Thursday, August 28, 2008

This is what happens...

....when the resident Daddy leaves the resident Mommy home alone all day with a dog who's hair has been neglected for far too long.

Poor Grommit....

Poor, poor Grommit...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Peanut's Day Out

In preparing the boys for our new fall schedule once school started, I knew that the hardest transition in the house was going to be for little Peanut. In his mind, he and Jellybean have just ALWAYS done EVERYTHING together. It was/is really hard for him to understand why Jellybean gets to go to school and he doesn't. I knew that I was going to have to do something special for the youngest member of our family on that first day of Kindergarten.

So, Sunday night I asked Peanut if he would like to go out for breakfast in the morning after we took Jellybean to school. He is a sucker for pancakes, so I knew he'd say yes. On Monday morning, we all got up early, Jellybean ate breakfast while I packed his lunch, we all got dressed and the whole family headed to the elementary school to see Jellybean go to class and hear the bell ring announcing the beginning of the new school year. After that, Peanut and I went to get some breakfast. After he got his fill of pancakes, we stopped by Z's office to say hello and visit with the girls in the office. Then we headed to Reiman Gardens (a botanical garden) to walk around looking at flowers and butterflies.

Reiman Gardens holds a special place in my heart....Z and I were married in the conservatory right here where Peanut is standing. Only it looked a little different then...all decked out for Christmas:

But...back to Peanut's Day Out....Right now, the conservatory is decorated in a Peter Pan theme, so even though its all plants (which is heaven for me) it was still really interesting and fun for Peanut.
And, you can't go wrong when you have little boys and there is a train to watch!

Or Butterfly chairs to sit on....or sprinklers to run through....

Or huge frogs to watch in the pond.
We attempted to get a photo of the two of us together and we ended up with a ton of photos that looked like this:
And after all that walking around, we needed a little rest. I think next time we head to the gardens I am going to pack along some books so we can take a seat in the shade and get some reading in. There is a great area of the gardens where there are two rows of bald cypress trees right next to each other with benches between the trees all the way down the row. There's lots of shade...and there's something calming and relaxing about cypress trees...maybe its just me.
After our time at the gardens, we went home for a quick lunch and back to school to pick up Jellybean. Then we all headed out for some ice cream to celebrate the day.
In the words of Peanut:
"Mommy, we did a lot, a lot of things today. Today was a good day!"

First Day of Kindergarten


Monday was Jellybean's first day of Kindergarten!

To be honest, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about him starting school. You see, most moms get 5 years or so to prepare themselves for this first big day...I had not quite 8 months. Overall, I think I did pretty well. I am excited for Jellybean. I know this is a big deal for him. He is ready to go to school and I know it will be really good for him. I didn't cry...but I did feel a little teary off and on all day.

Last week, Jellybean had a one-hour orientation for school where we went in to have a treasure hunt in his classroom so he could learn where everything was and feel a little more comfortable walking in to class that first day. This week he goes to Kindergarten every day for a half day...and next week he starts going for full days. This schedule makes the transition a little easier for everyone...and I'm grateful for that.

Even after just these first couple of days...I am definitely missing seeing my little boy! I know that this transition might be a bit tougher for Peanut and myself than it will be for Jellybean!

So far, he loves school. He's making new friends and gaining independence every day. So much for my little boy...he's growing up!


Monday, August 25, 2008

Go Say Congrats!

To the fine family OVER HERE...

They just accepted a referral for two beautiful children. This family is special...they've been waiting a LONG time to sign those referral papers!

Congrats Jags!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Good Night

Tonight was a good night. We decided to splurge a little bit since it is officially the last weekend of summer for us (Jellybean starts Kindergarten on Monday morning). Z was in the mood for some seafood, so we headed to Red Lobster where Jellybean insisted that he wanted the crab legs. Z thought for sure that he wouldn't like them and that he would have to finish them for him (which he would have been more than happy to do). But, Jellybean took us by surprise and couldn't get enough of the crablegs! He ate a TON and walked out of the Red Lobster totally stuffed! And Peanut ate a ton of popcorn shrimp, too.


