Well, we did it. We successfully got our kindergarten cutie off to her first official day of school.
(I promise she's happy. We had a "moment" right before this picture was taken. 😉)
If you've been following here for any length of time you know that we homeschooled both girls last year. And while it was a decision that made a lot of sense for all of us at the time, it became really obvious that it wasn't right for our family long term. And if I'm honest, it was a really hard decision and I spent a lot of time beating myself up over it. I just kept hearing this voice in my head telling me "good moms homeschool," "good moms sacrifice for their kids,"
But you know what? Good moms homeschool because it's what's best for their kids. And plenty of other good moms (my mom included!) send their kids to school because it's what's best for their kids!
I really did like the idea of homeschooling and giving my kids an education tailored to their specific needs. But in practice it was really hard–on me because I was working straight night and I was just beat and on my kids because I was constantly fighting fatigue and wasn't giving them the best of me. In the end, there a lot of reasons why we just couldn't continue and after a lot of prayer and a lot of talking to other moms (especially my fellow adoptive moms), we decided to enroll the girls in school.
So, this year instead of ordering a bunch of curriculum and prepping for a new school year here at home, I'm running around purchasing school supplies from a list, attending open houses and planning pick up and drop off times. So far the girls seem to be transitioning really well and are super excited about their first year in school.
On Thursday last week, we sent our Kindergartener off to her first day of school. I'm going to be honest here, I don't think I slept well for about 2 weeks leading up to this. If you're at all familiar with parenting adopted kids, you know transitions can be tricky at best and downright nightmarish at worst. So, because I'm a mom and I think this is what we do, I spent a lot of time worrying about the worst. But I can't say enough good things about the school Teddy is attending OR her teacher this year. After her open house on Wednesday, I felt so comfortable and so much more at ease dropping her off on Thursday. Not that that stopped the tears as I was driving away, but I was completely assured that she was in good hands.
For her part, Teddy did incredibly well. I think she had a small case of the jitters going to bed Wedesday night, but she woke up Thursday ready to get going–spurred on by a batch of blueberry muffins ;).
We got to rest up a bit over a three day weekend, and the hit the ground running for real with a full week of school this week! I am so excited about all that she's going to learn this year and even though I'll miss her (and her big sister) here at home with me, I know that we are doing the very best we can for each girl!
Well, we’re back from another really fun, really interesting summer vacation! My parents rented a house on the sound side of Hatteras Island this year and my sisters and their families, my family, and my parents all headed down for a week of fun in the sun! We had a great time even though it ended a little crazy, but I’ll get to that.
Back up to the day before we left. The girls and I headed out for their very first pedicures! Yay! I promised them earlier in the week that if they could be helpful and patient with all the packing on Friday that I would treat them to special drinks and pedis. We made a quick stop at Bean Traders to grab smoothies for the girls and coffee for mommy because at that point in the day I was DRAGGING!
The girls totally cracked me up when we were getting the pedicures. JJ was completely fascinated by the massage chairs and Teddy could not stop laughing. Or asking questions. Once the lady started on her feet she was all “what is that thing? What are you going to do with that?” and my personal favorite “are you trying to tickle my feet?” Thank goodness the lady working on her was so patient and sweet and just laughed with her (along with everyone in her vicinity).
With our toes all beautiful and our bags all packed (which was an undertaking in and of itself. Whew! I think packing for vacation with kids is approximately 5000 times harder than packing without. And no, I’m not prone to exaggeration ;).), we were beach-ready! It takes about 3-4 hours to get to the Outer Banks from where we live, depending on which part you’re headed to. The trip to Hatteras took us almost 5 due to stops almost every hour (sigh).
Totally worth it when we got there, though! My dad and brother-in-law ran out to grab takeout and we all chowed down on pizza for dinner. Shortly after, I looked out the dining room window and saw this:
(Sorry for the not-ideal picture through the screen!)
They could not WAIT to jump in that pool! It was a huge hit all week long. I honestly don’t know what we would have done without it on the couple occasions that we had poor beach weather. It was a total life-saver with the kiddos.
Our trip this year was extra special because none of the kiddos had ever seen the ocean before. Before we got there I was pretty nervous that one or both of my girls would freak out over the loud sounds, big waves, cold water–just whatever really. But from the minute we got down to the beach they were taken with it. They jumped, they played, they splashed.
Seriously can’t get enough of her. Her facial expressions always give away exactly what she’s feeling.
Teddy even rode some waves on our boogie board. After her first successful run, she jumped up and said to Corey, “I crushed it??” Haha! She is such a brave girl, always up for trying new things. I was so proud of her this week.
JJ was really into building sandcastles on the beach. Wait, that’s probably an understatement. She took it very seriously, and by the end of the week was building sandcastle cities with trenches running between them. I’m telling you, she is going to do something amazing with that mind of hers paired with her strong work ethic. Just watch and see!
