Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Princess Playdate

Although Kyrgyzstan has a relatively small IA program, we are lucky that there are many families in our region with children from Kyrg. And it just so happens that HD's best friend, Ellie, only lives about two hours away. We try to meet up every couple of months, but between our crazy schedules it usually ends up being 3-4 months between visits. We were SO happy to figure out that all of our kiddos were out of school for Election Day so we decided to meet up at a fun playplace half way between us. As it turns out, all of the big boys had other plans so it was just the toddlers; but boy-oh-boy did they have fun together. We played for hours; the kids jumped, ran, and played the entire time. They were so tired afterwards that during our quick lunch, we were actually complimented on their behavior. Ha! It was such a fun day. We can't wait for our next playdate and hope many of the other families with Kyrgyz kids can join us.

The girls had so much fun in the bounce house.

The playhouse/kitchen was another hit

Anybody want some eggs?

Ellie, the future musician

Ellie's face in the window cracks me up!

HD loves to slide

Pudding was fascinated by the Lego wall

The girls spent a lot of time at the train table

My little monkey

Smiles at lunch!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween

My little goblins has such a fun time trick-or-treating. We were a little concerned how HD would react; she has been going through a phase where she is terrified of almost all Halloween decorations. I'm not talking about a little bit scared...she gets absolutely hysterical at the sight of anything the least little bit scary. My big boys were troopers when we couldn't put out our usual Halloween decorations this year so I was keeping my fingers crossed that HD wouldn't cut short our night of fun. I needn't have worried; as soon as HD realized that she received candy at each house, she was a happy camper. Pudding LOVED the night. He would literally run from one house to another, shrieking in joy as his bag filled up with sugar! We could barely keep up with him as he ran from house to house. At almost 8-years-old, Chipmunk is an old pro and thought he was such a big kid as we allowed him to go up to the doors without us. Monkey enjoyed going door-to-door but was much more interested in handing out candy at our house.

The only picture I was able to get of all four together and looking at the camera.

I can't believe how big my first two babies are getting...sniff, sniff...

The cutest little pig ever

I think the monkey costume was very appropriate for Pudding

Mommy and her little goblins

Monkey loves any opportunity to get messy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Long-Awaited Catch-Up

I know I always begin by apologizing for how long it has been since my last post and this time is no exception. I'd like to say the absence is due to some extenuating circumstance but that is not the case. The reality is that being a mom to four kids is wonderfully exhausting and takes up nearly all of my time (not surprising, I know). I usually have an hour to myself in the morning between "the Bigs" going to school and the Littles awaking. I then have another free hour while the Littles are napping before the Bigs get home from school. It seems as if every other waking minute is spent cleaning up a mess, chasing (absolutely adorable) toddlers or chauffeuring the big boys to soccer practice. Understand I am not complaining one bit (okay, maybe a little...but just to Stu!); I just want to apologize for the long time between posts. I usually have great plans to catch up on long-delayed communication (like this blog, for example) during those few free sacred hours in my day, but I tend to just sit on my couch, enjoy the silence and wait for the next round of chaos to begin.
I had plans to try to do a recap of all of our events from the past several months but that will have to wait (as it's 5:00 in the morning and my "official" day will begin soon)...needless to say, it has been busy. Chipmunk and Monkey started back to school, second-grade and kindergarten respectively; Pudding celebrated his 3rd birthday and HotDog celebrated her 2nd Family Day (aka Gotcha Day); we have had several weddings of family members and all of the trappings that surround such celebrations; we have just finished another season of soccer for the big boys; and we are now gearing up for the beginning of the holiday season. As a child, I was never a big fan of Halloween. My-oh-my how that has changed since becoming a mom. I love the crisp fall air that surrounds this time of the year. I love making our annual trek to a local pumpkin patch. I love seeing the excitement in my children's' eyes as they debate for weeks about which costume they are going to choose. It is so much fun. Of course, this year Pudding will be celebrating his first round of holidays as part of our family. I cannot wait to see how much fun he has trick-or-treating around our neighbor!
Speaking of Pudding, may of you have been asking me about his progress. He is doing fantastic! I still cannot believe how easily he transitioned into our family. I was so worried about the difficulties of a toddler adoption but I can honestly say he made the smoothest transition out of all of our kids. He is just the happiest kid I have ever seen. He has been home a little over six-months and the progress he has made is amazing. He is starting to speak in sentences now (although I'm usually the only one that can understand him), but still uses a lot of sign language. He has been going through a huge growth spurt and is now on the charts for height and weight. We just finished a check-up with his cardiologist (all good news) and underwent allergy testing to determine if that is causing his breathing difficulty (of course not...not allergic to anything; the allergist/ENT say he just has the smallest sinus passages they've ever seen and simply can't pull air in through his nose). He has transitioned to his own big-boy bed and I'm thrilled to say sleeping has gotten (a bit) better. He usually falls asleep by himself now and sleeps through the night about 50% of the time. The other nights he tends to toss and turn and will wake up a couple of times during the night. I know it is still not ideal but I am so happy with the improvement he has made it that area.
All in all, life is great. I promise I will try to update on a more regular basis and catch up on all of my favorite blogs. I have missed everyone!
In the meantime, I'll share some pictures of our recent trip to the pumpkin patch.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fun in the Sun

