Saturday, December 29, 2007

Smart doctor boy

During bath tonight, I let Roman play while I went to the bathroom. His comment? "I hope you don't pee Skippy out!" Now, I thought this was actually pretty smart of him. I told him that it wouldn't happen, but before I could explain he says, "because Skippy comes from your privates." I then decided to explain that in a girl's body, there are 2 parts right next to each other - one that holds pee, and one that holds Charlie. And although they both come out near each other, there's no way Charlie would come out when I go to the bathroom. Roman still needed confirmation, however - "and he comes from your private area." And I agreed, yes, he does.

Can you tell what he's learning about at preschool? We did sign him up for a sibling class at the hospital in January, and it includes a tour of the hospital. So we kill two birds with one visit, so to speak. Roman is pretty thoughtful about Skippy now, sometimes bringing me water "for you and Skippy" or every once in awhile, patting my belly or trying to talk into it to see if the baby reacts. Sweet, really. We visited some friends last night for dinner, and their 4-year-old girl had a Baby Alive. Roman was very interested in feeding and holding it, which we took as a good omen. Of course, maybe I should mention that later he took a pretend drill to its forehead. But we'll overlook that part for now!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Favorite Things

It's a couple days post-Christmas, and here's what the family is happy about:

Doug: The book "Roadshow" from Steinmans and all the new shirts he got from his parents.
Amy: The new nightgown from my parents (SO COZY!) and the gift cert. to JCP from VEs. And Santa's early present of a new digital camera! (I've been using my mom's almost-10-years-old one).
Roman: Lego Star Wars II (Playstation) from Mama & Daddy, his "bendy guys" box hand-decorated by Baba, and the Criss-Cross-Crash Hot Wheels from VEs.
Rebekka: Is so pleased with everyone's generosity that she talks about everything in turn. Her mom got her a digital camera so she's over the moon with excitement.
Baby: Lots of newborn socks and a cute little hat to wear home from the hospital from Santa. Also a jack-in-the-box, which Roman never had.

Extended family is probably pleased to finally know the winning name of Skippy, although Roman continues to call him Skippy. We don't have a middle name selected yet, but the babe is here on out known as... Charlie. Yup, only Charlie, not Charles with a nickname. Mostly because we wanted a reflection of the Harry Potter series (being that we were reading the last one when we discovered the pregnancy) and something common, but not that you hear all the time... Charlie in the books, by the way, cares for dragons in Romania.

So the debate continues on middle names, although there are 3 possibilities at this time. But now I'm off to call the hospital to see if we can enroll Roman in a sibling class and tour the maternity suite soon.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Home at last

We arrived back home today, thankful for once that we only had to drive to our destinations for Christmas. Everyone we know of that had to fly, ran into mishaps. My own brother-in-law and wife spent 8 hours at the Atlanta airport Saturday when their flight was canceled; I called another friend who was supposed to be in the area from Colorado, and they had gotten hung up in Chicago. I had also hoped to see that friend's niece and family from Oregon-way... who knows if they made it on time.

So in the end, it was just family to see, which is busy enough in itself. By night 3 of the 4-night excursion, Roman was pleading to come home because he missed his "cozy bed." I hear you, buddy. But the visits were great, we saw all the extended family (except my brother, who made it to New Mexico, and Doug's brother, who stayed put in South Dakota). Roman reports he had a happy Christmas, although the excitement just wasn't this year like there was last year; maybe because we were on the road so long. He honestly didn't remember what day it was Christmas Morning. He quickly got excited, but what kid forgets about Santa?

All of us are home for another 6 days, which is nice. Don't know if much of anything is going to get done, although going to the movies has been discussed. It appears that Rebekka had a good time visiting our families, although I know she was anxious to see her own family today. She will be there until 9pm tomorrow, and then no more home passes the rest of break. And in unborn-baby news, we did tell family what the chosen name is. But I'll make the rest of you sweat it out until the next post!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Let the wild rumpus start!

I read the book "Where the Wild Things Are" to Roman tonight. It has been a long time since he picked that book, and I was very pleased. And what other phrase could be more appropriate for the 4-day slide toward Christmas Day? Roman already can't sleep, he's so excited. He knows that going to Grandma & Papa's (VE) is the start of presents, and Santa's visit isn't too far off now. Even Rebekka is as excited as she can be - the "law" came down that she has to be with us through the holidays and can't visit her own family until the 26th. But she's interested in checking out our parents' homes; especially mine, since it's also where I grew up.

Our shopping is done, our packing is almost done, and we head out tomorrow. Hope everyone has a great celebration of the birthday of Jesus!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Challenges of the kids

Hit with quite a snowstorm last night, we woke up to about 5 inches this morning, with probably another 2"since then. Sunday School was canceled, but we still attempted church - only about 50 of us managed to get there. It was kind of fun, nonetheless. Yesterday we did get a little bit more shopping done, but there are still about three more stores I have to hit to be fully done. I hate shopping after work, but it looks like that's my fate since we can't really get out today!

Roman has been quite a challenge the past week or so. He has turned into quite a clingy boy; mostly with me, but sometimes with his Daddy. There are a variety of reasons for this - it's pretty normal at his age to do this again, we've had to spend a lot of time with Rebekka recently in meetings, and the obviousness of a new brother on the way has all combined to make Roman want our undivided attention. This has led to some really cozy moments - lots more cuddling, holding hands, sitting on our laps - and some really not fun moments, like crying out of control because Daddy is putting him to bed instead of Mama, or because Mama has to do schoolwork and can't play for now. He's been better this weekend because we spent the whole weekend together, and even Rebekka has spent time with him painting in the basement, which he loves. We're also having him stay home between the 21st until after New Year's; we've usually had him go back to Red Bell so we can gain our sanity. But he keeps asking to stay home and play, and he's getting some cool toys this year so we said okay.

Rebekka has also been a challenge, but in a very different way. She is trying very hard not to let her family issues get in the way when she's at our house, and usually she succeeds. But her mom is giving her a hard time about Christmas, which is truly up in the air right now, and we're just trying to get her life settled. We have yet another meeting with her social worker to determine if she will continue to go to group counseling or not, and whether she will be going to our local high school until the end of the year or into a GED program. The only plus-side of all this indecision is that she's been able to actually get together with friends her own age. She went to the mall with a neighbor and her dad yesterday, and today we allowed her to go play in the snow with the same girl for a couple hours. She is just a kid at heart, which is funny.

The only true problem on our horizon is figuring out, with us visiting family for Christmas, if/when Rebekka will see her family. We're hoping to get to the bottom of that in the next couple days.

Skippy, on the other hand, is being referred to by his most-likely name at our house now - if you really want to know what his name is going to be, you can ask Roman; he can't keep a secret! My ankles began swelling, truly out of the blue, on Wednesday. They're like tree trunks. Tender, too. This weekend has been better because I can stop and put my feet up, but at school it's pretty sad to see them - feet spilling over my shoes, even. I have had, relatively speaking, a pretty easy pregnancy so I guess some ankle-swelling for 3-1/2 months isn't too bad. I have another OB appt. on Tuesday to check for gestational diabetes and check that heartbeat is all fine - and then a merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Stop the world, I want to get off!

Here's the thing. I'd be overwhelmed anyway with the stuff going on this week, even if there was no religious holiday fast approaching. And throw in the fact I don't think I'll be done with that shopping until, oh, December 24, and you've got one stressed out pregnant lady. Ankles began swelling yesterday, fingers too - I don't have an ankle bone in the evening anymore. I actually flat-out couldn't fit into my shoes today. I think I'm going to buy a pair of soled "mocs" from K-Mart to wear at school. They'll go with everything.

So I made a list of all the things I needed to get done before December 22nd, which is when my vacation officially begins. Two of the things - major things, in my opinion - that I really wanted to get done, are going to be put off. I guess this is God's way of teaching me how to prioritize. And a lot of the things I need to do are quick - a couple phone calls, a letter - but I have to organize my thoughts beforehand and probably end up doing "follow ups" afterward, so I just decided about 15 minutes ago that I won't do them until after Christmas. So there.

Grad class is looming, too - 2 of the last 3 classes I need are starting in January. And if I can't even balance my life right now, how am I ever going to do grad class homework? I'll tell you one thing - I think after about the second or third week of January (when classes really get going), there will be absolutely no traveling outside this house on weekends. Oh yeah, and then there's that whole baby thing coming up.

Roman has become an interesting character too, but I'll save him for a whole posting by himself. Tomorrow. I'm going to bed, having just finished creating one worksheet, revamping another, and grading four sets of papers. Oh yeah, and helping Bekka make a "wants" vs. "needs" list for her to continue Recovery, and we went to Scooter Club at church, and Doug had a doctor's appointment and had an infected cyst lanced, and...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Numbness, tingling, & different movement

In the week since I had the stomach virus, things have been fine physically. Well, Rebekka has a cold, but we figure that's better than the other. Emotionally, we have found Roman to be more and more clingy. He spent the weekend at my parents but apparently day 2 brought lots of crying and wanting his Mama. He keeps asking to go with Daddy or I to work just so he can "keep our company." Sweet boy.

For Rebekka, this week brought a couple issues crashing down upon her. Apparently she was up to her old tricks on the last few home passes, going out drinking with her brother after her mom went to bed. Mom finally lost it, calling the social worker and telling her she no longer wants Rebekka coming home. So not only is Bekka caught in lying & having possibly some pretty bad consequences come down on her again (boot camp, or worse - back in front of a judge), her mom doesn't want her at the house. This week will bring some interesting consequences and decisions, I think.

