Tuesday, July 31, 2007

July 31, 2007

We have had an exciting past few days around here, not all of it in a positive way.

My last post was on Thursday, when Ben was running a low-grade temp and I was looking forward to spending Friday with my mom and sister. Ben's temp was gone on Friday so we're thinking it was just teething. I had a nice time with my mom and sister, although it was hard to go shopping for wigs. She found one that she really like and it looked very nice on her and she also found a couple of nice scarves that she liked.

Here's where the fun begins. Friday evening, I went into our bedroom to take my little break and the boys were playing with their daddy. I noticed I was feeling achy and was thinking I was probably coming down with whatever Ben had. When I went back to the living room to start getting the boys ready for bed, I was shivering pretty badly so I knew the fever was coming on. We did a very quick bedtime routine and, by the time we got downstairs, I was shaking uncontrollably.

The shaking went on from about 8:00 pm until around 11:00 pm and my fever just kept going up, up, up. The last time we took it, before the ambulance came, it was at 104.9 and the right side of my chest was hurting so badly when I took a breath that I was hyperventilating. I felt like I could not get enough air and it hurt really badly and I was scared.

This was my first ride in an ambulance and I wouldn't recommend it. It was miserable, especially because I was in so much pain. I could not even move. They had to lift me onto the gurney, which was very painful. They kept assuring me that I was getting enough air, my blood oxygen level was fine and I needed to focus on slowing down my breathing and taking deep breaths. Easy for them to say. I could not take a deep breath because it hurt too badly.

At the ER, they ended up cutting off my shirt because I was in too much pain to move. They were very nice about it and protected my modesty with a gown, unlike those TV shows where they just cut everything off and let them lie there naked on the table (but, then again, I had not just been shot in a gang fight).

Turns out I have a bad case of pneumonia. Approximately two nights before this all began, I was lying in bed (probably typing on my laptop) and somehow (don't ask me how) I aspirated whatever saliva that was in the back of my throat and it apparently went deep enough into my lungs to cause this whole fiasco.

I came home today and am very tired and weak, still in some pain, not able to take very deep breaths (but much better than Friday night) and still running a low-grade fever. I didn't sleep well at the hospital, especially last night, so that has not helped in my recovery.

I have 9 holes (well, not really holes, but bruises, sores, whatever you want to call them) in my left arm/wrist/hand and six in my right, three of them from IV's, the rest from blood draws (and mistakes...but I have very difficult veins) and a few more in my stomach for something they were giving me so that I would not get blood clots while I was unable to get up and around (I insisted (begged) that they cancel that order this morning, before they stuck me again).

I am taking a pretty serious antibiotic to cover the pneumonia and also some other, very odd, psudeomonas (?sp) infection that showed up in my first blood sample. That has them very stump because it is pretty rare and they would normally not expect to see that unless the person had been on a ventilator. I think we all decided it was a fluke and, most probably from a contaminated blood draw although, even then, it is very very rare. So that is just a freaky thing (actually, this whole thing was a freaky event). They even sent an infectious disease doctor to talk to me about it yesterday, just to be on the safe side. It never showed up again though, so that is good news.

To make the situation a bit more complicated, my husband is doing his two weeks on-call at the hospital right now, so he has to do hospital rounds everyday, even Sat and Sun. My sister raced up here on Friday night to stay with the boys Friday night and on Saturday and a neighbor rushed over until she got here. A friend from a Bible study I was in stayed with them on Sun and Mon. My niece, Jana, came last night and will be staying with us for a while, which is such a blessing. My sister dropped her off, along with a meal that she cooked and another meal that a friend of hers cooked for us.

When I got home from the hospital the boys were just waking up from their naps (not downstairs yet) and I was feeling a bit queasy from this antibiotic so I immediately went to lay down for a few minutes. When I heard them out there, I could not stay in here another minute. I had to go see my boys. I missed them so much and have been worried about them, from an attachment perspective. They were both so happy to see me, it was heart warming. I held them for a while and sat with them while they ate their lunch and then they went off to play so I sneaked away to rest for a little while....and now I am telling you all about it:).

So, that was my hospital adventure. Exciting huh?  Everyone is warning me to be very careful not to over do things. It is going to be hard because, right now, I just feel like lying in bed, yet when I hear my niece tell the boys that "mommy's taking a break" and then hear them crying for me, it breaks my heart. That's what I told her to say because they know what that means and I didn't want them thinking I had left again.

I know they missed me and they missed the consistency we had in our lives for the past 6 months and I still feel that they need that so badly. It worries me...and I want to be with them. I missed them so much. Did I say that already?

I have been very teary eyed today, from feeling so badly and lack of sleep and missing the boys and also my mom started her chemo today. Please keep us in your prayers.

Friday, July 27, 2007

July 27, 2007

Ben woke up from his nap with a fever yesterday. My husband has felt like he was fighting a cold so maybe Ben picked up something from him.

Ben actually slept pretty good last night...better than I did anyway. He woke up crying at 11:00pm and didn't seem that he would be stopping on his own so I went up to him. He stopped as soon as I picked him up and he didn't feel hot so his Motrin was still working. But Nick heard/saw me so he woke up crying too and wanting to be held. I put Ben back into his bed and told them both it was night night time, patted them on the back, told them soothing things, etc. They still screamed and cried when I left. I cringed and waited around and they stopped pretty quickly, thankfully. I heard Ben again around 3:00 (very briefly) and then around 4:00 (a little less briefly, but still somewhat brief), at which time I went upstairs, thinking I would need to give him another dose of motrin, but then I didn't hear him again so I went back to bed, although could not get back to sleep. My husband's alarm went off at 4:45 and I gave up after that.

The boys woke up early this morning, primarily because Ben woke up crying and this time there was not stopping. Once his motrin kicks in, he pretty much acts like normal, which is good.

We went to OKC yesterday for the apostilles for our post placement reports. I will be FedEx-ing them out this morning to arrive on Monday. They are due on Tuesday so we are one day early, which is too close for comfort for me. I learned some lessons from this first report. Next time we will start earlier, I will make sure I have a copy of the SW guidelines with me when the SW comes to my house to discuss how everything is going, I will make sure I get to review the reports in advance and I will make sure to set a target completion date at least two weeks before the reports are due. Hopefully that will allow us to still get them in at least a week in advance, in the event of any issues.

I am almost done reading the Genesis of a Legacy book by Ken and Steve Ham. It is such an excellent book, I will be sad to finish it, will refer to it in the future and likely reread it at some point. I am anxious to look at the other books they have available.

My mom and sister are coming for a visit today and I will be taking my mom to shop for a wig to wear when she loses her hair to the chemo. Her first treatment is Tuesday. I can't think about it too much because it makes me cry. I know that's not what she needs right now so I just have to continue to pray for her and provide encouragement, support and mostly lots of love.

I ran into a lady yesterday at the grocery store who is a three time survivor of breast cancer. She told me a bunch of useful and interesting information, including the name of a good place to shop for a wig nearby. She was very sweet. Her first bout with cancer was when she was 32 years old and nursing one of her children. She has been cancer free now for 5 years. She was very encouraging.

My husband is on call at the hospital for the next two weeks, including weekends, so there will be no rest for the weary for a while:). He has to do hospital rounds every morning so I won't be going to church for two weekends. I can't take a stroller in and it would just be impossible for me to take the boys by myself when they are still this young. If one decided that he was just not going to go (in or out), I would not be able to handle picking them both up. They are so heavy now, I can only carry them both at the same time if I get them from their beds or can sit one of them on the changing table or something and, even then, I can't carry them for very long.

I am hoping that this virus Ben has will pass our home quickly this time and that we won't be shut indoors for a couple of weeks like we were last time.

Well, this was a real cheery post, now was it? It is a very pretty day here and I am looking forward to visiting with my mom and sister today.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

July 25, 2007 Part 2

Nick and Ben, using a fork to eat their PB&J sandwich. They tend to eat more of their sandwich if they use a fork. Not sure if it is because they don't like messy hands or just a fascination with forks and spoons, although Nick does not care for messy hands and wants me to wipe them if he gets something on them.

