Monday, May 26, 2008

Two Steps Forward, One Step Backward

Soccer is over and the swimming season has begun. That is if it would get warm enough for the swimming season to start. Maicol insisted that it was warm enough to go to (and we couldn't tell him any different of course), so we took them swimming. It was about 73 here today I think and pretty breezy. They were so excited they could hardly contain themselves. Juan even insisted on starting his schoolwork early so he could get done and go swimming. (No, we didn't let them have the holiday off). They didn't swim long once they got there. Maicol complained that he was cold and was not happy that I was right about the temperature. He really, really likes to be right, win, be first, etc. Juan and Andrew lasted a little longer, but gave it up in less than 30 minutes I would guess.

We did some work around the house and in the garage. I ended up playing hide and seek in the house with them before bedtime since it was rainy out. Andrew hid in our closet and it probably took me 10 minutes to find him. He was quiet as a mouse and hidden very well. He was quite proud of himself. Of course, he continued to hide in the same place each time, so it got pretty easy to figure out where he was.

We met with our small group last night. The house we went to has a swim spa so the kids were very excited about that. They talked about it all day. Only problem is they had a terrible time listening and obeying. We finally told Maicol and Juan they could not go swimming after they were very rude and disobedient to me. It almost killed them. I got "you're not my mother" and "you don't love us" from Maicol. That took a little talking and holding, but I think we got through it ok. He apologized to me before he went to bed and admitted he didn't really mean what he said. We did talk to him about thinking before he says things like that, how much it hurts us, and in particular telling Juan that I don't love him. Juan asked me if I loved him, and seemed satisfied with my answers and explanation for why Maicol would say that. Andrew got to swim, so that probably made it even worse. They took awhile to get over it, but ended up having a very good time in the end. They got to play tag, pull each other in a wagon and ride a horse. A very good ending to the day, but it seems that it is always a few steps forward and then one back again.

We ended dinner today with watermelon. I put them outside to eat it. Nothing is quite as good as sitting on the porch, eating watermelon and spitting the seeds. :) Andrew couldn't figure out the seed thing, so he just spit pieces of watermelon. They are just hilarious sometimes!

I have one more day off and then it's back to the grind. These 4 days off have been great, but I think I need the rest I get by going to work!


After he scored a goal!

Juan and his "castle".

Big sisters are good for teaching pillow fighting.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Life goes on

Nothing new and exciting to report, but I feel like I should write something at least once a week. We have had two really good days of school this week. Maicol and Juan both did their work without complaining, whining, goofing off, etc. I finally asked them if they were sick since they were being so good! Andrew is interested in "school" too, so I have been working on colors and a letter or number with him. He thinks he is very important. Part of the improvement is that I actually worked with only one at a time. It takes twice as long, but they don't fuss nearly as much. I guess they really, really want my undivided attention. I can't even look at the computer or paper while I sit with Maicol. Even if he's doing something that does not require my help in any way he really just wants me to sit there and do nothing else. I'm a multi-tasker, so I really hate to sit there doing nothing.

The weather has been decent enough to get outside some. We jumped on the trampoline, had sword fights, played soccer and rode bikes yesterday afternoon while Dan was off working. Bethany was home and made dinner for us, which is really, really nice. It is so nice having her here and since she likes to cook, that makes it even better. She has even learned to clean up the mess afterwards. Yeah!

The days just continue to fly by. Maicol has been "better" lately. I have been on him a great deal lately it seems for being disrespectful to me. I have spent some time talking to him about it, correcting him every time he speaks rudely to me, trying to spend more time with him after the other boys are in bed and trying to spend more time playing with him. Maybe that has helped, maybe time has helped - I don't know. But he has been telling me frequently in the past few days that he loves me. He has been more cooperative. I think in some ways he just seems happier. Or maybe he's just being nice because he knows his birthday is in about 6 weeks. :)

Andrew is having his terrible two's I think. He really likes to say "NO" very loudly and frequently. He has decided to just fall to the floor if he doesn't get what he wants. I generally just go on about my business and let him decide he's tired of lying on the floor. Juan is having a little of that too. He threw a fit when we were on the trampoline yesterday. Laid down and just screamed. We just kept on jumping and ignored him. He finally got tired of it. Maicol was concerned because Juan told him his stomach was bothering him. I told him all that screaming is the problem and sure enough in a few minutes he felt well enough to play soccer with us. I sure hope they get tired of this temper tantrum stuff soon. At least it's warm and I can either go outside or inside to get away from the noise, although I can usually just ignore it and go on.

Even with those things they are just wonderful kids. They still insist on being rocked before bed. They wants hugs and kisses. What a change from a few months ago when they loved Dan and tolerated me. Now sometimes they even prefer me! Yeah!

I've been lazy about taking pictures lately, so none today. I should have taken a picture yesterday of Andrew riding his "bike". His legs are finally long enough to pedal the little plastic tricycle he has. He was very proud of himself.

Have a great holiday weekend!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008


What has happened in the last week or so? Well, Bethany is home from school. She has moved a few things into her room, but I think most of it is still in her car. The boys are trying to get used to having her around and she's trying to get used to them. All in all it has gone pretty well. She and Maicol worked together today preparing several packages of strawberries to eat and freeze. Andrew is still a little leary of her, but hopefully he will come around. When I'm home he doesn't want to have much to do with her, but when I'm gone he likes her. I haven't figured that one out yet. They were very interested in her guitar and we impressed with her ability to play.

