Friday, October 22, 2010

4th grade ain't what it used to be

Every year as Caden advances to the next grade in school, I am always suprised at what they cover (in comparison to what we did WAY back when.) They seem to be covering topics at least 1-2 years earlier than when I was in school. I remember in Kindergarten, he was introduced to fractions. And now in the forth grade, he is on to writing papers that 4-6 paragraphs long, using confusing vocabulary words, and college level math! :) Really, many of my juniors in college would not be able to solve his math problems. This week, he was working on a math superstars sheet. Math Superstars is an optional program that we choose to participate in. One of the rules is parents can not help the student solve the problems. Well, Caden had left one problem with three parts to it completely blank. I can't stand him turing in unanswered I "thought" I would discreetly steer him in the right direction to just get him started. One hour later (and I am an Ivy League graduate!) I was still solving the problem myself...set aside finding a way to explain it to him!

His spelling words this week included: Resounded, Lingered, Inspecting....not hard to spell, but he had to use them in a sentence as part of his homework. As I checked his work I giggled a little after reading his attempt at using these words correctly. "I was not INSPECTING to get a dog for Christmas." and "My voice was RESOUNDED in music class." Made me laugh, and I didn't even try to correct him. I mean really, does it matter if a 9 year old can use the word resounded correctly?

Anyway, it's only October, so I can only imagine what he'll be doing by the end of the year...I feel like I am back in school again too!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Reality

This blog has focused mainly on Avery and bringing her home from Haiti. It was a way that I could feel like some sort of progress was being made when our adoption stood still for 2 years. Posting updated photos we occassionally received from her orphanage, or posting the smallest tidbit of news, made all the difference when we continued to wait and wait.

Suddenly, she literally flew into our world without but a weeks warning after the earthquake hit Haiti. Everything was a whirlwind, and to some extent continues to be. And, through that chaos the boys have remained calm, loving and my rocks. They accepted Avery as their sister from the moment she stepped her little toe into our home. I expected some sort of reaction like "she doesn't seem like our sister" or "we just met her, so how can she be our sister?" but we never got any of that. And, much to my surprise, we continually heard "I love Avery" and "Avery is the cutest little girl in the world!" Now, that time has passed, and she has found ways to press their buttons, I am not hearing those statements as often, but the love that is there is stronger than I imagined it to be at this point.

Adopting has not been easy. Accepting a stranger (I had only met Avery once for 3 days and Mike never) as our own was definitely something neither of us had ever experienced before. The love was different than it was (as expected) after giving birth to our boys, and we both struggled (or still struggle) with how it felt or feels "different." I think we were both caught off guard about how we felt once Avery was here, and we felt overwhelmed with all that had changed in our family. Adopting is not easy and admitting that is not easy either, it's hard to do. Sometimes I feel like people are thinking "'re the ones that signed up for this!" and therefore we might be reluctant to express the reality of adoption. I am sure it's easier for some families than others, but I will venture to say that all families go through adjustments they couldn't predict until they were in the midst of the experience.

As the months have passed, Avery has become a part of our family. Are we still adjusting? Yes, of course. It's like when you bring a new born baby home and all you picture are cuddles, cooing and cute baby booties. And, no one talks about how you feel when you're sleep deprived, when your baby is screaming for hours on end, and how much your lives will be completely changed forever. Same thing goes for adoption. There have been days, where I think "did we do the right thing?" It was so easy before as a family of four. Having a toddler arrive unexpectedly from a third world country, who doesn't speak any language, requires lots of extra attention, takes a ton of patience (still working on that!) is very overwhelming.

Anyway, not really sure where I am going with this post....but one thing I do know is how the children, our children, have come through this experience seemingly unscathed. All three...Avery, Caden, and Preston. Have they had to make adjustments, had lows/highs, argued and cried? Yes. But overall, the three of them relate to one another as if they had have been siblings for years. The boys never go to bed without first going to Avery's room and kissing her goodnight. If Avery looks sad, they are not going to rest without asking her what's wrong. Big brother Caden likes to protect her, and Preston likes to tell on her....typical sibling stuff.

