Friday, December 23, 2011

October, November and December 2011

It seems every time I sit down to blog I can't think of anything particularly interesting to say and so I don't. I think that's good. Life here is certainly not without its ups and downs, but they feel more and more like "typical" kid things.

In the last 3 months we have gone from studs to a new kitchen and dining room. We actually reused the cabinets we had - just rearranged them and put them in a different part of the room. Now we have a much larger kitchen, more counterspace, a larger dining room and an overall more open area. Without a couple of walls I can now keep an eye on what's going on much easier. When it seemed it would take forever to get out adoption tax credit refund we decided to go ahead and do the remodeling instead of adding on. We still plan to do the addition, but not until at least next spring. The kitchen still needs a little bit of work, but it's fully functional and we don't have to eat hamburger helper every night and wash dishes in the bathroom sink! Dan did a fantastic job. And we did finally get out refund about a month ago!

Since the boys came home they have always slept in the same bedroom. They have balked at being split up and so we have just let the three of them stay together. With Bethany now married (and therefore the other bedroom empty) and gone and the boys getting bigger we decided it was time to put Maicol in his own room. He's only a few feet away, but it was quite a big deal for him to not be sleeping in the same room. They have all adjusted pretty well, but Juan Pablo in particular misses having Maicol right there with him. Juan Pablo moved to the upper bunk and Andrew got the bottom. He had been sleeping on a trundle type bed and was very excited to have a bed with a little bookcase at the end to put all of his treasures.
One of the most exciting things for us has been the arrival of our first grandchild. Aidan Jack arrived in October. Our son and his wife aren't getting much sleep, but Aidan is. :) He seems to prefer to sleep during the day and stay up at night. They would prefer he do the opposite. He is a joy and the boys are very excited to see and hold him.
In November we celebrated Juan Pablo's 10th birthday. We actually had to wait a little after to have a cake and go to Chuck E Cheese. Hard to believe he's 10. He was just a little boy of 5 1/2 when we met him in Colombia. He has grown so much.

Here are some pictures from this fall. They are growing and changing so quickly. Hard to believe it's been four years since we were meeting them for the first time.

Maicol played flag football this fall and had a great season. His team made it to the championship game, but came up a touchdown short. He enjoyed playing quarterback. Initially he was all about playing soccer and not really interested in any other sports. Now he has completely changed. No interest in soccer - baseball and football are much "better". They all spend a lot of time playing football and baseball in the backyard with whomever they can find.
Dan's mom passed away in November. She had not been in good health, but it still happened quickly. We were able to be there and see her before she died.
School continues to move along. I have changed things a little, but still use the workbox system. It seems to work well for us. They still each have their own individual areas that are difficult, but they all continue to make progress.
Only two days until Christmas. The holidays have gotten much easier for them. The first year or two was miserable for everyone, but as they have grown and become confident that they are here to stay we are able to celebrate special occasions. Yeah!!!!
See you after Christmas!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


It's annivesary time around our house. On August 27, 2007 we met our newest children for the first time. On September 10, 2007 we signed the final adoption decree - and they were ours and we were theirs forever. On September 11, 2011 we celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary. And now on September 3 our daughter will be celebrating her wedding anniversary. In four years we have added 3 children, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law and very soon a grandson. Wow. We need a bigger dining room table!
In four years they have gone from three little boys who were a little scared and had no real understanding of what was going on... big boys who have learned to live in a new family and know they are loved.
In July we went to Chicago to the CHI Reunion. It was fun to meet other families in person that we have followed through blogs and some whom we had never heard of. The boys did very well and had a good time. We stayed an extra day and did a little sight-seeing. The boys wanted to ride a train, but we just couldn't work that out. Instead, we rode the bus downtown and went up to the top of the John Hancock building. We also went to the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Andrew looking down from the John Hancock Building.
And since we don't have anything else to do - we decided to go ahead and do some remodeling in our house. We took down a couple of walls to open things ups and rearrange our kitchen. Everyone thought it was great fun to take hammers to the walls and tear them up. The cleaning up the mess wasn't as much fun. :( We currently have the kitchen/dining room area completely empty and are ready to start putting things back together. Hopefully we won't be washing dishes in the bathroom for too long. (We had hoped to add a large family room, but it seems it may take awhile to get our adoption tax refund so that is on hold for now.)

Maicol's birthday was in July, but it took us a little longer to actually do the activity he selected - bowling. He invited a couple of friends and they managed to bowl 2 games in 2 hours! I really thought they would make it through more than 2 games. They had fun and my Groupon was put to good use.
One thing Maicol in particular has been wanting to do is go fishing. We had gone once when we were at Grandma's, but didn't catch anything. So, I took them to the reservoir in our neighborhood and we tried there. We went looking for worms, but ended up with only one and didn't catch anything. We were "lucky" enough to find a snake though. Everyone took turns playing with it before I made them let it go. We went fishing last week and Maicol did manage to catch two fish. Juan Pablo and Andrew haven't been successful yet, so I see more fishing in our future.

