Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I know I've posted a lot of videos recently but I caught Alex in the car singing and it is the cutest thing ever. I usually sing in the car whether it's the radio or a kid cd and he has really started singing with me. When the song is over he is so happy and says "I sing with mama."

Several weeks ago when my teenage nephews were here for a visit they played on our ping pong table. We hardly ever play on it so Alex and Zachary probably had no idea what it was. Ever since then Alex talks quite a bit about "table tennis". He will stand at one end of our coffee table and pretend to play with you, and even grunts when he hits the pretend ball. This evening Alex started crying that he wanted to play table tennis upstairs (on the real one) and so Chris promised him that after dinner he would play with him. The boys loved it. Zachary squealed every time he hit the ball.

The last week or two Alex has really been having a hard time at bedtime. This is especially weird because he's always been my good sleeper. Starting around dinner he begins to say "no night night?". We tell him that it's not night night time yet and that we still have to eat, take baths, play, etc. He'll ask several times during the evening. Then when it finally is time for bed he cries that he wants no night night or to go back downstairs. He will even start crying at the bottom of the stairs and make someone carry him up, crying all the way. Once we leave the room he calms down fairly quickly. He typically falls asleep fast and sleeps though the night. The same thing happens now at naptime too just on a smaller scale. I don't know if there is a problem or if it's just his age. I'm pretty sure it started right around the time Chris came home from Hawaii.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekend update

Yesterday we went Halloween shopping for the second time. We went looking for costumes for the boys first on Thursday evening but Chris and the boys had so much fun running around the store looking at everything except for the costumes that we didn't get any. I felt really bad for the people who had to clean up after us. We were there with friends and their two children so between the eight of us we pulled quite a bit of stuff off the shelves. Alex was especially happy when we said we were going to the Halloween store. This is his and Zachary's first Halloween with us and I know they have no idea what's going on but we want to make it fun. We let Alex pick out his own costume and he chose to be a doctor - "Dr. Alex" as he called himself. We tried to get Zachary to pick one and we did actually try on a Spiderman costume but he wouldn't wear the headpiece and really couldn't have cared less about the whole thing. Since he didn't care we decided to get him a cheaper costume and he's going to be a pirate. I had really wanted them to be something that they knew what it was but that just wasn't going to happen. He will be really cute though - they both will.

Chris decided that he needed to mow the grass after the boys woke up from their nap. The boys were so bummed that they couldn't play outside while daddy was out there. I opened the windows so they could see daddy mowing and they watched him the whole time and waved and called out hi to him when he went by. Zachary also drug his toy lawnmower around the house while Chris was mowing the yard.

This morning we loaded up the boys and headed out of town. Today was my parents church's annual festival. Both yesterday and this morning when I told the boys that we were going to Mimi and Papa's church for a party Alex said "Hallelujah?". I think he was calling the church hallelujah but I'm not sure. Since our church doesn't really use that word heavily I'm don't know how he associated the two. We do have a kids cd that we listen to in the car that plays Michael Row Your Boat Ashore so I know he's heard hallelujah in that recently. (He sings along too, it's so cute.) The boys had a great time at their first church picnic playing all the games. Zachary's favorite by far was the "choo choo train" which was actually a riding lawnmower pulling cars made out of barrels.This picture is not the cutest but it was a hot and sunny day. Zachary had to have ridden it five or six times, usually without Alex. Alex's favorite thing was the baseball stand. He was even allowed to stand really close to the bottles but still couldn't knock them all down. That didn't matter though, he always got a prize.

All in all from our day we are the proud owners of 3 stuffed animals, 1 kite, 1 kids board game, 1 plastic horse, 1 keychain with a flashlight, 1 keychain with a rubber chicken, 1 hackey sack baseball, 1 beaded necklace, 1 plastic hand clapper, 1 toy car, 1 toy airplane, 1 inflatable beach ball, and lots of candy. Aren't we lucky?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Doctors and therapists

Alex had his follow up at the doctor this morning. He had a slight wheeze but overall he's very much improved. While he was there we went ahead and gave him his flu vaccination. I was hoping for the nasal spray but the doctor said that due to his asthma an injection was better. Alex was such a good boy and didn't even cry. I would have liked to get Zachary's done too but since it wasn't his doctor visit they couldn't give it to him.

