Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

As usual, it's been a very busy week--or so.  This weekend is dedicated to just us three and doing things around the house. . .as much as possible--although a trip or two to the ice house may happen, too.

But, let's go back and review what we've been doing, shall we?

First, the week before last, I went in to work a little late so I could attend a class function in Aidan's class.  They were making butter and had invited the parents to join them.  I arrived a little early and had to wait with all the other parents outside the classroom until they were ready for us.  While there, I looked at the artwork--cute stuff--hanging on the wall and quickly found my Aidan's Christmas Duck that was hiding his Tom Turkey.  : )  Then, I spied this giant turkey that had writing on all of it's feathers. 

I had to chuckle because Aidan had written:  I am thankful for helpen my mom clen the hows.  : )  uh huh. . .we have a lady who comes to clean every Friday and it is like pulling teeth to get our Aidan to pick up his toys!!  Cute anyways, though.

Once inside the classroom, we went through the instructions of making butter with Ms. Jenkins and the rest of the class:  put some cream in a bottle or jar, add a little salt for flavor and then shake!  Shake it high, shake it low, don't let it go!!!  and Voila!!  Butter!!!  Who knew?  And it was really tasty, too.

Then we helped the children write the instructions down:  First this, then that, and last this. . .

Aidan made a cutie patootie Pilgrim!!

After Aidan's hockey game last Sunday, he needed an outlet for something to do while Pat changed the brake pads on the Tahoe.  So, Aidan and I decided to rake the front yard.  Truthfully, it did not seem like there were that many leaves. . .boy was I wrong!!!
That pile is huge.  Aidan was jumping into it for a while and then it was time to get ready to celebrate Grandma's birthday!!

We had an enjoyable dinner at Blue Ridge Grill--love that place!  And then came home for cake and presents at our house.




It was a very nice evening.

Sunday night, very late, my dad came to town.  His plane arrived about two hours after Aidan and I went to bed so Pat went to pick him up.  Pat was off Monday and Tuesday and then I was off Tuesday onward.  Aidan didn't get off school until Wednesday, but that gave us some time to hang out without having to entertain him!

Tuesday, Dad and I went to see Lincoln.  VERY GOOD!!  It was one of those movies that was 2 1/2 hours but was so good I wasn't ready for it to be over when it ended.  I wanted more.  The issues aren't the same as now, but the kind of dithering in Congress is.  Boy if they could just figure out how to work with eachother!!!!  Seriously, though.  I have always felt that Abraham Lincoln was one of our greatest Presidents.  The issues he had to contend with and the way that he went about doing so. . .He was truly a brilliant man.  My high regard for him has been reinvigorated by this movie.

Wednesday, Aidan, Dad and I walked into town and browsed a bit and then had lunch at the Chinese restaurant.  Then we did some prep work for Thanksgiving dinner and then met friends for dinner for our annual Night Before Thanksgiving gathering. . .

Thursday was crazy busy getting dinner on the table, but it did happen.  Dad and Aidan both helped before hand: Aidan made the pie!  And then Dad helped by taking Aidan for a walk to get some of his energy out. 

Everyone arrived, Pat got home from work, and we finally sat down to a magnificent meal of turkey with all the trimmings:



Pat was a huge help after dinner by helping to clear and then getting a lot of the dishes done. . .four loads of dishes later, we were finished!!

After dinner, we sat down to watch the Redskins v. Cowboys game. . .Go 'Skins!!!!  My friend Allison has given Aidan Cowboys shirts over the years.  Aidan knows we are Redskins fans so he likes to tease us by rooting for the Cowboys and wearing his shirts from Auntie Allison.  So he ran up to his room and put on the current Cowboys shirt. . .

And the Redskins scored!!!!


So, then, he ran up and put on his Redskins jersey, and the Redskins scored again!!!



I couldn't resist sending both pictures to Auntie Allison. . .we taunt eachother during these games every season. . .this time I am the winner!!!  : )

Friday came early and Dad was packed and ready to go on to his next destination:  Amy's house in Chicago.  But, first, one last picture of Aidan with his Grandpa Dave:
We made a quick visit to Grandma and Grandpa's house after dropping Dad off at the airport and then headed off to the theatre to see The Rising of the Guardians.  Another good movie and really fun for the kids!!

