Monthly Archives: April 2012

Mr. D is 5

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Happy birthday Mr. D. You are now five years old and no longer can I classify you as my baby, or my toddler, or even as my little man….You are officially a big kid.

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You can do so many things that you couldn’t or just wouldn’t do before.

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You have started showing an interest in the arts!  You have very specific tastes and can advise your big sister on what and how she should create things for you.

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You have ventured out of your comfort zone and tried skiing this year.  Mommy is so proud of how hard you tried and she hopes that this will become a life long love.

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We know that this will be the summer of swimming for you.  You were so close to be independent last summer.  All you have to do is get the courage to put your head underwater and you are on your way to being a fish.

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You have been so helpful in the greenhouse with mommy.  Making friends with all your favorite plants.  You will grow up to be a great gardener one day, with all the tender care you give.

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As always, you love to make your family laugh.  With the silly songs and made up games.  With the funny costumes and the crazy dances.  You bring joy into our house and our hearts.  You are so sweet and sensitive.  You don’t like to hear arguments or people fighting.  I hope this trait will always remain with you.

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To my lovely boy.  You are a true gift to us.  A child who should not have been born. A miracle to us.  You have had your difficulties, but with hard work you are overcoming them.  You are trying more food, even if they have to be covered in ketchup.  You are being more adventurous and becoming more independent.   You ride the bus to school and stay all day.  You are interested in learning and now know all your letters and numbers.  You can write your name with some help and show improvement daily.  You are kind.  You show compassion to those classmates who need more help then you.  You are the first to share, even your favorite “kitty kat bars.”  You are a wonderful little brother and will become a great big brother soon.  Daddy and I love you with all our hearts and we are thankful to have you as our son!

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Surviving a girls weekend!

Let me start off this post with a picture of my two weekend companions…

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Yes, I had a girls weekend with Ms. A and her Bestie.

No fun adult drinks, mani and pedicures, masages, or fancy restaurants. Yep, this weekend was full of dancing, waiting around while others danced, snacking of junk food, swimming in an over chlorinated pool, and eating the healthiest fast food possible.

This was the weekend we traveled to Pittsburgh for an “On Stage New York” dance competition. Ms. A has been in poor spirits about the competition. She is smart enough to realize you can only score what your poorest dancer in the group can achieve. With this in mind, I gave her a quick pep talk about trying your best, what a great learning experience, blah..blah…blah. She didn’t buy it. I really don’t blame her.

So…what have I learned about taking a road trip with two “almost” ten year olds. By all means, don’t think that they can be navigators. I have no idea what I was thinking when I assumed they would be able to direct me to our location. I am laughing about it now…..but I was just a little white knuckled when driving a few days ago. For those who are not familiar with Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it is quite a large city among hills and is impossible to navigate for ten year olds. At least, that’s my opinion.

After a few turn arounds and a two hour drive turn into a three, we made it to the dance center.

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We still had plenty of time to get ready, so we decided to take in a few performances. I enjoy ballet, tap, jazz, and even acro (a type of freestyle dancing with heavy influences of gymnastics). BUT….I can’t stand Hip Hop. Ms. A knows not to ever ask me to try this genera of dance. Here are these little girls dressed up as gangsters with serious attitudes, gyrating on stage.

Never in a million years would I allow this! I am sure some feel it’s a form of expression. I see it as a display of disrespect and anger. Not at all age appropriate.

Anyhow, after a few of those performances, I had a slight headache coming on. But wait….it only got better….in this competition they allow singing…..I was at my breaking point listening to some of these acts. When there was a pause between acts, I grabbed the girls and literally ran for the dressing room.

Being an expert at side buns, I’ll try to post my accreditation soon, I got Ms. A ready with time to spare. The moms of the group then tried to get girls to practice before the performance. The little ones in the group were just being silly and Ms. A started rolling her eyes. I did a quick whisper of don’t worry about it and just do your best.

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Ms. A is third from the left…as you can see she is the second oldest in the group. I have learned there is a big difference between girls who are 8 and those that are 10.

They did a little better this time. Scoring a High Silver (the ratings are silver,high silver,gold, high gold, platinum).

