Saturday, January 30, 2010

January 30, 2010

In the first two pictures, the boys are playing with the wind vanes we made.
The dad took the boys to the zoo one recent weekend afternoon, when the weather was much warmer than now. They had a fun time doing this:
and this:
I don't think they actually saw very many animals but they had a fun time.

Morning reading time with the mom:).
The boys each got a bean bag chair for Christmas. Here they are, sitting together and looking at their books. The dad must have taken this one and it is one of my favorites.
They both love books. I hope their love and appreciation for books will last throughout their lives.
Do you like our boat? Mom built it:). (Based on the picture on the box. I am not quite that creative on my own.) They had so much fun with this. The swords are their oars.
And here is our knight in shining armor on his white horse, coming to save the day....straight from bed and still in his jammies:).
The boys had fun playing outside in the snow today. Once again, we improvised with our plastic-bag-duct-taped boots. Does he look as if he is having fun?

They look like they are wearing some sort of moon boots, don't they? I enjoy watching them play in the snow. I stand at the window with a smile on my face the entire time I am watching them. They attack their snow play with such delightful abandon. It also brings back a lot of fond memories from my childhood.

Nick was especially tired and a bit cranky after playing outside in the snow. It is exhausting work for a child. He fell asleep during quiet time while looking for Waldo.
And, here are Ben and Nick, giving a shout out to one of their favorite cousins. We love you!
And that's all for today folks!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

January 27, 2010

We are getting ready for another big ice storm. The last one was a couple of years ago and there were large parts of the city without electricity for a week or more. We were one of the lucky ones who did not lose power.

A friend of mine who lives about a mile from us called me last night. Her family stayed in their home for 5 days without power or heat in the last big ice storm. She wanted to know if her family could stay with us if it happens again. Most definitely.

The husband bought some salt, sand and firewood today. The boys and I went to the grocery store to stock up and I made sure to get plenty of comfort food:). I also had to renew my driver's license. That is such a treat.

Today it is 54 degrees and sunny. The boys had a fun time playing outside after lunch. They played in the sandbox for a long time and then they played next to the sandbox for a long time. The next-to-the-sandbox area is mulch and, under that, dirt/mud. They were playing with dump trucks. They were quite dirty when they came in the house but they had a really fun time. They will likely go out again in a little while, as it is so nice and it will probably be a while before it is like this again.

I believe our winter storm watch starts tomorrow morning at 6:00am and goes for about 24 hours or so. It will start out as rain and then, as the temperature drops, we will start seeing a lot of freezing rain and, later, maybe some snow. Depends on who you listen to as to how much snow we might expect. We may get up to a foot but will likely get less snow and more freezing rain. Freezing rain is really nasty stuff because it weighs down the trees, breaks them and brings down the power lines, although it is also very pretty when everything is covered in ice:). It will be an interesting 24 hours.

Goliath (Ben) is putting on a show for us right now so I must run. Must enjoy these while they last.

Monday, January 25, 2010

January 25, 2010

Today the boys and I drove to Oklahoma City to the state capitol building, for the last time, to get the apostilles for our post placement reports. Everything went great, up until the time we arrived at the capitol building, after an hour and a half of driving, and I was just getting ready to get out of the car. That is when I realized I had forgotten my purse. Apostilles cost money so this was definitely a problem. Also, it was now around 11:30 and we still had another hour and half to get home. I had brought snacks but I had planned that we would eat out for lunch while we waited for our documentation to be completed. We were all disappointed that we would not get to eat lunch:(. Fortunately I had packed a lot of snacks, of which the boys had already had quite a bit on our way to OKC. There was still a bit left for the trip home.

I called the husband and told him about my situation. I wondered out loud to him if maybe they would take a credit card number without the actual card, but I didn't really think they would. It is a long walk from the parking lot to the building. It would have taken another 30 minutes to walk with the boys into the building and back so I was almost ready to just head home, when I realized that we would need to take a bathroom break anyway.

