Wednesday, December 29, 2010


We are about to embark on a long days journey to visit family under sunnier skies.  This trip will be out of the ordinary for our family who for the past eight months, have been very careful to keep most activities low key.  We have not been overly social or scheduled and have successfully created a nice 'cocoon' as a new household of four.  I like this term (common in adoption literature) because its description illustrates how I see the progression of our family.  A cocoon is in fact the antithesis of rest.  This is where the body of the caterpillar is transforming into a mature moth (I wish I could say butterfly (that would be a chrysalis), but the inner biologist is telling me to be accurate).  It is a stage where the antennae, amazingly complicated mouth parts, and wings will be fully formed.  After it emerges, the moth cannot fly and will wait until its wings are fully dry to take to the air. 

I imagine that most folks on the outside see us a bit crazed, our children are rarely out of sight and I have seen several raised eyebrows and comments all politely suggesting: overprotective.  What may seem to others as a somewhat isolating time has been everything to the contrary.  Our cocooning has been absolutely vital in transitioning and adjusting to one another.  We needed to get to know each other and find our new normal without the blur of outside distractions.  That brings me to this-I think we are almost ready.  December has been telling.  While deliberately keeping the holidays calm and simple we have done some branching out.  A few restaurants here and there, a very long day trip, a close friend's wedding...  And each time, we departed from normal bedtime and schedules, and things have been good.  We even survived the week of sleepless nights when Baby O was getting his molars in.  I can almost feel the wings forming and hope we can begin the new year by branching out more and more. 

My husband often laments that running long distances is all about recovery. When the subject comes up, he'll go on to say that anyone can run a marathon [but without proper preparation/training] you might have a tough time getting back on your feet for a few weeks (or longer).  I view the last overprotective months as training if you will for the the tougher times ahead.  With this strong family bond and understanding, we can hopefully overcome the hardships that come our way. 

It's time.  We are ready.  Family, here we come!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Earplugs Needed

Just a few snapshots from this past weekend.  Things couldn't have been merrier or louder.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Visions Of Sugarplums

After careful consideration, Boy O decided on seven cookies and a glass of milk for Santa and a bowl of carrots for his reindeer.  Now the children really are sleeping having been tucked in tight-and Mommy and Daddy O are rushing around making sure everything is just right.

No matter what you celebrate, have a wonderful holiday,

Family O

Sunday, December 19, 2010

As Usual

Rained last night as usual, is how Captain William Clark often began his daily journal entries during his stay at Fort Clatsop.  This is how I generally feel many mornings when I wake up this time of year.   The wet, grey weather makes me feel like buying one of those snuggie things, curling up with a cup of hot cocoa and reading a book or watching some horrible reality show marathon until the rain stops-the problem with that is  I would be curled up on the couch for the next seven to eight months.  Unlike Lewis and Clark's expedition, modern comforts abound in our household and there are times in years past when I have successfully avoided the elements for extended periods of time.  Nowadays, this reaction would be a recipe for disaster-two kids later and we all get cabin fever after about six hours.  Any inkling that the downpour might turn into a mere drizzle, I load up the jogging stroller with old towels and get the boys prepared and go out for a run/bike ride.  A playground is located near the halfway point of our regular route, so we unpack the towels, dry the swings and slides and are able to make the best of it. 

Lately, there have been some pretty hard rains and the promise of the park is not the only motivation for Boy O, who rides along side me.  Massive puddles have formed in the gravel paths along our normal trail making it somewhat difficult to traverse to the other side without getting our shins wet.  I've never been much of one for these types of experiences (translation: complete wimp), but my son is teaching me to appreciate new things and see the glass half full.  There really is nothing better than a large, muddy rain puddle.  I do wish I had pictures of the first day of the puddles, because they were much larger and deeper than these pictures. 

Yes, I created yet another load of laundry for myself and in my efforts to avoid the puddles, I managed to step in deep pockets of mud in the mucky swamp of a field surrounding us.  

The fresh air and laughter as I watched him ride through every kind of puddle was well worth getting wet and muddy.  I even amused Baby O by attempting to run through a few, resulting in some spectacular showers.  So if you are ever down in the dumps about the weather, consider putting on an old pair of shoes and enjoying a good splash in the aftermath of this liquid sunshine. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

O Tannenbaum!

How to cut and decorate your tree, Family O style:

STEP 1: Make sure it's raining.


STEP 2:  Wear a cowboy hat with its very own cowboy hat raincoat.

STEP 3:  On your way to purchase the tree, try to tell your children they can't pet the pygmy goats.

STEP 4: After much excitement, sit in Santa's lap and become tongue-tied (or in Baby O's case, just scream).

STEP 5: Have your five year old help you string the lights and hang up your collection of blown glass Christmas ornaments. I had prepared myself to lose a few, but much to my surprise they all survived the trip from box to branch. 

STEP 6:  Place your mobile toddler in a 'rectangle of neglect'.

STEP 7:  Admire the finished product.  Total time: 10 hours from start to finish including lunch, snacks and naps.

