Our 5-Ring Circus

Our 5-Ring Circus

Scooter, Quab and Bugs

Scooter, Quab and Bugs
Serving the Princesses since 2004

Tiana and Goose

Tiana and Goose
They really need all of those big brothers...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bullies with Money AKA UNICEF

I just came across this article Haiti By the Numbers. I was struck by the number of orphans who have been able to leave the country, compared to the number (20,000 documented orphans) that are still in Haiti. Yet there are organizations (yeah, UNICEF, I'm talking about you) who have historically been very vocal about their dislike of international adoption. And these same organizations are now working to stop documented orphans from leaving Haiti. WHY? WHY? WHY? Will there not be thousands of new orphans from this disaster? Is UNICEF planning to build new orphanages in Haiti to house them all, then feed clothe and educate each one? Or is UNICEF just a big, rich bully who pushes people around because they can? You know what, just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you SHOULD. UNICEF, you suck.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

In Honor of Seth

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Saying Goodbye Before Hello

One of our Luckyhill families lost their precious little boy yesterday. Seth was ill and did not make it to the hospital before he "flew home to his Father in Heaven," as his mother wrote. He was so close to coming home to his family, who has fought and waited for Seth for a very long time. Their faith and attitude throughout the journey has been an inspiration to me. They are good people, kind people, people who give everything to those who need it and who, even while in the midst of their own battles, encouraged us and supported us. They are an eternal family and they will have Seth again when they all meet in Heaven. It is comforting to have that assurance, but the mortal heart still feels the pain of loss.

Everyone who has met Seth comments on his smile. You couldn't help but be drawn into its glow. I remember when I met him in October. I was trying to coax a smile and he was being very shy. He would talk to Tiana and laugh with her, but not me. Then, all of a sudden, he came up to me and tapped me on the leg. He stomped his foot to show me his new light-up shoes that his Dad had bought for him. Then he looked up and that beautiful smile just beamed out at me for a second or two. Seth was already basking in his family's love and he knew it. I will remember that precious smile forever, it was like pure sunshine.

Hug your kids a little tighter today. Just look at them and marvel that you have them, that you can hug them and that you can tell them that you love them. We will all miss Seth, but nobody more than Rob and Shannon and their children.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Nope!

In the past few days of helping Bugs with his homework, I have discovered that all of those Advanced and AP classes I took in high school a few (ahem) years ago did me no good at all. I now remember just barely enough to get him through his 5th/6th grade math, and he will leave me in the dust by junior high. Humbling? Humiliating? I don't know which word fits best. Either way it doesn't feel good at all. I was a smart kid, I breezed through Calculus and a bunch of other nerdy classes. No offense to nerds at all, I freely admit to being one. School was easy for me and I took my God-given gifts for granted. In retrospect, I see that someone should have kicked my butt a few times. I'm sure my parents wanted to. I'm sure they tried. I should have made it a priority to continue learning and using what I had already learned. I could use my many young children as an excuse. I could list ten other lame excuses but it comes down to this. I.have.been.lazy. I want my children to appreciate their gifts and especially their educational opportunities. I have some children who will breeze through every class and some who have to battle through every assignment. Fortunately, God has blessed my "fighters" with the determination and attitude to do well, and I hope I can convince the "breezers" to go the extra mile instead of coasting like their Mom did. I want them to see me struggle with things that were so easy not long ago, because I did not appreciate or use the talents that I was given by my Heavenly Father. I want to remember how it felt to know how, even if that means I must re-learn it all. So, I just enrolled in an online Algebra class at a certain local university (not the red one. As if!) and hopefully I will be better at learning than I am at teaching! I loved math (I already admitted to my nerdiness) and I hope I can rekindle those feelings. I have already started praying, and I'm serious when I say that. I cannot do this on my own. At least the last 20 years have taught me that much. 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Brighter Days and First Days

Tiana still hates being taught by her Mom. Let us just say that the feeling is somewhat mutual, and leave it at that. I love my girl to the ends of the Earth. After my rant the other day I am enbarrassed at how whiny I sounded. I'm leaving the post up, though, because it's reality with an older adopted child. We expected and prepared for much more and much worse and we'll find our "groove" soon enough. Today was a bright spot for sure!

