Sunday, December 28, 2008

Four years ago today...

....I became a Mommy when they placed Shaye in my arms. It was right around this time of day, too, that Caroline called with the news (2pm)!

Happy metcha/cake day my sweet little love!!!!

My first glimpse of you 12/28/04

Mommy and her girl

Then two years later to the exact day, my Laela came from the hospital and joined our family (I still think it's so bizarre that Shaye and Laela have the same metcha day!)

Laela on her coming home day

Laela at Annabeth & Mayela's wedding

December 28, 2004 was the happiest day of my life. Today is a VERY special day for me. :D

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Birth parents!

It's really bizarre to me that we met Naia's birthmom and just a few weeks later we met Shaye's birthmom (before Laela was born). Then on Thanksgiving we met Naia's birthfather and today we got to meet Shaye's paternal aunt, grandmother and great grandmother! We didn't get to see her birthfather, but we did get pictures of photo's they had. Immediately, when I saw her biological aunt I was STUNNED! I always knew that Shaye must resemble the paternal side of her dna than maternal....and DOES she! Holy crap. There is no denying who her paternal birth family is!!! I will be posting some photos on my account for those of you on my protected list. I can't wait to meet him someday. We also found out that Shaye's paternal ethnicity is Mexican, French, and Native American. We know on her maternal side it is Chilean.

In other birthmom news, my Mommy is going to be here tomorrow at 4pm!!! YAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!! I am so excited that my Mom will be spending Christmas and Laela's birthday with us. It will be the first time she has ever met Laela and only the 2nd time she has met Shaye and Naia!! I hate that she won't fly (she's on an Amtrak train at this very moment!) so that we could see her more often. But this will definitely be a Holly Jolly Christmas for my family!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

School tours. Blah.

My last tour (for now) was yesterday at an K-8 Open school about 5 miles from home. I wanted to be *SO* impressed. I thought this was really going to be our first choice at open enrollment (vs. our REAL first choice which is to leave her at her current private Montessori school and the 2nd best option is a Montessori charter school). I have heard so many good things about this school and their API is off the chart this year at 907 (that's impressive!). I attended a parent info. tour at another K-6 Open school and fell madly in love with their classrooms, theory, teachers, really had that WOW factor. Even the group of parents that I toured the school with were left standing with their jaws open. It was seriously the next best thing to Montessori. I thought this K-8 school would send me over the edge and I was confident that I would like it even more.

But.......(and you knew it was coming)......

I wasn't wow'd. I was not even really that impressed. What I liked about the K-6 school is that it had a cozy feel to their classrooms, SWEET teachers (and I really get a vibe about people almost immediately), super smart, happy children that were really excited to be at their school. The classroom was physically very spacious with cute reading lofts and no individual desks. All the children work in groups (according to their ability levels - some alone and some with a volunteer parent) as opposed to having 20 or 30 children all sitting around with one teacher. We walked into a 4th grade class at the K-8 school and there were probably 30+ children in there, all sitting at their own desk, it was MAJORLY cramped in the room, and the were all doing the exact same work, at the exact same time, with the exact same teacher. It really felt awkward to me. At least the K-6 school had a very Montessori-ish feel about it even without the materials. The teachers at the K-8 school seem a little up tight (I actually know one of them because Shaye went to school with her son and I honestly always found her very odd) and overall they just didn't ooze "respect the child", ya know? So, I guess our decision has been made for open enrollment purposes. I think we'll put our first choice as the K-6 school and see what happens. Enrollment is done by computer generated random lottery and I have heard that there is a currently a waiting list of 117 kids. Ugggggggggh. That really sucks. So, chances are if you don't get in via the lottery, you are S.O.L.

The Montessori charter school has 2 campuses that I am touring in Jan. and they are not a part of the school district open enrollment, so I still have hope (and a good gut feeling) that we will be selected to get into that school. There is also talk about our current school to start a first grade program. If that's the case, we may just stay in private school if we don't get selected for the charter. There is also a K-8 private Montessori school a few miles from our current school that may be an option, but it's pricey. The older kids even work towards a HAM radio license and do a lot of really interesting work like that. I don't want to put my kids into a school and then pull them out in 3rd grade due to finances. It's an amazing school, but I'd definitely have to go back to work and I'm SOOOO not ready to do that yet. ;)

The bottom line is that I can't see past Montessori at this point. There truly is no education quite like it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A slightly delayed Christmas

I have been avoiding putting up our tree due to the two kittens in our house. Oh, they will definitely be perched at the top at some point - I'm sure of it. Tonight I put all the lights up on the outside of the house. I got all the lights up, plugged them in, and.....nothing. All 3 strings were completely DEAD! So, bless Caroline's heart, she went and bought us all new lights for the house tonight! When she came home, I put the lights up in the dark and went CRAZY this year! We even have lights around our door, on the wreath on the door, and all across the front yard and down the side. Really, I outdid myself. ;)

One thing that struck me as so bizarre while I was out there. I was in a pair of cut off sweat pant shorts stringing lights around a palm tree. Huh? Right now in Baltimore it's below freezing and they are probably due for snow any day. It's so weird living in an area that is actually warm on Christmas. And by warm, I'm talking mid to upper 50's during the day. I don't even own a real winter coat.


