Today was a very special day for our family. Today Dustin and I had Miles and Liam dedicated at church in front of our family and friends. I was very excited for this weekend. We began by choosing this date carefully. Not only was it their Papa's birthday, but it was also exactly one year ago on a Sunday that we were boarding a plane for Seoul to meet Miles for the first time. I planned everything out to a "T". I invited our friends to come along, and anticipated our family members from this area, as well as those that traveled from further away. Dustin and I even agreed to do a reading in front of the church. I spent a long time last Saturday carefully shopping for the boys' new outfits - both of which were pretty snazzy if I do say so myself. When I got home I carefully hung them up in the closet thinking about how perfect they would both look come Sunday. I pictured us all up in front of the congregation. The perfect family with one angelic - perhaps sleeping? - baby and one charming little toddler who might even throw in some cute little phrase for the audience. I researched Korean recipes for our noon meal with the family - preparing the Bulgogi the night before and carefully wrapping many mandoo dumplings by hand with my mom in anticipation of today.
It was a perfect day....but not perfect in the way I pictured it. Liam decided that 30 seconds before the actual service started was the perfect time to perform his first-ever "no one can ever calm me down, not even my mom" meltdown. I had to sit outside of the sanctuary frantically trying everything to get him to calm down, go to sleep, anything. I was sweating bullets. Again, in a swift show of perfect timing Liam calmed down thirty seconds before I was supposed to read scripture in front of everyone. I marched up the aisle with my now semi-calm baby and plunked him down on his dad's lap as I grabbed the scripture - slowed only by my scarf getting completely caught by Dustin's grasp. By the time I made it to the microphone I was shaky, red, and sweating. I don't even really remember reading the scripture, except that I asked the congregation to read two verses in unison with me, and for some reason they ended up reading all eight. Not a big deal, right? Now about the dedication....
Nothing up there happened exactly how I pictured it. Between Miles working endlessly to pry himself out of Dustin's kung-fu grip, throwing his matchbox car down the stairs only to have the preacher climb down to get it, collapsing on the floor in total agony, and then Liam starting to fuss towards the end, I was beginning to think that everything I had pictured seemed totally foolish. At lunch the mandoo completely disintegrated in the boiling water, turning to a huge pile of dough and meat, and Liam continued on his fussy streak. There was a moment today when I felt completely defeated. And then I remembered.....
I remembered that our family loved us and our children so much that they traveled from so far away to meet us. I remembered how the crowd had collectively "awwwwwww-ed" when Miles signed "Thank You" to our pastor for picking up his car. I remembered that we were surrounded by family and friends that didn't care that my Korean Dumplings were a big soggy mess or that Liam's shoes wouldn't stay on. I remembered that no one will remember me sweating through the entire dedication - willing it to go faster. I remembered what the dedication was all about. Today was nothing - it was important, but the more important stuff is yet to come. Today we promised to do our best to raise Miles and Liam to know and love God. (Although I don't actually remember what questions I answered - I had to look them up when I got home.) We made a commitment to our boys that we would do the best we could.
What doesn't matter: New clothes, mushy mandoo, a two year old standing still, and flawless scripture reading.
What does: Grandmas and Grandpas, Nanas and Papas, Aunts and Uncles, Friends, and the Commitment we made today.
After the service - looking a little worse-for-wear, but still hanging in there.
The boys on our way home from lunch at Nana and Papa's- exhausted from putting their mom and dad through the wringer.
This mom had a much-needed reality check, and I have a feeling it was just one of many many more.
To my oldest: I was packing to go meet you for the first time. I was anxious, scared, excited, and nauseous......
For a week I couldn't sleep or eat because my nerves were going haywire. In two days I was leaving to come get you. I had your picture tucked safely away. For months we had planned for you. We had put together a room for you. Every piece of furniture was picked out especially for you. We had been sitting on pins and needles waiting for a phonecall to come get you. We couldn't stop smiling because we loved you so much and had been waiting for you. Our family was just beginning.