Skippy, meanwhile, is tucked into his little watery womb. So comfortable, in fact, that I was beginning to worry Saturday that I didn't feel him moving around much since the vomiting episode. Sunday I finally did, but it is different - I think he's been busy growing and instead of little taps, I now feel thumps. As a result of having to sleep on my side all night, I've got some pretty bad knots in my left shoulder to the point that I have constant numbness/tingling in my left-hand thumb, pointer, and middle finger. Doug is doing the best he can to work them out, but I suspect there will need to be a massage or two before this pregnancy is through.

Other than that, I am entering week 25 feeling just fine. I now "lead with my tummy" when I walk, which is pretty funny to see - my belly enters the room a couple seconds before I do. And it will only get worse! Doug and I have mentally put off planning or prepping for Skippy until after Christmas, but that time is coming pretty fast now.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

and the bug strikes again

Right. I no longer have to live in fear, seeing that I was sick today with the nasty vomiting bug. Woke up around 3am and 4am with what I thought to be heartburn, seeing as I've never had it but am expecting to eventually. I made it out of bed at 6:40, took a shower, and then... the ol' tell-tale got hot and sweaty, then really shivery. I knew I was going to be in trouble.

There must have been divine intervention, however, because I did not actually vomit until Roman was out of the house. So luckily he's not experienced his parents being sick yet, which I can imagine would be a scary thing. And, just like Roman, I was spot on, on the hour, the second time. But unlike previous times, we had filled Roman's prescription of Zofran, this neat little dissolvable tablet which is also safe for pregnant women. I took it and have not been sick since, although crampy, achey, and tired? - you bet.

I'm having water and applesauce for dinner. The boys are going to McDonald's. So now we should bet - anyone think Rebekka will get it?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The ER, again

Last night's festivities were great. I even chanced a polka with my loving husband, but had to quit before it was over - an extra 15 pounds or so can really put a cramp in your polka-ing. We did go to the bookstore first, but only after we tried a movie (and I got the theaters confused, and we went to the wrong one). Ah well, good intentions.

We got home, tired but happy. Rebekka thought she'd sleep with her door open because of needing heat in her room (first time she's tried this since she joined us). And then... 3:10am. Roman screaming, crying hysterically - he had thrown up in bed. I took boy duty, Doug took sheets duty, and we quickly closed Rebekka's door - nice try with the open door! We put Roman in bed with me for comfort, and Doug slept in Roman's bed. And then... 4:05am. I awoke to the sound of Roman getting sick again. He actually threw up two times in our bed before I could get him out and into the bathroom. I took boy duty, Doug took sheets duty again, and we tried a third time - Doug in Roman's bed, Roman on the couch next to a bucket, with me keeping vigil in a chair next to him. And then...

5:15am. Roman wakes up, turns over, and... throws up again in the bucket. I did have a proud moment, there - the bucket! Good boy. - and then went to wake Daddy and told him we were going to the ER again. We were afraid to give him anything, seeing as how he was vomiting practically on the hour, every hour.

We chose a different hospital this time around - St. Mary's, which is where I will be having Skippy if all things go well. We were VERY pleased. No shots, no IV, the worst thing was they did a throat swab. Then they gave him an anti-nausea dissolving tablet, a popsicle, waited for him to go to the bathroom and/or throw up (he didn't get sick again!), and sent us on our way just 2 hours later. Hooray!

So we unfortunately had to cancel all our fun plans today - Roman had a birthday party to attend which he slept right through, and we also had to cancel afternoon/dinner plans with our friends in Flushing. And we have to warn our babysitter to beware an upset tummy in the next few days. Doug was sick last week, Roman over the weekend... and now Rebekka and I live in fear.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Deck the halls

Roman went to sleep last night with visions of decorating the house for Christmas. He kept telling me in what order we were going to do everything... "tree, then the train, then the ornaments!" Doug went out first thing this morning to get our Christmas decorations from the storage unit. When he got home, Roman raced to the window and watched as each box came in.

It turns out we need a new train around the Christmas tree. Forgot that the pistons on the main engine broke last year (too much weight from a little boy pushing it around on the carpet). So now the debate is, another big generic one or a Thomas one? Roman is wanting a Thomas one. I told Daddy I'd leave it up to him and Roman to work out.

As we were decorating the tree, Roman was getting all "Norman Rockwell" on us. That's what we call it when anyone is trying to plan the "perfect" day. (Myself included in that, by the way.) Anyway, Roman told us that after the tree was decorated, it was time to make cookies. He was so funny, planning out all the holiday cheer for us. And we do have some sugar cookies in the freezer. Won't be fancy Christmas ones, but Roman is determined to have this be a perfect day. His interest waned after the tree was mostly decorated, and so he went downstairs to play. I put up the rest of the decor. Since he's having naptime now, we'll bake cookies this afternoon when he gets up.

Roman has just been so awesome this week, and the only thing we can attribute it to is his new teacher at preschool, Miss Amy. This last week was her first full-time, and the attitude change in Roman is remarkable. In talking to his afternoon teacher, she said Miss Amy has much higher expectations than Miss Kristen had, who was very laid-back. What we get from Roman now is helpfulness, politeness, and following directions. Very eager to please. What we WERE getting from Roman was whining, acting out of control, and getting at least one timeout a day because he was talking back and giving us attitude. And Friday was the first day we got a GREAT report for the whole day, since about the second week of September. Yes, folks, that many bad reports, most of them saying "had a hard time listening" or "had a hard time following directions." My favorite was, of course, the "said an inappropriate word and would not follow directions."

Tonight is an exciting night - we have a babysitter coming because we're going to a Big Band dinner-dance at church. New babysitter, an 8th grader from church who Roman just loves. She is coming earlier than we need, and Doug and I just can't decide what to do... browse a bookstore for as long as we want? Do some small Christmas shopping? Go to a coffeeshop and have an uninterrupted conversation? Try to sneak in a movie before we need to be at church? My bet is the bookstore, but we'll see...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nesting & the holidays

I love the holidays, partially because I buy into the whole "make the house cozy" idea. I also BUY, as in purchase, into the holidays as well. I love buying new candles, ornaments, decorations, whatever. Winter also tends to bring out these tendencies in me, to make the house all cozy and warm.

Well, this year is doubly hard because the pregnancy-nesting has begun. I want the house to be just the way I want it (or as close as possible) before Skippy arrives. And combine that with the holidays, and you've got a woman who wants to buy, buy, BUY! Today, for example, Doug mentioned that we should probably purchase a new shower rack. That got me to thinking about going to Bed, Bath, & Beyond. And THAT got me thinking about holiday placemats, and holiday napkins, and maybe a new candle because now that we don't have the cats we can light them, and....

So you see the danger. I think Doug may take my checkbook away soon!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ode to the Kid Culture

First, a side note: Outlet malls are wonderful. Motherhood Maternity Outlet stores are even more wonderful. Parents who are willing to buy their surprisingly pregnant daughter a couple outfits, are the most wonderful. Thanks again!

So I was reading my friend Cat's blog, who is pregnant and due a couple weeks after me, and she is getting anxious for the gender-revealing ultrasound coming up this week. Tuesday, I think. Anyway, mainly anxious about the deciding factor of BOY or GIRL. I mean, that really does plan your life out - is it black-and-blue or pink-and-white? Anyway, I made a comment that it doesn't really matter, because Roman has asked for Polly Pockets for Christmas. And Cat, this being her first child, didn't know what Polly Pockets was. And I thought to myself... gosh... I've been in this underground Kid Culture for three years and already have forgotten what it was like to be a newbie.
So this post is for Cat, and anyone else who wants to know about my boy's interests and the things we like about Kid Culture.

Music: While starting out with the Wiggles, we have progressed. We still love Laurie Berkner, but I also really like Dan Zanes & Friends. His "House Party" CD rocks - I've been caught listening to it by myself in the car.

TV: We continue to steer Roman away from Cartoon Network. We do allow Spongebob Squarepants, though. His favorite shows on PBS include Curious George & Word World. I love Word World myself. Very creative! PBS was the best from the very beginning. As a babe, he liked Baby Einstein videos. My favorite is still "World Animals." Elmo was also favored, but his top was on Nick Jr., Blue's Clues as a little one, and Backyardigans at about 3. Now he has graduated to "Little Einsteins" sometimes on Disney channel, but he also likes Jo-Jo's Circus, which irritates me.

Movies: He still likes his Thomas videos, and is willing to watch any Disney video (any princess, too) except Lion King. Too scary. He likes "Beauty and the Beast" a lot.

TV/Movies/Songs: The best of the best, VeggieTales. Except we had to wait until he was about 3 for him to appreciate them. But now it's great.

Important Toys to Know: Dora the Explorer and her cousin, Diego, Animal Rescuer. Polly Pockets. Thomas the Tank Engine. The Littlest Pet Shop. Webkinz (except kids get on the Internet with them, so that's older kids). And Sesame Street is always popular!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thoughts on Thanksgiving

About 100 Pilgrims (who were Congregationalists, by the way) arrived in the New World. By fall of 1621, only about 50 total remained; 22 grown men, and the rest women and children. Even though things were already tense with the neighboring Natives, the Wampanoag, the Pilgrims decided to hold a harvest feast (which was common in England) and invite the neighbors. According to religious customs, it could not be a religious day of feasting, for only the governor could declare that.

Anyway, about 90 Natives showed up, including the chief. There is debate whether it was the chief's entire extended family, or just his warriors. Can you imagine being a Pilgrim woman and having 90 hungry Natives show up in your camp? I can barely cook for 4 some evenings. Well, it turned into a 3-day feast, and during the feast some Natives went out and shot some deer to help with the celebration. Otherwise, they ate fish, corn meal, various fowl, squashes, beans, and dried fruit. Mmmm.

Well, being a history teacher, I think about these things partially because it was so simple. No "Black Friday" to prepare for. No crabbing over if someone is working on the holiday. No football that HAS to be watched. The Pilgrims were just thankful for the harvest, that there was enough food, and that those who were still alive were healthy. And that really should be it.

