Saturday, October 30, 2010

Eli's Word of the Day

Eli has added a new word to his vocabulary. This a.m. Mike walked by the boys' room and checked to see that they were up and moving. Not only were they awake but dressed and playing.

Mike told Eli he looked dapper. His response, "What this dapper?" Mike told him nice, looks good, handsome. You have to give 3 descriptions for a word - it's their unwritten rule. Eli pondered this new word. His judgment, "Dapper......good word.....I like it!" Of course he does, any word saying he's looking fine goes into the keeper pile.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dad I Want a Jesus Beard

Eli announced this at suppertime. He does not simply want a beard like Mike's. He apparently wants a full beard that is very, very long and I believe he's determined it should be white. If he can't have the white he will take a beard like Jesus had.

Don't ponder too long on this whole grooming decision, you will just have a headache trying to fit yourself inside a 9 year old boys' mind. Last week he wanted to be bald.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Costumes and Overload

Last night Mike and I must have had some sort of simultaneous masochistic fit. We took the boys Halloween costume shopping, in Omaha on the Wednesday before Halloween - and to top it off we arrived right along with a hundred other misguided parents and there overwrought children.

I knew when Eli's eyes bugged out and rolled around in the sockets that the over stimulation was over the top. Normally this store would have been avoided like the plague but none of my costume ideas met with their approval so in we went to a Halloween nightmare.

Wall to wall people, volume on high and the final nail in the coffin.....I made them try on the costume.....they weren't cheap and there are no returns, I'm cheap....enough said.

The laughter occurred as we were checking out and the cashier asked if the boys were twins, before I could say anything, Lucas whipped around, totally affronted and said, "we not TWINS, we BROTHERS!" Well.....ok......we left and went directly to eat. Low blood sugar was not our shopping friend.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Late Night Brings Extra Hugs

Anyone who works in a school system probably knows that parent-teacher conference nights mean overtime and later nights arriving home dog tired. (Yes - school secretaries do work their fannies off!).

This week we have two back to back nights of this wonderful experience, so Mike and the kids are on their own for supper and the evening.

It was nice last night when I finally dragged myself through the door to be greeted by Eli and Lucas running down the hall (a little scary cause they were in full out tackle mode) screaming, "Mom, you came home, long day at work - you tired?" and then began the rundown of their day spanning 60 seconds, of tag-team, non-stop, high volume boy speak. Then I was led to the couch and with each one under an arm they asked how my day was....and guess what? they actually listened and asked questions. Nice way to end a day where all I did was have people talk at me.

Again, I'm reminded of the little guys who came home a year ago who really didn't like to be cuddled and were very self reliant/self oriented, they don't exist so much anymore, I wonder what a year from now will bring.

Monday, October 25, 2010

How Many Times Can You Reschedule?

Well if you are our local court system and you are finalizing adoptions you can reschedule how many times and whenever you want.

We found out Friday that our finalization that was to occur today is now scheduled for next Monday, November 1.

Hopefully the 3rd time is the charm. After explaining and re-explaining to the boys, I'm not saying anything until Monday a.m. just in case, they are still asking if they have to have injections from the judge. Nope but I will need a tranquilizer if this on again, off again keeps going.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Something Eli Won't Ever Eat!

I've written previously about our meal time conversations and the fact that since the testosterone level has increased so has the gross table conversations. The girls and I try to curb this as much as possible (Mike I think just enjoys it).

Don't ask how (I never can quite figure it out) or why this subject came up. For some reason Lucas began talking to Mike about a "new, wonderful mouse trap" (humane) he saw advertised on tv and how it worked.

Mike being the farm boy from way back, began to explain that the old fashioned, tried and true, squish and gore trap works just fine. I tried, I really did, to stop this descriptive conversation, the girls were turning green and the spaghetti wasn't looking so good anymore. So, using my mom voice, I said, "Eating!"

I looked over to see Eli, with a fork full of spaghetti half way to his mouth, bug his eyes out, drop his mouth open and with the absolute most appalled voice ever say, "WHAT! EAT MICE!" Then he dropped the fork and began examining the spaghetti sauce. Good thing there wasn't meat in it or I'm not sure what would have happened. It took some convincing but finally Rachel had him assured we only eat beef, pork and chicken. He then appalled us by saying, "we eat cat too, it's ok." Not in this lifetime...not with this cook.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Little Brothers May Be Handy....

especially when an older sister gets hurt at school. That was Sydney's realization after she was injured during a pep rally dance Friday afternoon. I don't mean to embarrass her further (let's face it she biffed it in front of the whole school) she took a spill when the group entered the rally. Luckily she was inside a bag and no one knew for sure, at the time, who it was. A few discerning ones probably wondered about her limping and hopping later on.

