Monday, September 2, 2013

End of Summer "update" . . .

Summer seems to be unwilling to go out like a lamb and quietly fade into fall.  Recent temperatures have seemed more like the middle of July than the beginning of September and most importantly the autumn air that welcomes football season.  Sadly this also means that it is back to school for Jacob, Hannah, Knoah and the beginning of pro-social pre-school for Ethan. 

Jacob has completed his first week of school as a freshman at Monroe Saint Mary’s Catholic Central.  He seems to be adjusting well to the school and has even talked about his growing network for friends.  SMCC was a “tough choice” for me to swallow in some regards but mostly because I had hoped that Jacob would like to attend Madison High School (not far from my house) as I have been impressed with Madison for the rate of student’s placed in college after graduation and because for entirely selfish reasons I would have loved for Jacob to make the decision to move in with me, Laura, Ethan and soon Ian.  Of course, I understand that it would have been a tough choice for Jacob because he has spend the majority of his life in Monroe and it would mean being away from his Grandmother, Aunt and Uncle that he is very close to along with Hannah, Knoah and of course his Mom.  I respect and admire Jacob making the decision to stay in Monroe – it’s a great, great town and for wanting to attend SMCC as it is a great school with a terrific reputation.  On a side note there was also the whole “rivalry” issue of Jacob attending SMCC as I graduated from Jefferson High in Monroe and SMCC was always our most bitter enemy!  I get a small lump in my throat seeing Jacob wearing the green and gold of SMCC but in fairness, it is a great place and I pray that he does wonderfully. 

Hannah and Knoah will be returning to Triumph Academy in Monroe this year where they will be in the seventh and second-grade this year.  Hannah will have one more year at Triumph and I am already hoping to steer her toward the wonderful “middle college” program at Monroe County Community College after she completes the eight-grade.  Several years ago Dr. David Nixon (retired Pres. at MCCC) became the impetus for this program and was able to get the support needed to begin it.  What an amazing and wonderful concept that kids entering “middle college” can leave after completing with not only a high school diploma but also an associates degree.  I am hopeful that Hannah will consider this “option” for her future.  Knoah has done very well at school and many of the fears that parents of special needs children may have are addressed with wonderful fashion by Triumph and Monroe County ISD.  Knoah has done a terrific job of making friends at school and at learning.  He and I enjoy reading together and his verbal communication has been awesome. 

Last week, me, Laura and Ethan toured the “pre-school” in Tecumseh were Ethan could be spending one day a week learning basic social skills along with the foundations of education.  He is already doing very well and although he just celebrated his second birthday last month, Ethan already knows his ABC’s, can count to 50, is reading some “sight” words and is even nearly potty-trained thanks to “M&M’s”!  Ethan has grown very fond of “Dora” and seems to be moving away from his obsessive love of “Yo Gabba Gabba” which as a “stay at home Dad” is AWESOME!  There is only so much “Gabba” one adult can take. 

Over this past weekend the kids (Hannah, Knoah and Ethan), Laura and I painted “bird houses” for what will become part of “Gnome Village” in our “backyard”.  It is a “vision” that I have and one that although Laura laughs at she seems willing to let me do it.  Maybe she sees no reason to fight it because in fairness it will be GREAT once we are finally done (even if that is 2021)!  Laura’s mom, Debbie, is also a terrific supporter of “Gnome Village” and is actually responsible for getting the “bird houses” for everyone to paint!  Eventually both Jacob and Ian will be represented with a birdhouse and while Jacob could have painted his during the weekend he was “to busy” (and to cool) to do an arts and crafts project with us as the X-Box was “calling him”.  Part of me wishes that Jacob did not spend so much time playing on-line but at the same time he is “chatting” with friends from school as he plays and I find that social connection a really important thing for him. 

Debbie was able to finish Ian’s room this weekend by painting four dinosaurs.  Just as she did with Ethan’s room, Debbie did a great job!  She is a terrific artist and a really wonderful person who has been amazingly supportive and helpful.  I was able to con Laura into the inclusion of a “caveman” on the walls and was happy that it could be “Capt. Caveman” from the old ABC Cartoon series! 

So with today being “Labor Day” and the kids still sleeping, I’m happy that I was able to get a “quick update” done in our lives.  Sometimes I think that I am slacking off way too much on writing a blog but I always keep in mind that the sole and only purpose of the blog is to have a record of my thoughts and feelings for the kids in the future.  I do know that I have to become more “active” but don’t envision that anytime “soon” with Ian’s arrival scheduled for next week. 

The summer has been filled with lots of ups and downs.  Being unemployed still sucks.  Not being able to take the kids and do some of the fun things that I would like has been a downer but then again the “ups” have been terrific also.  The Australia exhibit at the Toledo Zoo, fireworks, cookouts, playing outside with the big red ball among others have been “great”.  Ethan’s birthday is almost the “close” of summer for us in many ways at it falls on the 15th of August and this year he received an amazing gift from his Grandparents of a “playscape” that is, IMO, out of this world.  It is HUGE and will be able to accommodate him and Ian for years to come.  Knoah and Hannah have been having a magical time playing with him and teaching him how to climb the ladder, go down the slide and even enjoy the trestle bridge.  

Sometimes I don’t think that I keep in mind how terrific my children and my life are.  I guess that I have always had that as a “problem” like many people as I only see what is right in front of me sometimes and I need to be reminded how awesome things really are.  Laura continues to be nothing short of amazing and her family have proven to be so extraordinary in the acceptance they have shown not just me but Jacob, Hannah and Knoah. 

I always “know” that things are better than they seem but can get “sidetracked” but silly things.  This past weekend at dinner while we were all talking and laughing the comment was made by one of the older kids that they were so proud of their “half-brother” Ethan.  I understood the context of what they were saying but in fairness it rubbed me the wrong way because I don’t want them “seeing” one another like that.  We had a long conversation about it and I understood after listening to them that it wasn’t a concept that they had “thought up” but one that they were introduced to.  It was a difficult conversation for me, more so than the kids because of all I know about my life and the lives of the kids prior to 2010.  We discussed that “family” is about people who care about you and have a commitment not only to you as a person but accept and love you for who you are.  I think they understand and given everything that “connects” them I hope they begin to see each other as what they are; “siblings”.  I struggled sleeping that night and Jacob and I took a short drive to look at the stars and clear my head once Hannah, Knoah and Ethan were in bed.  It was and is hard for me to understand the category of “half” being communicated by Jacob, Hannah and Knoah given everything and one that I hope will quickly leave the thoughts they have as I fear if this does not happen that one day it will cause a sense of pain and alienation for them.  Anyhow the truth is all that I can do is try and be a good Dad and pray for the kids. 

So there it is, a not so “brief” update on my life as I continue to look for work.  Continue to love my children.  Continue to move forward with a great relationship with Laura and gleefully await the arrival of Mr. Ian Jayce Henricks-Sweat.

I will post photos of the birdhouses and other “stuff” later.  Sadly – another “low” was finding my laptop dying a very painful death a few weeks ago. 

Happy Labor Day and Welcome to the 2013-2014 School Year!  It is going to be a GREAT year. 

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