Thursday, July 28, 2011

Quote of the Day

There are children playing in the street who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago.
J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER, quoted in Pearls of Wisdom

Hiking to "Zebra Park" as Johnny calls it

Johnny and I are off to our local Playgroup today and then continuing on an adventure to a river spot in Willow Creek.   I love my one-on-one time with J, I can really watch as he takes in all of the sights, sounds, bugs, and people.

Have a nice Thursday, everyone!  

Monday, July 25, 2011

"I tried to teach my child with books;
he gave me only puzzled looks.
I tried to teach my child with words;
they passed by often unheard.
Despairingly, I turned aside;
How shall I teach this child?
I cried.
Into my hand he put the key
Come, he said, play with me."


I know many of you have probably heard this poem before, but I keep these words near and dear to my heart so I wanted to share.  I have had this wrinkled up piece of paper with this exact poem since I can remember.  It was with me all through college with my work with children, in my files as I taught preschool at many locations, and still continues to be a very important part of my teaching and now parenting style.  If anyone knows the author, please share  :)

Building "houses" out of rocks at the river.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Moments of Connection

Let's face it.  Parenthood is never as easy as you picture in your mind.  Many people picture trips to the park, laughter and hugs, that sweet, sleeping child.  It isn't all roses!!! Luckily before becoming a parent, I had lots of time and training and was told "what to expect" when bringing a foster child into my home.   Still, I am constantly caught off guard, as are most new parents.  Granted, my situation and experiences may be a bit different than those of a purely "biological" family, but I am certain there are many parallels.

Before Johnny came to us, I was certain I had what it takes to have a constantly pleasant household.  It's so great that I had that level of confidence in myself, but frankly, it's not possible.  There  are days when I say "Wow, I must be a horrible parent." There have been tears, time outs, and tantrums (from both parents and child LOL).  It's interesting how parenting really expands your mind and forces you to think harder and be stronger than ever... especially when you jump in to parenting with a 2 year old  ;).  

And then there are those moments that erase all of the stress.  All of the worries, the frustration, and the arguments just disappear when my child and I have a "moment of connection."  One of those times where I cannot take my tearful eyes off of my child.  I  feel so incredibly lucky and thankful for this gift. I documented our latest connection in the photos below.  Johnny and I went on a recent hike in the Arcata Community Forest and played at Redwood Park.  He and I had a blast and bonded more over a mutual love for the outdoors.

It is my goal to create more of these strong connections with my family.

"Go this way?"

Banana Slugs are fascinating!

These fallen pieces of tree are pieces of the "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree" (Johnny's favorite story!)

We arrived at the park... gorgeous day!!!



Monday, July 18, 2011

Lefty in the House!!!

As you may know, we are so lucky to be very close to finalizing our adoption.  Johnny came to us back in December 2010 and it has been such a thrilling ride to bond with him and become "Mommy" and "Daddy."  There have been many life changes in the past 7 months and Terry (my husband) and I have learned so much. There is one thing that has been difficult for me to get used to.  Our little guy is left handed (we're pretty sure).  Being a "righty," I have always been unaware of the challenges that left-handed people face.  Now, I think twice before I place Johnny's silverware on his plate, I have special scissors for him, and I place his crayons and markers on his left side where he can reach them.  Additionally, if he becomes upset and frustrated over a task that he's having trouble accomplishing, I'll often check his hands to see if maybe a quick switch would make things easier.  Often times, that method proves to be successful.

As a side note, I will never be caught placing something into Johnny's left hand.  It is up to him to choose which hand he is comfortable swinging a bat with, coloring with, and eating with.  A simple suggestion can get us past a frustrating time, but I want him to figure it out.  Recently I spoke to two women who mentioned they were hit with rulers when using their left hands in school.  I'm glad things have changed since then!!

