About Me

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My husband and I, the Dynamic Duo, have been married since 2003. We've weathered the storm of chronic disease (diagnosis 2006), infertility (diagnosis 2007), turning 30 (2006/2007 respectively) a first adoption (2009) of a tender hearted, compassionate Ukrainian BIG boy (born 2006), who has told us he'd like a baby sister, baby brother, big brother, and REALLY big sister. We recently completed our second Ukrainian adoption journey, which brought us a daughter (born 2005). We'll see what else God brings our way!

Friday, December 23, 2011

November...Mystery Solved

I know, I know.  I'm really behind with all the craziness that has been going on.  And it takes a lot longer to catch up now that I have two kids and a full schedule!  I don't really remember November happening.  One day it was Halloween and the next I was asking someone why they were getting their turkey already...on November 16th!!  And then it was December and the tree was up and decorated.  I missed every birthday and anniversary...we were that busy.  Oh, and the fact that we've been passing around a bronchial infection doesn't help!  There was one week I slept on the couch because every few minutes I'd cough.  Eli got it, then Dave and Amelia.

In the beginning of November I contacted Amelia's teacher and she suggested a before meeting sit down with the ELL teacher.  My concern was that she still had such a short attention span and is so easily distracted.  It wouldn't be concerning as much if it wasn't happening at home, too, where so little is new and I would have expected things to calm down a bit.  My concern was whether or not she has ADD.

I went in to the school with both kids (before school began).  The ELL teacher has an aid that's married to a Russian speaking man, so she arranged for them to join us (how cool is that?!).  I told the teacher that I was concerned she may have an attention issue, but I refuse to have her tested for anything until we've hit the one year mark.  The teacher agreed.  She said that she has a lot of experience with refugee children and all the behaviors she's seen so far are normal and that everything is still so new to Amelia.  She also agreed that I should monitor her for food allergies (which she definitely has and we're still figuring out) and perhaps that malnutrition could be a factor.  She put my mind at ease, while also stating that at the end of the year we would all have a better grasp of what behaviors are immaturity and what is really an issue.

So the fact that she's written on the bathroom wall (the ELL teacher made her clean it while explaining it's not OK, which was AWESOME!), cut up her teddy grahams with scissors (which got her behavior frog moved down a notch), puts crayons in her mouth, sings at the top of her lungs while in the bathroom at school, and can't sit through a 20 minute cartoon or a 5 minute book without getting bored...well, that's all our normal.  Oh, and we found gum on the inside of her shoe...as in where her feet go...more on that in a minute.

Things have gotten better, though.   We've been giving the kids Omega 3 fish oil supplements we bought from my chiropractor.  They're great!  They have no fish taste and don't upset any tummys.  I've also heard flax seed and something starting with B are also good for attention.  The teachers have noticed a significant difference.  We keep her away from milk and Red#40, which affects her like crazy.  I thought about doing gluten free, but after playing with her diet I really don't think she's allergic to gluten.

We had both parent teacher conferences and both kids are doing great.  Eli is counting over 100, starting to add and subtract, knows most of his letters (upper and lower), but is having a hard time with rhyming.  He can  spell something like CAT, but if you show him the word and say "C....AT.  What is that Eli?"  He can't put it together to read the word cat.  He's starting to get it.  The teacher was very impressed with how far along he was considering he hadn't been in Montessori before.  She mentioned that he can be a little rough with the girls, not in an aggressive or angry way, but in a playful way.  So we've been talking to him about how Superheroes protect the girls, girls don't like rough play, and we've been keeping him from tackling Amelia or roughhousing with her at all.  I think it's really helped, especially considering his "best buddies" are always girls!

Amelia's conference was more of a formality since we had just seen the teacher, but she's doing well.  The teachers LOVE her and thing she is just the cutest thing ever.  She said every day after recess Amelia's face squished on the glass door is the first thing she sees and it makes her laugh.  She also told us she thinks Amelia is a great girl that just needs time to grow, but she'll get there.  She didn't see any signs of a mental impairment in her at all, but it's really too soon to tell.  She needs some help with social skills, but that's because of her orphanage life.  She's doing great and in the perfect place.  Thank you God!

