Saturday, January 26, 2008

Family Fun Saturday

We've had a busy week around here. But, we've gotten lots done and we ended it with a really fun activity this afternoon.

The resident Daddy decided that it would be really fun to go shoot some rockets, since it had finally warmed up enough to stand outside for long periods of time and because the sun was shining and the wind wasn't too strong. It turns out that the wind was stronger than we thought, but that just meant the rockets didn't go as high...and that we could actually see where they all landed, so we didn't lose any!








The boys had a ton of fun watching the rockets fly! Jellybean even got brave and volunteered to push the button and fire the last couple. Peanut was a little nervous at first, but after seeing them go up, he was pretty enthused about the idea. Right now both of the boys are building "rockets" out of legos - they are already preparing for their next launches! I guess resident Daddy's idea was a hit!

Our new family portrait. The boys loved watching their shadows as they played in the snow!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Of Duplo Blocks and Snow Suits....

This picture is here especially for Auntie Anita to see. Good job on the hats! They love them!
Well, I am going to attempt a post with some real information in it! I’m not sure if the resident children will let their mom type on the computer for long, but I’ll try. And, if they do let me write, I may just babble on and on incessantly, but that is a risk I am willing to take.

Things here in our household are going AMAZINGLY well at this point. Yes, I totally realize that we are probably in the midst of a honeymoon period, but in all honesty, I was totally prepared for hell these first few weeks. Sure, it hasn’t all been rosy goodness, but things are so much better than I expected.

The boys are so darn cute sometimes….and I totally wonder where they learned to do some of the things they are doing. For instance, this morning as Z was leaving for work, Peanut asked “When you come, bring me new jacket”. The boys saw me wearing a winter coat that they hadn’t seen before yesterday and they thought that meant that I had bought a new coat for myself and, of course, they wanted one, too (even though the coats they have are new coats for goodness sake). Z said he would not bring Peanut a new coat. Peanut’s response? He smiled, batted his eyes, and blew kisses to his dad. I asked him if he was trying to be extra cute for his dad and he said “yes”. “Are you being extra cute because you think dad will bring you a coat if you are?” “Yes!” So, Z said he still is not bringing him a new coat. It was so unexpected and so adorable, Z and I couldn’t help but just laugh at him.

Jellybean LOVES trains. Every day he builds a train (or two or several) with his duplo blocks and then proceeds to tell me about how that train is headed to America. Both of the boys have very active imaginations and will play for hours with duplo blocks and little people toys. We have lots of other toys for the boys, but to be honest, they haven’t even opened their toy box yet. They’ve been here for almost two weeks and we still haven’t found the need to open that big green box in their room. They have two crates filled with duplo blocks and little people toys and those two crates (that we haul up and down the stairs from their room to the living room) seem to keep them pretty entertained on most days. I am sure this will change when they discover that the big green box that we put the toys on top of actually opens. Of course, we also do coloring, play-doh, games, and puzzles so that helps, too.

The boys both love to play jokes on each other and on mom and dad. Peanut pretends that his leg is broken and he limps around the house declaring that his leg is broken. We assure him that it is definitely broken and we better go to the doctor. Hysterical laughter always follows. Jellybean loves to hide things in his pocket or behind his back and have us try to find it. He always laughs and laughs when we pretend not to know where it is. They both love to be tickled and to be “flown” through the air. They shriek and laugh and then scramble over who’s turn it is to do it next.

We’ve decided that Friday nights at our house are going to be family movie nights. We have a lighter dinner, clean up the kitchen, get our jammies on, and sit down for a movie with a big bowl of popcorn. Last week this was a BIG hit and we are looking forward to doing it again tonight.

So far, there have been no battles in the car about the carseats, which is something I totally expected to have problems with. They both sit happily in their carseats with the seatbelts on and don’t complain. They love looking out the windows of the van to see other cars, houses, fields full of snow, horses, etc. (and of course they have to tell you about everything they see).

As of right now, the boys haven’t spent too much time in places like stores or restaurants. Z and I have done all of our shopping alone on our way home from work. But, we did take them on an all-too-overwhelming trip to Best Buy last weekend. Poor little guys – walls of televisions and computers were just too much to process. Of course, I kind of expected that.

