Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Miscellaneous tidbits. . .

We have been invited to our first birthday party!!! It is one of the neighbor boys. . .Logan. . .He and his family are new to the neighborhood. He is celebrating his 5th birthday and Aidan was invited!! I'm so excited for Aidan. . .I hope he doesn't get upset that the presents aren't for him. . .
Today was a great day! Aidan didn't have a single meltdown and, in fact, it seemed he was really trying to be a good boy. I was, and am, soooo proud of him! He was a perfect little angel and I can't tell you how grateful I am for it. I have been reading a lot of information and have really come to the conclusion that most of the meltdowns occur because he is frustrated over communication. He has come so far with learning English, I want to encourage all of his progress. So, I have been trying to make a more concerted effort to understand what he is saying and we work on pronunciation once I am sure of what it is. He seems to really like this extra attention and effort on my part and today, I hope, is the beginning of the fruit of that effort! What a great and smart kid he is!
A couple of weeks ago, Aidan and I were walking up the street on our way to go into the church and Aidan all of a sudden looked up at me and then back at the church and said "Home." I tell you, tears sprang to my eyes so fast!
For all of you Kitty Cat watchers out there:
Yesterdays shot went relatively well. Pat said Aidan did cry. On the way back to the car, when he was calming down, Pat asked Aidan what had happened? Aidan replied softly, "Kitty cat," and touched the band-aid on his thigh. Of course!
This weekend I will take Aidan to the Outlet Mall to shop for clothes and shoes for the coming fall and winter seasons. I am meeting a friend up there and then later in the day, we will all meet at the Dulles Town Center mall for more shopping and then dinner. We'll get Aidan's nap first. Pat and I have decided, after having done the "nap in the stroller thing" a few times that it is actually worth the hassle of going back home and dealing with the 2 to 3 hour down time rather than miss the nap and deal with the consequences. Let me tell you, it ain't pretty. We no longer mess with nap time. It's just not worth it! So, this actually works out okay as I will then be able to do a little cleaning--my cleaning lady cancelled fo rthis week!!!! Arrrrggghhh!!! (this is a tragedy of untold proportions. . .)

I've been cleaning out the Study/Office, with Aidan's help, and have thrown away a lot of junk. I still have a ways to go. In the meantime, I have also developed quite a pile of Ministry books that I will be donating to the church. That will be nice to get them out.

Finally, for all of you wondering, I have not forgotten about doing my birthday thank-you notes. I know it's been over a month. I don't know what happened to the time! My only excuse is that I haven't had any Aidan free time! I promise to try and get them out soon.

Speaking of Aidan-free time, it will be 4 months on this coming Monday since Aidan came out of the orphanage--Gotcha day. We have not had any free time without Aidan for the two of us in that entire time. I'm not complaining, mind you, I am just pointing out that Pat and I haven't had a chance to really have any deep meaningful discussions for those 4 months. We talked about getting a babysitter and then nixed the idea. . .I don't want to leave him yet and I don't think Pat does either! We'll have to do it eventually, but who exactly will be good enough for me to leave him with that person??? We really do need to try and resolve this, though. We really should get out for a little while at least for our Anniversary.

More soon! Happy August!

Stacy




Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Changes. . .

I've changed the name of our blog. I decided that since Aidan is home, that is what it should now be called!

The heat is back. And the humidity. It's so humid this morning that the windows have condensation on them. Yuck! I know. It is July 30th. This is the worst part of summer though! In a weird way, I had a sign that the end of summer isn't too far off the other day. While driving back to Leesburg on the Toll Road, I saw some ragweed on the side. I said it was weird! And I didn't say I liked seeing it! My nose immediately started to burn. . .psychosematic, yes. The Queen Anne's Lace has been around for a while and is now in full profusion.

