Sunday, November 28, 2010

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

Well, I did it.  I took a leap of faith and left my job.  And, I convinced my husband that it is a leap that will benefit the entire family.  Two and a half years ago we decided to enroll our son in private school with the agreement between ourselves that I would work to pay for said school.  For nearly two years that worked fine.  Then, we were blessed with our Moonflower and for the last few months we have juggled the kids, the house, volunteer work, family and ourselves.  Though the balls have been in the air, I have found the circus quite overwhelming and not so fun.  Okay, to be truthful, I'm miserable.  

We eat out more than we should, when I am not at work or shuttling to and fro work I am cleaning, I never see the kids and when I do I have zero patience for them.  I have wondered over and over why we are doing this.  I realized several months ago that someday we will look back and see that the quality of our children's education was wonderful but the quality of our lives was awful.  

I am not leaving the workforce.  Over the summer I decided to go into business for myself and am an Independent Consultant for a great direct sale company.  I want to continue to have an income and hopefully a career, but it has to be on my terms this time and on my family's terms.

I'll be writing more about this on this blog and my more grown up blog Living Harmonies, but for now, just now that you are about to be seeing lots more from me in this forum and out in the world as after next week I'll no longer be tied to someone elses idea of what my week should look like.

What are you waiting for?  What in your life needs to change today?  Look around and take a leap.

Happy Sunday.

Dana

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

We interrupt this broadcast to bring you some of my favorite holiday music.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Noah's 1 Year Family Anniversary Book

Click here to view this photo book larger

1 Year Family Anniversary - Arwyn


Annual Event

Well folks, it's that time of the year again.  Time for the annual playing of Arlo Guthrie's rendition of a Thanksgiving Day in 1965.  It was, BTW, based on a true story.  I remember the first time I heard this.  It was at a dear friend's house.  Her father pulled it out one Thanksgiving weekend when I was 14 or 15 and I have loved it since.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Happy Thanksgiving from the Croys.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What is the Beginning of Her Story?

Many nights before bed, my girl asks to hear the story of Mama Bear and Papa Bear and how they traveled to China to get their daughter. After a year I would have thought Arwyn would have grown tired of it. But, no, she still loves it as often as I'll tell it.


In a week and a half, our family will celebrate the one year anniversary of becoming a family of four. In celebration, I am creating photo books for the kids (one each) and one for Nathan and I which chronicles our 17 day trip through China.  I'll hand them out at dinner at a local Chinese restaurants where all of the Chinese nationals eat.


Noah's book was so simple to put together. I told the story and added pictures and cannot wait to see it come in the mail. Hmmm....


Then I began Arwyn's book. I guess the question is not so much where does her story begin. The answer to that is it began at the same place that everyone's story begins. Two people meet, join together and make a baby. Then what? Fill in the blank. Then they decide they cannot keep their daughter because she is a girl? Then they decide they cannot keep her because they have other children? Do they decide they cannot keep her because of the poverty level the live in? What about because of her special need and their knowledge that medical help is all but impossible in their city?


I believe they wanted to keep her. Call me optimistic, but our beloved was not abandoned right away. She was not a newborn when she was found which gives me hope that her parents struggled before letting her go. I don't know that to be true of course and would not put that in her anniversary book. But, as a mom, having given birth and having traveled to China and seen the women there, I cannot believe that her Mother gave her away without her own heart breaking.


My heart hurts now for her and for Arwyn. But, that still leaves me with the question of where to begin the story of her life with us. I'm sure I'll sort it out as I put the book together, skipping parts here and there until I have a clear picture of what this looks like.


We all want to know our own story. We yearn to find out about ourselves. We take self help classes and meditate and pray and ask for guidance. But, most of us have at least firm footing of our roots and our ancestry to begin. For those that do not, where do you go?


I am sure this will not be the first time that we are faced with such dilemmas as we help our little one navigate life. I just hope that we are wise enough to face these challenges and help her come through the other side.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Do not stand by my grave and weep
Mary Frye in 1932


Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.


I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.


When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.


Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
(Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!)

Monday, August 16, 2010

On the Lake


A beautiful day at the lake with dear friends Mike and Karisa and their little guy Ean. What a weekend. Life is good.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Beltane



A Hand Made Wreath
an Ancient Rite
Circling the Maypole
to Welcome the Harvest
the Marriage of the God and Goddess
a Beltane Celebration.