So here's my "thankful" list. Even though there is a lot I wish I had, or want some things to change...
I'm thankful we have a house we can afford.
I'm thankful that Roman hasn't had allergy or bronchitis issues this fall.
I'm thankful I haven't had allergy or bronchitis issues this fall.
I'm thankful that Doug is more accepting of his job and the issues that go with it.
I'm thankful that Rebekka appears to be accepting her family the way they are, and is able to cope with it.
I'm thankful that there are no serious medical issues for anyone in my or Doug's extended family.
I'm thankful that I have a job that keeps my mind active.
I'm thankful that even though our bank accounts are less than what we could have, we always have enough.
I'm thankful that Skippy is appearing to be healthy.
I'm thankful that overall, this pregnancy is not as physically taxing as most women's appear to be.
I'm thankful that Roman has somewhere safe to go during the day and is already learning a lot.

In short, I have a house, a healthy family that loves each other, plenty of food in the pantry, and clothes in the closets. Life is good.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My stomach is moving.

Yesterday at school, my class joined Bill Nelson's class for a presentation. Bill and I didn't have much to do, so we were sitting in the back catching up. I was kind of slouched back and noticed that Skippy was really moving around and kicking. I looked down and... oh wow, oh gross... my stomach was actually moving. Like, thumping, and... moving. Bill even saw it and thought it was amazing. Of course, Doug hasn't seen it, but luckily he thinks it's funny that Bill Nelson experienced it.

When Doug puts his hand on my belly to feel Skippy, all movement ceases until he moves his hand. We think maybe his hand is so warm, or so scary, that Skippy just relaxes - or freezes - until that weirdness passes. My "consultants" at school tell me it doesn't matter, eventually he won't help but feel and notice it. But for the meantime, I've decided it's kind of cool, as long as I don't think about it too long.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Kids, all shapes & sizes

Roman had diarrhea for the first time in his life last night. I tell you, those Russians grow 'em strong - he's only thrown up once, too, and that was from a virus. I think it was just too much "crap" since Halloween; candy, cookies, ice cream cake for Bekka's birthday, etc.... he was up three times early this morning. I took the 4:00am crying-call (the third of the night) and ended up making him a jelly sandwich (by this time he was hungry, too), and then crawling in bed with him and rubbing his back until he finally fell asleep. Doug woke us up around 6:30am, but needless to say the whole family is a bit tired. We're doing Movie Night tonight. I guess just a sneak preview of what's to come when Skippy arrives!

Skippy has been busy plumping the pillows or something in my uterus, but now there's a definite rhythm to when I feel him moving around. I notice him first thing in the morning, then again around 10-11am... awake through 4th hour, then he's down for the count from about 1pm to 8pm or 8:30, when I think he's up all night. Doug and Roman still haven't been able to feel him much - Doug got a swift kick about a week ago, but we also don't have much time to lay around all cozy and feeling my belly, either.

Speaking of the belly, the kids finally have figured out my "condition" at school. It appears a student overheard a teacher talking about my pregnancy, she asked me, and I said yes - and then gave her permission to spread the news. Thank goodness that is out. I feel much more relaxed. My 7th graders haven't said anything yet, but I'm sure it's a matter of time.

Bekka has a whole-weekend home pass, and apparently will be home for Thanksgiving Day and returning Friday. It will be interesting to see how the holidays play havoc with her.

I would blog more, but Doug just walked in with dinner - Taco Bell. Yet another drama in our life, the darn slow cooker didn't turn on today so our beautiful rump roast will have to wait until tomorrow. Ah, life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

mental health day

Today I have taken the day off. It's lovely. I'm about ready to head in for a nap, after doing some little things around the house. I actually went downstairs twice (stairs leave me winded now, all this extra weight!) to do laundry - yes, I remembered how. Had a lot of little notes to catch up on, some address changes with friends, little requests and a Christmas list to update.

My mental health day serves another purpose, however - the person that is the candidate to take my classes when I start maternity leave is subbing for me today, and again at the end of the month when I have a curriculum day to attend. I left things to actually teach, rather than busy work, so he can get the feel of the kids and if this is going to be a spot he wants. Hopefully I'll return to a good review tomorrow.

Roman is obsessed with letters and spelling now. He wants to sound out and spell everything he hears. The English language is so frustrating, however! The poor boy can't keep his Cs and Ss straight, and I hate correcting him all the time because he's so proud of himself. He's also having trouble with hard Cs and Ks, and Gs and Js. I vote for getting rid of the letter C in its entirety. I suspect it won't be long before he's reading actual little words.

Rebekka is visiting her mom's house every weekend now, but with holidays coming up I expect more stress in our household. She won't come out and say she's preparing to go home, but we can just sense it. We've asked for a meeting with her social worker, etc. next week so we can know what's next in this whole thing - we both are betting she'll be back at her mom's home before Skippy is born. Her 17th birthday was on Monday and she had a good day. Both Growth Works and ourselves held a little celebration for her, and she got to spend the night at her mom's house this past weekend, so I think all was good.

Had an OB appointment on Monday, and the recent ultrasound placed my due date around March 16 due to Skippy measuring so big. Dr. said we'll reevaluate in January, and perhaps do another ultrasound, to see what's happening with size. My guess is, I better be ready March 1. Next OB appt. in December will be the sugar test for gestational diabetes.

Otherwise, things are just rolling along here. I feel caught unaware that Thanksgiving is so close, meaning that Christmas is bearing down on me quickly. I don't believe I'll be very prepared this year.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My belly has popped.

Middle school students are blind. Here they have a 5-months-pregnant teacher in their midst, wearing maternity clothes since month 3 seemingly, and they just don't see it. My belly "popped" this past weekend - I am really, really showing now. Even when I wear black, or something very baggy, you can still tell - this is more than gaining weight. It's a pregnant belly. The big celebration this week is Doug's announcement of, "honey, your belly has grown past your boobs!"

I have mixed feelings about the kids knowing. In formal school rules, you send a letter home notifying the parents of an impending leave, who is going to fill the absence, etc. You do this between 60 & 90 days before maternity leave is expected to start. Speaking of which, I should write that letter to HR pretty soon.

Anyway... so my principal said he'd like to send a letter home at Christmas. This is fine with me; send it over a break, so I don't get questioned and all in class. However... the way I'm looking at week 20, they have GOT to have figured it out by December 22, for crying out loud. Other teachers tell me no - a few will, but they won't say anything -one of the only things I think a kid doesn't say to a teacher in class. I want the kids to know, I think, just to get it out in the open and be done with it. I feel like I'm "sneaking around" and that wearing maternity clothes is daring. Like there's a part of school culture that says "you can't talk about the fact you're pregnant." And therefore I'm trying to fool the kids.

On the other hand, if the kids figure it out and I confirm it, the amount of questions that will come flying at me will be neverending. I had a very respectful group the year I adopted Roman, but even then I allotted 30 minutes to questions and answers. Well, that was a special circumstance, too.

So I guess what I'm saying is, I don't want to make the announcement, but I want a kid to figure it out quick so I don't feel like I'm supposed to be trying to hide my VERY pregnant belly. Of course, if I leave it to my coworker Angela, they'll know within a week - she blurted it out in the lunch line a few days ago when she was nicely buying me a chocolate ice cream. No kids heard her, though - like I said, clueless.

Craving of the week: feta cheese. And don't worry, the big bag that Doug bought me from GFS says it's pasteurized, so I'm safe.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Pictures of our boys

It's difficult to get pictures of Rebekka without her squinting like Popeye (or drooling, as she puts it), so today is just a picture of our boys. An adorable shot of Roman that was taken at preschool (don't worry grandparents, you've got a copy coming!). And a couple ultrasound pictures, since I can't resist. But no, I am NOT publishing Skippy's penis for the world to see.

Below: his left hand showing that he already knows sign language


Below: The right foot, which I feel quite a bit now


Below: The "crosshairs" are measuring his eyes; nose, chin, and bulbous chest follow to the right (he's lying on his back, looking directly toward you)

And our darling Roman, who took an awesome picture this year.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Ultrasound - the details

While most people know the important part by now - it's a boy! - there are more details that I will elaborate on here. My 7:30am appt. was canceled at 6:45am, disappointing everyone in the family. They called back around 8:15am and said that they had appts. available in Southfield. With some quick arranging, Doug and I agreed to a 10am appt. I had to quickly get people to cover my classes, I picked up Roman, Doug picked up Rebekka, and we arrived in time.

It was a nice setup, a little screen for me to view from the "table." You know, it's a bunch of white matter floating around until she pointed out body parts and then - holy crap! - there's a baby in there. And it was just amazing to see. Double amazing, because this was the first appt. Doug could make. His first time hearing the heartbeat, and just experiencing the baby, so that was neat. And watching him point things out to Roman on the screen, and Roman's amazement as well - that just made me very happy. Rebekka just stared at the screen, and she smiled and giggled a lot.

When we saw that the arm was moving - "waving" to us - Roman waved back at the screen. So adorable, I almost cried. We saw everything - heart, kidneys, brain, little jaw moving, full stomach, spine, femur, hands, knees, feet. Just incredible. Couldn't see if it was boy or girl at first, so I emptied my bladder so it had room to move. Still wouldn't move its legs, so the sonographer poked me in the belly a couple times, and LO! It was most definitely a boy. We admit, there was a flash of disappointment - it would have been nice to have a girl - but God knows what He's doing. I am not the kind of Mama that could raise a girl. So a boy is fine.

Rebekka, by the way, lost her bet with us - she thought it would be a girl, so now has to cook us dinner. We did all go out and celebrate last night at Cheeburger Cheeburger, where we all had - believe it or not - cheeseburgers. Again, a hint at my cravings - onion rings, burger w/feta, onion, & lettuce, and a cherry-chocolate shake. I've never had a feta burger in my life, yet those are the things I wanted.

