Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Saturday, January 31, 2009

When are you happy about filing taxes????

When you have a huge Adoption credit and Day Care credit!!!!

I sat down the other evening and began the process of filling out the forms: Turbo tax is so awesome. . .I've been doing it on Turbo tax for over 10 years and I absolutely love it. When we have had major life changes: moved into a new home, school loan, closing out our participation in a Stock Club, adoption expenses. . .this program talks you through it all and helps you find every possible deduction! It's so great.

And so now, our refund will be a nice one, enough to replace our air conditioner and replace the front around the front door and a couple of other things too. Yeah!

Taxes are done: signed, sealed, delivered, I'm done! Whew!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Aidan has spoken. . .

When asked who he wants to win the Super Bowl, The Steelers or the Cardinals, Aidan replies. . ." Ummmmmmm. . . .Uummmmm. . .Cardinals." So be it! We will get him a Cardinals shirt to wear to the Super Bowl gathering at our friends house where everyone else will be wearing Steelers garb! : )

We had a "Winter Weather Event" this week that caused a few moments of white knuckle drving (Mr. Obama, we have a lot of back roads out here that aren't even paved so don't go giving us your Big City criticisms! Perhaps a delayed opening would have been better, and yet still safer for our children!)

Anyway, rant aside, seriously, there was a lot of ice on top of the snow. Out here, 35 miles west of D. C., we had about and inch or more of ice on top of the snow. At first it made the snow granular, which is easy to drive on. Then, because of the salt and the sun, there was some melt. . .which refroze and became solid ice. Fun to drive on!

But, Aidan enjoyed playing in the snow part with Daddy, Mosby and Maggie!





We are hoping for more snow with the next round of the "Winter Weather Event" at which time I expect to hear Aidan imitating the sound of the snow blower like he does the leaf blower. . .

Ummmmmmm. . . .Go Cardinals!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Well, Pat's birthday was actually last Wednesday. . .and we did celebrate. Sort of. But, let me start back on Tuesday. . .

On Tuesday, a package arrived for Pat from my Mom. It was, of course, his birthday present from her. He opened the box and removed the gift at which time Aidan said, "MY birthday present!" We tried to tell him it wasn't, but he was convinced so he opened it! And then became totally interested in the birthday card and could have cared less that Nana had sent Daddy a really nice Greg Norman shirt! Thank you, Nana!




On Wednesday, Pat's actual birthday, I made Tacos and Tostadas--Pat's request. We did have one small gift for him that day and a couple of cards, which Aidan insisted were his and which I just, this morning found, in the basement!

As I had previously posted, Aidan and I made Daddy's birthday cake on Friday. Aidan got to lick the spoon and everything and then decided it was HIS birthday cake. . .I kept having to tell him over and over that it was Daddy's, but to no avail. . .

Saturday, we went over to Grandma and Grandpa's house to go out to dinner, bringing the birthday cake with us as well as the main birthday present. We had a fantastic time at Outback and Aidan was the most behaved he has been in ages while out to dinner. It was great!



After dinner, we went back to Grandma and Grandpa's house (Aidan pronounces this Anma and Anpa) for cake and presents. I don't think anyone minded the littler person fingerprints in the frosting!!





The evening was capped off with Aidan taking off with Grandpa's hat! I think he looks great in hats, don't you???


When I put Aidan to bed that night, he looked up at me with his sweet little face already looking like he was going to sleep and said, "Mama make Aidan's birthday cake, too??" Of course, sweetheart! Mama will make your birthday cake, too and it will be whatever kind you want! I just love that little guy!!!

And, finally, at Ice Skating lessons yesterday, Aidan surprised us all by actually skating across the ice rink all by himself! No one holding him!

But next week, Mama is going to have to watch from the bleachers because she is a bit of a distraction for Dudely!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Mama, no talkin'!

What a great day! I love days like today!

I was off with Aidan today and purposefully kept it about him all day. . .well, at least most of the day.

I got up early so I could get my run in and then shower before the kiddo got up. . .I got the run in and then had an audience of three (Aidan, Mosby, and Maggie) for the shower. Creepy, but I showered fast.

