Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A few more photos

Everywhere we go, people always ask us "Are they twins?" To me, the question just seems to get funnier and funnier every time I hear it. Knowing the boys as well as I do, they don't look alike to me at all! They have such different personalities; and different expressions; their faces are shaped differently; and Peanut is noticeably shorter. If I didn't know otherwise, I wouldn't necessarily think that they were biological brothers. I thought I'd plan this photo - this is as close as I can get to making them look like "twins". They do not dress like this on a typical day!

Peanut being silly with his hat. After putting it on his head like this he strutted around the house and then started "rapping" and break dancing. I wonder where he picked that up??

I decided to make some creme brulee yesterday for a special treat. The boys LOVED it! They were particularly excited to see me bring out the butane torch to burn the sugar on top.

I hope they don't expect us to buy creme brulee for them when we go out to eat at restaurants! But...since it was such a hit, maybe I'll have to make it for special occasions around here.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Today, Tomorrow, and....

Jellybean and Peanut had a tough day today. Yesterday we were out having too much fun and they missed their nap completely. While they did go to bed relatively early last night, they still missed out on some necessary rest and today they were a bit on the cranky and defiant side. This, of course, did not come as a surprise to me. To add to the crankiness was inclement weather (rain, sleet, snow, and thunder-snow); so they were stuck inside and unhappy.

After a bout of not listening to mom and having to sit by mom for a bit, we had a little chat. During the course of this chat, Peanut got a really sad look on his face and asked "We go to our house now?"

Both of the boys have said this before when they've gotten into trouble for something, but I've always followed it up with "This is your house", or something else that is pretty similar (reminding them that this is their house, we are their parents, and this is America). Today, I decided that I had a good opportunity to ask some additional questions.

Me: "Which house?"
Peanut: "Our house in the airplane"

Me: "Why would you have to go there?"
Jellybean: "Be...Because I am bad boy."

Me: "Do you think that if you are bad we will send you back?"
(followed by really sad looks and misty eyes)
Jellybean: "Yes" (very quietly, with eyes down)
Peanut: "Yes" (very quietly, with eyes down)

Me: "Look at Mommy....You are both very good boys. Sometimes you make bad choices, but you are both good boys. Mommy and Daddy are never, ever going to send you back. You are here forever and ever. This is your house...I am your mommy....daddy is your daddy forever and ever. Is that okay?"
Peanut (with a big smile): "Yes"
Jellybean (still a little unsure): "Yes"

Me: "You are here today, tomorrow, and forever and ever. We will never send you back. Mommy and daddy love you very much and we will never send you back no matter what."
Jellybean: "okay"
Peanut: "okay"

Me: (looking at Jellybean) "I love you"
Jellybean: "I love you, too"

Me: (looking and Peanut): "I love you"
Peanut: "I love you"

We ended the conversation with lots of hugs and cuddles and the boys were immediately happier after this little exchange.

Z and I ended the night tonight with the following words
Z and I: "How long are you here? Today....tomorrow....and...."
Jellybean and Peanut: "Forever and ever!"

We've decided this is how we will start (and end) each of our days.

More New Stuff

Jellybean says "Thank you grandma for making these pants!"
(my mom made the bibs...they just fit Jellybean...but I have a feeling they'll be moving on to Peanut's wardrobe soon)

The boys have found hours of entertainment in this new car racer set! Who knew wood could be so much fun?!?

It seems as though every week brings more and more new things for the boys to experience. We finally had a "warmish" day this week where the boys went outside (for a short time) without their giant parkas. Instead, they wore hoodies and were a bit surprised that they weren't cold. I have to admit that normally I love the winter. Its not my favorite season (fall is by far my favorite), but I do still love the snow and the cold weather (to a point). However, having two very energetic boys in the house has changed my perspective. Now I am longing for warm weather so we can spend much more time enjoying the outdoors and getting rid of some energy!
On Saturday, we all went to the mall for a bit since Z and I had to get a couple things and the boys handled all the craziness pretty well. After the shopping, we went to see a movie (Disney's Enchanted), which was a hit. Gotta love the dollar theater! We've gone to the movies twice since the boys have gotten home and they've loved it both times. And they are SERIOUS about their popcorn!