Today we are making some chili in the crockpot, doing a little Christmas decorating and then maybe going to the ice house for some free skate.  I think we'll probably do the same tomorrow. . .after making it to church for the first time in a while!!  (Aidan's hockey makes it impossible to go right now, but we go when we can.)

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't make note of a special anniversary.  Thursday, Thanksgiving, was exactly 5 years since we met and held Aidan for the first time.  It had been a Thanksgiving day that day, too.  Friday we saw him again for another two hour visit and then signed the forms indicating that yes, we wanted to adopt Aidan.  We did have a Thanksgiving meal of caviar, beef tongue, blini's and raw fish.  Very fun and very interesting and a Thankgsgiving meal I will never forget.

 
Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!




Wednesday, November 21, 2012

12 Hour Time Difference

I'll say more tomorrow, but I wanted to mark the moment. . .

5 Years ago, I was getting up from 2 hours sleep after being up for about 36 to 48 hours.  We were getting ready to go and meet our baby!!!  We were so excited. . .

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Report Cards and Day Care Woes

Aidan brought home his report card yesterday.  As I was opening it, he said to me, in a worried voice, "Mama, will you be mad at me if I don't have good grades?"  NEVER!!  No way, jose, I said.  I told him that if he didn't have good grades, I would love and hug him like always and then we would sit down and figure out where he needed help and then get it for him.  All said with a big smile on my face.  My little freckle faced boy relaxed and said, "Okay."  And then went to work on his homework.

When I pulled out his report card, after the above dialog I was a little nervous, I found that he had done quite well.  He isn't exceeding on anything (with the exception of his PALS score--Phonological Awaremens Literacy Screening (normal is 39 and Aidan got a 59!)) but he is meeting requirements in every category.  His teacher says he has grown a lot in making good choices and following directions and that he is really an enjoyable student. 

Aidan's reading is really improving, noticable almost daily, and he is really doing extremely well in Math and Science (two of his favorite subjects).  I expect that Math and Science will be exceeding by the end of 2nd Quarter.

Areas we need to work on are his Capitalization and Punctuation.  Aidan likes to take his time and be neat with his handwriting.  However, if he is rushed, it is really really really bad.  So, we need to find a compromise:  show him how to be neat and write correctly with what are called Two Thumbs Up Sentences and not worry about the being rushed part! 

I am really proud of my Aidan and how well he is doing in school.  However, this homework thing is hard!  And we're only in First Grade, too!!

About the Day Care.  Well, since the beginning of the school year, I have noticed several of the older boys have been, shall we say, a bit more rambunctious than I would like.  I have noticed over time that the little boys (and girls, too) tend to hang around the teacher as close as they can and not venture out into the room too much.  However, last week was really bad.

The kids had been off school for two days and had been at Winwood.  Things seemed fine on those two days.  Then, on Wednesday, I arrived to pick up Aidan and found the room in total chaos.  Aidan and his friends were hanging back by one of the teachers and the older boys were running wild in the rest of the room.  It was like a scene out of Lord of the Flies!  The Director, Missy, was in there trying to gain control of the room and it was not really working very well.  I ushered Aidan out of there as quick as possible.

On the way home, I found out some of these boys are 11!!!  I thought the age cut off at Winwood was 10. . . hmmmmmmmm. . . .

The next day, I called Winwood to talk to Missy about it.  At first, one of the teachers said to me that the older boys haven't been at Winwood forever like Aidan and his friends, so haven't grown up in that kind of atmosphere.  Okay.  I guess.  But what does that have to do with keeping my child safe from these boys???  Missy did assure me that they were working on a new plan on how to contain these boys.  Okay.  I'll give it a chance.

Tuesday, I picked up Aidan and he told me he hadn't been able to do any of his homework because they had been going over new rules.  What?  Well, the boys were still at it and the teachers had to implement some new "Citizenship-type" rules.  Okay.. . .  Still not too happy here.

