Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Oh, my everlasting life!

While looking at a puzzle that Dima was working on Josh just said "Oh, my everlasting life!" I'm guessing that came from learning John 3:16 (...whosoever believeth in him should not not perish but have everlasting life... - in case you don't remember the wording-) for his Christmas pageant. Lately he's been coming up with either expressions on his own or taking ones that he's heard and trying to use them. Holy Cow Moly being one of the attempts to copy me with either Holy Moly or Holy Cow or sometimes I've said Holy Cannoli so it could be a combination of those. He also says Oh, Geeze or what a gyp but usually right after I've said it. He's been known to ask: What on Earf? where I'll say "What on Earth are you talking about?" when he brings up something totally out of context and they both have called the movie Polar Express Polar Mapress. He started saying "Holy Butterball!" -an expression from one of their holiday DVDs featuring the Madagascar Penguins- and I asked him then if he knew what a butterball was and he didn't so I tried to explain that it's a brand of turkey and when my Mom asked him about it he told her it's a turkey.

While he's also been pretty good about recognizing and repeating Christmas songs lately there are times that he just kind of makes up his own words that sound like what he's heard. This year he likes the John Denver with the Muppets Christmas cd and likes to hear the same songs over and over and over again.

Our Christmas was busy and of course they got lots and lots of new toys. Dima got a learning globe and showed no interest in it until Josh wanted to play with it. Now that they've had time to explore their own loot they're checking each other's stuff out. Today I've had to stop Dima more than once from going after a toy just cause he knows Josh likes it. I've watched him looking directly at Josh when he goes for a favorite and I can see that he's waiting for Josh's reaction.

Over the weekend we visited Chris's aunt and uncle in Gettysburg then had my parents and sister here yesterday for Christmas Day and they're both tired from the travel and from all the excitement. Dima got a Spin Art kit and that's just the kind of thing for him since it gives him a focus that entertains him. He also got a 6 x 8 foot hot air balloon that you inflate with a hair dryer and as the boys were prancing around the back porch watching it get inflated yesterday Josh whacked it and it got a big hole. So much for that. Josh did really look upset and sorry that he popped the thing.
The holidays have brought about a variety of new experiences for the kids, while decorating our Christmas tree Josh thought ornaments were called idiots.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas update

As I sit here addressing Christmas cards I realize how many people I should keep in better contact with and decided to share my blog address so you can be in on What We're Up To. I also look forward to updates from everyone either via phone or email or both.

Josh is in preschool this year at Windsor Christian Preschool and he's been practicing for their Christmas pageant which will be next week. This has potential for America's Funniest Videos cause he has no fear of getting up in front of people and is really animated in the motions they're supposed to do. Instead of just resting his head on his hands when they sing"...the little lord Jesus laid down his sweet head..." he actually bends his whole body for his head to meet his hands at about elbow height. Keep your eyes on the TV guide for the episode starring him. He's outgoing and knows his classmates by name and I've seen him go in to the room with a big "Hi, everybody!". Josh is also taking skating lessons on Saturday afternoons and is already a better skater than me. Since they're all beginners they fall a lot and when they do they often bump other kids on the way down and you get a chain reaction. We practice with the GTV Almrausch kindergruppe every other Friday and he also dances with both of our German dance groups. He has regular school days on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and what they call "enrichment day" on Thursdays that means that they get to make simple snacks and play on laptops. He's very good at mousing his way around the VW website to " build his beetle" basically he clicks on the different options and paints the car picture on the computer screen and then gets applause when he clicks done. While I'm okay with letting them have some independent play time, I hover over him when he's on that site to be sure he doesn't actually order a car.

Dima also dances, though somewhat reluctant at the beginning of the year, he's started participating more. He is excelling at ice skating- they moved him up from the learn to skate class to the learn to play hockey class! He's in half day kindergarten this year and loving the daily ride on the school bus and making friends in his class. He has his own alarm clock and gets up on his own and gets ready ( putting on the clothes that were laid out the night before ) pretty much on his own. Dima spends most pleasant-weather evenings out on the hill in our back yard on the look out for hot air balloons. There are three that we see on a regular basis. We've seen as many as five a day and get reports from Dima about where they are and which ones they are. We've even gone to the fields where they inflate them and watched them take off. It worked out well over the summer when we'd go to Marsh Creek Park to swim in the evenings and then see balloons on the way home. Both boys took swimming lessons over the summer and had a great time. At this time of year when we drive anywhere both boys are on the lookout for decorations and Josh is always oohing and aahing over cars anywhere we go.

As far as me, my day to day schedule is pretty much dictated by school drop-off and pick up times and keeping the kids on time for their school and appointments and keeping their routine going. As much as I can I try to get errands like shopping out of the way while both kids are in school so I don't have to take them anywhere and then our afternoons are free for our normal routine of lunch, naps and then playing or a walk around the neighborhood before dinner time. I like walking around the neighborhood and I take the boys out when I can the exercise is motivation for me and usually I can find something like decorations as motivation for them. There's not much time for a lot on school nights since both boys need to be in bed by eight. Most Mondays I get out to practice with our Philadelphia dance group. Weekends in the fall were busy with dance performances with both dance groups including one at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, most of the rest were in the Philadelphia area but some as far as Accokeek and Hagerstown in Maryland, Hanover, Pennsylvania, and two in northern New Jersey. The ultimate by far was the Gaufest in Hershey, it was great to see so many of our friends there.

Chris's spare time is mostly spent watching hockey, practicing or playing hockey, emailing people about it, reading about it or co-ordinating people for games - either to attend, to play or to go for lessons. He shuttles our kids to their lessons on Saturdays, beginning at 9am, which is not an easy task for a guy who is much more a night person than an early riser. Saturday afternoons Josh has his lessons and the boys have also been going to Reading Royals games either Saturday or Sunday evenings. In the summer they were going to Reading Phillies baseball games and the kids liked that for the fireworks when the home team scored. Of course there are the Eagles to watch, read about and yak about, and I don't mean just in the fall. Both NFL and NHL draft days are like holidays spent in close proximity to a TV. He had a chance to go to an Eagles game in early December when it was sleeting and really cold all day. I guess some people think that's fun, but I for one was glad to be warm inside instead of "enjoying" the game! When he's not busy with sports, sports, sports he does fit in some work at Sungard Higher Education His description when I asked how to describe the job here was "peachy".

We all hope everyone has happy and healthy holidays!

Feel free to check back here for updates, I usually get a chance to write down what I've been thinking once a week or so.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Oh Christmas tree

We had a very nice day on Friday when we went out to pick out a Christmas tree. Chris had taken the day off work since I had Dima's parent teacher conference that morning. Once Josh was done with school we all went out for lunch at a local pub and Josh remembered (after a little prodding from me) that we had been there in the Spring for a performance and goat races. While we were eating it started to snow which made for a nice walk through the fields then to pick out the tree. Josh was a little disappointed that we couldn't ride back to the parking area on the ATVs that they use to carry the tree back but the snow made it pretty slippery and it was tough for them to get around.

The conference held no big surprises. The teacher and teacher's aide both like to work with Dima cause he's eager to learn and eager to please them by doing good work. He's had some issues with sitting still and listening while they're supposed to be quiet during story time and that he gets wound up and sometimes bothers the other kids. With the system they have in place in his class they get a wrist band when they start their day and it gets removed if they don't follow the rules in class at any point during the day. If they still have the wrist band at the end of the day they get a sticker on a chart and once the chart gets 30 stickers they get a prize. Well, we already knew he had no stickers all week last week cause he's been talking when he's not supposed to. The teacher did ask if it was okay to have a speech therapist evaluate him since some of his words are sometimes difficult to understand. I sent back the permission slip for that today. They already had an occupational therapist look him over and they think he's with in normal limits developmentally for his age. We probably will still take him to at least one of the specialists that his doctor recommended to try to help him get better self control. The doctor definitely noticed his lack of "impulse control" and gave us a few names to try to have him evaluated. Now it's just a matter of getting on someone's list for an appointment.

The rest of the weekend was pretty busy too. Saturday Dima had skating lessons at 9am and Josh got to tag along. Josh had his lessons at 2 then they went to a Reading Royals game that evening. Sunday we went to my nephew Brody's birthday party so again they had no naps - except for the ride home - and today they're both tired and still catching up since they're still napping and it's almost 4:00. I'm guessing they'll still be catching up tomorrow too since that seems to be the pattern when they've had busy weekends. With the Christmas hubbub about to start I can imagine we'll have lots of late nap days like this to make up for days without them.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Our Thanksgiving weekend

We had a wonderful holiday weekend starting on Wednesday with a trip to Longwood Gardens. We went with friends and the place has a new children's garden that is like a fairy land. It's an indoor garden with pathways winding around into niches with fountains and dragon statues - one that spits blood - a red fountain - and the attention to detail was incredible. Some of the walkways are very narrow and some of the ceilings are low they're designed for the kids. I got a family pass and want to try to get back there more often. We used to go alot in the summertime especially but I guess we did the waterpark more often this past summer.

Thanksgiving Day both of the boys had the attention of both of their sets of grandparents and my sister and had a great time outside since the weather was beautiful. When asked in school about his holiday Josh said that he got to ride bikes with Pop pop. I guess he forgot all about the food, and the family and that stuff, for him it was all about the bikes. I was able to stay in Josh's classroom on Monday since it was our turn to bring the snack and when I heard the other kid's descriptions I wondered how close to the real thing they were.

