Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Good News and Bad News

This is all about good news and bad news. . .there is a side to each story!

Good News:
We had our new air conditioning unit installed a couple of weeks ago. Well ahead of the impending summer. . .so we thought. But, actually, it works great! We have test driven it over the weekend and the house feels fantistically cool, with the exception that the basement is uncomfortaby cold. It actually hurts to be down there!

Bad News:
So, it's like in the 90's!! What is going on??? It's only April!! This is rediculous! I'm hoping it is only a test drive!

Good news:
I finally cleaned out Aidan's closet and dresser. I reorganized and pulled out everything that no longer fits. I got two good sized bags that I'm giving to a lady at work who is expecting a boy in July.

Bad news:
I got two good sized bags of clothes that no longer fit Aidan!! He's growning sooooo fast!

Good news:
We finally refinanced our house and went to closing the other day. We'll be saving several hundred dollars per month because of this . Plus, although we will have to pay tuition for Preschool this fall, our Daycare expense will be going down. And, we'll be paying our Tahoe off in less than a year. . .about 8 months from now. So, I'm getting my maid back. . .

Bad news:
Okay, so there isn't any associated with this one!! : )

But, here is a final picture of my cutie pie:

Friday, April 24, 2009

Twin Cousins

I grew up as one of eight cousins on my mothers side of the family. We were very close as young children. My mothers older sister had three boys, my mother had three girls and my mothers younger sister had one girl and one boy. We were our Grandmothers "Little People."

The girl cousin, Nancy, is two months older than me and the youngest boy cousin from my mothers older sister is about three months younger than me. We three were the "babies" for about five years before the next boy cousin came along and then my younger sister about two years after that.

Anyway, my cousin Nancy and I were/are twin cousins. We were dressed alike by our mothers, sometimes on purpose and sometimes not. We both had long blonde hair and blue eyes as children. She stood taller, but I sat taller (these things are important to children!) We saw each other enough (nearly every week) that we practically grew up together our first few years.

During family gatherings, which happened almost every weekend, or close to it!, Nancy and I would play and pretty much torment our boy cousins--that's what little girls do!

Our grandmother had nicknames for most of us, but ours were special. . .of course. . .Fancy Nancy and Lacy Stacy. We still call each other these names although our Grandmother passed in 1991.

Some of my fondest memories as a little girl are of playing with Nancy. We used to make a game of dressing up in lacy slips, pulling on rain boots and then marching around the yard (the front yard, no less!) with our batons pretending to be Majorettes. Funny little girls we were!

Another time we were at a family gathering at our great aunt and uncles. I remember being in a rubber boat with Nancy in the pool and our great uncle Bill coming up out of the water next to the boat and pretending to be a walrus. . .He looked like one, too!

Nancy grew up and married a fabulous guy, Stanley. They have one wonderful son, Max. How funny we grew up to have such similar lives and families!!! I told you we were twins.

Anyway, today is Nancy's birthday. Happy birthday, Fancy Nancy! May your day be bright, fun and filled with all kinds of Max laughter!

Lacy Stacy

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Family Affair

Aidan is doing better. His cold is running the normal course and seems greatly improved over Monday. His nose is still running, but it is running and not getting caught up in his sinuses, so that is really good.

We seem to have a better handle on the allergy situation, too. We are pretty sure he has them because he was fine on Monday--it rained, and not on Tuesday--it was sunny. When he went outside to play on Tuesday, he came in with his eyes running and his nose running and coughing like crazy. I called the pediatrician and we are now giving him Zyrtec. This is so much better! It really alleviates his symptoms and we don't have to do the benedryl any more. I hated what the benedryl was doing--he pretty much passes out within a half hour of taking it! We had to do the benedryl 1 tsp every four hours but the Zyrtec is 1 tsp once a day. The Zyrtec still makes him drowsy, but not nearly as bad as the benedryl. Yeah!!

I'm so glad, too, because I can't even imagine trying to get Aidan to stay inside until blooming season is over. All he wants to do is be outside!

Of course, Daddy wishes he wouldn't fill in the fence post holes that have been dug!

But, now Pat and I have the cold. . .Should have known it would be a family affair!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cold or Allergies????