It was incredibly windy in Oklahoma today. I struggled against the wind for the entire hour and half drive to OKC. Nick really hates wind and he started to cry when we got out of the car. Fortunately I had brought their warm hats so I bundled them up really well and then we did OK. Ben is a slow walker and I basically have to pull him along whenever we walk anywhere. Between him and the wind, it was a very long walk.

We made it into the building and through the metal detectors. We stopped by the bathroom and then headed to the Secretary of State's office. As it turns out, they had no problem taking our credit card number without the actual card, much to my surprise. The lady behind the desk started looking through our paperwork, as I called the husband to get the credit card number. After I got off the phone, she told me that some of the papers (agency and social worker licenses) were copies, rather than originals and they must be originals in order to be apostilled.

So, we headed home with no apostilles, no lunch, no money, etc. As we were driving out of OKC, I called the agency and told them about the situation. We had driven about 30 minutes when they called back and told me that we did not have to have the licenses apostilled, only the post placement reports. We had to drive a while to find the next exit so we could turn around and head back to OKC.

Now the good news was that we could definitely get the apostilles that we needed and not have to make another trip. The bad news was that it was another 30 minute drive back to the state capitol building. By the time we got back, it was around 1:30pm. We were all getting very hungry, we needed another bathroom break and I was not sure we would have enough gas to make it back home. Once again I called the husband to give him an update. I also asked him to call a pizza hut we had passed near the capitol building to see if he could order some food and pay for it over the phone. Unfortunately they would not do that. The boys and I were all disappointed.

We wrapped back up in our warm coats and hats and made the long walk in the blustery wind again. Through the metal dectector, to the bathroom and back to the Secretary of State's office. The lady behind the desk had no issues with doing the apostilles without the licenses. We walked around the capitol buiding for 15 minutes while she completed our paperwork. We picked up our paperwork and headed back out to the car. By this time, the boys and I were all getting tired, hungry and cranky.

We got back into the car and headed out. I passed out all of the snacks we still had. Fortunately I had brought the little DVD player we have for the car so the boys had entertainment. This turned out to be a very good thing, since we ended up spending about 4 hours in the car today. It also helped them take their mind off of not having lunch.

We made it home safely and, thankfully, we had gas to spare (barely). The light was on when we got home but we still had about 10 or 20 miles of gas left in the tank. We arrived home around 4:00ish. We had a quick bite to eat and then headed back out to Fed Ex the reports to the agency and fill the car up with gas.

It was a stressful day that did not go as well as I had hoped. But it could have gone so much worse:). I am so thankful that we were able to get the apostilles without having to make another trip, that I packed a lot of extra snacks so the boys were not starving, that we had enough gas to make it there and back and that we did not have any car trouble or other trouble where the lack of money and/or ID would have been a huge issue.

The great news is that we never have to do that again. Our adoption process is finally 100% complete. No more home visits. No more post placement reports. No more trips to OKC. Yay!! We still have the court date on Friday for our Oklahoma readoption but that is just a formality to get OK birth certificates.

So that was our day. We were all very tired when we got home.
Hope you had a good Monday. Goodnight.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

January 21, 2010

The other day the boys and I were sitting at the island counter eating lunch. The boys were playing around with their grapes. Ben put one grape in each cheek so he looked like a little squirrel. He said, "Mommy, look, I have nipples", as he pointed to his cheeks. I had to think about that for just a moment and then I asked him, "Do you mean dimples?". He did and we both had a good laugh.

The dad and I took the boys to the 'family swim' time on Sunday. The place where they take lessons allows families who are paying for lessons to swim on the weekends for $2 each. I think there is a two hour time frame on Saturday and on Sunday both. So we took them on Sunday afternoon and we were in the pool for about an hour and a half. In retrospect, we realized that was too long for them, when Nick was completely falling apart before bedtime. We both agreed that next time we will only swim for maybe 45 minutes; definitely no longer than an hour.

