Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Skating with Friends

What follows are several pictures of Aidan and his friend Jack skating at the outdoor rink in Reston last Monday.  They had a blast and skated for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours!  And actually, Pat and I were not bored at all watching them the entire time.  It was fun to watch them have fun together. 
Aidan is in black and starts out wearing his helmet--which he took off, with misgivings from Mama and then later wanted back--and Jack is wearing the grey jersey from their hockey team.  Jack will be 9 in June and Aidan will be 7 in May. . .you be the judge. . .is Aidan really big for his age or what?   : ) 

 What's with the tongue?  They both did it, too!!

Really working the turns and corners with crossovers.

We had a little competition for a while to see who could stop and spray snow higher up the boards!  They were both really impressive!

Getting some speed skating in. . .they only got talked to once by the rink employees.  We just told them to not knock anyone down.

You can see Jack with Aidan right next to him trying to get on the ice first after the zamboni cleaned it.  They wanted some fresh ice!!  And they got it!!  First on for some more speed skating!

These two had so much fun together.  And we just really enjoyed watching how happy they were.  We took a break about half way through for drinks at Clydes--hot chocolate and Sprite for the boys and then had dinner at Uncle Julios Mexican Cantina when they were tired and done with skating. . .for the moment.

But, seeing Aidan up close to one of his friends who is two years older prompted me to check and see about where he stacks up on the growth chart.  Aidan is 6, almost 7 (in May).  An average 6 year old boy is 45 inches tall and an average 7 year old boy is 48 inches tall.  Aidan is 50 inches tall as of December 31st.  An average 6 year old boy weighs 45 pounds and an average 7 year old boy weighs 50 pounds.  Aidan weighs 57 pounds as of the end of January.  I would say, this boy is off the charts.  And looking at that chart, Aidan is the height and weight of an average 8 year old boy.  Yep.  I would say he is going to be a very big boy!  It will be interesting to hear what the pediatrician says at his 7 year old check up.

And finally, I am very seriously considering taking myself off all of the Russian Adoption Facebook sites.  Unfriending myself, so to speak.  I keep getting caught up in all of the fear mongering that I read on these sites and I am tired to my core of that fear.  I don't want it to take root.  I will just skate away. . .

Monday, February 18, 2013

President's Day Weekend Happenings

What a great weekend we've been having!  It's been busy, but not overly so.  Just about right on activity and rest time level.

On Friday, we went to Shenanigan's, a place we frequent on Monday's usually,and ordered the Steamed Spiced Shrimp.  I was a little hesitant about it.  The place has good food, but not awesome food.  And Steamed Spiced Shrimp is one of our favorites.  We have heard that it is really good so we decided to do it.  We ordered two pounds and shared it among us, a little less for Aidan who also had some Mac and Cheese.  And I am here to tell you that we will be going back there for this wonderful Shrimp!  It was perfect!  Just spicy enough and not a one was over or under cooked.  Perfect!  We do seafood on Fridays during Lent so this will be a great standby for us over the coming weeks.

On Saturday, I got the laundry caught up--you would think I didn't do any during the week with the amount that I have to do on Saturdays!!!  I changed the sheets and got everything cleaned up and put away.  The house was nice again.  In the afternoon, I got caught up with my Mom by phone while the boys went over to Ida Lee and swam for a couple of hours --indoor pool.  That evening we had dinner with friends.  Good times!  We discussed going to Europe, going on a Wine Tour and our desire to add a Screened in Porch.  Looks like we'll be having some fine times in the future with these friends. . .I think I need to start a Go to Europe/Screened in Porch Savings account though!

Speaking of the Screened in Porch, Maggie won't be able to do this once we build it!

That is a squirrel on the deck railing. . .Pat keeps feeding it and it comes around all the time!!  Drives Maggie nuts!!  : )

Sunday, we made it to church--woo hoo!!  Which reminds me that I ordered a couple of books to read with Aidan about Bible stories and Prayers which I hope will help him since we don't get to church as often as I'd like.  Anyway, I took Aidan to see "Escape From Planet Earth" in the afternoon.  Fun and very cute!!  I discovered that they sell a Kids Pack (probably not a big secret) with a smaller bag of popcorm and very small drink.  There are also some gummies attached to the popcorn bag.  Truthfully, it is really enough popcorn and drink for an adult so I now get it for myself as well as for Aidan!  It's a lot less expensive too.

Aidan discovered Angry Birds ths weekend on Pat's Kindle.  I think he is addicted.  I just love how he sits when he is playing it!

I have updated my books lately and now have printed my blog through the end of 2012.  Caught up!!  The most recent two are now on the coffee table.

It's simple to do this:  There are several options on how to order.  I like the hard bound, but it comes in soft bound too.  If you want to edit, you need to do so prior to going on the blog2print website.

