Sunday, August 31, 2008

Thanks neighbor!

This evening we decided it was time for another tricycle lesson. We were given two great trikes from my aunt and uncle but have barely used them. Zachary can't reach the pedals on either one and neither could Alex when we got them at the beginning of the year. Well, Alex can reach now but will not pedal. I showed him how, daddy showed him how, but he just wants to "walk" with the tricycle. He still had fun.
When our next door neighbors saw us playing outside they came out too. They have kids a little older than Alex & Zachary but they still like to play with us when we see each other. A week or two ago they knocked on our door to give us a toy that they had outgrown and thought we might like. Today they gave us a super cute police car after Zachary ran in their garage and climbed in it. It's perfect for him because it doesn't have pedals. You just walk in it like Fred Fintstone. We have the best neighbors and it will be sad to leave them when our new house is ready.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Playground pals

Today one of my sisters and her teenage boys came over to visit. The big boys and Chris headed out to do big guy things and my sister and I took the little boys to a nearby park. Their favorite part of a playground is always the slide, which they refer to as "wheee". Example: Me - "What do you want to play on first?" Alex - "Wheee". I know exactly what he wants. We first tried to walk to the park. We loaded up the boys in the double stroller and brought along cold drinks for them. There used to be an entrance to the park at the back side of my neighborhood but after walking probably a quarter mile to where it should have been we found out it's been blocked. Granted, we haven't walked there much this summer because it's been so hot but it sure stunk to have to turn around and walk back. When we got back home we jumped in the car and were there within a few minutes. The park was surprising empty for a weekend and we got to enjoy the playground without too many other kids getting in the way. I'll leave you with a few cute pictures.
Don't worry, Aunt Lisa was right beside him.


Wheee!!


Even though you can't see their faces I still like this picture. They are waiting their turn to cross one of those shaky bridges.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Ta da!

Chris didn't have to be at work until noon today so he was able to stop by the new house and take real pictures with an actual camera. Here they are:

This is the house from the road. We are so excited to have trees

This is the front porch. He couldn't get the whole front in the picture because of the trees.

Here is the back of the house & part of the backyard.

I know it's hard to see until we get real walls up but I'm so happy to see anything. I think things will seem to move faster now that something is up. Most of the trees are in the front of the house but there are a few in the back. Chris says that will make it easier to add a pool later. I say much, much later!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Oops

Yesterday as I was getting out of the shower I heard a thud and crying. Not good. I lock the boys in my bedroom with toys and keep the bathroom door open so I can hear them and peek out at them. They usually do O.K. When I jumped out to check on the boys I found Alex on the floor with this on top of him.

It's my stand up jewelry box. As you can see, I already have it turned around backwards because shortly after the boys got home Zachary opened the drawers and pulled out jewelry. O.K. I won't lie - he was actually eating a Christmas light bulb necklace. Somehow when Alex pulled this down on him he turned it around at the same time so that the drawers opened up and all the jewelry inside spilled out on the floor. Alex was fine, I think it scared him more than anything but I had to search for little earrings in the carpet. I guess my next move will be to put it in the closet.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today we did nothing exciting. The boys and I stayed home all day and never went outside except to walk to the mailbox at the end of the block and water flowers on the porch. We played catch, we played with babies, and we played with blocks over and over again. Oh, and don't forget doctor. They love to give shots so you'll cry and then they'll rub on your arm and tell you "It's O.K." or bring you a toy. It's funny how they can remember so much and you don't even know. Just like with the comforting you after you get a shot. They were laying their dolls on the couch and covering them up. Then they told the babies "No wake up - night night!" in a very stern voice. Um.....do you think they got that from me?A new thing they've been doing lately is pretending to leave. They get on a toy car or get a little bag of toys and tell me they are going bye bye in the car. Then I have to ask where and they tell me either Mimi & Papa's house, a baseball game, or to Luke's house (our friend). That part they always do. The last few days they've been telling me that they're going to a party at one of the above's houses. Then a minute or two later they come back to me with their arms open wide and tell me that "Alex's home!". Then I get all excited and give them hugs and kisses and tell them how happy I am that they're home. Sometimes they will then tell me that they ate ice cream at the party or some other funny little detail. Alex started this game and Zachary copies him. It is really cute the first few times but Alex will do it over and over all day. Any game repeated over and over gets really old for me but I guess it's still fun for a toddler!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hives?

