Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chugga Chugga Choo Choo!!

Well, as unbelievable as it seems, our long weekend is over. We're back to work and school tomorrow. I'm sorry to see this time come to an end. . .however, I am in need of some rest!! I suspect kiddo is getting to a point where the nap is no longer really benefitting him. ..he will nap for 2 to 2 1/2 hours still, on a lot of days, but will then be up until 10:00 at night and then up at 7:00 am. Not good for a Mommy and Daddy who want to sleep in a bit!! Perhaps I'll need to toy with nap a bit next weekend--an hour and a half??? Would that be enough for Mommy? : )

We had a nice time this weekend, though. Thanksgiving was great; Friday was nice and relaxing; the housekeeper, who was supposed to come on Friday did so on Saturday; Some of the outside lights are up and some of the inside Christmas decorations are set out; We finished the Living Room floor before Thanksgiving and then tore up the Dining Room immediately after. . .Housekeeper came, but the house looks likea wreck!!

And then, today, the first Sunday of Advent, the elf arrived for Aidan. Stepan arrived with a lot of fanfare--trains and the advice to be good because Stepan will advise Santa about Aidan's behavior. Although it didn't really work at church, so far, so good! Aidan loves the train and there are indications that Santa will bring a couple of more cars for the train when Stepan is picked up on Christmas Eve.

The only creepy part, and it is pretty creepy, is that within a half hour, Aidan was called Stepan, Steopa. Yes, that's right! Steopa!! After thinking to myself that maybe calling the elf Stepan might not have been the best idea, I commented to Pat how strange it is that there is so much stored in Aidan's little brain and we really don't know the half of it!!

But, anyway, Aidan had fun playing with his new train. . .Now if we could just get him to not step on the tracks!!

Chugga Chugga Choo Choo!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

So, another Thanksgiving has come and gone. . .and this one was really great!

Pat had to work, a fly in the ointment, but he was off at 3:00 and arrived home, with his parents, to the smell of roasting turkey with all the trimmings in the air. Our neighbors came and shared in our festivities, which was really great, especially becuase my sister-in-law and her husband couldn't make it this year.

We enjoyed good food, good company, and had lively discussions about how wonderfully blessed we are here in Leesburg, Virginia.

Added to the greatness of the day, I got a call from our dear friend Lori Jerger. She and her family were enjoying an unusual Thanksgiving day at home--last year they were here with us! Our memories of last year are ones to be held close to our hearts forever!

And, now, we begin to get ready for Christmas!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Difficult Conversations about History

Being an Historian is interesting at times. I know many of the truths about our collective history but continue to go along with the popular myths we have created about it all:

White people came and settled America. White people good. . .Indians bad. . .

George Washington was a hero who created our country and then passed it on to us. . .George Washington good. . .English bad. . . (Yes, George was amazing, but he was not alone and he was human).

The North won. . .the South bad. . .

You get my drift.

I had wanted to be as truthful as I could be with Aidan about history. But, I may rethink that. . .

This is the Court House in downtown Leesburg:

Yes, that is a Civil War soldier. . .actually, a Confederate Soldier. Leesburg was a Very Southern Town during "The War." In fact, the President of the Virginia Seccessionist Committee was a lawyer from Leesburg, John Janney.

Anyway, we live about 1/4 mile, or maybe a little more, from this statue--straight up the road. We pass this twice a day: on the way to day care and then on the way home. And twice a day we have the following conversation:

Aidan: That guy has a gun in his hands.
Mommy: Yes, he does. He's a soldier.
Aidan: What is he going to shoot?
Mommy: Well, he's going off to war. (trying not to say he's going to shoot people!)
Aidan: Is the other guy a bad man?
Mommy: The other guy?
Aidan: Yea, the one this guy is going after.
Mommy: (My ruse didn't work) Well, no, the other guy isn't a bad man.
Aidan: Is this guy a bad man?
Mommy: Well, no, this guy isn't a bad man either.
Aidan: Why, Mommy? Why is he just standing there with a gun in his hands if he's not going after the bad man?
Mommy: Look, Aidan! There's geese at the park today!!
Aidan: What do the geese say??? Honk! Honk!
Mommy: wipes sweat from her brow and sees our house. . .Look Daddy's home!!!

