Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Siblings



Sibling rivalry.  Ugh.  It's high around here, people. 

In case you're new around here, my boys are 6 months apart in age.  Since J-Man joined our family as a toddler, he and E have sort of been twins, but sort of not.  I think over the years they have come to sort of view themselves as twins, they think they're the same age, they do everything together, they are always with each other.  People used to ask them so often if they were twins that they went through a phase of telling people they were.  When we met someone new they'd say, "We're twins!"  J-Man gets very upset when E's birthday comes around because E turns the next year older before he does and I think that shocks him every year.  It's a reminder that he's younger when he forgot he was.

So with E starting kindergarten this year we've had our share of jealousy and rivalry.  We decided to start J-Man in kindergarten next year because we feel like it would be nice for them to be in separate grades and to sort of have their own thing.  We're hoping that eventually it will cut down on their sense of competition with each other.  (I know some adoptive families choose to go the other way with this and "twin" their kids and I think that's a wonderful way to go, too!  This is just what we chose for our family.)  Also, because of where J-Man's birthday falls, he could start "transitional kindergarten this year, but he could also wait until next year.

The school year started with a lot of jealousy from both boys.  E was jealous that J-Man got to stay home with mom.  J-Man was jealous that E got to go to school.  So I switched things up a bit and started really emphasizing to J-Man that we would get to have super special Mommy and J-Man time while E was at school.  I started planning park trips, letting him get treats, etc., just trying to get him less jealous of E. 

I think it worked too well!  Now J-Man loves our special time so much that he doesn't want to pick E up from school each day.  He wishes E would be gone more so we could have more special time.  And he's quite vocal about it!  Lord have mercy!

So what are your fabulous anti sibling rivalry strategies?  How do you appease your kids when they don't get to do the same things? 

I could use some help!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sweet Goings


Good Monday morning, ya'll!  Hop on over to Sweet Goings to read my guest post on the days you wish you had a reset button!

I hope you all have a good day and give out at least one high five!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kindergarten

 
 
This guy started kindergarten last week!  We went to a consignment sale a few weeks ago and told him he could pick out a shirt for the first day of school.  He said he wanted a superhero shirt so I scoured the racks, pointing out every superhero shirt I could find.  None would suffice.  But then I showed him this shirt and he was sold.  Why?  I have no idea.
 
The night before school started I had him try it on just to be positive it fit and I asked if that was what he wanted to wear for his first day.
 
"Let me look in the mirror.  If I look TOO handsome, then I'm going to say yes." 
 
Who is this kid?
 
On the way out the door he grabbed these sunglasses, which I will say completely finish the look.
 

 
Sometimes your kids surprise you. 
 
I'm happy to report that school is going well so far and we are now 6 days in.  He fluctuates between, "I love school!" and "I don't like school."  As far as I can tell he loves the snacks and his teacher.  But he still wishes he could stay home with Mom and J-Man.  I'll take it.
 
 
Tell us how your first day of school went.  What are your kids liking and not liking so far?
 


Friday, August 15, 2014

diversity or lack thereof



We were driving to the library yesterday and E asked, "Mommy, why are most people beige?" 

Kick to the stomach, right?

I said something about people being all different colors, some are beige, some are brown, some are dark brown, some are vanilla, some are chocolate, some are caramel.

"But I don't see very many brown people."  Fail.

We live in a place that is 46% Hispanic, 43% white, but only 1.2% black.  It's something we have struggled with.  This is where we grew up and it's where our families live.  We love being close to family and our kids love being close to family.  But 1.2% is pretty bad.

I take comfort in the fact that our city is mostly Hispanic.  I read an article a while back.  The writer interviewed black middle school students about fitting in with different races and who they hang out with.  One girl said that there aren't really any black kids at her school, but there are a lot of Hispanic kids so she doesn't feel like the only one.  Basically she said that she felt more like she fit in because there were other kids with brown skin, even if they weren't African-American.  I hope my kids can feel the same way.

We're white people raising black kids.  We don't want them to feel isolated or different.  We want them to feel safe, loved, like they belong, like they fit in.  We want them to feel confident in who they are and what they look like. 

I don't totally know how to do all of that.  Truth be told, I pretty much don't know.  I have some ideas, I've done some research, I've mulled it over quite a bit.  But I still don't really know.

I don't know what's most important in where we raise our kids.  Essentially this is a struggle for all parents, isn't it?  Where do we raise our family and what is most important to us in that decision? 

I don't want my son thinking there aren't very many brown people in the world. 