To my youngest: I had my suspicions about you. I thought that you might exist, but it was my little secret. Not even your dad knew what I thought to be true. A year ago today I found out about you. I was anxious, scared, excited, and nauseous. For a week I couldn't sleep or eat because....well, you just wouldn't allow it. At the time we didnt' have a plan for you. The room we had made for your older brother would have to become yours as well. My carefully-laid floor plan was rendered useless. You should have seen your dad's face when I told him. He thought I was lying. We couldn't stop smiling because we loved you so much. You were unexpected, but it felt like we had also been waiting for you as well. Our family was growing.
I can't wait to see what the next year holds.
I love you forever, your mom xoxoxox
I never thought I would be one of those parents that overindulged their child. In fact, I never understood parents who bought something for their kids every time they walked into Target, just because they were being good. The truth is that I was already pretty good at saying "no" to myself and Dustin when it came to spending money (especially Dustin - just ask him about the spending freezes I used to put him on when we lived in Normal).
Of course, that was then, this is now. It's not that I can't say "no"; it's that I just don't want to. It is much more fun to say "yes." I mean, if you could see my kid's face at the sight of a new matchbox car, you would be saying "yes" a lot more too. This little piece of metal that set me back about 97 cents brings him pure joy, which makes me so happy.
The other thing I never thought I'd do is turn my child's room into a "theme" room. Someone told me when we were waiting for Miles that they thought the same thing and now their son's room is filled with trains. At the time I thought..."Not me, no problem there." Eating. my. words.
Which leads me to my most recent purchase. Last night Miles and I went to Target in search of a new comforter for his bed. I wanted a simple, white comforter that I could bleach if I needed to, but also looked great in his "non-themed" room. Did I get the $30 comforter I had my eye one? No..... Instead I got a flimsy $10 white blanket and something else. They were completely unnecessary, frivolous, totally themed, and less than $14, but in my little boy's eyes they are fabulous. Every instinct I had about buying them was right. Miles can't get enough of them. Check out these new sheets.
My favorite part of mornings like today isn't your sweet bedhead. It isn't the way you stumble out of your room with a bear as big as you in your arms so that you can't see where you're going as you run into the wall. It isn't even the big smile you give me as soon as you realized I am awake and sitting in the living room. It has nothing to do with the cute way you take half-steps with your eyes half closed, or the fact that you stop everything the minute you see headlights outside so that you can go look out the window at the "caughrrrrrr." My favorite part was that for the last two mornings you've done something out of the ordinary. You've climbed up into my lap and have cuddled with your mom. I'm not talking just a sit-still for a few moments cuddle, which you also never seem to have time for. I'm talking a wrap your arms around my neck with bear tucked safely between our chests with your head on my shoulder for an extended period of time cuddle. I loved every minute of it. Especially the part where you took a moment to look at me and smile. I was thinking the same thing buddy - it just doesn't get any better at 6:00 in the morning.
I'll love you forever, Mom
Do you know what my favorite part of today was? It was spending it with you....uninterupted play time between just the two of us while everyone else slept. It was listening to you laugh and seeing your smile. It was seeing the pure joy in your face at just being awake and alive. It's only seven in the morning, but I already know that this is my favorite part of today.
Love, your mom. xoxoxx
Today I was getting ready for work just like any other day. Everyone in the house slept, except for me. Just as I was putting on the finishing touches (it takes an army, people) out walked Miles - making it the first morning he has been awake when I've left since the time change.
We spent some time together - which made me later than I wanted to be - but was still totally worth it. Just when I was leaving he started what I thought was going to be a huge fit. It really just turned out to a half-hearted fake whining that was short lived. Part of me was a little disappointed that he wasn't super upset to see me leave, but then a bigger part of me was happy that he obviously didn't care. It was as though the whining was for my benefit - an effort (albeit a lousy one) to seem sincere in his plead for me to stay and play with him. So, I got to leave with the satisfaction of 1. Knowing he was okay, and 2. Knowing that he cared enough to make me feel missed.
It was a little bit like I got the best of both worlds. This little guy knows just how to work it. I am in big trouble.
