Friday, October 30, 2009

So I've been a little busy lately...

Back to work. I will have to say simply that it's easier to NOT work. I sure do enjoy the company and environment I work in, the job I do--I just knew it would be exhausting getting back in the classroom, and I was right. It won't always be this intense, but I'm basically having my August/September right now. Adjustments on all fronts. Tiring.

Owen is doing GREAT. He adjusted much easier than I did. He loves playing with the other children, and scrambles to get down and play in the morning when Jeff takes him. I fly out of Trinity as fast as I can after school but since I'm an elementary teacher I still get there later than most of the high school teacher-moms, and he has a bit of a hard time when the other babies in his group have gone. The girl who is there in the afternoon with him is SO sweet to distract him and give him extra attention/TLC so he doesn't fret too much in those few minutes until I can get there.

At the end of my first week back, I was exhausted and sitting out in the driveway with Emma and Owen playing. We'd had 50's Day at school and Emma still had her black 'n white polka dots on...I shot this snippet of video on my iPhone and it is just so priceless! It perfectly captures her personality at 5, happy, playful, expressive--I love all the eyebrow movement and nose-scrunching. Just yummy.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"Mommy, I miss Lineker..."

Those were the words out of my 5 year-old daughter Emma's mouth after a few hours in the air on our way home from China this past summer. We were bringing home our son, her baby brother Owen. Full of joy, and utterly exhausted after our two-weeks of travel. I smiled because this did comment did not surprise me. Prior to our trip, I'd asked Emma what she most looked forward to seeing in China, and she said, "All those Chinese people." I was amazed at how our Emma, who usually needs a warm-up period with people, took so quickly to our wonderful guides. Sherry and Lineker in Beijing, Dimple in Changsha, and then Amy and Lineker again in Guangzhou. I realized something that our daughter was missing in her Chinese role models. Through our wonderful church, she's become acquainted with families who have adopted internationally and she's got a special friend there who was adopted from the same province as her--another "Jiangxi Jewel". She also has a friend in her kindergarten class now from China...but no adults. Our guides were funny, wise, efficient, articulate--she watched them switch back and forth between English (Sherry joked about her "Chinglish") and Chinese and lead our groups as we all depended on them and laughed at their jokes...our girl is very perceptive and I think she was blessed to see these wonderful people who looked like her in these leadership roles. I know she also enjoyed seeing the ladies in their stylish outfits each day...Emma is a girl who enjoys getting up each day and picking out her clothes...she loves "being a girl". Each one of the guides took time to get to know not just Emma but all of the children in our group.

So, because of this realization, Emma is taking a Chinese class! For one hour each Monday evening, she sits in class with 5 or 6 other girls who, I realized last night, are hard to tell apart from the back when you snap a picture. She doesn't stand out because she looks so different, and that alone has got to be a good thing for sit with other lovely little girls who look like her. And the class is taught by Ms. Salina, a dear woman from Taiwan whom I had the pleasure to meet the year we adopted Emma because her son was in my third grade class. Salina's daughter Frances comes to class and helps. Frances is a senior in high school...stylish, smart, talented, and very good with young children. Emma was very nervous about this class at first, but after she got her feet wet, she is loving it and looks forward to going. She's learned colors, and we are working on counting, some names of family members, basic phrases, animals, and some little songs. A bonus--I put the CD on in the car and when the Chinese came on, Owen lit up like I'd put it on just for him! So we'll see how it goes. It's a long haul for us and I know when I start back to work it will seem longer, but I am glad we are doing it. We have two China blessings. I want to be sure they have a sense of the awesome place they are from.

Friday, October 2, 2009

He's been scrapped now.

Yes, Owen's officially been scrapbooked by his mom now. We've taken oh-so many pictures of this boy. Jeff, since he got his iPhone a little over a year ago, has become a picture-taking crazy man, whipping that baby out left and right, and now with the new one that has video, my head is spinning and I am primping more than I should be at home. ;0 But to date, I had not scrapbooked a single picture of this boy until yesterday. I always have a hard time getting my mojo back after not doing any scrapbooking for a while. I take comfort in remembering a letter I read from Claude Monet that he had written to someone after he hadn't painted for a lengthy period of time...something like 4 or 5 months. He said something like, "I know I shall have to ruin a few canvases before I paint anything worthwhile." Sheesh! What hope do the rest of us have when we grab that cherished moment of free time and hope to be productive? We can't flush those minutes down the toilet, Claude! It may also have been him who said that there is some point during which every painting he did looked terrible but it is working past that point to find the beauty. Keep working past "crappy", essentially. Hmm. OK. Wish I remembered for sure who said that nugget of wisdom (not the Ann translation) because I think that is so true and I would like to share it with students who are so quick to become discouraged. I am sure I have shared it, in fact, but sources are always good to note. I AM sure the first quote is Monet. So mojo or not, it felt really nice to get back into all my stuff and finally do a page with sweet Owen! Hung it up on the wall in my scrapbook room to inspire me to keep at it. :) The kids are all doing and saying things daily that I want to remember. I will not remember a perfectly clean and organized house, per se, but these things, I will treasure. I already do.