Monthly Archives:September 2013

What we Are Loving Right nOw

Your #1 Fan post on September 27th, 2013
Posted in Fifth Grade, Friends, Halloween, Novalie

A few of our current favorite things:

~Tennis.  Kevin and I are still playing any chance we can.  The weather and Novalie’s night time school schedule are interfering.  Novalie is loving her tennis lessons as well.

~Sweatshirts.  The weather took a big turn and we are loving pulling out our sweatshirts and getting cozy in them.

~Halloween decorations.  Novalie has been asking me for weeks to get them out.  Last weekend I finally did and she decorated our downstairs area.

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Novalie and her BFF decorating some Halloween foam cutouts from the dollar store.  Crafts are definitely one of our favorite things.

~Uno.  Novalie’s game of choice right now is Uno.  She goes in phases.  We have been playing a lot of Uno.

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~Novalie’s first big school project of 5th grade.  (this is one of my favorite things because it is over)  She had to do a book report on Hernando Cortes.  She got a 100% on it!  Good job Novalie.

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~Halloween costumes.  Novalie has decided what she wants to be.  Her final thing.  I have heard countless ideas since last Halloween, but once I get her main costume item, there is no turning back.

~Pumpkin Spice Donuts.

~Bandaids.  Yes, one of Novalie’s favorite things has always been bandaids and now is no different.  I went to start her bedtime routine last night and found this:

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“Novalie, what happened to your toes?”

“Nothing, but you should never leave your child alone with a box of bandaids.”

Silliness.

~Working on school projects with friends.  The 5th graders got to bring a carnival style game to school today.  Novalie and 2 of her BFF’s made a pumpkin ring toss with a ticket muncher.

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Decorating their ticket muncher.

~Pigtails and ponytails.  Novalie’s hair is long enough again for them.  And she lets me still.

~Fall tv show premieres.  Checking out new ones and our favorites that are back.

~Good friends.  After a rough start to 5th grade with finding a balance between friends, things are good.

And just one thing I am not loving right now:

~School projects and homework.  Novalie has a lot this year.  It is annoying.  It is too much.  While some of Novalie’s friends have moved on from playing everyday, Novalie still very much loves it and very much needs that time each day.  I sometimes let her stay up an extra 20 minutes just so she can use that brilliant imagination and pull out some toys and play.  5th graders are still such little children.

It is almost October!  Minus the 3 months of summer, October is my favorite month.  So many traditions that we are just so excited to do.

Crisp weather, spooky things, pumpkins, leaves, hot chocolate, baking, hayrides, festivals, crafts.

Telling it like it is.

Your #1 Fan post on September 13th, 2013
Posted in Novalie, Personal

I very rarely write personal things on this blog.  I keep it because I have a horrible memory and I don’t remember much of my childhood.  I want Novalie to remember.  I think it is cool that Novalie will have so many experiences, day to day life and learning growths recorded for her.

I don’t think I am going to get around to blogging about the rest of our summer.

Just trust me that it looked like this:

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and this:

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and this:

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Today, I have so many things that have been occupying by brain, that I feel like writing to get them out in a place that I will be responsible for.  Does that make sense?  It is okay if it doesn’t, it does to me.  And because Novalie will read one day about the things that her crazy mother was worried/stressed/bothered by/ranting and raving about.

~At Novalie’s tennis lessons, 2 moms came in and sat down.  About half way through the lesson, they struck up a conversation.  I heard every word of their conversation because we were inside a tennis lounge that looks out over the indoor courts, so it was impossible not to.  The one mom said she had 2 kids and was good with just 2, the other had 3.  Then they started talking about how they don’t know how mom’s do it with a lot of kids.  And then the mom of the 2 said this:  “My sister has 7 kids.  I don’t know how she does it!  Although, 2 of her kids were adopted.”  To which the other mom responded, “oh, that must be tough.”  And then they went on talking about ballet.  I wanted to turn around and say, “WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?”  But, I didn’t.  My second thought was, I am so glad Novalie wasn’t sitting here to hear that.  That is what makes me the most mad about what she said.  If a child that was adopted heard that, stop and think about what those words says to an adopted child.  You are less then.  You are different (in a bad way).  You are not a REAL part of your family.  You are harder to parent.  You do not belong.  Breaks my heart.  I can’t get this conversation out of my head.  Not because I wish I could go back and say something because I probably still wouldn’t, but because I don’t know how to change it.  Breaks my heart.

