Thursday, December 30, 2004

Think twice before offering to babysit for us

Yesterday we went out to lunch and a movie and we left Kevin at home with Andy's mom and sister. We tried to remember to tell them everything about Kevin's lunch and nap schedule and routine and Andy unlocked the shed for them in case they wanted to play outside and get the balls or slide out.

One thing we failed to tell them is our emergency lock-out plan. If you get locked out of our house, there is a 2-step procedure to get yourself back in without having to break a window. Somehow, when they went outside to play for a bit before lunch, the back door locked. We set the front door to always lock when we leave, but the back door shouldn't have locked (we still don't know how it happened.) They tried to come inside for lunch but - d'oh! - they couldn't get in. Our super-nice neighbors were kind enough to house them and feed them all lunch until the husband could get home and unscrew the storm-door lock on our basement. I suppose the new 2-step emergency lock-out procedure is "1) Find screwdriver, 2) unscrew door handle and lock."

Thankfully everyone is laid-back enough that it was just an adventure and not something stressful.

All the while, we were enjoying lunch at The Olive Garden (thanks to Mom and Dad D. for the gift certificates) and viewing Ocean's 12 (thanks to bro- & sis-in-law for the gift certificates.) The movie, by the way, was highly entertaining - I thoroughly enjoyed it and would watch it again. This is unlike I, Robot which I bought for Andy for Christmas and we found it to be pretty lame (despite Will Smith, who I think is great.) Speaking of Will Smith (and boy I'm going off on some tangents here), we saw a preview for his upcoming movie Hitch which looks pretty funny.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Gift of the Magi

A week ago, I was talking with a friend about Andy's need to "get away" on a more regular basis. He doesn't need to leave for the weekend or go on a cruise or something, but he needs to be away from people for awhile. A few hours here and there should be fine, but he won't take them unless I force the issue and then I usually have to make some grand plans to make it happen. Well, I'm running out of grand plans and wishing there was an easier way to either be gone from the house for awhile with Kevin at a time helpful to Andy or somewhere that Andy could go without being around people at a convenient time for him. I tried to explain to my friend the difficulty in the details related to this problem.

A couple of days later, I found some information that Andy had from The Volleyball House, which is a local volleyball establishment that I sometimes visit for drop-in play. He freaked out when he knew I had seen it, so I figured it was related to a Christmas present for me. I mentioned this to my friend noted above and he said, "Well, you know, the day after you were talking about how Andy needed a chance to be away from work and the family and that he doesn't make time for himself, he called me and said the same thing about you and asked for contact info for the Volleyball House."

You know, that is pretty cool that we both are concerned with each other's need to "refresh" after too much time with work and the family.

1) The first picture we saw of Kevin, 2) An updated photo during our process, 3) August 2004, taken by a rep from our agency, 4) November 2004, home for 2 months Posted by Hello

Monday, December 27, 2004

Kevin proudly shows off his new light-up Elmo boots. Now, where's the snow? This photo goes with this postPosted by Hello

Andy's birthday cupcakes were tasty. This photo goes with this postPosted by Hello

Vomit score: Tied at 1-1

I never intended to have a post about vomiting but, really, it was/is one of my biggest fears of parenting. I get sick to my stomach a lot and when someone else vomits, I do too. That scares me when it comes time for my children to have stomach viruses.

A couple of weeks ago, Kevin vomited a little bit in the bathtub. Problem is, he still doesn't take baths alone. So Andy was in the tub, too. He was a bit shell-shocked and not sure what to do. We took care of the situation and chalked it up to having ingested soapy water and having the hiccups while laughing. Although I helped with the situation, I didn't see it actually happen. Score one for Andy.

Last night, I tied the game. We were putting a very happy and hyper Kevin to bed and I picked him up off the bed to pull the covers down when I said, "OK, here's one last squeeze for the day!" and I gave him a big hug. Out came a burp and more. This time, I was shell-shocked. I didn't have much on me, though, as most of it projected past my shoulder onto the floor.

