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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

So, I haven’t been completely honest with you. And I’m sorry. (And I’m sorry for the length of this post). It’s not that I’ve lied; I just did that whole convenient withholding of certain facts and details. I kind of gave you an edited version of me for the last two and a half weeks. I don’t think you got totally gypped – there was still plenty going on and more than enough to report. I mean my gosh! It’s been a pretty epic couple of weeks: Matthew graduated from kindergarten, we started summer vacation, we’ve had some major snafus to deal with for the National Engaged Encounter Convention (for which we are the Co-Chairs), I ran my third half marathon and we also found out that Zachary needs to have surgery! (His “Inguinal Hernia Repair” will take place at Children’s Hospital on July 28th…when Mike is in California for a conference. Oh well. That was the earliest they could do). It’s not like you’ve been wanting for something to read here (and I do appreciate that you visit here to read), and I’ve certainly had more than enough to share. However, with all that said, I’ve totally been holding back.

See, for the last two and a half weeks, we’ve been on one heck of an emotional roller coaster ride, and I just needed to ride it out before bringing you all along. On Friday, June 11th, we received an “Urgent” email from our adoption social worker, Joy. We got this email two minutes before our friends Jason and Julia arrived for dinner. I didn’t have a chance to read it as I was busy assuming my role as Chef-Goddess-Extraordinaire. (Or, so I like to pretend). Mike took a quick glance at it and quickly dismissed it. When I asked him for details he said, “Well, it doesn’t apply to us. It’s for siblings.” Oh, OK.

Yeah, OK, UNTIL I read it the next morning and my heart started to thud and my stomach flutter. See, we never had adopting more than one child on our radar for several reasons, most of which are practical: we can only afford to adopt one child (I’m sorry, but it is a pricey business), and we couldn’t be foster-licensed for more than one (or “sibling groups”) as we don’t have enough bedrooms. Plus, there’s the whole general concept that kids are awesome but most of the time kinda cramp your style, your space and definitely cost a lot of money. Case closed……

UNTIL I read this email. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Out of respect for the Birth Mom (henceforth: BM), I won’t go into too many details but will provide a general picture. Occasionally, a birth mom comes in who wishes to relinquish child(ren) who are not newborns. The agency provides these moms with support and resources and often – 99.9% of the time – they decide to continue parenting their child(ren). This time, however it seemed like BM’s mind was made up. And here’s the deal: she has not one, but two beautiful little girls – both healthy and happy. The oldest is 2 ½ and the youngest will turn one next month. Oh, and BM is pregnant with #3. That’s right, the agency was asking for families to think over the weekend if a.) you’d be open to the two girls (as they would NOT separate them) and b.) if you’d consider the third baby should BM decide to relinquish that child as well (which is still very up in the air because of several different factors).

Mike and I spent all weekend talking and praying about it. I spent all weekend unable to think of anything else. We had to decide by Monday morning if we were interested in learning more. I called Joy on Monday and said that we were definitely interested…in learning more…and just seeing where this went. We waited through that first work week in agony. BM was supposed to be meeting with the BM counselor and providing all medical records/social history and pictures and names of the girls. We had to wait through another weekend. EVERY SINGLE DAY I checked email in eager anticipation for more news. See, the problem is, you have to play this emotional yo-yo. You HAVE to get excited. You HAVE to open your heart to the possibility. But you also know that it might not happen. And yet, there’s some relief in that too. I was terrified for us to get picked. I was terrified for us to not get picked. And I was SO tired of just waiting, and waiting for more info.

When we finally received the email at the END of week two, the wait had been so full of anxiety and frustration that it was almost anticlimactic. But then, I saw the girls – pictures of these two beautiful, adorable little girls who just need a mom and dad and a Matthew and Zachary to love them and take care of them and keep them safe. Within moments, we realized that this was an awesome situation – better than we could’ve hoped for based on lots of stories we’ve heard. BM is young and healthy. The girls are healthy, great ages, etc.. It kind of seemed too good to be true. I sent Joy an email that said, “Bring it on. We’re in. All in.”

During all of this, I asked Mike one night, “What if Baby Girl is actually girlS…and then possibly one more?!!”

