the homepage of gregory and ann kline

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wish Me Luck!!

Hopefully I don't actually need any luck but just in case, wish me some! Tomorrow Greg goes back to work and I will be left completely and totally alone with two small kids who I will be 100% accountable and responsible for. All I really need is one good day to give me the confidence that I can do it so then it will be easier to do. Okay, so I know I can do it, I am just hoping that I can do it and it will be pleasant.

Not helping matters is the fact that Marcus has gotten this mean streak in him. He knows he isn't supposed to take toys from William, which is evident because usually he checks to see if anyone is watching him just before he reaches for something in William's hands and stops himself short if he sees he is going to get in trouble... sometimes. He doesn't quite get the whole concept completely just yet. His newest "trick" is now taking toys from William and putting them in places where no one can get them, like throwing them down the stairs or putting them under the couch. This issue has been challenging me today in just how to deal with it. I'm going to try something crazy for a few days and see if maybe this new behavior goes away. I am going to completely ignore the behavior. William doesn't get upset by the toys suddenly disappearing under the furniture so not defending his emotions isn't going to be an issue. Perhaps if Marcus sees that no one responds to his actions, his actions will stop. It is worth a try I guess. If it doesn't work, I can always try something different.

Anyway, back to the subject here. Wish me luck! Thankfully Greg has off work on Tuesday so it will be one day of just me, followed by some double teaming, followed by a short week. Let the day begin!! And if all else fails, I can put in some episodes of Super Why I taped and eat some chocolate.


Friday, December 28, 2007

Marcus Cracks me Up

He is STILL at it! Vacuuming that is. Yesterday I broke out the Dyson to do some much needed sucking up of dog hair and kid messes (all of which is mixed with lots of dust) and hot on my heels was Marcus and his vacuum. I vacuumed under the table. So did he. I vacuumed behind the door. So did he. He watched me like a hawk to make sure he was doing it just right. Greg said I should start vacuuming while patting myself on the head to see if he did that too.

I thought the vacuum needed batteries but apparently it just needed turned on. Marcus figured out how to do that a few minutes ago and he and his vacuum are inseparable. Along with making sucking/vacuuming noises, I think his vacuum sings and does something else too. I'm not really sure because when I attempted to change the mode from vacuum sucking mode to fun play mode with songs, he got very upset and switched it right back. I guess I can't blame him. Vacuums are supposed to suck, not sing.

(Was that a short enough post for you, Amanda and Cara? You can get off my back now about my long posts :) )


Wednesday, December 26, 2007


After all the hubbub, it is finally over. Christmas Eve I took the boys and headed down to meet some of my family at the mall for our annual lunch. The idea is that everyone is supposed to be all ready for the holiday to start and we can just sit in the food court, enjoy our lunches, and laugh at all the other people running around the mall who aren't ready yet. At least that is the idea. It was the first time I ever took both kids anywhere by myself. It likely wouldn't have been a big ordeal, however, I had to be prepared for the entire day which meant stuff for eating out, going to the mall, eating in, napping, church, and pj's to change into since we wouldn't be heading back home until late. That was a lot of stuff. Our car really isn't all that big. William slept the whole car ride (about an hour) and Marcus decided not to fall asleep until five minutes before we got to the mall. So when we arrived, Marcus woke up and was crying because he wanted to be asleep. I was trying to get the stroller out of the back of the car but that meant I needed to remove everything else out of the back of the car first, get the stroller out, and put everything back in the car. Then I was trying to get the diaper bag in the stroller when the bag tipped over and everything fell out and started rolling across the parking lot. It was about then I heard someone yell, "It's Aunt Annie!" It was my sister and her kids who got there just after all the chaos was coming to a close and I was able to fake being totally together and organized and stress-free.

Lunch was very nice and I got to see some lovely ladies in my family. We got stuck there for awhile because Marcus must have been starving to death based on how much food he ate. He just kept eating and eating! Then I was off to my parents' house. It was way past nap time but before I could get the kids to take a nap I had to get them out of the car and into the house. Then I had to get all their stuff out of the car and into the house. Then I had to get the pack 'n play set up. My mom had taken my aunt back home so she wasn't even there to help. Finally I thought I had everything ready for the nap and managed to get both kids upstairs. Only I forgot the diapers. My mom came home and was able to bring those up. I wasn't even sure if the kids would nap since it was a strange place and all. I laid on the bed with Marcus for a bit and he fell asleep rather quickly. William on the other hand, he wanted to know what was going on on the bed and he kept peeking over the top of the pack 'n play. I finally got him to go to sleep by sitting next to the pack 'n play for a good while so he could see that I was still there. Amazingly, the kids slept for about 2 hours.

Greg showed up (he drove down separately) and the kids got up and it was time for presents!!