Yesterday we went to church and then went to visit Z's sister and her family (and Z's mom was visiting, too). We had a lovely lunch, followed by a birthday cake and party for your's truly, and the boys were having so much fun they didn't want to leave. But, if the following picture is any indication, they were definitely tuckered out.

We are all looking forward to more visits and more warm weather. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like we'll be getting a break in the weather department any time soon.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Presidential Visit

Regardless of what I personally think of the current U.S. president, I am thankful that he is spending some quality time in Africa this week. Any presidential visit that raises the issues of poverty and disease in Africa to the forefront of American awareness is a good thing.

Today (on my birthday), President Bush is spending some time in Ghana - the home country of my two little boys. These are photos of the president enjoying a game of tee-ball. Some of the children participating in the tee-ball games today are orphans who are living at Beacon House. I am sure that today is a day that they will not soon forget.

Photo Credits: AP Photo

You can also visit this MSNBC site to see more photos of President Bush's trip to Africa this week. Included in the slide show are photos of his visit to Arusha, Tanzania - another place on this planet that holds a very special place in my heart.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

I Like...Everything!

Today was a Monday. I know, its shocking that I can even tell you what day of the week it is these days; the days just kind of run together after a while.

This morning we had another doctor appointment to get to, but this time it was for me. Of course, when I announced that we were headed to the doctor there were some looks of concern, so I had to quickly explain that the doctor was for ME, not for THEM, and that they just had to come along and sit quietly while mommy went to see the doctor. And then I promptly bribed them with donuts ("be good at the doctor and we'll go get donuts"). Not that the boys even know what a donut is, mind you. I told them it was sweet like cake and that was good enough for them.

The boys had a rough night last night...going to bed....getting up....stalling...going to bed....getting up....stalling....etc. So, we'll just say they weren't bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at their normal hour this morning. Once I got everyone up, had at least a little breakfast, and got everyone dressed it was time to go. Of course, today is also a very COLD day here in central Iowa so going meant bundling up, warming up the van, and scraping off the frost and snow. The doctor visit was quick and then we were off to the grocery store to pick out donuts and pick up my prescription (and a few groceries, too).

Believe it or not, today was the boys' first ever visit to the grocery store. I've been avoiding it for good reason. Grocery shopping is not my favorite activity...but when I go on my own I go exactly where I need to go, I get what I need to get, and I get out. When you go anywhere with two little boys, being side-tracked is inevitable. So, I do the grocery shopping on my own in the evenings (and have Z pick up necessities if we need them in-between).

Everything was exciting for the boys at the grocery store. First, there were automatic doors....then they got to ride in a cart....and then they got to pick out donuts....and ride around the store in the cart while I picked up a few things. Of course as we went through the store the boys wanted EVERYTHING. Everything except what I put in the cart. With the exception of the sausage (which the boys love) they said "Mommy I don't like this food" every time I added something to the cart. Go figure!

Its good for them to spend time in places like the grocery store, but I have to admit it is tiring to say "don't touch" and "sit down in the cart" and "nope, we can't buy that this time" over and over again. All in all they did really well and I think they were pretty overwhelmed to see a HUGE store filled with FOOD of all different kinds. They picked out a fish that they wanted to eat, and saw more fruit than they had probably ever seen all in one place. And when we finally got home it was time for that donut.

And the verdict on the donut?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Feline Friends

It is no secret that Z and I like animals. I have always had pets - some of them of the normal cat and dog variety and some not so normal (like turtles, snakes, tadpoles, strange fish, newts, frogs, lizards, etc.). I was lucky and had a mom who was very tolerant of me and my fascination with all things that breathe. I hope that in the future I can be that kind of mom, too (although, I will say that my mom had the advantage of a 240-acre farm....she could say "sure you can keep it - just keep it outside").

For Z and I, our pets really do become a part of our family. We have had our cats since before we were married and I know that we would both have a hard time imagining life without them. So, when we decided to adopt, we hoped and prayed we would have kids who loved them, too (and who were not allergic). The cats have always had a difficult time adjusting to new things, so when the boys came home we expected not to see the cats for several days. The cats have the run of our finished basement (which has turned into storage, laundry, and cat-haven). We expected that the cats would come upstairs, see the boys, and quickly retreat back to the safety of their basement for a while.