And another mystery is solved.  Some time in early November I noticed there was gum on the inside of her shoe.  I asked the teacher if she knew anything about it.  Do they give gum at school?  The teacher said she thought I was giving Amelia gum so she didn't think much of it.  I told her we don't give her gum.  We asked the Russian speaker to ask her.  He found out that she was taking gum from wherever she found it and sticking it in her mouth....EEEEEEWWWWW!!!  I just laughed and told the teacher I was going to let her handle that one because it was happening in class!  The Russian speaker explained to her that it wasn't safe for her to do that. Can you imagine!  LOL

Friday, December 16, 2011

Halloween and November?

Hockey is on the TV, the kids are asleep and my mother in law and sister in law are coming tomorrow.  I have an empty fridge and messy house, but I'm determined to update this blog!

Spaghetti faces are the best!

Not to be outdone, Amelia decided to get a black eye.  She was leaning back on a three wheeler...and leaned back a little too far.  The three wheeler whacked her on the face near her eye and gave her a black eye.  This was in between Eli's two black eyes.  Geez!  Slow down kids!!

The kids were REALLY excited about Halloween.  This is the first year we've taken Eli and WOW was he excited.  They ran around the block to every house and were worn out at the end...but they still had a little energy to kill.  So we danced to Christmas music!  Oh, yes.  I had Christmas music blaring while handing out candy.  Next year, my goal is to dress up as Mrs. Clause and hand out candy canes ;)

And, of course, every day after Halloween is a dress up day for a while...Spiderman is undercover to save the princess, who is wishing for snow.

Batman made an appearance.  Check out those abs!  LOL  He's been running around the house being super hero's lately.  Hands on hips and all.

Dave and I went on a date...the kids took advantage of the sitter by using our camera.  Interesting pictures!

The kids chose weird food to eat that night.  Like a jelly sandwich dipped in ketchup.  Or hot dogs with ketchup and jelly.  Whatever...at least they're eating!

And what fall would be complete without leaves.  Not as many as in previous years, but lots of jumpinable piles!

Eli with his skateboarding soldier and ninja frogs.

And what boys childhood would be complete without launching a rocket or two ;)  I'm not sure who had more fun.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

June 15, 2011

I've run across a post about our time in Ukraine that I wasn't comfy sharing while I was there.  Ever get that feeling you're being watched?  I wanted to play it safe with this adoption, so I withheld this post until we got home...and then forgot about it!  You'll see what a tough time we had while there.  This is the exact opposite experience we had with our first adoption.

June 15, 2011

Here are the events that have transpired since last I typed:

I rode a train, which was nerve wracking for me, since the last two trains made me sick.  But I did just fine!  I was so happy and relieved.  I even slept for some of the ride.  Then we hopped in to our taxi and took off.  First to the inspector, who was a little too busy to come with us.  Next to the orphanage.

I was impressed with all the activities the kids had there.  Several play areas, especially for an orphanage so small.  We walked in to the orphanage, asked to see our girl, and then waited.  And waited.  First we waited for the doctor to come in.  The psychologist was called and we met with her for a few minutes.  Not much was known about the girl's past which made me sad.  And then, eventually, the doctor came in.  She, the psychologist and the deputy director all sang the same tune.  Basically they told us she is unable to learn, she's an invalid, and she will never be able to live an independent life.  When her doctor told us all about everything that is wrong with her and how mentally impaired she is, we smiled and said “Thank you, we'd like to see her now.”  The doctor we hired to come with us told us he was getting as much information as he could and then taking it with a grain of salt.  And as Nastya's doctor left she said “I can't scare them.  Nothing seems to scare them!”

Then we were told we couldn't see her because the director, who was out sick that day, was on her way in and we needed to wait for her.  When she finally came in, she continued to tell us what a burden this girl would have on our family, our finances, and our future.  To be honest, I was about ready to scream at this point.  She kept going on and on!