From time to time Alex gets a strange looking red bump or two on his face. It doesn't seem to itch and we don't know what it is. I'm wondering if it's a hive. This one from this morning showed up during breakfast and lasted for about an hour. I'm now starting to keep track of when he has them and what (if anything) he was eating or touching. This morning he was eating scrambled eggs which is a common trigger. He eats eggs fairly often though and this doesn't happen every time. We can't figure out the culprit. Also, he only gets one or two bumps and only 2-3 times a month. We go to the doctor next week so I'll ask her about it then.

Progress at last!

On the new house that is. The concrete slab was poured last week and the framing went up yesterday and today. We drove out there this morning to check it out since Chris didn't have to be at work until after lunch. Finally there is something to see! Unfortunately, I forgot the camera at home so I can't post a picture. I did take a few on my phone but I can't figure out how to send it to my email. If I do, I'll post some later.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mama's day out & other stuff

Today I had a big day out - all alone. Last Christmas Chris gave me a gift card for a 1/2 day at a spa. I've either been too busy to use or just plain forgot until now. Chris is usually home on Monday's so I got it scheduled for today. This was probably only the 2nd time that daddy and the boys were alone for a good part of the day. I had a wonderful relaxing day at the spa getting a facial, massage, pedicure & manicure. I was really pampered. I called Chris afterwards to tell him I was on my way home but he was at the grocery store with the boys and they were giving him a hard time so he couldn't talk. Ahhhh, I'm glad he got to see what that's like. Then I called him back a few minutes later to ask if I needed to bring home some dinner but instead he told me to hurry and meet him at the grocery store because as he was checking out he realized he left his wallet at home! I had to meet him to pay for the groceries. Chris had such a rough day today that he decided he needed the night out and went to play poker at a sports bar. The boys were very excited to see me and Zachary immediately noticed my fancy nail polish.

This morning (before I left) while the four of us were playing and watching T.V. Zachary just couldn't keep him eyes open any more and conked right out. That means that Zachary got an early nap as I was leaving and Alex napped later at his usual time. I do feel bad for Chris that he never got that precious nap time all to himself today.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Last night the boys were so cute in the bath. If I haven't mentioned it yet, they love to take baths. They (especially Alex) lay on their tummies and declare that they are Nemo, scrub the "dirty" tub toys, and help to wash their hair. Their new favorite things to play with are their water whistles that Aunt Amy gave Zachary for his birthday. The whistles make different sounds depending on how full of water they are. Wow, you should hear them. When daddy gives the bath I'll hear them from downstairs blowing their whistles and beating on the side of the bathtub like a drum.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Our adoption story

I realized I jumped into this blog without ever giving much background on our family. Warning - This is the condensed version but it's still long. Here goes:

We tried for many years to have a baby on our own or with a little help from doctors before we turned to adoption. We didn't really care how became parents as long as we got to become parents. We turned to international adoption mostly because domestic adoptions scared me. What kind of contact would we have with birth families? Would someone want our child back? I know better now and don't think I'd be as scared anymore. With China and Russia being the countries where most adoptions were coming from, we started there. Although we personally know families that have adopted from China we decided on Russia. Mostly because we wanted the opportunity to adopt boys or girls. We began with our application to KidsFirst Adoption Services in April 2006. Since we knew we wanted more than one child we decided just to go for it and adopt two at once! We requested two children of either gender under the age of three. Next we began the paperwork (called a dossier) and that took us several months to complete. Our paperwork was complete and we were officially waiting for a referral in September 2006. Here comes the long part. Due to changes in Russia rules all agencies had to apply to be re-accredited. This used to happen yearly but in 2006 they decided to make it longer (permanent I think?). This meant it took longer to get too. So every agency in the country had their accreditation's expire and referrals and adoptions slowed way way down. We had a few close calls but finally got "the call" about our boys in September 2007. We traveled blind. This meant that we knew almost nothing about the boys - no pictures, no medical information, nothing. We accepted anyway and traveled to Rostov-on-Don, Russia to meet them in October. We met them three times each and took a doctor with us from Moscow to evaluate them since we didn't get any medical info ahead of time. We accepted, in writing, the referral of the boys and came home to wait some more. Luckily we didn't have to wait long. We traveled back to Russia only three weeks later to appear in court for approval of the adoption. Our court date was Alex's 2nd birthday. Russian law requires that all court decisions have a 10 day appeal period so although the judge ruled in our favor we couldn't bring them home just yet. Instead of coming home and making a third trip, like some do, we decided to stay and visit the boys. (They had to stay at their orphanages.) At the end of our 10 days we picked up the boys from two separate orphanages in two separate towns and flew to Moscow for another few day. Here we had to apply for the boys visas and have them checked out by an embassy doctor. Finally on Thanksgiving day we flew home!

