Thursday, July 31, 2008
It is a couple, and half of another couple (the other wife is not willing to leave the grandkids!). They are currently around Toronto, and expect to sail West around the world. The wife & other members of the families will meet them at various spots around the world. How cool is that? Dream of a lifetime. But we can all go along with them, so to speak.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
CELEBRATIONS: Kristen is getting married in September, & my best girl buddies helped her celebrate! Obviously Kristen in the middle; Nicole & Sheryl on the left; Angela on the floor (don't ask!); & me on the right.
PEOPLE WE LOVE: Got to see my childhood friend and her baby "tobo," born in mid-March (like Charlie was supposed to!). Friends since 1st grade, and due dates within a week of each other. Isn't that something?
EVERYDAY LIFE: Charlie was moved up to a "big baby" tub. And the only caption I can think here is, "uh, Mama? What're you doing down there?!"
Everyday Life, continued: This was taken just a day or two ago. Roman is quite willing to interact with Charlie now, even playing (for very short bursts) and showing him toys. I captured this when I was supposed to be in the kitchen, but was peeking at my boys!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Ro started VBS this week at our church, with the focus on obedience, compassion, kindness, etc. He went tearing through his Bible this morning trying to find the story of Abraham & Sarah, which they learned about yesterday. He got a little bookmark to mark the story, and very proudly took his Bible with him today to show his teacher. Deep down he wants to please, & we have to keep remembering that.
We discovered last night in Operation: No More 3am, that we have to change our tactic. Charlie definitely needs the calories at 3am, based on the carrying on he was doing at 5:45 this morning. We were cutting back the amount of formula, just 6oz water with just 2 scoops of formula. And he was starving. So we're going back to getting him up at 10 or 10:30pm and shoving some more ounces down his gullet to see if he can make it to at least 5am.
In weight loss, Doug proudly reported Monday that he is 1lb. away from his 10% loss. I am unofficially 5-6 lbs away from my own 10%. I don't know about Doug, but I have begun getting comments such as "you're looking good!" Especially at church, where we hadn't been in weeks. So clearly it's beginning to show, which is nice. The boys & I are off to a coworker's pool this afternoon. Beautiful warm day, some grown-up talk... should be nice.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Roman does appear to be recovering from the trauma of springtime when his world was turned upside down. He also appears to be getting ready for school, as evidenced by an increasing attitude, giving "lip," and refusing to follow our directions because he knows everything. Doug and I can't decide which is worse - not following directions/refusing to listen, or the constant arguments. Today was the worst. I hauled him out of church twice in the first 10 minutes because of his obstinance (refusing to sit, screwing around during hymn, & throwing his book on the floor when I gave it to him). Just one of the many examples I could share.
We have returned to Love & Logic to give us a boost. The phrase "I love you too much to argue" is going to be heard a lot around our house, probably combined with a lot of time in his room on Roman's part. For so many reasons, I can't wait for school to start.
Charlie has begun to use more vocal cords. A high-pitched short shriek has begun to emerge. It's not a distressed sound; when I went tearing into the next room to check on him the other day when I heard it, I found him smiling & shrieking. So between shrieking Charlie & disobeying Roman, it's been an interesting couple days.
One really neat thing that occurred, though, is that Charlie thoroughly missed his big brother. Roman went to visit Doug's parents for a couple days & the first day he was gone, Charlie was all out of sorts. Couldn't be consoled, I had to constantly move him around & keep him engaged. It finally occurred to me, when I said "big brother?" and his eyes lit up, that he missed watching Roman. When we reunited Friday evening, Charlie couldn't take his eyes off him. Really neat.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
My back is so messed up from when I was a transcriptionist, and the stress I carry (along with bad posture, extra weight, etc.) makes it so my muscles never quite heal. I always have knots or sore spots, and even have a large clunker in my left shoulder (from being left-handed, in general - have you ever tried to take notes in college with right-handed desks?). My right shoulder flared up with Roman early on but went away with PT... I should have known that eventually, adding a second child would bring it all back. It's to the point that I wake up at night when I change positions, because my right shoulder/neck is all cramped up.
Chiropractors are amazing. I don't know why I don't check in with one on a monthly basis. The pain in my shoulder, neck, & back after my first visit today has narrowed down to the source of the pain (my rhomboid muscle); all referred achiness is gone, my range of motion is better, and I didn't have a headache all day. Of course, the actual adjustment... oh, golly. I didn't know my spine could crackle in so many different places. I treated myself with a haircut & color afterward, & I return on Tuesday for some more bone-crackling.
