Thursday, December 31, 2009

Eli Was Seeing Polk-a-Dots

Yep - it's official the boys are truly our sons as they will now both be sporting glasses like everyone else. Eli went today...and did excellent for the eye doctor.....and he will be getting his new glasses next week. Unlike his big brother he is very excited. Only a little hitch when he was helping to pick out glasses he decided he really, really liked the polk-a-dot glasses on display. No we did not purchase them. Mike would have freaked! We'll wait to see if he's as excited to wear them when they get here as he is now. Keep your fingers crossed!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Eli, the Pediatrician and Mom On Her Own

Today Eli and I took a trip to see our pediatrician as he's developed a cold, cough and still pulling at his ear. Luckily the doctor says he just picked up a cold but the good news was that the last round of antibiotics seems to have cleared his ear infection.... whoohoo! At least for now it delays a trip to the ENT.

Better even than the health news was the fact that Eli let a nurse check his temp in his ear.... I admit to my own small panic attack as this was a different nurse than normal and she didn't know about our previous issues, she moved right in on him and went for his ear, he gave her a "you must be crazy if you think your putting that anywhere" look, I asked her if I could show him the thermometer first, then he let her take the temp. When the doctor came in he sat straight as a board,no crying, whimpering or theatrics (Eli not the doctor) and let her check his ears, throat and chest!

I'm sure the whole thing would be comical to someone behind a two way mirror as two "seasoned" adults held our breathes and looked as if we were disarming a nuclear warhead but hey the family hasn't dubbed the boys the "Filipino Fire" for nothing.

Eli is so proud and we are too of how far he's come in 7 weeks. Now on to his Thursday eye appointment, if possible he squints worse than Lucas did.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sass Is Sass In Any Language

Yep most definitely someone who shall be identified as possessing testosterone (and is not Mike or Eli) in our household has developed a definitive taste for sassing me. Verbally in English and Tagalog and with body motions......anyone want to guess how well that is working out for him?

As this has been escalating over the past week-end but today when we finally had to make a trip to town for some medicine and other things "he who shall remain nameless" decided to pull out all the tricks; refusing to get out of bed, refusing to get in the shower and then to get dressed, refusing to talk (which why do kids think this is punishment to adults?) and then after being ignored by myself, his brother (who handled this whole thing very well) and Rachel and Sydney, decided to up the antie in the car and make faces behind my back while I was driving. Ordinarily this very bright, loving and considerate child has not brought this behavior to the table....yet. Shall we say the honeymoon is over and now some major testing going on? You would also think that this not stupid child would realize after being ratted out by his siblings that perhaps he should stop with the sassy gestures----ummmm nope. For the past several days I'd used every trick in the book (literally- all those adoption books) to address this behavior and always running into the blank wall of understandable language, that is until I dropped the "recommended intervention methods". So I shall say we had a non-physical, come to Jesus session in the parking lot of Target where the language barrier was dropped...amazing how much English is understood when a PSP is threatened to be eradicated.
We've had to have a few reminders this afternoon but so far so good - egg timer was also purchased at Target and explained that bad behavior would equal so much time without the highly regarded PSP. Have your kids ever had a toy that you hate but at the same time becomes your allie?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

No Touchy - No Touchy!

Ok we are all stir crazy from cabin fever and too much snow......"No touchy, no touchy" is the new screaming motto in the house. It is screamed, shrieked and giggled at a constant and repetitive rate.

First it was the boys who would scream it when the girls tickle them, then it was the girls shrieking it when the boys run by and poke them then it is giggled (how can giggling be so LOUD) when it's a game of tag as they all 5 try to catch each other to tickle, poke and generally annoy one another.

Enough we are venturing out to see if we can make it to the highway and if successful we are going out to lunch - Lucas is appalled by this as he has come to the unfortunate and totally wrong opinion that all food should be made in our kitchen, by me. Oh son, you've so much to learn.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Mom's Bragging on Some Pretty Neat Kids!