I was reading a blog yesterday that I follow, of a couple who adopted a little boy, also from Russia. They live somewhat in our area (must see about meeting them!), Quantico I think. She said something about keeping it real on the blog. She is absolutely right! I do tend to share all the good stuff and not much of the bad stuff that goes on around here. Okay, I did share the fever stuff, but I haven't really touched on the daily struggles that result in despair and triumph. So here goes:

Pretty much Aidan is a typical two year old little boy. He has a whole host of likes and dislikes. Two of his favorite things is to go bye-bye or to go outside. He says these to us constantly. Of course, Momma doesn't really like to go outside in this heat so I try to redirect him to going to play in the basement with his toys--trucks and cars, etc. (his inside obsession). However, this usually doesn't work right away. In fact, our little guy has got one heck of a temper! He will stomp his feet and scream and even throw himself on the floor crying, (real tears, too!) if he doesn't get his way. It's awful, to say the least. Most days, Aidan has at least one time out from the time I get him up at 6:40 until the time we leave the house at 7:15. It could be anything, really. He doesn't like the shoes momma put on him; he doesn't want to finish the cereal; he wants to feed the dogs his cereal and is mad because momma said no; he wants water and not milk; he wants milk and not water; he wanted a different sippy cup. . .you get my drift.

A friend of ours pointed out that he is actually showing signs of being spoiled. Not our Aidan!!! WE didn't do that. . .well, yes, we did. After thinking about it all, I realized that Pat and I have already made some pretty big mistakes in the raising of Aidan: we give in too easily and we gave him too much all at once early on. It was hard not to. We saw where he came from. We knew what his life would be if we didn't bring him here. And, he's so cute! The child is incredibly intelligent, too, which adds to our dilemma. How do we fix this? Well, we're trying anything that is suggested. We do the time outs, of course, and because he is so smart, I usually try and talk to him about what caused the time out when I bring him back out. So far I am sure my message sounds like this to him: Wa Wa Wa Wa Wa. . .love you, Aidan. (hug and dry the eyes) Afterward, you would never guess he had been crying or that he had had a time out! He doesn't immediately go back to being the whirling dervish, but he is back to testing the limits! Some days I sit in the rocker at bedtime with him and just relish the joy of having our son here with us. Then other days I am so exhausted from him I go to bed immediately and think to myself, "What have we gotten ourselves into???" I know this is not unusual, but it is intimidating and daunting, to say the least. We welcome suggestions on how to handle this as well as prayers that we can all survive until this phase passes!

Aidan is staying home with Daddy today. He has a doctor's appointment this morning to have the second in a series of three Hepatitis B shots. I feel sorry for Daddy. . .Aidan hates shots. . .I'm hoping they will weigh and measure him, too. I think he has grown again.

This weekend is the tax free weekend in Virginia. During that weekend, you made purchase shoes, clothing and school supplies tax free. I am taking Aidan and will stock up on winter clothes for him and possibly some shoes for Momma and Daddy, too. Should be fun!

Blessings.

Monday, July 28, 2008

We're well!!!!

Well again! Thank you so much to all of you who have expressed concern and who have prayed for Aidan. He is a resilient little guy! On Saturday, when he got up from his nap, which was three hours or more!, Aidan was back down to 99.5. . .When he went to bed at 9:00 that evening, he was down to 98.6. I was so happy, but I got up every couple of hours to check on him. He stayed cool all through the night! He slept a full 12 hours and I woke him up at 9:00 the next morning. I made the decision that we wouldn't go to church in order to keep him home, and I think I made the right decision. God, I know, understands a mothers decision to not take a child out who is still really in recovery! Aidan was cranky and irritable all Saturday morning and then went down for another 3 hour nap around 1:30. When he got up, he was still a cool, normal temperature and the crankies were gone! Hallelujah! Praise Mary, mother of God, praise God from whom all blessings flow. . .Mary, as a mother, makes an excellent prayer partner!

Aidan has the second of three Hepatitis B booster shots on Wednesday. . .Poor Daddy has to take him to the pediatrician for that. But, we will make it all better that evening by taking him to the Loudoun County fair and having junk to eat for dinner!

