Friday, February 27, 2009

Wonderful weather

We have had wonderful weather this week. Every afternoon we head out to the paddocks to feed the horses carrots and pick wildflowers (shhhh, they are really weeds) 

That's Levi in the background using a stick to pound on a rotten log. (Don't ask, it's a boy thing)
Holly is checking out Levi's progress. She doesn't usually dress so funny, but we put a play shirt on her instead of her nice shirt.
Mommy, I picked you a flower. Awwwwww.....
More hard work by the boys.
Are you a carrot???
That's Banjo and Peppy, keeping their eyes on the carrots.
Oooooh, I gots me some carrots!!!
Thanks for the carrot little buddy.
The horses are so gentle and sweet with the kids.
Hello, carrot please?

I caught some funky cold virus that backed up into my eyes. Now I have Devil Eyes. They don't hurt, but they look nasty. Anyone need me to go give the Devil Eye to someone???? 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Updates and OJ

We have done everything we can to be ready for the rest of PBJ's adoption case. Now we just are waiting for the court hearing on March 9th. It all depends on how the judge rules. If the judge decides the birth mother is competent, our case gets to continue as it is. If the judge decides she is not competent, then we will have to start all over again under the new rules. Knowing how Guat courts work, I seriously doubt we will get a ruling right away. I predict the judge will order more tests on the birth mother and then set another hearing. 

All of Levi's tests came back negative. He is back up to 41 pounds, but still not eating and having some problems. Once our new insurance kicks in March 1st we will be seeing a pediatric gastroenterologist. 

For those of you interested in the mission trip, I will post details as I find them out. We are shooting for summer 2010. The rest is still in the planning stage. 

I have a new, economically-induced hobby. Couponing! I used to do this a lot, back before I had so many kids and so little time. Well, now I have more time and am getting back into it. I started clipping coupons and downloading them off the web. I made a binder with drop-in sheet protectors to sort coupons by aisles of the grocery store. The first pocket is to place the ones I use each trip as I shop, and the pocket on the front cover holds my list. It takes me about 30 minutes a week to clip and sort, and about an extra hour at the store. I am consistently saving about 25% off my bill. The trick is to only buy the things you really want and will use. Just because you can get something cheap doesn't always mean you should buy it (unless of course you save up things to donate).

I am loving having time to spend with the munchkins. We baked cookies last week. Well, actually, we baked the ones left AFTER they ate a bunch. (These are the pre-made sugar cookies that come in a sheet, OK to eat the dough)

We have another model in the family! Levi ended up on the cover of the brochure for his private school. We didn't know until we got the registration packet for next year. How cool is that?
I also was asked if I would let the swimming place the kids take lessons at and Katie's teaches at use pics of my kids for advertising purposes. I said yes and we spent an afternoon last week getting their pics taken in the pool, Katie, Levi and Ahren. One of the pics will be on the side of their company van. As soon as I can I will get a pic of the van and post it.

Now you must be wondering what is up with OJ? 
A friend watched an Oprah show recently where they discussed what women do that forces their husbands to have affairs. Apparently if a woman does not sufficiently show her man that she cares and appreciates him, he will be forced to seek out another woman's bed**. So yesterday I noticed that we were out of orange juice, the kind my husband drinks every morning. OMG, I thought, he is sure to be out looking for another woman right now!!! So I jumped in the car and headed to the store where I bought the super-mega size of his favorite OJ, then immediately called him to inform him that he could abandon his search because Baby, I am there for you! I got the OJ!!! Whew, that was close.......

**I absolutely, positively DO NOT believe a person can be forced to have an affair. It is a choice, a very bad, horrible choice, and to even try and place the blame on the other person is ridiculous. And yes, I had to re-write this paragraph several times to be able to say what I wanted to without any curse words!

P.S. My silly hubby just laughed and laughed when I called him. 

Monday, February 23, 2009


I have a huge heart for the indigenous Mayans in Guatemala. I honestly believe that every child in the United States needs to see with their own eyes how the Mayans live. I knew what I was going to see and yet I was still shocked. The shacks they live in are constructed of pieces of corrugated sheet metal scavenged from the dumps. They have dirt floors, cook and heat with an open fire, no running water, no electricity. They live much as the American Indians lived 200 years ago. No schools, no healthcare, no dental care, nothing. I will say it again. Every single person in the United States should experience it firsthand, because you would never take anything for granted again. 

