Kindergarten

Our baby girl starts kindergarten today.

I’m sure she’s going to be great. It’s me and her dad I’m worried about. Every first that my kids face, every moment and milestone just make this wet stuff squish out of my eyes. 

How can she be old enough for kindergarten?

When I found out I was pregnant with this little one, I was already a mom to the second power. But I had never been pregnant before–my oldest were adopted and I was just as surprised as everyone else that my baby maker was in good working condition. I had just gotten remarried in July of that year and in August I was taking a pregnancy test.

And then another. And another. And another…

The day I found out I bought this teeny pair of baby shoes. For some reason Mr. Wonderful came home for lunch that day and I wish you could have seen the look in his face when I gave him those shoes! In a space of two seconds he went from confused (why am I holding a tiny pair of shoes?!) to surprised (you’ve got to be kidding me!!) to elated (my baby’s having a baby!!).

That was a great two seconds.­čĺŚ

This baby girl was born into our family of boys and suddenly there was a little person who wanted to be like me. Dress like me. Fix her hair like me. Oh, she’s still her daddy’s daughter–super serious and stubborn and highly suspicious of strangers–but even with all these boys in the house she’s still my girl. My kid who wants to wear my high heels and play with my purses and “borrow” (read: completely bogart as I find it up in her room) my lipstick.All I can see as we’ve been getting her ready for school this week is every first that is to come: her first crush, her first dance, her first broken heart and date and driver’s test and going away to college and meeting the love of her life and walking down the aisle to start married life and babies of her own. I see all of these hopes and dreams within her cautious little mind, and that’s why this first day of kindergarten is about to wring me out.

(photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

Of course I’ll miss having her here with me. So will her littlest brother. And her dad. But more than that I know this is start of the big pulling away, the forming of her own thoughts and opinions and life. This is when I have to start letting go, one piece at a time when all I really want to do is hold her tighter, protect her from all the gross stuff and bad people she will eventually encounter, and put her in my bubble of hugs and kisses and dancing around the kitchen (usually just me while she watches with eyebrows raised) and trying on new lipsticks. 

Mr. Wonderful and I are letting this precious little girl out of our sight all day, five days a week. We are putting our faith in a big God to go with her, take care of her and strengthen us.

I’m not sure I can take this day, but like other mamas and daddies across the globe, I’m going to suck up (most of) my tears, I’m going to send off my baby girl with a smile and a wave, and I’m going to console myself with breakfast at our favorite little joint and the fact that I still have one more kid at home with me.

Don’t even get me started on that one.

┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2016. I would love to connect with you on Instagram and Twitter, swing by and say hi!

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Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

At 6:30 tonight I will mark the 5th anniversary of the birth of my baby girl. I was already a mom to two boys that I had adopted so having a baby was a completely different experience.

After laboring all day and my blood pressure going sky high, we made the tough decision to have an emergency c-section. I’m so happy we did because I finally got to meet my little red-headed baby daughter! 

 (Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

Happy birthday my sweet and sassy sidekick! I love you and I know you are going to do great things­čĺŚÔŁĄ´ŞĆ­č匠(Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2016. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Celebrations

I’m procrasrinating my editing deadline (finalized manuscript due one week from today people!) and it feels so right. I’m just not in an editing sort of place right now, I have no focus after the craziness of this week and I think I just need a mental break.

So I’m giving myself permission to do just that.

In the meantime I’m celebrating. This week has been full of some really great family moments at our house, and when we have those, we hold on with both hands because we know how elusive things going well can be at times. I’m always a silver lining kid of gal so I’m usually celebrating anything I can get my hands on. This week, however, has held some really special moments.

My kids enjoyed one other’s company. Sure, they fight like cats and dogs but at their cores, they are all best friends. It’s hard to see in the picture but Baby Houdini is riding Big Brother like a horse and Little Brother and Little Sis are making sure he doesn’t fall off. Charlie the Service Dog is also keeping a watchful eye-

(Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

Little Sister did amazing at the dentist, which isn’t news to you but to our family, when we have another kid who has such bad sensory issues the dentist is torture, this was a good day. 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

This week was also Big Brother’s Gotcha Day-the day he was born into our family through adoption twelve years ago. This pic is the moment he was placed into my arms for the first time. It still makes me teary-eyed!­čśş

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

And finally, the kid who has the most struggles in school got a scholastic award for reading! He won the Thunder Reading Challenge for reading the most minutes at his school-well over 700. He told me he was going to win and he did! He read to anyone who would listen, the dog, his siblings. I even saw him reading to one of the neighbor kids… 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

This has been a week where living in the Shafer household has felt more like thriving instead of surviving. That’s a goooooood feeling, one we don’t take lightly around here. Thanks for celebrating with us, it brings me great joy to look around and see that we do indeed have so much to celebrate!