Speaking of eating, our little Aidan is mostly a bottomless pit! He eats and then almost always says "More, please." The other day I gave him 5 miniature corn dogs for dinner along with some fruit. After cleaning his plate, he said, "More, please." So, I gave him 5 more miniature corn dogs. . ."More, please." After 15 of them, I told him no more. Tonight he had two bananas, a single serving container of Beefaroni, yogurt and two sippy cups of milk! And yet, he hasn't gained any weight! Perhaps I should measure him to see if he has grown more than the 1 1/2" that we already know he grew!!! I wonder how much he will eat when he is a teenager. . .I am beginning to have that prickle of fear in my stomach that we may not have enough to feed him every day!!! : )

And, now for the picture my sister Amy has been waiting for:

I fail to see what is so funny about that!

Blessings!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A very hot Aidan

Sick again. . .Aidan woke up before 3:00 this morning and I heard him on the monitor. . ."Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy. . ." I went in and told him it was night night time and then picked him up and went to the rocker with him. In my very sleepy befuddledness, I didn't notice how hot he was right away: Aidan sleeps hot and is typically very warm for a few minutes after getting up. When I did realize he was very hot, I immediately thought I had an electric blanket on, he was so warm! I went to get the thermometer and took his temperature. . . 103.9!! Yikes!! Motrin and more rocking and finally an hour and a half later he was back to sleep, relatively comfortable. But, when he woke up again this morning, back to 104.0! Worried Mommy finally called the pediatrician and found out there is a virus going around that encompasses loose stools (yep, we got those!), high fever (we're there!), and headache (probably, judging by his poor sad face and whininess!). He's napping now having fallen asleep at 100.6, relatively low, comparitively speaking! The pediatrician says this will take about 3 to 4 days to run it's course. Great!!! Cancel lunch at Clyde's with Mom and Dad. . .sigh. . .

Daddy is on the 3 to 11 shift right now. . .I heard him come in last night and, when he came up, go into Aidan's room. I smiled in my sleepiness. I know exactly what he was doing: staring in awe down at our little boy and thinking "Wow! I have a son!" It brings tears to my eyes and throat thinking about how selfishly long I made him wait for this time! But, we have Aidan now.

But, I want to tell you some funny and cute things about our little guy. Aidan has completely figured out his surroundings. We were driving home the other day and drove through town. We live just a couple of blocks from the downtown intersection of Leesburg and when we got there, Aidan said "Aya's Ows." I said, What, honey? And he said again, "Aya's Ows." He continued this and, in fact, he got more and more insistant about it and louder and louder. By the time we reached Ida Lee park, which is across from our house, he was super excited and I glanced back and saw him pointing. . .at our house! He was saying, Aidan's House! He knew we were getting close a two whole blocks away from our house! Wow! This is one smart little guy!

Last night, on the way to meeting Daddy for dinner, we stopped by a fabric store and bought a pattern for Aidan's Halloween costume--Mommy needs a couple of months to make something like this. He's going to be a Lion. We told him it is a BIG Kitty Cat and says GRRRRRRRRRRAAAAARRR!!! He is practicing. . .

Other words he is saying: outside, snack, cheese, snake, dog, shoes. Sometimes it takes us a while to figure out what he is saying because we are still learning Aidan-speak. But when we do figure it out, we are always amazed that he knows those words! He can only count to three, but we're working on it, especially when we go up and down the stairs. I think he understands the concept of five, though.

Check out the new skater cut!

A couple of things for you to contemplate:

What is the soul of a man? And, is your vocation also your avocation? More on those topics later. . .

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Crazy!!!!!

It has been hot. . .I mean really hot. Crazy hot. Unbearably so. I like summer, but when the temperatures go into the mid 90's and begin to flirt with 100, it gets unbearable to me and I begin to long for the cold winter days where I can actually put on a sweater! I know I'm weird. . .you all don't have to remind me! The problem with this kind of heat is that I am so uncomfortable that I just don't want to go outside! But, then the air conditioner breaks down. . .$250. later, we have discovered that we have a freon leak and that means we will need a new unit. . .at a cost of around $4,000.! Hopefully, our current unit, which the guy temporarily fixed, will limp it's way into September at which time we can turn it off for the year. . .then we'll begin saving to buy a new unit after the first of the year. sigh. I had such lovely plans for that money. . .
Aidan, on the other hand, loves the heat. He loves being outside so much that he just doesn't care if it is too hot for Mama or not! He just wants to be outside. So, we took him to the pool on Sunday. He absolutely loves it! He could not get enough of the water. Our only problem: he is not afraid of it! He plows right in and heads straight for the deepest part. When he goes under and can't get himself above the water, we go and pull him up and then he laughs and goes for more! Crazy!

