Friday, December 31, 2010

"I wan Buddha"

Like a lot of words these days, my older son has words for his two best friends that don't make any sense to the average outsider.  To be honest, they don't make much sense to me.  If you've followed this blog, you're probably familiar with "Bear" and "Monkey".  Now there are about four friends that he carries around in his clutches throughout the day and night (including this little Pooh and a Giraffe his father has named "Jerry"). 
There is a definitely hierarchy to these friends, and one can see it by the trail of stuffed animals that he leaves in his wake.  Pooh is always the first to go, then Jerry, and then depending on the day, either Bear or Monkey.  In fact, Bear and Monkey are so important that they sometimes have to kiss his ouchies instead of his mom or dad.  They're that good.
But back to the words....
For as long as I've known Bear he has been pronounced "Bah" (think an octave higher), and Monkey has always been "Dah" (also higher).  Bear's name I can understand, but Monkey's I don't get.
But these two guys are important.  And seriously talented.  They can jump on beds, drive cars, and even sit in timeout.  And everytime they do these things they seriously crack up their best friend and biggest fan - a little Korean two and a half year old.

In fact, they are now so equally important that their names have been combined..... at least that's what I found out yesterday in Target when my son kept telling me and everyone around him that "I wan Buddha."  And trust me, it isn't because that kid is spiritually enlightened.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

My first day of Winter Break - a Photo Essay












Not pictured:
A lot of running in circles (literally)
Impromptu Christmas Song dance parties
Intense house cleaning - like so intense my house has never been so clean.
A visit from our two favorite babysitters with some special goodies (goodies are pictured above).
The gift of sleeping in until 7 am the next morning. (yeah!)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Walkin' In A Winter Wonderland

Hey!  There's a bear on my back!  (no? okay, not funny.)
Our area forest preserve had an awesome event this Christmas called the Candlelight Stroll.  We thought we'd get adventurous last Friday and take the boys to it.  We loved it.  There were candles lining the trails, with hot chocolate stops and bonfires.  (Granted we only made it to the first stop, but I'm assuming there were others.)  There was also live music inside with some goodies.  I highly recommend it to anyone that is from my area...next year.  You missed the boat on this little gem this year.  :)
We brought Mater along....very important that Mater see the lights.

The candles lining the trail.

The ONLY picture with Dustin's eyes open.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mama's Boys

I love having boys.  They are crazy and rambunctious, unorganized and loud, fast and sneaky, but they are so much fun.  Lately I've been thinking a lot about the phrase "mama's boy."  The reason is because neither of my sons are really "mama's boys".  Sure, they love me and they prefer me over strangers (most of the time - Miles still has an affinity for middle-aged to elderly men), but they don't necessarily need me.  Usually I don't feel too bad about it.  They still get excited when I pick them up from the sitter's and yell "Mama" through the window the whole time I'm coming up to the door.  They still wave at me from the picture window when I'm leaving home.  They even call for me in the middle of the night.  But it's not just me.  They do the same for their dad.  In fact, sometimes they prefer their dad. 
That's been hard for me. 
If I really think about it and actually kept track, I'm sure that they would seek either of us out evenly - which seems fair.  Unless you're the mom.  Aren't moms supposed to be the lifeline - especially for boys?  I remember that my brothers were huge mama's boys - at least from my perspective.  It used to hurt a little when my sons called for their dad, or pushed me away to go to Dustin - even though they do the same thing to him (it's easier to remember the negatives sometimes than the positives). 
I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was wrong with me and trying to balance my nurturing side with my strict side.  I've analyzed it over and over again.
This is what I've come up with...
My husband is just a really good dad.  I mean, he's REALLY good.  It isn't about my shortcomings or my inability to smother my children with motherly overbearing love, it is just that they have an awesome dad.  A dad that will change diapers without complaining, and will get down on the floor with them to play with trucks.  A dad that will chase them around the kitchen table screaming like a child.  A dad that will read them stories and give them kisses before bedtime.  That will teach them to yell "touchdown" and take them outside to stomp around in the snow.  A dad that adjusts his working hours so that he can stay home with them at least one day a week.  A dad that is never really off duty. 
So, to all you awesome dads out there - you're really doing a number on us over-analyzing, super sensitive moms.  But I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Oh No You Di'int

