Fun Times

We have now lived in Texas for 16 months.  Living in an RV park was a temporary living situation and we knew that.  As a result, I didn’t put a tremendous amount of effort into making any friends.

Then we moved to our new home.  We’ve now been here almost 11 months.  I’ve had the privilege of being part of a local homeschool group and getting to know many of the other moms (and some dads) in the group.  Our group has been meeting weekly for quite some time.  Our children have established some good friendships and the parents in the group have established friendships as well.

I’m guilty of not taking many breaks from my kids and as a homeschool mom who spends 24/7 with her kids, those breaks really are a necessity.  My kids also need a break from me every once in awhile.  So recently I suggested that the moms in our homeschool group plan an evening out.  Many liked the idea and a few of us attended our first Mom’s Night Out.

We met for dinner and drinks, then walked to Painting With a Twist to create our masterpieces.

Here’s mine.

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An evening without our kids allowed us the opportunity to learn more about each other and we all left with better friendships.  We also agreed that we needed to have a monthly Mom’s Night Out.  That makes our evening out, a huge success.

Art Wall

Lili has been taking art classes for about 3 years now.  She LOVES art and each year I see improvement in her art skills.

She has sat under 3 different art instructors and she seems to be learning the most about technique from her current instructor.

The school she attends is a performing arts school.  Naomi attends as well, but her art is acting.  She is in the Jr. Acting class and the school has a variety show 3 times per year.

For the first variety show, Naomi had a part in Wicked as well as Beauty and the Beast.  Her teacher takes a section from the original plays and shortens each of them into a 10 minute performance.   The Sr. Acting students joined the Jr. Acting students in Wicked and they performed Mama Mia.   The dance students at the performing arts school perform their dances to the music from each show.  The art students create art for each of the shows, then during the variety show they share information about the techniques they used to create their masterpieces.  The curtain is then pulled back and the audience gets to see their art displayed on the wall.  This is done after each show is performed.

About a week after the show, Lili is able to bring her art pieces home.  We certainly didn’t want to put her art in a closet somewhere, so we have dedicated a wall in the house to display Lili’s artwork.

The girls had their second variety show about a week ago.  Naomi performed in , You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown and Seussical.   The other show was Aladdin and once again Lili brought home more artwork.

Over the weekend, hubby hung the newest art pieces, plus a couple of pieces Lili did when she was much younger.

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Lili did not begin taking classes at the performing arts school until several weeks after they had begun in the fall. As a result, she was not able to complete an art project for Beauty and the Beast, but we have displayed her art from the other shows.

She and Naomi will both be participating in the final variety show in June and have both decided they want to continue next year.  Fortunately, we have quite a bit of wall space left and we are thrilled to continue allowing the girls to participate in activities that provide them a great deal of pleasure.

Rainy Days and Sunday

And now I find myself singing The Carpenters Rainy Days and Mondays.

For those of you who have no idea who The Carpenters are, here you go.

Years before moving to Texas, we heard much about the drought.  Since moving to Texas, we’ve seen more than our fair share of rain.  Last weekend was storms and today we had more storms – only your standard run of the mill thunderstorm.  Nothing severe at our house, fortunately.  However, according to my rain gauge, we got 1.5 inches of rain.  My pool will not need to have water added to it for a while, that’s for sure and the plants I have potted have more than enough water now.

The girls and I have had fun painting terra-cotta pots . . . .

. . . . and with all the pots I’ve purchased, we have planted tomatoes, flowers, herbs, strawberries and have Serrano pepper and sweet pepper seeds started.

Because it was a rainy day, we took the girls to see the movie “The Boss Baby.”

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It certainly wasn’t our favorite animated movie, but was entertaining.  When we came out from the movie, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining.  As I write this, it’s cloudy again with more rain in the forecast for tonight.

Our home school group is still trying to collect money to provide duffel bags to foster children.  Honestly, we had hoped it would be much more successful than it has been, yet providing duffel bags to a few kids who would otherwise leave their homes with nothing more than a garbage bag with a few items is better than no duffel bags at all.  Still, we would like to provide many more children with these duffel bags, so if you’re reading this and can donate anything at all, it would be greatly appreciated.  Click here to go to our donation page.

Naomi and I attended an Ethiopian cooking class yesterday.  It was organized by a fellow adoptive mom and attended by several other adoptive families as well as several Ethiopian families who live in the DFW area.  We learned how to make Lentil Sambusa,

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Shiro,

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Yeater Kik Alicha,

and Ye’abasha Gomen.