In the morning, I put this question to the boys at breakfast. “So, kiddos,” I said, “What if Baby Sister is actually TWO baby sisters?!!”

They both looked at me with big goofy grins and then Matthew said, “That’d be awesome!”

Zach agreed with, “That’d be perfect ‘cuz then the teams would be fair.” Oh, OK. I didn’t know we had teams.

“Yeah!” Matthew added getting excited, “There’d be three boys AND three girls.”

Seeing that this was going so well, I decided to throw them a curve ball. “And then what if there happened to be one MORE baby?”

This made them pause. They discussed it quietly and Matthew – speaking on behalf of his team, said, “That one would have to be a boy.”

I debated about showing the girls’ pictures to the boys as we don’t want them to feel any disappointment throughout this process (if possible). But since, we HAD decided to put our name in the hat, and there was a chance this might happen, I wanted them to be a little bit of a part of it. When I showed the boys the pictures, I didn’t say, “These are the girls we’re hoping will be your little sisters…” or anything like that, I just said, “These are the girls that we need to pray for…’cuz they need a new family and we want God to help their mom pick the right one.”

Without skipping a beat Matthew said, “I hope she picks us!”

We had to spend another weekend just waiting. Thankfully I had the half marathon as a blessed (and muscle-soreness-inducing) distraction. On Monday (yesterday) at 10am, the interested families had to have their profiles in to be shown to BM. Joy had told me on Friday that she’d be able to tell me on Monday morning just what the pool looked like – yep, she’d give us the stats on the “competition.” I waited ALL DAY for an email or a phone call. I finally caved at 1pm-ish and sent a ‘just-checking-in-but-totally-harassing’ email. No response. Nothing.

[Again, God provided another major distraction. Mike’s come down with a nasty cold/stomach flu situation. It’s awful and now I’m just praying that my sore throat does not develop into the same thing...So, while the lack of communication was VERY frustrating, I did have other things going on. And, I, of course, have the constant Matthew-Zachary distraction duo to keep me busy. But still, this mind just won’t shut off.]

Finally, this morning, I got an email from Joy. Turns out she, too, had been sick over the weekend and wasn’t at work yesterday. She apologized for not being able to communicate – she knew it must’ve been torture. She said that BM did come in and collect the family profiles, but they had no idea how long she would take to decide. Great! More waiting! But, uh, picking the future family of your children is KINDA a big thing, so I can see why you wouldn’t want to rush that decision.

Joy COULD tell us that there were TEN families in the pool and that we were number five (based on completion of home study). Basically, they just stack them so the families who have been waiting the longest are on top and then it gradually moves to those newest to Child Search. OK, a one-in-ten chance. Got it. But do we got it? Are we what this Birth Mom is looking for? You just never know what little thing in your “birth parent letter” or in one of your photos will be THE THING that tugs at the Birth Mom. What little minute detail is enough to convince a mother to give HER child to become YOUR child?

I’m thankful that today’s wait wasn’t long. Joy called twenty minutes after emailing. BM had made her decision and contacted the BM Counselor this morning. Joy started the conversation like this, “Hey Jen, it’s Joy. So, I hate to be the bearer of bad news…but it’s not you guys this time ‘round.”

I immediately launched into autopilot, “Oh, OK. That’s totally fine. You know, it’s kind of a relief! I mean two more – maybe even three kids! It was a little daunting. So, it just wasn’t meant to be. I’m just glad BM found a family for her two girls…” Meanwhile, I’m wondering how many times Joy has had to start a conversation with “I hate to be the bearer of bad news.” How hard would it be to hear that when you’ve tried to have children for years, finally decided to adopt, finally feel like you’ve found the one(s) and then find out that “oh, sorry, you’re not the ones?!!” Gah. The heart break.

I’ve told myself that through this process, I’m allowed to get sad. Obviously, it goes without saying. It’s only been twice now that we’ve had “the feeling” and put our name in with a lot of hope. Both times have hurt. I can’t imagine that it will get any better. You have to open yourself up for these little girls – especially when you see their sweet little faces and you know their beautiful names. You have to take a moment to imagine – to put yourself in that place – of calling THIS specific child “your own.” You imagine them, for the first time calling YOU Mama. It can’t help but hurt. Kind of a lot.