After dinner, we bummed around a bit. We went to the bookstore, to Best Buy and to the mall to find some new tennis shoes for the boys with growing feet.

All summer long we have been hoping that the dollar theater would be playing kid-friendly movies...and all summer they have not been playing kid-friendly movies. But, this weekend they started playing Kung-Fu Panda. So we headed to the movie theater to round out the evening. The boys laughed SO hard during this movie. And Z and I loved it, too.

When the movie was over, Peanut looked at me and said "Mommy! That was a good movie!"
My response was "Yes, that was a very good movie"
And then he said "Mommy! It was AWESOME!"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My next big purchase...


I've been wanting one of these basically from the time they came out. I have a 35mm film version of this camera and LOVE it. But, I never use it anymore. Film is too much of a pain when you want to take photos, post, and share them. But, it takes great pictures. I've never really been totally happy with the digital camera that we did buy. Sure, it works...I can stick it in my purse because its small...but I just don't love it. I couldn't afford one of these (and honestly still can't), but someday....someday I WILL get one!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cute, but...


The adorable Oliver...
Truthfully, I didn't have much planned for the weekend. I usually only go in to work 2-3 times during the week so the boys aren't at daycare all the time...but this week I lost a day because Peanut was sick (though he recovered quickly). So, I was planning to spend a chunk of my time on Saturday in the lab working to make up for that lost day. But, with pets and kids around here, you never really can count on your plans coming to fruition.


Instead of spending the day at work making money, I spent a big chunk of my Saturday taking this adorable doggie to the veterinarian. On a SATURDAY...for an emergency. Don't worry...he's fine (or at least he's fine now), but it cost me a pretty penny to take him in, get him looked at and treated. In all honesty, I could have made him wait to go to the vet until Monday, but I really didn't want to take the chance that he could get an infection and get really sick. So, I called the vet, explained the problem, and she said "Yep, bring him in". So, there went my Saturday.

Instead, I spent just a part of my Saturday at the lab...and then a part of my Sunday at the lab. But, I got everything done (and even managed to fit in most of my laundry duties, too).

This is what the boys did. I missed out on all the fun!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Birthday Bash

I can't believe Jellybean is already 6 years old. When we first heard about the boys, we thought Jellybean was 3...then we found out he was 4...then while we waited he turned 5 in Ghana...and now he's been home 7 months and is already 6! Every day this little boy amazes me. He has learned so much so quickly. He has adjusted to life in the U.S. remarkably well. And now we are preparing him for school. Can you believe he has Kindergarten orientation tomorrow?? Yikes!

We headed up to NW Iowa for the weekend to spend time with Z's family and had a great weekend! Grandma and Grandpa gave me a morning off on Saturday morning while they took the boys to a Threshing Show. While they were gone, I worked on Jellybean's Train Birthday Cake and did a little relaxing. Later that day we had a wonderful dinner, followed by birthday cake and presents for the little man! He had so much fun on his first American birthday!! He wasn't sure what to expect, but I know he's already looking forward to another one! Of course, Peanut is looking forward to one, too.

For those of you who left advice on how to deal with the first American birthday, we truly appreciate it. In order to help Peanut handle Jellybean's birthday, we spent several days ahead of time talking to both of the boys about what a birthday was, what would happen on the birthday, and what was expected of them. We made sure to let Peanut know that this was Jellybean's day, but that there would be a day just for him this winter. We included him for some of the planning and encouraged him to help us make a very special day for Jellybean. Z taught him how to play the birthday song on the piano, so he was really proud to play that for Jellybean on his special day (with some help from Z). And...at the end of the day, after Jellybean had opened his presents, we gave a little gift to Peanut, too (for his un-birthday). I'm not sure that giving the un-birthday kid a gift is necessarily the best idea...and I certainly wouldn't do it if we had more than 2 children, but it did help Peanut to be recognized on that day, too. I think now that the first birthday celebration is out of the way, the rest will be easier (since they know what they are and what to expect).

Anyway...here are some photos from our weekend! The last couple are from Z's family reunion on Sunday. We got to spend the day at the lake and the boys loved it (even if I was feeling pretty yucky).