~I feel like I have been having these epiphanies lately with understanding more about Novalie.  Maybe not epiphanies, but things I have known, but just all of sudden click all together.  Like her needing quiet stillness in certain situations, which I wrote about before.  The other morning I was thinking about Novalie and just worrying about her for a various of reasons like mother’s do and it just occurred to me that Novalie is extra sensitive to her senses.  Separately, I have been dealing with this her whole life.  If I had a pebble in my shoe, I could walk on it for a long time until I found a time or place to stop, take my shoe off and take the pebble out.  If this happened to Novalie, she would scream bloody murder and drop to the ground that instance to remove the pebble even if an angry 800 pound grizzly bear was chasing her.  She won’t wear jeans or any pants made of anything other than cotton or spandex.  All her tags have to be cut off.  Her socks have to be just right.  Her shoes have to fit just right.  She won’t wear flats without socks.  She has meltdowns when too hot or too cold.  She can’t handle different smells.  One day I made her and I chicken sandwiches.  I put a piece of lettuce on mine.  She wanted a bite of mine.  She loved it with lettuce and wanted lettuce on hers.  The next day, I made her a chicken sandwich and put a piece of lettuce, just a different kind…darker, not as crisp and it was the grossest thing she had even eaten and why would I ever put lettuce on her sandwich.  She can’t handle other food textures as well.  Her reactions to her senses are extremely emotionally charged.  In the past, I have reacted strongly to her strong reactions to these small things I considered just inconveniences and thought she just needed to chill and stop being so dramatic.  But to her it is so much more.  I have a stack of books from the library to understand more about extra sensitive children especially when it comes to senses.

~Novalie is so different from the kind of child I was, that sometimes it takes me a long time to understand where she comes from.  But, I think about it constantly and pray constantly about it.  I am trying so hard to be the best mother I can be for her.  My quiet, reserved, loner, keep everything inside personality sometimes just does not get it.  I think we are constantly teaching each other things by being so different.  I just don’t want to mess up the amazing human being she is.

~Part of being the best mother I can be is to start taking care of my physical self which I have not done the last year.  I have gained a lot of weight.  A lot.  I never understood when I heard about back fat.  I do now.  I just feel gross.  I have been trying to move my body more in a physically demanding way and making better food choices.  I am not perfect, nor do I want to be, but each day doing just a little bit better.

~I am an irresponsible and immature adult.  I lack self discipline and self control.  I don’t think that showing self discipline was ever a modeled behavior shown to me.  It is interesting to read about how expectations and boundaries that were in place as a child carry over into adulthood.  Understanding this sure has lit a fire under my bum to model a different behavior to Novalie.  Like showing her that I have to exercise to feel healthy.  And that buying her that stuff animal sure is fun to see her face light up, but that $10 is 10 more dollars I could have in my savings account working towards bigger goals.  I always got what I wanted when I wanted it.  I don’t want to use that as an excuse now.  I have a choice every single day.  Again, I will not be perfect.  I have recognized this lack of self control and discipline and that is the first step.  I make choices everyday that can add to my future happiness or make life more difficult for myself.  You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge, right?

~What in the heck is all this nonsense about place value?  Seriously, Novalie has spent more time doing place value homework than any other type of homework since 2nd grade.  It wasn’t part of my math curriculum and I ruled at math.  I just don’t get it.

~Novalie is an emotionally charged child.  Man alive, is she ever.  She has been like that from day one.  Add to it her changing body and raging hormones constantly changing inside her and boy howdy, she blows emotions out of the park.  You know, I wonder if her hormone levels are seriously out of whack?  But, since day one?  I don’t know, maybe something to ask her doctor about.  It has been a long time since she has had an emotional breakdown, but I worry about her emotions all the time and constantly work with her on how to handle them.  She is starting to work with the school counselor about friendship issues because those are where her emotions are the strongest right now.  She has a lot of friends that are not necessarily in the same friend group at school, so someone is mad at Novalie everyday because she didn’t play with them.  It is tough being so outgoing and friendly.

~I am loving Keith Urban’s new album.  And Sherly Crow’s.  I am tempted everyday to just sit at the computer and listen to their albums on repeat while pinning things to Pinterest thinking to myself why am I not doing some of these awesome things?  Or look at the humor sayings and laugh and wonder with amazement how people have a gift of putting those words together to explain everyday situations that are just so darn true.  I need to make a new board name, I DID IT, and move my pins in there as I do them.