The boys wanted to play without their shirts on. It was funny. This happened after they had been swimming in the real swimming pool.

Don't they look so big? I can't believe how much they have grown in 6 months. I bought these two pairs of Old Navy jean shorts at a second hand place for $1.30 .... not $1.30 each, but $1.30 for both! That has to be one of the best buys I have ever made.

Nick, showing off his milk mustache and maybe a milk beard too:), after drinking out of his open cup. They enjoy doing this but I only do it maybe once a day or so because they just don't drink as much that way. They end up sipping so they don't spill it and they don't drink enough. So I will keep letting them practice more and more and, eventually, we'll get there. Until then, we use the cups with a lid and straw most of the time.

The boys received a gift last week from a good friend of mine from Houston. She sent them a John Deere barn, that came with a tractor, small wagon to pull behind the tractor, bail of hay, horse, goat (which I thought was a cow at first:) and a rooster. It also came with a field of corn and, when you move the water facet to "water the corn", the corn "grows". Hard to explain but it is really cute.

The boys were anxiously watching dad put it all together and were very excited.

...and maybe a little bummed that it was taking longer than they thought it should:). They have had so much fun with this new toy.

They also have this thing about flashlights. I happened to find one the other day (well, two actually) made for 1.5 years and up. One is shaped like a zebra and the other is shaped like an alligator. When you turn them on, they make cute sounds. The alligator says "chomp chomp chomp mmmmmmmmm yum yum yum". The boys love their new flashlights and these have automatic shutoff mechanisms so hopefully we won't be having to change out the batteries as often as we have been doing for the real flashlights.

July 25, 2007

This morning, the boys learned how to climb the ladder and go down the slide by themselves, with close supervision from mom. It was very cute. They were so excited and, when it was time to come in, Nick had quite the meltdown, which wasn't so cute.

I never seem to get around in time to do much before their 11:00 nap time. So today I thought it would be nice to get them outside to play in the morning, when it was cool, and they would be worn out for nap and would sleep really well. They got worn out alright, but sooner than I anticipated. When we got back into the house, they were both crying and it was pretty chaotic. They calmed down and had their snack and then it was nap time, which was still pretty much on time, but they were not into it at all. Ben ended up hitting his mouth on the crib rail. I heard the "I'm hurt" wail over the baby monitor and rushed upstairs to find him bleeding. I was holding him and dabbing his lip with a kleenex and he was smiling and ready to play again. So I put him back in the crib and they both cried again when I left them. They finally settled down and are still napping, thankfully. I definitely won't be doing this again anytime soon.

I have been wanting to move their nap out so that it is after they eat lunch but they just can't seem to make it that long. They apparently are also not quite ready for a lot of activity before their nap. Whew! I learned my lesson! For now, I will leave well enough alone and continue to give them a hearty snack before their nap and lunch after their nap. Sometimes I feel that I am feeding them lunch twice. But I guess we will go with this for now.

When we were outside playing on Sunday evening, Nick was bitten by a mosquito near the edge of his eye brow and the outer edge of his eye. Monday it looked fine. Yesterday he woke up with a very swollen, red eye lid. It was pretty nasty looking. Doctor dad said it had gotten infected so now Nick is taking an antibiotic. It looked a little better this morning but is still swollen and red. When they played outside in their wading pool yesterday evening, we lit one of those candles that keeps the mosquitoes away. I didn't see any new bites on Nick today, yea!

I had my first physical therapy session for my back yesterday. It went well and the guy really knows what he is doing. He gave me a ton of exercises, of which I will find it a challenge to do each day, because there are sooo many of them. I did them during nap time yesterday and my back hurt worse afterwards. I guess that is to be expected for a while. I will go back in a week. He plans to add more exercises. It has occurred to me that, in order for this to work, I will have to continue to do these "core strengthening" exercises FOREVER. Yuck. I'm so not into this.

I mean, really, how many things can you fit into one nap time??!! I like to eat my lunch when the boys are napping and I like to watch a bit of news and maybe spend a little time on the computer. Sometimes I plan the rest of our day and dinner during this time. And then there is a bit of house cleaning and laundry that sometimes needs to be done and sometimes some outside chores. There is also any phone conversations, because there is just no way to have a decent conversation when the boys are awake. So that includes talking to friends and family and scheduling any appointments to fix something around the house or doctors or whatever (I still have not scheduled an appointment to have my hair highlighted!). And all of this has to be done during a two hour nap!! Some of it can be done in the morning, before they wake up, depending on how long they sleep that day. Some of it can be done in the evening, when my husband gets home. But there is very little time during those two time frames to get anything done. And now, I have to add these exercises that I should be doing twice a day....for the rest of my life! Again, I say Yuck. There is just not enough time in the day to do everything that needs to be done, but I guess that is just the life of a parent, right? Yes, I am still learning.

I am continuing to work on our post placement reports. Our SW made a first stab at them and had finalized them and had them notarized last week. Turns out she left out sections 2 - 4 of the report and she did one report for both boys, which is not acceptable for Russian adoptions. I sent her a list of typos and other corrections that I wanted included, when she redid them, and asked her to email the next version to me for review before finalizing them. She emailed them to our adoption agency for their review but not to me. Our adoption agency wanted my approval before they were OK with them so our SW sent them to me for review. I reviewed them this morning. She had corrected the typos but had not included any of the other things I had requested to section 1. After reviewing sections 2 - 4, I sent her my original list of requested changes for section 1, in addition to a couple of things for sections 2 - 4.

I don't mean to be picky about this post placement report but I was a bit frustrated because we had not even discussed many of the things she wrote. It felt like she was just putting in some canned phrasing, rather than really discussing it with me and putting in something accurate for us. Next time we do our post placement report, I will have a copy of our agency's guidelines in front of me and make sure I talk through each section with her.

Maybe nobody really reads these anyway. I don't know. But if we have to do them and we have to pay to have them done, I feel that it should be accurate and honest, even if that means a little more work.

Monday, July 23, 2007

July 23, 2007

This morning I was awakened by a throbbing thumb. I had a hangnail that had bugged me for a couple of days and I cut it off as closely as possible on Friday or Saturday. Last night when I went to bed, my thumb felt perfectly fine. No soreness at all. This morning it was throbbing so badly all the way up to my wrist, I could not believe it. Following instructions from my doctor husband, I got up and took an antibiotic.

It was so sore all morning, I had a hard time doing many things and bumped it several times, which hurt terribly. It is now noon here and, amazingly enough, the pain in my thumb is almost gone. Is that amazing or what? You really don't realize how much you use your thumbs until something bad happens to one of them. I guess that is true about a lot of things. We take so much for granted.

My mom will have a port put in tomorrow, in preparation for chemo, which will start soon after. She has to have chemo four times in three months. We are disappointed that she has to have it at all but also thankful that she does not have to have it more often. The cancer was an aggressive type of cancer so they are highly recommending that she have the chemo. After the three months is up, she will start 7 weeks of daily (5 days a week) radiation. It is hard to believe, for all of us. She said that she feels like it is a dream or something. It does not feel real. It is something she never expected...none of us did. As common as cancer is these days, it is still one of those things that you never think will happen in your family, especially when it does not run in your family. It is a very sad thing but I am thankful that we have good medicines and therapies at our disposal. We are praying that the chemo will not make her sick.

The boys played in their sandbox yesterday evening, while I was weeding the nearby flower beds. They had a great time. Nick started climbing in and out on his own, which is a bit of a feat, since one must climb over a row of large rocks to get to the sandbox. He was having fun climbing on the rocks. So Ben decided it looked like fun and he wanted to try too. He is not quite as physically coordinated yet so it was a bit harder for him. He fell a couple of times and I had to go help him up. They played in their little pool after the sandbox and were climbing in and out of that too.