FINALLY!  The meeting took place 3 hours after we first arrived!  She is so beautiful and stole Dave's heart right away.  The doctor we hired took a look and Nastya and tried to conduct an IQ test, which was harbored by the fact that she's shy and had the director, the psychologist, a caregiver, our translator, and us all staring at her, hovering over this sweet, shy girl.  Not to mention they would all say things like “Oh, she doesn't know that.”  or “She can't do that yet.”  Well, of course not!  Not if you're telling her she can't do it!!

After sitting and minding the doctor for almost 30mins, we got to play with her for a few minutes.  Then it was back to the doctor and more play.  All in all I think we got an hour with her before lunch.  We walked back to the car and the doctor told us that some of what they said is true.  Her logic was not very formed and she was at about a 3 year old level.  He said most likely it's some sort of mental issue, not just orphanage delay.  Our translator came in and said that the director was sick and since she was there, do we have an answer for her?  Would we like to adopt this girl?  I was unsure, but because of Dave's resolve, I went for it.  I mean, isn't this the kind of kid that perhaps would get looked over because of her disability that is really in need of a good home?  Let's do this thing!

So Luda went back to tell the director, who wanted to hear it straight from us.  So we went back in to the orphanage and told her yes, we want to adopt her.  Why?  She asked.  We feel like we could provide what she needs.  Why a girl and not a boy?  Because Dave wants a girl.  (I thought that was a strange question.)  We explained to her that in the states, this is not as much of an issue.  There are programs and educational help.  It's really not a big deal.  Eventually she relented and we came to an agreement on an orphanage donation and that was that. 

We left and ran around for another few hours.  We sat down to eat at about 2:30pm only having had snacks up to that point.  We were all starved!  But, oh man, was that food flipping good!!  It was a traditional Ukrainian restaurant and the food was so good I didn't know if I ever wanted to leave.  Mmmmm....

Back in the car and Luda says “So, what do you want to name your girl?  I need to know now.”  Um, what?  Thankfully, we'd been talking about it for a while so we had a few names picked out.  Her name is now Amelia Nastya Moser.  Nastya is short for Anastasia.  She has black hair and blues eyes with a sweet face.  She seems like she has a gentle personality, but she could just have us fooled.

At about 7ish we were dropped off at our apartment.  That's right, folks.  12 hours running around in a car!

Today we went grocery shopping at a supermarket...a walmart type place.  With fresh veggies and fruits, you bag them and go to a counter to have them weighed and then they place a sticker price on it.  There are so many things they don't have here!  Like any type of spaghetti sauce or tomato paste (my Italian brother in law would have a mini heart attack). 

We found an internet cafe and sat down for an hour to eat and reconnect.  Then we went to visit Nastya.  She was so excited to see us!  We gave all the kids a piece of candy after asking permission and then sat down with Nastya.  Just like with Eli, it's hard to imagine her home with me.  But I can tell you that I'm already having to hold myself back from buying cute clothes and bows!  Her hair was in this really cute double french braid.  It was so cute!

I'm starting to get the impression that this is an orphanage for special needs kids, those that may have a mental issue here or there.  I think the thing that surprises me the most is my desire to be “normal” and have that “normal” kid.  I guess when it comes down to it, I'm just as superficial as anyone else.  I thought I would have such a heart for a child that has a mental disability, and I think I will, but right now it seems overwhelming.  I think about all the activities she won't be able to do because of her mental status, all the things I wish I could be a part of.  Like sports, AWANA, maybe even BSF. 

After our visit today, I have to say that Nastya has a lot of energy.  She did something similar to Eli when he first went outside...she ran around to everything wanting to play for just a few minutes at a time!  I think she'll settle down a little as we visit more.  I think we're going to visit once a day since we have to take a taxi to see her.  We'll see how much it costs in the end.