A friend of mine, who is black and decided to raise her kids here, told me that she feels it's okay to live in a place without a lot of black people as long as there is a city with black people somewhere close and you can go to that city sometimes.  For us, there is a big city about 45 minutes away that is pretty diverse. 

Is that enough?  I don't know.

Sometimes those conversations pop up with my son and it just stings.  I don't want him to feel the way he does.  I don't want to fail him in that way.

What are your thoughts?  Do you live in a place where you and/or your children are minorities?  How do you help your kids in that?  Or do you purposefully live in a place that is diverse? 


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

ready for school

E starts Kindergarten tomorrow, and I'm going to be honest, I'm pretty excited.  The idea of only having one child at home every morning is a huge relief to me right now. 
 
I'm praying E adjusts quickly and can make a friend soon.  At this point, I think he's excited but nervous.  Change is hard for him.  But he met his teacher yesterday and she was so sweet, I think it set his mind at ease a bit.
 
We did a couple of camping trips this summer and I realized I haven't shared any pics yet so here are a few:
 
 camping at the beach with my some of my husband's family...6 boys under age 8!

 J-Man and his cousin enjoying a snack

my boys are on the right and a couple of their cousins are on the left 

getting buried by daddy
 
 camping in the mountains. i adore meadows!

fishing
 
 their first hike
 
 more fishing
 
J-Man caught his first fish.  Look really closely.  It's tiny but it's there.
 
chris took this picture and I love it
 
Happy first day of school to everyone starting soon!  May your kids be able to get excited about the year ahead!
 

 
 


Friday, August 1, 2014

Goodbye Garage

Hey ya'll!  A week ago I was over at Sweet Goings talking about what you should know if you're thinking about adopting.  Hop on over HERE and check it out.  I'm sorry I'm just now sharing it with you guys.  It completely slipped through my fingers amidst all the craziness right now.

J-Man has been particularly challenging as of late and E has been a big ball of easy coming tears.  If it's not one, it's the other.

On top of that, my husband and I just made the decision to close his gym, The Garage.  In a couple weeks, we will shut the doors and he will go work for a tractor supply company selling skid steers and other tractors to construction companies.  It's a big change. 

Chris has enjoyed running his own gym for the last 2 years and God has provided for our needs beautifully through it.  But the schedule is just not working for us anymore.  Chris works mornings and evenings, so he's home in the afternoons.  It's exhausting for him and it's really difficult to maintain friendships or any kind of social life because he works when everyone else is off.  With E starting school this year, we are realizing that it will cut into the limited time Chris has with him.  By this time next year, E will be in school full days, which means he would get home just as Chris left for work.  Every day.  That's just not going to work for our family. 

Basically, Chris's schedule is not very good for family life with school age children.  And we are transitioning into that stage of life. 

The schedule is also not very good for doing home church, which is what we've been doing for a couple months now.  My husband's real passion in life is being a pastor, but over the last few years we have felt God pushing us toward doing that bi-vocationally through home church.  Which means he needs to make money through a different job.  Personal training did not leave ample time to connect with people outside of work.  Running his own business left Chris depleted and stressed.  You can't leave work at work when you have your own business.  And in order to be a bi-vocational pastor, he needs to be able to leave work at work, and to know a steady paycheck is coming each month, and to have better hours off.

So this will be a big change for our family, it's all quite sudden, but we are excited about the new hours, the guaranteed paycheck, the time off, having benefits, etc.  It's been quite a journey and there is sadness to closing down a business we worked so hard to build.  But it's also a good page to turn with a better page coming.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Stress & Regressions



We'll be starting up therapy again this weekend with our old therapist.  I feel a sense of relief knowing some help is coming.  This week has been really hard with both of our kids.  We went camping last weekend, which was absolutely fantastic, but adjusting back to routine and home is a challenge for my kids.  And then I realized last night how much extra stress Chris and I have been under this week, and obviously that affects our kids as well.  We've been talking about some big stuff lately and making some big life decisions and I know by now that my kids pick up on that stuff and it stresses them out, too. 

It always helps to figure out the reason for my kids' regressions.  It just makes me feel better, I guess, if I can pinpoint a cause.

I'm praying that therapy really helps us all.  I'm also thinking that E starts kindergarten next month and I think that's going to bring a whole new set of challenges with him, so I feel a bit of urgency to get J-Man to a better place before all of that hits. 

This verse has been hitting me this week, "But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and are saved."  (Hebrews 10.39)  In the midst of the struggles and the overwhelming-ness, we don't shrink back.  We have faith and the Lord will help us.

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