Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Monday, January 31, 2011

Back To Work To Catch My Breath!

Whew!!!  What a weekend!!  Did one actually occurr????  : )

Really, it was so incredibly busy.  Pat worked late every night the second half of the week due to the residuals from the storm we had last weekend and then had to work all weekend because he was already scheduled for that. 

Saturday evening he had plans to go see our Godson, the son of a very close friend of his, and I convinced them to take Aidan along for the ride--Aidan needed to be with his Daddy and have a break from Mama, and Mama was happy to have a few hours of quiet time. . .although they could have taken the dogs too!! 

Anyway, Saturday was my normal cleaning day so after the boys left, I started a fire, put on some good mood music, lit some candles and. . . .did our taxes!  Okay, I know.  Probably should have just sat down and done nothing, but really!  With the possibility of more bad weather, who knows when I'll have a quiet opportunity to get that done again???  It was really simple because I had taken the time to organize while we were off at Christmas and so it was only a matter of picking up the next item in the folder to enter the figures in the Turbo Tax program.  Piece of cake!  Federal and State, done!  Whew!

Sunday was no less hectic. . .Daddy headed off to work again and Aidan and I had a nice breakfast together. . .he is on an eating binge lately and had a HUGE bowl of cereal, HUGE glass of milk, and a HUGE glass of orange juice.  He finished it all without so much as a word from me!!  After church (where he had a snack of a doughnut and some fruit salad), we met Daddy at Moe's where he polished off his Quesadilla, milk, and chocolate chip cookie.  Off to Hockey, where he is doing wonderfully--more on that in a minute--and then back home where he had three bowls of sliced strawberries and two more glasses of orange juice!

Finally, we ended our day at another birthday party for a neighbor girl.  This time at Jumping Jack Sports.  Fun for the kids and the parents could sit back and watch.  After playing, the kids had pizza and cake---two slices of pizza and 1  1/2 pieces of cake for the kiddo to go along with his juice!  Really!!  Where is he putting it all???? 

But the real party fun were these funny things that kids of all ages always enjoy!!

Back home again, and Aidan polished off a chocolate bar with a glass of milk while he did his homework. . .

About the hockey. . .Aidan is really doing well.  He is learning new stances and how to skate in a different posture.  It's pretty cool to watch him evolve with this process.  And we have started a new bribe.  : )  I know how that sounds, but hear me out.  He is doing well on the Bob Books but seems to need some motivations to keep his interest going.  So, for every four books he completes, we'll be getting him a piece of the equipment he needs:  after the first four books, he'll get a hockey helmet (he's using his bike helmet now); the second set of books, he'll get the gloves and maybe a stick, because he keeps saying he wants that.  And  then the pads, and so on. . .If his feet stabalize on the growth this summer, we might even buy him his own skates. . .we are definitely looking at the inline hockey roller skates for a birthday gift, too.  And so, the bribing begins.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Maps of Everywhere All Over the Place. . .

I'm a History Geek.  Did you know that?  Okay, you probably guessed the Geek part, but maybe not the History part!  LOL.  Anyway, I love history. All kinds of history.  I could immerse myself in historical novels, movies, writings, both fiction and non-fiction, for hours at a time.  It could be US history, European History, English History, Russian History, even family history.  I just love it.

As a history geek, or maybe because of it, I have started a map collection.  Some are even historical.  In our family room, I have an historical map of Leesburg, the town we live in, from 1878:

In our Office, above the desk, I have a map of Russia.  This one is current, but may some day be historical considering the fluid nature of Russia's boundaries:

At the landing into the basement and going into our Rec Room, I have a map of Virginia, Delaware and Maryland as drawn by Peter Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson's father:
In the hallway as you enter Pat's Man Cave, I have a hand drawn map of Loudoun County, the Virginia County that we live in, showing where all of the battles occurred in the Civil War. . .Red are Confederate Victories and Blue are Union Victories:

I have another map still to be framed showing Col. John Singleton Mosby's area which included all of Loudoun, parts of Fairfax County, Clarke County and Fauquier County all the way to Winchester, Virginia.  That one will also be somewhere in the basement near the rest of our Civil War paraphenalia.  Very Cool.

So, lately we have been thinking about rearranging our Rec Room and making it more adult friendly with the toys hidden a little more.  It won't take a lot, just a little re-wiring for the big screen TV, but will create a space bigger and better laid out for playing Wii and cars, and a larger area for a potentially larger TV (like we need that, but you know.).  Anyway, this will clear out two long walls in the Rec Room. . .prime wall estate for maps.  And here is what I am thinking. . .