Oh yes I did.  That's right, I did something I never thought I would do.  Something I swore I would never do.  I am now the proud owner of a pair of Jeggings - and I'm pretty pleased about it.
What are jeggings some of you might ask?  Think leggings meeting Jeans.  Stretchy jeans.  Fake jeans.  REALLY tight jeans.

A little background: I've been cursing the person who brought back leggings for almost two years now.  First of all, they're glorified stretch pants.  Remember those from 20 years ago?  I love how everyone else looks in them, but to be honest, I've always felt as though I looked like an upside down triangle in them.  Seriously.  That is the reason I always give.  Until last Saturday and O*ld N*avy with their "spend $50 get $15 off".  I was 2 dollars away.  What does one buy for around $2?  Some really cheap leggings - black ones.  I thought I had nothing to lose for that price.  I didn't even try them on. 
On Tuesday I pulled on glorified stretch pants for the first time since third grade and it was love at first wear.  It is seriously like wearing pajamas to work.  I'm not kidding.  And my upside down triangle shape?  Just put big boots on and it turns into more of a rectangle.  Problem solved.
So where to the jeggings come in?  Let me just say stretchy jeans with an elastic waste.  After wearing maternity pants I mourned the thought of never wearing elastic wasted pants again.  I bought my first pair yesterday.
So Miles and Liam, when you're reading this many years from now, looking back at pictures of your mom in RIDICULOUS jean stretch pants, just remember: In my mind they are pretty freakin awesome and I'm not the only one that thinks so.
You can just add these to my long list of things I swore I would never wear, and then end up loving more than anything else, along with capris, peeptoe shoes, Uggs, burmuda shorts, and of course messy ponytails.

**I should point out that I do not wear them with a bodysuit like the model above.  No one wants that.

Foiled Plans

On Sunday Miles was scheduled to perform in his first ever Christmas program.  Our house has been ringing with the sound of "Jingle Jingle Happy Bells" and "Happy Birthday to Jesus" like it's going out of style in preparation (granted it was usually just me following Miles around and belting it out in hopes that he would utter one syllable).  On Sunday morning we all showered and got ready.  Miles wore his new jeans and Christmas sweater (it was a super stylish Christmas sweater so don't hate). Liam was decked out so that he could sit in the nursery all morning, miss his nap, eat cheerios off the floor that other babies dropped, and inevitably fill his diaper.  To make a long story short we were READY FOR ACTION.
Miles' Sunday School teacher told us that he may not stand up there, that he may not sing.  She warned me that most of the kids his age will probably just walk around the sanctuary aimlessly and may not even stay on the stage for both songs.  I was totally prepared for that.  She even warned me that there was no reason to be embarrassed because everyone would think that these kids were cute no matter what they did.
I was totally prepared for anything that could be thrown my way as a respectable church-goer and new mother-of-a-performing artist.
How did I handle it?
We'll never know.  There was a huge snowstorm here between the times of 8 and 10:30 and since we are the only people that live out of town and don't drive a now-coveted 4-wheel drive vehicle church went on as scheduled.  Just without us.  OH WE TRIED.  I made Dustin pack everyone up into our tiny little snow-hating car and battle it out.  We got onto the interstate and after about 3 miles of driving 30 mph on the interstate Dustin finally asked me if it was worth it and I had to come to my senses.  I was heartbroken.  My little future Christmas Program Star couldn't have cared less.  We pulled off and drove VERY slowly back home.  sigh.  Maybe next year.

Our defeated drive back home. This is our downtown.  Can you believe I thought this was okay for us to drive in?

