Well, it's technically not summer yet, but it sure feels that way. I like summer. I never thought I'd hear myself say that. It gets pickin' hot here, that's for sure, but on those days where it's hot, but not too hot, I don't mind it. I went out and picked a whole slough of zucchini today. That was kind of fun. Now, what am I going to do with it? I love those days when the mornings are cool, but you have to close everything up by 9:00am and then see how long you can go before turning the AC on. Today, it was about 1:00pm when I gave in. We don't tend to have it too cool in here. It's about 79 degrees, comfortable if you're walking slow. I'm giving up my afternoon cupa joe for a nice cool glass of iced tea. Summer time!
Meet Smokie. She's our latest addition. We got her from some people from out church and she's just the sweetest little thing. Like most kittens, she loves to attack your leg and chew on your fingers. Fortunately for our children, she has a pretty good disposition and will put up with being carried around for hours on end. She's willing to be the patient when they play doctor, and the baby when they play house. She loves playing with the new cat door Hubby installed so she and Nikki (our old cat) can go in and out of the garage without us having to leave the garage door cracked. However, she got her paw pinched twice and boy howdy can she yowl. She's a cute little cat, though, and has fit into our family quite nicely.
Today, for the first time in my life, I attended a Memorial Day Service. Wow! All my life I considered Memorial Day to be just a day off school, kind of a summer kick-off holiday. Like Labor Day is the official end of summer, as some might think. But, a while back I ordered the book "How to Raise an American" by Myrna Blythe and Chriss Winston. And, I actually read it. The reason I bought it, is I want my kids to grow up knowing about our country and loving it and I wasn't exactly sure how to go about doing that. I grew up in a semi-patriotic household. I wouldn't say it was un-American by any means, but we weren't overtly patriotic. We didn't display the flag and I really never knew what Memorial Day was about, or Veterans Day or any of those other Patriotic holidays, either. So, I bought this book, and one of the chapters is called "All-American Year". It goes over all the patriotic holidays and gives ideas of how a family can honor them. So, my goal, for this year is to "do" every patriotic holiday. We'll see how it goes.
Anyhow, today we went to the cemetary to the Memorial Day Service. It was awesome. The hight school band played, they honored the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the speaker was a Marine who'd been decorated for service in Iraq. There were flags everywhere. I left feeling incredible. I felt like I was part of something big and great, and that is our country. I admit, I feel down about our country a lot. I see how we've embraced a President who who sees nothing wrong in tearing a child from its mother's womb and allowing it to die in a trash-bin. We as a country have become lazy and ignorant of the ideals that made us great. And yet, there is hope for us. There is always hope, and while I can't change everyone, I can change myself. I am starting that change by going on a journey through the biographies of our presidents. Right now, I'm reading the bio of John Adams by David McCullough and the autobiography of U.S. Grant. Both very fascinating and very different. I know, I should probably read the bios in chronological order, but I got the U.S. Grant one on loan from my father-in-law and I'd like to read it and return it as soon as possible. And, along with educating myself, I'm educating my kids. We're homeschooling and it is my goal to give them an education in history that is second to none. I know that I haven't been the best Patriot in the past, but it is never too late to start.
I just haven't felt like writing lately. I don't seem to have a lot to say. I've been feeling kind of whiny lately, so maybe that's why I haven't written anything. I hate it when I feel whiny, because I know I have nothing to complain about. My life is good, and yet... those feelings of discontent and restlessness come in and it's kind of hard to get off my sorry rear-end get over it. So, that's where I'm at right now.