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Eight hours of watching can really wear you out and we were happy to head to the hotel. This time I reviewed my map-quest directions and had the girls read out each step. We managed….but I am getting a GPS next trip!

The girls and I had a quick dinner at a very overpriced restaurant located in the hotel….I didn’t have enough courage to get back in the car and drive around searching for a place to eat.

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We then headed to the pool.

You have to love hotel pools. You can find them by following the fumes of the chlorine. The girls meet up with some other team members and had a great time. Screaming and splashing like a bunch of wild people. We, parents, were trying to stay dry and not get overwhelmed by the chlorine. When my eyes started to swell shut, I gave them the five minute warning and we were off to our room for showers and bed.

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The girls were exhausted, along with me. I think I fell asleep when my head hit the pillow. They probably giggled the night away.

The next morning while I was packing up the girls asked if they could go to the garden. I am such a mother hen, but this time I said OK. I gave them the key, told them to stick together, and not to talk to strangers…..a few minutes later I get a call on my cell phone….Ms. A has just gotten her own phone and loves to call me with updates.

Look out the window she tells me.

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There are the maniacs, waving away, having great fun!

Our trip is slowly creeping to the end. The big finish to our girls weekend was a stop in the IKEA store. We don’t have one around our neck of the woods, so we were very excited. I had done some online shopping and knew what I was looking for. Ms. A and Bestie had some spending money, so they were game. After a fun morning of shopping, we loaded up the car and decided to head for home. This time I put the direction in my iPhone and told the girls their navigation services were no longer required.

I asked the girls what the best part of the girls weekend was. They replied swimming in the pool and playing in the garden. They then asked me what I liked…..

I reflected on it….This being the first time in my life that I went on an overnight adventure to a place I had never been before…without another adult to back me up….I made it safely to all locations…..had packed all the necessities…was able to time manage correctly….was able to feed all of us….provide shelter…..and entertainment….and make it back home.

I answered….being with you two!

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Baseball with Mr. D

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Yes, this is my one of many attempts to get this kid moving. Mind you, he didn’t start walking till he was two and was in ankle stabilizers to get him steady. He has been in physical therapy since twelve months and he currently gets his PT services in his preschool class at Ms. A elementary school. He has moved out of the clunky ankle stabilizers and now just wears custom orthotics and really good shoes.

I try just about everything to get him to work on his balance, strength, and that coordination. This winter he tried downhill skiing. He had some success due to working one on one with his coach and wearing the stiff ski boots. Soccer was a big mess. He had lots of fun running around, but kicking the ball and running was just a little to much to do at the same time. Gymnastics was terrible. He had no balance because he needed to go barefoot in the gym. Plus he was the only little boy in a class full of super tiny and coordinated little girls. It made for a depressing class.

I now make a game out of everything to work on those much needed skills. We jump over the lines and cracks in parking lots. Skip and gallop whenever we get a chance. Hop off curbs, little walls, you name it. I encourage climbing on everything, but he is no daredevil. Mr. D gets frustrated quickly and now he notices what other kids are doing and that he is just not there yet.

So today was our first attempt at good old baseball. A very age appropriate skill that he needs to master to be able to play with his peers. With coupon in hand, we set off to our local sporting good store to find a left handed mitt (we think), bat, and whiffle balls. He seemed excited and I tried my best. That’s me in the background with the pink vest trying to keep Nala from stealing the balls. All was going well until Hubby beaned him in the head. The tears and drama started and baseball was over.  As Tom Hanks would say, “There is no crying in Baseball!”

Right now we are taking a much needed break with some Pringles and juice. Maybe we’ll try his bike next. At least he’ll have his helmet on.

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Rainy Day with books

It’s a rainy day today. Kind of cold and damp. A day that I don’t feel like doing anything but curling up with a blanket and a book. I love reading. I could spend hours just sitting and reading, neglecting all the things that need to get done. I’ll read anything and everything presented to me. I will even suffer through a bad book, hoping for it to get better. I can’t get myself to give up and not complete a book that I started. If an author spent all that time to write their book and work to get it published, I feel I should give it a complete chance. There have been many occasions that my theory was proved wrong, but others have surprised me. Such as……

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This series was a difficult read. It took forever to get involved with the characters and plot. The topic was quite intense and not my normal choice, but overall an interesting read after suffering though the first several hundred pages.

