Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resolutions of Renewal and Reorganization . . .

Here were are at the final few hours of 2008. . .What a year!!!

We began the year waiting and wondering when we would go back to Russia to get our little Aidan. Then, we did go and spent an incredible month in his native country. After coming home, I stayed home with him for two months to "get used to him and to let him get used to me." I have to admit that I think we were bonded before we even left the orphanage!

Aidan became a US citizen complete with his own Social Security card, had his first birthday party, celebrated his first Fourth of July, first Halloween, first Thanksgiving and first Christmas. He has become so much a part of our lives that I couldn't even begin to imagine life without him! He changes almost daily in his growth, the words he uses, and even how his face looks. He is losing his baby look already (sniff!) and becoming a little boy.

This week alone he counted to eleven (yes, eleven!) while coming down the stairs. And all four of his two year molars are coming in (finally!). We're still working on the going on the potty, but that will come. We've been working on getting well first.

And so, as I do every year, I take a moment to reflect on all the things I could do better in 2009:

I definitely want to be a better Mama. I don't think I'm bad, but there are areas I can improve.

And I want to be a better wife. Again, I don't think I'm bad, but there are definite areas I can improve in.

I'd like to have some time devoted to just us doing nothing but hanging out, playing together--no agenda and no schedule. And who wouldn't want to be with these two jokers???

And for myself, I'd like to lose about 10 pounds. Yes, it's the same 10 I have lost and gained about a million times, but who's counting?!?!?!? I'm not going to set a time limit, specifically, but I'd like to be back at my goal weight by the time we go to the beach this summer. I don't think that's unreasonable. So, back to Weight Watchers I go. . .which means that the whole family will eat healthier, too! Bonus!

And for the home, we have painting projects galore to finish and flooring to do and we need a new front door and remember that a/c unit that needs to be replaced?? That's part of it all too.

And, so I bid Paca to 2008 and am saying hello to 2009. May we all be healthy and happy in the coming year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Back to it. . .

After a long 5 day weekend of fun, food and family, today we are back to work/daycare. It's been really nice to be at home and have Aidan running around playing with all of his new toys. Here are a couple of his favorites (I couldn't get him to be still long enough to get a picture of him playing with his tractor!)

He loves his new Smart Cycle that Grandma and Grandpa got him. He has fun playing with this as long as either Mama or Daddy help him pedal. . .his legs are about 1 inch too short! We're hunting up blocks to put on there until he gets a little taller. . .which probably won't be too long, knowing Aidan! The Smart Cycle is really neat. . .it teaches colors, numbers, shapes, and a whole bunch of other things. It's designed for 3 to 6 year olds and then you can get cartridges for other things like adding, subtracting, division, etc. for when they get a little older. We saw one that is Nascar themed and even teaches simple fractions! That one is for 4 and up so we'll have to wait on that. Maybe after he starts pre-School next year.

He loves anything having to do with cars. But, this track is really cool. You can make it into any configuration you want. The track itself is sort of like legos, and it's very flexible. The cars are battery operated and drive around the track. The object, of course, is to see if you can get them to crash!

And so, it's back to work. I almost hesitate taking Aidan back to Day Care. He's been doing so much better these last few days. . .he is day six on our fourth kind of Anitbiotic in the past month--this time for Double Ear Infections, and he has been sleeping soooo good! I really hope everyone else at Day Care has done as well and won't be bringing anything new to catch! At least it is a short week. . . But, I'm going to miss my little Dudely!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve Eve

It's the eve of Christmas Eve. . .all is calm and quiet. . .the mad dash to get things done has ended and it's safe to say I'm ready. . .I think!

With Aidan having been sick, it's been difficult at best to get anything done! But, he was feeling so much better this weekend that Daddy took him to Grandma and Grandpas house on Sunday and Mama was able to bake cookies (I couldn't put out store bought cookies for Santa! What would he think???) So, I baked and wrapped and when it was all done, everyone's presents are now wrapped and under the tree, 16 dozen cookies were made (yes, that's right. 16 dozen!!! I don't know what I was thinking, either, so don't even ask) and I have it good authority that Santa has even wrapped all of his gifts and stocking stuffers! Things are shaping up!

Today Daddy is picking up the Rib Roast for Christmas dinner and all I'll need to do is dust the guest rooms and make sure the heat is on in there.

Our plans have altered only a little for Christmas Eve. . .I had thought about going to one of the evening services, but now think I will go ahead and brave the masses at one of the afternoon Children's services. I won't get to church this year on Christmas Day, but that's a small sacrifice for the sake of my little boy. In a few years, I'll be able to do that again.

Speaking of Dudely, here is a picture of him showing off how much he's grown. I need to do the lines in a darker black, but if you look closely, he's grown almost five inches since mid-April!!!

And in the words of my little Aidan, Merry Merry Christmas! Merry Merry Christmas! Ho Ho HO! Ho Ho Ho!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Today marks the fourth and final Sunday of Advent. Today we light the fourth and final candle of our wreath: it is the third purple candle and is called the Angel candle and symbolizes the love of God. As we wind down our reflection time prior to the Nativity, I thought I would share some thoughts:

The greatest gift God ever gave us was coming to us in the form of His son, Jesus. And after giving birth to him, Mary laid him in a Manger. . .A Manager. . .a feeding trough! Made to feed animals! How incredibly symbolic that is!

In our Eucharistic Prayer, there are two lines right after the breaking of the bread but before we are released, by row, to process up to receive the Sacraments. The wine and the bread are lifted in offering and the priest says:

"The Gifts of God for the People of God. Take them in
rememberance that Christ died for you, and feed on him
in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving."

He was laid in a feeding trough and we are to feed on him in our hearts. . .

He is what gives us life and sustains us through good times and bad and what makes us be who we are. Love came down at Christmas and gave us all eternal life!