The boys had their second swimming lesson Tuesday and it went very well. They both did well even though they were being encouraged and pushed a bit to put their faces in the water more. I was surprised at how well they did. I think the swim time on Sunday helped a lot too.

When we first got into the pool on Sunday, Ben was very tentative and careful about his movements and he wanted to stay on the steps. It was not long at all before we had moved to another area where the water came up to their necks and they were both jumping in off the side and getting splashed in the face a lot. The difference in Ben at the beginning of family swim time versus at the end was amazing. He was cautious again when getting in at his lesson on Tuesday but I think it is a bit less and less every time. They are both having a great time and have a smile on their faces the entire time they are in the pool (so far). I really enjoy watching their lessons too. It is fun to see them learning something new and watching how they behave with someone else in a 'teacher' role.

Our last post placement report is almost finished and I will be taking it to OKC for apostilles next week and then mailing it off. We also received a court date for our Oklahoma readoption. It's kind of funny because everyone treats it as if it is this really big deal, as if this is THE adoption, or so it seems. Meanwhile, I really want it to be this low-key, non event kind of thing. The only reason we are doing it is so that the boys will have Oklahoma birth certificates. It is a formality, to make their lives (and ours) easier for those occasions in life when one must present a birth certificate or one loses their original and must order a new one. I don't want them to remember this as a big event. The big event took place 3 years ago and it was very special. I don't want them thinking they are just now being officially adopted. So, I will definitely be downplaying it as much as possible.

And now that I have brought it up, I missed posting about our 3 year anniversary of adopting our sons. We don't think about it much these days, although it does come front and center when we have to another home visit and they start asking what we are doing to help the boys keep their Russian culture. Hmmmm. Right now, we are not doing anything about that. I know there are day camps available in the summer where children adopted from Russia can get together and learn about Russia's culture and get to know others with whom they have this in common. Maybe some day, when they are old enough, they might want to do that. We will leave it up to them.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

January 10, 2010

I am happy to report that things are still going very well around here from a behavior perspective. Ben is very seldom sassy these days and Nick is throwing very few fits. Nick's current challenge is that he is more likely to hit Ben or take a toy Ben has and Nick wants.

Today B started crying and told me that N had pinched his neck. After comforting B, talking to N about it and seeing that he apologized nicely, I reminded N that he needs to use his words. He told me in a frustrated voice "I used words 20 times!". There was an ending to that sentence (I used words 20 times and...) but I can't remember it. I was so surprised that he said the first part that I didn't hear the rest. I found his response pretty funny but I did not let him see that:).

To be fair, every once in a while B will hit or hurt N in some way or will take a toy or something but it is more likely that N is the culprit these days. Overall, we are seeing much better behavior, less of the bickering and much more playing together nicely for longer periods of time. What more could a mom ask for? I am pleased.

As for the potty training front, we still have an accident once in a while. N is more likely to have one than B but both boys will have one at times. It is funny that we can go a couple of weeks without any accidents and then we will see two or three within a couple of days. I think it is because, when we are in our normal schedule, I tend to tell them to go before certain events (an outing, a meal or quiet time, for example) and I tend to remind N at times. During weekends or holidays when we are not in our normal routine, I forget and they get busy doing something exciting so we see more accidents. Overall, I would say they are both doing pretty well with it though.

Unfortunately, night times are not coming along at all though, or so it seems. B was wetting through his pull up so often, waking us both (me and B) up at night, that we are now waking him up around 9:00 or 10:00pm, just before we go to bed, and having him go once more. Since we have started doing this, he has stopped wetting through and will sometimes wake up dry. N is hardly ever dry, although I think he may go in his pull up after he wakes up. I think he often wakes up early and hangs out in his bed for up to 15 minutes before coming down. So he may be dry when he initially wakes up but is not motivated to go to the bathroom. I just keep thinking it will come with time, although I know part of the problem is likely that we don't eat dinner until around 6:00pm normally and we normally start getting them ready for bed around 7:30.

