Friday, August 21, 2009

We survived our first week!

I got through Shaye's first week of Kindergarten with only a little distress on my soul!! 2 of the 5 days were filled with "Mommy stay" or "Mommy don't leave me, Pleeeeeeeeeeease!" Thursday morning was rough. I cried a little for my baby who confessed in confidentiality during early morning pillow talk that she was scared of the newness of it all - I wept like there had been a death in the family. When a Mommy has to hear that her baby is scared of something, the Mama Bear instincts immediately flare up and you just want to protect her with every fiber of your being. I had fleeting moments of "Maybe we should have kept her in preschool for another year. I loved her teachers there and they can NEVER be duplicated" or "Are they not taking care of her needs?" Thursday morning I left the school with my heart in room K2. I sobbed as I drove away and saw her sitting on her teacher's lap (who is FUCKING awesome, btw!) with her face buried in her neck. It killed me. This morning we had a few "I'm not going to get dressed" incidents (I told her that her new friends would love to see her pj's that say 'Little Cupcake' ") and she finally gave in when I told her that we could do it "the easy way or the hard way" (one of my newest lines. LOL!) We got to school and she immediately ran off to play with her new friends, but when the teacher rang the little bell for them to come inside, she grabbed my hand and begged me to stay. Luckily, today is furlough Friday and Caroline was with us. I walked her through the line to her teacher (I will tell y'all more about this in a second) and kissed her goodbye. It had to be a quick transition.....she, of course, was just fine.

On her first day, they did this really cool little thing where the kids arrive and have about 15 min. of outside play (depending on how early you arrive) and all the parents hang out and talk. It's a really amazing vibe and most of the parents seem very friendly. The lead teacher (or guide as they are called) rang this delicate little brass bell and asked the children to line up. She then took a seat on a little kid sized chair and one by one she greeted them as they walked into the classroom (where they are guided by the other teacher/guide to their morning meeting spot). I thought that was a really great thing to do and assumed that it was a "first day of the year" type thing. Tuesday, we were running late and I dropped her off in the dropoff loop because she did so GREAT on her first day. She hopped out of the car and I watched her walk to her classroom like a pro! I felt horribly guilty for doing that to her on her 2nd day of school, but to my surprise she keeps asking to be dropped off in the loop! LOL! Wed., Thurs., and today I walked her in. On Wed. and Thurs. I actually left before they went into their classroom and just assumed the teacher would call them in and they would start their day. Well, today I was so incredibly impressed that they did the little "ring the bell, greet the teacher with a handshake, and walk into their classroom" routine. WOW!! What an incredible grace and courtesy lesson!!!!!!!!

After one week, I have discovered that I absolutely love this school. I am already deeply in love with both her teachers (hopefully I will still be saying this in three months! LOL!) The lead teacher is really laid back with a real low key, quirky (in a good way) hippie vibe. She's very direct and carries herself with a lot of self assurance and is very friendly. The other teacher is very sweet and reminds me of Maryanne from Gilligan's Island. LOL!! She just seems like a little farm girl from Iowa. And what impresses me most of all is that they are EXTREMELY into the Montessori philosophy. I was really worried about this because of a couple of reviews I have read about the school (they have 5 campuses), but now I can see that it truly must have been either ex-maligned-employees or parents who really don't have a clue - or both.

So far so good!! Here are some pics of her first day:

Lining up to meet Ms. Susan on her first day of Montessori Kindergarten

I am really bummed that they have lightened up on their uniform code and have turned it more into a dress code now. They still have to wear solid tops and bottoms with no characters, but they can wear ANY color and can also wear stripes (no floral or plaid) and shirts with no collars. We got Shaye a lot of the Children's Place uniforms that are really casual, but SUPER cute (unlike the polyester grossness of a lot of uniforms out there!) I liked the dressy uniform look better, but oh well. At least nobody is allowed to come to school with a Dora backpack, Transformer lunchbox, Thomas shirts, or blinking princess shoes.

Greeting Ms. Susan on her first day

Pleased to meet you!