We are still learning about each other and determining what foods they do and don’t like. Z and I have decided that we will have to have things several times before we really know if they do or don’t like it. We’ve had pasta twice and the first time the boys said they didn’t like it and the second time they ate it all up. They both love oatmeal (even though Jellybean says he doesn’t like it – he will gobble up a bowl of it pretty quickly), they love chicken, rice, bread, peanut butter sandwiches, waffles, pancakes, chili on rice, and chicken noodle soup. They don’t seem to like things like mashed potatoes, French fries, or cheese. So far, we haven’t tried typical American kid favorites like mac and cheese, hotdogs, chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, and the like. Although, I can pretty much predict that they won’t like mac and cheese. When the boys try something new that I feed them, they take a little bite (after eyeing it up pretty good) and then declare whether they like it or not. If they don’t like it “Mama – I don’t like”; if they do like it “Mmm…Mama – its nice”.

The boys love the snow and don’t seem to mind the cold at all. They seem to totally understand why we have to bundle up to go outside and don’t complain about having to wear snow pants, coats, hats, and mittens. They both LOVE their boots, so they are pretty excited any time they get to put them on. They have loved playing in the snow so far and only complain when they fall and get snow in their mittens. Then they cry and say “its burning me!!!” So, I have to take their mittens off and get the snow out and they are off to play again.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Few More

Here are a few more pictures from the past couple of days to keep you entertained. I promise a real honest to goodness post soon (you know, the kind with actual stories and/or details). The boys are doing great - they are a ton of fun (most of the time) and we have loved watching them interact with each other and experience new things. We are all learning a lot about each other in these early days.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Bread and Fish

When a small boy decides to throw a tantrum at lunch-time, the resident mommy quickly learns that tuna fish sandwiches were indeed NOT the best option for the day's lunch menu (though the menu was not the reason for the tantrum).

Oh well...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Alternate Universe

This morning the resident daddy was in charge of taking care of the boys while the resident mommy took an extra long shower, got dressed and got ready to head into her office to work a bit. When I got out of the shower, I could hear the boys singing...

Hola, Hola
Hello, Hello

Yes...the two little Ghanaian boys were singing in Spanish and English. Weird, I know.

It turns out that at Eban House in Ghana one of the most popular DVDs to play is Dora the Explorer. When Z discovered this, he decided that we should get a Dora DVD so the boys would have something really familiar to watch. This morning they were watching Dora and singing along as I got dressed.

It still amazes me how smart and adaptable these two little boys are. When they came to the orphanage, they spoke Ga. But, at Eban House they started learning English and Twi (some of the caretakers speak Twi). Along the way they started picking up some Spanish from little miss Dora. No wonder we sometimes can't quite figure out what they are saying! I am sad that they are likely going to lose the Ga and the Twi that they know....but on a daily basis I am reminded of how quickly they are adding new English words to their vocabulary.

When I left for my office this morning and I said goodbye to the boys, Peanut said "when you come back, bring me food". Ok...we just had breakfast, but I guess when you're a little boy, you're always hungry and looking for more food. Then he changed his mind and said "Mama, buy me new car". Then he changed his mind again "Mama, bring me new car AND food".

As I was walking out the door, he ran up to me and said "Mama come back?"

Yes, little man, Mama come back.

Off he runs to play with his cars.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A few snapshots

Here are a few more pictures from the last couple of days....I know you are all just itchin' for photos!

Me with the boys at the airport, when I picked them up. At this point the boys were VERY shy and VERY quiet. Those two little boys quickly disappeared and were replaced with very active, very talkative little boys, who are also mostly pretty happy.


When Grandma and Grandpa S came to visit the boys were very excited for Grandma to "snap" them (take their picture). Peanut wanted to be the star of this show, but Jellybean managed to get himself in there, too!
See, Grandma S?? They really do like the hats - they've been wearing them around all day today. They also love the blocks. Thank you, Grandma!

The boys love to pretend to take pictures. So, I "snapped" them, while they "snapped" me.

The boys are also learning how to deal with pets. Jellybean LOVES the animals and warmed up to them almost immediately. Peanut is still a little wary of the dogs (but loves the cats). He isn't afraid of the dogs, really...he just wants to make sure I know what the dogs are doing all the time.

They love to dance. Both of these boys will drop everything they are doing when music comes on. They can really shake it! And they have far better rhythm than their daddy.

Today was Enoch's birthday. Happy birthday baby boy! Today he turned 4...and he was very excited about that!