At our pool, there is a funny large umbrella thing that has water cascading down that creates a wall of water. It's in the shallow kid section of the pool and Aidan took one look and went straight for it. So, Pat would go under and wait for him and Aidan would walk right through the wall of water to Pat! He didn't seem to care about the water slamming into his face and little body at all! Crazy!

Pat had to work on Sunday and when Aidan and I came home from church, Pat was in his work truck working on some trees that were in the VA Power right of way behind our neighbors house. I pointed and said, "Look, Aidan, there's Daddy." Aidan looked, but couldn't find Daddy. Daddy was up in the bucket of his truck so I said, "Up in the sky." Aidan finally saw him and from that point on, whenever Daddy is at work, Aidan points up and says, "Daddy sky!"

Aidan has figured out a lot of little ways to communicate with us. He calls anything that is mechanical and moves outside a BB. Daddy has a blue truck, that is also a BB; Mommy drives a red car (terms he also uses) that is also a BB, and so on. Last night he pointed to the sky and shouted "SKY BB!" He had seen an airplane and finally figured out how to tells us he saw it!

We have not discovered anything, yet, that Aidan will not at least try. He loves raisens, fruit, cereal, crackers, cookies, macaroni and cheese, and so on. This is his preferred method of eating watermelon:

It's messy, but he loves it!

Next time, pictures of my foot next to Aidan's. My sister Amy seems to think that will be funny.

Stay cool.

Stacy, aka Crazy in Love with Aidan, Harrison

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Moving on, time after time

This is been an interesting week for the Harrison family of Leesburg! After the events of last week, which included calls from several reporteres!!! and a newspaper quote taken from my blog!!!, we closed ranks and kept to ourselves as a family. I contemplated all week whether or not I should even continue keeping this blog. . .Ultimately, I went back to why did I start it?...to keep people informed of our journey and to possibly help someone who is still in process. . .Have I accomplished that?. . .Yes, I think so. . . Why should I continue? . ..to keep people informed of our journey and of Aidan's growth and changes and to possibly help someone out who is still in process. . .Can I still do that? . . .Yes, I really want to. . .Not to mention that this blog has almost totally taken over my journalling! So, with that, I say good-bye to all of the events of last week and pfpfpfpftttt!!! to all of those nasty folks with nasty things to say about Americans adopting Russian Children! (yes, I allowed myself to read some of those horrible comments. . .terrible mistake!) Let me just end this paragraph and time in my life by saying, I love Aidan more than anything and if I had the money I would adopt ten more, whether they were just like him or not! Nationality does not play a role in raising a child in a good and moral home with good values and a loving eye toward the world as a whole. The end. . .

And with that, I have to tell you several funny stories of the week: I have had my ups and downs at the hands of Aidan. He has continued to be an excellent eater--we have not found anything he will not at least try! He does continue to throw tantrums, typically at the end of the day, and almost always because he has not gotten his way. We have tried time-outs and are now resorting to telling him quietly he is being rude. Everything I have read tells me that this is absolutely normal for a two year old. My mother tells me that me and both of my sisters were like this all through the year we were two and that it almost magically stopped when we turned three. . .Only ten months until Aidan turns three!!!

Aidan does have a little temper, and you can see it coming when he gets mad. . .he still loves to sleep, once he is asleep, and doesn't really like to get up. However, going to sleep is another story! However, our daycare provider tells me that he is an angel and will go on up the stairs to his bed for nap time when she tells him to. . . What's up with that????? Mosquitoes just love Aidan and his legs are now covered in bites, despite using Skintastic everyday!