Today was Tiana's first day of school. I was prepared to take her to school and stay for the whole time she was there. Scooter wanted to walk her into the classroom so he could introduce her to her teacher (who was his teacher last year). He was so proud to walk in with Tiana. We got her settled into her desk and introduced her to her neighbors. Then I went and stood out of sight to see what would happen. I'll be darned if she didn't sit right down, get her things ready and jump right into Kindergarten like she had been there all year! I left the room and waited in the office for a bit longer, just in case. I made sure my cellphone number was on record and I stayed close to the school while running errands. Not a peep from the new student. In fact, when I picked her up, she was so excited that she was speaking half English and half Fante and she didn't even know it. I LOVED that! The teacher raved about Tiana's behavior, her attitude and her willingness to work hard. Tiana loves her teachers, she loves her class, she made new friends, she thinks school is FUN, she wants to go EVERY day. She showed me her work and it is far and away better than anything she has done at home. What a turnaround and what a blessing!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Busy Beezz

Does anyone else in Utah remember when all of the local sports teams ended in "zz." So annoying. Anyway...

Some of you might wonder whether we're still alive. Yes, we are and super busy. We have that little bedroom project in full swing, and the kids are back in school which means I am back in the car. All day. The errands we ignored during winter break are piled onto my to-do list and I'm slowly chipping away at that in addition to some new things that I have committted to doing for my family. I don't make resolutions, so let's call it priority shifting. Blogging moves waaaaaay lower on the list, unfortunately. I find myself unexpectedly homeschooling a Kindergartener so she will not have to repeat that grade a third time this fall. She had Kindergarten in Ghana last year and we are working on it at home this year. She should, by age and according to her previous school records, be in 1st grade right now. But she is nowhere near ready for that. Let me tell you, I knew a long time ago that I didn't want to homeschool for a number of reasons. The highest on the list was my lack of patience, especially when teaching. Second would probably  be my lack of agreement with the school that it is my problem to catch her up to a level they deem acceptable before they will enroll her. Of course we want her to succeed and we will do whatever it takes to get her to the point where she can keep up in a traditional school setting. I'm not looking for a debate on homeschooling vs. unschooling vs. public school vs. private school. We love our school (with the exception of the past few weeks that we've been fighting to get Tiana in) and it has been a wonderful educational experience for all of our boys. A third reason is that, on a good day, I don't have the time or energy to dedicate to teaching a child who is unwilling to cooperate with me, even if I did have the patience. I have plenty else to do, for people who want me to do it and thank me for it when I am finished. It is much more productive, in Tiana's mind, to sit at the table and cry while I attempt to torture her by making her trace the number 2 or write the letter "i" with pretty glitter pens. The horror of it all!! It is one of the expected but unpleasant effects of adopting a school-age child with a very different educational background than we have here. I suspect quite a bit of our daily drama is her trying to convince us that she knows nothing, so cannot possibly start school yet. She doesn't want to go. At all. Especially since it has meant monthly trips to the pediatrician for immunizations. Seven or eight at a time. Today she got a break. Only four. Poor baby, I wouldn't be too keen on that either! But we know she is bright and when she is willing, she picks things up quickly. From all reports, she didn't hold a high opinion of school (or Primary or helping around the home) in Ghana either. Crying got her a lot of attention from a lot of older kids who would do her jobs for her. We were told by several people who saw her in action that she could/would turn on the tears at will, and they weren't kidding! Her American siblings are less willing to play the game. They have already been desensitized by Bellerella, who has tried it all and failed to elicit the desired response. She eventually stopped (mostly) the behaviors because she simply got no response from any of us. Tiana, on the other hand, hasn't quite figured this out yet. You've got to give her some credit for persistence. Anyway, if you drive by and see or hear me screaming and running around in circles in the front yard, assume it is "school time" for Tiana. Don't endanger your life by stopping, just throw a Mountain D*w or some dark chocolate my way and drive on. On a positive note, Bellerella should be ready for first grade by the time she hits Kindergarten in August. She loves "school" and begs to do the lessons along with her sister every day. Their constant competition has to have an upside, right?  I hope the school knows what to do with them both! Do you believe that there was a time, many years ago, that I wanted very much to teach Kindergarten? God bless those brave souls who do it every day of their lives and come out smiling! Teaching just ONE Kindergartner is going to be the death of my sole remaining thread of sanity.