Back in the safety of our own home.  Great opportunity for a Christmas Tree Photo Shoot.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday. The Family Xmas Card

Of course, with a beautiful (card-front worthy) picture by the talented and before-mentioned Katie Zeller.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Some pictures....




Since I've been so busy talking that it's been awhile since I've posted any. :)






Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Remember that one time that your students made you cry?

I made it a policy early on in my teaching career to never cry in front of students, and until today I never had.  Sure, there have been times I have locked myself in the darkroom after a particular frustrating hour and have shed a few tears, but NEVER in front of my students.
Until today.
One of my students had this great idea to show this video.  (warning...you may not want to watch it until you've read this post.)  This isn't just any video.  First of all, it's a music video - a music video by an artist that just came out with a new Christmas song.  That seems harmless, right?  Well, this song was written about a little boy from the town I teach in.  This song is about this community.  This song is about Dax.
If you want to learn more about Dax and his story, you can link to the movie.  I'm just telling you that I was unprepared.  Like, seriously unprepared.  Sure, I was around when the community rallied behind this sick little boy, and I remember thinking what a sad story it was.  But I was disconnected.  I didn't have kids yet and I don't actually live in the town I teach in.  I was this safe distance from it. 
It doesn't matter now how disconnected I was.  THIS IS THE SADDEST VIDEO EVER.
So as my students convince me to show this in class I sit innocently at my desk thinking how sweet it is that my students have room in their heart for a story of such seriousness.  Then it started.  It started with the ugly - I'm trying not to cry face.  It then turned into the - I only have watery eyes because I'm yawning fake-out.  And by the end of the first verse it was full-on nothing-can-stop-me crying.
Finally the video ended and I tried to compose myself as I walked over to hit the lights.  Mascara was everywhere and I could tell that my face was beyond blotchy.  I was so embarassed.  I turned on the lights and then faced the classroom full of judgmental egocentric teenagers.  NOT A SINGLE DRY EYE.  I'm not kidding.  Football players were feigning sleep so that they wouldn't have to look at me.  Girls were digging through their purses to avoid eye contact.
Perhaps it's because it hit close to home - literally for these kids.  A lot of them were involved in the story when it happened.  A lot of them still remember it very clearly.
Finally I made some lame comment about "a class that cries together creates together."  snickers and giggles ensued.  So now my "no crying in front of students" policy needs an earmark for "super sad music videos about adorable little boys."

**  If you want to be legit about the video and at the same time make a donation to St. Jude, go to this link.

To Family Day or Not to Family Day.....

I've had a year and half to think about this.  I've had at least that long to make a decision, but I'm still not completely confident with it.

We have a special day that we celebrate for the day we brought Miles home with us.  We've decided to call it "Family Day." Don't ask me why, there are a million different names for it out there - Gotcha Day, Adoption Day, etc.  For some reason early-on we decided to call it Family Day.  This last year we decided to celebrate by making the day all about Miles.  We went to a Korea restaurant, went to a special store to pick out a few trucks, and even went and sat in a few tractors for fun.
But for the last year and half I've been trying to decide whether to do the same for my other son....the son that wasn't adopted.
Technically this "holiday" was introduced to us by our adoption agency so I always thought of it as a celebration only for adopted children.  I mean, I did tear him away from his foster mother, culture, and native language, wouldn't a special day for just him make up for that? Okay, I guess not.  But wouldn't it make sense that he would have one special holiday over our other son?  The one that wasn't adopted?

This is what I struggle with.  This is why I have waited to make this decision.

Here are my thoughts.  First of all - it's not an OFFICIAL holiday.  It's OUR holiday.  We made it up for our family, so it can mean whatever we want it to.  To me it means the growth of our family.  Secondly - both of my sons came to us in different and incredibly fantastic ways.  They both have such different stories.  They both deserve to be celebrated.
So this is the day that we brought Liam home with us.  This is his family day.  I mean, can a family really have too many days in the year to celebrate how they came to be a family?  I don't think so.
Now I just have to decide how we're going to celebrate Liam's culture.....Shoofly Pie and Borscht anyone?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

toddler.

