Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Year Ago. . .



Lori wanted video of Aidan ice skating. . .I'll do that soon, I promise. But, for now, here is a little video of Aidan riding his bike, sending me a kiss and Maggie and Mosby barking because they can't leave the yard!

A year ago, I went out to lunch, uncharacteriscally, and when I returned there was a message waiting. Not unusual in my busines, and I didn't check it right away. I finished what I had been doing before I left for lunch and when I checked it, I couldn't believe my ears!!! It was a message from the travel agent that our Agency uses! Her message was something like she had heard from Dr. D that we had a court date of March 25th and she wanted to get started quickly on working on our travel arrangements and visas!

I started to shake. . .what was this??? I hadn't heard anything from my agency and, in fact, I thought we had a least another month to wait!! But, I called her back. Of course! I began the preliminaries of our travel arrangements and began to download the visa application forms and then called my agency. . .our social worker was out at the moment!! sigh. . .I told the other social worker what was going on and she said there had been a message for our social worker from the Grand Rapids office so she called them for me. When she called back, she had the best news ever!!! Confirmation that we had a court date and we were scheduled to leave in 18 days!!

When I think back to that time, I still can't believe it all happened so smoothly, with the excpetion of our actual court time, that is. And I can't believe it's been a year. . .

Thursday, February 26, 2009

All Three of Us

For the past week, Pat has been on the 3-11 shift. That means that he is sleeping in the morning when Aidan and I get up, eat breakfast and get out the door. And then, he is at work in the evening when Aidan and I get home. . .this has confused Aidan tremendously. He kept wanting to know when Daddy would be home. He didn't remember the shift work from last summer.

A couple of evenings, when he wasn't too busy, Daddy did come by the house to see Aidan. This was great. . .until Daddy had to leave again and Mama then had to calm Aidan down.

Coinciding with Daddy working the late shift was a new thing for Aidan. He had trouble getting to and staying asleep. I'm guessing it had to do with Daddy not being home, but I'm not sure. That meant we had a lot of snuggle time in the rocking chair. I would hold him and rock him and say, shhh, my baby boy, Aidan. The other day I heard him, while he patted MY back, say "My baby boy, Mama."

He's been really good this week otherwise, tolerating my feeble attempts at play and even amusing me by eating good--even at dinner! There was only one moment when I had to wonder how this is all affecting Aidan and that was when Aidan said to me, "Daddy mad at Aidan." No he's not, precious boy!!!

To that end, I told him all week that on Wednesday Daddy would get him up, have breakfast with him and then take him to Dawn's (our sitter) He was so excited! Then, yesterday arrived. I had extra time, so I delayed my shower by an hour only to find out that Pat really wanted to be up at the hunting campt earlier than originally planned! He still got Aidan up and gave him breakfast, but he didn't eat with him and I took Aidan to Dawn's. I never got ready so fast in my life! Needless to say, Aidan was very upset when Daddy left the house.

Another side effect of this late shift has been that whenever I tell Aidan we're going to do something, he says, "All three of us, Mama?" And so, another thing I've told Aidan we were doing was to go to church yesterday (Ash Wednesday services) and then we would go to dinner. "All three of us, Mama?" Yes, baby, all three of us.

And so we did. Aidan actually did pretty good, too. He didn't get scared about the ashes and, in fact, took a look at mine and said " Sky Beep Beep!" (At the altar, of course, and that is what he calls airplanes.



He was so fascinated by the ashes, he actually got out my compact and was looking and touching them. I think that's a good sign. Next year, while he may not remember, I'll spend more time explaining what it's all about.

And so now we begin the 11pm to 7 am shift. I think this will go better. . .

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Alleluia Sunday

Today is the last Sunday of Epiphany in our church. . .we get all of the Alleluias out of our system today because we won't be saying that again in church until Easter! And that means that Lent is right around the corner. In fact, it begins this Wednesday, with Ash Wednesday. I haven't decided yet if I will take Aidan to a service (would a 2 1/2 year old understand why ashes are being put on his head?? ) but I will attend one, for sure. It's so important to have that annual reminder--Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.

So, what's it all about (Alfie??)? Lent is that time of year when we, as Christians, are asked to spend 40 days contemplating and praying on the Good Friday Cross. It is our time in the wilderness. We join Jesus in his wilderness and ask him, again, to take upon him our sins and our humanity and offer it as a sacrifice to God with his death. . .and then our renewal of life, through him, on Easter morning.