(The sweater that William is wearing was handknit by Amanda and totally beautiful. The sweater that Marcus is wearing was a gift from Melissa. Thanks girls!)

My parents got Marcus a pretend vacuum since my kid has this fondness for cleaning. He pretended to vacuum the entire house. He was even getting under the kitchen table. The vacuum makes noises. We haven't even put batteries in the vacuum yet since he is finding so much entertainment in it while it is in quiet mode.

After presents we had a nice dinner with my parents and then got ready for church. It was around that time when I decided to let my stupidity get the best of me. You know how there are warning labels on things? It really doesn't do any good to read them if you don't follow the warning. Marcus and William were getting into everything so I decided to stick William in the walker my mom has, the walker I used when I was little. I needed to adjust the height though and even though I KNOW you are supposed to remove the kid from the walker before doing this, I didn't. I managed to smash several of my fingers on both hands into the walker as the thing collapsed. I thought I had broken about five fingers but it turns out that they are just bruised. Christmas Eve evening and yesterday they were feeling quite sore but today they are much better. Which is good because otherwise I wouldn't be typing this.

It was off to church. The kids were very antsy and Marcus threw a temper tantrum during the sermon. That was fun. Oh, and William burped really loud and it echoed during a very quiet moment. After church we stopped by my old neighbor's house to visit with some neighbors and show off the kids. Finally we hit the road and headed back home. The kids went straight to bed and so did we so we could wait for Santa to show up.

Christmas morning!!

I figured the kids would be really tired since they didn't fall asleep until after 10:00 the night before. Nope. They were up around 7:30. We ate cinnamon rolls and checked out the presents.

Greg and I were on a low budget for gifts for each other so I got some great gifts like ear plugs and this:

Then we played with with presents.

Marcus enjoyed his new toys for about 5 minutes. Then he was back to vacuuming.

The sweetest boys ever. Marcus is giving his baby brother a kiss.

After lunch we hit the road for the hour and a half drive up to Greg's parents' house. The kids slept the whole way and I kept thinking that I should be sleeping too. When we arrived we had a very yummy meal with Greg's parents, his sister, and his grandfather. Then it was time for... more presents!!

Greg's aunt and uncle stopped by to see the boys and we all just pretty much hung out after that and played with toys. We did pause to get some photos for four generations of men in the family.

At one point while we were visiting, Marcus was grunting and turning red in the face and I whispered to him, "Are you pooping?" He nodded and I said, "We're going to have to take care of that." As soon as he stopped his grunting, he ran across the room, grabbed the changing pad with the diapers and wipes in it, ran back, unrolled the diaper pad, and laid down on it. Sweet! And I thought having kids around was just so they could fetch the remote!

So yes, it was a very nice holiday. It was great seeing everyone and amazing to get to see two little boys of my very own dancing around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning.


Sunday, December 23, 2007


Yeah, I know. I said I probably wouldn't post until after Christmas. I just can't help it. I like to write and stuff happened that I think is worthy of putting down in writing. If you don't like it, well, no one is forcing you to read this.

First, a quick note on parenting. There are just some things that Marcus isn't capable of understanding yet, but they are still incredibly useful skills that he needs to know at some point. So, we enforce these rules with a simple reminder each time he doesn't obey. For example, he can't take toys away from his brother. We tell him at least 50 times a day not to do it but he does it anyway. He just doesn't get it. He is starting to get it a little and if we give him "the look" sometimes he will return the toy to William. Another thing he just doesn't get yet is taking turns. (If he got this he wouldn't have to take toys from his brother because he could just wait his turn.) My in-laws got William a Bounce and Spin Zebra for his birthday. Both kids were kinda confused by this toy at first but now they both like it in spurts. And the way it works is that as soon as one of my boys decides he likes something, suddenly the other one likes it too. It turns out that you don't always have to take turns. Sometimes both kids can play at the same time!

My camera shutter wasn't nearly as fast as Marcus's bouncing was.

Yesterday was the start of Christmas for us. My brother, Willie, lives 6 hours away so it isn't that often that I get to see him and his girlfriend Sindy. Since everyone is running different directions on Christmas and Christmas Eve, we don't usually have a chance for my parents, Willie, Kim (my sister), and me to all see each other. For the past few years my parents take us all out to dinner as a special Christmas treat so we can spend some time just hanging out together without all the Christmas hubbub. We headed down to meet up with everyone in my hometown yesterday evening. We had a nice dinner and Marcus and William were very well behaved. Of course they had my niece and nephew to help entertain them too.

After dinner we headed over to my sister's house. Since I won't see my parents or siblings on Christmas day, we did some gift exchanging. Marcus is totally into presents and definitely gets the fact that ripping off the paper means that something completely cool is inside. The only bad part is the he doesn't get that not all presents are for him.

