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    December 2008
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Merrily we roll along…

With the New Year just around the corner, and a post by vote at her password protected place…I got to thinking about the last year, you know, 2008.

SO The new year brought our boys brotherhood for the third year.  Ever convinced that being brothers is the right thing for them both.  They are growing into caring beautiful boys.  I am happy with the plan that God made putting us all together.

In February I dove right into the Cushing research., though not completely convinced that I don’t have it…I have let up on the research for now. It was also my first mammogram!! When March rolled in having a Kidney stone was in order and all that goes along with that. We also found out that our friend Igor from The Glazov baby home went home to TEXAS…we are so excited for him and for his mom and dad.

I began with the C-PAP machine in April and found it to be just what I needed to get a good solid night sleep. I have been wearing it ever since…I tell you the nights I fall asleep without it (think 2 times) I can REALLY TELL.

I  got to meet some adoption world friends in of all places, St. Louis. Meet me in St. Louis…it was AWESOME…when August was upon us we went to the Glazov baby reunion in Florida. It was T.H.E coolest thing I have done besides to actually go to Russia. We had such a great time connecting…which reminds me I have to get looking at a place for us all to meet up this summer.

September I began the Grocery Game…I have been a mad money saving momma ever since…and I like it my family likes it and my pocketbook LOVES it….A LOT…Griffin also got his second set of Ear tubes after failing a hearing test.

October…the month of our anniversary/family day…a fantastic day each and every year. Celebrating family is the best…I also started up with Professor brainstorm.

That brings November…December…and you know what that was all about..One thing that did not happen in December is a visit to Michigan…that will happen this next year. I am excited for that. SO really not much happening…the things we all know about, the recession..happening long before anyone actually claimed it and named it A RECESSION….the odd weather … it shows us all that someone, not us, is in control of it all…I do mean all..

While I sit here and type a call comes in to tell me that a friend visiting family in Florida, just suffered a brain aneurysm. She is in ICU with a 10% chance of surviving…she is a preschool teacher at our preschool and a friend for a long time now.  Please find time to include her and her family in your prayers. They can use it.  Off to call others…sorry for the abrupt end. Not what I expected.


Wii, we…

we…wii have taken the venture into Wii slowly…it started with wii’s arrival for Spencer’s birthday. Actually, it was about mid-February when we got it.  It sat alone in the closet for 6 months. Once it was given as a gift it was opened and played, with the one hour a day rule on school days and no more then one hour at a time with a four hour break in between plays. That makes it able to be played about 2.5 hours a day total given meals and baths and reading times. That is good for us. We or wii, have had the sports games and Wii Play and that is it since the birthday.  Nearly 4 months. In that time both of the boys have enjoyed the games…making mini-wii’s and such. Both boys have made many many mini-wii guys…remember Barack Obama and John McCain, Hillary and what’s her face. All on their own coming up with the ideas and faces to match. They have made some really good likenesses.  Griffin A.L.W.A.Y.S….always plays with the same guy. He is a dark dark skinned guy with no hair and dark eyes and dark eyebrows…for all intents and purposes he is a black man. he states it is him….what an odd personal perception of ones self when your a very white Russian, grey eyed, blond haired kid.  Whatever, it really makes no never mind…just interesting.  So you don’t forget that it is boys that play with this 99% of the time…we have character names like poopy face, butt face, spike, He/shewii (OK I made that one) farthead, you get my drift…bodily functioned name wii’s and there are about 30 of them!!

Our wii-dum has grown.  Christmas brought us: Rapala fishing with rod… Sonic and Mario at the Olympics, Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix (a steal of a deal for $8.99). Then there is the Wii fit…more on that later. With that came Wii ski (another steal of a deal at $17.99).  The Wii Fit is an interesting little thingy…I was able to get it for about 80 bucks.  It was for both the boys.  So Christmas day they each take a turn on it to see what it does.  It will give you your BMI and Age according to different things you do and input. Spencer scored a little lower then average BMI and an age of 32!!  Griffin scored a little under average and an age of 34!! Next up 45 (nearly 46) year old dad.  He scored a very average BMI and an age of 35!! WTH…it told him he was in good shape and to keep up what he was doing…again WTH…so that was a little fun…and before you ask..NO this mom did not get on that thing….I do not need to be told what I already know…maybe someday when no one is home to see it all go down…

So all in all the Wii has provided us with some good laughs and family fun.  We especially like to play family bowling.Now, if I could keep my very competitve boy happy I would be pleased…and I do mean Griffin!!! Good Golly the boy has a hot Russian temper!!

As we start “out with the old and in with the new”…

this week…we have started with the same in the house.   We spent the better part of today in the up stairs cleaning out a linen closet that has never in  the 7 years we have lived here been organized or cleaned…whew…nice to have that done.  We also did the closet in the spare bedroom that has suffered the same neglect as the hall linen closet.  It is nice for those to be done. We have been working on the boys bedroom organization often and they are done…our room got done when we painted.  This place is shaping up.  The basement, AKA, the bain of my existence, is calling me.  It will be the thing I try to tackled one day at a time…it may take me till I am 50 but it will get emptied. I have all sorts of plans and ideas so we shall see…we have had a lot go out this year end,  filling the garbage and recycle centers. Donations are stacking up in the basement for the preschool annual rummage sale in March. I think I could provide enough for the entire sale.

