Monday, May 12, 2008

Kissing owies

Just a short post to say that today for the first time, Caleb wanted me to kiss his owie. And when he was trying to put on his own socks and kept catching the sock on his big toe, he kept saying 'ow' and leaning over to kiss his toe.

We have gotten many chuckles out of Caleb because you can touch him and he will say owwwCH (kind of long 'ow' with a real crisp CH at the end) but he can whack into a steel pole or corner of a counter and seem not to even notice. I don't want to make him into a cry baby but it kind of makes me sad that he hasn't seemed to hardly be aware of real pain.

Mother's Day

Pictures: Kevin with his huge piece of mud pie at Jakers; my kiddos with my Mom at the Peking Restaurant; my Mom and I; Caleb sporting his new hair cut
I guess Mother's Day officially started for me on Friday. Our 4 older kids (13, 12, 11, 9) all went to our friend's church for a party. Caleb and I entertained ourselves by going to Pet Smart and looking at the fish and birds and mice and hamsters. I was so pleased with Caleb's attentiveness and curiosity. He seemed much more aware than the last time we visited (of course, THAT time his main purpose in life was to escape out the front door; THIS time his smarter mama had him in a cart). When Kevin got off work he took me out for dinner at Jakers, thanks to a gift card. Caleb went along with us, of course, and enchanted the waitress with his smile and his very hearty and loud approval of the appetizer she sat in front of him. We all laughed. My next moment of hearty laughter occurred when Kevin received the piece of 'mud pie' he'd ordered for dessert: a gigantic chunk of double-layered chocolate ice cream with chocolate crust and chocolate syrup on top, lathered with whipped cream and nuts. Poor guy had to eat it all because I don't eat chocolate and he couldn't put it in a 'to go' box cuz it would melt.

I then went to pick up the boys from the party while the girls stayed for an over-nighter.

Saturday morning I was supposed to pick the girls up at my friend's house at 9:00 am. I got up in plenty of time, it's just that I picked up a good book and lost all track of time so that when I got out of the shower it was already 9:10 am and I hadn't even awakened Mr. B. yet. Anyone who has ever been on wake-up duty with my oldest son knows that 'get up immediately and put your clothes on' is the almost-sure recipe for tantrums and loud resistance. So I was very late and then, of course, I had to chat for awhile. We had fun (but time-consuming) errands: buying flowers for my mom and a wedding present for a long-time-ago Sunday School student of mine. We also stopped at a store that gave each of the kids a free bucket, soil and flower. Caleb almost immediately dumped his upside down so his little marigold had a rough start. I was very touched that my 12 yr old daughter bought me 3 gorgeous ranuculous (sp?) plants with her own money.

I was late again. We stopped at home just long enough to throw on dress clothes for the wedding and jump back in the van. And long enough to find out that there wasn't enough wrapping paper left on the roll in my closet to wrap the gift we'd purchased . . . so we grabbed a length of butcher paper, tape, markers and scissors and hoped for an opportunity to wrap it. We made it to the wedding just before the bride made her grand entrance. I had told the kids to be very quiet: 'if we can just sneak in so nobody even knows we are there, it will be great.' But no, we had to go into the sanctuary through an entrance almost at the front. It was horribly embarrassing but I'm so glad we made it. Congratulations Brian and Jennifer! And my boring wrapping paper was saved by the inspiration of covering the butcher paper with sayings and phrases from the wedding itself.

Sunday morning J. presented me with a rose bud he had made in art from a chocolate kiss and an original poem. So sweet. In Sunday School Caleb made a lady bug card for me. At church all the mothers got a big flower pot, soil, variety of flower seeds and gloves. And Pastor Bruce used the acronym NAG in his sermon about a mother's advice to the wisest man in the world from the FIRST several verses of Prov 31. We took my parents to the Peking Restaurant and several of us had our usual sweet n sour chicken with fried rice. Then my parents came over for our 2nd Annual Mother's Day gardening day. Mom, T. and I enjoyed weeding the garden, Kevin and Dad were mowing and S. and B. were very happy to get an opportunity to help with both push mower and rider. J. did some grass trimming. Kevin also sawed down a couple dead trees and Mom leveled out a 'moat' area that the boys had formerly created with their construction trucks. The day started out lovely but a very cool and powerful wind finally forced us inside (before we got any planting done) for baked potatoes with chili and grated cheese on top.

