A change in plans

In my 7 Quick Takes post last Friday, I said there were things going on behind the scenes that I couldn’t share.  I am now able to share them with you.  A little background for new readers of my blog: we hosted “Valentine,” a 10-year-old orphan from Eastern Europe, for 10 weeks last summer, and have been working to adopt him.

After we received our appointment date last Monday, one of the facilitators from our team contacted Valentine’s orphanage to see if they could get his 3-day sputum test for TB started (it’s required for his US visa and it takes 8 weeks to get the results).  At that time, they learned that Valentine is being adopted by a family from his country.  They have already had court and are now in the waiting period before taking him home.  Apparently Valentine was aware that we were working to adopt him (our facilitators had been in touch with his orphanage director in the fall) and chose to be adopted by this family.  It’s understandable.  He clearly wanted a family very much; how could he say no to a family that spoke his language and was right there in person, wanting to adopt him, when he hadn’t seen us in months?

It was a big shock to us to learn this just as we were preparing to travel to Eastern Europe and see Valentine again, after all the time and work that it took to complete our dossier and have it approved.  We needed a few days to grieve and decide what we were going to do before sharing this information.  We are now preparing to travel to Eastern Europe to attend our appointment and seek a referral for another child who fits our home study approval.

This is a whole new ballgame now–instead of traveling to be reunited with a child whom we already know and who already knows us, we are going to meet a child we’ve never met before, try to decide if he/she will be a good fit for our family, and try to show him/her that life with us would be better than staying in the orphanage because he/she needs to consent to the adoption.  We have identified a few children who interest us, but we don’t want to share details at this time.  We will share more after our appointment, when we have chosen a child.

This has been a very stressful week for us, but we are now feeling more peaceful about it all.  I trust that God has a plan here and that everything will work out.  While we are deeply disappointed to have lost Valentine, we are happy for him that he has a family, and now another child will have a family also.  I know that losing Valentine is probably a shock and a disappointment to you also and we appreciate your support as we go forward on this journey.


7 Quick Takes #61

  1.  Our dossier was approved and we got our appointment date!  The current plan is that we will leave here on the 17th to drive to Don’s parents’ house.  We fly out on the 18th, arrive on the 19th, and our appointment is on the 20th.
  2.   We’ve decided to bring Peter with us.  Simon and Clara will stay with Don’s parents.  Leaving Clara behind will be very hard for me because she’s not old enough to understand why we’re gone and when we’re coming back, but bringing her with us would be a lot of work and a major distraction.
  3.   There are things going on behind the scenes here.  I wish I could write about them now because I’ve been trying to be transparent and share our story as it unfolds, but Don feels a need for privacy at the moment.  Stay tuned and I will share when I am able.
  4.   We have so many things to do to get ready to go.  We have ordered useful items like a mini travel coffee maker thing (for Don; I don’t drink coffee) and electrical outlet adapters.  I just finalized my selection of pictures for a photo album featuring our family and home that we will show to the orphanage director and social workers, who must approve the adoption.  We have lists galore–lists of things to do and things to bring and things to pack for Simon and Clara.  There is so much running through my mind right now, I’m having a hard time sleeping, which is not helpful.
  5.   Homeschooling productivity has taken a hit since we got the news on Monday.  I didn’t do lessons with Simon at all on Monday or Tuesday and only managed about half of his lessons on Wednesday and Thursday.  Peter has fared somewhat better, but Thursday was the first day this week that he finished all his work and I managed to check it all.  Next week will be as bad or worse; not only will we be packing and doing our final preparations but Simon is going to be participating in an ice show and has two rehearsals, a photo session, and then the final performance on Friday.  (There are actually two shows, but he’ll miss the Sunday one.  I’m relieved that he will be able to perform in the first one at least; I’ve been stressed about the possibility of him having to miss it ever since I realized that we might be traveling sooner than we had originally expected.)
  6.   We finally managed to take a family picture.  Previously, the only picture with all five of us in it was a goofy one taken last March.  On Monday, we made the effort to set up a backdrop and decorate it with a heart banner I bought for 25 cents on clearance after Valentine’s Day, then took a bunch of pictures using the timer feature on our camera so we could choose the one that turned out best.  It’s not exactly professional-looking, but I’m happy with it.  However, we’re about to add another child, so this family picture will soon be obsolete.Family portrait small
  7.   And now, my obligatory fund-raising plug.  Travel will be our biggest expense for this adoption; we will be making three trips to Eastern Europe.  If you’d like to make a US tax-deductible donation towards our adoption expenses, you can donate to our Reece’s Rainbow Family Sponsorship Program account.