Merry Christmas! For those that may be in the tropics - which is pretty much anyone not in western Iowa today - we are buried in snow. Drifts waist high and probably 15-18 inches of snow. More on the way today. Yeah for a white Christmas, bummer cause no one is able to make it here for Christmas dinner but all the kids are home (at least until 2:00 when we attempt to get Alison to her job 13 miles away).

Because I'm no longer under stress of cooking I decided to sit down and share one of my gifts with you and brag on my kids. I knew Sydney was planning something that involved a lot of people but at Christmas you don't ask too many questions. It's neat to have a 16 year old plan, make and really put love into a gift for you and if she can involve her little brothers' cooperation even better.

Lucas and Eli have been running around for the past week or so saying "secret", giggle, giggle.

Again don't ask questions at Christmas. When we got home last night the three of them couldn't wait any longer and wanted me to open a gift. The result is up above. Pretty neat gift and kids. The words are hard to read in the picture so they are posted below. Made my Christmas - Happy Holidays!
When Mommy saw your picture, I think she knew that her two sons were the both of you!
We traveled to a land so far away - it took 24 hours - an entire day.
Mommy's eyes glistened when you were in her arms, for she knew you were safe from any harm.
Mommy's expression was hard to hide and some of her rules you don't like to abide.
But everything will be okay, I know it's true, because you now have a family that loves you!
Sydney Pickle 12/25/09

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

First Day of Christmas Break

Today began the first full day of the Christmas break for the kids. We let the kids sleep in this a.m. thinking it would be a treat. I think it may have been an error in judgement. Changes to routine are not good for the guys thus not good for anyone. It's one of those things that we are aware of with the boys but it's easy to slip into a comfort zone thus leaving a gaping hole for issues to arise. We survived the day, everyone is back to smiling and tucked into bed. If we weren't experiencing an ice/winter storm I think Mike and I would possibly go to the store for a stronger beverage than pop (oops forgot to mention we have no water - pump went out on our well late today hopefully the well company will be able to fix it when they come in the a.m. - yeah for living in the country!) Here's a prayer that things are on an even keel tomorrow. - yes I'm in a funk and will just stop writing now.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Is This Christmas?

Rachel's method of brother control.
Too Cool For Anyone's Sanity

Eli and Grandma (playing Santa)

Lucas and Grandma (no he wasn't pulling her over, just hugging!)

Eli traveling with the presents - he was consumed a couple times when there was an avalanche.

The Cousins - minus Landyn who was napping and "safe".

Apologize for dropping the posts this past week. Posting and holidays are a little challenging. We have had a very busy week, a pediatrician's visit (without the meltdown) although Eli does continue to have a nasty ear infection, Lucas has his new glasses (pretty much hates them - and as I post this I've just realized I forgot to get them on his face for school - oops!) and we traveled to my nephews' for the first of 3 Christmas celebrations and stayed in a motel for the first time since the boys came home. Why do I mention this? Well it took a tremendous amount of talking, convincing and reassuring that we were staying only one night, we were coming back to our house and the all important item - no plane rides involved.

More confusion came as we tried to explain that yes we are unwrapping gifts at this Christmas but this wasn't actually Christmas day and Santa wasn't involved at this one. The big question from Lucas - "How many Christmas?" Last night I mentioned that it is 4 days til Christmas. Again with the dropped jaws. Yes boys, the first tradition of Christmas.....CONFUSION!

One thing about this Christmas was that most of the little ones were there and my Mom was able to sit with each of them and give them their gifts. As her eyesight is pretty much gone the kids had to get close for her to be able to see them. Take a look at the faces they're better than words!

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and I'll try to get back in the swing of posting and pictures. No matter how many times you celebrate may you all have a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Communication vs Grunting

An observation that has been going on around our house since the boys arrived is the differences in our daughters and our sons. The foremost being their differing styles of expressing themselves.

Anyone who knows our girls know that they verbally "communicate" to the extreme. They've never been at a loss for words and live under the guidelines of the bigger the word the more powerful your conversations or at least you stand the chance of confusing the other person into your point of view.