Aidan has been working hard on his homework.  Thankfully, because this week is a short week, the hardest part of his homework--Word Study--will not be done. . .Praise the Lord and all of the Saints!!!!  Here he is hard at work last week on the Word Study homework:
I am telling you, this is the time consuming part.  There are anywhere between 10 and 20 words that have similarities.  They have to be sorted and then Aidan has to do three activites (he has a choice of 3 out of 9 activities each day) using the words and then on Thursdays he does a practice quiz on the words with a test in class on Fridays.  It's a good tool, but it takes about 45 minutes just for this part.  Then we usually have some Math, Reading and we have to study our Sight Words--read and write them--too. 

He does fun things in school, too, though.  He came home on Thursday with this beautiful piece! 
Isn't it gorgeous?  I love it.

On Friday, we received the Parks and Rec book of all activities for Spring and Summer Camps.  Pat and I had to laugh.  We had not even thought about this as an option for Summer Camp for Aidan even though he is currently in CASA, which is run by the same people!  So, we are going to sign him up for Summer Camp.  It is offered in two week sessions and we will sign him up for two sessions.  The cost is phenominally low--so much less than Winwood!!!  So, once that is done, we will have Aidan set up and paid for 8 of his 12 weeks of Summer Vacation: 3 weeks of Hockey Camp, 4 weeks at Ida Lee Camp and 1 week of vacation at the beach.  Ida Lee Summer Camp includes pool time, Art activities, reading activities, games, exploring and then a feild trip to the outdoor Water Park here in Leesburg.  So much fun for him!!  And I am really excited that all but four weeks, which will be at Winwood, will now be paid for.  That's going to make the Summer Budget stretch even farther than usual. . .hmmmm, perhaps that Europe/Screened In Porch account is doable afterall!

A little update on my Weight Watchers progress:  As of last Monday, I was down 6.6 pounds and had 5.2 to go to goal.  I'm not going tonight, but believe I would be down about another pound.  I am amazed it has continued to go so well.  Was I really eating that badly before???  Probably.  Anyways, tonight I'm not going becuase we're going to take Aidan skating up at Reston and then have an early dinner at the Mexican Restuarant up there.  So not going to weigh in after Mexican Food--no matter how good I am!!  : )  Anyway, it will be fine and I'll still be down next week.  I hope!

And so, now I need to get going to get these boys fed and clothed so we can get our day going.  Going to be a bright sunshiny day. . .but cold still.  What weird weather we have had this winter!

Have a great President's Day and coming week!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Happy Fifth Birthday!

Whoa.  Can you believe it???  It's been five years today since I started this blog!  I "met" Joy five year ago, too.  I have since met her in person, but at the time I marveled at our blog friendship.  We were in it together.  Love that girl!  And Gerard and Anna too!

At the time I started this blog, I was in despair.  We were waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and WAITING for our court date.  I had no idea that I would find out about our court date less than two weeks after I started this blog! 

So, Happy Birthday Blog!!!  I can't believe you are already five years old!!!  You're getting so big!!!   : )

In other news:

I got my Ugg boots on Wednesday, as expected.  LOVE them!!!  Cannot wait to try them out, which will happen on Sunday when we take Aidan to skate at Reston Town Center.  Fun!!  And my feet will be warm, too.

Today we went to the Post Office to mail off the Passport Renewal stuff.  After filling out the online information and paying the money, I received an email with four attachments:  Application #1 that needed to be printed and signed, but not dated; Application #2 that needed to be printed; signed and dated; Transliteration of the name that needed to be printed, signed and dated; Affidavit that needed to be printed, signed, dated and notarized (ahhhhh. . .looking for that part!)  I had to mail all of that along with three copies of passport photos of Aidan, one of me, a copy of my USA passport, Aidan's original Russian passport and birth certificate (freak out!!!), a copy of Aidan's adoption certificate and a copy of Aidan's USA passport.  I inlcuded a letter indicating I was entrusting these people with my babies legal documents and that I expected them all back unharmed.  I also included a prepaid return Fedex envelope, although it was not necesary, just to make my point.  I am sure they will comply. . .I hope. 

Aidan is now 57 pounds.  And I looked at his foot last night and I think it is the same size as mine!!! 

Wednesday I made it to church for Ash Wednesday services.  Felt good.  We're going to church, tomorrow, too.  Can't wait.  I know it will feel good.  It's so hard to go every Sunday these days with Aidan's hockey.  But, after the next two weeks, it should be easier because his games will be on Saturday afternoon instead of Sunday morning!

That's it for today.  See ya'll soon!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Passport Renewal, Taxes, Sticks and Shoes

Kind of an interesting mix of topics, dontcha think?  Let me show you how these are all related. . .

I took today off work so I could deal with both governments that affect our household.  First up, the Russian Government.

