Sunday, May 30, 2010

Strawberry Picking

Jason was at a friend's house and Mike had a gig so Jess and I drove to Natick to Lookout Farm to go strawberry picking. It's early for the season to have started but Mother Nature is unpredictable and when she's ready, you better be ready. We had a great time picking berries and hanging out in the play area. Jess was exhausted and slept all the way home.

Waiting for the train to take us to the strawberry field.
Picking the best berries.
Looks like we got some good ones!

Climbing the haybales
Waiting for the caterpillar train ride to start. I was amazed at how many parents kept pulling their kids out of the train and dropping them back in it while it was moving. The driver kept looking back; it's amazing she didn't run over anyone's feet with how they kept getting in the way.

Bounce house

All tuckered out

Dinner - broiled chicken with spinach, strawberries and goat cheese.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Registering for preschool

Jess just misses the cutoff for kindergarten in September so I entered the lottery to get her a slot as a peer in the town's public preschool. I'd checked out a couple preschools but thought that several were overpriced, I'm not a fan of Montessori, and I think it'll be good for her (I think it's good for all kids) to be in an inclusion classroom so she plays with all types of kids so we went with our town's preschool. While checking out schools, I came across one that follows the Waldorf method. While I know Montessori works for some people, I cannot see the Waldorf method being in any child's best interest. Thankfully our kids won't have to worry about that since we couldn't afford it even if we wanted to. I love reading blogs. I read quite a number from the adoption yahoo groups I am on. I was surprised at the number of people who say they are homeschooling their toddlers. I read more of their blogs and did some google searches. It seems that I do the same things with my kids that these people do; it's just that I think of it as being an engaged parent, not necessarily homeschooling. When Jason was in preschool, his teacher said she could always tell whose parents were teachers because those kids were always further ahead. We use our car rides to sing songs and make rhymes. I read to Jason for years and we've read to Jess since we were in China. It was funny - when the EI therapist would come to see Jess, she'd start to suggest something and then say "Oh, I see you're already doing that." Jess is right where she should be for the older preschool. She's so excited to start. When we went to register her the other day, the nurse brought her to look at a classroom while I was filling out paperwork and she didn't want to leave the class. I can't believe how my little girl is growing up!!! (or that my big boy is going into 7th grade!)

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day

It was a great weekend although it is also bittersweet. Yesterday our church had a Mother's Day tea. Patricia, Michelle, Jason, Jess, my mother and I all went. They had a wonderful spread and my mom was happy to see people from church again. Because she's half an hour away, I'm not able to get her to the church as often as I'd like. The tea was at 2. We stayed about an hour which was good timing. My mom has more difficulty later in the day so we didn't want to stay too late. She wasn't as upset as usual when I brought her back to the nursing home since I was able to tell her (truthfully) that we would be seeing her on Sunday for church and tea at her favorite tea room. Nicky flew in from CA on Thursday night, getting to Tricia's on Saturday. He spent the day with her and Saturday with his friend and then came to our house Saturday night. We didn't tell my mom because I wanted her to be surprised but I was also afraid that if we told her he was coming, she would think it was immediately and would be upset when she didn't see him until Sunday. I'm learning to only give information as needed.

Michelle and Jess at the church tea on Saturday

We went to church on Sunday. Jess got up with the children's choir today. All kids are in the children's choir in our church but Jess has always refused to get up front with them. She kept looking at me but she stayed up there. After the kids were done singing, one of the little girls went down to the nursery and Jess asked to go with her. I've tried off and on to get Jess to go to the nursery without crying for the past couple of years (I won't leave her crying as I want church to be a happy place, not a place that makes her cry and she is good when she's upstairs with me; it's just that I can focus on the sermon and lessons better on my own). She went downstairs until communion when I went to get her so she could go up for the blessing. My baby's growing up!!!! After church, we went to my house to wait for my in-laws and my mom got to see that Nicky was there. She was very happy to see him. Once my in-laws got there, we went to All Things Tea which is my mom's favorite place to eat. She later told me that she doesn't really like going anywhere else to eat but there which is good because I'd already made the decision to only take her there. It's familiar, small and not as overwhelming to her as a regular restaurant. I need to keep her world small and familiar.