A dear friend of mine is working on organizing a mission trip for the summer of 2010. A trip to build houses for the Mayans and to supply them with stoves. A complete house costs $3000 to build, the stoves $150. We are going to spend the next year fundraising, collecting donations, and urging as many people to join us as we can. We can each make a difference in the lives of these people. A real difference for them, for their children, and for their futures. Not many of us get that kind of chance to make a mark in the world. 

Please watch this video my dear friend Jeremy put together. We will be joining him and his team on the mission trip. Think about ways you might want to join in. No pressure. Times are tough and we know that. But I also know that we can each do a tiny bit and together make a huge difference. I am sooooo excited!!!!!   (You will have to go to it manually, I can't get the video to load on the page.)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ahren says

This morning, Ahren was sitting at the table eating breakfast when he burst into song. He began to sing Happy Pancakes to You to the tune of the birthday song. That boy really loves his food!

We have a fun way of saying I love you to each other. Chris started it when he told me a long time ago that he 'loves me more than cheese'. Now we tell each other 'I love you more than _____' and pick something we really like. The other day Ahren looked at me and said, 'Love you ice cream' and my heart melted. A spontaneous show of love and he got the humor in it. You bet I gave that kid a million kisses for that!

Ahren is very inquisitive. At least a million times a day he says, 'What doing?'. He will say it ten times in a row, getting the same answer each time, but he never tires of the game. This is an especially fun game to play in the car. 
What doing, Mommy?
I'm driving the car. 
What doing Mommy?
I'm driving the car.
What doing Mommy.
I'm driving.
What doing Mommy?
What doing Mommy?
What doing Mommy?
What doing Mommy?????

He is saying probably a couple hundred words now, talking in sentences, using lovely little phrases like 'you stink',  'I don't want it' and 'stupid'. Oh it makes a mother so proud. 

When he gets in trouble he has a couple of ways of showing us he is mad. He will run to his room and slam the door behind him (which is too funny because I just leave him there until he has cooled off - he is a self-time-out model) or he will stand there and spit. I hate the spitting! I don't know where he got that but it really irks me and he knows it. Chris came up with an  idea that every time he does that we just pull his shirt up over his head. Hah! The spitting is contained. I don't think he knows what to think of it, but the spitting is decreasing. Conversely, the door slamming has increased, but that I don't mind as much. 

Oh, and the Goodnights are a fantastic idea! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The pull-up low-down

I have mentioned before that my dear sweet Ahren has the most adorable little cheeks ever, both upper and lower! Unfortunately, they don't make a variety of pull-up pants that sufficiently cover his sweet cheeks and he is always walking around with a one-cheek-sneak. 

He is doing wonderfully at pee-peeing in the potty, but the poo-poo thing is a bit more difficult for him. Therefore we must rely on pull-ups to catch those 'incidents' that don't hit the mark. This is where the problem lies. You see, when one cheek is peeking, it means there is a gap in protection. The integrity of the poo-poo containment system has been breeched. This is not good. Seriously. Not. Good. 

This morning the familiar odor began wafting through the kitchen. I asked Ahren if he had poo-poo'd and he said yes. I then told him to take his pants off and come to the changing table. He tried to do what I asked, but you see, it just wasn't that simple. He had missed the inside of the pull-up completely, and pooped down his leg and into  his pants leg. In trying to get his pants off he had it on his hands, socks, the floor, and pretty much all visible surfaces within a 5 foot radius. I scooped him up and headed for the tub. After 2 complete changes of water and lots of soap, he appeared poop-free. Just for good measure, I changed the water and rinsed him down one more time. (Just for the record, a 40 pound toddler who eats as much as a grown man can make a LOT of bodily waste) 

Hello makers of pull-up training pants, I am begging you, please design a wide-coverage pair of pants for those with a booty-licious toddler. I am begging you......

Monday, February 16, 2009


I was at the computer putting together a message to my on-line instructor and taking care of some business when Levi asked me if he could wash his sunglasses off in the sink. Sure, why not. The bathroom is directly off of the living room, and he went in and I could hear the water running and him humming. I finished up and went to check on him.

I think I made a sound something like 'Grrreeehhhhccchhlllbbbftt'. He not only used an entire bottle of purple Kan-Doo kids Foaming Hand Soap (remind me to let that company know what I think of them!) but he had decided to clean the entire bathroom with it.

I mentioned under my breath that I was sure glad he didn't do that while grandma and grandpa were here, and he innocently said, 'Oh, I didn't think of it''. Well thank goodness for that!

