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Friday, May 29, 2009

A Trip to the Store

Last night we took our monthly trip to Sam's Club to stock up on some bulk items. Every person we would pass, Will would say to them repeatedly, "Hi! Hi! Hi!" until they said hello back. If the person passed without acknowledging him, he would proclaim, "Mean."

While waiting for our turn at the register, Marcus saw a middle school age kid go running over to the snack area. He yelled across the store at him. "No running! Running outside! No running inside! It's not a race! Slow down!" I asked him if he is going to work for a law enforcement agency when he grows up.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Big Kids

Marcus has always done his growing and developing in spurts and at his own pace. He didn't start walking until he was almost 17 months old but then he was running. Up until he was 15 months old he only had 1 word. Then suddenly he had a hundred. Even now while some of his peers have been speaking in long sentences, he prefers to stick to 3-4 word thoughts. His language consists of nouns, pronouns, verbs, and adjectives. Lately he has been using more complicated words like almost, yet, now, and later. I hear a lot, "Almost there!" or "Snack not ready yet," or "Play now, nap later". He has a huge vocabulary and doesn't have any issue getting his thoughts across with confidence (and volume), just doesn't string a lot of words together. I put him down for a nap yesterday and apparently he was practicing his language in his sleep. I got him up and he said, "I close door laundry room so Maya no go in there."

Will has had a couple of bad days. He is struggling with being a toddler. I would imagine it would be hard since I personally don't remember those days. He wants and can do all these big kid things but gaining independence can be scary and overwhelming. He is potty trained. Or he was until he decided over the past few days that peeing in his underwear is fine. He is still doing a great job at sleeping in his big boy bed. He gets himself mostly undressed each night for bath. And he has been pressing my buttons and breaking rules and getting in lots of trouble as he tests his boundaries. All this big kid stuff is making him realize that he still needs some little kid stuff too. He likes to cuddle with his daddy or my friends or people I just met. He doesn't cuddle with me. Over the last couple of days while he has struggled to be a big boy, he has given in letting his mommy cuddle with him and baby him. This part of the struggle has been nice.


Monday, May 25, 2009

More Swimming


Sunday, May 24, 2009


We are now about two thirds of the way through this holiday weekend and we have spent the majority of it swimming. Friday night we got out the little wading pool. Marcus and Will did some splashing around and Maya joined in, mostly to try to steal their toys. We were all just getting our feet wet so we could be ready for the real swimming to start Saturday.

Saturday was the opening day of the private pool that I belonged to as a kid and now our family holds a membership too. We had a busy day planned so it was vital that we get there as close to opening time as possible. We were up and ready to go early.

We got there so early, that I opted to take a ride around the block because I would have felt ridiculous if we were the first ones there. We were the third group there, and I still felt pretty ridiculous. We arrived at 10:00 and hardly anyone else showed up for their first swim of the season until around 11:30. We did some playing in the baby pool

and then the kids were ready to hit the big pool. I'm in trouble. They loved the big pool. Most of our swimming will be done while Greg is at work and there is no way I can take both kids into the big pool alone. They are just going to have to learn to live with the baby pool. We had a picnic lunch, swam some more, and then headed home for a nap. We had a double birthday party in the afternoon we needed to rest up for.

Poor Maya ended up stuck in her crate most of the day with us being at the pool and then the birthday party. Today we decided to try to make up for that. We went to Mingo Creek pretty early this morning. We are determined that Maya will be a swimming dog. Last time we were at Mingo, Maya was pretty little (she weighs over 40 lbs now) and really tentative about getting her feet wet. Today, she walked right in. She was quite shocked when Greg threw a stick in the deeper water and as she was chasing it, suddenly the solid ground disappeared out from under her paws. She got a mouthful of water but was determined to give it another go. So happy to report, we officially have a swimming dog now! She is going to need a few more swimming lessons though before she is ready to hit up some big waves at the beach.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hot Date

Greg went out last night on a date. We called it our anniversary celebration since we missed out on celebrating that on the actual date. We had dinner at Church Brew Works. We have never had a bad meal there. This was no exception. Then we were off to Thunderbird Cafe in Lawrenceville to see Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. I have never been to even a slightly less than awesome RCPM show. This was no exception.