Dustin was sick last night and so bear took his place at dinner - Miles was thrilled and couldn't stop laughing or telling me that "Bear" was sitting next to him.
This last week Miles and Liam's nanny was on spring break with all of her friends. While she was having a great time on the sunny beaches of Florida the boys were being watched by their Nana, Papa, and Aunt Carrie. Miles and Liam loved it - in fact, Miles loved it so much that he decided he didn't need to take a nap for the entire week! (I think he might have snuck one in accidentally on Monday.) By Friday even Dustin had a hard time getting him down for a nap. After the weekend we all returned to being well-rested in spite of the time change.
Getting ready for a walk
Some interesting things that have been happening recently....
Liam is smiling and laughing like crazy.
Miles has started to say many more word phrases which is sort of exciting. I can't wait until I can ask him what he did all day and he can actually tell me. Some of his phrases as interpreted by his mama (a.k.a. me).....
- bubye coughr (think throaty irish brogue) (bye bye car)
- mo mo (no more)
- mo cheap cheap cheap pweeze (this is exactly how he also imitates the sound a chick makes.) (may I please have another chip mommy?)
- no no (I just did something that I know I wasn't supposed to do, and I think I need to go sit in time out.)
- uh oh (Mom, I just left a really nice little something in my diaper for you....would you like me to go give Dad a hug? OR I just dropped something on the floor and want you to pick it up)
- Okay, that's about it, but I was really thinking there were more.
Dustin has been doing a lot of free-lance design work recently, which keeps him busy - especially since he usually has to do it during Miles' non-existent naps.
I have been awaiting the arrival of my diploma so that my husband can take me out to celebrate (which is what he says - I think he just forgot to get me anything back in December and so he made up the excuse that we have to wait until I actually have the diploma in my hands - which is starting to make me wonder if I really did graduate, or if they were just joking since it still hasn't arrived.)
Liam can sit up against things that will prop him up, and is cooing like crazy.
Miles is getting so smart. The other day we were eating spaghetti and he saw me twirling my fork. He tried and tried to do the same thing with his noodles. We've resorted to being sneaky about things. For example, we have to be really careful that he can't see us open the spray bottle for his wipes because I've learned that all it takes is for him to see it once and I'll be chasing a little one year old around the house who is chasing a distraught dog who is getting squirted - much to his chagrin.
Miles and Liam's new room.
Miles' bed is officially finished, which called for a total bedroom makeover (actually just some rearranging to make the boys' room a better fit for two little ones.) When I so meticulously planned it out a little over a year ago I really had no intention of there being more than one bed, so we've had to rethink the design a bit. :)
Many people don't know this, but before I was a high school art teacher (about six years ago) I was a daycare teacher at a private early childhood school (glorified daycare) for two-year olds for about a year and half. It wasn't my dream job, but I learned a lot about children. I will forever respect those that go into this profession because they are often overworked and underpaid. It was probably one of the hardest jobs I ever had (beside bailing - but if you ask my brother he will tell you that I didn't actually ever bail - even though I spent a WHOLE summer doing it.) (Yes, I'm talking about you Collin.) ANYWAYS, one thing I learned was that children pick up on EVERYTHING and will learn anything you put in front of them. Their parents were always surprised by my expectations in their children, but their children always lived up to it eventually. Whether it was getting 16 two-year olds to sit quietly for circle time for an entire 15 minutes, or teaching them to drink out of a regular cup, learn their letters, or potty training them.
Now, the secret is to apply this teaching to my own children. I think my kids are extremely smart (doesn't everyone think that of their own children?), but I tend to lean on the side of a realist. I find myself not expecting Miles to know things, or to pick up on things, but he continuously proves me wrong. For example, I haven't been really enforcing colors or shapes on Miles because he seems so young. However, we put his "stars" on every night and for the last two months he has pointed out every star shape to me in every situation we've encountered one. He's also started calling circles "balls" whenever we see them around us. If that isn't him telling me that he is more than ready to learn, than I don't know what is. Also, we read this book called "Five Little Pumpkins" and there is one little part that goes "OOOOOOOooooooooo". He will continuously turn to that page and make the sound himself. He knows just where it is. Then today Dustin told him that they might go to the zoo and see the sloth. Miles ran into his room and picked the book "Slowly Slowly Slowly Goes the Sloth" right off his shelf. What a smarty-pants. I guess I need to realize that he is really soaking everything in. I feel like I've been holding him back now. Shame on me - I should know better.
