Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

Be safe and thankful. Or thankful and safe. But do both this weekend, will you?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Drama, always drama...

After a trip to the university where I'm doing graduate studies tomorrow, I will have more to update. Suffice it to say I am still not considered an active student there, but they approved my request for an independent study - which I've done all the work for except one paper. There's a laptop goin' traveling with me this weekend. And it's been recommended I apply for graduation as soon as possible, even though - that's right - I'm not an active student. Hmm. Honestly, I think the entire Education department and Graduate Studies department will stand up and cheer if I ever make it across the stage to receive my degree.

Drama at my work, too, unexpectedly. I became the unwitting pawn in an argument between 2 other colleagues when one referred to "the younger teachers" and the other decided to corner me specifically (as a younger teacher) and subtley threaten me. The matter has been turned over to my principal, but I don't think this is the end of it. I foresee at least one meeting about it and probably a visit from the union rep. Grrr.

Even more drama. Can you handle any more, gentle readers? All I'll say is the cops in the city where I work are meanies and jerks. Poopyheads.

Roman has developed a new little habit - he can't make a decision without "eeny meeny miney moe." Everything - from who is putting him to bed, to which book to read, to which yogurt he wants... comes down to Eeny Meeny. He ends it by saying "dirty dish, dirty dish..." ad nauseum until he finally decides who is "it." It was funny for three days. Now it's funny but then gets slightly annoying.

Charlie is a chowhound now. He eats #3 jars but also enjoys cottage cheese, cheese of any type really, graham crackers, Wheatable crackers, tavern cheese soup, hot dogs, yogurt, canned carrots, diced apples, cereal bars, and microwaveable mac & cheese. We typically give him finger food mixed with food we spoon-feed him. Still gets 3 bottles a day but as he's chewing very well on lumpy things, should probably at least substitute that mid-afternoon bottle with a food snack. He takes a bottle after lunch as that's when most new food is being introduced (at daycare) and we never know how much he'll eat of a given thing. Doesn't like ravioli, we discovered today. The green vegetable issue is alive and well - won't even eat our versions. He also takes a bottle about a half-hour after dinner, and that's the last one we'll give up - fill the tummy up and it's a nice relaxer right before bed.

He took water from a sippy cup the other day but he won't hold it himself - in fact, won't hold his bottle either. Need to give him time to figure it out, I suppose. He's 10 months physically but supposedly 8 months developmentally... however, we've noticed he's really making gains and in general is not delayed 2 months anymore. Dr. also cleared him today of his ear infection - after we started the second round & he got some horrible diarrhea, we stopped it. Dr. agreed that we can just leave it since he got 5 days' worth of the 2nd dose.

Tomorrow Roman and I get the tree and ornaments from storage and at least get that up. We both have the day off from school so it'll be something fun we can do together.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cars, a tooth, & historical Roman

So much doesn't seem to happen, and then - I think of about 5 different things to blog about. I sat down Saturday to compose a blog about the auto companies, and then Mitch Albom pretty much spoke my mind in his column on Sunday. Take a few minutes and go read it. On a personal note, if GM goes bankrupt Doug's job is still okay and the loss can be covered. If all three file... obviously. We're up a creek. Of course the Big 3 have made mistakes, and I really don't think they deserve a handout. However, so so so so so many suppliers will go out of business because when bankruptcy is filed, the $$ owed to them is immediately negotiable. And suppliers are way down on the "pay our outstanding bills" list. And my other thought is, you can argue all you want about how they're making gas-guzzlers but seriously, folks - it's called supply and demand. And demand went down fast based on gas prices and loan issues, too fast for the car companies to retool - it takes 2-4 years to get an auto from conception to build. So, yeah. A handout - no. But some help to safety-net about 3 million jobs nationwide? Sure. I think I'm beginning to be glad about the election of a Democratic president.