They are just so in to climbing everything now and especially wanting to try to climb up and down stairs upright, like adults do. They are very close to being able to do this. They can go up but down is a bit scary. If we had a stair rail they could reach, I think they could do it. Nick can now open most doors in the house but not the ones that go outside, thankfully. Although I am happy that he is hitting these physical milestones on track, I find this accomplishment somewhat annoying:).

It's hard to believe Ben will be 2 years old in September. Wow, time flies by so fast. I didn't think this the first couple of months they were home but now I feel it.

We left them in their nursery class again at church on Sunday. Nick cried for a few minutes. We stood around the corner and listened for a few minutes and he stopped before too long. The caregivers said both the boys had fun playing and did fine while we were gone. They did not cry when we picked them up but were happy to see us. Nick saw me first and ran towards the door saying "momma momma". When Ben saw me, he got a huge smile on his face and then looked past me, wondering where his daddy was. It was cute.

They are both still eating really well and they eat just about anything. I keep waiting and wondering when this will change. I'm expecting it sometime within the next 6 months or so. We'll see.

They are using words more and more to ask for things, rather than whining. Yesterday, Ben wanted something that he could not reach in the toy basket. He came over to me and said "mama, pweeeze", with a big grin on his face. It was the first time that he remember to do this totally on this own. That is a very rewarding experience. I love to hear them talk. Sometimes, when Nick wakes up first, I'll hear him over the baby monitor, singing in his crib. There are not recognizable words but he is definitely singing and it sounds so sweet.

Friday, July 20, 2007

July 20, 2007

Wow, what a day! My husband was off today so we planned a family outing. We packed up a ton of stuff and headed up towards "the farm", where many in my family live. There is a gated community near there on the lake, which has a very nice pool and to which my brother and his family have access, along with their guests (us).

Today was the first day our sons got to swim in a real swimming pool. Woo hoo! Unfortunately, nobody remembered to bring a camera:(.

My sister, nephew and niece joined us and we really had a great time. We had bought life jackets for the boys but we only used them for about half the time we were there. They kept riding up, they were cumbersome and we were holding them the whole time so we took them off after a while.

Ben was a bit cautious at first but it didn't take him long to start enjoying himself. Nick was laughing and excited from the time we arrived until the time we left. Both boys enjoyed standing on the side of the pool and stepping in, almost like jumping but not quite. They haven't learned to jump yet.

After swimming, we went to a local hamburger place to get a bite to eat. My brother, dad (Papa) and step-mom (Mimi) joined us. The boys enjoyed seeing their Papa and Mimi. After eating, we went for a quick visit with my grandmother. My uncle (dad's brother), Aunt and cousin were there, so we were able to visit with them for a little while too, which was an added bonus.

After that, we stopped by my dad's farm and took the boys for a four-wheeler ride. They enjoyed it but, by this time they were getting verrrry tired. Nick had slept about 20 or 30 minutes on the dive to the farm and Ben had not slept at all. Normally they would have had at least a 2 to 3 hour nap by this time, so we were on borrowed time, if you know what I mean. After the four-wheeler ride, we went in for a short visit...very short, because the boys were ready to crash by this time.

The trip home is about 90 minutes long, give or take 15 minutes depending on traffic. The boys were asleep within about 10 minutes but we had to stop for gas. We were about half way home when we stopped and they never went back to sleep. We got home, fed them and put them to bed as quickly as possible.

Another opposite for the boys: When Ben gets really really tired, he walks around with little eyes that look like they are going to shut any minute, he plays quietly (normally), he is very stubborn about anything and everything, seems relieved to get into his crib and falls asleep really fast without a whimper. When Nick is really really tired, he gets wound up faster and faster, is much more volatile with his moods and gets upset over the smaller thing, is upset about having to get into his crib (which is also the case a lot of times when he has had his sleep) and he takes much longer to fall asleep than normal. When they have the amount of sleep they need, Nick normally falls asleep really fast and Ben has a harder time falling asleep.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

July 19, 2007

I think I just invented a new word. I have been thinking lately about introvert moms versus extrovert moms and their introvert and extrovert children. I am an introvert. When I have taken the tests in the past, I have scored just on the border of introvert/extrovert, but on the introvert side. That's when I was working and single. I think when I quit my job and we moved to Oklahoma, I took a deeper dive into introvertedness.

I do enjoy being with people and compete with the best of them, when it comes to talking up a storm. I am also usually pretty good at shooting the breeze with someone I have just met. Many people have been shocked when they have heard me say I am an introvert at heart. I guess I can play the part of an extrovert at times.

I know I am truly an introvert at heart though because, when I have spent a good deal of time with others, I end up feeling tired and I crave alone time to re-energize. My husband is the same way. We have both noticed that Ben seems to be a lot like this too. He is content to play by himself, away from others in the room, and tends to do this after spending a lot of time with others too. On the other hand, Nick seems to be the extrovert of our family. If he and Ben are in the library playing and Ben goes into the living room, Nick will soon follow, walk right over to where Ben is playing and sit down next to him and start playing with something. I have mentioned before that, if Ben is awake and Nick is sleeping, Ben is content to play by himself for a bit and let me get some things done. If Nick is awake and Ben is asleep, Nick wants to hang out with me or for me to play with him.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

July 18, 2007

The latest thing around our house these days is that Nick is very into climbing everything he can. He has figured out that climbing can get him to some pretty good places and he tries to climb pretty much anything now. He can now climb into the chairs at the kitchen table, as well as just about every chair and couch in the house, except for the high chairs at the island and his highchair (but he keeps trying). Actually, I am tired of the high chairs and I really want to get booster chairs so they can sit at the table with us. I think they would really like that a lot too and it might save on my back a bit, especially if they can learn to climb up by themselves. Nick will have no problem and Ben will pick it up soon after he sees Nick do it. On Saturday, I am going to check at this second hand baby store and see if they have any booster seats. I hate to pay full price for stuff like this. We'll keep the high chairs for a little while longer though, just in case we need them. We have friends coming for a visit in a couple of months and they have a little one who might need one.

The other thing is that I am moving the boys away from sippy cups when we are at home. We will still use them when we are out and about but, for here at home, we are done with them. Today I switched them to a cups with lids and straws and, for one meal, a plain old smallish cup with no lid. Nick really liked the regular, no lid, cup the best and I kept having to pour more milk into his cup because he was really into drinking out of it. I only poured a little at a time, maybe two inches, but he did pretty well with it. He only tipped it up too far and got it all over his face once, so that's not bad for a first try. I will be giving them the plain old cup more and more until they become pros with it. I figure we had to do it when we were little, because they didn't have sippy cups, so they can do it too. I'm sure I will have to clean up some messes but, hey, that's what moms do. My number one reason for doing this now is that I know it will help them tremendously with their pronunciation, which they need. Number two is that I don't like cleaning sippy cups and Nick is biting through his cups anyway so I would have to buy more soon. He also bites the straw but those are cheaper:). I think they will do great with regular cups and I'm looking forward to the switch.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

July 17, 2007 Part 3

This is a "happy face". When I ask Nick to show me his happy face, this is what I get, along with an "eeee", of which I am not sure exactly what that is suppose to mean...but it's cute.

Do you think this child loves hats?? He loves to play with hats and wear hats around the house. He had these two hats on for quite a while.

And here is the other happy face. Ben would rather not wear his hat. These little guys are opposites in soooo many ways.

Here is a picture of the boys, sitting on a rug in our bathroom, while mom gets ready for the day. They do very well with this but I have only done it twice so far. My preference is to have my stuff done when they wake up but I am not always that on the ball. This makes for a nice back up plan. We keep lots of little toys in the pictured lock box and they forget to play with them so this makes a good thing to keep them busy for a while.

Sorry for the bad focus in this picture but I could not resist including it. This is Nick, trying to figure out how to put this toe-divider thingy (used for toe nail painting) between his toes. I got quite a kick out of this. Ben did it too but I was not fast enough to get his picture.

