Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Christmas Tradition

For the first time, I let Jack and Logan go to the store and pick one new Christmas ornament each. I showed Logan a retro wooden space ship. He said, "That's mine!" and that was the end of his search for the perfect ornament (which lasted a whole 3 seconds). Jack, on the other hand, looked and looked and deliberated. (He has some trouble making decisions.) He easily spent 20 minutes trying to choose (all the while Logan looked on with amusement while he clutched his ornament). In the end, Jack choose a little glass pig.

I think that the boys picking out a Christmas ornament each year could become a new tradition.

And though I wasn't planning on getting anything myself, these are the two ornaments were calling my name.

You can clearly see where my head is China and Ethiopia.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Slow Boat to China Takes a Detour

Imagine my family on a boat. A boat moving very, very slowly. A boat headed to China very, very slowly. In fact, this boat could easily take 8 years to reach China where we are adopting our daughter. So we've decided to take a bit of a Ethiopia.

It has always been our plan to grow our family through biological and adopted children, specifically two each. After Jack was born, we got pregnant very quickly with Logan and realized that we would be putting off our adoption plans for a bit. About a year after Logan was born we started researching our adoption options. At the time, adopting our daughter from China seemed like the best fit for our family. We became "paper pregnant" on 8/13/08 and estimated an 8 year wait before we'd met our daughter.

Though we knew, intellectually, that the wait was long, we could not guess what the wait would actually feel like. After a year, it was wearing on us and we felt, since we have always planned on adopting two daughters, that maybe we should focus on starting a second adoption.

Two months ago, Scott and I began researching other countries from which we could do an adoption while still “staying in line” for China. We quickly realized that we also had a daughter in Ethiopia. After picking an agency we started compiling our dossier. This time around it only took us 5 weeks (as opposed to the China dossier that took more than 9 months).

Yesterday, 12/16/09, we officially became a waiting family...again! If all goes as planned, we should be matched with our daughter from Ethiopia in 6-9 months. Approximately, 8 weeks after that our paperwork will go to court and approximately 8 weeks after that we should travel to pick up our daughter. So, hopefully, in a year we will have our family of five home! We are thrilled to be starting on another journey to grow our family.

This slow boat is picking up steam to Ethiopia...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Darlin' Clementine

"Oh, my darlin'! Oh, my darlin'! Oh, my darlin' Clementine!"

Last year I inadvertently started a holiday tradition...a really yummy holiday tradition! And it was just too yummy to not repeat this year.

Here is a simple and easy recipe for chocolate and coconut dipped clementines. Make sure to get the kids involved...peeling and dipping and whatnot.

clementines (sometimes referred to as an Algerian or seedless tangerine)
semi-sweet chocolate chips
sweetened shredded coconut
  • Peel and section the clementines
  • Fill a glass dish with chocolate chips and microwave in 30 second intervals (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 set
See, simple and yummy and fun for the whole family.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I am a Slummy Mummy...

"Don't you sometimes feel like calling up one of those missing-persons hotlines and reporting your disappearance? 'Help, I don't know where I've gone, I got married, had children, gave up my job, made everyone around me happy, and then disappeared. Please send out a search party.' "
-Slummy Mummy by Fiona Neill

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Girl Effect

Considering that we are adopting our daughters from a Second and a Third World country (or a Developing and an Under-Developed country), I am very interested in learning more about girls that live in poverty. And I'm open to finding ways to help them that will, in turn, help those around them.

Take a look at this very powerful video, The Girl Effect, to see what I'm taking about.

I've read Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time and am currently reading Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Now it's time for me to act. And I think women, especially moms in America can make a huge difference. Interested in joining me?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Who's who?

Which little monkey:
  • Always asks me the tough questions while I'm driving (like "do parents ever die before their kids?")?
  • Wouldn't stop watching TV though his show was over because he couldn't turn the TV off and if it's left on with no one watching it he considers it wasting electricity?
  • Draws his mama treasure maps where "X" marks a treasure chest with cookies?

Which little love bug:
  • Went out for an after dinner walk in a huge winter jacket, a pair of shorts, a baseball hat, an adult length scarf and Elton John style sunglasses (though it was after dark)?
  • Said his mama was "the best toast maker in the whole world!"?
  • Loves to vacuum and do laundry?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

November in review

November was both a slow but momentous month for our family. We didn't have much planned and the weather was still gorgeous so we spent a lot of time at parks.

The rest of our spare time was spent researching adoption agencies and getting paperwork together. Huh? Yes, we are pursuing another adoption though our first (a daughter from China) is still years away. We are excited to be getting back on this crazy rollercoaster to adopt a daughter from Ethiopia. More details to come soon...

In the meantime, here are a couple of photos from November.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Sneaky Blogiversary

I missed my blogiversary! I guess it's not terribly surprising considering how little I post nowadays...

