Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Review. . .and Happy Advent!

Wow.  Here were are at the beginning of day 5 of our 5 days off.  Our, meaning me and Aidan, that is.  We have been off since Wednesday and we have been having a great time! 

When I picked Aidan up on Tuesday, we already knew Daddy would have to work late.  So, we came on home and made our brine  for the Turkey and did some chopping.  Wednesday, we got up early and began chopping and we cleaned the bird, set it in the brine, made our pie, dressing and several otherside dishes.  Daddy had to work day shift, so he wasn't home again, but Aidan was a huge help!  He insisted that we play some Christmas music while we stirred and chopped.

I loved that Aidan ran up to get his Home Depot apron on in order to help me out. . .while wearing his camoflage hunting hat!!

It rained heavily all day on Wednesday so we weren't able to go outside during our breaks, but we made due with some dancing while we cooked.  We went out for our annual night before Thanksgiving dinner with friends and Daddy was finally able to meet us there for that after having to work late again!

Thursday dawned clear and cooler.  Aidan helped me get the table set and do the last minute preparations in anticipation of sharing this wonderful meal with Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt B and UB. 

But, because Daddy had to work (again!) the bird didn't get put into the oven until 1:00.  But, boy did it look and smell good when it was done!

And, finally, we were ready to eat!!!

Later, I discovered that someone was playing with the camer again.  Can you guess who?????????????

Hmmm. . . .

Anyway, after dinner, we had our dessert and then decided to get a family photo.  Fun times coordinating 7 people and 2 dogs!!!  But, we laughed all the way through it. . .

Maggie ended up not being in the group photo. . .she just wouldn't cooperate with everyone else!!  : )

Thanksgiving was a fun family day.  I had started off feeling gritchy and irritable but was able to remember that it was a day of Thanks. . .which has now reminded me that I really should sit down and write out 100 things I am thankful for.  It might help keep me grounded and humble!  I'll let you know how I do.

Friday was another beautiful day.  In the morning, Aidan and I got ourselved going and went to pick up Aunt B and UB who were staying at Grandma and Gradpas.  We had decided to venture down to the Capitals Kettler Iceplex at Ballston.  It's a bit of a trek for us out here in Loudoun County, but we did it!  I did make the mistake of depending on the GPS to tell me where to go, so we made a couple of bad turns.  Once I went back to depending on myself, we had better luck. 

Unfortunately, when we got there, we discovered that the Caps weren't practicing that day because the game was at 4:00. . .but we had fun skating anyway!  And I got a couple of fun pictures, too!

The ice got pretty chewed up, although it didn't seem any more crowded than at Ashburn.  But, we had fun anyways and will likely go down there again over our Christmas break.  Hopefully, next time, the Caps will be there practicing!  I know Aidan will love that.

Friday afternoon, when we got back, Pat got off work around 3:00 and had enough time to put up the outside Christmas lights.  Then we went off to dinner at a good Mexican restaurant. . .no leftovers on that day for us!!  Mama was not cooking. . .

Satruday, we finished with the lights and put our fake tree together.  Aidan read off the instructions on which color came when.  I think the boys had a good time working together on this project.  Meanwhile, I decorated the rest of the inside of the house.

And now, we have a new visitor.  Steopa the elf has returned.  It looks like he brought a movie and filled the Advent Calendar up.  This will be exciting for Aidan.  Today is the first Sunday of Advent, but the Calendar does not start until December 1st.  So, he'll have to do some waiting.  But, that is what Advent is. . .a time of waiting.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Hope you all had a good one!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Travels with Tigger

A little over four years ago, I purchased Tigger in order to have some kind of stuffed animal to give my baby when I met him.  When we packed our bags and left the US on November 20th, Tigger was stowed safely in my suitcase as one of the gifts for our son.  We took off from Dulles airport and flew to Atlanta and then to Moscow, arriving in Moscow on the morning of the 21st.  We were picked up and taken to the Novatel where we stayed a few hours and got some much needed sleep and then showered and repacked up and left at 6:00 for the Domodedovo airport, where we met Tamara and Bill Holsinger-Robinson (our partners and lifeline to the US for the next few days) and our over night flight to Krasnoyarsk.  We landed in Krasnoyarsk at 5:30 am and were then taken into the city to a rooming house that had no wi fi and our phones didn't work (passports were taken from us too!).  We were told to sleep and then be ready to be picked up around 11:30 or so.