Thanks be to God! Merry Christmas! May God be with you today and always.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

So, about those 'Skins. . .

Sigh. . .I had such great hopes for them this year. They were off to such a great start, too! But, they fell apart in mid-season. There are rumors and speculation that Jim Zorn won't be back. That would be a huge mistake!!! This is his first year and, yes, some mistakes have been made, but he's also started something that I think could be really great. . .if Dan the man gives him the opportunity, that is. The biggest thing that needs to be done is get a Quarterback in there that has some spirit! I think Jason Campbell is a nice and intelligent guy, but he is not the One for the Redskins. There are two games left and they aren't in the Playoffs (grrrr) so why not give Colt Brennan a chance to check things out???

Ah well, there's always next year (as we Redskins Fans are heard saying year after year after year after year after year, ad infinitim)

And, because the Cowboys are now doing better, I'm going to have to throw a snowball at my friend Allison on Facebook just to make myself feel better. . . : )

Aidan continues to improve. He does really good when he is at home and we are really seeing an improvement in his nasal congestion. All very good stuff. During the day, however, I guess he is wheezing quite a bit. I get so many phone calls from my Sitter that I'm starting to feel annoyed. I know she has Aidan's health in mind, but I keep saying the same things (what the doctor tells me) that because he hasn't ever been exposed to this stuff (all new germs for him!!) he is going to take longer to heal. You can't compare him to other kids when it comes to this! Well, anyway, he is really doing so much better. Mama and Daddy are having some congestion issues, too, but I think we'll be okay.

Please say a prayer for my friend Dana who was just diagnosed with Breast Cancer. There are two types that she has been diagnosed with. She had a Bone Scan yesterday and will have a CT scan today and then sees the Oncologist for her treatment protocol. She is a wonderful lady in Christ.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Third Sunday of Advent . . .Gaudete!

Gaudete! Gaudete! Rejoice! Rejoice!

Our time of waiting, and Mary's, is drawing near to the end. . .

For you, O Lord, my soul in stillness waits, truly my hope is in you. . .

Today is the third Sunday in Advent. This is Rose Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, Mothering Sunday, all of which are in celebration and recognition of Mary. . .

As a Protestant, I grew up with conflicted feelings about Mary. However, as an Episcopalian, we are allowed to revere her without the guilt that most Prostestants associate with that reverence. For, truly, without Mary, none of it was possible! And, here is why:

The Nativity was not the beginning of Jesus, but the incarnation (the enfleshment) of Jesus. God came to us, enfleshed, in the cold darkness of our sinful natures. He put himself in the most vulnerable position ever, a child in the womb of an unmarried 13 year old Jewish girl living in a world ruled by Romans. Think about it! What was He thinking??? He must have known that Mary was the perfect steward of his enfleshment. Why else would He have chosen her? His love for us was made known in the Word made flesh. . .

And what about Mary? What was she thinking? She was a 13 year old unmarried Jewish girl? Why would she say yes? The only answer is that she had taken her blinders off. Gaudete! Rejoice! Thanks be to God!

During these times we live in, don't we all walk around with blinders on? I mean, do we just always see things on the periphery and then try to make logical sense out of it all? And then along comes God asking us to take our blinders off by becoming one of us in the form of a babe, wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger, defenseless against the cold dark evil of this world. He is asking us to make an illogical choice to believe that this child is our Savior. . .Who wouldn't love Mary for her illogical choice???

For you, O Lord, my soul in stillness waits, truly my hope is in you.

Aidan, by the way, is doing really good. He still has times of wheezing and coughing, but, for the most part is past the hump or the worst of this stuff. Mama, on the other hand, has started to cough and seems to have laryngitis! I just seem to get this stuff from him! Ii guess I should expect it since he tends to cough and sneeze all over me, especially when I hold him at night. . . I can't expect to shower each and every time! We're hoping to get out with him later this week. Thank goodness for online shopping! I've been able to get most of my Christmas shopping done without leaving the comfort of my desk. . .now to get the wrapping done! (when is one supposed to wrap with a two year old under foot??? : ) )

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Bride

When I was a little girl, my mom listened to the Ray Coniff Singers Christmas albums (and yes, they were real albums with all the scratches and skipping, etc!). One of the songs was this one playing, Christmas Bride. I would twirl around, put a pillow case on the back of my head, and pretend I was the Christmas Bride. By the "doo wahs", I'm sure you can guess that this happened in the '60's! But, I loved this song. . .I had stars in my eyes about being a Christmas Bride one day. I just knew that Santa would grant that Christmas wish for me some day!

Fast forward to January 1984. . .I was still really just a girl, just 20 years old. And I met this boy. . .and I heard a CLICK! And I knew he was the one. He was so kind and gentle and always wanted to help everyone around him. His heart was so big! And his smile! Talk about being contagious!

Pat proposed with the absolutely loving consent of his parents, and mine, on June 14, 1986 and we were married six months later on December 13, 1986. Today marks 22 years since that day.

When we got married, we were very young. I was in love with Pat, but I have since fell in like with him, too. What I mean by that is that he is my partner in life, my friend, my confidante and someone I totally trust with all things having to do with me. When we said "I do" and "I will" we became one with God and with ourselves.

A funny story about 1986 and then I'll fast forward back to today:

In 1986, the Episcopal Church still did a few things that were kind of funny. . .okay they do a few things that are kind of funny now, too, but this is really hilarious. My mom made all of the dresses for our wedding: mine and my three brides maids. Yes, all of them. They were wonderful! Because it was the "Christmas season" I chose the color red for my Brides maids (I wish I had chosen something else, now). Anyway, we had gone to all of our Pre-wedding counseling, chosen our music with the organist, ordered the flowers and food and sent out the invitations and went to the church for one last meeting with the priest and church wedding coordinator. During this last meeting, a mere two weeks before the wedding I might add, the wedding coordinator asked about the flowers and the color scheme. I told her all about it with stars in my eyes and hearing "Christmas Bride" playing in my head. When I had finished talking about the red dresses, etc. I looked at the wedding coordinator and realized she was looking at me funny. She said, "Oh. This will not do! You can't have red in the church during Advent!" I was stunned! I stammered, "But, my mother made all the dresses!" In tears I looked at her helplessly and then turned to Fr. Bayfield with a look of anguish. So, next thing I know, our priest (a kind a wonderful man!) called the Bishop and received permission for us to have red in the church. Can you believe it??? How crazy is that? I do remember afterward thinking that they should have told me that red wasn't an "Advent" color!