I know, I know. It wasn’t meant to be. It wasn’t God’s plan. Blahblahblah. When the time is right we’ll get the baby girl who is ours – The One. But until then…for now…we wait.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

One last little race tidbit. My favorite, actually. The best part of the race for me was at around mile 12. We were in downtown Seattle where the streets were lined with spectators and supporters. I was running on the far outside of the pack – closest to my cheering and adoring fans. I always make it a point to say, “thank you” or at least smile to someone who looks me in the eye and wishes me well. I also gave out a fair amount of high fives while I ran by cheerleading squads and volunteers. At some point during mile 12, I locked eyes with a woman who gave me an encouraging smile and yelled, “Good job!”

I looked at her and as I ran by shouted with eager anticipation, “Am I gonna win??!!” For a split second she looked confused – really contemplating if I was serious. Oh, that poor sad, crazy lady thinks she’s just got several thousand people to speed by and she has a shot at winning this thing. This thought lasted just a second before she laughed.

And, no, I didn’t win – which Zach has reminded me of a couple of times. He’s said, “Well, you didn’t win, but you did your best. And you DID get a medal.” True dat.

It’s good for the boys to see that even though I know I won’t win (obviously), I still like to set goals and push myself to do even better…like next year, on June 25th, 2011 when I’ll get BELOW two hours! (Don’t mock me, but I’m already registered!) And I’ll start training…just as soon as I can walk without immense pain. Until then, I’m going to enjoy my personal victory and a glass ‘o celebratory Pinot Noir.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

So, I’ve officially got another Half Marathon under my belt!! As of this morning, that makes 3 Half Marathons and one (and only one!!!) Full Marathon. But who’s counting, right? Um, me. TOTALLY me. ‘Cuz they’re freakin’ hard and I can’t even believe that I – chubby Jenny – am capable of running 1 mile let alone 13.1 (and once – and only once! – 26.2). It’s just crazy talk. Who does that? I’ll tell you who: 27000+ crazy people at the Seattle Rock ‘n Roll Marathon this morning!, that’s who.

And I’m very happy to say that I “PR-ed” (running lingo for Personal Record). My best previous Half was my first one in June, 2007. I finished 13.1 miles in 2hrs.5mins. with a 9:44/mile average. I was REALLY hoping to get UNDER two hours today, and I was SO close. I finished in 2hrs.1min.44sec. with a 9:18/mile average. Darn it! Guess this just means I’ll have to run AT LEAST one more Half to try to shave off that 1min.44.  I’m proud of myself though and so glad it’s done!

Mikey and the boys were at mile 8.5 to cheer me on and snap a few pictures. Unfortunately ‘cuz I was SUCH a blur of fastness (yeah, right), Mike was only able to get one picture of me and my eyes are closed!! I promise I didn’t run the whole thing with my eyes closed…just some of it…you know, I needed an extra challenge. (Sorry to all the people I bumped into and knocked outta my way). Just kidding.

Mike really is the one that deserves a medal though. Apparently, keeping track of the boys on the sidelines of a huge race is not easy work. And, I’m very sad to report, that at one point my children were “those kids.” You know, they were those kids that are doing something so lame and not cool that typically when I see that behavior I think, “Those poor parents. Thank goodness MY children would never do something so awful.” Um, yeah, for some reason the boys decided to just ever so nonchalantly fling just a bit ‘o sand on some of the people running by. Yeah, because that’s normal! And a great idea! Sheesh! Again, I apologize to the runners.

The boys have definitely been keeping me plenty busy this first week of summer vacation. We need a sign like those seen at warehouse stores/work places, “Injury free for ____ days.” So, far, with three consecutive days of bike riding we’ve had three days of pretty bad injury. Matthew was on for days 1 & 2. He wiped out both times in the exact same spot – exiting my neighbors’ driveway. He scraped up his hand the first day. Day 2, he scraped up his hand worse and added one knee and a really badly scraped elbow. Poor kiddo. That cry was loud enough that a couple of neighbors checked to make sure that everything was OK. Zachary, did a creative spill for Day 3. And Mike’s sister and brother-in-law (who’d been in town briefly from Coeur d’Alene) got to see it. Zach did some sort of fall situation where he managed to hit his eye on the handlebars. He’s rockin’ a shiner and a couple of scratches really close to his eyeball.