Dima got some birthday gifts including a matching game with characters from the movie Cars. They boys just can't get enough of that game. Josh jumps up and down and gives high-fives to whoever finds a match and even when someone else wins but you still have to remind both of them to look at more than the face down cards that are right in front of them over and over. It does seem like a good way to get Dima to go over stuff like they're doing in school like counting out and deciding which player has fewer and more matches. Both boys seem to have pretty good memories but Josh's is almost as if it's photographic cause he's really, really good at finding matches.

On Saturday while the boys spent time going to Lowe's and doing some male bonding I went to Maryland to spend time at the Thanksgiving fest with my old dance group. It only took just over three hours to get down there and I had a great time catching up with people and doing the log sawing competition and shooting fest and hayride int the afternoon, dinner was nice and there was a short show highlighting some of the incredible talent in the group. Later we danced some of our German stuff as well as some of the international dances that the originators of the group were heavily involvd in. Over this past Oktoberfest season the group acquired a new guy who plays a zither and an acordion as well as the guitar. Several of us stayed up until 4am around a campfire with s'mores and songs and lots of laughing. When I made my way down into the bunk room I was hesitant to even look at the time was amazed at how the day and the night had flown. The drive home seemed long and I had a nap as soon as I brought my stuff inside but it was worth it.

When I got here the boys were cleaning out the garage. Well, Chris was cleaning it while Dima flitted around doing not much of anything for any extended amount of time and Josh was sitting on the floor of the garage drilling nails into the drywall. He had a hockey helmet on and his little glasses and spent hours going along at drill-level since he can't pick it up and use it at the same time and was really intent and focused on what he was doing. Now we have a line of screws in the garage, but hey, it kept him busy.

Today both boys had pediatrician appointments. The doctor we go to is familliar with International adoptees and seems to know alot about issues they can be faced with. After some consideration and after watching the boys she mentioned Dima's lack of impulse control and she gave me names of various psych people to go to and even an ADHD clinic that's affiliated with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. I'm planning to consult with Dima's teacher next week and ask her what she thinks might best help him. The office visit today was not fun at all cause I was so distracted most of the time by trying to wrangle the boys and give them things to do other than get wild it was hard for her to get through a thought without me having to try to settle them down. On our way there Josh actually said that he was tired so that was probably part of the problem. When they have busy weekends and or skip naps over a weekend it seems to me like it takes a few days for them to recover rest-wise especially Dima. He was asleep within minutes when we got here and settled in. This coming Thursday and Friday Dima's off school and Josh is not so it should be interesting to see how he behaves with out Josh around I'll probably take him hiking at Marsh Creek park since we'll be right there to drop Josh off and it's a great way to use up his hyper- energy in a good way that won't get him in trouble.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


We watched E. T . tonight and I sat with the boys to explain things while it was on cause I read that parts of it could be scary for kids and they were okay during the UFO stuff and all that but when it was time for ET to get on the UFO to leave Elliot go home Dima was sobbing hysterically. He says it was because he wanted to keep the flowers that ET took along with him but I'm pretty sure that he started in with the crying even before that scene. I'm not sure what it brought up in him but he was really, really crying. I tryed all along to explain that it's all pretend and even while getting ready for bed he was still sniffling. He even said he doesn't want to watch it again, and usually when they see something new they want it again and again. I'm sure we'll talk about it again in the morning. After we watched it all the way through we re-wound , yes, it's an actual tape not DVD! to the part where the little girl - Drew Barrymore- sees ET for the first time and screams which both of my kids thought was hilarious hopefully they'll both remember that more than the sad part.

We're probably going to Longwood Gardens early tomorrow since they're both off school then I'm planning to be back here to take a nap so hopefully they'll be rested before the excitement of the holiday begins.

This coming Saturday is also the annual Thanksgiving get together for my Washington dance group and I'm debating whether to go or not. I drove down last April for the Easter gathering and though I had a great time that day I was really, really tired on the way home and had to pull over at one point to try to take a nap. Since some of us stay up till all hours folk dancing and talking around the camp fire and others get up early it's hard to really get any sleep. If the weather is going to be bad that could make the drive miserable. I'll probably make the call at the last minute. I do have a stash of bubble gum in my car plus my ipod podcasts for the drives to and from practices and every Starbucks does have my yummy frapaccinos to help keep me awake. There really is nothing like feeling at home in a place like that with everyone being a friend with great big hugs and everyone wanting to say hi to me since I'm not around that often. I like it that I that I actually know most of the dances they do. My bag's not packed just yet but I'm leaning more and more toward going...

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Last week as Dima and I were on our way to dance practice during a lull in our conversation he started singing al-le-lu-ia like the priest sings in church... and sang it over and over and over again. Lots of times when Josh is settling in for the night he sings and talks to himself sometimes he'll sing the national anthem - they both like that one - or "here we go Woyals, here we go..." When it's just Josh and me in the car I'll flip the radio stations and he tells me when to stop he usually stops me on peppy- dance type music but has also picked church music and rap at different times he always says "I wuv that song" when he wants me to stop. If I know the lyrics I'll sing for him when he wants a certain song and when I know part of a song I'll add in " something, something" and then when he repeats it he puts in "something, something". If the two of them start singing they sometimes argue over what the words are and they come up with some pretty funny stuff. At one point Josh thought that "Mustang Sally" was "Mustang salad" and he makes his own words up all the time.

the pilgrim Twinkie

Josh came out of school yesterday with a Twinkie "decorated" with candy corn sticking out of it. Apparently he thinks the pilgrims had Twinkies and liked them done up that way. Josh, on the other hand had never had one before and now when he's trying to remember the name of it he comes up with all kinds of words (usually Teekie) but I know what he's talking about from the context of our conversation.

We got a call yesterday that Josh's glasses are ready so we're going to pick them up today. I ordered two identical pairs so we have a handy replacement pair and spare parts if ... maybe I should say when... they're needed. He also has skating lessons today so I'll probably have to get him a sports strap to keep them on his face when he falls on the ice. He does have a great memory for details, it had been about year since the last time we were at that eye doctor's office and he actually remembered that there was a kid there that last time who had cars and shared them with him. He's also pretty good about remembering things we've driven to before he knows the way to the train station and to the little race track near here that has Friday night races in the summer. Of course these are things and places that mean alot to him. He's pretty good about knowing where we've seen different kinds of cars too. He definitely knows where the neighbors are that have the interesting cars - mainly Mustangs. He's so easy to entertain with just watching the traffic around us that we'll never have to get a video player for the car on his account.

We went to kids' dance practice last night and Dima was wild again, it's remarkable the difference between last week when Josh wasn't there and when he is around. I'm still trying to figure out if it's Dima trying to get and keep my attention - which acting up does- or having Josh there as an accomplice and audience that gets him so wound up. I'm sure that it didn't help that we sat in the car for nearly two hours getting there, but Josh was sitting in the car that long too and he did fine.

Both boys are off school on Wednesday so I'm thinking about taking them to Longwood Gardens that morning since they just opened a new kids area which has fountains and fake rain storms and stuff that Dima will like, and that will hopefully now get him too wound up. If we get there early enough we'll still be able to get back here for nap to rest up before the Thanksgiving holiday hub-bub starts up.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Yesterday we went to a birthday party for my friend Vicki's daughter and now my boys are taking a play tool kit box and putting "presents" (actually their toys) into it and singing Happy Birthday to each other. I gave them the idea and now they're doing it over and over. When I did it it was with one gift in then box now they're packing it full each time. The party yesterday was held in a club with a pool with lots of ways to get squirted and it was a great place. We swam
first then had a chance to change and dry off and they had a party room with pizza and cake and all that. Josh had a PFD on and it was a good thing cause he kept trying to go into the part of the pool that was just a little too deep for him. I kept trying to show him how to dog paddle to get back out but he was too distracted by all that was going on around us to really focus. Dima was mesmerized by a fountain that squirted up and kept going to that to goof around.

I had Josh's parent / teacher conference today and he got good marks on his report card with mostly 2s and 3s ( three being the highest). He doesn't like to sit to color and write so his fine motor skills can use some improvement but the teacher said we have to keep things fun for him too. I'm wondering how things will change once he gets his glasses. I took him today to pick out frames and he was so busy play - play - playing with the toys in the office that he really didn't want to come over to where the frames were but I did manage to pick a pair. I just might check with our local eye doctor to see if they have kids' frames since I had to drive about 1/2 hour to the other place and I didn't really like to attitude of the staff - they weren't very accommodating or friendly, trust me, I used to BE in an office like that and I think they could have / should have been warmer than they were. That place was recommended as being good with kids and that's why I drove out there but there are other places closer who can probably do just as well.

I had a chance to dance with my Bavarian dance group at a winery on Saturday and it was a great day. I went to my parent's place first and we all went out during the afternoon to a craft show then to lunch at TGIFriday's where my sister works and then back to their house to get ready for the winery gig. The place was nice up set way up on a hill I was thinking of buying a bunch of bottles for Christmas and hostess gifts but the trip down the hill with that would have been treacherous. They do have a kiosk in a mall just 15 minutes from here so I'll probably go there to get some so I can use a cart to get it to the car. We had the opportunity to talk to the owners of the winery and I liked their wines.

The boys are still loving their Saturday skating lessons, at this point they're both better skaters than I am. They certainly get in lots of activity on the weekends and Monday naps usually last until at least 3:30-4:00.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

They were talking about me in school.