Anyway, fast forward to today. . .I still remember that lesson every year, and while our church has relaxed a great deal since then, in truth, I never see red in there during Advent! I do, however, just to be a little rebellious, put a red tablecloth on my table every so often and especially on December 13th!

And, so, here we are 22 years later: living a very good life in our home in Leesburg, VA with our two year old son, two dogs, four cars and good jobs. I think we each found the right person to be our partner in life, our helpmate, our blessing.

Happy Anniversary, Pat! I love you very much! I am so glad that I will always feel like your Christmas Bride. . .

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Taking the Good with the Bad

Tuesday night, Wednesday morning, I got Aidan up at 2:00 am to do his breathing treatment. I told him what I was doing and he hugged me and said, "My Mama." very quietly. His eyes fluttered and back to sleep he went and slept through the entire treatment and even when I put him back in bed! Except for the fact that he is sick, I love times like that.

In the morning, he seemed to be doing really good and off to day care we went--our daycare is full of kids with RSV right now so it's okay for him to go there. I received a call from my sitter about 10:30 saying she was worried, though, because she had given Aidan a treatment and he was now wheezing and coughing a lot. I explained that is how he is responding to the treatments and that the doctor had told me that it would take a week or so for that to subside. It's because his lungs are opening up and that stuff is now moving out. She was worried enough that I did call the pediatrician who said to bring him in. I called the sitter back to say I was on my way to come get him and she said she would take him! How awesome is that??? I felt a little nervous about not being there, but I trust her and that was a huge help since I have NO time left to take! More good.

About an hour and a half later she called back to tell me Aidan's oxygen levels were in the good range and still where they had been when we left the doctor on Monday so he is responding well to the treatment. We can now change our schedule for the treatments to every 4 to 6 hours. . .Yippee!! And more good.

And, as a bonus, his sinus infection has cleared up and we can now stop the Augmentin. . .Yippee!!! And even more good!

But. . . .and here's the bad. . .he has an ear infection. . .deflated. . .and so now we're on Omnicef for the ear infection. . .But, hey, look at all that good that came first!!!! I'm just not going to think about that pediatrician bill right now. . .

When we got home, Pat and Aidan went into the living room and played with the train set that Aunt B had given Aidan. It's so cute! I laughed while I cooked and listened to them yell and laugh about the train wrecks. And, of course, the dogs had to be in the act. . .rough housing and everything!

Fun living at the Harrison's!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

An apple a day keeps the doctor away ?????

Most of you who know Aidan know that he adores apples: applesauce, apple juice, apple pie, and especially a great big juicy whole apple--preferably, um absconded from Grandma's house. . .so why isn't that love keeping the doctor away????

Yesterday I stayed home with Aidan, again, and took him to the doctor, again (third time in less than a week!!! YIKES!) He was sounding wheezy on Sunday and a little worse on Monday, so off we went. I made them see me right away because I was worried about how his throat was contracting when he breathed in. Well, after checking his oxygen levels, doing a breathing treatment and then checking him again, the doctor did a quick test for RSV. . .and it was postive.

Apparantly, RSV stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus and is something that infects the lungs in the form of upper and lower respiratory infections. Aidan had been diagnosed with Chronic Bronchitis in Russia, so it is possible that he has had this before. Anyway, this stuff is highly contagious so we won't be around Grandma and Grandpa for about 10 days (sorry guys!) and we'll probably have to cancel our Anniversary plans for Saturday--don't want to expose new folks to this! Luckily, everyone at our sitters has it so once Aidan is used to the breathing treatments he can go back there--probably on Wednesday.

So, the treatments: We use a small vial of Albuterol in a Nebulizer and turn it on putting this cute dinosaur mask on Aidan's face

He screamed at first, but is already getting used to the process. I told him he is a fire breathing dragon with the mist coming out of his nose and he really liked that!

So we do this thing every four hours (yes, even at night!) for the first week; then every six hours the second week; then every eight hours the third week and then every twelve hours for a final week. . .I'm already tired and it's only been one day! : ) But, I'll do anything to make my little dudely feel better! And, his cough and wheezing are already greatly improved. But, I am dreading the Pediatrician bill when it comes. . .

Speaking of feeling better, he did have some good moments on Sunday. . .While I watched football (I don't really want to talk about the Redskins, so don't ask me--another post for that!) and caught up on some laundry and ironing, Aidan was playing with his trucks and stuff. After a while, I heard him in Pat's "Man's Room" making a funny RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR noise. . .not really an R sound, but like a machine kind of sound. I went to check on him and he had the hose of the Shop Vac and was walking around pointing the nozzle to the ground and making this noise. I asked him what he was doing and he said with a look of "don't you know anything???" "Aya blow leaves, MAMA!" Oh. Okay. I went back to my ironing. Several minutes later, when I checked on him again, he was by the couch in the Man's Room still with the Shop Vac hose and still making the sound. So, I asked him, still blowing leaves, Aidan? "NO, MAMA! (I must be dumb to him! ; 0) Aya vacuum beep beep!" Oh. Okay! Pat is just hoping he stays that interested in stuff like that when he gets older!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Second Week of Advent. . .

During this second week of Advent, we continue with the same theme from John the Baptist of "Prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. . ."