I guess it's just so interesting to watch their relationship grow and learn from how well children adapt to new situations. I find myself easily stressed out and distracted by the little things, over analyzing everything, when really I should take a deep breath and just look at those 3 beautiful faces and know that everything is just as it should be.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Sisterlocks Experience

An experience it was. First of all, we had to be there at 8am. So we rushed to get there on time, and I had forgo my Starbuck's because we had no time to stop. (And, I had to go empty the ATM on the way as they only take cash.) Monique was running late, (I could of gotten my coffee afterall) and as soon as we got there I realized I forgotten to bring something for me to read or do. UGH. I thought I would sit and read for 5 hours while Avery got her hair done. So I was madder than mad that I showed up empty handed. Yeah right. I didn't sit down for the entire 5 hour appt. I got to stand in one spot and hold Avery's head still (or try to) for five hours straight. My lower back started to ache, my arm started to shake (and will be sore tomorrow) and we had Dora blaring on the TV. Not exactly what I had in mind.

First three hours went well, although slow going. I kept eyeing the clock and looking at the progress and it seemed as if we would not finish by 1pm. Those locks take FOREVER to put in. You can read more them here. Avery sat somewhat still although I had to entertain her and/or feed her constantly. She ate 3 lollipops, 1 pack chewies (not only did we spend a lot of money on hair, I was also gearing up for spending a bunch of money on filling her cavities), 1 banana, 1/2 PB sandwich, 1 cereal bar and 1/2 Egg McMuffin. She played with books, her toy computer, silly bands, stickers, and my phone. All of which completely failed to interest her after the 4th hour. But, still, pretty darn good for a three year old.

Avery showed the stylists some Iphone photos of her with bead/braids in that I did in the past. Let's just say they had no comment. Even the lady next to us who was getting her hair re-tightened giggled a little.

I also learned we have to treat her locks/scalp with Seabreeze. This suprised me so I asked "The stuff you wipe on your face?" And yes, that's the stuff. Strange! We also bought some special spray they use at the salon and we can't wash her hair or get it wet until we go back around Thanksgiving! By next summer, her hair will be able to get wet. Not sure why it can't get wet now, but I didn't want to ask too many more stupid questions.

All in all I am pleased with the results. I knew what they would look like beforehand because we did our research online and Monique (the stylist) has Sisterlocks. Personally, I am not in love with the look of Sisterlocks (in comparison to her Afro poof hair) but it's much more practical and healthier for her hair. It will not break or get damaged and once it grows we can pull it up in pigtails, braid it, put beads on, etc. For now, it just looks a little crazy and free, but she's only 3 and it looks cute and quirky. Or, as Preston says "She looks like she has a bunch of noodles on her head!"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Avery's Hair---The Night before Sisterlocks

Just washed, conditioned, detangled and combed Avery's hair for what might be the LAST time for a while if all goes as planned! Not that I dislike combing her hair (okay maybe a little), it will only do something after it's been washed/conditioned. And, everyone says you can't wash her hair more than 1 time per week or not even that often. So for the remaining days of the week, it is a big knotted mess. We tried yarn braids, getting braids at a salon, puffs, etc. and nothing lasts longer than a dayor two. Her hair immediately looks fuzzy and messy. The ladies at the salon said with the type of hair she has, that's just the way it's going to be.

So, they recommended Sisterlocks. I have to admit, never heard of them and I am still not completely sure I love they way they look. But, there is minimal upkeep, they protect the hair, and allow the hair to grow. Although, you can't take out Sisterlocks, so once they're in they're in (unless you chot them off!) So, I pray we like them and we like them A LOT! Because they sure aren't cheap, and they take HOURS to put in. The hair stylist is estimating 5 hours for Avery's hair and that's because she is a child with very short hair. I have read online for some people it took 3 days to put them in.

Anyway, I going to miss her natural "afro" hair with headband, but that style is just not realistic for her. It requires multiple comb-outs per day which results in lots of breakage (and we have tried every tons of products, combs, silk wraps, etc.), and her whimpering through the process.

Hopefully, I'll be able to bribe her with enough lollipops tomorrow to get her through a 5 hour span...and if so, we'll post photos when we're finished!

What are Sisterlocks?
Sisterlocks are tiny uniform locks that are the result of a precision parting grid, and the use of a specialized tool that places the hair into its locking formation. The Sisterlocks method does not require the use of waxes or jells. The small size and parting grid form a lock that is easily styled.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Caden's Application to Children's Congress 2011

What is Children's Congress?

Every two years, JDRF International Chairman Mary Tyler Moore and over a hundred children with type 1 diabetes gather in Washington, D. C. to meet face-to-face with some of the top decision-makers in the U.S. government. The children, ages 4 to 17, represent all 50 states and the District of Columbia. As participants in JDRF's Children's Congress, they have a unique and empowering opportunity to help Members of Congress understand what life with type 1 diabetes is like and why research to find the cure for diabetes and its complications is so critical.