In the afternoon we had another visit with ECI (Early Childhood Intervention). Our usual therapist brought an actual speech therapist with her this time. I have no doubt that Alex is improving in his language all the time but he just doesn't speak very clearly. I often feel like his translator, even to daddy. I was right. The therapist concluded that Alex is dropping the endings off of his words and when he says a word with several syllables he tends to repeat the same sound like elelent for elephant. So this therapist will come out twice in October and then Alex will age out of the service when he turns three. He'll have to be tested by the school district to see if he qualifies for speech with them. I actually hope he does. I'd rather work on getting him caught up now than having him end up behind because we chose to "wait and see". As long as he doesn't fight it I can't see any harm.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Construction update

The construction of our house is moving right along. Yesterday Chris met with the builder to show where we wanted cable outlets, phone jacks, and surround sound speakers. He said the installers were there doing it as he told them where. This afternoon we had to go back over there to meet with a flooring guy. We've decided that we're going with stained concrete instead of tile in the hall/bathrooms/kitchen/dining/utility rooms. We found a few colors that we like and the installer said he will put them all down on a bedroom floor (that will be covered with carpet later so it won't matter) so we can see them to make a decision. He acted like that will happen very quickly, maybe next week. The house also now has shingles and some trim paint. The walls are being prepped for stucco which should begin being put on on Monday. They are putting up a black weather resistant barrier and then some kind of wire mesh which is what the stucco will stick to.The bright white trim around the porch and windows is not yet painted. Our trim color is the one by the roof. Our house will be part limestone and part stucco. We're leaning towards a dark chocolate brown paint that will be really dramatic with the whitish limestone and trim.

Sick house

Alex is sick. Again. Really we've all got a little bit of a cold or something. We're a close family like that. One of us gets sick and we so kindly share it with everyone else. When Alex gets a cold though, he starts to wheeze. Yesterday we used his inhaler all day - every four hours. We even had to give it to him at the dinner table because he was coughing so much that he couldn't eat. I just thought I had seen him bad until last night. My poor baby woke up every hour or so starting at 11:30 coughing, crying, and asking for mama. Most of the time I couldn't give him any more of his inhaler and could only rub his back and try to calm him down. So I called the doctor first thing this morning and actually got in. I just knew the doctor would say that it was his same old "asthma aggravated by his cold" that I always over react to but I was wrong. The doctor said that I was right and said that if he's this bad again at night or on a weekend I could go to the emergency room. They gave Alex two breathing treatments while we were there and a prescription for an oral steroid to give him twice a day for five days in addition to the inhaler. His breathing has been much better this afternoon but he's not had his usual appetite. We're scheduled for a follow up on Friday morning unless things worsen and we need to take him back tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sneaky, sneaky

We ususally have a small (O.K. sometimes big) pile of things on one end of our dining room table - mail and whatever Chris empties out of his pockets and leaves there. Yesterday we noticed a new "trick" of Zachary's. When he wants something on the dining room table that he can't reach he will slide his stiff plastic place mat around on the table until it slides under something and then pulls it back to him. Pretty sneaky, huh? I caught him on video after breakfast this morning "fishing" for things he shouldn't have.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Aloha daddy

Yea, our daddy is home! The boys were very excited to pick up daddy from the airport this morning. I must have been too (or just out of my mind) because I drove right past it and had to turn around and go back! Poor guy. His flight got in a little early and baggage claim was a breeze for once so he was waiting at the curb by the time we got there. He brought us home lots of presents, including these outfits for the boys.

They're definitely Hawaiian but maybe a little too busy for every day. I think we'll wear the shirts without the matching shorts. I got sandals, a Hawaiian apron, a necklace, and flower hair clips (he didn't know I chopped my hair off while he was gone!). We all got some chocolate covered macadamia nuts - yummy!

Believe it or not but Chris is actually gone right now. He made an appointment before he left to take his car to have the A/C worked on. He shouldn't be gone too long.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The many faces of Alex

Yesterday Alex was being quite a ham so I had to grab the video camera. He loves to watch videos or look at pictures of himself so we took a few. Here's a cute one. I appologize in advance for sounding like a dork. You can also hear Zachary talking off camera.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wanna take a dip?

Another fun thing about Mimi and Papa's house is that they have a hot tub. We turn the heat low so it's not too hot for the boys and they love it. We packed our bathing suits planning to get a soak or two but found this instead.
Where did all the water go? Well, the hot tub is under repair and had to be drained. It wasn't a total loss. The boys still thought it was fun to pretend to swim around in it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thank God I'm a country boy

Alex and Zachary love to come to Mimi and Papa's house in the country. Despite the fact that we've got lots of toys at our house they never miss them because Mimi and Papa have this:
This is known as the toy closet. Catchy name, I know. It's a big toybox and most of the closet in their office that's filled with "junk". Sure it may look like toys to the naked eye but it's old toys of my teenage nephews that are mostly broken, along with a few old dolls of my sisters, empty containers of baby wipes and oatmeal, and flat balls. All kids love it. They especially love to pull things out one by one to check them out and then keep digging. It's lots of fun to make a big mess.

The boys also love to go outside. They are not fenced in here and can see Papa's big trucks and tractors parked in the yard. They love to pick up acorns and see how far they can throw them. Today we examined all the trees and found a butterfly, one big spider, and several beetles. Of course I found the perfect picture taking spot in one of the trees.
The plan is to stay here until the end of the week. We'll go home Sunday and Chris gets back on Monday. Hurry home, daddy!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Busy day

Whew! What a busy day today. It started at 9:30 this morning when Alex had his monthly ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) visit for speech. While the therapist was still here my dad came over. That got the boys really excited. When our session was over we loaded up in the car and headed out to do new house stuff. Even though Chris is still gone I met with the decorator and picked our shingle color and trim color. We also narrowed down our stucco color although I will not decided that without Chris. I also took dad to see the house. He hadn't been there since before the frame went up so there was alot for him to see. To me, nothing much changed other than two bathtubs being installed.

Shortly after we got home it was time for me to leave again. The whole reason that my dad came over was to babysit the boys in the evening so I could go to a meeting. I have recently become a board member of our local FRUA (Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoptions) chapter and this was the first meeting that I've been too. I missed what should have been my first one when we closed on the house. The meeting lasted almost two hours (longer than I thought it was going to) and when I walked in the door at 9 pm I heard my dad telling the boys "O.K. you're going to bed!" He didn't even know I walked in the door. They were very rowdy for him. Alex was wearing a pajama top that belonged to Zachary because he kept telling dad that it was his even though dad could tell it was too little. They had only short naps in the car today so that was probably part of it. I put the boys to bed but they were not happy about it. They wanted to stay up with their Papa. Dad wasn't sure if he was going to spend the night or not but since I got home so late he decided to stay. Well, that and the fact that he could watch the Cowboy game on cable!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Muscle men

You only have to show Alex and Zachary something silly one time and they'll remember it forever. I'm sorry this video is so dark. Here they are showing off their "big" muscles. They also like to kiss them but have a hard time reaching so they usually end up kissing somewhere around their wrists!

*By the way - Chris never did swim with sharks yesterday.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Grouchy days and baseball

What a day! The boys seemed extra rowdy today. Maybe it's just because daddy's been gone for a week and I feel extra tired. We headed to the grocery store to get some things for a new stuffed shells recipe that I wanted to try. (It was yummy and I have lots in the freezer for another day.) The boys were so whiny while I was cooking. One would take the others toy and then they'd cry or fight over it. Of course since I was cooking (although in sight) I didn't know who was in the wrong. I was so glad when nap time came.
Chris called this morning to tell me that after he finished classes today he was hoping to go swimming with the sharks (in a big cage) with some buddy's. O.K. I'll give him that one. That's not something I'd want to do anyway. When he comes home with beautiful pictures of the beach, then I'll be sad I missed it.

This afternoon we went to a birthday party. Our friend turned five so he's a little bit older but the boys play well together. It was a total "boy" party - transformers, baseball, and a bounce house. The birthday boy got the coolest baseball game. It's like t-ball but the ball hangs from above instead of sitting on a tee. It also plays ESPN music. All of the boys loved it. Gee, I wonder if Alex would like one for his birthday?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A visit from Mimi

With Chris being gone we had a visit from Mimi (my mom) this week to keep us company. Alex & Zachary loved having their Mimi here. She took them outside when mama was too hot to go. She baked us chocolate chip cookies.Zachary waited for the cookies to be done and then ate about half of a cookie. Alex on the other hand wolfed down three and wanted more......but didn't get any until later. Mimi made the boys breakfast, washed lots of laundry, and cleaned the kitchen. Oh wait - that's the part I liked! Just kidding. We also made it out shopping one morning and yesterday we took the boys to the inflatable play place that we like to go to. Lots of fun!

Today we headed over to check the progress on the new house. We've got walls and a roof (but no shingles). I think all of the plumbing and electrical work is done and the windows are in.

It's amazing what the house looks like each time we go. It's going to be ready before we know it! Mimi headed back home today but we'll be at her house to visit again next week.

Here's one last cute picture of the boys. I made them stand in the "picture spot" at the bottom of the stairs to take some pictures. I especially like to have them standing together to see how big (or small) they are. My cutie pies!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Things they say

Kids say the cutest and sweetest things sometimes. This week Zachary has started to say "I love mama". It's usually a response when I tell him that I love him but it is still wonderful!