The boys on the other hand seem to have mastered and perfected the ability to grunt and achieve ear splitting decibels in noise production.

In our very unscientific study of this phenomenon here are some observations:
  • they both seem to get their views across to their respective gender
  • there are more grunts and noises available for everyday life than words
  • the girls are appalled by these noises
  • I am appalled that Mike understands and has begun to use this same noise producing language skill (it's probably been dormant all these years as he either had to use words or never get a noise in edgewise prior to the boys arrivals)
  • A common spoken language isn't necessary when noises are universal

Our challenge now is to raise two boys into adult men who understand that communication has progressed since the cavemen and words are our friends. Save the noises for interacting with other noise producing humans - girls appreciate a guy who speaks or at least listens. As for the boyfriends and future husbands of our daughters - learn the art of communicating with words, they won't understand the noises and will assume that you agree with everything they say. Use your words!

Generations of Aggravation

Family members will know that Aggravation is a board game that we started playing with my grandparents which would be the boys great grand parents. The board looks a little different and the rules are slightly different but basically it's a marble game where you race around a board to try to get all 4 of your colored marbles safely in home while wreaking havoc on other players.

Today we visited Grandma Plummer and her game was out where the boys caught sight of it. So far the games we've played haven't had a lot of rules and are short in duration as we work on attention spans and taking turns. Well they really wanted to "play" game. Well after limiting some of the rules and watching to make sure they each followed the rules and took turns, an hour later they are hooked on Aggravation. Now part of Aggravation is to take your opponent's marbles off the board if you can. This part of the game Eli loved, Lucas not so much cause Eli was really good at it. The other thing Eli is VERY good at rolling 6 and 1 which are vital in the game. That was the other thing we had to watch cause the temptation to slide the dice instead of roll is really strong.....not to worry that this is necessarily a trait of the boys because I remember watching my 90 year old grandmother do the same thing....only difference being is I couldn't correct her and felt that I should at least try to get the boys to play fairly. But Debbie (my sister) says she wants to take Eli to Vegas when he's older!

So here is fair warning for those who may have the opportunity to play Aggravation with the boys, there is much squealing, shouting, sighing, pouting, a little temptation to cheat and a whole lot more activity than your normal game of Aggravation. (Pretty sure the entire care center where Mom lives was aware of the game in Mom's apartment. They probably think she was throwing a wild party.)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Learning Independence

Today was a bit of a milestone for Lucas and Eli. When we first came home they were glued to each other as you would expect. Until this past month the consistency they've had is each other and coming to a new home, family, friends, country that pretty much cemented them into each others shadow.

But today after school Eli came in the house asked for his snack and to watch a movie and Lucas wanted to play outside in the snow. Not a big deal for most but they were out of each others' sight and doing things independent of each other with no worry frowns and no checking on the other brother. School has been a huge help with this I know but it's definitely a step forward into their adjustment here in their new lives.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And Let There Be Sight!

Yep - Lucas is officially in the Pickle/Plummer families. He will now be sporting glasses as he is in the doctors' words, "extremely far sighted". As said best by Lucas during the exam when she finally focused everything for him, "Wow! Yes!"

He's not real sure about the whole eye glass thing. Definately glad we got the kind you can practically tie into pretzels.

He about broke my heart when we were trying frames on and he looked at me and said, "My eyes blue now?" He is so into everyone's eye color and wants blue eyes like Mike's. I told him no that he has beautiful brown eyes and that will always be their color. But it really drove home the point on how much he wants to be like most of the people in his family. We'll have to make a point to show him all his cousins, even though they aren't Filipino, that have brown eyes. I can't believe how much older he looks in glasses.

Oh Say Can You See?

Today we are headed to the eye doctor with Lucas. We've noticed him squinting since we first brought him home, so doctor appointment #?.

We're lucky to have an eye doctor who is aware of the language barrier and fear factor so we'll see how this goes. Hopefully not as scary to him (or us) as the pediatrician appointment that shall remain forever in our brains. We thought we'd have to take him out of school a little early to make the appointment but it's another snow day for school - day 3 and counting.