Children's Congress will take place on June 20-22, 2011 in Washington, D.C.

Caden (with help from Mom) sent in a his application yesterday. He won't find out until early 2011 if he is selected. Here is his letter.

Dear Member of Congress:
Hello. My name is Caden and I am 9 years old. I have had Type I diabetes for over 7 years, as I was diagnosed with diabetes before I turned 2 years old. I have a 5 year old brother, Preston, and a 3 year old sister, Avery. They are really lucky because they don’t have diabetes like I do. They get to eat more desserts than I get to, and sometimes I don’t mind. But, sometimes I do mind and it feels unfair.

When I got diabetes, my parents said I started to lose weight, was drinking way too much and my diapers kept falling onto the ground. My mom took me to the doctor and they sent me straight to the hospital. My mom said the doctor was crying when she said I had Type I diabetes. I don’t remember being diagnosed, or spending the night in the hospital, but I do know my mom said she was very scared. I am lucky because my mom is a dietitian and she knows a lot about how to take care of me. I am also very lucky because this year a new student started at my school with Type I diabetes and we get to walk the nurse’s office together. We also get to sit together in class and we play together after school. I don’t remember what life was like without diabetes but I am sure it was a lot of fun not having to worry about my blood sugar levels all day. Sometimes I get really mad and sad at the same time because it’s not fair that I have diabetes and almost all my friends don’t. I don’t get to go to sleepovers and I need to visit the school nurse 2-3 times a day. Sometimes I miss out on important things in class if I don’t feel well.

My life is different than most kids my age. I check my blood sugar every few hours and sometimes I don’t feel well if my sugar goes too low or too high. This summer when we were out of town, my pump broke. Then my mom accidentally gave me too much insulin in a shot and 911 was called. The ambulance crew came but I was fine. I got to drink a lot of juice and the crew gave me a fire truck Silly Band! I was really scared and my mom looked really panicked and she was crying and running around in circles. This made me even more scared and my stomach started to hurt really bad. It all turned out ok. I do wear an insulin pump but sometimes it doesn’t work right and it’s not the same as a cure. Sometimes kids ask me how I got diabetes and if I ate too much candy or junk food. They don’t understand that Type I diabetes is out of my control and I didn’t do anything to get it. It’s hard to explain to other kids how I got diabetes because I don’t really understand how or why I got it either.

I have tried each year to raise money for a Cure for Diabetes. The first walk I completed was in 2004, when I was two years old and I raised more than $5000. My school raises a lot of money for diabetes every year and I always walk with my class around our school track to help raise money for kids to attend diabetes camps. I have gone to a diabetes camp every summer for the past four summers. It’s my favorite camp because everyone there is just like me. And the doctors make us really great food which is all nutritious. Plus, we swim, climb a rock wall, and make kites.

A cure needs to be found for Type I diabetes. I have had it my whole life and I might have health problems that come from having diabetes for so many years. I am scared about that. I would love to live part of my life not attached to a pump and know what it’s like to be free of diabetes. I hope you’ll read my story and do what you can to help find a CURE for kids like me. I am a really well-behaved boy, and I love school. I try my hardest every day to do my best at whatever it is I am doing. Someday I want to be a marine biologist or a professional soccer player. I deserve a CURE. I deserve a chance to be just like everyone else!

Thank you, Ms. Congressman, for reading my story and doing everything you can to help find a cure for me and others who have diabetes.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Blowing Rock

This weekend the weather was just perfect. Sunny, high in the 70's, fall has finally arrived. After a miserably hot, humid summer we have been trying to spend more time outside. This past summer was basically useless as far as outdoor activities are concerned (other than the pool.)

Saturday, Caden had two soccer games which were 3 hours apart. The first game they lost, so we were hoping for a better second game. After waiting it out for the second game to start, the other team no showed. Ugh. Very annoying. Could of headed to the mountains a whole lot earlier!

Granny and Aunt Kathy came for a weekend visit so we took them to Blowing Rock, our favorite mountain town. Unfortunately, the leaves haven't even started to change yet, but it is always a beautiful ride. Our kids love it there. It was Art in the Park weekend, so the line for Kilwin's Ice Cream was out the door, down the sidewalk to the next corner. And yes, we still waited!

We all enjoyed dinner at Canyon's and came home to watch Invictus, which I thought was incredibly boring.

Now it's back the Monday morning routine, and I just realized I am out of coffee filters. UGH!