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making strides with sandy toes and sleepy laughter

some of the best beginnings are born in broken hearted endings.  love is like that, you know?  it turns houses into homes and eyes that notice the gold in hearts more so than in pockets. ~ JmStorm

I’m back.  It’s been a long time since the last update but I will share a secret… I think about these updates all the time.  And, I really mean all the time.  It’s very fortunate for me that we are all so accustomed to folks using hands free devices… otherwise people would think that… I mean, know that I’m talking to myself as I drive to and from work every day.  I dictate this blog over and over again until I’m ready to put something on “paper.”  But, as I’ve told some of you… I really don’t want this to be a rant session so sometimes I have to wait for just the right moment… or just the “write” moment as the case may be.  Writing this helps me keep things in perspective and it just helps my soul… which is completely necessary in this adventure that we have chosen.

So, the last six months have come with many trials… but also many successes – and the latter is where I’m trying to keep my attention.

Mornings are still a struggle – mostly for me.  I am very schedule driven in the morning and Micheal (like most kids I will concede) is not.  Add this to the ADHD (pre-med status) and it can be a recipe for disaster.  Micheal sometimes gets up in the morning with the goal of seeing just how long it will take him to get a rise out of me.  I described it to the counselor as water torture…. drip… drip… drip… drip… drip… and if I am not careful and in full control – one too many drips sinks my ship.  All it takes is one response from me and he immediately ups the game.  This is the biggest challenge that I think I face with him.

It’s a test… I know.

It’s a result from trauma… I know.

It’s poor impulse control… I know.

But knowing all these things does not make it any easier on a real life, daily basis.  So, each morning I get up and I try again… and that is the best that I can do.  However, I may have made a major breakthru today.  And this was a day that Bob had to leave early and I was taking Micheal to camp… which would be happening earlier than normal because I go to work earlier than Bob on a normal day.  This morning, the very first exchange that Micheal and I had was something funny – and this never happens.  So, the first thing that he experienced when he woke up was laughter.  The rest of the morning was an absolute dream… he did everything that was asked of him without a single complaint.  I even gave him a taste of my very berry hibiscus drink… and that, my friends, is saying A LOT!  So, I’m going to try waking him up with as much fun as I can muster as opposed to the strict schoolmarm routine that I might be rightfully accused of using.

On the school front… Micheal completed 4th grade.  He passed all his SOLs.  There were a couple that required a second try… but it seemed that it was more about the test taking than the actual material.  Don’t get me wrong… Micheal still has much ground to make up in school.  But he has proven that when he can get his head into the game – he is capable of doing the work.  Part of the difficulty of doing that comes with the ADHD but part of that also comes with an underlying belief that he is not smart, not capable and, perhaps, not worthy… which we know is not true.  I really do believe that if he had been given a fair start to life and school… he would be in the upper echelon of his class.  So, we have been working this summer on improving math and reading.  He reads all the time with Bob and has actually started to read by himself – like actually read the words… not just turn the pages.  We have also instituted a daily ritual of completing a page in a math word problem workbook and he attended a two-week math camp where they make math fun.  These efforts definitely have come with some push back… I mean who wants to do a math word problem when you can be swimming or playing Minecraft?  But, at the end of the day… he does them… and there is success in that.

Some of the best fun this summer was, of course, our week at the beach with the Gould clan.  We had a really good week and Micheal has proven to be a very good beach kid.  Before we left I sat down with him and explained the concept of going to the beach – anticipating that he would get out there and be ready to head back to the house after 30 minutes.  How wrong I was!  I believe that the very first day he spent about 5 hours at the water’s edge digging up sand crabs.  He learned to boogie board, tried skim boarding, built sandcastles, collected shells, jumped waves and made friends with any other kid that looked to be about his size.  All excellent beach etiquette.


He also had an opportunity to really start establishing relationships with our family members – which is not automatic or easy when you are transplanted.  I mean – just imagine being thrown into a family where everyone has a history that you don’t share.  Stories about that holiday when you all did that thing and everyone had so much fun???  That means nothing!

However, each person in our family brought their own personalities and gifts to the table and it was really great to see some cracks forming in the wall that Micheal sometimes puts up around himself.  A special kudos goes out to Uncle Brian… who had breakfast with Micheal every morning (which,as I previously pointed out… can be a challenging part of the day), sharing his Wall Street Journal and allowing Bob and me to be a little lazy.  I am really grateful to everyone in our family for reminding me that some of the things that make me “crazy” are just things about this particular 10-year-old that are different than we are used to and things that many other parents of high energy boys deal with on a daily basis.  Thank you thank you thank you!