Here he is, caught in the act. I didn't yell. I just grabbed the camera. He immediately said, 'Oh mommy, you can blog post this!' Um, yeah. He's got me there!

Hee hee, you think this is funny. Right? Mom? Funny.......uh oh.
The view of the total damages. Poor Ahren didn't participate but ended up getting soap all over him (collateral damages) The sunglasses are there on the counter and the foam soap bottle is in the sink. 

Here are the guilty, 45 minutes later. The bathroom is now sparkly clean (except for a few purple spots I can't get off the ceiling) and so are the boys. 

Now I think I will go look up the hours for the liquor store.....
Written before the above episode:

Well, it has been a little over 3 weeks since I lost my job and I think it is finally dawning on me I am not on vacation or maternity leave! Yeah, yeah, I know. A little slow on the uptake here! I have finally stopped dreaming about work. Stopped waking up thinking I need to get up and in the shower. Stopped planning my day to fit in errands and have-to's on my lunch hour and commute home. I am falling into a new routine and I like it! I know it will only be temporary so I need to enjoy it while I can. 

Today is just me and the boys. Katie has a Hurricane make-up day at school instead of the normal President's Day holiday. Levi doesn't have school, though. We are all three still in our pajamas, having bid my dear sweet in-laws good-bye at 6:30 am this morning. (More on their visit in a minute) The only thing we have on our agenda today is swimming lessons at 4pm. We may just go from jammies to swimsuits, just because we can! 

Levi is doing much better. Very few stomach aches and eating better every day. He has managed to gain 1 pound. (Thank you Blue Bell ice cream!) I still don't have the results on the Celiac Disease. Maybe today. His energy level is close to normal now, although about 5 pm each night he asks to go lay down in bed for a while. He just hits the proverbial wall around that time. Sometimes he is in bed for the night but sometimes he gets up after a bit of a rest and plays some more. Ahren likes to go lay with him and keep him company, and that frequently turns into lots of giggles. I need to get some video of the two of them giggling like little maniacs!

So as I mentioned, my in-laws were here for the weekend. We were all supposed to have gone to Missouri for their 50th wedding anniversary celebration the day before Hurricane Ike hit. It was a horribly hard decision to have to cancel the trip but in the end it turned out we got a lot more damage in this area than predicted. We did manage to convince the airlines to make our tickets re-useable, up to one year, so we will be planning a trip early this summer. We had a great time this weekend. it took Ahren about 2 minutes to warm up and soon he was going from lap to lap eating up the attention.  We didn't do anything special, just hung out, enjoyed each other, and enjoyed the kids. Yesterday we all went to Papadeaux's for lunch and ate fantastic seafood. All I can say is YUM!!!! Every time I go there I find a new favorite dish. I hope my in-laws enjoyed the weekend as much as we did. Poor levi is so sad they are gone. 

Thursday, February 12, 2009

M is for Mess!

Little Miss Holly is a mess. An adorable, funny, makes me laugh out loud mess!

She is fascinated with underwear. She kept stealing Ahren and Levi's underwear and putting them on, so her Mommy got her some girlie panties. She has her own flair for wearing them!

Did you know that powdered sugar donut makes a wonderful hair accessory? 
Or that donuts are not for eating but for mashing into tiny bits? 
And here is where she ended up yesterday when Nanny was trying to do a load of laundry. That is the best cheesecake pose I have seen in a long time!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The boys room is done

I bought these adorable little wooden letters in Guatemala. They are decorated with little hand-painted pictures of Guatemalan life, in colors reminiscent of the chicken buses. I have other keepsakes to add to the shelves, things that are special for each boy. 

Chris finished the boys headboard and installed it. Nothing fancy but very sturdy and durable. We used an outdoor enamel paint, 3 coats on everything, over a primer coat. It is as indestructable as any furniture can be without being made of metal and powder coated!