What does Advent mean exactly? Well, in general it means "coming." The Latin word adventus translates to the Greek work parousia. For Christians, this is significant in that it is a reminder of the Second Coming of Christ.

So, our theme for the second week continues with the somber and stern admonition to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Messiah. And we also continue our color of purple for repentence (as well as the recognition of Jesus' majesty) by lighting our second purple candle on the advent wreath. . .

So, about that wreath: It was actually brought to us by the Germans, probably Lutherans. It is round to represent the everlasting nature of God--there is no beginning and there is no ending; it is decorated with the four candles: three purples and one pink; and it is also decorated with greenery--evergreens, again representing the everlasting nature of God, ivy to show how we cling to him that saves us, and holly to remind us of the thorns Jesus wore in his crown at his crucifixion (we should always remember his death as we celebrate his birth for that is what makes us Christians!).

Another speculation on the lighting of the candles is that it is a tradtion brought forth from the Hebrew celebration of Hannukah as a nice reminder that while we are Christians, Jesus himself was not!

Another fun thing to do in the home during Advent, and one I used to do with my Sunday School kids, was to make a Jesse Tree. This is an excellent reminder of hope springing out of discouragement and desperation. . .You take a bare branch and seat it in a can or some other way to make it stand up right. Then you decorate cut outs of biblical images and symbols, such as the Chi Rho, A manager, a picture of Mary or Ruth (the mother of Jesus or the Grandmother of David), perhaps even a picture of the bible or Moses. . .Do a few each week until the tree is fully decorated at Christmas. I used to start with Old Testament images and process to New Testament as a further symbol of going from old to new. Talk about the images as you do them and then more as you hang them.

Aidan news: He continues with the cough and sinus infection. He seems better during the day, but cough is pretty bad at night. I'm hoping that this means it is really breaking up and beginning to go away. We're just about to start our third day on Augmentin, so hopefully today there will be some real improvement. He and I stayed home and out of the cold and wind yesterday. . .even skipping church! Boy, were we glad when Daddy came home from work. . .

And now, I leave you with a picture of my loving boy hugging Ellie:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Happy St. .Nicholas Day. . .

Nicholas ( a real man!!) was the Bishop of Myra (modern day Turkey) in the early 300's. He was known as the "Wonderworker" and was a secret gift-giver. He also was known to put coins, fruit and nuts in the shoes of those who left them out for him. Does he sound familiar to you???

Aidan has no concept at all of Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, or the Russian derivitive Father Frost. But he will soon find out! Tonight, Leesbug kicks off the Christmas season by having a festival in town: lighting of the Christmas tree, Christmas parade with Santa on the last float, Santa holding court on the Court House lawn. . .next to the lit Nativity! It's truly an awesome event. I am hoping Aidan is able to hold out for it. . .

This past week, Aidan has suffered from a pretty bad sinus infection which also had a resulting cough. So bad, in fact, that we went to the doctor twice and started out on Amoxicillan and are now on Augmentin. Every night he has been awakened by the cough and then I hear. . ."Mama. . .mama. . .mama. .." I get up and go to his room and he immediately reaches up for me and says, "Mama rock." So, I gather one of his blankets (preferably the nice quilt Aunt Glady Mae made him) and head to the rocker. Then I proceed to rock him back to sleep. . .poor little dudely! I can feel his entire little body quake with cough! I don't like it! But, he is getting better and truly does seem to be on the mend. Thanks be to God! IF we take him, he'll have to be very bundled up. . .

So, back to St. Nicholas. . .I've been wanting to get a special Santa plate for Aidan to put out cookies, etc. for Santa on Christmas Eve. I saw one with a a really cute whimsical Santa in the window of a local shop in town. Probably expensive, though. And then we got out our Christmas things and began the process of setting up the tree and decorating the house. And, lo, what do I find??? But, a wonderful gift from my friend Allison that she gave me last year!

It's perfect for what I want to do! Thank you again, Allison!

I'm hoping in a year or two, to start the tradition with Aidan of writing a letter to Santa and putting it in his shoe on the night of December 5th so that he'll wake up on December 6th to the letter being gone and maybe a coin or something left in his shoe. . .

And, thus ends the first week of Advent. . .

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Noooooo Mama! Aya dood it!!!

So, you'd think I would learn. Everytime I do something, Aidan gets mad at me and tells me he wants to do it. . .My little dudely is very independent! This has been increasing over the last few days and here is why:

For the past few months, Pat and I had been discussing potty training of the boy. WE had concluded that we would focus on this task during the Thanksgiving weekend after our company left. Thinking this would be a difficult task, we have been reinforcing and praising him each and every time he goes on the potty by giving a potty treat. He only gets the potty treat if he goes on the potty. So far, so good. Aidan goes on the potty and gets a potty treat. If not, no treat. All is understood.

So last week, I went and bought some pull ups in preparation and I began showing him his cool underpants with the cars on them. He loves them!

On Friday, we took our company down into D. C. to see the White House, Washington Monument, WWII Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, etc. We also went to the Smithsonian's museum of Natural History. Fun day! Knowing we couldn't really expect Aidan to train on that day, we put a diaper on him and brought the backpack filled with diaper goodies.

After we had lunch, Aidan began telling us he wanted to "pee pee on the potty!" We went in search of a bathroom only to find that because the museum was so crowded (Smithsonian's are all free) so were the bathrooms! Lines super long and out the door. Knowing he had a diaper on, we weren't too worried and figured we would change him when we got back to the car. When we did, he was dry!!!

Then we drove back to Reston to have dinner at On The Border and again Aidan said he had to "go pee pee on the potty!" So, Daddy took him into the bathroom, where he was found to still be dry and then proceeded to go potty BIG TIME!! Seriously folks, this two year old held it all day long! Incredible!! We celebrated and told him how good he was and how proud we were of him. Since that time, only a couple of little minor accidents, but really he is going on the potty! Talk about training yourself!