So in with the new has brought all the gifts from Christmas. It has brought numerous boxes from my moms storage locker (which she emptied while she was here) that I must go through and divide among myself and brothers. That is a daunting job to look forward to. It is strange to be going through her stuff when I know she is just down in Florida but she wants it that way.  I am glad it is one thing will not have to do when she passes away. I am sure there will be plenty to do then anyway.  But it is a odd feeling and thought process. I do not recommend it. Then there is EVERY.SINGLE.PAPER my children bring home from school. O.M.G. it is a nightmare.  I love to save it all…I have gone through K-1 grade of Spencers and tossed trivial things but that was not the hard part. Now I have; pre-k times 2 years for Spence and k,1 & 2 grades. I have 2 years of pre-k fro Griffin.  I have got to get a handle on it now before it is out of control.

So that is where we are sending out the old and bringing in the new…how about you doing any out and in cleaning in your house? Try to keep it clean woud ya

Our favorites…and a little more

SO the Christmas gifts that were favorite this year…

Dad….lots of new cold weather shirts

mom…hand mixer

Spencer…Digital Camera

Griffin…all the blue things he got: Blue bike Helmet, Blue Radio/cd player

it was a great morning of leisure and fun…it took much longer to open gifts as Griffin wanted to explore each gift…Spencer was let’s get ’em all open and then explore them…they are funny boys…

Today we took a trip down to Oma and Opa’s house. We had a date set up with Aunt Judy who is in town from Baltimore for a few days for Christmas….we could not miss out on this opportunity to see her. We took her to lunch at the Olive Garden and we all got to talk with her and see how she is liking life in Baltimore…It was a really nice visit. We head back down to Oma and Opa’s for our Christmas with them in nine days.  The boys are really excited for that too.  I think we are extremely lucky that we have conected so well with the whole family and that both the boys are able to have an Oma and Opa…Griffin is loved and welcomed like he was their birth grand child. WE ARE BLESSED…

Christmas Eve Christmas Day and beyond

I had put no thought to a Christmas themed post for the next two days. As I read around the blog-o-sphere this morning, of my friends posts, I did not see a host of Christmas thoughts or posts. One or two. So I do not feel bad that I have not put together this reflective Christmas post.

I will say that I love having the snow we have….I hate the dreary looks of the brown grass and leaf-less trees. It is nice to have so much white. We have about 20 inches so I do not think we will loose it before Christmas. That is always nice. This morning it has gone from raining to huge ginormous (as Griffin says) snowflakes to a very fine flake and back again for the last 2 hours. We are in the itty bitty snowflake phase right now.

The boys are excited for the visit from that “right jolly ‘ole elf”…they are talking about what they think they will be getting off their lists of things they wanted. Spencer has had some talk about Santa not being real and that he knows it is just mom and dad but, I think, as the day nears, he has a little more belief in that magic that I keep telling him is there in all of us if we just believe. I think another showing of The Polar Express is in order.

We have friends that are leaving for Disney World tomorrow afternoon. They are very excited as it is their first trip with their little girls. We have talked a lot about what will be good for them to do. I am happy for them they are really excited to go. I wish I could be going too but right now I have other things I want to do with that small amount of extra cash we have. Like paint Griff’s room and work on the basement. It won’t get finished but at least I can get some shelves to get a start on that organization.

Forever, deep in my heart, are the memories of Christmas’ past when my father was still alive. (I miss and think about him most everyday.) The big holiday parties and the Christmas Pageants at church. Making and decorating cookies with my mom EVERY YEAR..I miss that too..I rejoice in the everyday triumphs of my little family. The things we are fortunate to have and do…together….as a family…I am terribly thankful that I was blessed to be the mom to not one but two beautiful, smart boys. They are a daily source of joy and pride. I am also ever cognizant of the two women, whom without which, I could not be so happy. The two men who may or may not know that they are fathers.

I am exceedingly happy to be married to my best friend who I would go to the end of this earth to help, protect or simply make happy. He IS my rock, without him I might crumble.

To all my readers, friends, family and lurkers, I hope that the spirit of Christmas finds and follows you, that your days are as bright as that star that guided the wise men so long ago.


A bobcat, snow and Mount Meadowbrook

SO with the 12-14 inches of snow we received last night the kids, who had school canceled today, the last day before winter break, were…well….ecstatic..to say the least.  The side yard of our property has always been the sledding hill as from street edge to bottom of the hill it drops about one story.  What makes this even better, by the end of the winter snows is that the snow plow has dumped copious amounts of snow at the street edge of this little fun hill making it a good place to go down at a good clip. It is always fun…but not really fun till the end of the season.This year the dads have decided to make it fun TODAY…right now.  One of the guys brought home a bobcat and is taking all the nice clean snow from the ends of every ones drives and depositing it in the place where the plow usually does. The other men in the hood are spreading it and packing it so that it is a good grade.  Knowing Richard, if he could he would be shooting the grade with all of his surveying equipment.  Not at night though. I have even heard listening in the window talk of spraying a light coat of water on it to pack it down and make it slick…
Needless to say, there will be a form to fill out for anyone who sleds or snowboards down the hill to fill out and sign holding us harmless in case of injury or death. The next two weeks should be very interesting.

