Sunday, July 30, 2006

An adoption at church

There is a couple at church, Kelly and Frank, who attended the same "new member potluck class" that we did, and subsequently joined the church the same time we did. They have an, oh, maybe 6-year-old girl. Soon after Christmas Kelly approached us to announce that she and Frank had decided to adopt from Guatemala and they knew we'd be especially pleased for them. We kept up-to-date with them, and Kelly told me two weeks ago that they were fifth on the list for a girl, and they hoped to get a referral at the end of August or start of September.

Today in church Frank got up to make the wonderful announcement - while they had been fifth on the list, a woman in Guat. approached their adoption agency and wanted to choose a family for her newborn daughter. She reviewed the first four families available, but picked Frank and Kelly when she read their information. They will be traveling next week to meet their new daughter, and hope to have her home by the end of the year. The congregation began to applaud, of course, but I burst out crying tears of happiness! I guess because all the "waiting feelings" and "referral feelings" flooded over me and I was so happy for them. Thoughts of Roman, who was referred to us 3 weeks before we were told to expect a referral. I am so excited for Frank & Kelly, and so thankful for Roman all over again.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Camping good.

Family camp was successful again this year; most notable was the arrival of my brother and niece, who we hoped would show but didn't really believe would. We arrived right before lunch on Friday and settled in. Roman immediately got to playing with Megan (6 years) and Justin (hmm.. 9, I think). Gradually people continued to arrive throughout dinnertime. Roman did not want to sleep Friday night and eventually, with much high-pitched yelping to get attention, fell asleep on my dad's lap in front of the fire around 10:15pm. Not to be outdone, my niece had a nightmare around 1am and woke a good portion of us with her screaming and sobs.

Saturday was spent at the beach. Family VE and S headed down around 10am. Roman refused to go in the lake, and preferred to play with his big plastic train, bucket, and shovel along the water's edge. Niece, brother, and husband dove right in! All the kids received kites to fly at the beach and Doug enjoyed doing that. The afternoon brought some quiet time, some play at the park time, and learning to pedal the tricycle time - which Roman did learn to do.

We came home Sunday relaxed, which was nice. More camping coming soon. I am irritated with online photo displays; it is taking a LOT of time to upload pictures of camping. Perhaps my picture quality is too high. I will post the following so you can have a taste of our fun.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

"Why I Don't Eat Chicken," by Roman

When Mama picked me up from daycare today, she asked what I ate for lunch. I told her, "applesauce... and beans." She asked if that was it. I explained to her that there was chicken on my plate but I did not eat it. She asked why I didn't eat chicken. I told her the following:

"Real chickens are from farms. They are for looking and petting... looking and petting only. Real chickens have... um... uh... mama chickens and baby chickens, on the farm. That's why, you can't eat real chickens. They are on farms."

traffic & orange barrels

Among the many things that frustrate me, recently traffic and construction is at the top of my list. It's not the amount of traffic in Metro Detroit that bothers me, although sometimes that gets bad. It's the speed limits. For some reason, generally Detroiters drive 5-7 miles SLOWER than the speed limit. For those of us who go the speed limit (or 4 miles above it, as I do) this is beyond frustrating. The main roads around my home are 45 mph. Consistently, since spring, I have noticed I do no faster than 40; usually closer to 38. And today I noticed that the higher the limit is, the slower people drive. I was on a road whose limit was 50; cars were doing - no joke - 35 mph. 35!

This is, partly, due to traffic lights - my next complaint. Why do people slow down for green lights? You slow down for yellow lights, you maintain your speed for green lights. Wasn't this taught in driver's training? Gads, there's nothing more irritating then clicking along at my 38 mph to then have to slow down... usually ending up stopping... at a light. My favorite traffic light placement? At the crossroads of Merriman Road with a church parking lot and a one-way street. Because there's so much traffic from a parking lot, apparently. And this light is working all the time (not just Sundays, as you would think).