Incredibly, it's almost been five years since we brought Aidan home.  As anyone involved in Russian Adoption knows, the first order of business, directly after getting the birth certificate, is to get the kiddo a Russian passport.  This occurred on April 8th, 2008. 

I promised myself I would always keep Aidan's passport and any Russian Citizenship issues up to date and current until he comes of age.  And, even then, I plan to help him as he needs me to with however he wants to handle things.  But, the main thing is that it will always be his choice on what to do at that point in time.  I will not take that choice away from him. 

And so, because children's passports are only valid for 5 years, it is time to update and renew his Russian passport (his US one will be updated next year). 

The Russian Embassy website has a great link to a company located in Chicago that helps handle everything for us American parents.  They provide all the forms and tell you what needs to be attached.  It can all be done online.  All I had to do was scan Aidan's passport as well as mine and Pat's, and Aidan's birth Certificate.  After filling out the online forms and uploading the requested documents, and paying (of course), I sent it all along.  I expect to get an email from them requesting a notarized release allowing them to handle this for me as well as a new passport picture of Aidan, both of which will be sent directly.  And then a few weeks later, Aidan's new passport should arrive.  In the world of paperwork, apostilles and notarizations, this was relatively painless.  The fee, $460.00, was the wrost part.  But, again, worth it to me to not have to find a translator (the Embassy no longer accepts anything that isn't in Russian--surprise, surprise) and I don't have to go to the Embassy, which I would not be thrilled about right now anyway.

And there you have it.  The passport work is basically complete.

My other chore for today was to do our Income taxes.  I am happy to report that this chore, too, is complete and a refund should arrive in our bank account from both our Federal Government and from the Commonwealth of Virginia within a few weeks.

I can't even tell you how happy I am to be done with these two chores!!!  They weren't hard, just time consuming.  But, now they are finished!

So, how do Sticks and Shoes add in to all of this fun form filling out?  Well, because I was off today, I was able to walk Aidan to the bus stop this morning.  Ordinarly I drive him so I can scoot off to work as soon as he is on the bus. 

Walking allowed him the opportunity to pick up a few sticks along the way.  This boy loves sticks!  He was picking up sticks the very first time Pat and I took him outside in Russia and it has never stopped or even dwindled in a joy for this boy.  He has picked them up in parks in Krasnoyarsk, in parks in Moscow, in parks in Washington D.  C., Herndon, Leesburg, Las Vegas, Southern California, North Carolina and many points in between.  He loves sticks!!!  Crazy. . .

Here he is with todays stick!  He called it his Smeller Smeller 3000.  I don't know why, so don't ask!!  But, I did realize that his love of sticks must be why he loves hockey so much!  He gets to play on the ice with a stick!!!  New nickname:  Stick Boy  : )

As for the shoes, I had put my sneakers on the floor of the kitchen to put on as soon as we were leaving.  Aidan, seeing mine there, decided to put his next to them.  I was stunned to see how close in size we have become!

Mine are the ones on the right. . .I think he may pass me by the summer!!!

One additional note:  While I was waiting for Aidan to get changed after his Skills Class on Saturday, his coach for Skills came up to me to tell me how proud of Aidan he is.  He says that Aidan has a great attitude and obvious love for hockey.  He went on to tell me that he thinks Aidan is very talented and that he expects him to go far with it, especially if he keeps it up.  Hooboy.  I knew he was good, but. . .

Friday, February 8, 2013

Cobbled Together Events of Our Lives

Okay.  Yes, we've been a bit busy.  But, each time I sat down to write, I was coming up blank.  You would think that nothing was going on in our lives these days.  Well, maybe it's just not all that exciting.  So, I decided to just write what was going on, exciting or not.  Here goes a cobbled together account of what's up with us:

First off, I have to say, CASA--the afterschool care Aidan is now in--is working out great.  He's been having fun with a break after school, has a nice snack, and then gets started on his homework.  The homework park is huge for us.  He's now doing about an hours worth each night!  Crazy.  But, Aidan is liking CASA and has met several friends there. 

Aidan's report card came home last week and he is doing very well.  He has M's (Meets requirements) in most categories although he also has a few E's (Exceeds requirements) in Math, Art, Science and PE.  I'm very proud of our little man.  That hour of homework that we all suffer through each night is paying off!  And his reading skills have begun to explode!  If we keep him going this way and stick with it through the summer, he should be doing really well in Second Grade.  I've actually been very impressed with the Reading program he is in.  It has helped him tremendously.

I haven't shared this before, but I faced reality and went back to Weight Watchers at the beginning of January.  At the time, I was 11.8 pounds over my goal weight.  No wonder my pants were getting snug!!  But, I'm on my way.  As of last Monday night, four weeks into it, I was down 5.4 pounds.  Only 6.4 to go to get back to my goal.  It will get harder now and probably won't come off as quickly as it has the past few weeks.  That's okay.  I'm sticking with this.  I want to be back at my goal when we go to the beach in July.  I can do this thing!