On one wall, an old map of Washington, D. C.: our Capital and we live near it and visit it frequently.  This would be paired with an old map of Moscow: Aidan's other Capital.  On the opposing wall, an old map of California, where I was born; an old map of Oklahoma, where Pat was born; and a map of Krasnoyarsk Krai, where Aidan was born. 

These maps in the Rec Room could be interspersed with random shots of us, individually or as a family, in each of these locations.

What do you all think?

Of course, I just realized I do not have a map of the United States!  I will have to remedy that and possibly put that up above the desk in the Office with the Russia map. . .

I think I started thinking about doing this when, a couple of months after we came home with Aidan, I realized I had been in two major world Capitols in a very short period of time, seen the tomb of the unknown soldier in both locations as well the eternal flame in both locations. . .not to mention the Kremlin in one and the White House in the other!  Interesting dichotomy. . .

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

All Kinds of Updates. . .

First of all, I have to share a funny thing Aidan said last week.  It was an icy morning and I was carefully looking to pull out of our street onto a main road into our town.  There was a line of traffic coming, who were going entirely too fast in my mind, and Aidan said, "Mama, are those cars going to the speed lemon??"  LOL!!!

I received an email with a "Save the Date" for the Easter party at the Russian Embassy.  Should we go?  I don't know.  But, I'll save the date just in case.  I probably should take Aidan again.  I imagine he might get more out of it this year. . .

Aidan brought home his second successfully completed Bob Book yesterday.  We have been reading the first one so now we'll mix this second one in.  His teacher asked about the word list that was sent home. . .a month and a half ago!  I let her know I didn't have this list and then, as I thought about it, I realized that this list is probably somewhere in Pat's truck.  He agreed!  : )  I'm sure I can get another word list and will ask about that again tomorrow.  I didn't today for a good reason. . .

We are finally getting some snow.  The storms so far this season have bypassed us and hit south and north of us, leaving us with a few flurries and cold temperatures and that's it.  But, not today.  Yesterday we started hearing that we would get about 1-3 inches. . .then we heard  2-4 inches. . .then 3-5 inches, and so on.  This morning we were hearing 6-10 inches for out here where we live!  The schools were all closed (not Aidan's, but the others) and we ended up closing early.  Good thing, too!  By the time I got to Aidan's school, the sleet and freezing rain had picked up and was beginning to turn over to snow.  By the time we got home, things had already turned white.

We'll let it come down for a while and then we'll head out and try to do a little shoveling on the driveway and pipestem.

Tonight we'll stay in and quiet--Daddy will be working late due to the weather--and have something warm for dinner.  The Caps play later which will occupy us in the basement for a while.

You all stay warm and dry now, ya hear??

Sunday, January 23, 2011

We Know The Planets. . .

This is really cute!  Make sure you turn off the music if you want to hear Aidan. . .

I guess the Kindergarten Club really is the right idea!!!  : )

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kindergarten Club and Birthdays

Okay frst of all, brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!

Seriously, it is cold.  It has been steadily getting colder all week!  Today we had a high in the mid-20's but it was 12 when I got up this morning. . .12!!!  Really, I am glad we are not getting dumped on, but a little snow with this extreme cold might be nice.  Just a little though.  After the several feet we had last year, I just want a nice quiet, simple snow day. . .

Aidan has done really well in school this week.  He has conitnued to learn to read.  He needs to be reminded, several times, to slow down and take his time, but it's coming.  Friday the kids started Kindergarten Club.  They all wear the same shirt that says Kindergarten Club on it and then they stay in one large group the whole day, just like they will next year in Kindergarten.  The idea is to help them with the transition. 

The teachers sat the kids down yesterday and made a list of the fears they have about starting Kindergarten.  One little girl said: I might get runned over!  A little boy said:  I won't know anybody there.  Aidan said:  Nothin'!  That's my fearless boy!!!  : )

Yesterday was also Pat's birthday.  After work, we loaded up the car with all of his gifts, the birthday cake, and the sign that Aidan insisted on making and went to Grandma and Grandpa's.  We had a nice dinner and then had some cake.  Aidan is a funny little guy:  He LOVES birthdays.  All birthdays.  He helped me make the cake--he wanted cupcakes, but Daddy wanted one cake, so I made one cake.  When I got it out of the oven, Aidan said, "Wow!  That's a humongus cupcake!!"  : )  Then he helped me frost it--yes I let him lick the spatula when we were done frosting the cake!  He also helped put the candles on the cake and then helped Daddy blow them out!  : )

I don't think Daddy minded!!  : )

Aidan then wanted to help open the presents and got a little upset when we said No! 

