the homepage of gregory and ann kline

Friday, July 24, 2009

Daily Harvest

On Wednesday I headed out to the garden to grab an onion I needed for our dinner. I came back with my arms a little more full than expected. The strawberries and tomato did need a day to sit on the counter to finish ripening. I just picked my third zucchini this afternoon and there are three more than could probably need picked. I love my garden, so just deal with my posts about it.

Although I was feeling sentimental about chopping up the first zucchini from the garden (I told my kids that they used to be my babies but now my baby was a zucchini), the onion was not so lucky. It was really yummy too!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

First Harvest and Family

Over the weekend I started to collect a couple things from my garden. My first of far too many zucchini was suddenly ready to be picked. I looked at it Friday and it was still in the beginning growing stages like all the others. Then a day later it must have tripled in size and I knew I needed to rip that sucker out. It has been sitting on my kitchen island now for a few days and for whatever reason this evening when I was trying to come up with a veggie for dinner, it never occurred to me to eat this thing. Maybe because I am very proud of it and don't want to slice it up and serve on a platter. But, it will be eaten.

I also harvested my spinach. We had eaten a few leaves here and there but it was time to dive in. It really should have been harvested a few weeks ago. As much as I love a spinach salad, it wasn't on the menu so I plucked off the leaves, adored them in a bowl for a few minutes, and then steamed and froze them. I still have a few more spinach plants that I started late so there may be more to come. I just have to try to remember to do a better job at remembering to water it.

That was Saturday.

Sunday was family day. My brother Willie was in town for a wedding over the weekend and I was able to squeeze in breakfast with him and my immediate family. My sister and I left our spouses and children at home and met up with my parents, brother, and brother's better half. It was a short visit as they needed to be driving back to South Carolina but it was still nice. In an attempt to embarrass my brother as much as possible, my mom thought we should take some pictures outside of Eat 'n Park. This was the only one taken on my camera (by my dad) and my eyes were closed.

Then it was back home for me. Greg and I packed the kids into the car and headed north to his parents' house. His sister Bethany has had a busy couple of months. She graduated college, got engaged, spent three weeks in Africa helping at a mission hospital, and returned for long enough so she can pack up and move to a new town where she just got a new job that starts next week. Go Bethany! The inlaws threw a little cookout in her honor. I dressed the kids in honor of her African adventure, mostly because they don't own clothes that say, "Way to graduate/you found a great man/way to serve/don't blow up the lab at your new job."

Bethany and her friend gave us a little fashion show on how people dressed in Zambia. That is supposed to be a baby on Bethany's back. Most babies in Zambia aren't purple.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Inevitable Question

It was really only a matter of time I suppose, before I got one of the inevitable questions that most adoptive moms probably get at some point in their lives. I am sure many people have thought it, but this is the first time anyone has said it. I was out grocery shopping with the kids this morning, just me and them. Will was greeting everyone in the store. He usually tells most people we pass, "Hi! Hi! Hi!" Now when they respond he has been adding, "How are you doing?" So he was chatting it up with this woman who then decided to chat me up. I got the normal question of, "Are they twins?" And I gave my normal response of, "No, they are about a year apart in age." She asked how old they were and I said 2.5 and 3.5 which is roughly correct. Then I got the question.

"Are they yours?"

I try to be a smart-ass as much as I can in life. But, there are times when that just isn't appropriate. Like when you are talking to a well meaning stranger who has mild verbal diarrhea. So without pausing I said happily and without (hopefully) any indication that I had just been handed a dreaded question by adoptive parents around the world, "Yep!"

She then said something about how they will surely be a blessing to me, to which I corrected her and said they are both a blessing to me every single day. And then I went about my shopping.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Swimmin' School

This week Marcus and Will took swimming lessons at our pool. They were up and in the pool by 10:00 each day. The lessons were more of an introduction to swimming skills as a way to get comfortable in the water. They practiced things each day like kicking with a kick board and on the side of the pool, laying on their backs and bellies in the water while the instructor supported them, blowing bubbles in the pool, and putting their faces in the water. During the course of the week Marcus and Will both became more proficient in these skills but definitely will need some more practice. More importantly to me than actually learning to swim, I was interested in seeing how they would respond in a somewhat structured "class" setting where they had to listen to the teacher. I sat a few feet from the pool and cheered the kids on and periodically had to remind them to listen to the teacher.