It was now November 22nd and Thanksgiving Day back at home.  We were in Siberia!  We were taken for a pizza lunch at California Pizza and then off to the Ministry of Education to discuss why we wanted to adopt a child from Russia and to find out anything we could about our baby.  Then. . .

off to the Baby Home we went! 

Our son was brought in. .  .he took one look at us. . .and started crying!  : (  I went over to pick him up and the care taker didn't let him go right away, so I handed him Tigger.  Still crying, but now clutching Tigger, my baby finally relented to being held by me.  Although he remained tearful for a while, he allowed me to feed him and even opened up a lot to play with both me and Pat.  We discovered he liked bubbles and that he was very ticklish.  And, best of all, he called Pat Papa.  And Tigger?  He went with Aidan and I presume stayed with him the entire time after that.

Four months later, we brought Aidan out of the Baby Home and Tigger was still there with him.  A little more worn looking, but still there!

And now, four years later, Tigger has the look of a well loved animal.  He sleeps with Aidan every night and Aidan told me the other day he is glad we'll be home for five days later this week because then Tigger won't fee lonely (Tigger no longer goes to school with Aidan.) 

And, so, here is our friend Tigger who came from Target, went to Atlanta, Moscow, Krasnoyarsk, Sosnovoborsk, back to Krasnoyarsk, Moscow, Atlanta and has now also been to North Carolina, Virginia Beach, Washington, D. C., Nevada and California!  Travelin' Tigger.  He's awesome!

Happy Birthday Tigger!!!  Four years with our baby boy as his constant companion, confidant and friend!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Big Birthday Present

Friday was my mother in laws birthday.  When asked what she would like for her birthday, she replied that she wanted to see Aidan play hockey.  Okay.  We can do that.

So, yesterday, we headed out as usual for Aidan's hockey skills class, which is followed by Mini Mites.  Aidan did really well in the skills class.  He's really learned a lot during the last several weeks of this class and he is fortunate that he has Mini Mites right after to put into practice what he has learned. 

Yesterday was spent mostly on Stick Skills, which Aidan LOVES to do!  He practices moves at home, but they usually work on foot skills, power turns and endurance during the Skills class.  So, yesterday was a treat for Aidan.  I think his red jersey is a bit big so the fact that he is doing so well in this class is really amazing.  Here is a little of some of what they did:

Mini Mites, as I said immediate followed and during the end of the skills class, Pat went to pick up his parents.  Meanwhile, I got Aidan to eat a quick snack, have some Gatorade and change his jersey to the smaller Yellow jersey for Mini Mites.

And, for the first time all season, he scored!!!!  Four goals!!!  AND had a beautiful assist where he had gone behind the goal, turned and saw a teammate in front of the goal and passed the puck perfectly to his team mate.  And, did I get any pictures of any of this???  No.  I did get this, though.

Not very revealing of what he accomplished yesterday.  I wish I could show you the huge shining grin he had when he came off the ice.  I will say that it was so nice to hear the official skate over to Aidan after his assist and tell him what a great pass that had been.  The grin was stretched ear to ear!  Pat hadn't actually seen Aidan play since the beginning of October and boy was he surprised at his progression!

After this excitement, we came back to our house for a nice steak dinner, cake and presents for Grandma. 

Wish the Caps were doing better.  Not sure what's going with them.  But, it's still early in the season. 

Daddy had to go back to work today, after being off for the last two weeks hunting, so Aidan and I are taking it easy but will go outside and rake our front yard.  There seem to be more leaves than usual this year!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

First Report Card

Well, it's here!  My baby's first report card. 

The funny thing about Loudoun County is that for Kindergarten they give dots to denote that there is some knowledge or skill in an area that is not assessed at this time; E for Exceeds; M for Meets; P for Progressing Towards Standard; and B for Below Standard.