Although we now have a hectic life (like anyone with two toddlers) we've had a fairly easy transition. We are so blessed that our boys have been healthy and have had minor, if any, adjustment or attachment problems. They picked up English very quickly, eat well, sleep well (for the most part) and get along with each other. We could not have been matched with two more perfect for us children. We love them to pieces!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Terrible Two's

Yup, we're there and we've got two of them. For the most part the boys are fairly well behaved but they do have their moments when the terrible two's rear it's ugly head. Yesterday was one of those days for Alex. My usual good listener and helper was very disagreeable and answered "no" to just about everything. In the morning as I was blow drying my hair Alex wanted to get in my bathroom drawers which I don't allow (we've got medicines in some of them so I keep them out of all of them). I told him "no, we don't play in there" (maybe I say no too much?) and then stood in front of it. Alex actually smacked my leg to get it out of the way! I took his arm and told him that wasn't nice and that he needed to sit in the corner - and I got "no!". So, I told him that we don't say no to mom and he needed to sit on his bed in his room. I told him that he needed to sit there until he was ready to say "sorry mama" and be a better listener. He again said "no!". He stayed in there about five minutes while I finished getting ready. (I know, I know, his usual time out is only 2-3 minutes due to his age but this was different.) When I went back to get him he climbed off his bed and said "Yes, mama. Sorry, mama." and gave me a hug. He's always very sweet after he cools down. He's very stubborn like me. I may be in big trouble when he's a teenager! He was O.K. for the rest of the afternoon until daddy came home in the evening. Both boys were so wild after dinner and did not listen to anything mama or daddy said and ended up going to bed just a little bit early. I sure hope today is better.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mid-week laugh

O.K. so this video is not new. It is from May but I ran across it on my computer again today and it cracks me up every time. The boys love to dance, especially Zachary, and especially to rap music. I guess it has a better beat or something. He'll even bop his head in the car to the music. What makes this video even funnier is that daddy is giving pointers on dance moves just off camera. You can sometimes see his reflection in the fish tank and his legs do show up from time to time. You'll want your speakers on for this one. Enjoy! (I hope Chris doesn't kill me for posting this.)

video

Monday, August 18, 2008

Leapin' Lizards, Batman

While Chris and they boys were playing in the backyard this afternoon they found a lizard climbing up our gutter. They all tried to catch him and were calling "here lizard" as if that would help. They did finally succeed and when they did Chris let Zachary hold it. Bad idea. Zachary loved it but squeezed so tight I feared for the lizards life. (He also got bit a few times but didn't seem to mind.) When he did release his death grip the lizard limped off so I hope he'll be O.K.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Poker prodigies

Tonight we played Texas Hold'Em with some friends. Chris loves poker and I like it O.K. During a break between games the little boys all climbed up to the table for a lesson from the game winner.

World Series of poker here they come - in a few more years.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Who needs an amusement park

when you've got a washing machine on the spin cycle?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bedtime blues

Sorry...this is a little bit of a vent.