Anyway, then on Saturday, we changed his crib into the Youth bed and told him it was a Big Boy Bed. He LOVES it! Now, he says, "Aya go night night in BIG BOY BED!!" Funy thing, though: he hasn't figured out he can get out any time he wants! I'm sure that's coming, though.

Fast forward to this morning: I got him up as usual and proceeded to take him into the bathroom to go potty. But, then I made the first of several mistakes. I pulled down his pull up! NOOOOO MAMA!! AYA DOOD IT!! So, I pulled the pull up up and then he pulled it down to go potty. And so it went for the rest of the morning. It seems Mama didn't learn the lesson very well. I made that mistake so many times that the part of our morning routine that normally takes 20 minutes took 40! If I had learned the leason the first time around, there would have been fewer tears and only a 5 minute addition to our routine.

I promise to try harder tomorrow!

Monday, December 1, 2008

First Sunday of Advent

"The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.'" From the Gospel according to Matthew. . .

And Advent is upon us. It is a time to slow down and reflect on what it means that the coming of the Lord is nigh. It is a time to do a little housecleaning from within. And it is a time to prepare ourselves for the great and awesome time to come. Are you ready?

In the early days of Christianity, Advent was spent much like the season of Lent: fasting and praying in preparation for the coming of God with Us, or Emmanuel. People recognized that their hearts had been held captive by sin and greed and that God has now ransomed them by sending himself to us in the form of his baby son.

Through the years, advent wreaths came into being with the lighting of one candle per week during the four weeks leading up to the Nativity. Two purples, then a pink and then a purple, with many now adding a white candle on Christmas Eve. The purple candles represent the liturgical color of repentence as well as the majesty of our Lord Jesus.

This first Sunday and week to follow, we are asked to repent and turn around. We are asked to begin our preparations: now the outward signs of trees and gifts, but our hearts. (of course I don't mean to suggest no shopping!)

Stay tuned for more on Advent in the Second Sunday of Advent.

But, first, here are a couple of cute pictures to share: The first is of my baby boy Aidan, who looks so grown up! and the second is Aidan and Ellie.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving fun!

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We had a blast with the Jerger's this week. They arrived on Monday evening and left this morning. The week was full of fun, family, food and fantastic conversation. I think when you spend such a month of emotion and strain with other people you are bound to become close. Such was our case. I am so grateful the Jerger's could join us for this special time and spend more time creating wonderful memories with us!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Baby it's Cold Outside!

It has been so cold lately. . .highs in the 30's and 40's and lows in the 20's. This morning it was actually 19 degrees when I got up! We haven't had any measurable snow, but we have had several flurries. . .Fun! But, winter is still a month away and we're having temperature more typical to late December and early January. . .what will this winter be like??? I'm afraid our Floridian friends, the Jergers, are going to feel like they are back in Siberia. . .

Today starts the last week of the season of Pentacost. Next Sunday begins the brief season of Advent--a time of reflection and preparation on the coming of our Lord, Immanuel. . .I'll probably do my duty and give you all weekly history lessons throughout the season! : )

This has been an incredibly busy weekend. . .preparing to add 6 people to our house for a week and making sure I have all the groceries needed for that and for Thanksgiving Dinner and getting our family portrait done. . .Yes, we finally did it! Some of you will see that picture soon. . .: )

Today Pat took Aidan to Grandma and Grandpas and Mama was able to go to church alone and actually listen to the sermon! Because of this rare treat, I went further and went to the later service, the one that speaks more to my Catholic heart--it include more genuflection, kneeling and crossing of oneself! I know I'm a strange Protestant! You all don't have to tell me!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Birthday Celbrations!

This week we celebrated Grandma's birthday. It was actually on Tuesday, but we did our big celebrating on Sunday. Mosby and Maggie wanted to be included. . .

After dinner, we came back to the house for cake and presents. Aidan wanted to help blow out the candles. . .

Then, he had to help open the presents!

Christmas is going to be fun!!!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Best Laid Plans. . .

ALWAYS change for the better!!!

I cook Thanksgiving dinner at our house every year. Love it! I love preparing the whole thing and even love preparing it for lots of people! It's such a fun and wonderful thing to have all of those great smells of cooking in my home with lots of friends and family around to share it all. Each year, I begin planning my menu sometime in mid-October and usually have it finalized by the end of October. When I say finalized, I know how many I am cooking for what ingredients I need to buy and even have my shopping list prepared.

Such was the case last year. . .and then we found out we would be leaving the U. S. on November 20th and then spending November 22nd (Thanksgiving Day!) meeting our son for the first time. Cancel the plans! So, after our exciting time at the orphanage meeting Aidan, we asked to be taken for a traditional Russian meal for our Thanksgiving dinner. While everyone was back home preparing their birds for the oven, we sat down to Russian fare extroidinaire! Instead of roasted turkey with dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, carrots, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and a host of other delectible items, Serge (our driver) and Yelena (our facilitator) ordered us some bread; a cheese tray (several different cheeses); a veggie tray; a Meat tray which consisted of pork, chicken and beff tongue (I kid you not!); Fish tray of raw and smoked tuna, sturgeon and some other kind of fish; caviar on quails eggs (which I fell in love with!); latkes; and a broth like soup with wontons filled with a mix of pork and beef. All in all, it was fun, exciting and with the exception of some of the raw fishes and the beef tongue, not too bad! It will always be a very memorable day for us. . .

This year, I had our menu, etc. all planned out as per usual when I got a surprising email from Lori Jerger saying they were planning on begin up this way the week of Thanksgiving, what were we doing??? Well, we're now adding the six Jergers to our plans and increasing the amount of food. . .I can't wait! We are going to have so much fun seeing everyone and getting the kids back together! After spending a month with people in a strange and foriegn country, you can't help but become family. . .And Aidan and Ellie--having come from the same place . . .I can't wait for the pictures and the tours around D. C. and Northern Virginia!