Needless to say she couldn't drive herself or the boys home, our wonderful neighbor, who happens to work at school, drove them home (I wonder when it would have occurred for them to call me?) She informs me, "Mom it didn't hurt at first, I couldn't feel my leg!"

When I came in from work, Lucas had taken pretty good care of her - which translates - he didn't leave her in the middle of the driveway. She even complemented him that he helped her get her leg propped up and iced. I haven't discovered what Eli was doing during this time probably checking her room out to see how his stuff would look in it. Have I mentioned they are sometimes a little mercenary?

Sydney appreciated the help but I'm pretty sure she will crawl down the stairs to protect her territory. She may be down but crutches can help influence the territorial boundaries!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Laryngitis Anyone?

On this coming Monday we will be going to court for our adoption finalization. I was digging through the boys' church clothes to see what would be appropriate....wouldn't you know it....the last growth spurt put the dress pants over their ankles and dress shirts half way to their elbows. We decided we'd buy them their first suits (before I hear everyone groan, "what little boy wants to wear a suit!") they love to dress up and look, really!

I just couldn't get real enthused to drag them into a department store to try them on. So after a couple of attempts, the suits, shirts and ties are bought and pressed, ready to be put on Monday.

We've been talking about what this means, what a judge is, what court is, where it is, who will be there....again the billion questions and answers. I came home to this question today, "Mom! Judge give me injection?" Ummmm - I don't have a clue where that one came from. Lord only knows what they may ask the judge. Is it wrong to hope for dual laryngitis?

We'll be sure to post suit and hearing pictures after the big day.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thank You For Teaching Me

This is what Lucas said to me tonight. What was I teaching him? Not his spelling and vocabulary words, not his science. We weren't working on English words or reading a book.
We were putting laundry away. I'd spent a lot of time cleaning out dresser drawers these past few days. I'd gotten the boys' clothes separated into their individual drawers (for what seems like the hundredth time). I showed them which drawers are theirs, where the shirts go, where the jeans go, etc.

Ok, ok I fully admit to being a little compulsive but in my defense they love to choose their clothes and when they can't find them it just leads to very loud routine and yes it does give me a headache by 8:30 at thus the OCD dressers.

As Lucas was leaving the bedroom after our little drawer etiquette lesson, he stopped and turned around and gave me a hug and said, "Thank you for teaching me." So I will continue my slightly obsessive orderliness and maybe someday a daughter in law will appreciate the effort too, I know I didn't have a headache after choosing clothes and my heart was a little lighter.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Good Meter of Progress

This past several days I've been decluttering the boys' room. Throwing out broken toys, cleaning up after messes I'm quite sure I don't want to know their origins and generally getting ready for the winter months of inside confinement (yuck!)

One of the things I was cleaning out was their book shelves. I threw out colored up, torn up color books, old magazines they were done with, etc.

In the sorting I came to realize a lot of their books were given to or bought before the boys' came home last year. I started stacking the books that they've outgrown. They tell me that they are baby books or are too easy (which I made them prove to me). Some were basic books with pictures and words that helped them name everyday objects.

When all was done and sorted, I was amazed and pleased to see how many they've gone through. I was also amused at which of the "baby" books made it back onto their bookshelf. Anything containing tractors, super heroes or animals. Sometimes progress is hard to measure day to day but this "clean up" helped to show us how far we have indeed come.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Boy Has To Learn

Eli just needs some wisdom. Not the academic kind (he's getting more excited to learn new things everyday) not the social kind (he seems to make friends easily) he needs wisdom to survive his sisters.....especially Rachel.

He's comfortable with Rachel, it's probably why he feels so free to say whatever comes into his head to her. Unfortunately he either needs a mute button or a discretionary pause meter. I'm am ever so grateful that she is extremely patient and loves kids (thus being an elementary ed major) because I'm pretty sure most other 19 year old girls would introduce Master Eli to the wrath that is a teenage girl.