William was trying to get into the present opening party too.

We handed out our gifts as well (Sindy was the proud recipient of the place mats I made) and the best reaction came from my nephew. He is five and apparently Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are the coolest thing ever. (Weren't they cool when I was five too?) We got him some sort of Ninja Turtles bus or van or something of the sort. When he opened it, he screamed out incredibly loud, "THIS IS RADICAL!!!" (Wasn't "radical" a word that was cool when I was five?) My kids got some really great gifts including this giant one from their Uncle Willie and Aunt Sindy.

Marcus has met his Uncle Willie and Aunt Sindy a couple times but I never had my camera with me. This was the first time William met them and I remembered the camera and even got a pose. William is pretty outgoing and seems to love everyone, at least he did until Santa apparently scarred him for life. William wasn't too fond of Uncle Willie. My brother tends to be a bit loud so I am sure that didn't help. I figured that he would be fine if Sindy held him. Nope, he cried and stared at my brother the whole time. Although I definitely don't like seeing him upset, it was a great feeling for him to be reaching his arms out for me to take him and save him. I did get one decent shot I guess.

Just be glad that my brother wasn't totally paying attention in the picture. He is a total goofball and this is how he normally smiles in photos.

Today we just hung out at home and played with some new toys. The ball popper that my sister's family got for William was a huge hit with both of the boys. Marcus spent pretty much the entire morning making the balls pop out, chasing the balls around the room, and yelling, "Oh no!"

While the kids napped, Greg got to work assembling the gift that my brother and Sindy got for the kids. Remember how I was just talking about how great our game room is now and we have this nice open space for the kids to play in? Well, not exactly anymore. Now we have this nice space filled with one giant toy for the kids to play in.

The best part about this toy is that the kids can't get out of the ball pit! I could leave them in there all day!! Not that I would do that, but I am sure there are times when I will want to. The kids played with their new play set for quite awhile. For the first time since forever, I don't think Greg and I had to yell, redirect, or otherwise correct the behavior of either of our children for more than 5 minutes in a row!

We positioned our other slide in the ball pit so Marcus can get out and we set up a stepping stool for him to get in. William is still contained, at least until he learns to climb. Now we just need about 1000 more balls for the ball pit and we will be set!

All good things must come to an end though. I have no clue how Marcus got in this position but, being the fabulous parents that we are, we had to snap a photo before we got him out of this position.

So this time, I really mean it when I say that I will not be around until after Christmas. Have a great one!


Friday, December 21, 2007

Hangin' Out

We haven't been doing much around here other than just haning' out. You know, like lounging and watching some TV.

William is officially 1 now.

His actual birthday didn't really contain any birthday-like activities. Jen and Finn came over in the morning for a bit. Then after nap we gave William his birthday present from us. We were lame and didn't even wrap it. It was an activity table and the table came with a couple of blocks. These blocks were actually catnip for kids in disguise. Marcus's behavior all day was HORRENDOUS but once this catnip for kids arrived on the scene, there was no longer an adjective in the English language to describe Marcus. We tried separating the kids for a bit, thinking that maybe all he needed was some one-on-one attention. That didn't work. I can't tell you how ecstatic I was when the girl I teach piano lessons to showed up for a lesson and I got to talk to an adult while Greg was left to deal with the kids alone. Poor Greg. But really really happy me.

After William's birthday party last week I got very scared. Added to our already massive amounts of toys were even more toys. Not that I am the neatest person on earth, but I do enjoy being able to walk across the room without tripping over 10 different things on my journey. So if all these extra toys is what occurred from one kid having a birthday, how in the world could I handle two kids being spoiled at Christmas? It was time to purge. There weren't too many toys that I could honestly say that no one plays with anymore at all but the few that fell in that category were placed in our storage area. The rest of the toys were distributed a little more equally between the main play area (our family room/kitchen), Marcus's room, and the game room. The biggest difference was from putting half of the board books in Marcus's room. Since Marcus and William insist on taking every book off the shelves each day and spreading them out over the entire play area, now only half as much of the floor is covered by books at the end of each day.

We spent some time in our game room today which was a nice change. I think I mentioned before that our living room couch is currently down there to make room for our Christmas tree. I think the couch has found it's new home. (Not sure what we are going to do with the living room which will be pretty bare once the tree is taken down.) With the current configuration of the furniture in the game room, along with some sneaky placement of our play kitchen, we have created a space of about 12x12 for the kids to play in. Unlike our family room/kitchen that we are normally in, there are no blind spots for kids to hide in and parents to constantly be checking to make sure that trouble isn't being found. The toy assortment in the game room is also very limited, we are talking like maybe 5 toys that all promote creativity and gross motor skills. The normal situation in our house is toys spread from one end of the family room to the other end of kitchen with no real room to play and no chance of concentrating on one activity for more than about 2 seconds because there is some other toy calling out to be played with. So we spent some time in the game room with the stereo turned up (probably way too loud for kids' ears but I like loud, hearing damaging music). We did some sliding and played with some musical instruments and everyone was very well behaved and very happy. I foresee spending lots of time in the room in the upcoming months.