Monday, July 12, 2010

2nd Grade at a Waldorf School

Well, another year of school down. I am now the mom to a rising 3rd grader. Okay, I need to stop typing for a moment while I wipe the tears and blow my nose. All good now. Noah's year was filled with language arts, math, nature studies and playground fun. He completed last year's knitting project and started on a new one - a stuffed gnome. His class gave two wonderful plays and treated everyone to a Chinese New Year program.


In a Waldorf school, there are no textbooks. At least, not in our school. Each day the students begin with a blank piece of paper and create their own textbooks. When they learn to write, there is no tracing on workbook pages. It makes for beautiful work by the children.


In language arts this year, the children heard beautiful stories which were translated to artwork in the textbooks, they continued mastering print and in January they began cursive. Noah's cursive is great. Better than mine! He learned the multiplication tables through form drawing and bean bag tossing.


There are days when I wonder how the heck we can continue paying for private school, then I look at his work and I know that Great Spirit will provide.

St. George and the Dragon





St. George and the Dragon was a big part of the school year.  They used it as part of the pedagogical study and this was the play that was performed.  I LOVE Noah's Dragon.


2nd Grade Math

The Crow and the Pitcher




Well, I have NO idea why these loaded like this.  I even tried rotating them before uploading them.  Oh well.  This was one of my favorite stories as a child.  The Crow and the Pitcher.  I love that Noah wrote it out and illustrated it himself instead of reading someone else's book and seeing that person's art.

The Peacock












This is Noah's peacock and one of his printed pages from the earlier part of the school year.  I love this picture.  Did I mention there are no lines on the page?  They use TOTALLY blank paper.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mary Pope Osborne's Odyssey

Noah and I love Greek Myths. Any myths really - but especially Greek myths. Who can resist tales of the Greek Gods and their love/hate relationship with mankind? Not I! Nor, my magical son. Normally a D'Aulaire's girl for presenting these feasts for the ears to Noah, I stumbled across Mary Pope Osborne's version of The Odyssey at the library. 7 delightful CD's by one of our favorite author's - she is also the author of the ever popular Magic Treehouse series!


For the last few days we have been listening to these CD's in the car. We began them last Thursday and will sadly finish them tomorrow. We have read other version's of this tale - including the Barefoot Books version (I love Barefoot Books!) but this tale - this tale rewritten by Osborne and read by Shakespearean actor James Simmons are more than I could have wished for.


Each day we are eager to get into the car to go SOMEWHERE - ANYWHERE so we can listen. Oh, I know, we could listen at home, and probably will, but to be in the car with the kids imagining these events is lovely, simply lovely.


Dreaming of Odysseus and Penelope and the Goddess Athena - patron Goddess of my own fair city of Nashville.....


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

My Little Mirrors

Over 8 years ago I gave birth to a precious baby boy. It did not take me long to realize that this presence in my life would give me the opportunity to grow in ways I never thought possible. As I (we) have watched him grow, rarely a day does not go by (at least I hope it doesn't) that I do not look at him and see an aspect of myself. Sometimes it is an aspect that I love, sometimes, well, not so much.

Now, after having Arwyn enter into our lives, it is no different. Sometimes Nathan and I look at one another and I'll say, "that's my kid" or "that's your kid." Arwyn gets the giggles and will laugh hysterically for 20 minutes. That's my girl. When her OCD qualities come out or when she eats her dinner one item at a time, well, that's Nathan.

Though certainly not a perfect parent by any means, I feel fortunate that I have this perspective and that by loving my kids, even when they act like me, that I create a greater love for myself.

Today, I wish each person that reads this that has children of their own can love their children even when they mirror the parts of themselves that they often find unlovable.

Sometimes, looking in the mirror is a good thing.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Arwyn's Surgery





Okay. I know it was, like, 9 weeks ago, but I am just now getting around to posting about it. As far as we can tell, Arwyn's surgery went well. We checked in the morning of February 22 at Monroe Carrell Children Hospital and Arwyn was fitted with a cute little hospital outfit and was given a snazzy blue convertible to drive to the OR. So far, so good. We were given the option of either having her drive herself back (which they and we preferred) or being given a sort of sedative and getting her sort of asleep. Hindsight is 20/20 so they say. She actually did great but I wish I had let them give her the sedative so she would not have remembered what happened as she was pretty angry with us over the entire thing.