Getting reading to enter her class

I love this place!!!!!

Showing little sister around her new classroom:

Shaye giving us the tour of her new classroom

Shaye's new classroom

In front of the CUTEST map ever in her classroom!

First day of school lunch (she requested all of this! LOL!):

First day of school lunch in her new Laptop Lunchbox

Oh, and also some pics of her preschool graduation:

Shaye with her Montessori preschool diploma

2009 Montessori graduate

Saturday, July 25, 2009

And so begins a new chapter....

My first born just finished almost 2 years of Montessori preschool and is now heading for ::sniff::: KINDERGARTEN!!! We are so lucky to be able to keep her in a Montessori school with NO tuition until the 8th grade! I am so incredibly proud of her accomplishments and how determined and focused she is on her work. I know that Montessori school is really laying the foundation for her so that she LOVE'S what she does and it really and truly shows. She is so damn proud of herself (and Mommy and Mama, too!) Last night we had her summer project bound at Kinko's and she was thrilled about it. It was like we just handed her the moon!! I went through it last night and started crying because I was in AWE of her work. For a 4 year old to be so focused and determined really blows my mind a little. Yesterday was her last day and on Friday's in the summer they have water play. She said, "Mommy, I don't want to put my bathing suit on and play in the water. I really need to finish W, X, Y, and Z of my book because this is my last day." I was stunned!!!!!! So, I stayed with her a little while and she finished her book. I am so proud of you, Shaye!!!!!

The last ever Montessori preschool job

Bound with a clear plastic front and plastic back to protect it:

Shaye's summer book project

Shaye's summer book project

Shaye's summer book project

Shaye's summer book project

Shaye's summer book project

Shaye's summer book project

Shaye's summer book project

Shaye's summer book project

This was her first ever job (pink tower) and her last job (working on her word book):

First and last preschool Montessori job

Her first day of school (on right) and last day (on left):

First and last day of preschool

The little graduate:

Getting fitted for her preschool graduation

The little graduate

Saying goodbye to her class:

Getting goodbye hugs from her teacher

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mmmmm...oh, yeah....kiss me baby!!!

Patrice Pike performs "Kiss Me Baby" from Pride Wright on Vimeo.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ok, it's settled.

The three most perfect and beautiful and smart girls EVER!!!! I'll have to scan this one later without the ZAZZLE across their faces.

3 of the 4 loves of my life

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Animals, animals everywhere....

This has to be one of the best educational toys I have ever seen. I found it at a local children's resale stores and my kids play with it ALLLLLLLL the time. Right now they are behind me listening to the noise the Bison makes over and over and over and over and laughing their heads off. It sounds like, well, a big stinker. LOL! The Giant Hornet sounds like a really long brrrrrrrrrrrrrr and they think it's just hysterical. It teaches about continents, countries, and animals and it holds their attention FOREVER!

Playing with their Leap Frog National Geographic Really Wild Animals toy

Playing with their Leap Frog National Geographic Really Wild Animals toy

We'll soon have some butterflies in the house. We have watched the larvae turn into large caterpillars and they are now in their pupa stage. The other day my friend asked how long they would be in this stage and I honestly had no idea. I said I'd have to look in the little booklet it came with. Shaye (remember, she's 4) said, "Mommy, it will be a pupa for 10 days." Sure enough, I found the little book last night and it said 7-10 days. It's 4 year old knows more than me when it comes to zoology! LOL!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Anthony Michael

New baby birth brother Anthony

New baby birth brother Anthony

How can my heart not ache for him?

We had a great visit with Lisa today and baby Anthony is precious (HUGE nose, but precious. Heh.) Lisa truly is an amazing woman despite her past history with her pregnancies and birth children. She has stopped smoking, is clean, and Anthony's dad seems to be a hard worker and is love with his new son. It's hard, but seeing the situation with my own eyes gives me a little hope. Everything is in order and she has the things she needs for a baby. She was attentive, however out of the 4 hours we were there I think I held him 3 hours and 45 min. She changed his diaper and made him a bottle and she actually looked like she knew what she was doing. Her neice is there with her and they are getting a lot of help from family members, so I can only hope that this baby is on the path he was meant to be on.