As for me, I am totally ready for Christmas. I finished making the place mats for my brother's girlfriend FINALLY. It wasn't that hard or even that big of a project, but since my sewing skills are pretty much undeveloped and my attention span is only slightly longer than that of my kids, the project was moving quite slowly. Finally, the finished result.

All the shopping has been completed. All the things that need to be wrapped have been wrapped. I managed to get out of needing to cook or bake anything this year. The house is decorated and today Greg finally threw out the two pumpkins that have been living on our porch since before Halloween. We are done and ready to GIVE GIVE GIVE!! Oh, and we are going to spend some time with family too.

Not sure if I will post again until after Christmas so happy holidays to everyone. We are looking forward to seeing my family on Saturday for dinner and getting time to catch up with my brother who I haven't seen in months. Christmas Eve we are hangin' out with my family and then off to see Greg's family on Christmas Day. I hope that peace and joy finds you this fabulous season!


Monday, December 17, 2007

Super Why!

If you haven't caught Super Why, a new show on PBSKids that airs weekday mornings, you really need to. Let me paint a picture of this great show for you. It is about four kids - Wyatt, Pig, Red Riding Hood, and Princess Pea - who transform into super heroes to solve super big problems. Together they are the Super Readers, using their powers to read to explore fairy tales and find ways to solve problems that are common to preschool aged children. According to PBS, the show is geared towards kids aged 3-6 years but Marcus (20 months) is obsessed with this show.

It really started out with Greg and me being obsessed with it. It has some really catchy music! For a couple weeks there, Greg and I couldn't even start heading to the kitchen to make snack for the kids until after the theme song played. I knew it was becoming a super big problem of my own when I would wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and my head would be screaming, "Super Readers, to the rescue!! It's time to fly 'cause we got a problem to solve."

Apparently our enthusiasm for the show has rubbed off on Marcus. William will watch the opening theme song and be off to something else, but Marcus is totally into it. When Wyatt tells everyone to put their hands in to start their adventure, Marcus puts his hand in too. When the characters transform from their everyday selves into the Super Readers, Marcus is spinning and transforming too!

Both Friday and Saturday nights, Marcus was overtired and just plain cranky. I went to pbskids.org and found some Super Why games online and Marcus was totally into relaxing on my lap and checking out what the Super Readers were doing on my laptop. I even found an episode that we could watch. Much to my surprise, Marcus appears to actually be learning from this show. There is a lot of repetition and just about every episode, Pig (his super hero name is Alpha Pig) uses his alphabet power and sings the alphabet. It appears that Marcus is learning his alphabet too!

Really, when did Marcus become such a big kid? And it gets better! He has figured out exactly what he is supposed to be doing when he sits on the potty. We aren't potty training him but we do sit him on the potty every night before bath. Every single time we put him there the last four nights, he sits there and stares at me with a little smile on his lips, obviously concentrating. Then he pees!! We all cheer like fools and he is so proud of himself. On a whim, I put him on the potty yesterday at an unscheduled time. He concentrated and went!! We put him on the potty three times this morning and every time was a success! He is still quite young and not ready for official potty training. He doesn't tell us when he needs to go and he isn't even capable of pulling his pants up and down yet, but I am just so excited that he has connected the potty for what it is supposed to be used for! I am totally expecting that his new "trick" will lose its novelty soon. Honestly, I am not ready for potty training myself either. The whole idea of having to drop everything when we are out in public for a dash to the bathroom when I am still trying to figure out how to function with two kids is just not all that appealing. But still, connecting sitting on the potty with going potty is just huge and I am so excited for Marcus.

As for William, he is growing and learning all the time too. Yesterday I attempted to dress him in one of his two Steelers outfits. He has worn them both in the past two weeks yet I could not squeeze him into either one yesterday. I didn't know it was possible for kids to grow that fast. I know they grow fast, but that was lightening speed! He will stand unassisted for a short period of time, then he usually starts laughing out of excitement and throws himself on you. When he came home he was pretty much clueless on the subject of self-feeding. Now he feeds himself most of his meals on his own. Baby food will be a thing of the past here soon, as soon as we run out of what we already have. William drinks really great out of a sippy cup so here in two days, on his birthday, we are going to start weaning him from the bottle. He gets three bottles now and we are going to start by cutting out one bottle at a time. This proved to be obscenely simply with Marcus because he just decided at a year to stop drinking out of his bottle. I think it is going to be harder this time mainly because two of the bottles he gets now he drinks right before going to sleep.

