Summer reflections

I have not been good about blogging lately. Not much is really going on, we are just living each day and enjoying the last days before school starts. It has really been a good summer for all of us. Bringing Anna home in late April was such good timing. It allowed her to be home with all of her siblings home and us all spending a lot of time together. It's been 4 months since she arrived and we are in such a different place than 3 months ago. I read people's blogs about that first month home and how hard it is and I was there, and it felt awful. Now it seems Anna has always been here and she is truly amazing. She definately understands English and speaks as any 3 year old would. I can't believe her vocabulary. She knows the routine around here and feels comfortable in her environment. Just in the past month, she stopped calling herself Guan Ting and now refers to herself as Anna. She is comfortable straying away from me in our house and will play with the other kids while I am doing something else. The tantrums and challenging behavior are still the same but I really think that despite how difficult she is, it's age appropriate. She is very stuck on all things being equal between her and her siblings, but again, it's hard to learn that everyone does not get the same thing.
I've learned so much about parenting this summer as well. I used to think that parenting would get easier as the kids got older, but it doesn't, the issues just change. I'm starting to see what parenting an older (8 year old) child brings and it is equally as hard as the 2 year old. It's been an emotional summer for me from a parenting standpoint. I have so much guilt about how I parent Anna. She seems to be in trouble all the time and I am trying hard to get some positive time with her. I recently started holding her like a baby before bed and rocking her and talking quietly to her. She used to not like it but I think she is craving some one on one positive time with mommy too. I've noticed that I am taking on so much emotion of my older kids too. Jack had a rough ending to his swim season and he cried for a day but I cried for several. Callie is nervous for Kindergarten and cried at meet the teacher, I will be hurting with her until she is settled in. I know this is what parenting is all about and I truly embrace it but it's exhausting. And it's reality, they can't be all happy all the time.
So I was thinking about my favorite parts of summer and decided I could list them, but not in any ranking order, they are are wonderful.

* the pool
* watching Jack and Callie at swim meets
* watching Anna grow and become part of the family
* Anna and Carter- when they are getting along it could not be any cuter
* that 15 gallon bucket
* making new friendships (the D family)
* Michigan vacation

Once I post this I will think of many more I'm sure. All in all, I am sad to see this season end. It will be back to the hustle and bustle of school year life.

I was also thinking I needed to set some goals for myself.

* be a better parent, a more calm parent. Especially to Anna. She needs more than I am giving her right now.
* get Anna's adoption video made
* be a better Christian. Get back to women's bible study so I have personal time to spend in the Word.
* set a PR for my half marathon in October and plan which marathon to do in 2011. Running is my time and I love it.
* be positive!

Sorry for all the rambling. Here are some pictures of our last days at the pool and other happenings the past week.

Anna got her first haircut.

Best buddies (most of the time.)

Callie's back to school party. 7 girls, 7 cans of shaving cream!

Really they are too cute!

Carter actually learned to swim this summer. He can go about 10 feet under water. Anna loved the pool this summer too. I will so miss being able to swim everyday.

Goodbye summer, what a great one!

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