Our friends Chelsea and little William visited us today. I remember going into the NICU 3 years ago and seeing this little boy. It literally made me gasp out loud when I saw him for the first time. He was only 2 lbs. 2 oz. and was no bigger than a Coke can with a tennis ball head. He was born early at 26 weeks. Thank the universe he is 100% FINE now and is a big 3 year old (he and Naia are gestationally about the same age). They were outside and got distracted by the crayons. ;)


Shaye has been obsessed with the moveable alphabet at school. Then she comes home and wants to spell more words. Here she is making her "little book of 'at' words". She starts with "at" and then adds different letters to make different "at" words (bat, cat, rat, hat, sat, mat, etc.) After she uses the moveable alphabet to spell out the word, she then spells it out on paper. When it's all done, we turn it into a little book. She is just SO proud of herself! I'm so excited that she is so interested in learning to read so early.

My girl is obsessed with spelling and reading these days

Doing her "at' words

Another obsession has been the hundred board. As happy as I am to see her taking such an interest in the math area, I cringe when she wants to do this at home (which is almost daily) because it takes a long time for a 4 year old to go from 1 to 100 (an hour +) and she wants Mommy to sit and watch her. Her teacher at school said she has really been spending a lot of time doing math. I asked last week because every night Shaye wants to count "as high as she can" and I can't even get through 2 pages of reading her a book without her wanting to count every object on the page.

Shaye and Naia figuring out the hundred board together

Happy weekend!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I want a new house!!!

Today when I was picking Shaye up from school, one of her classmate's Grandmother called the school and asked me if I could bring her grandson home. I just adore this woman and she only lives about a mile from the school, so I gladly took him home. When I pulled into their drive I was just blown away by their property! She said it's one and a half acres, completely fenced with a cute little white security fence all the way around the property. They have a pot belly pig (that was SO cool!) and 3 dogs and next week they are getting two miniature donkeys and 2 alpacas! HOW FREAKIN' COOL!!! I grew up in a house with about the same acreage and about 10 acres of forest behind me and it was so awesome! When I was in elementary school, the house across from us was a farm with about 25 acres of corn fields. Oh man...those are some of the best memories I have as a kid. That is the kind of house I want my kids to have - now while they are little and can enjoy tree swings and rock piles and dirt and jumping in raked leaves and explore little critters.


She invited us to stay and let the kids play and when we left Shaye threw a major tantrum like I have never seen before. It just makes me realize what they are missing out on by living on .19 of an acre in a housing development.


Talk about a downer!

I've visited 3 public alternative schools this week, so far. The first school was an Open school and it scared the HELL out of me. The second school was another Open school that would definitely be high on my list if it were K-8. Unfortunately, it's only K-6 *AND* I just can't see past Montessori anymore no matter how good a school is. The third school was a fundamental school and I was more horrified of this school than the first Open school I saw. I wanted to visit a fundamental school to get a better idea of what their theory was and, well, now I know. YUK! One of their discipline techniques is to make a child go sit at a table and put their head down!! When I told Shaye's Montessori teacher that she had a look of horror on her face and said, "What exactly is that teaching the child other than how to be degraded?" I was so glad she said that. Right on the heels of that, a little boy in Shaye's class was laying down on the floor in circle and she simply distracted him by calling him over to help with snack. I am so in love with her teacher. :::sigh:::: I also visited a private montessori school yesterday that is PreK-8th grade and it was pretty damn amazing. The only bad thing I saw is that it is in a very ritzy, republican, rich neighborhood and I can't see myself or my children relating to the other mom's and kids in that school. Plus, to send all 3 of my kids there it would cost $15,000 a year! ACK! We could swing 1 kid, maybe 2, but not 3 of 'em. Then I also set out to find another Montessori charter school in the county next to ours, but my car's navigation system apparently had an old address. I gave up after 30 minutes of driving around aimlessly. I came home and looked at their website and it's not that much farther than where the kids go to school now, so I guess it's another option. My tour with the Montessori school that is our first choice is in January and I am counting down the days. I can't wait to see their program. I have heard so many good things about it that I hope I'm not let down. I have come to realize that I have pretty high standards in a school (it's amazing how many parents don't :( ).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The love of a big sister