So Ben decided to try to balance an octagon on his toe and he was really good at it.

July 17, 2007 Part 2

Six months ago today, we were going to court. For some reason, this has made me very teary eyed this morning. I would never have guessed or began to understand that six months later we would be so very blessed. What a privilege God has given us....and a huge responsibility. I feel incredibly blessed.

Six months seems to be a big milestone for us. The boys seem much more attached than ever, which is to be expected I guess. In the past, when people came to visit and would get ready to leave, the boys would get upset and start crying, as if they thought we were leaving them or someone might take them. It was similar when we went to visit someone else's house, as if they were afraid they might be left behind.

Today, they happily wave and say "dye dye", or something like that. The fear is gone and they seem confident that they are with us for good. They are more comfortable with others and there is true joy when they are playing with our family and friends.

We had been staying with them again, in their class at church since they had been promoted to a new class, new teachers, new kids who are more at their level and able to put up a fight for a toy:). This past Sunday, we left them in their new class for the first time. N started to get a bit uneasy but one of the teachers picked him up and started working a puzzle with him. We kissed them both goodbye and told them we were going to our class but we would be back to get them later. Much to my surprise (shock), neither of them cried at all, the entire time we were gone! And, they did not cry when we came back to get them! Now I will be very surprised it that happens every Sunday, but I think it is a very good sign.

We still get lots of "are they twins" questions, when we are out and about. My niece, who stayed with us for a couple of days recently was surprised at how often the question comes up.  I proudly say, "no, we built our family through adoption and they are six weeks apart".

Our family is gel-ing. We are doing well. God has blessed us richly.

And I will sign off now and get busy with my day, as one of my sons is a bit upset that the three mega blocks he is trying to put together do not match up...two of them are large and one is small and he is upset that they are not all large:).

July 17, 2007

Things are going pretty well these days. The boys are both behaving pretty well and we are all having a lot of fun together. I have noticed that they do better when we are able to get out and do things more often. When we spend too much time in the house, they get bored after a while, understandably. I am thankful that the rain seems to be letting up these days.

We are still working on not throwing things, although they have improved on this quite a bit already. Now they seem to do it more when they are angry or, if they get hurt while playing with a toy, they might throw that toy, or something like that and we have seen very few temper tantrums lately.

The other thing I am working on is teaching them to use words to ask for things, rather than the grunting or, more often than not, whining. We still have a long way to go on this one but they are picking it up. They are already saying peeeze and thank you a lot, which is great, but they are still learning to talk so we are learning as we go. They will say "peeeeeeeeze!" but I am left to wonder "peeeze what?" most of the time. They can say the word but they don't seem to think of it most of the time, meaning they can say "cookie", for instance, but they don't say "peeze cookie", they just say "peeze" and point to the cabinet where the cookies are kept. They are both very smart and quick learners though, so I'm sure it will click soon. Actually, Nick was in his high chair yesterday and said "peeze cracker", which was the first time he had put two words together. I was telling Ben how to ask for a cracker politely when this happened so Nick had a little help, but I was still impressed and pleased to see he picked it up so quickly.

And, on the mom front, I feel that I am doing a better job of being consistent and maintaining my composure these days. Maybe it is a phase but it just feels like something has "clicked" lately. It doesn't mean that I don't get annoyed at times but I just feel more calm and feel that I am handling the situations better. I am also praying more, which is the best thing I can do and I am sure this is why things are better. It feels good. I am enjoying being a mom more than ever and I am loving my boys more than ever.

Monday, July 16, 2007

July 16, 2007 Part 2

Today was busy, as expected, although I did not get as many things done as I had hoped. I went to Walmart, mainly to get the pictures for the post placement report printed. The CD that had the pics on it also had a bunch of other pics that I have printed over the weeks. Unfortunately, I can write to this CD but I cannot delete anything, so there are lots of pics on it.

So, to make it easy, I put all of the pics I needed for the placement report into one folder and copied the folder to the CD. I loaded the CD into the Walmart machine and, no folder. Where's the folder? The machine flattens all of the folders and only shows the files. So the 18 pictures that I needed to print were somewhere amongst the tons of other pictures on the CD. It would have taken me too long to figure out which 18 to print, since I had two toddler boys waiting for me. So, I will be returning to Walmart tomorrow. Oh joy.

I also did not find any decent toddler boy clothes at Walmart, nor did I find a life jacket their size. Three strikes and I'm out. I got my groceries and went home.

On the brighter side, I planted the four little plants and even bought a bag of mulch from Walmart and mulched them too. That was a big accomplishment, considering how my back is feeling these days. (I am AGAIN laying on an ice pack, as I write this.) The mulching just about did me in. There is no way I should have been doing this today but it looked like it was going to pour down rain again and I didn't want my mounds of new, good dirt to disappear in the rain. My husband planted the two crape myrtles and the hibiscus and I planted the four smaller plants in front of them.

Here is how it looks from the inside of our kitchen. It's much nicer than before and the crape myrtles block the glare from the concrete driveway in the summer but allow more light in in the winter, which is nice.

I had the boys outside with me while I was mulching. The neighbor came out to visit and meet the boys. Our neighbors on the other side had already met them many months ago but it's been a while since we have seen the other neighbor. So we are standing there talking and she is asking me lots of questions about the boys and the final part of the process (she couldn't believe they had already been home 6 months and she didn't know it...I can't either...we just have not seen them in a while). And she was talking to the boys and asking me about their personalities. And it was starting to rain these really big drops, but not too hard, not hard enough to make you run inside. The boys were loving it. They were walking into the muddy flower bed, trying to push the wagon with the mulch, talking to the neighbor and Ben kept throwing Nick's Ya Ya into the muddy flower bed. All the while I am trying to quickly mulch the mounds around the newly planted plants (the four I planted today and three of the ones my husband planted yesterday), while trying not to mess up my back even more and retrieving Nick's Ya Ya from the dirt/mud, plus I already had a casserole in the oven so I was trying to hurry before it burned. It was kind of funny at the time.

The boys especially enjoyed being out there because they have been watching their daddy from the window, while he has been working out there for several weekends, replacing gutters and drains. They kept looking in the window into the kitchen. It was funny.

July 16, 2007

so little time:). This is going to be a busy week. My husband is taking off on Friday so I only have four days to get everything done, including:

shopping for a few new clothes for the boys; I'm doing laundry twice a week for them right now..They just keep growing!! What's up with that??!! (I don't enjoy shopping when I have to take them with me...I have to be very very quick:),
reviewing our first post placement report,
picking it up from the home study agency,
getting the pictures developed, color copies made and notarized,
taking the whole thing to OKC for apostilles,
mailing them off to our agency,
planting 4 plants we bought yesterday (and remember to water them regularly before and after),
buying life jackets for the boys (we're taking them swimming on Friday or Saturday...in a REAL pool...for the first time (woo hoo),
filling out a word quiz of sorts that the Sooner Start lady left (list of tons of words and I need to mark off all of the ones I have heard the boys say) in preparation for her visit tomorrow,
making an appointment with the back rehab place and then going to the appt (with two little boys in tow, oh joy!),
plus of course all of the normal, every day things we have to get done such as laundry, meals and cleaning up.

The boys are waking....Ready, Set, GO!!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

July 14, 2007

Nick has a little stuffed giraffe that we got in Russia and he just loves it and sleeps with it all the time. Quite some time ago, I started calling it his "buddy", since lovey just sounded a little girlie to me and every boy should have a buddy:). Anyway, I have noticed lately that he seems to call it his "Ya Ya", which really surprised me because it does not sound anything like "buddy". When he says "bye bye", it sounds more like "dye dye" so, if he was trying to say buddy, I would think it would sound like it started with a "d". So when he was just getting ready for nap, I could not find it anywhere. He was in his crib saying "Ya Ya?, Ya Ya?". It broke my heart that I could not find it. He was not crying about it or anything but he definitely wanted to know where it was. When I finally found it, I sneaked into his room and put it in his crib right next to him:). I love to watch them sleep:).
Lauri, did you say that Livi calls her lovey a Ya Ya? For some reason, this sounded very familiar to me and I was thinking maybe that's where I had heard it. I'll have to go search your blog and see if I can find it.

