International Adoption Book

Monday, December 29, 2008

Just For You, SGM...

These past three weeks have been horrendous for Matt's office. Between the weather and the Christmas Exodus that soldiers are treated to, work has been at a standstill (according to Matt). The kids and I have loved having Matt home so much, but I think his SGM would rather work a bit more. They're prepping to deploy and, if he's anything like Matt, the SGM is anxious to get the ball rolling. :)

Anyway, I'm directing this post to Matt's SGM because he, according to Matt, paid me a compliment that I just cannot ignore. Apparently Matt's SGM expressed his appreciation of my writing skills. I was very encouraged by the compliment and am thrilled to be able to give Matt's boss a detailed account of Matt's where abouts at any given time (SGM found a post stating that Matt went to work at 7:00am, which is normally utterly rediculous since their report time is 8:30. This made SGM question what I was reporting, but, after looking up the date, he found it to be accurate due to it being a deployment training day). lol...

As for the rest of our happenings:
Matt rented a storage unit nearby and we've (okay, so I meant to say that he's) started working on getting our things moved into it. Matt took down our indoor Christmas decorations and has already stored them. Then we (and yes, I actually helped) went through several boxes from the garage. We ended up giving 7 medium-large boxes to Goodwill. They were stuffed full of toys, crafts, clothes and miscellaneous items that we no longer wanted or needed. The idea is to downsize our rather large holdings in order to make future moves more efficient. Besides, there are not going to be too many places that will have a nice sized garage to allow us the space to store all of our junk in our future locations (especially if I get my way and we end up in Hawaii [or even Korea, which is another location I'd really like to live at some point]).

Little Mr. M suprised me this morning. He was playing his Nintendo DS; Brainage, which I bought for myself. I've learned it's quite a unique, fun and interesting way to help M (and C as soon as I teach her) keep up with his addition and subtraction as well as some of his reading. It's been a wonderful introduction to multiplication, too. This morning he ended up reading a portion that I thought he was totally incapable of deciphering by sounding out the words. This is a HUGE accomplishment for M because he has never quite understood how the "sound it out" process worked. He is able to say the sound of each individual letter but isn't able to sound things out fluidly to make the word more coherent. Well... He did just that this morning when he sounded out "blue", "black", "red" and "yellow". I'm so proud of him!

C is still doing marvelously. Her kindergarten teacher mailed a packet home to enable us to work with her on her "DIBELS" test (this is a test that checks how well the kids are learning their phonics). Sadly, it was a wasted envelope, paper, time and effort since she is unable/unqualified to take the DIBELS test. Due to being profoundly deaf she must learn to read via sight words and memorization, which she accomplishes with great skill. I can tell you that she is excessively excited about returning to school. She asks every day when she can get on the bus and go, and I just had to show her on the calendar exactly which day she would be returning. Hhhhmmmmm... Is it me she's tired of or the boredom of being home with Mom all the time?!? LOL!

M, on the other hand, is rather enjoying his newfound freedom. 3 weeks off of school will make anyone feel like they are on summer vacation, even with the snow piled in the backyard (although that's finally nearly gone). I know that's how I feel... And I, too, am ready for them to head back to the drudge of being educated! ;)

Well, things are progressing fast, now... Christmas is over, the decorations are down and we're packing to move. Valentine's day is just around the corner followed shortly by St. Patrick's day. So, it's not long now before we begin the new chapter of our lives.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy Holidays

It's been a while since I posted, mainly because my parents arrived last Saturday and stayed until just this morning (Saturday, December 27th). We so enjoyed their visit, but between the weather and my latest girlie remedy we were stuck in the house for the most part.

The weather had been horrendous and we worried about Mom and Dad's travel last weekend. For the preceeding 5 days we had heard about how the "newest system" would "arrive on Sunday". But on Friday afternoon the meteorologist moved the timeframe up to Saturday. Mom and Dad had initially intended on meandering up on Sunday and arriving on Monday, but changed the date to Saturday with the hope of beating the Sunday storm. I phoned as soon as I heard the new forecast, but Mom and Dad were celebrating Christmas with my sister and her family that day so were too distracted to comprehend what I was trying to tell them. So, up they drove on Saturday, hitting the major part of the storm just 20 miles south of Portland.

It took my parents 5-1/2 hours to drive what normally takes 2-1/2 hours because of the massive amounts of snow and ice just swamping the roadways. Wow!!! Needless to say, they were exhausted after their extremely long day. They had woke up around 4:30am, left the house around 5:00am, stopped at my aunts house in Longview for about 40 minutes and arrived here around 10:30pm... What a day!

The kids were just thrilled to see Nana and Papa! They were completely surprised when they came downstairs and found Nana relaxing on the couch. C shadowed Nana for the entire week! My mom, of course, loved every minute of it.