Last week I asked Josh what happened in school and along with hearing the daily update on the snack of the day and whether or not they went out to the playground he also said "They were talking about ME!" I wasn't really sure what that meant until I unpacked his back pack that afternoon and found a trumpet they made in crafts that day that said something and Jericho.... ok, so they were really talking about THAT Joshua I tried to explain that more than one person can have the same name, and we've had that discussion before but he still thinks he was the topic of conversation. I guess it's not uncommon since one of his classmates apparently thought the Noah they talked about earlier in the year was her cousin Noah.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Oh wow! A new rec (- or wreck?) room!

I spent most of my afternoon and evening on Sunday organizing and cleaning a section of our basement. A bunch of the toys are going to be finding new homes and I got out big foam letter- blocks to put on the floor, put a kid-sized table and chairs out with coloring books and extra pillows and blankets out so we can have relaxing story times. There's also a cdWhen we went down there this morning they were really thrilled and that made all the work to put it together worth while. There's still other stuff down there that they shouldn't be getting in to and I blocked of their space but I don't think I'll be leaving them down there by themselves any time soon just to be sure that they don't wander into the other stuff.

There are a few certain things that must be in-grained in boys, laughing at burps and other forms of gas, and fascination with fire. The first thing the kids did in the new rec room was to pretend to build a campfire and pretend to put stuff in it. We also had a good time taking the letters out of their spaces in the flooring and matching them back up again.

It's amazing to me how simple it is to amuse these kids sometimes. At the moment we're waiting for our dinner to cool and while the kids are in the family room I showed Josh how to use a hanger that I usually use to hold pants for paper and he was just fascinated and now he keeps clipping and un-clipping the paper from the hanger. I made eggs yesterday for breakfast and they were amused by opening up a utensil drawer and taking the stuff out and asking what each thing was.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Glasses for Josh

Today we had an appointment with a pediatric ophthalmologist at the recommendation of Josh's pediatrician to check out why he sometimes - especially when he's tired - looks like he's crossing his eyes. They figured out that he's far sighted and should be wearing glasses. This should be interesting to try to get him to keep them on and to not get them broken while he's playing. "You'll shoot your eye out!" I might just get two pairs or whatever insurance they have for kids' glasses. I'm probably going to take him first thing tomorrow to the place the doctor recommended to get this over with. They specialize in kids frames and can probably give us helpful hints to get him ready to wear them. I got an old pair of mine out and let him play with them a little and he did ask if he could wear them in the bathtub and I said he could then he only played with them a short time and switched his attention to his bath toys.

While we waited in the reception area for Josh's pupils to dilate they were both pretty busy with the toys and stuff they had there and at one point Dima called Josh over to let him push a button on a big sculpture / marble mover and Dima pushed the button as Josh got there to do it. Since he was nasty to Josh earlier in the day in the same way I told Dima he could not have a Slushie since they had both asked to have them if they were good. After I removed the privilege of the Slushie Dima got into one of his fits where it's really hard for him to settle down. The assistant asked him why the melt down and he couldn't /wouldn't even answer her. We ended up coming back here and he went directly to his bed cause he was acting up all the way home as well. He did get in a short nap which was what I think he needed. I did figure out that if I record him on my phone and play it back to him he can't stand it so I just acted like I was recording a few times and he can stop the hysterics when I do that. I'm hoping his teacher can either help him get a grip when he gets so worked up or can refer us to someone who can help him We spoke about it earlier in the year and she said she had to get to know him first to be able to know who to refer us to IF his school work is affected. I know that some of his behavior is just normal growing boy stuff but it goes beyond that in certain situations. Since school started we haven't been to the place in Lancaster cause I just don't know when we'd have the time to go especially since Dima needs the naps and he does sleep pretty quickly and pretty long especially on school days I don't want to get out of the nap habit then if we'd go after nap time we're into bed time by the time we'd get back here.

Dima is doing well in skating lessons so well that he's started the learn to play hockey classes. Though Dima took some convincing, both boys danced with our dance group this past weekend and I'm glad that Chris's parents helped us out with manning them that night cause it's so distracting to have to deal with them and try to get other things done at the same time. On the way to the event they were really wound up - so much so that Nana sat in the back seat on the way home to be in between them and try to keep some control. Stimulating situations like that get Dima going and again it's hard for him to calm down and at the same time he gets defiant and tried to push boundaries. I'm hoping that being on stage will be a good thing for both of them self confidence - wise and will continue to take them to dance performances especially now that they both get out there and that they seem to like being on stage.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Oh, so easily amused!

While Josh and I were here this morning I decided to look at the boy's closets and try to arrange their fall /winter clothes. I took Josh upstairs after breakfast and after seeing Dima off to the school bus with a toy catalogue to look over. This will be a great time of year for him since we're getting all sorts of stuff in the mail that keeps him busy browsing and asking '"can I get a__________(fill in the blank with whatever's got his attention on the page)" He can sit for a half an hour looking at all the stuff and is very content to do so. I got some of the closet stuff arranged and decided to show him a box that I had emptied and he had a grand old time getting into the box to pretend that I was mailing him to Nana and Pop pop or to Gramma and Poppy or - his idea -"to the princesses" and I would pretend to be the princess getting the box and he would just squeal when I was "wondering what was in the box " and when I'd open it and say "I got a boy" he'd just throw himself into my arms and jump around then beg to do it all over again. It was fun and funny at the same time one of those things I'll never forget.

While I was up in their rooms doing stuff I can't do while it's naptime I set Dima up with and alarm clock. When I told him about it during lunch he said he was full and wanted to get going to naptime so he could see it. I made him stay with us to talk about how it's to be used and what his duties will be each morning when he gets up on school days. Making the bed, using the bathroom, putting on his clothes that we'll pick out the night before. I've got to go through our magazines and pictures to make him an agenda of pictures so he can do it himself. When we finally did settle in for nap he was saying "it changed, it changed" every minute so I had to remind him that nap time is quiet time. I would not be surprised if he laid there through the whole nap time watching it change. He was quiet so I'll let him go. He was so excited when I told him about it that his legs were wiggling a mile a minute under the lunch table in anticipation. When I showed him what it'll sound like when the alarm goes the radio had the weather report on so that made him even more excited. I got this idea from a friend and I don't see why he shouldn't be able to carry this out by himself. The school clothes are all in the same drawers so eventually he should be able to pick the clothes on his own too. With both of them if they get shoes on the wrong feet or something on backwards I usually don't mind as long as they're trying on their own and as long as whatever it is doesn't hurt them.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hewo Big Fly!

Josh and I were having our own play date this afternoon while Dima was having his at a friend's house I got our our wooden train set so he could play without having to share it with Dima. As I carried it upstairs Josh yelled "HAPPY DAY!" I asked where heard that one and he said in school. He's learning new phrases all the time and learning their meanings as he goes he got pushed down by a girl on the playground at school after he asked her "do you want a piece of me?" Maybe he'll think twice before using that one again... Ironically enough he got that one from the intro to one of the Veggie Tales videos that are supposed to teach morals and values.

Last week Josh started saying " Hewo Big Fly! " That's an imitation of me saying " Hello, McFly" - a reference to the movie Back to the Future - when someone isn't paying attention, repeats something that was just said or asks something that's totally obvious. Totally is another word he's started to use as in that car is "totally cool" but when it comes from him I usually have to have him repeat it to figure out what he's trying to say. That's another thing that I guess I didn't realize how much I say it until the little parrots repeat it.

Poor Josh was pretty upset when we dropped Dima off at Dylan's house and that kind of stuff reminds me of what it's like to be the younger kid and not being able or allowed to do what the older kid is doing. At the time it's upsetting and disappointing and hard to understand why. Especially in this case it really brought those feelings back for me. One of the reasons I drove over today was cause I figured that Josh would freak at not being able to stay. They are literally right across the back yards and we could have walked but it was better to keep him contained. Once we found stuff to do back here he seemed content to play and to tell me how to play with his cars.

The first ever play date for Dima seems to have been a success. It sounds like Dima's afternoon was mostly bouncing on their trampoline and playing at their play kitchen in their basement. The boys have equal energy so they're a good match. I'm betting Dima will be out like a light tonight at bedtime. I'd like to reciprocate one of these days, I'll have to figure out what to do with all three of them here since I don't have car space for more than two of them. Looks like a mini-van will have to be our next vehicle cause this kind of thing has come up before.

Josh was just sitting here talking about his classmate Dylan and saying that maybe he can go to his house too. I'm trying to explain that he just has to be nice to the other kids and he'll get a friend like that sooner or later. I hope he doesn't pester "his Dylan" about it.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Josh's first ever ride on a bus.

Today Josh got to go on a field trip to an apple orchard and rode a bus for the first time ever! He still had a moment in the car when he didn't want to go into the school but it didn't take long to convince him to go. (He's been hesitating to go in for just over a week and I've found that if I allow extra time in the parking lot and we just kind of sit there a while before going in then he's better about going.) They got to go on a hayride and pick apples and got a bag to bring home with apples and a little pumpkin. He's doing well as far as going to the potty when he's not too distracted. I think cutting bananas out of his diet and not giving him so much cheese has made the while thing easier for him. Yesterday he went into our powder room to use the potty by himself he found out the seat was up as he got his whole butt and his shirt dunked into the toilet bowl- I guess that's one of the dangers you face when you're too short to reach the light switch! Funny once he stopped crying about it. He might have been a little freaked out since I always tell him that toilets are dirty so he won't touch them or play with them. Poor Josh!

