From “Gooooal!” to “Bravo!”

November 21st, 2012

soccerRasmussen's are soccer players.  Whether you were born into our family or adopted in, that's what we do…or so I thought.  We have six kids, 3 bio, 3 adopted.  Our adopted kids are sandwiched in the middle with an older brother (13) and younger twin sisters (4).  We have two boys adopted from Ukraine (age 10, not bio brothers) and a daughter (9) adopted as a newborn (a domestic open adoption). Did you know that everyone does not like the same things?!?  Yes, I knew that was probable, bio or adopted, kids are all different.  I assumed a child with my DNA would be more likely drawn to the same activities that I was programmed to enjoy, and to some extent that is… [more]

Mercy Trails Ranch

November 15th, 2011

horsesF-E-A-R-L-E-S-S  Letters spelled out in splashes of bright paint across the soft brown sides of the little horse.   A four legged canvas for the word that she wanted to stay forefront in her mind as she thought back to her time at the Ranch.  Words attached to memories.  Memories that she tucked away like treasures to be brought out in times of struggle and darkness.  Memories that would give her the strength to break free. Those memories threatened to flood her even now, fresh on her mind, as she stepped back to admire her art.  The intimidation at the size of her partner for the week- how the little mare seemed so large that first day.  She remembered her uncertainty the first time… [more]

Re-establishing Daily Routine

January 29th, 2010

518984_a_little_girl_saying_good_night_1The holidays have come and gone. If you're anything like me, I'm still not back to my normal routine. I feel that I'm almost there, but not quite. It's hard to wrap my head around a whole new year, and the fact that my vacation is over. Reality is calling, and I'm trying not to answer. Chances are you and your children may be experiencing the same thing. The holidays were a busy time of year. It was filled with get-togethers, obscenely early shopping trips, delicious sugary treats, and time off of work and school. It was a time of year to be enjoyed and cherished. But once it's over, it's time to get back to your daily routine. While it may be… [more]

Keep Your Children Healthy & Active

January 27th, 2010

1187576_playful_spring_time_1A healthy lifestyle is beneficial when learned early in life. Longer life span, more energy, and happiness and contentment all accompany good health. And what more could you want for your children? But for some families maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle isn't easy. It takes effort. It takes work. But it is worth it in the end. Set an Example: One of the easiest and most effective ways to teach your child about healthy living is to live healthily yourself. As you know, children watch the actions and habits of their parents. You can show them that healthy living is fun and rewarding. Along with your example, talk to your child or children about how to make healthy choices and ways to… [more]

On Memories and “Firsts”…

August 22nd, 2009

It’s Saturday morning, and we have a full day of “home-based” activities on the horizon. We’re baking banana bread (with a hint of lime as I’ve found to be customary in many of my readings about Guatemalan recipes), we have crafts lined up (the kids are really into creations made with construction paper cut-outs of their hands right now), we plan on giving the dog a bath (insert groan here)—a full, nice day. Throw in clean up, most likely bath time, hopefully a nap, and meals, and our day is set. But the weather outside is not typical of August in Chicago; it’s cooler, very autumn-like, and it has me a quite a bit nostalgic. Memories are amazing, sometimes funny, and often beautiful things. I… [more]

On Adoptive Parenting: Blending Adoption and Biology

August 10th, 2009

Years before I married or even thought of having children, I knew I wanted to adopt. It's a topic on which I've always felt strongly, but back then I had no idea just how much or how beautifully it would shape my life. The actual details that led my husband and I to adopt merely sealed the deal: this is the path we were destined to take. Adoption has made my life so joyful in so many different ways. While pregnant with our son, Bear (now three years of age), I elected to take all the genetic screenings offered. One of the blood tests was a screening for the carrier gene of Cystic Fibrosis. I have to admit this much is true: I had little idea… [more]

Choosing Child Care: Quality Programs – Programmatic Concerns

November 23rd, 2008
Categories: Activities, Caretaking

Part three of our Choosing Quality Child Care series will discuss how to assess the program portion of the child care setting: Contracts: Is there a contract that clearly spells out policies, procedures, fees, and expectations? Predictable routines: Not a rigid schedule (0800 report for snack!), but rather can children generally know what to expect? For example, naptime comes after lunch every day, and outdoor time comes after naptime, snack comes after outdoor time, etc. Décor: Are things at children’s eye level? Is their own artwork posted where they can see it? Can children reach things with a fair amount of independence and autonomy? Age appropriate activities: For infant programs, are there mirrors at the child’s eye level? For all ages, are there activities that support emerging… [more]

Both Sides of Parenting

October 14th, 2008
Categories: Activities

If kids live in a two parent family, it is important that both parents are actively involved in parenting the child. As parents we can tend to fall into ruts and have one parent be the primary caregiver and disciplinarian, while the other parent is the “fun” parent. It is unfair to both parents and to the child. It upsets the parent/child relationship and can cause triangulation between the parents and child. Not that some of this isn’t normal. We all had someone in our lives that would tell us yes after mom or dad said no. I have five weekends through the year where I leave and go to a bible study class with several friends. These weekends… [more]

Honoring a Birth Parent’s Wish

June 27th, 2008

Last month, I blogged about enrolling my children in swim classes to honor a hope expressed by the children’s birth mother. Today, the children finished their first two-week session of the summer. They are enrolled in four two-week sessions altogether. They received certificates and the two youngest passed all of their requirements for the next level. As mentioned, my oldest has never really been comfortable in water, so whereas he didn’t pass to the next level (I signed him up for this level again, knowing this might happen), his teacher gave him high marks for his vast improvement over the two-week session in terms of honest effort and at least making the effort to try. I immediately came home and scanned the certificates and sent them… [more]

Heading Into Summer

June 23rd, 2008

Because we home school - and home school year ‘round - we don’t really have an “official” herald that summer is here. No end of school year kick-off to really mark the passing of another grade. I chose to home school year ‘round, because, as a child with undiagnosed ADD (I wasn’t diagnosed until adulthood), I found that making the transition from the purely recreational back into a formal, structured schedule was really hard. Plus, it seemed like I had to play “catch up” a little bit since my brain atrophied a bit over the summer! This way, it’s not like pulling teeth when the kids get back to a more formal schedule. That said, there are some subtle differences in the timbre of our… [more]