And now for a few pictures from this weekend:

The first one he was a really good boy while mama and daddy did some shopping so he got to ride the "carosel" ride at the Outlet Mall.

The second one is Aidan all dressed and ready for church--isn't he adorable???

And the third one is funny: I was cleaning a couple of cabinets out in the kitchen and Aidan was playing. . .then I hear the dogs come up behind me and make a huffing noise. So, I went to see what Aidan was doing: and here he is! Salt glazed antique pot upside down so he can step on it and reach the antique horse and buggy toy I have UP on a ledge! Little stinker! : )

Stay tuned for more pictures soon of Grandma's birthday party!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Half Birthdays

Aidan is 2 1/2 now. . .and he had grown over 4 inches since we have been home. He is not looking much like a baby anymore. . .except when he sleeps. HE IS GROWING UP TOO FAST!!! Sound like a mama to you? Yep. I thought so. . .So bear with me. Here are some picutres from trip 1 and trip 2. I can't help it! I love it when he mimicks me and says he is Mama's baby boy. . .

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Daily Deployment

I'm sure everyone has a morning routine and also carries much to and from whereever you go each day. Let me tell you about our mornings. . .

I get up early (I won't mention the time) and get lunches ready for me and Pat. Then, I head downstairs and usually put a load of laundry in, feed the cat and then run my 3 and (now) 1/3 mile. When I finish running, I put the laundry in the drier and then head upstairs again, usually with a dry load from the night before. I then start my coffee, get my ice water (I must drink my jug a day!) and do some prep work for Aidan's breakfast--either eggs or oatmeal, plus get his milk and water ready. Then I head to the family room to drink my first cup of coffee, while I "cool down" and fold the laundry I just brought up. Then, after about 1/2 hour, I head upstairs, with a second cup of coffee and the folded laundry and hit the shower. 45 minutes later, I make sure Pat is up, make the bed, put the laundry away and then head to Aidan's room, where I spend about 10 minutes waking him up and coaxing him out of bed. After out of bed, I dress him, watch and smile while Daddy gets him riled up and says good bye, say goodbye to daddy myself, and then take Aidan into the bathroom to comb his hair and brush his teeth. After we settle on the toothbrush we will use for the day (he has an insane choice of 3!) and get his teeth scrubbed, we head downstairs and finish fixing his breakfast. Then, I spend about 15 to 20 minutes coaxing Aidan to finish his breakfast. Meanwhile, I gather the assorted bags needed for the day:

I assure you it is all essential stuff--my bag of book and budget info, my purse, my peet, Aidan's backpack, Aidan's peet, our coats, my lunch. . .

Then, when Aidan is finished eating, I clean up his dishes and then take him over to the counter to be cleaned up:

Isn't he cute here? He's dressed like Daddy!

Anyway, then we get our coats on, and mommy loads up with purse, bag, backpack, lunch, mommy's peet, and Aidan's peet. Then, after getting the dogs to stay in the kitchen, we head through the mud room to the garage and out the door, about which time Aidan either wants me to also carry his truck or hold his hand. Then, we get out to the car and load all the stuff in the front seat and then I wrestle Aidan into his carseat. I can then hand him back his truck. It is always about this time that Aidan says, "uh oh mama! Choos!" I then look down and realize I am still wearing my slippers. . .

After getting to work at 8:00, I've been on the go for nearly 4 hours and am totally exhausted! But, I smile and fix my oatmeal and think how great it all is!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembering our Veterans

This is the tomb of the unknown soldier in Moscow. . .somewhere I have one of the US tomb, but I can't find it! We took it last June when my dad was here visiting to meet Aidan. . .Both of these tombs represent the same thing, though: men who fought and paid the ultimate price for their countries and their ideals.

Today we remember our Veterans. . .actually, today commemorates the signing of the armistice--thus Armistice Day--at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to end World War I. That was the Big One.

But, I think it is an excellent day to remember alllllll of our Veterans: for their sacrifices and determination to help preserve our freedom. And, therefore, I say "Thank You" to my dear father-in-law Van Harrison, veteran of World War II--the second Big One. His love for his family and for his country are examples I hope to always be able to hold up to my son. I am so proud to be able to call him my father-in-law--Dad!

Monday, November 10, 2008

More Aidanisms

Daddy huntina BIG BUCK! Trasnlation: Daddy is hunting for a big buck.

Aya wanna huntina BIG BUCK! Translation: Aidan wants to hunt for the big buck. (not for a few years, my little Man!)

Aya roide da cool bb in a wood (rhymes with road). Translation: Aidan got to ride the four wheeler with Daddy in the woods.

Mama BB too big for garach. Translation: Mama's car is too big to fit in the garage.

KEOW! Translation: Cow!

Ollypop! Translation: Lollypopp! (Always, always wants one!)

Aya wanna dood it! Translation: Aidan wants to do it by myself!

Hi Amy! (picks up any cell phone available and says Hi Amy! I do talk to my sister nearly everyday. . .)

Mama baby boy Aya. . . Translation: Mama's baby boy Aidan. (I say this to him a lot and he will say it to me if he is wanting reassurance or security from me! It's really cute!)

Confession: As we have been pulling out the warmer clothes: slacks, sweaters, turtlenecks, etc. . .I have found a few pieces are still nauseating to just look at and have been refolded and put back, way back, in the deep dark recesses of my closet. . .Sad to say, the Sloppy Joe's Tshirt is not one of them! sigh. . .

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


One year ago, I received a phone call from our Social Worker asking if I had checked my email. I said no and frantically began signing into my email account. She stayed on the line while I did so and here is what I found:
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I immediately began to cry. . .We still didn't have a travel date, but we were told that we would be traveling before the end of the year. We got our travel dates 4 days later with the word that we had 9 days to get our visas, plane tickets, clean cash and to pack! Insane. But oh so worth it!

