Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Waiting Game

*I apologize for my lack of posting lately.  As you all know, this is an incredibly busy time of year.  I  promise I will try to do better.*
"When do you expect to be matched?"  "When should your fingerprints come back?" "When should you travel to pick up the baby?"  I have become accustomed to hearing the barrage of questions that come as soon as we tell someone we are adopting, because these are normal.  These are things friends and family are curious about.  Unfortunately, these are things that I don't know the answers to.
Adoption comes with a great deal of unpredictability and waiting.  It forces you to be flexible and patient in the face of a great deal of stress and busyness.   There are countless questionnaires to be filled out, official documents to gather, fingerprints to be done and sent, and references to contact.  There are meetings to attend, required readings to complete, and home safety recommendations (that aren't recommendations).  Prospective adoptive parents must go through this marathon of sorts just to wait and see if you will even be approved by your agency.
Why do we do this?  Why do we endure?  We stand strong because there is a child out there God has selected for us.  There is a child out there waiting for us.  We will do what needs to be done to make sure we get that child.  We will wait as long as it takes to find that child.
So... for now, we have completed our first homestudy meeting (of 3), turned in all of our documents/paperwork, and sent off our fingerprints. For now... we wait.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Trick or Pete

One of the things I loved about Frisco ISD was the immersion in children's literature my children received on a daily basis.  Whether in the classroom or in the music room, they were constantly being read great children's books. 
One of the books my kids fell in love with was Pete the Cat.  The books do not convey a profound life lesson, but they are cute, catchy, and colorful.  We have had to purchase every book containing Pete (there are just 3-4 of them), so imagine my children's excitement when they heard that Eric Litwin was coming here... to Colorado.
I rushed to buy tickets in August, and we have been marking our calendar daily to count down to the big event. Finally, on Thursday night, it happened.  There was a spooky forest, trick-or-treating, Pete himself, AND Eric Litwin signing books.  After patiently waiting in line, the kids were able to meet Mr. Eric. Not only did he sign their books, but he was SO nice, asking each child (even the smallest) a few questions.  It was a night to remember.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Life is a Journey

If anyone told me this time last year that I would be typing this from our basement in Colorado, I would have laughed in his/her face.  Life has a funny way of throwing you the unexpected, and while it's been quite an adjustment for our family, I believe we are coming out on top.
We have gone from swimming pools to hiking trails, upstairs playrooms to finished basements, public school to home school, and crazy time to family time.  Some of the differences are small but some are outrageously big.  Almost all of them, however, have been good.  More changes are still to come for the Gregory's, and for that we are all excited.  To stay connected with our journey just check back here periodically.  Thanks to everyone for your help and support!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

To retain or not to retain

*Apologies for not posting in over a month.  We have been super busy around here! states the definition of retain is to hold in place or position, but I had to search for that one.  The other definitions I found used the example of holding a prisoner in custody... which made me cringe.  Then there are the countless articles on the devastating results of retention, essentially insinuating that a child who is retained will actually become a menace to society and, in fact, the prisoner from the other definitions.  Why the search for this word and this topic?
Evander and I had a large decision weighing on our hearts and minds about our oldest.  About mid-year through first grade, we noticed that he wasn't progressing.  After attempting various strategies and plans, I met with the teacher to ask about retention.  Being the teacher she is, I got the typical teacher answer (which I myself have given).  That answer holds statistics of drop outs, bullying, and the final zinger "How do you know that things will change if he repeats the same grade?"
After praying and pondering that question with my teacher hat on, and then my parent hat on, I was stuck.  I was stuck until I began to listen to Bubba as the start of school was looming over his head.  I overheard comments like:
"I'm nervous."
"I wish I could stay in first grade."
"I'm scared I'm not going to do good in second grade."
"I'm very worried I won't make good grades."
The remarks went on and no amount of reassurance from me or dad changed his feelings.  That is when Evander and I revisited the topic, and here is our conclusion.
Do we know that things will change?  Absolutely not.  Do we know that he will gain all of the knowledge he needs for 2nd grade the second time around?  Absolutely not.  Do we know our child better than a teacher?  You better freaking believe it!!! 
With that in mind, we will be retaining Bubba this year.  He is struggling, and he even recognizes it.  We also recognize that this is our once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we want to take it.  I don't want to see him fail second grade and then be forced to repeat when all his classmates are aware of grades and what "failing" actually means.  He is also better socially with younger children. 
We told Bubba last night that he would be staying in first grade and he was elated!  He could not have been happier to hear he was staying, and his attitude toward school has immediately changed.  He is now wondering who his classmates will be and if he will get to see Baby at recess.  His reaction further solidified our decision.
Parents know their children better than anyone else on this Earth, and don't second guess that.  Go with your gut and do what you feel is best for your child. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Lake

