Thursday, October 25, 2007

A week of experiences

Greetings! Well, since the last post, a few interesting things have happened. First, it was Mitch's first reserve duty weekend since we returned from Thailand. He left on Thursday evening and got back on Sunday evening. I decided that being a single parent is not my preference (not that it usually is anyone's preference) and that God had a good plan when He put both a Mommy and a Daddy in a family! It is just so much easier when we can tag-team.
We had fun with Nan B last week, too. She brought over some boxes of books for us and just couldn't resist sitting down to read with Beth and Jack. (I have a great picture, but had trouble uploading it. Sorry!) They seemed to have no problem crawling up on her lap and looking at books! I think they are becoming more and more comfortable meeting people.
We also had our first haircuts with Jessica A. They were not very keen on the idea until Mommy had her hair cut first. Then Beth was ready to try sitting on the big chair. (Another missing pic. :()She did great! Jack was still unsure about it all and his was the cut I really wanted to get done (He had tried to be his own barber at some point before we got him.) Finally, I ended up holding him on my lap so Jessica could trim up the rough spots. All in all, it was a success.
Grandma Louise came over to play with us both Friday and Saturday evenings. They had a lot of fun showing Grandma how they could trace shapes and letters in their workbooks. After bedtime, it was nice to unwind with a couple of games of Scrabble!
Sunday was a little challenging for me since I could only be in one classroom at a time and they are in different rooms. When I thought they were preoccupied playing, I tried to sneak out and go into the adult service. But, one of the teachers came and found me saying that Jack was crying. We ended up all going into the adult service and they did surprisingly well at being quiet. After church we had lunch with Grandpa Dave and Grandma Pat at Taco Bell. They both enjoyed their tacos so I guess Mexican food is okay with them. Jack gave Grandma kisses, too. It's great to see them feeling secure enough to show affection to the special people in their lives!
Since the weather was so nice, we went out to Lone Pine Farm on Monday just to play and feed the goats. Jack was more brave this time and actually held out some food on his palm for the goat to eat. Beth still felt scared though. Maybe next time...
Beth started complaining of a sore throat so on Tuesday we went to the doctor to check her out. At the doctor's office the preliminary culture came back negative so we weren't worried. But then on Wednesday, the nurse called and said the official results came back from the lab and were positive for strep throat. So, we ventured out yesterday to pick up her prescription from WalMart. Well, the pharmacy didn't have the order filled and couldn't find the record of having received it. So, when I went to the dropoff window to find out what to do, the clerk said they had just taken off their phone messages and it would be another 20 minutes. My goal had been to get in and get out (seems like items just magically appear in my cart the longer I stay at WalMart!) so I wasn't thrilled to have to wait. I decided to check out the UO apparel for girls since Beth still doesn't have any Duck wear. After wandering around for at least 5 minutes looking for someone to help me, I finally found one employee covering all of the clothing departments by herself. She told me they didn't have any girls' UO clothing. Geesh! Okay, so back to the pharmacy where our order was completed, however for some reason it didn't qualify for the $4 prescription deal which was the whole reason I went there in the first place. By this time, I figured if I had to use the restroom the kids probably did too. So, we went into the empty restroom and I chose to use the larger "handicap equipped" stall so that all three of us could be corralled, so to speak. After they had both used the toilet, no sooner had I sat down, but some woman came into the restroom and told me I needed to get out of that stall because she was handicapped and couldn't fit in the other ones. So how did she know I wasn't handicapped, too? I told her she would just have to wait and that a mother with two children didn't fit in the other stalls either. Some people! I was very glad to get out of that store! I am not sure what some people see in WalMart! I find it very frustrating!
Well, today is a stay-at-home day. Beth and Jack are playing together (something we have been working on) with the Thomas the engine train set. I am trying to catch up on email after posting this. Besides catching up on laundry. Hmmph. Both kids are picking up more and more English. Yesterday, Beth said, all on her own, "May I have water." I was very impressed! And Jack uses the words "no" instead of the Thai word "mai." She can say all of the letters of the alphabet, although they are usually not in the correct order. They both like to sing the song though! It's fun to hear them try out new words and phrases. Well, until next time...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Angels or...

I finally have a spare moment to get another post in. I can just see all of you nodding and smiling like "I told you so." Well, I never doubted you all for a moment when you told me about how busy you were with your kids, just so you know. Hee hee. It's a wonderful kind of busy, I have to admit!