How do we do that? We pray, we fast, and we give things up (another form of fasting). Why do we give things up and what should it be? Well, we give things up as a sacrifice. . .it should be something that has a hold on us or that we really enjoy--coffee, alcohol, sweets, tv, meat on Fridays etc and we try not to be martyrs about giving that up--don't think about it or feel bad inside toward others becasue they didn't give up that thing!--and open ourselves up to new insights about our relationship with God and others and how we can change to be better Christians.

While I won't ask or expect Aidan to give up anything for Lent, I do plan to give a few things up in addition to mine and Pats annual custom of having no meat on Fridays (which sounds Catholic, but is in fact really in recognition of Jesus' diet--and therefore actually Jewish.

Annually, we only have two days of Holy obligation for attending church and for fasting--Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. I try to observe them both. You would think Christmas and Easter would be there, too, but I guess they figure that there are plenty of folks who go only on Christmas and Easter--the C & E folks--and so they don't need to be listed as an Holy obligation! Anyway, I took my palm fronds back to the church today from last Palm Sunday and they will be put with the others, burned down to ash, and then that is what is used for the ashes on Ash Wednesday--it all goes in a circle--as does God. . .

Aidan had his second to last Ice Skating lesson today. He did really good! He really has the front skating down:



He's doing really good at the backward skate, too, but sometimes needs more help with that:



Afterward, we had our lunch at Moe's and then came home to a quiet lazy afternoon:



Mangy mutt dogs!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

1 Year Post Placement Replacement Report soon. . .

Why do some of us choose Russian adoption? If we're honest with ourselves, there are a few main factors that encourage us to head down that path:
1. The time frame is (or at least was) less than other countries.
2. We are able to get a child in pretty good health who is pretty young.
3. And, although most of us don't say it outloud (it's just not politically correct to do so!) we like the idea of adopting a child who looks like he or she belongs with us (the courts love to hear this, by the way). Aidan looks so much like Pat that it is uncanny. . .
4. And we can add to all of that that I have always held a special and somewhat strange fascination with Russia and her people.
But, International Adoption, and now especially Russian adoption, is so fraught with potholes, twisted roads, and sometimes a fork in the road, that it really is torturous for some folks while they complete the process.

Our one year Post Placement Report will be due at the Ministry of Education on April 4th. That is our one year Anniversary of Gotcha Day. . .can you believe it is coming up??? And so, we have our appointment scheduled with our Social Worker for March 6th. According to the rules, she cannot meet with us prior to March 4th but it takes aobut two weeks to get mail to the MOE. So, March 6th seemed like a good time for the appointment so we could get this taken care of, signed, notarized, apostilled, and then sent off in a timely manner. To that end, we have our pictures, that are required with each report, ready to go for our Social Worker to incorporate into the final report. After this report, "only" two more to go: March 2010 and March 2011!

We had a "charmed" process while we waited. . .Russia was shut down and so we were able to complete our Home Study and first set of Dossier documents and make sure all of our "i's" were dotted and "t's" were crossed. When our agency was re-accredited, we were ready to send in our paper work right away and so our referral came a mere 7 weeks later and then we travelled on trip one 4 weeks after that with the completion of our paper pregnancy being only 4 months after Trip 1. We were, and are, blessed. So, for us, the shut down was a blessing and all of our paperwork was perfect. I read so many blogs then and I read so many now in which people have not been so lucky. And now this latest news of the added stress of the MOE not accepting Post Placement reports from 160, now banned, Home Study agencies. Heart breaking. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those folks affected by this.

Other news:
Aidan's sense of order has been pushed all out of whack! Our new bed was delivered yesterday and he, um, "helped" me make it when we got home last night. When we were done, he ran into his room yelling that he was going to "look at Aidan's new bed, too." Oh, man! Don't grow up too fast, little man! I love that you're still a littly guy!

Then, today, when we went to leave the house, one of my back tires was really low--almost flat. So, Mama ran back in the house and got the keys to one of our other vehicles (we have a disgusting four vehicles!!). I got Aidan into his car seat (and we also have four of those!) and off we went. All the way to the sitter's Aidan kept saying, "No Mama! No drive Daddy's car! Mama need turn around and drive in garage." By the time we got to the sitter's, he was visibly upset and even went so far as to tell me that we needed to go home so Daddy could bring him! Poor little guy!

And finally, remember that Lenten Reflection I submitted a couple of weeks ago to the church for our Lenten Brochure? Well, I received a message late Tuesday from one of our priests indicating she has edited it and wanted my approval. Apparantly I had gone over the word limit (which I was unaware of)--am I too wordy??? : ) Anyway, when I downloaded the new version and read it, I was stunned! Not only had the meaning of my reflection changed, but she had even added words and taken out so much that it no longer was even close to my reflection on a time when I was in the wilderness! I advised them that I was withdrawing my submission because this was not my reflection of my wilderness and that I would have edited it differently. Well, of course I was then asked to edit it my way and they took that version, but I think I am still really hurt, especially since I was already feeling like the square peg in a round hole!