So Skippy it is, although we have 3 names off the top of our head that we're rolling around... we'll start to make a list and see what happens. The name, however, will not be revealed until birth. Guess people have to have something to look forward to. Besides the kid, of course!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

adoption vs. birthing

I've been forming a lot of thoughts since July. I've been scolded and comforted for being negative about pregnancy. As the date of ultrasound draws closer and the baby is becoming more "real" in the belly, I thought it time to express more thoughts.

The most obvious problem with growing a life is that it's all me. Doug has no idea what's going on, Doug's body isn't changing, and Doug isn't finding it challenging to do normal everyday things. He is a great support, but still - it's me. Many women like this, gives them a feeling of superiority I think - that's what I take out of their discussions. However, adoption was so much better. The ups and downs, the reactions to news, the celebrations and frustrations... experienced together. Equally. I'd still rather get on a plane to Moscow (twice!) than have to give birth.

The growth of a baby inside my belly is odd. It's at both times amazing in a miracle-from-God kind of way, and quite disgusting in an Alien-out-of-the-stomach kind of way. There is a living being (on a good day) or creature (on a bad day) growing inside my body. I'm still just not sure if that's really cool or not. Or maybe I just want it to be March.

For some reason I've been comparing myself in my brain to elephants. Baggy maternity clothes (along with other saggy body parts) led me to tell Doug in tears the other day that I felt like the saggy, baggy elephant. In some ways I think, this is no different than what all other kinds of mammals do. This is nothing special. I'm just like an elephant. I suppose I could compare myself to a lioness, but elephant seems to work.

I don't like it when people tell me about adoption, "it was wonderful that you did that." Well, we wanted a family and that was the way to do it. But there is a bit of "hero quality" to it, once you see the conditions the children are living in. Not only do I love Roman with all my heart & soul, I am also grateful every day that we were able to get him out of his situation and to a better quality life. When I watch him work or play and he's not bothering me for a few minutes, I think about the orphanage, and the village he was from, and what he'd be like if he had stayed in Russia. And I can't believe the beauty of adoption to not only lead us to him, but allow him to grow up with so many more opportunities.

What's so special about birthing? I was kind of happy to not be in that club. The outsider, I guess, but knowing that Doug and I experienced something so much more powerful through adoption. My sister-in-law assures me that birthing at the hospital, or taking home from an orphanage, is both great in its own way. I trust her, being that she had the same feelings I do about getting pregnant. I just... don't want it to be equal to adoption. I don't want to be a mammal like everyone else on earth. We had been planning our second adoption, and I'm kind of mad it's being denied. Now, I suppose God's plan is probably better than our own plan. Let's just hope everything is healthy and normal on Friday morning, and I'll work on getting okay with God's plan.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

high school football

It's not often that Doug's high school and my high school interact. Ever. Except for football, and that's only in the playoffs. Occasionally.

Well, they met Friday night on the football field in St. Joseph. St. Joe Bears (Amy) won, but GR Christian High Eagles (Doug) put up a heck of a fight. Here's hoping St. Joe gets to play here at Ford Field Thanksgiving weekend.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

5:35pm... time to cry.

I'm pregnant. I know this to be true if only because of my hormones. I have zits where a person shouldn't have zits (my neck?! Come on!). I am definitely beginning to have odder cravings (for lunch? Spinach & feta omelet with a side of fries, please. Thank goodness for Coney Island restaurants). And as mentioned before, the fact that I am crying... all the time. If I go a day without having a good 5-10 minute bawl, I mark it as an extraordinary day. Last week, I cried when Doug changed the channel to the Weather Channel. Yesterday, Doug and I were catching up with each other and reading the newspaper while Roman played. I just started crying. No reason, really. Doug asked what was going on, and I just pointed to the clock. Apparently, because it was 5:35pm, and time to cry.

Doug is a superstar husband. He's researched all the chemical and hormonal changes my body is going through and is most understanding. He commends me for not being as "crazy" as he expected me to be (I tell him there's another 5 months to go). Four out of 7 nights, Doug is doing the cooking (with at least one of those others being fast-food, and another being leftovers). He does the laundry most weeks now, too, with me helping now & then. He lets me sleep in on weekends and take naps when I need to. He goes out with Roman when I begin to act overwhelmed (hard to believe, isn't it, with him doing all the work?). He's just been awesome.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The taste of Mountain Fresh Dial

Roman. Roman, Roman, Roman. Stubborn, wants to be in control, doesn't follow directions, Roman.

Roman thought he'd have some quiet fun by repeating the word "penis" over and over to his friend Ethan, to make him laugh during Circle Time. He was caught and told it was a word that shouldn't be used at that time, and to stop. He kept doing it. He was told to stop again. He finally did.

When I asked him about what happened, he lied. He said he never said that word. When I kept pushing, he finally admitted it. When I then asked him about saying it even though his teacher said to stop, he lied again. I finally did get him to admit the truth. But the damage was done ~ not the first time he hasn't done what a teacher has told him (the third in as many weeks, I believe), but this time he lied to me twice. So a firm consequence was in order.

After talking it over with Daddy (who was going to be TOO firm, in my opinion) and my own ideas (too lenient, in Doug's opinion), Rebekka finally suggested soap in the mouth. And that made Doug and I both happy. Well happy... not really. But a good consequence.

So Roman got to taste Mountain Fresh Dial this evening. He kicked, screamed, pursed his mouth shut, and it took both Doug and I to hold him down and get it in his mouth. Terrible, really, the way I'm describing it. But the boy has been cruising for a smush-down for quite a few days, really. And he went to bed early and was asleep by 7:00pm... think that has anything to do with it?!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The onion has moved!

I am 17-1/2 weeks currently (actually, I'll flip to "18 weeks" on Monday). According to babycenter.com, my current Internet bible, Skippy/ette is the size of a large onion. Like Doug says, "we're not talking red onion, we're talking Spanish onion." Anyway, for the last couple weeks we've read that women at my weekage can feel the baby move if they lay real still on their backs ~ that it would feel like a "flutter" or "bubbles." Well, a couple times I thought I felt it but couldn't be sure, so figured nah, it will come eventually.

Well, eventually was this morning. We were riding in the car to Kalamazoo to cheer on the Broncos at Homecoming (unfortunately they lost), and I was just thinking about whether I was hungry or thirsty or just bored, when I had the weirdest sensation - like butterflies in my bladder. I thought about it, and then it happened again, like the chills you get when someone runs their finger up/down your spine, except in my intestinal region. And then I realized - it's the flutter! I told Doug what I had just felt, and he knew immediately that it was Skippy/ette. It did happen a couple more times, which was just neat.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Politics & Babies

I believe I am secretly a Libertarian. My school has a mix of Republicans, Democrats, and "who cares" so political talk at lunch is always interesting. A liberal coworker sent the following link to a few of us, which if you take the time to answer and adjust your priority scale, will help find the presidential candidate that has beliefs similar to yourself. And here are my results...

http://www.selectsmart.com/president/2008.html

100% Theoretical, nonexistent candidate
63% Alan Keyes, African-American Republican
60% John Edwards, Democrat
60% John McCain, very moderate Republican
57% Barack Obama, Democrat
56% Tom Tancredo, Republican
54% Hillary Clinton, Democrat
54% Joseph Biden, Democrat
53% Rudolph Giuliani, Republican
53% Al Gore, Democrat (not announced)

I keep telling anyone who listens that if they can find a qualified black candidate of the Republican persuasion, they will take the White House. Apparently Alan Keyes isn't that guy, since I haven't heard much about him. So apparently my choice is between John Edwards and John McCain. So I think I'll vote for Obama.

As for babies, a midwife at church recommended the Chinese conception calendar to find out gender of Skippy. She swears it is 95% accurate. And the Chinese believe I will have....

http://www.thelaboroflove.com/chart/cal.html

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Things to be happy about

Yesterday and today were just one happy "yay" things after another. So I thought I would list them.
Friday: Aztek retrieved from shop and rattle is fixed. Issue with rental car has been made to go away with no cost to us. Green bean casserole, which used to be the bane of my dinner-existence as a child, was not only good on Thursday, it was good as leftovers! We went to a football game to see one of my former students play. Roman was awesome. So good, we stayed until the end. Roman couldn't wait to meet his first football player. We got to go out on the field and everything, which thrilled Roman to run into the end zone with his Daddy. Roman remained a sweet boy all night.

Saturday: Even though I was "on duty" to get up with Roman (6:30am!) Doug did anyway. I took Rebekka to a meeting at a mall and Roman and I wandered for an hour. He was sweet, again. While gone, the carpet cleaners came and cleaned our entire house. Got home, had lunch. Rebekka and I went out and about for Halloween decor and to my haircut. Roman slept for 2-1/2 hours. Doug even slept. Rebekka got an hour to herself in town while I got my haircut. I got a new color.... went back to my brown roots, so to speak. Roman agreed to not one, but TWO different "art" projects (painting and putting together a foamie haunted house). After all that, Doug still agreed to go out to dinner tonight to Outback as I was craving steak. Again. Rebekka went to work, Roman went to bed sweetly yet again.

So many little things that add up to a very great couple days.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Attack of the letter P

This morning, Roman was watching "Curious George" on PBS. It was an episode about the meaning of picture-signs, and that the big red circle/slash means "no." George, at the end, made a "no dinosaurs" sign to put on his bedroom door. Roman thought this was a great idea, and wants to make a "no monsters" sign for his bedroom.

As we were driving down our street this morning after discussing signs, Roman saw the "no parking" signs - a big P with the red circle/slash. He was very excited. "Look, Mommy, no Ps! I want that sign! So, when a P tries to get in my room, we can stop it and not let it in!"