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were some other Ethiopian dishes provided as well as Injera.

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It was so much fun getting together with such a wonderful group of people, eating some delicious food and getting to know others in the area.  When it was time for us to leave (3 hours later), Naomi was not happy about going.  She made a new friend that I hope we will see again soon.

That’s just a little bit of this and that on this rainy Sunday.

An Artful Life

I grew up in a small Midwestern town, a farming community to be exact.  My days were filled with school, after-school activities and friends.  Saturdays were spent hanging out with friends and Sundays were set aside for family.  I was free to roam around our small community spending many hours with friends.  We were rarely at a loss of what to do.  Much time was spent perfect our bowling skills at the local bowling alley.  We walked across town many times during the spring and summer for a drink or ice cream at the local ice cream shop.  As I got older I earned my own money at various jobs and that was probably the time when my life began to change.  I became more independent and the closer it got to high school graduation, the more my life went in a different direction.

My parents seemed to re-create the life they knew growing up, I did not.  Maybe it was growing up in the same small town all those years, but I longed to move away and experience life in ways I only imagined.  I didn’t want to be tied down in the same place for years on end.  I wanted to experience as much as life had to offer.

I did move away from home after high school.  I got married and moved two towns away.  Not far at all, but away none-the-less.  I experienced motherhood two times and with two babies in tow, I moved away again to a bigger town, in a bigger house and thought life would be grand.

A short time later, my life really changed.  My husband left me and the boys for greener pastures and I was soon in the new category of single working mom.  Before I knew it, I was back in that same small town I so wanted to escape just a few year earlier.  With two small boys, (one with autism, although I wouldn’t have the official diagnosis until a few years later), I needed the help of my family nearby.

A few years later my life changed again as I moved to California, got engaged, got married and then moved once again to the State of Washington.  Hubby was stationed in the Army at the time and we would spend the next 13 – 14 months there.  Within a few short years, I had gone thru more adventure in my life than I ever dreamed.  Not all of it good, but all of it an adventure none-the-less.

Later this year, hubby and I will celebrate 32 years of marriage.  We started our life in Washington before moving back to Illinois.  A few months later we were back in Washington where we stayed for a few years before heading back to Illinois.  We stayed in in that same small town I grew up in for almost 20 years (something I never wanted to do) before we landed in Texas where we have been for the last 14 months.  During all of this we raised three boys and are now raising two little girls.  We will once again become foster parents, bringing more children in our lives.  We have had the luxury of traveling to some fabulous parts of the world.  We have laughed, loved, and lost.

For some, this would be more than enough adventure to last a lifetime, yet I still long for more.  What does that say about me?  Okay, maybe I don’t really want to know the answer to that, but I do feel strongly that life is to be lived.  Not lived by simply waking up each morning, but lived through those experiences that cause me to think, to feel and to see all the wonderful things life has to offer.

Danny Kaye once said, “Life is a blank canvas, and you need to throw all the paint on it you can.”

That’s what I’m trying to do.  I’m trying to throw all the paint I can find on my canvas with hope that the outcome will be one of the most wonderfully beautiful paintings ever created.

Here’s to an artful life.

 

News and More News

It has been requested that I blog more often and I really have had the best intentions when it comes to blogging. In this world of social media, blogging has remained my favorite venue for sharing information. It’s become very easy to open FB to see what’s going on, but it’s just not the same for me. Knowing that I have friends in blogland who make an effort to visit my little corner of the world really does brighten my day. I feel a connection to my readers and that connection just isn’t the same in FB Land. So I am going to try very hard to blog much more often. After all, our life is full of new experiences right now and you might just find some of those experiences interesting and amusing.

Like my trip into Dallas yesterday evening to join hubby and some of his co-workers for dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant. It was the first time some of his co-workers had tried Ethiopian food and I’m happy to report that they really enjoyed it. However, the trip to the restaurant was an adventure.

Because I now have my vehicle registered in the State of Texas, I wanted to avoid the tolls. I see no reason to incur unnecessary expenses, so I changed the settings on my GPS, put in the address and headed out. After a stop at CVS to pick up some notebooks for the girl’s school work, and another stop for gas and a Powerball ticket (non-winning ticket of course), we were on our way.

Let me just say that I’ve had some serious direction challenges since relocating to the Dallas area. Specifically, I feel like I’m traveling north when I’m actually travelling south and then I begin to question the GPS.

Yesterday I questioned it to the point I was resetting it. Not once, but twice folks!!!! Finally, I decided to look at the dash and realized I was in fact travelling south and since we’re living in North Dallas and I needed to be in Dallas, I needed to be heading south. So I continued on my way in hopes that the girls and I would make it to the restaurant.

