Wednesday, December 31, 2008

In desperate need of New Year's traditions...

Scott and I never go out without the kids. And I really mean most we are without Jack and Logan 3 times a year. So this evening, New Year's Eve, was no different. I was happy to be with the boys but was looking to make it special. Unfortunately, we are a bit lacking in the tradition department for New Years. Here is what our night consisted of:

6:03 PM - dinner served with sparkling cranberry juice

6:37 PM - get the boys to help make chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

6:39 PM - the boys lose interest in making cookies and begin rough-housing

7:01 PM - turn on The Secrets of the Furious Five (Kung Fu Panda's extra combo pack DVD) however in an effort to get the boys to wind down and sit still for a few minutes, Mama clearly picked the wrong movie

7:11 PM - eat said cookies warm, again Mama rethinks her sugar to already wild boys while watching a martial arts cartoon?

7:24 PM - enact new family rule: no performing Kung Fu moves on Mama

7:49 PM - carry the boys in their PJs out front to yell "Happy New Year!" because Jack was concerned that the rest of the world was unaware of the holiday and felt it his duty to shout it from the top of his lungs

Tomorrow, the first day of 2009, I'm hoping we head to the beach or take a hike.

So what does your family do to ring in the New Year? I realize it's a bit late for our family this year but I'm hoping to get some ideas for next year.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

3 Me Mornings!

Logan is starting school after winter break. He'll be going to the same preschool as Jack and in fact, will be in the same classroom as there is only one. Since the school is a co-op, I'll now be required to work there at least two days a week (since I'll have two kids attending). But what all this really means is:

Here is my to-do list for my three mornings a week:
  • Catch up on all the sleep I've been deprived for the past 3 3/4 years
  • Become fluent in Mandarin
  • Get in shape
  • Shop for new clothes (preferably after I get in shape)
  • Get my wedding dress cleaned and preserved (as it's been hanging dirty in my closet for 5 1/2 years)
  • Waste time surfing the web
  • Take advantage of all the farmer's markets that my city has to offer
  • Go to the bathroom without anyone else in the room with me
  • Read a good book
  • Buy new makeup (something I haven't done for at least 2 years...yuck!)
  • Clean and organize all the catch-all drawers and cabinets around the house (of which there are about 147)
  • Get a haircut
  • Drink tea at a sidewalk cafe while soaking up the sun

In reality, I'll:
  • Buy groceries and put them away
  • Do several loads of laundry
  • Get a haircut (well, it has been 9 months or more)
  • Run random boring errands
  • Clean the kitchen
  • Miss my boys terribly and count the minutes until I can pick them up from school

Monday, December 29, 2008

"Not Me!" Monday

Time to get cathartic and fess up to all the things I absolutely positively did NOT do this week:

I did NOT imitate Jack whining to demonstrate how annoying it was to him. It did NOT backfire on me.

I do NOT convince myself daily that while the boys nap I must sit perfectly still while reading, watching TV or playing on the computer because if I were to do something like the dishes or laundry I might wake them up (and their sleep is sooooooo important).

I did NOT get more than a month behind on updating the boys' private website because I was obsessing over my newest hobby (AKA blogging).

I did NOT break down sobbing because I was feeling tired and frustrated. Logan did NOT comfort me by patting my shoulder and saying, "It okay Mama. It okay."

I do NOT let my boys get up and roam around after sitting at the dinner table for a mere 15 minutes. I do NOT feed them when they walk over to the table and ask for a bite. did NOT feel good to get that stuff of my chest!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad
  • listening to my husband play the guitar (quietly)
  • carved hair sticks
  • Candy Cane Joe-Joes
  • hearing my boys giggle
  • the prospect of travel to exotic lands
  • hearing Logan call me his "bef fiend" as he throws his little arms around my neck
  • The Sound of Music
  • getting a squeeze and kiss from Jack for no reason
  • a good book
  • the one hour every weekday that I spend talking with other moms after my boys' school
  • Numi Dry Desert Lime Teasan
  • my bed

*Some words blatantly plagiarized by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas - A Recap

As usual Logan was up early at about 5:30. Luckily he had forgotten that it was Christmas so he was happy to watch some TV in our bed while we tried to sleep spent quality time with him and waited for Jack to wake up on his own. Unfortunately Jack got up a half an hour later and we headed out to the living room.

