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Friday, November 26, 2010

Whats in a name?

Well our little man S has a very Western name that was given to him by either the police officer or nuns at the Mother Theresa Care center. John and I have been debating and discussing if we are going to keep his name, which I think we will. However, he does not have an Ethiopian name as of yet - and we first thought nothing of it...we chose Micah as his middle name and felt fine with that.....until recently. The more we anticipate going to Ethiopia, the more we feel so excited about being connected to his culture. So today we have been looking at Ethiopian names and have come across Yohannes in honor of a wonderful 'hero" of education in Ethiopia and a one time political assylum refugee * check him out here http://www.cnn.com/search/?query=YohannesGebregeorgis&primaryType=mixed&sortBy=date&intl=false
This name also has a connection to John- which is my husbands name....so that may end up being his middle name!
Aside from thinking of names, I have also been thinking of babywearing...in this case- toddler wearing...and found this : This is what I want for xmas
I want the cool leaf/birdie print :)
This has been one of the main reasons I need a health update so I know how much this munchkin is weighing. This carrier goes up to 45 pounds- and my near 7 year old just broke 48 pounds...so i am thinking we can be safe with this one

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Waiting for a court date- all documents translated!

Well well last night i emailed and asked Jenn specifically if our dossier had even gotten to Ethiopia yet, since I had not been told anything. Just now I got an email from Jenn (part of the HOLT Africa program)  that said our materials all arrived the first week of November, and it took about two weeks to translate them- and they were all set for court. Which means in 4 to 6 weeks we will be notified of our court date (possibly sooner, since HOLT tends to give the longest possible range). What is odd about this is that we were never officially told our dossier was even in ET, let alone translated, let alone submitted for court...which i think is/will be done this week (since Jenn said we are expecting to know the date in 4-6 weeks)...its great news, and we are moving right along. It seems that the court dates have tended to be about 6 weeks from when the family/agency is notified. So if we get notified of our court date around Xmas, then most likley we will be going to court in Ethiopia in mid-Feb....what a great Valentines gift. Althought i havent gotten a health report in month, this is great news...maybe even better news because it puts us several steps closer

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Break is coming! I am Thankful

****JOB/SCHOOL HIGH-JACK OF THREAD***
As I have mentioned before, I am in grad school for my doctorate in Education Curriculum and Iinstruction. I am enjoying my work so far, and am pondering research realms and paper topics. I am interested in examining student apathy/motivation in "failing" schools. We are one such school- but we do not have a long history of "failing" per say, we are in rebound mode and have been for the past 4 years- and are making ok progress. We made big gains in 2008, but our principal left (to work for the district) and there seems to be some issues with test scores specifically now. Although i adore our *new* principal. I absolutely, with all my being, can not stand standardized testing as the end-all-be-all for determining if a school (students and teachers progress depend on this) is "failing" or not. We have nine months in school, do not judge our 9 months of progress on less than three days of tests. PLUS this style of testing only applies to one learning style, and is generally only prepped well for one learning style. So of course our students have apathy and little motivation when they do well in a class only to have the test shut them down. I have seen it year after year with my 10th and 11th graders, and I teach advanced students (as well as regular/on grade level)-
Students see most teachers as only being focused on the test, teaching with just "drill" notes/ and work sheets and book work, and nothing engaging,- that leads to apathy and lack of motivation....plus the teachers feel stunted as well- thus more apathy and lack of motivation on their part.
I am in the midst of a large literature review/meta analysis of curriculum & teaching techniques that have been identified as helping end student apathy and motivate/engage them more......
i could study this all day, read and ponder...write and evaluate. I can tell you , I have changed my style of teaching over the years- and it has done me wonders.... i had some of the highest US History EOC scores last year and very rarely gave notes for the test and such- but we did have practice quizzes online, games done with test questions from the practice benchmarks- use of essential vocabulary in their projects/papers and analysis of several primary source historical documents....this year I am starting with 9th grade, some of the hardest students to engage and motivate. It does seem like a circus some days- with the antics my students bring in with them...but i have 7 to 10  kids stay for tutoring twice a week, more come in at lunch. My activities are mixed with traditional and more complex- my desks are in a big U and i sit with my students 90% of the time as they do their work.....i have all these little stools and hidden chairs around the room, so i can actually just sit by any desk in my class to discuss what they are doing- see progress, answer questions or just be the *presence* near them to keep them on track. I think we are doing well
 I am having to deal with several that just don't seem to give a damn....so i show up at their practices, where they hangout at lunch and call home *on the weekends* when I can engage both them and their parent/guardian....it feels like extra work some days- and I am lucky to have a TA and an intern..... so that's where i am diverting my attention while we wait on more info about S and the adoption

