Our social worker called.  I had been thinking the question for days, but I was too afraid of the answer.  I finally blurted out my question.  If the unthinkable happened to Joe, would we still be allowed to move forward with Vu?

Our social worker seemed surprised by my question.  She was full of compassion and love.  If we still felt we wanted to move forward we could.  We could also take more time and push back our travel. And it was also okay to decide we didn't want to move forward at all.

I sobbed.  Hubby was nearby and he held me and we both cried.  Tears of thankfulness.  Tears at the situation of our lives.  Tears of loss and hope, tragedy and promise.

We would move forward.  We would bring Vu home three months later, despite the grief and loss that would fill our lives.  In many ways, the hope of bringing home Vu kept me sane.  At the same time, it made me push away my grief in a way that many might not think positive.  But as one close friend told me later, I was able to take my grief in baby steps, and it was probably the only way I could survive it.

I didn't blog much about my grief.  I mostly kept my blog about our adoption.  I found grief to be a fearful funnel of darkness and despair.  I often said the grief of losing a child is the polar opposite of the love that comes in the beginning.  Before I had a child, I thought I knew what love was.  But the moment I held my first baby in my arms, I found a new level of love that far exceeded anything I could have ever imagined. Loss was the antithesis.  Before I lost Joe I thought I could imagine what it would feel like.  I was wrong.  The loss was far deeper and darker than I could have ever fathomed.  I honestly can't find words for it.  Raw, desperate, tormenting agony.  My precious son, who had been raised with attachment parenting in a large loving family and community, surrounded by incredible love and security, was gone.

God kept me going.  My friends and family kept me going--and even complete strangers.  I knew then and continue to know now that I will be reunified with Joe, and next time it will be for eternity. And Vu kept me going.  I often wondered about the timing of God's plan, but even then I trusted that God did have a plan.  God meant for Vu to join our family shortly after the loss of Joe.  Vu was our shining light.  Just a few months later, we would be on a plane to bring him home.