A Saying “Yes” Update

Two months since I posted last! Wowza. Oi, saying yes takes up a lot of time.

Here’s the quick lowdown update: Jonathan is still doing crazy good at school. He has his moments and still requires 1:1 support for most of the day, but the growth and progress both academically and behaviour wise are pinch-me-I’m-dreaming good. Anthony is also kicking ass and taking names. In the school department that is. He’s at the top of his class for a few subjects! He’s also been taking improve classes, listening to terrible music, and overall being a pretty great (ahhhh) teenager.

We’ve been loosing our noodles with busyness – drama classes, recreation classes, loosing are after school care, finding after school care, working late, working out, being social (this is new people and man, it takes up a lot of time) and now Christmas prep for visitors – hey there Dad and Nana!!! and baking and presents are starting to appear.

Between it all, I’ve been saying yes. Yes to hard things. Yes to challenging things. Yes to vulnerable things.

I just completed my first four half-day training at my work (with a co-worker) orienting new staff to our agency, philosophies, and service delivery. I also completed a morning of training staff on disability as part of a diversity morning with some other co-workers.

WHO AM I?!

I use to throw up and not sleep for a week before I had to train First Aid a couple of years ago. I am so proud of myself of facing my fears and saying yes. Seriously, you should try it!

I’ve also been writing a few articles, one pretty personal, through my job again and was published! Because it was attached to my work and it was personal, it was a bit of a leap of faith but I did it and word is slowly getting out around the office about it and guess what? The world has not yet imploded. It’s a freakin’ miracle. I will post it here in the next little bit.

It seems like so many things are attached to my work and that’s because my life and work meld together so much, sometimes to great benefit and sometimes it’s a bit tricky to separate them. To balance it all out I’ve been trying to exercise and meditate, rather learn to meditate – something I’ve always been interested it. I think when you are slightly high-strung, adopt, work in social work and take anxiety medication, meditation should be like breathing. Just do it.

I wish I could write more and write more eloquently, but here we are; a little rusty but perhaps back in the writing game.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend:)

What will you say yes to this week….?

 

 

 

 

Everybody Needs a Tracy

The past few weeks have been full of family vacationing and fun and back to school. I wish I had more time to write about it all, but as we adjust to new routines, very busy work schedules and many other happenings, alas some things have to give.

But, I wanted to share this.

It took Jonathan 8ish months to work up to a full morning of kindergarten last year (we started with 1 hour and worked our way up to 2.5 hours in 15 minute increments every few months. We are talking. seriously. slow. transitioning. time. needed). This year, two weeks into grade one, and he’s been attending full days since the start! This has no doubt to do with some familiarity he now has with the school and some maturity, but most it has to do with one particular amazing lady. His aide Tracy.

Tracy became Jonathan’s aide about 2 months into kindergarten and right away she made a difference to his ability to join in with some class activities with other kids, his speech, his sense of safety, his listening to his teacher and not running out of the classroom every 30 seconds. Basically, she is fan-freakin-tastic.

She spent her summer emailing the school back and forth advocating for him to be in a particular class that she felt was a better fit for him (when the school was trying to move him to a different class…unknown to us). She offered to stay with him at recess and lunch break so he would have support on the playground (he needs pretty much constant adult supervision but doesn’t have it) and put a plan together an entire plan to help him transition to Grade 1. And the school accepted it. Fan-freakin-tastic.

Even though Jonathan is going full days now, they aren’t always easy. And today was an extra hard day with a major meltdown that involved screaming at the teacher, pushing and kicking desks and slapping Tracy across the face and scratching her. Kaboom.

There was a two page explanation in his book stating what happened and how he reacted and what she did etc. What did she do? She got his kindergarten teacher (who was teaching a class at the time) because “she is someone he trusts” to come and be with him after he curled into a ball of remorse and refused to talk to anyone. Then they went back to her kindergarten room to hang out for a while to chill out in a familiar setting.

At this point my heart is pretty  much about to burst with how they handled the whole thing and then I read this:

“My main concern is making sure he is feeling happy and safe while he’s at school”

FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC!

There was no phone call to me, no incident report, no nothing, except her concern over him and how he feels.

I love Tracy, and I love how she loves Jonathan. I wish all kids had a Tracy in their corner.

 

 

 

Mindfulness

It’s been a while since I’ve written. Anything.

I’ve been trying to be more mindful the last month by trying being away from the computer, put my phone down more often (ok, clearly I still always have it on me and take tons of pictures but I’m trying not to endless scroll thorough feeds) and sometimes, sometimes, even just sit. Gasp! And man oh man is it hard.

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Life was feeling too out of control – all was well and good, but everything was just too busy. Including my brain and it was starting to hurt.

Home has been fantastic; Jonathan has been rockin’ it at school, daycare and home (mostly). There’s a new consistency in his behaviour and he’s been super happy. Anthony is also doing well and Gord and I are both doing things we love outside of work like gardening and playing music. We’ve also started meeting with an ASL tutor and I’m becoming more involved with a local organization that supports families who have experienced hearing loss and deafness.

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Throw in some nice weather and you’ve suddenly also got parks to visit and hikes to do and a yard to take care of and flowers to water and cars to wash and bikes to ride…and then before you know it, the day is done.

Work has also been fantastic; I’ve been facing fears and doing presentations, attending amazing conferences and doing lots of great program planning. But it’s busy and brain consuming.