Well, maybe a bit of both. All last week, Aidan wasn't feeling well. I thought it was a cold/flu, but it got progressively worse as the week went on. On Thursday, he went outside to play some, about an hour (the weather was beautiful!), and by dinner, his nose was running, his eyes were tearing--so much so that it looked like he was crying, but he wasn't!--and he was coughing so much he could hardly eat! What was going on??? I made the decision right then to stay home with him the next day and get him into the doctor.

He seemed to sleep well Thursday night and wasn't worse the next day, although he still wasn't really himself. At nap time, he walked up the stairs with me and when we got to the top I could hear him wheezing. Uh oh! I put him to bed thinking I needed to check the Albuterol supply and possibly get out the nebulizer.

We woke him up early from his nap and off to the doctor we went. A full check up later (35.6 pounds, no ear infection and no fever!!) and we wound up deciding that Aidan has a cold that is being compounded by allergies. Sure enough, back to the nebulizer we go--every 4 hours for a few days and then weaning back down to twice a day. Great. And, we are also now taking Benadryl with the further admonishment to stop all cold medicines. This will likely continue for the duration of bloom time (everything is blooming right now!!)

Friday night, though, he seemed even worse. He woke up at 2:00 am and never really went back to sleep. It was fun! : )

This weekend was the Leesburg Flower and Garden Festival, my favorite and something I look forward to every year. I wanted to go so bad! What to do??? So, we packed Aidan into our nice stroller, dosed him up with Benadryl, got him his Cranberry/Water juice drink and stocked up on tissues and off we went. We left the house a little after 10:00 and headed straight into town. We went first to see the kid stuff--face painting/ fishing pond/ clown/ balloons to make sure Aidan got to see all of that. While there, we picked up a DNA/ID kit from the police to get Aidan's information done.

We checked him to be sure he was okay and sure enough, kiddo was sacked out a little after 11:00. We were able to walk around the festival for a couple more hours and really enjoy ourselves while Aidan slept comfortably in the stroller. We were home and lounging on the deck by 2:00--the weather was perfect!-- and Aidan slept until almost 4:00.

Aidan slept much better Saturday night but we made the decision to keep him home from church on Sunday, opting to go see Grandma and Granpa instead. And what did he do there? Well, he went riding on a Riding Lawnmower, of course! What else do you do when you have allergies on top of a cold??? : )

Today we're back to our usual routine. The cold is still there, but has improved a great deal. The allergies, well, not so much. But, at least we know what that is and the benadryl and nebulizer help alleviate the symptoms. Resting more is out of the question. There is just really no keeping this boy down!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Just a few things

First, today marks the second anniversary of the shootings at Virginia Tech. Please pray with us as we remember the 32 killed, and the several injured, on that fateful day. . .

Second, GO CAPS!!! The Washington Capitals are in the Playoffs this year. They are awesome. In part this is due to five Russians who have come over to play in the NHL. Two of note are Alexander Ovechkin, a truly great hockey player, and Alexander Semin. Mr. Semin is of greater note to us because his hometown is actually Krasnoyarsk, Russia! That is where Aidan was born. . .

Third, Aidan is doing sooooo great with the potty training! He hasn't had an accident in nearly two weeks; we are doing naps in his underpants (no pull ups!); and we are about a day away from doing just pull ups at night! Then, it will be NO MORE DIAPERS!! Woo Hoo!! I haven't even used the timer with him since the first week. He just goes when he needs to and lets us know if he needs help, primarily when he poops. I'm so proud of him.

Unfortunately, he is really sick right now. His cough and nasal drainage has only gotten worse all week and, in fact, his eyes were just streaming during dinner. Poor little guy. I already had a doctors appointment scheduled for tomorrow afternoon to make sure it's not in his ears, but I think I'll keep him home and try to get into the doctor earlier.

Other news is that we have Aidan scheduled to start swimming lessons at the beginning of May; he'll start ice skating lessons in June or July; and we scheduled his third birthday party to be at the Ashburn Ice House. . .Ice Skating on his birthday!! : )

Finally, Aidan is also signed up for Preschool beginning in Mid-September. He'll be going two mornings a week at our church and will also start Sunday School at about the same time. I'm excited for him because these will be the children he goes to school with all the way through High School.

