Friday, May 22, 2015

Updates

I've been thinking a lot lately about why I blog. Or rather, why I feel like I should blog, since I don't very often! I'm long past the notion of trying to build readership and earn money off of affiliate links or anything. When I have something a little deeper I want to share about parenting philosophies or foster care, it's nice to have this space in which to write it.

But mainly, I just like to share parties I throw and crafts I make and cute things my kids are doing. (Someone hold me accountable for sharing Kate's My Little Pony birthday party and the girls' shared sister room, please!) Some people like to pin those ideas, and that always feels good, but what's the point, really?

Then I think about the blogs I still enjoy reading. I read some of the big thinkers and writers in contemporary Christianity, people whose work is relevant to my work, but to be honest, I don't do that for fun. And I've grown quite tired of the lifestyle bloggers who share so many money-making sponsored posts. The blogs I enjoy most, the ones I hope to see when I pull up Feedly, are the moms and foster moms just sharing their lives. Whether I know them in real life or just feel like I do, I like seeing what they and their kids are up to, what their homes look like, how they spend their time. "Human interest" in its purest form.

And I suspect that's why anyone reads this blog. So in that spirit, here are some updates on each member of Team Kelley.


Matt:
Superdad!!
His big news of late is a new "appointment." That's what, in the United Methodist Church, they call a new pastoral assignment. (In the UMC, bishops assign pastors to churches within a certain geographic area; churches do not do their own search or calling of pastors.) So, in June, we'll be leaving Arlington UMC, where Matt was baptized 34 years ago and where we have served for the last four years, and heading to the Associate Pastor position Christ UMC of Franklin, where Matt was confirmed about 22 years ago! Having these prior personal connections to churches is not really something the bishop is concerned with, but they are nice coincidences that we enjoy. Since Matt grew up at Christ UMC and has so many family friends there, visiting there (as I have occasionally over the past ten years) has often felt like visiting my home church in Louisville—a church home away from home, if you will. Matt also just finished the first year of his Doctor of Ministry program!!


Kate:
Kindergarten is almost over, and it has been a great year. She enjoys school, and loves the independence of riding the school bus and getting up to her own alarm clock (sometimes). She's learned a lot and almost always loves doing her homework. They get the whole week's packet of "home fun" on Monday, with small assignments for each night, and she usually does the whole thing within twenty minutes of getting home on Monday. I wrote a year or more ago about Kate's perfectionism, and how she is sometimes reluctant to try things she may not do perfectly right away. This has been the case with reading out loud. She reads well, but obviously doesn't know every word in most books, so we have to beg and plead and bribe to get her to try. She doesn't have such anxiety when it comes to math, and eagerly asks us to quiz her on addition, subtraction, and lately even multiplication! (They aren't covering that in school yet, but somehow she got the idea in her head, and she gets the concept well enough to calculate products up to 25 or so!)

Kate is doing soccer this spring at the YMCA, and as much as my competitive girl likes scoring goals in practice, she is clearly a natural-born defender. Like most soccer teams this age, the kids tend to run around in a pack, kicking the ball in any old direction, but if the other team gets too close to her goal (i.e. on her half of the field), Kate will break away from the pack to run back and protect her goal. I was a back in field hockey, so it's cool to see Kate enjoying defense too. I made sure to praise her a lot when a goal scored by her teammate would not have happened without her kick further back on the field. She's still doing gymnastics as well, loves to roller skate, and is excited for a variety of camps we have her signed up for this summer: gymnastics, drama, and "invention" camp.


Claire:
Claire is still Mommy's little barnacle, so attached to me that she won't even let Matt pour her a cup of milk if I am in the vicinity. Still a combo of sweet, snuggly, serious, and silly, she can also throw fits with the best of them. The "terrible twos" are supposedly really the worst between 2.5 and 3.5, and Claire turned 3.5 a couple weeks ago. So those irrational fits over the type of cup I gave her or the order in which her shoes were put on will magically come to an end, right? Right.
She likes to color and play dress up, dollhouse, and pretend. She can write her name (preferring to spell it CLARIE, though). She even wrote it upside down once, such that it was readable from where I was standing, which I thought was pretty impressive. She's doing gymnastics now too, and has the cutest dance moves. She sings a lot too, whether it's a song from Frozen acted out with the girls' Anna and Elsa dolls, or just her running soundtrack of humming and nonsense lyrics while she's doing other stuff. (I'm so excited for the children's choirs at our new church!)
Selfie with Mommy at gymnastics
Both girls like to watch videos on Netflix a lot more than I would like, but it's fun to see all these '80s characters revived: My Little Pony, Care Bears, and Strawberry Shortcake. They were in a Magic School Bus phase too for a while (not a revival/recreation, but the actual old episodes, which explains why Kate vehemently insists Pluto—or Bluto, as she says it—is indeed a planet). They also just discovered "Okay Google" on our phones, and like to verbally search for things. It always thinks Claire says "Okay Doodle," though, and Kate doesn't quite get why searching for "family photos" doesn't just bring up pics of our own family. Searching for "Shake It Off" is most successful, and they love to watch that Taylor Swift video.