Marcus did really great! He started out the week very slow. On the first day, he stood like a statue in the water. The teacher couldn't get him to do much of anything. About halfway through the first class, he loosened up and became the Marcus we all know and love. He was eager to try his best at whatever skill he was being presented with. He almost always was the first to say he would try something. At the end of each class, he would help the teacher clean up the diving rings. On the second day he got a little teary when I told him I was going to go sit in a chair by the pool. About five minutes later Will had to pee. The bathroom is a good way from the baby pool and Marcus asked if he could stay in the pool while I left with Will. Go Marcus!

Will did pretty well too. He was one of the younger kids in the group and that made a big difference. Mostly his attention span was not long enough to keep on track with what the rest of the group was doing. He did a pretty good job at blowing bubbles and laying on his back. I reminded him each day that he needed to listen to the teacher. Poor Will is so skinny and void of any body fat, that he just doesn't stay warm in the pool very long, and particularly not that early in the morning. The poor kid was freezing his pants off.

I can't wait for swim lessons next year already!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Things I Never Said Until I had Kids

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you will remember our ever growing list of "Things I Never Said Until I had Kids". You can find all the previous posts by going back to the last one here. And now for the latest 25 Things I (or Greg) Never Said Until I (he) had Kids.

126. He's not mad. He just has a moustache.
127. Do not kiss the bathroom.
128. You tooted soup?
129. Why don't you take your clothes off first and then go hide in the closet?
130. Your spoon is not a moustache.
131. If you pulled it out of your butt, you don't eat it.
132. Would you like it if someone put a cash register in you face?
133. Quit putting garbage between your toes.
134. It is so nice to have this special time together while the kids are pooping.
135. We do not stick choo choos in your brother's butt.
136. He was flinging his bacon at Marcus. He didn't deserve to have it.
137. I don't want to live in a world where I have to be sorry for bubbles.
138. If you don't like it, you can learn to wipe your own butt.
139. You did a good job: you peed all the way up to your nipples.
140. I can't think of a single reason to stand on a sandwich.
141. Please stop dipping your banana in the ranch dressing.
142. It would be really nice if we could just give them some rawhide and they could go off in the corner and chew it for an hour.
143. Please don't french kiss the dog.
144. You can't say "All Done" while you're still peeing.
145. Your toot sensor is much too keen.
146. I'm not going to put applesauce on your shrimp Alfredo.
147. Don't chew on your eye patch.
148. Maybe he was peeing faster than the speed of sound.
149. I love you, Mr. Cheese Mittens.
150. Bye bye, poopies. Have a good trip, poopies.



Monday, July 13, 2009


We took a trip to Idlewild yesterday. The plan was to go on Saturday with our GPAFG (our local group for families who have adopted from Guatemala). However, the weather was looking to spoil our fun on Saturday. The trip was canceled and we decided to go yesterday instead. Along with Greg and I and the kids, Greg's parents and my mom came along too. My dad stayed behind to take care of the pup. I'll have to get some pictures from my mom. I didn't take too many because I was just too busy having fun.

Greg dropped my mom, the kids, and me off at the park and went to pick up his parents. They were flying their plane into the small airport near the park. While Greg was off collecting his parents, the rest of us headed into Storybook Forest.

We made it about 3/4 of the way through Storybook Forest when Greg and his parents arrived. We met up with them and Will had to pee (a common theme throughout the day) so we ran for the nearest bathroom. We made a quick stop in Jumpin' Jungle (which was my favorite part of the park the last time I was there... 20+ years ago).

We picked up the train ride and went over to Raccoon Lagoon, the kiddie land. We rode the trolley through Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Both kids really liked that, although Will kept mistaking King Friday for Santa Claus. I was ready to get the kids on some real rides by then. We picked an airplane ride. They were excited until they realized that they would be riding together without an adult. They both rode the ride stone faced. We probably should have headed back to that part of the park later in the day after they were more comfortable with some rides but that just never happened. All we could think about by that point was our rumbling tummies anyway.

After eating, we hit up some of the bigger rides. The whole park is geared towards young kids so the big rides aren't really that big, just stuff that adults can ride with the kids. Marcus absolutely loved the carousel. We did several other rides that mostly involved going around in circles. Greg and I were both eating Dramamine like candy throughout the day because circles don't really agree with us anymore. I fared a little better than Greg did by the end of the day.

I had this bright idea that we should take the kids on the roller coaster. It is just a little roller coaster and they both just made the height requirements for riding with an adult. Greg's parents even rode it with us. It would not surprise me if our kids never ride another roller coaster again in their lives. Marcus wouldn't let me put my arm around him or hold on to him during any of the rides because he wanted to "do it self". He ended up kinda slouched down in the seat by the end and when I looked over at him mid-ride, he was on the verge of tears. I did my best to try to hold on to him from that point on but the ride was pretty bumpy and his whole body was stiff. When the ride was over he cried. Will was riding with Greg. He had no tears after the ride but when we stopped to check out the photo that they take during the ride, it was evident that Will had never been so terrified in his entire life. Talk about a priceless photo!