After 2 hours during which Nathan and I had lunch, the surgeon came out and let us know that everything went really well. For kids that have cleft palate in the US, most kids now have the initial surgery in the first months of life, which I am sure is preferable for many reasons. Regardless, the tissue in the mouth of each child makes a big difference in whether or not the surgery will be successful or will have to be repeated. According to the surgeon, Arwyn has great tissue which made it really easy to complete the surgery.

A few minutes later they took us back to recovery to be with her as she woke up. She did not wake up well. If you have a child that has ever had surgery you probably know that some kids (and adults) take anestesia really well and some do not. Noah did great when he had his hernia surgery at age 3. Arwyn, not so good. Unfortunately for Arwyn, and many adopted kids, she had her lip repaired in China and it is entirely possible that there was little in the way of pain management after her surgery and she remembered her previous hospital experience.

So, Arwyn woke up very angry and in so much pain. I walked in to the recovery room to see a nurse holding my baby who was screaming for me and mama bear kicked in. I could not get to her quick enough and get her out of the nurse's hands quick enough. To be fair, the nurses were incredible and well meaning and doing their jobs but it was my job to hold her and soothe her during this time.

Soon we were taken up to her room in ICU and after much work and finagling and talking to nurses we got her (and us) settled. The next day we were moved to a regular room and were there from Tuesday afternoon until Friday morning. Arwyn continued to have considerable pain for several days and we continued to give her pain meds in the hospital (as well as once home).

She was on a full liquid diet for two full weeks. While in the hospital she said juices and broths and once home I prepared homeade soups and pureed them for her. After two weeks she moved to soft foods which we did for nearly 4 weeks. She is now on a regular diet once again and I can tell you she is quite glad!

I'm posting a few pics of her surgery/hospital stay. In case you are wondering, I am primarily doing this as a way for other adoptive families with cleft affected kids to see what is ahead of them.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easter




Well, our the Sun and the Moonflower had a great time on Easter Sunday. We got out of bed to find that the Easter bunny had visited and showered the children with gifts. Noah received new coloring pencils and paper as well as an electric pencil sharpener. Arwyn found a Kai-Lan book and a packet of flash cards in her basket. Both children were delighted to find a chocolate bunny and a plush bunny in their baskets as well.

After a nice breakfast and careful dressing, we headed to Nathan's grandparent's house where we were greeted by about 25 other relatives all ready for an Italian lunch and an egg hunt. I can tell you that the kids were thrilled by the prospect of searching for eggs.

Arwyn had a great time, though seriously crashed once we left (it appears she was given lots more dessert than I would have liked causing her to fall asleep in the car and tantrum the rest of the evening.) Oh well. I guess that's a lesson for Mom to keep a better eye next time!

I have a few photos to share of the day. The kids looked great. There are actually more really great photos of the entire family that I'll share when they are sent to me.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snow Days???

This week is a good week. Noah's school is out for a teacher in service, which, BTW, they appeared to have canceled for some reason.

Oh well. Noah, Arwyn and I are snuggling on my bed this morning, watching the snow fall softly as it has done on and off for a couple of days.

We are listening to one of my Pandora stations, "Women Who Rock" - featuring the likes of India Arie and Norah Jones. I'm blogging, Arwyn is being a busy 3 year old on the bed and Noah is going through a Playmobil catalog making out his 2010 Christmas list.

Yes, I realize Christmas is a long way off - a fact that does not seem to bother him as he happily plans receiving the entire catalog from the North Pole.

Arwyn's new fave book is Go Dog Go by Dr. Seuss. She happily imitates the dogs and pretends to swim, drive and jump into water. "Read, Momma, Read" is what we hear throughout the day. We were a little worried she would not like books - the horror - but is thankfully becoming a little bookworm like Noah (and myself).

We are quickly approaching the date of Arwyn's first palate surgery - it will be Monday February 22. Next week I'll have lots of time on my hands and will spend some of the week while at the hospital working on my blog, writing updates and posting photos.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010