Tuesday, February 26, 2008

End of February

This is my last post of February! I can't believe it is almost March! March 1st is Mat and my "dating" anniversary. It will be 17 YEARS since our first date! Isn't that crazy? We met when I was 15 and he was 16. And we haven't been apart since. Not one breakup. Wow - it is hard to believe it has been that long. Mat's youngest sister, Jessica, was 10 years old when we started dating. Now she is 27 - about to be 28 and married! Time does really fly.....

Okay - enough of that. Since Saturday, not much to report, as usual. Sunday we went to church and it was my free time from all the kids! No, just kidding. After church we came home and decided to go out after the kids got up from nap. We took them to run some errands, then went out to dinner. It was nice. We tried a new little pizza place and it was yummy. Coal fired pizza - something new. And thin pizza. All the kids enjoyed it. Then we came home and relaxed to get ready for our busy week.

Monday Cainan had occupational therapy. I have to take Finley with me as well when we go and that is always challenging. She just wants to play too. The therapist doesn't mind, but it is hard for me to concentrate on Cainan with her being there. But she does pretty well. Cainan did well in therapy this week. He didn't cry at all and was a willing participant in all task. He still has some quirks. He sticks his tongue our still when he concentrates and we are working through breaking him of that habit. He is using his thumbs 100% better, and the therapist is very pleased. And he follows directions well. He still gets frustrated and when he doesn't want to do something anymore he just kind of shuts down. But he is even getting better with that and will go longer periods before quitting. We are now just seeing her every 2-3 weeks, so that is great progress.

Today Cainan had a checkup for his circumcision. We went to our pediatrician because our surgeon's office couldn't fit us in until March. Isn't that nice? They tell you to return in two weeks, you call the office to make an appointment and they say "sorry - we don't have any openings for a month". I say, "not even for a post-op follow up" and they say "not even for that". Nice, huh? But the pediatrician was able to look and everything looks fine. I love our pediatrician. While we were there (I had Finley of course) he weighed both kids and checked both kids ears and made sure they looked okay. It was nice. Cainan weighed 21 pounds, 6 ounces and Finley weighed 22 pounds. So both gaining nicely. Knock on wood, they have both been very healthy for awhile now. With them being home with me, no more germs. I have mixed feelings about that - I liked exposing them -will make Kindergarten easier. But having two the same age to be sick at the same time (or worse, one right after the other) that would be tough. So for now, it is nice being cold free.

Nothing up much tomorrow. We are going to try and get Cainan's US passport. Since we unsuccessful with our very UN-cooperative social security office, we were advised to try and get a passport, then get the SSN. We will see if that works. If not, we won't be surprised.

Arlington is doing well. Busy with school work. Today we worked on many Kindergarten worksheets that her Gramma sent her to work on. She really has the hang of them. We did a bunch. We practiced her words and did some math. Fun life she leads, huh? But this is what she does in her free time. She does like to watch TV, though! But today, she wasn't interested. We sat at the table the entire 3 hours the babies were napping and just worked on different things. It was fun. I like spending that time with her. I love seeing her little mind work. It amazes me every day how smart she is. She has an amazing memory.
And she has been a great help with the babies lately. She helps me feed them breakfast and lunch and when they wake up from nap she is anxious to play with them. It is fun. It is like having a little "mommy helper" in the house. She has always been anxious to please, and she is very caring of her siblings, so she sees it as a joy to lend me a hand. And trust me when I say, I couldn't be happier for the help! I got lucky with Arlington- she is truly one of a kind.

Finley is doing great. Still saying "hey dude". She also started saying "water" and "wipe". She loves wipes (like baby wipes) She will clean the whole house with them! Today I gave her one and found her wiping the floor with it. She is a weirdo. She also scolds Cainan. She will say "Caincan - no milk". "Caincan - not nice" "Caincan - bad baby", "Caincan - no touch". On and on and on. Cainan just looks at her like she is crazy.

Cainan is doing fine. He says "light" about 100 times a day. Cainan has a habit that if he thinks he is in trouble, he will say something cute in hopes that he will get off the hook. And saying "light" is this weeks chosen cute quote. He has learned to climb up the OUTSIDE of his crib. Mat taught him that. He gets his foot between the spokes of the crib and then pulls himself up. Trouble is, he hasn't figured out how to get back down, so that starts him wailing for help.

Here are just a few pictures! By the way - the one picture below is of birds that were in the lake behind our house bathing themselves. There were so many I decided to take their picture!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Having fun

This has been a pretty good week. Lots of down time, and the week went by quick. My parents left Tuesday and it has been quiet since then. No doctor's appointments, no rushing, just time to work around the house and play with the kids. Unfortunately, that also means there isn't much to report!

