Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fall ramblings . . .

Hello family & friends. Forgive me for I have strayed. It's been several weeks since my last confession, I mean blog post. I've fallen off the blogger wagon and have failed to even add pictures from our beach trip in August, the first day of kindergarten, and my first triathlon. I could blame it on my laptop crashing, on the horrible funk that I slid into for a week (ok, maybe two weeks) last month, or many other things. But really, I just haven't gotten the hang of sitting down and rambling about the Huffman family adventures on a regular basis yet. I promise to do better. For now, I'll give a little 'catch up' on each of us. . .

Casey started the 3 1/2 year olds' preschool class a couple of weeks ago. He seems to really like it. He has the same teacher and assistant that Keller had two years ago. I told them that I thought they would notice that my kids are polar opposites in terms of personality--Keller is much more out-going and Casey is more reserved for example. When I picked Casey up the first morning of preschool, his teacher Sarah said, "I don't know why you think your boys are different--Casey is exactly like Keller was at the beginning of his year in this class. Couldn't sit through circle time, running all over the room. He even looks like a clone of Keller. He'll settle down though." All the while I'm standing there thinking, 'Ok, this isn't really making me feel better!' I was so hoping to have one kid who would be the quiet kid in school. No such luck. He has been doing a great job since then, but he did have his first time-out on Friday. When I picked him up I asked how school was and he said, "It was good but Nathan was doing it, too, not just me." Hmmmm. Turns out the two of them got a little goofy at the end of the day when they were doing their closing circle time. Casey showed me a reinactment of what he was doing in class, and I confirmed later with the teaching assistant that it was truly a "Keller Special" maneuver. Hee Hee. Other than school, Casey is just kind of going with the flow around here. He has his first little girlfriend. She's the younger sister of a boy in Keller's class. We see her when we walk to- and from- school every day and have had a few playdates. He always asks if he can take an extra snack along for her, draws her pictures--it's too cute.

Keller started kindergarten on September 2nd and so far, so good. He wasn't so sure about it during the first week. The first day was hard on he and I both--he almost started to cry when it was time to walk in the building and get started. He came over and put his head against me and it was touch-and-go for both of us there for a couple of minutes. His teacher was one of the assistant coaches for his soccer team in the spring, so that was a little reassuring for him (and for us--she's seen him in every mode ranging from 'just took a dose of Claritin and would like to nap on the side of the field' to 'I'm on fire and stopped counting how many goals I scored this game.') Lucky for us, especially in light of the fact that he woke up at 8:45 on the first day of school, Keller is in afternoon kindergarten. He takes after me and feels like nothing really important is meant to happen before 9:30ish in the morning. He goes to school from 12:15-3:30 which is working out perfectly for us. He really loves his 'specials'--he has Art, Music, PE, Library, Computer and Spanish. He has made some good buddies who live nearby. We all meet up at the bus stop at lunch time (which is only about 2/10 of a mile from our house), and then we all walk home from school together (which is about 9/10 of a mile from our house). He has mastered the art of climbing street sign posts all the way to the top--about 15 feet up. He is a natural climber and has a lot of arm strength in those spindly little twigs! He has recently gotten interested in baseball and seems to have some ability there, although catching is still kinda funny to watch! Lots of different versions of Keller basically giving himself a forceful hug while the ball either bounces off of him or flies off to the side. He will turn 6 in a couple of weeks and we are planning a big shindig for him. The kid has a lot of friends!

Dave is training for his second triathlon of the season. This one is coming up on October 12th and is about 2x the distances of our last one which we did on September 7th. He is taking his training pretty seriously and the boys & I are looking forward to cheering him on at his race. We'll be camping for the weekend and will drive over to the starting/finishing area on race morning to yell and scream (oh wait, that's probably what the boys will be doing to each other!)so we'll 'cheer' for Dave. His business continues to grow despite the dreadful economy. It's nice to have him working from home full-time, although we're still working out the kinks (hey, it's only been 19 months since his work-at-home arrangement started, give us a little time!).

Marley continues to grow and thrive, which would be so much more enjoyable if she happened to be on this side of the globe. She will turn 20 months old on Monday. We 'found' her when she was 13 months old, so she has grown and changed a lot since those first pictures we received. It is grueling to be missing all of that. It has been very hard to wait and wait, but we are still within a normal timeframe for the process. We expect to receive our next piece of paperwork from China soon, at least by the end of October. After that, we can expect to travel in somewhere around six weeks. I'm really excited for the trip for the obvious reasons, but also I can't wait to spend two weeks in China, with my mom. We are going to see some beautiful sights I'm sure, but I am anticipating some comical moments as well, like if we end up needing to use the 'squatty potties' that are found in many restaurants in China. The food will be a cool experience--Keller wants me to try some of the delicacies, like fried scorpion kabobs!

Who else . . .Wilson & Layla are a pair of tired old mutts these days. I think they sleep about 20 hours a day, and bug me the other 4. Wilson is still taking chemo drugs, steroids and the occasional antibiotic to keep his cancer under control. His quality of life is still very good and you wouldn't know he is sick if you saw him chasing squirrels and rabbits in the yard. His vet told me the other day that of all the dogs she has tried on this new protocol, Wilson is the only one who has made it this far after being diagnosed. Most others only survived a couple of weeks to a couple of months. Wilson has been going strong for almost 9 months since we found out about his tumor. Layla is battling her third batch of bladder stones, so that's no fun for anyone, but she seems to be doing pretty well. These pooches have been around so long now--Layla is almost 12 years old and has been with us for 10 of those years. Wilson just turned 11 and has been with us for 8 of those years. Although they follow me around and drive me nuts on a continual basis, they are so much a part of the Huffman family that I can't even let myself think about what it will be like without them someday.

I guess that just leaves me now to catch-up. I did my first triathlon on September 7th and although it was definitely a learning experience (like learning how to yank a wet ponytail holder out of my wet head so I could lower my ponytail to put my bike helmet on--this battle took me about 3 minutes!!) I am really proud of my accomplishment. I felt best during the swim, which was the one event that had always turned me off of triathlons. The bike was fine and the run was brutal--due in part to being exhausted, having a mental block against running, and recurring pain where I had my foot surgery in February. But overall I finished thinking , "Well, Damn! I just did a freaking triathlon. Who gives a patootie if I didn't win the thing!" I don't have any other races on the calendar right now, but will hopefully do a couple more tris next year. I'm still teaching adult ESL two nights a week and am getting to know my new students. I have a huge class (30 people) so it is a bit exhausting at times, but I've got some really great folks in there with incredible life stories, which makes it interesting and worth the extra effort it takes to get to know each of them. My class is very diverse--students from nine different countries--and it's really cool to be a part of it. Students who can't even find each other's home countries on a world map end up being good friends--students from countries that have been at war with each other in recent history end up sharing rides to class--my students either don't have deeply held predjudices or they do a good job of checking them at the door.

I won't ramble on any longer, as I realize many people will have stopped reading about two paragraphs ago! I'll just end by saying that I feel like a really lucky lady every day of my life--I've got a patient and supportive husband who loves me even when I'm at my bitchiest or lowest points; I've got two handsome and amazingly entertaining little boys who still haven't figured out that I'm not perfect; and I've got a little girl on the other side of the world who will someday soon come home and give me another reason to thank my lucky stars for all the love in my life.

Hopefully the next time I post I'll be able to include my travel itinerary for China!