We met Aidan for the first time on November 22nd, which was Thanksgiving Day. . .Thanksgiving will now always be a special day for us as that was the day we became a family of three. . .

Get out the Vote

Just a friendly reminder that is your right and your responsibility to get out there and vote.

The polls opened in Virginia at 6:00 am. We, all three of us, left our house at 7:00 and I got back into my car at 7:30--not bad, having cast my ballot for President, a Senator and a Congressman. We also got to vote on whether or not we wanted to increase our food tax (really???) plus they were asking for more money for the schools. . .again. . .There was only one electronic machine, and the line for that was long with it taking each person about 4 minutes. So, we did the old fashioned fill in the blank ballot and then Aidan got to put the ballot in the ballot counting machine. Pretty cool!

Coming soon to this blog near you: More Template changes (as I figure it all out), Halloween pictures (finally) and other interesting pictures. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy All Hallow's Eve!!!!!

Did you ever stop to wonder, How did this all get started? Well, here is a quicky for you:

The Celts of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany used to celebrate New Year's on November 1st and believed that the night before the dead returned to walk among the living. Being very superstitious, they would carve scary faces in turnips, light bonfires and wear masks that night before to scare away the dead. The practice was called, in Gaelic, Samhain. When they came to America, the Irish later discovered that pumpkins were a much better substitute for carving faces, thus our tradition today.
The Catholic Church, under Pope Gregory, moved All Saint's Day (also known as All Hallow's, or Holy, Day) to November 1st and this turned Samhain into All Hallow's Eve, now known as Halloween! All Saint's Day, and the day after which is All Soul's Day, are days to remember those in our lives who are no longer with us. Pray for them and there soul's that they have attained their heavenly reward.
And you all thought you were doing something so Pagan! : )

So, we're ready! Be still my Irish Celtic Heart!!!

Aidan loved posing last night. . .

Not so much this morning!!! A little stiff, wouldn't you say??

So our prayers will go up for a dear family friend, Joseph Young, who, through his incredible generosity, made it possible for us to complete the adoption of Aidan Josef Harrison! Thanks be to God for Joe!

Have fun tonight and remember to wear your mask to disguise yourself from those who have departed and now return to walk among us! Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Baby it's cold outside!!!!

We've been dropping into the 30's at night and only getting into the 40's during the day. . .and we have had some wind! We even heard the dreaded word- - -"wind chill" last night on the news. Winter coats came out and I had to go in search of the hats, gloves, etc., which hadn't seen the light of day since we were in Krasnoyarsk--soooooo loooonnnnggg ago! This weather is just for a few days, but it comes as a reminder that winter isn't too far off! We can have snow here before Thanksgiving--not unheard of!

Here is a sneak peak of Aidan in his costume for Halloween. It needs a couple of small tweaks, and he doesn't have his face done up, but you can see how it will look! Isn't he the most precious little cutie pie ever????
Today he is doing so much better. I can definitely say we are on the mend and getting back to normal. Thanks be to God! And Thanks be to you all for your prayers, great comments and understanding.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rough Weekend behind. . .Good Week Ahead

Pat and I have been home since Friday with Aidan. He had that surgery. Not very fun for an active two year old little boy! Or for Mom and Dad.

Friday, after the surgery, he seemed to be doing so well! However, he was still under he affects of the local and of the anethesia. Still, nothing seemed more than we could handle. He had a 4 1/2 hour nap that afternoon and then slept 11 1/2 hours that night. Great! Until we got up and had to change his diaper. . .He cried, cringed, and pulled his knees up and told me not to touch it! I started crying and Pat had to help me get Aidan calmed down enough to put the new diaper on. Man, that was bad.

But, he got so much better throughout the day that I thought we were going to get off easy and had already seen the worst of it. Not so much. The same scene played out Sunday morning and for more than the just the first diaper, too!

But, again, he was so much better by that evening, I was questioning whether or not he had really been so bad in the morning. We had our first bath, post surgery on Sunday evening and the bandages literally fell off. We put the diaper back on and seemed good. Then we got up this morning and he literally began to cry before the diaper was all the way off. He was so raw! Pat and I looked at eachother and confessed we were worried we had made a mistake. Of course, everyone has been wonderful, telling us we hadn't. . .and that a few years from now, when it will really make a difference in Aidan's life . . .we'll all be glad of this. Okay. If you say so! : )

I spoke with the doctors office, the surgical center and referred to notes from my dear blogger nurse friend Joy and all seems to be progressing as normal. Aidan is healing. We just need to be patient and not expect it to be overnight! We're doing vaseline in the diaper with neosporin on top of that (we don't touch him directly this way and he is happier) and it really does look better tonight than this morning. And Aidan even says "Better. . .it better, Mama!" My poor baby, Aidan!

But, Friday is Halloween! The costume is ready, tomorrow night ABC has "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" on and then we'll carve the pumpkins on Wednesday. . .It will be fun for us all!

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Walk to the Park

So, I left work an hour early yesterday, at 3:30. It took me 45 minutes to get home. . .yes, I know a lot of folks make that kind of drive, or worse!, on a regular basis. But, if I don’t have to pick up the kiddo from Day Care, and I didn’t, it should only take me 10 minutes. The traffic was so backed up on King Street and down Rt. 15, all up the Greenway, and even down Rt. 7 and Market Street. It was an amazing sight to see all of these folks heading to the same place.
When I got to my neighborhood, the streets, all of them, were lined on both sides with cars and streams of people walking toward the park. The closer I got to home, the more intense traffic, vehicular and pedestrian alike! When I did get home, I was able to pull into my driveway and got out to see that the park was already full of vehicles (thus the lining of the roads) and there were sooooo many people over there! Several of our neighbors were outside and it quickly became a party-like atmosphere. One neighbor noted to me that people began showing up at 10:00 in the morning and the park had opened at 1:00 instead of the expected 3:00 and that it was full by 2:00! Amazing. . .