I am happy and very very pleased to tell you that Aidan received E's on all areas that were assessed in LAnguage Arts and dots in all areas not assessed!!!!  For Math, he received an E for Identifies, describes and extends patterns and M's for every other category!!!  He can recognize and read all sight words presented as well as most into what he needs to know in the third quarter.  In the category called Characteristics that Affect Learning, he received S's (Satisfactory) in all areas except two where he received N's (Needs Improvement).  The two N's are for Listens attentively and Uses self-control.  Hmmmm. . .same areas he has needed to improve in since he was two! 

Seriously, I am really proud of him.  He is doing so incredibly well!  We read every night: he reads a Bob book to us and we read a book to him.  I cannot express how pleasantly amazed I have been at his reading progress!  He was doing really well last year at Winwood, but whatever manner of teaching they are using in the Loudoun County School system is obviously a key for him.  The door has been not only unlocked but has been pushed wide open! 

Did I tell you that I am really really proud of him????

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stacy's Big Award

So a few weeks ago, Pat handed me a form to fill out and mail in to enter a Washington Post Capitals Giveaway contest.  I never win contests, so I dragged my feet about it.  I didn't want to enter a contest that I knew I wouldn't win!  Finally, I filled the form out and sent it in thinking that I had missed the deadline--I mailed it on October 15th or so and I think the deadline ended up being October 17th.

Well, I got a message on my cell on October 31st from someone at the Post saying I had won some contest and to give her a call back.  I had completely forgotten the contest already and erased the message and did not call back. 

I got a second message from this same lady a few days later saying she really needed me to give her a call about the prize I had won.  I rolled my eyes and called her back thinking this was some scam to get me to buy something. 

Boy was I surprised!!!

My name had been drawn for the Capitals Giveaway contest and I had won a Hockey Stick!!!!  Signed by Alex Ovechkin!!!! 

I had to fill out an Affidavit saying I understood that this prize has a monetary value that is subject to taxes and then arrangements were made to get the stick to me.  Kind of hard to mail a 6 foot hockey stick, so it was hand delivered this past Saturday! 

Aidan is not happy here because the stick is all wrapped up with bubble wrap and I had just told him he was not allowed to use this stick!  : )  He wanted to take it to Mini Mites!!!! 

A little happier here because we had gotten the bubble wrap off and I put him in his Moscow Dynamo  Ovechkin Jersey. 

About as close to a hockey stance a 5 year can get in while wearing a jersey that is 5 times too big and holding such a big stick!!  But, I think Aidan may decide to be #32 in the future. . .

And there you have it.  My big excitement for the weekend!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

When I Grow Up. . .

Aidan frequently tells me how things are going to be when he grows up.  They mostly make me smile, but sometimes they give me a good laugh.  In addition to being a big time Hockey player, here are a few of my favorites that he has told me:

When I grow up, this closet (pointing to his Dad's closet) will be mine and yours will be my wifes!

Aidan:  When I grow up, Mama, where will you live?  Me:  Well, right here, I guess.  Aidan:  No you won't.  You'll have to live somewhere else because my wife and I are going to live in this house!  (I guess I should be happy that he loves his home so much that he never wants to leave it!! )

When I grow up, Mama, I'm going to have six.  Six what?  Six kids.  I'm going to bring them all home from Russia!  (so sayeth my only child. . .)

And finally, I have won a major award!  (Doesn't that make you think of the movie A Christmas Story??)  It is scheduled to be delivered around 10:00 tomorrow morning.  Stay tuned for pictures. . .and yes, it is tall and nicely shaped, but it isn't a leg lamp!   Although I will have to keep Aidan's hands off of it!!!

Happy Veteren's Day!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mommy Freak Out Moments

Everybody has them.  The differ for each kid, depending on who they are and what they tend to do.  Admitedly, most of mine occur when Aidan is on the ice.  I see him fall and my heart goes into my throat.  But he is so padded up that he practically bounces.  And he gets up really fast too. . .so fast that I sometimes wonder if he actually fell! 

But there are other moments I don't get over as fast. 