Blessings, friends!­čĺŚÔŁĄ´ŞĆ­čĺŚ

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Work in Progress

Today has been about as crazy as yesterday. But.

I’m finding joy despite the gum. In. Hair. 

(Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

Look how sad the little nugget is­čśó


And the mountains of homework that second graders seem to have regarding quadrilaterals and polygons…pretty sure I didn’t know what those were until middle school. We find the silver linings where we can. The eight year old who struggles with so much brought home an amazing book report–we are celebrating the crap out of that!
(Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

  The twelve year old handled a situation that happened on the bus and he did it with wisdom well beyond his years. Apparently an older kid on the bus was making racist remarks about the twelve year old, who is originally from South Korea. I’m proud of him for trying to ignore it at first, addressing the kid on the bus, then addressing school officials when it wouldn’t stop. He handled it better than his mama would have; I’m afraid I err on the side of hot-headed mama bear when it comes to my kids.

We also had a minor accident even as I typed this blog post requiring copious amounts of paper towels to sop up the blood. After a lotttttttt of screaming and crying and hollering I was able to determine that though there was a lot of blood, this was not indeed an emergency. The eight year old had been swinging the four year old around and when she landed with a cross necklace in her mouth (whaaaa?!?) it cut her gums. No emergency here.

During the screaming and hollering I was fully preparing myself to go to the ER. That’s kind of our thing around here.

Thankfully, instead  of going to the ER, I’m getting ready to put the baby to bed, soak in a hot bath, and binge-watch anything on Netflix.

Tomorrow’s another shot at getting it all right. Or at least better.

Goodnight y’all!

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 12

Happy 8th Birthday to our very own Superhero! He is fearless and brave, big-hearted and loud. So loud! He looooooves Jesus, Superheroes and his family, probably in that order.  (Photo credit Meredith Shafer)

As many struggles as we have, he doesn’t let anything get him down for too long. He’s our sweet Tator Tot, happy birthday buddy!!!  
 (Photo credit Meredith Shafer)

#superheroes #brave #8yearold #boymom #happybirthday

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 10

I’m late to the party as usual–yesterday was World Adoption Day. 
I’m so grateful for the way my family tree was knit together through time and countries and paperwork and grace.
Support local families who adopt/foster, consider it for your own family, educate or donate. We can all make a difference; no child should have to be without a family.
#foster #adopt #kids #worldadoptionday #gratitude #makeadifference #30DaysofThankfulness 

(Photo credit littleobrianfamily.blogspot.com) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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Dear Kids,

Just wanted to say a few things. I know only 50% of you can read but I’m assuming the Bigs will read to the Littles. Do you hear me Bigs?

I know it’s been more circus-y than usual lately in our Traveling Circus. I don’t love that for you but I know a few good things will come from this time.

You’re going to figure out how to live with people in a community. This is a great thing when you’re an adult because you will be able to live among others who are different than you. It might seem hard right now when you’re a kid fighting with your brothers or sister but you’re getting some important lessons.

You’re also learning to live with compassion towards others. Our family has a lot of people and some of those people have some things in their individual lives that make day-to-day life more difficult. This means we all have to learn to communicate even during hard times. It’s good to learn to use your words–someday your spouse and kids and friends will appreciate this about you.

And within our family we have to have extra helpings of grace mixed into our daily life. This is a game changer if you can extend grace to those around you, and not just for them either. It’s for you as well, so you won’t harbor things like bitterness or regrets or resentful-ness towards others. I’m hoping that learning to extend grace early on will lighten your load as an adult.

And finally, the patience that we are constantly having to give each other is invaluable. Patience sometimes means not getting wrapped around the axle on the little things. It’s a much more freeing way to live that allows you to just be present in the moment.

Like I said, this life we’re called to and blessed with isn’t the easiest. I used to wish it was easier for you. But I now know that would be doing you a disservice. Learning these important character-builders as a kid gives you lots of time to practice them on your family, the ones who love you the absolute most.