Then I realized we left way too early. Ha, ha, ha!!!! NOT!!!!

Rush hour traffic + avoiding tolls = Long Commute to Restaurant

It was approximately 1 ½ hours from the time we left home until we arrived to our destination. Yes, we made two stops along the way, but it was only about 20 miles from where we live. Toto, we aren’t in Central Illinois anymore.

The commute was worth it though. We had a wonderful dinner

and part of getting established in a new area is making friends. Hubby’s co-workers are very nice and we had met one of the families during our trip to Dallas this past October. They have son who is the same age as Lili and the kids reconnected beautifully and had a fabulous time together. A bonus is that this little boy’s mom is an awesome Ethiopian woman who has invited me to come over for some Ethiopian cooking classes in her home. I will be taking her up on that offer in the not too distant future and I’m sure the girls will enjoy spending more time with their friend as well.

The other big news from the World of Weeks – Dallas, is that Lili will be taking an art class. My art loving girl will be so happy to get back into art classes and there are two girls from the local homeschool group in the class. Setting up opportunities for the girls to make new friends is really important and this is a great opportunity to do just that. Now, to find a class that Naomi will enjoy.

The biggest news though is that we have an offer on our house in Illinois! It was officially listed on Monday and by Wednesday we had an offer. A decent offer too!


Now to answer the most popular question asked since getting the offer.

Does this mean we’ll be buying a house here sooner than we thought?

The answer is, probably not and there is a list of reasons why.

  • The sale of our house will require money out of our pocket. Prior to our adoptions, we refinanced our home. The money from the refinance provided us the majority of funds to complete our adoptions, but then the housing market crashed. There won’t be money from the sale of the house to roll over to a new house, so we’ll be saving money toward a new house. That’s going to take time.
  • The upside is that we really do enjoy RV living and aren’t in a rush to move anytime soon.
  • We haven’t done any real exploring around the DFW area. We don’t know exactly where we would like to end up and we want to narrow down location(s) before we begin looking for a home. The last thing we want to do is buy a house in a neighborhood we won’t be happy living in long-term. So for the time being, we’re staying put and will continue to enjoy our RV lifestyle for the next 1+ years as we had originally planned.
  • We have some other things on our plates right now, like our upcoming cruise and like I said before, we’re really not in a big rush to get moved right now. After all, we just moved and will be moving again next week when we switch over from Georgette to the Oakmont (Who the girls now think we should call Hogwarts. We’re big Harry Potter fans.)

As is typical of our life, there is never a dull moment and we prefer it that way.

My Day Camper

Lili is off to day camp this week and because I’m such an awesome mom, I didn’t take one photo of her on her first day at camp.  That’s right folks!!!!  Not one photo of my daughter on her first ever first day of day camp.

But not to worry!  I managed to take some second day of camp pictures.

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So far, she loves Art and Science in the Woods.

On the way home yesterday she told me about the turkey vulture they found as well as a Goldfinch and some other birds she couldn’t remember the name of.  She was also thrilled to learn what poison ivy and sumac look like.  She was able to try out some Native American instruments and made a teepee from sticks, a rubber band and some cloth she decorated.

Overall, it was an awesome first day of camp and I look forward to hearing all about her camp adventures this week.  And to make up for missing day 1 pictures, maybe I’ll take day 3, 4 and 5 🙂

Day Camping

Last weekend we went on our first camping trip in Georgette.  This weekend we’ll head out on camping trip number two and next week, Lili will head out on her first week-long day camp trip.

I’m a little envious and somewhat nervous about her venturing out on this camping adventure.  She is going to Art and Science in the Woods, hosted by the Sun Foundation.  She will spend the week on her major, “All About Birds” and each afternoon she will learn something different from Native American art and culture to drawing and sculpting.  It really is the perfect fit for her.  Being out in nature while learning art and science, but it’s also the first time she is spending hours each day for five days out learning and exploring without me.

She won’t be totally amongst strangers since 5 other kids from our homeschool group will be there.  One will be with her each day learning about birds and am quite sure she will leave camp having made several new friends along the way.

She’ll have a great time while I spend the week playing chauffeur and hearing all she has learned each day.

On Friday though, we will head out to pick her up, but this time we get to stick around to see what the kids have done all week.  It’s an opportunity for all of us to learn and experience a little Art and Science in the Woods.

Here’s to great camping experiences for all of us over the next 8 days.