I wanted to laugh so hard, and so loud, but I just chuckled and said I hadn't seen any letter Ps in the neighborhood. Then we went back to discussing other signs.

Baby news: I'm officially 16 weeks, so I will write to those who don't check the blog and give them an "I'm fine" update. Nov. 2 is our scheduled ultrasound. Belly is actually starting to harden in the uterine area, which people at work tell me will happen. So now I can figure out where my fat ends, and Skippy begins.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

"..and how are you feeling?"

Ack! I get this question a lot nowadays. I told my mom the truthful answer the other day and I don't know whether she found it funny or was hoping for a better answer. "Regular," is my answer. As in poop. Personally, I enjoyed my slightly-constipated existence pre-pregnancy, and the fact that I poop 2x a day now is rather irritating. Besides that, I'm very thirsty. Since about last Wednesday I've been struggling with dizziness, light-headedness, and downright vertigo at times. I tried all kinds of things - more sleep, more food, less sugar, and skipping Coke altogether (all that did was make me dizzy with a headache). I finally figured it out - water. I need lots, and lots, and LOTS of water. So I borrowed Roman's "Fun at the Fair" sippy cup that holds about 16 oz. and have drank down 2 of those (including ice) today. Even at church, I was sucking on that thing. Besides not being near as hungry, my vertigo has definitely lessened. So, water it is.

But, when people ask how I'm feeling, I usually say "just fine." Which is true, too. Cramps and such have gone away, so physically I'm fine. Mentally I actually don't think about Skippy too much during the day. Except for when I'm getting dressed, of course. Speaking of which, I bought 2 pairs of pants & 2 shirts from maternity-JCP and am in bliss. I now have 3 whole comfortable outfits to wear. Plus one dress, and a couple skirts. So I'm actually doing okay now.

There are many small things which remind the household I'm pregnant, however. One of these days I must write an "Ode to My Husband" because Doug has become an outstanding runner of the household. Often I am bursting into tears over small things - today it was because Doug commented on the smell of my fart (see beginning of post). Normally I take it with a smile or laugh... today I cried. Not sure why, just started crying. At school I was encouraged to watch a trailer for a movie called The Singing Revolution, based on the fight for democratization in the country of Estonia. I cried so hard watching the trailer that snot was running from my nose. I was caught by another teacher, who luckily just had twins this past April. She totally understood. (You can watch the trailer yourself at this link.)

Otherwise, we're remaining busy here. We'll be getting the Halloween decorations out tomorrow evening and Roman also wants to make ghosts to hang up around the house. Rebekka is planning to rent a bunch of scary movies and spend Halloween night in the basement (by herself, since neither Doug or I watch those anymore). This coming weekend is looking like a visit to the pumpkin patch, and maybe a cider mill. If only the weather would act like October instead of August, it'd be perfect.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Plus-size and pregnant

I'll admit it. I've got a big butt. Big thighs, too, which is why I buy "women's" sizes instead of "misses." Much more comfortable, roomy, doesn't cut off blood flow when you've had a meal. Anyway...
As my identically-pregnant friend has put it on her blog, you can't find plus-size maternity anywhere in real life. Only on the Internet, where you have to guess at what size might be right. And one size from JCP is not the equivalent size at Old Navy, I've found. Not to even mention Motherhood Maternity, which charges $40 for every shirt. And, don't forget plus-size also means plus-a-few-more-dollars. Usually $5.

So I've struggled with my weight anyway. I lost 30 pounds on Weight Watchers before we traveled to Russia in 2004, and gained it all back within a year... then plus a bit more. I think I'm probably the only adopter who gained weight in Russia. It's been hard enough to find regular clothes that fit over the past year without wholly turning my closet over to Lane Bryant, although Oprah tells me in my head that "it isn't size, it's how you look in the clothes."

So imagine now having to turn to maternity clothes, which are roomier anyway, and having to purchase everything online because they are "specialty" items. I can't walk in a store and buy a shirt off the rack - I have to wait to make the purchase worth the shipping. Worse, if the shirt doesn't fit (thanks, Old Navy, for being inconsistent in your sizing), I have to send it back and pay shipping. And look for a bra that doesn't leave elastic-burn marks around my middle? Online again, please. I've tried Target, JCP, Sears, & Kohl's with no luck.

One benefit of all this, however, is that I have 2 women at school who have offered to loan me clothes. Cuz I'm in the other pickle, which is - this is the one-and-only child I'm birthing, therefore I don't want to buy too many clothes. I received my first bag of lenders a couple days ago, but only 1 pair of pants fit - everything else too small. Which is good, I guess, because now I know I need the next size up (make that plus-size!) immediately. And goodness knows what's going to happen at the end of this pregnancy - both women told me I'll be the next size up by the time I give birth, unless I opt for sweatpants for the last 8 weeks.

On yet another good note, however, is that they both also told me they continued to wear their "early" maternity clothes 3-6 months after the birth of the baby, just cuz they were so darn comfortable. One admitted she still wears her maternity jeans on "fat" days. So I'm trying to convince Doug that he's actually just adding to my wardrobe, which will extend into late next year!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Roman is all grown up, kind of

Roman has sprouted another few inches over the summer, and we realized going through his closet and drawers, that most of his long-sleeve shirts, and definitely his pants, aren't going to fit this fall/winter. I cleaned out what I knew wasn't going to work, and he ended up with 1 long-sleeve shirt and 2 sweater vests. Problem with pants is, he's skinny (like slim) but long. Flannel-wise, he's good - he's got some cute button-downs. But t-shirts, there's a problem.

So I went off to Kohl's with my "extra 15% off" coupon to see if I could get some adjustable-waist pants, or even some slims, and pick up a couple long-sleeve shirts & jammies too. Well... what a landmark day. Roman has officially grown out of the "T" for Toddler section, and is in the "Boys" section. We crossed the aisle. He's officially a BOY. While I was thrilled with this, pants-and-jammies-wise, I really am not thrilled with t-shirt selection. I think someday I'll open a boys-only boutique with cute, affordable boys clothes.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I'm creating life, here!

We had a special treat today of Grandparents VE offering to take Roman for the night. I chose to spend the day doing very little work, a little shopping, and a lot of watching t.v. Doug changed oil on one of the cars, mowed the lawn, & seeded and fertilized the yard. Rebekka did laundry all day, cleaning every thread of cotton she owns, I think. So as we were reflecting on day at dinner, Doug says, "well, I think we all got a lot accomplished." I piped up that perhaps I was a little lazy, but then said... "Hey, I was VERY busy. I'm growing a life over here!" Doug and Rebekka laughed, and Doug said, "Well, maybe you divided a few cells..." Too funny.

Tummy update: Just about grown out of one of my dress pants, and my jeans that used to be slightly baggy in the tummy/waist are now tight. Have graduated to wearing all my XL t-shirts that used to be roomy. Problem with those, is that they either advertise bands I've seen in concert or the Corner Bar in Kalamazoo. Heh.

Life without the kitties is less stressful, but we sure do miss them. We find ourselves still thinking they're in the house, then remembering. I had a very hard time putting Roman to bed the last couple nights, because when I sit next to his bed to sing, Pippen always came in for a rubdown. I sure miss them.

Last bit of sad news, I received word that a former student of mine took her own life on Wednesday night. I guess it's a "rite of passage" that every teacher goes through, but it sure was upsetting.

I leave you with some funny Romanisms - questions he has asked this week in the car. Funny where his mind goes sometimes. Remember, these are "out of the blue" questions he just out and asked:
"What is a sno-cone?"
"Is chicken meat?"
"Why do cars go fast?"
"Why is your school a no-hugging school?" (he heard me say that to a couple kids)

His little brain just soaks up so much!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Roman and my growing body

Poor guy. Roman is having a hard time cuddling with me already, what with the "don't stick your elbow there!" "Don't bash your head into Mama's belly!" and last night's favorite, which almost made me toss him out of his bed because it was so tender, "will you STOP bouncing your head against my breasts!"

While most of the unpleasantness has gone away (nausea, feeling like I'm in a fog, constant hunger) some things have remained or gotten worse (breast soreness, every-three-hours hunger, having no memory whatsoever). I am officially in my 13th week. I have identified 2 dress shirts I can already no longer wear, and my t-shirts are pretty much a joke - not because of my belly yet, but my breasts are so much larger that my shirts are either too short, or too snug. So I've already worn a maternity shirt (ahh... length and room!) and after trying on 2 different tops today, finally to go with the long drape-y one, I think it's time to buy a couple more maternity shirts. Sweaters I think I'm okay with.... it's this in-between weather that makes things difficult. Pants-wise, I just use a safety pin or what have you, and away I go.

I have developed quite a belly in the last couple years anyway, thanks to Ben & Jerry & highly processed "warm and go" dinners. So while I am just 13 weeks along, my belly (to me) looks more like 4 or 5 months along. A lady at church laughed and said no, not really - maybe 3-1/2 to 4 months. Roman confirmed this last night. He was brushing teeth and I was half admiring, half irritated with my belly that I can't suck in anymore. I showed it to Roman, who said with wide eyes, "it's halfway big already!" After we talked about that a minute, Roman said, "turn around." I did, curious, until he blurted out "...and your butt's getting bigger, too!" I had to laugh. Then complain to Doug that I'm on my way to being a beached whale.

Thoughts for today: It's International "Talk Like A Pirate" Day. And the cats are going to heaven at 4:45pm this afternoon.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Foolish names

Keeping in mind our first child, consider the following possibilities of names for our unborn:

Roman and:
Greek

Roman and:
Ramona

Roman and:
Ramone

Or we could combine names, like this:
D'amelia
Romy
Rug
Amman

Any other good ones you can think of?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The emotional roller coaster ride

I haven't yelled at Doug for anything stupid (yet), but I burst into tears at the slightest things. The smallest events that before would not even phase me, cause me to break down into torrents of grief. Weird. Wish I had the emotional highs that go with this form of manic depression, but alas...