We're home now, wishing we could talk to people via any means we can, but the internet will not be fixed until tomorrow.  Sigh.  Oh, well.  At least we have a reason to wake up tomorrow!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Catch Up

I know I have lots and lots to catch all of you up on, but I can't seem to find even a few minutes in my day to sit and post. (As I typed that sentence my sister in law and nephews arrived for Thanksgiving and I had to put off the rest for a couple days.)  At least not with a clear mind!  And part of it may be that I thought I was losing my mind with a son who had a really snotty and whiny attitude for about two weeks.  Turns out he had an ear infection and is on the verge of bronchitis...I'd be pretty cranky, too!

Things are progressing well and we've had quite a few laughs, more black eyes, a few head scratchers and more broken things in the house (isn't there a saying about curiosity and a cat?).  I'll have to post lots and lots of pictures with more details.  Just know we're doing great :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

For my brother Mike

When I was in high school, I convinced my brother Mike to wear a silk handkerchief on his head and become Juliette's nurse for a film project.  I then showed this to his new family after he got married.  I have a feeling this is going to be Eli's fate some day :)

What do you do on mornings when the girl is running a fever and both kids are home?  Play dress up, of course!

From super cool pit crew...

To super pit crew chief undercover as a princess...  At least that's what I'm choosing to believe!

Eli got his first black eye at school.  He and another kid collided on the playground.  And apparently Eli looks a lot better than the other kid.  Whoops!

And Amelia got fever #2 after a Hep B shot.  Sigh.  So here we go again!  "Eli...this!"  "Ok.  Help please."
Twirl, spin, twirl.  While Mom laughs and snaps pics ;)

I'm so thankful my kids love each other so much.  I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Parental Advice

Ah, the joys of having a 6 year old toddler.  In some ways Amelia is more advanced than Eli.  For example, she can run, walk at a normal speed, help with certain things around the house.  But in many areas Amelia is at about a toddler age.  She's in a 5 point harness because she wouldn't keep her seat belt on or over her shoulder.  She jumps on her bed, tears books, whines, plays with her light switch (and the pull string on the fan while standing on her bed), won't stay in bed at night, can't play by herself, ignores instruction, destroys anything she has if we don't watch her like a hawk, and puts everything, and I mean everything in her mouth - money, books, picture albums, small toys, big toys, and I even caught her in her bed with her foot in her mouth (ewwwwww!).

I need to be a better "natural consequences" parent, but I don't know how.  I think this week we're going to focus all my time and energy reminding the kids how to respect each other's toys.

What do you do when your kids continually touch feet under the table, then whine about it when the other person does it?  I'm thinking of making them stand if they can't keep their feet off the other chairs.

What do you do when the girl puts stuff in her mouth?  I usually take it away from her, but I can't take her feet off!  So on come the socks.  That she takes off and puts under her pillow as soon as I walk away.

What do you do in the car when the two of them are playing in a very loud and rowdy way, pulling on each other's hair and arms?  I mean, it's great that they get along so well, but they're too wild for the car!

But there have been improvements.  Most nights, the girl is so exhausted she passes out as soon as her head hits the pillow, so she doesn't have an opportunity to get out of bed.  And she and Eli are really getting along and love each other (she got sad today when we dropped him off at school).  And there are signs that she's maturing (like getting dressed in the morning without having to be told, only pumping the soap once, using an appropriate amount of toilet paper).  But there's such a long road ahead of us...

She's been home the last 3 days because of a morning fever (which is gone by 10am).  If she hadn't been lethargic and not eating I would have sent her to school anyway.  This morning was the first time she ate a good breakfast and seems "normal" so hopefully tomorrow will be the day she gets to go back to school.

We've established some routines that have helped our days.  Every night we choose what the kids are going to wear.  They wake up, potty, brush their teeth (I have to brush Amelia's still), and eat breakfast.  Then they change and make their beds so they can play.  Would you believe that they're ready in less than an hour?!

We're taking Amelia out of tutoring.  It was just too much for us.  Poor thing was getting burned out!  So we're going to start a routine of coming home from school, playing/having a snack for 30mins, then sitting down to do 30mins of "homework".  Some of this will be from school, but most of it will be from workbooks I'll get at the learning center.

All in all, things are settling down quite nicely...another 5-6 months and we'll be sitting pretty (HA!  just kidding!  But at least she'll be better able to communicate.)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fun Times in tha Hood

This is what happens when Papa washes your hair...