Today while dancing around as we often do and picking Kevin up and twirling him around, Andy and I both stopped moving the moment Kevin started to hiccup. Fortunately, nothing came of today's hiccups and laughter but we're certainly a bit more cautious about rambunctious play than we used to be.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

This was the first time that Kevin set Big Bird up with his own book to read ("Little Miss Spider") and pillow to support his back. Now his stuffed animals help with all of the household chores and they receive the royal treatment most of the time. The rest of the time they're getting swung around by an arm or a leg or body slammed to the ground. Posted by Hello

I could've sold that picture to Hallmark

This morning when Kevin woke up, we went into the living room instead of directly to the kitchen for breakfast. It was dark and Andy wasn't up yet, so I turned on the Christmas tree lights instead of any of the regular lights while our eyes adjusted. I attempted (for the umpteenth failed time) to get Kevin to sit in the rocking chair with me and enjoy the soothing motion. He sat (straight up) for a minute or two and pointed at the tree lights. Then he walked over to the tree to touch it.

He was wearing a fuzzy sleeper with feet and he padded his way to the tree in his early-morning clumsy way, silhouetted by dozens of tiny white lights. When he reached the tree, he stood there with a glowing halo long enough for me to realize that he looked like a scene I've seen so many times on Christmas cards and I started thinking of how to set up my camera to take the shot. I realized that I would never get the shot, so I stopped wasting the moment and I just sat and enjoyed it. And boy, was he beautiful.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Norm is coming home!

Norm is married to Andy's sister and they have 2 kids. Norm's National Guard unit, the 835th CSB, was called into service in Iraq last year and we just received word that they are coming home in the next few weeks! They were slated to return at this time, but with all of the recent news of soldiers' tours
being extended, we weren't sure what would happen to his unit.

Thanks to all of the men and women in the military who are serving. I wish you all a safe and speedy return.

What's going on in my life

Yesterday I did a lot of cleaning and picking up around our house. It felt so good! Some areas that have been cluttered for awhile are taken care of and all of the main floors got cleaned and I even did some dusting (my least favorite house cleaning activity.) There is plenty more to do, but I feel really good about yesterday’s progress.

Today I’m at work and Kevin was out of sorts this morning so he was whiny and clingy when I left, which was unusual after last week’s brazen “Adios!” to me as soon as Magy arrived for the day.

Kevin is testing, testing, testing. His favorite words as of this weekend are “No!” and “Mine!” Note that the exclamation points are part of the words - they aren’t just for emphasis in my blog. Also, Kevin has become hostile toward our cat. They were learning to live with each other pretty well over the past few months, but Kevin’s “Mine!” attitude has caused him to shut the door on the cat, throw things at the cat, and swing his arm at him. Those behaviors haven’t gone over very well with Kevin’s parents.

Tomorrow my parents are coming to visit in the morning and through lunch. That’ll be fun because they haven’t had many chances to actually play with Kevin and tomorrow there won’t be anyone or anything in the way of doing so. When they’ve come over before, they’ve ended up helping put our furniture back, lift heavy things, or replace decorations on the walls. When they’ve seen him elsewhere, there have been other family members around to pay attention to also. I don’t know yet what I’ll do while they’re there - I may have a chance to run out and get an errand or two done, or at least do some more cleaning at home. That is if Kevin is up to all of that, which I expect he will be because my parents are a lot of fun to play with.

I’m working again on Thursday but if today is any indication, I won’t be very productive.

Friday evening we’ll go to Christmas Eve service at church. I’m not sure whether we’ll keep Kevin in the service with us or put him into his class; we’re still deciding on this.

Saturday morning we’ll head over to Andy’s brother’s house and spend time through lunch with his family. In the afternoon, we’ll head up to my sister’s house for dinner with her family and my parents. I expect there will be some gift exchanging at both locations as well ;-)

I still really need to find a DSL provider for home so that I can access my company’s resources from there. Unfortunately, DSL costs money so I’m hesitant to order it, but I really need to or else I will have to find my way into the office to make up my 4 extra hours per week that I’m slated to work starting in January.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Let's just buy the Hummer and be done with selling out

I would say, "We’d NEVER buy a Hummer!" (what with their wastefulness on so many levels) but then I’ve also said, "I’ll never pay to have my child’s hair done at Cartoon Cuts!" and look what happened.