I am getting more excited about the impending baby. I don't think I'll ever be one that is THRILLED (as everyone keeps saying I should be). Perhaps because it was unplanned and really, really not expected. I feel bad, because I know that Doug is really excited. Even Roman is coming around, and Rebekka thinks everything is great about it. Here is what I think when people say "aren't you just THRILLED?!"

No. I've got a growing parasite that is wreaking havoc on my body, one that I never planned on having and frankly, was okay with not having. I spend much of my time obsessing over miscarriage and Downs Syndrome, amongst other genetic abnormalities, because I don't know squat about my own medical history. Did you know every 1 in 150 children are now born with a form of autism? My ligaments are stretching, so says my doctor, which caused me such pain yesterday morning that I doubled over and couldn't walk, not to mention tie Roman's shoe. I want to either eat or sleep every moment of the day. And I want more Coke than 12 oz. a day. And we have nothing in the house that will fit a newborn, and we have no accessories in the house for a newborn, so just when we thought we were going to be financially ahead for once now that Roman will be out of daycare, we have to buy formula and diapers all over again. (and the ever-present thought: why should I be thrilled? Because adopting was the substitute?)

Okay, fit over.

In other very sad, emotional news, which probably led me to post the above, I have just scheduled the cats to be put to sleep next Wed. the 19th at 4pm. Their wetting around the basement has increased, leading to ruined seat cushions and actual peeing next to Roman's toys. We can't have a baby on the floor when there are puddles to dodge.

I am now going to drink a Coke, have a pb&j sandwich because I can't go more than 2 hours without food, and take Roman to a bookstore. Where I will buy a book of baby names. Because really, it is kind of neat that we're having a baby.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Yeah, so...

There you have it. You've all received mail, if you're the kind I speak to at least every 3 months (unless you live overseas - sorry Beth!). And I'm with child, just turning into my twelfth week. To summarize:

Harry Potter weekend. Doug and I rented a hotel room, ate at Ponderosa, I ate almost an entire bag of gummy bears, and the book was read. Sunday, felt bad. Maybe it was the gummy bears. Monday, felt worse. Maybe it was Ponderosa. Tuesday, called Doug at work and told him something just wasn't right, I couldn't shake the nausea. He offered to buy a home pregnancy test. I told him he was mad, but if he wanted to waste the money, so be it. Yeah. Well. It was positive. Found out on Tuesday, July 24. Rebekka came to stay July 26. Talk about a crazy week!

So all throughout our trip to San Fran, Family Camp, and the start of school...nausea. But that's been it, pretty much. Feelings lots weird cramps, aches, things like that - my uterus moving around, and such. I gotta tell you, the first month or so we were in a state of shock. Not only was it supposed to be very difficult for us, after our round of pill-fertility drugs, it was supposed to be downright impossible to get pregnant without surgery or serious pharmaceutical help. Even my doctor thought the nurse had switched files when he saw what I was in for!

So we spent a month in shock, which I like to refer to as "oh crap, now what do we do?!" Then we spent the 2nd month in general acceptance, such as "well, I guess we better clean out the storage unit" and "I guess it's good we didn't buy that house in Plymouth, since we now have to buy infant stuff again." But now, it's much more exciting. Everyone knows, including Rebekka and Roman, and they're both excited in their own ways. We're doing a family outing to my ultrasound in October to find out the gender.

Cravings? Except for sleep and lots of food, not much. I will say that cinnamon applesauce is the BEST food invention yet. When you're thirsty, it quenches you. When you're hungry, it tides you over. It's healthy, but it's sweet. Simply amazing. And lemonade, being my major substitute for Coke. Countrytime, man. The best.

A few lessons learned from all this: When God tries to tell you something and you ignore it, he'll teach you in a bigger way. Don't plan out your life, because God is going to say "Um, no, actually, it's MY plan for your life." And what many have said to us, and I'm beginning to believe - when you live as a Christian, you are blessed. Doug and I have been trying to live more (and this is going to sound odd, coming from me) by Christian rules - many people we know SAY they are Christians, but do not LIVE as Christians. We have been trying to live that way. And taking in Rebekka, to us, was a natural extension of that. Wendy, a good friend from church, immediately pointed out that God is rewarding us for living as Christians. That could definitely be possible.

All I know for sure is that based on what I was taking in meds, eating, and drinking the first 4 weeks, plus making it into week 12 based on my medical history, this kid has something special planned for its life. Not that I don't think that about every kid, but seriously - steroids for asthma, poor diet, drank heavily a couple weekends after pregnancy, and am 3x more likely to miscarry.... and this baby is bound and determined to be alive. Amazing.

Did I mention how I am not happy at ALL about physically carrying this child? And the up and down emotions of feeling that adopting is still better than giving birth? But that's another day!

Friday, September 07, 2007

COMING SOON....

Watch your "snail" mail, gentle readers... a major topic change of my blog is coming soon! In fact, even the title may have to be changed...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A whirlwind

Yesterday was something else. I had Open House in the evening, so just stayed here at school to prep, have dinner with a couple coworkers, and do an errand. When I got home after a very long day on my feet, Rebekka was waiting to tell me all about her first day. She sounded like she enjoyed it, as much as a 16-year-old can. She finally got her schedule (on the first day, that morning) and she is a sophomore, credit-wise, which we were beginning to suspect would happen. She is determined to take summer school and possibly night classes if she can swing it next semester. We told her to just pass this semester, first.

I'm having fun being on the "other side" of teachers for once. For instance, I didn't realize how much you could tell about a teacher from their parent letter. I predicted accurately what a couple of her teachers were like, down to age & craziness-level. I will have to go back and review my own letter!

I also had yet another "first" at my own Open House. Parents will shock me and say the strangest, funniest, or weirdest things sometimes. But this one tops all. A mother wanted me to be aware that her husband was being released from prison next month, where he's been since 1998, and for me to be aware in case there are behavior changes in her daughter. Um, okay... mark another one down that I've not heard yet! Wow.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Tomorrow - the big day

Our house had a storm cloud over it on Saturday. As most of you may know, the "BIGGEST UPSET IN THE HISTORY OF FOOTBALL!" happened in Ann Arbor, when Appalachian State beat Univ. of Michigan. Doug took it, overall, quite well - aside from throwing his hat on the ground. He actually missed the last play on the radio, which I think was good. Too much tension, really. More sulking ensued on Sunday when all the newspapers had it... and I'm sure more will happen tomorrow, when the actual rankings come out. Ah well... I'm at least glad he doesn't work with so many MSU fans now.

School begins tomorrow for Roman and I, and Rebekka will get her schedule as her school starts Wednesday. I think it will be sad news for her - credit wise, she's probably a sophomore. Tomorrow will be telling for her. I have a half day but this is the first year I feel entirely unprepared. Among the blogged activities (and those yet to be blogged) happening at home the past few weeks, I have not had time to sit in my classroom and just plan. Every year for the past 7 years I have had the opportunity to have at least one day (usually last Friday) to plan, to make sure everything's in the right spot, to have my books marked to the right place, to have overheads or papers ready... this year, I spent Friday at home because of Rebekka. No blame, just different. So I really do feel like the kids are coming tomorrow and I am totally unprepared. I know it's not true, and I can certainly "sing and dance" for 20 minutes a class. But the feeling remains.

Roman will have new friends this year. Roman is in the Red Room, and his best buddy Garrett (whom we like) is in the Blue Room. So Roman is sad about that. We'll see who else is in the Red Room tomorrow.

And now - off to pack my lunch, some snacks, and go to bed early.

Friday, August 31, 2007

to blog an adoption trip

My friend's husband's sister (got that?) recently returned from Ethiopia with their new daughter. She's made the comment on her own blog that she is having a hard time organizing thoughts and starting to blog about their trip. For a variety of reasons, I know where she's coming from. I don't think I blogged much about Russia when we returned... the impact of a new kid in the house superceded for a long our impressions of our journey.
Plus, we had the benefit of computer access (for a price, as everything in Russia) so we emailed our loved ones the pertinent information. We verbalized a lot with our pictures to those who were looking at them, but blogging... not so much.

On the other hand I think, for people who are emotionally invested, although far away, from the new arrival probably want to hear about an adoption trip. People who are adopting soon, too, want details. It's hard... when pregnant, everyone close can share in the bulging belly, the monthly updates or stories, and "relate" to it. When it's time for the baby to be born, most people "know" what the story is - rush to the hospital, hours of labor, with the production of a kid. Adoption is so different. Traveling to a foreign country, especially one like Russia or Ethiopia, is something most people won't do. So I can understand why people would want stories and pictures.

Again, to swing to the other side, there are some things that can never be explained properly. I can never talk to anyone adequately, except Doug, about the Infectious Disease ward where we first saw Roman. The inexplicable fear that gripped us knowing he was so sick, even though we'd never met him. There are sights and smells that are so imprinted in us, that are so much a part of the experience that can't be conveyed. The pine trees. The mountains that are piles of rocks. The swamps probably full of dead bodies from Stalin's time. The smell of the water. Washboard snow covered roads. The absolute silence at the monastery in the woods. The dirt road that meant we were almost at the Baby Home.

So we explain as best as we can... by now, 3 years later, we have "pat" answers and explanations we tell people, so they can know a generalized version of our trip. SO my thought to my Ethiopian-traveling friends is to blog the generalities for those who want to share in the celebration, and leave some to yourself.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Back to School

I went back today for the beginning of marathon meetings - 2-1/2 days of designing formative & summative assessments. Ack. Gag. Although it's not as bad as it sounds... the 8th grade Social Studies dept., usually known for being better friends with each other than most other departments (and therefore get less work done), actually created "Power Standards" and began aligning them with the summative assessments we already have. Impressive, no?