We’re getting into a summer groove though. The boys and I have a schedule for everyday. And most days from 8:30ish or 9ish ‘til 9:30 or 10ish or so we do “work time.” (As in school-type work, work time). Matthew, we were told, does not need glasses, but he definitely needs some help academically. I have a neighbor/friend who teaches Kindergarten and is a tutor. They live just a few streets over and have two kiddos that we’ve done playdates with. She’ll work with Matthew from 9-10 twice a week for six weeks. I’m SO thankful that we’ll be able to get him some help. Hopefully to just get him feeling more confident and caught up for first grade, but also, Megan will be able to tell us if it will be worth the time and money to get him tested for learning disabilities. We’ll see…

I take Zachary in this afternoon (on a Saturday! Go figure!) to see the Pediatric Urologist to determine if he (Zach, not the doctor) needs surgery for his hernia. Our Pediatrician seemed fairly confident that that will be our outcome. I’ll keep ya posted!

And now, if you'd excuse me, I need to go ice my legs. Where’s my masseuse?? Pool boy? Umbrella drink? I did get spoiled though. I came home to pictures drawn by the boys (and the sign they held at the race), a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of wine (which I’ll save for later) and some chocolate!! Well done, Michael. Well, done. He really does deserve a medal.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Yeah, yeah, we love our kids unconditionally. Even when they are little stink-heads and you kinda wanna wallop ‘em, you still love them so hard it makes your heart ache. It can take my breath away sometimes – that blobby-knot creeps up in the back of my throat and my eyes start a-blinkin’ back the tears. And sometimes they just stress you out. They stress you out so much that you’re convinced that God actually made a mistake and you weren’t meant to be a mother, but actually a celibate cloistered nun. But He didn’t. Nope, no mistake. I love these kids, but holy majoly they stress me out!

This ‘lil here bloggeroo will be focused on one of our offspring: “The Monkey…Jenny Junior…Angel Baby…Baby Cakes…Zacharoo…” Zachary is one tough little hard-core piece of four-year-old manly boyness. He is gregarious. He cracks himself up. He tells knock-knock jokes that are usually ridiculously lame and of the four year old persuasion but every once in a while he’ll tell a great joke, like this, “What do rainy clouds wear under their clothes?...THUNDERwear!” (For the record, he did hear this on “Sid the Science Kid,” but he didn’t share it with us for a few days, AND he has impeccable comedic timing).

Zachary gets bruised and bonked and dinged up and isn’t super quick to cry about it. He’s tough and yet he’s also the kid who will call urgently for me from downstairs. I go rushing down thinking that there’s a fire or some equally awful emergency like he’s gonna pee his pants or he sees a spider or something. Then when I get down there, Zach smiles up at me for a moment like he forgot what he needed so badly and says simply, “I love you.”

Zach has had a tough couple of days, but you sure wouldn’t know it. I had decided that since Matthew only has one more full week of school ‘til summer break, Zach and I should do some fun activities together. So, yesterday morning, I surprised Zach with a trip to the zoo. I told him that he would get to pick every single animal that we saw and each activity we did. Thankfully, we did have time to eat a picnic lunch by the otters and we’d just gotten over to the new Meerkat exhibit when I happened to notice that I had a message on my cell phone. Zach and I were headed to the indoor play area that he was SO excited to visit while I listened to my message. It was the school. “Hello, Mrs. Martin this is Mrs. Blah-blah-blah, and I’ve got Matthew here in the school clinic. He has a slight fever and you’ll need to come pick him up.”

Poop. And of all the Mondays. Typically we’d be home doing laundry or out running errands (conveniently close to the school), but no, not this time. We were a good 20 minute drive away plus the 15 minute walk through the zoo to the car. I told Zach that we were going to have to leave because Matthew was sick. I prepared myself for some major-disappointment sadness-action. But instead, Zach just sighed and said, “Poor Matthew.” Now, he’s no 4 yr. old saint, he did complain a bit about not getting to play at the Zoomazium, but he left the zoo quickly and with no fight at all. I didn’t have to promise crazy things – just that we’d start at the Zoomazium next time. He didn’t get any bribery from me – no pet pony or elephant for him!