The weather has been good and bad. Beautiful one day, then cold, windy and rainy the next. We really wish spring would come to stay! There has been a good amount of trampoline jumping and playing hide and seek. We were out on our bikes a little today too.

We having been having fires in the firepit when possible. Hot dogs are so easy to do for dinner. And of course you have to have a few marshmallows too. They are getting better at not "lighting them up". And it's a good way to get kids to pick up sticks in the yard (they are still falling for that one).

I for one am glad Mother's day is over. Not sure what the deal is, but none of the boys were happy yesterday. I'm beginning to think that we need to not celebrate anything for awhile. This day wasn't really about them (like birthday's are), but they were still grouchy, fussy, obstinate. Is it the celebrating or does it have to do with the fact that it's Mother's day? Wish I knew. We really aren't big on celebrations. Just had all the kids here for a home cooked lunch and dinner, so it isn't like we made a huge deal of things. We took naps, played a little and I made Batman type capes for them. They painted the pictures at the end of the blog too. Father's day is coming, so now we need to figure out what to do about it. Do we celebrate it, or try to skip it? Will a day to celebrate Father's be different than Mother's? Any words of wisdom?

Other than that it's the usual. Today was a good day - the boys were so much different (happy, cooperative). We ran a few errands and had Chinese for lunch before coming home to play outside until time to fix dinner. Of course the rain is coming back, but we got in a couple of good days. :)

Enjoy the rest of the week.


Bethany trying to teach the boys a little guitar.
(Maicol) Where Dan and I want to be?

(Andrew) The Sun (I think)

(Juan) Mama and Papa and a rainbow.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Then and Now

I've been thinking about the progress the boys have made since we met them last August. I just thought I'd give you a few "then and nows".

Then: Maicol's English was limited to "Mother" and "Father".
Now: Maicol rarely speaks any Spanish.

Then: Even Colombians had difficulty understanding Juan Pablo because of his speech problems.
Now: Juan has learned to say many of the sounds he did not say before and is progressing nicely in his English.

Then: Andrew spoke only a few words of Spanish and mostly communicated by pointing.
Now: Andrew understands most of what we say and talks up a storm (in English).

Then: Maicol was his brother's caretaker; told him what to do and not to do and how to act.
Now: Maicol has pretty much turned over the job of parenting Juan to us.

Then: Juan Pablo was extremely jealous of and often hateful to his little brother.
Now: Juan loves Andrew and is often proud of what a "good brother" he is to Andrew.

Then: Andrew was more potty trained, often more obedient and quieter.
Now: Andrew is more charming, loving, energetic, and fun to be around.



And we wouldn't have it any other way!
Good evening,

Friday, May 2, 2008

To Knoxville and Back

Hard to believe another week has come and gone. It really does just fly. Our big adventure this week was going to Knoxville to bring some of Bethany's things back from her dorm room. The quantity and size of things she has accumulated in a year would not fit in her car, so we took the truck to bring the larger things back. It was the longest ride the boys have taken and overall it went pretty well. We only stopped once in 7 hours on the way down and a couple of times on the way back. There was a minimum of fussing, whining and complaining. I took a few new things for treats and we did watch a movie on the computer on the way back. Andrew and Juan slept some, but Maicol didn't. Dan and I each took turns getting a little nap in while we weren't driving too.
Bethany took us down to the riverfront in Knoxville. It was a little cool, but is a very beautiful place. Too cold to play in the fountains, but they tried to at least put their hands in the water. They got to see where Bethany has been - so hopefully it is a more concrete idea in their heads. We talk about her being far away and living at school, but I don't think they really understood. At least Maicol understands. The other two - who knows! It was good to see her and to get away for a couple of days.
We hit the schoolwork hard after we got back. Maicol of course whines, but manages to get it done and could get it done pretty quickly if he would learn to stop whining. He is a smart little boy. Juan is doing better. He know the vowels and the short sounds, 4 consonants and their sounds and can write all of them legibly. He can identify the numbers 1-10, count objects and do dot-to-dots up to 10. Some days it seems he breezes through things and other days he drives me crazy because he acts like he can't remember anything. Andrew is interested in learning colors and most of the time knows purple, and sometimes knows red, yellow, blue and orange. You just have to catch him on the right day. He does know the letter A and that it means Andrew.
Tomorrow is soccer and of course it is supposed to be cool and possibly rainy. It is raining pretty hard tonight. I think I'm glad I'll be at work tomorrow, no, I know I'm glad I'll be at work tomorrow - today they have about driven me crazy. Dan called this afternoon to ask if I needed anything from the store and I asked for "sanity". Does that tell you how my day had been going? But, at the end of the day they ate a good dinner (Juan told me I made a good dinner), they wanted to be rocked, kissed and tucked into bed. They are wonderful, but they still test the limits. You'd think they'd be tired of going to bed early, missing a movie, losing computer time, etc. but I guess not. Oh well, we just keep requiring the same things and repeating the same things over and over, because that is evidently what it takes.
Have a good weekend.

"Brotherly Love" At the Riverfront in Knoxville.

Tickets, please.