We opted not to have Eli tested right now as doctors of any kind are Trauma with a capitol T. Hope we're able to get an accurate testing for Lucas' eyes. He squints at reading, tv, even when he talks to you across the room.

I tried to explain the eye doctor, saying it's to see if he can see better with glasses - we all wear contacts or glasses so I pointed to mine. Again with the horrified face - I'm pretty sure he thought I was going to make him "wear" my glasses and that pretty much ended the conversation.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy Birthday ala 9 Iron!

Today is Alison's 24th birthday. She spent the night at our house last night after she got off work due to the winter storm. She has definitely gotten used to her night shift and is used to sleeping in as was evidenced when Lucas and Eli realized she was downstairs sleeping and decided they should wish her Happy Birthday!

Alison shall we say is not a morning person. She was woken up by the boys screaming in their usual fashion "Ate Alison - Happy Birthday!" When she pried her eyes open it was to see Lucas and Eli grinning at her but what really got her excited was the part where Eli had discovered a set of golf clubs prior to reaching her bedroom and was standing over her with club in hand. Now I'm sure waking up from a dead sleep to see someone standing over you with a golf club is not the way most people are expecting to wake on their birthday (unless you're related to Tiger Woods).

If I'd only known during Alison's high school years that the way to motivate her out of bed was with a combination "Good Morning" and a 9 iron, getting up for school would have moved much faster!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Are We Sledding or Canoeing?

Today was a cancelled school day due to snow and blizzard conditions. No school again tomorrow. The boys are thrilled with the snow if a little puzzled by all the things to do in it.

Eli loves to throw his version of snow balls which is really just picking up a handful and throwing it. Unfortunately he rarely allows for the wind direction and generally gets it back in his own face. Funny for those of us watching as he is always mystified as to why that happens.

Lucas loves to throw himself on the ground. It doesn't matter if it's on his back or face first. The snow is deep enough now that you can't see what may be under it so I'm sure there will be bandages involved at some point.

Mike took them sledding this afternoon. Ummmm - yes they liked it, no they didn't have a clue what to do, no they didn't want to come in. Finally their stomachs won and they had to come in for food. The best way to describe their first attempt at sledding is that it was like watching someone trying to row a canoe on dry land. It took quite awhile to convince them that it would slide without them powering it with their arms.

Tonight after it had gotten dark and is still snowing we had to turn on the yard light every so often so they could measure the snow that is piling up by the family room door. They are now convinced that it will be over their heads in the morning. Yes there is a lot but not quite to that level yet.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mom, Tooth, Phewey, Flush

I want to say that I do have a picture of this next story but was vetoed on posting cause of the gross factor. Alison is the veto person which says something since she's a nurse.

This morning in all the excitement of getting ready to go outside, Lucas went into the restroom for a minute while Eli finished breakfast. When he comes back out he says, "Mommy, tooth all gone!" I was very excited by this as those who know me - I DO NOT DO TEETH PULLING - I don't look at loose teeth and can't even pull off a convincing "Oh keep wiggling that!". So I was pleased that the thing was finally out.

I asked him where it was so we could put it under the pillow for the tooth fairy, explaining as I went who and what the tooth fairy was. He absolutely thinks I'm nuts. After the explaining and (somewhat) phony excitement I asked again "Where's the tooth" He looked at me shaking his head and said "Phewey, (spitting sound), toilet, flush, no tooth fairy!" and walked into his room still shaking the head and muttering. I don't even want to know what the Tagalog words were cause I'm pretty sure it was "I am living with a crazy woman!"

Snowballs and Winter Excitement!

The boys totally didn't understand why they had to put on their coats as well as the coveralls, that is until they stepped outside with the negative wind chill. The expressions at school were great when they found out that all their winter gear had to come off before class time.

At first Lucas didn't understand that you don't take turns throwing snowballs at the other person's face while they stand still. Eli threw first while Lucas stood still, as soon as he hit him Eli took off down the driveway. Didn't take long after that for the battle to proceed.

