Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Pre-Birthday Celebration!

This is the gang as we head off to Denver for a pre-birthday trip to the zoo for Angela's 12th birthday! We decided with not much planning that Angela's love of bears had to be experienced "live", so after all the soccer games today we headed off with a packed minivan full of food, pillows and sweaty kids and are now ensconced in our hotel room with our friends who were also going to be here for other reasons and will join us as we see lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

The surprised gasps of pleasure as we traveled over Monarch Pass high up into the mountains were a total kick. We even had a treat of seeing wild antelope and 2 HUGE elk along the way to prep us for the zoo. We stopped near the top of Monarch and got out to explore a little and stretch our legs. The kids hiked up a rocky section of the mountainside. Here is Matthew playing "Protector" as they make their way up.

There was a large rock outcropping that we could walk on that overlooked the canyon below, and without getting too close to the edge we were able to see the rocky mountainside and the pine forest stretched out before us. We also were surprised to discover this...and Matthew is taking a closer look at it...

It was quite odd to find this highway marker way out on the huge rocky area, far from the road itself. We are going to look it up on the internet when we get home and see if we can figure out exactly what it is.

Olesya, our budding photographer is busy snapping shots of the snow covered peaks before us.

Joshie wisely remained back a bit, deciding that not venturing out too far was an intelligent decision! Hahaha!

Mr. Smiley Kenny loved climbing up, and of course we HAD to have a few rocks to bring home to remember our trip by.

You have no idea how difficult it is to get 5 kids all smiling decently at the same time while looking at the camera. This was after about 7 attempts and you can see they are pretty much done with Mom and the camera.

The first birthday at home with your family is a big deal, as it marks your new life in some tangible way...days that were either not celebrated or not noticed by anyone suddenly become much anticipated events where...often for the first are special for an entire day.

It also can bring about thoughts for parents and children alike of how much has been missed with older child adoption. Years have come and gone, half a childhood has passed before a family has arrived to treasure a child. In our case, it has been a couple of conversations that have reminded me of this. Twice over the past couple of days we have talked about Angela's birthday and it has come up what a big girl she will be, after all 12 is just one year away from the teenage years all we parents dread, and the kids anticipate, right?

In our case, not so much it seems.

As I was saying what a big girl she was going to be, she vehemently has insisted "Nyet balshoi girl, me malinky, malinky girl!!!" and repeated that 2 or 3 times. Not a big girl, I am a small, small girl.

I quickly understood and followed up with "You will always be my little girl...even when you are 50!". It seems she has the need to be our little girl, to not rush past this new found childhood she is finally getting. That one sentence reached into my heart and squeezed it tight, as it reaffirmed for me just how strongly our kids need to cling to some form of childhood as long as they can in order to move in a healthy direction towards adulthood. Just as Kenny has more obviously needed to be an 8 year old right now rather than the 11 year old he is, and has willingly abdicated his role as eldest and then second eldest in our family, Angela too needs to be someones baby for awhile. After all, she never really was a cherished child of anyone before, and we have a lot of lost time to make up for.

This came on the heels of our conversation last week at their school to place them in 3rd and 4th grade next year, the lowest possible grade we can legally place them in right now. We also are retaining Kenny as a 4th grader next year, giving him another year to mature and catch up on academics. Stepping outside the box of pre-set grade levels and age expectations will help enormously, as it will allow them to be exactly who they are. It won't matter at all to anyone if we have 12 year old 4th graders...some working on 1st grade reading work while doing 4th grade math, others working on 5th grade math while working on 2nd or 3rd grade reading. We can meet them where they are at rather than trying to make them conform to a system that is not designed to handle such wide gaps in maturity, academic swings, and plain old desire to be a kid after having had to be an adult far too early.

I think we will try and have a talk this week with Angela and Olesya both, and reassure them they have a home with us forever, that they need not worry about growing up too fast or having to leave their home sooner than they are ready. Basically, we need to tell them we see them as our "malinky girls", not our "balshhoi girls", and they can remain malinky as long as their hearts need to.