This morning I was doing my morning devotions when I came across a prayer journal that I used to keep. I am not sure why I stopped writing in it, but I decided to pick it up again today to see what I had written before. This was the last entry....
March 18, 2009
Yesterday was VERY hard. I came home, crawled into bed and never wanted to get out. My heart aches for Miles to get here. Today's reading talks about turning to God in times of anguish. That is the best word I can think of to describe this - anguish.
That was almost exactly a year ago, and boy has my life changed. My prayers have been answered - ten fold. I have forgotten how sad March was for me. I was very good at waiting until the middle of February - which was when other families that had received referrals after us had started getting travel calls. This is the closest I've come to knowing depression.
On March 24, 2009 we got our travel call. On March 27th we knew Liam was also on his way. On March 29th we were on a plane for Korea. Praise God.
One year later (this morning) I had to call my husband as I pulled out of the driveway to tell him to get his completely nude son out of the giant picture window in the front of our house. (He was waving quite energetically - the neighborhood got quite a show.)
The title of this post is a bit misleading....you would think that I would be using this to brag about my own children - as if I don't do that enough. In fact, I'm using it to brag about other people's children. I know that I often talk about the difficulties of dealing with impossible teenagers and the trials that they get sheer joy out of putting me through, but the truth is that I wouldn't want to have any other job. I thought I wanted to teach in higher education, and maybe someday I will, but right now I am right where I want to be.....which leads me to other people's children.
Caution: extreme bragging beyond this point.
This last week we entered the all-conference art show/competition like we are required to do every year. It is always a priority for the other art teachers and me because we were told that it is supposed to be a priority over every other art show we do (by administrators). In the past it has been really hard for me to get into it. Our students have always done well at it, but the truth is that it was my least favorite show. First of all, it was at the city's public library. I am a lover of libraries, but having to walk through 10+ homeless people to get to the front entrance, and then to see the artwork from eight different schools velcro-ed onto a couple of display boards really dashed our spirits. This year the show was at a beautiful, huge art gallery. The students actually got to frame their work. We even had a new printer and were able to print of some of their digital illustrations and prints off on large format paper. Everything about it was beautiful. One of my favorite things about the show was that so many students showed up to the artist reception on Thursday night. They weren't required to come, but they came. They brought their parents and even their friends. They introduced their art teachers to their parents, grandparents, and even boyfriends/girlfriends. Worlds collided....Okay, that may be a bit dramatic, but they were so proud, which made me so proud.
This all isn't even the best part though. I have been holding this in for days. I wanted to bust into the school on Friday and enter every administrator's office bragging about our students. I wanted to put on the announcements how our students tore apart the competition. I wanted to call up each coach and tell them how awesome our artists did - many of which are also athletes. I wanted to knock on the door of every parent who voted against the referendum last year because it focused too much on the arts (which is not really at all). I wanted to go to the elementary school board who refuse to provide art for their students because it just isn't necessary. Basically, I wanted everyone to know how great our students were......but I didn't. I held it in until now. I figured no administrators or parents or other teachers read my blog so I'm safe to do all of my bragging here, and remain humble on the surface when I go back to school on Monday.
