Adoption, Birth and a Grandson!

No, I am NOT pregnant.  But at the time of this post, my son Mikhael and his wife Kendra are!  They still are, I should say, but won’t be for much longer as she is in labor at the hospital.

This is so exciting on so many levels.  One because, yes, I get to become a grandmother.  I have the gray hair (which is recolored of course) and some wrinkles, BUT I am a little bit leery of the “grandmother” term.

In case you don’t know, Mikhael just turned 29.  I was 18 when I had him, just 2 days after graduating high school, and he was adopted by the most wonderful woman and her husband.  Because she was so wonderful, I was privileged to be included in his life – even from a long distance – and now that he is an adult, he is including me in his life too.

I say that and inside I’m shaking my head in wonder. When I signed the adoption papers, I knew that I might never ever see my son again. I knew that it meant they could say that they wanted me to be part of his life, but could easily change their mind at some point and I might never see any of them again. I knew that my signature on the adoption paperwork ended my rights to the child I had carried in my body and labored to bring into the world.

But God.

Who is like God?  (that’s what the name “Mikhael” means!)  God is gracious and blessed ME with adoptive parents who loved me as much as they loved my child.  I have a very special relationship with Mikhael’s mom.  And I am as excited for her as I am for me to become a grandmother.

I was told by not-so-well meaning people that God would never use me and I had ruined my life when they found out I was pregnant as a Senior in high school.  I was told that no loving mother would ever give her child away to strangers.  I was told it would be better for me to forget having him and to never tell anyone about him and that no man would want to marry me and raise another man’s child.

There’s a lot of shame built into those words.  Directed to a young woman whose heart was already breaking for her son.

And while I learned to let go of a lot of that shame through counseling and the immeasurable grace of God, traces of shame lingered.  It has affected me deeply – not the pregnancy during high school, not the labor & delivery, not choosing adoption for my son.  But the words that shot deep into my heart and broke some of my spirit.

Last summer when Mikhael & Kendra came to visit – it was the first time in 28 years I felt WHOLE again.  Entirely whole.   Seeing him with Greg and our 3 kids – it blessed my SOUL to the deepest depths and the grace of God flooded through me.

And then a few months after their visit they called to share with us – as part of their family – that they were expecting!

I got the text this morning that the doctor broke Kendra’s water – and Mikhael & I and Kendra & I began furiously texting.  Bless their hearts.

Their life is changing – they are becoming a family in the next few days and it is exciting to be able to share in their excitement and joy!

At the same time, it is a remarkable dream for me, too.  And I am so thankful and excited that I will be a “Gigi”!

Talk about Grace and Glory!!!!!

Sum-Sum-Summertime!

I am a little bit bummed – had to change my theme so the links would show up, but they are worth seeing, so I made the jump (temporarily I hope!)  These are some fun summertime resources for moms!

SUMMER ACTIVITY PAGES

100 Free Summer Activities by Natural Beach Living

40 Summer Bucket List Ideas (and Free Bucket List Printable) by iowa girl eats.

CUTE Summer Bucket List by Simply Kierste Design

101+ Free Summer Printables by the Dating Divas (even a link for printables for Your Spouse!)

 

SUMMER LEARNING

Summer Printables from BusyBeeKidsPrintables.com

Printable Summer Binder from Thirty Handmade Days

Summer Printables and Activities from ReadBrightly.com (themes from Thomas the Train, Junie B., and Berenstain Bears)

These are workbooks (via Amazon) I’m ordering for my kids for summer to hopefully prevent their brains from turning to mush, but I will also be interjecting various free printables into their summer binder for fun, too:

Summer Brain Quest: K-1

Summer Brain Quest: 3rd-4th

Summer Bridge Activities: 6th-7th

SCREEN TIME RULES

No Screen Time Until  by Your Modern Family

Summer (Holiday) Break Screen Time Rules by Natural Beach Living

Summer Screen Time Rules by Savvy Spending

Screen Time Punch Cards by Play Dr Hutch (an option for earning screen time)

Tips for setting screen time rules:   A simple way to set screentime limits

SUMMER SCHEDULES

Creating a Summer Schedule by My Frugal Adventures

Summer Schedule Printable by The Frugal Navy Wife

 

Oxygen Mask

My last post shared the fact that I was having some difficulties here at the blog.  I had to step away from it for awhile because I could NOT. FIGURE. IT. OUT.  It was so frustrating.  I finally had my blog looking the way I wanted and then little things wouldn’t work.  Some of that is MY lack of knowledge, but some was just a mix of other issues.

Well, I had to change up the look of the blog again – but finally got the link situation figured out.  It wasn’t major, but I had to change themes.  It’s kinda like having to change to a new coffeemaker.  Which for me can be a good thing. =)

And it just so happened that school ended and we were thrown into our summer schedule all at once.  Whew.  We have had miscommunication and missteps already.  I wanted our first day home to be relaxing-spend-the-day-in-pajamas, but it did NOT turn out that way and it was really just the beginning of several days that piled up all over one another.

Change is not always easy.  It is not always comfortable.  It is not without problems and obstacles.  And our change has been full of all kinds of surprises.  But we will get there.

I have spent some time viewing a couple of different webinars for moms and was reminded how much I need to put on my oxygen mask.  I am not talking about spa days and manicures – I am talking about digging down deep and getting my roots what they need.  Getting Nourished.  and Being Enough.