Then, I picked up Aidan yesterday and found that there was a sheet on the door to say whether or not Aidan would be at Winwood the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Monday after.  Well, no on the Wednesday before, but there is school on the Monday after. . .really?  the teacher asked.  Um. . .you will be picking my kid up as usual at his school, right????

I guess I'm calling Winwood again today. . .We are soooooo doing something different next year. . . .

Monday, November 12, 2012

Smarty Pants Hockey Player

Another busy week has passed us by. 

Aidan was off school Monday and Tuesday due to Quarter break and Election Day.  He spent the entire day,both days, at Winwood.  I like to avoid that, if possible--it is an additional $25.00 per day on top of what we already pay--but Pat had plans, so off to Winwood Aidan went.

On Wedesday, I picked Aidan up and took him out to dinner, just the two of us.  It wasn't planned that way, but it was kind of nice to be waited on and have that time to just talk with my son.  He's really got a great sense of humor.  In his backpack that day, there were two assessment reports--not the report card, which should be coming home this week.  The assessments were on First and Second Quarter sight words.  

On the first page, Aidan had written all 33 of the First Quarter sight words.  The teacher had read them off and the children had to write them down.  Aidan got all 33 correct!!

On the secnd page, Aidan had written all 35 of the Second Quarter sight words.  This was a pre-assessment.  The children hadn't acually been give the words yet.  They received them at the end of the day.  Again, the teacher had read them off and the children had to write them down.  Aidan got 25 out of the 35 correct!!!  Way to go Aidan!!!

The other homework that came home was a project on disguisng Tom Turkey and then writing a story about it as a family.  The suggestions were to disguise the turkey as a cheerleader, doctor, rock star or something like that.  Aidan decided to disguis his as a Christmas Duck.  He will be flying south for the winter and hiding out at verious ponds to avoid detection. . .I don't know where he gets this stuff. . .

In sports news, Aidan was given the goalie pads and stick last week because this week was his turn as goalie on the team.  We practiced every day for at least a half an hour.  I had him blocking lots of shots with his pads, stick and even catching it with his glove.  He was really getting good at following the puck.  At practice Friday night, he learned how to follow the puck when it went behind the net and to fall on it when he needed to.  He was ready for the game.  We practiced some more on Saturday, learning how to become the Beast and eat pucks, and then Sunday we were off to the rink to get him into his gear and to "watch" him play his game. 







Aidan made lots of saves: pad, stick and glove.  He was really doing well.  The goals scored were mostly by these two really really big guys--see them in the first and third pictures above???  I swear they were twice Aidan's size and probably turn nine on January 1st--thus making the cut off to stay in Mites by one day! 

Meanwhile, my little six year old stood firm and, with lots of help from his team, won the game!!!  Woo Hoo!!!  Go Wolves!!!  And this was the scene at the end of the game:

If you look closely, you can see the white goalie stick in the center.  That's Aidan.

(Author's disclaimer: I did not take these pictures nor did I se a lot of these things happen because my hands were over my face most of the time.  : )  )

I was very glad to pass the goalie pads and stick on to the next little boy and his family. . .

That's about it.  This week we are spending some time getting ready for Thanksiving, a special lady's birthday and going out and finally replacing Pat's almost unsuable Droid phone.

Have a great week!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Anniversaries

This past Monday slipped past me without me even realizing it!  It is a special day, too, in the history of our lives with Aidan.  It was the day that I saw a picture of my baby for the first time. 

I had been very busy at work that day and hadn't checked my personal email for several hours.  Our social worker called me in the afternoon and anxiously asked me if I had checked it lately.  No, I said.  But I will pull it up now.

Right there, was an email from her with an attachement.  Nervously, I opened the attachment and saw:


 



There was a medical report too. I started to cry. In fact, just now, I started to tear up! It is the most amazing feeling when you see picture of your child for the first time. Nothing can compare.  I still have that email.  I will never delete it.

I was still on the phone with our Social Worker,who also started to cry and told me how glad she was that she had been on the phone when I saw the pictures. She did caution me about getting too excited because she had been told it would be anywhere from 2 to 4 months until we could go and see him. Okay, I said in a tiny voice. I had my pictures. I could live with that for a bit.