Neither Greg nor I had been to Thunderbird Cafe before. Greg had read somewhere that it was small. Still, we weren't prepared for how small. The room was about 20 feet wide and the entire room was about 50 feet long. RCPM played like they were in a big arena, giving it all and sweating through their shirts. Greg and I spent much of the time prior to the music making fun of people. Not really sure why that always happens at concerts. Maybe just because there tend to be a lot of intoxicated people at live shows that are really putting it all out there, and they should really be holding it in. We saw our nemesis Hola Lola again. She had some fierce competition from a new addition, Chesty McPraiseSinger, who spent the entire concert practically in Roger's face with her arms reaching up into the sky towards the Lord. The stage was only about 18 inches higher than the floor so she pretty much blocked the view of Roger from the majority of fans in attendance. Several other people were complaining about her behavior too so I know it just wasn't Greg and me being catty. What can you do? The world is full of stupid people.

I had a great view of this one man whose age was nearly sixty. He played a mean air guitar and had some really snazzy dance moves. (And by really snazzy I mean totally ridiculous.) I love how music can span generations and economic boundaries an language and even ideals, and bring us all together just to enjoy life. I hope when I am nearing sixty, I am enjoying rock 'n roll concerts as enthusiastically as that man was - minus the air guitar, bad moves, beer belly, and thinning hair.

We saw our friends too. We don't have a clue what their names are. We call them The Old People since they are about 15 years older than us. We have hung out with them and danced next to them the past 2-3 RCPM shows. We didn't hang out with them this time though. They were at the back of the room, we were at the front. We talked with them a bit after the show and they invited us to look for them at another concert in June. See, they are our friends. They even invite us places!

(The only picture I took all night, from my phone.)

The concert was incredible. Like always, they gave it their all. They have a new lead guitar player that I had never heard before, Jim Dalton. I liked him better than Steve. Not sure if it was just because I was listening harder and paying more attention to him to see/hear how he was doing whereas Steve was always just there. At the end of Banditos he stepped off the stage, narrowly missed hitting a guy in the front row with the neck of his guitar, and walked out into the very crowded audience while tearing it up. Totally cool.

(I really love this band, in case you haven't picked up on that yet. This is a shot of the bumper of my mom-mobile.)

And it was loud. I always make fun of Greg for wearing earplugs to their shows. I envied him last night.

Setlist was okay. They played a lot of Turbo Ocho and it seems that album is either hit or miss. Got to hear Tributary Otis live for the first time, but never thought that was a great song so I wasn't too enthused. I've been trying for some time to get a RCPM guitar pick. All I got from the band this time around was a handshake from Roger and Jim. And because I care, here is the setlist:

i know you know
preacher's daughter
your name on a grain of rice
state of the art
don't wanna know
beautiful disaster
i speak your language
down together
west texas moon


green and dumb
tributary otis
i do

Found out this morning that one of my other favorite bands will be back in Pittsburgh for the first time in about a year and a half this fall. They had to take bit of a break from the road after the lead singer was in a motorcycle accident. Can't wait to see them again! Hooray for concert season!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Fruit of my Labor

It might not look like much, but this one little strawberry represents a small financial investment, hours of digging and watering, and lots of hope. I decided to try gardening this year. I know nothing of the sport. The previous owners of our house had a nice area fenced off for a garden (and the holes in the fence turned out not to be small enough to keep out bunnies), so I decided to see what I could do. So far, I haven't done much. I have a couple zucchini plants kinda growing as well as some tomatoes. I started a few sweet peppers from seeds and several of those seedlings are hanging out while I wait for them to flourish. I put a package of carrot seeds and a package of onion seeds in the ground. We'll see what happens. I also have a blueberry bush (are they bushes?) and some grapes and of course, one little strawberry plant that had one strawberry on it until I ate it this morning. So delicious! Then there is my deck. There I have some spinach, jalapeno peppers, and a couple more tomato plants soaking up some sun on the deck. A huge harvest would be amazing, but I would settle for a few more strawberries too.


GPAFG Day at the Zoo

On Saturday we packed up and headed to the zoo. It was the second time in less than two weeks that the kids and me were there. This time we took Greg along and met up with other members of Greater Pittsburgh Adoptive Families from Guatemala (GPAFG). I think there were seven families total, and it was great getting to know more families like ours and reconnecting with families we have already met.

There was a bit of a weather scare. It rained on us on the way there and the rain started coming down as we were headed back to the car. But the whole time we were checking out the animals, and playing, we had dry weather. Several families decided not to risk the weather and either stayed home or met up at The Children's Museum. We can't wait to do more activities with GPAFG.

(For more information on GPAFG visit our website, look for us on Yahoo Groups, or find us on the groups on Facebook.)


