Aug 28, 2014

Summer Fun Part One

This Summer we spent a long weekend in Lexington, VA.  We stayed at a local hotel and toured the Natural Bridge and Museum, The Caverns, and the Natural Bridge Zoo.  We also made a side trip to Covington, Virginia so the kids could see where their Daddy grew up.  We had a great time, despite a flat tire in the rain on the way back to the hotel the first night we were there.  Thankfully AAA came to the rescue.  A Police Officer also stopped to check on us while our tire was getting changed.  The Officer used his flash light to search the inside of our car and kept shining it on the face of our kids and asked them how they were doing.   He then asked Nick for his Driver's License.  After checking things out and being reassured that all was fine he left.  The mechanic that was changing the tire thought it was strange that the Officer asked for Nick's license.  I figured it was just routine procedure, but then it occurred to me that our children don't really look like us, or each other. 

                                                        The View from our Hotel. 

                                                           The Natural Bridge

                                                                 Family Picture

                      William pretending to be a Surveyor like George Washington.

                                            Kayla and Nick. She loves her Daddy.

                              Kayla wasn't happy that her little brother cut into her Daddy time.

The Caverns.  This is the natural entrance to the Caverns.  I'm glad we didn't have to come in that way!

                                   Listening to the Guide and viewing some of the formations.

                                                   Monkeys at the Natural Bridge Zoo

  I was thrilled to feed one of my favorite animals.  I loved these giraffes.   They were Gentle Giants.

Kayla waited patiently and a canary came and perched on a stick with bird seed at the end.  There were several trying to do this in the Atrium, but Kayla was the only one I saw patient enough to be successful. She has such an affinity for animals.
William feeds the deer.  We loved this Zoo and how close you could get to the animals.

This Big Cat reminded us of our Big Kitty back at home.  He sits in our chairs the same way. 
This is the house Nick grew up in.  We enjoyed our "Daddy Historical Tour" in Covington, VA. 

Jul 7, 2014

One Step at a Time

I haven't been able to log into Google for a couple of months, so I haven't been able to publish any new posts.  The sign in worked today, so hopefully all the issues have been solved.

I have been wearing a pedometer to keep track of how many steps I take each day.  I received the pedometer through Nick's work as part of a Wellness Program.  The Lyme Disease attacked my joints and causes Fibromyalgia like pain, so aerobic exercise is difficult for me right now. I am amazed at how active I can be just doing my daily routine, and often have over 7500 steps a day even on the days I don't go for an exercise walk.  On the days the pain is bad I am lucky to hit 3,000 steps. 
Wearing the pedometer has motivated me to be as active as I can be.  Sometimes I look down at the pedometer and it gives me encouraging messages like "Active is awesome!"  If I'm sitting too  long it will say "Let's Go!"     William calls my pedometer my "step watch".  On the days I don't hit my goals I remind myself I am still on the road to recovery, and need to take it day by day and one step at a time. 

The Cookie Monster

A couple of months ago I made chocolate cookies for an after school snack.   I made plenty so we'd have extras for dessert and lunch box treats the next day.   I added some Benefiber to the batter to make them more healthy.  Even though the Benefiber is tasteless I didn't tell the kids I put it in the batter.  I wanted to test if they would notice the difference.

After dinner I noticed that most of the cookies were gone.  When I asked who had eaten the cookies no one would admit to eating more than 2 cookies.  I started to laugh.  This was not the reaction my children were expecting.  I told them I would soon know who had eaten more than their fair share of cookies.  I explained that I had added extra fiber to the cookie batter, so the "cookie monster" would soon be needing to use the bathroom tonight.  An hour later Ryan came up and confided in me that he was the one that ate the cookies and I was right about needing to use the bathroom.  The case of the "Cookie Monster" solved. 

Apr 25, 2013

5 Ways to Show Respect and Kindess by William

William was given us a difficult time in the mornings.  He would scream at me and complain about every little detail of his morning routine.   One morning when he was  rude and disrespectful to me I had him sit down and write out 5 ways he would show respect and kindess.  I wanted to perserve his list here.

It is difficult to read  but it says:

1. Next time just do what they say.
2. Try to answer in a nice way and do not yell
3. Don't say "That will make us late"
4. Do not yell or hit or scream
5. And show that you can do better.

Now when he starts to throw a fit I say, "Is that on your list?" and he will stop.  I used to lay his clothes out for him in the morning, but he'd yell at me if I didn't have everything just right, so now it is his responsibility to put his clothes out.  He didn't like me waking him up in the mornings, and so now he wakes up to an alarm clock.  I still get up at the same time as the children, but now I get hugs instead of screams.  Ryan shares a room with William and has taken on a leadership role in finding fun ways to keep William moving in the morning.  He challenges William to beat him in getting dressed first, and I hear him use positive reinforcement when William completes a task.  I don't know if William will ever be a "morning person", but our mornings are much more peaceful now.

Apr 19, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday- Family update

I haven't been very good about updating this blog, so here are 7 things the kids have said or done lately that I don't want to forget.

1.  We got an Xbox with Kinect for Christmas. I had resisted any type of video gaming system for a long time, but we finally caved. We want to have a house where our children's friends want to hang out.   We limit how much time they get to use it. There is no computer or video games during the school week and limited time on weekends. One Saturday morning after a week of no video games, Ryan woke up and came out of his room.   I said "Good Morning" to him and he answered, "Xbox".  Oh boy, what have we done?

2.  The school hosts something called "All Pro Dads".  Once a month the Dads eat breakfast with the children before school and they listen to and watch a video presentation from a famous person about fatherhood.  This week the kids were told to discuss with the fathers what they hoped to be doing when they are 25 and what they hope to be able to do with their father before they reach 25.  Kayla said she wasn't going to date until she was in her 20's so she hoped her father would meet her dates and approve of them before she went out with them.  She's 10 now and we plan to hold her to that request.