And so ends another day in paradise!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

And a Glorious Easter to you all!

Well, now that I am feeling a bit more rested after our very busy weekend, I can finally give an account of how our Easter went. It was awesome!

But, let me begin a bit before. . .

On Thursday, I had planned to take Aidan to Maundy Thursday services and experience the ceremonial foot washing that our church observes. There is a children's service for this that explains, in children's terms, what it's all about and the why's and werefores. Because this is an observance I really enjoy every year, and because I am sensitive to those who do the footwashing (having been there before!) I always get a good pedicure. So, I took a half day off and went and got a pedicure. . .then I went grocery shopping for our Easter dinner and home again to get ready. . . Only to find out that Aidan had been all over Loudoun County with the sitter on Thursday--doctor for her son, then to the lab, then to the grocery store ( a really big one in Sterling no less!) and lunch on the go in the car. . .Nap only lasted an hour. So, no church for us! He was a demonic monster times a thousand!!! And, because Pat was on the midnight shift, no vigil for me this year either. . .

Ah well, there was always Good Friday!!!

I had the whole day off for Good Friday. I got up at my usual time; did my run; got Aidan up, dressed and fed and off to the sitters we went. When I got home I had enough time to boil the eggs for dying and to clean the entire main floor of our house, including hand scrubbing the wood floors! Then shower and dressed and off to church I went at noon for the Three Holy Hours. I prepared myself to be moved--to reflect and meditate on my relationship with God and how I can improve it.

I was not disappointed!!

I love the Good Friday service for this very reason. And, it always ends with the Stations of the Cross. The only thing is, for the last couple of years the reserved sacrament isn't consumed until the evening service which means that the Altar Candle is left lit. . .it really takes away from the service that the Light of Christ is still there. . .but, more people are reached if it isn't extinguished until the evening service.

Anway, after that, I went to pick up Aidan, who was much more rested, and was told that two of the children had Croup. Great! But, Aidan seemed fine. So far!

Back at home, we had our dinner and bath and then began the process of dying our Easter Eggs:

On Saturday, I had to keep Aidan occupied and quiet while Pat slept. He got off work at 7:00 am and pretty much usually naps until around 3 or 4. So, We stayed in the basement most of the time (it was raining anyway) and I did laundry and some ironing. Then "we" set the table for Easter dinner. Once Pat was up, I was able to get the upstairs cleaned and then vacuumed the house. Prep work for Easter dinner commenced and Pat graciously took over bath duty.

This gave me a chance to get the Easter basket and our dyed eggs out and get them ready for Aidan to put outside for the Easter bunny to take.

Pat then went to take a nap in preparation for going to work at 11:00 pm and Aidan and I went to watch a movie until his bed time. When we came back upstairs, the basket and eggs were gone! Whisked away by the Easter bunny! : )

Easter morning dawned bright and beautiful, but cold! 30 degrees! Yikes!!! But, I was determined to wear Spring clothes to church even if we did get cold!!

When I came downstairs, the Easter bunny had arrived with the basket filled with goodies which was put on a beautifully decorated kitchen table. . .

Once Pat came home, we had a blast showing Aidan his basket:

The Peeps didn't stand a chance!

The rest of the day was fantastic. Aidan and I went off to church while Pat slept. Church, which was packed to the gills with people stacked 4 and 5 deep at the back and coming down the sides of the church and the pews were sooo full!! (where are all of these folks each Sunday???) went well. . .until the sermon. About mid-way through, Aidan turned to me, put his little hands on each of my cheeks and yelled--at the top of his lungs--"MAMA!! I GOTTA GO POOP!!" Mortified, but still very pleased that he told me, I took his little hand and off to the bathroom we went. . .sigh. . .

In the afternoon, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt B and UB came for dinner. And Aunt B helped out with the Easter egg hunt!

It was truly a glorious Easter. I didn't get to church as much as usual, but I'm not losing my Religion. . . : ) We really enjoyed our Easter so much!

Ah, but now Aidan has Croup! Well, it was a good, healthy three month run with no colds or cough! I should feel lucky. . .and I do. For all of it: our families, Pat, Aidan and for the Glorious Resurrection of Christ!