Aidan and I then had breakfast and made Daddy's birthday cake for tomorrow. Then we hopped in the car and went to Border Books to spend the $10. gift card Nana had sent at Halloween. . .$60. later, we were back in the car (Aidan loves books as much as me and I can't say no to him wanting them!). Next stop, the Ashburn Ice House.

Okay, so here we hit a bit of a snag. . .I used to know Ashburn very well. Apparantly, not so much anymore! I can drive around Washington, D. C. blindfolded and not get lost and I can even talk someone through directions down there over the phone. But, Ashburn beat me. And I mean it beat me! I finally got Pat on the phone, after trying about 20 zillion times, and he was able to talk me to the Ice House. Seriously, Aidan and I drove around Ashburn for more than thirty minutes! My internal GPS was just not working in there! It was like the twilight zone.

Anyway, no worries. We went in and got our skates and skated for a while. Aidan did very well and was able to go for longer and longer distances on his own with no one holding him. I am really amazed at his progress!

After Ice Skating (which Aidan pronounces as Eye Achin) we went grocery shopping. On the way there, I guess I was talking too much because Aidan told me "Mama, no talkin'!" It reminded me of saying something like it to my own Mom! I burst out laughing and then called Pat to tell him that Aidan told me to stop talking. . .

Then we came home and had a late lunch and then a nap. Today was the first day in several that was actually over 50 degrees, so after nap we went outside to ride his bike--it will be cooooollllddd again tomorrow. And now were off to Shenanigans to have dinner with our neighbors where we can let the three kids run around and wear themselves out!

What a great day!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day 2009

And so we begin a new chapter of American History today at noon. All politics aside, we are all Americans and Mr. Obama has been elected to be our next President. I just pray that we have not made our expectations of and for him too high. . . The higher people are set, the farther and harder they fall. . .

A little Inauguration trivia for you:

All of the pictures of Bush and Cheney MUST be replaced by noon today with new pictures of Obama and Biden. Within the limits of Washington, D. C. alone there are 9,000 of these pictures. . .I guess that guy won't be watching any of the Inauguration, live or even on TV!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

And finally we went out on a date. . .

Which resulted in a bath for Maggie. . . but, let me start at the beginning. . .

Today was one of those great days. We all slept good last night; we had a great family breakfast; we went and had a fantastic skating lesson:







And he actually even skated on his own. . .across the ice. . .without being held onto! It was awesome. . .

Then, later, we went out with our neighbors, who brought their two little girls over and we hired another girl to watch the three hellions for a couple of hours, feed them dinner and play with them. The thing is, this girl is someone whom I have known since she was in kindergarten. . .and she is now a sophomore in highschool. . .when did that happen??? One of the children is older than she was when I first met her!

But, I digress. . .we had a great time being out without the kiddo. . .I missed him terribly, but it was nice to be out with adults and not have to worry about diapers, etc. . .

And then we came home. . .

Aidan wanted yogurt, which he was given. . .and which ended up on the carpet of the Living Room and on Maggies back! Thus, the bath for Maggie. ..and, I guess, a bath is in order for the Living Room carpet! Do you think he was mad at us????

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Aya hug dat, panic shopping, and Obama Overload. . .

Aidan has this funny thing he says when he really likes something which is "Aya hug dat!" He says it a lot, so I guess he likes a lot of things: "Aidan, do you want some grapes?" "Aya hug grapes!" "Aidan, do you want to ride your bike?" "Aya hug bike!" "Let's get your coat on." "Aya hug Aidan's jacket!" Yes, he says it just like that. So, I should be happy he say, and a lot, "Aya hug Mommy!"

Hugging the brown bear Cousin Max gave Aidan for Christmas:


I collect gift cards. I love them. I get them for my birthday and for Christmas all the time. I love being able to shop, preferably online, for whatever I want when I want it. It's great. I had 2 from Crate and Barrel and 3 from William Sonoma, until today that is. They totalled a fair amount of money, too. But, with the economy the way it is, I was beginning to fear keeping gift cards around for too long. What if the store went under???? Then, yesterday, came the news that Circuit City was going into LIQUIDATION. I don't ordinarily shop at Circuit City, but it just seems like another huge sign of the times that this, seemingly strong store, would now go from reorganization bankruptcy of just a couple of months to liquidation. And, so I panicked about my gift cards. . .