I've got a problem. Zachary is not the greatest napper - sometimes. I know I shouldn't complain about sometimes when most of the time both boys sleep really well. On those off days though......I get so frustrated and don't know what to do. Yesterday and today have both been one of those days. Today I put the boys down right around two. That's a little later than usual because we had a morning play date and went to lunch afterwards. He fell asleep in the car on the way home and let me carry him upstairs to his bed. Then as I was quietly changing Alex's diaper to put him in bed Zachary pops straight up and gets a big grin on his face. Talking, playing, sitting up in bed, kicking the bedrails all continued for about another hour. (I went up several times during this hour when I heard things get too crazy and settled them down.) Finally I laid on the floor with them to insure no funny business and Alex was asleep within 10 minutes. Zachary has been fairly quiet (it's 4:30 now) since then but when I checked on him a few minutes ago (I heard lots of rustling noises) he was sitting up in bed and had pulled a sticker off on something in or around his bed. I have no idea where. Alex was still asleep. If I don't let him out soon then I'm afraid he'll never sleep tonight.

Yesterday was a similar situation. We had a morning play date, came home, had lunch and then down for a nap. This time though it wasn't too late. Zachary probably didn't fall asleep for a good hour or 1 1/2 hours but then did sleep a regular nap.

I realize that his napping may be worse when our schedule is a little off or he falls asleep for 10-15 minutes in the car. I just don't know what to do about it. I know that he is keeping poor Alex up at the same time. (Once we move the boys will each have their own rooms and this won't be a problem anymore.) When we first came home with the boys this problem was with naps and bedtime. Alex had to take a nap on the living room couch or Zachary would keep crawling in his bed with him. At bedtime Zachary had to go up first and then we'd wait 30-45 minutes before taking Alex up. Both of those things have stopped and like I said there is usually no problem. I know I shouldn't get so worked up over it and that I probably add to the problem by going up there so many times and fussing him but I can't help it. God, please give me patience.

**This post has been amended to add that when I went to get the boys out of bed at almost 5pm Zachary was standing up on his bed looking out the window.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Daddy's home!

O.K so daddy hasn't really been gone anywhere other than work every day but the boys get so excited when they hear him at the door. They rush to him screaming "daddy's home".
The afternoons can sometimes drag by and I'm ready for daddy to get home too! After all the hugging and screaming dies down then they like to help daddy with his army uniform. They fight over who gets to wear his dogtags and love to help him with his big combat boots.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The bunny hop

The boys were being very cute and silly this morning so I got a little bit on video.

video

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Daddy games

Just to add to yesterday's post. Here are more of the kind of games that daddy likes to play with the boys. They will not be playing these games with mama.

Daddy is building swords and guns. Oh boy!

The boys are "sword" fighting.

Alex got hit in the head and then cries to mama

Friday, August 8, 2008

Playtime

I must say that Alex and Zachary really play together well, for the most part. When they first came home - well, not so much. It didn't take too long though until they started behaving like brothers. That means sometimes playing nicely and sometimes fighting. Of course there is also the play that I guess is just a boy thing (or maybe an all kid thing) that is often introduced by dad. They like to chase each other with cars (that they ride), just plain chase with screaming involved and use anything and everything as a baseball bat. Daddy shows them how to box, how to bury each other in the beans (I should have taken a picture of this yesterday), how to throw a ball at someones head, how to throw pillows at each other, etc. Lots of these things get them in trouble and daddy apologizes after he shows it to them knowing that mama won't like it or let them do it again. I guess that's a dad thing.
This is the kind of nice, quiet playing that mama likes. This morning they used the blocks to make elephant noses.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Boys and boo-boos

I am continually surprised at the amount of and the creative ways that little boys get boo-boos. Yesterday we played at the inflatable place twice and no boo-boos. We come home and play with dad for about 30 minutes and whammy! I didn't see this one happen but Zachary was kinda wrapped up in daddy's army clothes and fell face first into a tupperware box of Lego's. Chris said that his feet were up in the air and he couldn't get up because his arms were pinned. No major damage done but an ugly red mark on his nose. Weird.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Twelve years ago today

I can't believe it's been that long. I can't believe I was that skinny!

Friday, August 1, 2008

This spud's for you

Tonight as I was making dinner Chris had the boys sitting on the kitchen counter. I have a basket there where I keep potatoes, apples and oranges (if we've got any). Zachary saw the potatoes and called them apples. He got very upset and cried to eat an "apple" but we didn't have any real apples in the basket. Finally to avoid a huge tantrum we decided to let him have it. He took one bite and was done. Then Alex had to have his turn. He actually ate two or three bites and made yummy noises before he gave up. Raw potatoes can't hurt them, can it?