Ever since I had kids, I've developed a love affair with children's literature. There are so many good books out there and we try to read them all. The kids get books for Christmas and birthdays, and we try to make going to the library a regular part of our routine. Lately, and I don't know why this is, I've been noticing a theme of adoption running through many of the books and stories I've read to the kids. We did read one book that was overtly about adoption. It was a really sweet book called, "Pablo's Tree" by Pat Mora. The kids enjoyed it, and so did I. But, there are other books and stories out there with an adoption theme that never even mention the word "adoption". One of the ones we've enjoyed recently is "Horton Hatches an Egg" by Dr. Seuss. Now, Dr. Seuss' books always have an agenda, so I won't put it past him that the adoption theme was intentional. The book is basically about Maizy-the-lazy-bird who wants a vacation, talks Horton the elephant into egg-sitting for her and then takes off for Florida. Horton stays with that egg for a year because, "Elephants are faithful one hundred percent!" She finally comes back just as the egg is about to hatch and wants the egg back. Horton reluctantly agrees, the egg hatches and it's an elephant-bird, and Horton ends up being a parent afterall. It's such a great picture of the committment a parent can have to a child who is not biologically their own. I also thought the elephant-bird was a great touch. It shows that even though a child isn't biologically related to a parent, there's still a lot that rubs off. We don't talk with the kids about the "message" of these books. I'm more likely to take the attitude that if a kid is exposed to these types of ideas, they will internalize them unconsciously. I just want my kids to grow up believing that adoption is just another kind of normal.
Our family has a special holiday. We celebrate Adoption Day. We've been celebrating it for about four years now, ever since we finalized the adoptions of our boys four years ago this month. We used to celebrate it on May 12, which was the actual finalization day, but now, since Missie Lou's finalization day is in June, Adoption Day is the second Monday of May, so we don't have a million Adoption Days. One covers it all. We ordered pizza and went out for Frosties (note to self, don't get the kids soft-serve icecream cones until they really get the licking/dripping part under control) and gave them presents. The boys got Legoes and Missie Lou got "fancy shoes" which she wanted for a long time. This year I really wanted this day to be meaningful. You know, talk about their adoptions a little bit, share some stories. The kids know they are adopted, but that means absolutely nothing to them, and I'd like to share their stories with them. Adoption Day seems like an appropriate day to do that, but it wasn't meant to be this year. Instead of being meaningful, it was more like, let's just get through the day. We found out yesterday morning that after 5 days of fever, Missie Lou had a severe double ear infection and possibly strep throat. So, she wasn't a terribly happy camper and the boys were overly excited about it being Adoption Day, and then when they got their legoes they just went over the top with excitement. And then we dragged them to Foster's Freeze for frosties, which I was hoping would be a fun family outing. It turned into a messy, grouchy, "we all want to go potty in the dirty public restroom even if we don't really have to go potty" outing. So, basically, we came home, threw them in the tub and put them all to bed. I was a little disappointed in how we celebrated Adoption Day this year, but... I guess there's always next year. And hopefully Baby Sister will be here and she'll be able to celebrate with us!
They keep asking me that. I do give them answers. They seem very interested. So, they keep asking. And now, my parents have kittens and the boys were wondering where the Mommy Cat adopted them. I thought that was kind of a funny question, but not really, since all our kids are adopted. It's a natural question, actually. But, I told them that the Mommy Kitty had the kittens in her tummy and then they were born. Of course we had to talk about how they were born. I just kept in mind what I heard once about just answering the question simply, when asked these kinds of questions. Don't go into all kinds of detail unless the kids keep pushing for more information. So, I tried to keep my answers simple and to the point. I was just dying, though. Good grief. I've taught junior high girls all about the facts of life when I was teaching school. I answered all sorts of puberty/period questions matter-of-factly and with a straight face, but now that I'm trying to teach my children about where kittens come from I fall apart.
I just really do. We've had this new.... whatever you call it... Internet thing for a while and I can just open as many web pages as I want ALL AT THE SAME TIME. It's so fun. I just had to share that, because it is one of those simple pleasures that really make my life worth living. Tabbed browsing. It's a good thing.
Vacations are wonderful. We just got back from one. Every year we rent a house on the coast near Santa Cruz for a couple of days. It's wonderful. We hit the beach a couple times, took the kids to the aquarium (the little one in Santa Cruz that costs $5 to get in, not the big on in Monterrey), and this year we went to a nearby state park and looked at banana slugs. We ate at our favorite Mexican restaurant (enchilada sauce to die for) and just relaxed. It was a grand time.