Thanks for reading!  I don’t expect to post next week because I will be running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get everything prepared to leave.  We do expect to have internet access while we are in Eastern Europe and I will try to post something while we are there, but expect details to be limited.  While you’re waiting for me to post, you can find other bloggers’ 7 Quick Takes to read by clicking the graphic below.


7 Quick Takes #60

Today I’m going to try to stick to the “quick” aspect of 7 Quick Takes.  Here goes!

  1.  We got a grant!  A local organization that sponsors an annual “Mom Prom” event gave us a $2500 grant towards our expenses for adopting “Valentine” (the 10-year-old orphan from Eastern Europe that we hosted last summer).
  2.  And we got more money!  Someone connected with the Mom Prom organization was moved by our story and decided to anonymously make a personal donation of $1000 towards our expenses.
  3.  Our Reece’s Rainbow Family Sponsorship Program account is now up to $4098!  I feel like I’m overdoing it with the exclamation points so far, but this is all great news.
  4.  We haven’t received travel dates.  As of Tuesday, our dossier hadn’t been processed yet.  There is a new person reviewing dossiers in Valentine’s country and apparently she is very picky.  If she rejects just one of our documents, it will cause a several-month delay in our adoption process, so please pray that she will find everything acceptable.
  5.  Don made a “quick” trip to Marquette on Tuesday to get a copy of our tax return apostilled (it’s a four-hour round trip, plus 45 minutes waiting at the Secretary of State office).  Our adoption facilitation team requested it in case the person reviewing dossiers wants it.  It was an inconvenience to have to get one document apostilled and sent to Valentine’s country ASAP when we don’t even know if it will be needed, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  6.  We didn’t make it through this winter without getting a car stuck in the snow in our driveway.  It happened when I was trying to go meet the Mom Prom people so they could give us money.  At least it was pretty easy to pull the car out with the tractor.  I hope it will be the only time this year.
  7.  Clara’s vocabulary has exploded over the past few weeks.  If anyone needs a housekeeping inspector, they can borrow her–one of her favorite new words is “dirt” and she loves to point it out all day long.  She’s added several two-syllable words, the first of which was “bubbo” (bubble), which sounds very cute when she says it.

I did it!  Since that was so quick, you have time to read other bloggers’ 7 Quick Takes now.  Click on the graphic to find some:



There’s no news this week on our adoption of “Valentine” (the 10-year-old orphan from Eastern Europe that we hosted last summer).  I’ve put together a themed post on seven things that are working for us right now as I homeschool Peter for grade 7 and Simon for kindergarten.  Homeschooling this year is going quite well; I wrote a post last May about why this would be the best year of homeschooling yet and it has been mostly accurate.  I now present to you some of what’s working for us–many items having to do with scheduling and staying organized and others just about things we do.

Together time.  This is a short period that Peter, Simon, and I do all together; I described it in my homeschool curriculum overview post for this year.  In short, we sing, we pray, and we read a Bible story, a poem, and a French comptine (like a nursery rhyme).  We’ve moved it from the morning to the afternoon, when Clara’s napping, because that works better for us now that Peter’s home all day and Clara doesn’t nap in the mornings anymore.