Then there is my disdain for those silly shoes that light up. Remember when they first came out from BK Knights for teenagers? At least I think that’s what they were. Maybe I’m wrong, I never had a pair. Anyway, every kid seems to have them now and they fly in the face of our idea of trying to trim Kevin’s sensory overload in our culture and all of the hoopla about having to have the newest and craziest gadgets.

So guess what we came home from Kohl’s with today? No, not a pair of silly shoes that light up. Something much, much better. I even apologized to Andy before he saw them. They are snow boots which don’t only light up on the bottoms, but they shoot lights up the sides, too! And have I ever mentioned that we’re trying to limit the branded characters that Kevin falls in love with and wears on his clothes and such? Well, we are. And these snazzy boots have on them, smack dab in the center of the front... Elmo.

At least they were entertaining for a short while tonight - we turned off all the lights and Kevin's dancing feet treated us to a laser light show without the cost of a Pink Floyd concert ticket.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

"Papa, you have frosting on your nose"

The Bible says that Jesus instructs us not to attempt to remove a piece of sawdust from another’s eye without first taking the plank out of our own. Do you think this extends to cupcake frosting smeared across one’s face, hair, hands, and arms while pointing to the small dot of frosting on someone else’s nose with such fervor a bystander might think the poor guy’s nose was on fire rather than dabbed with chocolate?

Jesus was born

One of the reasons we chose to adopt children is that I have no desire to be pregnant or deliver a child. It's not something my body or mind has ever felt inclined to do. In fact, I find pregnancy pretty darn disgusting. Of course you can imagine my opinion of labor and delivery.

As usually happens this time of year, Mary’s delivery of Jesus in a stable was mentioned in church on Sunday. I’ve thought before about that and I realize that it was not the cozy, comfortable and idyllic scene that is often portrayed. It was a birth. Spare me the details.

Or at least I thought I could be spared the details. What struck me on Sunday while thinking of Jesus’s birth was Kevin’s birth. Although I did not carry and deliver him, he was carried and delivered. And while I place his birthmother at the top of the list of people important to Kevin, I never thought about her pregnancy and delivery. Until Sunday, I thought (or just maybe never thought) that was ok, but now I don’t think so.

Happy Birthday to one-half of Teamdandy

Happy Birthday, Andy! I know that I forgot to say "Happy Birthday" this morning, but that is why I made sure to say it last night before going to sleep.

Before the rest of you (the "rest" of you - as if Andy will read this - ha!) think that I'm a terrible wife (well, maybe I am) we celebrated his birthday last night because I'll be at work today and won't be home until after 6:00. So, I made his requested dinner for him last night and we had cupcakes for dessert. That is probably why the birthday thing slipped my mind this morning - I already had it done and off the To Do list by this point ;-)

Friday, December 10, 2004

I Never Thought I'd...

  • ...drink water with food in it from someone else's backwash
  • food that was previously in someone else's mouth
  • proud of myself for not reacting while my child screams in a public place because he doesn't get his way
  • ...waste post-it notes by letting someone scribble all over them, one note at a time (this is for you, Kirsten!)
  • ...sing "The Wheels On The Bus" out loud 5 times in a row, every day
  • in my living room at night with the drapes open
  • ...learn to wake up in the middle of the night to a whimpering child without getting angry
  • ...take photos of crayon artwork on the toilet and walls

Thursday, December 09, 2004

How'd that happen?