The day ended with Caleb getting a buzz haircut. He has been pretty funny trying to brush his bangs out of his eyes for a few weeks now so a trim was definitely in order. Unfortunately Kevin's clippers come in only one length so Caleb will not have to worry about his bangs for a long time to come. He fussed and fussed and fussed especially about all the hair in his face but didn't really appreciate it on his tummy or neck or in his diaper either. The other kids were all very concerned about him crying but now enjoy rubbing his fuzzy head. He sure looks different.

And to all my friends who are now hinting for new pictures, I am in process. My problem is that I don't have a direct hookup from my camera phone to the computer so I wait til I have a bunch of pictures and then download them on a disc at Fred Meyer and then down load them on the computer. I am hoping to go back through some of my older posts to add the pictures that go along.

Truck Drivers Rodeo

Pictures: Caleb, James and Teresa at the Truck Driver's Rodeo; Kevin in front of the UPS Freight tent
My husband, Kevin, drives for UPS Freight and each year the drivers who have completed an entire year with a safe driving record are invited to attend the annual rodeo in the Boise area. This year it was May 3. Drivers from several other companies also compete. The drivers are scored on a written test, an interview, a pre-trip inspection and finally on their skills in getting a truck through a series of 'problems' on a huge lot. For instance, they have to maneuver the truck so that the rear right tire passes within 18 inches (but does not touch) a tire laying out on the ground or completely cover a $100 bill laying out on the lot with their right front tire or back into a little fenced-in area (reminds me of the shopping-cart return area) so that your rear trailer is within 18 inches (but does not touch) the rear fence. And by the way, the truck the driver uses in the contest cannot be one from his own company.

Our kids love this event mainly because the company puts all of us up in a motel and the one this year had a great pool that is 5 ft deep at the deepest, hot tub, exercise room, even a giant movie screen at one end of the pool area. We all really like this motel. It was fun to take Caleb into the pool for the first time in his brand new Cars swimming suit and a swim diaper. I'd forgotten to bring floaties so we mostly carried him and bounced him up and down in the water. It was also interesting to have all 7 of us in one room. It had 2 queen beds plus a roll-away. Kevin and Caleb started in the roll-away, I and 2 girls in one queen (me in middle) and 2 boys in the other queen. It wasn't too long before Kevin put Caleb in with the other boys because, as you may recall, Caleb tends to take his half out of the middle, sleep sideways, etc. and Kevin had to get up like 5 am. Sometime during the night I climbed out of bed and wrapped up in a blanket and slept on the floor between the 2 queens where sometime later I was joined by one of the boys and later by Caleb.

Another fun part of the event is the free burgers, chips, pop provided by UPS. Kevin's boss commented on how our children all said 'thank you' and 'please' so I was very grateful for the sermon I'd just given them on remembering their manners.

A final memorable event was when Caleb's diaper began spilling over onto pants and shirt and stroller during the awards presentations. No wonder he hadn't wanted to eat hardly anything. So I took him way out to the van, used a pillow case for a diaper changing pad, a large Styrofoam cup as a receptacle for diaper and multiple wipes and finally walked back to the company's booth only to find that practically everything had been picked up and my family had already headed to the van the other way.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Could someone update this blog, please?

Pictures: Caleb's official documents at his 'Welcome To America Party;' our whole family in our church CLUBS shirts after Awards Night; Caleb trying out his potty; Caleb loves parfaits at McDonalds; Caleb's radiation shield seems to be slipping when getting neck films

My friend, Kris, hinted that this blog could stand some updates. I couldn't agree more. Any volunteers? :) The truth is that once a person gets this far behind, you just have no idea how to catch up.

So, I'll just try to think of some overall observations, I guess. First of all, Caleb is absolutely wonderful. Sure, our other kids do get a bit exasperated when he gets into their things and there is no longer a fight over who gets to change his diapers, but there is still a lot of argument over who gets to sit by him in the van, who gets to push him in the stroller, etc.

Some of you might remember that while we were in Ukraine, Caleb basically lived on bananas and yogurt. While those are still favorites, he has expanded to pizza and spaghetti and hamburgers and sweet n sour chicken and corn and beans and sweet potatoes and pineapple and apple slices and milk and Coke and apple juice and rice and potatoes and . . and . . . At his Dr. appt he weighed 36 pounds and was 35 1/2 inches tall. He handles a spoon quite well and not bad with a fork either. He still is not crazy about French fries. He likes to dip the same one in the fry sauce over and over again, just sucking off the good stuff.