Read-aloud.  While technically I am just doing read-aloud with Simon, most of the time Peter joins us.  The draw of listening to captivating stories is just too strong for him to resist.  It means it takes Peter longer to finish his own work, but there’s something so cozy and wholesome about having both boys on the couch with me listening in rapt attention as I read aloud that I just can’t discourage Peter from joining us.  I read the same books to Peter seven years ago when he was in kindergarten, but he doesn’t remember many of them.

Morning break.  Starting in the second semester, we are now taking a morning break at 10 am for approximately 15 minutes.  This was a difficult decision for me.  Our homeschool day is supposed to start at 9 am with Peter’s saxophone practice, although it’s often closer to 9:30 by the time we hear the first notes.  Why stop for a break when we’ve only just started our homeschool day?  Looking at the big picture, though, we’ve already done a lot of work.  Just getting myself and three kids up, and fed, and breakfast cleaned up, and vitamins taken, and all of us dressed, and clothes picked up, and Clara’s diaper changed, and hair combed, and teeth brushed, and the cat fed, and the humidifier filled, and the pellet stove cleaned and lit, and the floor swept, and the dishwasher unloaded, and and and…yeah, we kind of do need a break already even though it feels like we’ve only just begun our day (or at least *I* need a break–the reality is that unless I’m constantly cheerleading and reminding the boys what they’re supposed to be doing, they don’t get much done).  When 10 am hits, we either sing or have Alexa play some fun music and we dance, then we have a snack.  It gives us a little mood boost with happy music and a bit of exercise, which is often helpful for me in resetting my attitude after the effort of getting everyone up and ready.

Memory folders.  I saw this idea online and decided to implement it when we started our second semester.  Folders contain index cards with items to be memorized such as  vocabulary words, French verb conjugations, math formulas, etc.  I also include Simon’s Little Stories for Little Folks booklets (for his reading program).  I’m planning to add poetry to memorize but haven’t gotten there yet.  Each day, we pull out three folders–daily, odd or even, and the day of the week– and review their contents.  New material starts in the daily folder, and as it becomes learned, it gets moved progressively back so it is reviewed less frequently until it is retired.  Some people also do numbered folders for the days of the month, but I didn’t feel a need to go that far.


Our folders.  The blue ones are Simon’s, the red ones are Peter’s, and the yellow ones are waiting for “Valentine” to come home.

Flexible, by-subject scheduling.  This was one of my biggest improvements this year over how I approached homeschooling in the past.  I used to make big spreadsheets with each assignment for each subject for each day for a week at a time.  Then, as soon as life happened and Peter fell behind, things would get into a mess.  This year, I made a list of subjects for each kid and posted the list on our fridge.  Simon’s list is divided into “couch work” and “table work” (mainly as a reminder for me when I’m pulling out work to do with him), while Peter’s list has some rotations on it (for example, “current events/logic” means that he alternates between doing current events one day and logic the next day).  For each individual subject, Peter has an undated schedule of assignments.  When he gets to that subject, he does the next assignment on the list.  After I check his work, I initial and date the box next to that assignment.  If he misses a subject one day for whatever reason, he just picks up with the next assignment the next day.  Some of our curriculum resources came with schedules that I’ve been able to use, while for other subjects I had to invest some time in typing out schedules at the beginning of the year.


A schedule made by the curriculum provider, which I slightly adapted.


A schedule that I typed up myself.  The X’s indicate that there’s a video to watch.