Aidan loves to talk on the phone, so we gave him an old phone to play with. That might have been a mistake. . .But, he loves it and never loses it. The other night at bedtime I tucked it away under some books so he would forget about it--out of sight, out of mind--but the next morning, he ran upstairs saying "AYA's PHONE!!!" and dragged it out from under the books, having remembered exactly where mommy stashed it! The kids not stupid!
On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Aidan was so happy going to Day Care it almost hurt. . .especially when he ran to Dawn (our provider, whom I just love!) And then, on Thursday, when I picked him up, he didn't want to leave! Mommy's nose was out of joint and Pat called me on it by saying "Mommy's jealous!" when I said something to him about it! So, I spent all kinds of play time on Thursday with Aidan and then at drop off on Friday, he didn't want me to leave! Okay, I admit it. I felt a lot better! And, yes, I was jealous! Terrible.

On Sunday, I decided to fix pancakes and bacon for breakfast. While still in my pj's, I started cooking ( I make my pancake batter from scratch). Aidan was running around the house, with the dogs, while Pat continued to sleep. I heard Aidan go upstairs and then I heard him and the dogs running all over upstairs making all kinds of racket. I winced (a little) and continued cooking. Then, I heard, from the top of the stairs, Aidan yelling "MOMMY!!" Yes, Aidan? "DADDY'S NIGHT NIGHT!!!" I had to laugh. Then, I heard Pat laugh. I mean, really! Did Aidan really think Pat was going to sleep through all that noise? Too funny!

Yesterday, Aidan was looking at my arm and saw a large freckle on it. . .he touched it softly and then softly said, "Kitty cat." : )

The Loudoun County Fair starts in another week. I can't wait to take Aidan and show him all of the animals and hopefully get some cotton candy! But, today we're off to the pool to try and mitigate that 100 degree heat!

And, finally, here is a picture of Aidan playing on my in-laws computer from last Sunday. He figured out how to find Daddy's web page about overhead linemen! And that doctor said Aidan wouldn't go to Harvard!!! Well, I tell you, I didn't want him to go there anyway! He can go to UVA or Virginia Tech! Virginia has better schools than those Northern schools anyway! So, na na na!



Saturday, July 12, 2008

Growing and Thriving, all I want is Aidan!!

I have had the worst tension headache for the last couple of days. I have been so stressed by everything. But, one thing is for certain, our little guy is definitely growing and thriving in our home! He hasn't gained any weight, not that he doesn't eat!!!!, but he has grown an inch and a half since we've been home!














And, to top that off, how long do you think before Aidan is as big, or even bigger than Mommy? Hint: Mommy's hand is on the right. . . : )

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A new prayer request

Please pray for the Miles Harrison family and the Russian adoption community:

On Tuesday, Miles Harrison left his 21 month old little boy, Chase, in his SUV all day when he went to work and forgot to drop him off at daycare. The child did not survive. Miles Harrison collapsed when he learned about his sons death and was taken to the hospital. He has been charged with the manslaughter of Chase.

Chase was adopted from Russia in March, about the same time as we adopted Aidan. We first learned about Chase's existance upon our return when we took Aidan to the pediatrician. Apparantly, Chase was being seen by the same pediatrician as Aidan and they had remarked at the time how strange it was that there was another little boy from Russia with the last name of Harrison! I wish now we had pursued getting to know the other Harrison's as they live just in Purcellville, the town next to ours.

I can't even imagine what the Harrison's are experiencing at this time. My heart just breaks for them and for little Chase. Please keep them and the Russian adoption community/process in your prayers.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's not all a bed of roses

Let the MELTDOWN'S begin!!!!

We have been noticing a lot of meltdown's by Aidan lately. They occur primarily at dinner time; when he doesn't get his way; when he's tired; when he is frustrated because he can't communicate what he wants; when Daddy isn't home; when we have to go to Day Care; when Mommy doesn't play longer; you get my drift! These are not fun. . .I have started tracking when they happen and what is going on so I can try and figure out how to stop them from happening, or at least know what has triggered it. I haven't been too alarmed until yesterday when I was told he had a complete meltdown at lunch time. . .this was followed by another one at dinner time. . .the What to Expect during the Toddler Years book has restaked it's claim on my nightstand and will now commence to be Mommy's bedtime reading for the duration. sigh. . .