I have been working on some quilts, so that has kept me busy. I am behind on some quilts that I wanted to make for some family members, so I am using my time to catch up. I have made one and a half of the 4 I intend to make. Wait, no, 5 - I still have to make Cainan's 100 good wishes quilt! The other day, I got in the mail more material from friends for it, so I haven't started it yet! I am still getting material, which is great! I am nearing the end, so I am going to start on it as soon as the other 4 that I am giving away are done. I love doing it - look forward to working on them actually. It is definitely not a chore!

We spent this week doing some planning on upcoming things we want to do! Mat is going to take Arlington to Universal studios. Just the two of them are going to go sometime in March. They are going to have a blast. Now that she is a little taller, she is big enough for some of those "scary" rides she loves so much! There isn't much there for the babies, so just the two of them are going to go. They will have a great time.

And, of course, we want to make another trip to Disney soon as a family! We went last spring and had a blast, so we want to go again before the busy season starts. We are thinking about taking 2-3 days to go, which will be nice!

We are also planning a trip to Jacksonville to see Mat's twin sisters and their families. We haven't seen them since Christmas, and they came here, so we are going there to catch up. It gives us a chance to visit and spoil our niece and nephew - a trip I really look forward to. We are lucky to have family so close.

Arlington is doing well. School is going well for her. We have started reading short little books. She is recognizing so many words that it is coming easier than I thought. She is doing great. And she is learning to spell all the words (by memory) that she is learning, so that she can write her own sentences. She is going to be really ready for Kindergarten. (at least I think so). She blows me away with how quickly she picks it up. We are also working on some math. She can add simple numbers - she is getting the idea. And sometimes she can just look at a picture and know how many their are without having to count each one. That is great! She isn't always in the mood, so we don't push her, but she has a fantastic memory. She can go up to a week and not review and remember everything we had done before. And her love of art still stands. She spends hours daily drawing and creating, and just having a great time. That is why we started learning how to spell the words from memory - she likes to write little stories about her drawings.

Cainan is doing well also. He has got the word "light" pretty much down. "L" is very hard for him, and he is working on it very hard. His language is progressing. He has learned 4 basic shapes - square, circle, star and triangle and can pull them when I ask and put them in the correct hole. He has a new favorite toy - a Mickey Mouse stuffed animal that we brought him back the last time we were in Disney. He takes it EVERYWHERE. He has never really attached himself to a favorite toy - he loves his blanket - but this is his first toy. I am glad - that will help with his upcoming surgery. He can even say "mouse" He asks for it before he goes to bed, and it is really cute. He can also say "rag".

Finley is doing great! She has picked up so much language that I stopped being able to keep up with all of her words. A few of her new things are that she can say Arlington and Cainan. She says "Ar-ton" and "Caincan" It is cute. She calls for them all the time. She will take Cainan by the hand and lead him off to play. Of course, they still battle quite a bit. I am sure that will be life long. With them being basically twins, it is hard. And Cainan is Finley's shadow - he is on top of her to play with whatever she is doing ALL the time. I am sure that gets old. But they will play cooperatively. Now, when Arlington is home, Arlington is the leader, and she controls the play, and they are better behaved. They will do whatever Arlington tells them to do! It is funny.

Anyway, Finley also learned today "hey dude" That was fun. Sometimes we call Cainan dude, and in the car I say to Cainan (who was wearing a new hat) "hey dude" and she repeated it. Great. And she said it all evening. She is funny. She is VERY demanding. She always has been the queen. Arlington was much more easy going. This girl demands greatness wherever and whenever. But she is very cute so it makes it hard to get mad.

Today we went to the playground. The last two days have been in the high 80s, so we have spent time outdoors. Although, I have to say that it is almost too hot - we spent about 1 hour at the playground and were really sweaty and tired when we left! This weekend is supposed to be cooler, so that will be nice.

So that is all. Tomorrow is church and then Monday Cainan has therapy and Tuesday a checkup from his circumcision and Thursday speech therapy. So another busy week ahead. Then we are in March already - unbelieveable!

Here are some pictures. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Goodbye Grammy, Papa and Gigi! See you soon!

My parents and grandma left this evening and headed back to Pennsylvania. They were sad to be leaving the 80 degree weather because tonights weather was supposed to be 18 degrees when they land! That doesn't sound fun. Yesterday, here, it was 90! It was so flipping hot I couldn't believe it. That even seemed extreme for February in South Florida.