Since Dima and I had time after I picked him up from kindergarten and before we had go get Josh I took him to a Japanese Steak house. He sat nicely for the most part (except for blowing the paper off his straw, which I think is actually condoned by Chris when they go to their sports bar/ restaurant... we'll have to talk about that one) and attempted to use chopsticks and was speaking in a quiet voice once I pointed out that the other people there were not talking loudly and that they wanted to have a relaxing lunch with out hearing him. He tried tempura shrimp and vegetables and rice and tried my salmon and liked everything except the salad with ginger dressing. The waiter was pretty impressed that he was willing to try everything.

We just got a copy of a article that ran in the Washington Post Southern Maryland section with two pictures of Dima at the Hard Bargain Farm Oktoberfest. He's actually dancing with the big guys in one and looking into the bottom of an alphorn in another. A former neighbor who came to see us that day mailed us the actual article and we had already seen it online. Both boys danced with the Almrausch kids on this past Friday evening and at one point Josh started yelling at Dima during a dance so we had to have a talk about how that's not acceptable behavoir on the dance floor. The place was an assisted living facility and I get so nervous with the kids running negotiating through places like that since you have so many people with canes and stuff. Josh barely pays attention wto where he's walking anyway so I always make him hold my hand though he's not too thrilled about it. Some of the kids came with us to the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City for a performance yesterday but I was glad to not have to keep tabs on my kids in a place as crowded and as stimulating as that.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

that's insegence

Lately Dima's been trying to say "that's interesting" and instead it sounds more like "that's insegence" I'm sure it's only a matter of time until he gets it right but it's kind of funny when he says it thinking he's using my expression. Yesterday he also tried "if I do say so myself" and kind of got that one. I don't realize how often I say the same things until I hear it coming from the mouths of the kids. One advantage of my being with them all the time is that I can figure out what they're talking about from the context or from what ever we're doing at the time.

Today was a first for Josh he actually asked to go home when we got to his school. He went to the other side of the car once I un-did his buckle and really didn't want to go. Luckily a friend came out and said that her son was inside waiting for him and then he let me carry him to the school. Once we got to the door he ran inside so hopefully this won't happen again. He could have wanted to play here or something instead of school. He did get up late today so I guess he's especially tired. He has also been coughing so that could be part of it too. I'm going to try to get them to take a long nap this afternoon. It's raining and just one of those days that every one wants to stay in bed. I think this will be a play-doh and crayons kind of day once they get up later.

Dima had the chance to see a fire engine up close today at school and they gave him a booklet to color so as he was looking at it on the way home we was telling us about feeling doors and stop, drop and roll. We have a few roses growing out front so we went out this morning to cut some along with a lily for Mrs. Benner. He really is a pretty thoughtful kid and once you give him an idea he'll use it again on his own. Then ironically they made a "garden" in class today with cut out flowers with manners things written on them (please, thank you and stuff like that) and green pipe cleaners with a little fence thing to put them in.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Oh no, now what did he do??

Last week the boys and I were out for a walk when one of the neighbors whose son is in Dima's kindergarten class came out of her house and was walking across her lawn toward us and at the time I was thinking: Oh no, now what did he do?? to her kid. Then she said "I've been meaning to call you " and I was really thinking " Oh great!!" Apparently her son Dylan talks about Dima all the time cause they ride the bus together and are in the same class so she wanted to invite Dima over for a play date!! Whew! Was I relieved and impressed that Dima is actually making his own friends. He's been asking me every day when he'll get to go but we had the weekend and their family had to leave town for a funeral so we still have to work out the details.

Right now Josh is playing with a whole lot of tickets that we got at a show we did for a Knights of Columbus in NJ. They had these long strips of 50 /50 tickets and the guys at the event were tearing them apart to put into the bin to shuffle them and then draw the winning ticket. Somehow they recruited both Dima and Josh to help with the ticket process and Josh actually ended up on stage to pick out the winner. After they were done the winner came and found Josh to give him a twenty dollar bill! Since the tickets were now worthless the boys started collecting them so Dima could decorate a fake tree ant people started to bring them over for the boys and they got a dollar each from a woman who was helping them gather tickets. She spotted a five under a table and after checking near-by to be sure it didn't belong to anyone there she showed Dima where to find it and let him have it! Once again cute pays!

Dima actually danced for the first time with the GTV Almrausch. He's been hesitant to do it in the past so I didn't push him to do it but one of the other moms talked him into it by going out with him as his partner.

We're going to Maryland this coming weekend for another fest with our old dance group and I'm hoping they'll both dance there. Josh cried last time he tried it - I think because there's an explosion involved and he doesn't admit it but I think it scares him. Ear plugs might be a good idea too cause it can be really loud out there, another potentially frightening thing for a kid. Now I have a CD of German music on and every once in a while he says "Auf geht's !" (Let's go) and he says it at the right time in the song he likes.
He also knows some of the words to "I'm Looking for Freibeir" (free beer) I'm thinking maybe I should remove that one from our playlist since it might not be the best thing to have him singing that at his Christian preschool! Our friend Karin has 10 year old twins and has said it's interesting to try to explain what we do on weekends when asked at school. Josh already talks about "Oktoverfests" to him it means goofing around with the other kids and sometimes going on rides as well as dancing and getting lots of attention.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Are there toys in college?

While talking with the boys about school Dima asked how long until they are done and I briefly went into how they get breaks each summer but how school goes on for years through elementary school ,middle school, high school and then college and Dima's next question was: "Do they have toys in college?". Now there's a loaded question....

This morning while I was cleaning up the kitchen and the boys were still at the table eating breakfast when Dima said to Josh : " so... what do you want to talk about?" which is what I usually say when we're eating and they've already covered school and the snack for the day and whatever else is on their minds. For now we have a Conversation Bell which is a bell that I can ring if they're both trying to talk at the same time and we lay it down on the table to show who is supposed to be taking their turn to talk. While they were at the table by themselves the bell was upright so Dima said "so, ceiling, what do you want to talk about?" I thought that was actually pretty funny. While driving somewhere the other day Dima saw some Christmas lights still up and he's heard us saying "Merry Christmas" when we go by a place that has them up all year long and Dima asked if the people in that house with them still up would take the lights down once Christmas time comes... I thought that was really funny!

It's kind of funny to hear them saying stuff that I say. A few weeks ago it had been raining off and on and Dima asked Josh if it was raining and he said "not at the moment" which is something I always say. And lately Dima's been trying to say: "that's interesting" which is another thing I always say and his words are getting jumbled into different sounds but I still know what he's trying to say so I work on showing him my mouth as I say it and they both try to copy me. I'm sure it won't take long to get it.

Today was Josh's picture day at school and I had him eat his breakfast with a robe and big bib on so he wouldn't mess up his clothes , I dressed him in what we call a "Pop pop shirt" for the pics cause it really does make him look like his Pop pop when he wears them.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Our weekend

After doing the school thing in the mornings for several weeks now we're into a routine of waking up on school days, getting Dima to make his bed, getting dressed and then coming downstairs for breakfast with both of the boys covered with "eating suits"(for Josh it's a full bib with long sleeves and for Dima I took some old shirts we got from my Dad and trimmed the sleeves off and he puts them on backwards to cover up) so they don't mess up their school clothes. They both like bowls of cold oatmeal - I can make it and keep it in the fridge then top it with yogurt and applesauce and wheat germ and then I mix in raisins and or dried cranberries or sometimes fruit. Josh goes ballistic if I give him anything that's too hot so I started the cold oatmeal thing for him and it's so easy to make it while I'm making pasta or something like that and then have it ready for school days. Josh usually jumps up ready to go but there have been days I've had to coax Dima out of bed. This morning and yesterday they were tired from their busy weekend since they didn't have a nap on Saturday cause they do ice skating lessons from 2-3.

The boys are both doing well in their ice skating lessons, Dima so well that they think he should be in the learn to play hockey classes next time and Josh is now skating without using anything to hold himself up. After lessons they were treated to a Slushie at the local Wawa and Chris said he turned around for a second and next thing ya know Josh has a donut in his mouth - and when asked where he got it he pointed to a display of donuts that was within his reach!!... and you wonder why I don't take them into places like that!! Keeping track of the two of them in a situation like that is something I don't want to have to do so we literally don't go there. Even when getting other treats if I have to I'll use a drive through or make something at home. If that had been me I would not have given him the Slushie, and they know it cause they told Papa that I'd be mad if I knew about Josh doing that. There's a lesson in there about taking stuff without paying and about asking for treats instead of helping yourself.

We had a late night on Friday night since we had to go to practice for the kids dance group and they have both been pretty good about paying attention lately and they had a good time playing with the other kids afterward. There's a little girl that has been coming to practices this year that Josh has latched on to and he always wants her to be his partner, the first time he met her he kept asking what her name is which is what he seems to do when he likes someone.

After their lessons on Saturday the boys and Chris went to a fest at Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown with both boys in their lederhosen and hats and everything. Josh almost blew a gasket when they got there cause there was apparently a Porsche club that had a lot of cars parked in the same area and he kept going "aaahhhh!, aaaahhh! and pointing at the "spoirers" (spoilers) on the backs of them. He was his usual outgoing self and charmed the girls who were there as dates of the hockey team players as well as a couple of kids his own age and some strangers as well. Several people handed him their tickets for food and drinks as they left the place. Cute pays!! Dima ended up with his own root beer stein and goes around trying to sing Ein Prosit. He's like me in the lyrics department I'm really bad at hearing and remembering the lyrics to songs and I'll make up new ones or just sing "something, something" when I don't know them. Root beer was all over his shirt but it washed right out. He was well behaved for the most part.