Thursday, August 7, 2008

They're Back

Remember this post?

Yeah...the pregnant dreams....they're back again. Along with what I believe to be the reason for them.

We'd appreciate your thoughts and prayers as we sort all of this out. And, yes, someday (hopefully relatively soon) I WILL let you know what this is all about. I just can't do it yet. And boy do we have a lot of work to do!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Seeking Advice

Alright...so I need some advice on how to deal with birthdays around here. On Saturday we have our first "real" birthday to celebrate! Peanut had a birthday two days after they arrived home, but that celebration was pretty low-key as the boys were already overwhelmed with "stuff". Saturday is Jellybean's birthday! YAY!

The problem? The boys don't really have a good concept of what "birthday" means. I've tried explaining it to them, but they don't really get the idea. They've never celebrated birthdays before and they've never really done anything separately before. If one got something, then they both got something.

I want Jellybean to have a great birthday. I want him to have presents and cake and people to sing Happy Birthday to him. I want him to have a fun day where he gets to play games and eat junk food and enjoy turning 6. But....I don't want Peanut to have a bad day. I don't want Peanut to think that somehow Jellybean is MORE special than he is. I don't want Peanut to be upset and cranky, taking some of the joy out of Jellybean's day.

How do I walk this line? How do I explain to Peanut that his day is coming, too...its just going to be a while?

Have any of you figured out a great way to handle the first birthday celebrations with older adopted kids who've never had birthday parties before? If so, please share your solutions!! And FAST - Saturday is coming up!!

Thanks!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Baseball

On Sunday we headed off to see an Iowa Cubs game in Des Moines. Z's sister very graciously offered us tickets for the SKYBOX, so even though it was a very HOT, very HUMID day in Iowa, we got to enjoy the baseball game from the comfort of an air-conditioned skybox with lots of cold drinks and snacks! The boys both had a lot of fun, though Jellybean was definitely the one most interested in actually watching the game.

This was the boys first ever baseball game...and now they probably think that everyone gets to watch the game from a skybox!

Thanks Aunt Jenny!





Peanut and Uncle Aaron
The kiddos and Cubby Bear
This is how Jellybean spent the entire game. Leaning up against the rail watching the game intently. Well...unless he was busy eating onion rings, of course.

Tall Corn Days

The next weekend, we headed to Z's hometown to help out with Tall Corn Days! Z's parents host a 5k race during the festivities, so we headed up there to 'help' with the race. Z and his siblings ran the race, while the in-laws helped with registration and the water stop. The boys and I (along with future Aunt Tanya) were in charge of making sure the runners got water during the race. The boys had a ton of fun helping us fill water cups and handing water to the runners. Their favorite part of the whole race was handing water to their Daddy and watching him pour it over his head! They laughed and laughed and laughed about that!






After the race, we stayed in town to watch the parade. The boys loved watching all the floats and collecting all the candy. They both came home with a TON of candy! We are still eating it! This parade was one of those small-town parades that everyone participates in. I think there were almost as many people IN the parade as there were watching the parade!

The boys and Grandma waiting for the parade to start.

My favorite float...the guy in the bathtub...with a working shower!

Grandpa in the parade.
Z says there's a reason that marketing didn't take off on this particular
brand of tractor. I can't imagine why that would be.....
Grandpa reading to all the kiddos....
Two totally worn out little boys on the way home.

The storm we had to drive through on the way home....Iowa weather...what can I say?

Another Trip to the Zoo


I've decided that I have to get you all caught up just a bit, so I'm going back a couple of weekends to our trip to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo. My mom and nephew came down to visit us for the weekend, so we scheduled in something special - a trip to the zoo. Unfortunately, I think the entire population of Nebraska also decided to head to the zoo that day. It was crazy! Once we finally found a parking spot and resigned ourselves to not seeing everything we wanted because of all the people, we just wandered around and had a great time. The boys saw lots of animals they'd never seen before, and got to spend some quality time with their cousin and grandma from Minnesota. Despite the crowds, a great time was had by all!