We had a nice rest of the weekend and start to the week. Sunday my dad and Mat took Arlington bowling for something special to do - just the three of them. Arlington had a great time! It was the first time she had ever gone. Mat got her a ramp to roll the ball down so it was easier for her, and she got some strikes and spares that way! (oh, and the gutters had pads in them, of course!) She saw the other bowlers run up and throw the ball, and so she wanted to try that. Mat said she would run up, and dump the ball onto the ramp. Too funny. One time she tried too hard and it fell with a thud to the ground! And she tried to throw the ball like a shot put a time or two. She had a great time. She even beat my dad (or he LET her win - it isn't clear!) They had "bowling food" and were back by the time the babies were done with their nap.

Sunday night we had a small Chinese New Year celebration so that my parents and grandma had a chance to celebrate with Cainan. No Chinese outfits this time, but we did order Chinese food again and put out the decorations.

Monday Arlington didn't have school since it was President's day. We kind of lounged in the morning and took our time getting ready for the day. The kids played outside, but it was really hot, so they didn't stay out long.

Arlington had her 5 year doctor appointment Monday. She was not thrilled. She figured she was getting a shot, and she was right! She was a trooper up until the moment for the shot (she actually got three) and she kind of flipped out. Mat had to hold her still - she kept trying to cover her arms. Poor thing. She got her last Polio, her last MMR, and a Chicken pox booster. So fun times ahead in 7-10 days! (she should get a little rash and fever) But she was 35 pounds and 41 inches. She has grown 2 inches since last year, but still is in like the 3%tile for height and weight. After her appointment Mat took her to get ice cream to make her feel better.

We all went to the park to play after the babies got up from their nap. It was a local park with swings and slides. We only stayed about 1 hour because it was so hot! Cainan really enjoyed the swing. He was holding on really tight, but he loved swinging back and forth as long as we didn't go too high or fast. That was good progress for him! I even got him to let go one time and give me a high five! Finley, HATES the swings for some reason and wouldn't even let us put her in one! She would much rather just roam around and do her own thing. She likes the slides as long as she doesn't go too fast! She isn't like Arlington. Arlington has been a dare devil from day one! I have always had to watch her to make sure she isn't doing something that is too big for her! She loves the playground and that took her mind off her shots.

After that we went to dinner at TGIFridays. It was a nice end to a fun week!

Today I finished the blankets for my sister in law's baby (the unborn one that is!) and helped my parents pack. We also worked on getting Cainan's information we need for taxes. Typical West Palm Beach - I went to get his social security card last week - had everything they needed an more. Do you think I got the card? NO. Of course not! I got a really nasty lady who said because his permanent resident card is in his Chinese name and everything else is in his American name, she couldn't help me. I showed her the COURT document proving he was adopted and his name was changed, but she wouldn't hear it. She gave me everything back, and told me that she couldn't help me. I called our lawyer and he said she was in the wrong, but I still don't have the number! So we are going to try and apply for his passport. See, Cainan is a "permanent resident". We have readopted him and the USA sees him as offically on his WAY to becoming a US citizen, but we need his "Certificate of Citizenship" in order for him to be an official US citizen. Well,again, West Palm Beach - we were told it will take about 6 months for that to come. We just sent everything in during December! That doesn't help us for taxes. So we are going to try and get his US passport, and that should get us his SSN, BUT the passport also takes time to come in. Sigh. I HATE FLORIDA.....I HATE FLORIDA....I HATE FLORIDA.

This afternoon after the babies got up from nap, we played a little more and then I took my parents to the airport at 5:30. It was a fun week and I am glad that they and my grandparents came! It is always nice to have the help, and Mat and I are both under the weather, so that made it even nicer! Oh, before my grandma left, she made us homemade stuffed shells. Yum......aren't you jealous?????

Here are a few pictures my parents took!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Birthday festivities day #3 and #4

So the festivities continued! Friday morning Arlington woke up (late for her - 8:30) and we had chocolate chip pancakes with a candle in them for her. One of her favorite things are pancakes, but she doesn't get to have them often, so that was her treat for her birthday. She loved that! She didn't go to school today due to us getting home so late, so she liked that too! We spent the morning playing around and just letting her do what she wanted (watch a video, play some games, read some books). After an afternoon rest, which she didn't really take (but the babies did) we went to the library to get some new books and then hit her favorite restaurant for dinner. Johnny Rockets!! She loves this place. It is a little 50's diner hamburger joint that is very cute, but the big attraction is that she gets a balloon, and the employees dance while we are there. It is fun. And she can play songs in the juke box, which she loves as well. For her birthday, we took all of her presents with us for her to open while we waited for her food. She loved that. This told the waitress we were celebrating her birthday, so before we left, the waitress brought her 5 balloons AND vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup AND they sang to her. She was on cloud nine. Ahh, to be 5! It doesn't take much to be entertained.

