Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lola Katie Remembered

This past week our family lost a very special person. Mike's Grandma Katie, to Lucas and Eli she was Lola Katie. Grandma came to live with Mike's parents a few months before the boys came home from the Philippines.

You wouldn't think that 3 people so far apart in age, language and background would have much in common but they managed to bridge that gap and ignore the parts that were beyond explanation to a 94 year old and 2 little boys.

Katie worried about the boys (as she did everyone) and the boys worried about her and when we could visit the next time.

This past week as we knew our time with Grandma was ending we slowly began introducing the concept to the boys that Grandma was very ill and wouldn't be able to get better. With no base to build on we were sailing uncharted waters with them. How to explain death and funerals to someone who has no base of reference.

Like so many things the boys have approached this unknown experience the way I'd wish adults could. They ask questions (sometimes uncomfortable ones) think over the answers, come back with more questions and have had the most loving conversations about and to Lola Katie. They worry about their other Grandmas and frequently ask about them.

When they talk about Katie it amazes me how much they have come to know her in this brief amount of time. Katie was an artist (the boys can tell you which paintings she did), she liked to read (Lucas is concerned if she gets to read in heaven), Katie had to use oxygen (the boys are glad she no longer has to drag that around).

Some people are freaked out when a death of a person and even sadly when that person is talked openly about and remembered. I am so glad that Lucas and Eli don't have these hangups. We're hoping that they can hold onto their memories of Lola Katie, she was a person who met them where they started in our family and never made them feel anything but loved.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spring Soccer Has Arrived

Eli outrunning the opposition

Lucas after scoring the first point

Lucas and Eli have waited since January to play soccer. I don't think it's exactly the soccer they played in the Philippines but they are excited anyway. Mike was in charge of spring sports practices but due to his schedule last week and this week I have the duty of practices.

After last week's practice where we had much gazing off into the sky, running willy nilly everywhere but where they were suppose to and mid field dance moves I was more than a little apprehensive for Saturday's game.

You see we had once upon a time experienced soccer with our youngest daughter, Sydney. After her first game was when her sisters started talking about returning her to the Sydney Store. She was 5 and for whatever reason ended up as goalie. Being a girlie girl and a boss (don't know where she gets that) proceeded to stand in front of the goal and instruct the boys on her team to line up in front of her so the ball wouldn't "get" her. Yep her coach was not happy as they boys blindly followed her instructions.

Anyway we were happy when the boys showed no such tendencies, dance moves or sky gazing on Saturday. Their team won 3 to 1 with Lucas and Eli each scoring a goal.....thankfully they each scored as having only one score would have led to a very long, long week of lording it over the others' head. They had a blast so hopefully they think the wait was worth it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mother May I?

That is the game we played in the car tonight. Not on purpose just as a way for Lucas and Eli to try and possibly work something good out of a dreaded car trip (a whole 15 minute car trip mind you).

It started as we passed people walking 4 dogs: 2 huskies, a pug and a very ugly dog resembling a wolf. Rachel makes a comment on the wolf dog and thus Lucas asks for a wolf. "no". Then we see motorcycles, Eli says, "May I have a big motorcycle?" no. Lucas replies, "you get job." Ummm, ok. Then Lucas wants to know, "Mom, may I have a little motorcycle?" Nice try but not on my watch.

There were about another 2 miles worth of this (I'd love to be able to write these car conversations down as I never can remember all of them - can't remember jokes either) their game began to wear a little where upon I believe the words, "Boys if you want to eat at the restaurant stop it." Silence ensued until Lucas pops up with,"Mom may we have food?" Oops bad mom - I always hated that game when I was a kid!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Super Glue vs. Rubber Cement

You know when you are driving in the car by yourself and you don't turn on the radio and just have peaceful moments to THINK? Well this morning going to work was one of those slices of 15 minutes that probably save many parents' hold on sanity.

It occurred to me that a year ago in April we were taking parenting classes, waiting on the FBI clearances and hoping to schedule our home visits, all while buried underneath a mountain of paperwork. That led me to think about where and what the boys were doing a year ago.

They were still in Zamboanga, they didn't know about us and they were quickly becoming the older kids in the orphanage. The other thing was that they were united as two against the world. Stuck together as if by super glue, dependent on the other to watch their backs and to be the only constant in each others' world.

Last night Eli went outside to play by himself, Lucas went and got a book to look at in his room. Then Lucas went and rode his bike and Eli went and played ball in the what you ask?.....well they did this separately. We are starting to see this a little more. The glue between them is still there just more of a rubber cement, they are stretching out and exploring their own interests and individuality. If we step back and watch and remember from back at the beginning what is evolving in their relationship is amazing.

They still have the bungee cord recoil and come back together but they are definitely stretching out to meet the world.

Friday, April 9, 2010

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Things We Never Thought To Hear or Be Able to Accomplish!

Well a short-long 5 months ago we didn't think we'd get to a milestone that we've reached tonight (at least not this soon). And we even managed more than one. The boys started baseball practice and soccer this past week. Much excitement...except for the cleats....they definitely have the opinion that they play better in bare feet....sorry guys.

Anyway tonight at supper Eli, our understated guy, announces, "Me no want chicken, beef!" Ok for those unfamiliar with Lucas and Eli chicken is (or was) the holy grail of food. I am so unbelievably grateful for this change in dietary preference I can't explain, wait until their sister's hear!

The next pronouncement, again from Eli, "Mom, me tired, (someday we'll get the word I in his vocabulary) me shower, pajamas now." Huh? Never once in the entire past 5 months since arriving home have I heard either of them say they were tired. Sports exhaustion is my new bedtime friend.

And to cap of this evenings epiphanies, they both let me sit and rub their skin lotion in without complaint. Our weather is murder on their skin but having to slather on lotion is not "guy" stuff as I've been informed numerous times. For those of you reading that are parenting adopted kids you will understand that touch is so important and such a trust thing that tonight when I realized we were sitting on the living room floor rubbing in lotion to feet, hands, arms, legs and backs without a word of complaint and no squirming, I thought wow look how far we've come. Like all parents you anticipate a certain event or milestone and then when it occurs you are totally broadsided.

And for any naysayers out there, I chose to believe Lucas and Eli enjoyed this time and were relaxed and not just too exhausted to protest!

Refurbished and Enjoyed Balloons

The boys go to our local elementary, I work in a neighboring school district. Today my school was fortunate to be a pilot program for a program that encourages students to look at the positive things in their lives and to acknowledge those things, the people in their lives and the students' special talents, it's called the "Grateful Owl Program".
The kids at school are so excited by this week's kick off and to end the week there were special presentations and a party for all the kids. As part of the party decorations the sponsor brought in a lot of helium filled balloons. Well when clean up was done Ashley, our school based interventionist (and as we in the office call her our sanity checker) asked if I thought the boys would like them......uhhh - yep pretty sure they'd be a hit.
It took 3 of us to stuff them into the back of the Yukon and I was very glad to have huge side mirrors driving home. The pictures pretty much tell how much Lucas and Eli like the balloons. We only had 1 balloon fatality and an escape when loading them and only one escape at home. Now we wait for the helium to go out and we will have to air out the upstairs as it's really rubbery smelling. Oh well the balloons brought smiles to two different sets of kids! Thanks to Ashley and the Grateful Owl sponsors!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mom Am I Brown?

That was the out of the blue question from Lucas this evening. Sitting down looking over their school papers after their showers and from somewhere this question pops into his head.

We've talked about skin color and culture before. The differences in our families' skin colors are wide ranging but it never seemed to be of much interest to Lucas and Eli so we decided to wait and take our cues from them. Well cue #1 slammed home tonight.

I said, "Yes you're brown." He then asks, "You white?" Yep I sure am. Then in typical little brother fashion he throws his middle sister, Rachel, under the bus by saying, "Rachel, she really white." Rachel is our very blond child from her hair to her skin. Once again I said, "Yes Rachel is very white." He said, "this ok, she white, me brown, I like brown". As he should.
So I dug through my supply of children's books to one that I had bought before the boys came home. "The Skin I'm In" by Pat Thomas. It's one the boys have looked at several times but I'll put it back on top of the books to see what other questions and observations they come up with. It's never dull!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Day 2010

Today was the first Easter that Lucas and Eli have been home with us. They understood the church portion of the day but to say that there was no understanding of the non-religious part of the day is not a stretch.

Easter bunny, Easter baskets, coloring Easter eggs, Easter Egg Hunt totally new and somewhat confusing. I'm pretty sure that they think it's a variation of Christmas.

They got to play with their cousins Klayton and Landyn and it didn't take much explanation on the ins and outs of an Easter Egg Hunt.

Attached to this post is 2 pictures from this morning after we were finally able to get them into their Easter clothes (note to self do not give 8 and 10 year old boys candy before 9 a.m - duh!)

The first is what we call Eli's pop eye pose and the second is something we don't see often but Eli managed to gross out his brother. Lucas thought the robin's egg malted milk ball was a real bird's egg and Eli popped it in his mouth right before the picture. Lucas still won't try one.
Click to play this Smilebox collage: Easter Egg Hunt 2010
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Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Trials and Tribulations of Grandparents Day #1

Today was Grandparents/Special Person Day at school for Lucas and Eli. Mike's parents went in to school for the program and to visit their rooms. Alison went also as a bit of a safety net as this is the first "big" thing that neither Mike nor I were able to attend. Apparently a good thing.

Eli being "the supreme adapt and you'll never see me sweat" kid did well. Lucas had by some accounts a tough day. He doesn't do well with crowds and then he had his heart bruised when a little girl kicked him. (not totally clear on that story ~ will never get the unedited version out of him, probably training me for the teen years).

Then to top it all off it reached the high 80's today and for a kid who never drank milk before the last couple of months, he didn't get the memo about guzzling strawberry milk when you are overheated.....yep it came back for a visit. No details beyond that...first time he's been sick since coming home. He seems fine tonight but we'll see after bedtime as that is when he does his "worried" talking.

I have to say I was pleased to see him sitting on the back step when I pulled in from work waiting to tell me about the day (I'd had a heads up from Alison earlier). Usually we play 20 questions tonight it just took sitting down on the step and all the days problems came out. I'll have to remember this time as I'm sure this too will disappear into the teens.