So, while we were livin’ it up OBX-style ;), one night the power went out….and just never came back on. I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and the light wouldn’t turn on. I thought “oh, we must have somehow tripped a breaker in our room.” Total wishful thinking there, y’all. At about 7:30 am my mom texted me to tell me they were out driving around Hatteras and the whole island was without power. They were trying to find some coffee and there was none to be found. Anywhere. If you know anything about the Brady family you know that no coffee situations classify as dire emergencies. They came back with bottled Starbucks frapps and we tried to formulate a plan. No one seemed to know how long the power would be out and there were a lot of rumors that generators were being flown in by the military. So we decided to just head to the beach and hope for the best. Well, the news never got better.
By the time we came back to the house that evening the report was that it could take weeks for the power to come back on. Sadly, we decided it made the most sense to pack up and leave a day early. Rain was in the forecast for most of the next day and none of us really wanted to sit inside with no air conditioning–and more importantly, no coffee!!–all day long. So Friday morning we packed up and drove up the coast to Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills to enjoy some of our favorite places before we all parted ways.
We hit up Outer Banks Brewing Station for lunch, which was amazing as always. They honestly have the freshest seafood prepared the best way. I seriously think about their shrimp and grits with red eye gravy about once a week. This time around I had ahi tuna with a cucumber salad that I could not quit raving about. Afterward we went to Front Porch Cafe to get some of our very favorite coffee.
It had rained off an on all day and the sky remained very overcast. We were kicking around the idea of going to Jockey’s Ridge and finally decided to just go for it and hope the rain held off. I’m so glad we did! The girls and baby Jesse had a blast.
Watching some tiny frogs hop around.
After 3 runs down this hill I was DONE. The girls ran up and down 10 times…no lie.
It was so nice to let the kids run off some energy before we all got in our cars to head home. Our girls totally wore themselves out running up and down the dunes. They were asleep about 15 minutes into our drive.
All in all, it was a successful and fun Brady family vacation–even with the unintentional adventure of going power-free for a day and a half ;). We thoroughly enjoyed just being together, and there’s almost nothing I love more than to watch my girls fall more in love with my family and vice versa. I know these are the things we’ll look back on decades from now as the highlights of our first years home as a family of four.
Ok, fine, the title might be a little misleading. No big news here, but it’s been so long since I updated this space and actually finding time to sit down and write something certainly feels big :).
I realized recently how nice it is to have something to look back on and see what I was thinking/feeling during a certain time in life, especially while we in the process of adopting our girl girls ;). I wish I had been better about writing here during the last year because it was such a unique one. But the truth is, I’m exhausted. Like literally I think most of what we’ve experienced in the last 12 months has felt like a complete blur because it was all so overwhelming with the highs and the lows and the life changes–some having to do with adjusting to life as a family of four, some things that we brought on ourselves that added to the stress of it all. I feel like I’m just now starting to climb out of the fog that has covered me for a year. Just the other day I was trying to think what I was thinking and feeling last year at this time (when we had been home with our girls for just a couple weeks), what our days looked like and what we were doing with our time. The only thing I could come up with was that I was tired. Just sheer exhaustion.
In a lot of ways this year has been a struggle. I’ve been so happy but there have been many days that I’ve felt overwhelmed, frustrated, and really alone. Adoption is such a funny thing, there’s so much support while you’re walking through it, but at the same time it can be a very isolating journey–for adoptive parents and adopted kiddos alike. There are a lot of things that happened surrounding our adoptions that I’m just now beginning to process. Part of coming out of the fog of the last year, perhaps. But while I feel like some semblance of peace has settled over our home life, these feelings of anger and confusion are starting to come to the surface. Obviously, things to deal with so we can move on in a healthy way. If you’re an adoptive parent reading this and processing things that seem overwhelming to you, you are not alone. Adoption is amazing, yes, but it is also hard and admitting that it feels like more than you can bear at times does not diminish the sheer miracle of adoption! In fact, I think it only serves to highlight God’s amazing grace.
Our crazy family. Literally, this was the best picture we took. Sigh.
So, what about the good stuff? Oh friends, there is so so very much. These little girls are such a joy. There have been lots of shenanigans in the Hart household over the last year.
We’ve been busy with work and play…
learning so much in homeschool…
visiting our favorite aunties…
and somewhere in there I got a little crazy and started my very own business (which, seriously, am I nuts? …don’t answer that).
This wasn’t a great all-encompassing update, but I hope it got you up to speed a little bit with what is going on with us. My goal over the next couple months is to write here a couple times a week. And maybe I’ll even start on that adoption story I promised you guys over a year ago ;)! Thank you for reading and following along with the life of our family.