After getting inside and putting a lasagna into the oven, we ultimately decided to hang at our neighbors who looks out over the park. We could just barely make out where the stage was from their deck (it was clearly visible from my driveway in the morning, but not with all of the cars and people!) and could see the lines and lines of folks waiting to get up close after going through security.

About 5:00, Mark Warner, former Virginia Governor and now running for the Senate, began speaking. . .all about Change. . .and then Tim Kaine, our current Virginia Governor spoke. . .more about change. . .and then Senator Obama came on and spoke for 40 or 45 minutes. It was all over by 6:15.

During it all, we, our neighbors and us, began to talk about these candidates and what we think. I shared my theory that McCain may have changed his mind about running and thus the choice of Palin as a running mate. Seriously, had anyone, outside of Alaska, ever heard of her??? But, then there is the whole theory/speculation about Obama’s past. . .is he connected to ACORN??? What about Joe Biden, well we all kind of agreed that he was the only one among the group that seems somewhat normal. And finally, does anyone really think there will be change with either candidate? With today’s economy in the toilet, will we truly be better off in 4 years with either of these men?

And here’s a final thought that kind of sent a shiver up my spine: When talking about the inconvenience of having so much traffic in and around Leesburg, I had several folks say, with stars in their eyes, how much they admire Obama and what a “fan” they are of him and how envious they were of where I live. . .FAN????????????????????????????? Isn’t he running for President of the United States? Are people really fans of the President? It reminded me of the Kennedy’s back in the ‘60’s. . .Scary!

This morning the news indicated that the expected 10,000 folks ended up being closer to 35,000. Wow! I knew it was crowded. The park didn’t get fully cleared out until a little after 8:00.

And, the lasagna was good, by the way. When we went to the neighbors, we went back when the timer went off and turned the oven off. . .it stayed warm and delicious until we were ready!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


My baby boy has his surgery on Friday. It's that surgery. It needs to be done, but I'm feeling a little (okay, maybe a lot) nervous about it. The doctor has assured me that all will be well and that Aidan will be feeling and acting close to normal by Monday. . .I'm worried about Friday afternoon and Saturday! My poor little baby! : (

Today I am getting off work an hour early and taking a half hour lunch today and tomorrow in order to make up for it. Why, you ask??? Well, let me tell you of the traffic nightmare that will descend upon Leesburg this afternoon!

First, let me explain that Northern Virginia has more that its share of traffic issues. We're only 35 miles, here in Leesburg, from Washington, D. C. so we have a lot of folks who live out this way who work down town. In order to get to D. C. from Leesburg, you have two options: You can take the Greenway, which will cost you About $3.00 each direction and then you get on the Toll Road, which is another .75 each way, and this will get you to Rt. 66 inside the Capital Beltway. Or you can take Rt. 7 (a highway that runs east-west), which is two lanes going each direction.

Leesburg lies at the crossroads of Rt. 7 and Rt. 15. Rt. 15 is a two lane road-one each direction-that runs north-south. Inside of Leesburg, Rt. 7 becomes Market Street and Rt. 15 becomes King Street. I live within the town limits one house off of King Street. Directly across the street is Ida Lee Park (She was a niece of Robert E. Lee, so the park will aaaaaaaaaaallllllwwwwwaaaays be there!). Our location is great because whenever there is a parade, it starts right across the street and we can technically watch it from our driveway-although we usually go down to the street to be with our community. OUr street is always blocked off during parades so that folks can't clog up our driveways by parking there. The police are very specific and good about sticking to this.

That advantage will become a decided disadvantage today. Why, you ask? Well, it seems one Senator Obama will be holding a rally at the park this afternoon. In fact, they will open the Park to the expected 10,000 or more folks about 3:00 this afternoon and the speach will start about 5:30. Did I mention that my house is one house away from King Street? And, did I mention that I can see Obama's stage from my driveway? I imagine I'll be able to hear his speach from my deck. . .if I can get home! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. . . .

Monday, October 20, 2008

Yogurt Treat!!!

We've been working on teaching Aidan how to say Happy Halloween and Trick or Treat! So far, we think we are doing okay. When you say "Happy Halloween" to Aidan, he will respond with "Hayoeen!!" Pretty good. Then when you say "Trick or Treat!" he responds with "Yogurt Treat!!" What????? That's right, he says "Yogurt Treat!" We don't know why. So, we're hoping no one will notice. . . : ) I think it's kind of cute, anyway, and it makes me laugh every time!

The weather this weekend took a turn for the much colder. Yesterday morning it was in the low 30's and never actually got out of the 50's. It would have been the perfect day for a fire in the fireplace. . .we just never got around to it! After nap, I took Aidan outside to ride his bike and he insisted on pulling the hood of his sweatshirt up over his hat to keep his ears warm. Our little Siberian doesn't like to be cold! With the hood up, doesn't he remind of the newspaper kid from "Better off Dead" who rides his bike around yelling "I want my two dollars!" Funny!

Pat's mom and dad came out to dinner yesterday. We enjoyed our time and had some stew and cornbread. It was nice to visit with the football game playing in the background (they won, but they sure didn't play well!) During our talk, my mother in law told me they had discovered that they had a mouse. . .they had found a couple of apples with some bites out of them. . .Aidan sized bites! Apple fiend strikes! Anyway, Pat and Aidan took them home later in the evening. When they came home, Aidan had an apple he was munching on that he had helped himself to at Grandma and Grandpas. . .No problem, really. . .

Except that Mosby likes apples, too!

No trace of the apple exhisted 2 seconds later. . .

We've decided to plant an apple tree in our side yard. . .