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Big Boys

I am now the mom of two big boys. I have two kids out of diapers and, most recently, two boys out of cribs.

I had this vision of my two boys sharing "the blue room". And as much as we have tried (which really wasn't all that much), it just hasn't worked out. Instead, Marcus has been spending nights in the blue room and napping in "the pink room". Will has been spending the nights in the pink room (in a pack 'n play he doesn't really fit in anymore) and napping in his crib in the blue room. It wasn't making any sense. I suggested that we move Will's crib into the pink room.

Greg and I don't always agree on parenting matters.

Greg pulled a "me". He just started acting and didn't run it by his other half, and basically just took the situation by the reins. I played the role of Greg and hung back and let him take over the situation.

Greg took apart Will's crib in the blue room and put together the crib converted into a toddler bed in the pink room. Friday night Greg hung out in the pink room for over an hour waiting for Will to fall asleep in his new space. Greg finally gave up and after a few tears, Will slept all night and just fine in his new toddler bed. This is the third night he's been in there and he took a nap in there today too. So far he hasn't even tried to escape but I fully plan to hold it over Greg's head when he does.

(And yes, the pink room is really that pink. We call it "radioactive Peptobismal". The baseboards and the trim of the windows and doors is painted a dark purple, that can be seen in the bottom of the photograph. The thought of all the primer involved in that project and trying to paint in there when someone isn't sleeping makes my stomach turn.)


Friday, May 15, 2009


I am really behind on my Oprah watching and finally watched an episode from about a month ago. Mothers were confessing things they have actually done in the name of motherhood. Like most mom I am sure, I tend to be pretty hard on myself. Not today. Today I am taking it easy on myself. Today I am realizing what an awesome mom I am. I may yell more than I should and have less patience than I would like, but I am still an awesome mom.

My house is never clean. It could be clean but I choose to spend time with my kids rather than making the place spotless.

I have never once ever forgotten to feed my children.

I cook every night. And by cook I don't mean I open a box of prepackaged stuff and pop it in the microwave. I cook good, wholesome, mostly balanced meals pretty much from scratch that are pretty healthy.

I take my kids places. We go to the park and grocery shopping and to playgroup and story time and running errands or just running around the yard. And they behave for the most part!

My kids get a bath every night. Maybe once or twice a month something comes up and we have to skip it but they are clean. I probably could shower every day if I wanted to but have decided that showering at least every 36 hours is good enough.

And just today, I found the time to rock with Will for 15 minutes because he just wasn't ready to wake up from nap yet. Marcus was feeling under the weather and he threw up on me today. I told him that that was okay. Maybe that makes me a crazy mom, but I am pretty sure that makes me an awesome mom too.

No one even has to agree with me. I know I am awesome. I know it when Will lets out one of his infectious laughs. I know it when Marcus is more concerned that I get a clean, throw-up free shirt on, before I take care of getting him a fresh shirt. I know it when Will runs up to me and gives my leg a tight hug. I know it when Marcus asks for another kiss and says, "Luv you!" I know it when I tell Greg that all I accomplished today was taking care of the kids and doing a load of laundry, and he tells me that it sounds like I accomplished a lot.

I even know it when I yell too much and I lose my patience because being an awesome mom, doesn't mean being a perfect mom. Go me! I rock!


Monday, May 11, 2009

Hope You Had a Great Mother's Day!

Had a good Mother's Day weekend around here. Yesterday we all had breakfast with my mom and dad, and my sister and her family. I told Greg that it would be nice for him to cook dinner since it was MY day. We had spaghetti, because I didn't want to put in some crazy request that might surpass his culinary skills. After dinner we all went outside and I got the rest of my garden planted. Now I just have to hope it grows (and that our reinforcement is going to keep the bunnies from going through the fence for a nibble). Greg gave me a card, as did the kids. The best present was all the hugs and kisses I got from my wonderful family.

Happy (belated) Mother's Day, from this mom to you!


Thursday, May 07, 2009

It's A Small World Afterall

I thought it was going to rain all day so we ended up just hanging out inside. Not really a good idea with two crazy little toddlers. After dinner I suggested we head out to this little park less than 2 miles away for something different to do. We took Maya with us and there was another little puppy there. They were having a blast. Soon the other family left and it was just us.

A car drove up. A woman jumped out and grabbed a sweatshirt that was left on a table. The woman ran back to the car. The car started driving away. I noticed that man was staring me down, half hanging out his window. It was a little creepy. They started to drive out of the parking lot and then turned around. I was feeling even more creeped out. They parked and started getting out of the car and I was all, "I know them!" I wanted to scream across the playground to Greg and announce who it was because he kinda sorta knows them too but I didn't know if he would recognize them. Plus, I thought I would have sounded really rude.