Now that we are no longer doing naps, they are going to sleep at night very quickly, which is nice. We are doing one hour of quiet time each afternoon and then they watch a movie. It is a nice amount of rest time for me too, which is nice.

Yesterday they wanted to do math and science. So we did a lesson from our Right Start math program and then we did two science experiments. We made two wind vanes and played with and talked about them for a short while. Then we learned about static electricity using two balloons. We rubbed them on a static-y blanket and observed how they could stick to the wall. Then we took them into the dark bathroom, rubbed them on the blanket again and held them close to each other so we could see the spark of electricity they created. They liked sticky them to the wall better and B was more interested than N. N wanted to play with his balloon, hitting it to keep it in the air.

N asked me to play soccer with him the other day. We have a soccer ball that is pretty soft and small that we play with in the house. So we just start kicking it everywhere, chasing it and trying to be the first to kick it again, all over the house. It was very fun and we both had a lot of laughs. B was pretending something at the time but, towards the end, he jumped in and kicked it a couple of times too. N is very good at it and we really need to get him involved in soccer in the spring. I need to check into this. I think he would really love it and he would definitely excel at it. It is clear that he is a natural athlete. I'm not sure with B yet whether he will like athletics or not. I am hopeful that he will but he does not show as much interest as N at this point.

On the other hand, B definitely excels at academics. He still amazes me at how quickly he learns academic related things. Today I was working on a new way to get them excited about learning to read. I was copying a lot of the words on to index cars and copying the sentences into a notebook because they seem to have an aversion to the book we use to learn reading. They were both excited about the cards. They have always liked that sort of thing. They climbed up next to me at the island and started reading the cards. B is really doing well at it, considering how little we do it. He can sound out the cvc words very well, although he will try to guess the ending at times (rat instead of ran, etc.). N got excited about it too and was trying to sound out words. He did very well at the first set of words (ending in at) but less so with the second set. He is still learning how to sound out each letter and run them together to make the word, such as sssssssaaaaaaaaat. He is impatient and if he does not get it right quickly, he gets frustrated. But he did try today for a little while and he did pretty well during that time. For his age, I think he is doing great.

Officially, we are not really doing school yet. Only when they want to, which is why I am trying to make learning to read more fun:). I am really glad they have late year birthdays (end of September and November). They just missed the official cut off which means that they would not actually start Pre-K4 until this coming fall, which means they would not start K until the fall of 2011. That gives us lots of time to be ready emotionally and for them to be a bit more mature. My number one goal is to have them reading very well by the time they are ready to start first grade and I think we are easily on track for that. I also have my eye on a good K homeschool program (My Father's World), when we are ready. They might be ready to start K in January of 2011. One nice thing about homeschooling is that we can start when they are ready. We can start earlier than they would have at public school and take it at a slower pace or we can start later and play catch up during the summer. It is nice to have the flexibility and to know we can go at the pace that fits them.

In other news, I am going to call our architect with our final (minor) changes to the plan tomorrow. So we are almost done with this part of the process. However, we have not sold our house. It was kind of funny. As the husband and I were finishing up the review our final changes last night, we both agreed that we will believe it when we see it. We both seem to have this feeling that it might not ever happen. I think that is more due to the state of our economy and our concerns that it is going to tank very soon, in which case it may be next to impossible to sell a home. We'll see but we don't believe it is looking very good.

We discussed what we could do to our current home to make it more energy efficient, in the event we end up staying here. We still really like this home and we think it is very pretty and functional, although it is a bit more high maintenance than we would like. Of course, any home that you design specifically for your family in mind will likely be more functional for your family and the one we have designed would be extra energy efficient, which would be nice.

