Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset And Other Tidbits

Where have my babies gone?

A recent check-up at the doctor confirmed that both boys are growing like weeds.  When we first met our sons, I was actually able to hold both of them in each arm.  My arms got a great workout and I was looking pretty buff over the summer-now my back is getting just as much of a workout or more and I can only hold one at a time (and not for much longer if they keep growing...).  My posture kind of permanently tilts to the side and I try to position them over my hip so my arms aren't as tired. 

Since arriving home on 5/10/10, Boy O has grown 3 inches (2 of them in the last month alone) and gained 8 lbs. He has gone up two shoe sizes and no longer fits into most of the clothes that were so large on him when we met him in Ethiopia.  Growing taller has its advantages-new clothes and shoes of course, but he can also jump higher and is happy that he is getting closer to Spiderman's height.  The disadvantages are that the fun race car carts are no longer possible, as I can no longer lift him out of the 'driver's seat' and flying like superman in my arms doesn't last as long.  I feel lucky that we had these last six months to be able to lift and carry him around as much as possible.

Baby O has gained 6 lbs (he is now a whopping 25 lbs!) and grown 5 inches. He seems to be hitting all his milestone moments on schedule.  He can't seem to figure out the door knobs yet, but he can reach them and is able to force his way through the child safety locks on the cabinets in the kitchen.  He can open the oven door as well.  It wasn't that long ago when I remember browsing the aisles with Daddy O, chuckling to myself and saying, What would a person ever need that for? (that being oven door locks, refrigerator locks, cabinet locks, toilet seat locks etc....)  My Mom didn't need them for me! Why don't parents just WATCH their children? Karma is awesome isn't it?

Daddy O noticed that I wasn't in my usual obsessive Thanksgiving preparation mode and on the Sunday before he ever so tactfully asked me whether I knew that Thanksgiving was the following Thursday.  WHAT?!!!  I honestly thought I had another week.  I was an entire week behind.  Despite my lack of preparation, I finally took the Halloween decorations down and the meal went off without a hitch - I was grateful that Daddy O was able to stay home and watch the boys while I cooked the turkey and all the fixin's.  Last year at this time we were still just hoping we would one day be parents. It seemed very far away. There is and has been so much to be thankful for this year. 

I might have been behind with Thanksgiving, but it certainly put my bee-hind in gear for Christmas-so as soon as Halloween was tucked away in the closet, out came Christmas.   It was so much fun to pull all those boxes out and see the look on Boy O's face.  He was absolutely speechless at all the glittery lights and holiday what-nots coming out of the box and was more than happy to touch everything, ask what it was and put it in its rightful place. To see the wonder and joy in his face as he sees everything for the first time is just plain fun.  He brought the 'merry' back in decorating-usually it is such a chore.

Much to Boy O's excitement, Daddy O got the ladder out once the rain subsided and proceeded to apply Christmas lights on the roof.  I don't know if he enjoyed the extra attention or not-it is usually just me out there turning the lights on and off at various moments.  This year, we all gathered outside, watched and cheered him on from the driveway.  Baby O had to endure the exersaucer (or the 'circle of neglect' as we now fondly refer to it) while I took pictures, but the sight of Daddy O high up on the roof seemed to entertain him plenty.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


The past six months have brought forth many firsts.  This week's first rivaled some of the best.  Snow. 

We have read books about snow, seen movies about snow, and discussed snow in great detail.  Where does it come from?  How does it feel?  Has spiderman seen snow? Will Santa still come if it doesn't snow?  It's hard to really get the message across with frost and ice cubes from the freezer. 

All questions came to a halt when we looked outside this weekend and saw the snowflakes.  Big, wet snowflakes.  The result was pure joy and happiness.  Boy O ran outside, Daddy O rushed after him with his jacket and hat.  I followed close behind with the camera.

If you look closely, you can see my wonder woman cape peeking out of Boy O's coat.  He has taken to wearing a cape everywhere.  He also feels very strongly about Baby O wearing a cape as well and secures a red dish towel around his brother's neck at every opportunity.  Sometimes I too take to wearing a cape fashioned out of a dish towel.  You should try it-it gives me a little extra something when I'm feeling tired.

The next day was even better and took us at least a half hour to get to this point:

There isn't that much snow, in terms of snow, but they don't know the difference!

The snowman fell over soon after this picture was taken.  It was a disappointing moment for all but we soon recovered with a  massive snowball fight.

Yes, you are seeing correctly-Baby O now has socks on his hands because the red mittens were soaked after about 3 minutes.  We now have snowpants, boots, and waterproof mittens to add to our collection of outerwear they will soon outgrow.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Excuses Aside, Motivation Found

Two months pre marathon, I entertained thoughts of life post marathon. Life would just be more peaceful and comfortable we didn't spend so much time running.  I found myself whining about the schedule, spending every Saturday morning running 16-20 miles, dragging the kids along with us, running 8 miles before dinner and feeling like I didn't have the energy to do other things like laundry or mow the lawn.

Post marathon, I still manage to drag my feet when it comes to laundry, lawn-mowing, fill in the blank, etc... and believe it or not, I miss my running regimen.  There is no pressure in getting a certain number of miles in and am therefore finding it much harder to get out there and run every day. 

The excuses are superfluous but a couple stand out over others.  We no longer run as a family (Boy O officially retired from the jogging stroller in the hours after the marathon due to recent growth spurts), so we have to make sure one or the other is home to watch the boys.  In addition and in true Pacific Northwest fashion, the weather has turned excessively moist and gray which hasn't inspired me to throw on my running gear even when I do find the time.  This 'perfect storm' (if you will) does make running (for me) more challenging and at times like these, I need inspiration to find motivation.