No rain here today but it sure is hot. We went to a local nursery to pick out a few new plants for an area we are redoing, due to drainage issues and the fact that it looked pretty bad anyway. So we were walking around out in the direct sunlight for a while and the boys really started sweating a lot. We gave them plenty of water and tried to keep them in the shade as much as possible but they really sweat a lot more than we do and, according to my husband (the doctor), they dehydrate a lot faster than we do. I did not know this.

They are napping now and I am laying down with an ice pack on my back because I have an old injury that has reared it's ugly head. I think the fact that the boys are getting heavier is contributing to this issue. I am fine when just lifting them up but leaning over to put them into their car seats, stroller and high chair is getting to me.

This makes me feel very old..but I was only probably around 29 or 30 when I injured my back initially. Thinking I was invincible, I bent over and lifted the end of a sleeper couch to pull it across the living room. I very quickly fell to the floor in a lot of pain. I now have a bulging disk in my back. It took a very long time to quit hurting after this injury. Over the years, there have been several times that I have done something to re-injure it, such as leaning over to put something very heavy in the trunk of my car, bending over for hours to weed and mulch and plant stuff, etc. Each time, it takes a good amount of time for it to heal again. The moral of the story is, even if you are only in your 20's or 30's, you can still seriously injure your back. Once you do, it is a permanent injury that will haunt you for the rest of your life. So be very very careful and keep your core in shape:). And don't think your invincible.

I went to the doctor last week about this because it has been bothering me now for over a year (probably started from all of the gardening work I did last spring), it's been getting worse lately and I finally got tired of the throbbing nerve pain that runs down the sides of my legs and into my ankles. Next stop is to the place where they will give me the right exercises to build my core muscles without making it worse and to teach me some proper lifting methods so I won't perpetuate the problem. I'm still not quite sure how I will do this with two little boys in tow.

Boy, it just sounds like a party around here lately doesn't it?? I haven't been in the best of moods today and I'm afraid it is reflected in my writing. The good news is that the ice maker decided to start working again this morning!! Yay!! That is one of the highlights of the day.

The other highlight of the day is listening to my son on the monitor, as he is getting ready to fall asleep for nap, saying "mama mama" in such a sweet voice. He was not upset, just talking. They are so sweet. I don't know how it is possible but I love them more every day.

Friday, July 13, 2007

July 13, 2007

I've been tagged by Tonya and I'm suppose to include 4 new experiences I have had in the past 4 years and 4 experiences I hope to have in the next 4 years.

New experiences in the past 4 years is an easy one, since I've had a lot of them. I was made manager of a group of about 30 people at the company where I worked, which was a big challenge (I was managing 4 people at the time) and the new manager job was not a job I applied for, although I appreciated it and learned a lot about people. I was married to the love of my life 2.5 years ago and I quit my job/career 1.5 years ago, which were both very big and very positive things in my life. And last, but not least (these are in the order in which they occurred), I became a mom to two little, adorable boys on January 17th of this year. Lots of big, wonderful changes in my life over the past 4 years and they were all truly gifts from God.

New experiences I hope to have in the next 4 years is a little harder for me. After our marriage, our most pressing goal was to have children, which we now have. I have not thought much past that, as far as goals in my life go. This may seem kind of sad to some people but I've been pretty busy:), trying to learn how to be a good mom to two toddler boys, learning about my children and what kind of personalities they have, trying to still be a good wife, and all that other stuff that comes with marriage and children:). Being a good mom is, by far, the biggest challenge I have ever had in my life. God is really working on me and it is at times painful, but it is also very rewarding and I love it (at least most of the time...we all have our moments:).

So, new experiences, let's see.... Well, I am really looking forward to experiencing the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) with our children. I am looking forward to the holidays this year more than I ever have before, as an adult. Having children to share the experience with just gives you a whole new perspective and excitement about it. The second thing that comes to mind is that our children will be around 6 years old in four years so another experience that would qualify is homeschooling. We are planning to homeschool our children so this will be a very new experience for me and I am hoping I am up to the task. I am looking forward to taking some fun vacations with our sons and seeing the world through their eyes, which is so fun and interesting (we're taking our first vacation to Arizona in October, so our sons can meet their Aunt and cousins in Tucson and also many of my husband's long time friends. And, I am looking forward to seeing how God uses all of these changes and events to mold me and help me grow and mature as a Christian over the next four years.

Thanks for the tag Tonya! It was good for me to think about the future for a change, rather than just about our day to day survival:)!!

I have started a post with pictures of our fun time at the local water sprinkler park but have not had time to finish it yet. Hopefully I will get to it soon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

July 11, 2007 Part 2

I started writing this the other day but then got interrupted and am just now getting back to it. The other day, we went to the sprinkler park at a nearby city park. The boys had a fun time. I was constantly on alert, making sure I could see them both and trying to make sure they did not get mowed down by the big kids. It's a nice little sprinkler park. I think we will enjoy it more when the big kids go back to school, which is in mid-August around here. Nick, wearing the orange cap, is going through the blue hoops in this picture.

This is when we first arrived. Ben was a bit timid about getting wet but after I helped him out a little, he was really into it.

Nick does not need any help when it comes to getting wet. He absolutely loves the water. I got a great deal on their little caps so they no longer have to wear my big caps. These are the cute little sandals I got the good deal on at the GAP also. Ben's are rubbing his feet and causing sores on the insides of his little feet so I had to put him back into his old ones for now.

Nick contemplating whether or not to walk under the big fountain of water coming out of the snakes mouth. He got in it a little and would run back out.

Watching the big kids enjoying the big splashes from the buckets. The water cycles around the different sprinkler activities so the big kids are running from one thing to the next.

Fortunately there is a little bit of water still squirting from the snake and a couple of other activities when the water moves on. The boys don't need a lot of water to have fun and they like to play with the bit that is still squirting from the snake and the blue rings.

My niece came over for a visit on Thursday morning and left this morning (Saturday). She is really great with the boys and they just love her. They had so much fun playing with her and, man, did it make things a lot easier for me! What a difference an extra set of helping hands makes.

The boys like to look through the Reader's Digest. I am using these magazines to teach them not to tear pages in books. They are doing pretty well with this.

We cut their hair on Wednesday night. Ben has a lot of hair and it grows very fast. My husband is getting pretty good at cutting hair. He cuts everything except the front, which I cut. He also cuts my hair, except for the front and he does a really good job. My hair is so curly that it's hard to see a mistake, which is not the case with the boys. We are still learning but it's going pretty well. They are looking like such big boys lately. I can't believe how quickly they are changing.

In other news, our ice maker stopped working and Sear's can't get out to fix it for a couple of weeks so we are buying ice. The wood peckers pecked holes in our stucco-stuff on the chimney. This had been going on for a while and I think they might have even had a nest in there at one point because I heard lots of tweeting going on up there. Sometimes they would attempt to peck the metal part of the chimney and it would sound as if there was a jack hammer going off up there. It was interesting. Anyway, we paid a couple hundred dollars to have it fixed yesterday. Most of the expense was for the material, of which you have to buy a large bucket because they don't sell small buckets, but it is suppose to stay good for at least a year or so. This house looks just like stucco but it is not really stucco. Stucco is a mud-type substance on top of concrete. This stuff is some other substance that is purchased from a dealer and it goes on top of a styrofoam type of material, or something like that. Anyway, it's not suppose to get wet:). The guy was suppose to leave the material, in case we need it again, since we paid for it (it is highly likely the wood peckers will return), but he didn't. I have tried to call him but he is not answering his phone now. Hmmm. I have a bad feeling about this.