But that is so not what happened. Instead, the cats came upstairs and acted as though the boys had always been here. Weird.

We had been warned that the boys might not like the cats at all, since many Ghanaians think of cats as thieves. But, our boys took a look at the cats, recognized them from their pictures, and held their hands out to pet them. Within an hour or two, the boys were wanting to carry the cats around the house.

The boys and the cats are fast friends these days. Jellybean has learned that Mojo will pounce and chase light. Both boys have learned that Paka is easiest to carry because she just lays there once you pick her up (she will even let them carry her around upside down). And they know that if they pet Crickette, she will make lots of noise (talk about a vocal cat). Paka will follow Peanut around the house and will sit with him whenever he sits still long enough. At naptime, she runs upstairs to their room to cuddle up with the boys in their bed. This friendship was totally unexpected, but its nice. One less thing to worry about around here!

Friday, February 8, 2008

The past week: a recap

My mom was visiting this last week. Even though she had talked to both of the boys on the phone, this was the first time she met the boys in person. The boys were super excited to meet "grandma from the phone" and I know that my mom was really excited to meet the boys, too.

Of course, grandma came bearing presents and couldn't keep herself from purchasing even more presents while she was here. She also delivered a few things that we have hidden away in our room from other family members from Christmas that we are going to bring out after a bit when the "newness" of the toys grandma brought has worn off a bit.

It was really great to have grandma visiting for a few days. It allowed me to spend some quality time working in the lab (during normal business hours) and Z and I got to go on an actual date! The boys did great with my mom...and they probably got away with far more than they would have with Z and I (no wonder they loved having her around so much)!

While my mom was here, we fit in a little shopping, some movie watching, lots of cooking, and lots of hanging out time. We also had to fit in 3 more visits to the clinic (Tb tests, reading of the Tb test, and more lab work). Luckily, the last 3 clinic visits were FAR less traumatic than the first one.

We all had fun while grandma was here and were sad to see her leave. We are looking forward to her next visit!

Friday, February 1, 2008

A rough day...but its looking up!

Today was a rough day in Jellybean and Peanut's world. Today was THE day...the day they had to go to the doctor and get all checked out.

Their pediatrician was really great with them. Poor Peanut started whining the minute we got into the exam room and started crying as soon as we had to take his clothes off. He sniffled and cried the whole time. But the pediatrician took it in stride and made the best of it. He got all checked out and things look good. Jellybean was a trooper (through most of it). He let the doctor examine him and read his book while he waited. Everything looks good for him, too. For Jellybean it was all ok until the nurses came into the room armed with vaccinations. Poor little guys! We know for certain that they both have good lungs, because the whole clinic could hear them screaming over those shots!

The next step was to the lab where they had to live through another needle to get blood drawn for more tests. Peanut cried and screamed and cried through that...and Jellybean cried until the needle was in and then he calmed right down.

Luckily for me, Z went along to the clinic so I didn't have to handle it all alone. I stayed with the boys during their shots, and Z stayed with them during the blood draw. I guess we're equal opportunity pokers.

The boys have to go back next week for their Tb tests...and we'll have to wait to get test results on the tests they did today...but for now everyone is recouperating from their first American doctor experience. Lucky for them, we got their immunization record from Ghana right before their appointment and the doctor didn't need to re-do any of the immunizations they already had. So, they *only* had to get the shots that all kids get right before Kindergarten (that they do for 4 and 5 year olds here). Plus, they had to get their flu shot.

After their appointment, the resident mommy felt terrible for her off to DQ we went to get a cheeseburger and ice cream!

Tonight the boys have something exciting to look forward to. Grandma (my mom) is coming to visit! And she's staying for almost a week! The boys have been so excited for days that Grandma is coming! This is the first time that she will meet the boys - so I know she is looking forward to getting some quality time in with her new grandsons.

And, tomorrow we have our first post-placement visit with our social worker. We love our social worker and we are excited to see her again. She's been great to work with...and she even came to the airport with her family to watch the boys arrive. I know that she is looking forward to meeting two little boys who aren't as shy as they were when they arrived here.