Tongue tatoo!!

Amelia lost her first tooth.  The tooth fairy still hasn't come, though.  Silly tooth fairy!

Dave and I had a date night at a wedding.  From 3pm-10pm we were child free!  It was fun...I even got my dance on :)

Grandma Karl came in town just in time for Eli's field trip to a pumpkin/farm/cider park.  We went on a hay ride and walked through a "storybook" path.  

Eli and his teacher.  He LOVES his teacher!

Playing in the dirt...what else is there to do at a farm?!

They fed the ducks...

And heard a presentation about farm animals.  We even made butter from milk that was milked right in front of us...

We didn't want Amelia to feel left out so we went to a cider mill on Saturday.  We fed some goats (and a llama!).

and stood in line for, like, EVER for some cider and donuts.

But they were TOTALLY worth it.

And really messy, which was fun.

Amelia LOVES her Grandma Karl and misses her already.  Thanks for coming, Grandma Karl.  We love you and can't wait to see you again :)

In other news, we're having a hard time with getting Amelia's US passport.  We have all the paperwork done, but we can't find a time/place that works for all 3 of us.  Saturdays would be great, but with the cutbacks they don't do many Saturday appointments anymore.  Dave works a typical 9-5 job, and Amelia's in school from 9-4.  But most places only do passport services during the week from 10-3.  See our problem?!  I found one place that does by appointment only...I just need to call to find out when those appointments are.  Sigh.  We need it sooner than later so we can go to Buffalo to see family.  Stay tuned to see what new adventure awaits!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Marrying God

This was a conversation Eli and I had after bath tonight:

Me:  You're not getting married until you're 30.
Eli: NO!  I'm going to be 15.
Me:  Oh, you are, huh?  And just who are you going to marry?
Eli:  God!
Me:  Hmmm.  Are you going to go to college?
Eli:  Yep.
Me:  What are you going to study?
Eli:  The Bible!
Me:  Not cars?
Eli:  Nope.  Just Bible stuff.
Me:  Would you like me to help you learn some stuff now?
Eli:  Yep.

Oh, my...do I hope so!  I can't wait to see what he ends up doing with his life.  He has such compassion and love for others.  Missionary perhaps?  Love my boy :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

School Fun

I've noticed I have some new additions to my followers list.  I'd love to know who you are!  Leave a comment to tell me a little about yourself and perhaps how adoption has blessed (and challenged) your family.

Now on to the 2nd week of school.  She skinned her knee, but it wasn't a big deal and I didn't get called.  On the first day of school as soon as I saw the scissors I KNEW a self inflicted haircut was coming.  Last Friday I picked up Amelia and noticed something different...the bangs I wanted to grow out were cut :(  So I laughed, planned on keeping the bangs until she's mature enough to handle growing out bangs, and we went to gymnastics and came home.  

However, when I took her bangs out we noticed she had cut her hair below the rubber band.  So out came MY scissors to correct the issue.  Gone is her beautiful black hair...but I still think she's really cute.  However, I was NOT happy.

Eli and Amelia still really like each other.  They get along great now that they don't have so much time together.  Just this morning they were cuddling on the couch "reading" an I Spy book together laughing at each other being goofy and just enjoying each other's company.

Eli is bigger than his older sister, which we think may never change.  Just check out those HUGE feet he has!  He's quickly growing in to a size 13 while she's still in a size 10.

Things have settled down a bit since that first week.  Eli and I get to spend some time chilling 3 days a week after we drop off Amelia.  I really enjoy my 3 hour down time every day and am able to get some things done around the house.  Like purging toys and books.  And organizing stacks and stacks of stuff that's been laying around.  And updating blogs.  And having quiet times in actual quiet!  It's been really nice!  But I have some serious tension in my back because of stress and anxiety.  I'm not really sure what's going on, but I'm now waking up with back soreness.  And I have so much anxiety that I feel like I'm going to throw up sometimes.  Where is this coming from?!  I've never been THIS stressed and anxious!  I've got a really good chiropractor, and he tells me that my back hasn't been the same since our addition, but I'm not sure that's all there is to it.