The craziness of the season

My mom sent me the Steel Drum Island Christmas Collection Vol.2 and I am listening to it as I write.  It is funny to hear the ‘Island sound’ for all the Christmas Classic songs I love to listen to and sing along with. It is not easy to do with this little added Island flare but it is a fun change to the season this year.  I am not really an Island, hot weather, gal but I do enjoy a variety of music and this fits. I admit is is kind of odd to listen to the Island version of Christmas looking out on the beautiful white, white snow that is glistening out the window.

I have been way to busy.  I have given myself lots of ways to have way too much to do.  That is OK. I am surviving. This week I had a somewhat free Monday morning.  Had free lattes at McD’s with some moms from preschool…I had sweet tea of course and it was not free…Griffin and I have been making cookies after school and on non school days this week and the end of last. We have managed to make Toffee Squares, Peppermint melt-aways, Peanut butter blossoms, Milk Chocolate fudge and today possibly ginger snaps and/or chocolate candy cane and/or Spicy Molasses cookies. Just have to see how energetic momma is…this weekend we weill be making spritz cookies and decorating sugar cookies as a family. I will have to replace the already eaten toffee squares and fudge at some point too.

I have planned the Christmas Eve dinner and will be having a fresh pork roast and hand made/homemade potato dumplings and broccoli and carrots(DH does not east broccoli).  It will be a warm cozy meal. Lots of cookies for dessert. On Christmas Day afternoon sometime we will trudge through the snow to my SIL and share the day with them. I will most likely be cooking whatever it is they have purchased for dinner as they never seem to be able to get it together. I will bring a huge amount of cookies for dessert.  SIL will go to the fancy bakery and get ultra fancy, uber expensive desserts and they will sit and all the homemade cookies will be devoured. She will never learn.  The kids will have a blast.

Back to the craziness..Wednesday I performed my duties as co-head-room mom. I planned and ran the holiday party in Spence’s class. We made adorable mini-me snowmen from danimal bottles and had cute powered sugar snowmen in white popcorn snow. We played snowball toss with marshmallows and winter words scramble. The kids had a good  time.  So did the moms. Spencer is so lucky to have such a great class and teacher.  I am beyond pleased with the very large school system we have though some are overly skeptical about it’s size and ability to meet the needs of the kids, we have nothing but good things to say. I sent in carrots and ranch dressing (at Spence’s request) today for the whole day read-a-thon pajama day. The kids were stoked about this already yesterday so I am sure it is a hit today. Tonight Spence has his scout pizza party…another exciting thing for us to all do together..we have yet to go see the holiday lights at the Cuneo Museum which we do every year.  I think the best thing I did this week was make this huge a$$ pot of chicken noodle soup.  We ate it  for dinner Monday Tuesday and Wednesday.  I could eat it again tonight if a.) there was any left and b.) we did not have the pizza party….

I am so grateful for the grocery game and the possibilities that it has allowed me to have this year with Christmas shopping. The message board there has had way to numerous hot tips for gifts that I was looking for this year.  It allowed me to do so much more shopping then I would have had I not found them. I have my shopping done and all is wrapped and ready to go.  I have been sneaking wrapping in here and there when Griffin is occupied.

Tomorrow is the last day of school before winter break.  I am looking forward to winter break this year and to having some good time with friends we don’t get to see to much now that we all have school aged children. The boys have friends that they have not seen since summer and are looking forward to getting together these next two weeks.

I can assure you that I will not have time to post till the schedule goes back to normal in the new year on the 5th of January. But if I can sneak some time in to do so I certainly will…

This weekend marks the end of time for us to get our Christmas cards complete. I stole part of my card idea from my friend Sybille.  I am not sure how she accomplished it and I am having such a difficult time but there will be cards and a photo and they will come before the middle of January.  This weekend also marks what would have been my dads 75th birthday.  ( this July 2009 it will be 10 years since he passed away.)  The same day as the day as my dads birthday is the anniversary of Griffins court day in Russia. Of course his finally family day is December 24th. The day we brought him into our home, the day he was home forever. We did not actually leave court with Griffin that day.  We went back to our hotel/apartment without him.  Court was in Izhevsk 3 hours away from Glazov and it was after 5PM local. There was not going to be a return trip to get him.  He was brought to us the next morning by Svetlana (our translator)and her husband.  Do you all remember reading about the elevator that dropped three floors with Svetlana and Griffin and I in it.  Yeah, that was the morning we headed to Moscow…before leaving the Chicago.

It is obvious that we, you and I, have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for.  There are so many that do not. My thoughts are with those at this time of the year.  Happy Birthday Jesus, thank  you for all the ways you have touched my life that is the little prayer we teach our boys.