This morning I got up and determined I was going shopping today. At the Mall. It was only 2 degrees outside this morning, but I was determined. So, this afternoon, I bundled up and headed off to the Mall to spend my gift cards. . .The Outlet Mall, and spend them I did. I still have a little left on one William Sonoma card, but I can quickly dispatch that very soon. . .did I mention that it was an outdoor mall??? Man, it was COLD!!!

And, now, finally, we have officially stopped watching the news for a few days. We are in Obama Overload to the max! Living so near Washington, D. C. has many perks. However, our news tends to be pretty much National news and so we have heard nothing but news of the "Historic Obama Innaguration" for the past week and we still have a few days to go! I am mean nothing else! This morning there was even a countdown of the hours until the swearing in ceremony. . .You would think that no one has ever been elected President before!

I was actually mildly interested for a while. Until, that is, we were told that all of the bridges from Virginia into D. C. were being closed sometime Monday night/Tuesday morning. Do you suppose they realize that we, in Virginia, now feel as though we have been shut out??? Not that we were going to go anywhere near the city on Tuesday, but seriously!

Change. We'll see. . .

Friday, January 16, 2009

In the Cold

It's cold. I mean really cold. Siberia weather type of cold. It's 8 degrees outside this morning! And that doesn't include any windchill! Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Pat got me a remote starter for the Tahoe for Christmas. Of course we haven't had it installed yet. . .

Anyway, it's so cold that both Pat and I pulled out our "Russia" coats. And I stuck my hand in the pocket and what did I find???

Toothpicks from Il Patio in Krasnoyarsk! Guess when I wore that coat last. . .

Martin Luther King day is on this upcoming Monday. Are you off? Pat is but I am not. I had planned to take the day to be with him and Aidan, but my sitter told me yesterday that her step mom is in the final stages of Ovarian Cancer and she is going to go say her good byes next weekend. So, I moved my day off to Friday and Pat will take the following Monday to be with the kiddo. I feel bad for my sitter. She's so awesome and I think she is stressed about what we think! Well, life happens and sometimes we have to deal with unpleasant things. I pray her trip is safe and that she can be there for her dad.

So, back to MLK. . .do you know how this started? It was actually signed into law, somewhat reluctantly, by President Reagan in 1983 but was not observed until 1986. Virginia is interesting, though. Some place observe it and some don't. And some actually observe more on that day, although that has recently changed, too. Let me explain.

Virginia is technically in the South. Richmond, our State Capital, was also the Capital of the Confederacy. So, it stands to reason that we Virginians would hold on to some, um 'heros'. Our local 'heros' would be, of course, Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. Jackson (Stonewall). Virginia has observed Lee's birthday (1/19) since 1869 and Jackson's birthday (1/21) since 1889. In fact, for many years, Monday would have been Lee-Jackson day here in Virginia.

After the law was passed for Martin Luther King, Virginia began observing Lee-Jackson-King day. Seriously. For many years it was this way. Until, that is, someone pointed out the strange incongruity of that and so the days were separated in 2000. Lee-Jackson day is now today, the Firday before and MLK day is now the Monday that everyone observes it. Weird, right?? But, truthfully, I would bet you couldn't find a government office open in the Richmond area. . .

Monday, January 12, 2009

Weight Watchers Week 1 results!!!

2.6 pounds!!! In one week!!! I don't expect to do this every week. . .or even again, since I now only have 5.4 pounds to go to goal. . .but what a great start! Just think what I could do if I actually was good every day. . .

Next post: Strange MLK traditions in Virginia.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Watching movies, learning to ice skate, and, um other Big Boy things!

Well, another weekend is over. Pat is upstairs giving Aidan his bath and then we'll do the warm milk routine and then off to bed with a breathing treatment and book before hand. Aidan is doing good with his lungs, but he is still wheezing and coughing on occasion. I'll be calling tomorrow for the oral steroid prescription because I really think we need it. If this keeps up, we may want to get him tested for allergies and/or asthma.