I am still of a mind that God is in control, He knows what is going to happen and what the best plan is for us. I tend to believe that, if we end up staying in this house, it is because that is where God wants us for now. That sort of thinking is aways a positive for me, regardless of what ends up happening, since I would rather follow God's plan for my life than my plan.

I read two or three articles within the past week or two about the possibility of the government forcing us to convert a least a portion of our 401K's into annuities. Have you read about this? Take a look at these two links, although beware of bad language in the first one.

If you want to hear the truth about what is going on with the economy, don't rely on the news. Search the Internet. Two good sites that I watch are:

although the market ticker site does have foul language at times, so beware.

So, what do you think? Is Scott Brown going to pull out a win the special election in MA for Ted Kennedy's old seat? It is an interesting race to watch. I think it will be a miracle if Brown wins it but it is interesting that he is doing as well as he has so far.

Enough for tonight. Time to get ready for bed:). Good night.

January 12, 2010

Today the boys had their first swim lesson. It was suppose to be last Tuesday however I confused the days and thought it was Thursday. On Wednesday I decided I had better check, just to make sure. In retrospect, I should have done that on Monday:). Oh well.

So today was their first lesson, although it should have been their second. There are two little girls who are in their group and they all appear to be around the same 4 year old age.

The boys and I had made two visits to the swim school and had watched lessons. After each visit both boys seemed very excited to take lessons. Yesterday I reminded them that today they would have their first lesson and Ben started to cry, telling me he just wanted to watch Nick take lessons. We talked about it and I encouraged and reassured him a lot and then we forgot about it until today. He did fine, until we drove into the parking lot, at which time he reminded me that he only wanted to watch. Again, I encouraged him and reassured him that it would be fun.

We went in and got them changed into their swim trunks and then went into the pool area. We were about five minutes early, which was perfect because I did not want them to feel rushed or nervous about being rushed. They have mats along the edge of the pool (back a little ways) for them to wait until it is time for their lesson so I told the boys to sit on the mats. I was talking to the coordinator lady, telling her I wanted to talk to their teacher when Ben started crying. I got on my knees next to him (he was standing at this point) and hugged him and reassured and encouraged him again. The coordinator lady found him a toy boat to play with, to take his mind off of his fears. That worked great and then the two little girls arrived and we were making introductions and then the teacher came over and we were making more introductions and he was still playing with the boat so he forgot about being scared. I spoke to the teacher and told her Ben had had a traumatic water experience and was scared and had been crying and then I left the pool area and went to the viewing room. They have two large rooms for people to watch, one on each of the long sides of the pools, with large plate glass windows and lots of chairs so it is very parent friendly.

I am happy to say that both boys had a great time and their teacher was absolutely wonderful. She made it fun and neither of them were scared. They both had smiles on their faces the entire time and she obviously took special care with Ben. He even gave her a hug and kiss when we were leaving. They both talked about it all day and couldn't wait to tell daddy about it. They are so excited to go again and each of them, at different times today, told me he wished they could go again tomorrow.

I am so relieved and it was an answer to prayer. We had been practicing having more water in the face when we have taken baths recently and I think that paid off. They each put their face in the water several times and they were fine with it. She had them do things, such as jump in from the side of the pool, while holding her hands, in such a way where they would splash big enough to get water in their face and they did fine with that too. She is definitely an ace at teaching kids and I sat and watched in awe. They really know how to do it in a fun way, without making the kids feel scared or threatened at all. I am still amazed...can you tell?

The boys will have one lesson a week through sometime in May I think. They probably have one week off during that time for something or another and then we are planning a trip to Arizona for sometime in Feb. or March also so they will miss one more week. Hopefully that will be the only week they miss, other than the first one that we missed because I didn't have my act together:(. They also open the pool for family swim time on the weekends and we can go for $2 each and I think we can go for free if we miss a lesson for whatever reason. So hopefully we can fit that in some time too.

So, that's the scoop on the swim lessons. We are all excited and happy about the first day. Yay!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 10, 2010

I have not been too timely with pics lately but, here they are, better late than never:).