Kids are fine... will update about them later. My laptop has gone into the fix-it shop for a couple days, so no photos.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I completed a project using pictures from the local fair. I think the original idea of the album was Disney, but I tried to use the more generic embellishments. I like how it turned out. The inside is envelopes, with tabs on sheets of paper/pictures to pull them out & view them.
I also am close to completing one of the wall hangings I purchased at the convention. I only had one photo that would work (upper left corner), and when I hung it on the wall to admire, a few hours later the heavier canvas embellishments fell off. Twice. So I have to decide whether SuperGlue is in my future, or whether to convert the canvas pieces to paper instead.
As summer begins its downhill slide, I begin to panic regarding my hobby. I feel like I'm barely getting organized and getting great ideas for pages - now that school will be starting, grad school starting, & the general busy-ness of life returns, it will be shoved to the side. I honestly could scrap every day and feel like I did something useful.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
However, Charlie. He is 18 lbs, 10.5oz, and has grown 2 inches in 2 months. Dr. has decided to hold off on PT as his legs appear somewhat better; she was not concerned about his arms since he does bring them to midline & also reaches out for toys. For the legs, we will encourage “Indian style” when he’s sitting on the floor. We also talked about feeding, & she’s thinking he might be playing us with the ol’ 3am-4am wakeup. If his last decent bottle is around 7:30 or 8pm, she said he should be able to hold himself 9-11 hours. She told us to start dropping the amount of formula in the 3am bottle; over the next few nights, have more water.
If he is still waking up at 3am wanting the water (meaning wanting a “full” feeling rather than calories), then we know he’s up to tricks and we have to decide how to handle it (crying it out, soothing and leaving, etc). Of course, we’re all geared up to start this routine & he doesn’t take much at his 7:30pm feeding tonight. Rough day, though, so we’ll let it pass. He had 4 shots plus an oral vaccination.
The rest of us all went to the dentist this afternoon. Picked a new one, as Doug hadn’t been in a few years, I was wanting a change, and we had to, HAD TO take Roman as we hadn’t taken him yet. A disaster. Roman was pretty good until they accidentally gagged him taking the x-rays. He fell apart when the chair went backward… he did all right for the hygienist, but when the dentist came in to “count his teeth” again, he began sobbing hysterically. They referred us to a pediatric dentist for his “extreme anxiety.” That’s what it says on the referral.
For Daddy, he’s the winner of a return visit to fix a broken filling; Mama is the winner of a return visit for a new crown! We both also have old silver fillings that are beginning to show wear (and decay underneath, from the metal contracting/expanding for 20 years or more) and dentist will fill us in more on that later. My other dentist had mentioned the silver fillings problem as well, so I knew a “fix” was coming.
So a busy day, and emotional for Roman. Tomorrow we’re taking it easy, visiting Meijer, and just hanging out at home.
Monday, July 21, 2008
And Charlie can't talk yet, but I know he's saying "this is awesome!" as well as he sits in his stationary walker. Look at that face - pure joy. It's the face that brings me pure joy every day.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Cloudy & a little cool today. Boys went in the water this morning anyway. Nicole & I went shopping this morning for a little girls' time, as I have lost a total of 15 lbs now and need new shorts. I have dropped 2 sizes! What a pleasure to try on clothes this time. Going to visit some old friends who are in the area & meet their new son later this afternoon. Then back here for a late dinner, and hopefully a pontoon ride. Roman has been looking forward to it but the men have tried to get him on the speedboat instead. That's a big no from him. We played the game "Knights & Cities," an expansion game for Catan, last night. I won for the 2nd time. I don't know if they'll let me play tonight.
PS: Dad, I apologize (with a giggle!). We will husk from now on!
Friday, July 18, 2008
Mid-morning Doug came home for an extended lunch, so I could go to Shay's funeral. He took Roman & Charlie to Roman's swim class, and I experienced a 2-hanky funeral. Saw some of my closer coworkers there, though. About 5 people got up to say something, including one of his former students, & one of my coworkers. It was a nice sendoff.
I then flew over to the pool to relieve Daddy & stayed to swim with Ro & Charlie about an hour. Charlie just locked up when I first got him in the pool, but he loosened up and appeared to enjoy it after about 5 minutes. Ro couldn't stop jumping in - not going under, but making big splashes.
