Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dairy Advertising Irritates

At least it irritates Lucas. We currently have a billboard that we drive past nearly every day that is advertising the benefits of drinking milk. Now the boys are not currently nor probably ever been fans of milk. They will tolerate yogurt and of course ice cream.

Passing the billboard on the way home I hear Lucas talking to himself in the backseat:
"Milk, milk, milk, all they want is milk. I don't like milk. Yucky."
Guess he's one customer lost to the dairy industry.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

They Should Come With A Warning Label

.....that's the lesson I learned about my boys today. What I discovered today is the unique set of skills that the boys were taught in the Philippines on how to evade kidnappers.

I've been running over in my head, apparently unnecessarily, how to introduce stranger danger to the boys without scaring them silly. Yes, we've touched on the basics of stay with us when we are out, don't leave our house yard, etc. But I just hadn't brought up much more than that. Bad Mom.

Today on a trip into Omaha by myself with the boys, before we got out of the vehicle, I did my run through of behavior expectations and then I said ok stay with me and don't wander off. Of course the dynamic duo pipe up with, "Why?"

Nothing I said worked so I, very frustrated, said, "Because someone could take you and I said so." (I know the old Mom at her last straw phrase) Lucas very seriously said that he knew what to do if a kidnapper tried to get him. -Huh?- Eli pipes up with Ya Mom, we know. And all the way into the store and through Target they explained in great detail how to be street smart, avoid, evade and escape "kidnappers".

I don't know what program these two were taught or if it was everyday survival skills for Zamboanga but wow I wish our programs here in the states wasn't so diluted down. Who knows if in the real situation they'd be able to respond but I do know that I know longer have to worry about bringing this particular subject up with them. In this area the Philippines handled it well. Now I think we may need to stick warning labels on them.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lord Save Me From Sibling Teasing!

It's really good that our kids like/love (depends on the moment) one another or I'm pretty sure it could break out in an all out war.

Sibling teasing of the day: Eli brushed by Rachel's shorts covered legs this a.m. His comment:
"Rachel you have mustaches on your legs!"

Rachel was slightly amused but did quickly leave to hunt up a razor. Brothers just seem to know how to pull ALL their sisters' buttons.

First Time Fishing

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Fishing Trip 2010
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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Bible School June 2010
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Lucas and His Teeth Pulling.... Dentist?

I cannot believe the way Lucas willingly and unbothered pulls his teeth. Yes they are baby teeth, yes they are slightly wiggly but come on!

He comes up to me (why me? I will gladly pass out at wiggly teeth) announces and shows me that it is loose. I immediately slam my eyes shut, point my finger in the general direction of dad, who is in charge of all teeth related matters.

Lucas then laughs this maniacal laugh, turns his back and turns back around, announcing, "Ta Da! Tooth no more" YUCK!

He is truly becoming Americanized, for this tooth he wants the Tooth Fairy to come. The last 2 were unceremoniously flushed. I think he's just discovered the value of a buck. I think I'll suggest dentistry as a profession and then never visit him at work!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What am I?

The last several posts (as you probably notice) are about life with Eli. I've struggled over the last several weeks to try and figure out exactly what to write about Lucas.

Lucas is just as big a goof ball as Eli and for the most part is adjusting well....but he is also our worrier, thinker and chief, deep into it, make you scramble questioner.

As Lucas is becoming more settled, at ease and opens up his questions are really getting tough to answer so that he understands and so that they are still honest in what he can expect living in a multi-racial family and community.

On the way to one of his games he looks over at me and asks, "What am I?" I'm left scrambling as this didn't pertain to anything we'd been talking about. So I in turn had to ask what he meant. His response, "Am I black?"

Of course my mind goes about 14 different directions trying to figure out the motivation for the question and also figure out a response. I didn't want to dumb down the answer to the point that he thought I wasn't taking him seriously, so we talked about Filipinos being Asian and that Asians do come in many different colors, just like "white" people are not all the same.

Then we had to progress to facial and body features and discuss each of those. It's a good thing our family has a lot of differences because I used a lot of family members to get him to understand that families don't have to look alike to be a family. So to each of the unsung family members thanks for being such a varied lot - you are a living explanation to Lucas as he starts figuring out the differences in people and hopefully understanding that he is wonderful just the way he is.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dancing Chicken Wings

Man kids say the funniest thing. Eli especially. I don't know where he comes up with the stuff he does but it leaves us all laughing until we can't breath. Once again supper seems to be his comedy hour as we are a captive audience.