~I am working on being patient.  We all want to move back to Washington.  I want to move tomorrow.  No plan, let’s just go.  I want it to happen and no, I don’t want to come up with a financially plan or time table, I just want to go with nothing and make it happen when we get there.  This takes up most of my brain space.  Why put up with a life that no one in your family wants one more day?  Just move already.  Alright, back to the being a responsible adult, blah, blah, blah stuff.  I get it.  You need a job and place to live, but isn’t my faith that it will work out enough to make it happen?  I want it to happen.  Like yesterday.

~I am so excited for the return of Scandal and Revenge.  So excited that I check my calendar everyday to make sure I have the season premiere dates right.  My guilt pleasures.  I am in love with Kerry Washington’s character in Scandal.  Okay, minus the part of her having an affair with the president.  Ha!  But, her job…she kicks some serious butt and loves imperfect quirky people.

~To go to the circus or not go to the circus?  It looks fun and like a great show.  Novalie would no doubt love it.  But, is it money I really want to spend when we are going to OR in two months and then Christmas the following month?  And I want to move to WA tomorrow.  Decisions.

~Novalie likes her friends to come to our house to play.  She rarely, rarely goes to one of her friends house.  One of her BFF’s is starting to be offended by this.  Novalie likes to be home where I am available if she needs it.  I think she has a hard time at other people’s houses dealing with siblings.  She doesn’t have experience with siblings and some situations she doesn’t handle well.  Which kicks in the guilt of her being an only child.  I encourage her all the time to play at her friend’s houses.  I like that she likes to play at home, but she needs to be confident in her problem solving skills.  I tell her she can call me anytime and I will come get her.  Her response is always that she just doesn’t feel comfortable at other friend’s houses.  Should I make her?  She does well at school.  She uses her skills at recess.  Maybe that is enough for now.

~Darn it, I missed Thursday’s at Great Harvest.  It is the only day they sell the hi-fiber whole wheat bread that I love.  Now, I have to wait another week.

~I checked out a few books about Mexico at the library for a report Novalie has to do on Hernando Cortes.  Yesterday, I handed one of the books to Novalie and told her to put it in her backpack to take to school.  She said, “Uh, Mom, there are naked people on the cover of this book.”  WHAT?  Yup, naked Indians on the cover.  Didn’t even notice.  Today, her friend came over and the first thing she did was say, “look at this book my mom checked out of the library, she didn’t even know there were naked people on the cover.”  Oh my goodness.  I feel like I should call her parents and apologize.

~Life has been smooth sailing lately.  The calm before the storm?

These are only all the thoughts I had in the first 30 minutes of being awake today.  It is a party in my brain.

Writing is healing.

Visit to Montana

Your #1 Fan post on September 6th, 2013
Posted in County Fair, Cousins, Fun Activities, Novalie, Vacation

We took a quick trip to Stevensville to visit my little sister and her family.

We had four fun filled days.

The fair was going on in Missoula while we were there and I sure do love me a good fair.  The only downside to the Missoula fair was that rodeo tickets were pricey.  We choose instead to let the kids ride the rides all day.  And they sure rode those rides all. day. long.  It was hot, sweaty, smelly and fabulous fun.

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My country loving girl.

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Novalie and her cousin, Kameron.  He was her shadow the whole trip.

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Novalie and her cousin, Zachery.

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They went on this ride at least a dozen times.

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Bumper cars were are definite favorite.  Kameron just laughed and laughed.

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We had been at the fair since 11:30 in the morning, so around 7 pm. we told the kids to pick one finally ride to go on.  Just as they were finishing up, a huge storm blew in.  Super, super, windy.  Things were flying around the fair, workers running everywhere trying to bold things down so they wouldn’t blow away.  We hurried to our car, but were covered head to toe in dirt and dust.  It was crazy.

We brought a tent to sleep in as Novalie is both allergic to dogs and terrified of them.  The first night, I was bolted awake by a huge burst of thunder at 2 am.  I sat up and waited a minute to make sure thunder was what I had heard and within seconds a huge bolt of lightening lit up our whole tent.  I woke up the kids that were sleeping out there and we dashed inside to be safe.  Our tent was under a big tree and I was not taking any chances.  Novalie and I sacked out on the couches and she had 3 doses of medicine throughout the rest of the night to breathe.  The next day, we moved the tent into one of the boys rooms because the weather called for thunderstorms each night.  It worked out great because no dog hair and she had a place to play/stay away from the dogs.