A fixed order for Peter’s subjects.  There are some things I’m not uptight about.  When I was a high school teacher, I wasn’t one of those teachers who insisted that assignments had to be written in blue or black pen.  I told my students I didn’t care what they wrote with, as long as I could read it.  It didn’t bother me when students wrote in fluorescent orange gel pen–at least they were doing their work, which was an accomplishment in and of itself at the inner-city school where I taught in Detroit.  Likewise, having a fixed order for tackling the various subjects didn’t seem important to me; as long as the work got done, it didn’t matter to me whether math was done before or after history.  Although I sometimes suggested working on certain things based on circumstances (practice saxophone before Clara takes her nap, do writing now because I’m free and we need to go over it together), I left it up to Peter to decide what to work on when.  Often, he would get stuck during the transition from one subject to another, not able to make a decision about what to work on next.  I decided to eliminate that wasted time and mental energy by giving him a fixed order for his subjects when we started our second semester.  I considered which subjects were more and less important, putting the more important ones earlier to make sure they got done.  I also thought about which subjects were more and less challenging for him and tried to balance the schedule so he wouldn’t have two difficult subjects in a row.  I scheduled saxophone practice first thing in the morning and designated a quiet reading period for both boys after lunch, so they wouldn’t be disruptive while I was trying to get Clara down for her nap.  Now that Peter has a predictable routine and just has to move on to the next subject on the list when he finishes an assignment, his days are flowing more smoothly.

4:30 deadline.  Another schedule tweak I made for the second semester was introducing a 4:30 cut-off time for schoolwork (mainly for Peter).  If there’s nothing unusual going on and he works diligently, he should finish all his work before then.  On days with regular schedule changes (swimming lessons or ice skating), there are certain subjects that he gets to skip to lighten his load (they’re marked with an asterisk on his subject list).  However, sometimes one or more assignments take an exceptionally long time to complete, our schedule is disrupted by something irregular, or he’s just plain not focused on his work.  Once 4:30 hits, he can stop working on his schoolwork.  Unless I deem that the circumstances were entirely out of his control, he doesn’t get electronic privileges (tv/computer/Wii time), but he isn’t forced to keep his nose to the grindstone when he’s tired from the day and generally not all that productive anyhow.  He can choose to continue working and he gets electronic privileges if he finishes (which he often does).  To me, this offers some balance.  Yes, it’s important to finish your work, but everyone has rough days now and then.  Sometimes you need to take a break before you can get back to being productive.  If he were abusing this and slacking off all the time, I would reconsider it.  However, most of the time he finishes all his work, and even the days that he doesn’t, he usually gets pretty close.

Well, I’ve totally failed at the “quick” part of 7 Quick Takes again.  You can head over to This Ain’t the Lyceum to see if any other bloggers managed to do a better job than I did.


7 Quick Takes #58

Welcome to another edition of 7 Quick Takes, in which I discuss the Olympics, the beginning of Lent, and the latest in our journey to adopt “Valentine” (the 10-year-old boy from Eastern Europe that we hosted last summer).