To make a really long story just a little bit shorter.....we rocked the house on Thursday night. Every school can only submit 26 pieces to the show, and there are eight schools. Our students took home a total of 12 honorable mention and merit awards that night. The only other school that came close is twice our size and took home 5. Two students also took home both Best of Show awards - in 2-d and 3-d. To sum it up, they were awesome. And that night they were also gracious and polite. Now, I could go into much more detail as to why each individual student that won was its own little victory for them, but I won't. I guess that is between them and me. I just hope they know someday how proud I am of all of them. All of their art teachers are proud. All three of us were shining for them on Thursday night. The only downside was that we were one of the only schools without an administrator there. Maybe someday I'll figure out a way to get them interested since the emails and invitations didn't work. Maybe the big write-up in the paper that comes out next week will get them a little more interested. :)
If he is getting into bed and I mention I am thirsty, he will always get out of bed to bring me a glass of water.
Looks cute in t-shirts.
Is a homebody.
Is good at picking out movies.
Cried at Marley and Me - or "secreted salted discharge from his eyes."
Makes me laugh.
Can go out one day after not running for 5 years and just whip out 3 miles like its nothing.....uphill.
Is a typography dork - but a passionate typography dork.
Likes my friends.
Loves my family.
Rides his bike to work in below freezing weather while I drive in my warm cozy car.
Feels completely confident taking care of two little boys while I go out galavanting.
Always kisses me when he gets home.
50% of the time he even dips me while doing it.
Dances at weddings.
Does sweet skateboarding jumps in public with an imaginary skateboard because it makes me laugh.
Watches PBS - religiously.
Still thinks Sesame Street is the bomb.
Can become instant friends with any old man in the room.
Talks in a silly voice to Liam.
Cooks....and makes a mean homemade salad dressing and white sauce.
Can whip a batch of chocolate chip cookies out in less than 20 minutes.
Will always wipe cat hair off my back that I don't know is there.
Is a great host.
Can screen-print the life out of a shirt.
Will watch the bachelor with me even though he actually hates it and his favorite show is on at the same time on another channel.
Has mad graphic design skillz.
Gets upset when someone uses a "z" where an "s" should be.
Likes to cuddle.
Gets embarassed easily.
Doesn't need a lot of money.
Likes to go for walks.
Says that he "doesn't want to buy into the commercialization of Valentines' Day" so that he doesn't have to get me a gift.
Is totally hot.
Still thinks I'm hot.
Likes to talk about his Nike Running Thingy that Goes with is Nike Shoe/Ipod Thingy.
Will wipe up the competition in Trivial Pursuit.
Goes crazy for giftcards to Barnes and Noble.
Gets his facts off of Men's Health.
Reads Parenting magazine and dog-ears the pages.
Takes Miles to the zoo.
Likes to eat wraps.
Never pretends like he doesn't see the cat puke so that I have to clean it up.
Gets excited about hobbies.
Is really strong.
Likes our cat.
Is an environmentalist.
Almost never gets mad at me, and when he does it is usually because I use the computer mouse when I just put on lotion, eat at the computer, drink at the computer, touch the computer screen, don't use shortcuts on the computer, save giant files on the computer, or I don't back-up my work on the computer. Or sometimes he gets upset because I drink coffee in the car and then spill it all over the console.
This morning I was just getting ready to walk out the door when Liam woke up ready to eat. Here are my options.... A. Get to work early and be super productive....meaning I would have to at some point lock myself in a standing-room only closet one extra time today while students stood outside wondering aloud what "Wyse-Fisher is doing in the closet...and what is that motor sound?" or option B. Arrive a little later and feed Liam before I left. For obvious reasons I chose B.
Six reasons why it was totally worth it....
1. Liam's face lit up with the biggest smile you've ever seen when I went to get him.
2. I heard him giggle.
3. While eating, he kept stopping to look at me and smile like he couldn't believe it was really me.
4. I got to chase Miles around the dining room one last time.
5. I heard him giggle.
6. While I was pulling out of the drive Miles stood on the couch and blew kisses to me.
What happens when I get to school early?
1. I have to pump in a closet with students right outside the door.
2. No one blows me kisses.
3. I'm lucky if I get any smiles out of the 100+ disgruntled students.
4. I am the only one that giggles - usually at my own lame jokes.
5. You can forget about anyone's face lighting up at the sight of me.
6. I work.
This is how I make decisions now, and so far it is