To my youngest.

Today you are a toddler.  How do I know?  Because I got an email this morning from a company that sends me weekly updates on your progress and the subject line read "Your toddler at one year."  Seriously Liam, it said that.  Can you believe it?
I can.
Well, I can and I can't.
I can believe that you're one.  I believe it because I see you walking everywhere in your frankensteinish marching manner with your hands in the air like you aren't sure where they go.  I believe it because I watched you down two helpings of macaroni and cheese tonight and almost an entire birthday celebratory donut.  I believe it because of the way you try to make everyone laugh with your silly ways and witty charm.  I believe it because I just packed away your 6-12 month clothes last night.
I believe it, but I don't like it.
I don't like it because you still love to cuddle up against me when I'm rocking you.  I don't like it because right now you get so excited to see me.  I don't like it because it feels like just yesterday that you loved being swaddled and were soothed to sleep by that weird seahorse thingy that I never quite understood.  Just a little bit ago I could leave the room and come back and you'd be where I left you (well, unless your brother was in the room too, then you would be somewhere else and NOT happy about it.).  I don't like it because I feel this all slipping through my fingers.
Can you believe that a year ago from this moment we had never met?  I had never looked into your eyes or held your hands. A year ago from this exact moment I had never heard your laugh or cry.  I didn't know if you would have blond hair or no hair.  I didn't know that you had a belly button that only popped out after you ate, like a turkey when it is cooked through.  I didn't know that you would love baths and peek-a-boo, or that you would love snuggling up to your silky to go to sleep.  A year ago from this exact moment I knew that you were coming, but I had no idea how happy I'd be to meet you.  A year ago from now I didn't know I had so much room in my heart for you.
And now?  I know.

Here's to another year little boy.  I love you.
Mom.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Visit with Santa

The Scene: Breakfast with Santa
Hosted By: Our adoption agency
The Mood: excitement followed by melancholy, followed by excitement, followed by anger
What we asked for:  Carrrrrrs. (umm, if you didn't know this, then you either haven't been following this blog, or you should probably get tested for reading comprehension.)
How we felt about santa:  See above under "Mood".
Guilty of: Standing up during Santa Story time and shouting loudly "Hi Santa!  Hi!  Hi Santa!" while waving vehemently and expecting an immediate response from the jolly guy in red.
Surprised me by: Waiting incredibly patiently in line to him.
What I love about this picture: His "Oh, Santa's No Big Deal" expression.
Afterwards: Santa gave us a bag filled with Hershey Kisses that we then proceeded to eat, and then try to give back to him.  This was a potential messy disaster that was only avoided because of Mom's cat-like reflexes.

Thank you letter from one to another.

Dear Little Brother Liam,
Thanks for having a birthday and throwing a heck of a party last night - for inviting all of my friends and having them all bring over tons of loot.  You can wear the pajamas and have the gift cards, but I'll let you know when you can have your turn at all of your other toys....sucker.

xoxoxo, Your Big Brother Miles.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Tractor Tipping

Does anyone else have a "Cars" fan in their house?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Take that little brother...

video
Oh L, you can walk now?  Big deal.  I've got a new, faster way to get around.  xoxo Your Big Brother.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful Thursday on Thanksgiving