(Matthew – is totally fine, by the way. Had a brief, random fever so I had to keep him home from school today. Oh, and he doesn’t need eyeglasses…more on that whole situation eventually…someday…not right now).

Today, Zachary had his (yes, a little late) four year “well check” visit with our pediatrician. Zachary has literally grown at least an inch in the last month, so I wasn’t surprised to learn that he’s in the 90th percentile for height and still 50th percentile for weight. (Dude, I would LOVE to have those kinds of measurements). And his butt cheeks are still as cute as they were when he was six months old. They haven’t grown any bigger or any less cute in 3.5 years. Just so ya know.

Dr. Benda surprised me a little bit after listening to his heart. “Well, huh…He does have quite a strong heart murmur. And since his chest wall is so thin, it’s really pronounced. But it’s kind of regular in its’ irregularity. So, I’ll just make a note of it and we’ll check it every time.” Um, huh? Heart murmur? Thin chest wall? Yeah, OK.

Then when it came time to look at Zach’s manly-boy parts, I noticed again a bit of hesitation from her. She poked around his tummy below his belly button, and after looking quite puzzled said, “Huh!” Gotta love it when a doctor says that! Turns out, Zach most likely has a hernia that will require surgery. We’ll be setting up an appointment with a Pediatric Urologist at Children’s Hospital next week to find out if surgery is in order (Dr. Benda seems to think so). Great.

And lastly, the appointment was topped off with not 1, not 2, no FIVE shots. Zach cried a tiny bit and then shook it off as soon as I reminded him that they said he’d get FIVE stickers. When we got home, Zach proceeded to share his FIVE stickers with the rest of us. Mike proudly sported a Spiderman sticker on his chest all night. And I have an “Awesome Patient” Kung-Fu Panda sticker sitting right next to my laptop. A heart murmur, an upcoming surgery, FIVE shots, and then, while we’re cuddling on the couch reading a bedtime story I accidentally – I swear! – jab him in the eyeball with my thumb. He rubs it a bit and gives me a look like, “Seriously, woman? Haven’t I been through enough?!” Then, in his sweet little way – working the system a bit – he says he’s just TOO tired to walk to bed and would I carry him. Well, I can’t say no to that. It’s the least I can do. So, NOW, what do I do? I clasp him by his upper arms – right where he received his FIVE shots – and tug him up. My dad asked why I didn’t bother just dropping him on his head since I was on such a roll. Thank goodness, Zachary is asleep for the night, where I can’t do him anymore damage…let’s hope.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Katherine, could you please move to Hawaii? Or Paris? Ooh, or maybe Italy?! See, for the 2nd year in a row now I’ve been able to visit Katherine – my good friend and birthday buddy (ours are two days apart) – in awesome places. Last year, we met up in Chicago which was amazing and I loved it, especially with the major added bonus of getting to see some of my cousins and aunt and uncles. After seeing the sites of Chicago with my cousin, Anne, I took the train out to Katherine where we spent the weekend at her parents’ house in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Gorgeous! Now, Katherine and her husband Dan (known as “Army Man Dan” by our boys since he’s in the Special Forces) and their adorable baby Grace live in Monterey, California. So, that is where I spent last weekend. Really, two years in a row now of a birthday get-away, I could get used to this. Maybe this could become an annual thing – my jetting off solo to a fun, beautiful destination. I have a feeling that Mike would not be such a fan of this little brain child. I’ve been awfully spoiled though and it’s been awesome!

(I AM going to attempt to keep this weekend overview brief. Wish me luck.)

At noon on Friday, my plane touched down in sunny, hot San Jose. Katherine arrived and we drove to their house along Highway 1. Um, gorgeous! We drove by fields, ocean bluffs and sandy beaches. We stopped at a quaint produce stand that was right along the water. I couldn’t believe the price and freshness of the produce! Since it’s all grown locally it’s fairly inexpensive and delicious. We bought some cherries and enormous strawberries.