Got home in time to finish packing for our mini-vacation. We have been invited to our friends' family cottage in Newaygo! It's on Sylvan Lake & they have fun toys like a speedboat & pontoon boat, as well as a big "diving" raft & nice shallow area where the boys can play (they have a 2-year-old). Roman kept insisting that he was NOT going to go in the lake, but it only took him about 30 min. looking out at the boats going by and he asked me if I had remembered his suit. I've taken pictures & a video already, will post sometime tomorrow. So far we've sat by the water while the boys splashed around, watched the boys play in the sandbox, and currently I'm on the computer while Doug naps with Charlie in his arms. Roman is out running around kicking a soccer ball (really!) while Paul shucks corn for dinner. Mmmm. I love weekends.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Charlie has a followup with the Early On person tomorrow. Basically to relay her formal report and tell us if they're going to open a file on him or not. If they do, it'll be to do check-ins every few months. I have noticed his tone has gotten better in his legs, and worse in his arms. He just doesn't want to raise them, especially over his head, and when I put them straight up he gets very grumpy with me. However, he is reaching out to play with overhead toys now. It's really fun to see. His grip is strong but he doesn't hold toys very long. I introduced a bead-chew-toy the other day and he likes it a lot, but when he can't get it to his mouth, he loses interest. He mouths everything. We have his 6-month ped. appointment next Tuesday and I'll be interested to see if she wants him to have PT or not.
Yes, that's Roman with his head under the water! WOOHOO! It took him 3 days, but he does it now. He doesn't like to go under a lot, but he will do it a few times during his class. He is very scared in the water. He's had 2 meltdowns in the middle of class; one because they were going to jump in the deep end, and one because they were going to kick on their backs without the teacher's support (but a floatie in their hands). His comment about jumping: "I will sink and drown." His comment about floating on his back: "I will go under and not get back up." He clearly has a fear of drowning that I don't know how to soothe. On the other hand, he loves playing in the water. I tried to tell him today that all these lessons will help him NOT to go under and stay under. I don't think I helped.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of having a babysitter for the afternoon, originally from 1-5pm but she stayed later so we could go to the visitation for Shay without kids. I spent 2 hours at our storage unit going through my school supplies (boxed since I went on a cart in 2004). I threw out probably 2.5 boxes of papers, bulletin board stuff, etc., and combined the rest into 5 boxes. I did have 8. Two are historical novels, 2 are research books or room decor that I may use again someday, and 1 is my Econ. class materials in case I ever teach it again.
I then spent 1.5 hours re-organizing baby clothes. I packed up the first box of baby clothes that I will never need again. There was one outfit that both Roman and Charlie wore, and when I packed it away there was a stab of sadness. But it’s also making room in our storage unit as I am shipping them off to a friend, so that outweighs the bittersweet! I brought back the first few toys that Charlie will be able to play with soon. I also brought home the exersaucer to clean up, but I think there’s more damage than can be fixed. 2 of the toys need to be removed (one because there’s a sharp piece from when Roman broke it, the other because there’s dark mildew (??) spots that I can’t get out). I tried to look for replacement parts, but Little Tikes doesn’t make exersaucers anymore and they no longer have parts in stock. So. We’re going to try to jerry-rig it but if it doesn’t work, we may be shopping at Babies R Us soon.
Monday, July 14, 2008
It's odd in so many ways. Mike had enough energy for 3 normal people. He retired after 31 years teaching Social Studies, but still coached basketball every year because he loved the contact with kids. He remarried about 6 years ago, and he & Bev were like schoolkids in love. We even caught them making out in a closet at a dance for the middle schoolers, when Shay was supposed to be taking pictures for the yearbook. It was great to see, because when I first met him in 2001 he appeared to be a "re-bachelor" for life. Doug and I were even invited to their wedding reception in their backyard, complete with mariachi band.
I didn't see Shay often; usually during the school year he'd swing through, say some funny things, and then I wouldn't see him again for a month or two. But it was Shay who recommended our financial advisor, Shay who took great interest in Roman (Shay's background is partially Ukrainian), Shay who always bought us new teachers a round of drinks after a hard week or a late night at conferences or a dance. And I think it's the suddenness of his death, being such an ordinary thing - who doesn't get on their roof once in awhile? - but clearly his fall was a hint at things to come. And his age, around my parents' age - don't like to think about that. Also makes me appreciate even more every night when Doug walks through the door.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Doug and I were able to get out on Saturday sans Roman and go to the Art Fair. I really enjoy it as it's a juried art fair - meaning the craftsmanship is usually top-notch. I was hoping for jewelry that was reasonably priced but unfortunately didn't find it. Did find some metal-sculptured flowers that were hand painted that I loved; if they don't have a price, however, I probably can't afford it. We did buy from our photographer-man, Zeny. I have been collecting his photos for years & years now. He has many from Russia that are just beautiful. We bought 2 (buy one get one free postcard!), a closeup of St. Basil's, and one of Church of Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg. We already have one of a snowy scene. The other I'd like to get is one of the people inside a church, titled "Worshippers." It's a scene we walked through many times as Dima showed us around. Looking at the picture Zeny took, I can smell the incense, feel the heat from the candles, hear the old women mumbling - I must get that picture.