And, thus ends my first really hard conversation. . .but it repeats every day. . .Maybe I should find a different way to come home. . .

Sunday, November 22, 2009

2 years of Mommy bliss. . .

I lost my heart, two years ago today, to this little boy we met in Sosnovoborsk, Russia. It became his forever on that day. . .In reflection of those two years of loving life as a Mommy, I realized that Aidan isn't the only thing to have aged two

Aidan: November 22, 2007

Aidan: November 22, 2009

Kitty Cat: November 22, 2007

Ktty Cat: November 22, 2009

I don't want to talk too much about the extra lines on my face or grey in my hair. . .like Kitty cat, they are showing major signs of being well loved and these added features to my appearance are all because I gave my heart to my son. I became his Mommy on November 22, 2007, even though he didn't come home to live with us for another 4 months. I can't imagine my life without him!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

When is the Penalty Box a Reward???

For the past several weeks, I have been taking Aidan to his Ice Skating Lessons at the Ashburn Ice House. He really loves it and has actually been counting down the days of the week for the number of days left of school before he can skate again.

Funny thing, though, is that he'll skate for a bit and then make a beeline for the Penalty Box. It's all I can do to re-direct his attention: step step glide. . .step step glide. . .okay do a circle. . .okay step backwards. . .okay do a hop. . .okay throw the beany baby. . .no! Aidan! Not the Penalty Box again! No!! Don't you realize you're probably going to spend a lot of time in here when you get bigger??? : )

So, today, I hit on a new idea. . .use the Penalty Box as a reward! Yes, that's the ticket!

Okay, Aidan, go all the way across the rink doing step step glide and then you can go in the Penalty Box for a couple of minutes. YEA!!!!!!!

Okay, Aidan, that was so good, let's go all the way across the rink going backwards and then you can go in the Penalty Box again for a couple of minutes. YEA!!!!!

It worked so well that he actually was happy to do a few hops, too.

On the way home, Aidan informed me that when you chew gum you're not supposed to swallow it. Only the gum juice. . . Hmmm. . .gum juice. . .sort of makes chewing gum seem a little less appealing, doesn't it? ?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Settling down. . .some. . .

After as crazy as the last few weeks have been, this week was relatively quiet.

On Monday evening, my husband finally came home from his sojourn in the woods. After he was cleaned up and settled, we ripped up the carpet in our Living Room. Nice thing to do when you are ready for some quiet time! : ) Tuesday saw us repainting the baseboard trim and setting out a few of the boards for the new floor. It's going to be really beautiful! I'll post pictures when it's done.

Wednesday was Grandma's birthday and we happily spent the evening celebrating: dinner at Blue Ridge Grill and then home for cake and presents. Aidan wanted to help so he got to blow out one of the candles. He's really growing up in that he is now understanding that other people, besides him, have birthdays. In fact, he now knows that after Grandma's birthday, then it's Nana's, then Jesus' birthday, then Daddy's, then Grandpa's, then Grandpa Dave's and then it's Aidan's birthday!

We made the wrapping paper on which he put A H on several times. . .I just love that he has learned his initials! I think we'll try to make some Christmas wrapping paper too (brown paper and some finger paint is all you need. . .plus some space to let it dry!)

Pat picked up Aidan yesterday and I was able to go to the grocery store to do the major portion of shopping for Thanksgiving. I have so many really awesome recipes planned! A few hundred dollars later, I was ready to head for home where Pat had built me a fire in the fireplace (even though it was nearly 60 outside, but how sweet is that?) and we spent a quiet evening.

Tonight we're supposed to pick up the remainder of the wood for the floors and tomorrow the Living Room will be started. Aidan has ice skating tomorrow and I will try to get some prep work done for Thanksgiving this weekend.