Mike and Lucas in their snowball fighting stance, good thing Mike had his shoulder surgery or he'd be on the losing end of this battle!

This morning was very exciting for a lot of reasons. It was the first full day of school for Lucas and Eli and we also had our first snow fall. (We're in a blizzard warning tonight).
Last night right before bed I turned the yard light on so they could see the grass was covered - really big stuff. This morning they had to get up earlier than ever 7:00 a.m. as opposed to the 8:30 we managed last week. Needless to say doing anything fast was not in the cards until Dad said something about the snow then it was all about teeth brushing, clothes dressing and putting on the winter gear to go to school.
Of all the things they talk about snow -which a lot are from pictures and movies - they constantly talk about snowball fights. Great, not a problem at home but explaining that it's not allowed at school was to say the least received with much frowning.
They were dressed and ready for school 45 minutes early and out the door with Dad they went, the pictures tell the rest except that when we finally all made it into the pickup to go to school I looked over and the boys are literally covered from hats to boots in snow, then I look at Mike and he's in the same condition. Once again it probably should have been a learning moment when it was explained it's ok to get snowy but brush it off before coming inside or getting into the cars but how do you do that when the 49 year old sitting beside you hasn't learned that lesson either?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Best Gift is in the Giving & Playing in the Box Afterwards

We celebrated Alison's 24th birthday this week-end. She received the "luxurious" gift of a vacuum. She is truly an adult now as she was tickled with it.

We took Sydney and the boys shopping to pick it up. Walmart, ever our friend - not, rearranged their store and the vacuums were directly across the aisle from the toys. I walked around the corner after searching for the vacuums to see this and I have to say the thought that ran through my mind was not nice. How to choose a vacuum and keep the boys from going into overdrive wanting to see the toys. They knew we were there for a vacuum - it's one of their favorite items at home - besides the can opener that Eli took apart and still needs replaced and they knew it was a birthday gift for Ate' Alison.

We made our choice, they were impressed because it was red - apparently a "good, good color"for vacuums according to Lucas and they helped Mike put it into the cart, which I'm sure Walmart security was laughing at the great amount of lifting, face contortions and I really hope they don't have sound on those surveillance cameras cause we definitely had grunting.

Anyway they made a brief stop to look at a remote controlled toy and we left the toys behind without a problem and without buying one.

When we got home the boys were playing in their room and Sydney was going to help me wrap the box. Eli came running out and by the pictures hopefully you can see what serious business the wrapping of presents is to him. Lucas and Eli both took great care in signing their card to Alison.

We took it to her today, they helped carry it in and helped her unwrap it. Just like at Grandma Katie's birthday party they were so excited to give her the gift. Whether they understand it right now or not they truly do inspire us daily when it comes to sharing and finding joy in the everyday things whether it's for themselves or others. Hope they always have that ability.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Oh Wise One!

Ok once again the limited English is kicking my proverbial (bleep). Everyday after school one of the first questions the boys ask is "School tomorrow?" Well I hadn't thought that far ahead to have a short, non-complicated explanation handy to explain week-ends.

There are just so many things to explain that a person's mind is in a constant spin cycle. I get broadsided so often by the simplest of things and trying to explain them. Guess what there are a lot of things that we do in our everyday life that really defy description or need. Can we say re-evaluate?

Anyway, I took the easy way out for this week-end, showed them the calendar. Explained Saturday as play/house cleaning day and Sunday as church and Alison's birthday party. They soak all the explanations up and wisely nod their heads. It's like talking to dual Yoda's. (Star Wars for those of a certain age). May the force be with us in the days and years to come!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Jingle All The Way or at Least into the Audience

Tonight was the Christmas program at the elementary. The boys have only been in school 3 days and we decided that we wouldn't put them in the program as they hadn't learned all the songs and let's face it a crowd that large is scary to a lot of kids although the boys seem to have a "no fear" policy at this stage.