A year ago, if you had told me that I would be faithfully writing 5 days a week, reading countless blogs, "meeting" friends online and even would have another blogger fly 2000 miles to stay with my family, I would have thought you were insane. But, that is just what happened...for about 8 months.

And during that time, if you had told me that I would stop reading my new friends' blogs and only write very sporadically, I would have told you were insane. But, that is just what happened...for about 4 months.

Blogging was a large and fulfilling part of my life. And I very much want to get back to it. I'm not sure what the hold up is though.

In any case, I wanted to mention my blogiversary...even if it is a day late.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The other side of the camera - School morning

Forever In Blue Jeans
I'm participating in what I think is a really smart weekly challenge hosted by Carin at Forever in Blue Jeans. It seems like mamas spend an awful lot of time behind the camera. The idea of this challenge is for mamas to get on the other side of the camera in at least one photo a week.

When my boys grow up they'll inherit hundreds of thousands of photos taken from their childhood, but how many of those will show their mama? At least for this year I can answer 52!

School, glorious school! It seems wrong to say, but everything is better when school is in session. We are like a well-oiled machine...good eating, good schedules, good time apart, good time together. The kids are happy and I'm happy (which means that Scott is happy).

Here are the boys and I in front of their school on two of my workdays.

(Logan needs a little help in the "say cheese" department, huh?)

One of the best parts about schooldays actually takes places afterschool. Several moms and their kids stay on the playground for more than an hour. We are able to watch our kids easily in a very familiar environment while having some much needed adult conversation (even if 99% of it is about our kids).

Monday, November 2, 2009

October in review

I used to be a rather dedicated blogger, writing 5 or 6 nights a week. But then I started having lapses... Somehow I'm a one month on, one month off kind of blogger now. And this is my month on but I'd still like to document the past month.

So, here it is in a photo nutshell.

What October would be complete with a trip to the pumpkin patch?

Let's not forget my favorite time of day...naptime!

After all that rest it's time to play! My little athletes:

We were lucky enough to have a visit from my parents. Ever patient Nana is always good for reading a book or yet another game of checkers.

Introducing...Super Granddad!
What trip from the grandparents wouldn't be complete without pony rides, mini-trains, beach picnics and a planetarium visit.

If it's October then there must be costumes and candy. Logan was a fireman and Jack wanted to be Batman. But because I don't think that character is age appropriate for a 4 year old and I'm too cheap to buy licensed character costumes, I encouraged Jack to invent his own superhero. Here he is as Super Lava Boy!
Whew! Now it's a fast moving train to Thanksgiving and Christmas...hold on tight!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

More blogging, less candy...

Someone somewhere decided that November was NaBloPoMo. (For those of you clueless (like I was moments before googling NaBloPoMo) it stands for National Blog Posting Month.) Apparently, the goal is to write a blog post every day in the month of November. Why would someone invent such a thing? I have no idea.

But I needed motivation to start writing again. So I'm taking up the NaBloPoMo challenge. With my track record of late though it more likely to be the NaBloPoEv3rdWe challenge...which would be National Blog Posting Every 3rd Week!

So, what does someone write about on the first day of November? Their adorable kids on Halloween and the whirling sugar-addicted dervishes they turn into the very next day, of course.

I had grand aspirations for what we would do with all the candy the boys got from trick-or-treating. I even started a blog post in September offering my readers suggestions for donating it, trading it in, leaving it for the Halloween fairy and doing science experiments with it. What is it they say about the best laid plans? The post never got finished and I never even followed through on the suggestions myself.

Today we tried the "eat all you want whenever you want" method for the second year in a row. For one day only we dump all Jack and Logan's candy in a huge bowl and set it on their little table. The only rule is that they are to sit on the chairs at the table to eat the candy. They don't have to ask if they can have something. They are allowed to eat whatever whenever for the whole day.

Last year this method worked great. They would take one lick of a lollipop and move on to try another flavor. They quickly realized that they didn't like the gummy body parts and tossed those in the trash. They liked the packages with multiple pieces of candy (M&Ms, Skittles, Nerds, etc.) and would open packages and dump them with other candies in small bowls and use their fingers to mix the different kinds together barely consuming any of it. I don't think they ever finished a whole piece of candy last year.

In the end, I considered it a success because though they may have eaten a ton of sugar in one day, they consumed way less than if I had doled one or two pieces out over the course of a month or two. In that scenario, they would have eaten those nasty gummy body parts because they would have been their one and only treat for the day. They would have finished each and every lollipop even if they thought there might be a better flavor out there. They would have eaten every package of M&Ms, Skittles and Nerds instead of being hypnotized by the bright colors and different sizes mixing together.