But I did whisper in his ear that I wish he was mine.

New baby birth brother Anthony

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I'm so incredibly sad tonight

Shaye and Laela's birthmom gave birth to a little boy yesterday (April 10) at 9:27am. 7 lbs. 7 oz. They have named him Anthony Michael. I believe Laela was born at 9:27 in the a.m., so how weird is that? We have known about the pregnancy since last summer and we are about 98% sure that our decision to adopt this child was not going to happen. Because of that, I haven't really given it that deep, soul searching kind of thought. Now that he's here, I have just been crying since we found out at noon today. How can we not adopt this child? But honestly, how can we? How is it possible to be sane with 4 children 4 years old and under? My heart is speaking "bring him to us". My head is telling me to hope for the best for the baby that he gets placed into a loving home.

The saddest part is that it sounds as if the baby may possibly go home with mom and dad (dad was at the birth, has been there since, and Caroline said he actually sounds like a nice guy). Dad kept thanking us for calling and C said he sounded really happy. We know that CPS is investigating right now, but I am really scared that this little boy will get lost in the system. All it takes is for them to do a couple of home visits, determine it's ok, and that's life.

I'm just sad. Sad for my family. Sad for my children. Sad for this baby. Sad for myself. Sad. Sometimes life just doesn't seem fair.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

OMG WE'RE IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I got the call this afternoon that Shaye will be starting her kindy year at a local Montessori charter school that goes K-8!! I am BEYOND stoked about this. We applied at 2 campuses and the one she got picked for is really awesome and I am very happy about it!!!! Oh, man...I am so RELIEVED!! Naia and Laela will also get to go there since they have sib priority. Can I tell everybody what a huge relief it is knowing that your education hopes and dreams for your child is coming to fruition? WHEW! Oh, I pray this is the right decision. It feels right. :)

Naia will stay in our private Montessori preschool until she starts kindy. And we may enroll Laela this August in pre-school, but she won't be going to kindy until 2012, so we may wait for awhile to enroll her.

GAHHHH!! I'm so excited I can barely stand it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My baby is becoming a big girl!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!! Last night the kids were so excited about setting our Leprechaun trap they could barely sit still. Our "bait" was Lucky Charms (I mean, what ELSE besides pennies or shoes would a Leprechaun like?) Shaye woke me up at 6:30 this morning and insisted that we all get up immediately to check the "trap". We didn't snare any little sprites, but what they found under their tripped trap was shamrock cookies, shiny pennies and quarters, a special coin that fell out of the Leprechaun's pot of gold, and Leprechaun glitter was everywhere!!! They are tricky little fellas!! There was even a note that said: Top o'the morning to ya! Thanks for the treat, but us Leprehauns are a wee bit too clever for ya. Better luck next St. Patrick's Day. Love, Leppie (ok, so Caroline gave him the name, not me! LOL! Shaye insisted his name was Johnny though!)

Leprechaun bait

Stickers on our Leprechaun trap

Setting the trap for the Leprechaun

This is what we found in the morning!

Didn't get the Leprechaun, but they were happy!

Ok, I know this is a gross topic, but Laela is almost out of diapers!! She is now pooping and peeing in the potty and absolutely REFUSES diapers. She will only wear pull ups and, oh my GOD, if you don't let her wear a pull up she FREAKS the hell out!!!! Six months ago I said that she was going to be our hardest child to get out of diapers (her stubborn streak is fierce!) and crazy enough she's turning out to be the easiest!!! I remember when Shaye and Naia were potty learning that it took a lot of patience on my part. Neither of them really cared about using the potty, but once they did they did great. Laela has been actively trying now for months and I've been the bad Mommy trying hard to just keep her in diapers. Maybe I just want her to stay my baby for a little while longer?

Friday, March 13, 2009

A tale of a birth father....