It was well past nap time at this point, which didn't help Marcus's attitude about the roller coaster either. He was determined to get back in the saddle again, literally, and ride something he would have fun on. While Greg took Will to the potty, Marcus and I got on the carousel again. He was back to smiling in no time. Then back to being really tired and cranky a minute later.

We took a walk over to the Soak Zone. We would have liked to have played around in the water park a bit but both kids were nearing their breaking point. It probably would have ended up being more punishment than fun. On our walk back from checking out the water park, both kids fell asleep. Greg left to take his parents back to the airport. My mom and I sat in the shade with frozen drinks and watched people while the kids rested.

We did a couple more rides after the kids woke up. They didn't get much of a nap though and were pretty much pushing their limits. Marcus really wanted to ride the log ride, which I am sure would have completely terrified him when we rode that log over a big hill, but we decided to skip it and head out. After all, we had arrived at the park at 10:30 in the morning and we didn't leave until almost 8:00. I figured we would have left hours prior to that but we were all having so much fun!

I'm already looking forward to going again next year!


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Dental Hygiene

Marcus and Will had their first dentist appointment yesterday. My sister recommended her pediatric dentist who is located in Moon Twp. It was a bit of a drive but was definitely worth it. They were absolutely amazing with our kids. Let me know if you need the name!

Greg was off work yesterday. He had to attend a funeral for his uncle who passed away unexpectedly over the weekend. He was able to come with us to the dentist before heading out to the funeral.

Both kids were pretty excited about the dentist at first, mainly because I told them that they would be getting new toothbrushes. Then when we actually got called back, both of them were a bit skeptical on how fun it would really be. It didn't take long before they were put at ease. The dental hygienists explained everything to the kids in a way they could understand before they did anything. I was just so relieved that everything went so well. And no cavities! Originally they were just going to do a quick exam on Will because of his age but he did so well that they were able to do a full cleaning and fluoride treatment on both kids.

I was not expecting to spend so much time at the dentist discussing adoption. It all started when a women at the front desk was thoroughly confused on how Marcus and Will could have been born in the same year. Part of me wanted to give her a lesson on human reproduction and how typical gestation is 9 months and a year has 12 months. However, I just said, "They are not biological brothers." I thought that would be the end of it but later there were questions about how old they were when we adopted them and whether they were born in different parts of the country. I am assuming the latter question was because they don't look alike, which is in part because of where their birthparents were from, but more so because they have different birthparents. (Just as I don't look like my neighbors who were born in the same city as was because we came from different birthparents.)

I have found I have gotten a little weird about talking about adoption with people I don't know. I've always been a bit uneasy because I never know just why the person is so curious about our family. Now I am becoming more uneasy because I know that my kids understand what I say and I want to make sure that I say things in a way that will be healthy for my children to hear and still answer the questions of adults. I hesitate when people ask questions, giving myself a second to think of the best way to phrase something or to answer their question without giving out information that maybe my children (and me) would rather keep private. I remember back before we adopted Marcus we attended a class to prepare us for some issues that might arise after our children were home. One thing that was brought up was that at first people tend to talk a lot about the adoption. But then there becomes a bit of a disconnect between how the parents view adoption and how the children view it. Just as the children start to get to an age when they are becoming aware of how they may look different from their parents and asking questions about their origin, the parents are becoming so comfortable with their adopted children that they stop seeing the difference. Perhaps this is the beginning of this stage. I talk with my kids about where they were born sometimes and tell them about how we adopted them, but they don't ask questions yet. Often I forget to bring anything up because I look at my kids just see my kids, and don't notice the physical differences.


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Happy (Belated) Fourth of July!

We had a really nice holiday weekend. In the morning of the fourth, Saturday, everyone pitched in to help wash my car. Except me, because I had just fixed my hair. I designated myself the event photographer.

And yes, I mean everyone helped, including Maya.

After the car was washed, it needed dried of course. The car wasn't the only thing that needed dried off.

The kids rested up in the afternoon and then we were off to the annual block party in the neighborhood where I grew up. Greg and I were under the impression it was a costume party and dressed accordingly. I said I needed to glue some stars on my shirt. Greg asked me if I was drunk.

A good time was had by all. There was swinging,

some solitary play time,


and at one point someone must have said something to really funny to my brother-in-law and dad.

We all did lots of eating too of course. Most importantly, it was a great day to be with the ones that we love and to celebrate that we can all be together in this wonderful country.