The gentle breeze mixes the smells of newly fallen pine straw and fresh fish as it blows across the otherwise still water.  The faint sounds of crickets chirping and frogs croaking seem to provide the perfect background music for the evening as the sun begins to disappear behind the trees in the distance.  Just as the sun slips out of sight, the ever-so-slight buzzing of a mosquito can be heard, but it isn't enough to make me retreat.
I'm not sure that I can pinpoint one particular thing that I love about the lake, because I have so many.  I love the way that no one worries about the bugs but just accepts them as part of the territory.  I love the way that everyone stops at the pier to say hello as if it were the corner store or waves in the distance like we are long lost family members, and I love that those people haven't showered in days... just like me.  I love that there is no pretense, no expectation.  I love that my children love it just as much as I do.
I have never been happier than to see them spending the week just being kids.  They tubed, fished, knee boarded, and swam.  They learned to ski, which I am so proud of them for.  (Water skiing is another love of mine.)  They collected bugs, snails, pine cones, moss, and all sorts of crazy things.  There was rarely a moment during the week that they begged for tv, iphones, or dvds, even during the rainy days.  They watched fireworks, rode the boat in the rain, and played in the mud. 
I am so thankful to have had this little slice of heaven my entire life, and I am thankful that my children share my feelings and my experiences.  The sun rises on another day at the glassy lake as I take in the gentle breeze full of the smells of fresh fish and newly fallen pine straw.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How I Do It...

"Oh my... ALL of these are yours?" asked the strange woman at the park.  "Well... I don't know how you do it!  I only have one and I can barely keep up!"  This is an all to common reaction to our family of four young children.  I'm not sure that it is the number of children or the disbelief of the closeness of their ages that gets people, but I always give a half-smile and say "I guess we are just crazy!" which is what everyone wants you to admit anyway.
My admittance of crazy allows some to breath a sigh of relief and others can relax their unconsciously tense muscles.  The truth is, though, that I don't think we are crazy at all... they are.  So many parents in our society have taken to the comparison game in order to feel as if they are competent parents.  With the addition of social media sites, it has skyrocketed to a whole new level.
Mothers today believe if they don't feed their children GMO-free, 100% organic, home cooked meals in the shapes of farm animals at every meal, they must be a failure.  If they don't have a Pinterest-inspired birthday party with matching take home arts and crafts, their child will go on to live a life of crime.  If every single activity is not finished off with a "participation" trophy their children will become outcasts of society, opting to wear a trench coat in place of their sports uniform.
SO... you want to know how I do it?  I just do it!  I don't lose my mind on Pinterest or schedule every moment of my children's lives.  I cook healthy meals, but I'm not afraid to pull out the chicken nuggets and frozen pizza when necessary.  I am confident in the knowledge that I know what is best for my children, and do not listen to the crazed opinions of others.  I pray aloud and read bible stories to them, but I also let the occasional curse word slip... and apologize for it. 
I let them know that there are things I don't know (instead of racing for my phone), and there are times for them to play alone.  I tell them I am sorry if I raise my voice and am honest beyond compare.  They know that the shots will hurt and death is really sad.  They know that nothing makes me happier than to see them getting along, and nothing makes me more angry than being dishonest.
How do I do it?  I am just me, and I encourage them to be just them.  I want them to see that no one is perfect, and it takes a village.  I am only human, so I make mistakes, I cry, I am late, I laugh, I fall, and I do the best I can every single day.
How do I do it?  I pray to God every single day, in good times and terrible times, to thank him for this amazing family He has given me.  I give it all up to Him and know that He is in control.  He has trusted me with these amazing tiny people, and I am so grateful.  I better no mess this up!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Still miss you...

Sometimes I lie awake at night imagining my dad swimming in the pool with my kids or pushing them on the swings at the park.  I wish he could know how much Peach's appetite mimics his own or just how much LJ really resembles him.  I hate that my children will not be able to listen to his childhood memories told in only a way that he could tell or taste his homemade peach ice cream.
It has been a little over 2 years since my father passed away, and I still miss him desperately.  I would love to call him and ask how to repair the drywall in the garage or how he thinks we should remodel the bathroom.  He always enjoyed doing things around the house, and I think he secretly enjoyed when I asked his advice on how to do something in my own home.  I miss his dry humor and his unbelievable humility.  I miss his little smirks and the way he could fall asleep at the drop of a hat.  I miss the unconditional love he had for our family.
I hate that he will not know my children, and they will not really know him.  He will never know how great Bubba is at soccer or how intelligent Baby is.  Yes... I will share stories, memories, and photographs but nothing can take the place of his presence.