Today when I went to pick Shaye and Naia up from school, Shaye's teacher Ms. K caught me in the lobby and said, "I have to tell you another great Shaye story" with a huge smile on her face. One of the kids said something about her having a dad and this is the dialogue that went on at the lunch table:

Little friend "G": something blah blah blah dad something something Shaye blah blah blah (not sure how the convo started)
Shaye: (very non-chalantely as she was eating her cream cheese sandwich at the lunch table): I don't have a dad. I have a BIRTH dad named Danny. And I have a birth mom named Lisa.
Little friend "H": OoooOOooooo...Danny is a beautiful name.
Shaye: Yeah, and Naia has a birth mom. Her name is April. And Lisa is Laela's birth Mom, too.

Ms. K said the conversation went on and on and Shaye explained the whole story about her adoption and how she has a Mommy and Mama and who grew in who's belly - all the while talking about it like it was any other story. I have to say that I was actually stunned!! I knew that the subject would come up eventually about a) the fact that she has two Mom's and b) that she was adopted. I just never realized this would all start in PREschool. Of course we talk to them about their adoption and birth parents all the time (pictures and video included), but I have always wondered how much of it has really made sense to them. I guess it makes sense as it would to a 4 year old! I have always prayed that she would handle it EXACTLY the way she did. Ms. K said that if she ever wanted to bring in pictures of her birth parents to share, she could do that and they would talk about adoption. I love her teacher and how they all make our family feel "normal" and our kids feel safe to discuss their story at school.

What a warm and fuzzy way to start a weekend!!!

Neurosis vs. Virus

Ok, so my neurosis with school "shopping" began years ago, but we got our first letter in the mail from our school district saying that Shaye is #9 on the waiting list for an alternative school that we enrolled her in as back up. It's not the Montessori school we want her to go to, so I'm not stressing. In fact, I'm a little relieved she didn't get picked (random lottery) because this school really is an awesome school and if it were not for Montessori, this would be the school I would want her to go to. It's an Open school and I was really, really impressed. Being #9 on the list is actually not bad and I would expect by the end of summer to be getting a call saying she can actually start kindergarten there. This school is a highly sought after school, so it really gives me hope that she WILL (fingers crossed!) get in on the random lottery Montessori school (please Universe if you hear me!!!!) Of course our solid back up plan is to just keep her in private Montessori for her K year. We're getting close to finding something out. These next few months of spring/summer are horribly suspenseful ones.

In other news, how can a virus stay in your body for two months??? I have been sick since about mid-January. It's probably the worst cold I have ever had in my life. No fever or chills or flu-like symptoms, it's just a really BAD cold. It started with horrible, and I mean excruciating - almost migraine like - headaches. I think I had a sinus infection, but before I could see a doc it cleared up. Now it has moved into my chest and the coughing spasms have returned. The other day I coughed violently for an hour straight. I was about to call Caro and tell her that I was dropping the girls off with her mom and going to the ER. It was that bad. I guzzled a ton of Delsym (I know, SO BAD!) and took some Mucinex (sp?) and was a bit better. I have to say this Mucinex stuff is the BOMG DIGGITY!!! If you have a really dry hacking cough, take one of the extra strength tablets and you will be good as new.

Happy weekend!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Proud Mama

Shaye has been so cute over the last 3 days. She started a job on Thursday called The Hundreds Board. Basically, it's a board that is numbers 1-100 and she has to put them in order.

Her teacher said she was extremely focused on the job and was concerned that she couldn't finish it all in one day, so they kept it under an easel in the library area so she could continue on Friday. On Friday, she pulled it out and worked on it again and still didn't finish it (it really does take a 4 year old quite some time and a lot of concentration to go from 1-100). So, today I asked her what job she picked at school today and she said, "Mommy, I am so proud of myself. I finished the hundreds board today." The kindergarten teacher had been working with her in her classroom and said that she is doing so well and she was very, very focused on completing her job.

I am so proud of you, too, my little angel. xoxo

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Long live Edith Massey!!!!!