We are in the middle of flag football with Maicol. He was the only one really interested in playing. The other boys like to go to games to play with other kids and check out the dogs that come with their owners to watch games.
We made it through our daughter's wedding (sorry, no pictures yet). The same weekend we also had a family vacation/reunion with my family. We go to a state park and stay together. Lots of bike riding, eating and playing games. This is my sister and Maicol playing a card game. Maicol obviously isn't doing very well.
Andrew and his cousin Catharine saying good-bye. They don't see each other often and really look forward to being together.
Last week we took our third annual trip to Florida. The back seat passengers watched The Little Rascals and The Three Stooges all the way down and back. I don't know when they have been that quiet for that long. The weather there was fantastic. Warm and sunny during the day and cool and breezy at night. We couldn't have asked for better. We also got to meet another Colombia family while we were there. Kimberly, Yuly and Riza came to see us! It was so great to actually meet them. They brought us some Colombiana and Postobon soda along with some candy. The boys didn't seem to remember it very well, but once they tasted it their memory returned and they loved it! Unfortunately I forgot to take the camera out of my pocket, so I don't have any pictures.
A little wardrobe malfunction.
A jelly fish at St. Andrews State Park.
Maicol chasing the birds. I think they were glad to see us go. :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Time Just Flies....

We made a trip to Grandma's in the spring and had a great time! The weather was good so we were able to get outside and burn lots of energy which is always good. Grandma lives on a farm so we went walking in the woods and fields looking for treasures. One of the "best" parts was finding animal bones. They wanted to bring them home, but I convinced them that they should leave them to dry and we would get them next time we were there. I did take pictures to "remember" them (in Juan Pablo's words). Hopefully they won't recall they are there to bring home. We already have one deer skull in the house - how many does one house need? :)

Maicol's new love is baseball. He lives and breathes it. Last year it was football. Before that it was soccer. Next year?

We found this dead and decaying tree in the woods. The boys spent at least an hour trying to knock it down. They were never successful, but had a great time trying!

Bethany is living at home until her wedding in September. The boys have done very well with her being here. In the past having her here has been difficult for them. That whole not liking change thing. This time it has gone very well. Andrew in particular was always stressed when she was here, but this time he seems to be doing much better. He even asked if she would read their bedtime story recently. That's a big change for him. So, of course I had to document it with a photo.

We were able to go to the zoo in June. It was a very hot day, but there was very little whining and complaining. I think we saw every animal possible. We were also able to see Grandma and Grandpa.

At the zoo. Are you sure they didn't hatch from giant eggs?

This is what Juan Pablo brought in to me a recent morning. He wasn't quite dead yet. You know it's going to be a long day when you have to say "Don't let that dragonfly loose in here!" at breakfast.

Last Saturday our friends the Beadles came to visit! Their boys are from Russia and very close in age to ours. We had been to see them a couple of times, but this was the first time they were able to come to our house. We roasted hot dogs, went swimming, the boys played and the Mom's talked and talked. It was great to see them!!

Maicol, Dima, Andrew, James, Juan Pablo and Pasha.

We took the boys on their first camping trip this week. We have been talking about going for a loooong time and it finally happened! It was only for one night, but it went very well! They helped set up the tent, went to sleep pretty well, didn't get up too early and just had a great time. They found some other boys to play with. Andrew rode his bike about a hundred miles I think! They also discovered that it's ok to ride your bike in your pajamas when you're camping. At home I forbid that. :) We hope to go again before the summer is over.

We found some berries to pick while we were camping.

Dan even helped do the cooking. He makes a pretty good sausage, potato and carrot skillet!

The big news at our house is Maicol's 12th birthday. We celebrated today although his birthday won't be for a couple more days. Hard to believe he is 12. It's been almost 4 years since we first saw his picture and wondered what he would be like. In his referral photo he looked like he had "attitude". He does have that sometimes, but he is also a big brother that looks out for his younger brothers. He's quick to learn and just soaks in information. He has a close relationship with his younger brothers. Our little boy is obviously growing up though. He still plays with the little brothers, but he is beginning to leave some of that behind. We knew he would grow up, but hoped it wouldn't happen quite so fast. :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wow! Where did the time go? Last time I blogged was more than two months ago. Here's what has been going on.

In February we did a one day study about snakes. My boys just love animals, and so much of our study of science involves animals. The more dangerous and likely they are to hurt or eat you the better! We read, talked, drew, made, did puzzles and pretended to be snakes. For one activity I put them in their sleeping bags and made them wiggle out of them without using their hands. Sort of like smakes shedding their too small skin.