Other than Thanksgiving itself, next week should be even quieter. I'm really looking forward to a little time off work, cooking on a largescale and the beginning of a wonderful holiday season. . .only a week till Advent begins!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Blog Awards and Barking Dogs

I have to apologize for the Blog Award I posted on on Monday. Barb from was very sweet to pick me as one of the folks to pass this on to. I was distracted beyond belief by the dogs barking when I posted my answers. I love our dogs, Maggie and Mosby. But, they are a little overprotective. If Pat isn't home, they will bark nearly non-stop in order to "warn" Aidan and I of dangerous things outside: passing cars, a leaf blowing in the wind, a cloud over head, you get my drift. It can become so distracting that I can't hear anything except the dogs barking. . .sort of defeats the purpose of the bark and warning, you know?

But, Monday evening, my husband came home. He'll likely hunt again this season, but probably for just a half day at a time. No more long stretches of several days. This is good. Aidan and I could use a break from the barking! : )

Maggie and Mosby are very good dogs otherwise. They are both very beautiful purebred Golden Retrievers. Mosby, aka John Singleton Mosby--named for the Confederate Colonel from our area, will be 4 years old on the 27th. We bought him from a breeder in Stanardsville, VA. He was 8 weeks old when we brought him home. . .we got him because our old dog, Brutus, had gone to the great reward the prior September. On Christmas evening, Pat looked at me and said, with a tremor and pout, "We're dog people, and we don't have a dog!" Doh! I was supposed to get him a dog for Christmas! Mosby was brought home the next month on Pat's birthday.

Poor Mose. . .he was really enjoying life with just the two of us. He was our baby. He got 100% of our attention. Then I let a friend of mine talk me into breeding him with her fantastic Golden Maddie. She literally twisted my arm! : ) Mosby loves Maddie and it was a match made in heaven. One attempt and Maddie was pregnant with nine puppies. . .NINE!

On Jun 9th, 2007, I got the call that the puppies were on the way. I arrived just after the first one, Mosby Jr., was born. I watched them all come into this world, held them in the palm of my hand, and nuzzled them. The second one born, was my Maggie. I fell in love with her the minute I saw her for the first time. She was, and is, so sweet!

Maggie, aka Steel Magnolia--you know, came home to us when she was 8 weeks old, in August 2007--just before we sent off our paperwork for Russia. Suffice it to say, Mosby was not happy. Initially. He was a little put out with us for bringing this little monster into his home. It didn't seem to matter to him that Maggie was his own daughter. Mags was into everything, but we loved her nonetheless.

Then, the following November, we took both Maggie and Mosby to my friends house to stay for a week while we made our initial trip to Russia. In addition to Maddie, my friend had another Golden, Ginger, and had kept one of the puppies, Brandy. So, that was five dogs: Mosby and Maggie, plus Maddie, Ginger and Brandy. Mosby had been there before, but this was rediculous! According to him, that is. I think he may have felt a little abandoned by us.

Mosby settled down some when we got home and even seemed to be warming up to Maggie. He didn't even seem too upset about the changes we were making in our house: The babies room, toys, a crib, moving furniture, adding different lighting and locks on everything.

Maggie, on the otherhand, was just excited about everything. What's this? What's this? What's this? You should have seen her on Christmas. . .LOOK, LOOK, LOOK! LOOK WHAT I GOT!!! A BIG BONE!! You could practically hear her. Funny dog. . .

When we got the call to go back to Russia, we made our arrangements for the dogs again. A month is a long time to ask a friend to take on two additional dogs--on top of the three already there--and Pat's mom and dad graciously agreed to keep Mosby for us. Maggie went back to visit with her Mama. The plan worked out great. We felt comfortable and dogs were fine and comfortable. I think Mosby actually really enjoyed himself--I suspect my father-in-law did, too!! Bonding, you know??

But, the trouble really got going when we came home. . .Aidan was now a member of the family. Mosby, still being really good, just got really confused about the pecking order. He just didn't know what to think. First another dog came home and then another something that looks sort of like a people, smells like a people, but sure doesn't act like any people he's seen before! Maybe this is just another dog that looks different!