Just found this online and had to share. Hey punks, get off the grass!!!! God, I loved her. The Queen of Baltimore...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Self love

I had semi-low self esteem growing up. I mean, I didn't dwell on it, but like most pre-teens and teens I thought I was "too this" or "too that" or "not enough this" or "not enough that". I always promised myself that when I had kids, I would make sure they always knew they were beautiful and smart and that they should love who they are. My parents were awesome parents and they would tell me they loved me, but it was never over the top affection.

Anyway, this is the note that Shaye's teacher handed me yesterday:

Maddy & Caroline,

I had to share with you what Shaye said in circle to all her friends. It was beautiful! She said, "I love myself because being me is who I am." She is amazing!

Ms. K

I have to say when I read that note I wanted to hug her teacher. Not only did she NOTICE the beauty in that statement, but she took the time to write it down exactly how Shaye said it so that I would have it. She told me that she had to quickly grab a notecard and write it down because she didn't want to forget what she said. Then she said, "You are doing EVERYTHING right with her, Maddy. She is truly a special little girl." I was just beaming with pride and had to choke back the tears.

I can not say enough that this school is everything I dreamed of for my children. These years are SO incredibly crucial to their development and we couldn't have picked a more loving, engaging, caring environment for them to learn in. We just found out at a parent info. night last night that they are now considering buying a large piece of property across the street and building a larger school. This means that they are looking into expanding their kindergarten program into a 1st grade program and were hoping to know something in a couple of weeks. Because this is the first year of their kindy program they said that they didn't want to watch the children leave kindergarten only to have to leave the Montessori realm and everything they have learned up to this point. Crap, I'm worried about 9th grade!!! If we get into the K-8 charter school we are home free. I'm thinking Sudbury school for high school unless, of course, the charter school expands to 12th. ;) We have some time to think about that, but the thought of my kids EVER leaving a Montessori environment really bums me out. :(

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

She rocks my world!

I just got my mail and this is the incredible card I just received from Caroline's dear Grandmother. It's a beautiful card with 4 little kids painting a mural.


Urgency compels me to get paper so I can talk to you (even one-sided) because too much time goes by that I let the important things get left unsaid. I chose this note because we share a deep interest in welfare of citizens-of-the-world like these pictured, and I always admire the way you have taken on the HUGE job of doing what is in the best interest of each one of those voluntarily in your care to fit them for tomorrow's world. There is no end to the wish list in ideal circumstances, and I admire the zeal and commitment you and Caro have on their behalf.

[sideline: Elba came in early to M's birthday celebration with Naia, saying "she doesn't feel well." echoed by Naia herself. Within 10 minutes of the arrival of A's 3 boys she was leading the hilarious parade around the "traffice circle" in my house - orchestrated by the oldest boy, S, -of course he's too sophisticated to run - the rest are not!]

I thought right then that you needed to know how many times, how many times as I met one-after-the-other-happy-smiling-faces and thought that I wished you were here - you too might have relaxed just as I did.

There will be other times, too - I just needed to say how easily Caro made Shaye's experience into a happy one also - just with a few quiet words. This kind of loving restrained discipline is SO hard to notice while it is happening - you both need confirmation that it is working whether or not the moment is tranquil. Have I told you of the most excellent pre-school teacher who told me about one of my offspring? "Don't worry - by Kindergarten they all walk and talk and go to the bathroom"!!

And so much more - and we will have more chances to talk, too.

With love,
Grandma Judy

WOW!!! I am so incredibly blessed to be a part of this family. I am not sure what I did in a previous life to have so much love in my world.

