Sunday, January 31, 2010

On Some Things Boys Are Just More Forgiving....


It's either that or oblivious. I was giving them the benefit of the doubt. I tackled hair cuts again tonight. I've only attempted it one other time when they first got home...not so good, so I've waited until tonight...why would I attempt that on the night before school, the night before I go back to work....I don't know, it needed done and I ran out of time to go to the barber.

Actually this time didn't turn out too bad, no blood, no tears and I only pulled Lucas hair (by accident) once. It's hard to aim at a moving target. Hair-stylists don't get enough credit. Appreciate your decent haircuts people! You could be Lucas and Eli with a Mom-cut.

Rough Day At School Courtesy of Younger Brother!


Well what can I say when Lucas arrived home from school Friday he was sporting a goose egg on his forehead. Even though I somewhat feared the answer I asked the question, "What happened?" (Nothing is explained solo, without hand gestures and a little shoving) What I was able to get was that the boys were horsing around and Eli may be younger and slightly smaller but apparently he tried out one of his new wrestling moves and shoved his brother into his locker door. More exact, his head. 3 days later the goose egg is still there and Eli is still grounded from PSP and movies.

Mom Were We Like This? I Am So Sorry!

Luke's Batman Cake

Hailey is Concerned About Luke Blowing Out His Candles

Eli Thinks Ate' Alison Should Play Too

Brandon, Aidan and Luke Inventing Their Own Games

Not Really Sure What Lucas is Helping Landyn With

Try Explaining Pin the Tail on the Donkey When He Doesn't
Know What a Donkey Is!

Lucas and Eli Both Received BDay Gifts
Coke Glasses and COKE!

No It's Not For Football
No It's Not a Motorcycle Helmet
It's a BASEBALL Helmet
Klayton Waiting For a Chance
To Pin The Donkey Tail

That would be a statement from one of our girls in the middle of Lucas' "Kids" birthday party. I had to laugh as the kids were really good. Just a lot of noise and activity. What amazes me even more is that I remember the girls' birthday party involving 10-12 girls, overnight, Barbies and a lot of giggling. Ok we had the giggling, there were only 9 kids here plus their parents and no one was injured, vomited or cried so it was a success.

I guess maybe the girls have this scary view that I'm always organized and apparently they didn't realize how much that went out the door when the boys came home. The party was definitely "free" form. I figured if the kids were having fun who cared.....a little different from the old days girls. Sorry!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Trip Back From Lucas' Party

As you've read from the previous days entries you know we've had our fair share of winter. Tonight we went to Mike's parents for Luke's birthday party, they live 1/2 mile from us. Well to say we had to go through drifts is an understatement and usually in the car the boys are not quiet but when Mike busted through the first drift Lucas said, "Dad, what you doing? Crazy!" and then silence rained until we reached Grandpa and Grandma's door.

Coming home we went the long way trying to avoid some of the deeper snow. Eli's running back seat commentary (I suppose he thought Mike could use the emotional support) was to chant, "Good job, good job, hit the snow man, good job" Ok took a second but I finally got that he thinks the drifts are snow men. Eli and Dad must have done a good job tag team driving as we made it home safe.

Happy 10th Birthday Lucas!

Wanting to get rid of the snow and start baseball practice - Good Luck!






Getting a call from Ate' Rachel at college!







The color on his cake was 2 shades of purple (NOT pink)

Well Lucas received some of his birthday wishes and not others. He was thrilled with the helicopter, r/c motorcycle and the basketball game to name a few but greatly disappointed that there was no school again today. (They just cancelled school for tomorrow too!) He had his treats bagged up for his class and it doesn't mean much when I say he can take them tomorrow when I've been saying they can go to school tomorrow for a week now and due to weather it's been cancelled. High winds and blizzards kept school closed again today.

He's had his favorite foods today which seem to be about as important as the gifts. Chicken, spaghetti (last night for supper) and then pizza and cake tonight. We went to Mike's parents for supper and had a small family birthday party and then he will have a cousins birthday party on Saturday with the all important Batman cake he has talked about since Christmas.

Still can't understand why there isn't a beach to swim at in Iowa on his birthday. I finally said, "Look around if you can find it you can swim in it." He looked at me, looked at the blizzard outside and said, "No! Cold!" Ok then.....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ees Okay No More Snow, Dirty!


That is Lucas' opinion on winter in Iowa. After his shower this evening he informed me that it was indeed ok by him if the snow went away and was no more. Ummm....sorry bud it's only January and we have 3 1/2 months to go.

It definitely has gotten ugly outside the ice of the last couple days began melting along with some of the snow and now we have lovely calf deep slush, ice and brown snow. Gotta love it. I'm trying to prepare myself for the day the boys have decided that there is no green left here and want to go back to the Philippines.

Lucas did talk about the typhoons this past summer while we were discussing the "dirty water" outside. He told me how they couldn't go to their school for awhile and how the water was bad, no swimming.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Question You May Want to Rethink...

I've been thinking about this post for almost a week and since it doesn't seem to leave my mind I guess that means I need to write about it.

The adoption world is a world that is somewhat insular to itself. It has it's own language, culture, law, education and hierarchy. Mainly it can be very confusing starting out. I remember almost a year ago when we started into the process that I was somewhat put off by some that I met within the adoption world who are very "passionate and opinionated" about their views as to what and how every process, approach and answer to adoption issues should be handled. I guess I'm just as passionate that there is no single one way for each adoptive situation and family. Thinking back (and stop laughing those of you that know how opinionated and vocal I am) I remember thinking, "Man I hope I remember not to come off like that. I wonder if they realize how off putting they are? No wonder people don't ask questions about adoption if that is the response they get." See within some adoption communities there is a whole perceived view on what is and is not politically correct for those on the outside to ask and wonder but if you aren't tuned into adoption you are unaware of this until you are slammed by somebody. I have to say it happened to me at a meeting of perspective adoptive moms early in our journey and I remember thinking (well I thought a lot of inappropriate things) and then I thought I want to make a concerted effort to not to respond to people like that.

For the most part I approach questions as whether people are genuinely interested, interested in adoption themselves, interested in the process or just being nosey. Very few fall in this last category. To what degree I provide answers depends on the motivation for questions or the privacy of the boys. If there is something that falls under the category of the boys privacy generally people don't mean to ask these types of questions or realize what the reasons would be to not answer them. Then I just circle the issue or depending on the person explain why (nicely I might add) why I can't answer that question.

There have been a few times that I've been blindsided by questions either because they are good questions that I'd never thought about or because people are people and sometimes we say stupid things.

Thus bringing to the reason behind this long winded post. Last week I had someone, who I've known distantly my entire life, walk up to me (in the most inappropriate imaginable place and time) and loudly ask (and not nicely) "So, how's your second family?"

Again total blindside. Well number one, the boys are not second anything, they are our sons just like the girls are our daughters. I don't know why this bothers me so much other than it's one of the few times that I've not been able to give a constructive, redirecting answer. Quite frankly I wanted to slug her. It probably falls in the category of think before you speak. Again we were not in an appropriate place to address her "question" so after a pause I said "our sons are fine and so are the girls" and walked away. I didn't realize how rattled I was until I got away from her. Some of it was the way the question was spoken, it was not in a positive manner or by someone without skills to properly form a question, it was more of a snide, you are ridiculous for adopting tone. I was a little "surprised" in how much I don't think about the boys being adopted just that they are our sons. The concept of adoption has played such a huge part of this last year that I'm not sure when exactly the switch over was made in my mind. Either way this encounter was good for me at one level, I had a VERY protective, possessive reaction. Guess for those tuned into attachment I've reached that level of motherhood with the boys that I think I could probably wipe the floor with someone who questions their places in our family. Maybe not the most mature realization but motherhood isn't 100% rational.

I don't want to in any way convey that adoption (the word or the process) is off limits. Most definitely the opposite. Without adoption in all it's incarnations ours sons would not be home, every aspect has brought these guys into our lives. Unfortunately not everyone we encounter is open to this and I'll go back to trying to be constructive and positive with our answers.

Ok, now I'm worried I will put off questions from those of you who have been so supportive throughout bringing the boys home. That is not what this post is about. Without all of you our boys as well as ourselves wouldn't have the wonderful support system we have. You are the ones who can ask the questions and will understand if the answers sometimes need to be evasive. Thanks for thinking out the questions and caring enough to understand!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Love My Kids But COME ON!


Can you tell by the header that yes once again we are iced in by a winter storm? Ha! I started to write this on Wednesday and was interrupted, now it is Thursday and school is still cancelled because of ice.

Love my kids but we are all driving each other crazy! We attempted to send the boys outside for a few minutes yesterday as they were begging to get out of the house. No matter how much we tried to warn them, explain the words ice, slick, slide, etc. they were on their collective posteriors within 30 seconds. Which is saying something as they are pretty darn coordinated.

Ice vs. the "Filipino Fire" = Ice wins and they were back inside in 3 minutes. Ice definitely not as much fun as the snow. My inside activity ideas are getting slim as they blow through them so fast. Maybe we'll bake we haven't taken on that project yet (yes I have lost my mind!). Now if we don't lose power!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2 Injections = Hershey Bar and Coke


Well the price of the boys' bribes have gone down immensely from the first bribing event. The first set necessitated new PSP games and a tranquilizer for me, this time they let us slip by with Hershey Bar and a Coke.

Ok, yes I know, we just went to the dentist but I'm not as worried about their teeth falling out right this second as I am as to whether we will get them to bed before midnight because of the overload of sugar and caffeine. Let's see late night or screaming, inconsolable wailing (me not the boys).....late night wins!
I'm not sure which they wanted to show off more their muscles or their band-aids.

What Were Birthdays Like For Lucas?

Well this is going to be a long week for Lucas. He has anxiously been waiting for his birthday and if you've seen him lately he's probably told you "January 25 - me 10!" He is definitely our calendar watcher for all events. The kids had yesterday off from school and when he checked the calendar in the a.m. he realized that his birthday is one week from yesterday. Needless to say the day was consumed with birthday talk.

It was pretty interesting to listen to him (and Eli as his echo) about what birthdays were like for them at the orphanage is Zamboanga. Now we have to do a little funneling as I think some of the descriptions were mixed with holidays other than birthdays.

We learned that they had a pinata, a cake (cake is REALLY important) with a glass of juice and then they got to have a bottle of Coke. We do have a picture of one of their birthday cakes. It looks like a regular sheet cake without the frosting. The first time I made a cake they were so excited that was until I started frosting it....you should have seen their horrified looks. They really thought (and at times rightly so) that I had a screw loose until I gave them a taste. Now it's an argument on when the cake is cool enough to frost. FYI Lucas wants a Batman cake with white and chocolate cake. He has no clue about receiving birthday gifts but asks if he can have a Coke.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Shoot the Ball Eli!

That was the scream that Lucas decided should be his theme for Eli's first basketball game today. Didn't matter if Eli had the ball it was what Lucas thought should happen. Eli on the other hand did very well, he went (most of the time) where the coach told him, ran the correct direction (didn't attempt to make a basket in the wrong hoop - one huge asset) and generally looked like he had a good time.

The boys on his 1st grade team play at the YMCA on Saturday mornings. It is probably what sports should be as the kids had fun, learned something about being a team and the adults were well behaved. Give it another year and we'll see how that all changes. We sat in on the end of an older girls game and that was down right nasty.

The video is short and Eli kind of looks like he's preparing for church but it's better than the still pictures we got. His coach got one thing through his head, "this is your spot", the kid can rebound....now if we can get him to stick to the kid he's suppose to guard. And he even managed to make a basket. Not bad for a basketball playing Pickle!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dad, Eli, Dentist, Car Sickness Add Up To?

One huge mess! Mike did the solo parent thing and volunteered to take Eli for his dentist appointment. Oh - I'm pretty sure it's the last time.

He picked him up at school (where he'd just been given his fluoride treatment) and proceeded to drive 50 miles to the dentist appointment. I'm guessing approximately 10 minutes away from the office Eli got car sick. Ooops! Holy Mess!

Give the guys credit, Eli managed to avoid himself, (Dad's car floor not so much) and Mike got him settled and into the dentist (yuck!) The good point of the day - NO CRYING - although I'm pretty sure Mike wants to as he is outside now trying to clean the car. Thanks honey!

The dentist thought it was from the fluoride - Sydney's reaction was "Wow! He's got something else in common with me." .....she can't do the fluoride thing either. Can't say as I was sorry to miss this particular bonding experience but please don't worry I've been graphic explanations, gestures and just short of a reenactment so I'm ok with the loss of the actual experience.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Siberia American Style

Yes I know 2 posts in one day but this was something that happened on the way to the dentist with Lucas today.

It's very white and wintry here in Iowa. Snow, blizzards, sub zero wind chill, you and the boys would think we are living in Siberia. The boys arrived home mid November after the leaves had fallen off the trees and all the crops were in. No green except for evergreens.

One of Lucas' big things to talk about is when will the snow go away and when will it be hot. Our common frame of reference is on Eli's birthday, June 4. Anyway, traveling down the road he looks over at me says, "In Philippines trees leaves, no leaves in America?" Ooops, thought we'd covered this but maybe not. I had to explain that the tall, brown sticks beside the road and in yards are trees and that their leaves will come back when the snow is gone.