We just returned from a fantastic vacation to Florida. We had such a wonderful time; absolutely no plans or schedule....just hanging out and enjoying the beautiful weather with my favorite people. We'd hit the pool in the morning, I'd take the big boys to the ocean while the Littles were napping, and then we'd go to the pool after supper and swim until dark. I was a little unsure of how the the little ones, especially Pudding, would do with the change of location and with the pool. No need to worry at all; they LOVED it! By the second day they were both little fish - putting their faces in the water, swimming around the steps, and jumping into the pool, whether or not Stu or I was there to catch them. Chipmunk would stay in the water all day if we let him. He loved playing with his diving sticks in the deep end and was swimming laps in the pool by the end of the trip. And I was so proud of my little Monkey! He's had basic swimming lessons but has never been very comfortable in a pool. I knew he could swim if he just had a little confidence so I promised him he could pick out any toy he wanted whenever he was able to swim from one side of the pool to the other by himself. I should have known better because five minutes later he did it. (Let me tell you what a long car ride home it was with his new toy accordion that he chose!!) After that, there was no stopping him. He stayed in the shallow end but was swimming, diving and doing flips in the pool. I think Stu had more fun than any of the kids though. He was just like a little boy, playing different games with the Bigs in the pool, challenging Chipmunk to races, and catching the Littles as they jumped in over and over again. By the time night rolled around we were all exhausted and everyone (including Pudding - yeah!!) fell asleep the instant our heads touched the pillows. One afternoon we were lucky enough to have a playdate with two of my blogging friends, Rachel and Jackie that have daughters from Kyrgyzstan (I'll do a blog post on that in a few days because I need to make sure I have all of the pictures downloaded of our adorable kids). Other than that, we simply relaxed and had fun in the sun. I think this will go down as the best vacation ever!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Catch Up