Josh came to Ambler, PA with me on Sunday to a dance show and had a great time. My parents came to watch him dance and I didn't tell him ahead of time that they would be there. He was thrilled to see them and was totally cute and very self confident while dancing. As we walk through the crowds at places like that you can hear the people - especially the women - going "LOOK AT HIM HE'S SO CUTE!! or LOOK AT THE LITTLE LEDERHOSEN!!" He certainly isn't lacking any self confidence, while dancing he looks around and smiles for cameras and looks at the other dancers and has a great time. The women in the group have said he makes them smile cause he looks right at them while clapping and going around with the guys in what Josh calls "the bye bye dance" (we wave good bye at the end) . While people were trying to take pictures of the other kids in the group he would go over to get into the shot. Two women asked me to pose for a picture and next thing you know he's in front of me to get in it too, they ended up hugging him and taking his picture alone with each of them. Someone from the Ambler Gazette asked me his name and age, I think they got some shots of the kids in the group and he could end up in the paper. I'm hoping this self confidence and the exposure in the performances will help him out later on in life with things like speaking in public - something that I'm still not fond of.

Since he had no nap the day before he looked exhausted especially earlier in the afternoon and was literally dragging himself around I was surprised that he didn't fall asleep on the way home but he was so busy talking about the day that he kept himself awake. We went to an impromptu picnic at the home of one of the couples in the group after the performance and he did very well playing with the other kids even though most of them were older than him. He was eating an apple so that helped keep him occupied on the hour long drive home. While we were at the picnic he had the chance to eat a hot dog and corn on the cob and tater tots but the other kids were getting up and calling his name to come to play even though they weren't all finished eating so he was really distracted and didn't want to sit there to eat. He had a great time playing with a pretend kitchen/ grill and running around playing duck, duck, goose and tag. He tends to be miserable if he falls asleep in the car and we get him up so it was probably just as well that he stayed awake.

Now that we're back into the week we're doing our same old same old routine, breakfast, school, lunch, nap then walk either before or after dinner, 7 o'clock bath then in bed by 8. Dima brought home a library book with just pictures and is having a great time "reading" that by himself.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Now I can see why you need breaks...

The boys spent this past weekend having lots of time-outs at my parents' house while Chris and I went to Gettysburg for a family wedding. Apparently they decided to test their boundaries at Gramma and Poppy's "We don't have to listen to you!" and jumping around on the sofa and being wild even while Gramma was trying to explain that she' not just trying to be mean to them by giving them timeout after time our but that they need to listen to what they're told. Even yesterday on the way back here they stopped at Mc D's for happy meals and didn't earn their toys since again, Dima wasn't listening when my Mom told him to stand back with her while Dad ordered - I probably would have marched him out of there for a timeout in the car if nothing else. Maybe for future use, divide and conquer might be a good idea. Give them timeouts in separate rooms so they can't feed off each other and start acting up while they're supposed to be contemplating the error of their ways. They did behave well enough to get out to pick apples and they also spent some time in the hot tub as well as playing with the neighbor, so it wasn't all time outs but my Mom said she felt like it was at times.

We had a great time at the wedding - it's always nice to see all the family members and I got to know several of the women since I was at both the Philly and the G-burg bridal showers. It was nice to see them too. We also had a friend there from Alt Washingtonia. One of the women there does videography for weddings and Chris had sent his cousin her website and she was the one they chose to do the job. It was nice to see her but had to keep reminding myself that when I was waving to her it was getting on the videotape. She said that everyone was so nice to her and the rest of the people working on the photos and all that stuff - they were all impressed at how nice the event was and how welcoming everyone was. I saved a cookie that was brought by Chris's uncle in honor of their great-aunt and gave it ti Elisabeth, she was honored that I'd done that for her.

I always debate mentally when the kids are being baby-sat about calling to see how it's going and leaving them alone. I don't want it to seem like I don't care about what's going on but I don't want to seem like I don't trust that things are okay. I must say that I check my cell phone regularly to see if there have been any calls, but in this case I don't know how I would have advised them to settle the kids down.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Josh's law

Josh's injury today came from a pinch by a pair of kid's sunglasses. We were leaving a playground this morning while Dima was in school and I handed him a pair of sunglasses to put on while we were in the car. He started shrieking a few seconds after I gave them to him and as he was putting them on he pinched his finger in the little hinge that holds the arm on the glasses. It really did pinch a big section of his left middle finger but he wouldn't let me look closely at it or try to wash it - there was no blood - so that made me feel a little better . What are the odds that a kid is going to do something like that?? With Josh whatever can go wrong will...

The rest of our morning went relatively well, we went to have my tires rotated so Josh got to see the car lifted up I thought that would be the highlight of the trip but he really went berserk over a Motor Trend magazine. I actually planned to do this on a day when he was out of school so he could see them do the tires but little did I know we could have looked through a magazine any time and he would have been just as happy.

We went to a playground to waste time until it was time to get Dima and he surprised me again by playing in the sand on a volley ball court instead of doing slides and the jungle gym. He spent about a half hour making sand angels and knocking over castle walls as I was trying to build them.

Once we got Dima the only tidbits of info I could get out of him was that they had a salad for snack and that one of the girls on his bus got a reprimand in class and didn't get a sticker on her behavior chart. I'm glad I signed him up for the snack program at school since they're giving them good stuff it also gives me one less thing to remember in the mornings when I'm trying to get them out of here in time for the bus. When Josh does get to go to school he's easy to get up Dima seems like he'll turn out to be a night person cause he drags in the mornings. He's still enthusiastic about riding the bus and going to school so it's not that he's lost interest it's just harder for him to wake up than it is for me and Josh.~~

Monday, September 17, 2007

self inflicted bite wound

Poor Josh just learned to look at his food and pay attention to what he's doing at the table when he bit his own finger during lunch. When I pick him up at school he usually tells me right away about the snack for the day and a close second was about a fire drill they had at school today. He was sitting here with me wrapping up lunch and talking about the fire drill again when he started crying and he actually made his right index finger bleed. Both of the boys have been sitting at the table lately crossing their eyes and saying"two Mamas" or two cups" I'm not sure if he was trying to do that when the incident occurred but I wouldn't be surprised. As far as I saw he just kept eating when he came to the end of the green bean he was munching. After he bit himself I decided to show him how to look at his food while it's coming toward his mouth and he put his head so low that he ended up with bits of hard boiled egg from the trays they use for meals on his fore head. It's really hard for me to keep a straight face right now - but I don't want him to start doing it on purpose to get the laughs. Right now instead of using his hand to hold down the bunch of grapes he's eating from he's draping his while arm over them so his finger doesn't hurt while he's pulling grapes off with his other hand. It took me a little while to figure out what he's doing but he says that's it. Ya live and ya learn: Don't bite your own fingers while eating.

Friday, September 14, 2007

cough, cough welcome to school

Both kids are into school now and both have coughs and runny noses after having been exposed to everyone and their germs. Today was the last day of Josh's first week of school. Each day he is just bouncing off the walls in excitement to be able to finally go after watching Dima go and stay there and have fun for two years. The first day he ran in and hugged the school administrator and she yelled down the hallway "Ok, we can start now that Josh is here!" Alot of the teachers and the administrator know him cause we have been going in to drop off Dima and of course Josh has to say hi to everyone as he goes. He's been going right into his classroom without even a glance backward and asking about when the garage for the toy cars will be out to play with. He has a good memory - the garage is probably something he saw while Dima was at that school and he won't forget about it and will probably ask about it daily til he gets to play with it.

Yesterday was his first "enrichment day" an extra day at the school that's less structured than the usual days are where they get to play on laptops and make snacks and do fun stuff instead of the usual schedule. At dinner time last night he was sitting there naming the parts of our laptop and singing the songs that they sing in class. They do some kind of hello song and they also do his little grace "Oh, the lord's been good to me..." at snack time. I'm sure he's one of the more vocal kids in the class and I can just imagine what he'll do in front of an audience for the fall and spring shows that they put on. America's Funniest Videos here we come!

Dima was off school yesterday and today so we had some time to ourselves. Yesterday we went to Waterloo Gardens to check out fountain displays and walk around after we dropped Josh off at school. As we pulled in a trailer for the Busch series #60 car came in right behind us and there were signs that the car would be there from 12 to 6. So Dima and I walked through to look at the fountains and other stuff - including Halloween decorations already! and I told him that if Josh was good at school we'd bring him back to see the car. Since we had time Dima and I went into Acme to get sammiches and grapes for them and salad for me so I didn't have to do Happy Meals again this week. I got them Happy Meals on Tuesday since Josh had his regular check up with the doctor and did well - at least until the shots came out (and I don't mean the kind of shots that make adults get happy and silly)- he was really wailing when he had his shots. To reward him for the good behavior I decided to get them lunches. At least you can get the meals with apple slices instead of fries and with milk instead of soda. Dima actually managed to keep the car a secret til we got to the place. When we got there Josh ran to the car and went around again and again pretending to change the tires with his little noises that he makes. I had to explain to the guys with the car and to a woman who was there with her kids what he was doing. He was really good about not touching the car, but checked out every inch of the exterior.

Today Dima got to see Mrs. Vache, his teacher from last year. He spoke to her better than he does most times when adults try to have conversations with him. She's good though too about looking him in the eye and using words tha the'll understand. I've asked him who he plays with at school and who he sits with on the bus and he always says "nobody, I sit by myself" That isn't physically possible in the classroom since there are so many of them and he's already had a reprimand for talking there. Yesterday we were taking a walk in the neighborhood and one of the first graders who we've seen around a few times asked him why he doesn't sit with him and he just kind of stared straight ahead and wouldn't really talk to the kid. Later on, when the kid was out of earshot I asked why and he said he doesn't know where that kid sits and I just told him to look for him when he gets on the bus next week.