  1.  Watching the Olympics is a chance for me to be amazed by the things that human beings can do.  I don’t have enough interest in most sports to watch them regularly, but every four years I can be impressed by the skill of the world’s best skiers, skaters, sliders, etc.  When I watch these elite athletes, I often wish I could be in their body for one event so I could feel what it feels like to slide down a track of ice at 100 km/h in control or do flips on skis or land a triple axel (all things I will never do).  Years ago, I did short-track speed skating, and I miss it.  I had nowhere the amount of skill that world-class athletes have, but I loved the feeling of flying around the rink on my skates.  I can only imagine how incredible it would feel to be an Olympic athlete, at the height of what is possible.
  2.  We feasted for Mardi Gras.  We had pancakes and paczki, two traditional Fat Tuesday foods.  I was nostalgic when I thought about all the pancakes that were being made that day by parent volunteers in Catholic schools across the province of Ontario (where I used to teach).  I recalled the traditional prune and rosehip flavored paczki from a Polish specialty shop that one of my fellow teachers brought in to share on my last Mardi Gras before we moved here; I prefer the Americanized strawberry-filled ones.  In addition to our breakfast-for-dinner, I broke out the heart-shaped Ding-Dongs a day early to round out our junk food feast.
  3.  We had a busy morning on Wednesday.  I haven’t verified this, but I saw online that it was the first time since 1946 that Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day fell on the same day.  On top of that, it was Michigan’s spring count day (which determines public school funding based on enrollment).  We went to 9 am Mass, then to the local school district’s homeschool partnership program center so that Peter and Simon could be counted, then to the library.  We skipped ice skating because I figured that was enough activity for one morning.
  4.  Maybe I should stop hoping to ever get things done so I can stop being disappointed when it doesn’t happen.  Since Wednesday morning was so busy and I have so many things to do that I never get to, I thought I would give the boys the day off lessons and let them watch a movie or two in the afternoon so I could get some things done.  Alas, Clara fell asleep on the ride home from the library and foiled my plans.  Not only did I have to make and eat lunch while she slept (not the most productive use of nap time), but she feel asleep earlier than usual and took a shorter than usual nap, so she was up before 2 pm.  So much for my “free” time.  Plus, a certain child who shall not be named managed to drag out the very minimal work I required of him until almost 4 pm, making both of us miserable in the process.  This afternoon, the boys are going snow-tubing with the homeschool partnership program.  Maybe, just maybe, Clara will take a good nap while they’re gone so that I can get her Canadian passport application completed (we got her passport pictures taken while we were in Canada for Christmas), work on the photo book we need to bring to Valentine’s country, and/or do a number of other important things that keep getting pushed to the back burner.
  5.  I’m trying to keep it simple this Lenten season.  Last year, I put considerable effort into preparing for Lent.  I’m glad that I did and that I kept good notes so I didn’t have to put much work into prepping this year, because I just don’t have the time and energy for it right now.  For the boys, we’re doing the Lenten calendars and Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure again, and again there will be no playing on the Wii except on Sundays.  For myself, I could think of many things that would be beneficial, but I didn’t want to stress myself out with too many sacrifices.  Ultimately, I decided on reasonable efforts in the three Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  For prayer, the boys and I will pray the Angelus during our homeschool “together time”; it seems like an intermediate step between our usual prayer and saying a decade of the rosary, which I’m not sure they’re ready for.  For fasting, I will do what I did last year and limit myself to one sweet thing per day, usually a square of a chocolate bar.  (This still takes self-discipline, but it’s not as daunting as completely giving up sweets.)  As for almsgiving, we will participate in our church’s weekly soup and bread meals that raise money for local charities, plus I figure our adoption kind of counts.  All in all, I think my plans for this year are do-able, and perhaps I’ll be up to observing Lent more rigorously in the future.
  6.  Over the last couple weeks, we’ve made important connections with other adopting families.  We’re now in touch with two other families adopting from the city where Valentine lives; one family leaves today for their first trip and the other leaves soon for their final trip, to bring their newly adopted children home.  It’s helpful for us to learn about their experiences before we travel so we can be better prepared.  Also, another family from the Upper Peninsula has just started the process of adopting from Valentine’s country; I talked with the mom on the phone and shared some of our experiences with her.  According to Wikipedia, the population of the UP at the 2010 census was a little over 311,000 (just over 3% of the population of the state of Michigan), so it’s a pleasant surprise to have another UP family adopting from the same country at the same time.  These connections with other adopting families are a way to give and receive practical help as well as moral support.
  7.  We have received five new Hearts for Valentine photos since last week!  Our Reece’s Rainbow Family Sponsorship Program account is now up to $3698.  As we wait to be invited to Valentine’s country to receive an official referral, it’s reassuring to see some of the money we will need for our travel expenses coming in.  It warms my heart to see the photos people have sent for Valentine–pictures of themselves, their children, their grandchildren, their pets, and one of a baby blanket.  If you haven’t sent a photo yet, please do!

You can find more 7 Quick Takes (written by other bloggers) here:


7 Quick Takes #57

This week’s topics: birthdays, good and bad news relating to our adoption of “Valentine” (the 10-year-old boy from Eastern Europe we hosted last summer), my housecleaning failure, and eyes.