I love you Grandma Judy! xoxo

Monday, February 2, 2009

Name dropping

Since reconnection with a lot of people on Facebook, I've come to realize that I know a lot of very famous and successful people!! A friend of mine from high school went off to LA wayyyy back in the day and I knew that she was one of the characters on the re-make of WKRP in Cincinnati and I just found out she has one of the leading roles on Army Wives! WOW! We played on the Varsity softball team in high school and that girl would throw the ball so fucking hard that I dreaded a hit to center field (I was the short stop). Covering 2nd base when Wendy Davis threw the ball, well, you kinda prayed that you'd still have a head when the play was over. Also, a friend of mine from Baltimore that I used to play around town with (we were both in bands) has a very successful band playing kid's music. They are called Milkshake and they ROCK! Anybody who has ever watched Jack's Big Music show is familiar with them (they do the Bottle of Sunshine song. Lisa is the one in the tutu). I highly recommend them. They are in the Laurie Berkner vein. You know, songs that rock out and won't annoy the parents. We just got a huge package in the mail today from Lisa and the girls were so excited. They think it's cool that Mommy is friends with a "rock star" ;) Oh, if they only knew how many of those I met when I worked at Sony/BMG. Heh.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's been too long

Wow, has it really been 19 days since I've blogged??? Yikes!

So much has happened over the last few weeks. Still no word about S & L's birthmom, but not much we can do about this situation anyway.

Some good news which has lowered my stress levels immensely is that I toured a Montessori charter school last week and was blown away!! This school was everything that I had hoped for. The best part is that it's free! I have two more campuses to tour next week and am just beside myself with excitement! The school is true to Montessori and what I observed in the classrooms is a very well thought out curriculum that uses the Montessori method the way Maria Montessori herself spelled out. No desks, children working together and alone quietly, and the Montessori materials I saw was very impressive. Every classroom even had the farm! I don't even think I've seen that at dd's private Montessori school! There is very high parental involvement and I got a really good vibe about our tour guide who I believe was equal to a vice principal. Oh, and let me mention again - it's FREE! You basically have to submit an application for each campus you want to enroll at and then the students are chosen by "random" lottery. They say it's random, but I do believe a child with a prior Montessori education in pre-school has a much better "random" chance of getting in. They said they have about 50 spots in kindy minus how many sibs are enrolling that year and they usually get 150 applications. However, she said, "People that WANT to be here will be here." That makes me feel good knowing that we have about 30 to 40 chances at 3 campuses.

I have to admit that Caroline and I have had the discussion on whether or not to wait that extra year and keep her in the private school for her 3rd year of Children's House (Children's House is what they call the 3-6 age group in Montessori) and then move her to the Montessori charter school for 1st grade. In most states the cut off date for kindy requires that the child must be 5 by the end of August or beginning of September to start. In CA, it's 5 years old by Dec. 2. Shaye will be 4 when she starts her 3rd year in CH (or the kindy program at the charter school), turning 5 that November. On one hand, why rush her into a kindy program months before she even turns 5? On the other hand, she is already so far academically advanced that entering into a kindy program after spending her 3rd year in Children's House would bore her to death. The big problem is that I want her (and Naia and Laela) to continue with a Montessori education all the way through the 8th grade and trying to enroll a child past their kindy year at the charter school is next to impossible!! Grades 1-8 only have 1 or 2 openings every year as opposed to the 50 openings in kindergarten. I just talked to a woman at the parent orientation that has tried for 3 years to get her oldest child in. This year makes the 4th attempt and now the child is already in 5th grade - which is honestly a little too late to start Montessori. In fact, I am checking into the only AMI Montessori program in our area and they said that they don't like to start children into their kindy program (Year 3 of Children's House). When I mentioned that she has been in Montessori preschool, they were like, "ohhhhh...ok. Lets talk then." There is a .001% probability that we would enroll into the private AMI school. The only reason I am going to tour their campus is to get an idea of how it differs from the charter school.

(SIDE BAR: All 3 of my children are in the hallway laughing HYSTERICALLYYYYYY because somebody let a stinker! God damn they are so funny!)

Anyway, I am just so damn excited that this school exists!!! If for some reason we don't get in, I will need therapy. No doubt.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Well, if this isn't a hell of a way to ring in the new year....

Last night we found out that Shaye and Laela's birthmom is pregnant. Due in May. Oh, and so is their 16 year old biological sister. Due in July.

I'm speechless and angry and sad all at the same time. Just when I have found the strength to say that my family is complete, I do not want to give birth, and am ready to let my embryo's go, we are faced with this. It's just not fair in so, so many ways.