I have to admit that Aidan fell in love with both dogs right away, but learned quickly that Mosby was a little. . .pickier. . .about how he was treated. Maggie was almost immediately declared by Aidan to be "Aya's dog!" Mosby is Daddy's dog, Maggie is Aya's dog and Mommy doesn't have a dog. It's still this way, 19 months later.

Speaking of 19 months later, Mosby has settled down a lot. He is a little high strung, perhaps more that we realized, but he really cares for Aidan and knows now that Aidan is a people and that Mosby is below Aidan in the Pack order. Maggie continues to just go with the flow. Maggie's only fault is that Mosby drags her into the warning process. . .she is near sighted and so can't tell if there is actual danger or not. So, she lets Mosby decide and she follows.

In any case, our dogs are part of the family and we love them. Even if they try to warn us of every little bug that passed within 100 yards of our front door. . .

P. S. I've added a link for a little girl named Polly who will be having some pretty major surgery. Please click on the button and join me in praying for her and her family during this difficult time.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Blog Awards!!!

As previously indicated, I was tagged with a Blog Award!!! My reward is that I have to post 10 little known things about me. . .and so, here we go. I apologize in advance if I bore you to tears.

1. I can't stand it when my dogs bark. It drives me absolutely crazy! And they do it alllllllllll the time. This made it to number 1 because it is evening and Pat isn't home yet. . .meaning that the barking is nonstop--as per usual when Pat isn't home!

2. I don't mind that Pat hunts, but right about now I am ready for the season to be over and for him to come home. NEED HELP DUDE!! GET THE DOGS TO STOP BARKING!!!

3. It freaks me out how easily Aidan gets a cough. We don't even get a hint that a cold is coming, and WHAM!! He has one. . .and a cough quickly ensues. . .

4. I LOVE freshly painted walls. And we just finished painting a huge portion of our house. It's awesome. . .

5. I am absolutely bugged beyond belief about how irresponsbile my church has been. Six years ago we were debt free and had a million in the bank. Now, no savings and over 3 million in debt. . .with over a million in an interest only loan on property that has decrease, drastically, in value. Not good. Not good Stewardship of parishioners money. . .

6. I LOVE the way my son smells right after a bath.

7. I LOVE to make Aidan laugh. . .his belly laughs are the absolute best!!

8. I LOVE spending good quality time with my husband just talking and dreaming about the future.

9. I LOVE to hike on the Appalachian Trail and can't wait for Aidan to be old enough to go with me. One leg of it is only 15 minutes drive from our house. . .we can walk from Harpers Ferry, WVA down to Bears Den at Mount Weather, VA in about a 1/2 day walk.

10. I LOVE the smell of cigars. . .I don't want to smoke one, but I love being around people when they are smoking them.

There you go. That's it. Hope you aren't yawning too bad!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Life will slow down, right???

What a crazy and insane weekend!

After nearly two weeks of being on vacation, most of which was spent hunting, my husband was finally home. So, on Friday I had the day off and we spent the entire day shopping for Christmas, lunch together and then hired a sitter and went out for a nice dinner, just the two of us--all by ourselves. Aidan wasn't very happy about being left at home, but he seems to have settled down once the dinner choices were presented!

Saturday morning, while waiting to go ice skating, Aidan decided to check out the Target Toy add and informed me that he wants just about everything in it! uh oh. . .

Ice skating went great. Aidan continues to amaze me. He is really getting the glide going and is gaining control over his movements. He even jumped a couple of times, small jumps. Pat took some video of it, but I'm not sharing. . .it is mostly of my derriere! Not my best angle.

Saturday was capped off with a nice dinner with Grandma and Grandpa and then the Caps played again. . .and lost. Not a bad day, but some things could go smoother--such as my husband and I communicating better, on both sides!

We were up late on Saturday, all three of us, and then Aidan was up early--6:30am! So, we uncharacteristically skipped church and Sunday School and had a nice leisurely family breakfast and then headed off to the Floor Store where we successfully completed our floor transaction--in part--that we had started back in June. Lunch out and then home again. . .but, Aidan didn't nap. Well, maybe 5 minutes! We ended up letting him ride his bike with his friends for a while thinking I could get him to bed early. That ended up being more like 8:00--I pity his teachers tomorrow!! Aw well. We'll get caught up this week!