And try to tell me that this kid isn't completely adorable...


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Santa was Here!

Santa came to our house tonight! It is something that is organized by our neighborhood. Santa even shows up with what Santa knows best - TOYS!! Despite the snow all over the roads and rooftops, Santa showed up in a firetruck. We heard him coming and when his truck of toys stopped in front of our house, he shouted out, "Ho Ho Ho!! I'm here to see Marcus!" (Santa knows a lot but he didn't know that William was here.) Santa was much nicer this year and looked much older. Marcus wasn't too sure of Santa even when he handed him a present. Since Marcus isn't overly receptive to outsiders and William loves everyone, we decided that Santa could hold William and I would hold Marcus for our photo session. Apparently William loves everyone except Santa.

Since William was nice enough to share his birthday presents yesterday, Marcus was nice enough to (i.e. forced) to share his little cars that Santa brought him.

Okay, so maybe he didn't share the cars, just the wrapping paper.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Happy First Birthday (Party), William!!

As my mother-in-law pointed out, it is hard to believe that he is one already because it feels like he just got here! And truth be told, he still has four more days until he reaches the big 1. We didn't want to wait until next weekend for his party since that would be really close to Christmas so today it was.

We were actually a little concerned that no one would show up. Our area was under a winter weather advisory. We were expected to get a "wintry mix" which would consist of rain, snow, sleet, and freezing rain. This was not good particularly since most of our guests had a bit of a distance to travel to get here. We ran around this morning picking up the cake and some other food we needed. Then while the kids were napping we did some cooking and decorating. Just as we finished setting up the party, about an hour prior to start time, snow started falling. It was falling fast!

The first people to arrive were some men from Verizon, telling us all about their new services to our area. They wouldn't leave! They got here about 20 minutes before the party was to kickoff and they were still hanging out in our living room talking to Greg when the guests started to arrive. Finally it was those with invitation only in attendance.

So of course it was great to see some friends we haven't seen for awhile and just have the family together. William got lots of great presents that Marcus was way more interested in than William was. William mostly enjoyed the wrapping paper.

Personally I was most excited about all the new books that William got. We spend so much of our day reading around here that I am getting really tired of reading the same books over and over again. Finally! Some new ones to add to the mix.

Okay, enough stalling. On to what you really wanted to see. Here they are - pictures of William enjoying his cake.

First, the cake prior to any destruction.

The place that we got our cake provides a free "smash cake" for first birthdays so William got his own cake to eat and the rest of us ate the Steelers cake. The colors in the smash cake icing were obviously very bold.

The first taste was pretty good.

So, he had a little more...

Lots of other stuff has been going on around here too but I just haven't had a chance to write about it. So here it goes, quickly hopefully...

1. Melissa and Grant came over to get their massive cookbook order. The idea was that Grant could play with my kids but Grant decided that sitting in his mommy's lap was better. Eventually he and Marcus did start chasing each other around, but this was just as they were trying to leave.

2. William had to get a couple of shots. He barely flinched. It was absolutely more traumatic for me than it was for William.

3. We had a play date Friday morning at the mall play area. We met up with this great woman who has a 3 year old biological son and a 15 month old daughter who was adopted from Guatemala. Then all the kids rode the little Santa train in the mall. I didn't have my camera with me so I attempted to use my phone camera. This was the best I got.

This was after the ride was over. William had kinda sunk down a bit by the end of the ride. After the choo-choo train came to a stop, we headed to the food court to grab a bite to eat with this other family.

4. My sister and her family came over Friday night since they weren't able to make it to William's party. We ate pizza and played and had a good old time. It was the first time that William got to meet his Uncle Randy. They got along just fine.

5. We got an email from William's foster family. I was so happy to hear from them! William's foster father gave us his email address and I emailed them shortly after we arrived home and included some pictures. His foster father couldn't wait to share them with his wife. He said that his whole family is really missing William but they are also happy that he is in good hands and is loved. I am hoping that we can keep some contact with his foster family, sending them pictures periodically and giving them updates. I know how important William was to them and I know how important they are to me for taking such wonderful care of my little boy.

6. We just found out that friends of ours who have been trying to bring their little girl home from Guatemala for quite some time now are coming home next week. The little girl is the one who is pictured in an earlier entry taking William for a ride in her car. Yay!!


Friday, December 14, 2007

No Napping Turns Marcus into Smart @ss

Greg just yelled at Marcus for banging on the windows. Then I heard Greg say, "If you think being yelled at is funny then you can go to time out!" So what did Marcus do? He ran right over and sat in his time out chair. Obviously Daddy yelling was funny.