So, here's a heartwarmer for you...Sunday afternoon, on our way home from lunch, I glanced toward the backseat of the car to see Beth and Jack holding hands, eyes squeezed tightly shut, and Beth was mumbling something. Then she said, "Amen" and Jack repeated, "Amen" as their eyes popped open. They repeated it a few times, giggling after each "prayer." Gives a whole new meaning to speaking in tongues!

Lest you think that our children are always perfect little angels...the next morning, Beth played a naughty trick on Jack. When he called out that he had to go to the bathroom, she ran into the bathroom and closed the door before he could get there. I took him to the other one, but it was too late. He had peed his pants. Later that day, Jack got really mad about something, not sure what, and ended up throwing a screaming fit for 20 minutes. So, they really are quite typical kids.

Yesterday, Beth made her first batch of chocolate chip cookies! She did a great job of mixing the ingredients and scooping out the cookies! It was a lot of fun to have my little helper in the kitchen. I hope that she will enjoy cooking and baking as much as her Mommy does. :)

We had some wonderful visitors yesterday, too! The Bullock family finally got to meet the kids. And boy did they have fun together! Beth and Jack played chase and ride the horsey and who knows what else with Andrew, Thomas, Anna, and Timmy. They just laughed and giggled for a good couple of hours while the mommies made dinner. They stayed for dinner and then we tried Beth's cookies for dessert. I think they really wore them out cause bedtime was quick and they slept at least 12 hours straight!

P.S. I tried to upload more pics, but had trouble. Sorry.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

We had a good week!

Well, the days are starting to meld together as we start to develop a semi-routine. We did have a couple of interesting events this week, though.

First, was Thursday morning Moms' breakfast/kids' play group at the Cornelius' house. It was the first time Beth and Jack went, and I wasn't sure how they would do just playing on their own at another house. It was fun to watch them as their curiosity got the best of them and they stretched their comfort zone a little bit wider. They started by crawling up the stairs and then sliding back down a few times, always looking to see if Mommy was still there and watching them. Pretty soon, however, they disappeared into the kids' bedrooms where all the cool toys were. Every once in a while one of them would come back down just to check on me and then climb back up to play some more. When Brooklyn N. arrived after kindergarten, she did a great job of playing with Beth and being her friend. It was a positive step for them to interact with the other kids and feel comfortable enough to play without Mommy in sight!

The great thing was that later that evening, when we returned for our weekly Bible study, Beth and Jack had no problem going upstairs and playing while we had our study. It's great to see them becoming more and more comfortable with our friends!

Yesterday, Daddy had the day off, so we decided to go visit Great Grandpa Ed (G-G-Pa), Mitch's Grandpa. Beth and Jack both brought their backpacks with a few toys and coloring books to keep them entertained. G-G-Pa seemed to really enjoy watching them play and especially loved to hear them laugh. Jack had to show him his Matchbox car and Beth showed him a picture she had colored. We stayed for a while and the kids seemed to feel very comfortable there.

Today was another home football game, so Mitch decided to invite our friend Aric Marshall to go with him. The problem was that Aric's wife, Trina, was out of town and Aric was in charge of their two children. So, I volunteered to babysit so the guys could both go to the game. 6-year-old Evan and his 1-year-old brother Ethan were a lot of fun. Evan led the way outside and the three older kids explored the backyard and vegetable garden, discovering cherry tomatoes and summer squash while I rocked the baby to sleep. After lunch, we all walked down to the school playground for a little fun and exercise. The kids enjoyed taking turns pushing the stroller and they all did a great job of walking on the side of the street (as opposed to the middle ;)) and looking for cars before crossing the street. Beth and Jack pointed out every dog we passed on the way, using their English.

At the playground, they both seemed much more confident climbing and sliding and swinging than their first playground experience. It helped to have Evan there to be a good example. Back home again, we had naptime for Jack and Ethan and quiet playtime for Beth and Evan. Before we knew it, the daddies returned home and it was dinnertime! It was a great day of play!

Speaking of English, they are both picking up things every day. And when they do, they repeat it often! Today, they learned "Uh oh." So I heard "Uh oh" all day long. It's okay though, because I think they enjoy learning new words and always want the affirmation from us that they are doing a good job. They also have learned to say "Excuse me" when they burp or pass gas. It's very cute to hear their little voices saying, "'cuse me." We worked with them on the difference between GrandMA and GrandPA. They are getting it slowly but surely!