So, yes, we finally decided on our vacation plans for this summer.  We are going to the beach.  We have gone all over the map looking for what we wanted to do this year:  England, Mexico, Hawaii, Maine, etc. . .but we decided we wanted to stay closer to home and made our reservations for a nice Hilton Hotel in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  It's a really nice place right on the beach with two pools.  The Kitty Hawk pier is right there, too.  Our reservation includes breakfast each morning and in the afternoon, they have a Tiki Bar set up for drinks, snacks and ice cream.  Pat's favorite Carolina Barbeque is right across the street and a great hot dog place is just down the road.  Yes, lots of seafood restaurants, too!  And, there is a grocery store close by to get lunch supplies for picnics on the beach.  Perfect!!!  Maid service and no cooking for Mama!!!  My kind of vacation.  : )

Aidan's hockey for the Fall/Winter season is beginning to wrap up.  We have one more practice and two more regular games and then the tournament.  Aidan is going to miss his friends he has made on this team.  So many of them are two years older than him and will be moving up to the next level for the Spring Season.  But, we'll keep in touch with some of them.  The Spring Season Starts the week after the tournament, so there really isn't much of a break.  That will take us all the way into mid June which is when the Summer Camps pick up.  So, it looks like we're on the year round hockey circuit now.

Which brings me to my feet.  No, not standing up, but actually to talk about my feet.  I love love love going to watch Aidan play hockey.  Even his practices are fun to watch.  But, I am here to tell you that my feet are dog tired of being cold.  A couple of times, the were so cold that it was painful for a very long time after.  I've tried thicker socks, but what I need are some good boots.  For years I have scoffed at the Ugg boots.  I didn't like the look and they are very expensive.  But, I have noticed lots of Moms at the Ice House wear them.  And none of them ever complain about their feet being cold.  Never.  Ever.  I have resisted still but then recently I realized that this hockey thing is not going to go away.  In fact, we are now at the rink 3 times a week and it is likely going to increase as Aidan gets older and better.  And so, I have broken down and bought a pair of Ugg boots.  I had to order them because nobody carries my small size in the store.  They arrive next Wednesday.  I'll let you know what my feet think after I try them out!

Last Sunday we met some friends at Clydes in Reston and had lunch.  Aidan brought his skates and was able to go out and skate on the outdoor rink there while we visited and it was really nice.  We liked it so much, we're getting together this evening for dinner with some friends from hockey.  Aidan and his buddy George will go out and skate while us parents relax and watch, visit and then we'll have some dinner.  Really looking forward to it!!  Ironically, George was born here in the US but his parents are Russian.  Aidan and George are really close and love to play hockey together.  It's so cute that the two of them picked eachother out to be best buddies on the team--fearsome duo, too!  George's parents know Aidan is Russian and so we always laugh about how our two little Ruskies are dominating the other team on the ice.  Sadly, George is one of the ones moving up. . .But, we'll still get the boys together and have some fun!

When we had lunch at Clydes last Sunday, we missed the Caps v. Penguins game.  Glad we did.  6-3!  Sheeesh.  The Caps are really terrible this year.  In fact, I heard yesterday that they are the worst in the league.  That's #30 out of 30 teams.  It's been so bad, we don't even stay up to watch the whole game like we did the last few seasons.  We watch about half and then turn it off.  At least our pick won the Super Bowl!!!  Woo Hoo Ravens!!!!

Another thing that has been going on lately is Aidan had been very healthy.  Until last weekend.  About 12 hours after I had been bragging about how healthy he had been and how we haven't had to use the nebulizer at all this year, he came down with a cold.  A really bad cold, too.  So bad that I had to pick him up early on Monday from school.  He seems better now.  Rest and fluids have helped a lot.  But, he does now have a cough.  I need to check our supplies for the nebulizer and see where we are.  Just in case.  The lesson learned:  No More Bragging About Aidan's Health!!!

We were going to go out of town for President's Day weekend--all three of us are off for three days!!-- but we decided to stay home, do some fun things and some home projects.  I think we were all glad about that decision.  We have had too much running around lately.  Maybe we'll go in to a museum, see a movie, go ice skating. . .whatever it is, it will be fun times for all three of us.

Well, that's about it.  Loudoun County Schools are on a two hour delay today, so I am letting Aidan sleep in a bit.  It means working through lunch a couple of days for me, but that's okay. 

I don't seem to have any current pictures of the kiddo except this one, which shows he has totally outgrown the child size rocker we have for him!! 

Isn't he looking huge???

Have a great day and a wonderful weekend. . .if you are in the Northeast, stay safe, warm and inside!  God Bless.