Today, the boys consumed way more candy than they did last year and there were way more tantrums than last year. I better get a new plan for next year. The only good thing is that all the candy will be gone at the end of the night and I didn't have to listen to my boys whine all day that they just wanted to eat one piece more.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Who's who?

Which little monkey:
  • Was re-telling me about the time he went swimming in a river and said, "Mama, I saw a whole school of fish! But I didn't see their teacher"?
  • Gave his special sticker from his teacher to his brother because his brother didn't earn one?
  • Got so excited when my tooth (crown) fell out because he thought I could put it under my pillow and get a visit from the tooth fairy and then was so disappointed to find out that grown-ups' teeth have to be put back in their mouths?

Which little love bug:
  • Exited school, took off his baseball hat and offered me the cucumber that he had been keeping on top of his head since snack time?
  • Refers to the new kids at school, less than a year younger than him, as lil' fellas?
  • Whenever he is called to make a wish (on a star or with a coin in a fountain), wishes for a steak?

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Idiot's Guide to Gardening

I'm quite sure that if I head over to Amazon and do a search for "Idiot's Guide" and "fruit and vegetable gardening," I'd find a book (or two or three) that would mention my husband and I by name.

Months and months ago, maybe even a year ago, Scott built two 4x2 foot raised containers so we could do some square foot gardening. Without doing any research about what would grow in our area and when, we set out with the boys and purchased seeds. To keep a short story short, I'll just say that possums, squirrels, our dog, the boys and myself contributed to the garden's demise. Sorry Scott...

After Logan recently decided that some chopped peanuts were really watermelon seeds and was desperate to plant them, did we decide to revive the garden. Once again without any research we set out with the boys and purchased seeds and seedlings. We spent one morning planting basil, peppers, lettuce, cantaloupe, broccoli, carrots, strawberries and a few others. The next day the boys made their own watering cans.

This was an activity I was planning on writing a Summer Survival post about. I'm a couple of months late but here it is:

Homemade watering cans:
This is a project that I like for a couple of reuses trash and saves me money because I didn't have to buy new. The watering cans are made from plastic milk jugs. After cleaning them well, you'll need to use a hammer and nail to poke holes in the lids.

Then the kids can get their hands on them to decorate them. We used markers and foam stickers.

Fill them with water and the they are ready to go!

After a little less than two weeks (and some watering help from Papa), this is what our garden now looks like:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

September in review...

Since this blog's primary purpose is to serve as a family record and I keep slacking off on posts, I decided that I needed to do a little recap at the end of the month. Here are all the little tidbits and pics that didn't make it into their own post in September...

Happy about:
School started and the whole family was excited. (Sadly, it is Jack's last year of preschool.) Here are the boys and I on their first day back to school...
This is what Logan looked like on the first day after falling and getting a huge bump and scrape on his forehead...
(He wanted a surfing bandaid hence the bright waves and hibiscus.)

And this is the boys calendar so they know exactly what is happening each day...
The little picture of the building with the red roof signifies a school day...look at all those beautiful school days!

Worried about:
My mom has had severe mysterious pains for more than a year now. She has seen doctors and specialists and alternative professionals and no one has been able to diagnose the problem.

On my 'to do' list:
Though we are years away from getting matched to our daughter in China, I still have paperwork to renew. I've got to contact our local homestudy agency to refile our I-600A.

I also have to plan the fall social event for the parents at my boys' preschool. This year we are going bowling...kidfree!

Fun stuff:
We had two of the boys friends over early one morning (I was still in PJs!) so ABC pancakes were in order...

To make ABC pancakes, use a ketchup bottle (with the point cut off) filled with pancake batter. Letters come out best when you write them backwards first because the side cooked first looks better than the side cooked second.

Jack and Logan rode ponies...and I missed it! Scott took them on a boys' day out and somehow they end up on ponies. No mama and no pictures...

Also, Jack put his whole face underwater for the first time ever. After three months of spending time in the pool he finally felt ready and went for it.

I guess that about sums up September for this family!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Have you ever seen a grown woman do a happy dance over bread?

When I become a rich and famous celebrity I'm only going to do paid endorsements* on products I really like and use regularly. Luckily these two products would fit the bill because I already buy their brand weekly.

So I'm a bit late in saying it but September is Whole Grain Month. For our family it wasn't really a big deal because we eat whole grains throughout the whole year. Our sandwich bread of choice is Oroweat** 100% Whole Wheat bread. When Jack started school two years ago and sandwiches became a major lunch item, I tried out lots of whole grain bread. Most were rough or dry or hard. I went so far as to try and make my own sandwich bread but couldn't get it to slice thin enough. My quest was over after we tried Oroweat 100% Whole Wheat. I buy a loaf every week.

Oroweat has two new products that they sent me to try.

