Apples, Tacos, and Fruit Loops

Friends invited us to grill tonight, and we couldn’t go because I had a Hebrew test and Nathan had to finish a proposal for one of his events. Our friends teased us about it being Saturday and having the day off to play. We just laughed because it seems we never get a Saturday just to play, but we do play lots so I think we are okay with it.

The first thing this morning was a battle with Jessica over breakfast. For the two years she has been at my house, she ALWAYS wanted yogurt for breakfast. This morning we had fresh strawberries and blueberries from the garden to throw into our yogurt, which Jessica has always loved. Except today when she received her bowl, she glared at us, pushed the bowl away, and announced that “I do not like yogurt anymore now that I finished kindergarten.”

And that was that.

I am a fan of breakfast, and not a fan of power struggles.

So I simply responded with, “that is very good for us to know. I am glad you told us. Yogurt is the only breakfast we have today, so you need to eat at least half. But we can go to the store later and get you better breakfast for the rest of the week. What would you like?”

I was thinking oatmeal, eggs from the organic farms, or maybe toast and peanut butter.

No.

“Fruit Loops,” she said.

Nathan rushed behind me to catch me in case I fainted, and to pick my jaw up off the floor.

Sigh.

And that’s the difference between five before kindergarten and six after kindergarten: fruit loops.

We took Jessica to play with her friend Elle while we took our last foster care class. It was exciting to finish, and felt good to feel prepared – even if the idea of fostering is still terrifying.

Lucky for Jessica, this final class was about cultural issues. They talked about race and religion and all the classics, but also about value systems, hair, eye contact, and food. They also talked about the different roles of family, like the difference between being an aunt for a week in the summer and being an aunt for months at a time. Summer vacation aunt gets to spoil her, but long-term aunt has to be a parent and stay strict with the rules.

I realized that now that Jess is in school and spending all that time with her for realz family, I can just be the summer vacation aunt. Lucky for Jess, Uncle Nathan stopped on the way home and picked up some fruit loops.

She had so much fun with Elle that she napped for two hours! This gave me time to finish my Hebrew test, and Nathan to finish his event proposal. We also got the whole house cleaned for the Sabbath, the yard mowed, the garden weeded, and the pool opened for summer! Whew!

While I cleaned up from the yard work, Nathan made homemade tacos! Carolyn makes them, and I wanted Nathan to learn how, and he did such a great job! They were so good!

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While he cooked, Jess worked on her Hebrew:

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Dinner was amazing. I told Nathan it was my new favorite! Jess loved them, too, even though we stuffed them with spinach and tomatoes and mushrooms and garlic and olives. They were amazing!

After dinner we read Jessica her Book of Mormon stories that we began reading when she first came to stay with me two years ago. She is all the way to Helaman 6! What a fun experience to read with her now, where she can pick out so many words!

Then she got to play on her “apple”, which is our old iPad that only had educational and church games on it. She does so well and learns so much! While she played on that, Nathan and I did our couple study. I loved that Jess joined us for our hymn, and stayed cuddled up with us while we took turns reading our verses. It was amazing! So many have told us that we only do our couple study because we don’t have kids yet, but with creative planning it has been easy to stay in the habit and get it done! I am sure we still know nothing, but we know that making our study happen is the difference between a happy marriage and not.

After our study, everyone got ready for bed and brushed teeth. Uncle Nathan is learning how to clean Jessica’s new ear piercings and give her inhaler medicine and dose out liquid Claritin. He does so great with her!

It is a neat experience for us, learning together with Jessica, especially after so much grief of losing our own little ones this year.

When we were all ready for bed, we snuggled up in the kids room to watch a “Hero” cartoon movie. Jessica picked the one about Christopher Columbus (She picked Paul’s Conversion last night). While we watched that, I rolled her hair into old school knot rollers for church tomorrow. She was very excited about this, until she saw herself in the mirror and told us she looks like a banana.

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We tucked her in for bed after that, and said our evening family prayers. It is a tender moment, and Grandma almost always comes up. She sleeps with one of those plushy turtle night lights, and is asleep before we can get back to our room.

Now I am smiling at pictures and ready to sleep myself, happy for good days and fond memories and the miracle of family.

And tacos. Tacos are awesome, too.

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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