Some additional observations...
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For a kid who insists that he does NOT like peanut butter sandwiches, Jellybean sure does eat a lot of them.
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Mashed potatoes are definitely not a hit. Bummer. Even after we said they were yams.
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The boys have very active imaginations. They are far more imaginitive than I was expecting....when the boys aren't arguing over who gets what or who gets more of something, they can play and pretend really well.
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The boys have plenty of toys...but unfortunately they have decided that jumping off of the couch and playing on the stairs are their two favorite activities. We're working on this.
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They've also decided that light switches and running water are VERY fun to play with.
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Two little boys can be VERY loud. Our poor neighbors...perhaps we should buy them a gift of some sort...

Perhaps he was dreaming of dinner...

The boys have a song that they sing as their prayer before meals...I think it will become our standard family prayer before dinner. Its pretty cute, and I wish that I had heard all of the kids at Eban House sing it.

Last night, Peanut was singing it in his sleep. Too cute!

Come Lord Jesus
we invite you
come to our table
and bless our food
in your name
we pray
Amen

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Observations

The boys have been home for two and a half days....Here's what I've learned so far:

1. Little Ghanaian boys LOVE eggs and bread. We've gone through 1 loaf of bread and a dozen eggs already.

2. It is apparently a universal experience that all little boys will use any building material (blocks, legos, play dough, etc.) to make a gun and use it to "shoot" each other or one of the dogs innocently walking by.

3. Oranges are good motivation for getting little boys to eat more of the actual meal.

4. Little Ghanaian boys LOVE to take baths and pretend to be fish. They also love to splash, throw tub toys, and slide around on their butts in the bathtub until the water splashes right out of the tub onto the floor.

5. Peanut tries really hard to eat things he doesn't like, because he thinks he HAS to eat it. He puts it in his mouth, bites down, and stops....then big tears come rolling silently down his cheeks. His mama doesn't make him eat all the yucky stuff, though.

6. Jellybean only likes the cream part of the Oreo cookie.

7. Jellybean likes raisins, but not peanuts.

8. Peanut likes peanuts, but not raisins.

9. Neither one of them likes cheese.

10. They don't like tortilla chips either.

11. But they do like chili with rice, and red beans and rice, eggs and toast, and peanut butter sandwiches.

12. It can get pretty tiring to say "remember we have to share", "say please", "say thank you", and "mama will help you" a hundred times a day.

13. It is also tiring to hear "Mama, I don't like" when presenting new food to the boys. But it is great when you hear "Mama, I like" or "dis good" instead.

14. Last night both boys decided they wanted mama to sleep by them. Tonight I discovered it is very difficult to sneak out of the bottom of a bunk bed when you are laying between two little boys who you don't want to wake up....you are in the middle, of course, because both boys wanted to sleep next to mama.

15. It is tiring to hear "Mama look my car" every 30 seconds while the boys are playing with duplo blocks. It is also very exciting to have two little boys who want to hear their mama say "wow - that's a nice car!"

16. Staying at home with two little boys during the day is way more tiring than going to my office on the average day.

17. Changing the sheets on the top of a bunk bed at 3am is not an easy task...especially when you've got a really tired 5 year old waiting to get back into bed.

18. I now totally understand why my mom didn't put up with whining.

19. Little boys don't have the best aim when using the bathroom...Z tells me I just have to get used to having a bathroom that smells like urine. I am determined to solve this little problem.

20. My heart melts when I hear the boys laugh - really laugh. It also melts when they give out hugs and kisses.

I'd do this over again in a heart beat.

Monday, January 7, 2008

A couple photos to hold you over....

Getting on the plane in Accra....


Two tired parents and two very shy little boys.....

The car ride home....

The boys in their footie pajamas and new mommy-made quilts...

Sunday, January 6, 2008

They're Home!!!

They are here!!!

And all is going well, so far!

The boys are amazing...they have the most amazing laughs...and the most beautiful eyes. They were shy and quiet at the airport, but have really opened up now that we are home. I am sure they will continue to open up as time goes on.

We've explored the new bedroom, checked out the new toys, played with matchbox cars, eaten red beans and rice for lunch, taken a walk around the neighborhood, had a snowball fight, and now its nap time!

Thank you all for your prayers...we most certainly appreciate them!

I will fill in lots more details and write more later. For now, we are going to soak up this family time.

I will definitely post pictures when I can. The airline lost Zack's luggage, so we have to wait to get that back before we can transfer photos from the camera to the computer (the cord was in Zack's checked luggage). Bummer.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

One More Sleep

I have one more sleep until I get to meet my boys for the first time (and reunite with my hubby). I am just so excited I could burst!