While the guys waited for me to finish doing the breakfast dishes, Aidan drew a picture of Mama on the driveway. . .

Yes, that's me. . .Mrs. Potatoe Head!! : ) Do you think Aidan is trying to tell me something????

Funny thing I noticed this weekend: there are a lot of Russians around here! Not too unusual since we are only 35 miles from D. C.. . .but, we are 35 miles from D. C.! A Russian couple sat behind us at dinner on Friday and then we met two more men today at the Floor Store. Funny!

And so, we are back to work and school tomorrow. Next weekend promises to be just as crazy: celebrate Grandmas birthday, which is actually Wednesday, and begin prep work for Thanksgiving! Can't wait. It's going to be great!

Oh, and I was tagged with a Blog Award! I am supposed to tell you all 10 little known things about me. If you are truly interested, I promise to post this tomorrow. . .I have to warn you though, I'm really very boring!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Much Learning is Going On!

Aidan has learned the days of the week. He can name them off: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. . .and so on. He hasn't learned the months yet, but I'm sure he'll have that down by the end of the year. He also knows that each school week is 5 days long and he counts down the days until ice skating! Funny guy! Two more days!

Aidan's school is spending this month on Giving Thanks and Being Thankful. So, the other day, when I picked him up from school, there was a folded handmade card in his box. I smiled when I picked it up out of his box and then I opened it up. This is what I found on the inside:

My heart is very warm and full.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Crazy Busy

In spite of the dry late summer and early fall, fall has been really beautiful around here. Just enough cold and rain to make it feel like fall. And the colors, although not the best I've seen around here, still not too bad!

But, with fall comes a really crazy schedule (rather than just plain crazy). In addition to all of the holidays, Pat is a hunter. Hunting season starts at the beginning of October and ends some time in January--although, because of the high deer population this might be longer, I'm not sure. Anyway, add in the sometimes crazy shift work and Daddy isn't home much in the fall! Aidan and Mommy miss Daddy, but we try to make do.

Aidan is back in ice skating lessons and is doing really well. He picked up right where he left off and is now learning how to glide more in between his steps. It's funny because his instructor takes great pains to show the kids how to get up if they fall on the ice. . .Aidan just pops right up!

Yesterday was really beautiful, so Aidan and I walked back down to the church after his nap and played in the playground there. I even played on the jungle gym with him--thank goodness no one had a camera on me!

He and I have been suffering colds for about a week to week and a half now. I think we're finally getting over them. I didn't even need to use his nebulizer on him all weekend--and no coughing! That was good.

Yesterday was Orphan Sunday. Ironically, or maybe it was pretty cool, it coincided with my church's second Ingathering Sunday for our Annual Pledge drive. I didn't have to be with Aidan in Sunday School, so I went to the Adult Forum after the service. Our priest gives a talk having to do with the sermon and then ties it in to whatever is going on. He asked for testimony about giving/tything. After listening to a few comments people had made, and how their giving had given back to them, I uncharacteristically got up and spoke about how we had been given money which we then used to adopt Aidan. I pointed out that it was a leap of faith because Russia was shut down when we started, so there were no guarantees, and how we are receiving back so much! I heard many murmurs of assent about what I was saying. . .

Funny thing about our church--not just St. James' but all Episcopal churches, they seem just as obsessed about going and doing things in Africa as I am about Russia. And yet, the folks they help in Africa are part of families. . .many are even part of great family networks. And yet, these children in Russian orphanages are without anything even close to that. Aidan came from one of many orphanages in Krasnoyarsk Krai and it had 185 children ages 0-4 in it. One orphanage in one region of a country so large it takes up nearly half of the land mass of earth.

And my testimony was the only thing close to mentioning Orphan Sunday at my church.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The first time ever. . .

Two years ago today I got a phone call from our Social Worker who wanted to know if I had gotten her email message. . .I immediately got online and opened the message from her and saw this:

I started to cry. . .I was looking at my sons face for the first time ever. . .