We drove into Monterey and up to “La Mesa” which is the housing development home to many scholarly military families. Dan is currently enrolled in a Masters program where he mingles with other military branches and is learning how to be a better Army Man. (OK, that is MY watered down version of what he’s learning.) I told Dan that he’d need to clear his schedule as we had LOTS of catching up to do over my weekend there. I’ve not seen him in, hmmm, 7 years and he’s been to Iraq twice since then. A highlight of the weekend was getting to spend lots of time just talking and hearing about his experiences, discussing politics and ethics and all sorts of stuff that I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you. (No, he definitely wouldn’t have shared anything too top secret with me as he knew it’d most likely end up here)!

Dan and Katherine are now the proud parents to 9 month old Grace who, uh, I’m sorry, but is one of the cutest little pixie babies I’ve ever seen! She is SO cute and was a super happy baby especially considering that she was getting over a cold and teething.

Friday afternoon, we were dropped off at the Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf by our chauffeur Dan. We walked along the waterfront seeing seals/sea lions, the famous Cannery Row and even a low-budget (to say the least) movie being filmed! Back at the Mitchell home, once Grace was tucked in for the night, Dan, Katherine and I had a delicious dinner and polished off a couple bottles of wine. (You’re welcome, guys. Happy to help!)

Saturday, after a leisurely morning – including having breakfast out on the patio – we packed a picnic lunch and went to Point Lobos State Park. It’s a 10 minute drive from their house and is full of one breath-taking view after the next. We hiked for two hours along the bluffs above the ocean. There we saw more seals/sea lions (see, I’m not always sure which is which so I lump ‘em together), we saw a couple of otters and I’m fairly certain I spotted one whale way, way out. (OK, but maybe it was just something dark-ish in the water and a wave shot spray up right as I saw it. I’m totally going with the “I saw a whale” route though).

Upon returning from the hike, Katherine and I beautified for a girls’ night out. She’d heard great things about a place called Mission Ranch in beautiful Carmel (which we could see across the bay while atop a cliff during our hike). Mission Ranch is this big ‘ol awesome compound. There’s a bed-and-breakfast inn, fancy tennis courts and fitness center, a beautiful banquet hall for wedding receptions and a cozy restaurant/piano bar that looks out across pastures full of sheep (we even saw a baby lamb!) and the frothy blue Pacific Ocean beyond. Needless-to-say, the place is gorgeous, the food has a great reputation, and oh, I almost forgot: it’s owned by Clint Eastwood. Don’t know if you’ve heard of him. He was the mayor of Carmel from 1986-1988. He’s also been in a few movies. For kind of a while. And he’s won a few awards. And he occasionally plays the piano at the bar in the Mission Ranch Restaurant. So, why wouldn’t we go there for dinner?

Katherine and I split a couple of appetizers and salads – including an amazing, mouth-watering baked goat cheese with sliced almonds and sun-dried tomatoes on crostini. Yum! We also – surprise surprise – each enjoyed some wine. We had just paid our bill (or I should say Katherine did, since they spoiled me rotten all weekend) and were about to leave our table when who should walk in but Dirty Harry himself! I tried to remain calm and play it cool. I’m fairly certain I failed as I leaned over and in a quick monotone on repeat said, “Katherine, Katherine, Katherine, Katherine, he’s here, he’s here, he’s here, look to your right, your right, your right…” something like that. He sauntered in, gun-slingin’ and flingin’, cowboy hat pulled down over squinty eyes…um, actually, no, he wore a baseball cap and walked up to the bar to take a stool next to friends. He walked in like he owned the place. What the heck, just who does he think he is?!

And, no, we didn’t ask for his autograph. We didn’t even ask him where the restrooms were – though I was tempted. We were trying to play it cool like all the locals who barely blink an eye when he walks in there. We did manage, however, to get slightly lost and turned around while looking for the restroom and Clint and I locked eyes across the bar for a moment. (Yes, we’re on a first-name basis with him).