All 3 girls are running up and down the hall, screaming, in Princess shoes - CHAOS! It's sheer CHAOS!! I love listening to that sometimes (when I'm not cranky! LOL!) and today is one of those days that I am just letting them do their sister thing. They are all really into each other right now

This is what just ensued:

Laela: :::WAILING::::comes running to Mommy::::
Mommy: What happened? ::::picking up the wailing baby::::
Shaye: Mommy, I just slipped in the hallway in my socks and landed on Laela.
Mommy: Aww..poor baby. :::telling Laela that she is ok::::
Laela: Stops screaming bloody murder and is now just whimpering

So, I put Laela down and tell Shaye to give her a hug so she understands that you didn't mean to hurt her and Shaye says,

"Laela, I'm sorry. Do you want to play now? Come on baby sister."

:::clopCLOPclopCLOP::: And they all run off down the hallway screaming again.
I heard this song by Rascal Flatts yesterday while flipping through the XM channels and really loved the lyrics. I can already see another short little video in pre-production. ;) It just describes everything that I went through with infertility which eventually led me to my daughters. I love when I find a song like this.


There's a place I've been looking for
That took me in and out of buildings
Behind windows, walls and doors
And I thought I found it
Couple times, even settled down
And I'd hang around just long enough
To find my way back out
I know now the place that I was trying to
Was you, right here in front of me

And I wouldn't change a thing
I'd walk right back through the rain
Back to every broken heart
On the day that it was breakin'
And I'd re-live all the years
And be thankful for the tears
I've cried with every stumbled step
That led to you and got me here, right here

It's amazing what I let my heart go through
To get me where it got me
In this moment here with you
And it passed me by
God knows how many times
I was so caught up in holding
What I never thought I'd find
I know now, there's a million roads
I had to take
To get me in your arms that way

In a love I never thought I'd get to get to
And if that's the road
God made me take to be with you

And I'd re-live all the years
And be thankful for all the tears
I've cried with every stumbled step
That led to you and got me here, right here

And speaking of adoption, yesterday was Shaye's full day at school. They have dance class on Wed. and they also had a birthday celebration. When I got there, my favorite little boy in Shaye's class was there (he's not usually there for dance, but he has decided he wants to now..hehehe...) and so was his mom. Her and I started chit chatting (which turned out that we yip yapped for an hour and I didn't even leave the school until 5!) and during our conversation she just casually mentioned, "When we adopted J and his older brother A......" and I think my jaw hit the floor. I had *NO* idea that this little boy was adopted!!!!! I think I've blogged about him before, but he is truly the sweetest little fella I have ever met. He always goes out of his way to wave to me when I walk Shaye in for the morning and always has a huge smile on his face. He LOOOOOOOOOVES Shaye (I can't stress that enough) and Shaye absolutely adores him (talks about him constantly). Sometimes when I go in to pick Shaye up he is waiting with her (since he is also a half day student) and every single time I see him he runs to me and throws his arms around me in the sweetest way and gives me a huge hug. He is such a gentle little boy and is so gentle with Shaye. I always joke around and tell the teacher and his mom that I am going to start planning their wedding now.

So, I talked with his mom for an hour and we shared adoption stories and it was TRULY amazing to find out how he joined his family. I have always felt a pull towards this little boy and now it makes me wonder if I felt that connection because he was adopted? Hmm....

Shaye and Joel run off to the hay house

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Feeling icky and googly all at the same time

Last night I started aching and my throat was sore and I feel like I was injured by a speeding car. This morning I feel a little better, but my throat still hurts a little. My sweetie is staying home with me today and she took the kids to school this a.m. I don't know how single parents do it. In moments like this, I really, really feel for them. At least I don't feel so flu-like this a.m.

Last night before going to bed, Shaye was laying between Caroline and I (as always) and all she wanted to do was see how high she could count!! It was so dang cute. I think I heard her hit 30 before I was asleep. Heheheh.. Before her counting spell, right as the lights went out, she leaned over, kissed me on the cheek, and whispered in the sweetest little girl voice, "Mommy? I love you more than anything in the world." That did it. It was officially the sweetest thing she has ever said to me. Then right after that she said, "Mommy? Do you know today is a new month? Today is December 1st." LOL!

WOW! I am so incredibly thankful to be a mommy to these babies. I just can't even imagine my life without them. Last night I fell asleep feeling like crap, but feeling so incredibly blessed.