Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Learning, here and there

I had a bit of a freak-out yesterday. Olivia has a hard time getting up for school. I can't blame her. It is at least an hour earlier than she normally wakes up. And she starts out the day with a freaking long bus ride, which is kind of boring.

But after dealing with her morning ritual of whining about the bus and how she'd rather stay home and play with the kids than go to school...well, something just snapped in me. I started researching preschool curricula for home, which led me to a bunch of research about starting organized learning too soon versus keeping kids in exploratory learning, which led me to wondering if she needed to go to school at all and are we ruining her love for learning by torturing her at an early age with a bus ride and will she end up hating school and therefore hating learning and GAH! It was too much for me.

So I messaged my husband, who talked me down from my freak-out. I was feeling better about it through the afternoon, but still a little concerned. I know this whole first semester is a bit of an experiment. Although she looks much older, she's still just three. But she's so social and loves being around other just seemed like the right step to start her in school a couple days a week. But was it?

Of course, the jury is still out, and probably will be until November-ish. But Olivia stepped off the bus talking about the fun day she had, and most of the rest of my anxieties disappeared. I know she hates being on the bus so long, but I can meet the bus in the afternoon in town (2 miles away) and cut a half-hour off her ride home. That might make a big difference in her least-favorite part of the day (she's almost the last kid off the bus). So. Give it some time, right?

I'm thinking about blogging about some of the things we are doing/learning at home too. She's so bright and inquisitive right now. I'm thinking we can learn at school AND at home. I like the school's approach to preschool...very hands-on, experiential learning. Very few worksheets/organized learning, which is good for that age. And we can certainly build on that at home.

For example, last night we were working on yet another landscape area that we are filling in with rock. Olivia climbed into the truck to fill up the rock bucket and found a "broken" rock that she asked about. It turned out to be a rock with a bunch of fossils in it. So after her bath, we looked up fossils and some youtube videos, which she watched closely. Then we looked at the fossils we had and thought about what they might have been...a fish, a lizard spine and a plant were our conclusions. It doesn't matter if we are right. The point is that we are thinking and imagining and understanding the world around us.

I just love how her brain works at this stage. She's such a bright kid. And she's so excited to go to school on Thursday because it's cowboy/cowgirl day and she gets to wear her boots and cowboy hat. So, freak-out over. For this week, anyway.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Look at that...two weeks gone and I haven't posted a thing! Summer is busy. School/summer is busier.

In the past two weeks Olivia has had a love/hate relationship with the bus. First, she was SO EXCITED to ride the big yellow bus to school. That got old after a couple of long rides home on the hot bus (she's on for nearly 90 minutes in the afternoon). She even had a meltdown one morning because she did NOT want to ride the bus. She liked school, just not the bus. But the school is 20-some miles away and I have kids in my house, so if she was going to go to school, she'd HAVE to ride the bus.

So I called the school, and they agreed to give her a seat buddy. She's been sitting with a little girl in kindergarten (who, by the way, is smaller than she is and yes we are raising an Amazon). Now she gets excited about the bus again. Hooray!

In the meantime, I've been writing, writing, writing (just not here). We are presenting an Engaged Encounter weekend in a couple of weeks, and there's a new outline, which means new talks, and it's a lot of work. But it's nearly finished. YAY!

We cleaned up one of our landscaping beds this week and have it planted and ready for rock. Did that while the kids played in the backyard. We are squeezing productivity out of every minute here.

Also, I have new paint for my living spaces, but I haven't figured out when I'm going to have the time to get it on the walls. That requires kids (including mine) being somewhere else, and I haven't made arrangements for that just yet. We need a free weekend. Ha! And a babysitter.

Oh, and we are "active" with our adoption agency now. Which doesn't mean anything in everyday life, unless the phone rings and we get a match. Then things will get REALLY interesting.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

School days

This morning, at 7:05 a.m., I put my baby on the bus for her first day of school. Preschool, yes, but there's something about putting your kid on the BUS that makes it seem like such a milestone. She'll only be going two days a week, but she'll be going all day since the school (the only Catholic school in the county) is about 20 miles away and if she goes all day she can ride the bus with the big kids.

We stood on the driveway for about ten minutes and watched for the bus...her in her favorite purple polka-dotted shirt and backpack slung over her shoulders. She had no anxieties at all. She was READY. I've known this for months. She's so social, so ready to spend time with other kids in a structured environment. I have been theory. She's so independent and I wanted to encourage her to keep moving forward and learning and growing. But then the bus came by. And suddenly I wasn't just sending my child off to preschool. I was watching her become independent of me.

Maybe it's because of the full-time Mom thing, but this is just weird for me. I mean, I spend every day, all day with this kid. Except for occasions when we have a sitter (or when she spends the night with grandparents), she's been my fairly constant companion. Tagging along on shopping trips, doing what I do, her agenda set by mine. Now, she'll have a whole different set of experiences, and soon enough, an agenda of her own. She'll have her activities and sports and fundraisers and friends. It's all about growing more fully into the independent individual she already is.

I know she's excited. I am excited too. But also a little sad. My little girl is growing up.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Routine and active waiting.

Today is my first day back to babysitting for the school year. Olivia is really enjoying having playmates again. REALLY ENJOYING. They are making up pretend games and having a grand old time. I managed to get five pints of tomatoes canned and read through our homestudy draft while they played the morning away.

Speaking of...our homestudy is complete! The report was emailed to us today for our review, and once we make the few edits that are necessary, it will be COMPLETE. Our profile (the picture-laden document that introduces us to birthparents) was finished last week. So we should be active by Monday.


So. Now we wait. But actively, with our cell phones on and charged at all times. It's sort of a weird state of limbo.

Meanwhile, Olivia starts school tomorrow. Preschool, two days a week, all day. Since we've opted to send her to preschool at the Catholic school where we intend her to go for elementary school, and it's on the other side of the county, she'll ride the bus to and from preschool. And she is SO EXCITED. I am a little nervous. I hope she does well on the bus. I don't have many anxieties about the actual school day, but her behavior on the bus does concern me. Especially since she will be getting on the bus about an hour and a half earlier than she usually WAKES UP. We have not done very well in shifting her schedule to be ready for this change, but I guess she'll adjust...

I don't suppose I was really ready for the school year, but away we go...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Our homestudy should be finished in just a couple of weeks. We have done everything we need to we just wait on the agency to finish the paperwork. And with their track record, we could have a match or even a placement within three months.

That is fast.

It seems like we've been waiting and waiting for years to add a baby to our family. We are ready. But we've also become so comfortable with life as it is that I'm sure it will be a shocking adjustment when it happens anyway.

I am excited with the anticipation of it all. And trying to enjoy every day we have left as a family of three while we still have this.

It's funny how change is so eagerly anticipated and yet bittersweet because it means forever changing what we are now. And what we are now is good, but not complete, I think.