We went over to our neighbors before dinner to give them back the nebulizer we borrowed (we finally got our own) and to give them their Christmas card. They laughed at us about how much our lives have changed. Aidan let them know, matter of factly, that he went poop on the potty today and Lia reminded me that she did tell me that we would be talking/thinking/dealing with poop all of the time now. She was right! And, yes, Aidan really did go poop on the potty! What a good Big Boy!

Aidan had a very big day today. Today was his first Ice Skating lesson. While it's really only clear to me, he can actually say "Ice Skating!" I think it's safe to say that he had a blast! When he first went out on the ice, his ankles were wobbling all over the place. But, when the half hour lesson was over, he was able to stand up straight and he could even go from the ice up to a standing postion. Good boy! Here are some pics:

Getting started


Being helped by the instructor, Pavel
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Ummmmmm, the kids are smelling the ice


I love skating, Mama!


This is great!


The ice skating is really neat. We have 7- 1/2 hour lessons which includes skates for Aidan and one parent and 10 free passes to Free-Skate in order to practice which also includes skates for Aidan, but not the parent. All for $98! Pretty cool! Aidan was wiped out this afternoon, but he is still talking about it.

And, the other thing he did big this weekend is that he actually watched about 3/4 of the Cars movie, his favorite and which we have previously only enjoyed the first 1/2 hour of, about 3 times! He calls the red car KK's cool beep beep and the blue car (seen here in the reflection of the picture over his head) is Rob's cool beep beep!


Well, gotta go. It's warm milk time! Have a great week!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Costco, Cascade, Crazy Mama!

So, just after Thanksgiving, we made a biweekly Costco run whereby we filled up our coffers with Papertowels, toilet paper, tissues, Dishwasher soap and diapers, milk , eggs, etc. . . We were happy and ready for the holiday's.

Christmas came and we had depleted our supplies some, but we were still good to go. However, Christmas morning, I had a full dishwasher and no dishwashing soap. Where was the Cascade???? I went down to the Laundry Room where we store our supplies and could not find it anywhere! I also looked in the work room area and the cleaning supply closet, still no deal. Pat, good man that he is, went off to the closest local open market--7-11--and purchased some dishwashing soap for me that was more expensive than I want to think about.

Fast forward to yesterday. . .Aidan and I went back to Costco to replenish our coffers again with the usual papertowels, toilet paper, tissues, dishwasher soap and diapers/pull ups, milk, eggs, etc. . . Home we came and began the process of putting everything away. For some reason, I opened the drawer under the washing machine in the laundry room. I never store things there so I was surprised to see something in a green bottle in that drawer. I pulled it out, looked and then laughed out loud!!! My missing Cascade!!!! I knew I had bought it!!!! Aidan looked at me and said, "Crazy Mama!"

I took Aidan back to the doctor today because he started coughing again on Tuesday and was wheezing this morning. Back to doing the Nebulizer every 4 hours. If it doesn't completely clear in two days we're going on an oral stroid. . .perhaps this is more than RSV. . .perhaps, just maybe, we're talking asthma or something like that.

I am sending a picture of Aidan to our Agency today--our next post placement isn't for a couple of months so it's not for that:



While in Kras, we would look at this wall in the orphanage of children that had been adopted. We did this frequently and talked about them thinking about how their lives had changed. Toward the end of our time there, Serge, our driver, told us that most of the children on that wall had been placed by Yelena, our coordinator. In other words, these were Yelena's kids. We told Serge we would send a picture of Aidan at a later date to be added to the wall. We chose the one that we also put on our Christmas card, the one of Aidan in the green sweater and blue pants in front of our fireplace. Our Agency said that they could get this to Yelena. . .it will take a while, but it will get there.

Ice Skating lessons start this Sunday at the Ashburn Ice House. Can't wait to see Aidan on skates!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Epiphany

It is Epiphany night. . .Twelfth Night. . .Today marks twelve days since Chriistmas. . .did you know that's where the song came from??? So, what does Epiphany mean? It has a couple of meanings:

Epiphany (holiday), a Christian holiday on January 6 celebrating the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus and thus bringing the light of God's love to the Gentiles (us). . .and
Epiphany (feeling), the sudden realization or comprehension of the essence or meaning of something.