BGC:
Yes, she's still with us. As my college psych professor used to say, "Things always take longer than they do." Her future adoptive parents (who, if you see me on Facebook, tag us in their posts about "CLS"—Certain Little Someone—that's BGC) have been taking their classes and doing their home study and all that, so their approval as pre-adoptive foster parents will come through soon. (By next week, in fact--I've been sitting on this half-written post for quite a while.) They've been keeping her on the weekends and when we go out of town, so the official transition should be very easy. She's over 2 1/2 now, having been with us 21 out of her 31 months of life. Permanency won't happen for her before her third birthday (since she needs to be with her pre-adoptive parents six months before adoption can take place) but hopefully not too long after that. Would this calendar year be wishful thinking? You never can tell, the way the state moves. After about four months MIA, we finally got some news/had contact with her parents. These absences are close to the official definition of legal abandonment, but not quite, but termination of parental rights is pretty much a foregone conclusion. While sad, this will make her adoption a smoother process.

As usual, we are astounded by her development. She got her cochlear implants a month or two ago, and seems to enjoy hearing what's going on around her! She's learning more sounds now, and getting serious about speech therapy. And, after months (and months--even before the spica cast) of being able to stand but hating it, she's pulling up to a stand all by herself and even cruising around the coffee table! She'll walk while pushing our ottoman (more stability and resistance than a walker toy) or while holding someone's hands. She just might take her first independent steps before leaving us—I wouldn't be surprised!


Me and Baby 3:
We go together, you know, for another 20 weeks! (Halfway point is today!) Per usual with my pregnancies, I am still frequently sick, especially when in motion. So, working from home is a good thing, but travel and even the short drive up to Kate's school are precarious. When traveling to Chicago and NYC in the last couple months, I've gotten sick on planes, trains (well, the subway platform), busses, and automobiles. Something different about this pregnancy, which has made us think it could be a boy, is a total food aversion that I'm just now coming out of. Previously, I'd maybe feel averse to a very specific thing, for a period of time, but never so completely as in this pregnancy. For 2-3 months, I was avoiding coffee and most meat, but it went so far beyond specific foods to a total apathy and anxiety about food. Nothing sounded good, and then I'd feel so anxious leading up to meal times that I'd throw up, just because meals don't sound good or I don't know how I'll feel about the particular meal. As with my other pregnancies, fruit is most universally appealing and craveable. Nachos/burrito bowls (vegetarian) have kind of been a thing this time around. I had one awesome grocery trip at about 8 weeks, when my philosophy was "anything that looks appealing to Jessica goes in the cart." At that point, it was crab cakes and egg rolls and corn dogs and other random things. Now, the grocery list is "just the facts, ma'am, and don't even look at the meat section, or pretty much any food not pre-approved."
16 weeks or so? We need to do another one!
Nonetheless, I still always love being pregnant, mainly because it makes me feel so good about my body! Our "big" ultrasound is next Wednesday, and since Kate will be out of school by then, we're taking the girls to see Baby on the screen! Pretty much everybody (except me and Granna) is rooting for a boy, and I'm more or less cool either way. We aren't dead set on any names yet, but we'll figure it out soon, once we know Baby's sex.


And since I've been so bad about posting lately, here are a few more photos of what we've been up to:

Family fun at a carnival--both girls seen bouncing behind us

Matt and I went to NYC for respective work stuff.
We worked in some fun, like a stop at the "Big Gay Ice Cream" shop in Greenwich Village.

Before my author meetings one morning, I worked at the coffee shop across from Studio1A,
so I could see the Today Show filming!

The girlies on Easter

Family pic on Easter

Lots of play tea parties with their "sweet treats"
Backyard water play now that it's warm
(and now that the neighborhood pool opened, it's cool again!)


So that's what we've been up to. Next week will be a big one, with a meeting scheduled for BGC's official transition, and then our ultrasound the next day, which happens to be Kate's last (half) day of kindergarten, so let the summer begin!

4 comments:

Rachel Moss said...

I loved reading this update! How exciting that Matt will be able to minister on his old stomping grounds. Kate sounds like a math whiz, and your "barnacle" nickname for Claire cracked me up!

EMU said...

I could have written half of this! Seriously, so many similarities, from the soccer defense to not wanting to read aloud to 3 year old crazies to pregnancy food aversions (a year ago)! I'm pulling for another girl so we can keep the similarities a'going! :)

Maureen said...

You have a lovely family - my daughter is at Vanderbilt & we love Nashville- please continue to blog - your clear sense of yourself & your family comes through in everything you write.

Regards from NY- maureen

Lisa H said...

Yay, so glad you're back! I always check since it makes me feel like I know more about what's happening with your family without living in the same state. The photos were all excellent, too. I can't believe how the girls are growing. I'd love to see all of you in person again before more years and years pass. While I was pregnant, I had a food aversion to pretty much anything, too, and couldn't stand the smell of meat cooking. If Jim wanted meat, he had to cook it (and eat it) outside. Can't wait for the gender reveal. Regardless of gender, we know it will be a smart, sweet, gorgeous, well-loved baby! :) Love you guys!

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