Summer means construction in Michigan and usually it doesn't bother me either. But I cannot go anywhere without being slowed down, stopped, diverted, or shifted. And when it's late afternoon - forget it. It will take twice the amount of time to get anywhere. Example #1: Driving home from Mr. Nelson's. Here's my thought process at 4:50pm in the car - if I take Territorial, which has no construction, I'll end up downtown Plymouth. No good at this time of day. If I take Beck across M-14, I'll be stopped because of road work on the bridge. If I take M-14, it's down to one lane. I could go to Ann Arbor Road, but that takes me about 3 miles out of my way. I decided to go across the bridge on Beck.
Then another dilemma. If I take 6 Mile across, I'll be slowed due to heavy traffic and lights. If I take 7 Mile across, I am slowed by a jog in the road plus construction (again, one lane only). I ended up taking 7 Mile, and got home in double the time it usually takes me. I have to do these types of calculations every time I go out now. Oh yes, it will be nice when it is done - but just one summer, I'd like to travel somewhere where I didn't face orange barrels.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

update on life, the boy

We've been busy doing nothing, which is the way I like my summers. Traipsing here and there... art fair in my hometown for a weekend, local pools, and getting ready for camping. Trying to find lots of air conditioning this week! What's been going on... Roman finished his swim class on Monday - Daddy even got to go to watch. Roman was in a strange mood, and didn't really want to cooperate with class. He told me later that he didn't want to do practice by himself anymore, but he'd gladly do it again with Mama in the water. So I did sign him up for the next round of classes. On this last class, I began to chat with a woman who had a little boy about Roman's age. Turns out their son is just 2 weeks younger than Roman. And - of all things - the woman is originally from Russia! We both marveled at that connection, when she told me she'd been in country for 12 years and I explained that Roman was from Russia. We did exchange phone numbers but I think we're both in the next round of swim classes. Funny coincidences.

In case we haven't told you in person, we've dumped our cable and just have "basic." That's channels 2-23, with a couple in the 70s thrown in. That's a lot of PBS we're watching. On Monday nights they have a cool show called "How Art Changed the World." Next week is about how death has influenced world culture. We've also been watching Treasure Hunters on NBC. It's fun, mindless entertainment.

We also have signed up for Netflix. We started on the one-video-at-a-time plan, but quickly changed that to two at a time. First movie was something for Roman, the "Muppet Movie." But we'll have a "Roman queue" and a "Mama & Daddy" queue. Since we don't have cable, we've found we're willing to watch videos more. We sure do miss Discovery Channel, HGTV, TLC, and History Channel though. Wouldn't it make sense for cable companies to do a flat fee to choose channels you want? It seems with today's technology it could be done.

Roman was having a hard time going to daycare since he moved up to the next room. He's not telling people when he has to go to the bathroom and refuses to go #2. It's crying and gnashing of teeth every time. He's just not ready, which is frustrating. He was clinging and not dropping off well, so we've stepped up how often he goes. He's still only going part-time but now 3 days a week, keeping Mondays and Fridays open for fun.

I've also been seeking out coworkers who have pools. Have an open invitation from Mr. Nelson, whom we've visited once yesterday and will go again tomorrow. Also from Lisa, who we will be visiting this afternoon. It's in the 90s to 100s here, not bad but I handle it a whole lot better from a pool! The first of 3 (possibly 4) camping weekends is approaching fast, have to start organizing for that. This time on Lake Michigan with my extended family - as always, should be fun.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A big day for a big boy

The event I'm most proud of first - Roman completed a 50 minute swim class all on his very own, without Mama in the pool! They started in the shallow end, went to the deeper area where the kids hung on to the side of the pool when not with an instructor, and then back to the shallow end. Roman asked for me a couple times at the beginning, once in the deeper spot, but then he realized what a thrill it was to be all on his own. We were so proud, we went out for ice cream tonight.

THEN, we had a potty talk. Roman had 2 accidents while at daycare today - that's unacceptable. He knows better. So we told him he was going all the time, when Mama or Daddy decided, and he could not have any control over when we took him. He had a hard time with this - he certainly understands "control" and "being in charge." But he pottied 3 times, and with a good scream and cry, actually went #2 in the toilet tonight before bed. Of course, Daddy and I were sitting on the side of the tub talking with him and calming him for a good 10 minutes before he actually did it, but even Roman's relief was palpable afterward.