He can say no (his favorite word but usually spoken in a very nice voice) mama, dada, gramma, kitty, sock, shoe, up, banana, Teresa and mimics lots of other words. He mimics signs for play, more, milk, and sometimes dog. He can follow directions like 'go get your coat', 'get your shoes' (though he will bring ALL of them, not just a pair), 'get in your chair' He occasionally shoots off a string of words that I don't understand but the tone of voice indicates that maybe I really don't want to know what he is saying--then I have to put my finger on his lips and remind him 'nice words' He also sometimes sings in Russian?/Ukrainian? and then I would love a translator. He has put on his own coat totally by himself 3 times (upside down each time), has got on a sock 2-3 times, can pull up the front of his pants (the back gets stuck on his diaper) He has even put pee in his potty a few times (today he knew he did it and jumped up to show me!) and poop once. He hasn't pooped in the bathtub for quite awhile. He very much likes the Barney song and anticipates the "with a great big hug and a kiss from me to you" part. He also loves the "It's signing time with Alex and Leah" song from the Signing Time DVDs and sways back and forth and tries to copy the signs. He can do high fives, knuckles, and thumbs. He folds his hands prior to eating while we pray.

There is some progress in his relationship with our kitty, Jade. I really wish I had taken a video of their first few days because it was so comical. I can still picture Caleb on forearms and knees with his bum-bum up in the air studying the cat. Or even curiously following the cat. As long as the cat was staying still or walking away, all was well and good. But if the cat would come closer, Caleb was immediately, quickly backing away saying "Neh, neh!". The cat would actually stalk Caleb and spring out at him at times. Caleb still notices where the kitty is, sometimes scoops her food out of the sack into her bowl and will pet the cat under certain conditions but still doesn't want to lay beside her to get his diaper changed.

His Welcome to America party on April 19 at our church was a lot of fun. I was so touched by all the people who showed up on a Saturday afternoon and by so many lovely gifts. For those who don't know, the room was decorated in red, white and blue. A special display was made showing his citizenship paper, a letter from President Bush and the photocopy of our birth certificate in Ukranian. We played a flag trivia game, opened packages, ate yummy cookies, drank punch and my pastor's wife (who is also an adoptive Mom) shared about the need for church and family to welcome him into our lives. He received a booster seat for the table, many adorable outfits, diapers and pullups, a matress cover and a sheet set (finally put them on his bed tonight), gift cards, money, books, toys--even a plastic replica of the Statue of Liberty that was actually purchased on Liberty Island.

On April 27 he got to wear his green Rainbow shirt and navy blue vest and go up on stage at church with the other Rainbows (a church club for 3 and 4 year olds) to receive his badge and a crown.

Today we were at Arctic Circle for lunch and after wearing out his French fries (see above) Caleb went over to the indoor play area. Another little boy enticed him finally to climb up the stairs. Once Caleb got the hang of it he was up the stairs, down the slide, up the stairs, down the slide, over and over and over. By then the little boy was trying to get him to crawl in the tube but Caleb wouldn't have it. Finally after Blondie left, Caleb did climb through the tube. He wasn't too crazy about the landings with their woven metal (or plastic) I noticed this at a playground yesterday as well. I think maybe it scares him to be able to see through to the ground.

I think I'll close on this note: a couple weeks ago we were at a small restaurant helping a friend's grandson with a fundraiser and this ambulance pulls into the parking lot. My oldest son--with an autistic spectrum disorder--was immediately talking about wanting to greet the driver when he entered. Sure enough the unsuspecting guy was greeted with a big hug upon arrival. Thankfully the man was very kid-friendly and showed our crew the inside of his ambulance, much to their delight. He also spent quite awhile talking to Caleb--thought he was so cute. He had a brother (I think it was) with DS whom he dearly loved and is also in the process of an adoptive home study. My husband told him about Reece's Rainbow, of course. Wouldn't that be cool if he and his wife end up adopting an angel from that site.

OK, it's 3:01 am and my brain has retired. This is the best update I can do at this time. I hope it gives at least a hint of how wonderful we think Caleb is.