Have you ever seen a grown woman do a happy dance over bread? Yea, it's a little pathetic but here is why I was so excited when I heard about one of their new products. One of our regular dinners is homemade veggie burgers and my consistent problem is what to serve them on. Buns are way too thick and bready for my taste and I hate the fact that my kids are getting way more bread than veggie burger.

So every time I make veggie burgers I cut my sandwich bread (Oroweat 100% Whole Grain) into rounds. I get one round per slice of bread. It's the perfect bread/veggie burger ratio in my mind.

The one problem? I'm left with this:And I hate waste.

But then I found out about Oroweat Sandwich Thins. (Envision me doing the happy dance!) Seriously, it is the perfect solution.
Round? Check!
Not too thick? Check!
100% whole wheat? Check!
No high fructose corn syrup? Check!

I love it when a reoccurring problem gets solved! I haven't made the veggie burgers on them yet but we did give them a test run for grilled cheese sandwiches. YUM! Besides burgers and sandwiches, these would also be great for a paninis.

And I needed a quick and easy dinner tonight and I thought, "Why not use the sandwich thins to make mini pizzas for the boys?" They gobbled them up!
The second new product from Oroweat is their Dutch Country 100% Whole Wheat bread. Quite honestly, I couldn't tell much difference between this bread and the Oroweat bread that I buy weekly...which is a good thing since I obviously like what I usually buy. The Dutch Country smelled and tasted like the standard 100% whole wheat but had a smoother springier texture. In that regard it seemed more like white bread. I'm not a food critic so I'm not sure how best to describe it other than to say that it was good.

I guess we are an Oroweat family because I like their old stuff and their new stuff. I'd definitely recommend them, especially if you don't think you'll like whole grain bread but want to make the switch for health reasons.

Now, who wants to buy me a panini press for Christmas?

*This wasn't a paid endorsement, though I did get some dough...I mean bread. ;)
**West of the Mississippi the brand is called Oroweat. Over the river it's called Arnold.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's so hard...

All this summer I heard:

You just don't get it! - Jack
Can I have an iPod? - Jack
You ruined my life! - Logan
I'm not your son anymore! - Jack

It's so hard raising teenagers...
Oh, kids are 4 and 3.

And, yes, I did laugh out loud when my 3 year old informed me that I ruined his life!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Threes of Me

Alright, so I've majorly slacked off once again. I have excuses and colds. I'm trying to get back in the groove so here is a generic and easy post (taken from Facebook). Hopefully I'll get something original out some time this week...sigh...

The Threes of Me

Three Names I go by:
1. Mama
2. Hey you!
3. Carey

Three Jobs I Have Had in My Life:
1. Butt wiper
2. Booboo kisser
3. Hygiene consultant

Oh, wait...those were just today. Here are my more broad answers:
1. Media Supervisor
2. Restaurant Cashier
3. Gift Wrapper

Three Places I Have Lived:
1. Monterey, CA
2. Fairfax, VA
3. Newport, RI

Three Favorite Drinks:
1. Coke Zero
2. Arnold Palmer
3. Water

Three TV Shows That I Watch:
1. The Gilmore Girls (in ABC Family reruns)
2. The Amazing Race
3. Everything on Noggin

Three Places I Have Been:
1. Morocco
2. Cook Islands
3. Vietnam

Three of My Favorite Foods:
1. Hummus with Pita Chips
2. Chopped Veggie Salad
3. Oatmeal Cookies with Mini Chocolate Chips

Three Things I Am Looking Forward To:
1. Meeting our daughter in China
2. Showing my kids the world
3. Growing old with Scott

Monday, September 14, 2009

Who's who?

Which little monkey:
  • When driving in the car, said "Mama, are you lost again? Did you try to take a longcut?"
  • After I explained that because it was the last day of the summer I was going to let him and his brother have ice cream for lunch said, "Mama, you're acting very strange!"
  • While on the long drive to his grandparents house, said, in all seriousness, "I wish we were there already! Logan, I have an idea! We should build a giant slingshot and then we could just 'boing' ourselves there!"

Which little love bug:
  • Said "I love lizards. They're my friends. If I get one, I'll name him Fuzzbucket."
  • Asked his Nana if he could pee in her houseplant (because he is potty training and outside I let him pee in the bushes).
  • Wanted to take the chopped peanuts from a McDonald's hot sudge sundae and plant them in the backyard in hopes they would grow watermelons.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

You know you are a mom when...

You know you are a mom when...
you get the following fortune in your cookie "You will be showered with good luck tomorrow!" and think to yourself, "I'll just be happy if I get a shower tomorrow!"

You know you are mom when...
you are in a dressing room trying on clothes and you sit down on the floor to see if they comfortable enough.

You know you are a mom when...
you need to write down your family's sandwich order and the only thing you can find in the car to write on is a magnadoodle.

You know you are a blom (blogging mom) when...
you take a picture of it!

(And yes, I did take the magnadoodle into the deli to place my order.)