On Saturday we spent the morning doing yard work (yuck) while Arlington and the babies played with the grandparents. My grandma flew in on Saturday so Arlington was really looking to a visit from "Gigi". (Great-Grandma) My dad picked her up and once the babies were settled into a nap, we went and picked up her cake. Arlington had a little friend who came over to play before the party - her best friend - and that helped pass the time.

At 3pm we arrived at the "Sweet and Sassy Salon". This place is VERY cool for little girl birthday parties. Arlington wore her fancy Sleeping Beauty dress again. (Thanks Aunt Betty!) This party was a gift from Mat and I, my parents and Mat's parents (well, part of her gift that is). She has so many toys, we just thought she would love this so much more - and we were right! We had 8 girls (all 4 1/2 - 5 1/2) all of Arlington's friends. They each got a princess updo, nails done, makeup, and glitter in their hair. Couldn't beat that! They all had their favorite princess costume on. Once hair and nails were done, they then each walked down a runway while they were announced (and a few things were said about each girl) and they got a princess crown and wand (they got to keep). Once the "coronation" was complete, they did the limbo, danced to music, played games, and then got to eat cake and ice cream and pizza! So fun! After they ate, they got to play one more game and dance a little more and then the party was over. It was a great success, and we didn't have to set up, or clean up! That was the best part. It was worth every penny. She got a lot of really great presents from her friends and everyone had a great time!

So that ended the birthday festivities. Below are the pictures from Friday and Saturday that we took. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Birthday festivities day #1 and #2

Well, Arlington's birthday all went wonderful! I cannot put all of the adventures and fun things we have done in one post because it would be way too long with too many pictures, so I decided to divide it into two days! Aren't you lucky? You know you love it.
Anyway, this post will consist of Wednesday - the day Arlington had her party and school, and Thursday, which was Valentines day and her trip to Disney. I will include her actual birthday (Friday) and the big princess party (today) in a post I will do tomorrow, so stay tuned! Even the pictures down below are numerous, so go and get a cup of coffee and settle in!

Wednesday was Arlington's party at school. My parents had arrived the night before and we had made cupcakes for her party that evening. Arlington is allergic to eggs, so therefore cannot enjoy the cake and cupcakes that usually come along with parties. But she doesn't seem to care - she is used to it! We usually bring something special for her, or she has ice cream, which she really loves! But we found a recipe last year for "eggless" cake and cupcakes. For those of you who are wondering - it is actually very good! It comes from a "diet" recipe. It is the cake mix, a can of soda (of your choice - which changes the flavor of the cake), and that is it! Can you believe? And they come out very fluffy and tasty! No oil, no eggs, no water. But it really works!

Anyway, now that I have advertised eggless cupcakes, I move on. We took these cupcakes to her school party on Wednesday which she really loved. Then Wednesday night we had a little Valentines party here at the house since we were going to be gone Thursday at Disney. The kids got presents from their grandparents and we sang happy birthday to Mat (again - his birthday was last week) because we got some ice cream cakes for dessert.

Thursday, Arlington had her Valentines party at school. She took little Valentines for all of her friends and came home with a lot of candy loot! We still have candy from Halloween, so we are never going to catch up. After the Valentines party we picked up Arlington at school and my mom and I and Arlington went out to lunch. We let her pick whatever she wanted and she chose.....McDonalds. My mom and I didn't want to eat there, so we got her food to go and went to a local Italian restaurant to eat. Then we came home for an hour, helped my dad put the two little ones to bed, and took off for Disneyworld! We live about 2 1/2 hours from Disney, so it isn't a bad drive (hence us being there ALL the time)

