Sunday, September 30, 2012

When Mom Is Away....

the male members of the family (dad included) decide they will go to the neighbors and partake in he man activities as noted in the picture below.  I'm assured that all had great fun, no one was injured and they had a bar-b-que afterwards.  Can you guess what the boys want for Christmas....yep it is soooo not happening.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

You Want Them To Learn But.....

There are times, usually at the most embarrassing of times, that you wish they hadn't learned to say or spell a particular word in English.  With knowledge comes power, words especially the knotty ones, can be amazingly hilarious to Lucas and Eli. 

Early on as they were learning English sometimes words that weren't knotty sounded that way because all the sounds weren't formed.  Now they have most sounds so they had to find a "new" way to "get away" with the knotty ones.  What better way than spelling them.  Still knotty, still get in trouble but for whatever 11 and 12 year old boys' minds believe they are absolutely the most hilarious things in the universe and totally worth getting in trouble.

Driving down the highway today Lucas turns to me and says (with a warning grin) "Mom, I'm thinking of a word (giggle, giggle) that starts with b and has two tt's and only one other letter, what is it."  I, being well aware and not senile enough to be bated said, "Lucas" he continued to giggle and said, "Come on mom!  The missing letter is u.  Do you know what the word is?"  Yes son I do.  Then screaming full voice he tells me, "BUTT!!!!"  Why is that funny to a kid?  He laughed at himself for 2 minutes at the end of which I said, "Wow!  Mrs. Killpack would be proud.  Do you think we should ask if she'd add it to your spelling list next week?"  Oh my did I hit the panic button, nothing right now is more important and apparently powerful for him, than not being embarrassed in front of his teacher.  Now I'm hoping he doesn't decide that would be a good idea and surprise the teacher with his new word.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Answering the Questions

If you look at the post time at the bottom you will see it's the middle of the night.  Yes insomnia...the kind your kid gives you.  It never fails to amaze me how Lucas can systematically blow you away with a remark or question out of the blue.  This passed week has held many instances.

Last night 20 minutes until bedtime we were winding up watching a tv show.  A commercial was on and it showed a highway in China.  He turned to me and said, "I used to live close to China."  He's fascinated by all things and people Chinese.  He has been for as long as we've known him.  He continued, " Do you want to go see China?"  I said yes that is somewhere that I'd like to visit.  Lucas,  "Why didn't we go see China when you came to get me in the Philippines it was right there?  Cause it was expensive?"  I said yes it would have been more money and really wasn't the time as we had to come directly back to the United States.  "why?" was the next question.

I said (not really thinking this out) that we had to come directly back because we needed to finalize the adoption and to do that we had to come home....hmmmm thinking, thinking and then he sat up straight and said,  "But we're adopted that's all done right?"  I said yes, no more paperwork.  Then he sat back and said,  "whew I don't ever have to leave."  Nope buddy you don't have to leave....that why it's 2:30  in the morning and mom is wondering what else you are thinking about.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Filipino Chicken Recipe

Having the usual problems with Blogger.  Sorry for those who were mid recipe and it disappeared.  I used coconut for our recipe and it was fantastic.  Hope you enjoy and that this post publishes right this time.

8 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
1 T. cooking oil and olive oil
1/3 c. water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 t. bottled minced garlic or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t. pepper
2 T. sliced fresh red chili pepper or 1/4 c. toasted shredded
         coconut (optional)

1.  Remove skin from chicken. In a 10 inch skillet brown chicken thighs on all sides in hot oil. Drain off fat.
2.  Add water, vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaves, garlic and pepper to skillet; stir gently.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Transfer chicken to a platter; keep warm.
3.  Bring liquid in skillet to boiling; boil, uncovered for 3-5 minutes or until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Skill off fat. Remove and discard bay leaves. Drizzle juices over chicken. Sprinkle with chili pepper or coconut if desired.  Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Not All Presidents Are On Money

and neither are they all dead.  Eli watching tv and unfortunately watching all the billion political ads suddenly sits up and says, "It's just so sad."  Of course I'm thinking, yes it's sad we are subjected to nasty politics and phone calls and billboards.....(you get the idea of where my brain went).  That is not where his brain was.

I asked him what he meant and his response was pretty eye opening as to what he's been working on in school and what ground still needs to be covered.  He said, "It is so sad that the president will die."  What?  Yep he thinks that President Obama is dieing and that's why there is an election.  That was a good 30 minutes of conversation that probably didn't do our governmental system justice and I'm also confident that I've confused the child beyond repair.  At least he now understands that presidents don't necessarily die at the end of their term or during elections.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Only The Sister Knows For Sure

Lucas and Eli went to a birthday party this past week-end.  They had a great time but as most "great" things and boys it involved full contact sports.  Lucas came home a little banged up and complaining that his wrist hurt.  I looked it over and did the ice pack and "you'll be ok" route of distraction.  He really was alright and had a full range of motion and no swelling....didn't stop him from playing video games (I'm just saying).

All the kids were home for supper on Sunday and he complained again.  I said, "Ok let me see it."  His reply?  "No.  Alison will look at it.  She knows.  She's the doctor."  Ummm no buddy she's a nurse and I think you will be fine.  I've just been relegated to band aids and aspirin.  Since Alison lives an hour away from us he may want to rethink this plan.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Who Said Girls Argue More?

Adjustment 978 to having boys in the house as opposed to girls.  Girls get a bad wrap for being the more vocal of our species.  Whoever made that generalization needs to meet the two young males in our household.  They are one continuous, loud, irrational argument in progress 24/7.

It doesn't matter what the subject.  They don't even have to be in the same room.  They just scream the argument from room to room.  Not fighting just taking two opposing sides to everything.  Most of the time they don't even think about what it is they really believe about the subject, it's just necessary to be on the opposite side as their brother.

They may try to argue with a sister, not as much as they used to (that didn't work out well for either of their male egos).  The thing that truly amazes me?  They never finish an argument.  Nothing is resolved.  The end does not matter.  It's simply that act or art, depending on your view point, of the argument itself.  I think the girls are amazed that there are now members of their family who can effectively talk more than them.  Their names?  Lucas and Eli

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Chicken of the Philippines

Friday night I thought I would try out a new recipe I had found on line for Filipino Chicken.  I have tried over the past 3 years to cook Filipino recipes but have only hit on a few that the boys recognize.  We quickly learned that even though these particular foods were authentic to the Philippines the boys did not have the opportunity to enjoy them.  They simply had the barest of staples.

Except for chicken.  Chicken is the absolute best no matter what according to Lucas and Eli.  It's really hard to mess it up in their book.  This particular recipe called for soy sauce (another of their loves) bay leaves, vinegar and toasted coconut.  Fairly simple and all ingredients my Midwestern cooking skills could handle.  It was a success, at least once they tasted it.  Apparently it did not look quite the way they thought it should.  We had to refer back to the picture several times before they tried it (ok we've had a few experiments that went a little off but come on it smelled wonderful!).

Final verdict?  There are 2 pieces left only because I made them keep some for their sisters to try.  It had to be one of the quietest meals to date as they were shoveling it in their mouths.  Who knew?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hey! I Know That!

We took Lucas to school for a band instrument demonstration.  Our school starts the students that are interested in band in fifth grade.  What else would any fifth grade boy want to play but the drums.  After convincing his dad that drums were a musical instrument, he got his practice kit.

The kit includes a drum pad and bells both.  They teach all the kids to read music not just rythym (much to Lucas' dismay during the presentation).  We took the kit home and he systematically took everything out of the case and much to his astonishment he pulled the bells from the bottom of the case.

He must have gotten distracted during the presentation because he had no idea they were in there.  If I'd only known to have the camera ready.  He saw those bells and his face absolutely lit up.  He said,  "Hey!  I know these!  I did this before!"  and then he proceeded to start playing us songs and telling us each of the note names as well as telling us that he used to play it for "those one people" from the orphanage.  He doesn't know the names of the songs but it was so cool to see and hear something that he remembers that he didn't even know he knew until he saw that bell set.  So there he was playing away in the livingroom while yelling at Eli to remember this song and that song.  So totally worth the evening of screeching horns and banging drums at the demonstration.  Today memories were a good thing.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Reading, I Love It!

When Eli came home from the Philippines he had never experienced a consistent level of schooling.  It was definitely not the place he enjoyed.  In the beginning we wondered if he'd even remain in the building.  Much to our relief and the schools he stayed and he is thriving.  This kid is far from the "below average" student that was in his paperwork.  

Recently he has discovered the world of reading.  Of course this would have come about after his teacher and I had a discussion about his reading goals, the reading program our school uses for all students and my overwhelming  lack of support for this program.  Basically, I told his teacher that my goal for him was to come out of elementary loving to read and comprehending it.  This did not happen with any of our 3 daughters, mainly I believe, because of this reading program.  The teacher was very accepting (educators have opinions that they can't always express) of my views and we came up with an alternate method.

Four days later and two books read, he has to have books pried out of his hands and is constantly walking around saying, "reading, I love it!"  He's not necessarily saying it to us or anyone in particular more to himself because I think he is just as awed as we are.   He can't get enough of it.  Now we hear about the Titanic, comic books, islands and so many other things that I would think his brain would be tired....mine is but it is such a terrific tired who cares the boy loves reading!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Oh Man!

Our days are busy.  They are packed with field trips, class projects, spelling tests, reading (a new love of Eli's....more on that later) and work.  We don't stop until it's time to go to bed.  Yes I have more grey hair than I did 3 years ago...who doesn't.  

But when I hear the following words come out of Eli's mouth before bedtime...I could have a head of grey hair and it will be ok.  Mike was out of town last night for a class.  He's not gone overnight very often.  

I had the boys in bed for the night with the lights out.  Sitting in the living room, I hear Eli say to himself, "Oh Man!  I miss Dad."  Oh. My. Heart.   I know it has been nearly 3 years since we brought the boys home but you can not imagine what it has taken to get to this point with both the boys.  All I can say is "Oh Man!  Am I glad they are here!"

Thursday, September 13, 2012

We Almost Missed It

You know those lazy, rainy mornings where you just lie in bed and listen to it rain?  Or you lie in bed and go back to sleep?  I was so enjoying the morning - until I realized it wasn' t Saturday.  It was Thursday.  You know.... work, school, life.  Oops!

I jumped out of bed and hit the hallway at a run.  Eli stepped out of his bedroom door and grabbed me around the waist.  "Good Morning!  I think we forgot to get up."  Yep buddy we sure did.  He continued with, "I don't think we should do that again we almost missed the day!"  You'd think with 3 alarm clocks and 4 people that one of us could ensure we don't miss the day....there is just some mornings that encourage us to "miss the day."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Do You Know What Today Is?

That is the opening question from the boys when I got home from school.  I knew they were in a serious frame of mind by the looks on their faces.

I said, "Well yes I do, do you know about something that happened today?"  Eli said, "It was very sad.  They shouldn't have done that."  Lucas said, "We weren't here, I was a baby in the Philippines but "they" shouldn't have killed all those people."

They both went on to talk about the specifics of 9/11.  I was amazed how much they were able to absorb and process from the conversations at school.  I probably wouldn't have been able to give them the essentials and then let them form an opinion.  Needless to say, "they" shouldn't have done that and even though our children may not have been more than infants they can appreciate the bravery, sacrifice and sheer wrongness of such senseless brutality.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Do You Want To Learn It? Well You Should.

Thus is the conversation of Eli speaking to Lucas.  From the sound effects behind me, I know exactly what it is that Eli has deemed necessary for Lucas and his survival of the next few minutes.

Guess what it is?  Well here is some more comments...Lucas, "Wow who teached you that?"  Eli, "I just know." (Wrong I had just spent 30 minutes teaching him)  Eli, "You have to hold your tongue like this."  (Ok my family has a trait of sticking out our tongues when we are in extreme concentration - guess it's rubbed off).   Lucas,  "That sounds like a fart!"  Eli, "Dude!  Come on this is SWEET!"

Guess what it is yet?  Shuffling cards and learning to bridge them.  Pretty sure I've won cool mother points tonight!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

No! That Is NOT a Pet

and it never will be as long as I'm the mom.  What is this wonderful, recently found, lovingly put into a carrier (ice cream container) "I had one in the Philippines" pet?    A field mouse.

YUCK!  Two days of Eli begging to keep his friend and many sneak attempts to get it into his bedroom, I think it has remained better have or he will need to figure out how to stuff his mattress into the dog house....not happening no matter how many Filippino mice he's had previously.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Moment to Stop Your Heart

You know those moments, as a parent, when you see your child in a situation that is nerve wracking (piano contest - my least favorite event as the girls will tell you) or the moment you hear the noise of the lawn mower hitting something and run around the house to find your youngest son on the ground beside the mower with his arm wedged under it?

I think my heart exploded.  Poor kid was just trying to clean something out from under the shut off, no blade spinning mower.  None of those things registered to my mom brain.  Kid on ground, under mower and me screaming my head off.  Way to go mom!  He was perfectly in control of the situation, he's been mowing for over a year, he knows safety precautions....again not registering with mom brain.  He was also uninjured until I hollered and then he raised up and cut his finger.  Is winter here yet?  I think snow shoveling is safer for both of us!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Little Drummer Boy

He's not so little any more but a drummer in the making for sure.  Lucas and his classmates are starting into band.  Probably 1/2 of who join will not make it through high school graduation as band members but for right now he is so proud to have this gift from a close friend.  Mike brought home new drum sticks last night and he gave us a little sample of things to come.  No lessons yet...just ear plugs.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Child Care Guilt

I'm still playing catch up on all those posts that I wanted to write during our hectic summer and start to school.
I remembered this one as I dropped the boys at our before/after school daycare program.

Once again I realize how spoiled we were when the girls were little as I was able to be a stay at home mom and was there to take them to school and be home when they were done for the day.  SPOILED!  For anyone out there who has the luxury please know you and your kids are fortunate.

We planned for the boys to attend the school child care program when Sydney went to college.  She has graciously and sometime reluctantly provided chauffeur and chaperon duty since the boys came home 3 years ago.  On August 15 that came to an end and we all experienced our first daycare situation from a non family member.  

How did it go?  The boys left me in the dust at the doorway, off to play with friends.  As I drove out of the parking lot I felt like I had just put them back into the orphanage.  Irrational, I know.  Not the same at all, I know.  Mom guilt big time!  Needless to say 2 1/2 weeks later, they are still thrilled to go everyday.  As for my guilt, lessened a lot but still that little bit of sadness as I head to work.  Eli's view of the whole thing?  "Mom!  I am fine, go to work, I will be here.  Goodbye!"

Monday, September 3, 2012

Boom, Boom, Boom!

No that's not the sound of the latest musical instrument added to the household (although Mike and Lucas did just leave the house to pick up a snare drum from the boys' honorary Godmother...thanks a bunch Lynn!).  The latest sonic anomaly to hit our house and the neighborhood is the dueling set of stereos the boys unearthed today.

Lucas inherited his from his sisters as they left for college.  This didn't worry me so much as his room is downstairs and fairly well soundproofed (ha!).  Eli who was feeling a little left out of the music world and has developed a new appreciation of all music as long as it's earsplitting, turned his mournful little face in my direction and that of my unused kitchen cd/radio and therefore acquired his stereo system.

Then they decided that it would be a good idea to start their own collection of cd's.  Guess what is more excruciating than the Lego aisle of Target.....the cd aisles of Target.  Couple that with their total lack of knowledge about who sings what and what is appropriate music in their parents view vs. their friends and you have 30 minutes that will never be put back into my day.

Arriving home both boys went to their respective rooms, put in the cds and proceeded to chase the dog out of the house, their dad into a coma and me wondering why I thought it was important for them to learn an appreciation of music.  One good point....they didn't argue with each other this afternoon and by evening they were both deaf to the point that they ignored one another.