Lawrence Busker Festival

We went to the Lawrence Busker Festival with some friends tonight. A busker is a street performer, so the festival fills the streets with street performers. We’d never been before, but I’m really glad we did.

We decided that we wanted to see the magician/escape artist and the breakdancers.

This guy was just finishing up his act.2014-08-22_0009

Waiting, in between performances. Big L’s lap is prime real estate.
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Still waiting. Gus and Adrian were really enjoying each other tonight, which was cute. They might end up in the same preschool, which would be great. 2014-08-22_0008

Next up, we enjoyed this magician/escape artist. He was very funny. One of his audience participants was named Olga and Big L thought that was pretty cool, that she had such a distantly Slavic name.
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The kids were pretty mesmerized with his act.
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Last up, we watched break dancers. Unfortunately, Gus was pretty well done at this point, as it was quite late. The man sitting next to Aaron had a bag of popcorn and Gus stared at it long enough that the man offered him some. Thanks, kind stranger, for keeping him quiet for a few minutes.

The break dancers were awesome! All of the kids really enjoyed them, but I think Big L in particular was shocked by some of their moves. She kept turning around to look at us, jaw hanging open.
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Adrian’s shoulders kept bopping up and down as he stared with great fascination.
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And one of the last moves, a flip over a line of several people.
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Pretty awesome.

So, Lawrence Buskers Fest was a big hit. Aaron and I are not big fans of crowds, but it was totally worth it. We were all laughing and enjoying ourselves!

A Very Merry Unbirthday!

One of the fun hosting ideas is to celebrate your host child’s birthday. Big L’s birthday falls between the two hosting programs, so we wanted to celebrate it while we could.

She woke up to find a banner saying “Happy Birthday, Big L!” in her first language, a foam tiara and a pack of birthday cake M&Ms. And a note explaining why we were celebrating her birthday today.

Her response was “when did you do this?!? Morning?!”

I told her know I stayed up after she went to bed and made it. “WOW. THANK YOU!!”

I didn’t really have anything special planned beyond cake and a few presents, but my friend Danae told me awhile ago that she wanted to take me, Lena and Big L out for manicures. The best day happened to be Big L’s unbirthday, so it was perfect.
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We had a dinner that I thought she’d like: cheesesteaks with mushrooms(which she loves), potatoes, corn and salad. Yum.

And then this happened…
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[look, it's that elusive guy!]

Somewhere between pre-teen embarrassment and being mesmerized. 2014-08-21_0007

And lastly, she opened up her presents. They were few– a shirt, a pack of Skipbo cards and the scrapbook.
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The cover is a map of America and she’s pointing out our state.
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I think she really enjoyed her birthday. It was simple, but the goal wasn’t to make it a big deal. It was to remind her that she’s loved and celebrated, just for being.

Attacked

We had a major attack up in our house a couple of weeks ago. It had been a rough day. So, I hauled the kids outside. Lined them up. And…

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silly string.

Seriously, it really had been a rough day. We were busy, tired and hadn’t connected much at all. But, my dear friend Danae had sent us some silly string a few weeks before.

Everyone got a can.
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And it was serious business.
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Watch out for that one.

You see what I mean?
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These two definitely enjoyed it the most.
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In the end, it was a great way to connect and have fun together after a long day.
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Such much fun!!

Evening Walks

Big L loves walks with the dogs just as much as I do.

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While I’ll admit I have mixed feelings about giving up my solitude, having her with me is a different kind of fun.
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She made me a bouquet.

I couldn’t decide if I liked this photo better in black and white or in color.
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Oh yes, and the dogs were there, too.
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The river as sunset approaches.
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Big L keeps calling the river a “lake”, no matter how many times I tell her otherwise. Always makes me smile.

First Day of School

Reed and Lena had their first day of school last week. The night before had been the school’s annual school kick-off event, so they had already met their teachers and reunited with their friends. They were ready to go!

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Lena has Reed’s teacher from last year. I truly feel that she goes above and beyond for her students and parents, so I’m glad that Lena has her. Reed has a teacher I had never met before. But, fun fact: she told us on the first night that her son is a Russian major in college. :) I love that. It only came up because Big L was with us.

With school back in session, Big L gets some strange comments if we are out and about during the day. Fortunately, telling people that she is “just visiting” normally is enough to stop them from further questions. Lots of schools across the country haven’t started yet, right?
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Big L is wonderful with Gus. He will start preschool the week after she goes back.
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Right now, I’m glad to have her around to help keep him busy. These two are definitely becoming good pals without Reed and Lena around all day.

And of course, everyone wants to know how school is going?

Even 3 full days in, they still seem to be enjoying it. No complaints so far. :)

The Scrapbook

Last week, I blogged about the goodbye we’re all dreading. :(

One of the gifts I was most excited to give Big L is a scrapbook.The kind of scrapbook she can pull out whenever she’s lonely or missing us and at the very least, know that she is loved.

I filled it with all of the cards everyone has sent her, along with a photo of that person or of her with the card, and a translation.
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And, I included the affirmations I made for her.
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Each page is filled with reminders that she is loved by many. Reminders that she has value.
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It’s also been a great way to give more permanent life to some of the special things we’ve done this summer, like the affirmations and card shower.

We had a special day today and I gave her the scrapbook. But, I’ll share about our special day in another blog post!

13 days

Last night, Big L told me “my friend say she wants to go back to [home country]. I do not want.”

This morning, Big L looked at the calendar this morning and counted down her full days left with us. 13. Ugh.

This evening, I asked Big L to leave me alone for a few minutes. I thought this upset her and I went to apologize, reiterating why I just needed to be alone for a few minutes. She wrote back to me:

“All good things with me. You did not upset me. I regret that it was 13 days. I love you and I’ll be in [home country] when I will worry for you and miss you very much. I love you very good. This poem is for you. Mom Super. Mom Star. The Best Mom here.”

How do you even?

None of us are ready for that goodbye. When Reed heard what we were talking about, he grabbed onto her and said “NOOO! YOU CAN’T GO BACK TO [home country]! YOU CAN’T GO BACK!” While I think he was being a big dramatic just for fun and maybe to make her smile, I think he was genuine that he’s really going to miss her.

And, Gus, who didn’t nap today, walked around the grocery store like this tonight, snuggled against her while she pushed the cart.
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And Lena. Lena loves having this girl in her life who is sort of like a mom and sort of like an older friend. A “sister”.
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I’m just struggling with the words to let her know how much we all love her. And, I’ve got nothing. Nothing that is going to make August 26th any easier.