God Bless.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday contemplation

On this Good Friday, I invite you to contemplate the final words. . .What are the final words we hear in our life; in our relationships; each day? And, contemplate and reflect on the final words in Jesus' life. . .

Peter: I did not!
The people (us): Crucify him! Crucify him!
Mary, Mary and Mary: Reverent silence.
Pilate: (On a sign over Jesus' head, and which he refused to change later) Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.
The soldiers: Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.
Jesus: It is finished.

As we enter the final wilderness of this weekend before our Easter Resurrection, I offer to you my reflection on a wilderness I experienced as it was published in our Church Lenten Reflection booklet:

On March 18, 2008, Tuesday in Holy Week, we leave the United States for a month in Russia to adopt our son.

We arrive in Moscow early in the morning of the next day. It is cold: the air is cold; the people are cold; I am cold with fear and anxiety. A month is a long time to be away.

We are picked up on Thursday for a tour by our Moscow coordinator, Ana. We walk down Tverskaya from our hotel to arrive at the gates of Red Square where we are able to see St. Basil's and the Kremlin. We tour the nine chapels of St. Basil's, coming upon a service in one. Ana ushers us inside this chapel filled with incense, icons and no pews. We watch and listen, leaving as the priest intones "The Body of Christ."

On Good Friday morning, I awaken at 2:00 a.m. The eight-hour time difference is difficult to adjust to. Everyone at home is just preparing for the Maundy Thursday services and Vigil. I hold my own vigil in a chair by the window, watching the snow fall, journal in my lap, reflecting on our separation from all things familiar: home, the English language, the American flag, smoke-free spaces. And then I reflect on the changes that are coming: my routines, my free time, my heart.

Before sunrise on Easter morning, we land in Krasnoyarsk. We watch our Easter sunrise as we drive from the airport through the Siberian tundra to the city. Once settled, we walk to the chapel on the hill. I am unsettled to see so much emptiness in the eyes of the people we pass. But, it is the emptiness I see in the eyes of the youth that haunts me still. Who talks to them about God?

The Tuesday of Easter week, everyone at home is on an Easter high. Meanwhile, in Krasnoyarsk, we head off to court with sweaty palms and upset stomachs. After over an hour presenting ourselves to the judge, we are postponed due to an error by the Ministry of Education. We leave court, without our "Da" without our "Yes," still in our wilderness.

Thank you God that not only did the above wilderness end positively, but that our wilderness of Jesus' death on the Cross ends positively and triumphantly with His Easter Resurrection.

Pie Jesu. . .Grant unto Thy servant eternal rest.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Miscellaneous stuff. . .

So these past few days have been hectic, to say the least! Pat has been on the 3-11 shift so Aidan and I have been flying solo in the evenings. Home, dinner, bath, playtime and then bed. . .except that Aidan has been having a hard time going to sleep before 10:00! Now, those of you who know me well will say to yourselves, "But, Stacy's end of the day comes at 9:00! And, it really happens at 9:00!" And, I will agree. Except that it's hard when you have a toddler still going at full steam at 9:00! Well, but Pat is home this evening and is able to take over the bath chore for Mama and hopefully bedtime will come easier. . .please!?

Aidan has been really, really good lately. . .and really, really bad. . .

So, the good:

He hasn't had an accident of any kind since Saturday! He has been going pee pee and poop on the potty all the time, home and at Daycare, everyday since Sunday! I'm so proud of my little guy! And, he has been staying dry during nap and nighttime, too! I told him that if he stays dry at night through this whole week, we'll ditch the diapers and go for pull ups at night. He woke up the other night and called out to me. When I went to him he said he had to go potty. When we went in to the bathroom he went big time! Truly, it was almost an audible potty training click on Sunday morning when it started happening. I haven't even been using the timer. He either tells me he has to go, or he goes on into the bathroom to take care of business. It's awesome. Way to go Dudely! Funny that it happened exactly one year after he came out of the orphanage!