But, Nana made it better by giving Daddy and Aidan matching hats from the Harley Davidson store!

It was a long day, but fun!

Today we had another birthday party for a little girl in Aidan's class and now we're looking forward to a quiet rest of the weekend.

Monday, January 17, 2011

All Is Well!

First off, I picked Aidan up early today and took him to the pediatrician.  He was totally fine on Saturday and then yesterday he woke up congested and coughing.  Today he seemed a little more so and his eyes were puffy.  One of the classes at his school has several children out with viral pneumonia, so off to the pediatrician we went.

But, Mama panicked. . .he has a bad cold. 

Can't help panicking a little, you know???  Once you have RSV, any cough starts to sound bad.  I received a lesson from the Pediatrician today on what is a bad cough and what is not a bad cough, ie. from cold the one Aidan has.  Prescription is to stay inside and quiet and drink lots of fluid.  Doh!

All is well on that front! : )

Anyways. . .

When I dropped Aidan off at school this morning, I did stop to talk with his teacher.  I told her of my confusion about her comment regarding the reading and she immediately was apologetic!  She explained she should have put more into the comment to indicate that was how Aidan had been in the beginning, but that he picked up speed and enthusiasm and that by the time the book came home with him he was doing awesome.  She genuinely felt bad.  I told her I had been a bit upset, but that I understand how it can be with so many kids in the class. 

All is well on that one, too!

All in all, I am glad I talked to Aidan's teacher about my concern and I am still glad I took Aidan to the pediatrician.  I am his advocate in all things so I have to forge ahead, even if I am being a little over protective and rediculous!  : )

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hockey Lessons Begin. . .

Aidan had his first Hockey lesson today. He did pretty good, all things considered. It does seem as though the kids have to take a step back in the skills level, though, just because of the nature of Hockey. My cutie pie had difficulties with the fact that the Toe Pick is no longer a part of his skate. But, he was getting used to it by the end of the lesson.

His forward skating is awesome as is his backward skating. 

And he's getting better at the skating where he goes out and comes back in.  

But he had trouble with the concept with skating with one foot going forward and the back foot pushing him.

And his backward skating took a bit of a hit because of the butt wiggles the instructor made them do!

All in all, though, the first lesson was awesome. .  .look out Ovie!!  AJ Harrison is coming up from the minor Minors!!  : )

Partners In Education

I have always believed that education begins in the home.  And I take it seriously that, now as a parent, I am a partner in education for my son.  A partner that consists of the teacher, myself and Pat.  We are a team with the goal of providing Aidan with the best possible education. 

We chose Aidan's Preschool, Winwood, with his history in mind.  Having been told that he would likely have difficulties and knowing how advanced the education system is in our county, we took time and care in our selection process.  So far, we have not been disappointed.  Aidan is learning things that are absolutely amazing.  He can count to twenty in Spanish and knows his colors in Spanish as well; he understands the concept of gravity and loves the planets and outerspace.  He is learning simple math and has weekly lessons on music, daily lessons on the computer, and is encouraged to be a free thinker.  And he is defying the early prognosis of having learning difficulties.  Love it!

I try to stay in contact with Aidan's teacher, if not on a daily basis, then as often as I can.  Pat forgets to ask questions, so he usually doesn't know unless he is told--in fact, love him dearly, he usually has to be reminded to get things out of Aidan's cubby to bring them home!  : ) 

When I found out--Pat told me--that Aidan had started the Bob Books, I was a little surprised that I didn't know because I try to talk to Aidan's teacher so often.  So, I pointedly asked her the next day how it was going.  Her response should have given me a heads up, but it didn't.  She said, "I'm not concerned about Aidan's progress.  He is doing fine."  I let it go.

A week later, Aidan came home with his first Bob Book, completed and signed by his teacher saying "Good job!  I'm proud of you!"  He was so excited and immediately sat down and read it to us. . .Twice!!  Good boy!  He really is sounding things out, too.  It's awesome!