The husband and wife are family friends of my family. The husband's parents know my parents and the wife worked with my sister years ago. Most importantly, they have three children adopted from Guatemala!

We talked for a bit and were even more surprised to find out that we only live a few houses from each other. How crazy! I mean, they are RIGHT THERE, right up the street from us! Here I was thinking that we were the only Guatemalan-American family on this side of town, and it turns out that there are five Guatemalan kids living within a block of each other! Greg said that with all these Guatemalan kids living so close together, we might need to start calling this area Little Guatemala.

All the kids had a blast playing together. Marcus and Will were particularly interested in playing with their 2 year old son. All us adults chatted and smiled from ear to ear, knowing that we will be seeing a lot of each other over the years.

So I realize after rereading this, it totally doesn't even scratch the surface of how excited I am. I mean... how do I even explain... I can't. Just trust me, all you non-adoptive people out there, that this is HUGE.


Monday, May 04, 2009

Oops, I had an accident.

Just an update on the potty training, part 4. Things aren't exactly going to plan. The plan was that Will would get to pick his undergarments and we were going to pick new undergarments each time he got them wet. I figured over the next month or two, we would eventually run out of the diapers and he would basically be forced to wear the training underwear and "big boy underwear".

As usual, Will decided not to go with my plan and do his own thing.

Will is pretty much potty trained now.

We started with the choices of undergarments on Friday. He had lots of accidents of course, but by the afternoon he was telling me about them. He even told me when he peed in his diaper which was particularly impressive since those things are so absorbent. By the evening, he even told us a couple times that he had to go pee prior to having any sort of accident. Saturday it was pretty much the same thing. Yesterday he picked "big boy underwear" and I was armed with my upholstery cleaner, waiting for an accident. Only one accident all day, and it wasn't even enough to soak through his pants. Today he picked "big boy underwear" once again. He only had one accident today too. (Maya normally pees because she is so excited that Greg has come home from work. Today Will peed when Greg came home from work.) We will see if he keeps up the good work! I am so very proud of my baby boy!


Friday, May 01, 2009

Potty Training - Part 2, Phase 4

We moved on to Phase 4 of Will's potty training today. I call this phase "Choices".

Here are the choices.

I took all the junk out of the one of the dresser drawers (which is now on my kitchen counter) and filled the drawer with undergarment choices. There are:
- diapers
- pull-ups
- training underwear that I made (more on this below)
- training underwear
- waterproof training underwear
- big boy underwear

The plan is that he has the choice of what he wants to wear. If it gets wet, it either goes in the laundry or gets thrown away if it is disposable. I am really really hoping to never refill that drawer with pull-ups or diapers once they are gone.

Of course there is going to be certain situations where his choice might be slightly altered. Like if we are leaving the house. He might have to wear a pull-up over what he chooses just for the sanity of myself.

I really like the idea of training pants but was not at all excited about the price. So, I got creative and made some of my own that I just love. Will likes them too!

I based them off of a cloth diaper pattern I found online. I've made three pairs of them so far and each pair is slightly different as I messed around with the design. The pair Will is sporting in the picture above are more absorbent than the ones in the pictures below.

They do have a waterproof layer which is great for little trickle accidents but, as I discovered today, doesn't help all that much for a total bladder release. My favorite part is these little Velcro squares that are used to keep the scratchy part of the Velcro from damaging other items in the washing machine.

Best of all, they only take about an hour to make!

How's the plan going? Eh... we will see. Will has been excited about getting to make his undergarment choice today. First pick was waterproof training pants which he kept dry for from 7:30-10:15am. (I took him to the potty every 30 minutes.) I knew there would be trouble ahead because he had some milk around 9:30 followed by some water around 10:00. After the waterproof training pants went off to the laundry, he selected pull-ups. They went in the diaper pail shortly after that. Then he picked "dinosaur underwear", the ones that I made. About 15 minutes later they were wet, along with his pants and my pants too. Next he selected a diaper. It got a little wet but I left that on him and he can pick something else after nap. I am really thinking this is the way to go with my little stubborn guy. The choice is all his (with a little coercion by me that hopefully goes unnoticed by him) and hopefully over the next few weeks there will be some slow progress. And hopefully over the next few weeks I can keep my patience.

Mostly, I am just tired of diapers.