  1.  Peter and Simon both celebrated their birthdays in the past week.  Peter is now a teenager.  He chose homemade chicken pot pie for his birthday dinner and chocolate pie for dessert.  His gifts included a Dungeons and Dragons 2nd edition Dungeon Master’s Guide (the edition is critical–we unwittingly bought him the 5th edition for Christmas and got an earful as a result).  Simon is now six.  He chose chicken and dumplings for his birthday meal and for dessert, galette des rois.  His gifts included a gumball machine, Legos (as if we need any more in this house), and light-up balloons.  It’s hectic celebrating two birthdays in the same week, but now we have a break until April, when we will celebrate Valentine’s birthday in absentia.IMG_0681 small
  2.  We inaugurated our “special plate.”  I read Kendra Tierney’s blog post about how each of her children is special three days a year and admired her red plate, but got sticker shock when I looked at buying one.  I checked out Etsy for alternatives and found a few, but those were also somewhat pricy.  Then I realized that some of the Etsy sellers were decorating their plates with oil-based Sharpies and was inspired to try decorating my own plate, figuring I could do just as good a job myself.  Even though I had to buy two plates because the first one chipped when I dropped it in the sink while washing it, the cost of the two plates and a package of oil-based Sharpies was less than I would have spent to buy a decorated plate (and it was helpful to practice on the chipped plate before decorating the real one).  I’m pleased with the result and I hope that this plate will make birthdays more special.IMG_0650 small
  3.  I tried having a “housecleaning day” on Wednesday and it was a failure.  I thought it would be a great idea to designate one day a month to doing some of the housecleaning chores that don’t get done quite regularly enough.  I figured that housecleaning is a life skill and it would be worth giving the boys a morning off of academic lessons so they could help get these chores done and we could live in a somewhat cleaner house.  I made a list that seemed reasonable, but turned out to be overly ambitious.  Instead of taking the morning off, we ended up taking the entire day off lessons and didn’t even finish my list.  Not only that, but because we focused on the lesser-done chores, the everyday chores were neglected.  I went to bed exhausted from cleaning and supervising all day, while the dishes and laundry remained piled up, mocking me and my efforts.  Clearly, a monthly housecleaning day is not the solution, so I need to go back to the drawing board.
  4.  I’ve been having many conversations about eyes with Clara.  “Eyes” is one of her favorite words right now, so she frequently points out eyes in pictures (including the wall decal animals in her bedroom), on stuffed animals, and on members of our family.  Then we move on to discuss noses, ears, etc.  These conversations help Clara develop her language skills, but I’m getting tired of talking about eyes dozens of times a day.IMG_0659 trimmed
  5.  The news from Valentine’s country is not good.  He lives in a region that has experienced violent conflicts.  It’s been more or less stable for the last couple years, but in the past week or so, it seems that tensions have been escalating.  (To protect his privacy, I’m deliberately not providing details.)  Please pray for the safety of the residents of his region and that this won’t impede our adoption (in the past, his country has halted referrals of children from his region when conflict was ongoing.)  Valentine’s country has suffered greatly from this conflict and we are discouraged and stressed to hear the recent news.
  6.  We have reason to be hopeful that we’ll be traveling soon.  The two families whose dossiers were submitted by our facilitation team before ours have just received their travel dates, so we’re next.  While the average wait to receive an invitation to travel over the past several months has been about a month and a half, they received their dates in just over three weeks.  The average time from receiving dates until actually traveling has been about three weeks, but one of the families has an appointment in just under two weeks and the other is in less than three weeks.  We don’t know if the same will be true for us, but it’s possible that we may have our dates by the end of this month and be traveling in March, when we were expecting to get dates in mid-March and travel in April.  The sooner we travel, the sooner we get to see Valentine again, and hopefully the sooner he will come home!
  7.  With Valentine’s Day approaching, please share our Hearts for Valentine page.  We would be grateful if you would share on Facebook or other social media.  Please encourage your friends and family to donate to our (US tax-deductible) Reece’s Rainbow Family Sponsorship Program account and send us cute pictures of their kids and/or their Valentine’s Day artwork (or themselves and/or their Valentine’s Day art!) for the poster I’m going to make for Valentine’s bedroom.  We haven’t gotten many photos yet and I’m hoping that Valentine’s Day will inspire more participation.  Thank you for helping us by sharing Hearts for Valentine!