This past week-end, at lunch, Eli is eating away (not much interrupts this process....which come to think of it probably gives him thinking time to come up with his sisterly sass) he looks over at Rachel, nods his head wisely (you judge if that was true) and says, "Rachel, where your boyfriend?" She said, "I don't have one." "Yes, you do, where he at?" He knew exactly what he was doing, the grin was a give see when the boys first came home she was dating someone, they parted ways at the beginning of the year. She probably didn't appreciate the reminder. He didn't take the hint. Finally she said, "I don't know Eli, where is your girlfriend?" He just grins, shoes her away with his hand and says, "school". Ummm now I'm concerned.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lucas' View on Football Victory

We live in Iowa. A lot of our family are University of Iowa fans. Not just fly by night, when the going is good fans but die hard, sit in the rain, travel 8 hours for home game fans. Lucas and Eli were given Iowa shirts by my sister when they arrived home last year. Now while they are stilling learning what the game is all about, they know the mascot (by sight apparently) for the university.

I was cooking supper this week-end when Lucas ran into the kitchen to excitedly tell me, "The yellow bird won!" I, being the "non sports mom" took a little bit to understand that he was talking about Iowa Hawkeyes winning. At least he didn't think Big Bird played football.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Don't Call Your Sister a Moose

What can anyone say. Eli called his sister a moose. Not that he knows what a moose is but it was in a story that he has memorized from school.

His memorization skills are amazing....his discretion and discernment need some help.

He was reciting the story where an animal is confused and thinks all these other animals may be a moose. Each animal answers, I'm not a moose, I am a (fill in blank).

At the end of his story, he looks over at Rachel and says, "Rachel, you a weird looking moose!" He was oh so hilariously pleased with himself. I think he is very lucky that his sister has a sense of humor and likes him.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A New Found Marvel

It goes by the name of Hy-Vee. Lucas went clothes and grocery shopping with Mike and I today. Without his brother. Eli got to stay home with Rachel and Sydney (he helped them dye Sydneys' hair - she's lucky she has any left and he's probably lucky they didn't decide he should have red hair.)

After surviving Red Lobster, Sam's Club and Target we headed for the last of our needed groceries at Hy-Vee. I learned a very valuable $ lesson early on - the boys (and Mike) don't usually go to the grocery store with me. Too much over stimulation for the boys, too much temptation for Mike.

As we are walking into the store, Lucas is on his usual 10,000th question when he stops in the doorway and asks what we are buying here. I said groceries, food. His mouth dropped open and he asks, "We don't have any food at home?" The look alone gave me the clue that this concept of no food had really struck a nerve. I told him we do have food at home but we have to come to the grocery store to replace what we eat.

We had stopped taking the boys to the grocery store when it was a complete and total melt down from too many choices, too much noise and too many explanations. This time with being able to take Lucas one on one it went much better. But he honestly had no clue that since he's been home, where our food came from. It was just there, in someways probably like the orphanage. He never saw the purchasing side of groceries or where that food came from.

Several good things happened from the trip, he didn't complain all the way through the store, he helped carry groceries inside without complaint and wanted to be sure that we got them put away. Hy-Vee changed his view of the food chain.....can't imagine what he'd think if I had the energy to put in a garden.....he'd probably think I was making him eat dirt.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Definition for Scared

After a week of Lucas using the word scared in his conversations with me, I may finally understand what he is trying to say.

He's told me he's scared in the lunch line, scared at recess, scared at a restaurant, scared to talk fast in English. The first couple things involved school, so the paranoid mom in me thought we may have a bully issue. Then the scared at the restaurant threw me as it was not a new place to him. Then he was talking last night about English being scary.

I've tried to get more information on why he would be scared or afraid - I always got a look like, "what are you talking about?" He would usually tell me, "no, scared."

For whatever reason it finally came to me that he doesn't mean scared or scary, he means confused but didn't have that word in his vocabulary. When I asked if scary meant he doesn't understand what to do, he said, "Yes! Scared." I asked if he felt scared when he doesn't understand something and again I received the "my mom is ridiculous look" and he said, "me not afraid, me have to learn more! Obviously I'm the one who needs to brush up on all the possible meanings to English words and then place them into a 10 year old boys' thesaurus.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tickle Fight

I just want it known that I REALLY don't like to be tickled. The boys don't like to be restricted in their movement, it can send them into a freak out fast. Needless to say we've respected this "no tickle guideline" for the past 11 months.

Unfortunately for me, hilarious for them last night they breached the rule. Sitting quietly on the couch after supper, I see Lucas on my left and Eli sidling up to my right and the next thing I know is I have two boys on top of me squealing like little girls and tickling me crazy. Oh did I mention I'm just the tiniest bit claustrophobic? Trying to hold me down is not a wise choice.

Yep pretty sure I impressed them in my ability to extract myself from the bottom of the pile and then impress upon them that Mom will tickle back and does have the ability to sit on both of them at one time. Yep....I did it.....nope I'm not feeling bad at all.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

With Knowledge Comes......

a greater understanding of what the boys have been thinking about this past year. Their language development continues to progress in fits and starts but something we've noticed, particularly this past week, is that the words they are choosing in conversation are getting more complex.