Charlie's first tooth has appeared! This also happened Saturday. Bottom left, cute little thing. On Sunday Roman and I went out to Henry Ford Museum to do a little gift shopping. We popped into the museum (our membership is the awesomest thing ever!) for about an hour to hit the highlights - Allegheny locomotive, the 1940s diner, toys in the Decades area. When I told him it was time to leave, he started to whine a lot. He then tried one of the best arguments I've heard yet. He knows his Mama pretty well...
"I want to go into Greenfield Village!"
No, Roman, another day.
"But I like President Lincoln! I like the Wright Brothers!"
You do, huh?
"Yeah, I do! They are cool old-time people! And I can only learn about them at Greenfield Village!"

Sweet. A book was loaned to me today by our librarian that was a "choose your own adventure" but it was a history series. The one I brought home was about Pearl Harbor. By simplifying some of the words as I read (and leaving whole sections out), Roman got completely wrapped up in it. He loved making a choice every couple pages, and it had actual photographs too. He embraces make-believe in this fashion in an unbelievable way, talking like he was actually there. For example, pointed to a photo of the USS Arizona & said, "that's the ship I was on. Isn't it good I opened the hatch and got out?" He did that with the Titanic exhibit too. It's clear how to teach him in the future, huh? The other thing I noted - every time there was a choice between saving people or doing something else, he always chose to help people. We're doing something right!

I'm making my Christmas cards this year, but they're digital. I printed off 2 versions tonight and I think just a few minor changes before I can send them off to be printed. Cool. I've never tried this before and even the idea of the layout is a little different.

Otherwise? Hanging in there. Doing "the triangle" this weekend, visiting first Doug's parents and then my parents for the weekend. I love Thanksgiving, it's the one holiday besides 4th of July I feel everyone can celebrate equally. I don't feel weird talking about it at school or mentioning it at the store.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pictures from last weekend

I wish I could come up with catchy titles. I have that problem with scrapbooking, too. My page titles are often things like "Family Camp" (for family camp weekend, naturally) or "Hungry Baby" for pictures of Charlie eating. Yeah. Real creative.

Anyway, so here's "pictures from last weekend." Roman getting his yellow belt, and the couple small projects I worked on. Ones of Ro are a little blurry, but it's a big area and Doug was far away. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

4cc gives me a flashback

I was getting Charlie's medicine this morning, which this time around is measured in cc. I had the brief thought that the last time I measured cc it was when Charlie was feeding through his NG tube and I was pumping only a few cc at a time myself. And Charlie was crawling on the floor near me as I was thinking this, and I suddenly was so awash with memories and emotion that I actually started to cry. Charlie as his little preemie 3# self, his wrinkly skin over his too-small bones, the tube up his nose, his long spindly fingers as he squawked like a kitten in his incubator... it all came rushing over me. I scooped Charlie up and just squeezed and squeezed him. I cannot believe how amazing he is.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A whole week?!

I can't believe it's been a week since I blogged. Impossible. Yet, there's the evidence in the dateline. A quick update since I should be in bed but instead am surfin' the 'Net:

Roman went back to the dentist today for 3 fillings, hopefully his last for awhile. He will return in March for a cleaning. He was not the brave yellow-belt we had hoped for (screamed through the whole procedure) but no more problems in his mouth.

Charlie also went back to the doctor today as he's still pulling on his left ear and pretty grumpy overall. Dr. said it's hard to tell what's going on with him - his ears are still fluid-filled and dull, but he also has congestion from a regular cold & his teeth are ready to pop through "any day." Because we've just finished a 10-day course and he's still not acting like himself, we are starting another 10 day course of Augmentin this time. This house is like antibiotic central. One of us is either on medication (or going to the dentist) every week.

Doug got me a new planner/calendar because things are starting to happen for January that we have to prep for (days we need coverage for Roman for days off, yearly dr. appt. checks for Charlie at the ped. and eye doctor). It was so beautiful to open to the month and see blank squares. No appointments yet, no dates circled, nothing highlighted... just a beautiful, blank page. It didn't last long... I had 3 things to write in there. Boo.

I went on a weekend crop this past weekend. Got about 30 pages done the old-fashioned way (paper) from 2003. That marked the official completion of years 1997-2003. Amazing. I still have lots of gaps in our "with kids" photos, but it's nice to have something accomplished. I also got 2 small projects done, a "Russian Treasures" acrylic album & a tongue-in-cheek "what I did on my summer vacation" flipper. I'll take pictures and post them. Someday.