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7 Quick Takes #56

In this edition: More good news on our adoption of “Valentine” (not his real name), the 10-year-old boy that we hosted last summer!  I’m about to enter a new phase of my life, which will last for an almost impossibly long time.  Also, it’s cold outside.

  1.  Our dossier has been submitted to the government of Valentine’s country!  It arrived in his country on Saturday, but needed to be translated and legalized before it could be submitted.  We were waiting on pins and needles all week to hear that it was submitted in time because our medical documents expire on Saturday (all documents have to be less than six months old when they are submitted).  By Thursday evening, I was bracing myself for the bad news.  What a relief when we learned that our dossier was submitted on Thursday!
  2.  Now we wait some more.  Assuming that all of our documents are acceptable (and both our facilitators and I have been over them with a fine-toothed comb), we will receive an invitation to travel to Valentine’s country.  Based on the recent experiences of other families, we can expect to be notified in about a month and a half and then travel about three weeks after that.  When we travel, we will get the information from Valentine’s file, meet him again, and–assuming that he agrees to the adoption–officially accept the referral and file paperwork to request a court date.
  3.  I was missing Valentine this week.  Don was drinking a café au lait and I started singing “café au lait” to the tune of the “olé olé” part of the song “Hot Hot Hot.”  Simon didn’t know the song, so we had Alexa play it.  Then Simon got hooked on it, so we listened to and danced to “Hot Hot Hot” more times than I can count.  It reminded me of dancing the Macarena when Valentine was here.  I thought of how much fun he would have dancing with us to “Hot Hot Hot” and wished he were here.
  4.  Our Reece’s Rainbow Family Sponsorship Program account has had a nice jump!  $3455 has now been donated towards our adoption expenses.  If you’d like to contribute (it’s US tax-deductible), you can find our FSP page here.
  5.  In non-adoption-related news, our second semester of homeschooling is off to a great start.  I’m loving this not-having-to-leave-the-house-every-day deal (since I’m not driving Peter to school for band anymore), especially yesterday, when the wind chill was around -20 F  (-29 C) and there was blowing snow to assault our faces and reduce visibility.  On the whole, the new schedule I came up with offers a good balance between being getting work done and not getting stressed out.  We took advantage of our newfound scheduling flexibility to go to the library and go ice skating on Wednesday, and the boys will attend a Harry Potter-themed party sponsored by the homeschool partnership program this afternoon, after their swimming lessons.
  6.  At the moment, we’re all reasonably healthy.  This is a nice change from the previous two weeks.  Last week, first Peter and then Clara were sick, and Don was sick the week before (and we’re talking the kind of sick that requires unpleasant clean-up).  Clara was sick and miserable and clingy last Thursday and I got basically nothing done.  I had scheduled an NPR Day that day (a day off of homeschooling for No Particular Reason) so at least I didn’t have to feel bad about getting behind on schoolwork, but I was disappointed that I didn’t get to have the productive day getting other things done that I had been hoping to have.
  7.  Tomorrow, I enter a new phase of my life.  I will become the mother of a teenager, and I will continue to be the mother of at least one teenager until 2036.  Is that crazy or what?  I would have had a 5-day reprieve in 2025 between Peter turning 20 and Simon turning 13, but with Valentine added to the family, that won’t happen.

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