Quick Parenting Comment

Or a question more like it...

Why is it when your kids are tired from lots of fun activities and you know there is a TON of stuff going on in the next 3 days that they really need rested up for, do they think they they really don't need to nap at all?

Okay, write more later, like when the kids do decide that they really are as tired as they currently are.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cookbooks, and My Life Pertaining to Them

They are here! The cookbooks arrived on Friday and since then my life has basically revolved around them. The best news is that we have extras so if you want one (or fifty), stop on by our website and place your order.

I really can't believe how well they turned out. Not only are they filled with recipes (because I mean really, if there were no recipes could it really be a cookbook?) but there are also tons of cooking tips and tricks. And they are fun to look at! Take a look yourself!

They arrived on Friday afternoon, all four hundred and forty some of them, in eleven boxes that quickly took over our lives, and our game room... oh and our living room too.

Friday evening we made our first delivery, to the home of Amanda and Kevin. Oh, and we kinda visited their new baby girl Eleni and allowed them to behold in the excellence of our newest family member and his older brother. Here is the proud momma and baby.

Amanda and I even switched babies for a short time.

Greg thought he would take a turn at holding a newborn but he quickly realized that a sleeping baby, even one as cute as Eleni, isn't nearly as much fun as chasing his own two kids around an unbaby-proofed house attempting to deter destruction.

We were brave enough to stay for some pizza before everyone was totally tired out and we headed home. The boys were whisked away to bed and Greg and I returned to the cookbook project. By late Friday night, they were all ready to be shipped.

Saturday morning we made a quick stop at FedEx to drop off a big order of cookbooks that we promised we would send rush delivery. Then we hit up the mall play area. Oh, the insanity. I think every kid that was out with their parents who were trying to do Christmas shopping on Saturday was in the play area. William crawled around a bit and Marcus ran like a crazy man. He has had lots of excess energy and I don't think I even realized just how much until I saw him running full speed ahead for over an hour at the mall. He was bouncing off of things, quite literally, and getting creamed by some big kids. He didn't even notice.

When we got home William went straight to bed for his nap. Marcus had lunch (I had a great lunch of leftover Crab Quiche I had made a few days earlier, a wonderful recipe that can be found in our cookbook) and hit the sheets snoring. Greg was off to the post office to ship the cookbooks. At this point all the cookbooks have either been shipped or I should have contacted you about how you would get them. If you don't receive yours in a few days, please let me know! You can email me at anniemwk6@hotmail.com so we can get this straightened out. Oh, and if you are totally in love with your fabulous cookbook, as I am, you could always order another here! That night for dinner I made some Guatemalan Beef in Spicy Pepper Sauce (a marvelous recipe that can be found in our cookbook) over some rice and Marcus couldn't seem to get enough of it. He loves his spicy stuff.

Sunday Greg went in to work to, you guessed it, dropped off cookbooks that people had ordered. He also had some paperwork to fill out for his leave that he got taken care of. Then we watched football and were sad. During halftime, I decided to shape up my nails a bit. As it turns out, I can't really do anything with two small kids while they are awake and not expect them not to want to be right in the middle of it. I just had a conversation with Amy last week about how I was concerned about the battle that cutting William's fingernails would likely be. Turns out, it wasn't a battle at all. What you don't see in these pictures is how Marcus was lined up patiently waiting his turn to be manicured as well.

Monday we were off again, delivering more cookbooks. First stop was my place of employment. Greg, Marcus, and William were all with me because I think I would have been massacred by all the super sweet women I work with had I showed up without my entourage of men in tow. I got all the cookbooks distributed, got William onto my health insurance, and spoke with some of my favorite coworkers in just over an hour. Not too shabby!

Since we were already in the southern direction, we kept heading south and went to my parents' house. My mom fixed us a wonderful, yet simple, lunch and then we were swarmed upon by the people I often refer to as "the street people". I have said it before and will say it again, I grew up in the best neighborhood in the world. The neighbors there are truly family (and they had bought cookbooks which they needed me to give them). Many of the women stopped by yesterday afternoon to admire my incredible family and a few even brought gifts, a totally unexpected but appreciated gesture. I'm not so sure many people got to see Marcus since he was busy chasing his big cousin Scott in circles around the house while Scott yelled, "Baby attack!!" We hit the road to come back home and both kids were asleep just a few miles into the trek. When we got home I made some Tuscan Garlic Chicken (a yummy recipe that can be found in our cookbook) and we settled in for the evening.