Once again, I'm going to put off telling you about BSF and our study of Acts because I have a lot to say.  I'm really enjoying it so far and have already been challenged...stay tuned!

Friday, September 16, 2011

First week Jitters and A Baby?!

The first two weeks of school is almost over.  And I'm just now sitting down to relax and catch up on a few things!  First, let's discuss that crazy first week of school!

Before school Eli and I went on our first date :)  We went to see the movie Cars, and, of course, Oofie had to come with us. 

 However, the movie was WAY to intense for him so we left within the first hour.  It was still a great time!  And we got to watch some TV at home and cuddle while Papa and sister went out to the Peach festival with some friends.  He really needed Mommy time.

Tuesday, Sept 6th was Amelia's first day of school.  Yes, she looks not so put together.  Because it was chilly!  And we don't have any warm clothes for her...so she's in Eli's pants and one of the two long sleeved shirts she has.  That's how the week went...

Amelia seems so excited, though she has NO idea why!

At Amelia's school.  Papa came with us to drop her off and meet her teacher.

The first day of school was a half day.  So we walked Amelia to her room, where the teacher read a story to her while the parents waited.  Then she talked to us for a few minutes.  Then there was a "get to know the school" scavenger hunt.  And then we brought her home at 10:30am.  I wasn't too thrilled with that part, but it at least introduced her to her surroundings.  She's a tough kid!

Wednesday was my leadership workshop with BSF and should have been Eli's first day of school, but I didn't want to be rushed or miss out on anything so I delayed him a day.  The workshop was amazing and I'm really looking forward to studying Acts this year.  It's going to be great!  More on that later.  

One of the reasons the first week was so nuts is because Eli switched schools...to a Montessori program!  I'm really excited for him.  I think he's going to be pushed more than he may have been in a traditional setting.  And he has a lot more independence.  And he's not on the same dismissal schedule as Amelia!!  That's the real excitement!  I'll tell you how my days go in a bit.   But the first week of school I spent paper chasing and filling out forms to get him all set.  

Thursday, Sept 8th was his first day of school  Did I mention that's my birthday?

Papa even took off during lunch to be there...what a great dad!

So my schedule goes something like this:  Drop off Amelia at 8:50am, drop off Eli at noon, pick up Eli at 3pm, pick up Amelia at 3:50.  Works out great!

Friday was a nightmare!  I got my first phone call from the school..."Is this Amelia's mom?"  "Yes..."  "I don't want to scare you, but Amelia had a rough fall today.  We're not sure exactly what happened, but she's got a big knot on her head.  We're going to keep an eye on her, we've put ice on it, and send her back to class, but we wanted you to know."  I chuckled.  "I'll be right there.  I just want you to know that this won't be the only time you call me this year."   So I dropped what I was doing and went to the school to kiss her boo boo.  I felt like I needed to do that for her.  She seemed a little scared and unsure so I just held her for a minute, kissed her and sent her on her merry way.  

I get home and get another call.  "Hello, is this Amelia's mom?"  "Um, yes?"  "This is so and so from the health department.  We got a message on our system that tells us that Amelia has been diagnosed with Whooping cough.  Has she been sick lately?"  "No.  She's been home 6 weeks and she hasn't so much as coughed.  Are you sure about this?"  So after calls to the doctor, calls to this place, and a little research, we determined that it was likely that blood work was drawn too soon after immunizations (my bad), but we need to do a little more blood work just to be sure.  And she still hasn't coughed!

Amelia gets home and we set our bags on the toy chest for me to go through.  I'm flipping through her folder when I see a note.  "Someone in your child's class has lice."  I laughed pretty hard.  OK.  I'll check Amelia, who didn't get it so that's good.

And in all of this there's my little man who is always good for a laugh.  As we picked up Amelia from that fateful Friday disaster he points out a pregnant woman.  "MOM!  She has a big belly!"  "Yes, Eli, do you know why?  She has a baby growing inside her.  Isn't that amazing?"  Amelia came out and we hopped in the car.