Disney was a lot of fun. We went up exclusively (my mom, Arlington and I) for the "Pirates and Princess Party". We could enter at 4pm and it was going on until midnight. The park was closed as of 7pm to the general public and only those who had tickets for this party could stay from 7pm-midnight. We got there around 4:30 pm and rode some rides before Arlington got dressed in her costume. She really wanted to ride Splash Mountain, but unfortunately, it was closed for repair. I was not sad because I wasn't crazy about riding it anyway! So we rode many of her other favorite rides "Peter Pan", "Small World", and two different roller coasters. Plus we ate a bunch of fun Disney world food! Yum! By 6pm she was ready to get dressed, and so we put on her Sleeping Beauty costume (thanks again Aunt Betty!) and headed out. There were little girls EVERYWHERE dressed in costumes. Even some adults were dressed in princess costumes. And the little boys (and grown up boys) were dressed as pirates - mostly from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie. We rode another ride or two before the party began at 7pm. We had a special park map that marked "character dance parties" where she could dance with different Disney characters, "treasure spots" where we had to find large "X's" (see picture below) and there she got get some treasure for her treasure bag. (they were things like beaded necklaces and jewels and stickers). They also had games where she could do things to win more treasure, which she really liked! During these parties - the characters dance with the kids - you don't have to stand in line to get your picture taken -they just spend time with the kids, which they love. At 8:30pm there was a fun parade, and at 9:30 there were fireworks and Arlington's favorite part - Tinkerbell flying down from the castle to the ground. We rode rides until 10:30pm, and then headed home. She did really well, and that is the latest we have ever made it at Disney! We were out of the parking lot by 11pm, and Arlington was asleep before we were on the main road home. We were home by 1:30am and we were VERY tired Friday morning, but we had a great time, it was worth it!

Tomorrow I will write about Arlington's birthday and her party from today. I think this is enough for right now!

Finley and Cainan are doing fine. Tuesday and Wednesday were tough for Cainan, but then after that, he has been really in no pain from his surgery. It looks fine and the swelling is almost gone, so that has to be feeling better! Finley is enjoying the extra attention she is getting from my parents and it is a nice break for me! The babies have taken great naps and sleep so well overnight because they are worn out!

Arlington had a great time over these last couple of days. She loves going to Disney. I call it the "land of matching tee shirts". For those of you who go often, you know what I am talking about. These are the families (usually large ones) who decided to make matching tee shirts so as to not lose each other while in the theme parks. They say things like "The Davidsons Do Disney 2008" or "The Smiths have gone Goofy 2008". I love seeing these shirts and I wonder, "do they wear the same shirt every day of their trip?" or have they had several made that change everyday. I think that they go with one shirt, get to the park, then BUY a large number of matching "Disney" shirts that they wear the remainder of the time. This is something my family has never done. Maybe is screams, "we hope to lose one, it won't matter". What do you think? Disneyworld puts a spell over people that makes them dress this way and WANT to wear goofy hats, sweatshirts, waterbottles, pins, socks, shoes, on and on and on. It gives me a chuckle and I love it!

Finley's new word is "lemon". She loves to eat lemons, so she started saying the world". She also learned "again", and "I don't know".

Here are some pictures from Wednesday, Thursday - enjoy!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

So sorry!

Sorry I forgot to post yesterday! My parents flew in and we were busy all day and I completely forgot it was Tuesday. I do appologize!
Quick update - Cainan's circumcision went off without problems. He has to wear a bandage for two days and then we have to clean it with neosporin 4 times a day for 2 weeks. We will see the surgeon again in two weeks for a check up and then we will be all good! He hasn't really had any pain. Just a little discomfort and that was just yesterday. Today he seems fine! So it was an easy surgery. It lasted about 10 minutes and within 1 hour from start to finish, we were out of the hospital and on our way home.
Kids are all fine! My parents got in last evening and today we have spent getting unpacked. I will post a lot of pictures on Saturday I promise! After all the birthday festivities I will have lots to share!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year officially started on February 7th and today we had a small celebration. We invited over our friends Tracy and Tim and their daughter to celebrate. They adopted their little girl from China at the same time that Mat and I adopted Cainan. The made the trip with Mat, so it was special and fun to celebrate our kid's first Chinese New Year together. We took some pictures, and Tracy took some. Our pictures are below and once Tracy sends me hers, I will add those. We had a lot of fun! Now, I don't cook well, so we ordered the Chinese food! But we had a few Chinese decorations and the kids had fun Chinese things to play with and we had a nice evening. And it was nice to catch up with Tracy and Tim. This was also the first time Mat has had a chance to see their little girl since we have been back from China, so that was fun too. She and Cainan both look very different! The kids had a great time playing together. Arlington was the hero of the evening and all the little ones liked playing with her and following her around. The food was yummy and I think it was a very successful Chinese New Year! Hopefully as the years go on we meet more and more families and our celebrations will grow in numbers.

The rest of the week was fine. Cainan had speech therapy on Thursday and that went well. He is starting to blow air through his mouth and actually got a bubble out of the bubble blower this week! That was great. I had to take Finley, and every time the speech therapist asked Cainan to say something, Finley would say it! Then, of course, Cainan wouldn't. That is the toughest part. I have to take her, but she is like a little parrot and repeats everything we say. But the speech therapist thinks she is funny. I am able to distract Finley most of the time so that the therapist can work with Cainan.