We will now be in the season of Epiphany until Ash Wednesday. . .all the way into late February this year!

I had the sudden realization and comprehension tonight, my first night back on Weight Watchers, why I have been eating and drinking so much. . .oh, by the way, Pat worked overtime again tonight due to an "ice storm" that never came and so I was home alone with Aidan! Sheesh! That kid will wear a Mama out!

But, all is well now. He is sleeping upstairs, Daddy is home and I have a little free time to talk to you all!

I didn't do as badly on my weight as I thought. I am only 8 pounds over my goal--turns out my scale is weighing 1.6 pounds heavy! I knew it seemed wrong when I first bought it! I was sooo upset then, too. So, now I have 6 pounds to go until I don't have to pay every week. Not too bad! I can do that by summer! I did really good today and am hopeful I will continue to do really good.

Aidan is a trip. He is feeling really good and is counting to 11 consistantly now. He is saying "Aidan Harrison" when asked his full name and if you ask him how old he is, he will say "Two and a HALF." He even tried to tie his shoes last night!

And tonight he decided to "putina gas in Aya's beep beep."
It's crazy how his imagination is so incredibly active and full!

Our church ordinarily has a celebration on Epiphany, or Twelfth Night. We are asked to bring our trees, greenery and any other live (or formerly live) Christmas item to a parishoners farm where everything is piled up and then we have a bonfire, drink hot chocolate and eat left over Christmas cookies. It was scheduled for tonight but was cancelled due to the "impending ice storm." Next year!

And so I leave you with a poem by William Carlos William called "Burning the Christmas Greens." It seems appropriate! God Bless! and let me know what your true love brought you!

Burning the Christmas Greens
by William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Their time past, pulled down
cracked and flung to the fire
--go up in a roar

All recognition lost, burnt clean
clean in the flame, the green
dispersed, a living red,
flame red, red as blood wakes
on the ash--

and ebbs to a steady burning
the rekindled bed become
a landscape of flame

At the winter's midnight
we went to the trees, the coarse
holly, the balsam and
the hemlock for their green

At the thick of the dark
the moment of the cold's
deepest plunge we brought branches
cut from the green trees

to fill our need, and over
doorways, about paper Christmas
bells covered with tinfoil
and fastened by red ribbons

we stuck the green prongs
in the windows hung
woven wreaths and above pictures
the living green. On the

mantle we built a green forest
and among those hemlock
sprays put a herd of small
white deer as if they

were walking there. All this!
and it seemed gentle and good
to us. Their time past,
relief! The room bare. We

stuffed the dead grate
with them upon the half burnt out
log's smouldering eye, opening
red and closing under them

and we stood there looking down.
Green is a solace
a promise of peace, a fort
against the cold (though we

did not say so) a challenge
above the snow's
hard shell. Green (we might
have said) that, where

small birds hide and dodge
and lift their plaintive
rallying cries, blocks for them
and knocks down

the unseeing bullets of
the storm. Green spruce boughs
pulled down by a weight of
snow--Transformed!

Violence leaped and appeared.
Recreant! roared to life
as the flame rose through and
our eyes recoiled from it.

In the jagged flames green
to red, instant and alive. Green!
those sure abutments . . . Gone!
lost to mind

and quick in the contracting
tunnel of the grate
appeared a world! Black
mountains, black and red--as

yet uncolored--and ash white,
an infant landscape of shimmering
ash and flame and we, in
that instant, lost,

breathless to be witnesses,
as if we stood
ourselves refreshed among
the shining fauna of that fire.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Making a book, making our memories. . .

Well, I settled on making a book using the Booksmart program from blurb.com. It's not really very hard, just very time consuming! I'm importing my blog, one entry at a time, and then putting the pictures in as I see fit. It has made it possible to include our referral photos and pictures from Trip #1, which weren't really a part of the blog itself, so that's good. I figured after it's all in there I will go back and edit the text some. I'll probably really need to since I'm up to 43 pages and I'm only at the end of March! Ah, well, after April, there aren't as many entries each month. . .