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Waking up in the tent.

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I had my birthday the day before we left and I brought my cake.  These kids enjoyed it when we arrived.

The rest of the days were filled with free kids bowling, swimming, going to the movies and playing lots of games.

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The only picture I got of Zane.  He was rocking out in the hallway.  Which turned into a late night dance party for all the kids.

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Like I said, this sweet little Kameron was Novalie’s shadow the whole trip.  Never left her side.  Novalie loves her cousins.  A lot.  I love that she loves her cousins, so she can have a shared history with kids.  She loves being around them.  Novalie is also an only child.  She is used to quiet and having her own space.  Although, she loves noise and chaos and parties.  So, it was interesting to me, that on this trip, it was the first time she has had a meltdown because she just needed some quiet.  That has never happened before.  Or maybe it has and I just didn’t recognize it as needing some quiet time.  Novalie is loud and energetic and go, go, go all the time, so I never knew she needed that down time to just be still.  On the fourth afternoon, Novalie was just being irrational and getting irritated by everything and was saying no to Kameron a lot…meanly.  That is when I noticed it and it just clicked in my brain, she needs quiet.  So, we took an hour long car ride.  Her sitting in the front seat with cold air blowing on her face and just absolute quiet and stillness.  She made the comment many times, “this is just so peaceful.”  She needed to step away from the chaos and other kids for a bit and regroup.  I learned this about Novalie this trip.  It opened my eyes to a new part of Novalie and I am so thankful because I know it will be useful information going forward.  Novalie is an emotionally charged child and it is so nice to know that she can step away from a situation for some quiet time and come back stronger and better then before.  Novalie is an interesting puzzle and I feel like I just got a piece in the right place.

It was a great, fun trip!  I just love Montana.

The Polar Bear

Your #1 Fan post on September 5th, 2013
Posted in Novalie, Polar Bears, Zoo

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This girl has a big love for polar bears.

I am not sure what started her interest in polar bears, but it has been going strong for almost 5 years now.  When she was smaller, she was convinced that she was going to train polar bears.  She would refuse to even hear of them eating her.  “They won’t eat me, they will love me!”

She still wants to work at Sea World and specialize in the dolphins and polar bears, but she understands now that polar bears will eat her.  Nothing personal, just the way God made them.

We were so excited to learn that the zoo closest to us was getting a polar bear.  We tried twice before to see the polar bear.  The first time, she wasn’t out at all.  The second time, she was asleep in her den.

This time though, man alive, we got lucky!  She was out, awake and putting on a show.

The polar bear has a huge outside area with a big pool and then a dark den inside.  She would take a dip in the pool and then pace back and forth outside to inside her den.  She would pace for awhile and then take another dip in the pool.  For about 30 minutes, Novalie ran….literally ran…. back and forth with the polar bear.  Following her every move.  She was in polar bear heaven.

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Mid run, following the polar bear inside her den.

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The polar bear kept her head down looking at the ground during all her pacing.  Never stopped to look up.  One time she shook like a dog does after getting wet.  And she rubbed her back against the fence probably trying to reach an itch.

After watching her for 30 minutes, Novalie was ready to move on.

As soon as Novalie said she was ready to go, the polar bear looked right at Novalie and nodded her head.  I kid you not.  Novalie bursting with excitement said, “Mom, did you just see that?  The polar bear nodded at me!  We totally connected!  She knows I am leaving.  She is saying good-bye.”

It happened, I saw it with my own two eyes.

And I totally got teary.

As a mom, I love when things like this happen.  Magic happening right before your eyes to the amazement of your child.  It was just like God knew right in that moment, that sweet little Novalie needed to feel that bond with that polar bear.  For some reason in her heart she needed that so badly and He provided it for her.  I believe it.

A magnificent thing.  Polar bears and the experience.

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I caught the beginning of the polar bear looking at Novalie in the picture above.  Amazing.

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She is back to believing that she can train polar bears.

I am so grateful for this experience.

I am so thankful for Novalie.

I am so thankful for the relationship between humans and animals.

I am so thankful that Heavenly Father created such an amazing world and all the wonders it holds.

Who knew the zoo could be so spiritual?!