There’s so much goodness happening right now, yet not enough time for everything, somethings have needed to be sacrificed; like a clean house and swapping dressers for laundry baskets (it just never seems to make it from the basket to the drawers anymore and I gotta say it’s so much more efficient to cut out the middle man). And writing. And although I have let the first two go pretty easily I’ve missed writing. I’ve missed my little adoption community.

I’ve been trying everyday to just sit and let my mind wander. Which I gotta tell ya is real tricky. I’m happy with myself if I can do it for just a couple of minutes. To be able to sit and not be on my phone, make a to do list, talk to or think about Jonathan or anything else. Just be. Be conscious of my breathing, what I see and what I hear. I must say I’m not very good at it but I’m trying.

The next couple of months show no sign of slowing down as we plan to pack in as much summer as we can. We have lots of visitors heading our way, summer camps, new routines, hikes to do and beautiful weather to enjoy. I hope, however, with these busy summer days also come a more laid back pace and more writing. And sitting. And just being.

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My 520 Days of Messy Beautiful

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520 days ago our lives were turned upside down and sideways.

520 days of anger, resentment, fumbling, and pit of the stomach icky feelings.

520 days of emotions that are far bigger than me.

520 of some of the hardest days I’ve ever had. Days I’ve dug deeper than I thought possible. Days when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore, days where I wanted it to all go back to how it was before.

520 days of love bigger than I ever though possible.

520 days ago our son Jonathan moved in.

Jonathan is very, very, messy beautiful.

He has more twinkle in his eye then you’ll see in most 5 year olds. He’s beautiful.

He has so many wires crisscrossed in his little head from neglect and trauma. He’s messy.

520 days ago my messy boy could not say more than a handful of words, couldn’t stand to be touched, would hide when he got hurt and didn’t know a number from a letter.

Today, my beautiful boy has picked up 3 and a half years of language and ASL, he loves having his back rubbed and being tickled, comes to me (most times) for comfort when he’s hurt, he knows his letters and can count to 10.

520 days ago my messy boy could not stand in line, be understood by most, draw a face, didn’t know what a family was and would kick and scratch and bite regularly.

Today my beautiful boy (mostly) stands in (short) lines, is understood by many, can draw a stick man and a slurpee and an electrical socket, and only kicks and scratches and bites once in a while.

How far he’s come, my messy beautiful boy.

We are not nearly where we need to be, or want to be. We have so much further to go.
There are so many wires to uncross and so many more adventures to be had to add to your twinkle.

So much more hard work, for both of us. So many lessons to learn.

But guess what my beautiful messy boy?

Love wins. Love always wins.

This post is part of Momastery’s Mess, Beautiful Warrior Project. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

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Dear Birth Parents

Dear Birth Parents

I wish you knew how smart he is, how funny he is, how intuitive he is. How curious, and mischievous he is. And how incredibly cute he is.
I wish you knew how hard he has to fight everyday to feel secure and safe. But man does fight for it. And he’s winning.
I wish you knew how hard he tries to sound out words, what a great natural signer he is and how much he wants to learn about absolutely everything in this world.
I wish you knew how much he is loved; not just by us, but by everyone who meets him.
I wish you knew how much happiness he brings to our family.
I wish you knew how much I wanted a little one and how lucky I feel to be raising this incredible little boy.

Memory Box; One Year

November 9th marked one year since Jonathan officially moved in with us.
Looking back through pictures I found this one: A gift from my sister.

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In finding this picture I was reminded of the amazing support and encouragement from friends and family (online too!) that we received throughout the adoption process and also how excited and happy everyone was when we met Jonathan and he was placed with us.

It was so nice this past couple of weeks to reflect on how far we’ve come as a family, and how far he has come in settling in and  how much he is learning and growing (man alive is he ever growing!). And also, to see how his little spirit shines through more and more each day.

This picture is the first I have of him and I. It was taken during the first few days he was with us as we hung about the house getting to know each other.  20121111_162222

BAHA! He looks so little here!

Happy memory making y’all:)

If you would like to read more happy memories, check out The Adoption Social’s Memory Box link up here.

Kitty Brown; Back in Action

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One night this past week, I put Jonathan to bed as usual: Sometimes the cats wander in and out while we read a story, or they curl up on the floor waiting for me to exit after we sing some songs.

This one particular night, Kitty Brown had hunkered down on the floor and as I went to leave she didn’t dart out with me. I gave her a little nudge with my foot and she didn’t budge. Fair enough, she wanted to stay. So I closed the door. This has never happened before. A few hours later, she was still there, right where I had left her, and I had to pick her up to get her out so she wouldn’t be trapped all night.

At 5 am Jonathan called out. He had been sick all over his bed. We spent the day napping and watching cartoons, I’ve never seen him so quiet and slow moving.

That night, Kitty Brown crawled into bed with Jonathan. After much “Kitty Brown luff (love) me?” reassurance while petting her and tickling her whiskers, she curled up at the foot of the bed and would not leave. Again.

This cat is the sweetest thing. I swear she knew something was up even before we did. Even before Jonathan did.

Now she’s back to her usual routine of wandering in his bedroom and waiting for me until we leave together and she’s happy to curl up in her little saucepan on her cat tree as Jonathan is back to himself.

Oh Kitty Brown, how I luff you too.

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