After therapy we went to my old job for a little while to visit. They have been asking to see me and the kids, so I took the babies down there to say hello! We spent about 1 hour there catching up with everyone and letting them ooh and ahh over the little ones. They haven't seen Cainan since about October, so he looked really different! The babies had a good time there because, of course, I worked at a center with all children, so there were tons of toys and kids to play with! I do miss seeing them, but I am happy where I am now. We are settling into a routine and I get less and less sad about leaving the work world behind every day. I know that someday I will return, but for now, this is good.

Friday night we went to our friends house for a fun evening of socialization and food. It was co-workers of Mat and all of their families. These are long time friends of ours and we always have fun together. We all have kids around the same age, so the kids always have a great time, and I love the adult conversation! It wore all the kids out and they all slept in this morning.

That is about it! Kids are all doing great. Arlington is actually starting to write sentences with all the words she is learning. She has learned the words to the point that she knows them beyond sight recognition that that huge sponge of a brain of hers has remembered how they are spelled as well. Today she wrote "Grammy and Papa had a big bike". We are really proud of her and how well she is doing! I can see Harvard now.......

Finley has learned a few new words, but some of them are escaping me right now! I know she is saying "brother" "chip" "pretzel". She said "big blue ball" yesterday which shocked me! She has language skills like Arlington did. Just picking it up quick. Although, she isn't as interested in anything else! Oh, she did start recognizing "A" finally! About time!

Cainan's new word is "Elmo" He loves Elmo and he started to say it. I also had a chance to weigh him this week and he was 20 pounds, 12 ounces! Whoo-hoo! Almost 21 pounds. He LOOKS bigger - really has filled out in his arms and legs, which were as skinny as sticks before! Adding the half and half to his milk has really helped. He remains on the high fat diet, and hopefully he will be out of 12 month size pants really soon! They are getting short, so pretty soon we are going to have to move on!

That is it! Tomorrow is church - we teach Sunday school again. Then this week starts the "birthday festivities" for Arlington. We have a very busy week ahead and are looking forward to my parents arrival on Tuesday. It will be nice to have them here for awhile.

Here are some pictures! Enjoy! By the way, the outfits my three are wearing are from my parents. They all match! Finley and Arlington have pretty little dresses from China, but Finley spilled something on hers, of course. Cainan has about a million outfits. But Arlington really wanted everyone to match (she loves to match her sister!) so these were the evenings outfits!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tuesday at our humble abode

Yes, it is Tuesday again! The weeks are just flying by for us. I can't believe that next week is Arlington's 5th birthday. It was just Christmas - wasn't it? Can it really be February already?

The weekend was pretty uneventful. We didn't do much. We went to church on Sunday - we had to teach Sunday school. Well, some of us went. Arlington woke up Sunday morning with a fever, sore throat and ear ache. So she and Mat stayed home and I took the babies with me to church. Mat took Arlington to urgent care because she is prone to ear infections. but her ear and throat were just red - no infection. So she just laid around on the couch all day and just relaxed. The fever responded to medication, but would keep coming back once it wore off. But by Monday afternoon, she was all better. I kept her home from school yesterday but she was well enough to go back today.

Today was Cainan's follow up appointment with the surgeon. It was a long morning. We had to leave the house at 7:30am so that we wouldn't have to sit in traffic. But, no good - we had to sit in it anyway. Mat took Arlington to school, but I took both babies with me to the appointment. We got to the doctor's at 9:10, and our appointment was 9:20. Now, I am used to these appointments and always go with enough food as if we are staying for three days because, well, we basically are. We didn't get seen until 10:50. How ridiculous is that? 1 1/2 hour wait for an appointment? Why even have an appointment if you are NEVER going to be seen anywhere near your appointment time. This is about my 30th time in this office, and it is ALWAYS the same. One time I got out of there within 1 hour, and I thought it was going to snow. And of course, we saw the doctor for about 5 minutes, so VERY worth the wait. (not) Anyway, the doctor was pleased with his lip and it seems that the lip massages are working well. We scheduled his surgery for March 20th. This will be his lip and nose revision - to repair everything that had to be undone when he got the infection last fall. The surgery will be about 1 1/2 hours and he will be in the hospital 1-2 days. Fun times. We are looking at one definite overnight, possibly two. I am hoping for one, and - as always - told the surgeon so. He finds me amusing. But since we know what antibiotics Cainan needs to be on to keep him infection free, I do not see why he would need more than 24 hours of IV and then can be switched to oral meds. So I spoke my peace and hope that all goes smoothly. That boy better not get a fever! ha. Anyway, he will have nose plugs and arm braces for two weeks, plus the liquid diet - I am having flashbacks. But this SHOULD be his last surgery until he is 5 years old thank goodness, so at least we are looking at a LONG break. Can't beat that!