Today we took a little ride in the car to drop off some cookbooks to a couple people that live really close to us. I think that is about it. This is turning out to be a crazy, busy week. Tomorrow someone is coming over to get their cookbooks. Thursday morning we have a play date planned with Melissa and Grant and they are picking up their massive order of cookbooks while they are here. (Jon, Melissa's husband, sold something like 47 cookbooks to people he works with!) Thursday afternoon we have to take William in to get a couple of shots. Friday we have a playgroup to attend for families who have adopted from Guatemala. Friday evening my sister and her family are coming over since they can't make it to William's birthday party which is Saturday. Before the party I have to pick up the cake and get some more food, cook the food, decorate, and clean the entire house. Sounds like a fun week!

In non-cookbook news, I have kids that are learning and growing and bonding and all that good stuff. Although I never really thought that William had much trouble adjusting to life with us, I can definitely tell some differences. He seems to really get our routine and doesn't fight certain things that we do - like diaper changes and story time - because he just seems used to them now. His foster family told us that he understands the word "no" but we really weren't having any luck with that for quite awhile. We tried saying no, we tried yelling no, we tried using his name and then no. He never acknowledged that we were trying to get his attention and most certainly never stopped what he was doing. Then things started to change this weekend. Now I am starting to realize that it wasn't that he didn't understand what we were saying, it was that he didn't understand why we were saying it. We were just people. We weren't his people. Not that he listens all the time, but now when we tell him "no", he stops for a second and makes eye contact. He knows that he is supposed to be listening to us, his family, now.

New in Marcus's world includes a couple of words. He almost consistently tells me "Thank you" when I prompt him to do so. Today he even said "Thank you" when I handed him something and I didn't prompt him. His new word of the day is "Brother". This word sounds nothing like brother and comes out as "Ga-ga" but it is close enough. He also has not figured out how to answer questions with a "No". You would think this would be awesome, a toddler that doesn't say no! For the most part, it is just that. But, I do have to be careful what I ask him because I know the answer will always be "Yes". Like for example. It would not be a good idea to go on the following rant. "Marcus! You cannot shove an entire piece of pizza in your mouth at one time! You could choke and then you would die and Mommy would be really sad. Then I would have to get you a tomb stone that said, 'I Told You So.' Is that how you want to be remembered?" Because then Marcus would say nod and say, "Yes," with a big smile on his face of course.

Well, gotta go. We are getting ready to have a super yummy dinner - hot dogs and frozen French fries. If you want to know how to make this, I suggest reading the instructions on the packaging because our cookbook doesn't have this recipe in it.

P.S. Marcus just broke down into an absolute tantrum because I took away his cleaning rag. Really, I wouldn't get that upset if someone prohibited me from cleaning but my kid is extraordinary!


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Shanghai Noodles with Spicey Beef Sauce

Today Greg and I did some tag team parenting. William had his complete and thorough doctor's appointment with two fabulous doctors that specialize in internationally adopted children. This appointment was to last about 2 hours so we felt that it was in the best interest of everyone involved if one of us stayed home with Marcus. William and I headed off to the doctor.

Both the developmental specialist and the medical doctor were completely amazed. They really couldn't believe that Greg and I were able to adopt the two most perfect children that have ever walked this planet. Neither doctor noticed a thing about William that could even use an ounce of improvement. He is healthy and all of his development is right on schedule. Just being in that different environment made me aware of a few things going on with William that I never noticed before.

So far all of our time with William has been in a safe place, like in our home or even at the Westin. We haven't spent too much time in places where he might even have the opportunity to be uncomfortable. That was until we went to the doctor. William had a great time waving and smiling at everyone in the waiting room and all the nurses that were around. Even when the doctors came in he sized them up for about 10 seconds and then was luring them in with that killer smile. The developmental specialist pointed out to me that even though he was quite friendly with her, he did all his interaction while standing on the exam table holding on to me. Since William loves everyone, it is hard for me to see that he feels any differently towards me than towards any other person he is smiling at. That was good to know. Then there came the time for the poking and prodding. William is not a fan of poking and prodding. So what did he do? Well, cried of course. But more importantly he reached his arms out for me and clung to me once he got a hold. A good sign of attachment indeed!

By the time we got home it was lunch time. Then it was nap time. Then it was snack time. Greg had a little more shopping he needed to do so we traded off kids again. Greg and William headed to the mall and Marcus and I read books. I attempted to get Marcus involved in playing a little game with balls but he was a bit too distracted... by books. After I made him put all the books away I did get him to try something new that didn't involve running around like an insane child or reading. Yes, I am so cruel. I don't let my kid read. Rest assured, we only played ball for about 15 minutes and then it was back to reading again. I really hope that he gets some new board books for Christmas because these same 200 that we have been reading five times every single day are getting old.