But, in the amazing and unpredictible world of Russian adoption, it was only a few days later that we got the call. November 9th, 2007 we were told to pack our bags, buy the plane tickets and obtain our visas because we would be leaving for Russia on November 20th. . . what???? That's right. Our first trip came with an 11 day notice. . .not even, really, because we found out in the afternoon of November 9th. . .it was a Friday afternoon! But, we managed. It all worked out and we were on our way to meet our baby.

And now, five years later, here is our handsome boy! 


About two feet taller, 25 pounds heavier, smart as a whip and beginning to look like a shaggy American redneck.  : )  What a wonderful boy.  He is so loving and kind.  He is generous and fair to a fault.  I don't know how we got so lucky but I thank God everyday for this beautiful child.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Defense!!! clap clap Defense!! clap clap

Aidan has hockey practice on Friday evenings.  Last Friday, he and I arrived with enough time to get a new chin strap for his helmet and then get him suited up.  While helping him dress, I listened to the coach and one of the dad's talking about the upcoming game against the Blue team.  They were a bit pessimistic and negative about how it was going to go.  Apparently, the Blue team was #1 for our Mites league. 

Part of the problem was that we had a four day weekend (quarter break and election day) so three of the families were going out of town and wouldn't be here for the game.  That left us with 8 players total, one of whom was the goalie.

I wasn't too thrilled that the men were tlking so openly in front of the boys.  Aidan doesn't need any help feeling intimidated with this league.  He knows he is younger and smaller than most.  But, he has a lot of heart and puts all he has into playing well.  So, I prepared myself to talk positive with him over the weekend leading up to the game.

After practice, the Coach and a couple of the dads were doing head counts to know exactly who would be there for the game.  Still a bit down, but they did start saying we would be okay.  That's better. . .

Sunday dawned. With that extra hour of sleep and the later 8:50 game, we felt very refreshed.  Aidan woke up happy and excited to play hockey!  We got him into some of his hockey attire and headed down the road to the ice house. 

The locker room was quiet but had an undercurrent of excitement and anticipation.  After getting the gear on, the boys headed out to wait for the time to go onto the ice.  Once on, they went through some warm up drills and then headed to the bench to get a pep talk from the coach and find out the line order. 

The first line headed out on the ice, Aidan among them as a winger.  Our boys looked a little (lot) smaller than the boys in blue. . .the puck was dropped. . .the blue team had control, but Aidan stole it away and skated down to the net and scored!!!!!  15 seconds into the game!!!

And it went on from there!  Our boys ended up with a score of 16 to 1!!  Resoundingly beating the Blue team!  They played some of the most awesome defense.  They only allowed 10 shots on our goalie for the entire game and the one that went into the net was actually unstoppable. 

When they came off the ice, the coach was so happy and proud of them, he said that maybe they wouldn't need to practice the rest of the season since they were doing moves he hadn't had them practice! 

It was truly an awesome game. 

Aidan actully scored a second goal in the second period (his first multi-goal game in Mites!) and one of the moms got a great sequence of pictures of it:










We actually started to feel a bit sorry for the Blue team goalie because the coach was over on the bench just yelling at him and also at all the Blue team boys.  Thankfully, our coach always has some redeeming remarks to make to our boys when they lose. 

We were in 5th place (out of 12).  I'm thinking we may have moved up to 3rd after Sunday's game.  I'll find out on Friday night during practice. . .

So, this week, Aidan has his turn as goalie. . .yikes. . .we are practicing every day on the pipe stem with the pads, inline skates, goalie stick etc. . .it's going to be very hard watching other boys take shots at my baby!  Hopefully, our defence will be like last weeks!  But guaranteed, my hands will be in front of my face!

Go Grey Wolves!!!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Franken. . .Storm. . .Night. . .

Well, this week ended up being a wild ride.  Each day has brought us it's own excitement and, I think, tried to outdo the previous day.

Sunday was a very anticipatory day.  We were all waiting on Hurricane Sandy to make her move and let us know which way she was going to go.  We knew our weather would be affected, but we really didn't know how much. 