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After seeing the musical Wicked, I was introduced to this series. A great interpretation of the other side of fairy tales. Very imaginative and creative of the author. I had to read them all once I started the series.

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Hubby picked the TWILIGHT series up for me two winters ago when I was feeling under the weather. I was never into vampires and such, but my opinion has changed. It was a fun read with romance and conflict. I was excited about the movies, but was let down. Those movies never seem to capture what the book tells.

Ms. A is a crazy a ferocious reader. She has long passed her grade level and has been reading books from the teen section for several years now. Although I allow her to choose her material, I also read it to make sure we are still in the age appropriate level. She has introduced me to some great series meant for kids, but fun reads for adults. Reading and sharing books with each other has become “our” thing to do together.

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I just finished…

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Really enjoyed the books. I was able to read them all within a week and couldn’t put them down. I found it way to intense for kids and I even question if teenagers should read this series without a discussion group to follow up with. The movie was very violent. It stayed mostly true to the book, but was missing the whole social commentary that the book focused on.

I currently am reading…

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All thanks to my in laws for a birthday gift card to my local book store…THANKS AGAIN! No one in our house will turn down a trip to the bookstore. This is an interesting series involving dragons and magical creatures and the battle between good and evil. So far I have enjoyed this fun read.

As you can see my selections are all over the place. I use to follow Oprah’s book club just because I didn’t know where to start looking when I entered the library. All those choices can be a bit overwhelming. I now usually look at the best seller list or anything that has won an award. Don’t get me wrong, we spend a lot of time in the library, but Ms. A and I do love to buy books to keep at home. I often find her in bed, under the covers with a flashlight and a book, instead of sleeping. I can’t get mad at that. She will have two or three books going at one time. I use to question her about that reading method, but she was able to tell me the story line and details to each one. Go figure.

Mr. D is a whole different story. He is just starting to show some interest in books. He loves to be read to and will sit down with any book containing animals. He now was a firm grasp on all his letters and sounds. I think this will be the summer he figures out that those letters on the page can open some wonderful doors.

I think I better get back to my book!

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Adoption update for April

China has done four days of matching this month.

China stats – September 4, 2006

Our LID – September 22, 2006

That means “18 days” to go. Honestly, I am very disappointed in the low numbers. I was so hoping for a larger matching group. 18 days doesn’t seem like a lot, but it could drag out another year at this rate. I had started to get really excited with the huge group last month. We dug out the clutter in the nursery and re established it as a usable room. One of my BFFs sent out a huge load of baby clothes to sort though. I took stock of all the bottles and baby supplies and organized them back into our kitchen. I even clipped some coupons for diapers and such. Once again, I got ahead of myself. It’s almost like riding a roller coaster with all the ups and downs.

Since our adoption agency is out of state, we have a local social worker, not affiliated with them, who then relays all our info to them. It’s not the ideal situation, but it’s the path we picked. She, the social worker, is coming out on May 2nd to redo our home study….. AGAIN…. We have known her for six years now. Ms. A had just turned four and Mr.D was not even in the picture. She has now become a friend and advocate for us and due to the new regulation with China, we will continue our visits for five years after placement.

Our actual adoption agency does not really know us. They do a fine job. They see our paperwork and our checks and take my calls and emails, but it’s not the same. If I could do it over, I would have found an agency that I could walk into their doors and talk face to face. That is what I have learned from this experience, I need that personal face to face interaction. But that was not available to us, so we are making this work….really there is no other choice.

Why am I rambling on about this. Well, I got a form letter from our agency asking if we were still interested in completing our adoption. I was floored……then my anxiety hit the roof. I thought, why would they send me a letter like this? Is something wrong with our paperwork? Of course I only read it after business hours were over. I couldn’t believe it….almost six years and thousands of dollars and I get a form letter. The next day, as soon as they where open, I put a call in. I got a new girl…of course…..and she was not familiar with my file……go figure….and she would transfer me to someone else……great!