"Clouds and Rain"  One of Johnny's many masterpieces

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Small Town Celebrations

The annual Annie and Mary Days Celebration kicked off this weekend in Blue Lake, a town just 10 minutes inland from our home.  Often when the marine layer blankets our good old coastal neighborhood, we can hop in the car and be sweating in the sunshine by the river in this wonderful small town.  Today, however, we experienced a little change of weather- light mist and some rain!  Not sure if this makes me a true Humboldt County resident or not, but I totally enjoyed the break from the sun!!  

Anywhoo, Amongst the festivities was a parade, bocce ball, live music, a petting zoo, and of course food and drink.  The event took place on grounds containing a playground AND a roller skating rink!  Needless to say, our little guy was in heaven.  The pony ride, by far, was the highlight.  It makes me so happy to see my son having fun and experiencing these things.  Like a great friend once told me about exposing children to these events and other exciting adventures... "THIS is a childhood."  

Here are some pics from the day:

They don't make 'em like they used to!

I love the color contrast in this photo.

Why not?!

~Too cute~


Enjoy the rest of your weekend and thanks for reading  :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

colorful treats!

Johnny and I had a slow and relaxing morning in our PJs, but then packed up and headed out to the local Farmer's Market in Arcata.  The Plaza is the perfect place for Johnny to run around and meet other kids.  My eyes watered today when my little guy introduced himself to another boy about his own age, then gave him a long, meaningful hug with a smile on his face.  Children are amazing.

Here are some shots from our trip:

I could eat these like apples!

a beautiful basket of edible flowers

Hope everyone's weekend is going well!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mums in Bloom

     I have never had a green thumb.  I still do not claim to be anything but a "beginner" at gardening.  Whether it's flowers, trees, shrubs, veggies, or fruits, I pretty much plant with hopes that the weather and awesome soil (depending on where I am living, of course) will help me out.  Being in Humboldt County, I have a huge advantage.  My zucchini looks amazing, my peas are fruitful, my onions are working hard, and my tomatoes are even showing some signs that they too, will persevere!!  My son, Johnny, has been able to do, watch, and learn as we planted seeds and over the weeks, sprouts, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, and veggies have all arrived!
     The most exciting plant in my yard now, however, is my pot of Mums.  I purchased this plant about a year ago as it was full of yellow flowers.  Slowly, as the winter came and all the way through spring, the plant stayed green, and with occasional watering and a little talking-to by yours truly, the Garden Mum began to re-energize just a few weeks ago.  It now has many small buds with future potential and a few open pompon style flowers blooming right back at me.  Can't help but smile!  There is nothing better than sharing my excitement for nature with my two-year-old son!

Hello World!

It's funny how our life experiences shape who we are.  I feel very proud to be a devoted wife, and not until quite recently... a fost/adopt mom.  I "grew" up in an amazing family (when do we stop growing up, really?).  My parents modeled the traits and tricks needed to create a lasting relationship and a loving family.  My brothers and I share a bond stronger than anything.  In short, I feel very lucky.

One of the most amazing traits I inherited from my mother is her love and devotion to children.  Not only to my brothers and I, but to the thousands of children she has had in her elementary school classrooms.  Through staying after school and going in on weekends, working closely with parents who speak not one word of english, and even teaching other teachers how to be great teachers, she has taught me not to give up, that every child has worth, and that life isn't easy, but with hard work with children, you can literally SEE results.  She may also be cringing at the length of that last sentence LOL!

Check out this link... 5 years old, but the same words I speak today!

 Getting lost on the Lost Coast :)

Welcome to my blog.  I hope to share with you my experiences as a foster mother working hard to adopt a beautiful gift named Johnny, a Coastie wife, traveling the country with my best bud, and the fun and exciting adventures we get into as a family.  Also included, will be reviews, rants, and raves on many topics in Child Development, and super fun activities to do with kiddos.  I welcome comments and subscriptions and I hope to spread the love that my mom instilled in me  :)

Thank a TEACHER!!!