Then came the day for Santa to show up... I kept signing to C that Santa would visit that night and would bring toys. Every time I told her she would get excited all over again. We forgot to have the kids leave out the cookies and milk, but Daddy did it for them. They didn't even notice when they woke up. Oh well. Too busy checking out their gifts, I guess! lol.

M and C had a blast opening their Christmas gifts. Even mom enjoyed herself. She got a new laptop, which my dad had shipped to our house (he gave me a secret code phrase so that I would know when to bring it out, but I forgot and made up my own: "The purple whale spout green algae in the gray grass..." lol). M and C have not put down their new Nintendo DS games (they each got their own). But Mom and I stole them as soon as the kids put them down so we could play "Brainage", which I bought for myself. Hmmm... I may not get any work done around the house... I'm having too much fun with it!

The weather remainded cold and blustery during Mom's and Dad's entire visit this week. But, I think everyone enjoyed the awesome white Christmas. It was a very nice and unique treat for the Seattle area and us!

So, I hope everyone had a beautiful Christmas and will have an awesome New Year. And I sincerely hope the coming year is a peaceful and happy one for all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Winter Weather Photos

We've been enjoying some beautiful winter weather. Here are some photos and a video... Enjoy!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Charlie Schultz Philosophy

I received this as an email from my uncle. I enjoyed it... Hope you will, too!

The Charlie Schulz Philosophy
(This is marvelous! Scroll thru slowly and read carefully to receive and enjoy full effect)

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip.

You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just ponder on them.
Just read the e-mail straight through, and you'll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
4 Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday.
These are no second-rate achievers.
They are the best in their fields.
But the applause dies..
Awards tarnish.
Achievements are forgotten.
Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special!!
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.


The lesson:
The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials..
the most money...or the most awards.
They simply are the ones who care the most

Pass this on to those people who have made a difference in your life, like I did.
'Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia !'

''Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!"

Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm So Proud

M came home from school today with a special note from his Art Teacher. I was excessively proud of him!!! It just put his accomplishments into perspective.

The note (although not verbatim) expressed the teacher's pride M and how well he is paying attention. She states that she has noticed a huge difference in M during these past few weeks in both his behavior and his work. She also said how much of a joy he has been and how thrilled she is that she has been able to be a witness to this magnificent change!

What makes this incident even more spectacular is that this particular teacher was not informed of M's ADHD diagnosis and subsequent medication. To me, this makes it far more clear that the medication is actually helping M in ways that are both profound and highly appreciated.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Oh Crap!!!

Have you ever done something that was utterly stupid? Well, I did...

Last night, after I put M and C to bed, I went into my bedroom to check my email. In walks M and, passing me by without uttering a single word, walked straight into my bathroom.

"Son, what are you doing?"

"I forgot something, Mommy," M replied softly.

"What did you forget?" I questioned.

"I forgot wash my face."

Ah. The poor guy has horrible skin that seems to be filled with little white heads. He's going to have acne problems as a teenager, I just know it. So, I went on blissfully typing away, letting M do his nightly ritual of cleaning his face, though generally he does it in the downstairs bathroom. That is, until I heard...

"AH!!! Mom, come quick... SANTA CAME ALREADY!!!"

Oh Crap! I forgot I had put all the Santa gifts in my bathroom closet... It's the one place the kids rarely, if ever, get into. DAMN!!! So, of course, I had to go in and play it really cool...

"WOW, Son... Check that out. That's pretty cool. You know, sometimes Santa gets super busy and needs to drop off presents early. He must have left those for Mom to put out later."

"Yeah, can we open them now?"

"No, Buddy. And if you try to open them, then Santa will know about it and might come take them back. We don't want that to happen, now do we?"

Right about this time there is a scream and a definite, "NO!!!"

"Okay, then... Stay out of Mommy's closet, cuz Santa will know if you get into it."

"Yeah, cuz Santa knows everything!!!"

"That's right... Santa knows everything, so stay out of my closet, okay?!?"

So here I sit, telling you all about my terrible error, hoping the entire time that M doesn't show his sister and that he actually follows the directions to stay out of my closet. There are still several things that aren't wrapped, though, thankfully, those were in non-transparent plastic bags. Being the weekend, both kids are still at home so I haven't had an opportunity to move them, yet. I'll be sure to get that done tomorrow. Needless to say, I feel like a complete idot because I should have understood that M was going to get into my bathroom closet to find a washcloth to use on his face. Well, lesson learned!

Hugs to all... And to all a good night! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Some People

Matt and I woke up around 6:00 this morning and had a few minutes alone. It was nice to have some peace and quiet with him so early in the day. We chatted about nothing in particular, but just knowing that we had a few minutes to ourselves was great.

Then, the kids got up and the hectic morning began. Both kids were dressed, had eaten breakfast, gotten their teeth brushed, went potty, had their medications and were ready to get on the bus by 7:25. Matt had left for work by 7:00 and I was relishing the moment of peace I would have once both kids were out the door for school. That is, until I checked my calendar and realized C had a doctor's appointment this morning.