Maicol painting his wooden snake.

In late February we went to spend a few days with the Beadle family. We love going to see them! They are our "twins". The boys love playing together and the moms love talking. They let us come and just hang out with them all day. The days spent with them are some of the best of the year for us. Too bad we don't live closer.

We went out to eat together Sunday after church. With their oldest son there that's 9 males and Phyllis and I. That's alot of boy!

Andrew and Dima.

Juan Pablo and Pasha.

One final shot of all of us.

Got milk?

We spent a day in March having fun for Andrew's birthday. He still loves Chuck E Cheese, so we went there. Everyone had a good time and the staff were generous in doling out the prizes. We also went to McDonald's for Happy Meals, playing and then off to spend a little birthday cash. It was a nice day off from school for everyone.

Juan Pablo playing the "gorilla" game. You hold onto the two metal handles which vibrate and a little puff of smoke comes out of his head. He and Andrew just love this thing and they always get a few tickets for holding on until the end.

Andrew and Juan Pablo.

Andrew and his Spiderman cake. He turned 6 in March. I can't believe we are now on our 4th "round" of birthdays with the boys. The big kids came over and we had dinner and cake. Andrew only really likes the icing, so I gave him a piece of cake, but ended up just letting him eat the leftover icing.

Jonathan and Kristin. Not the best picture of them, but I had to include it with this announcement. We are going to be grandparents! In November we will enter grandparenthood. I thought grandparents were "old" people. :)

And here is our other exciting news. Our daughter is going to be married! She and Allen are planning a Labor Day weekend wedding. So we're adding a son-in-law to our familiy.

We did the Easter egg dyeing thing yesterday. Whomever thought of using wire whisks to hold eggs to dip them in the dye was a genius! Those little wire things that come in the kits are useless. Only problem is I need one more. Got to have three of everything you know. The boys took turns coloring eggs and playing computer, so it worked out good.

It has been rainy, rainy and rainy here, so I was not planning on hiding eggs. It did at least stop raining in the afternoon and so after much begging and pleading on the boys' part we did put some eggs out for them to look for. Either we hid the eggs very well, or the boys weren't looking very hard because we had to help them find the eggs. Maicol never did find one of his. Guess it will show up sometime. The big kids came over for lunch and we had a good day.

Checking out the egg contents. We didn't really have much in the way of candy, so money ended up in the eggs. It's at least as popular as candy. :)

Andrew eating his peeps. He was the only one who asked for candy and what he really wanted was peeps. Not my favorite thing, but if you like marshmallows and sugar like Andrew does what could be better? He was on a sugar high for the afternoon!

An exciting thing for Andrew was a visit to urgent care for stitches. He and Juan Pablo were running toward the truck and he ran right into the edge of the open door. He had a good sized laceration and was the recipient of 5 sutures. I took them out yesterday. So now I think each of them have had some type of sutures, but no broken bones. I'll spare you the picture for this one. :)

I don't have a picture for this, but it is a milestone at our house. I have stopped rocking the boys before bed. Three and a half years ago when we brought them home I started rocking Andrew to get him to go to sleep at bedtime. With all the boys in the same bedroom it was trouble every night unless he or Juan Pablo were asleep when they went to bed. Andrew was the youngest and easiest to get to sleep by rocking, so that's what I did. Quickly the other two decided they wanted to be rocked too. It had been suggested to us that rocking them was a good thing to do, but I didn't start doing it for bonding and attachment reasons - it was for survival! :) But, as with anything we do with them - if you do it once they think it's a routine and want it to continue. So, for over 3 years I have rocked each of them before bed. Sometimes just for 5 minutes each, but nearly every night. Around Christmas it seemed like we were getting to bed later and it just got to be too late to rock and so we would just hug and kiss them and put them to bed. There was a little fuss about it, but not much. In the past if there was no rocking there was much complaining and attitude. So, we have just let it gradually stop. Dan still reads a book to them alot of nights, but no rocking. I guess that "need" has finally been met. Wow, that was alot of rocking! But, it was something I loved doing with our biological children and even tho these kids were older it was still time I treasured getting to spend with each of them. But, soon there will be grandchildren to rock and so the rocking chair will be put to use again.

Spring is here and that puts us outside to play. We have been jumping on the trampoline and playing baseball. Maicol has been getting some of the neighborhood kids to come over and play a version of baseball. With our three and 2 or 3 others they make two teams and play. Dan and I were saying it's a little like the movie Sandlot. Only there is no "good" player - just Maicol who thinks he knows everything. :) They have fun.

Life just continues to fly by. School gets done everyday. They are learning and growing. And so are we. Until next time....