As fortune would have it, I don't have to look very far.  Saturday morning I woke up early to call my Dad to wish him luck.  I still didn't wake up early enough, but at 4:30 am when I left a message on his phone (7:30 am his time), my Dad was probably 3-4 miles into running his second half-marathon.  He called me afterward to proudly inform me that he felt great, finishing in less than 2 hours and even won his age group (60-64).   Hearing him recall each mile in detail made me teary with pride and hanker for a good long run.  The next morning, I found myself running before the sun rose and listened to my feet plod along the wet pavement as I thought about my dad, wishing I could have been running next to him. 

Congratulations on your race, Dad. I am so incredibly proud of you and brag about you all the time. Not everyone has a Dad that runs the miles you do. You inspire me to put one foot in front of the other on a rainy day.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On Comments, Questions, and Responses

This subject has surfaced once again-most times I can see it coming.  I usually have an idea of what kind of comment it will be, based on previous experience.  Are they yours?  Are they adopted?  Are they brothers?  Are they biological?  These are by far the most common questions I get.  Is it appropriate?  Or maybe I should be more to the point: Is it essential or even relevant information for a complete stranger to know the answer?  At times I feel as if I am in the minority when I say absolutely not.

Let me be clear, I understand the curiosity and am more than willing to talk about our adoption experience.  When were completing our dossier and waiting for a referral, I loved to browse adoption blogs for more information, or just simply to see what life was like after all the hoopla was over.  Was it possible for us to lead a normal life again?  Were families happy or unhappy?  I found myself looking at other multi-racial families and wondering what their story was.  I get it.

What I don't get is a person's lack of sensitivity around my children and the setting in which they choose to approach me us. 

Are they yours? (Usually a grocery store comment)

I am most likely too wrapped up in trying to keep Boy O from man-handling the hot wheels at the check out line and Baby O from grabbing anything (and I mean anything) in his grasp and promptly throwing it on the ground.  Any parent can attest to how hard this is given how narrow the space is.  And yes, of course they are mine.  I don't think I would 'borrow' someone else's children just for the experience.

So, uh, is he, like, adopted? (Usually a question in where both Daddy O and are both present.  Interestingly-they do not approach Daddy O, but me-that's a whole other interesting social issue in itself)

I don't want to have this conversation at my son's soccer game when I am trying to cheer him on and/or  trying my best to mollify a baby who doesn't feel like being stationary.  Again, I don't understand what a person gains from knowing this, it would seem to me that this might be somewhat obvious.  It just isn't the time or place.

Are they brothers?  Are they biological?  (This is the most common question we get-it used to happen more often when I responded to the previous question with a simple yes)

I like Daddy O's response, but was never able to master the blank look of disbelief when he replied with Well, of course-their names are Boy O_____ and Baby O______!  And then seemlessly without a further glance or thought, would keep on walking.
This question perplexes me, because most people see nothing wrong with it, but how comfortable would they feel if someone asked them the same question about their children that were in the grocery cart?  I have a feeling it might not go over so well.

How much do you charge? (Okay, I just got this one last week at the library and had to share it-but wow-did it catch me off guard)

No, I am not a nanny, I am in fact their mother and my services would probably be too expensive anyway.  This one seemed to come out of nowhere and took my breath away-I actually had to think about what she might be referring to.  I recovered pretty quickly, but I think my initial response was a sputtered HUH? I will say for her part that she was properly horrified in realizing her error and at least I can rest easy in the fact that if I need a job, child care services might be a lucrative option.  Wink.

In conversations with many adoptive parents, I have found that each person usually has a unique way of responding to questions and comments they feel comfortable with and I think I have found mine.  I always, whether the person is well-meaning or not, reply by saying, This is my son or These are my son's.  Sometimes this is not adequate for the inquisitor, who will then follow up with another comment (as if I didn't understand the first question) and I simply repeat it over and over until the questions stop.  So far I have not had to repeat it more than three times.  Eventually, even though they may not understand they have crossed a boundary with me or it is just not the right time or place, they understand that they aren't going to get another answer.  It works for me.

Any stories you would be willing to share? What works for you?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Greatest Is Coming

If you have the time this Sunday, November 7th 2010, please tune in to watch the NYC marathon (click here for a broadcast schedule in your area).  This should be good as there are many elite and worthy racers out there running for the title.  Among them is Family O's favorite, Haile Gebrselassie, one of the world's best runners who happens to be from Ethiopia.  We will most certainly be watching and cheering him on from the comfort of our family room!  To give you an idea of where he is on the scale of importance to Boy O, his poster is right up there next to Spiderman.

Here is a recent clip from Runner's World if you are interested in learning more about him:

'I Have a Responsibility' to Ethiopia, Affirms Haile Gebrselassie

The marathon world recordholder (2:03:59), who'll do his first ING New York City Marathon on November 7, notes that after 27 world records and all the riches those have brought him, "I can lead a nice life anywhere around the world." But he considers it essential to provide an example to other athletes by remaining in Ethiopia and help lead the nation out of "hunger, drought, poverty …. We are on the right track, but we cannot eradicate poverty this morning," Gebrselassie stresses. In the Flotrack video at "More," he can be glimpsed at some of his vast construction projects, and you again get to see one of his excruciatingly close Olympic victories over Paul Tergat.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Fantastic Four

Okay, so maybe not the real Fantastic Four, but you get the idea.  Halloween was awesome, I finally lived out a childhood fantasy of being Linda Carter and we all went to bed with too much sugar in our system.  Boy O is already up this morning creating new superheroes by dressing as a combination of all costumes worn last night, asking if candy can be had for breakfast. 

We are a family of four and fantastic....

Up, up, and away....

What is that in the window?

Silly string serves as the perfect web!

Spider...ine?  Wolverman?

We had to nudge Boy O up to this house!