Ah well. . .Life goes on.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Celebrating and Spending. . .

Today we celebrated President's Lincoln and Washington's birthdays. . .and we did so by spending money!

First, we all slept in, having the day off afterall. . .then we headed out to the Ice House in Ashburn, thinking we would do a little " eye achin'. . ." but there were little league hockey tournements today--kid's were all off school. . . then we headed over to Belfort furniture where we bought Mama and Daddy a new King size bed--now all of the critters and Aidan can fit with Mama and Daddy : ) ( just kidding!-- sort of)

After lunch, we went to Best Buy and got a new Blue Ray DVD player--really cheap!!! And what a difference that makes on the movie quality!! We watched Cars. . .about our 20 millionth viewing. . .and it was like watching the same movie in 3D but without having to wear the glasses. Really cool!!

After nap, we went and bought new sheets for the new bed and then we went to our usual Monday night dinner at Shenanigan's. . .we told our usual waiter, Bobby--who wasn't there last week--that we are on a need to know basis if he isn't going to be there. : )

Fun was had by all!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Aidan's Ladies. . .

Before I get into the Love Shack information, I have to say I can't believe it has been a year since I have been blogging!!! Incredible! And to think I didn't start before that because I thought it was going to be hard to set up. . .

So, Valentine's Day. . .yes. . .it was nice. . .we don't usually do a lot, for Pat and myself, but this year took on a whole new dimension. Aidan. And his ladies.

Let me begin at the beginning. . .

You all have read about the girls he has been seeing lately. But, there have been girls in his past. . .Ellie. . .whom he still holds a firm attachment and love to and for!!! And then, there are our neighbors, Ava and Charlotte (Charlie), whom he also loves, and then there is also Catherine, the two year old daughter of a very dear friend of mine.

And so, yesterday, Valentine's Day, we were invited to two birthday parties: one for Ava and Charlie and one for Catherine. Both were at the same time but in totally opposite directions from our home. Catherine lives up near Mt. Weather, a 20 minute drive to the west, and Ava and Charlie's party was at the Ashburn Ice House, a 20 minute drive to the east. We had accepted the one for Ava and Charlie first, so we went there and made arrangements with our friends to have pizza with them at dinner time--yes, we had a nice family pizza dinner for Valentine's Day!!

But, I digress. . .Pat had to work, so Aidan and I went off to the Ice House, where Ava and Charlie's party was. He had a blast. . .aside from the little girl who sat next to him and appeared to be pursuing him!!



Ava seemed to be having a good time, though!



Aidan survived unscathed and really enjoyed ice skating with the girls!



After nap, we were off to Catherine's house where Aidan really enjoyed playing with all of her toys. . .Catherine was really sweet and totally cute in letting him play with everything. . .Thank you and Happy Birthday Catherine!!



When we got home, it was really bed time, but we went ahead and celebrated our family Valentine's Day. . .






Aidan dancing to the love song the tiger is singing:









And so, we had the veritable Love Shack goin' on!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Wind She Was a Howlin'!

Last night the big front began coming through that has been affecting the weather all across the mid-section of the country. When that happens, we get big winds. And I mean big winds. We have gusts over 60 miles and hour. This will continue throughout the day and our 70 degree weather will then be gone, replaced by our more typical 30 to 40 degree weather. Our taste of Spring is over for now.

I'm not sure what time the wind started. We have been in our house for almost ten years so I have gotten used to the heavy wind pounding into the house. There is nothing to break the wind so it comes down from the Catoctin Mountains, across Ida Lee Park and then slams the side of our house. I can usually even hear it coming, almost like a roar, across the park and can anticipate when it will hit the house. Fortunately, it is the side our bedroom is on. Aidan is on the opposite side.

However, apparantly Aidan still woke up. Pat was awake, probably thinking the phone would ring and work would be calling him in early, and he jumped out of bed, thereby waking me up, and said, "Where you going, buddy?" I then heard Aidan say, as he was heading down the stairs, "Lookin' for Mama!"

Pat ushered him into our room and into our bed. . .that was 3:30 am. Poor little guy! If he had called for me, I did not hear him--I had turned the monitor down when I went in to cover him up on my way to bed (it screeches if it is too close to the base)and forgot to turn it back up. When he snuggled into bed with me and then Daddy got in bed, Aidan waved his arm toward our window and asked me to make "that" go 'way! I would if I could, little dudely!