We got to gymnastics at 4:45pm and released Amelia to the hands of the teachers and sat down.  There was a pregnant lady next to us.  "Mom, she has a big belly, too.  She has a baby inside her" he says as he starts poking her belly.  "Eli, you should always ask before poking bellies.  We don't know her."  So he asks her, she says it's fine.
Eli:  Are you having a boy or a girl?
Lady: I don't know yet.
Eli:  Why not?
Me: Babies grow little by little inside her belly.  First they're this tiny, then they have a head and then hands, etc.
Eli:  Mommy, I want a baby in YOUR belly.
Me (after laughing, and quite sarcastically):  You're going to have to pray really hard for that one!
Eli sits down, folds his hands and says quite seriously:  Dear God, please put a baby in mommy's belly.  Amen.
Mom, I want another sister.

Ah, to have his faith.  Let the laughter commence...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

First Week of school

I have pictures but I'll have to load them another time.  I think we've gone through 75% of the drama we're going to face for the year this week...it includes whooping cough, changing schools, big goose egg on the forehead,  poking a pregnant woman's belly without permission, my birthday and lice.  Interested?  Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Quick Eli-ism Russian Style

Eli hasn't been teaching Amelia English, she's been teaching him Russian!  He regularly says peeska, poopka, toilette, preeviette  (hello), and paca (bye).

Tonight at dinner Papa was being silly and saying "NO!" in a really loud voice.  Amelia would say "esha" (Again!).  And Eli said "Esha!  Papa, I'm speaking English!"  

Papa:  No, Eli, you're speaking Russian.

A few minutes later...

Eli:  I need to peeska.  Momma, I'm speaking Russian!

Oh, my, was it cute.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The End Of Summer...School? And Eli-isms

School starts on Tuesday.  School starts on TUESDAY.  SCHOOL STARTS ON TUESDAY!!  Ok, so maybe I'm a little excited...for the kids, I mean.

They will be in different schools for a while.  I'm not sure how much I told you last time, but Amelia needs to be in school all day for language acquisition.  Our home school didn't have space to put her in their one full day kindergarten class so they had her in two half day classes.  That would have been fine with me, except since they only have 2 kindergarten teachers and one has the full day class, Eli and Amelia would have been in the same class.  SO I talked with the ELL teacher and got Amelia transferred (in a day!) to another school close by.  I don't have busing available to me, so I have to drive her (we're also too close to Eli's school to qualify for busing).  The problem, I realized that evening, is that Eli's school and Amelia's school end at the same time.  So I'm in the process of getting Eli transferred over, which won't happen until after school starts.  Sigh.  I'm debating what to do...do I allow Amelia to go in to after school care every day until after I get Eli which costs me $4 per hour (with a minimum hour charge)?  Or do I let her sit with a teacher until I can get her?  I guess it wouldn't be fair to the teacher, but we really aren't made of money!  I guess it's my own fault for waiting so long...oh, wait, we've only been home 6 weeks...and the schools have only been open since Aug 10...and Amelia's ELL assessment was last Friday.  So, really, I've been on the ball.

Yesterday my husband asked me how the social security number was coming along.  I said I was waiting for the kids to be in school so I didn't have to take them.  He said the insurance company was threatening to hold all our claims.  I said we'd contact a lawyer.  Seriously?!  I know they were obnoxious last time, too, but we just got the certificate of citizenship in the mail last week.  And we had to send in the passport with her IR-3 visa in to the Ukraine embassy within a month of arriving home, and just got that in the mail this week.  Grrrr.  I almost called the insurance company while I was at the social security office this morning and to say "Here's what happens when you take 2 energetic kindergartners to the social security office.  Next time send a rep to help me!!"  and let them listen as the kids talked at the top of their lungs, climbed on anything and everything, and were interrupting me as I tried to talk to the Social security rep.  She was really patient with us.  She was also unable to accept our translations, so they're going to seek out someone who can translate within the administration.  Her number will be delayed...instead of one week, it'll be two weeks.  However, if they can't find someone within the administration that can translate, it could be delayed months because they would have to hire a 3rd party.  Take THAT insurance company!!