Am looking forward to the weekend already, and it's only Monday. While I love weekends away, I get back and can barely prepare for the week ahead. I have grad class stuff to finish (one final paper that is weighing on my mind) and Doug and I have to figure out when to do some heavy-duty Christmas shopping. We're talking about taking a day off together while the kids are at school to spend the day together doing it. What a great hubby I have - usually I am the one doing all the work!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Charlie: a man of action & grumpiness

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Charlie is just moving along with his development like nobody's business. We introduced actual solid foods this weekend, trying beans, pasta, chicken, ground beef, & homemade french fries. The only thing that went over well was the french fries. Everything else was about a two-bite maximum and the chicken he actually spit out. Partly he had trouble because he fists the food and then can't maneuver it into his mouth and gets frustrated.

He wants to crawl all over, and he's beginning to navigate the steps in our living room. He can go from carpet up to wood floor, but more trouble with wood floor up to carpet (too slippery). I pulled out a lot of "older" toys that were Roman's and cleaned them up. Charlie took to them immediately, proving he's no longer an infant. In fact, as evidenced in the video above, he can grab a ball and shove it into the toy pretty darn well.

This weekend Charlie got to know his grandparents again, as it had been awhile since he had spent any time with them. He loves his Baba even more than Grandpa, which is neat to see. He tracked them all over the house and favored them with a lot of smiles. He also became very vocal this weekend, babbling quite a bit. He's still getting over his infection, and actually was worse today (Sunday) - could not be consoled. The nose started dripping and I think his throat is still sore... he spent the day on a 2-hour cycle, taking 30 min. to 1 hour naps every 2 hours. Poor guy. I suspect a long night is ahead.

Ahead in the week for Charlie: nothing different but hopefully getting healthier!

About Roman

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A fantastic weekend - so good, there's too many pictures and videos to load up at one time. So first I'll talk about Roman... he tested for his yellow belt on Saturday and passed. Daddy took him and was awesome with the camera - got shots and videos of many aspects. Above is Roman doing high blocks and low blocks. Doug said they also were led through a 20-step form that Roman did really well on. Next Saturday is the ceremony where he will be presented with his yellow belt. Hooray!

My parents were visiting this weekend and Grandpa took Ro out to lunch to McDonald's for some "just the two of them" time. Roman was thrilled. It also worked out that for most of the day, the 2 brothers got time apart - and that wasn't all bad. Ro wanted movie night on Saturday and we all watched part of "Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets." He's getting into HP now, which is okay by us. There are a couple scenes here and there that he is scared to watch, but we're glad he's branching out from Star Wars.

Today he played with neighbor Evan. I hear interesting things from Ro - they are at the stage where they are role-playing, having played "house" a few times and each is willing to take on the "mommy" role. Funny boys. But they also play Army or spies too, and we actually heard Roman state "I don't want to play Star Wars, I'm getting bored with that." Whoa.

This week for Roman: we have a conference with his teacher on Thursday evening. Ro has 3 days of "cool lunches" because it's otherwise half-days, so his after school care is doing special things.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Doctors, dentists, & karate

Charlie has been sick with a cough and stuffy nose that just isn't going away. Took him in this afternoon to the ped. and the pronouncement made me feel so bad for him - double ear infection. Poor guy! No wonder he's been in such a bad mood the past few days. So amoxicillin for 10 days. Poor thing wakes up coughing up a storm and is spitting up mucus at all times of the day. And instead of grabbing his ears, he's been rubbing the back of his head so it hadn't even occurred to us.

Roman goes to the dentist tomorrow for another round of cavity fills. I haven't written much about this but it struck me when I was conversing with another adoptive parent the other day, I should probably mention it. Ro's teeth are in terrible condition - filled with cavities, and one was so infected he had to have it pulled. We were feeling bad (and responsible) that things had deteriorated so quickly, when the dentist pointed out his history - we have no idea of the prenatal care or even what he got to eat at the baby home. In talking with others, one parent told me her daughter from China has had to have 6 pulpectomies (that's root canals on baby teeth) because her teeth were so horrible. I have heard stories of sugar-water being given in some South American areas instead of formula. Either way, we've got to keep a close eye on his mouth.