Nicky was looking forward to having a cornish pasty (rhymes with nasty, not tasty although they are delicious). The tea room had a set menu since it was Mothers Day but the owners are awesome and made him some pasties (they're on the regular menu). One of the owners asked if Jess the full tea or something else. Jess, being the gourmet that she is, had the regular tea. The asparagus wrapped in dough was her favorite.

Jess, myself, Nicky, my mom, my mother in law, my sister in law
The tea tray

My mom and my kids

Nicky came with me when it was time to bring my mom back to the nursing home which I appreciated. That is always the hardest part for me. She doesn't remember that she lives there and is always asking when she's going home. The activities director was there so I got to talk to her for a couple of minutes. I don't get to go during the week when the regular staff is there (that'll change once school's out) but when I see them in on the odd weekend, I make an effort to stop and talk so that they'll know who I am. The activities director said she thought the tea room would make a good outing and will take my mom on that one since her turn's coming up to go out.

The bittersweet part of Mothers Day - my mom is very rapidly getting worse. A year ago, she was able to live on her own. Now she has a very loose hold on reality. Jessica is so close to her. I worry about how Jess is going to be affected when my mother passes away. Jess has had loss in her life - she lost her birthparents, she lost her country, at some point she is going to lose the grandmother she loves so much and that makes me sad. I miss my mom. While I obviously love her and don't want her to pass away, I miss the person she was before this horrible disease ravaged her memory. I find myself buying things that are nostalgic. For example, I bought sugar wafer cookies. Mike says they're like cardboard. I had never bought those for myself before. But, they were a staple in our house growing up. I bought brown bread in a can. The nostalgia for that passed by the time I got home so it is still sitting in the can but I can't bring myself to throw it away.

Today is also a day I think of Jess's birthmother. While I will never know the exact reasons why her birthparents were unable to raise her, given what I do know I have my thoughts about it. I won't share those thoughts because it is Jess's story not mine to share or not sure. I wish there was a way to let her mother know how loved her little girl is and how I cannot imagine our family without her.

A Poem for her Birthmother by Shana
I imagine you kissed
her sweet face so round
And gently placed her
where she wuold be found

I imagine your heartache
your pain and your tears
I wish I could show you
and soften your fears

I'd show you a girl
with hope in her eyes
A girl who loves stories
and sweet lullabies.

A girl who laughs freely
and loves to play
A girl who sings sweetly
and dances all day

A girl with a future
so sunny and smart
A girl who loves music
and reading and art

A girl who I hope
has your courage one day
I know it took courage
to love and walk away

Her beautiful smile
I wish you could see
She looks like you
and laughs like me

So imagine her laughter
imagine her touch
I wish I oculd show you
she's loved so much

Remember her face
Rememberthat kiss
And when you cry
remember this

Beyond your tears
Beyond your pain
Sometimes the sun
shines through the rain

And I know that she'll ask me
about yuo one day
I'll tell her you loved her
and wishes she could stay

I'll help her remember
and imagine you, too
when she starts to wonder
and dream about you

We'll look at the moon
I'll give you a kiss
and when she cries,
I'll tell her this

Beyond your tears
Beyond your pain
Sometimes the sun
shines through the rain

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Karate Tournament

Jason had his karate tournament last year. He's been doing karate with the same center since he was 4; he's now a second degree black belt. The tournament used to be in November but thankfully they've moved it to May. November was just too crazy!

Jason doing his bow staff forms. He placed 2nd in this.

Right after sparring. He placed 1st.
Proud boy

Jess at the tournament. This is the first year we thought she'd be able to sit through it. She made friends with a little boy and they kept each other entertained.