And, now the bad:

He is acting like a teenager! He has been making commands and has been moody and tempermental at times. Mostly, he is a sweet loving little boy, and then someone, or something, flips his switch and the little monster comes out and he is a demanding little demon that still looks like my cute little Dudely! I have had to constantly remind him to say please and thank you so that his commands aren't so commanding. I think it's a phase. . .

So, now we're looking forward to the Easter Bunny coming. But, first, I'll take him to the Maundy Thursday service with foot washing tomorrow night. I wonder how he'll like that???

Saturday, April 4, 2009

April 4, 2008-April 4, 2009

We woke up, a year ago, to the knowledge that we would be bringing our son home with us today. Home. To our hotel in Krasnoyarsk. We got up; packed our suitcases, repacked the backpack for our pick up to include his special outfit, winter coat, snow pants, boots, hat and gloves; moved into the new suite that had two rooms and a crib; unpacked; and then waited for the next 5 hours for our pick up at the hotel to go back to the orphanage for the last time.

We were picked up at 4:30 in the afternoon and we arrived at the orphanage about a quarter after 5:00. . .we put on our booties over our shoes, as usual, handed over the clothes for Aidan that he was to wear "home" and then we waited until we were asked to accompany Galina and another lady to a room where we were shown where Aidan had been raised up to that point. It was a pleasant room, but there were an awful lot of cribs in the sleeping area!

We walked up our usual stairs and then, we walked down the hallway to the music room. Half way there, we were able to see into the room. . .there he was. . . in the clothes we had given over to put on him! He was standing there with Ellie with a look on his face as if to say, "What's going on?? Why are we here now?"

We walked in and put the rest of his clothes on him- snow pants, boots, coat, hat. And then we picked him up and headed outside. There, we stopped to say "goodbye" to Galina and the orphanage.

And then we said our good byes-with one of the caretakers running after us crying!
(a little disturbing, to say the least!), got in the car and Serge drove us back to the hotel where we began the process of becoming a family. . .

And now, today, that marks one year ago!

Today, we got up and I made a special breakfast of pancakes, bacon and fruit. Aidan enjoyed it!

Then, after nap, we all (us as well as Grandma and Grandpa) went to Lightfoot for dinner. . . and it was really nice! We celebrated Aidan's Gotcha Day as well and Mom and Dad's 60th Anniversary. . .it was really really special. . .

Then, we came home to have dessert. . .cupcakes with sprinkles, per Aidan's request (he loves cupcakes with sprinkles! I think it's because of a certain book- If you give a Cat a cupcake. . .

And so, now we are a family. . .

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Easter Excitement Building

I am so excited for Easter this year! Last Easter we were in Russia and didn't really observe it in any way. Nor Holy Week either. Much. This year, we are home, will observe Holy Week (Maundy Thursday service with the foot washing, Good Friday vigil, Three Holy Hours and the Stations of the Cross), and then celebrate Easter Sunday with gusto! I can't wait!!

I've set my Easter dinner menu and have our plans all prepared. I never had much in the way of Easter decorations before, but now there is Aidan. And so I now have quite a few things-tablecoths, egg wreath on the door, little chicks. . . One is a lovely Russian Easter egg that we bought last year on old Arbot.

While in Russia last year, we purchased two plastic eggs (seen above with the Russian Easter Egg) at a Costco-like store near the orphanage in Sosnovoborsk. We thought they would have candy in them. When we got back to the hotel, we opened one to make sure there weren't any hard candies. They were giving hard candy to Aidan at the orphanage, but we didn't want to continue that practice! Anyway, once opened, we realized that these were actually eggs that contained Easter egg dye in them! Who knew?? The label had a bunny rabbit and a bunch of Russian writing on it. . .

So, this year (and next year) we will color eggs, on Good Friday evening, using our Russian Easter Egg dye. The only problem is that the instructions are in Russian. So, off to the store I went to buy some Paas dye so I would know what to do!

Aidan and I went to Pier 1 after church last Sunday and bought his Easter Basket. It's been a tradition in my family that each child has a really nice wooden type of basket that is used every year and then that can be given to the next generation of children. My older sister used my dad's! Anyway, Aidan picked out a really nice basket and we will set it outside for the Easter bunny when we color the eggs next week. It will then show back up on Easter morning full of goodies!!

Aidan is so excited!!