I can't believe it has been a month since I've updated the blog. But between Pudding's recovery, soccer season, end-of-school year activities for both boys and continuous trips to various doctors, I've had no time to even catch up on reading my favorite blogs, let alone update this one.
So onto Pudding's recovery (or, as it's affectionately known around our household, "Two-Weeks-of-Hell"): it was not fun. Not only was it not fun, it as downright miserable. My poor, sweet boy cried non-stop, 24-hours-a-day, for two entire weeks. He didn't leave my lap for more than two minutes at a time, and that includes during the night. He wouldn't eat or drink and I can't even count how many times I had pain medicine spit back into my face. One of the biggest drawbacks to having this surgery so soon after coming home was that we couldn't communicate to him that drinking would make his throat feel better. He refused all liquids. Our little guy dropped 6 pounds over those two weeks...precious pounds he didn't have to lose. I felt so helpless as he sobbed in my lap all day. While the recovery process left my patience level at an all time low, I'm happy to say that it was a huge step forward in bonding. This kid didn't leave my side for an instant over those two weeks; I now jokingly refer to him as my shadow. It has been such a reversal from our time in China when he had such a preference for Stu. Now he wants me non-stop, all the time. He won't even go to Stu if he knows I'm home. I am also thrilled to say that his surgery was a major success. Not only does he feel so much better but he is SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT!! In his own room, no less! He still needs me to lay down with him but after he finishes his bottle (yes, he still gets a nighttime bottle...I don't want to force too many changes right now) he tells me "night-night", turns over and goes right to sleep. Yahoo!! I feel like a brand new woman now that I'm back to getting 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
Pudding's adjustment to the language change is amazing. While he is still catching up verbally, he understands probably about 90% of what we say (and I suspect the other 10% is his "selective hearing"). We've also been working on sign language with him and both HD and him are quickly picking it up. He signs more than 20 words without prompting and knows upwards of 40-50 signs! He is definitely able to let us know what he wants. HD is unbelievable at signing. If you show her a sign one time she absorbs it like a sponge. She knows almost 75 signs and her language has exploded alongside of signing. Speaking of HD, she is doing great. Over the past couple of months she has bloomed into such a sweet little girl. Now HD likes to be the life of the party. She is the first out on the dance floor when the music starts playing and is the first to greet guests in our house; such a difference from our shy, bashful toddler who wouldn't look a stranger in the face. She is talking up a storm and finishes almost every sentence with "honey". It is beyond cute. You walk into her room in the morning and she greets me with "Good morning honey." If she sees Pudding upset she'll squat down next to him and ask, "What's wrong honey?" She's turned into such a girly-girl too. She always wants her toenails polished (thanks Puffy!), loves to wear dresses and insists on having her hair pulled back with a bow. Little girl will even smile at the camera now! I'm not sure how long it will last so we're getting some new pictures of her taken tomorrow since she didn't smile in one single picture at her 2-year-portraits.

The Bigs are doing great too. Chipmunk just finished first-grade (how is that possible?!?) and is smart as a whip. He's reading books and doing math that I didn't attempt until I was in 3rd and 4th grade. Multiplication tables in 1st grade? Really? At this rate his schoolwork is going to be over my head by the time he's in middle school. He loves our new neighborhood and is looking forward to a long summer of bike rides and playdates with friends.
Monkey is Monkey. He is the sweetest, funniest and most mischievous little boy ever! He graduated from preschool last week and I still can't believe that he'll be in kindergarten in the fall. He is super-smart and academically ready for it but I still view him as my lovable little toddler. I'm really going to miss having him with me for most of the day. He lost his first tooth last week, followed by another one today. I knew he was nervous when both of his bottom teeth were very loose, so I told him how cool it would be when he lost both of them and he'd have a hole big enough to fit an M&M through it with his teeth closed. He started to get excited about it and was so disappointed when we discovered his permanent teeth were already in place behind his baby ones, so no big hole for him. An ice cream sundae quickly cheered him up though;-)

Okay, I think I've caught up on the last month. Now the challenge is to stay up-to-date which might be a challenge since we'll be lounging around the beach next week! Stu had some downtime in his schedule and I'm desperate for a little vacation (and no, China did NOT count as a vacation) so we've planned a little impromptu trip to my family's condo in Florida. The Bigs are so excited, as am I; not sure how the Littles will do but I think between the beach and the pool that we will all have a good time. We're also hoping to meet up with some blog buddies and have a little Kyrgyz reunion. I cannot wait!

My newest little monkey

Happy in the sunshine

Looks like we'll have another visit from the Tooth Fairy

So proud of my Chipmunk at his school's awards ceremony

Pudding showing off the goofy smile he does everytime he sees a camera!

HD loved the baby bunny my brother rescued from the lawn mower and was so sad when we returned him to his home

Chipmunk cruising in his cousin's Barbie jeep

My little graduate and his proud Papa