So, I was a little surprised, taken aback. . .okay kind of mad. . .when the next day we got his Bi-weekly Progress Report and at the bottom his teacher wrote, "Aidan doesn't show much interest in the Bob Books."  What?!?!?  Really?  Two weeks into this and now she tells me this, even though I had pointedly asked how it was going???? And, given how he had acted when he came home with the book it was a big surprise.  I don't like surprises when it comes to Aidan's eduction. . .that partnership in education thing, ya know??

So, I will be taking this Progress Report with me tomorrow when I drop Aidan off and I will ask her to explain.  I will also make sure she understands my thoughts about being "partners" in this process and that I don't necessarily want to wait two weeks to find out Aidan is struggling/showing a lack of interest/or doesn't want to do something.  Especially when it comes to reading. 

Whew!!  All aired out. . .thanks for listening!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bob Books: A New Frontier

Aidan completed his first Bob Book!  He did it in just under two weeks, which isn't bad.  I think he'll pick up the pace once he gets used to the sounds that each letter is supposed to make--not that we haven't worked on this before, but it is now in a whole new context.

His teacher sent the completed book home yesterday and we are to try and read it a few times a week with Aidan.  Or rather, he is to read it to us.  Here is our first attempt from last night:

It's really cute and simple.  The sentences are two or three words long and consist of "Mat sat."  Or "Mat and Sam".  And "Sam sat."  I think it works on just a couple of sounds at a time.  I know the tag books Grandma and Grandpa got him will help with this as well!

Here is the first completed book:
I'm so excited for Aidan!  It's a whole new adventure for him!

In other school news, Aidan is learning about Space right now and has indicated he wants to be a "Space Man" when he grows up.  He really love learning about the planets, stars, and all of the Rocket ships that go to space!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sur-Prizes, Wii, Snow, and Glasses!

My husband called me at work yesterday and told me there was a box in the kitchen that had been delivered. . .really??  What is it?  I don't know it's addressed to you.  Really???  I didn't order anything.

When I got home, I opened the box and inside was this:
A new coffee machine with some individual Gevalia coffee samples!  I apparantly got this thing because I have shopped at Starbucks.  That's not the first time I got something for free--years ago I got a case of Pepsi Free because I used to by Diet Coke all the time.  Then, more recently, I received a case of Stacy's Pita chips because of my name--Stacy.  But, I've never received a coffee machine like this before!  Wish now that I had played the Mega Bucks Lottery thing. . .  : )

Last night some friends came over, with pizza.  After dinner, we set the kids up with a movie and some games in the Rec Room and us adults went on into the Man Cave to play some Wii bowling.  What a great time!!  I have to laugh because they weren't the first ones to not be too excited at first about playing and then, about a half hour into the game, they say something like "We are soooo getting one of these!!"  It is fun. . .Aidan was good about not playing, but I know he would rather have been playing Wii. . .He kept coming to check on how we were doing!

This morning I woke up to a beautiful scene outside.  The snow was falling softing and gently.  The outside world looked so peaceful. . .

Then the dogs and the boys got up. . .

No more quiet! 

We finally got to Costco and Target and spent our weekly alloted few hundred dollars and are now home catching up on laundry (don't ever skip a day.  NOTworth it!) and later I'll fix some spaghetti, salad and garlic bread for dinner.  Tonight we'll hang out downstairs and watch the Caps. . .Nice and quiet family day. 

Meanwhile, I found Aidan playing on the computer. . .he remembered to put his glasses on!

Doesn't my little dudely look super smart?  Well, he is!  I didn't know they had already started, but his class began reading this week using the Bob books.  As they complete the book and learn some of the words, they have a turtle with the words in  sections of the shell that they color in.  Aidan has almost completed the first book already!!  Yeah Aidan!!!  Way to go!!!  You'll be getting into Harvard yet. . .but going to UVA!!!  ; 0

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Busyness Continued. . .

Well, so far, 2011 is just as busy as 2010 was. . .but, of course, we are still very early into it!

Aidan woke up very early (5:30) on Monday morning because he was so excited about going back to school!  Go figure!  And he has been having an awesome week so far.  He is really sounding out words now and, I think, is really just on the cusp of exploding into reading.  Reading starts in his Pre-K class next week so I can't wait to see how that goes.  Grandma and Grandpa gave him some Tag books that will help with some simple words when we are at home.  We started reading them and they are really cute with a lot of rhyming. . .Casey Cat has a Hat.  It does bring back memories of See Spot Run. . .