Both of the boys have been playing in the 'play room " lately pretending to be cooking on the sofa and then pretending the "princesses" are coming to eat with them. They get pots out and jumble the fake food around and then set up chairs for the princesses and act like we must look when we're setting up for a party - running around getting things ready and cooking and arranging stuff.

Tomorrow afternoon they'll both be in skating lessons I hope that Josh can stand this time - last time he tried it he was clinging to the side of the rink going "Mama, Mama!" and sliding all over the place. Not a good first experience but hopefully he wasn't traumatized and will have a better go of it this time.

Next week will be Dima's first full week of school (first we had a two day week - then Labor Day week - then this week with yesterday and to day being off for Rosh Hashana) and Josh will be going every day now except for Tuesdays.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Count down to school

Tomorrow is the first day that both boys will be in school at the same time and I'm probably just as excited and probably more nervous than they are. Ive already got their clothes laid out for the whole week - mine for tomorrow - and a pot roast ready to go into the crock pot including chopped vegetables and the crock pot is out and ready to go. Josh was so excited about school that he wanted to go this morning and I told him that no one else would be there and he said we could go and wait. We had a great time at Josh's open house and I'm glad that we have neighbors who will be in both of the boy's classes. I've been saying that tomorrow morning Josh will be running in the door and I'll be running out - and I honestly don't know what I'll do with myself. Might just come back here and enjoy the silence.

One of the other moms in the same situation said that she'll have a cleaner house and I must say that I would not have thought of that one on my own. I've got a workable routine that keeps our place presentable and I don't know if my first real free time in three years will be devoted to cleaning. As far as organization I might use the time for that - like getting all of our clothes organized when it turns colder and figuring out if Josh is in 4Ts yet we have lots and lots of stuff ready for him when he's big enough. Thanks to our friends both kids have been pretty much outfitted for free. We get hand me downs regularly and I'm always grateful to have them.

Last year I had Dima's closet and dresser drawers set to go on the first day of school and as he put on the 4T pants I realized that he hadn't worn pants all summer and was definitely in 5Ts and had to scramble to get his stuff out fortunately my Mom and I had organized the stuff and I knew where to find what I needed. So far it's been warm enough that shorts are okay and I've got some time to work out the closet situation.

So as much as I can I think I've planned ahead and am ready do get the two of them going - breakfast oatmeal and yogurt and even left over french toast ready to be reheated all set for the week - check here in a week or two to see how the plan has worked and if it's still a plan or are we the ones running down the street to catch the bus in the morning while munching a pop tart!

Friday, September 7, 2007

score one for Mama

Josh has been giving me grief lately about walking - especially when it's just us here while Dima's in school and I had a revelation today while taking my own walk before the kids woke up. I was using my digital walkman and it has some songs on it that Josh likes so I decided to try headphones on him while we walk. It worked well once I made it clear that the head phones were for him and the actual walkman was for me. He was bopping his head while we were out there and having a great time and he recognized songs from the Cars movie as well as ones from other movies that I haven't seen but he has. I didn't realize how much we usually talk until he was quiet because he was so engrossed in the music. He was funny with the head phones on cause he usually greets the neighbors and today he was yelling "HI!, HI!" and "LOOK AT WHAT I HAVE!" one neighbor was way up their drive way and he was still trying to show off the headphones. Then when he moved the headphones would fall off him so I tried again and again to explain that if he leaned back in the stroller the headphones had something to rest on and he kept trying to look around and got frustrated that they kept falling off. Once we came back here I set him up with a baseball hat under the headphones and that did the trick, and he actually wanted to walk more! So now during walk time everyone's happy. I'm going to save the walkman for walk time only so the novelty doesn't wear off and I might even program it with a bunch of songs just for him.

Tonight we have practice with the Kindergruppe of out dance group and I'm hoping that they'll both behave well - and that Dima will get the confidence he needs to dance in public. I'm always torn between trying to help them and just leaving the room so I'm not a distraction. Dima's been especially wound up outside of school lately and I think it has to do with holding himself together while he's in school. He spent almost an hour in continual time outs yesterday cause he kept doing things that he knows are against the rules. Hopefully they can both get decent naps this afternoon and behave nicely later on.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

ranch dressing

During dinner the kids were balking at eating salmon and mac and cheese and I decided to try a trick and I gave them fresh green beans with ranch dressing to dip them in and they loved it. I had read in one of the parenting magazines that lots of kids go for stuff like that. Dima's already had it on salad but Josh won't even try lettuce, there are things like that that he refuses to put in his mouth no matter how you try to disguise them. Then again, one of his favorite things is peas and he actually asks for grapes instead of fries when we go out to eat. In general they both eat well and if they behave nicely I let them have whatever fruit they want after they've finished their meals. Josh went through 2 pears and an apple after his lunch of peanut butter and Poppop's jam and strawberries and milk was finished. Of course I was a little concerned that he'd have potty issues, aka a butt explosion - with all the fruit but he still didn't do anything until he was asleep. He must be going through a growth spurt cause he's been eating very well and napping well too, and sassy as well.

We're just about to head out for a walk around the neighborhood, I bribed them into going by saying we can look for hot air balloons while we're out there. Josh is ready to get going cause he's sitting here making "start your engine" noises with his mouth.

the school bus - day 3 Tuesday after Labor Day

Dima was extremely excited this morning at the thought of going on the school bus. Good in one sense because it was easy to get him up not so good cause he could barely sit still to eat his breakfast. He had a good nap yesterday afternoon - from 12:30 to 3:30. Our dance group was part of an Oktoberfest both yesterday and the day before and we decided to take the boys on Sunday but keep them home yesterday so they could rest up for the week. Going to fests with them in tow means keeping track of them and keeping Dima from getting too wild. Josh did dance on Saturday but Dima would not, and he regretted it when he saw the other kids collecting the money that people had thrown on the floor after they finished their dance.

Once Dima was on the bus this morning I tried to go walking but Josh didn't want to go and got extremely sassy while sitting in his stroller so I ended up bringing him back and giving him a time out in his bed cause he tried to hit me. Once he was done with that we played a memory game where you place pieces with pictures on them face down on the table and try to find the matching ones. I found myself trying to explain to him that if you keep turning over the same ones you'll never find a match -the explanation was futile cause he kept wanting to look at the same ones again and again. He did stick with the game for quite a while but then declared that it was "boring" so we were done. Right now he's content to play with his cars and he's parking them in a box with a hole in the side. He has his open house at school tomorrow so he'll get his own back pack then and get to see his classroom and meet his teacher Mrs. Volante. I think he'll be really excited about school once he goes tomorrow. His first day is next Monday and he'll probably ask every day if it's time yet.

I can hear the trash truck coming now so we're gonna head outside to watch it go by and then find something to do out there.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Our weekend

On Friday (the 24th) we got out of town around 1 to head to Chris's Aunt's place in Gettysburg. It was nice to have a chance to go for a swim in their pool- after having been cold - 60s we all had to re-acclimate to warm temps again. They didn't have to ask us twice when they mentioned getting into the pool to cool off before dinner. The kids had a good time swimming and playing with the pool toys, they even jumped off the diving board but Josh wasn't as enthusiastic as he was last year when we visited.

The kids sat nicely at the dinner table then we drove out to see the new house that Chris's Aunt and Uncle are building - it's going to be spectacular when it's finished. Anyway, when we got there they realized that they forgot to bring the house key so the kids and I threw rocks into a pit that they're actually going to fill with the slate from the consturction site and later on fill in with dirt. By the time we got to go into the house it was pretty dark so we needed flash lights to get around. Dima seemed interested in looking into the heating conduits and looking at where the outlets and stuff like that will be Josh just went around goofing around with his flashlight. You can tell the place will be really nice and I'm betting that the things the kids will remember about it will be the flashlights and the rocks.

On Saturday we drove to Hagerstown for their annual Augustoberfest. We do this show with our old dance group and it's nice to see everyone again - as well as the people from the bands that do the event every year with us. Last year was really nice since people from our new group were there too - but they had other commitments this year. Chris settled the kids into our hotel room while I had a chance to get out with everyone and catch up. During the day it was over 100 degrees and we were lucky to have a trailer to cool off. The boys had a great time exploring the trailer and goofing around in the bed-area. Compared to Saturday, Sunday was cool at only 80 degrees!

Talk about fickle kids - Josh cried when he was out on the floor to do one of the dances on Saturday and all of a sudden Dima wants to dance ( a bribe of water ice might have swayed his decision to get in on it). I'm not sure what to expect this coming weekend with our new dance group - not sure if either will dance or both or maybe they'll both decide not to. I try not to push it so it'll be up to them and we'll see how it goes. Josh also had a great time in June playing an alphorn at one of our events and wouldn't even touch it at this one. When asked why he cried during the dance he had been talking about doing he couldn't say but repeated what he heard me say - that the music might have been too loud. The heat might have had something to do with it, or the fact that they had no nap and slept in different beds from their own the night before. Josh didn't really sleep during naptime today and was really bratty while we were out walking- pushing Dima while they were running around and being really sassy to me so I told him he's going in for an early bed time. They had an early bath and once he was in his bed at 7:15 he was asleep within minutes. He might still be catching up from such a busy weekend.