One thing I restarted was my prayer journal.  So of course, difficult times only got MORE difficult.  I have been committed to reading one chapter of Hebrews every morning and sometimes 2 or 3 mornings in a row.  I am finding some wonderful Scriptures that are both convicting and uplifting.  I have been Bible Journaling, too, and it has really been refreshing.  These are just a couple of verses I LOVE so much…  Hope they give you some oxygen too!

For me, my oxygen means getting into the Word every day.  When I don’t – I shrivel up and wither away at the slightest pressure.  These verses remind me of Who fights for me.

Summer Days are Right Around the Bend

My kids have 8 days of school left.  8 DAYS!  The school year has gone by quickly, but the month of May is like a fast-motion movie!  And they have so many fun events going on including concerts, field trips and rally events.  We have even had some slight sunburns from all the time in the sun!  (So I stocked up on sunscreen AND my rollerball of after-sun essential oils!)

Since my work schedule is changing, and so is my husband’s, I am trying to get a handle on our Summer Days.  I laughed when I read a post on Facebook by a mom who said her kids figured summer was all about playing electronics.  I can SO relate to that!  My kids figure they can just spend all day watching TV or playing computers, tablets, or phones – and I am trying to build my arsenal of alternate activities.  I like what MeetPenny did in response to her kids idea of summer “fun”.  She made a special Summer Chore Chart which keeps responsibility first, fun time second!  (If you subscribe to her blog, you can get your own editable copy of this chart free!)

I’ve been printing out things to add to their summer binders, too.  We don’t homeschool, but I have found that my kids still like to do mazes and puzzles without argument – and I like throwing in some educational stuff on the sly while they “play”.  There are so many free printables all over the internet, and I am just waiting for my HP Ink cartridges to arrive from Amazon so I can start printing again!  I have a Pinterest board devoted to summer ideas, so check it out!  I have another board devoted to Printable Journal Pages which I hope to use throughout summer to inspire their creativity and add some fun ways to journal about their days!  I have some pages printed for teaching specific housekeeping skills – laundry, bathroom, etc.

Just a reminder that the Herbs & Essential Oils Bundle Sale ends TONIGHT!  If you are interested in Herbs or Essential Oils in any way – this is a great investment and I am really enjoying so many of the great products in the bundle already!  In fact, I bought a Thyme plant this weekend and am watching some videos to learn how to harvest and dry it.  Thyme has some GREAT healing properties, as well as being a tasty culinary herb.  (I love those multipurpose things, don’t you?)

On an entirely different note, I finally sat down and watched the movie, Temple Grandin.  I bawled through almost the WHOLE movie!  It was out in 2010, but I never watched it.  I had some minor epiphanies about our girl, Curly, while watching it.  It isn’t so much that they are SO alike – but rather, the exploration into Temple’s Autism from HER viewpoint kinda shed some light on a few things we see our girl doing.  Some things are issues NOW because she is getting older and, for example, still doesn’t understand why other people’s boundaries are as important as her own.  That’s just one issue, but we need some help breaking those things down for her and translating those on her terms.  We are pursuing some professional help and hope we can get them going through summer!

How are YOU getting ready for summer?  Do you have any big plans or goals for Summer 2017?

 

Funny Cat Videos and My Cat Shadow

My kids are ALL about the funny cat videos.  Have you seen these things?  I see them on Facebook and in Twitter links.  If you go to Youtube and type in funny cat videos, you will get a whole slew of listings.  Some of them are very entertaining!

My kids don’t even know it’s a fad, but like many of their friends at school, they are all over the funny cat videos.  I can’t tell you how many we have actually watched together.  Or how many times I’ve been asked to watch funny cat videos.  And it goes on from funny cats to funny babies (which is probably MY favorite set of funny videos) and AFV videos.

I have also seen quite a few people post pictures of their cats sitting in the middle of whatever it is they are working on.  It could be an open laptop.  A book.  A bowl.  A table.

We have a cat named Shadow.  He is a gorgeous gray mix that we got out of a friend’s barn.  He was super tiny when we got him and now he has grown into a beautiful cat.  He has always had a shiny, silky coat and he is particularly attached to me.

He LOVES to get into the middle of whatever I am doing at the most inopportune moments!  EVERY morning that I get up early and get on my laptop, my Shadow decides he needs to get in my business and walks across my table, my laptop, my arms as I’m typing – just because he can. If I dare remove my hands from the keyboard, he will lay himself across it!

One day last week as I was sorting papers and bills and organizing things into folders at my kitchen table. I got up to get another stack of papers to sort and when I turned around – there was Shadow sitting on one of my stacks on the table. He had his back to me of course, as if he was doing NOTHING at all…

I don’t always think to take pictures of MY cat doing these things.  I’m more focused on getting things done and moving him aside…  But here is one picture I managed to get while I was laying on our bed trying to watch NCIS on Netflix (I’m rewatching the entire series!  I love me some Leroy Jethro Gibbs!!!) and Shadow had other ideas…

 

He has NO problem getting right in my face and purring loudly.  Occasionally, he will even do this in the middle of the night – but that usually means he needs water or food.  He cannot speak, but he lets me know what he wants!

I am not sure Shadow has ever done anything to “qualify” for a funny cat video, but he certainly has a fun personality and I enjoy having him around.