Since I have been going on and on about William, it is time to give Marcus a little of the spotlight. He is just the most awesome big brother. I mentioned some things about his behavior to the doctors this morning and they were quite impressed with how well he is dealing with all the changes around the house. The first thing Marcus does when he gets up from his nap or from bed in the morning is set off looking for William. He actually seemed a little lost when I was with him alone this afternoon. Although he doesn't always listen, he is great at following instructions when he wants to be. I can tell him to go get a couple books to read. He will disappear and a few minutes later appear again with a handful of books. Sometimes when I am changing William's diaper after a nap I will ask him to give William's empty bottle to daddy. Off he goes and hands it right to daddy so it can be washed. From day one, anytime I give Marcus more food or he asks for something and I give it to him, I say, "Say Thank You". And now his response is to actually say Thank You! I can't tell you how much those little words make me smile.

While the kids were napping, I decided to cook dinner. It was only the second time I have really cooked something since William came home. I cooked a big batch of Shanghai Noodles with Spicy Beef Sauce, something I never made before and a recipe that you can get in our fabulous cookbook. (Yes, that was a shameless plug.) I put half in the fridge to heat up for dinner and the other half in the freezer for a meal down the road. William's doctor said that he could probably eat pretty much everything we eat now and Marcus has yet to turn his nose up at any food product. I figured I would finally scar my children for life by feeding them Shanghai Noodles with Spicy Beef Sauce. The stuff was packed full of garlic, crushed red pepper, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, and onions. William actually gave it a few tastes and seemed to enjoy it enough but he also had lots of other samplings of foods to try. Marcus ate every last bite of his Shanghai Noodles with Spicy Beef Sauce. Then he ate the rest of William's. He probably would have licked his plate clean if he knew about licking plates.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Busy Busy Busy

We had quite a busy day today with a visit from Cara and Max followed by some shopping at Jo-Ann's and Target. (We are officially done with Christmas shopping!) All the running around got me thinking about just how busy William's life has been during these past 15 days since he was reunited with our family.

He had to say goodbye to the only family and home he has ever knew. He got a new mom and dad who speak a whole new language. He lived at a hotel for a few days. He got adopted. He has had to eat that pathetic jarred baby food instead of the good homemade stuff his foster mom made. He got taken for a ride by a cute little girl. He had to say goodbye to the only country he ever knew. He flew on an airplane. He ate French fries. He got a big brother that he adores and follows around. He met two grandmas, two grandpas, two aunts, and two cousins. He got a cold. He shared his cold with his new big brother. He got hit on the head with a toy by his new big brother. He has slept well. He has slept not so well. He had his first Thanksgiving dinner. He has learned to pet a dog. He still usually yanks the dog's skin and fur instead. He bit me. He bit Greg. He bit the cute little girl who took him for a ride. He ate fuzz off the floor. He got presents. He got two knew teeth. He met Amy and Heather and Cara and Max. He has had countless number of strangers tell him how cute he is. He has heard the word "no" hundreds of times. He has taken notice to hearing the word "no" once. He has been to the grocery store twice. He has been to Target three times. He has been to Jo-Ann Fabrics once. He has been to the pet store once. He has laughed. He has cried. He has thrown up. He has had a big brother blow him kisses each time he lays down to sleep. And of course he has stolen all of our hearts.

Tonight William was playing with this little chick that makes peeping noises. He just thought it was the greatest thing ever. Oh, and it was obviously completely hysterical too. He was having a great time.

Marcus was doing what Marcus does about 80% of the time - reading. I didn't even think Marcus noticed that William had any interest in the chick at all. After about 2 minutes (the maximum number of minutes his attention span lasts) William tired of the chick and crawled over to Greg. Then he promptly bit him. When I say William bites, I mean BITES. He doesn't nibble or taste. He bit me when we were in Guatemala and not only did I have teeth marks in my arm for several days but I also had a welt and a bruise. So yes, he gave one of these treats to Greg. Greg said, "No biting!" and laid him down on the floor, far away from any and all unsuspecting flesh. William cried. He was not happy at all. Marcus promptly dropped his book and ran over to William to see what was going on. Marcus studied him for a minute and then started looking around the room. Marcus grabbed up that little chick and ran over to William and handed it to him. William took it and took slight interest in it. Marcus realized his plan was working! He grabbed up a stuffed dog and thrust that at William too. The crisis was over. Marcus made William feel all better and made him forget that he had just gotten in trouble.

Of course 2 minutes later Marcus was back to stealing toys off of William but that is besides the point.

Some pictures:

Playing with his cousin Maria:

Playing with Aunt Kim:

Marcus being not so nice to his cousin Maria:

Me and my boys:

Greg and his boys:

Heather and William:

William admiring the totally awesome coolness that is his big brother: