Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm a little late, I know. Last Thanksgiving we celebrated a day late when we got home with the boys. This year we got to celebrate on time. We headed out to my parents house along with my older sister and her two teenage boys. Before we went, the boys helped me mix up some of my mom's famous vanilla rolled cookies.These cookies are most commonly referred to as "ho, ho, ho cookies" because she makes a ton for Christmas and one of her cookie cutters says that. But I digress. We ran out of time to decorate them so my mom, my sister, and I decorated them on turkey day. I didn't have very many Thanksgiving-y cookie cutters so I made due with some fall-ish ones like a football (how many games are on this weekend?!), a pumpkin, and a school bus (Alex starts Monday). I think they turned out cute.The boys can get so antsy around food time that you'd think they never get fed. Since Zachary had to be in the kitchen he helped his aunt Lisa get the rolls ready.For the first time ever we forgot to take diapers to my parents. (Technically Chris forgot. I had them out but he forgot to load them in the car with our other bags.) They live in the country so we can't just pop in to a store to get more. Thankfully my mom has a few spares that have been left from various grandkids over the years. That did mean that Alex had to wear a pink princess pull-up though. He didn't seem to mind.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! We were even lucky enough to get to bring food back home with us. Yea!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Almost ready for school

This morning I took the boys to enroll Alex in school. He starts Monday so I barely squeaked by. He's got a new backpack and we got some more jeans today. He's ready but I'm not so sure. My stomach hurt when we got back in the car at the school. I don't know if I'm nervous about getting him there and how he'll do or just about the fact that he's my baby and he's leaving me. He'll be going only twice a week and school lets out on the 19th for Christmas so he'll only go 6 times before we move. I still think it'll be worth it to get him started.

Don't worry, I'll post first day of school pictures on Monday!

Monday, November 24, 2008

We have tile

and a septic tank, interior paint, countertops, and a/c units and vents. The plumbing fixtures were there but not yet installed. A lot happened to the house while I was gone.

This is the kitchen backsplash. It was going in today so it still has the spacers in between the tiles and no grout.

This one is the granite kitchen counters. I think it's going to look great with the backsplash and the greenish/khaki paint.
Here is our master shower. I can't wait to have the seat in there to shave my legs! Right now I have to grip my toe on a little corner of the shower.

This one is the master tub surround. It's going to be an oval garden tub. The tub is there but not installed. The tile needed to go first.

Lazy daddy

Daddy sometimes doesn't like to get off the couch to get a drink or turn off the lights. So, he's teaching the boys to do it for him. Here is Alex turning off the lights for daddy. I was really impressed when I saw him do that until I found out that daddy taught it to him.

If only Chris would teach them something really useful like washing dishes or doing laundry. Wait, I'd settle for them just going potty on their own!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

And then we were four

One year ago (yesterday) we brought our boys home from Russia. It was Thanksgiving day. Our flight from Moscow was fairly empty and we got two rows of three seats across so we had tons of room. Unfortunately our flight got in late so we missed our connection at JFK and had to spend the night. That meant that we didn't actually get home until the 23rd. I can hardly believe that it's been a year already but at the same time it seems like Alex and Zachary have been with us forever.

We met Alex first. In October 2007 his was the first orphanage we went to. He was in Taganrog, about 1 1/2 hours away from our hotel. He was 23 months old. When they brought him in he was so sad. He opened up a little that day while our Russian speaking doctor examined him. Alex was very good at following directions. We were told that he was a favorite "best boy", he was able to eat with a spoon, could point to body parts and pictures in books, knew animal sounds. We even saw him rocking a baby doll and singing to it (I wish so bad that I had that on camera!) He appeared very healthy and big. We signed the paperwork requesting to adopt him that very day. During our visits on the first and second trip he never seemed very happy. He almost always had a sad face and sometimes even cried. He wanted to go back to his caregivers! It was a little hard for us but we knew that it was a good sign. That means he was attached to his caregivers and could attach to us. We had court on November 9th, which was Alex's second birthday.

This was the first day we met.

It took a peanut butter cracker to get him to sit with us.

This was on our 2nd trip in November 07. Alex kept leaning farther and farther over that I thought he might fall off the chair. His caregivers gave him the pink sticky candy thing to try to cheer him up.

Zachary's orphanage was in Rostov where we were staying. When we met Zachary he was a ball of energy! Other than a quick little cry when he was first plopped in our lap he warmed right up. He loved to be tickled and played with. We were told that he was standing and trying to walk but by the next month he was cruising. We wonder if he could walk already and we just didn't try. They also told us that he was very active and must be watched at all times! Also that he loves attention, especially from adults. Zachary was a small fry and had 6 teeth when we met him at 15 months old. Despite his size, the doctor thought he was healthy. So, we signed the paperwork for Zachary on our second visit.

This was our first visit with Zachary. He had really short crazy hair.

They always seemed to have Zachary in a cap. We joked that it was to cover that hair!

Zachary and daddy on our 2nd trip walking outside.

After our court hearing on the second trip we decided to stay in Rostov during our 10 day appeal period. We got to visit with the boys often during this time and also got to see some of the city. At the end of the 10 days we picked up the boys and flew to Moscow. Of course Alex cried when we got him but once we were out of the orphanage he completely changed. That very first night in our hotel as a family Alex was smiling and playing. We spent a total of three nights in Moscow. The boys got into everything they could and ate everything they could. The only thing they didn't do is sleep. Boy were we tired when we got home! Zachary would only sleep when someone was holding him and standing up.

I am so happy and proud to be their mama!

Finally home

We finally made it to our house today. Our trip home began on Friday. When everybody was still a little under the weather we thought we'd head back Saturday but then decided when we woke up on Friday to go ahead and come. We knew we'd have to make it a two day trip and spend the night somewhere. That somewhere was in Kansas. We got to my mom's house last night around 6 pm or so but decided to stay there. I didn't think the boys would let me put them back in the car for the hour ride to our house. We came to our actual house this morning. The trip home was a rough one. Alex still did very well but wasn't completely well health wise. We had to make one emergency stop for him on the first day. Zachary just wasn't happy at all. I think he knew how long the ride was going to be and wanted to voice his opinion the entire way. Thank goodness for a few naps. We had a good overall trip, I guess. We didn't get to do much of anything outside of the house due to rain or illness but got to visit which was the main point of the trip.

Did I say how GLAD I am to be back home, though?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Anything girls can do

boys can do better!

Wear a cozy shawl.
Rock out a cool witch costume.
Wear a jaunty witch hat.

I know they're going to hate these pictures when they're older but what do you expect with older girl cousins/sister around? There's girl stuff everywhere!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Simple pleasures

Zachary thinks it's pretty cool that Aunt Joey's house has air vents on the floor. The problem is trying to keep him from sticking fingers in there.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The sick house

Sorry no pictures today. I have very little energy. A nasty bug is going around this house. It started with my younger niece when we first got here. She kinda gets it alot so we had no idea it would spread. Then yesterday morning my little nephew got it. Then last night my mom and me. Alex and Zachary are a little bit puny and Alex hasn't been eating well but so far, not too bad. I won't go into details. Today we all layed around the house as much as we could. My poor sister had to feed my kids for me while I moped on the couch. Now she's not feeling so great so I may have to return the favor tomorrow. I never even got a shower today - yuck. This is the first stomach bug that I've had since the kids came home and I'm really praying that they don't get it in full force. I'm doing quite a bit better now but am just drained. I got very little sleep last night and think I'll turn in early tonight as soon as I'm sure my bedmate (Alex) is fast asleep.

Monday, November 17, 2008

My frostbitten toes

Got a little story for ya, Ags. This morning after my sister left to take the girls to school my mom decided to jump in the shower while I watched the three boys. No biggie. Then the dog (a cute little Westie named Spencer) started barking and standing at the door. So I let him out. There is no fence in the backyard but they let him out without a leash all the time. He's pretty good about coming back when called, usually. So the boys and I watched Spencer do his job and he trotted around the yard a bit. Then he started to walk to the fence line separating their neighborhood from the one behind them. A man behind the fence came out with a large bird flapping on his arm (I'm talking like a hawk or something) and was putting it in a shed like building. Spencer gets right up on the fence and starts barking at them. At this point I have walked outside in my pajamas - barefoot - am and calling for the dog.

He doesn't come.

I clap my hands and continue to yell.

He doesn't come.

I say the magic word - biscuit.

He doesn't come.

I try all three "Spencer, biscuit, biscuit, biscuit!" (while clapping).

He actually walks away.

Now I can't even see him anymore because he's walked around the back of the neighbors house. I poke my head back inside and yell at my mom to watch the boys. I know she can't hear me but don't care. I run out in the damp grass and 30 something degree morning still in my pajamas to get this darn dog. On the other side of the neighbors house is a road. Oh, no! I just know that the dog has run into traffic and has been hit and my sister will never forgive me that I've killed her dog while she was gone! I finally spot him around the corner and grab him before he can run any farther. I carry him all the way back to the house. My feet are tingling and hurt because they are so cold. When I get to the house I drop the dog and wrap my feet up in a cover. The boys are fine but as I expected my mom never heard me and didn't come down. I felt sure I had frostbite on my toes but the did finally thaw and now I'm good as new. I'm not talking that dog out without a leash again though.

I love babies

but if I ever say I want five or six of them please stop me. Unless of course there is a nice big age gap between them all. (For those of you with that many or more kids - I admire you.) Five kids ages six & under - three still in diapers....whew! Don't even get me started on the mess. The toys on the floor in this picture are nothing compared with the tornado that has apparantly hit the basement play room. We are having lots of fun visiting with my sister and her kids but I'm glad that we have three adults to baby wrangle. We tried to take more pictures yesterday with the kids dressed up for church. As you can see, we had an unhappy child again and a power struggle about who got to sit where. However, the above mentioned child was happy once she was the center of attention and smiled sweetly.
Just the boys! Of course one is trying to run away and Alex is not even looking.
Today is Hannah's fourth birthday! She got to take cupcakes to preschool and we are having a little family birthday party tonight.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The almost sleepover

We're having a good time here in Iowa (even if it is cold). We got a little snow this morning but it didn't stick. It just meant that it was still too wet to play outside. I had the bright idea today to line up all the kids for pictures. Whoa, five mostly toddler kids do not want to cooperate for pictures! It started out with Hannah (in the middle) crying and ended up with Alex not wanting to smile and Owen (on the end) getting very excited and jumping up and running to us after every shot. After many, many pictures were taken these were the best. Maybe we'll try again another time. Last night my nieces decided that they wanted to have a sleepover with Alex and Zachary. We told them that the boys were too little (as is their little brother) and that we didn't think it would work. The girls were very upset. We finally made them happy by saying that tonight we would have an "almost" sleepover. We ate leftover pizza and pasta, popped popcorn, and watched a movie in PJ's down in the playroom. The girls picked The Little Mermaid. I think they had a good time for the most part except that my boys kept stealing the girls food and they didn't really watch much of the movie. They spent most of their sleepover playing with toys. Oh well. The girls were happy and everybody got to bed pretty close to on time. (Poor little Owen didn't join in the fun. He had to stay upstairs with the women and the dog.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

We made it

We're here in Iowa and it only took us....

get ready for this......

16 1/2 hours to get here! Yes you read right. The trip that my parents made in about 13 hours took us much, much longer. We didn't count on the fact that my parents were able to run in and out of stores on potty breaks and eat lunch and dinner in the car. It took us almost an hour to eat hamburgers at a fast food place! Plus loading and unloading two kids, who had to have their shoes put back on every time they needed out, getting them to try to potty and change diapers. Well, you get the picture. We did drive it in one day though. The boys were pretty great. I was so surprised that there was very little fussing. They napped once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Zachary then fell asleep around 9 at night and went in and out of sleep for the next hour or so, fussing every time he woke up. That was the worst of it. They watched two movies in the car but not until late afternoon.

We're having fun here. It's been raining so we haven't got to play outside in the cold or anything yet. I know it's hard to believe (I can hardly believe it myself) but I've only taken one picture so far and it's not even good enough to post. I'm sure I'll take more this weekend when my oldest niece is not in school and the five kids (ages ranging from 20 months to 6 years) are all together.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

On the road again

My mom, the boys, and I leave on a road trip to visit my younger sister in Iowa bright and early tomorrow morning. She's lived there for about two years and I've never been there. Her husband is going to be out of town so we're going to keep her and her three kids company for about ten days. Chris would've liked to come with us but it's not a good time for him to leave work. He did take my car in for me to get serviced today. I'm almost packed. We're heading to my mom's tonight (about an hour away) so we can get an early start in the morning. I have no idea how the boys will do on this ~ 13 hour trip. I'm a little scared. Cross your fingers for well-behaved boys!

Monday, November 10, 2008

New house update

Today we picked out carpet, kitchen back splash tile, and master bathroom shower & tub surround tile. It didn't take too long to pick colors but it did take a little while to pick exactly how we wanted the tiles layed out. The house is really coming along. I think that the only thing left for us to pick will be the front door. We received the permit for our septic system today so that should be going in this week. We got cabinets! It's finally starting to look like a house inside with the walls being textures and the cabinets in. Plus the interior doors and trim, baseboards, and crown molding are all in.

This is one half of the kitchen cabinets. I can't wait to see the stainless steel appliances installed. You can see the opening for the oven and microwave on the far right.
The master bathroom cabinets are a color called "smoke". We will have his and her vanities. This one is mine with the linen cabinet beside it.

This is a little peek at the stained concrete in the entry way. The master bathroom will be this same pattern. These two colors will be on all the concrete throughout the house. These floor are mostly still covered to help protect them. We can only see bits and pieces where it was pulled from the wall to install the baseboards.Our builder still says we should be in by Christmas but it may be close.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Alex turns three!