It's a good thing I don't have to dress up for work. I arrived at the office this morning sporting Kevin's after-breakfast-snack on my shoulder and a return address label on my stomach. It would've been nicer had I noticed as soon as I got here.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

We're preparing Kevin for his first snow by showering him with styrofoam peanuts. Posted by Hello

Cartoon Cuts sell-out

We never thought we'd do it, but we did. We took Kevin to Cartoon Cuts last night and dropped a wad of cash on a haircut. I'll admit that it looks really cute and he did very well, only crying a couple of times. He looked scared, but he handled the situation with bravery. I think the television in front of him helped.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Handbell Choir

A local handbell choir played at our church yesterday morning. I enjoy listening to handbells, but what I really enjoy is playing them. Yesterday I tried to figure out why.

In eighth grade, I was allowed to start playing the flute. Before that, I competed in gymnastics which took up all of my time and cost my parents a fair amount of money. So, once I quit gymnastics, I was allowed to do all of the other things my friends were doing that I never could (softball, soccer, musical instruments, etc.) I’d always wanted to play the flute and I was a quick study to catch up to my peers’ abilities because I wanted it so much.

When a couple of my friends started talking about handbell rehearsal in high school, I didn’t even know what handbells were (I didn’t grow up going to church, which is where it seems that most handbell performances take place. Also, my family isn’t musically inclined and we didn’t gravitate toward anything but popular music on the radio.) I came along to their rehearsal and since I finally knew how to read music, I was able to participate. It was soooo much fun. I was a pretty good sight reader and I played the high notes, sometimes being the one to shake or jingle the bell, which always catches the listeners’ attention.

In the school band, the flute section tends to be large and, for most arrangements, the flutes help to carry the melody of the music. At home, I would play my flute most every day because I enjoyed it so much. I had a few books of popular music and I had my private lesson studies to play. I had a number of duets available, too, but nobody to play with on a regular occasion so I would tape record myself playing one part and then play it back to play the other part live. It was so much fun to try to combine my playing with something more than or bigger than myself. When playing duets, either part is not complete without the other. Such is the case with handbells.

You don’t ever hear of a handbell player giving a performance. You always see and hear handbell choirs. This is because you can’t physically play a handbell song by yourself! The few notes that you’re responsible for in any one song are just a small part of something so much more grand and beautiful, made possible only by the inclusion of so many other bell ringers.

While I always enjoyed playing the flute and piano (when I took a class in college) nothing compares to the feeling I get when watching a handbell choir and remembering how it felt to play my few notes in the midst of everyone else playing their few notes to put together beautiful music that wouldn’t exist without everyone involved.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

2 * Introvert + Toddler = The need for silence

Last night Kevin and I went to the mall for a few hours. This was no shopping trip, mind you. I’m not much of a shopper and Kevin’s idea of shopping is touching everything that isn’t his and riding up and down the escalator for half an hour.

Last night’s trip to the mall had the sole purpose of providing Andy some time at home by himself. You see, he and I are both introverts. He’s on the far end of the scale, otherwise known as “Hermithood” and I’m in the middle - not the middle of the whole Introvert/Extrovert scale, but in the middle of the Introvert side. This makes parenting difficult because in order to regroup and reenergize, we basically need to take care of Kevin separately - we rarely play with Kevin together, although we try to. But, we know that it’s best for our souls and therefore our selves as parents to get some time away in order to be better parents when we are in the thick of things.

On Monday, Andy hit the wall. If parenting was a sport, you could say that he bonked (bonking is glucose depletion of the muscles such that the body shuts down and can’t ride/run/whatever until more fuel is processed.) Our weekend calendar is full for the next month, as is usually the case in December, so he felt no hope of refueling on alone-time. I decided he needed at least a short respite before we can schedule a longer one so I took Kevin out for the evening. Andy came home to an empty house and we didn’t break the peace until 7:30.

Grudge Match

I’m an expert at holding grudges. I know it’s not appropriate in most cases (if any) but I can’t seem to shake that ability from my skillset. I had no idea how much this would affect my parenting.

When Kevin does something that really gets under my skin (usually something he does that he knows he shouldn’t do) I get angry. Then I can’t let go of it to be all nice and smiley when he comes back at me with his cheesy grin. He can do all sorts of cute and wonderful things but I can’t get the grudge over what he did a minute or ten ago out of my heart that easily.

This is something I definitely need to work on.