So, I held her back from the bus. And, with tears streaming down her face, she watched Matthew head to school. Poor C was simply crushed! But, she got to go with me this morning to have some blood drawn. She was very empathetic, I can tell you. All the ladies in the lab were watching her reactions rather than dealing with their patients. It was cute!

As we were leaving, though, I had to listen to a man berate and belittle his wife for leaving the area in which he had placed her. He called her stupid and told her (in a ver obnoxious and rude manner) that she was told to wait where he put her. And every time she tried to tell him sorry, he'd tell her how stupid she had been to leave. It got so nasty that I actually turned around and glared at them, not that "Dan" noticed (and, yes, that is his real name... At least, that's what the wife called him). I wanted to knock that man flat on his face! I couldn't believe he was talking to his wife like that in public. I could only imagine what he did to her in the privacy of their own home. Scary. But what was really scary was the thought that they might have had children who were witness to this treatment. Thank God my daughter is deaf because I would not have wanted her to hear this abusive man. I actually pushed C to the side of the hall so that we didn't have to walk near this couple anymore. I was seriously afraid that that man was going to haul off and hit his wife. It reminded me clearly of someone else I know (and I'm not talking about my beloved hubby, just in case anyone was wondering. My guy is an amazingly patient man with me. I have a temper from Hades and Matt is my calming entity).

In any case, my day ended on a fabulous note: Mr. M came home from school with a "CONGRATULATIONS, You passed Chapter 11" note from his reading teacher!!! We were thrilled because it has been several months since he's brought home a passing grade from his reading class! It was fabulous. Plus, M has earned another day at Chuck E Cheese!

Also, I've gotten some great advice regarding M's sleeping pattern due to the Adderall XR... Thank you so much for the thoughts. M has been sleeping much better these last few days and I think he's finally getting used to the meds. Hopefully this pattern will continue and we won't need additional help through further medications. But, I've saved all the emails I've received (and will continue to save them) for future reference... You never know when you need the advice, which is always helpful! ;) Thank you!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

November Kid Photos

Since I finally downloaded the photos off my camera I thought I would take a moment to share some of the pictures we took this past month, although they were pretty much all taken on the same day... November 7th for their school pictures. Both kiddos took adorable photos (I'm not pasting them here since they are copyrighted). C ended up falling down and tearing up her panyhose and her fanny while M was sent home with a step 4, yet again. In all actuality, though, he wasn't nearly as poorly behaved as pervious incidents. In this case he and another little boy were running in the cafeteria (a big no-no). When the other little boy saw the teacher he stopped running and turned around to tell M to stop running, also. He ended up putting his hand into M's chest. M thought he was being attacked so turned around and slugged this other child in the head giving him a nice egged sized knot on his temple. M sucker-punched this other kid! Ugh... But, at least both M and C had their photos taken prior to either of their incidents!!! Here's what they looked like before school:

M's Self Portrait:

Christmas Lights

Here are just a few photos of our Christmas decorating and lights, though the photos don't do it justice...

Shopping! Shopping! Shopping!

Matt is still on leave from Thanksgiving but our lovely children had to go back to school yesterday. Our trip to California was fabulous (as I stated in my previous post) but wearing on their little minds and bodies. Hopefully they can continue to recover from our vacation. C had a pretty decent day at school, but she crashed the moment her little head lay down on her pillow last night. I know she was exhausted because she pottied the bed sometime between her midnight potty run and waking up for school at 6:30 this morning. This is a rarity anymore. And poor M had a bit of a difficult day at school yesterday. He did fairly well with his behavior but got a step 1 for "shubbing" (shoving) while he was trying to find a book to read. The long break and then the sudden return to the school routine has always been a trial. To make matters worse, we didn't give him his ADHD medication for more than a week. So, last night was a trial, too, since he has to get back into the routine of learning how to fall asleep with the medication (since it seems to delay his sleep by hours). Hopefully tonight he will fall asleep well before midnight. Last night he fell asleep well after midnight! Yikes!!!

Anyway, since Matt was still off of work and the kids were at school we decided to do the last bit of our Christmas shopping... I think it went very well! We got it all done today, so I can't ask for more!

A few of the things we picked up were:
Storm Trooper voice changing helmet
Easy Bake Oven
Drawing Station that actually prints the pictures the kids draw
3 Jammies for each of the kids
A brush and hair bows for C
Starwars action figures for M

The list goes on but they were smaller things that we can easily take with us when we move into my parents' guest house. Matt and I had loads of fun shopping for the kids. The best thing is that we had a list of things that we wanted to get for them and we actually stuck to it rather than window shopped. Honestly, we only bought the kids each 1 additional item that we did not initially have on our list. And, each of the kids only got 5 main gifts (not including their jammies) and several smaller stocking stuffer type gifts (including the action figures and hair accessories). I'm so proud of myself for not going overboard!!! ;)