The rest of this week is uneventful! Mat's birthday is Thursday and we are thinking of going to the beach on Saturday. A nice relaxing week, right? What am I saying? I have three kids!

Arlington is doing well. She was quiet and calm while she was sick, which is so unusual for her. It was nice to know what she was up to for one whole day - which was sitting on the couch! Usually she is very busy and all over the house. But I am glad she is feeling better. She is still doing great in school and with her words here at home. Today she spent the whole day at school since I had Cainan's appointment and I think she was glad to have the afternoon with her friends. She likes to eat lunch with them and play outside an extra time - both of which she misses by coming home with me after pre-K is over at 11:30. It is an extra cost for her to stay for the afternoon, so she doesn't get to do it often. That got us talking about Kindergarten next year. I was telling her that she will be staying all day next year and their won't be any naps. I told her she would have school, then lunch and recess, and then more fun school in the afternoon. She liked the lunch and recess part, but then asked if I would come and pick her up after that - no school in the afternoon. I told her nice try, but it doesn't work like that. She was not happy. But I do think that she will like it once she gets into it.
She also has been busy making puppets. We had some brown paper lunch bags and I showed her how to make a puppet with one. (mine was simple and boring). She thought that was cool and proceeded to make about 30 puppets. They are all very elaborate. She got out all of her art supplies and used feathers and eyes and beads and foil for the hair, and gave them bodies, etc. That girl is very artistic! Me? I drew eyes, a nose and a mouth and called it a day.

Cainan is doing well. I think he might be getting a little cold. He sounds congested in the morning and after naps. Let's hope it doesn't amount to anything else since he has his circumcision next week. He has been sneezing a lot, so we will see. He said his first two word sentence today. "bye mama". It was cute. Once he said it, he said it about 100 times in a row. And we are working on getting him to use a spoon. He is lazy about it and doesn't really want to hold the spoon tight enough to put food on it. But we are working on it. Cainan's wrist and hands are still very weak and it is going to take time for them to strengthen.

Finley is also doing well. Hopefully won't get a cold. When she gets sick, she gets really sick, so I hope she stays well. She said another three word sentence, "I don't know" and "sissy bad baby". She played a game yesterday with Mat. She would hide a ball and Mat would say, "where did it go?" She would say "I don't know", then pull it out and giggle. This went on for about 20 minutes- over and over. She LOVES comedy. She loves to be goofy and have other's be goofy for her. She is getting ready for her career in the circus. The "sissy bad baby" came when Arlington got in trouble. Arlington got in trouble and Finley said "sissy bad baby". Finley also says, "bye car", "bye mommy", bye sissy", bye to just about anything. And she said "pretty baby" I said to her "pretty baby" and Finley said "pretty baby - no - bad baby". Funny girl. She went with me to the appointment today. This was the first time I had to take both babies. She did pretty well. She hates long car rides, but hung in there as long as I kept her entertained and fed!

So that is our happenings. The pictures below are of Mat's impromtu opening of his birthday presents over the weekend. Arlington wasn't feeling well and this really cheered her up. So on Thursday we will just have cake and sing happy birthday. Please excuse the kids outfits - Arlington is in her "warmies" that she wears when she is sick. And Finley got her clothes stripped off while she ate a messy dinner!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Cainan's orphanage in China

I was reading a friends blog and read that Cainan's old orphanage got hit especially hard with a winter storm they are having right now. I am so glad he isn't over there right now! Here is the update:

"Chenzhou, Hunan – still facing the most difficulties of the orphanages we’ve reached. They’ve had no electricity or running water for 8 days and there is almost no possibility that power will be restored before New Year’s Eve (the 6th of February.) Because of the blackout, the hospital is closed. 20 children are ill and being cared for by institution staff as well as they can. The banks are closed so staff is contributing personal funds to buy food, coal and diapers. Prices are skyrocketing as all roads to Chenzhou remain impassable. UPDATE: The largest hotel in Chenzhou is running on one emergency generator and townsfolk who’ve been without power for days have filled all rooms and lobbies. There are very few places in town with even emergency power now. Hopes are to get some electricity by next weekend. UPDATE: The 20 sick children are being cared for by doctors from the local hospital (which is closed.) They are receiving IV's and medicine. Shi assures us that the children will be fine and that they will recover. They will feed the children and keep them warm no matter what. There is still no power. Families in Chenzhou are now rationed and can only buy 4 packages of noodles per family. The Civil Affairs Bureau delivered 3 sacks of rice to the institution. The are using candles but the cost per candle has gone from 20 cents to 5 yuan per candle. They are using coal to keep warm but the price of coal is skyrocketing. Two old people at the institution died. There are 800,000 migrant workers trapped in town that can't get out to see their families for Spring Festival. They expect another heavy snow tomorrow. We are in daily touch with the orphanage. They know that everyone is thinking of them and determined to get them the help they need.