3. William is playing coached pitched baseball this season.  He loves it. He seems to be naturally athletic, especially with sports that require hand-eye coordination.  He tried tennis for the first time a couple weeks ago and was actually hitting balls over the net using a backhanded swing. He is finally getting used to riding a bike without training wheels and said he can't wait until he can ride for miles and miles.

4. It was my birthday earlier this month.  I had to be somewhere that evening, but when I came home to eat dinner Ryan had put out our  "Celebrate" plate and made me a homemade card.  He not only signed his name to the card but his siblings as well.  He included some chocolate as a treat.  My son knows how to make his Momma happy!

5. Kayla and I had our first camping trip with American Heritage Girls.  I had never slept in a tent before so it was quite the adventure.  We spent the day as a family with the other families in the troop.  Nick helped us set up our tent and Ryan helped several other "new to camping" families set up their tents.  We had a lovely day.  Nick took the boys home after our evening bonfire.  We don't have a big enough tent for our entire family. The day was warm, but it got very cold at night.  Luckily Kayla and I had cots to sleep on, but  even with warm clothes and sleeping bags, it was so cold we barely slept.  There were also several Dad's camped out in tents around us so we also had the sound of snoring in surround sound stereo.  When I got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom I thought about sleeping in our van, but I didn't want Kayla to feel abandoned in the tent.  I don't think I'll be tent sleeping again until I know the night temperatures will be warmer than 30's or 40's.

6.  William was learning about time in school so he decided to wear his wristwatch to school. It was a nice one given to him by his grandparents.  When I went to pick him up at school he looked very sad. He said one of his classmates wanted his watch so he traded William the watch for an eraser, and now he didn't want the eraser. He wanted his watch back.  An eraser!  I was a little annoyed.  I asked William what made him think it was O.K . to trade his watch.  He said, "I didn't want to, but he kept asking and asking so I finally said yes just so he would be quiet."  When we got home I called and e-mailed the Mom of the classmate.  William's watch was returned the next day.  Lesson learned.  I couldn't get angry because I was glad he learned this lesson in First Grade instead of later on.  Peer Pressure can be tough!

7.  O.K. our cat, Hobbes, isn't one of our children, but I want to remember something he did. Kayla sprained her ankle a couple weeks ago, and was feeling very low. Hobbes, who usually leaves her room after I tuck her in, stayed and snuggled up next to her in bed all nght. When I was bedridden from the pain of kidney stones in December he stayed by my side. When I was getting sick in the bathroom, it was Hobbes' cries that alerted my husband that something was wrong. He seems to have a sixth sense when one of us needs extra TLC. He may be 20 pounds, but he is a Gentle Giant.

Feb 4, 2013


Today Ryan is 13 years old.    My heart feels so full today. 
I am so grateful to Ryan’s birthmother for choosing life and for choosing us to be his parents.  I won’t go into details about Ryan’s adoption story because that is his story to tell when he is older.  He has heard his story enough to know he is special and was chosen to be in this family.  He doesn’t view his birthmother as someone who “gave him up”, but rather someone who made a very unselfish plan for his life.   Her courage and strength is something I admire about her and I see those traits in Ryan.
I will never forget the day we met Ryan’s birthmother.  She showed me his ultrasound picture and my heart literally skipped a beat.  I looked at the picture and felt an immediate connection.  There was no doubt in my mind that he was my son.  We were blessed to be able to hold Ryan 15 minutes after he was born.  His eyes were open and he looked at us with this knowing expression in his eyes.  I will always cherish the memories of the time in the hospital we had with Ryan’s birthmother, celebrating and just being in awe at this beautiful new life. 
Fast forward 13 years.   It really was fast.  Now Ryan is a teenager and it fills me with dread, nerves, and excitement.  I dread the mood swings and the push against authority that comes with the teen years. In my Child Development classes I learned that 3 year olds and 13 year olds go through similar stages psychologically.  I remember how obstinate Ryan would get when he was 3 years old.  He wanted to do something independently and wanted my help at the same time.   I see that happening now, but at 13 he is too big to pick up and carry him to where I feel he needs to go.  I can’t sit him in my lap and rock away his frustrations anymore.   Hopefully though Ryan remembers he can always count on me to be there.  I hope he continues to wake up every morning seeking to give me a good morning hug.  
Ryan is a good kid. He is a very good kid.  He’s a wonderful big brother.  He will tease the snot out of his little brother and sister sometimes, but heaven help the person who tries to hurt William or Kayla.  Ryan is kind, generous, and funny.  I just have to remind myself during the difficult moments that he is a teenager and not an alien.  Being a teenager may explain his moments of aloofness or rebellion but it won’t be excused.  I will still hold him to a high standard of living out the virtues he has been taught.    I am looking forward to watching him grow in virtue and wisdom.   I am still in awe at this beautiful life God has entrusted to me and my husband. 
                                 This is the Christmas card Ryan spontaneously made us this year.  
                                                  It won't be long before he is taller than me!

Dec 18, 2012

Santa Claus Already Came to Town

Ryan and William share a room. Since Ryan has the flu we had William sleep in our room last night. Nick was chasing William around the bed and William fell. William wasn't hurt, but he did get a good view of the present he had requested from Santa which was under our bed. William became very excited and decided Santa had put it there because he didn't have enough room on his sleigh for all the toys he has to deliver. And since Santa rode through our neighborhood last night on a fire truck he convinced himself that Santa had hidden the toy under our bed. Santa needs to find better hiding places