Here are some pictures of the boys that I took in front of our tree before Christmas.

Here are the boys, putting the icing on their Christmas cookies.

Playing in the kitchen sink is a fun way to pass the time on a cold winter day.
Here is a picture of the outside of our house with our Christmas lights up.
This was Christmas Eve at my brother's house at the farm. The boys were excited about the pistols that my sister and her family gave them for Christmas. B has reminded us several times that he also wants a rifle. Not sure where they get this, as we are not gun owners. I guess they can't miss it though, since many of my relatives are hunters and we often talk about who got a deer and how big it was, during the hunting season.
Here are the boys, enjoying Christmas Eve lunch with Papa (my dad).
Here is our Christmas tree on Christmas morning. All that snow fell the evening/night before.
Our knight in shining armor:).
Our two knights in shining armor. Note, they have the breastplates on upside down:). These are the "armor of God". The breastplate says "righteousness" on it, the shield says "faith", the helmet says "truth", etc. It comes with a pamphlet with ideas of how parents can use it to teach them the word of God. We have not covered that yet but they really enjoy the armor, especially Ben, since he has been in to the whole David and Goliath thing for quite some time now. Now he pretends he is Goliath sometimes, since David did not wear armor when he fought Goliath. Since we have recently read Peter Pan, Ben now keeps talking about the bow and arrow he will get when he turns 8 years old (or 5 years old, depends on the conversation). He talks about it often:).
A friend of mine gave the boys these little Chia-pet things. One is an elf and the other is a raindeer. When watered, they grow grass as hair. It keeps getting longer and longer so the boys get to give them hair cuts:). They really enjoyed this.
I just hope it does not give them any ideas:).
This was our Happy Birthday Jesus cake. The kids enjoyed decorating the cake, singing happy birthday to Jesus and blowing out the candles....oh, and eating the cake of course:).
Fun in the snow. This was the day after Christmas and we still have a lot of this snow on the ground now. Very unusual for this part of the country. I am ready for it to be gone. We are expecting some much warmer weather early this week so we should start seeing the ground again.

Here is Nick in the sandbox.
This is our front yard and the street that goes by our house.
If you look closely at the boys wrists and feet, you can see the duct tape we used to hold their mittens on and to make the water proof "boots" to cover their good leather shoes:). I described this in a earlier post but am finally posting the pics.

I was working in the kitchen and overheard the boys playing. They were staging their own nativity scene, just under the mantle where we had our nativity scene displayed during Christmas. By the time I had gotten the camera, Nick had taken the "baby Jesus" (yes, that is a small monkey he is holding in the air - forgive us Lord) and was pretending He was going up into Heaven. I think he got a couple of the stories mixed up.
Ben was not happy about Nick's ending of the nativity story, since he still wanted to pretend the baby Jesus was in the manger, so he got another baby Jesus, which was a Winnie-the-Pooh in PJ's. Hmmm, we might need to invest in a toy nativity scene. We actually have three nativity scene's. The one that was on the mantle is one my husband got in Israel, when he visited there. The one we had in the library is one my mom gave us and it was the one we always put out when I was a child. The one we put in the foyer, at boy height, is one we received as a wedding gift and the pieces are not breakable so the boys can play with it.
Last night the boys and I built the structure below with the straws and connectors they got for Christmas. This toy is great (thanks for the tip CEP!) and I have more ideas of things I want to build when I have time:). I know this will be a popular toy for years to come. The only caveat is that we have to be very careful not to leave pieces out where the cats can get them. Our female cat loves to play with straws so this is heaven for her. If we accidentally leave some of these where she can get to them, she shows up on my side of the bed at odd hours during the night, playing with these on top of me while I am trying to sleep. I am a light sleeper, so this does not work well for me. One night she brought me three of them before giving up. I just kept taking them from her and putting them in my bedside drawer. She has brought me two already, as I have typed this post so I will need to search the house for them before going to bed.