Anyway, so I have now been awake since 3:30. . .Aidan went back to sleep at 4:30, but his little heart was pounding for a while! I went into his room to listen when I got up and, although the wind isn't a bad sound in there, you can hear the debris scritching on the roof and siding. . .and our motion sensored lights, which usually only come on when a car passes but I now see come on with heavy wind, too, are clearly visible from his bed. . .Of course he was scared!!! Poor little guy.

So, although tired, I feel pretty good and love the fact that he came looking for me. . .but then I have to wonder, Why was he going downstairs??? And then I realize, he has never seen me in bed!!!

Thus endeth our first getting out of bed on our own experience.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Older Woman in His Life. . .

On Monday's, we like to go to this place called Shenanigan's. They have 1/2 price burgers. . .cheap, Aidan can run around a bit and not bother anyone, we know a lot of folks there, we generally eat with our neighbors and it makes Monday's oh so much more bearable. Last summer, we noticed a group of folks who also come in on Monday's. We know many in this group just from around town and some from where I work. One family has a little girl who is four. Her name is Brooke. And so, now, each Monday, Aidan says, "See Brooke, Mama?"

Last night was no exception. We went to Shenanigan's as usual. We sat down with our neighbors and in walked Brooke with her family. After the kids were finished eating, Brooke and Aidan began playing and I was able to snap this picture of them together. I think he loves her!



Okay, so now I have to say, as Aidan's Mama, I am happy he's playing the feild a bit. He's entirely too young to settle down with one little girl! : )

Friday, February 6, 2009

Square Pegs. . .

I've been thinking lately that I would give up my position as Parish Historian at church. Nothing seems to be happening and there really isn't a place for me to put anything I uncover anymore. Added to that, I have been feeling a bit like the square peg in a round hole at church lately. Well, just when that thought happens, I get a call from our priest to do an oral history of a long time (lifetime) parishioner who is dying of cancer. Then, I get asked to participate in the possibility of putting an article in the Diocesan Newsletter about our Stations of the Cross practices. And, I also get asked to do a Lenten Reflection article.

I said yes to the oral history--this is what interests me and I love to see how others have been moved over the years toward Christ; I said yes to the writing of our Stations of the Cross practices and found out today that my offering will be published in the Diocesan Newsletter; I submitted a Lenten Reflection about some of our experiences in Russia and how that was Our Wilderness and found out today it will be used in a Parish Lenten Reflection booklet. . .and so, God has told me that I am not really a square peg afterall and that I am doing what He wants. Go figure!

Tonight we got together with some friends we have not had time to get together with in a very long time: Kim, Gary and Erin. Erin was born last June and I have goodnaturedly teased Kim that Aidan would marry her someday. Well, I think he loves her!




I can't wait to see these two grow up together!

When we got home, we hung out for a bit and then, when I put Aidan to bed, he said "It very dark out Mom." Yes, baby boy it is. But you are safe here inside with the light!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Snow Day. . .

Well, we didn't have a day off. . .and Loudoun County schools opened on time. . .even though Fauquier and Clark Counties (our neighbor counties) opened two hours late. . .but it was beautiful this morning!


This is the road our sitter lives on here in Leesburg. Isn't this beautiful???

But, last night, Daddy told Aidan the deal about putting your PJ's on inside out and flushing ice cubes down the toilet--the kids do this in order to get a lot of snow and then they will have a day off from school. And, so, that's what they did. And then Aidan went up to his room to watch and wait. How cute is that!?!?!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog Day

Okay seriously folks. . .wouldn't you be scared and see your shadow if you were dragged out of your warm bed at O dark 30 and there were bright lights and cameras and lots of people everywhere? So, where is the science in this Phil seeing his shadow thing???? And, not to mention that there are actually six more weeks of winter, according to the calendar. . .

It's starting to snow. . .just like last Monday night. . .and it's starting to stick. . .just like last week. . .it's starting to feel a little like Groundhog day!

Last night, when I was putting Aidan to bed, I had a terrible headache. It had grown all day to the point that when I put him to bed, I didn't want to keep my eyes open at all. But, I persevered, for Aidan's sake, and read him a book. He wanted a longer book, but I told him, "Oh, Aidan honey. Mommy's head hurts really bad. Is your short truck book okay?" And he replied, "Ok, Mama. Aidan kiss it and make it better." And he kissed my forehead. My head was truly feeling better by the time I hit the pillow!!! I just love that kid.

Weight Watchers upday: I haven't really lost anything the last couple of weeks. I have stayed the same, though. I have increased my running, though, so I feel good about things. I was up over 16 miles last week. . .I will stick to things and hope for the best. I know it will drop like a rock soon.