One of my favorite moments during the picnic was when Greg and I were sitting at the top of a large hill watching the kids play at the bottom. They were far enough away so that we couldn't hear them well but could see them fine. A little boy stole Marcus's ball right out of his hands. Marcus is quick to put Will in his place, but when it comes to other kids, he can be really shy. Marcus just stood there brokenhearted and staring at the ball thief. Will stepped in. He went up to the other boy. We couldn't hear what he was saying but he was certainly telling that kid off. He was pointing and shaking his finger at the kid and the ball and Will was looking pretty mad. Marcus just stood back and watched. When Will had put the other kid in his place, Will grabbed the ball from him and handed it back to Marcus. It was a great moment to see my kids defending each other, although I was a bit confused which of my son's was the older brother.

This was the first year that the kids got to see fireworks. We met up with my sister and her family at my old high school, one of the higher points in town. From there we could see the fireworks that were let off in the park as well as several other smaller displays. It was a nice introduction to fireworks for the kids since they were far enough away that they weren't too loud.

Sunday we spent some time with Greg's parents. We had a nice cookout and got to spend lots of time just hanging out and socializing on their deck. Marcus and Will were moving in full speed trying to keep themselves awake after staying up late Saturday night for fireworks and skipping nap on Sunday. Less than five minutes after we left Greg's parents' house, both kids were zonked out in the back seat.

Marcus and Will are currently big Yo Gabba Gabba fans. Can you tell?


Thursday, July 02, 2009

Welcome to the Family!

My sister Kim and her family added a new member to their family a few days ago. What a cutie! Maya is looking forward to playing with you, Ranger!


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Garden Update

I took some pictures of my garden about a week ago and keep meaning to post about it but we have been busy doing other stuff. The garden has changed a lot even since I photographed it.

We have lots of wild raspberries growing all around our yard. They are super sweet and yummy. We have all been picking at them, including Maya. I wasn't feeling so well last night. Greg took Maya for a walk around our yard and came back with a bowl full of these delicious berries in hopes they would make me feel better. I planted a blueberry shrub in our garden and it has just been hanging out and not bothering to produce blueberries. These wild raspberries are helping me forget about the blueberry bush.

My zucchini is growing like crazy. I started it from seed and now it won't stop growing. I thought a good bit of it wouldn't survive the transfer into the big garden but it is all growing.

I have tons and tons of flowers, even more since I took these pictures. I took this picture near dusk but in the morning the flowers are all open and quite pretty. Unfortunately, I have reason to believe that a little bunny has found a way to get under our garden fence and has been biting the flowers off. I think I blocked his path though this evening so hopefully our garden is bunny free at last.

Next to the zucchini I have carrots. I didn't take a picture because the tops of carrots aren't all that interesting and I also wasn't sure they were really carrots. I kept meaning to do a google search to find out what the tops of carrots were supposed to look like but never did. So, I was just weeding that area of the garden and hoping I was leaving behind the carrots and not some variety of weed. Earlier this week I dug down a bit and indeed, I choose wisely and we are going to have some yummy carrots.

I was hoping to have more sweet onions than this, but all I ended up with was probably about a dozen. I have no clue how big they are or when I am supposed to harvest them but they look good so far from the top.

I started these sweet peppers from seed as well. I don't think I am going to end up with any peppers though. I probably have 15 of these little plants but they really don't seem to be growing. They are all about 6 inches high.

I've gotten a few more flowers on my strawberry plant so it is looking like we will have 4-5 more strawberries here soon. Not much of a feast but still yummy.

And then we have my tomatoes which are growing like crazy. I have big ones

and little ones.

Still none have have turned red and are ready for picking yet. I have five tomato plants in our garden area so we should have lots of tomatoes.

I also have five beefsteak tomato plants on my deck in pots. I started these from seed and wasn't expecting much from them. Unfortunately, there are two tomato plants in one pot and three in another. They will probably end up crowding each other out. Since I took these photos, this one tomato plant that is in the front of this photo has gotten some flowers so it is looking like my thumb just may be a little more green than I realized.

Also on our deck is some spinach. We have already eaten some of this. Some little bugs have also eaten some of it too and many of the leaves have little holes in them. I am trying to make my garden organic so I haven't used any insecticide to fend off snackers. I am sure there are some organic ways to help keep bugs away but I just haven't bothered researching them. Spinach was also started from seeds.

Finally on the deck we also have about a dozen jalapeno pepper plants. These little guys aren't doing much either. I started them from seed along with the sweet peppers and they too have pretty much stayed the same size. I don't think I will get any peppers from these guys either.