Pat and I have already begun to think about our tithe for the church for next year. The annual stewardship campaign generally begins in the fall with the expectation that your pledge be in by Thanksgiving so the Vestry can prepare a budget for the following year before this year ends. However, this year our church is starting a Capital Campaign in order to do some renovations and to pay down some debt on buildings that have recently been purchased. Not exactly the best of timing with the way the economy is these days. Anyway, Pat and I had discussed it and had already decided to not increase our regular pledge citing child care expenses and increased gas expenses. We haven't totally decided what to do about the Capital Campaign yet. We're still thinking and praying on this one. Anyway, during the discussion, we had started talking about sending money, on a regular basis, to the orphanage that Aidan came from. We would like to do this because the need is great and it feels, to us, like a bit of a thanksgiving for the gift of our son. So, I contacted our agency about this and added that we would love to send a picture of Aidan for the orphanage--there is a wall with pictures of children adopted that is too cute! Well, we received a response that we would need to coordinate this with someone who is going to Russia and were given a contact in order to get this to them and we need to be sure to let the agency know so that they can let Dr. D know. In other words, it would be a one time thing. Not exactly what we had in mind! In addition, we were told that it would be good for us to have this contact in order to discuss our experiences. . .they are returning for a sibling to a prior adoption. . .I guess I didn't realize we needed additional people to discuss this with!

But, I gotta tell you, when my son looks at me, and there is that light in his eyes and the smile on his face, I just melt and know I would do anything for him. He is making me who I am today. Thanks be to God!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Your typical Independence Day!

We enjoyed your typical Fourth of July. We had all of the usual elements, including several downpours of rain! But, all was not washed out. . .Here are some pics from the Independence Day Parade:

Children gathered and waiting
in anticipation of the parade
about to start (notice how big my
two year old looks next to our seven year old neighbor!)




We had the usual signs of pride!

Followed by the usual fife and drum corps


Followed by the usual assortment
of Fire engines! Excitement when they
turn on the lights!



Followed by the usual Fourth of July
Camel?????






And the awe and wonder of it all
shows on Aidan's face after Mommy
finally gets him a little flag to wave!

The rain held off until after the parade, at which time the sky opened up and poured on us all. But, the pork loin continued to smoke and we had excellent pulled pork sandwhiches later in the day. The firework display went on as usual, although the air was so heavy with moisture that the smoke did not dissipate as it should. But, the display was beautiful, none the less. Aidan, did pretty good. He didn't cry . . .but he really was happiest being held by Mommy and he plastered his cheek to hers and didn't move. He actually did best with the small fire works that people were doing on the ground. The larger ones in the air I think troubled him. We live close to the park and can hear them actually go up from our deck. So, it probably scared him some. But, now he has had a taste and I think in years to come he will really love this tradition of ours!
The dogs, by the way, did great! Both stayed outside and did not bark or cry at the noise! What a relief! Maggie was just born on the last fourth and Mosby had been inside. . .





Wednesday, July 2, 2008

One if by Land. . .Two if by Sea. . .

Independence Day is coming! I love the Fourth of July. It is a great excuse to be proud of our country, even during times when there isn't a whole lot to be proud of. I mean, look at what we have accomplished in just 232 years! We have created a society that is free to all people no matter what your race, religion or any other pursuasion! How beautiful is that? And how close to God is that??? Seriously, Jesus was accepting of everyone. . .and that is what our forefathers set up for us.

Prior to going to Russia on our second trip, I decided to take the Citizenship test. Pat and I are natural born Americans so we have never had to take something like that and Aidan, being our adopted son, became an American as soon as we landed on American soil, so he won't ever have to take a Citizenship test. But, because this was so close to our hearts and I believe in our country, I decided to take it.

I did pass. . .in fact I got a 100% on the 100 questions I answered. . .I do have a degree in history, so I would have questioned myself if I hadn't! But, from what I understand, most Americans don't even get 50%!! So, in honor of our day, challenge yourselves! You can get the test from the USCIS web site, or here is a link for a sample of twenty questions http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25461301/. Let me know how you did!

Stacy