There are questions that they have begun asking recently about a whole realm of things that have occurred in the past year. Why, how, who, relationships, fears, jokes, etc.

I have to say that this is probably one of the positive things that older child adoption carries with it especially since they had almost non-existent English a year ago. Now we are able to fill in the missing information for them as well as have our questions answered for what was going through their heads this past year. I'm sure this will eventually lead to filling in the questions of their life in the Philippines of which we have very few answers.

For everyone who has "survived" my constant use of a camera. We go back and look at those pictures, the boys remember each of the situations but ask questions outside the frame of the shot. They are filling in the missing pieces, much in the same way they fill in their missing English knowledge.

Sitting around in the evening after supper, showers and study time, I'm amazed at what or better yet how they are learning to pose questions and speak in English. Sometimes when we are modeling correct English, in what seems to be every other sentence, we frequently feel, "are we making any progress." And then we find ourselves in the middle of a fairly complex conversation with one or the other of the boys and it's the wake up moment that says, yes the work (theirs and ours) is taking hold.

Sometimes its hard to see the forest for the trees or in this case to hear the accomplishments they have achieved. The forest of their knowledge is growing and for anyone who may think they speak with a heavy accent or aren't able to understand the occasional word, I say look back to a year ago, when Lucas and Eli couldn't understand any of us at all and you could understand only 1 in 10 of their English words. Miracle Grow has nothing on Lucas and Eli.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fire Proof

This past week was National Fire Prevention Week. The local volunteer fire departments came to the elementary schools and taught the kids about fire prevention and escape.

Tonight at supper we were "educated" in the proper procedures and techniques from Lucas and Eli. As I'm sitting there listening to everything they learned I'm amazed at how much of it they understood and could repeat back. From going under smoke; stop, drop, roll; feeling doors for heat; covering their mouth; to go out an outside door if it is clear; to wait for the firemen outside and not go back in the house; to how to break a window safely to get out. Now I have to admit that last one gave me some concern.

The topper to the discussion was Lucas looking at me (again as if I must surely be limited in my brain functions) and saying, "Mom, you know this? I show you. You not know." I most surely do not know how Mike and I have been able to survive without the boys' expertise in life issues :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

October 2010

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Mom. I Have Friends

The boys take baby steps some days towards settling into their new lives. Yes. It has almost been a year since they came home but the settling in doesn't stop.

Most times we see two kids who are always on the move, energetic and wanting to know what comes next. Then there are the days when you see glimpses of their past experiences and the things that have been on their minds.

Tonight after the boys got home, Eli came running in and told me to close my eyes, he had a surprise. Ok we've done this every night this week. Class pictures came home and he's been exchanging pictures with the other kids in his class. Yep, he had a couple more tonight.

I looked at each one (had to shut my eyes each time while he pulled another picture from his pocket). Then he held each piece of his collection in his had and looked up and said, "Mom. I have friends here." Well, poo. Yep buddy you do. Another step.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sugar is NOT Good!

News flash for all those parents out there. Sugar is eating the minds of our kids. If anyone would like to have a first hand experience, I have one little 9 year old Filipino boy that is living proof that sugar is a mind altering drug.

Lucas and Eli go to an after school church program on Wednesday afternoon. They love going, have a million stories about the sponsors and what they do there. They also love to have snacks while there. Unfortunately for those of us who live through the next few hours after the program ends, we have the divine pleasure of Eli hyped up from those "wonderful" treats.

He cannot handle sugar or caffeine. We've gotten a good handle on the whole caffeine thing but sugar is harder to control. I've never seen a kids' behavior so very obviously affected by it before. He speaks 90 miles and hour, can't sit still and the most amazing thing is he will stand there and tell you, "I'm very, very tired! I'm very, very fast, I no slow down!" I think I'm sending his snack with him next week.....I'm sure that will go over big...not. But it is closing in on 7:30 and they've been home since 4:30 and he is now taking a very, very fast shower. Wonder if he'll sleep very, very fast.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dualing Spelling Words

Spelling words are a big thing around our house. At the beginning of the school year....not so much. The first couple word lists pretty much kicked Lucas and Eli to the curb. With some tweaking from their teachers they now are very into learning the new words each week.

Unfortunately (fortunately - depends on which side of the screaming you are on) the competitive spirit rules in this arena too. There aren't any sports the boys are participating in right now so they've developed the dueling spelling words competition.