Roman also admitted today, voluntarily, that he does not like his teacher at daycare and wants to go back with Miss Katie. So Daddy and I hatched a plan... still having to clear it with Miss Katie... that Roman's reward for becoming trained (meaning telling us before he goes consistently) could be an adventure (afternoon? special trip?) with Miss Katie. She is coming to babysit tomorrow night so we can see "Pirates of the Caribbean 2" so we'll talk with her then. Roman can't transfer to the new daycare until he's trained, but I may take him there a couple times (I have some questions to ask them about payments and admittance) to tweak his interest.

So, quite a day physically and emotionally for our darling. But stepping up the amount of mornings at daycare is really noticeable - he's more talkative and independent when he gets home. Interesting.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The best mom in the world!

For a brief moment, that was me. Monday morning, July 10. Me, the best mom in the world. But then I wouldn't do what Roman wanted me to... and I was "not a good mom." Roman is much like his Mama was (still is?!).... into control and being in charge. And it's fast developing that Roman loves a good argument, especially one that has no point and no ending.... the classic "is not!" "is too!" So yesterday morning I asked Roman to take his jammies off, so we could get dressed and go to the train museum (Henry Ford). Believe it or not, this simple request took 45 minutes. He tried everything... "I can't!" while standing still as a statue.... "See, it won't work!" while acting like his arm was stuck in his sleeve... fooling around with toys... getting a book out.... and finally, asking me to help him. I told him he was a big boy and could do it himself. He thought for a minute, smiled up at me and said, "You're the best mom in the whole world!" "I am? Thank you!" I replied. And then came - "Yes, and that's why you will do it for me!" Just trying to butter me up!

Well, when I said little boys who wear clothes can go to the train museum, he realized the opposite was probably going to happen and said "you're not a good mom." "I'm sorry you feel that way. Little boys who wear clothes go to the train museum." And would you know it, gentle readers - we didn't end up going to the train museum yesterday. Somebody dawdled too long.

Before you say "oohhh, poor Roman!" be aware that we DID go today (Greenfield Village) and had a great couple hours just riding the train and looking at the turntable and roundhouse. And while I may not be the best mom in the whole world, I got pretty close today.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Reflections on a 3-year-old

Roman can be summed up in a couple of phrases. "Watch this!" and "Look at me!" We keep forgetting that everything is still new to him. He finds delicious pleasure in being surprised by things - something that squirts, or flicks, or makes a funny noise when you least expect it. Roman is going to be the jokester and we have had to work hard to keep our senses of humor when he's screwing around, remembering that he's performing for us to get us to laugh. He will do all kinds of things for a laugh and I think we squish that sometimes by getting annoyed.

A prime example - food. He will play and experiment and mix and squelch and pile and pinch everything on his plate if we let him. Tonight he had thick & creamy yogurt (don't dare get the generalized smooth kind) and would put some on the edge of his tongue, form an "O" with his mouth, and push his tongue (with yogurt) in and out of his mouth... just cuz he could and it felt funny. The other night he was messing around making some weird noises and I told him to stop. He looked at me and said in a sad little voice, "Oh... I thought I was being funny." What 3-year-old knows how to comprehend that?!

Tonight Roman told me he was bored, as I was putting him to bed. I said, "you're supposed to, you're going to sleep." He said, "Mama, what's that mean?" Classic Roman. Words too big for his mind but he knows how to use them properly. He has new-found BOY energy that we really enjoy, but we hope to keep him sweet. He was introduced to "pows" at his cousins' (water guns) and so we bought a couple today for $1 each. Roman was thrilled, running around the backyard with me and shooting his pool, the trees, the bugs, the trash, the house, myself, and his own chest. So BOY. Then we went inside and he wanted to ride on the back of my bike, which we did to Farmer Jack - and he looked so cute in his little helmet and pastel-blue shirt.

Roman is at the struggle between being little and big, wanting independence but scared to be too far away from his Mama and Daddy. And we are feeling that too - we want him to be on his own and learning all these great new things, but at the same time we miss his toddler-ness.

Monday, July 03, 2006

busy scrapbooking

During quiet time and in the evenings I have begun scrapping again. Purely digital, although some paper-pages will be forthcoming as well. The following is one of my favorites:

I have been dying to use some of the papers from a "vintage" pack that I downloaded. It turned out pretty neat. To see some of the other layouts that have kept me busy, go here now.