We've also finished up with bloodwork, x-rays (for bone health), immunizations (which I'm sure the school will be calling us about soon), and I've printed off applications for a delayed birth certificate and US passport.

We've been to the zoo, church, multiple parks, bought new water toys (a slip and slide and a big ball sprinkler), and had haircuts.

And Eli continues to amuse us.  We were watching the Veggie Tale movie Esther (courtesy of Grandma Karl) and while Esther was singing he sighed and said "Mom, I love girls."  I smiled.  "Oh, really.  Eli, what do you like about girls so much?"  "I like to rescue them from the bad guys!"  My little superhero :)

He tells me often that sister and I look so pretty.  And he loves to hold the doors open for us.  He still says he really loves his sister...and they seem to be getting along MUCH better.  I schedule quiet time (for me as much as for them!) every day.  And Saturday Eli and I are going on a much needed date.  Through big, fat tears Eli told me he just wanted to watch TV and snuggle with me.  So we're going to see Cars2 and eat popcorn and chocolate like Papa gets.  I can't wait!

I've also heard him in his room mixing several TV shows.  "Care Bear power ON!  Super Why saves the day!  Batman to the rescue!"  with lots of boy noises to match.  What a boy :)

He's also starting to ask funny questions.  Like "Mommy, why do you shave your legs?  You need to shave your arms."  But his favorite word in the English language is still "Why?"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Update and Pictures

The rest of the week wasn't much better, but progress has been made.  I had a great chat with my mom, who nailed me on not having a quiet time before the kids got up every morning.  So the next day I started.  I missed Wednesday because we were out the door by 6:30am to be at a specialists office by 8:30am.  But other than that I've been faithful.  Even if I can't do an entire study I'm committed to reading 2 chapters of Acts.  And then I pray.  I pray for patience, love for and enjoyment of my children, and my attitude to be a good example to the kids.

Yesterday was really, really rough (I woke up really fatigued and had a hard time trying to stay awake all day) but today has been fantastic!  I'm so much calmer and have really enjoyed the kids today.

We've been trying a new campus to our church the past few weeks (our church has 6 locations in the Metro Detroit area...one in Detroit will open soon, and an internet campus is in the works...it's HUGE!).  This campus is much smaller and more intimate.  I asked Eli which church he prefers, the really big one or the new one.  He said the new one.  I asked him why.  "Because it's SUPER fun!"  Needless to say we're planning on going back :)

I don't want you to think the past few weeks have been nothing but drama.  Here are a few pics to show how we've been spending the summer:

She did her own hair...We had a great laugh about this!

Aw...how cute!

Being creative.  She laid down under the blue mesh sandbox cover.  Then she made a dress out of it.  

At the zoo!  The dinosaur exhibit is back :)


Grapes!  Mmmmm.  Before this, Eli would only eat red seedless grapes.

It was a cooler day so the animals were out in full force.  When we first got home with Eli, I brought him to the zoo all the time.  He was terrified of the indoor polar bear exhibit (all indoor exhibits!).  We walked through with Amelia and Eli said "Momma, do you remember when I was little and I was afraid of this?  I'm not afraid anymore."  Very matter of factly.  I was blown away!  And I was really proud of him for conquering his fear and not being afraid at all :)

McD's play area!

They are so goofy when they get along :)


The Woodward Dream Cruise was this weekend.  If you like cars, this is the weekend to visit Detroit.  People from all over the world bring their vintage (and creative) cars and cruise Woodward.  Traffic goes about 5mph during the cruise...two lanes are dedicated to the cruisers and two lanes are dedicated for "through" traffic, although all traffic is slow.  

Dave drove his first year VW rabbit.  And Amelia and I followed.  Amelia, well...

She practiced her beauty queen wave!  It was so cute.


We've been spending a lot of time outside.

Just a guess, but I don't think a knee hockey net was intended for this purpose!

Amelia out...

Then Eli...

A new kind of "tubing"!