Tuesday, December 6, 2011

So Glad It's December

I'm back........Sorry we have been AWOL for too long.

October was tough for us......what didn't happen?? A leak in the roof in the kids bathroom, new transmission needed in the car, Jami fell & broke her arm...& to top it all off, I lost my camera. Not only were we very Broke, but I am crushed about the camera.....

November we spent trying to heal & recuperate.

And now, it's December!!

Lindsi picked up an awesome Canon camera at a garage sale. She even let's me use it. The roof & the car are both repaired, although I'll be paying that car bill for quite awhile. The cast comes off Jami's arm tomorrow....
Things are definitely looking up for us now.

We were waiting for my parents at a restaurant along the river the on Sun night. Evening time & the natural lighting was just picture perfect. Here are some cute pics I took of the girls with Lindsi's new camera......

See? You've missed us, right??

Monday, September 26, 2011

Jane Brown Playshop

We just had a Girl's Weekend that included a Jane Brown Playshop.

Our soccer season starts next Sat, so we will not be able to make the FCC Culture Camp this year. Fortunately, this Playshop was timed perfectly for us.

Jane Brown is a mother of 9. Many internationally adopted, & she has some bio children. She is a past elementary school teacher & a psychologist. She travels around the country & has several topics that she can theme her Playshops around. This was her 4th visit to the Jacksonville group & the theme was being Transracially adopted. The kids were divided into 2 groups K-3rd grade / 4th grade & older (most in the 9-10-11 age range).

On Fri night, the kids had childcare & in a Parents Only meeting Jane discussed her background & some of the areas that she would be talking to the kids about on Sat. She threw out a lot of ideas & things to think about. Ways to incorporate more culturally diverse people into your family life / daily routines & the importance of these racially diverse role models for our transracially adopted kids.

On Sat AM was the young kids playshop. The parents did the first activity with the kids & then left to go wait it out. The Playshop was approx 2.5 hrs long, then she came & did a debriefing for the parents (which lasted about 1 hr), while the kids stayed back & played. She talked a lot about what it meant to the kids to be adopted, how this might happen, what the outcomes might be. She gives them thinking steps, but does not plant ideas. They did alot of role playing with dolls & puppets. Each child getting a chance to "act" the part of the story (birth parents, SWI workers, adoptive parents). She also role played with them how to handle bullying or being signaled out for being different, or how to help a friend who was being singled out. She equipped them with some great tools.

With the older girls, parents dropped them off & then went to wait. Their session went a little longer. The best thing about this is that the girls broke into small groups & they had tasks to do & then they shared those things with each other. MY OPINION: I think even if you talk with your kids, you, as their parent, can not get them to be as open & as free in the thought exchange as they can be with their same adoptive background peers.
They shared in small groups such things as if you could ask your birthparents 3 things...what would they be? If you could tell your birth parents 3 things about you, what would that be? Then they dicussed those things within their big group. After their session, she did another debriefing with the parents. As a side note, I think there was only other family besides me, who had children in both age groups, & the discussion was naturally different each time. If the kids go off on a tangent, she lets them. It is THEIR time to share with each other & she is just a director & contributor of ideas, jumping off spots for discussion.

Neither of my girls talks much about their adoptions. I was a little nervous going into this that the Playshop might create angst where there is none. That was not the case. I think both girls came away with more information about their adoptions, with a better sense that there really are other kids just like me, (Unbelievably, with the younger group, JB explained that even though your kids might "know" that the other FCC friends are from China, they may not understand that those kids were also adopted, just like they were). I also think (& it is especially true in our case), that if your child has a visible SN, than that "Trumps" race issues (at least at the elementarty age). They don't necessarily feel different because of their race, they feel different & are much more asked about the difference their classmates & others can see.

However, I had read many positive comments about the Playshops, so we commited ourselves to attending. I'm really glad that we did. It was encouraging to learn of the things that I am doing right, in order to give my kids a healthy environment, as well as learn the areas where I can improve.

While I would not jump on the bandwagon to bring Jane to Gainesville. I don't think there is enough local support to justify the expense. I would whole heartedly encourage families with school aged children to take advantage of her playshops whether they are held in Jacksonville (in 2 more years), in Tampa or Orlando. Overall, very positive & we will go again if the occassion arises.