But, this could very well end up being over 100 pages! I don't think I realized it would be this big, but I really like how it's turning out. Almost every page has a picture on it so far. . .there are so many from both of our trips and this is really a great way to save them in a permanent location. And, I've been able to use a lot of the pictures I had on my Blackberry, too. But, I'm not deleting them from that until the book itself arrives.

Actually, now that I think about it, I think I will edit after I get June in and that way I will only have six months to edit after that. I'm doing this during nap times and after bed time so it limits how much time I can spend on it. But, at least I can save my work as I go! Plus, now that I think about it, if something ever happens and my blog is lost, this book will be great for having all of those memories and pictures saved!

Aidan was back at the doctor on Friday for a re-check on his ears. Still some fluid behind both ear drums, but it is clear. Thanks be to God!!!! Now we just have to hope and pray that the fluid drains properly and does not attract any new bacteria.

Tomorrow night I am back to Weight Watchers. I estimate I'll be about 10 pounds over my goal weight. As a life time member, I will only have to pay for the weekly fee, no registration fee, and then I'll only have to pay weekly until I get two pounds from my goal weight. Not too bad. I'm glad to get back to that so that my jeans won't get any tighter! I just hope I don't get over confident and stop going, as I have done before! Maggie has become a bit of a chunky monkey, so when the weather is nice, I'll probably take her for walks, which will be good for both of us.

Pat has been working so much lately. He ended up working New Year's Eve. . .not really a big deal since we didn't really plan on going out, but it still stank for him! We had a really big wind storm on New Year's Eve and there were power outages everywhere with trees and wires down. There were a couple of deaths, too. One was a Catholic priest who had stopped on the road I take from Aidan's day care to work about an hour after I had travelled on it in order to move a large branch. While moving it, he was struck by another falling branch and killed. Ironically, he was on his way to a funeral. Pat had to work New Year's Day, too and then his regular schedule on Friday. Then, he worked the late shift yesterday and today, having volunteered for those two prior to knowing he would be working New Year's Eve and Day. So, his next paycheck will be pretty nice. . .Maybe we can actually go out on a date! More on that some other time. . .

I've been toying with updating the picture for this blog to something more current. I have a really cute picture of Aidan with our dog Mosby and he looks like the all American kid. . .I think it might be time to move on from Russia and concentrate on being here in America with our American son. . .

or there is this one. . .

or this one . . .

Friday, January 2, 2009

Learning our prayers and creating books. . .

Since we've been home, Aidan began, almost immediately, clapping his hands together and saying "Amen!" when we said our prayers. Whether at the dinner table, out to dinner, bed time, or at church, Aidan picked this up and has been very consistent about his participation in the "Amen!". Mama is soooo proud!

Lately, he has even begun saying "Thanks be to God" at the end of the readings when we are at church. The reader reads the lesson, says "The Word of the Lord" and we respond "Thanks be to God." And Aidan is right there with us.

This past week, Pat has begun having Aidan recite a simple meal time prayer, one we all grew up with and it goes like this:

Daddy:
God is Great.
Aida:
God is Great.
Daddy:
God is Good.
Aidan:
God is Good.
Daddy:
And we thank Him,
Aidan:
And we tankim,
Daddy:
For our food.
Aidan:
For da dude.
Daddy (trying not to laugh out loud):
Amen!
Aidan:
Amen!

Seriously, dontcha just love the way kids say things????

I went on blurb.com yesterday and discovered that Booksmart no longer supports Blogger! I can't just upload and then edit! Oh no! I have been counting on that in order to have a hard copy of this past year. . .I didn't do a baby book or a scrap book. All I have is my blog. . .I do have the pictures elsewhere, though. So, online I went and looked around. Blogger has something as well and I'll give it a try. However, I do think I can still use the Booksmart program, it will just take a lot longer because I will need to import the pictures separately and then copy and paste each post individually. That will be a lot of work. . .But, no mater how I end up doing it, it will be a nice momento of this time in our lives.