Lately, Aidan has been showering on his own.  He's not really interested in baths anymore.  He has even insisted on big boy shampoo and big boy bar soap.  No more baby stuff for him!  I know it's inevitable and I even think I remember the same thing happening for me when I was his age.  But he's my baby, ya know???? 

At first I was allowed to stay in the room with him.  But, now I have been banished.  I am allowed to leave the door cracked open a little bit.  A Very Little Bit.  And, he has gotten used to yelling out wehn he drops the soap, "I'm okay!" in that kid voice that says "Don't freak, Mama, really, it's just the soap!" 

But, now we're on to a new big boy trend.  One I really am not liking at all, but am not at all sure what to do about it!!!  The Public Bathroom situation.

Aidan prefers. . .no, insists that I no longer accompany him to the bathroom.  He wants his privacy.  Okay.  I'm all about that!  But, does he have to insist on this when we're out in public and I can't send Daddy with him???? 

The first time it became an issue we were at Costco.  I had just finished checking out and had a cart filled to the brim with our purchases.  Aidan told me he had to go potty to which I said, okay, let's go.  Down the hall we went when all of a sudden, the little bugger ran into the Mens Room.  I was left standing there nervously pacing back and forth trying to see in without trying to see in, if you know what I mean.  An elderly couple had come up right behind us and the gentleman had gone into the Mens Room.  Realizing I was very nervous about the situation, he came out and told me Aidan was okay and that he was just washing his hands and would be out momentarily.  The gentlemans wife came out shortly after and they waited with me until Aidan came out.  I was grateful to them for being so kind. 

I did admonish Aidan to not do that again and explained that not everyone is nice (how to say this without saying what could happen???)  I don't want my son to live in fear, but I also want him to be prepared.  So, we did talk about good and bad touches and that because he is still small he will need to have me go with him if it is just me and him.  He doesn't like it one bit.  And keeps trying to go into the Mens Room at the Ice House by himself too.  He says the Mens Room is better because the toilets are on the wall and the flusher isn't as loud. . .hmmmmm. . . .  : )

But, I think he understood that Mama can't live with her heart in her throat all the time!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Really Good Saturday

Before Aidan came along, our fall was usually kind of hectic.  We would move from Pat's hectic work schedule of lots of overtime in the summer to Pat going off each weekend, as well as many weeknights, to go hunting.  Throw in a few overtime days due to fall storms and I had a lot of alone time. 

Now that Aidan has joined our little family, I am no longer alone, but we've added Aidan's hockey schedule to the mix. . .and now school activities and homework, too!!!  Life is crazy, but so much fun!!!

This Saturday, I had my usual errands to run. . .Dry Cleaners, Home Depot, Target. . .all before noon so we could get home and have lunch and then get dressed for an afternoon at the ice house and hockey.  We packed up the car and headed out about a quarter to ten.

And there in front of the stores was a set up from the Purcellville Fire House!!!!  A kids dream complete with the boots, pants and jacket for a certain little boy to try on.  After I made my drop off at the Dry Cleaners, over we went!!

A happy boy. . .and we added a new shiny red fireman hat to our fireman loot!  After finding out that he can join the volunteers in 11 more years, we went on our way, heading over to Home Depot, where I had promised that Aidan could try out the tractors (lawn tractors) as usual. 

But. . . .guess what we found there!?!?!?!?

You got it!  ANOTHER set up of Firemen!  This time, it was the Leesburg Fire Department giving kids a tour of the Tanker Truck. . .

It was really cold, so we didn't linger, but Aidan was some kind of happy!  A shiny Black Fireman Hat joined the loot. . .He jabbered all the way through the store and then all the way to Target. . .where there was nothing. . .but it didn't dampen Aidan's high spirits!!!

At Target, we discovered a great Potatoe and bacon soup that Aidan loved--three helpings of the tastings--so we bought several cans for later use.  We finished our business and headed home for some lunch.