I thought that going to this with other girl friends was a great way to do it. Our kids already knew at least someone in the playgroup..plus we had the bonus of getting to hang out & visit all weekend long. An unexpected bonus came when we were able to swap kid watching duties throughout the weekend. That was really nice!!

If you have any specific questions, I can try and answer them for you. Maybe I'll have pics`to post shortly.....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Last of Summer

We've been busy with Dance Camp & trips to the beach.

We are winding down the last of our care free, lazy morning days & trying to get back into a decent bedtime routine.

Dance classes are starting back up, soccer try outs are just around the corner.

Yesterday, we marked off our list the last BIG thing before Meet Your Teacher Day!!!

The girls decided they wanted to get their ears pierced. I always told them they could get them done whenever they felt ready. Lindsi's been talking about it for awhile. Jami was planning to put her's off until she turned 10. However, in the last few days, Jami changed her tune & when the time came, Even offered to go first.

They both opted for birthstones & of course, that means Diamonds (or the more affordable CZs) for Jami....

Lindsi got some pretty Emerald birth stones:

We finished the evening off with dinner at out local Ale House. Kids Eat Free on Tue, along with balloon art & face painting.

Pretty good way to end the summer break............

Friday, July 22, 2011

Weeks 4-5-6 Mountain Vacation

Glorious vacation........We are home, but here is a summary of our beautiful mountain trip. We went with my siblings, their families, & my parents. It helps that we all get along very well. We rented this gorgeous 3 story cabin. It had a master bedroom on each floor & then various sleeping areas throughout.

Another great amenity was this outdoor covered sitting area with fireplace. Perfect spot to sit & read or visit until the mosquitoes came out around 7PM. The mountain air was beautiful. Mostly in the 80's.

We did a meal rotation, so each family only had to make a dinner every 4th night or so. Nice to be gone for a day out & come home to a home cooked meal.

Our first stop: Ocoee Rafting Center. This is where the white water events from the 1996 Olympics were held. We also picked up info on area hikes from here.
First scenic overlook....Boyd's Gap.

Ocoee Rafting Center

Leisure hike to a waterfall. RT 3.2 miles

A few streams to cross along the way. Here they opted for the log after Jami fell in trying to hop onto the rocks.....
Ahhh...made it, but those rocks were wet & slippery!

The next day my brother, nephew, the girls & I drove over to our old college ala mater...Berry. We had a very nice time visiting the campus. Doug & I enjoyed it alot more than the kids though......

Down the road from the cabin was a big orchard & country store. The kids liked checking out their in house bee hive. Interesting!
And we spent too much time checking out the "real" phone booth......

A day at Stone Mountain. Train, Mountain Top, CrossRoads Course, Laser Show. Very fun day. We LOVED everything there. I was so proud of Lindsi for doing the skywalk course. Lindsi loved the skywalk... Our littlest ones were not quite up for that, so I stayed below, with the full intent of taking the next turn. But, everyone was up there for so long, that we had to hurry if we wanted to go do the sky lift. Maybe next time I can do it too.

Atop the rock.....
With my sister.....

With my girls....

The cousins....

A visit with our Atlanta travel mates......
Lydia & Lindsi
The whole sibling group...

Celebrating a BIG Birthday for my sister....

A visit to the Cabbage patch

Amicola Falls
The girls & my Dad

Panning for Gold & Gems in Dahlonega, GA

Touring the old gold mine

Showing off our "Haul"

Cheering on John & Pam as they tackle white water rafting (I went earlier in the week, I just didn't have a photo crew following me...lol) or what they & their boat mates referred to as their own papparazzi.

Once they sailed out of sight, we went back to the cabin to enjoy the hot tub...
Lindsi says...Yowza..That is HOT!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Weeks 2 & 3.....

Well, that went well......LOL....

We've been relaxing, cleaning house, swimming, visiting friends near & far & taking advantage of our free summer bowling.

On week #2, the girls both opted for short "do's"....since Jami had been promising me for months that she wanted hair as long as "Tangled", I was less encouraging of her to lop it all off. Also her hair grows SLOWER than anyone I know. Lindsi's will be long again by Christmas, no matter how short she cuts it now.

We visited with my longest BFF who was visiting the Orlando area with her family. I LOVE her so much. We can go a long time without seeing each other & then pick right up just like it was yesterday. I have traveled the most with her. She is such a blessing to me.

A few pics of the girls enjoying the afternoon in Orlando....

The girls attended VBS this past week, met some friends for Free Bowling, & alot of this: