Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chef Lucas

I think Lucas is probably our chef in training. Every night it is a battle to get him back from the stove in order to get supper cooked. He always has to see what is on the stove and how all the ingredients go in and how you stir and turn and what temperature it is cooked at....don't even get us started on baking.

Tonight the family had stir fry and I think I experienced a nervous breakdown. Stir frying vegetables while dodging a 10 year old who now stands shoulder high to me and trying to keep everyone from getting burned is not fun.

I think I'm looking for a kid's cookbook this luck it will have a recipe for baked Alaska......doesn't that have bourbon in it? :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mom! It is Dark!

Before I leave for work in the morning I usually wake the boys up to get them started around for school and Mike finishes the job.

You can definitely tell we are moving into fall as it is really dark when I leave the house. This morning I went into the boys room and opened the curtains and told them good morning.

Lucas must have sat right up and looked out the window, before I could turn on the light I hear him disgustedly say, "Mom! It is dark! Night time, me still sleep." Then he flopped back under the covers. It amazes me that even though they are still developing English both Lucas and Eli can put so much expression behind the words they do use that a person has no trouble telling their true feelings. Lucas very succinctly told me I couldn't tell time, I was crazy to think it was morning and even crazier to think he was getting out of bed when it was clearly dark outside.

Had to laugh as I headed out and wished Mike good luck......thanks dear!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why Didn't Someone Warn Me!

Why didn't someone warn me that boys have the most disgusting conversations known to man? Okay, Okay....people did. But come on!

Why is it that these grossed out conversations always occur at supper? How do they materialize out of a seemingly normal, non-disgusting conversation? Why do every male (sons and father) look totally amazed when the females say, "ENOUGH!"

A conversation that started out about chores and the boys taking trash outside evolved into chores Lucas did in the orphanage. The short version...he helped take baby diapers to the trash, then we progressed to "oo oo" then we went into a digestive lesson and shall we say information on 3rd world intestinal issues. At this point Sydney left for play practice (I think she abandoned me to the heathen males in our family) so what would any supportive mother and wife do? Well I did what any higher thinking female would do when confronted with the unfortunate, misguided males in the tribe....I left the table...they are now cleaning up from supper.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Lucas is the master craftsman of denial. This past week our weather has gotten definitively fall like with the temperatures to prove it.

The boys like to take whatever remnants of breakfast that are left over and go outside, sit on the patio and eat them. They love to eat outside. Works great in the summer not so much when you wake up and the temperature is hovering at 45 degrees.

I could hear Eli outside talking with the dogs I look out to see him in a sweatshirt, sweat socks and.....shorts. I see Lucas sitting there in shorts.....nothing else. Ok, I think to I let them figure it out themselves or because we've been doctoring sore throats and colds all week, haul their kiesters in for warmer clothes. Because I hate giving medicine as much as they hate taking it, I opted to interrupt their polar bear imitations and tell them to get more clothes on.

Eli, who doesn't like the cold looks at his shaking knees and decides, "oh! maybe mom's right." Lucas turns to me with breakfast in hand, shaking and blue around the lips to say, "I not cold, I ok." Ummmm....don't think so. Sweat pants, socks and sweatshirt later he still insists because the sun is out he's not cold.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Eli's Epiphanies

Eli definitely has the ability to keep us in stitches. Sometimes he understands what he's saying is funny which makes it even better.

Tonight at supper as he's forcibly eating (yes it is possible to force feed yourself) peas and Alison is sitting beside him teasing him (truly a brother/sister relationship has evolved) poking him in the arm he puts his spoon down, with a very exasperated smack, looks at Alison and says, "stop touching me!" then he looks at me and says, "Mom! Girls. They always touching me." I said, "Ok, do we need to have them stop?" His reply, "no, me like them". Confused yet? I was.

Then as we are finishing supper I was putting the cap back on the salad dressing. Eli sits directly across from me and I guess there was condensation on the bottle that splattered on him. In the most appalled 9 year old voice you can imagine, he shouts, "Mom! You SPIT on me!" That took a lot of convincing to make him believe that I did not spit on him. It's a wonder the kid ever makes it through a meal.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Where Did All The Water Go?

People have begun asking if the boys realize that summer weather is over and winter cold is fast approaching. My answer, "they are in heavy denial and have seasonal amnesia."

The pools closing for the season was quite the tragedy. Luckily our town pool is off the beaten path of what we normally take when traveling into town. Unfortunately the town closest to us has their pool located right next to the main highway and we pass it frequently.

The boys thought that because the other town's pool still had water in it that they could swim there instead of our town's bone dry one. Well this week-end on our way past this "marvelous" pool, I hear Lucas holler, "MOM! The water is gone, where did it go, who took it?"

I tried to explain what draining a pool was about but that was only followed by a very disgruntled, muttered, "it broke." We had a moment of silence for the end of summer.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Older Than Dirt

This past Saturday we spent a lot of time (7 hours) traveling to and from a family birthday party in Nebraska.

On this trip we noted several things about the boys and their tolerance of car travel. Minimal use of Dramamine (hated having to use it but the alternative wasn't pleasant) and perhaps it's that they are now awake to notice the scenery and ask questions, either way this is Lucas' reaction to a roadside attraction.

We were on our way home about 2 hours to go, traveling down the interstate in Nebraska, not a whole lot to look at except crops, road construction and more road construction. We've traveled this road a lot but never seen this particular statue of a dinosaur. I have to say it's very realistic.

Lucas starts in with the billion questions, beginning with, Are there dinosaurs here, where are they, why did they die, where are they, when did they die, where are they and can he see one......then he ended with, "Mom! When you little did you see dinosaurs?" Sydney and Mike thought it was hilarious, my view is Mike is older than me, why was he laughing?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What Do Monsters Eat?

Let me start by saying that this post was put together by Sydney, who was waiting for me at the door after work today. A little cover story to what is written: Lucas brought a reading book home last night called, "What Do Monsters Eat". In the story a little girl discovers all the things a pet monster might eat...including pickles. For those reading and wondering, Pickle is our last name. Neither of the boys have ever understood that it is a funny name....until's Sydney's story:
"What Do Monsters Eat?"
That is the very question Lucas posed to me after we reached home today from school. At first I thought he may seriously want to know, then decided not. Perhaps it was a joke he heard today at school? “I don’t know, what do they eat,” I responded. “I don’t know.” Lucas replied. Um…okay? I looked at him and he said, “I read book today…What Do Monsters Eat.” I replied, “Oh?” In turn he gave me a look, “They eat apples, pickles, and potatoes!” I quickly jumped up and said, “PICKLES?! THEN WE BETTER HIDE! WE’RE PICKLES!” He looked and me for a second then laughed for a good measure of time, not because of how crazy his sister can act, but for the fact that it finally dawned on him that our last name is, in fact, a food. Don’t you just love those moments when everything clicks?
We later tried to explain the "funny name" to Eli, I guess he's not ready yet, he still thinks we're crazy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mom Before and Mom Now

We go through phases where Lucas gets into deep thinking mode. Usually you know this is happening as he scowls and gets really quiet. This can last and hour or sometimes a day. It does no good to ask him what he's thinking about as he tells you in his own time, after he's run it through his mind enough to be comfortable to talk.

This latest thought provoking period lasted about an hour. His conclusion, "my mom before left me in Philippines when I got old, then you - mom now - come to get me in Philippines. Lots of kids moms leave them in Philippines and new moms come then. And Daddy come and Sydney come to get Eli and me."

He then turns to Rachel who happened to be home this week-end and wasn't able to make the trip to the Philippines and says, "Rachel! You no come get me, where you at?" We explained her starting college and that not all of us could come.

He seems to be rehashing the period of when we first met and when we arrived home. Last week we had an indepth discussion on who was all at the airport when we arrived back home. He asked to see the pictures of the welcome home at the airport and then systematically noted everyone who was not there and wanted to know where they were.

Later on I asked him if it was okay for me to be his mom now. He said, "yes, me no like it when mother left me before, you come get me and you my mom now. You no leave me in Philippines, I live here in my house."

Baggage travels a long way and it sure does get heavy when you're 10 years old and carrying all that weight.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Book of Eli

The book of Eli (Pickle version) has a new chapter as dictated by his brother, Lucas.

During Sunday dinner, Lucas started reminiscing about the Philippines and things that he and Eli used to do. After torturing Sydney and Rachel about their eye make up, this is the story Lucas tells about Eli.

Lucas said that Eli cut off all his eye lashes in the Philippines. Of course we said, "What?" (Eli is sitting there nodding like this was a very rational and explainable event. Lucas continues by telling us that, "Auntie (worker at the orphanage) was "cutting her lashes" (through the hand signals we think this was curling her lashes) unfortunately the boys, being boys, must have thought they looked like scissors. When the Auntie left the room Eli decided his eye lashes need trimmed too. Except he used scissors. I'm surprised he had a eye lid left.

As we all sit around discussing this, Eli said, "But Lucas do it too." So all heads swing to Lucas, who smiles and says, "Yep, me say to Eli, you go first. Me no do it, auntie came back." Oh the wisdom of older siblings and the lessons the younger sibling learns the hard way.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Sound of Music

It is kind of hard to put this particular post into words as it revolves around the evolution of music. No not from Mozart to Owl City but the evolution of music into Eli's world.
Lucas has been full of music and dance (and a few other things) from the very beginning. Michael Jackson moves were his favorite. He would hum and sing and ham it up.

Eli was (and I strongly emphasize was) our quiet one, at least regarding music. Eli just had a harder road to travel in the Philippines than Lucas. I don't think he ever felt that he had much to sing about. He liked to listen to Lucas' cd's but
wasn't interested to have any of his own or to try to sing along.

I was working in the kitchen this past week and heard the most beautiful, off key, kind of tone deaf singing coming from the boys' room. Eli was singing what I can only describe as church, school and pop music all in one song. I think he mixed every song he'd heard in the last 10 months and composed his own version. Since then, in the car, outside or in the shower he sings. I wish the people who gave him no reason to sing in his early years could hear the joy he sings about now.
The upper photo was a month before we went to the Philippines to bring the boys home, the lower was from this past week-end when he finally felt it was okay for him to sing.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Grandma Plummer's 90th Birthday Celebration

My mom turned 90 years old this past week-end. We had an open-house on Sunday at her assisted living center. We celebrated with so many family and friends...many of whom had not met Lucas and Eli, come to think of it our girls hadn't met some of our far flung family members. We talked to the boys about the expected crowd as sometimes they don't handle crowds well. As you can see from their smiles it didn't phase them in the least. They even stood to meet and greet people until the cousins who are their ages arrived and then it was a free for all in the court yard. Even better I think Mom really enjoyed the day. Hope I'm able to stand that much excitement when I'm 90.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Do You Know Where You're Going!

Apparently my sons have come to the conclusion that mom has lost her sense and knowledge of direction of the area that she has spent the last 47 years in. I will acknowledge that perhaps my senses are dulled as I did make the misguided decision to take Lucas with me to pick up Eli at a birthday party....that's when I "got lost".

Eli's friends' party was at a lake about 8 miles cross country. Lucas has also (falsely) decided that if we are in the car by ourselves that he is in charge of navigation. While he is very good navigating he does it in a manner that, shall we say, conveys his utter belief that you are new to the country and have no clue where or how to get anywhere. Those who know me also know that you can "think" what you like about my abilities just don't let me "know" you think I'm an imbecile.

After about 20 right, left, straight, slow down, move over, are we lost comments, I did something totally childish and I fully acknowledge probably proved his point - I turned down a gravel road that I really didn't have a clue where it came out. Now before you think anyone was in danger...I knew what direction home was and I knew where the nearest town was and we could have stopped at anytime to ask directions. When we made the turn onto this road you should have seen Lucas' face. He screams (I do mean scream) Where are you going! Not like this! Where this road go? I said I don't know but we will find out. The road lasted 4 miles and connected with a road that he knew where we were. Then you should have seen the "light bulb" moment when he figured out that Mom knows short cuts too. Until then Dad was the only person who knew how to find a short cut.

You may ask what Eli thought of this whole saga....well he had just come from a birthday party, he was high on sugar and swigging a can of Mountain Dew. I had his seat belt on tight to keep him from bouncing of the roof. As Lucas is screaming we are about to fall off the edge of the world, Eli is screaming yahoo at the top of every hill. Tylenol was my friend when we made it home.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Food Critics Need to Cook

We may have found an occupation where the boys will excel...that of food critic. Now I give them credit for having the smarts to keep their opinions to themselves of mom's cooking, unfortunately Mike usually does breakfast duty on the week-ends.

The boys like pancakes and eggs. Now there is an art form to their version of eggs. Mom doesn't even attempt it, Dad is the hero with a successful cooking rate of 75% achievement with "HARD" eggs.

This morning I'm not sure if Mike was after the Breakfast Hero Award or what but he attempted pancakes and eggs at the same time, on the same griddle. Looked good to me. Then I hear the boys' conversation from the table...."Hmmm, eggs hard.....pancakes hard, (sigh)". Guess it just means that there are two more guys who will learn to cook for themselves before they are 18. Ha!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Filipino Farmers

Mike happened to take this picture in the bean field next to our house and today Eli brought home a project on soybeans.

We always say "bean field, beans" when we are talking about soybeans. Eli was quite proud to inform us that they are called SOY BEANS! not beans. Once again we are reminded of our lazy speech patterns - we will try to improve. For those reading that are bringing home older adoptees think about practicing not using any slang or contractions in your speech. It's hard but is really confusing to English language learners.
Back to soybeans....since the corn and soybeans were up to our knees we've been trying to tell the boys not to go into the field because they could get lost in there. They didn't believe us until they went 4 rows into the field and couldn't see the house any more.

Lucas thought he could just follow a row of beans and find his way out, so we had to explain that the rows rap around the hill in this field and he would not come to the end. That left him thinking and Mike taking their pictures.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Manila Traffic Jam in Iowa

Just before bedtime last night we became "noticeably" aware of the quiet sounds of Eli playing in the hallway.

Mike came around the corner to find the above scene being constructed. He asked Eli what he was playing. His answer, "Lots, lots of cars. No go anywhere, like Philippines, Manila. Well I don't think he owns enough Match Box cars to truly do their traffic jams justice and the ones we participated in were about 6 lanes across with cars pretty much pointed every direction imaginable. I think I like Eli's Iowa version better.
Can you see how tired he was? It was 7:30 and he hit the sack shortly after this. 2nd Grade wears a guy out.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Expanding the Patch - Four Legs at a Time

Well there's been another style to the Pickle family. Our neighbors dog has decided that our house and kids are the place to be. So tonight the official handover happened. As you can tell by the pictures "Wally" is a 7 month old basset hound and all the kids in residence are pretty pleased.
Faye, who is our German Shepard/Husky mix, seems to be taking it in stride. She doesn't get too excited about anything other than rabbits. She just has this disgusted look and walks away when she's tired of playing.
The boys want to know if Wally's parents don't want him anymore. Not hard to figure out the connections they are making. Nothing is easy, even getting a pet that they really want.