Roman is showing all the signs of too much excitement back to preschool. Some of his buddies are trickling back from a summer away (Garrett was there today!) and his exhaustion and crying over silly things tonight is proof of an exhilerating day.

Rebekka goes tomorrow for orientation from 8-11am; meet principals, tour the school, "student leaders" give talks, etc. I, meanwhile, am going to play the role of pushy parent and ask the office why her counselor hasn't called to create a schedule for her. School starts next Wed. for her, and she has no idea what grade she's in. Nice.

Doug? Work as usual.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Another funny Roman thing; and a pic of Rebekka!

I did forget a funny thing he said in the car. Roman kept trying to roll down the window in the car. When we asked him why he had to have it down on the highway, he said "I need some fresh country air!" Too funny!

I've attached a picture of Rebekka to the bottom of the post, although she doesn't look quite like this now. She had an appt. at a salon today (for free) and got herself a new hairstyle and some more natural-looking blonder highlights. Got herself some bangs and everything!

It's been quite exciting around here the past two days due to the big thunderstorms. The civil siren went off both last night and tonight. Here they are very anxious; they set off that stupid horn just for "severe thunderstorms." On the west side, I don't think they ever use them except for high winds or tornadoes/water spouts. Here, now, I've heard it 3 times in six years. I don't believe I ever heard it living on the coast. Anyway, we headed to the basement last night with Roman quite scared but he eventually calmed down. Tonight we heard it briefly but decided to stay upstairs. It was a heck of a storm, but everything's fine - and power only flickered.

This weekend's a relaxing one. Our dryer died so they're coming to look at it in the morning. Rebekka is having a friend over in the afternoon. And I think after church, Sunday afternoon is movie day - Doug and Rebekka to the see The Simpsons, Roman and I to see Mr. Bean's Holiday.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Funny things Roman says

In the car ride on the way home from camping today, Roman was thoroughly entertaining. He would ask random questions, or say the funniest things. Here are two of my favorites:

"Why do people have watches?"
"Daddy, I love you. I love you as much as I want to play with the Legos in the box when we get home."

Adventures for us this week: register Rebekka for school, get her state ID (so she can open a bank account), I am going to work a morning at school when kids pick up their new schedules, perhaps host one of Rebekka's friends from the girl's home for dinner (we've met the friend's family already), it's "Castles" week at preschool for Roman (dragons and make your own shield!), and I have to start getting my parent letter retyped and prepared. I have one week of summer vacation left.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Back from San Francisco

We all had a vacation, and we all came back somewhat refreshed. Roman spent 5 days with my parents, Rebekka spent 5 days with her family, and we spent 5 days in SF with Doug's family. So everyone was happy. We missed Ro like crazy, worried about Rebekka, but still ended up having a very good time!
We did Napa and hit 5 wineries, took a trolley "bus" tour, visited Alcatraz, and did some shopping both in the "high end" district & in Chinatown. Had some amazing meals, too. Even a 3-hour time change got us this time, however... we must be getting old.

Posted all my pictures over at Snapfish. Email me if I didn't send you the link to see them.

Riding a trolley car tour

Waiting for my prison supplies at Alcatraz

Checking our course on the Pampanito submarine

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Summer winding down

This is the first summer I think I'm looking forward to summer ending. Perhaps because so much is happening in August that I'm feeling rushed. Got a trip to California, a Family Camp, and then I'm at school. Rebekka changes things too, we have to help register her at school one of these days. Plus, my days here at home now are different than previous typical summer days, and I want to go back to what is familiar. Although at the same time, I'm not ready to meet parents, set up rules again, etc. I feel that my brain hasn't had enough "down time." In a couple weeks Roman will be back at his preschool for 2 days, and I'll be able to head into school and start organizing my space - and my head.

This past week seemed so SLOW to me. So different with a third person around. It's not bad, just different. I'm in charge of Roman and I tell him how it is. Now I have to check with Rebekka, arrange things with her schedule. And Roman at VBS was strange too, home every day. Before he was at preschool at least one day a week.

Anyway... on the "selling the house" front, we haven't started up again, but we're talking about a possible plan of attack in case we want to try again. Definitely lowering our price (and profit), but looking at houses in Plymouth & Canton about $20,000 less than we had looked at, with the possibility of major upgrades in the future. Doug actually found a 4-BR house in Plymouth that was really a duplex (apts. up and down) but could be reunited. That would be a fun thing to tackle one day. He and I both like old, historical homes and thought one day we'd like to refurbish one. Not REMODEL (unless "This Old House" was going to come help us), but it would be neat to restore things. We also are reconsidering the thought that we may just have to make an equal-size-house move to afford Plymouth. A 3-BR ranch or bungalow, around the same square footage (but w/garage) would be just affordable in downtown Ply. Eh, we'll see.

Rebekka is with us until October, then some things will fall into place - will she want to go back home, stay with us, use us as an escape? Who knows. Lots could happen by then. She commented to Doug that she feels so lazy. He told her to enjoy it, as she'll be so busy when school starts. I say, maybe she could paint our front door. :) She's definitely going to school with me and helping carry all my crap, and start to decorate the room. She's got a good eye. She's been invited to breakfast with our youth group on Tuesday morning, and a canoe trip in a couple weekends. I hope she takes advantage of it. She's nervous about meeting kids her age, but at the same time really would like to have some friendly faces in the halls when she starts school.

As for Roman, he likes having Rebekka here. We have checked with him a couple times to see how things are going, what he likes, what he doesn't like about her here. He has informed us he likes it so much he ALWAYS wants a big kid in the house. When I asked about a little kid, he said absolutely NOT. His life got sweeter today - his gun (the cowboy rifle) broke when he was playing with it, and since he had not spent all his birthday money we told him we could try to find a replacement. We did - a Nerf "blaster." He's happy shooting suction-cup darts at the wall. He also is revisting his Spiderman phase. Wore his costume to the grocery store the other day and entertained the checkers and baggers.

Tonight at dinner, he sighed and said quite forlornly, "I wish I was a Jedi Knight, like Luke." His Daddy said he wished he was one, too. I just rolled my eyes - and they say I'm a nerd!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

all the parts of an adoption

Today, finally, FINALLY... we applied for Roman's "delayed registration of foreign birth." Meaning, he can have a Michigan-looking birth certificate. We should have done this when we first got back, but we had to go downtown Detroit, Doug had to take a day off, etc., etc... and the months flew by.

So we turned in the paperwork today at 1:30. When the cert. arrives in the mail, we can apply for his American passport, just like all the other millions of citizens who have to do it before 2008. But this really is the last step of the adoption... before he's 18 and has to (hopefully) give up his Russian citizenship.

Otherwise, all is well here. Learning each other's schedules, habits, tastes. It's weird not having any time to myself at ALL now. Usually I would have Roman's rest time, or when he was at preschool... but not anymore! And talk about taxi driving... Rebekka was still going back for art classes to finish some things, so I'd take her out there, drop Roman at VBS (which he's having a great time, by the way), then pick her up, and then pick Roman up... get lunch... whew! I'm actually looking forward to school starting!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Off to a good start

Rebekka has been here for 24 hours now, and all is going well. She has homework of making out a schedule of her days, so that's been easy to do for the next few days. A large grocery shopping excursion was accomplished today at Meijer and we're all much happier now that snacks and real meal ingredients are back in the house.

Tomorrow is the first Saturday I'll be home since June 16. Amazing, isn't it? But clothes shopping is on the agenda for Rebekka, so that will be fun. She's a typical teenager - a ton of hygiene products (as she calls them), lotions, etc. She's happily downloading music on my old computer as she has lost a lot of the CDs she used to have. And she made a trip to the library already and came back with a great book. So things are settling in... next week Roman is in VBS all week and so is home EVERY afternoon. May have to take a trip to the local pool, as Reb. has been asking about that as well. We'll see!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

We expand tomorrow

Tonight has been busy, putting the burgundy room together as Rebecca's room. The futon was moved downstairs, and a Monday night shopping spree at IKEA got us the basics - bed, beside table, mattress, bedside lamp, linens, a mirror, etc. Roman got some things out of it too, because we didn't want him to feel left out -and because it's time to upgrade him into "young kid" stage from the nursery colors. Roman chose to make his room a castle. Weird, huh? We totally thought he was going to go for the outer space idea. But he was taken with the dragons and the flickering torch lamp (which I now want a dozen lining my hallway). So he got a new carpet, the flickering torch lamp, and some shelves that hang for lightweight "treasures." I'm thinking of designing a banner for him to hang on the wall.

Rebecca arrives officially at 3pm tomorrow. There will be a roundtable discussion of her expectations both at our house, and through her outpatient counseling. She doesn't start her counseling until Tuesday, however, giving us a few days to all "settle in."

Will update as it goes... we're both pretty tired, having stayed up until 2am Monday night to finish the seventh Harry Potter book. And tomorrow is a pretty big adjustment day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

We met the girl...

She can't go by "the girl" any longer. Her name is Rebecca. We had our first meeting tonight with her, about an hour. We both took an instant liking to her - and both secretly wish this wasn't a 90-day placement! She came in and introductions were made. Roman and I gave her the tour of the house, and she was very quiet, soaking it all in. When we went downstairs she asked me a couple questions about teaching. Roman was great at filling in the gaps, showing her Star Wars characters, bouncing on his bed, etc.

Back upstairs, Sarah (the social worker) said "Well, why don't you start off giving them some background on why you are here today." Rebecca was clearly nervous about telling us this, did not make eye contact. Then she had written a list of questions she had for us, which were very good and well thought out. There was no awkward silence during the visit, which is good.