Sunday, November 14, 2010

anxious and distracted

Maybe I do too much....i rarely take a day off just for me....so i tried to take off 24 hours from 5pm Saturday to 5pm today (Sunday) to just do stuff fun for me. I wanted to watch a show with John, have brunch, maybe lounge around the house some, go to the mall and maybe even buy S and Gabe something (early xmas?) but the more i tried to turn my mind *off* from work, and school and adoption stuff the more i just felt uneasy. I am just so anxious about money and grades and work and the house...and how much could this stress out my marriage. We aren't having any issues, so don't get worried, i just know that at some point its gotta give. Not to mention the 12 pounds if have gained....well maybe like 10....it WAS 20+ but i have lost 10....whew....but still.
I still am too scared about trying to take off next year, like i wanted to. I want more time with my boys and doggies and for school work towards my doctorate....but i fear the lack of $ will stress me out more than the lack of time with family will stress me out should I work.... its a catch 22.
Maybe I will get an adjunct position or PT at the university- thats what I am hoping for....so i will have some money coming in.
There is also a possibility, actually a pretty good one, that john will be getting a promotion/raise- but not until after the first of the year. That would be so amazing...and i hope he will like his job/new responsibilities more.
So i tried to take time for me...wandered around the mall...that just makes me more annoyed and frustrated- with all the crowds. But i did go to the newish Bareminerals store and get my face done and get a starter kit. I have always wanted to get their line- I already get the knock off stuff at Target (probably just as good?) But i had a little promo card for $10 off the starter kit....still $55 is expensive...but i did get new brushes, and can use all three products for foundation, concealer and bronzer/blush.
Yet here it is, not even 5pm (remember it was supposed to be 24 hours for ME)   I am at Panera Bread grading papers- which very much need to be done. Tomorrow i will have my intern and TA help me with more grading and catch up with all that....i am not too far backed up. I think i will feel less anxious when we get Johns $ from his 401K (we are borrowing a little from that) and we get an update on S.
Actually making the trips to Ethiopia and finally having him here just feels so far removed from reality- that its upsetting me. It just feels like we have so far to go and we are stuck in neutral.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The waiting game

I can be frustrated and annoyed but I wont (its been since July that any medical check-up was done and the doctor is now "on leave")....since its November and the time to be thankful, (well, thats really any time)- I am going to be thankful- Thankful we have already seen little man S's face and never spent a day on the wait list (we went right through the WC program), thankful our dossier has been been sent to Ethiopia, thankful that the prices I am researching for February flights are cheap (really, this looks to be a great time to fly, even if its 2 months later than I thought we would go), thankful that I have an amazing husband that does so much around the house so I can work two jobs and go to school (this will change when S gets here....but its my reality right now), thankful I have an amazing 6 year old who will be 7 in just three weeks- and he is just the smartest, most inquisitive child i have yet to meet (and I am a teacher), thankful that the money is almost all together- after a grant I get in January we will have all our travel money; thankful for Thanksgiving break and Winterbreak coming up- of which i never have to worry about taking time off b/c I am in education !

...i am just hoping for a court date and update soon......
Little Man S has club feet and has had at least two surgeries and is supposed to be in casts/braces. I have yet to see these braces in any picture which has me concerned. So during the holiday break I shall be researching this big time, and hope to have some sort of medical update to go from. The one I got in August (which was actually done in July) says he is walking and such...mentions the "pop-casts" he is wearing, but no pictures show those....I did get actual pictures of his feet in September (her was sitting on a baby potty- yay, potty training).... so those are what we are going with now....
I have found a OT therapy place, that also helps with sensory issues and Autism/aspergers etc - so its a great place for motor as well as some emotional/social issues

Monday, November 1, 2010

A long weekend

We have been busy...the last of our agency fees are due this month so that we can get submitted to court after the translation of all our documents. We also got a letter stating that all our visa materials were already sent to Ethiopia....fun fun
I went to Washington DC for the Rally for Sanity and had a blast. I ate Ethiopian foodin Adams Morgan at the very same place I first ate ET food nearly 10 years ago....how amazing what 10 years does!
We are still waiting more updates on S, Its been over 3 months and it has becone upsetting. Gabe and John hit the neighborhood and had a great time tirck or treating...i think there were some tricks!