This is a really good thing. 

I love each of you more than I could ever put into words. And I’m grateful that I have this gorgeous family from all over to call mine. I am the one who is blessed–

All my love, 

Mama

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 3

Today I’m grateful for the mess. 

I’m grateful that I’m blessed with so many kids my house is bursting at the seams with toys and clothes and dust bunnies.  
I’m grateful for the piles of papers that helped get Mr. Wonderful medically retired. And I’m grateful that even though we’re a hot mess as a family most of the time, we are loved by the One who brought us all together in the first place–     
   
(Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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National Adoption Awareness Month

It’s November! That means there are some birthdays at my house, it’s time to be Thankful with Thanksgiving right around the corner, and it’s National Adoption a Awareness Month!

I loooooooove talking about adoption. I have two adopted kiddos and two biological kids and I can honestly say I forget about adoption a lot–these kids were just meant to be mine. I love them all so much and even though I pull my hair out at times, having a houseful of kids is still one of the best things I’ve ever done.

My oldest, who is now twelve (let the eye rolling begin), is from South Korea. This was an international adoption heavy on paperwork, time, finances, scrutiny, and scariness–I was in law school when I found out it wasn’t going to take the two to three years we thought. So I became a first time mom halfway through school and instead of life getting harder it just got better.

Oh, it was still crazy. But becoming a mom before I became a lawyer really helped keep my priorities straight. The little things didn’t matter as much anymore and I just didn’t have time to stress about everything. 

 My almost eight year old (how can this be?!) was adopted domestically. He is African-American, a flirt, and a ball of energy. All the time. This adoption was also special because for the first time I met one of my children’s birth moms. His birth mom actually placed him in my arms for the first time, and as her teary-eyed Mama and Grandma watched (let’s be real, we were all teary-eyed) we all bonded over this gorgeous baby. 

 Adoption is important. It is necessary. You may not think it’s for you and that’s ok. The world is reaching a near crisis level with orphans and even if fostering/adopting isn’t your calling, maybe you could donate time or money or supplies or support to those working in this area across the world. Maybe you could pray for all the babies and kids who still need someone to tell them they are loved and important and special. And for the birth moms who are making difficult choices out of a great love for their children.

This is an everyone issue. 

Every child deserves no less than a safe place, a warm bed, and a grownup who cares about them. Throughout the month of November I would just ask that you consider what you can do to help these children and their futures. 

You won’t regret it.

(Photo credit Adoption Love) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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Catch Up

So as usual I’m behind. I haven’t posted in way too long because my life is way too exciting and I’m just trying to hold on!

Big Brother broke his growth plate in his hand (who does that?!), turned twelve, and became first chair trombone in band. I’m in denial about the being twelve part. 

 Little Brother is barely surviving second grade. I told his super awesome teacher yesterday that I managed to get through law school but second grade is about to do me in. So much homework and probably undiagnosed ADHD (which we’ve begun the super fun process of testing for) means this year is a challenge for all of us. Good thing nothing gets this kid down. 

 Little Sister is still into tutus and cowgirl boots, mud and mishaps. I love how she dresses super girly to go outside and wreck the neighborhood boys.  

 Baby Brother has been sick, which with asthma makes things interesting. And then he kindly shared with me so I’ve been down for the count as well. But we’re getting better and he’s still just happy to be here. What a kid! 

 We’ve gotten a few things worked out for Mr. Wonderful–his hyperbaric oxygen chamber treatment is back online, and we got some VA Caregiver issues worked out. It’s official, the VA has certified me as a caregiver, which I find ironic. We’ve seen how the VA gives care firsthand so it’s interesting that they have to certify me. Sometimes you just have to laugh! 

 I have gotten to speak at some great organizations lately and this has been the biggest blessing! I love that I’m meeting ladies from all over and getting refreshed and encouraged as I am encouraging–crazy how that works.

It’s the end of October and I haven’t written a lick. My final draft is due in January and I. Am. Behind. But I’m not panicking yet because I need the pressure of a deadline. I’m about to kick it into high gear y’all. Wish me luck!

Hope everyone in the blogosphere is doing well, I’m not even close to caught up on your blogs but will be soon. Y’all have a blessed day wherever you are and whatever’s coming your way today!

Much love,

Meredith

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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