Yesterday we donated money through Half The Sky to help out. They have a Little Mouse Emergency Fund set up."

Please pray for the children and staff and people of China as they go through a very difficult time.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

20 months old today

Today our little man is 20 months old! We can't believe it! He was 14 1/2 months old when we first met, and now he has changed so much! He is talking and walking (well, running) and doing so well. He LOOKS completely different, let alone BEING completely different! Time is going by so fast, and soon he will be turning two! Wow.

We have had a pretty good week. Not a lot of pictures, I am afraid! I put my camera away while I was cleaning and kept forgetting to take it out. Sorry about that! I need to just leave it out, so I can grab it at a moments notice.

Thursday Cainan has speech therapy. That went just fine. He was talking a little more to the therapist this week. She got to hear him make a "p" sound, which she was pleased with. Now we are working on getting him to BLOW through a straw and blow bubbles. He is just blowing air through his nose instead of his mouth. We are pinching his nose when he blows so he gets the idea. He thinks that is funny. We are working on the letter "A". Finley doesn't seem to care about the letters of the alphabet, so I am going to try Cainan instead! He seems to be able to find it when I ask, so that is a start! It is hard to teach two at a time when they both learn so different.

Arlington has added another 10 or so words to her list. She is doing really great. She is getting praised daily by her pre-K teacher, and Arlington can't wait to be reading whole books on her own. She goes around recognizing words at school and while we are out, and when we read - it is fun to watch. We have been reading a fairies series set of books, and she has decided that fairies are definitely real. Ahhhh, to be 4 1/2

Finley - well the girl is getting some teeth so she has been murder to deal with lately. She only wants me or her sister. And mostly, she wants her sister. She goes from being happy and relaxed to crying and whining in a moments notice. Her gums are swollen and she just is having a miserable time with them. I wish they would hurry up! I can't take much more of her up and down moods! :) She said her first three word sentence "sissy not nice". Arlington gave her a little shove because Finley was bothering her, so she said that. It was funny. She has been saying more and more two word sentences. She is talking up a storm. We are working on colors. She seems to know "yellow". She can also count to three. She also now knows circle. We are getting there!

This week we had our grout cleaned and boy it looks nice now! I didn't realize how dirty it was until someone came in and cleaned it! I have cleaned it myself before, but to clean nearly 1600 square feet of grout in our downstairs is quite the task. So this time we opted to have it done by a professional, who - in three hours time, completed what took me over a month before! Hopefully it will stay looking nice for a little while. I am pretty diligent about no shoes in the house, so we will see! We also rented a cleaner and did the carpets! It didn't take out the stains as well as I wanted, but did seem to get the general dirt out. It is always nice to "spring clean".

Our lawn mower decided to bite the dust this week. So unfortunate! We bought a new one and Mat mowed the grass this morning and has it on the wrong setting and basically "plowed" our back yard. Yes, it looks pretty bad! But we have St. Augustine grass, which is code for weeds here in Florida, so it will grow back in about 2 seconds. But, imagine my surprise when I looked out the window and saw our once beautiful green lawn now a mix of very short grass and dirt. Sigh. Live and learn. My vote - bring the gardener back! No, just kidding. What am I saying? The gardeners in Florida care as much about your lawn as they care about everything else - NOT AT ALL. We used to have a gardener and all he ever did was cut the lawn - badly. Never weeded, never mulched or fertilized, etc. All the wonderful things we PAID him for. So we decided to take over. MAt loves yard work, and is pretty good at it. Well, until today. :) And our yard was looking really beautiful! Ah well. It will grow back. I think he did it on purpose so he wouldn't have to mow for about 6 months.

Today Mat is at work, as usual for a few hours. The kids are all in bed right now taking a rest and I am trying to come up with a plan of what to cook for next week. Really exciting, huh? Tomorrow we teach Sunday school and then have to run a few errands. Mat's birthday is this week and Arlington the following, so we are making big plans! Arlington will be 5 years old in two weeks - AHHHHHH! Where did the time go? We are having big festivities for the big 5 birthday.

So, that is our week. Here are just a few pictures.
By the way - the 7th of February starts Chinese New Year. This is Cainan's first Chinese new year with us and we are excited to celebrate. Check out this link if you want to learn a little about the Chinese New Year and what it means to the Chinese culture. Chinese New Year