We finally picked up Aidan's glasses and his teacher says he does not seem as hesitant with handwriting.  I don't know if the glasses are really that helpful or not, but we'll go with it!  He only needs to wear them for reading, computer work, and handwriting if he is going to do those activities for 15 minutes or more.  I'm glad we got them, though, before he starts reading so there won't be any potential bumps on that road.

Aidan also decided he wanted to sign up for the Ninja class that is being done at his school.  It's a beginners karate class and lasts about 1/2 hour each week during school time.  He had initially said no to this, but then changed his mind yesterday--the day it started--and so I signed him up.  He seems to have liked it and talked about learning how to focus during dinner last night.  This could be a good thing!

I've started a new approach to discipline with Aidan, too.  We still send him to his room when he has really crossed the line.  But, now, after he has had a chance to calm down or to think about it, I go up and talk to him about choices.  I ask him to explain what happened and the result and then to think about what could have happened with a different action on his part.  I think he is really thinking it through and understands that there are consequences.  I noticed him thinking about things more as he was doing things last night.  Could be onto something here and I'll keep you informed!

We've put in for our vacation time for the coming year.  Two big plans:  we're going to take Aidan to Disneyland next summer--I've wanted to wait until he was 5 and I wanted his first Disney experience to be at Disneyland.  I am originally from Southern California, so that is kind of important to me.  Anyway, should be fun to take him there and to the beach where I grew up--Newport Beach, Balboa, and the fun Zone in Balboa with frozen bananas. . .Awesome!!

We're also thinking we might get away for a few days in December to celebrate our 25th Anniversary.  Possible a 4 or 5 day trip to Mexico, and take the kiddo with us.  That might be fun!

The main thing about our vacation for this year is that we are having to plan for Aidan's school days now.  He starts Kindergarten in August so I have to work with his days off and plan for that.  I'm hoping to not have to use his current school, unless I absolutely have to, so I can begin to eliminate that expense--and it will feel soooo good to eliminate that one!

I'm getting used to using the Weight Watchers Online program.  It's pretty cool and really lets you see how you are doing all at once.  Hopefully, I will stay focused on this and let the program work.

Some friends are coming on Friday for Pizza night and to play Wii.  Should be fun!  That reminds me, I need to figure out how the pizza will work in my Weight Watchers plan for this week!

Oh, and before I forget, I have scheduled our 3 year post placement visit and report with our Social Worker.  I have asked her to get the scoop on what the new requirements will be for the Russians on completed adoptions.  My biggest concern right now is if we do need to continue to do post placement visits, who will tell us about that new requirement?  Our Social Worker, The State Department, or the Russian Consulate. . .I'd much rather hear about this from our Social Worker than the other choices.  AND I'd much rather have her continue to be the one checking on us!  She does already know us, after all!
Pictures soon, I promise!  Including some of Aidan with the new glasses--he looks sooo grown up!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

Wow.  Here we are welcoming 2011 already!!  And what did you do New Year's Eve???

Well, after a nice Lasagna dinner, Daddy gave Aidan a bath and then he headed to bed because he went back to work last night. . .on the Midnight Shift!  Aidan wanted to watch Madagascar 2. . .again. . .so Mama set up the ironing board and got caught up on ironing while watching the first two installments of the John Adams series.

Suffice it to say, I was in bed and asleep before 11:00 last night.   Feel rested today!

The house is clean, most decorations have been packed and put away, laundry is caught up, and I even cleaned out and organized the desk filing cabinet in the office.  My year list also includes organizing the pantry, front guest/craft room and redoing Aidan's bedroom (more on that soon.) 

One of our resolutions was to be better about our diet and exercise.  We're not getting any younger and we have a little guy to think of.  We need to stick around for a while!  However, I would hazard to say I shouldn't have told Aidan, who just made me run after him while he rode his bike around the block. . .twice!!  Keep up Mama!!  I'm beatin you!!  : )  Little stinker. . .

Homemade Tacos and Tostadas tonight for dinner. . .I think I earned it with that unscheduled run!

The Caps play the Penguins today for the Winter Classic, but the time was changed due to weather to 8:00.  So, the friends that were coming can't now. . .but the game will still be on.  Go Caps!!   But, that does give us some time to go skating at the ice rink this afternoon. . .

Well, Happy New Year, y'all.  Hope 2011 is an awesome one for you and that you do all you hope to, are all you hope and that the road is always easy and smooth.