With his infinite wisdom and exasperated sigh he said, "Ya, ya I know, I know - Eli's birthday! Hurrumff!" Sorry kiddo welcome to Siberia American style.

I'm Not Too Proud To Say....Bribes Work!


Today was step 1 of 2. Lucas had his first dental appointment with a new dentist that came highly recommended. If anything puts a bigger stresser on the kid than injections at the pediatrician's, it's injections by a dentist.

The plan was that Mike was suppose to go with me today as he apparently inspires better behavior than myself. Unfortunately he ended up working an hour and a half from home today and couldn't go. So it was myself and "he who has the ability to scream like a banshee" by ourselves. So what did I do you ask? I bribed the little poop to not throw a fit! Yep - don't care what the "experts" say or the books - it's effective. It let him control himself as much as possible (only one short crying jag) and I as well as the dental office have our collective sanity and hearing.

We are so lucky that this new dentist is so good with kids. She has a lot of patients that are internationally adopted and is very familiar with issues they may have. I've never seen a dentist open her office up like this one did. She said I could come in and out as needed, she took whatever instruments were freaking Lucas out of the exam room, let him play with the water and suction, let him operate the polisher. She even handled it very well when he grabbed her hand when she was counting his teeth with a "sharp scraping device". I've seen dentist's flip when that happens - not her. Lucky, Lucky, Lucky - and bribes do work! Keep us in your prayers step 2 is Eli's appointment is on Wednesday and he doesn't bribe easily.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

No Go Back Philippines - Even When You Get In Trouble

That's the million dollar question for Lucas these days. He's testing the boundaries which is good as he's becoming comfortable enough to try and bad cause there are consequences to the testing which he's not in favor of.

Tested the boundaries all week-end with me (how'd I draw the lucky straw?) and finally exceeded my maximum allowable point of no return. Got chewed on by me and then we talked about it with Dad as he decided he'd continue the behavior. (Talking to Dad about bad behavior is about as bad as it gets for him as they are buddies). After that discussion there was the usual few minutes of silence and then he pipes up and asks, "I go back to Philippines now?"

Well okay then......made mom and dad feel like dirt......may have been the idea too. We then sat and explained that this isn't like when they went to live in Manila for a few months, they are here with us forever, no matter how many times they get in trouble and we love them even when we are mad. Lucas' answer to this, "OK, I stay here, America with you forever." I'm really sure we'll be having this discussion a lot.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Genetically Engineered Whining

Ok. I just want to know. Guys. Young, old. Seasoned husbands, new sons. What on earth makes them all whine? Shopping - nobody's favorite in our household but just like laundry and cleaning the bathrooms it has to be done. Stop whining. This is not an island where food mysteriously appears - we have to go shopping! No I do not have to shoo (the boys' word) and go shopping by myself - you help use up the supplies and food - you help to restock. Easy concept - stop WHINING! I'm not kidding we have been snowed in and unable to let the kids go outside because of the dangerous wind chill for 2 1/2 days so you would think they'd have cabin fever and want a change of scenery - but no, not if it involves grocery shopping.

When you do finally manage to get all reluctant participants (yes I won! everyone went!) to the store, does the whining end? No. Whine about what kind of toothpaste, what kind of yogurt, what kind of "whatever", we had to restock on rice cause you'd think we were throwing it in the snow as fast as we go through it these days and the boys managed to argue about which kind of rice - which had I been able to understand the Tagalog words they probably would have had to go to the car as I'm pretty sure there were a couple of not so good ones. You know those "Easy" button commercials on tv? I want a "Mute" button for whining. Stop It! - Now I will stop - yes I feel better.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Boys and Sydney Steal a Car?


No they did NOT! But I got you to read this post.....

Today we are having another snow "issue" 7 inches more and wind to go with it. Sydney drives herself and the boys to and from school. With all the snow we have her driving our Jeep most days and I have the pick-up in case I'd need to run into town. Today I needed to drive into Omaha and with the weather deteriorating I decided I'd better switch vehicles with Sydney. I called school to let her know that I was making the switch. Nothing unusual....until school let out early and she and the boys walked up to the truck and she tried to get them to climb in.....no dice. Both backed up said no, no Jeep, Jeep. Began looking for the jeep in the high school parking lot while Sydney was trying to explain the change in vehicles. Under great protest they finally climbed in and buckled up. Even when she explained it was our truck they still frowned and said "No Jeep!" I think it was a real quiet and disgruntled ride home.