Nick is pretending he is in jail. He is giving us his saddest "jail" look:).
Ben was pretty happy about his jail adventure.
Then we enlarged it so they could both easily fit. They had such fun with this and would turn it over and lay it down so they could play with it in different ways.
That's it for today:). Hope you all had a great weekend.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

January 7, 2010

We have been busy and it is VERY cold here right now, although I think it is that way just about everywhere these days so I guess that is not new news.

My niece came for a visit and stayed with us for a few days. She is in her second year of college and is home for Christmas. It was so nice having her here. The boys really enjoyed her and were sad to see her leave. I really enjoyed her company too. We stayed up one night until midnight, catching up and just talking about life. It was so nice. She is so easy to be around. So many times when we have company, I end up feeling more tired because of the introverted-ness of me:). When I am around people a lot I just need some down time to regenerate. But when Jana was here, I didn't feel that way at all. She just slips into our routine and is very easy to be with. It was quite enjoyable.

On Sunday afternoon, she stayed with the boys for a couple of hours and let the husband and I get away to a movie. We saw the new Sherlock Holmes movie and we both really liked it and agreed we would like to see it again when it is out on DVD. The dialog is so quick that it is easy to miss some of it. Good flick though.

This morning we had our last home visit for our last post placement report. It went very well and was very low stress for everyone involved, I think. After the boys spent a few minutes trying to show off and gain everyone's attention, they went off to play and played nicely while the dad and I talked with the two ladies from the local agency. This was the first time this agency has done a report for us so they had a lot of questions for us, in order to come up to speed on our history. I enjoy telling our story and remembering our adventure so the questions were welcome. It also makes us think though the differences between the boys and what makes them tick.

After our home visit this morning, we had a real estate agent come by to show our house to a couple of people moving here from Texas. They were OK with us staying here so we got to meet them. They are a very sweet couple who are moving here to be closer to their grandchildren. It was clear they really enjoy kids and didn't mind having the boys around while they looked at the house. I enjoyed visiting with them and hope they find the best house for them.

After showing the house, the boys and I had lunch and then they wanted to take a bath. They have a couple of fish that suck up water and, when squeezed, squirt it out and they are having fun with them lately in the tub so they were asking for a bath. So, they took a very long bath and had a fun time playing. I had to reheat the water at one point and they played until it cooled a second time. They were real pruney when they finally got out.

After the bath, we had our quiet time. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that we no longer do naps now. We have worked our way up to one hour quiet times, which is nice. The boys take turns, one in the library and one in the living room. They can play with whatever they want, as long as they are quiet and stay in their room. I normally hang out in a chair or on the couch in the living room and read. It is a very peaceful time and, although they sometimes complain, they seem to enjoy it in the end.

After quiet time the boys watch a movie. They take turns picking the movie and they really look forward to this point in their day. Some days they get to watch a longer movie (longer than the typical 30 minutes) or they each get to pick one. This tends to happen more in the winter months, since it is often too cold to play outside or we are nursing colds or whatever. We have to be careful not to do it too often though or they start to expect it. They just watched one movie today and then we read a book and then the dad came home and it was time to start dinner.

It was an easy, relaxing afternoon, which was nice after having to-do's this morning. Today was very very cold here. I think it was in the single digits this morning (not including wind chill factor) and I noticed it was around 17 degrees in the late afternoon, when the dad got home. It was a good day to stay at home and play in the bathtub. We still have quite a bit of snow on the ground from our big snow storm on Christmas Eve. This is unusual for Oklahoma and I am really ready for it to go. I think we may have a few 40 degree days coming up early next week so maybe that will be what it takes to melt this stuff away.

I am happy to report that behavior all around (Ben, Nick and me:) has been exceptionally good lately. I think (I hope) we have found our new normal because this is a very good thing:). I have pictures to post. I need to post them. I will. Maybe tomorrow.