To my dear little boys,

Do you remember our last Thanksgiving?  Just a year ago - Miles, you were running everywhere and into everything.  Come to think of it, not much has changed.  Liam, this was about the time you decided that staying inside of my tummy seemed like about the best idea ever.  It was also about the time that I was vehemently disagreeing with you. 
Today Facebook and TweetDeck are littered with messages of Thanks...lists of things people are thankful for. 
My hope for you...that you will live your lives with a grateful heart.  That you will appreciate the life that has been handed to you.  It won't be easy.  It won't be fair.  But it will always be what it is meant to be.  Embrace it.  Not just on Thanksgiving, and not just when it is amazing.  Embrace it when it is hard to do so.  Learn to love what is yours and let go of what is not.
I realize this is easy for me to say.  I have so much to be thankful for.  For a healthy family.  For my own health.  For your health.  For a warm home, and a job that I love.  For parents, brothers, and in-laws that are supportive and loving.  And of course for you.
For your smiles and your laughter.  For your sense of humor.  For your tiny little hands and feet that work so well.  For all of the things you know and want to know.  For your entrance into my life - both in such different ways - both in beautiful ways.  For social workers, birth mothers, adoption agencies, nurses and doctors.  And for epidurals.  For carseats that guarantee your safety.  For coats and hats that keep you warm.  For cars and trucks that totally make your day.
Today, like everyday, I am thankful for you. 

Love you forever,
Your Mom xoxox

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - you scratch my back....I'll scratch your's



a little perspective

Sunday night I went to bed mad.  I mean really mad.  So mad I couldn't sleep.  I felt wronged and a little betrayed.  I was planning how I was going to resolve this "issue".  By the time I woke up Monday morning I had calmed down a bit, but I was still feeling pretty sorry for myself. 
Then I got a little perspective.

I went to school and found out that my coworker had just lost a grandmother.
A little perspective.
One of my best friends found out she has ANOTHER nasty cancerous tumor.
A little perspective.
I visited my friend who is now a single mom trying to figure out how to raise her son on her own and make a living as an artist.
A little perspective.
I heard on the radio that my son's birth country had been attacked by a neighboring country - killing three marines and two civilians.
A little perspective.
What was I so mad about?  Turns out it doesn't really matter.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Liam's Unofficial 1st Birthday

Today we celebrated Liam's 1st birthday with Dustin's Family.  It is actually 2 weeks before his actual birthday and so it it sort of snuck up on me.  None of it seemed like a huge deal - just another birthday to me....until I sat down to download the pictures. 
I can't believe it is already close to a year.  I just got this incredible tug of intense sadness. 
Mostly for myself.
A little bit for Liam.
And a little bit for a couple of my friends who have children on the other side of the globe that will or have celebrate(d) their 1st birthday while their parents wait patiently here for them to come home.
But mostly for myself.
Because when I have a pity party I like to keep it simple.
This is it.  It's been a year.  I have to process this. 
Don't get too excited though little boy....because techincally you are still just 11 months and 1 week, 6 days, and 18 hours old.
Because last time I checked...THAT does not equal one year.

Miles waiting for the dishing of the cake.


How big is Liam??

Let's get this party started.

A very silly cousin Wyatt






 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

two.

Right now I think two is a pretty terrific number.

Why you ask?
Because this week big things have been happening in our household....big things that pretty much amount to...
Two talkers
Two kissers
Two huggers
Two climbers
Two dancers
Two singers
AND  of course two walkers......


video

Two definitely equals double the fun....
(And some would say double trouble, but I'd like to live in parental bliss for just a few more moments.)

Behold: incredibly poor video quality ahead because yours truly (a.k.a. Mom of the Year) has been sucking all of the camcorder juice out of the video recorder for her classroom projects - therefore leaving us to use the point and shoot camera the first time our son ever took substantial steps.  This will just have to do Liam....sorry. (I'd imagine we're going to be seeing a lot of walking from you eventually anyways.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful for my friend Katie - who is always willing to trade family photo shoots with me - capturing my family.

That's right, I'm finally unveiling some of the pictures....except for one.  My absolute favorite I'm keeping close the the chest for Christmas cards...so you'll have to stay tuned. :)

But these others?  I can't wait to distribute them around my house.  And after this post...I am so thankful to have such beautiful documentation of my family.