I have about a half a million things that I would like to get done today so that life will be slightly easier once they arrive. I've got errands to run, groceries to buy, cleaning to do, and finishing touches in the boys' room to complete.

But, all I want to do is look up their flight and track it as it flies through the air.

Alright...I'm closing the laptop and I'm going to go be productive.

Please continue prayers for safe travels for Zack and the boys. If all goes well and all their connections are completed as planned, then I will have all of my boys home tomorrow morning.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Coming Home!

My boys are coming home!! All 3 of them!!!

The appointment at the embassy this morning went well. They are scheduled to pick up the boys' visas tomorrow morning...and then they are ready to catch their flight out of Ghana on Saturday.

It still doesn't quite feel real...and maybe it won't until I see them at the airport. I have so much to do my head is swimming. But, I also know that if some of it doesn't quite get done, it isn't the end of the world.

Zack and the boys should arrive HOME on Sunday morning!!!

We would appreciate continued prayers for safe travels and for patience and wisdom as we navigate the waters of becoming a family of 4.

I will keep you all posted as I hear more....and of course, I will post a picture (or two or ten) when they arrive!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A surprising switch...

This afternoon I got an email from Z....he says he is withholding his excitement until tomorrow when he can go to the embassy and see for himself that the paperwork is approved and when he can find out how long the visa processing will take.

This is a strange turn of events for me...Anyone who knows us well knows that Chanda = cynical and pessimistic; Zack = silver-lining finding optimism.

I'm not sure what to think of this. I feel like I've landed in some sort of alternate universe!

I figured I better document this role-switching case for posterity. It definitely does NOT happen often!

A Rollercoaster Morning...

I was all geared up to write a post about how frustrated I've been the last day or two...to tell you all about how agonizing it is to wait on paperwork and not know how long it could take. I was going to tell you how much I hated the idea of having Z leave our boys in Ghana while he returns and we wait for things to be processed. I was going to tell you that financially, we are wondering how we will make it work if I have to travel in a few weeks to bring the boys home. I was going to tell you how worried Z is about his job here at home and how he wants/needs to get home and get back to work (his co-workers have been incredibly accomodating and understanding...but he doesn't want to leave them with his case-load any longer than he HAS to).

I was going to tell you that I got really nervous when Anita called me this morning because she had heard our paperwork might not be where it needs to be and she couldn't call the embassy to find out. I was going to tell you how frustrated I was when I heard back from our senator's aid with information that I already knew months ago and wasn't really relevant to our case.

But...I don't have to now. I got word later this morning that our I-600 approval will be complete by the end of the day (which means its done by now)!!! The guys can now work on the boys' visas!

It still doesn't really feel REAL yet. My head is spinning with all the stuff that I need to get done before Z and the boys come home. I have grocery shopping to do...finishing touches on the boys' room to get done...cleaning to do...bedding and other laundry to wash....etc., etc., etc.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers...this is an answered prayer for sure. We have appreciated all of your support and we love that you all rejoice with us!

I would appreciate continued prayer for fast visa processing so that the boys are issued their visas on Friday and they can leave Ghana on Saturday. I would also appreciate prayers for safe travels and happy homecomings!!

I will keep you all posted!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Kenya

My heart is in Ghana...



But tonight, I am sending up prayers for Kenya. May you find peace...may you love your neighbors....may you lay down your weapons and work together for the change you want to see.

Quilting

Quilting...that's what I've been doing the last couple of days. I decided a long time ago that I wanted to have a quilt finished for each of the boys when they arrived home. I wanted to give them something "mommy-made" to help them in their transition...and since its happening in the middle of winter, a nice warm quilt is perfect. I had big plans for getting them done months ago, but life took over and the quilts never got done. Well...for some reason, I just couldn't give up on the idea and I decided I would use the New Year's holiday to quilt. Two quilts from start to finish in 2 days. Yeah - they are definitely NOT perfect. They're a mess, actually - my mom would not be proud ;o) But, they are done. For some reason, I felt like I just HAD to finish them today. I finished up around 9:30 this evening.

When I get the digital camera back from my traveling hubby I will take a picture or two (as long as you all promise not to criticize the terrible stitchery). Maybe, just maybe, my prayers will be answered and I can show you pictures of the boys snuggled right up in their new quilts.