On the good side, Roman tests for his yellow belt on Saturday afternoon. In talking with the Master and his wife (I don't know how to spell her title) they agreed that skill-wise he knows what he's doing, just gets the Left an Right mixed up and has a hard time concentrating. Well, duh, that's been pretty obvious. They're used to it, though, so they encouraged us to have him test. So pretty much he'll be passed, but he doesn't know it and that makes it fun.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Voting - some thoughts.

Doug voted this morning and waited an hour. Got in line at 6:40am and didn't get out until 7:30. I myself ended up going at lunchtime (big mistake!) and waited 1.5 hours. I didn't want to risk standing in line with Roman for who-knows-how-long, so not too bad - took a book and enjoyed the company of my precinct neighbors. Ro had a babysitter.

On Monday my students and I looked at sample ballots and talked about how to cast a ballot. The kids were pretty amazed at how much was on it - I'm sure they figured it was president and maybe senators, and that would be it. We laughed a bit about "pick no more than 18" judges and that sort of thing, but one comment made by a kid cracked me up. He first stared at me incredulously and said, "how do you guys know what to do?" I said that an intelligent voter would listen, perhaps do research, and know what they felt strongly about and choose a candidate that was aligned with their beliefs. His second comment was, "what will you do if you have to wait a long time?" I said I'd bring a book. And he stared at me again and said, "a BOOK?!" I don't know what shocked him more - that I would do research on candidates, or that I would want to read for an hour or more!

Roman, too, has been getting into the voting spirit. He's been hearing about it on radio and tv, of course, and us talking about it at home. He has been asking the past few days which person was which, and trying to get their pictures straight. They held a mock election on Monday in his school, and Roman came home pretty upset. "I tried to vote for Obama but I voted for McCain instead!" It turns out when he got the ballot, he got confused about who was who, and ended up voting for McCain. Poor kid - didn't know he could request another! Disenfranchised kindergartener. He begged us at dinner to vote for Obama "for me" which cracked us up as well. When we asked why he chose Obama, he answered as many people would I think - "all my friends want him, and you guys don't." Pretty rebellious for a 5-year-old, eh?

I find it great that an African-American is running for the first time, and that a woman was chosen as a running mate for the Republicans for the first time. An historic election, indeed. A coworker asked, "what do you tell someone who says they don't want to vote because the electoral college decides it anyway?" I used to say that your vote selects the electoral college, or I would play on the war/patriotism angle "people died for us to keep this right!" But it turns out my minister had the best comment. Voting represents the ideals of our country - a government by the people, for the people. It is a physical statement that you believe in America and all that it stands for. It shows the world that by standing in line and casting your vote, what we believe in is important.

And lastly... boy, was I aware of things back in 2004 or what? (and by the way, when I say he's not African-American, I mean a descendant of slaves).

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Charlie is crawling!

video

(loosely to the tune of The Muppet Show)

It's time to clear the shelves off

It's time to put things away

It's time to lock cupboard doors

Because Charlie crawled Saturday...

Yup, folks, the boy is mobile. Not very fast yet, but he's definitely propelling himself across rooms. The first official crawl was to go after Roman's candy that he was sorting on the floor Saturday morning. Charlie also has launched himself down the step toward the side door to get at my Crocs, and has gotten into our videotapes three times. He also tried to eat a dried leaf that someone had tracked in. Needless to say, the time has come - more vacuuming, small toys are spirited off to Roman's room, and once he's roaming room to room, cupboards will be locked again. Haul those gates back out of storage. Time keeps marching on...

We also had returned to us a little play table that encourages kids to stand. Charlie would stand at it all day if he could, he was enthralled with it yesterday. He even tried to walk around the sides of it, with minimal success. We tried to explain to him that there was no need to go from crawling to cruising in a day. I don't think it will work!