At the Ice Rink, Aidan had Hockey Skills and, because it was the first Saturday of the Month, Mini Mites was skills class, too.  So, Aidan spent 2 1/2 hours on skills this week--with short games at the end of each session.  And he did awesome!!  The Ashburn Extreme coaches were there as was the manager of the entire Rink doing the coaching and instructing this time.  At the end, as per usual, Coach Joe came over and told Aidan how great he was doing, but also Coach Rob came over and made a special point of telling Aidan how awesome he did on charging ( a new skill he just picked up! and he's good, too!) on the ice and still controlling the puck.  Aidan was so excited he told me he wanted to go home and practice his stick skills some more. . .I just have to smile at the confidence this kid has gotten and how great he is doing!

After we got home, we did do a little work with the stick and puck, but it was cold outside and a bit blustery!  So, in we went to do our bath and have some dinner.  Then we headed down to the Rec Room to watch some TV and finish laundry. . .where I found Aidan has now mastered Mosby and gotten him to listen and lie still. . .with his head on Aidan's lap!

All in all, a really good day. 

Aidan is off school for the next two days (Quarter End and Election Day).  He'll be spending both days at Winwood and will then go back to school on Wednesday.  Meanwhile, I'll be happy when this years elections are done.  No more crazy phone calls or mail packed with fliers!!!  I just have to dodge them tonight. . .

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Jackolanterns, Homework, Hockey and Being Thankful

Well, I found the Jackolantern pictures. . .on my phone!!!  I forgot that I had taken them with my phone because a friend dropped by right after I took them and we started talking, etc. . .Anyways, here they are!  Pat did one of the big ones; Aidan did the littlest one; I did the really weird and goofy looking one; and Aidan and I, together, did the other big one.  The beautiful human face mixed in is Aidan. . .in case you didn't know!

And the furry face belongs to Mosby. . .

We have been so hectic around here.  It's fall.  It's how it is.  But, really, now that we are adding homework and school activities in with the hockey and hunting, whew!  I'm getting some kind of tired!  But, it's a happy tired and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Aidan brings home his homework for the week on Mondays.  So far, he's been awesome about trying to get it done right away.  It's not due back until Thursday, the same day as his library book, but we have not handed it in any later than Wednesday.  And he's doing so good with it too!  He is sounding out nearly every word he sees now and, I think, is on the brink of full blown reading.  Miss Mandy, at Winwood, says they will be working on reading in the after school care beginning in January and I just know Aidan's reading abilities will really explode then!  He can read all of his sight words.  Now I need to work on writing them with him.  I'm going to pick up some paper today at Target to get on that.  His report card is due on November 16th.  I already know he'll be below on the counting to 25 part, but I also know he'll be exceeding in all other areas.  He has difficulty in saying thirteen and fourteen. . .it extends to when he says the thirtys and forties when counting, too.  We're working on that.  I know he knows it, it's just a matter of saying it correctly.  Meanwhile, we're also keeping up with his reading assignment that Mrs. Taylor has given him online.  We try to do a book or two every other day. 

Pat hunts most evenings after work and usually on Saturdays, so dinner and Saturday's hockey has been up to me.  Aidan and I have been having fun though.  On Thursdays, I pick him up and we head to McDonalds (not my best choice, but he loves it) and then we go to the Ice House to play and practice our moves.  The last two Thursdays in a row, we have run into his coach who takes the boys aside and works with them on their moves.  He's awsome with them.  At the end, they skate, in follow the leader fashion, around the rink and have to do the moves that Coach Joe does as they follow him.  I told one of the Dad's the other night that it reminds me of the Pied Piper. . .in a good  way!  I do stay on the ice with him, but I hang back.  You can't imagine how it warms my heart to see Aidan stepping out confidently and not being clingy with me!!  Such a confidence builder this has been for him!! Anyway, here is a brief clip of Aidan working on turns and skating faster.

Well now. . .today, I am working on my shopping list for Thanksgiving dinner. . . I can not believe we are less than three weeks away from Thanksgiving!!!!  AND I need to start thinking about the Advent Calendar and it's surprises. . .THAT begins in FOUR weeks!!!!  Yikes!!!  I have my menu set for Thanksgiving and know where and when I want to purchase things.  I just need to write it out so I can feel more organized in my mind about it.