Tomorrow will be Dima's first day to ride the school bus. We'll see how this one goes since the bus driver has been lost while driving around in the mornings . A neighbor said that the middle school kids didn't get to school til 9:30 on Monday, hopefully the driver's getting the route down by now. We went to the school today for his first day in the classroom. They had only half of the kids there as they went over what's expected of them when they get there and gave out pencil boxes with supplies inside and had them sit down to draw "what I did during the summer". During the 10 minutes that we could stay Josh was playing with a little girl in the clasroom's play kitchen and within minutes he found a truck with a little wrecking ball on it. Ironic since I have called him Mr. Destructo since he's always taking stickers off things and ripping things apart.

I was up by 6am today since I woke and had lots on my mind so I just got out of bed to get things going. I walked for exercise and then got planning how the day would go. Until I get us all into a routine I'm going to be nervous about Dima missing his bus or something like that. I am glad that Josh doesn't start school til the 10th so I can get one schedule settled before we're all trying to get up get ready and get out in the mornings. The good thing will be that once Josh does start, I'll have some actual FREE TIME!! Only from 9:00-11:30, but it will still give me time to run errands with out having to coax anyone along or have to leave a store with a sassy, spitting kid. After having seen how the pick up line will be for Dima's school, I'm confident that getting from one school to the other won't be that big a deal. I told his teacher about needing to pick up Josh on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays and she said that the Moms who have done it in the past just get on the end of the pick up line and it all works out. I knew I wouldn't be the only one who'd ever had to deal with the schedules being so close and now I can see I've actually got more time to get to him with the way they work the pickups. Dima's teacher said things went well today and apparently they have a system that uses rubber bracelets that they had in their pencil boxes today - they're suppposed to start using them tomorrow andn I thinkwhat they do is wear them if they're well behaved and lose them if they're not. They also have a folder in their book bags to send any paperwork back and forth to the teacher. The teachers - there are two for kindergarten - seem organized and I've heard good things about his teacher.

Fortunately since they're both in am school we can just pick back up on the schedule we had two years ago when Dima went to preschool in the mornings. When we got home today they both went to our stairs and put their shoes on the bottom steps to be taken up after lunch and then they went into our playroom / family room while I got lunch ready. I had kind of forgotten that we used to do that every time we came home from school until they did it on their own. We'll still do our normal nap- after- lunch routine to give them both some down time during the day, especially since Dima will be going every day now as opposed to three days a week.

Josh had some toilet training success yesterday and then today said he doesn't want to go to school - and had a relapse - hopefully he'll have more good days with that stuff, but that's another whole story, I'll write more on that later. ...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mary Poppins is a loooong movie

This is a good thing for a parent to know when trying to figure out what to do with two housebound kids - one who is sniffling - on a rainy day. A good choice for breakfast on these days is something that takes a while to make so that the kids can "help" you while you make it. The breakfast that takes a while to make can take up some time to eat using up more time! This is also a good day to let them have at it with Playdoh, crayons or scissors and construction paper, you can make construction paper trees, suns, clouds and make a little play out of what's going on outside. Letting them roughhouse a little bit when they get bored is okay as long as no one gets hurt, it gives them a chance to use up some energy. It's also a good time to let the kids refill the dog's dish cause picking up the food that falls on the floor is a game in itself. Naps are always in order on these days especially since you need rest to fight off any germs that might be lingering about. Naps preceded by storytime take up even more time and help settle the kids in to relax. Listening for the trash truck to watch it drive by or just watching your street is another thing to entertain - without the TV. If you have a child who's interested in the weather just watching the storm on the radar is exciting between discussions of what's going on outside. Putting on rainboots and rain coats would be an option if one child weren't coughing and sniffling. Once the rain stops falling going outside to empty out all the rain that has collected in various trucks and containers that have been left out there creates even more fun!

Yes, today it's raining - again! and yes, most of these things are on our agenda for today. We haven't gotten to Mary Poppins yet but I'm keeping it in mind for use later on.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hershey Park

Yesterday we went to Hershey Park with friends the Schappells and their two kids, a girl who is Dima's age and a boy who is between the ages of our two. The kids all get along pretty well, in fact the Schappell kids were kind of arguing over who got to sit with Josh on rides. Of course when we get to their house my guys go berserk playing with all the new toys, they both kind of roam through the house playing and having a great time.

Our trip was planned a few weeks ago and when we woke up yesterday and the forecast said it would rain in the morning, clear up and then rain later on we thought that most of the tourists would stay home so we'd have the park to ourselves. Well we were wrong! The place was in credibly crowded! We got there around three and at least the kiddie ride lines were okay, but the rest of the place was packed - plus - the rain lasted all day - the kids didn't really notice until later in the day when they got cold. What were those people thinking?? What were we thinking? They should have been home keeping dry, warm and out of our lines for rides!!

We did the usual rounds of kiddie rides and I even got to go on two roller coasters with our friend's daughter since her Mom had to leave early for a business trip. Josh has a great time on the rides and goes on pretty much anything he wouldn't do the Frog Hopper, but he's done it before and liked it. Dima is much more cautious about going on fast or high rides. I did convince him to go on the Kissing Tower while I was watching him and our friend's son and he really liked it and by the time we got there - maybe 6ish the crowds were thinning out so we got to go right back on again. As we were leaving there were more people coming into the park I guess they must be the ones who had day-passes coming back after dinner. We considering buying season passes next year and planning more trips with our friends that live in the area.

Josh isn't feeling well today, not just tired from staying out late - we got back here at midnight - but he's also sniffly. We were supposed to meet a friend of mine with her two kids at our pool but it's only 68 degrees outside so that plan is shot. We decided to reschedule anyway cause I don't want anyone else's kid getting sick from mine. I think we'll be here doing our Playdoh and crayons today and will have a nice long nap to get recovered from such a long busy day yesterday. This is fine with me cause I can straighten up the house a bit and get some laundry done.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

through the eyes of the kids

As we waited for our food in a Longhorn Steak House the other evening Josh noticed a cow head mounted on the wall and said "aawww" like he would if he saw a cat or dog. I didn't tell him that the cow's relative is where the stuff on our dinner plates was coming from. While we waited for Papa to get finished with work that night we went to the train station and watched the trains come and go. They are into listening to a tape about a train right now so I dug out the train schedule to keep in my car for when we have a few minutes to spare while we're out and about. Ya gotta love it that these kids are so easy to entertain! They both like to walk around our neighborhood to look at flowers, cars and pears and to watch them change daily. The trash truck has given us lots of entertainment the guys who work our neighborhood usually beep the horn for us and last week when the one came to the pool to pick up the dumpster stuff they both stopped what they were doing to watch. Josh identifies the cars that pass us while we're on the road and Dima watches for gardens flowers and right now sunflowers.

Even hanging out here Josh is easily amused, I can give him a catalogue with kids furniture in it and he goes through it looking for cars and trucks and buses that are used in decorating the rooms. Dima likes to look through travel brochures for fountains waterfalls and hot air balloons. Last week we left the pool just in time in th evening to see a hot air balloon taking off - another great thing about this area, we see hot air balloons all the time and I'm using Dima's enthusiasm for it to try to teach him about time - they almost always take off around 7 o'clock so that's part of our daily picture agenda. We have pictures of breakfast, walking feet, food for lunch, a woman sleeping to indicate nap time and people blowing bubbles and a hot air balloon so they can see what's coming up through the day - it's supposed to help with Dima's anxiety issues to be able to see what's next and it's supposed to teach him that during the blank spaces in the day he can trust that I'll take care of things.

Yesterday we explored a farm near here. We went into the butterfly house but the main interest there for Dima was a fountain and pool of water and Josh found a station where kids are supposed to stamp a booklet - Josh ended up with two arms full of stamps and even one on his belly. I think I was the only one of us who actually looked for the butterflies. We found a trail that led through a field that was lined with blackberry bushes so they picked and ate for their morning snack - my favorite flavor - free!! I explained how the trail is marked with the blazes on trees and Josh did a good job of leading us through woods looking for the blazes along a creek that was a thrill for Dima - he's all about water of any sort.

Today my Mom and Dad are coming to hang out with us. Chris is golfing now and will be at a Phillies game later on so we would have been on our own all day so I asked them if they wanted to come for a visit. We'll probably do what we normally would do anyway but having someone else around is a nice change of pace for all of us. We'll be taking our daily walk soon and they're already wearing their swim trunks so we can get our baby pool out when we get back here to await the arrival of Gramma and Poppy. I've been thinking of letting the boys skip nap but Dima's already wound up at the thought of them coming so we'll see how this goes...

Tomorrow we're back to the work week so we'll probably do the pool and water park on the days that are warm enough- Our time before school is limited - I want to get out there and do Longwood Gardens one of these days too. Tuesday we're supposed to go visit my cousin, Lisa and her kids to swim in their pool. Maybe go play mini golf -we had planned to go to Longwood Gardens last week but did the pool and water park at Marsh Creek instead cause it was 90 degrees out there. The pool worked out well since the kids are all about the same level of ability in swimming and they all liked the water park too. We're due back here on Wednesday and I've been thinking of taking the boys to the shore as a spur of the moment thing one of these days. I'm not familiar with the Jersey beaches but at this point it looks like the best option since Ocean City Maryland is a three hour drive from here vs. two to Jersey. The shore would be a great thing for the kids since watching and playing in the surf is novel to them and if we find a boardwalk that's something they've never seen and we'd have lots of fun there. Juggling the kids alone could be stressful but I think it'd be worth it in the end.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Fun with the kids

One of the cool things about staying home with my kids is the stuff I get to do with them. While tending the boys I get an excuse to go on jungle gyms and slides to play with them in the water park at the pool and to go to educational things too. Yesterday I saw a notice in the paper about a "wacky weather" traveling science show put on by the Franklin Institute. This kind of thing is just up Dima's alley since he and Chris are into weather stuff. Dima likes to look out the window and likes to check the radar on our kitchen laptop whenever there's anything out there that could be a storm. Since Josh was at my parent's place it was the perfect time to do something like the weather show. I quickly got Dima's breakfast on the table and we hustled out of here for a 45 minute drive to mall - I gave Dima an apple in the car on the way there since I felt bad about giving him cereal (with fresh blueberries) for breakfast. He usually eats very well and a lot!

On the way to the mall I was just as excited about the show as Dima was and thinking about how cool it is that I can do stuff like this. The show was interesting for me and for him too. Dima actually sat nicely and made a little friend among the kids that were there. He raised his hand and was participating in the demonstration. The guy doing the show made a "cloud " with boiling water and liquid nitrogen that scared Dima into coming back to sit with me. He also got scared when the guy put a hydrogen - not helium - filled balloon and put it next to a "lightning machine" and made a pretty big explosion. Some of the neat things in the show were a big balloon that two kids held over heated air that rose up to the second level of the mall, they guy also put liquid nitrogen into a beaker and waited maybe 15 minutes while he was doing other stuff and came back to show the kids how it had made snow on the outside of the beaker. The whole show was great and I'm glad that we had the time to go.

Today we're headed to the pool / water park. I've packed a lunch so we'll be back at some point this afternoon to get a nap - they need to be rested - especially since tomorrow will be a busy and late day for the boys. They're going to a Reading Phillies game that doesn't start until 7:15. I'll be out of town so the boys - big (Uncle Jon's coming to visit) and little - will be on their own.

Lisa and her kids will be here Monday afternoon to stay over so we can all go to Longwood Gardens on Tuesday morning, there's another cool thing I get to do with the kids. My kids like to look at the fountains moreso than the flower displays and I like it cause I can get in some exercise while they're entertained. This time will be hectic since the four kids tend to get excited around each other - at least there we'll be mostly outside. A few weeks ago we did mini golf and before that we were the loud family in the Long John Silver's. After that one I'll never criticize another family in that situation been there done that and it's not easy to keep four kids contained in a restaurant booth.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Our day so far

The boys and I went to Marsh Creek Park this morning. We got there around 10:15 and looked for raspberries - the season must be almost done cause they're hard to find now. We swam in the pool, the boys used their kick boards from Nana and Pop-pop for the first time and had a great time using them. The water park part was out of commission since there was a power surge - or lightning strike over the weekend and they're still trying to fix it. Dima kept going over to try to start the thing and I kept saying, it'll be a while till they fix it, but he tried and tried and just stood there for a long time just waiting. Josh, being his usual gregarious self was playing with older kids as they ran down the ramp to the pool and threw themselves in the water, he copied them and did the same thing and they just let him join in. He also got an older guy to throw a ball around with him. He said that Josh reminds him of - I think it was J.J. from the Incredibles, I'll have to watch it to find out what he meant.

We're pretty far out of the loop on popular characters. I caught on to the Harry Potter craze after my Mom got me the books after the first three had been published. I went to see the new movie and just finished the last book last week, but the kids and I are all kind of out of touch with a lot of the popular characters since I monitor their TV pretty closely.

Since the weather's been nice this summer they haven't had time to watch much. In general, they're allowed to watch TV if they've earned it with good behavior or sometimes when the weather's bad. Yesterday it was rainy in the morning so I let them watch Higglytown Heroes - a 1/2 hour show. At times I'll use the TV to keep them busy while I'm preparing meals (other times they watch me cook and or go through the kitchen utensil drawer going "what's this? what's this?" the funnels and whisks and spatulas can keep their attention for quite a while)

When they do get to watch they it's something like Higgletown or Little Einsteins Josh will sit still for NASCAR or other car-related shows and Dima will watch "How it's Made" if the thing being made is interesting to him. We have a few movies that they've seen again and again, the movie Cars is of course one of Josh's favorites. They've also seen some of the Disney classics, including Sleeping Beauty who had Josh saying "I Wuv Her!" Chris is more tolerant of watching movies than I am, I'd rather have them doing something like Play doh or crayons or scissors but he doesn't mind sitting them down in the evenings, especially when it's cold / dark out early and watching something before bed time. Once Dima's in school every day we'll have to save movie night for special weekend nights cause he'll have to be up and out every day instead of three days a week like in pre-school.

The Game Place

When we go for Dima's therapy appointments in Lancaster I call it "the game place" mostly to make it feel fun for him. He's usually not thrilled about going and neither am I. After we leave I'm exhausted - I guess from being so focused on him and what we're doing. Part of my stress could also be due to the one hour drive to get there.

When we get there I set Josh up with cars and stuff to do in the waiting room then we wait til "Mr. David" comes out to get Dima and me. When we get into his room Dima's supposed to hand me a pillow from a pile of them that they have in the corner of the small room we're in and pick one out for himself. There are times that this whole thing goes smoothly and then there was this past week where once David opened the door it was like a switch had been thrown and Dima started acting out almost immediately - like in throwing a toy tire in the waiting room, like in squealing at me once we sat down, like in tossing the little pillow at me. It's hard in that setting to do anything to stop him since we're physically so close. Last time David suggested a few deep breaths and he did recover once he decided to comply. During the neurotherapy part he is supposed to calm down, and concentrate on the video game. I just kind of sit there and am supposed to be quiet and let him feel what it's like to settle down and get "rewarded" by the game. We do the video games before and after the regular therapy part of the visit. During the therapy part we work on helping him identify feelings and play games that are supposed to help Dima with his attachment and anxiety issues. When we're there I'm usually playing the games with him and I guess I'm always trying to figure out why we're doing what we're doing and what his responses mean. Lots of times we've gone into Laura's office and Dima literally covers his head with a pillow from the sofa and he usually starts getting so wound up that he earns himself a time out then immediately wants me to hug him. So we end up sitting there with him going "I need a hug" and me going "okay, AFTER your time out". There have been times that he's gotten chatty with Laura but mostly he tries to play with the stuff in her room, like a snowglobe, lamp that looks like a puppet and a lava lamp and then he has to be coerced into doing the real activity for the day.

At this point he has gotten better - or we've gotten good advise on how to handle him in different situations - such as doing the monorail at Hersheypark when the more active rides apparently become too much. We've also learned to give him a radio with a headset when we go to games and other big public events to give him something to do and the headset also helps filter out some of the noise that seems to get him wound up. I discovered last winter while going to a therapy appointment that he was better off with no radio on in the car. Now we're investigating "Sensory Integration" issues as a possible problem area for him. I've contacted the guidance department in his school to see if they offer services to help diagnose him to see if that's it. It really is like putting a puzzle together and trying to figure out which parts matter and which ones don't belong. Some of th stuff he does is just typical boy stuff and some is related to his past, but we're just now trying to figure out which piece fits where.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Has it been three years??

We just celebrated Josh's 4th birthday on Sunday. While we were preparing for the party I was thinking back to three years ago when Chris and I were in St. Petersburg and Lomonosov to meet the boys for the first time. We had been prepared with information from a physician who specializes in International Adoption when we went to Russia. We were told that the orphanage they were in was the former summer home of a Soviet Navy captain. You could see that the place was once really nice, huge rooms with beautiful oriental carpets. But by the time we were there in July 2004 it was literally falling apart, walls outside propped up so they wouldn't fall apart. The boys were brought to us in what was used as a music room a big room with a piano lined with mirrors and little chairs for the kids. We played with them for a few hours - hoping to hear Dima speak since the doctor indicated that we should keep an eye out for that. Near the end of our visit we did hear him whisper to some stuffed animals we brought along. Josh kept trying to crawl to the door to get out of the room and while he was sitting with me he actually spoke to me. I said "hallo" and he echoed me right back.

It's amazing to me how fast the time has flown. Things changed for me over night when we came back with two kids and I wasn't working any more but devoting my time to them. But that's nothing compared to how things changed for the boys. They both were totally uprooted from everything they had known up to that point including language and any familiar faces.

Right now Josh is sitting here over breakfast talking about his new birthday toys and how both he and Dima got Spiderman stuff for their birthdays. They're also looking at the blow up waterslide we have here from the party and they keep asking how soon we can blow it up again. I wanted to use it again before we have to give it back but it was chilly yesterday. If it's warmer this afternoon we'll blow it up cause I want to go on it too!!

Later today I'm taking a picnic to go to a playground near where Chris works to meet and social worker who will be doing our final "post-placement" report to Russia. We have to include their current height and weight and a few pictures. I wonder if anyone from the orphanage actually get to see the stuff. They'd probably remember Dima as the one who was taken out of the place kicking and screaming since he disliked cars. (Their previous experience with cars was to go to the doctor.) And Josh would be remembered as the cute, charming one who cried the loudest when he was hungry. I would like to go back sometime when the kids are older. St. Petersburg was beautiful.

Both boys are enjoying their new toys - Dima also got some books and a set of Lincoln Logs. The frustrating thing about the toys is they're all packaged to withstand a nuclear blast. Trying to undo the wires and clips that keeps the stuff in the boxes requires it's own set of instructions. A truck that Josh got actually had screws holding the thing in place! It also doesn't help that the kids want to play with the toy ASAP so they grab at the package while you're trying to get it out and figure out how to use it. I just un-did a set of motorcycles for Josh and it had all kinds of clips to hold it in place. We're heading outside now to play with his new motorcycles, new basketball game and new trash truck.

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