So far, this house has been a bit of a money pit, as far as maintenance goes. We bought it and moved in about a year and a half ago and have had an unending list of things that need to be fixed. My husband is still working on sanding, repairing and repainting all of the window sills on the outside of the house. It looks like the prior owners never did this or, if they did, they never did it right. All of the upstairs window sills and some of the downstairs window sills have had quite a bit of wood rot. The prior owners had also planted the beds around the house way to high, so it was overlapping the stucco-like material by quite a bit in lots of areas. This has been a huge job too because we have not only had to lower it but also fix water drainage issues in many cases. What a mess. The prior owners had a new roof put on the house and the roofers damaged the gutters in many places so we are fixing that also and the roof is leaking a bit above the boys' room (we already had one leak in that area fixed). I could go on and on but I won't. It is frustrating. This house was built in 1998 or 1999, so it's not really that old but I guess that's around the time that everything needs to start being repaired/repainted, especially when it was not maintained for years. It does not seem that the prior owners did much maintenance around here. I think we will eventually get caught up with everything and this kind of work will slow down a bit. We will likely have a fairly peaceful fall and winter, as far as house maintenance goes.

In the meantime, I am hoping the busy wood peckers will stick to the trees.

Julu 11, 2007

Nick and Ben playing with the pillows on the couch.

Ben was very happy with himself, after climbing into the kitty bed.

Nick and Ben on their wagon ride, when we visited my grandmother on the 4th of July. My sister was pulling them and my husband was taking pictures. I was in the house. Apparently Ben did not smile until they were headed back towards the house. Maybe he was too hot...he gets hot very easily.

Ben and Nick standing on their new little step stools. These are the ones that are made from tall cans. They love these little stools because they can now climb up on the living room chairs.

My mom gave these to the boys. They were originally made for my two oldest brothers so they are pretty old.

Nick playing with one of the toys I hate most, especially since they now know how to switch it over to the louder mode...and also the Spanish mode, which is actually kind of funny.

All of the toys coming out now that play music or make some sort of noise seem to have a switch where you can turn up the sound.

Please tell me what parent *likes* the loud mode of these noisy toys?? I hid these toys in the toy box under the table, pictured behind Nick here, with all of the other toys I don't like or they are not quite ready for. The boys finally discovered these drawers and how to pull them out. I have to find a new hiding place...maybe the trash!!??

Ben playing with Mr. Potato Head, which was also in the hidden drawer as a toy the boys weren't quite ready for. They have fun with it but they can only play with it with supervision, since it has small parts and they still put things in their mouth sometimes. They are seldom in this room without supervision though because there are too many things they can get into.

The Learning Tower that we ordered came yesterday evening. It is really nice and sturdy, although a bit heavy. I put pads on the bottom so we can slide it across the floor. The boys love it and now I just have to find things they can help with.

My only disappointment is that it is a bit smaller than it looked in the pictures. In one of the pictures, it looked like it could hold two kids easily. In reality, it is a bit cramped with two, which leads to more pushing and shoving:).

It also comes with a star-covered cloth that can be draped across the top so little ones can imagine they are in a tent or something. It is definitely very well built and not easy to tip over. Nick has already learned how to climb into it and out of it on his own.

First try at wiping down the counter top. They are so excited and eager to help do anything right now. I will save these pictures and remind them of this, when they are at the age that they don't want to help:).

Ben, wiping down one of the living room tables. This is the one that gave him the black eye, not long after he arrived home and was learning to walk.

And, last but not least, both boys working together to wipe down the same living room table, with Dancer the cat resting on the chair in the background. This table was actually pretty clean by the time they finished.

We are getting a good start on training good little helpers around the house:).

The bad news is that Nick woke up with a low grade fever *again*. I was so bummed. I was planning to take them to the little water playground at the park this morning but when I saw that Nick was running a 100 degree fever, I decided to keep him home. I noticed yesterday that he had a bit of a stuffy nose and was sneezing some but just chalked it up to allergies and being outside more lately. I'm not sure if he caught something from church again (the timing is perfect for that) or if this might just be a teething fever. Do kids run 100 degree fevers while teething?? He was very fussy and whiny again this morning. He tends to be much more volatile than normal when he has a fever, going from happy to a tantrum in one second flat. I hope it is just a teething thing that goes away quickly.

Monday, July 09, 2007

July 9, 2007 Part 2

we are working on our first post placement report? We had our home visit last week and it went well..although, when she asked me how I was doing, I got teary eyed and almost started crying. She got it right away and started asking me questions like, what kind of support system do you have, what kind of breaks are you getting, how many dates have you and your husband had since the boys came home, etc.

First of all, it was very bad timing for me because we had just been through months of rainy days and the week before our social worker came over, we had all been sick (including me). So I had had very low energy and had not been out of the house for some period of time, which had not helped the situation. If she had come a week or two later, it is very likely I would have been happy as a clam and said everything was great.

That being said, we have not done too well with this sort of thing and it wears on me at times. I have this thing in my head where I don't want to leave the boys with anyone until they have been home for one year. I don't know where this came from but I feel it pretty strongly, even though they would likely be just fine. I am fine with leaving them with my sister and she watched them one night a couple of months ago while we went to a movie. We have also left them in the church nursery while we attended Bible study and church service, although we are staying with them again now because they were recently promoted to another class and I have this thing in my head that we should stay with them in their new class for four Sundays, while they get to know the new caretakers, kids and new room/environment, before we start leaving them again.

I believe the boys have attached to us very well, although I also worry that they may still be a little insecurely attached. I don't have any justification for feeling this way but attachment is always a concern in the back of my mind.

So far, my husband and I have only gone on one "date" to a movie, since the boys came home on January 23rd. I have gone out on a couple of quick shopping trips with nieces a couple of times, while the boys were napping and my sister was here with them. I have taken a few quick one hour breaks, where I actually left the house, several times on the weekends, when my husband was here listening to the monitor while the boys slept. I have only gone out maybe twice, by myself, while the boys were awake and hanging out with their daddy. One of those times was to a movie last weekend. My husband is really great about giving me a break in the evenings, after dinner and cleanup, for 45 minutes or an hour, most evenings, but I can hear everything going on in the next room and it is hard to relax and let go....but I really do appreciate the break.

To compound the situation, I have not done a good job of making friends since we moved to Oklahoma. I am very close to my sister and mom and we try to see each other every other week (they live an hour and a half away). I have a wonderful friend who lives in our neighborhood and our husbands work together. She is such a wonderful person and we spent quite a bit of time together before the kids came home. Her kids are already grown and she has grandkids now so she is able to be a mentor and give good advice also. But we don't get to spend as much time together now that the boys are home. I also have some other friends whose husbands work with my husband and we all get together, with our children, once a month or so. I have attended these events twice now and I have really enjoyed myself. Once was to the zoo and the other was today, when we all got together for lunch and then visited while the kids played. I really enjoy this time a lot, especially getting to talk to other moms. It makes me realize that I really need to make an effort to make some more mom friends.

Our first set of post placement reports (for each child) is due by the end of July, with all of the multiple, original copies, notaries and apostilles (I'll be making another trip to OKC soon). I am working on gathering the required pictures. It is definitely much easier than the original paperwork we had to do for the adoption though....and totally worth it, of course. After our July report, we will report in January of 2008, 2009 and 2010. Then we will be finished...unless they change the rules in the meantime.

July 9, 2007

Our weekend was busy, fun and sometimes even relaxing. I took the boys back to the mall on Friday to get another pair of those Baby Gap sandals for $8. The two pairs that I had bought (size 7 and 8) turned out to be a bit too big so I bought another pair of size 6. So Ben is wearing the 6's and Nick is wearing the 7's and with the 8's in the wings, hopefully I won't have to buy any more sandals this summer. After the mall, we went to Walmart for a number of things. I was on borrowed time as far as the boys were concerned, as they were becoming a bit impatient with our shopping adventure. While we were at Walmart, Ben had a bit of a crying fit. This was the first issue I have really ever had to deal with while we were out shopping. It wasn't really such a big deal and I didn't do much, other than to ignore it for a little while and then tell him to hush when it went on too long. He hushed and got happy again and I quickly finished my shopping and we went home.