Anyway, there was another artist that intrigued me this year - a young woman who makes leather-bound journals. She tans the leather, makes the paper, and then binds them herself. Very cool stuff. When I have a well-formed idea of what I would use one for, I'm going to buy one. Doug accused me of just wanting to have my own Red Book of Westmarch. Who wouldn't, really?
Roman spent a few hours with his Grandpa, going to a train expo in South Bend, IN, and then out to lunch at Dairy Queen. It was the highlight of his weekend. We also had an old friend of mine take some family photos down at the beach. She's trying to get a side business going in photography & offered to shoot us as practice. Of course! Should have some proofs in a couple weeks. And lastly, got to see my longtime friend Beth (along with Sheryl) Saturday night. Beth lives in Ireland & it's been about 18 months since I've seen her. It was great to catch up.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
When he got home he couldn't wait to show off his new moves. Ready stance, horse stance, punching, and then some of the exercises - the crab, the frog, pushups, & jumping jacks (in which he is totally uncoordinated) -he showed me them all.
I include the above picture because it shows an actual authentic smile, which he doesn't usually do for the camera. Anyway, the best part of the night was while Roman was showing off his punching moves on our Superman bopper. Charlie was in the swing watching, and Daddy was calling out "left! right!" When Roman landed an especially hard punch and then did a pratfall, Charlie began to laugh! Roman began punching Superman again, and Charlie had big belly laughs bubbling to the surface! We couldn't figure out if it was the noise of the punches, or Roman's spinning & pratfalls that was making him laugh, but Charlie was just in fits! It's the first time he has shown a laugh-reaction from something completely external; often we can get him to laugh with zrrbrrts or making sounds while we look at him. But this was wholly laughing at what someone else was doing. And it was such a pleasurable sound to hear!
Quickly, in weight update, Doug is down a total of 17 pounds now, and I'm down a total of 13. Even lost weight with our "slipup" over the holiday weekend! I have weight-trained one day in the basement, returned to the Rec Center again today, and will go back tomorrow and try my hand at swimming laps. It's been a couple years since I've swum more than a 50, so I'll have to take it nice and slow.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Roman began swim lessons yesterday. He is absolutely petrified of putting his whole face in the water, and he finally confessed this morning it was because he doesn’t want his eyes to hurt. He has a fear of water in his eyes in the bathtub, too. I must’ve scarred him for life with shampoo at some point in his babyhood. He is definitely not going to be the best swimmer; he bicycle kicks and is very tense when floating on his back. It’s possible things just haven’t “clicked” yet, & maybe we don’t expose him to water enough.
I was thinking last night, though. With a biological kid, you have an idea of what they might excel at; if music, art, or athletics runs in your family, you can pretty much figure your child will excel at one of those. My SIL is a good painter; her daughter is definitely showing signs of being artistic herself. But with an adopted child, it’s a guessing game. I have no idea what Roman might excel at. So we get to try him at everything. Not that we wouldn’t with Charlie, as we also don’t know what secrets lie in my side of the family; but we can kind of guess that he will be built like a football player & if he takes after his Daddy, he will not float well in a pool! But I wonder where Roman’s talents lie. Doug wants to enroll him in a 7-week introductory course of karate (since the last class didn’t pan out), and Roman thought the girls doing gymnastics looked like fun this morning.
Of course, Roman’s biggest kick comes from making people laugh. Physical comedy, especially, is what he loves. Pratfalls, silly noises… squeezing into Charlie's Bumbo, which supposedly only goes to 14 mos. but Ro fits into it... so who knows?
Monday, July 07, 2008
Goofing around before the concert. Poor Charlie is trying to sleep!
At the zoo Sunday. Clearly we didn't want a Penguinarium in our city!
Map boy. Roman would've spent half the day checking the maps & planning his route if we let him.
Riding the zoo train! At the end of a great (hot!) day.