Watching Angela play with bubbles the other day giggling like a toddler as she dashed down the street waving a wand above her head, snuggling on the couch to read Curious George to them both the other day as we all started saying together "...and he was veeeerrryyy curious!" just as I had with Matthew and Joshie when they were "malinky", it is obvious just how much this tall, slender, strong young lady needs this time.

You'll get it, Angela. We promise. Finally, there is a place you are safe to be a child. Enjoy it, my dear one!!

Now...on to the zoo!!


念阿彌陀佛往生西方極樂世界 said...

阿彌陀佛 無相佈施


之為腥。所謂「葷腥」即這兩類的合稱。 葷菜
(重定向自五辛) 佛家五葷



興渠另說為洋蔥。) 肉 蛋 奶?!

念楞嚴經 *∞窮盡相關 消去無關 證據 時效 念阿彌陀佛往生西方極樂世界

不婚 不生子女 生生世世不當老師

log 二0.3010 三0.47710.48 五0.6990 七0.8451 .85
root 二1.414 1.41 三1.732 1.73五 2.236 2.24七 2.646
=>十3.16 π∈Q' 一點八1.34

wilisons said...

HI Cindy,

Just wanted to let you know what a great mom you are! The ability to step back and give your children a chance to be who they need to be rather that what society sees them as is a gift. You are all very lucky to have one another.

Shanna-mom to 2 from Kaz

Anonymous said...

There's a two-mile high moment, but we know you'll soar higher and higher as a family--with a few landings and take-offs, some dips and ascents. Wish I were with you to enjoy the lions and tigers and bears and children. Enjoy the jungles and plains and mountains you'll encounter at the zoo.


Hilary Marquis said...

I DO understand how challenging a family picture is! Haha! Happy Birthday, Angela. This will be one you and your family never ever forgets. They've been waiting so long to be able to make you "princess" for the day. Have a wonderful time. Maybe we will see you all this summer :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, Happy Birthday Dear Angela! What a great thing to live close to the mountains and a zoo.

Just an idea. All your trips and adventures and activities should be recorded somehow, to "count" as educational experiences in your "homeschooling log". When I kept my kids home from K, I was probably fairly defensive, and tried to make sure I kept a nice record of "instruction time", as well as things we did together that I felt were "educational" experiences. I just kept a simple notebook of those things, as well as a record of books I read to them. I still have that list of books we read together. It brings back fond memories of family times as the older girls were growing up. (Also puts me to shame for that fact that we don't read to these last four like we did the older four.) The kids could even be recording what they are learning about different types of people (themselves) as they do these things together, as in Matthew is protective, Kenny is adventurous and energetic, Joshua is wise (avoiding cliff edges!), Angela is fun-loving and athletic, Olesya is observant of details(camera)etc. Your kids could keep their own scrapbook record, which could include printed blog posts, photos, their own writings about the adventure, experiments or lessons learned, etc. They could be as simple as a notebook, plastic sleeve inserts in a three-ring binder, or actual scrapbooks. I should have bought stock in the plastic sleeve insert, after eight kids and one "scrapbook" a year. I also would have profited from adhesive photo square investments. I don't "scrapbook", but slap their writings/homework/photos adhered to computer paper in the plastic sleeves.

Of course you don't need any of us suggesting ideas as to how these outings turn into research and reports, writing, and art assignments to name a few. You're so ahead of the game.

Your posts remind all of us of the blessings of family and of a God who created each person so unique and gifted in varying ways. Your children have a very rich environment (yoru loving family) in which to learn. Thanks for reminding this "old mom" of all those things she used to know and sometimes has gotten too busy to focus on.

Nancy in Iowa

Karen said...

Beautiful post in every way. I'm grinning from ear to ear!

Bob; Carrie DeLille said...

It's so refreshing to see all of you so very happy, content and whole. Such a beautiful family. The girls look so "at home".