Now for the funny. When the boys are in the bath sometimes they like to point at body parts and name them. They are good. They know pretty much everything. Last night Alex was playing this game and when he got to "wee wee" (boy parts) I told him he was right and that all boys have those. I asked "Does daddy have a wee wee?" and he said "Yeah!". Then I said "Does mama have a wee wee?". Alex said "No, underwear." He's actually said this twice now and it cracked me up both times. They know the difference between boys and girls but I've never actually discussed girl anatomy even though they've taken a bath with me. I think I'll just stick with "underwear". They know we're different and that's enough for right now.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A look back at bedtime

I posted awhile back about Zachary having some bad nap times. That post was written during one of those bad days. On the whole it's not too terribly bad. And it could be worse. He used to take off his pants and his diaper and then wet the bed. Not every night but enough to drive us crazy. The pants though, did come off most nights. I asked everybody I knew for advice and I read about it on frua. I tried everything. First we tried putting him in one piece pajamas, backwards. This stopped him for about a week. He never could get the snaps open but he's so small that he figured how to get his whole body out through the neck hole. No kidding.
Next we tried one piece footy pajamas that zipped up the front. Well, that lasted about two days. Not only did he get every stitch of clothing off and wet the bed in about three different places but an extra pair of pajama pants showed up that had been missing for a few days.Since Zachary couldn't figure out snaps the next step was a onsie with pants on top. He could get the pants off but not the onsie - yes! Oh wait. He could get the diaper off and out through one of the leg holes though.

Last resort - duct tape. Finally something that worked! The only thing he could pull off now was his pants and that wasn't a problem. Yea, a dry bed! We did this for about a week when one night Zachary saw me get out the tape and started crying. I told him that I wouldn't put it on anymore if he left his diaper alone.....and he did. Since then (June) he hasn't been taking any clothes off anymore. We do still have him sleep in a onsie, just in case, but his pants are always on.

The one thing that I can't break him of is this: This picture was taken at nap time today. Even if I don't see him with his hand in his pants I can tell he did it by the elastic marks on his wrists. We had heard that in his orphanage the children slept with their arms swaddled (he was 16 months when he came home). I always wondered if that had anything to do with it, if it was a comfort thing. Or maybe he just likes his hands down his pants.

The green eyed monster

I just got back from dropping my husband off at the airport. He's gone on a work-related trip. For two week. To Hawaii. Hawaii of all places! Although I'm sad that he's going to be gone for so long I must admit that I'm a little bit (O.K. alot) jealous that he's going to be in Hawaii. Sure I could have gone with him but I'm not sure I'm ready to be away from the boys for a week or more and we couldn't afford to take them with us. Plus, I'd be alone most of the time while Chris was in his classes. I have been to Hawaii before and loved every minute of it. I believe my exact words were along the lines of "I'd like to move there even if I had to sell coconuts or seashell necklaces on the side of the road.". I'm going to do my best to just get over it and enjoy my two weeks with my boys and spend part of it with my parents.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

New mom thing

I think I have a problem knowing when my kids really need a doctor or not. I've been told that all new moms get freaked out by any fever or little sniffle and that's me. I took the boys to the doctor once and was told that they only had a cold and there was nothing to do but give them fluids and ride it out. I've also called the nurse line at least twice asking if they thought I needed to come in for one reason or another. I don't know how many times I've called my mom or a sister to ask about symptoms. Plus, you saw my post about the mystery "hives". By the way - the doctor doesn't think it's hives. She doesn't know what it is. We were just at the doctor yesterday and then last night Alex starts having breathing problems. So we use his inhaler (we just got it in April and haven't used it much). It helps a little but I still hear his heavy breathing/wheezing. This morning he woke up bad. Even after the inhaler his breathing sounds labored. Then he tells me that he has an owie and points to his tummy. I pointed to his chest and asked if that's where it hurt thinking it's got to be from the breathing but he said no and pointed to his tummy again. Then he asks me if he can take a nap - at 11 in the morning. Uh-oh. I called the doctor but we can't get in until tomorrow morning. Until then I hope he sleeps through the night. He's got such a nasty sounding cough to go along with it. I'm wondering if it's bronchitis but the doctor might just say that a cold irritated his unconfirmed asthma and she can't do anything. I'm not sure which I prefer.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Zachary's two year check-up

Today was Zachary's two year check up at the doctor. At 25 months he weighs 22 lbs and 14.8 ounces and is 32.9 inches tall. That means that he is still not on the charts for weight (or head size) and is somewhere around the 7th percentile in height. He's a small fry alright especially compared to Alex who's around 75% for height and 95% per weight! He's growing though and developing well in every other way so the doctor's not too worried. He's got his own growth curve going. He also got another vaccination today. I thought this was going to finally get him caught up but I was wrong. He'll need one more Hep A vaccination in October and then we'll be on track. Not only was he a little bit behind when he came home but although his Russian charts said he'd had the Hep A & B vaccinations, they didn't show up in his blood. That means he had to have them all over again. Thank goodness he's pretty good about it. Neither Zachary or Alex are afraid of going to the doctor despite how many times they've been poked and prodded since coming home.