STEP 8:  Move onto bigger and better things like cardboard box cars.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Musings From A First Time Momma

Some of the more humorous things that have changed in our household since doubling our family:

Talking about poop has been banned from dinner conversation.  Most might think our five year old would be the likely culprit, but it's actually me.  This was brought to my attention by Boy O who said one day at dinner after Daddy O asked how my day went, Mommy, that's not appropriate dinner conversation. Some days, my life revolves around doo doo.  Based on when and how many diapers I change, I can easily predict how my day or night is going to play out.  There have been several times when asked how my day is going that my thoughts go directly to bowel regularity.  For example, this subject is most likely to be at the forefront of my mind if nothing substantial has happened in the diaper arena by 5 pm.  I could go on, but I'll spare you the details.

I have trouble sleeping at night because I consistently wake up thinking I hear crying, screaming or someone falling out of bed.  The boys' rooms are very close, so a baby monitor is not needed-but I STILL tiptoe or even rush to their door to make sure nothing is wrong at various times during the night.  I thought maybe I was just crazy, but when I mentioned this to Daddy O, he said he has had similar experiences.  So if I am indeed losing it, at least I am not alone.  Anyone else have this problem?

Another fun parenting phenomenon: I hear my own words repeated back to me.  Apparently, I use the word appropriate/inappropriate quite often (see Boy O's line directed at me in the first paragraph).  When correcting Boy O on table manners etc..., I am often reminded of the phrase People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, because I seem to eat my very own words-a lot.  I now say 'please' and 'thank you' all the time, try very hard not to talk with my mouth full, keep my elbow off the table while eating,  use a napkin and the truck driver that used to live in my mouth has taken up new residence elsewhere.  I have learned that if I tell my son to do something, I had better be on board and set the example (or my 5 year old will let me know).  I think he might have the makings to be a great hall monitor in a few years...

I used to be up to date on the most current of events.  Ask me my opinions on various political candidates, current national policies or who had been in the local police blotter, I could probably have given you in depth answers.  Flash forward to today:  I can tell you that I detest the movie Air Buddies, Space Buddies, and any other movie with the word 'buddies' in it (anything with talking animals and bad story lines-for some reason, these movies seem to have it all).  I would call myself somewhat of an expert at the lives and adventures of superheroes and I look forward to receiving Highlights and National Geographic Junior in the mailbox.

Our house has changed.  We chose the 'desert camel gold' color for our walls six years ago in hopes of creating a warm, welcoming, homey atmosphere. Being greeted by the 15 foot metal gate upon entry into our house might give visitors a different idea altogether and although the baby gates coordinate well with the outlet covers and cabinet locks, it tends to clash with the toy bins that have been rammed and lodged against minute points of entry and areas where a 15 month old is not welcome.  Furniture is now arranged not for aesthetics or to highlight architectural features, but to cut off access to baby magnets, such as power cords and various cables scattered around the house etc...  Closets of course no longer serve the purpose they were originally designed for (dumping all your junk) since both children have discovered not only how to open them but push the doors completely off the tracks.  Items such as vacuums, brooms, jackets, lock boxes have all been evicted and have found new homes in odd high places around our household.

Despite my obsession with number two, lack of sleep, and practicing what I preach among other things, I wouldn't trade it for one night of our previous life.  These days are fleeting and before I know it this house will revert back to the quieter, cleaner version it once was.  My kids keep me in the moment and remind me to enjoy the little things in life and not dwell on the fact that we have to pull out an extension ladder to reach the mop that has been secured safely near the ceiling.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

New Traditions

Creating new family traditions has been simply joyful this weekend.  It began with writing a letter to Santa himself on Friday morning-even Baby O got into it and drew a few scribbles for  old Saint Nick before sampling the red and green crayons (thank goodness they are non-toxic and a call to poison control was not necessary). 

I thought you might enjoy the finished product.

A letter to Santa Claus from Boy O as told to Mommy O:

Dear Mr. Claus,

Thank you for making toys.  We will have candy left over from Halloween, pumpkin bread and milk for you to drink.  What kind of cookies do you want?  Pumpkin?

I would like a gun that makes noise that is big.  I would like a watch that makes noise.  I would like a car that makes noise (preferably with Spiderman on it). I would also like a Buzz Lightyear doll that makes noise when you push the button.  I would like shoes that make me faster and an Iron Man helmet. 

Santa, do you have a telephone?  Can I have your phone number?  I would like to call and talk to you.  Do you know Spiderman?  What are you making for him?

Boy O

We sealed the letter in a handmade blue envelope and delivered it to the special North Pole mailbox at the post office on Saturday morning.  Have I mentioned that Boy O is obsessed with buttons and things that make noise?

I did not envision spending most of Sunday morning preparing and drawing up plans for a homemade gingerbread house.  If you plan on making one, be sure to make your measurements and drawings ahead of time-totally worth all the trouble, but it took forever.  Another helpful tip: wait until the sides of the house are COMPLETELY dry before applying the roof.  I tend to rush things and am then surprised and disappointed when the whole contraption collapses.  Luckily the rest of Family O was at the playground when this scenario and my subsequent 'gingerbread meltdown' took place.  Leftover Halloween candy and M & M's came in handy, but don't worry Santa, we still have plenty if you have a sugar craving! 

New traditions and good times all around.  Stay weekend we go to the tree farm to pick out our tree.