They seem to be becoming more and more comfortable with affection. They both love to hug and cuddle and now they initiate kisses on the cheek. Jack has the cutest giggle when he kisses me and it just melts my heart!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Day with Daddy

Yesterday was another milestone...maybe more for Mommy than for Jack and Beth, though. Yes, I had my first subbing job since the kids came to us. I woke up early to get ready and had planned to get out of the house before they woke up. But, just as I was kissing Mitch goodbye, Beth woke up. So I took her to the bathroom and then laid her back down on her bed, hoping she would just go back to sleep. I breathed a sigh of relief as I closed the front door behind without hearing a sound.
So, while I was at work, Mitch was Daddy extraordinaire! They didn't cry when they realized I wasn't there, so that was a very good sign! After breakfast, they watched Sesame Street. Then they went to the park and played on the playground and had lunch at Taco Bell. They played outside when they got home and got their shoes all wet from the grass. And when I drove up at 3:45, they ran outside to greet me, barefeet and all. Jack fell asleep on my lap while I was sitting on the couch, probably since he didn't get his nap.
The rest of the evening went fairly well. Bedtime seems to be getting better. We have continued to read a couple of books, "Goodnight Moon" and "Guess How Much I Love You," every night. Then we hold hands and pray. And then we kiss them goodnight and they cry a little bit (last night was only 5 minutes!!!), and then it's quiet. Maybe they are getting used to it?
Beth can count to 10 now, all on her own! Well, she always skips 8 for some reason, but otherwise she can say them all! And she is starting to recognize where the letters fall in the alphabet when we work on the puzzle. She is getting close to adding "E-F-G" to the alphabet song, but usually just sings "A-B-C-D." She can recognize that her name starts with B and can tell the difference between her water bottle with a B sticker on it and Jack's with a J.
She learned the word "love" yesterday. I told her that "Mommy loves Beth" both in Thai and English, then went on to tell her everyone else I love and everyone Daddy loves. Well, at the dinner table, she announced to Daddy "Mommy love Daddeee." It was very cute!
Jack still repeats just about anything we try to teach him. And he often points to things and wants to know what they are called. I guess you could say we have an abundance of teachable moments!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Our First Dr Visit

Well, here it is Sunday already and it's hard to believe that I only got to post once last week! Whew, it seems like the days are flying by! Well, since the last post, the biggest event was our first Doctor's appointment. The whole family went. We tried to explain that we were going to the doctor's office, but who knows if what I tried to say in Thai is really what I said. Anyway, after we went back to our exam room, the nurse measured height and weight and took temps. Turns out Jack had a fever of 102.4! I had noticed he was very warm after his nap, but thought it was just from sleeping. So, the nurse got him some Motrin while we waited for the doctor.

Neither of them were very happy about getting undressed and wearing the backless robes, and by the time the doctor came in we could only do Jack's exam with one of us holding him. It wasn't surprising that he was fussy, because we discovered that not only did he have an ear infection, but he has strep throat. You would never know it though, since he is just as active as ever and never complained of having any pain. We're just glad that we caught it before it got any worse.

Even though they fussed, the visit was pretty good. We really like their doctor and appreciate her willingness to take an interest in our children even though her practice is full. She talked with us about bedtime and gave us some good ideas and then gave the children a book to take home to read at bedtime. We decided to figure out what we want bedtime to be like as far as the normal routine, and then stick to it every night, even if they struggle with it. So, Friday night, we started with bathtime, then a little dessert, then brush teeth, then read a couple of books in bed, pray and rub backs until they fall asleep. It went really well for Beth! Once she is asleep, she can sleep through the night. Jack still fights going to sleep and wakes up in the middle of the night, but there haven't been quite as many tears lately.

We have also practiced having Mommy leave and the kids stay home with Daddy. We want them to feel secure enough that I am going to come home that I can work a few days a month subbing in the schools again. Since Jack has strep, we decided he should stay home from church this morning, so Beth and Mommy went by ourselves. Jack pitched a fit when he realized that he wasn't going with us. But, it wasn't more than 20 minutes or so before he was content to play with his train set and cars.