After Aidan's hockey game, in which he scored as I previously posted about, we came home and got ready to take Aidan to a birthday party for one of his little football buddies.  They had decided to have a tailgate party during the Redskins game!  What a great idea!  The kids played inside and outside (when it wasn't sprinkling) and had a football pinata while us adults hung out by the big screen tv watching the game.  Aidan really enjoyed himself.  Although we didn't have to, we stayed because we really didn't know the people there.

Sunday evening, the rain began to pick up a bit and we got the call that Loudoun County Schools would be closed on  Monday due to the anticipated inclement weather.    We also heard that Winwood, Aidan's afterschool care, would make a decision about opening in the morning.  Luckily, Pat is still off with his ankle so we didn't have to worry about it.

I did have to go to work (I would have loved being home with my boys!), but we closed early on Monday, right about when the winds were really picking up.  They had been building all day and by the time I got home they were already bad enough that I was blown around a bit in my driveway.  I fixed some Potatoe soup and bread for us for dinner and we hunkered down to wait out the storm.

Well, let me tell you!  It ended up that we were within 100 miles of the eye, maybe closer.   The wind!!! Oh my goodness!!  I really don't ever want to hear that sound again.  We had winds of 60 miles per hour and ended up with 7.89 inches of rain.  Yikes!!!  Needless to say, Aidan slept with us that night.  Athough a bit uncomfortable, I was glad to have him close to me and know he was safe. 

There are creeks and streams around here that I have never seen before, although I suspect they may have once been here.  The known creeks, streams and the Potomac River are all flooded.  I hear Alexandria is really suffering with some flooding due to the tidal nature of the Potomac down there. 

Our house and cars were plastered with shredded leaves--weird how that happens!--and there was a lot of water around the yard, but none of it got into the house.  The siding and roof look great and we don't have any broken windows, Thanks be to God!  The only damage we have is a four foot section of fascia board that peeled up.  That's it.  Easily fixed this weekend.

The other casualty of Sandy was our Halloween Parade.  It was

: (  We were all very bummed about that.  But, we understood.  The town and county police were very busy wth signal outages at several intersections and many roads were closed due to some pretty bad flooding.  Plus, truthfully, that field you see there, is where the floats, trucks, cars, etc. line up and it was REALLY wet.  They probably would have sunk. 

But, the town extended trick or treating for the kids to 6:00 to 9:00 and told us property owners to make sure the sidewalks and areas leading to our houses were clear of debris and safe for the kids.  No problem there! 

Pat picked up Aidan at the bus stop and the two re-put up all of our Halloween decorations that we had taken down.

A friend of ours brought her daughter over (she was Tinkerbell!) and the kids went out with her and Pat from 6:00 until about 7:45 when, amazingly, the kids said they were done!  I was glad to have them back in, though, because it was really cold.

Here are some pictures of the pumpkins we carved and the cutie pie kids--the other little boy was Bat man/Superman. . .cute!!  But he had a really bad cough and laryngitis. . .I was really concerned about him while they were out. . .Anyway, the big reveal for Aidan's costume!!!!

We weren't very scary this year on our pumpkins.  I guess we had had enough of scary by the time we carved these!

And, here he is. . .Blackbeard!!!

Looking a little too happy, huh?

 
Arrgghhh!!!!  That's more like it!

 
Caught in the act of being witchy wile making dinner. . .

Trying to look menacing. . .my baby just can't pull that off completely!!

A shy Tinkerbell. . .



 
Creepy!!!

A sweet looking Tink. . .

Blackbeard and Tinkerbell...such good friends!

Isn't it time to go, yet???

 
Okay!  Here we go!!!

 
Trick or Treat!!!

After the fun. . .Can I have just one more piece of candy, Mama?  Please?????

I think I'm getting tired. . .maybe.. .

But, I'll smile sweetly one more time!
 
And there you have it.  Another Halloween come and gone.  Of course, I have o tell you, my little man is already talking about next year!  He hadn't even taken his costume off when he asked me what he was going to be for Hallween next year!  Oy!