We did take them to watch their classmates. They were both so excited to see their new friends up front singing and then to see their teachers from across the gym that they were literally crawling all over Mike, Sydney, me and thank goodness Donna and Ron Riley were in front of us because I know they got kicked, patted and poked for the entire time.

It was such a thrill to them to see people they knew and point them out. When Lucas' classmates waved at him from across the gym he was over the moon. Telling us, "Friends, my friends, yeah my friends." It's always hard to tell but I don't think it ever crossed their minds that they could be missing out on something. What we also were treated to was that the boys knew some of the songs and sang along from the crowd, which again we are very grateful for the people surrounding us as they handled it better than some might. They knew the songs partly in English some in Tagalog and as Lucas has started teaching us, some Vasaya.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Rocky Start But Overall Success?

Well day 2 of school had the potential to be a bad deal. We (meaning Eli and myself) had a little rocky start beginning with the removal of a band aid and ending with a chunk of hair cut out of his noggin by no other than Himself.

Let me back up, last night Eli took a tumble and scraped the back of his head. After receiving "raising boys" advice (Chris and Dawn) and seeing more than a fair share of head bleeding at work I cleaned it up but as head cuts do it continued to bleed so short of wrapping his entire head in gauze I stupidly put a band aid on it and let him sleep with it on.

I should have let him go to school with a band aid glued in the middle of the back of his head but no Mom that I am tried to take it out. He objected loudly for 40 minutes, even when I'd stopped after 3 minutes. Talk about one ticked off kid. So while we were waiting for calm to return I got the scissors out thinking, again I don't know where my brain went, that when we were under control I'd clip it out. Before I could get my hands out of the dishwater Eli walked up beside me grabbed the scissors and performed his own band aid extraction. No I don't have a picture of the bald spot!

We did manage to make it to school on time and by all teacher reports for the day they had a good one. I on the other hand had to visit my work place for a dose of adult behavior (yes you people are suppose to act like adults!) So thank you to all of you who have returned my questionable sanity.

The boys are safely tucked into bed - injury free, band aid free and snoring. Next time, because I'm assured there will be a next time, there is a head cut the gauze is coming out and they'll look like they are wearing a helmet.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lucas and Eli's First Day of School

The boys started the morning bright and early asking if today was the day they got to go to Ate Sydney's school. Yep today is finally the day - I'm sure to Lucas anyway it seems like it's taken forever before this day arrived - me it's come around pretty fast.

Eli surprised me again. He hung his coat in the locker, remembered where his classroom was, knocked and when his teacher answered the door said hello, then proceeded to march into the room and go to his desk. All on his own with no reminders. It amazes me how you can show the boys something once and they remember it, that's probably cause my own memory is sliding downhill.

After Eli went into his room Lucas got a little quiet but went and put his things away and as we waited a few minutes to go into his class he saw Eli's class leave the room for lunch. Once he saw Eli marching down the hall with the rest of his class Lucas took this big sigh and smiled at me. Guess he was wondering how well Eli would like school too.

Can I just say by the amount of English and Tagalog spewing forth on the way home from school from both sources it was a successful day. These are the highlights of what I could catch:

school, lunch, playground, friend, friends, football, basketball, star (on worksheet), write name, friend, hot dog, drink, orange drink (turned out to be strawberry milk) Mrs. McGinn, banyo, bike now, hot dog, eat, bag, Mrs. Olson , friend, recess, 2 , 3. All said in about 15 seconds

We came home had to call Daddy and Ate' Rachel. Sydney and Alison had already called to check on them. Think we were more worried about the first day than the boys? Now the conversation is tomorrow this school, tomorrow that school. We'll mark it down as a good day.

Apparently school is a hit as the boys ate supper, asked for their showers, video and have their clothes layed out for tomorrow. The only negative that we heard was they were amazed that they were only given 1 hot dog, that discussion has gone all afternoon and night. By the way they cleared their plates tonight and we discovered they love grilled tuna sandwiches. I guess school lunch will make a person reevaluate the food supply.