Next week Micheal will begin 5th grade… which, is a bit daunting I must say.  He has a new teacher (new to our elementary school) and will be part of a new class – hopefully with some familiar faces.  The transition will probably bring some less than stellar behavior with it but we are as prepared as we can be.  Today Bob will take him to the open house at school so that he can meet his teacher and see his classroom.

How about the rest of us?

Rachel is about to start 8th grade – unbelievably.  She didn’t have a full agenda this summer but she did get her first bit of experience with babysitting.  Each Wednesday morning she helped our good friends next door by watching their two little girls for a half a day while their dad worked from home.  It’s been fun to hear the adventures… the easy stuff and the less than easy stuff that she’s encountered and her almost-14-year-old reactions to it all.  I didn’t do a lot of babysitting as a teen – but I can appreciate what a great life experience this has been for her.  And with some of her earnings… she is now the proud owner of two guinea pigs – Lily and Beaver – yes both girls… Beaver kinda lost out on the name selection.  They are cute and fun… and… well, guinea pigs.  As for the rest of her time off… I did discover that she is very good at cleaning out and organizing kitchen cabinets.  The gift that keeps on giving!

Bob and I are doing the same ol’ same ol’ – working and playing and figuring out ways we can change our house.  Bob has gotten to enjoy some Nats games over the summer and is getting ready to take a trip to visit a friend on the West Coast.  I am continuing to have fun with glass and at the end of September I will also be traveling to the West Coast to spend time with two good friends in Oregon… a state I’ve never visited.

The critters are all doing well at our house.  Toby went MIA for about 3 weeks following 4th of July fireworks.  It was hard to be really heartbroken about it – mostly because he spends so much time running away from everyone.  But, I don’t like the idea of any animal being lost.  However, he was returned and I think that he has a new appreciation for us and our home.  He is still skittish but the other day he ran right up to me in the yard to get some head scratches… something that he would never have done before.  Ahhhh what regular feedings and treats can do for the soul!

And in closing…

I picked the quote above because today marks four years since we said goodbye to our sweet Jacob.  And it was following this loss and that of Eric two years earlier that we made the decision to open our home to a deserving kid.  This journey has been a long one – complete with international intrigue… but here we are at a new beginning.

Yesterday we received word that the adoption paperwork is final.  Micheal is officially an Osman – like it or not.  He was excited to hear the news and I do believe that he had an extra bounce in his step today.  We have not seen the paperwork but according to those in the know… he is now officially Micheal Robert Osman.

I will be excited to let you all know how the finalization and start of 5th grade goes… so it will not be long before I am typing again!


9 responses »

  1. Laura Remy Smith

    So good to hear about you guys and glad things are well. Taylor and Sheridan say “Hi”. Taylor just completed her first week of college at UT Chattanooga. Sheridan is in 8th and final year of middle school, Jackson starting Fourth. It all goes by so fast!! Scott and I are well and keeping busy. I am so happy for you all. Congrats on the adoption! He ended up with a super awesome family 😉



    Sent from my iPhone


  2. What a wonderful thing to read today Leslie!

  3. Karilyn Kunstbeck

    Thanks for the update. Think about you often and pray for your strength in dealing with the challenges you face each day. In my book, you are a saint.

  4. Good one! One typo – “allowing Bob and me to be lazy”. People will be so happy for this new up date.

    Sent from my iPad


  5. Thanks for sharing. It’s great to hear you all are doing so well.

  6. Thank you for the thorough wrap-up of your mind and heart of late. Both the challenges and the joys. I must say I look forward to seeing Michael every Sunday – he’s got such energy, spunk, and cheer. But that’s OK: everyone is on their best behavior in church – I know that ! Thanks for sharing the daily realities. And congratulations on the adoption. God must have something very special in mind for that boy to give him such a loving family to be a part of.

  7. So happy to hear from you again. When I saw that you had posted on my Feedly I jumped right to your blog. I’ve missed you, but totally understand. Congratulations on your new “official” son!

  8. We knew Michael and have been praying for him for a while. He attended our church for a time. I was overjoyed to see this in my feed on Facebook shared by one of our social workers. We are a foster family as well. Your words are so encouraging and what a blessing to see God answering prayers for sweet Michael! God bless you guys. We continue to pray for him.

  9. You continue to inspire all of us. Michael and Toby are incredibly lucky. We are so happy to see you all find solid success in this adventure!


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