The first night the boys slept in their new bed this is where I found Ahren in the morning. He didn't fall out, but he was draped across the foot of the bed on top of the covers, sound asleep.
Levi has a friend who is the son of one of my very bestest friends in the whole world. We found out within 24 hours of each other we were expecting and spent our pregnancies inseparable. Oh the shopping and the brownies and the laughs and the brownies we shared! The two boys were born 1 week apart and spent the first 2 years of their lives being cared for by Nanny every day. They were twin sons of different mothers, alike as night and day, and yet as inseparable as their mothers were (and still are!) When we decided to adopt, I prayed for a boy just like my friend's son and God granted me my wish.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Blogger is a Booger

I have been trying to upload a bunch of pictures for 2 hours, but Blogger is not cooperating. Don't blame me, I tried! Here is what I have for you:

To give you an idea of how skinny Levi is right now, he is 45 inches tall, 5.5 years old, and here he is wearing Ahren's size 3T jeans and they are too big around on him. You can see his underwear above them and the extra fabric in the seat and legs. And these are not baggy fit pants! In fact, they are tight on Ahren in the waist and thighs. Levi normally wears a 5T/5 slim fit, but even with the elastic pulled tight inside, they are falling down. Today he ate saltines and some sour cream. That's it. I took him to the grocery store with me and let him pick out anything he wanted. He chose a book. Argh!

And because I took a picture of Levi's behind, Ahren demanded I take one of his. Let me just say, this baby has back! His sweet little biscuits hang out the sides of his pull up all the time. 

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Bad Blogger

As usual, my apologies for being absent.

You know, when I lost my job I thought, "What in the world am I going to do with all my time?" Now I am asking myself, "Where in the world did all my free time go?" I have a long list of projects i want to accomplish. I have barely scratched the surface. You know what I am doing? I am having FUN. Way too much fun. 

I am also job hunting, taking on-line courses and trying to get health insurance for us. We were supposed to get the paperwork for Cobra and payment in our severance package to pay for one month of insurance. But....I haven't gotten any of it yet and neither has most of my fellow ex-lex'ers. One gal I worked with is pregnant and just found out she has gestational diabetes, but since our insurance was cut off her doctor is requiring cash payment up-front to treat her. Lovely. 

I was trying to hurry Levi up getting into his carseat the other day, and he looks up at me and says, "You don't want to rush me, old woman." 

Levi has lost another half a pound in the past week. He plays for a while and then lays in bed quietly. We are waiting on the tests for the viral panels and celiac disease. Everything else was normal. For some odd reason he seems to be craving carbs. He ate 5 pieces of toast for dinner the other night. If he has celiac disease this is exactly the wrong thing for him to eat. Until we know, I am just letting him eat whatever appeals to him. Last night by 5:30 he was begging to go to bed, and did. He never even got out of bed. This is not normal. Very not normal. I sure hope we figure something out soon. Then again, there is that 'no insurance' thing right now. That won't stop us from seeing a specialist, but it does make everything more difficult. You see, specialists do NOT like to take on patients who are self-pay. 

Levi was coughing one day and when he finished, Ahren looked at him and said, "Awesome'. 

Today I made padded rails for the side of the boys new waterbed. I took foam pipe insulation ($2) and some heavy denim fabric ($6) and my staple gun and Ta-da, padded bed rails. Chris finished the headboard and it is painted and drying. I also picked up several wooden shelves that he painted and I will hang them tomorrow. I got the curtains up, suede micro-fiber tab-top curtains that block the morning sunlight. I bought the sheets, curtains and comforter from Cheap and free shipping was the deal I got. I also picked up a couple of coat racks from a dollar store to hang jackets, etc on. The only thing I wanted to do and haven't been able to is to sheet-metal the walls up about 5 feet. (Boy-proof!) Just kidding. Maybe. Is that even possible? I would like to know. Seriously. 

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Imagination and Lessons Learned

We spend a lot of time in imaginary play. We are pirates and super heroes, princesses and dragons, chefs and wizards. 

Wardrobe malfunction!

A long time ago I watched a show on teaching children delayed gratification. They did an experiment with small children. They sat them at a table and placed 5 pieces of chocolate candy in front of them. They told the children they could eat the candy or if they could wait for 5 minutes, they would get 20 pieces of candy. Then they left them alone in the room for the 5 minutes. Some kids ate the candy immediately, some ignored the candy and fidgeted, some struggled mightily but caved before the 5 minutes were up. It turns out that learning the ability to delay gratification is critical to success in life. 

We bought a big plastic piggy bank. Each week when Chris and I clean out our pockets, purse, etc, we give the singles and change to the boys to put in the bank. When it is full, they get to use it to buy something big they both want. They have decided on a trampoline. It has taken about 8 months to get to this point and I figure by spring, when it warms up, we will be setting up a trampoline. One whole year of saving. That's pretty impressive!

Good ol fashioned fun playing horsey. Not a very good picture but you get the idea. (Poor Daddy!)
The weather has been beautiful lately. Truly shorts weather. The kids spend a lot of time outside. Here is Ahren riding his Indian motorcycle.