Anyway, you can’t really top that. But we did conclude the evening with dark chocolate fondue (which can top anything!) and martinis followed with a movie theater-viewing of the most recent hot chic-flick. We ate and drank well. Laughed a lot. Got home late. And slept in the next morning! Dan was super-dad all weekend making sure that Katherine and I got to go out for all our fun activities.

On Sunday, after breakfast, we went to Mass at the Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo, also known as the “Royal Presidio Chapel.” Founded in 1770, this beautiful little church “is the oldest continuously functioning church and the first stone building in the State of California.” (According to their website).

After church, Katherine and I de-beautified, and took their chocolate lab, Riley, out for a 3.5 mile run. I’d run my 12 mile training run (for the Half Marathon I’m doing in two weeks), the day before I’d left for Monterey, so the hike on Saturday and short run on Sunday were perfect for stretching out my legs. Actually, my legs felt fine post-12 miles it was the blisters on my toes and the ookey feeling in my stomach that weren’t great. (I tried a different energy drink and will never-ever again have it). Anyway, our run was hot but scenic. We ran along a wooded trail that loops around the military housing development. Even considering that Katherine had a baby only nine months ago (and I’ve had four years to recover from mine), that hard core running-mama can still kick my butt.

When lunch drew to a close, I knew it was time to lug my things out of my cozy guest room and to bid farewell to Dan and sweet baby Grace. Katherine and I got another quality hour together in the car on the drive to the San Jose airport. It kind of killed me that we were more than half way to San Francisco and getting closer to Napa Valley ever minute. So close and yet…While I missed my boys, I tried to convince Katherine that we should just keep driving and go on a spontaneous road-trip. In the end, I know we both agreed that our supportive husbands can only handle so many of these impromptu get-aways. Hmmm, what will next year’s birthday bring…?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

It has been brought to my attention that I rule. Granted this commentary has been made by biased folk – best friend, husband, mother – so it must be taken with a grain of salt, but hey! I’ll take it.

Two weeks ago today, I was freaking out. I was freaking out about Matthew and trying to figure out how to best help him – how to help him cope with school and with life and how to be a better mom. And then I got all proactive on this stuff. I got all up in its’ grill and was all, “Yo! I’m gonna figure this out.” (That sounded way cooler in my head…OK, actually, no, it didn’t even sound cool there).

I made phone calls. I made appointments. I did research and here’s where we’re at two weeks later: Matthew may very well need glasses. We went to the pediatrician to have his vision and hearing checked and discovered that his hearing is perfect (hmmm, remind me of that when I’m telling him it’s time to clean-up Legos and he doesn’t budge), but his eyesight potentially needs some help. His right eye is 20/50 and his left is 20/30. (I’ve always had 20/20 so these numbers mean nothing to me. I was told it means that he has difficulty seeing far-ish away. Is that near or far-sighted? I always forget if you’re near-sighted if you can or can’t see up close…whatever, I’ll learn). So, we now have an appointment for next Monday to meet with an Ophthalmologist who specializes in pediatric ophthalmology. (Dude! That is HARD to spell). And after meeting with Matthew’s pediatrician and discussing EVERYTHING that we’ve had going on this year with him, we came up with a great plan – one that I’ve also acted on.

We have a neighbor/friend who is a kindergarten teacher and tutor. She’s going to work with Matthew one-on-one for six weeks this summer. This way, he can learn in a fun but calm learning environment and get the help that he needs. She’ll also be able to decipher if he has any particular areas that are exceptionally difficult (therefore indicating if extra-help or testing is necessary). Then, ideally, after a summer of making learning enjoyable and building his confidence, he’ll be in a good place for starting first grade with a new class, teacher and hopefully much better experience. THEN, next year, once we’re settled into school, we can reevaluate and know if/when it’s worth spending the oodles of money to get him tested.

For once in my parenting career I feel confident in saying that I did everything right.

And as a reward, I’m flying to Monterey to visit friends in two days! (OK, it’s not actually a reward for this, it’s an reward for turning 30 and for having the best husband in the world, but let me tell you: I will be celebrating a-plenty with Katherine, Dan and baby Grace)! Weekend get-away in Monterey C-A. I’m on my way! (Yeah, that JUST happened. And again, slightly cooler sounding in my head. Sorry.).