Our spoiled family; Roman got a new pet giraffe (complete with leash); I got a new t-shirt.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
So this week is a wash, weight-wise. However, we have noticed great things happening. Like I've mentioned earlier, my pants are looser, and I went another notch into my belt. Doug finally complained yesterday - he needs a new smaller belt, he's on his last notch and it's still too loose! His 4th of July star-spangled shirt fit much, much better this year, and I'm beginning to notice a difference in him as well. I did also make it under that big round number by a half-pound; I'll have to try again now, I think. :)
We found we're having a hard time staying in our points range currently, going "over" a bit each day. That's not a problem, but we also don't want to keep dipping into our flex points, so we did something AMAZING today - joined the Rec Center. We toured it, are happy with the options, & now are going to sit down tonight and figure out a schedule for us to go work out. I have to pay to put the boys in the playroom (can you believe it?! 7.00 for both kids, a total of 2 hours though) but I'm certainly not paying that every other day. But I'm excited, want to get on those machines or in that pool!
But I must sign off... Doug just came home with Roman & new-to-Roman golf clubs (a 5-wood and a 7-iron) and a new portable DVD player. Since Ro & I broke ours.
Friday, July 04, 2008
In the Detroit Free Press editorial section today, they posed a question: "What Is An American?" It's the same question I pose to my eighth graders on day 2 or 3 of school to open our first unit. A group called the Bradley Project has a website dedicated to this, having polled 2400 Americans on their beliefs & thoughts about our country. Their sound-byte quote from the report is scary to me:
“America faces an identity crisis. The next generation of Americans will know less than their parents know about our history and founding ideals. And many Americans are more aware of what divides us than of what unites us. We are in danger of becoming not ‘from many, one’—E Pluribus Unum—but its opposite, ‘from one, many.’”
On this, the 232nd birthday of America, let's try to focus on what makes America great - the people. And what should be our core belief that we are one of the most free nations on this Earth & should stay that way; and it's because our founding fathers had a good idea. The Great Experiment, what some of them called our Constitution. And it's still working. That's something to celebrate.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
"Tell me about the movie!"
I don't want to talk about it. When it's on video, then you can watch it.
"What about McDonald's?"
We didn't go in. We ate in the car. That's all there is.
We went to Coldstone. I had strawberry with gummies.
"Did you have fun?"
Yes, but Evan was mean to me.
"I heard you were mean part of the time, too."
Yes, well, I'm older so I'm the boss of him.
Needless to say, he's in his room right now for a nap! He's exhausted, and therefore rude. His eyes are "itchy" and that's why he's rubbing them (yeah, right - he can barely keep them open!) & my offer of a song before naptime elicited a "No way! That will make me fall asleep!" Boys.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
This past Saturday we celebrated our town's birthday with a fair. It's free to get in, but boy did it cost us for rides! Roman is the perfect age for going on most of the kiddie rides, and Daddy and I even got in a ride apiece. Charlie spent time in a new stroller (well, our Jeep one from Roman's days) and did very well in it. It was cooler than his carseat-stroller, and it reclines almost all the way down for good naps!
Sunday I traveled to Kalamazoo to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of my friend Kristen. There were close to 25 people there and it was a good time!
Today we had the referral for Charlie from Early On. The official word: he is not developmentally delayed at all. In fact, for a preemie he is ahead in some areas, & a little behind in others. She reminded me again that he is a PREEMIE no matter what new tricks he can do, and we have to stick to his adjusted age for most developmental expectations. However, she did agree that he has some rigidity (tone) in his legs & a little bit in his arms, and said if our pediatrician is still concerned, we should go ahead & get a referral for PT. She is going to check back for another visit in a couple weeks, and we have a ped. appt. the week after that. So we'll see what happens after we talk to them all again.
She did talk to me regarding my feeding concerns with Charlie - in a nutshell, do we have to wait for solids until he's 6 months adjusted (end of September)? Basically, yes. His GI system is the equivalent of a 3 month old's, and his swallowing abilities are the same (so we've noticed). So as frustrating as it is, we will be on bottle-time for many more months. Doug and I have noticed that the rice cereal doesn't hold him anymore; he's back to his 3:30/4am wakeups. He falls deeply asleep usually around 9 or 9:30, wakes for his 3:30am, and then sleeps until 7am or 8am. It wouldn't be bad if we didn't have Roman doing his 6:00am wakeup as well.
However, my boys are both cute as the dickens and I'm enjoying my days, for the most part. And that's all one can ask for.