I bought curtains for our upstairs windows and hung most of them on Saturday, in an effort to reduce the heat. We already had wooden blinds but they don't keep out the sunlight nearly as well as curtains do. Even so, our new air conditioner still cannot keep up with the heat up there and we are currently only getting into the 90's here. At some point during the day, it is no longer able to keep up, so it just runs for the rest of the day, until sometime in the evening or night, when it finally catches up again. Today I have to call the guy who sold us the new air conditioner (and told us it was bigger than what we needed and would have no trouble keeping up with the heat up there) and let him know what's going on. Hopefully he can come by and tweak something, but I am doubtful about that. The real issue is that we have vaulted ceilings in the two largest rooms (game room and guest room), so there is no attic between the ceilings and the roof. When the house was built, they had the wooden shingles, which breathe a lot more and don't collect as much heat as typical asphalt shingles...of course, wooden shingles are also a fire hazard and have been outlawed in many cities. Anyway, the prior owners had so many problems with the roof leaking that they replaced the roof with these very nice looking asphalt shingles but these shingles attract a lot more heat and seal the heat into the house, hence our upstairs rooms heat up. What a pain. The other bad thing is that each of these two largest rooms upstairs only has one large air vent to cool them, which is just crazy. They needed more than one. The other two bedrooms have two or three each and we have to shut them, almost completely, because they get too cold. It's really crazy. At this point, I'm not sure there is a solution to this issue, which is not good.

Actually, it is pretty comfortable upstairs at all times of the day now and we only keep the air set on 78 degrees. But it is still really bad that the air conditioner cannot keep up. When I went upstairs to get the boys after their nap yesterday, the thermostat showed that the temperature in the hallway off of the gameroom was 80.5 degrees, even though the thermostat was set for 78 degrees. Again, it seemed very comfortable up there to me and the new curtains have certainly cut down on the amount of heat coming in but still, the air conditioner should be able to maintain whatever temperature we set the thermostat on. We will continue to search for other solutions.

After hanging curtains on Saturday, I went to a movie! Actually, it wasn't that great and I should have gotten a pedicure instead. But it was nice to have some time for myself and that was the more important thing. After the movie, the boys and I went to a birthday party for my great niece, who just turned one year old. This was the first birthday party that the boys have been to, so that was fun. They had a great time and my little great niece was adorable. When everyone was singing "Happy Birthday", the boys were looking around, wondering what was going on. I think they will understand it better after Ben's birthday in September and Nick's in November. I can't believe they are going to be 2 years old that soon! Wow, time sure does fly by.

Yesterday we went to church, after having missed two Sundays in a row. The first Sunday we were all sick and the second one we had just gotten better and kept the boys home so we would not risk taking a virus of some sort to my grandmother when we visited her on July 4th. If everything continues as it has so far, we can count on the boys getting sick again after we go to church this upcoming Sunday. So far, I think they have gotten sick almost every second Sunday since they have been home and then we end up staying home on the third Sunday. Maybe this time will be different.

After church, we went out to eat and then the boys took a really long nap. They had gotten to bed late the night before because we were late getting home from the birthday party. When they woke up, I took them outside to play and we had a great time. Since their little swimming pool needs to be cleaned again, I let them play in the water from the hose and they had a great time with that. Nick especially loves the water and put his face and head right in front of the hose. It was pretty funny. The water was really cold though and they were soaking wet so it didn't take too long before Nick was getting cold and I turned off the hose, much to their disappointment.

I really want to get them out to a real swimming pool sometime soon. I need to find a pool near our house that is not too busy (good luck with that one...I don't think there is one really). Anyway, this post is longer than I intended, it's a lot about nothing and the boys are awake so I better get going. Hope you had a nice weekend.

Friday, July 06, 2007

July 6, 2007

Yesterday was a busy day and very productive. We went back to our two nap a day schedule, since the boys have not had enough sleep lately and it was VERY obvious that they needed more.

I made homemade banana chocolate chip muffins yesterday morning. I put walnuts in all but four of them and "marked" the four without walnuts (for the boys) with a bit of batter on that side of the muffin pan. As I took them out of the oven, I was so pleased with myself because I knew exactly which four did not have walnuts. (Last time I made them I lost track of this when they went in the oven.) I let them cool for 3 minutes, as the recipe indicated, and then turned the pan upside down and shook them out (is shook a word??)....and then realized I just lost track of which ones had no walnuts. Upon very close inspection, I was able to pick them out. They are delicious and the boys and I all enjoyed them for our afternoon snack (or "nack", as the boys say:).

N had a bit of trouble behaving yesterday and I think it was mostly because he was so overtired. He woke up during the night (Wed night), around 11:30, screaming and crying. He has done this in the past but is normally able to comfort himself and fall back to sleep before I could even make it upstairs. This time he was escalating with no signs of self comfort so I went up and rocked him for a little while.

When we were at my grandmother's house, my cousin took him outside for a little while to show him some moo cows. I was not thinking about how that might impact him, since had only just met her. They were outside long enough that my husband went out to see where they were. N tends to be more clingy to my husband and I until he gets to know someone a little better. He stays nearby and keeps his eye on us when he is around people he does not know very well. He did great with just playing with family in the living room floor, at my grandmother's, but I suspect that going out with my cousin for a little while, without mom or dad around, may have freak him out just a little bit. I could be wrong but, you just never know. Anyway, he went back to sleep pretty easily and last night he slept fine. We'll see how he does today.

While the boys were napping yesterday morning, I weeded the flower beds in the front of the house, or at least some of them. They were pretty bad and it was very hot and humid. I collected a kitchen trash bag full of weeds and there is still more to do. I couldn't believe how bad the weeds were. One thing about waiting so long to weed though is that you sure can find them and grab hold of them easily because they are so tall:).

We had another intense thunderstorm here yesterday afternoon. The boys were both scared of all of the thunder and the wind blowing the trees so hard. We sat in the big rocking chair and listened to children's Christian music and I sang to them. It was sweet and I just stay really calm and talk about the wind and thunder. I was saying "boom boom" to the thunder and N started saying "boom boom" over and over. So I asked him if he liked the "boom boom" and he shook his head no, very emphatically. The electricity flashed out twice, which made our stereo go off, but I just kept singing. They really enjoy it when I sing. It's cute the way they will sometimes stare at me as if they are shocked that such nice sounds could come from momma's mouth:).

Tonya, I tried one of your suggestions today. The boys were in their high chairs and just finishing up their lunch and I was sweeping the kitchen floor but not finished. So I cleared their lunch plates and gave them each a small toy and a book and told them to play with their toy and read their book until I finished sweeping the floor. They have seen me sweep the floor before so I think they understood what I was telling them. I fully expected them to complain and throw their books/toys to the floor. They completely surprised me. They sat very nicely and played with their toys and read their books the whole time I swept. I did not hear one complaint. I complimented them as I swept and it didn't take too long so it was a very good first try. Thanks for the suggestion! It worked like a charm. It certainly beat the way I had been doing it in the past. If I swept the floor when they were awake, it was a battle to keep them out of the dirt.

I'm still thinking about the Veggie Tales idea. Thanks for your suggestions and if you have any others, let me know.

Gotta run. The boys are awake.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

July 4, 2007

Yesterday morning the boys wanted to play with their PJ's, after I had changed them into their day clothes. So, I let them and I went into the bathroom to dispose of their dirty diapers. Soon after, I heard them pulling out the trash, which is built into our cabinets and pulls out like a drawer, only it's taller. I told them to push it back in and stay out of the trash, which they did. Later I was looking for their pajamas and could not find them anywhere. I looked in the trash and, sure enough, there they were, right on top of the coffee grounds. (LOL) My sister and her husband lost a TV remote control that way when their kids were little.