Beth did very well in children's church today! When we arrived, the kids were all having free play time, so we wandered out to the playground. Beth really likes the slide and was enjoying it all to herself for a few minutes. Then several other kids decided to slide too, and Beth got shy. So she climbed down and tried out the tire swing. Pretty soon, Richelle joined her on the swing and Beth thought she had to get off. I told her they could swing together and then explained to Richelle that Beth didn't know all of the same words that we speak yet so she might not understand us very well. Richelle was very patient and they stayed on the swing together until it was time to go in for story time. Beth's favorite activity seemed to be coloring the lesson page, and of course playing with the toys. When it was time to leave she remembered where her bag was and grabbed it and then gave Miss Dee a hug goodbye. I was so proud of her!

After church, we drove home and picked up Daddy and Jack and then went out for lunch with Grandpa and Grandma. The rest of the afternoon was relaxing with Mommy and Jack taking naps and Daddy and Beth playing outside with remote controlled cars. We all went for a walk and stopped to visit the Marshalls. Only Trina and Ethan were home, but we stayed for while and chatted (mostly Mommy and Trina chatted and Daddy and the kids ran around in the yard!) They got thirsty and wanted some water, so I had them repeat "Please may I have water?" to ask Trina. Beth got shy, but eventually said it. By that time, I decided Jack could just say "Water, please," which he did with gusto! They are very good about saying "thank you," so that wasn't a problem.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Mommy's Little Helper

Okay, question of the day: What is it that suddenly makes an almost-three-year-old boy hate pockets and refuse to wear pants with pockets?! Yes, I just had to laugh. And then we changed his pants.

Well, yesterday was our first grocery shopping trip. It really wasn't all that eventful. It's just that Mommy felt quite apprehensive about the whole thing. So, they both started off in the cart. Then, as it started filling up, Jack wanted out. He thought it was fun to "push" the cart. Mommy thought it was a great opportunity to teach him "stop" and "go" (especially stop!) Pretty soon, Beth wanted out, too. Well, sure enough, just when we got to the furthest corner of the store, Jack had to go. Quick as a flash, Mommy put Jack in the seat, grabbed Beth's hand and raced to the restroom...only to discover it was closed for cleaning! Agh! (Okay, so plan B was to tear open the unpaid-for package of pull-ups if we didn't make it.) Just then, the cleaning boy poked his head out and asked if we needed to use the restroom. I thought it was pretty obvious, but oh well. And we made it! Phew! After that, we hurried to get our last 3 items and check out. All in all, it was better than expected.

On the way home, we stopped in at the church office to see Bonnie and Kay. They were delighted to have us visit and scrambled to find treats for the kids. They did very well (still mostly shy), and said "thank you" and "please." We didn't stay long since Jack's naptime was way overdue and they needed a little snack. During Jack's nap, our neighbors Don and Pat stopped by with cookies to welcome the kids. We had a nice chat while Beth played quietly. The rest of the evening was fairly routine. We let them fall asleep in the living room and then moved them to their room. Seemed to work pretty well. Fewer tears anyway.

Today was a stay-at-home day. Janet, our social worker from Holt, stopped by to meet Beth and Jack and make sure we were all doing okay. She is so encouraging and helpful with her knowledge and experience! She suggested trying to dress Jack more warmly at night--maybe he's waking up because he's cold? So tonight he gets to wear footie pajamas! Very cute, too!

After Jack laid down for his nap, Mommy and Beth did some cooking together. Actually, we were preparing tomatoes to make sauce to can. Beth wore one of Mommy's aprons and loaded the basket to blanch the tomatoes. She was also in charge of the timer. After all the tomatoes had been blanched and were cooling in the water bath, she moved over to the sink and started to peel tomatoes with Mommy. What a great helper she was!

This evening, we decided to practice staying with Daddy when Mommy is gone. (Eventually, I will be subbing about one day a week again.) So, I put on my walking shoes and jacket and headed out the door. Ooo eee what a racket they made! I could hear Jack clear past the next door neighbor's house! And that's with doors and windows closed! I returned after about 25 minutes to find both kids perched, one on each of Daddy's knees. Jack was still sniffling, but Beth was calm. I came into the living room and they didn't even notice me until I said something. We'll keep increasing the time each day to try to ease them into it. We think that perhaps they had never experienced their foster mother leaving them and so it is hard for them them to deal with Mommy leaving.

Well, bedtime was in the living room. It was much calmer. We are still hoping they will sleep through the night though!