Meanwhile, I have been gathering things for Christmas gifts since late summer.  I am nearly ready for my western living family and working steadily on my immediate and local family.  I'd love to be ready to ship things right after Thanksgiving.  It is such a relief to get that portion done and on it's way!!  I have been working on one item for each person while I watch Aidan at his hockey.  Sorry, I can't share what it is because those who will recieve it read this here blog!  : )  But, I'll show you on Christmas!!

And finally, before I head up to shower and get ready to take Aidan to Home Depot to make a birdhouse. . .I have to share that today marks four years since I saw my baby's face for the first time.  I got a call from our Social Worker at work, impatiently wanting me to open my email (funny thing, that!! I had been checking it up to that day every 5 minutes and the one day I didn't!!!. . . )

When I opened my email, I saw this face and burst into tears because my heart was so full of love!!!
I am thankful today for this little person who has become so huge in my heart and in my life.  God is so good!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Great Pumpkin Has Come And Gone

So Halloween weekend has come and gone and All Saint's Day passed quietly enough.  I am finally able to sit down and put some Halloween pictures up on this here blog. . .

As you know, Saturday was quite snowy around here.  I think we got about 5 or 6 inches of snow.  It didn't all stick, but the world was white, nonetheless for several hours.  Aidan even commented that all of a sudden everything was all one color.  We do like the snow, but not the ice.  At least not the ice that happens on the roads, powerlines and anywhere else that might be dangerous for us humans!  And because our trees had only lost about 20% of the leaves so far, they were holding a LOT of snow in them. . .causing branches to come down. . .causing power outages.  And Daddy went to work. 

I think Pat left around noon on Saturday and didn't get home until about 8 or so Sunday morning.  Our friends cancelled for Saturday night so it was just me and Aidan.  We went to his hockey lesson (the Ice House rarely closes for snow!) and I'm really glad because we were able to be out for a bit.  Aidan did great, as usual and his coach even came up after Mini Mites and told Aidan how proud he was of him and how really good he's getting.  He's such a good coach for these little guys!  Aidan beamed the rest of the evening. . . .

We watched movies and just hung out in the basement that night and made the decision to skip church on Sunday in favor or sleeping in.  So glad!  Aidan and I slept until when Pat got home.  While Daddy slept for a few hours, Aidan and I got started carving pumpkins.  It was really chilly, even in the garage, so we decided to work on the two smaller ones in the kitchen.  Luckily, Daddy had brought our frozen pumpkins inside when he got home in the morning and they had defrosted by the time we got to work!

Aidan helped a lot, even with getting the gross glop out!

Visualizing how to carve this bad boy up. . .
 And I put him to work. . .with a very small carver. . .with almost over bearing supervision!  : )

Aidan's pumpkin ended up having it's mouth wide open and Aidan told me he was saying, "Why Mama???"  LOL. . .little stinker says that a lot to me and now I know he knows he says it a lot!!
And the really goofy other small pumpkin. . .

Then, after Daddy got up, we went to work on the two larger pumpkins.  We took them out to the garage where it was still chilly, but not as bad as it had been.  We worked for a couple of hours on them, Daddy on his and Aidan and I on the other one.  And when we were done, we had some really nice scary pumpkins.  I sprinkled them with some cinnamon on the inside (makes them smell better when lit) put in the special candles and we lit them to see how they looked. . .oooooohhhhhh!!!  And forgot to take pictures of the final product!!    But, here we are at work!

Monday was still chilly and because Aidan's costume was kind of thin, I made him put some warm PJ's underneath.  I knew we would have a big fight if I tried to get him to wear a jacket, so he wore some flannel PJ's and all was good.  He fussed at first, but later didn't say a word.  He seemed fine the entire evening.  Some friends came for some dinner and then we got the kids together and went to the parade. . .which was awesome!!! 

Introducing. . . .Aidan the Astronaut and Erin the Witch. . .Aren't they adorable???

After Trick or Treating, which Daddy took Aidan to while Mama stayed home to hand out candy, we gathered back at the house and went through the loot.  Have to check it all carefully, you know!!

We ate a fair amount and then, sufficiently sugared up, we all went to bed.  Until next year, Great Pumpkin!!!

Now to get my shopping list in order for Thanksgiving!