Arrangements were made for a longer visit this coming Tuesday; she will be brought to our house around 2pm, and picked up around 7pm, so she can spend more time with us and get a feel for our "routine." If all goes well, and both sides agree on Wednesday in separate conversations with Sarah, then she will join our household for 90 days on Thursday. Yup, that quick. We really liked her and can't wait to see her gain some steadiness and support in her life.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

school

I don't know what it's like for all teachers, I can only attest to the ones I work with. We joke about our summers and how by the time we decompress from the previous school year, and start to gear up for the next school year, we have, like, a month of summer. I write this because I am going to give you a sneak peek into my teacher's brain.

When do teachers start thinking about the next school year? Well, for one coworker it's July 5. He says he gets bored after that and wants to go back and teach. Another teacher says its August 1st, because it's the month we have to report back. For me, it begins in small amounts. Last week, for instance, I was on the computer and a thought came to me out of the blue - "I should probably start cleaning up and updating my parent letter." Then I thought, "Egads! I still have a couple weeks." So I put it out of my mind. Then a coworker called a couple days after and casually mentioned she was thinking of stopping in to school, "just to poke around the classroom and see what's going on." And I thought, I want to, too! But I had shoved the thought away again.

Until today. We were driving home from camping (a 3-hour drive) and my mind was wandering, and I began to think about school again. This time, it was things I might want for the classroom - office-supply-wise. I love shopping at office supply stores. I love school supplies. I love file folders, labels, highlighters, binder clips, and especially Post-It notes in multiple colors. Honestly, you want to make me grin from ear to ear, the best present EVER would be Haribo gummy bears, Post-It notes, and some binder clips in one box. Nirvana! But I digress...

Soon, within a couple weeks, my mind will begin to converge the three random thoughts.... visit the classroom, go school-supply shopping, update the parent letter... and I'll be back into teacher-mode again.

Time elapsed from when I stopped thinking about school, until I had my first thought about the new school year? Approximately 24 days.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

new people in my life

The past 3 days has brought an interesting twist. First (and brief) was the announcement that a new principal has been selected for my school. It's the guy I had been hoping for, not knowing the out-of-district candidates, so I am pleased with that. I actually met him my first day working for the district as a substitute, and know his wife as she's a social studies teacher at one of the high schools. So things are positive on that front. Here's to hoping our VP decides to take a leave of some sort, and we can get some discipline going too. Or maybe the new principal will force some changes on that front... one can hope.

Next, is that we've got a teenager on the horizon. Got a call Monday from Sarah, our social worker. She has the complete opposite situation than what we were expecting - a temporary girl to house. Not that she's a girl temporarily, but that she would be with us hopefully only 90 days. We've decided to say yes, move forward and see what this brings, like a "practice round." We should be receiving her "file" in the next couple days, and there is a meeting with the girl on Friday (not with us) to explain the proposition of her living with us temporarily. If she agrees to moving forward as well, an initial visit will be scheduled. We should hear Friday afternoon or Monday.

This has prompted us to finally do the necessary household work of getting the third bedroom ready for full-time occupancy. This also, long story, involved rearranging the basement, but I'd been thinking about it for awhile so I am quite happy to try a different arrangement. So if all moves ahead next week with a meeting, then it's off to IKEA to buy a basic bed, nightstand... I thought of a couple other things that are necessary. We already had a bookshelf in there, and are putting the desk in there as well (that was in storage). No dresser, the closet has an organizer in it so it's not necessary. Anyway...

Roman is pretty good about it. He was pleased with the idea of a girl, and asked if she'd be as nice as Miss Katie. I said probably, but not to expect her to play all the time; I would still do that. It's the temporary notion that I've found a little more difficult to explain; I said that the girl's parents need to learn how to be a family and practice what families do, and if they can do that, then she will move back home with them. Which is true, for the most part.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A lesson in tolerance

Roman said the oddest thing tonight, but it was very touching. My guess is that he is learning about accepting "different" people at Red Bell, but it was amazing nonetheless.

He had been playing Lego Star Wars with his Daddy, and they can choose to be different characters. He also had been looking at his book with all the different characters. Roman out of the blue said, "Know what? The weird people in Star Wars are just people... they're not weird, they are people." We agreed and Doug said that it was really good of Roman to realize that. Then Roman kept going... "Even though they look weird, they are not, because they are people. And we don't have to understand... you just click on them anyway." He said this while crossing his little arms on the table and resting his chin on his arm. And for a 4 year old it was so profound, it brought tears to my eyes.

Now, I don't want to give Red Bell all the credit - a pat on our own backs because we're trying really hard to not identify people by how they look, even down to fat or skinny. We will talk about their clothes ("the girl in the green dress") or where they were standing, or what they said. And one time, when we did described an African-American girl's skin as "dark," Roman held up his arm and asked so innocently, "darker than mine?" Proof that children learn every little bit of their prejudices.

Thunder Over Michigan!

The name itself oozes excitement, doesn't it? Our family went to the air show on Sunday hosted by the Yankee Air Museum. I went to an air show once in Kalamazoo, but Doug (and obviously, Roman) had never been. We met up with some friends when we got there, who are plane enthusiasts and have been going for years. IT WAS AWESOME!! As we pulled into line to pay the gate fee, an F-16 "Fighting Falcon" was having its fun blasting around. I think we all got neck cramps trying to see out the windows watching it shoot straight up into the sky, do loop-de-loops, and all kinds of cool stuff.

As we parked, the F-16 then escorted 3 P-51 Mustangs around the airfield. As with any WWII aircraft, I got tears in my eyes - I've never seen a P51 fly before. How very cool. You can see the whole schedule of events that we saw if you click here. We walked around the static displays and Roman fell in love with the "shark plane," a P-40 painted with big scary teeth. There was also a Russian MiG, various other WWII fighters, and lots and lots of B25 Mitchell bombers. In fact, they were flying 15 of them; that's 1/3 of the entire able-to-fly B25s in the WORLD.

The air show ended with a fantastic show by the Blue Angels. I found a 9 minute clip of their show on YouTube if you want to see it. It was awesome. Of course, it was also about 90 degrees but luckily there was lots of wind, both from the planes & just because it's such a flat area. And Roman has decided maybe he wants to be in the Air Force now. He was adorable, we bought him a little metal plane (F-14) and as the Blue Angels performed, he had his jet do all the tricks that he was seeing them do. Really cute.


Roman intently following the Blue Angels' aerial tricks.

5 of the 15 B25 Mitchell bombers

The P40 "Shark Plane"


The movie-plane "Memphis Belle," a B17 Flying Fortress. The actual one is in restoration at the Air Force Museum in Ohio. Roman loved the gun.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy USA Day!

Roman has been calling the 4th of July "USA Day." Cute little ring to it. We went to Greenfield Village last night for their "Salute to America." Gates opened at 6pm, picnics were allowed. We went with Roman's friend Max and his mom, because dad is in Pennsylvania starting his new job. (side note: yup, it's true: the economy IS forcing people out of Michigan).

Anyway, we secured a spot on a more level area of the hill overlooking the food tent and the side of a stage. At 8:00pm there was a 5x flyby of a B-25D bomber from WWII, the same kind Doolittle flew over Tokyo after Pearl Harbor. It was SO cool. Doug was so entranced he didn't even remember to take a picture. He reports the bomb bay doors were open; Roman and I were in a different spot at the time and Ro didn't like the noise at first, so I didn't notice. What chills I got, though, to see that baby fly!

At 8:30 the Detroit Symphony Orchestra began their concert of patriotic favorites. They finished with "1812 Overture" which I can hear every day and not get tired of it. Real cannons, of course, provided by a reenactment group. That was just too cool. While the Overture was playing, I was telling Roman about the story behind the song... he asked for more battle music and stories afterward. Too cute. Even classical music can be exciting when people are introduced to the stories behind the music.

Anyway, right after the Overture ended, the fireworks began and the orchestra accompanied with more favorites - "Washington Post March" and "Stars & Stripes Forever," along with that "Bridge Over theRiver Kwai" song. Roman loved the fireworks and stayed awake... for the beginning. He did call out "Sparkles!" a couple times, and commented on the really BIG ones, and then - asleep. He fought it valiantly, trying to force his eyes open, but he just couldn't do it.

All in all it was a great show, fun too because beforehand there was a Drum & Fife Corp, and wandering Barbershop Quartet and Ladies' group. And I close on this, America's 231st birthday (of course, the Rev. War started in 1775, but the Declaration was signed in 1776), with the conclusion of Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address. It was short & to the point, and in this time of war in Iraq, Afghanistan, not to mention the "global" war against terrorism, I thought it was appropriate.

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Adoption thoughts

Roman will ask interesting things about his adoption sometimes. According to my favorite adoption book, "The Lifelong Search for Self," which talks about the general "stages" that an adoptee goes through, Roman is in the "Becoming a person, becoming a thinker, and parroting the adoption story" stage. This is very evident in some of his questions. For example, we have been talking about names. First name, last name, and people will often comment on his first name and how "unusual" or "unique" it is. Now I personally don't think so, but then...

Anyway, Roman asked me the other day after a visit to the doctor's office, after his medical history in Russia was discussed, if he had a Russian name. I thought this was a brilliant leap of intelligence for him. I told him that he did, and told him what his last name was in Russia. He giggled because it sounds funny, and didn't say anything else.

A few days later, seemingly out of the blue, he asked if anyone else had his Russian name. Now, is that brilliant or what?! I explained that his birthmom had a matching last name, but when he was adopted by us, we gave him our own last name. He was satisfied with this, apparently, and I try never to give more information at this stage than what he asks. (the same goes for talking about sex, by the way - at this age, they really do want only the answers to their questions, not a long drawn-out explanation.)

But how interesting, really, and I imagine he had turned this "Russian last name" idea around in his head quite a few times and thought about it before asking me his second question. Definitely a thinker.