Jack had asked for one thing from Santa...a blimp (named Al Oft) from the Cars movie (they are so easy to please at 3 years old!) so he was very happy to find that in his stocking. Logan was most excited about the chocolate race cars which he promptly opened by himself and ate them double-fisted. (Why is it that kids are never able to open healthy snacks themselves...but give them candy and they will find a way all on their own?)

We had very limited time before we need to get on the road and, as an immediate family, we are very slow present-openers so we barely made a dent in the presents under the tree. After showering, stuffing chocolate croissants in our mouths and packing enough stuff for a 3 week stay (though we were going to be home that night), we headed out for the day.

This year we were headed to my in-laws where 25 of us would participate in the the mad dash to open as many presents in as little time as humanly possible. This year my husband and I secured seats on the much coveted sofa so we wouldn't be trampled as in previous years. Yesterday there were a couple of times when the boys squeezed their little bodies close enough to the tree to grab a present or two but I feared for their safety. Luckily we left with all our limbs and no damage to our vital organs some really nice loot.

My mother-in-law must crash on the 26th of December. Can you imagine buying for 25 immediate family members? And she is so careful to spend the same amount on each person and try to have an equal number of presents! I don't know how she does it. If it were me, I'd make everyone say our family motto as they enter the get what you get and you don't get upset!
This is what my in-laws tree looks like with just the presents that my MIL buys:

The real fun happened when my sister-in-law realized that she threw $100 away. We had to haul out the several bags full of wrapping paper and go through everything. Luckily, on the second pass through I found it.

Considering the boys had eaten approximately 376,714 calories of junk food and missed their nap they fared pretty well. It was a long day and not without tears (from the boys and nearly my husband and myself) but a happy day none the less.

Today I was on a mission to get things back to more candy and plenty of rest. It looked like unwrapping presents here on the homefront was going to take a full three days but we managed to push through and get everything opened by this evening. My parents got the family Wii so we have spent some time tonight looking like lunatics as we try to figure the games out. It's been an amusing way to burn off some of those extra calories consumed yesterday. (I can actually hear Scott grunting in the family room right now...I'm guessing hoping he's playing tennis.)

Note to self - Remind Santa to not buy candy for the boys' stocking next year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dear Santa,

I realize that I'm writing this letter kind of late. I'm really sorry to be making last minute requests but I'm a procrastinator by nature. And I've been busy. Really busy. I know, it's no excuse...everyone is busy this time of year. But I've been really good...I promise. Well, I guess it depends who you ask. (Don't bother asking my kids...they never have anything nice to say about me.)

Anyway, all I want for Christmas is:
  • gift receipts for any gifts I or the boys get. But not for your gifts, of course. We always love what you get us.
  • for Logan's horrendous diaper rash to go away. Of course, it might have a small something to do with all the clementines he keeps eating and eating and eating. But he loves maybe if you could just take the acid out of our clementines that would be best.
  • a longer night. And wouldn't that help you out too? You've got so much to do on Christmas Eve that if you could just make the night a bit longer I'd get to sleep more and you've have more time to visit all the houses around the world.
  • for the boys to not get out of bed in the middle of the night especially if you've been so gracious as to make the night longer.
  • for Jack to quit patting me on the belly trying to get my attention when I'm talking to other grownups. The last thing I need is for the thickest area of my body it be thumped and jiggled in front of other adults.
  • the biggest box of Oxyclean you've got.

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, December 22, 2008

"Not Me!" Monday

So, the MOTYs called. You know...the MOTYs are the one who hand out the Mama of the Year Award annually. Anyway, apparently I'm in the running. I had to supply them a record of good deeds that clearly show how worthy I am of this completely fictional prestigious award. Here were just a few tidbits about myself that I shared with them:

I did NOT forget to make dinner and then serve the family fast-food on the floor "picnic style" because I was too lazy to clean the table off.

I did NOT sneak a Candy Cane Joe-Joe while the boys were not looking. I did NOT eat that cookie and avert my face when the kids got near in case they could smell my cookie breath.

I did NOT seriously, seriously, seriously consider cutting Jack's hair while he slept. I did NOT contemplate how we would get all that hair out of his bed. I did NOT consider how traumatized he might be if he woke up with me standing over him with a pair of scissors.

I did NOT have popcorn for dinner.

I did NOT tell the boys that the candy that came with the gingerbread house kit was just pretend and if they ate it it would make them sick.

For more "Not Me!" Monday posts visit MckMama's site.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The hard to wrap gifts...

This is a shout-out to my husband, Scott. He now refers to himself as a blogging widow and even with all the extra duties he took on this week (what with my being incapacitated with my latest obsession) he still found time this week to help me out with bloggy stuff.

To Scott:
Thank you for fixing the graphics on my blog though you had a million other things you could've and should've been doing. I never thought I'd say that I'm blessed to have a husband who is a geek by nature and trade.

Thank you for encouraging me in writing this blog and surprising me by buying not one but two domain names which you unceremoniously told me about one night. Sure, you should have saved them as Christmas gifts but as you said, "they were too hard to wrap."

But most of all, thank you for coming home every night from work to this madhouse especially on nights that you know I've made the dreaded veggie and cheese sauce pasta (AKA the crappy pasta).

Thank you for the countless other things you do for our family. We love you.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wet kisses

After I posted about Jack's hair I thought I needed to prove that I'm an equal opportunity embarrasser:
Logan has a bit of a problem too.

DROOL! Major drool! It's been bad for as long as I can remember. I've taken to carrying extra shirts for him as he's very often wet half way down his chest. Yuck...
Here's his obligatory embarrassing photo:
Yes, those are two little rivers of drool running down Logan's chin. He gives the wettest kisses of anyone I know.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Been there, done that

Hi there!
This post isn't for you. You are welcome to read it but if you too are a mama then it'll probably be deja vu.
This post is really for me. See, I have a horrible, terrible, no good memory. It doesn't matter if it's short term or long term, good or bad, mundane (grocery list) or important (first words spoken by my boys)...I simply can't remember things. So this post is to remind me someday far into the future what life was like with two crazy, adorable, energetic, loving and lovable little hellions boys.

My boys usually like to ease into the day. Morning starts off in our big bed with a TV show and some chocolate milk.
Logan is a bit camera shy. He hates it when the Mamarazzi has the camera out which is why he's trying to flee the bed in this photo.

Then it's time for breakfast. I generally make a big batch of waffles once or twice a week and refrigerate them. Then we eat them throughout the week. And we eat them with our need for butter or syrup so they are good on the go.
Jack decided to be my helper this morning.
Yes, that is an ancient waffle-maker handed down from my mom. And yes, that is a airpopper on the counter. I make enough popcorn to justify leaving it out all the time.
While the waffles are cooking, I get moving on the boys' lunches.

And drinks: juice for school and fruit and veggie smoothies for the drive to school.On this particular day I had to take a little break to put Logan in timeout.
Yes, he is in the bathroom for his timeout because he was using "potty talk." We hear a lot of poophead and poopiehead at our house. And if you're talking about poop then you've got to head to the bathroom.
Logan was unhappy about the timeout but he was pissed that I was taking his picture. Opps...

Then, I finish up a bit of laundrywhile the boys play.
Then it's off to school. I love Jack's preschool. (Yea! Logan gets to start after Christmas!) The school is very unique and it's perfect for us. It's a very small co-op so the parents have lots of responsibilities. One of them is that we have to work at least one day a week. And the younger siblings of the students can come on their mother's workday. Well, today was my workday so the three of us headed to school. This photo is of Logan and Jack in the dump trucks:
Everyday after school we stay on the playground for about an hour. Several other moms also stay with their kids so it is a great time to chat. I love this time of day. The boys get lots of outside playtime with their friends and I get to soak up the sunshine and adult conversation.

After we pack up and head to the car it's naptime. Like little Pavlov dogs, I hand the boys an animal cracker each, turn on their nap music and this magically happens:
I transfer the boys to their beds and then I get to indulge:
After the boys are up we usually, play or take a walk. Today we decided to make our gingerbread house. I guess I should fess up...I made the house. The boys assisted with handing me candy and directing me what to do. Maybe next year I'll actually let them decorate...
Logan got so bored that he wandered away and Jack got so annoyed at me that he decided he wanted the gingerbread man left bare.

Then time for some dishes:
Then it struck me...I hadn't made dinner. I called my husband and asked him to "make a run for the border" on his way home.

Then it struck me...the table was still a mess from the gingerbread house. So we had a picnic on the living room floor.

I'm not winning any motherhood awards for this night. But I do have to say that this wasn't a typical night for us. I usually almost always sometimes make dinner and we sit like humans at a table (with silverware no less).

After dinner it's bathtime.(I swear the water was not really that dirty...yuck!)

And then, blissfully, bedtime. Good night!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A bad hair year...

We were recently at a kid's party that had exotic animals on display. When they brought out the porcupine, I turned to Jack and said affectionately, "That looks just like you!"

Jack isn't having a bad hair day. He's having a bad hair year. Jack has tonsurephobia.

Tonsurephobia: noun, A pathological fear of haircuts
(And no, it's not the same as fear of having a bad haircut. :))

To make matters worse, Jack has very thick hair. And it grows strait up or down. There is no part, no wave...nothing. Just this massive amount of unyielding hair.

Jack's first couple of haircuts were at home when he was under two and he was fine. But then we took him to a kid's hair salon. You'd think the videos and toys and balloons and lollipops and car shaped chairs would make for a pleasant experience. In Jack's case, you'd be very wrong.

It was obvious that Jack thought we were trying to kill him. Literally. He didn't just wiggle and cry. He kicked, scratched, screamed and head-butted the poor lady trying to cut his hair. (Yes, we tipped her handsomely.) He was truly traumatized. And so was I. I had never seen Jack like this. (And seeing him act this way while someone had scissors and clippers next to his head was too much for me to watch.)

We took him back several times to get a haircut. We would have him get a buzz cut so we could wait a really long time between visits. We tried bribing him...with jelly beans, with toys, with special outings. We tried cutting his hair at home. We tried letting him cut my husband's hair. We tried letting Jack cut his own hair. But nothing would work. Logan was fine getting his own hair cut but would plead with us to stop when we tried cutting Jack's hair. He could tell how traumatic it was for his brother.

In the end, after discussing it with his pediatrician, we decided to not to cut his hair anymore. We'll wait until he tells us he wants it cut (which unfortunately might be never). His hair is just about to start covering his eyes. It's on the verge of hitting his very long lashes. And when that happens I have hope that he'll ask for a hair cut.

In the meantime, I'll affectionately run my fingers through Jack's mass of little porcupine.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another title to add to the Mama job description...

One of my many jobs is Translator.

For example, today Logan told me he wanted a lemonade. What he really wanted was a clementine though. My job as his mama is to follow his 2 and 1/2 year old logic and translate what he is saying into what he is meaning.

Logan is perfectly capable of saying clementine. But after saying the word a couple of times it turns in to 'lemontine' which reminds him of lemonade. This is why some friends at the park looked at my like I was crazy when Logan wandered over, asked for a lemonade and walked away perfectly happy with a clementine (that he can now peel all by himself! Hurray!).

"Not me!" Monday

For the record, I'm a perfect mom and wife. Just ask my kids and husband...go ahead, ask them. Oh, wait they're locked in the closet busy right now. Here are some examples of my perfectness:

I did NOT "pretend" to not hear the boys arguing because I was "busy" writing an email. I did NOT actually think to myself "well, it's time they (a three year old and two year old) learned valuable life lessons about sharing and negotiations."

I did NOT tell Jack that if he didn't stop whining I was going to pull the car over and leave him on the side of the road.

I did NOT think to myself "that's weird" when Logan told me his mouth hurt. I did NOT point out Logan's drool soaked shirt (almost wet down to his belly button) to a friend and say "What's up with that?" Two days later I did NOT smack myself in the forehead and mutter "What an idiot!" when I realized that Logan was getting his molars in and had been in pain for a while.

I did NOT step over the dryersheet that had fallen in the hallway 15 times before reaching down, picking it up and muttering "Now, why couldn't my husband just pick this up."

I did NOT get so busy writing this post that the boys recorded TV show ended and switched to live TV. I did NOT panic and freak out when I realized they were watching LOCAL NEWS!!!!! (which in our very large city is nothing but a graphic play-by-play of car chases, robberies and shootings).

For more "Not Me!" Monday posts visit MckMama's site.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Tour of Homes 2008

Welcome! Come on in and make yourself at home. Grab a drink...there's no need to use a coaster. Go ahead and put your feet on the coffee table. We're casual here.

Here is our tree. Notice the breakable ornaments on top and the soft ones at the bottom. We have two young boys...enough said.

We keep Christmas-themed kids books on the table. The red box has our Santa photos from previous Christmases.

Yes, that ridiculously long thing is our advent calendar. I kind-of sort-of made it.

Can I offer you a chocolate and coconut covered clementine? They are pretty scrumptious if I do say so myself.

Oh, sure. I don't mind sharing the recipe. It's a bit time intensive (to peel all the clementines) but it's easy.
You'll need to peel and section a couple of clementines (sometimes referred to as an Algerian or seedless tangerine). Melt some semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips in a glass bowl in the microwave. Just nuke it for 15 seconds at a time (to ensure it doesn't burn) and stir. Dip each clementine section in the melted chocolate and then in a bowl of shaved coconut. Put the pieces on wax paper in the fridge to dry.

Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to come by any time.
Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why adoption? Why China?

Shortly after my husband and I were married we sat in a small cozy booth of a nearby restaurant and wrote down what our goals, hopes, dreams were for our life together. A big part of the equation was kids. We both knew that we wanted kids and, while dating, had been surprised to find out that we were both interested in adoption. We thought we would have our first child the old-fashioned way and adopt our second child. After that we hoped to have another biological child and adopted child in no particular order.

A short while later, Jack was born.
And a very short time after that (6 months to be exact), we were pregnant with Logan. The boys are 15 months apart to the day.
So it's not exactly what we thought would happen. But a very good start none the less.

About a year after Logan was born, we started doing some very basic adoption research. I've always loved to meet new people, experience new cultures with all their unique food, music, language, dress. To me, it always seemed natural that we would adopt internationally. We looked at several my usual form I made charts and thoroughly compared every last detail. After all was said and done, China was the clear winner. And then I began my research into China. And the more I found out, the more I liked what I was learning about China and adoption from China.

Now, we can’t imagine not adopting our daughter from China. We want a daughter and our sons need a sister. There will be a little girl in China who needs a family. Though initially separated by thousands of miles, she will belong to us and we will belong to her.

Unfortunately, it took me a lot longer to put together our dossier (the 3 inch set of documents sent to China to notify them that we are interested in adopting from their country) than I anticipated. And the longer it took me, the longer the wait grew to adopt from China.

When we started researching the current wait for a NSN (non-special needs) referral from China was approximately 21 months. I arbitrarily added some time (9 months) thinking between the paperchase and the increasing wait time it would probably be 2 1/2 years before we had our daughter at home. That timing seemed perfect for our family. However, it took me a lot longer to put our dossier together and I hadn't taken into account the serious backlog. At this point it could very well be 8 years before our daughter is home.

There is an ancient Chinese proverb that says, “An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break.” We have a long (and probably tangled) wait until we find our child on the other end of the red thread but we know she'll be worth it.