After this evenings' 92 degree scorcher of a baseball game we came home to have a chicken dinner. (Can you tell food consumes their/our lives?)

For some reason I'm not clear on, Eli began playing with his fried chicken. Usually it disappears before you have your first bite swallowed. As he is sitting there having his chicken dance across the plate these are his comments, "Oh chicken lives! It is dancing, dance, dance. (Much singing ensues and then) Oh No! (gun noise) Chicken dead, time to eat!"

What can I say boy humor is weird.

Monday, June 21, 2010

This Is Supper?

Tonight was one of those baseball game nights when we hit the door from work, throw in a load of laundry, check out how the day was for everyone and throw food on the table and head out to the game. We had pizza, chips and lemonade....not high on nutritional scale but a summer necessity until I'm off work for the summer.

Tonight was Lucas' game and Eli was staying home with his sisters as everyone is exhausted from Vacation Bible School, lessons, practices and games.

I had put the boys' supper on the table 45 minutes before we needed to head out and they each had 4 pieces of pizza and chips. Duh - I thought this constituted supper. Nope. As we are leaving Eli hollers out the door, "You come back, we eat supper." I said, "We just had supper, you ate pizza." "What!" he screams, "That was supper! Oh man!" With a great sigh of defeat and much hanging of his head he went back in the house.

Needless to say when we came home we had round 2 of supper.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Fathers Day to Me?

"Mike's Crew"
This was the verse in his Father's Day Card.....
A father is called to do many things -
scare away monsters, fix a broken toy, be a coach
or a counselor...
But the most important thing a father is called to do
is to love with all his heart
as if the fate of the world depended on it....
because it does.
Marian Heath

"Happy Father's Day to Me?

That is the statement of the day today as we were explaining (or trying to) their first Father's Day.

Eli is excitedly nodding, which looking back I should have probably gotten a clue that the explanation wasn't sinking in. So after the kids had all signed their cards for Dad, I brought out his gift and told Lucas to go get Dad.

All was well through the card portion of the gift giving until, that is, we had to explain that Eli and Lucas weren't the one receiving the gift.

Eli, as straight faced and serious as could be, says, "No it's MY father's day, daddy is my father!" Okay......yep......ummm. He also went on to tell us that Mike is his now. From the picture you can tell Eli got to inspect the gift but it will probably be a few years before we (I) trust him using it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Craziness and Mom Guilt

Well we definitely have hit the summer crazy schedules.....Hard! I'm finishing up my last week of work until I head back the last week of July. That 5 weeks are going to fly.

I don't know what I would have done without Rachel and Sydney since school let out. They have been the chief transportation, daycare, coaches and housekeepers during the work day. And remarkably no one has been tied up, thrown out or lost....I'm not going to say that there hasn't been a whole lot of teasing from all parties and probably a few threats of "I'm telling Mom!"

I keep telling myself everyone will be fine for one more week but mom guilt stinks. I feel guilty about the girls watching the boys, I feel guilty about not being home when the kids are home, I feel guilty when I'm at work about everything and I feel guilty when I can't do the swim lessons, the baseball practices, the car hunting (Rachel's bit the dust) and yes I know I have an over inflated opinion of my vital necessary presence in each of these situations but the one and only wonderful thing about mother guilt doesn't have to make sense.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Belated Pictures of Eli's 9th Birthday

Eli with his best fishing buddy Chris and his very first fish - I'm not sure who was sorrier to see it go back to the lake - but the deal is catch and release cause this mom doesn't clean them or cook them.

The seasoned fisherman, Lucas. Waiting for fish #2. Very serious and too
busy for pictures.

Day 2 of the fishing week-end. The fisherman preparing for the long haul.

Nine Important Candles and One Very Tired Boy
Birthday cake at 9:00 p.m. after a full day and a baseball game.

Mr. Potato Head and His Creator
Eli wanted to make them look alike.
How do you think he did?

God, Good Job, Amen!

That was Eli's supper prayer tonight. He'd just gotten back from yet another baseball game and was beyond thrilled and forgiving of Rachel, Sydney and I for missing the game as we were at the grocery store acquiring his favorite!

I very misguidedly took the boys to the grocery store a few times....lesson learned not again for a very long time. Neither I nor the bank account can handle that.

After devouring his meal, he wiped his mouth, leaned back in his chair, looked at Rachel, Sydney and me and declared, "Good Job!" High praise indeed and I swear he has not been starving to death!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Eli's Birthday Weekend!

Goodness! That is Eli's favorite expression...and it pretty much describes his birthday celebrations.

Again the indoor flooding issues affected this too. We've had to delay the much anticipated "cousins/friend" birthday party as there is no room -literally- in which to hold it but he did get to go to Burger King as requested and spent the day with Dad and opened his presents from us throughout the day. The day ended with his baseball game and then home for cake!

But the hit of birthday celebrating was his much anticipated camping/fishing trip to Okoboji with Chris and Jay McMurray. By Eli's description and excitement you would think (he does) that Chris knows everything related to fishing and water. Although that opinion was sorely tested as Chris tried to explain that no we don't have alligators or sharks in Iowa lakes.

The first night out Lucas caught his first fish, Eli had no luck - Chris was now stressing that Eli would be disappointed if he didn't catch anything on Sunday - but as fishing luck would have it he ended up catching 2 and Lucas caught another one - even up which led to no arguing!

It Just Takes a Trigger!

The flooding in our house last week took out a lot of things one of those being the internet router for our computer, thus the sporadic posting.

Last night was one those rare nights that Mike and I were alone at the supper table with the boys. Rachel and Sydney were out with friends. Another rarity was that we had the tv on at meal time. This has been a major no, no since the boys came home because it was a primary babysitter in their foster home and it let them zone out.

But for some reason we had the news on and sat down without turning it off. The big coverage was on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This was the first time that Lucas and Eli had seen pictures of the area. Lucas watched for a few seconds and said, "Oh No!" And then the flood gate opened. Where, why (big on the why question - we weren't able to totally satisfy that question) where again.

I'm not sure how but after the report was over Lucas started talking about all the effects of the oil spill on the water, animals, people and beaches. Huh? Number one - where did he get that knowledge (very detailed on effects). I don't know if the Philippines has off shore drilling or has had an oil spill around Zamboanga but wow!

Sometimes the boys' worlds can appear to those around them as being self involved but it just goes to show there is a lot going on it just takes a trigger then..... look out!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Explain Tornadoes, Warnings and Taking Cover....

Ok not a popular picture of anybody but it's a phone picture
and no one was particulary happy.

What can I say, when it rains it pours - literally. First the indoor flood and then last night our typical Midwest weather decided to spawn thunderstorms and tornadoes.

Mike was up in South Dakota so it was me, Rachel, Sydney, Lucas and Eli. Me - I'm scared to death of tornadoes, the girls are slightly better than me and the boys have no clue what a tornado is (even though I've tried intermittently since April to explain them without scaring the boys).

We watched the weather system approach for some time and I was gradually explaining to the boys that we may need to go to the basement if a "big" wind comes, they needed to put their shoes on (eventually I had to pull the mom card and say because I said so to get this accomplished.) Continuing with if I said go to the basement they were to go right now and no arguing, where we had to go in the basement.

When the sirens went off we headed downstairs through the ruined family room and into the lower bathroom with 5 people and a large dog. Did I mention my claustrophobia and that our dog does not smell particularly well in such a small confined area or that the teenage sisters did not appreciate their little brothers less than sweet smelling feet. It was a long wait until the storm passed over. No damage other than none of us will be able to smell anything for awhile.

Perspective is Important Right Now

That was what went through my mind on Monday morning at 11 a.m. as we discovered a pipe had burst in our finished basement, flooding the entire family room and part of Sydney's bedroom.

Rachel and I managed to get the water shut off (Mike and boys were in town) we called them and we started moving things outside as quickly as possible. Lucas and Eli hit the door with their eyes bugging out as they surveyed the soaked furniture and standing water. At this point I hadn't had time for a melt down as I apparently am not able to do that and constructively haul water logged things into the yard. I definitely felt myself slipping into flip out mode until I found Eli attached to my left leg and Lucas attached to my waist.

I looked down at two very worried faces and heard Luke ask, "no more house?", Eli's, "it's all gone?"'s definitely a mess, we definitely lost some things but nothing on the scale that the boys witnessed last year in Manila. I explained, "no the house was ok, we weren't going anywhere and a vital piece of information.....the Wii and tv are ok. Lucas then wanted to know if we needed to go on the roof and "my room all gone?" Ummmm nope.

Once all those questions were satisfied you should have seen the grown up expressions of determination as they turned into an express moving service. They dug in with the rest of us until more help arrived. Once the other adults arrived you should have seen the expressions again. I caught sight of Lucas standing outside looking at everyone coming in and out, some he knew, some he didn't and you could see how in awe he was that there were friends willing to help us.

The additional grown up power gave them the sign to let adults handle it because the next "little boy question" was "swimming pool?" Ummmm......nope!