After a very desperate conversation, I told them, YES..YES…YES… we were still planning to adopt and all the updated info was being worked on and would be sent to them.

Take a deep breath!

So, here I am updating the blog instead of working……I need to talk to some friends to rewrite reference letters for the fourth time. Thank goodness they are much beloved. I then need to get online and see what I need to do to get my I-800a forms done. I need to get all my banking work together, schedule doctors appointments to prove we are still healthy, and get the house together for inspection.

But you know what……Baby J, she is worth every bit of it!

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First competition is over!

I took Ms. A out of school early today for her first real dance competition.

Mr. D was lucky to have alternative plans offered to him so that he did not have to attend. I managed to get Mr. D packed for a slumber party with Oma and Opa. His sound machine, special blanket, stuffies, pj’s, movies, and clothes for the next day. I am crossing my fingers that he will behave. Opa plans on taking him out to breakfast. Good luck with that…he is so not a morning kid.

I then packed up Ms. A’s dance gear, cooler, and camping chair in the car. This is routine now. I feel like I know what I am doing. I got the timing down perfectly, the hair done up to dance bun standards, and the lashes glued on without glueing eyes open or shut. Not bad….

We were in our assigned dressing room ready to go…..and then we waited…..waited…..waited some more. I couldn’t believe how bored I was of just waiting. No cell reception and the goldfish crackers were calling out to me. The girls finally get called up and we moms went to find a seat in the auditorium. The song starts and the girls come out. Mind you, last time at the preview show, I was backstage and unable to see the dance, so this was my first time seeing them perform.

I was speechless…they were all over the place. Even though I had never seen the dance in its entirety, I knew they were off. Yes, they were one of the youngest groups, but wow, I was surprised.

What got me afterwards was all the complements they received from their dance teacher and other parents. I couldn’t believe it. You would have thought they just performed the best ever dance the way people talked to them. I am all for praising kids, but only if they really deserve it.

Ms. A meet me in the hall and I asked her how she felt she did. She shrugged and then thought a bit. She then mentioned some things her group could have done better. I then congratulated her on being on stage in front of all those people. We then went back to the dressing room, got out of costume, and went to watch the other dancers.

Four hours later….yes….four hours….the first day of competition was done. They gathered all the girls on stage and started handing out awards. Each performance got rated and the scale was Silver, Gold, High Gold, and Platinum. I was not expecting much. Ms. A and her group scored a Silver. I went back to the dressing room to meet up with her. Curious to see her reaction.

She made me so proud. There was no pouting or crying. She was excited for the high results her fellow competition team members received. She then showed me her Silver medal. I told her what a great first experience and she could only go up from this.

I just sent her to bed. Her face freshly scrubbed. Her gear stashed away for next weekend. Her medal proudly hanging from her closet door.

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Nala, you’re driving me crazy!

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How can someone weighing just under 80lbs and look so beautiful with that red ridge, cause so much chaos! Granted, you were in your crate this morning while I went to visit Oma. But that doesn’t mean you can be a crazy girl when I get home.

Between digging for something in my newly mulched flower beds, to tearing my palm trees into shreds. You are out of control. I tried to reign you in with a nice walk, but your attraction to the neighborhood squirrels are going to get me hit by a car. In the house you start to play your keep away game with the laundry, shoes, dish rag, and do I even mention it….Mr.D’s beloved cougar. Shame on you! Hiding under the table and jumping over the couch. Always just out of reach. Not even responding to your favorite word “treat”.

I think you hit my sanity limit when at dinner I saw you eating from the pan of Mac & Cheese that I just set on the table to feed the kids. Why, oh why, must you counter surf. I feed you three meals a day and plenty of treats in between. I have enough problems keeping the kitchen clean, I don’t need all the extra work of sanitizing after you made your rounds.

Hubby is home and you are so calm and behaving. Laying so nicely on your bed. He is giving you pats for being such a good girl.

I know your game….Just wait….Hubby is on his own this weekend….you can’t be good that long…. He’ll get a taste of your craziness!

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