Twice, within the last week, Ben was walking through the living room, towards the kitchen. One of the times I was watching him and he was looking up and kind of behind him at the TV/stereo cabinet. The other time I was not watching but just heard the big thump. Both times he walked smack dab into a wall and fell back onto his bottom. He was not hurt either time and actually had a smile on his face and I just cracked up laughing....when I think about it now, I crack up laughing again. He is such a funny kid sometimes.

We had a great time today at my grandmother's house and the boys really had fun with so many aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents around. They really handled it well and seemed to really enjoy it, even though there were so many people there that they really didn't know all that well. They were pretty good about playing with everyone and letting some people pick them up. My sister took them for a ride up the lane in a million-year-old, little red wagon. Nick was very excited about it but Ben didn't start smiling until they were on the way back. Daddy got pictures so I will have to post some later.

Neither of them had had a nap all day so they both crashed very soon after we loaded up and left for home. We were hoping we could move them to their cribs and they might sleep a little longer when we got home but that was a no go. So they had only had about an hour nap all day long, which definitely does not meet their nap requirements.

We had not been home too long when we decided to load back up and go out to eat. We went to Fuddruckers, since I was craving a good hamburger. On our way home, it occurred to me that this was the first day since our sons came home that I did not fix a meal all day. My husband fixed the boys their breakfast and got them ready this morning so I could get myself ready (this is our church morning routine). At grandma's house, we ordered pizza and had the best homemade apple pie in the whole wide world, which my sister made (she is an awesome pie maker) and she also brought some really yummy brownies and there was ice cream. There were also many people who were willing to indulge cute little boys when mom and dad were not paying attention. I think they had more sweet stuff in one day than they had had in their entire lives. It was really a fun day and so nice to see so many of our family members.

But, back to my main point, this was the first day in over 5 months that I did not fix a meal all day long. That's a long time for someone who doesn't really enjoy cooking all that much. It really felt like a day off for me and I enjoyed that a lot. Now I know what to ask for on special days in the future.

We were all tired when we got home. We put the boys to bed early this evening, which they desperately needed. They were starting to lose it, and understandably so.

I am lying in bed, typing this up, and I have a cat lying on my shoulder, hoping I'll stop and pet him.

Happy Independence Day!!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

July 3, 2007 Part 2

We finally got out of the house and went to the mall this morning. It was our first trip to the mall since our sons have been home and it went very well.

The boys found the experience very interesting and especially enjoyed being able to see the people downstairs through the glass rail/barrier thing, as we were strolling along upstairs.

We went to Baby Gap and found some great deals. They were having a really good sale on some of their summer things. They had some really cute T shirts for less than $5 each. They are really soft too, which I love. We also got some cute sandals for less than $8, which was even less than the $10 per pair we have been paying for the sandals at Target. These look much nicer and they have plenty of growing room, so hopefully they will be able to wear them through the rest of the summer. We also got two little caps that are too cute and they were also on sale. Yay! I love sales!

The boys and I shopped at Baby Gap and then went for a snack, which was way too expensive...next time we will hit the food court, rather than the nice coffee eatery with wireless Internet access. After that, we went to the regular Gap and one or two other stores, very quickly. Luckily, I am a very fast shopper. I hate slow shopping. I really don't care much for shopping at all but sometimes it is a necessary evil:).

The boys were starting to get a bit restless again so we went to the little kids playground that our mall has. I knew it was there but had never really paid much attention to what it was like. It was really nice for a quick play time and I'm sure we will be regular visitors. It made me nervous though, to be there by myself with two toddlers who are both pretty quick. There is only one entrance/exit but it can still be a bit challenging to keep your eye on two at once. There were two very short time frames when I lost sight of Ben and my heart skipped a beat. We left soon after that. Next time we will have to try to go during a time when it is less busy, such as earlier in the morning or something. The boys really loved it though. They had a great time.

They also really enjoyed the elevator, which has glass on three sides so they could watch as we went up and down. I met a very nice lady and her two little boys on the elevator and we talked for a few minutes. I wish she lived around here but, alas, she does not. She and her husband are missionaries and are considering adopting a girl. I wish we had had more time to talk. She seemed very sweet and interesting.

After the playground, we went into a couple more shops very quickly, but the boys were getting pretty tired by this time so we headed home. The mall is only about 4 or 5 miles from our house but Nick still fell asleep on the way home. I really wanted them to eat before going down for nap and, based on past experience, was worried that Nick would start melting down on me before we got that far. But he ended up doing very well. I fixed them a chicken pot pie because it is quick and they love it. They ate most of it but the funniest thing was, when Nick was almost done, he picked out the rest of the peas and carrots and ate them and left the rest of the crust. These veggie-loving boys, I am continually amazed at their veggie eating.

Anyway, the boys are sleeping and I am going to do a bit of lifebooking. Have a happy day:).

July 3, 2007

We kicked off our first post placement report process yesterday. Our first report has to be finished and turned into our agency by the end of this month. Now that we have started this first report, we can initiate efforts to readopted our sons in Oklahoma. This is not a requirement but it will allow our sons to have Oklahoma birth certificates, which makes it much easier to acquire new ones, if needed in the future.

And now for the aforementioned pics:

Here is Nick, excited about his tower and anxiously anticipating the knocking-it-down phase.

Here is the anxious anticipation. I got these stacking cups at Tuesday Morning for $8 and the boys love them.

Here is Ben, just having eaten most of his broccoli, but leaving his PB&J sandwich. I even waited to serve the broccoli a little later in the meal, hoping they would eat more of their sandwich for the protein. These boys LOVE broccoli. I think they are on to me on the delayed veggie servings now, so it's not very effective these days.

And here is Nick, eating his bowl of broccoli. I believe this is probably their favorite veggie, although I've yet to find one they didn't like.

Yesterday I served mac & cheese first and, once again, delayed serving their veggie a bit. As soon as I served the veggie, they quit eating the mac & cheese and only ate the veggie, asking for more when they had finished. Maybe they should be in the book of World Records or something.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

July 1, 2007 Part 2

1) Meeting the "Six Blessing" clan (www.russianadoptiondiary.blogspot.com). They stopped by our house yesterday and all of our kids got to play together for a little while. What a wonderful family and we really enjoyed getting to meet them all. Our sons had a ball with the "big kids" and all of the Six Blessings are really good with little ones. It was also wonderful for us parents to meet and get to know each other a little. Hopefully this was the first of many visits to come between our two families. This is the first blog friend I have been blessed to meet, so it was really special to me. They also delivered some clothes and shoes from the "bwins" for our little sons, which was very nice. After the Six Blessings crew had left, N had fun trying on the shoes and we had fun watching him try to walk in them, since they are a bit big yet. I would not be at all surprised if they fit by winter though.

2) Naked swimming (wading) toddlers. The boys and I spent some much needed time outside, playing in the yard today. The boys played in the yard, while I cleaned out the gunky, overflowing pool. The boys played in the sandbox, while I pulled weeds from one of the flower beds. By then, they were getting hot, since it was very humid with no wind here today. So I filled the pool with about two inches of water, stripped them down and let them play in it. The water was really cold so I knew that more than two inches would be too cold for them but they really had fun splashing around in that small amount of water and it helped them cool off a bit. I think they enjoyed running around naked for a little while and nobody had any accidents during that time so, good for me:). It was so cute to watch them play like that though. What a sweet, cute age.

3) Finding out that two of my nieces have started their own blogs. How fun. Now we will get to stay in touch more. I have the most wonderful family!

4) Making plans for and looking forward to visiting family on the 4th. We are going to visit my grandmother on Wednesday, which will be wonderful because it has been a really long time since we have seen her and I really miss her. We will also get to see lots of other family members too, so that's icing on the cake. We kept the boys home from church today to ensure, as much as possible, that we will not be exposing my 96 year old grandmother to any new viruses, at least not any from the church nursery.

5) It seems we are all over the week long virus that struck our household. Yay! What a relief:).