Today is Alex's third birthday. On this day last year we were in court in Russia. Unfortunately, we couldn't see Alex that day because he was too far away. We didn't get to see him until three days later and he was very uninterested in the gift that we brought. Chris had to open and play with it but Alex still never cared. This year was way different. We had a birthday party at a place called Jungle Java. It's a fun place and all we did was bring our own cake. We had a total of eight kids, including ours. An owie on the nose doesn't keep Alex from running and playing. We've been talking about Alex's birthday for the last week (actually off and on since Zachary's in July) so I'm kinda glad it's here and over!

Alex got tons of great gifts but these Incredible Hulk hands are too funny on these little guys!

Alex's nose is still a bit swollen and bruised. He pulled off the steri strip last night and yesterday during his nap. We just keep putting a new one on and hope for the best. It doesn't seem to hurt.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Our first emergency room trip

It was bound to happen sooner or later with two little boys in the house. Tonight after dinner and baths the boys were playing in the living room while we watched a little T.V. They tend to get rowdy in the evening before bed and were being loud and running around. I asked them to stop running several times. The next thing we know - - wham! Alex hit the bridge of his nose on the coffee table. It did bleed but not too bad and we stopped it quickly. But it did leave a gap and swelled up fast. The whole thing is about a half an inch across and is on the bridge of his nose between his eyes. Chris thought he didn't need a doctor and put a steri strip on it. I wanted to take him to the emergency room just in case and because it's on his face. Even if they didn't think it needed a stitch or two I would rather a doctor tell me that. So, I iced his nose while Chris called his mom who is a nurse. She said that she would take him too. So, Chris bundled him up, grabbed his insurance card and left. I'm not with my poor hurt baby. It makes me sad. I definitely didn't want to take Zachary to what could be hours sitting in the emergency room but Chris just decided to go and I somehow got left at home. They are there now. They've been gone only about an hour so I haven't heard anything yet. I did take a few pictures before they left. By the way, after the inital crying Alex acted fine so I don't think he's in major pain or anything.

So, before I hit the publish button on this post Chris called. They are already finished at the emergency room. They had absolutely no wait. Alex didn't get any stitches and the doctor didn't even want to take off Chris's steri strip. They said he did a good job. They did finally take it off to clean out the wound when Chris told them all we did was dab it with a wet paper towel but then they put another back on. The doctor said if would have less of a scar without a stitch. We are to leave the same steri strip on for seven days and give him Motrin or Tylenol for the swelling. We will also have an oral antibiotic.

Chris and Alex are home now (we live very close to the hospital) and Alex is jabbering away showing me his Spiderman stickers that they gave him and telling me that he was a good boy. He asked to watch T.V. (I think he just doesn't want to go to bed.) so I told him he could have five minutes with daddy before bed.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My baby's going to school!

Whaaa!!!! I didn't think I'd be "loosing him" at the age of three but Alex is going to start school. We met with our elementary school and talked about Alex starting there for speech (mostly) services. He's got 30 days of temporary service until his full evaluation at the end of the month. We happen to be leaving on a trip (to visit my sister in Iowa) next week so Alex won't actually start until December 1st. Then he'll be going two mornings a week 7:30 - 11:45.

He'll eat lunch at school.

He'll be eligible to ride the bus.

The bus thing is a little scary but they said all kids love it and I don't doubt that. They'll even have car seats and everything for the little ones. I'll probably drive him the first day, follow the bus on the second day, and then let him go. Then I won't have to wake Zachary up early every day. Even though I'm a little bit sad I think it will be good. I was half way thinking about finding a mothers day out for a couple times a week and this way I'll only have to pay for one kiddo! Alex will only be at this school for 3-4 weeks until we move but everything will be in place and ready for a school transfer and we won't have to go through all the testing again. I don't think he'll have a problem with the change. I'll let you know how mama does.

Time change troubles

Am I the only one who doesn't like this time change? I know it'll be better soon but for now it stinks. I am so tired at night (have you noticed my lack of night time blogging?) that I fall asleep on the couch and have to drag myself upstairs to bed. Then to make matters worse, the boys wake up a half hour earlier than usual. I think that's due to having much more light in their room in the morning. I never did put a curtain on their bedroom window because I thought Zachary would play with it (his bed is right under the window). Now since the house is on the market I didn't want to add anymore things or put any more holes in the walls. I might have to reconsider.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Another reason for boys

This is what I came home to this afternoon after running an errand.
The boys got soaked but had so much fun helping daddy. Now that's what I like to see!

November is...

Adoption Awareness Month
Alzheimer's Disease Month
American Diabetes Month
(and lots more)

and on a lighter side

Peanut Butter Lovers Month
Apple Month

November 6th is National Men Make Dinner Day
November 15th is National Adoption Day

I am totally prepared to celebrate on November 6th but sadly Chris has already told me that he doesn't recognize that holiday.

I also think it's pretty cool that we'll celebrate our 1st Gotcha Day in National Adoption Awareness Month.