Lucas, being the "older, wiser brother", takes great joy in letting Eli know he already knows all of Eli's words. Eli who has all of the sudden developed into this spelling machine, takes great offense to this. The words on his list are his and his one else on the planet may spell these words.

Mike and I have to find very separate places to practice with each of them, as we have Lucas screaming the spelling words off of Eli's list before Eli has a shot. I never thought spelling words could be a full contact sport but maybe the education field has missed a prime opportunity to advance boys' educational performance by not encouraging this new sport. For me....I'll just be glad when basketball starts.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sometimes Not Understanding Is Easier

I know most of you won't be surprised to read that kids can be mean little critters.

We've been lucky up until now that Lucas and Eli haven't been teased, taunted or made to feel out of place at school and in the community. The times that we've run into an issue or they've repeated something that was said or that happened to them that was in all likelihood, mean spirited, they have not understood what was driving the other persons' behavior.

Lucas recently figured out that Pickle is a funny last name and that it's a food. He thought it was funny, we explained (as best we could) that yes it is funny and that sometimes people like to make jokes and tease us about it. Not just him but his sisters too. We also tried explaining that when this happens if he laughs with them that is the fastest way to make them stop. It was a hard thing to get our girls to understand when they were elementary age and a whole lot harder to explain to Lucas.

Tonight he was showing me a picture of a friend that he had received at school. He asked if he could take one of his to give. I said ok and told him to write his name no the back. He said, "Just Lucas, no Pickle, I not like to be food." Ummmm, ok, didn't take mommy college to figure that one out. I asked if someone was making fun of his name. He said a "big boy" calls him food and he doesn't like it. It is hard to explain that no reaction takes away a mean kids' fun. It's an explanation in progress because no matter what language you use, kids can be mean little buggers.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mom! Look!

Coming in the door late this afternoon, those are the words that were hollered at me from the living room. I have to admit to a little trepidation as I've come to learn with Lucas and Eli that the "LOOK" statement could very well involve something slimy, wiggly, dead or alive. Let's just say I'm not too brave when enthusiastically replying, "What is it?"

Today was a good "Look it". Lucas had his spelling test out and was waiting on the couch to show his 100% to me. Sydney said he'd been waiting to show it to me since she picked them up from the elementary.

Definitely worth celebrating so we are going out to eat supper at his favorite place.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Morning Sniffles

I'm not a morning person but I'm really starting to enjoy them. Especially the week-end ones when I'm awakened, not by an alarm, but by a finger poking me in the arm and the boys saying, "Good Morning Mom! - You sleeping?".....not that's not the good part. The good part comes when I don't have to head out the door for work and I get to start the day with everyone.

This morning I ended up with both boys sitting beside me on the couch talking. I had my head turned talking with Lucas when I hear, "sniff, sniff, sniff".....I turn to Eli and he has his nose glued to my arm sniffing. Then I hear the same thing coming from Lucas' side, again, "sniff, sniff".

What can I say they smell everything. It's their guide post as to good and bad. We hear a lot of, "stinky good" and "stinky bad". So I waited, Eli grabs me around the neck and Lucas hugs from the other side and he says, "Mom you smell good!" I said, "Thanks - I don't stinky good?" Lucas says, "No! Mom! You smell good!" A very special way to start my day.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What! You Drink It!

Saturday morning brings with it the "guys" cooking breakfast. As for the girls of the family - we don't eat breakfast so it's up to Mike, Lucas and Eli to fend for themselves. It also gives Lucas and Eli a chance to cook - who knew it was a marvelous game?
This a.m. it was pancakes and eggs. The eggs of course had to be cooked hard. How do I know this as a non-participant? It was screamed every 10 seconds while they were cooking. When breakfast was finally on the table, Sydney and I took our coffee and juice and sat down with them. Lucas, very firmly in big brother mode, was helping Eli to pour syrup on his pancakes. This was much appreciated as Eli's version would consist more of sticking the pancake in the syrup bottle and guzzling it straight.

On the 3rd and 4th pancake, Lucas poured syrup for Eli on one pancake and left the other dry so it didn't soak up before Eli was ready to eat it. Eli being firmly in his little brother mode, stacks the dry pancake onto of the syrupy one while Lucas wasn't watching. Eli then asks him for more syrup. Lucas looked at Eli's plate, didn't figure it out too fast and with much shock looks at Eli and says ~ "What! You drink it!" Eli just smiled, Lucas disgustedly put more syrup on and said - NO MORE! ......and so begins our week-end.